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Max Gladstone

Max Gladstone graduated from Yale University, where he studied Chinese. While he was there, he wrote a short story that became a finalist in the Writers of the Future competition. Max has taught in southern Anhui, wrecked a bicycle in Angkor Wat, and been thrown from a horse in Mongolia. He currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Learn more at Max Gladstone’s website. Follow him at Twitter: @maxgladstone


The Craft

The Craft — (2012-2015) Publisher: Publisher: A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart. Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot. Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith. When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival. Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.

Three Parts Dead: A wonderfully inventive story

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

Three Parts Dead is a wonderfully inventive story. Max Gladstone blends a plethora of ideas, ranging from vampires to magic to steampunk technology and adds interesting characters and a plot that is predictable but still enjoyable. The result is memorable.

Tara is a recently expelled student in the art of the Craft. A Craftsman or Craftswoman is the equivalent of a magician or sorcerer, someone who has learned how to use the energies of the world to do things that would otherwise be impossible. Tara’s fall from the Hidden Schools — think of a floating university for sorcerers — was both literal and logical: she had to fight her way out of the school before being physically dropped from its heights. Tara’s story is central to the book as she goes from expelled student to local healer to temporary employee for one of the large firms that traffic in ... Read More

Other opinions: Three Parts Dead

As John said, Three Parts Dead really is “wonderfully inventive.” I enjoyed the story but felt a little lost in the world sometimes — it’s so inventive that I never felt quite grounded. I did, however, like the characters and the story. I listened to Blackstone Audio’s version which was read by Claudia Alick. It took me a while to warm up to her because at first she has one of those rhythms that sounds like she’s reading to children, but I sped her up a bit and that helped. I also think her reading smoothed out a bit as the story went on. I think we both got more comfortable and compatible a couple of hours into the audio. ~Kat Hooper

Two Serpents Rise: Impressive second book

Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone

Two Serpents Rise is the second book by Max Gladstone and is set in the same world as Three Parts Dead. I struggle to define the "genre" that this series fits into. There are elements of urban fantasy and steampunk, but none of that really fits. It doesn’t matter because the books are awesome and Gladstone has built something that really works.

Two Serpents Rise features Caleb Altemoc, a mid-level risk management analyst for Red King Consolidated (RKC). As with Three Parts Dead, the story follows the intriguing and complex corporate connections between powerful Craftsmen, wielders of magic, and the gods. Caleb is caught in the middle of a huge incident when one of the main water supplies for the city of Dresediel Lex becomes infested with demonic parasites. This is truly catastrophic because the city is in the middle of a desert, reminiscent of... Read More

Two Serpents Rise: Officepunk

Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone

In his review of Two Serpents Rise, John said he didn’t know what genre Max Gladstone’s CRAFT stories fit into. I agree, so I’m going to coin my own term here: officepunk. The heroes of both novels so far have been employees of big corporations. There's lots of typical office imagery — pinstripe suits, desks, clipboards, business meetings and contracts — but there's also zombie armies, flying insect taxis, poker games as acts of worship, soul money, demonic parasites, and enslaved gods.

Gladstone’s world is such a strange blend of the familiar and exotic that I had trouble settling into it in his first CRAFT novel, Three Days Dead. I never knew what to expect, which made anything seem possible, so it felt like there were no “rules” and some of the major events see... Read More

Full Fathom Five: Gladstone’s world is new and wildly different

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone

With each book in THE CRAFT SEQUENCE series I feel more and more out of joint, but intrigued at the same time. Max Gladstone continues to play with concepts like gods and souls in ways that feel very familiar and completely alien all at once. Throw in a lot of reverse gender and religious stereotypes and the world this series depicts is something new and wildly different.

Kai is a priestess working for the ruling order/corporation on the island of Kavekana. The whole feel of the island is very Polynesian for me, but Gladstone doesn’t really say it. I felt like I was in a major city on a Hawaiian island with a huge volcano looming over the city, not threatening, but a very real presence and reminder of the power it contains.

The original Gods/Godesses of Kavekana left the island long ago to fight in the wars of gods and deathless kings. Gods died in those wars and ... Read More

Magazine Monday: Uncanny Magazine, Issues One and Two

Uncanny Magazine is a new bimonthly internet publication edited by Lynn M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas. The editors have explained their mission this way:
We chose the name Uncanny because we wanted a publication that has the feel of a contemporary magazine with a history — one that evolved from a fantastic pulp. Uncanny will bring the excitement and possibilities of the past, and the sensibilities and experimentation that the best of the present offers. . . . It’s our goal that Uncanny’s pages will be filled with gorgeous prose, exciting ideas, provocative essays, and contributors from every possible background.
Issue One opens with “If You Were a Tiger, I’d Have to Wear White” by Maria Dahvana Headley, in which the animal stars of movies and television have personalities, hopes, wi... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Oh gods!

Today we welcome Max Gladstone, author of Three Parts Dead which I found to be inventive and enjoyable. Max wants to know how you feel about gods as characters in speculative fiction. One commenter will win a hardcover copy of Three Parts Dead. Thanks for joining us, Max! 

When my book Three Parts Dead came out, as I trawled around reading reviews, I was intrigued by the number of comments on my book's use of gods. Turns out people have pretty strong feelings about gods in science fiction and fantasy, which got me thinking about how gods function in the genre, and where they come from.

Gods have a complicated relationship with storytelling. Th... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday (giveaway!): What splinters are stuck under your fingernails?

We’re pleased to once more welcome Max Gladstone, author of the excellent CRAFT series. Max is here to talk about the psychic origins of some of his influences and to ask about images and ideas that linger on in your mind. One commenter will win a copy of Max’s new book Two Serpents Rise which was one of the best books I read this year.

For every inspiration we admit, another lies buried. At book events (for my first book, Three Parts Dead, and for the most recent in the series, Read More

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