Bitterwood by James Maxey
In James Maxey's Bitterwood, dragons rule the planet and humans are their slaves. These dragons are not your average fantasy dragons because they have formed a community and culture and are ruled by a king. Not your typical fire-breathing, treasure hoarding dragon, right?
The premise for Bitterwood is good, but the writing just felt uneven. There were times when the characters felt shallow and too contrived and the storyline seemed to be out of control — too many highs and lows.
Maxey does a good job of explaining events after they have happened, so that you get a larger perspective. I just didn't enjoy the characters themselves very much. They didn't come alive for me because too often their reactions felt canned — like they had to do something a certain way because that's the type of character they are.
James MaxeyJames Maxey’s stories have appeared in a score of anthologies and magazines. The best of his short fiction is now available in the collection There is No Wheel. He continues to write about ghosts and pirates, also spaceships, monkeys, and circus freaks and other geeky delights. You can keep up with the author at James Maxey’s blog.
Bitterwood (Dragon Age) — (2007-2009) Tornado of Sparks is a prequel. Publisher: Bitterwood has spent the past twenty years hunting down dragons, one at a time. But he is getting old and the hate that he has carried in his heart since a group of dragon-soldiers killed his family is beginning to fade. When he kills the royal prince dragon, the king decides the only retribution is genocide of the human race. Bitterwood is forced to enter the Free City, the grand trap designed to eradicate mankind, with thousands of others. Can he lead from within, or can a select few dragons unite to stop the king’s madness from becoming reality. Full of rich characters and drama, this is an amazingly astute vision of our own culture by way of a feudal kingdom where dragons rule, and humans are used as workers or pets.
Bitterwood by James Maxey
Bitterwood by James Maxey
Following in the footsteps of Gail Z. Martin’s The Summoner and Emily Gee’sThief With No Shadow comes Solaris Books’ latest fantasy offering Bitterwood, written by James Maxey, a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writers' Workshop and Orson Scott Card's Writer's Boot Camp, and whose previous works include the Phobos Award-winning short story “Empire of Dreams & Miracles,” the comic book-inspired debut novel “Nobody Gets the Girl,” and various other short stories.
Much like The Summone... Read More
The Solaris Book of New Fantasy by George Mann (ed.)
I’m pretty much a novice when it comes to short fiction. Because of my lack of experience in this area, I hope that you will bear with me as I try to provide a thoughtful and comprehensive analysis of The Solaris Book of New Fantasy, even if I don’t always succeed. The plan is to first look at each short story individually providing synopses and commentary, followed by my evaluation of the compilation as a whole. So, let’s look at the stories:
1) “Who Slays the Gyant, Wounds the Beast” by Mark Chadbourn. On Christmas Eve in the year 1598 in a world where England is at war against the Faerie, England’s greatest spy Will Swyfte is on a mission of the greatest import — he has until dawn to prevent the Faerie Queen from crossing over to the other side. If he doesn’t, then the Unseelie Court w... Read More
Masked edited by Lou Anders
Superheroes — and supervillains — have always been problematic. They are usually all but impossible to kill, but have a single vulnerability that everyone seems to know about, and to aim for, a tradition that goes all the way back to Achilles (who was invulnerable because he was dipped in the River Styx as a baby — except for the ankle by which his mother held him when doing the dipping). Even after death, they always seem to come back in some form or another; Superman, for instance, has been resurrected quite a few times (though losing him led nearly 20 years ago to one of the best graphic novels ever written, World Without a Superman). Because they are so superhumanly strong, they sometimes appear ludicrous, fighting off impossible task after incredible burden after outrageous situation. No wonder authors have sometimes taken their creations in odd directions, as Read More
The Dragon APocalypse — (2012) Publisher: Greatshadow is the primal dragon of fire, an elemental evil whose malign intelligence spies upon mankind through every candle flame, waiting to devour any careless victim he can claim. The Church of the Book has assembled a team of twelve battle-hardened adventurers to slay the dragon once and for all. But tensions run high between the leaders of the team who view the mission as a holy duty and the super-powered mercenaries who add power to their ranks, who view the mission primarily as a chance to claim Greatshadow’s vast treasure trove. If the warriors fail to slay the beast, will they doom mankind to death by fire?
Burn Baby Burn: A Supervillain Novel (WHOOSH! BAM! POW!) — (2011) Publisher: Pit Geek and Sundancer are supervillains in an age when superheroes have been outlawed. After years in hiding, the two team up for a series of spectacular bank robberies that threatens to disrupt the world economy. When a new government sanctioned team of heroes known as the Covenant appears to halt their crime wave, Sundancer and Pit Geek are forced to take desperate measures to retain their freedom. When they finally run out of places to hide, can the world survive when Sundancer unleashes the full force of her solar powers? Burn Baby Burn follows the events of Nobody Gets the Girl. The novel stands alone if you haven’t read Nobody, but does contain spoilers as the characters discuss changes in the world following the events of the earlier novel.
There is No Wheel — (2011) Publisher: Short stories by the author of the Dragon Age Trilogy and the cult-hit, Nobody Gets The Girl. A shark swims through a kitchen. A biology teacher dumps a dead angel onto his grandmother’s kitchen table. A billion bees swarm the Empire State Building. In an empty attic, a teapot filled with lizards reaches a boil. And everything is understood when a small town sheriff bites into an eyeball. These are the scenes that draw you into the world of James Maxey. Good luck on finding your way back out.
Crossed Genres, a magazine published online, digitally and in print, has a unique approach to genre fiction: every month it chooses a genre and requires that the stories it publishes that month combine the chosen genre with some aspect of science fiction or fantasy. Issue 27 offers a mash-up of science fiction and fantasy with tragedy. Surprisingly, none of the five short stories uses the traditional tragic element of a hero with a fatal flaw, which would seem tailor-made for SF and fantasy. Instead, the writers simply write stories that end in sadness.
“Nadirah Sends Her Love” by Ada Milenkovic Brown is the most imaginative of the stories. It takes the form of letters from Nadirah to Azim, her husband, in Hijiri Year 1432 -- or, as westerners figure time, 2011. In this world, the Arab nations continued to grow and develop their scientific acumen, while the weste... Read More