Bared Blade by Kelly McCullough
Bared Blade is the second book in the FALLEN BLADE series. Kelly McCullough continues the story of Aral Kingslayer, survivor of the destruction of the Goddess Namara turned petty thief and spy.
Aral is still struggling with the revelation that other members of his cult survived the fall of his goddess. His experiences in Broken Blade have started to give him an inkling that there may be more to look forward to than alcoholic oblivion. The relationship between Aral and his familiar/partner Triss has been an interesting twist on typical sword and sorcery tropes.
When a couple of oddly matched women are suddenly attacked in front of Aral, he chooses to get involved. The women have powers and skills far beyond the ordinary, which changes everything immediately. As further evidence of Aral’s re-orientation away from self-destruction via Kyle’s whiskey, Ara... Read More
Today we welcome Patrick Rothfuss, author of THE KINGKILLER CHRONICLE. You probably know about Pat’s Worldbuilders charity that raises money for Heifer International, but did you...Read More
Bared Blade by Kelly McCullough
The House of Souls: The Best of Arthur Machen by Arthur Machen
I had been wanting to check out Arthur Machen's 1906 collection of short stories, entitled The House of Souls, for quite some time; ever since I had read two highly laudatory pieces written about this work and its author. The first was H.P. Lovecraft's comments in his widely referred to essay "Supernatural Horror in Literature," in which he claims "Of living creators of cosmic fear raised to its most artistic pitch, few if any can hope to equal the versatile Arthur Machen." And, in Jones & Newman's excellent overview volume Horror: 100 Best Books, T.E.D. Klein, in his essay on The House... Read More
She Walks in Darkness by Evangeline Walton
Many of us who have read Evangeline Walton have her, mentally, on our epic fantasy bookshelf with people like J.R.R. Tolkien and Mervyn Peake, for her retellings of the Welsh mythic cycle The Mabinogion. For us, She Walks in Darkness is a surprise. This previously unpublished novel, brought out by Tachyon Press, is not epic fantasy at all but a gothic thriller.
Written in the early 1960s, She Walks in Darkness was a casualty of Walton’s dispute with a publisher. The publisher had handled Dark Runs the Road badly, and Walton’s contractual agreement stipulated they got first crack at her next book, which happened to be She Walks in Darkness. Walton put the book in a drawer, along with ... Read More
This week, Corum Jhaelen Irsei gives us an account of a most troubling nature (honestly, Mr. Moorcock... this plot was just silly).
Corum: It has been a most eventful fortnight. I learnt, to my grief, that my entire race has been slain. I alone stand between the ancient kindred called Vadhagh and extinction, and I... what exemplar am I? There is naught left to see of my departed people but a maimed and forlorn wanderer, bereft of home and succour, adrift on the vagaries of Fate. Yesterday, those vagaries bore me to a fortress of men, Moidel's Castle. Its ruler is Margravine Rhalina, a kindly woman of the younger race and now my sole friend in all the world. It gives me hope to think that disinterested compassion may spring from the hearts of these humans. Perhaps I am not so alone.
Later -- I was drugged at dinner and passed out. I awoke in my hostess'... Read More
Runaways: Pride & Joy (Vol. 1) by Brian K. Vaughan (writer) and Adrian Alphona (pencils)
What do you do when you find out your parents aren’t who you thought they were? Brian K. Vaughan deals with ages-old drama of teenagers confronting the fallibility of their parents in an interesting and exciting way. Though most of us have never discovered that our parents are part of a super-villain syndicate that includes a couple of crime lords who put Kingpin to shame — as well as mutants, aliens, time travelers, sorcerers, and mad scientists — most people can remember the day they realized that their parents are human and fallible, and maybe just a bit hypocritical. While most teenagers feel at some point that their parents are evil, Vaughan’s fantastic teenage heroes know their parents are EVIL. We follow them in this first volum... Read More
The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson
[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]
Jeanette Winterson is the author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Sexing the Cherry and Passion. She writes beautiful prose about fascinating characters, some of whom really existed, and there is always an element of magic or the fantastical in her work. Her latest book, The Daylight Gate, is set in Lancashire, England, early in the 17th century, and reimagines the infamous Pendle Hill witch trials, focusing her storyteller’s lens most closely on the character of Alice Nutter.
Alice Nutter, a real-life person, was a wealthy, land-owning widow who was tried for witchcra... Read More
The Defiant Agents by Andre Norton
The Defiant Agents is the third book in Andre Norton’s TIME TRADERS series about a secret United States government program that uses time travel to solve geopolitical problems, especially those involving the Cold War with the Russians. In the first book, The Time Traders, we met Ross Murdock, a criminal who avoided his sentence by signing on with the Time Traders and discovering the source of the Russians’ new powers. In the second book, Galactic Derelict, we met Travis Fox, an Apache who joined the Time Traders and was sent to recover an alien spaceship.
In this third book, the United States has tossed all ethics out the window and decided that the end justifies the means. They’ve used a process called Redax on Travis Fox and some other unknowing Apache volunteers which causes them to forget their modern selves and embrace their inner Apache. The govern... Read More
Today we welcome Bradley Wirz, founder and CEO of GoneReading International, a non-profit organization that funds reading related charities. Since we first mentioned this wonderful organization, they have funded their first library in Ethiopia! You can support GoneReading by purchasing some of their gifts for readers such as the ones shown here. There are many more at their website and 100% of the profits go toward increasing literacy around the world. We'll pick one commenter (anywhere in the world) who may choose up to $25 worth of merchandise from the GoneReading store!
Exactly what am I thankful for when it comes to reading? Now that’s a big question. I hardly know where to start.
I’m thankful fo... Read More
There wasn't a ton of action this week on the prize and list-making front, possibly because the entire commercial world is sliding into that pit of shame and horror that we call Black Thursday. That said, the British Science Fiction Award is now open for nominations, and I recently found the monthly book drop at Geek Exchange, which helpfully lists the important speculative fiction releases for the month. Oh, and here’s an all-time list of the best horror stories ever.
But there were about a bajillion (that’s a metric gazillion) interesting and awesome articles about the books we all love so much. First up, in honor of the release of the very well-received Catch... Read More
Just Another Judgement Day by Simon R. Green
If Simon R. Green can get away with recycling his NIGHTSIDE stories and presenting them as new ones, I should be able to get away with recycling my reviews of them. So, here is my review of Just Another Judgement Day which is a copied and pasted and only slightly altered review of the previous novel, The Unnatural Inquirer:
John Taylor has been hired by The Unnatural Inquirer, the gossip magazine of the Nightside, THE AUTHORITIES to find a stolen DVD that allegedly contains a recording of a transmission from the afterlife KILL SOMEONE. His investigation will take him all over the Nightside where we’ll encounter old and new friends (and enemies).