Monday, October 22, 2007

Publishers Weekly genre review round-up
(October 22 issue)

La Gringa is still not functioning on all cylinders this evening. (We would like to kindly suggest that the tiny men with sledgehammers please refrain from pounding upon our eyeballs, thank you very much.)

To summarize: Imodium + Pepto Bismal + Gatorade in copious amounts + Advil = a more fully functioning La Gringa.

Okay, so here's yer Publishers Weekly round-up. As always, if you'd like to read all the fiction reviews, click here.
The Unnatural Inquirer: A Novel of the Nightside by Simon R. Green (Ace): "The engaging eighth book in Green’s popular offbeat Nightside series (after 2006’s Hell to Pay) drops another paranormal mystery in the lap of series hero John Taylor, a PI in the shadowy realm of Nightside. Pen Donavon, who claims to have a DVD depicting actual footage of the afterlife, has vanished shortly after signing an exclusive deal with the tabloid Unnatural Inquirer. Various factions seeking to control the Nightside are leaving a considerable body count behind as they hunt for him. Accompanied by sexy half-demon reporter Bettie Divine, Taylor navigates the treacherous terrain with his typical skill before tracking down the real force behind Donavon’s disappearance. Green skillfully blends action and humor, and shows no sign of running out of ideas. This installment will undoubtedly rope in new readers who enjoy his blend of dark humor and the supernatural." (Jan.)

Shadowbridge by Gregory Frost (Del Rey): "Orphaned 16-year-old Leodora, a talented puppeteer and storyteller, is forced to hide her identity and gender as she travels the spans and tunnels of the ocean-crossing Shadowbridge in Frost’s exciting first of a diptych. Stubborn and god-touched, Leodora feels nearly friendless until she meets a youth with similar gifts. Diverus, an enslaved simpleton, is endowed with intelligence and uncanny musical abilities when an unpredictable deity visits his span. When Diverus plays and Leodora performs, their synergy creates magic and brings them instant fame. Only Leodora’s mentor, the perpetually drunken Soter, realizes that their brilliance attracts dangerous chaos energy, and he must protect the young pair while keeping long-held secrets about the deaths of Leodora’s parents and the dangers of her talent. Frost (Fitcher’s Brides) draws richly detailed human characters and embellishes his multilayered stories with intriguing creatures—benevolent sea dragons, trickster foxes, death-eating snakes and capricious gods—that make this fantasy a sparkling gem of mythic invention and wonder." (Dec.)

Borne in Blood: A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (Tor): "If Anne Rice is the celebrity journalist of vampires, Yarbro is their domestic chronicler. The meticulous 20th entry in her Count Saint-Germain saga (after 2006’s Roman Dusk) finds her 4,000-year-old hero in the Swiss countryside of 1817, helping the struggling locals recover from the Napoleonic wars and severe winters. By this period, Saint-Germain is a cultured and compassionate figure, occupied with the spread of knowledge through publishing and the child custody struggles of his lover, Hero Corvosaggio. His greatest threats come from discharged soldiers turned bandits and an abused debutante turned murderer, whose blood-obsessed guardian he lectures on the difference between heredity and destiny. Monsters are made, he knows, not born. Yarbro piles on the historical detail, giving an intimate look at the households of early 19th-century Europe and the commerce and travels of its inhabitants. Letters, with headnotes on their delivery methods and times, litter the text, adding to the period feel. Intimate, too, describes Saint-Germain and Hero, whose relationship is explored in fine-grained emotional as well as physical terms." (Dec.)

Dark Wisdom by Gary Myers (Mythos): "The 12 simply narrated tales of terror in Myers’s second collection (after 1975’s The House of the Worm) perfectly accommodate their stripped-down Lovecraftian themes. In “The Web,” two Web-surfing teens get more than they bargained for when they hack into an online edition of the Necronomicon and activate one of its spells. “The Big Picture” tells of an ordinary guy whose fascination with stereoscopic games and picture puzzles sensitizes him to horrors that lurk behind the facade of the visible world. In “Understudy,” a Hollywood special effects artist who sculpts lifelike rubber monster outfits saves the day on an underwater monster flick when he brings in his living model to body-double for the movie’s star. “What Rough Beast” chronicles a terrified hitchhiker’s flight from the eerie cult leader who arranged her impregnation. Myers often leavens the horror with wry humor, avoiding the cardinal horror sin of overdramatization. Fans of the Cthulhu mythos will welcome this new compilation from one of horror’s most able contemporary practitioners." (Dec.)

The High King’s Tomb: Book Three of Green Rider by Kristen Britain (DAW): "Karigan G’ladheon was hoping for a break from adventure after the breakneck escapades of First Rider’s Call (2004), but this action-packed third Green Rider volume gives her no time to rest. Sent on what she thinks is a mundane errand for the king of Sacoridia and the captain of the royal messenger corps known as the Green Riders, Karigan begins having strange dreams that may hold hidden meaning. Then she receives a cryptic message from the ghost of a would-be magician. Karigan finally accepts that she’s destined for the extraordinary when the magnificent black horse Salvistar, the steed of the god of death, beckons her to ride with him among the stars. Britain keeps the excitement high from beginning to end, balancing epic magical battles with the humor and camaraderie of Karigan and her fellow riders." (Nov.)

Dancing with Werewolves by Carole Nelson Douglas (Juno): "While the millennium revelation in this fantastic first of a new paranormal series might not be a shocker for urban fantasy fans—i.e., vampires, werewolves, witches and zombies come out of the closet after Y2K—Douglas (Cat in a Red Hot Rage) handles the premise with such spectacular style, it feels fresh. Delilah Street, who was only 11 in 2000, is now 24 and works for WTCH, a Kansas TV station, as a paranormal investigative reporter. When Delilah angers an undead co-worker and is demoted, she moves to Sin City in hopes of finding a possible blood relative seen on CSI Las Vegas V. She gets a job with Hector Nightwine, the show’s producer, and falls in love with Ric Montoya, a former FBI agent who finds corpses by dowsing. Douglas spices the action with fabulous characters: Quicksilver, Delilah’s protective dog; CinSims (Cinema Simulacrums), dead celebrities recreated via science and magic; the oldest living vampire in Vegas, once a famous aviator; and Cocaine (aka Snow), a devilish albino rocker. Readers will eagerly await the sequel." (Dec.)

Demon’s Kiss by Maggie Shayne (Mira): "The latest from bestseller Shayne (Prince of Twilight) is an interesting, inventive tale of vampires with a world that’s almost too fully realized, occasionally suffering from plot overload. Before he became a vampire, Reaper worked for the CIA; now he works solo, as a hired assassin. Reaper’s latest commission is the rogue vampire Gregor, who along with his followers is leaving a trail of blood-drained corpses that may, if unchecked, reveal the carefully hidden world of vampires to the blissfully unsuspecting mortal masses. Complicating Reaper’s mission is Seth, a newly turned vampire he’s compelled to bring along on his assignment. Unfortunately for the self-proclaimed “lone wolf,” that opens the door to other unwanted partners: Roxy, a Wicca healer; the vampiress Topaz; and a shape-shifter called Vixen, each of whom has her own reasons for wanting Gregor stopped. Shayne crafts a convincing world, tweaking vampire legends just enough to draw fresh blood. Though her attention to a number of subplots can frustrate, they’ll also suck in an audience for the inevitable sequel." (Dec.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

"Dear Boyfriend: I Love You,
Please Don't Murder Me In My Sleep."

You really just gotta love Craigslist.
In the case that you're not a crazy truckstop-killer, can we settle down and make babies? Or at least move near each other and get two chocolate labs and walk them in the park every day?

Dumbledore is gay. Deal with it.

Yep, it's true. J.K. Rowling outed him. Dumbledore is family, kidz.

Horrors! My hair is two inches long!

It's true; my hair is now longer than it has been in two years. I was able to make a wee mini braid of the fuzz at the back of my neck. That alone caused panic to ensue. I am now off to the nice barber on the corner (Ilya) so he can properly shave my head and get me looking like the pseudo-butch that I am. Right now, my hair is sticking up in tufts all over my head, and the genetic gifts of my ancestors are showing: cowlicks everywhere. It truly is horrifying. I have hair that - while not curly in the least - does somewhat resemble khaki-colored steel wool. It has a tendency to grow out and up, rather than hang down. Unless I plaster it with some sort of hair product, it asserts itself fiercely in inappropriate ways.

So, there you have it. Time for a haircut. The best $6 I'll spend all day.

Saturday morning severely under-caffeinated genre link dump.

Okay, a brief aside for those of you just joining us here: Welcome to The Swivet. Four or five times a week, I try to round up reviews and author interviews for science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance and YA fantasy. I hope you find it useful. If you're a blogger or a print reviewer, and you'd like me to include your reviews, drop me a line. If you have a blog where you primarily review books of any sort (not just the genres above), let me know and I'll happily add you to my sidebar.

Onward to linkage:
At The Washington Post, Laura Whitcomb reviews Christopher Barzak's One for Sorrow.

At A Dribble of Ink, Aidan reviews Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley, and interviews Mark J. Ferrari, author of the Book of Joby.

At Antick Musings, Andy Wheeler reviews Naomi Novik's Empire of Ivory.

At CA Reviews, Deborah reviews Devour by Melina Morel and Hidden Moon by Lori Handeland.

The Endicott Studio Blog has a new YouTube channel, where they'll be posting videos about myth, magic and folklore.

Fantasy Book Critic reviews Echelon and Empyre by Josh Conviser, A Companion to Wolves by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette, and God's Demon by Wayne Barlowe. There's also an interview with J.V. Jones, author of A Sword From Red Ice.

At Fantasy Debut, Tia reviews You Had Me At Halo by Amanda Ashby.

Graeme's Fantasy Book Review looks at Storm Dragon by James Wyatt, Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik, and Dragon Haven by Robin McKinley.

At Katie's Reading, reviews of Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward (oh, Nightgarden! Are you paying attention?), and Unveiling the Sorceress by Saskia Walker.

OF Blog reviews Shaun Tan's The Arrival and Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things.

Where I Stood by Missy Higgins

Yes, Missy Higgins is a repeat here at The Swivet, but I really just love this goddamn song so much...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Stephen Fry has a blog!

Oh, frabjous day!

Friday morning genre mini-link dump (cos I have a lot to catch up on here!)

Mini-dump this morning, and another longer dump tonight. I have a whole week's worth of links to catch up on!
Forbes Magazine interviews Robert J. Sawyer. (via SF Signal)

Brain Aldiss writes a letter to the editor of the London Times, and boy is he annoyed with Margaret Atwood. (again, via SF Signal)

Poppy Z. Brite's services are now available if you're looking for a great freelance editor and/or book doctor, and at a reasonable rate. Check out his Myspace page for more information!

At SciFi Wire, John Joseph Adams has been very busy: He profiles C.J. Ryan, author of Burdens of Empire; F. Paul Wilson, author of Bloodline; British Fantasy Award-winner Tim Lebbon, author of Dusk; Sunburst Award-winner Mark Frutkin, author of Fabrizio.

At SciFi Weekly, Lois Gresh reviews Julie E. Czerneda's Reaping the Wild Wind; Paul Di Fillippo reviews Rudy Rucker's Postsingular; and Scott Edelman talks about his addiction to science fiction.

At the Aqueduct blog, Timmi Duchamp interviews Julie Phillips, author of James Tiptree, Jr: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon.

SF Signal absolutely loves Ken Macleod's The Execution Channel; there's also a review of Infinity Plus: The Anthology, edited by Keith Brooke and Nick Gevers.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday night long-overdue genre link dump.

Sorry for the lack of actual content this week. Link-gathering requires a modicum of brain power, and brain power is something that I simply haven't had at the end of any day this past week. I've been exhausted pretty much every day, getting home very late from work, going in ridiculously early. I feel like I've been existing in a virtual fog since Sunday.

Anyway, let's see what we can do about getting this link-dump back on track, shall we?
At the Washington Post Book World, Adrienne Martini reviews Territory by Emma Bull, Hurricane Moon by Alexis Glynn Latner, The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman, and 9Tail Fox by Jon Courtenay Grimwood.

At the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Cecelia Goodnow profiles Scott Westerfeld.

The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reviews Westerfeld's Extras.

At the Madison Capital Times, Michael Cunningham talks about genre fiction and his book Specimen Days. (And I'm pretty sure he insulted all of us but I'm so tired right now, I just can't tell.)

At the Los Angeles Times, M.G. Lord calls Doris Lessing's Nobel Prize a "victory for science fiction".

At the Boston Globe, Vanessa E. Jones writes about the growing acceptance of fan fiction.

At USA Today, Paul Wiseman talks about the steady decline of manga sales in Japan.

At the Austin Chronicle, Rick Klaw reviews Best American Fantasy, edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, and Matt Cheney.

There's a new issue of SF Site posted: Jayme Lynn Blaschke reviews China Mieville's Un Lun Dun; Sherwood Smith reviews Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik; Paul Kincaid reviews The Wild Girls by Pat Murphy; Rich Horton reviews Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch; Dave Truesdale reviews The Dog Said Bow-Wow by Michael Swanwick; Neal Walsh's Overlooked or Over-hyped? looks at His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman and The Fall of Ile-Rien by Martha Wells; and much more.

At C.H.U.D., Cameron Hughes has an interview with Electric Church author Jeff Somers.

Jeff VanderMeer says that You! Must! Buy! Michael Cisco's The Traitor. (Buy! Buy! Buy!)

And then, because he never sleeps, Jeff is back at the Amazon Book Blog, profiling Michael Bishop and talking up Ben Peek's Black Sheep.

Book Festish reviews The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman, Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson, and Sorceress by Lisa Jackson.

Bookgasm reviews Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley.

Fantasy Book Critic has a great interview with Bob "R.A." Salvatore.

So funny. (So true.)

(tip of the hat to Jeremy Lassen for this)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How La Gringa almost became a Today Show guest by mistake.

Genuine terror ensued for a moment this morning in the Today Show green room when a friendly fellow with a clipboard and a headset came up to me, asked me my name, repeated it aloud after I told him, looked at his little clipboard and then said "Okay, so you're on camera at 9:14 - makeup and hair in ten minutes." at which point I said "Oh, ho, ho - I think NOT."

He was confused, looked at his clipboard again, and said "You're not a guest?"

"Um, no. Dude, what the heck would I have to talk about on the Today Show?"

Meanwhile, my author's wife was looking on, snickering loudly at my distress. Luckily, Clipboard Man discovered his mistake (another guest with a similar name) and I was off the hook. Whew!

The Ministry of Whimsy Press lives!

Word comes from the Evil Monkey that all is not lost. The Ministry of Whimsy Press lives again!
Effective January 1, 2008, Jeff VanderMeer’s Ministry of Whimsy Press will come out of hibernation as an imprint of Wyrm Publishing. VanderMeer will work as a creative consultant and publicist for the Ministry’s books.

In its previous incarnations, the Ministry published the Philip K. Dick Award-winning Troika by Stepan Chapman, as well as the landmark Leviathan fiction anthologies. The Ministry was a World Fantasy Award finalist in 1998 and VanderMeer won a World Fantasy Award in 2003 for co-editing Leviathan 3, also a Philip K. Dick Award finalist.

Future projects for the Ministry will include Last Drink Bird Head, an anthology of flash fiction in support of literacy projects that features contributions from Gene Wolfe, Peter Straub, Tanith Lee, Stephen R. Donaldson, Rikki Ducornet, Caitlin Kiernan, Michael Swanwick, and many more. Through Wyrm Publishing, the Ministry will release two to three books a year, with the Leviathan series set to return in 2009. The Ministry is not currently soliciting book projects.

Wyrm Publishing was established by Neil Clarke earlier this year, and will soon publish books by Charles Stross, Gene Wolfe, and Tobias Buckell, in addition to the ongoing publication of Clarkesworld Magazine and its annual Realms anthology.

Emo Cat. (Yes, I am a LOL Cat whore.)

Nekkid chocolate Jesus.

The nekkid chocolate Jesus is coming back to New York. He's bald. And anatomically correct. Apparently you can make a chocolate penis but not chocolate hair. Who knew?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Old Headboard by Rasputina

Yeah, it's chamber rock tonight, kidz. Deal with it. Here's Rasputina, featuring singer Melora Creager. Creager once toured with Nirvana as their cellist on the In Utero tour. How random is that? Anyway, the idea behind the creation of Rasputina was to create an electric cello choir — no boys or guitars allowed. (But apparently drums are okay. And wah wah pedals.) The result is music that is weird and compelling and kind of makes me want to bop my head a lot. (Which worries my coworkers.) Anyway, here's The Old Headboard. More at their website.

Publishing 102: Marketing & Promoting Your Book,
(or, La Gringa gets roped into doing a panel.)

Those of you in New York City area are invited to come watch La Gringa make a complete idiot of herself on the following publishing panel, sponsored by The Publishing Triangle.
Publishing 102: Marketing and Promoting Your Book

When: Thursday, November 15, 8:00 p.m.
Where: LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th Street, NYC

Learn how to market and promote your book as the following panel of publishing professionals explains the ABCs of book buzz and takes your questions:

(and here are my fabulous co-panelists!)

Felicia Luna Lemus is the author of the novels Like Son (Akashic Books, 2007) and Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties (FSG, 2003). She has taught fiction writing at universities including The New School and U.C.L.A.

Mark Nichols is currently on the staff of the American Booksellers Association as Marketing Director for the Book Sense program. Involved in various aspects of the publishing industry for 32 years, he serves on the Advisory Council of the New York Center for Independent Publishing, and the Advisory Board of Reading Group Choices.

Brent Gallenberger (moderator) is Senior Marketing Manager for trade books at Rodale. Prior to Rodale, he worked for eight years in the publishing office of Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

(And then there's me. Man, if only I could get them to actually use this bio on the flyer instead of the one they have! How funny would that be?)

La Gringa is a publicity and marketing manager for A Big Ass Publishing Company, an imprint of An Even Bigger Publishing Company. Prior to that, she was the head of publicity for Yet Another Imprint At That Very Same Publishing Company, where she specialized in licensed media, pop culture, science fiction, fantasy, manga, and graphic novels.

Admission fee is $7.00 for Publishing Triangle members; $10.00 for nonmembers.

Proceeds benefit the Publishing Triangle’s annual literary awards.
There's also a panel this coming Thursday night, Publishing 101: How to Get Published. For more information, go to the Publishing Triangle website.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Publishers Weekly genre review round-up.
(October 15th issue)

Lotsa vampires and a well-deserved starred review for Ellen Datlow's newest collection. As always, if you want to read all the fiction reviews, click here.
Inferno, edited by Ellen Datlow (Tor): * Starred Review * "Datlow (The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror) makes a solid claim to being the premiere horror editor of her generation with this state-of-the-art anthology of 20 new stories by some of horror fiction’s best and brightest. Several outstanding selections feature imperiled children and explore the horrific potential of childhood fears, among them Glen Hirshberg’s “The Janus Tree,” which gives a creepy supernatural spin to a poignant memoir of adolescent angst and alienation, and Stephen Gallagher’s “Misadventure,” in which a young man’s near-death experience as a child endows him as an adult with consoling insight into the afterlife. The compilation’s variety of approaches and moods is exemplary, ranging from the natural supernaturalism of Laird Barron’s cosmic horror tale “The Forest,” to the unsettling psychological horror of Lucius Shepard’s “The Ease with Which We Freed the Beast”; the metaphysical terrors of Conrad Williams’s “Perhaps the Last”; and the slapstick grotesquerie of K.W. Jeter’s black comedy “Riding Bitch.” If this book can be taken as a gauge of the vitality of imagination in contemporary horror fiction, then the genre is very healthy indeed." (Dec.)

Any Way You Want It by Kathy Love (Brava): "Musicologist Maggie Gallagher and friends arrive in New Orleans from Washington, D.C., for a much needed vacation. On the grave of a legendary voodoo priestess, Maggie makes a wish for a “hot fling.” Later that night, she hears strains of the mysterious sonata she’s been hired to authenticate coming from a Bourbon Street bar. Ren Anthony, the man behind the keyboard, is the leader of the Impalers, a bar band specializing in drippy ’80s pop. He’s also a vampire, or rather, a lampir (an immortal energy sucker rather than a blood guzzler), and in mortal life was Renauldo D’Antoni, a composer born in 1785. Ren, believing all the women he loves are doomed, tries to avoid relationships, but sparks fly when Maggie walks into the bar. Whether or not Maggie can change Ren’s mind about getting involved is pretty much all the plot there is, but Love (I Only Have Fangs for You) lets the good times roll while they find out." (Jan.)

Sucker Bet by Erin McCarthy (Berkley): "The fourth installment of McCarthy’s toothsome Vegas Vampire series (following Bled Dry) finds sexy Gwenna Carrick, a 900-year-old vampire, living at the casino owned by her brother, Ethan Carrick, the current president of the Vampire Nation. She meets Metro police detective Nate Thomas at a crime scene and offers her help in cracking a case involving an Internet vampire slayers group. Nate is grieving over the death of his sister, and Gwenna has been divorced from Vampire Nation vice president Roberto Donatelli for 300 celibate years. Sparks flare into true love very quickly—inflaming Gwenna’s jealous ex-husband, who quickly orders a hit on Nate. Worse challenges await the lovers, as McCarthy delivers her latest with fang-in-cheek flair." (Jan.)

Breath and Bone by Carol Berg (Roc): "Replete with magic-powered machinations, secret societies and doomsday divinations, the emotionally intense second volume of Berg’s intrigue-laden Lighthouse Duet (after 2007’s Flesh and Spirit) concludes the story of Valen, a sorcerer who finds himself at the center of a looming conflict that could cast the realms of both humankind and the feylike Danae into a nightmarish dark age. Caught between the maneuverings of the enigmatic Osriel, bastard prince of Evanore, and apocalypse priestess Sila Diaglou, Valen must determine which perceived villain is less evil. Although billed as an epic fantasy, this duology is more accurately an intimate, character-driven journey of redemption and self-discovery. Valen’s heroic quest to unlock the secrets of his heritage and save a world from destruction suffers from languorous pacing throughout and may discourage readers who like their fantasy fast and furious, but fans of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon sequence and Sharon Shinn will be rewarded." (Jan.)

Dragon Harper by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey (Del Rey): "As a terrible plague sweeps Pern, a brave Harper apprentice emerges as a true hero in this satisfying third collaboration between McCaffrey mère and fils (after 2006’s Dragon’s Fire). The danger this time is not the deadly Thread but a virulent disease, similar to our world’s 1918 influenza epidemic or the more recent outbreaks of SARS. Kindan, a young apprentice of the Harpers’ Guild who’s dedicated to music, education and healing, had hoped to become a dragonrider, but failed to bond with a dragon at the last hatching. Then his education and budding romance with a lord’s daughter are disrupted by the epidemic, which poses a particular threat to the dragons and dragonriders who will be needed to fight the approaching Thread. The McCaffreys depict the crisis vividly, with enough detail to make the tragedy all too real and with enough hope to keep fantasy fans happy." (Dec.)

Metal Swarm: The Saga of Seven Suns, Book 6 by Kevin J. Anderson (Orbit): "Bestseller Anderson’s super-size mosaic of intergalactic, Darwinian conflict has been compared to some of the genre’s grandest epics with good reason, but the breakneck sixth book (after 2006’s Of Fire and Night) of this shelf-bending space opera fails to satisfy on its own merits. The quickly deteriorating Terran Hanseatic League (Hansa), the formidable Ildiran Empire and the newly created Confederation of Hansa’s ex-colonies and rivals are in a fight for their very existence, battling not only each other but rogue robots, sentient fire entities and an ancient insectoid race, thought long extinct, which plans to eradicate all life on the planets it claims to own. Although Anderson brings all of his considerable skill to bear, much of the action-packed conflict remains relatively predictable, perhaps due to the unwieldy cast of characters, tapestry of intertwining subplots and eon-spanning backstory. A sparse conclusion leaves readers hanging in anticipation of book seven." (Dec.)

Captain’s Fury: Book Four of the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher (Ace): "Sharp tactical plotting, hazardous cross-country travel and a dash of sardonic humor mark Butcher’s fourth Codex Alera novel (after 2006’s Cursor’s Fury). Two years into a difficult campaign against the wolflike Canim invaders, Calderon legion captain Tavi is saddled with an unqualified but politically powerful superior whose plans threaten disaster and force Tavi into potential treason. Meanwhile, aging ruler Gaius Sextus plans a final strike against the rebellious lord of Kalare, but to get close enough to act, he must set aside his power to control the elements and make a painful overland slog that neatly challenges genre conventions. Butcher deftly deploys intrigue, conflicted loyalties and hairbreadth action to excellent effect. Few writers balance military realism and cinematic swashbuckling with so much skill or wit. Series fans will welcome the revelation of Tavi’s long-secret heritage and the strong climaxes resolving most of the immediate conflicts, while newcomers will have no trouble navigating the well-developed landscape." (Dec.)

Amberlight by Sylvia Kelso (Juno): "Kelso (Everran’s Bane) paints a hypnotic but prose-drowned portrait of a complex matriarchal society powered by “qherrique,” a semisentient stone that can control minds and power machinery. When a male Outlander is found on the streets of Amberlight, robbed, raped and left for dead by a girl gang, the qherrique informs Tellurith, the powerful head of Telluir House, that he must be kept alive. As Tellurith’s household nurses the stranger back to health, he reveals the terrible truth about the nearby rulers who purchase qherrique statuettes from Amberlight and use them to enslave people and wage war. As Tellurith comes to see and question the rampant poverty and bias in Amberlight, she opens a furious debate over the Houses’ responsibility to make sure qherrique is used wisely at home and abroad. Kelso’s self-consciously overwrought verbiage (“Crafters’ coats and cloaks festoon the pearl-grime”) distracts from an otherwise intriguing exploration of sexual politics and the difficult calculus of leadership." (Nov.)

Devil Inside by Jenna Black (Dell Spectra): "Though demon possession is bad enough for the average Joe, Black’s new heroine, native Philadelphian Morgan Kingsley, is a professional exorcist—making her possession by a powerful demon all the more infuriating (and embarrassing). Worse, the demon inside her, Lugh, is next in line to become king of the demon realm, and factions are hard at work to off him before he takes the throne. As neither of the standard options for demon killing appeal to Morgan (exorcism, which usually leaves the human host a mindless wreck, or burning at the stake, with predictable results), Morgan and Lugh (who communicate in dreams) must race against time to discover how he was implanted into her and, while keeping the rival demons at bay, how to get him out without killing her in the process. Although Black doesn’t break any new ground, she’s got a winning heroine, a well-crafted contemporary world where demonic possession is just a part of life and a nice balance of mystery, action and sex, making this light but engaging novel an urban fantasy series kickoff full of promise." (Dec.)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

"Nothing says love like Poo-Flinging Monkey Cake."

Introducing the amazing Poo-Flinging Monkey Cake. Read more here. Brilliant!

Run by Mieka Pauley

Mieka Pauley is my hangover cure of choice this evening. (Well, that and a quart of Vedge.) Here's her live performance of Run. I dare you not to fall in love with her voice.

And because I'm in a good mood, here's a bonus video of Mieka singing a love song at a club in Harvard Square. More music at her website. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday night "Why exactly did I have that third cup of coffee today?" genre link dump. With the jitters.

Left work at a more normal hour today. Well, 6:30-ish. Which is better than 8:00-ish. But Tall Chick and I downed far too much coffee in the afternoon, so we both became jumpy and jittery, which is not conducive to productivity.

Doris Lessing wins the Nobel Prize; stand back as the literati stumble gracelessly over themselves in their attempts to prove that Lessing never wrote genre fiction.

At the Amazon Book Blog, Tom Nissley writes about Lessing's work and outlines her skiffy stuff.

At the Mumpsimus, Dustin Kurtz has a guest review of M. John Harrison's Nova Swing.

Bookgasm reviews Ray Bradburys's Now and Forever and Best American Comics 2007, edited by Chris Ware.

Book Fetish really really hates Devour by Melina Morel. (Thus living up to their motto, "gagging on bad prose so you don't have to".)

At Blogcritics, Marty Dodge reviews Moon Age Daydream by Shaun Von Dragen. Also, Katie McNeill has a new Beyond Bounds urban fantasy column up; good stuff.

Somehow I missed this: At Voices of New Orleans, Colleen Mondor reviews Poppy Z. Brite's short story collection Antediluvian Tales.

At Monsters & Critics, Sandy Amazeen reviews D.M. Cornish's Monster Blood Tattoo: Foundling and Stephen R. Donaldson's Fatal Revenant.

Much new stuff at Sci Fi Dimensions: new reviews of In War Times by Kathleen Ann Goonan, Lois McMaster Bujold's The Sharing Knife Legacy, A.E Van Vogt's Slan and Kevin J. Anderson's Slan Hunter.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wednesday night "I got me a flu shot today!"
super-sized genre link dump.

Another late night. Nothing else to report. Onward to linkage:
Haaretz profiles Israeli SF/F publisher Yanshuf Publishing.

At Sci Fi Weekly, Jeff VanderMeer reviews The End of the World Blues by Jon Courtenay Grimwood, and Paul Di Fillippo reviews Kevin J. Anderson's The Last Days of Krypton.

Bookie Monster has a spiffy new design.

And so does John Joseph Adams!

The Autumn 2007 issue of Goblin Fruit has been posted.

At the Endicott Studio blog, Elizabeth Genco reviews Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.

Fantasy Book Critic interviews Joe Abercrombie, author of The Blade Itself. There's also a review of Joe Schrieber's Eat the Dark.

Fantasybookspot has a nice chunk of new content: reviews of Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley, The Ivory and the Horn by Charles de Lint, Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, The Orc King by Bob Salvatore, The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall and much more.

Graeme's Fantasy Book Review also reviews Dragonhaven, as well as a review in verse of Micah and Strange Candy by Laurell K. Hamilton. (Don't ask me; I just report 'em.) There's also a review of Witch Ember by John Lawson.

OF Blog also reviews The Ivory and the Horn, as well as de Lint's Promises to Keep.

Fantasy Debut highlights Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell.

At Katie's Reading, scads of new reviews including Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin, Beg For Mercy by Toni Andrews, Blood Magic by Matthew Cook (as well as an interview with the author), Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell, and an interview with paranormal romance writer Colleen Gleason.

Neth Space reviews Feast of Souls by C.S. Friedman.

Orbit Books is holding the BEST CONTEST EV-AH!!! (Seriously. The best.)

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist looks at Spook Country by William Gibson.

SF Signal revisits Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem.

At SFF World, even more new stuff: Interviews with Brian Ruckley, Karen Miller, and Peadar Ó Guilín.

The Gravel Pit has a new review of Charlie Huston's No Dominion.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Revisting the Past:
Why La Gringa will never speed date again.

Because at least four people have asked me to repost these links, here they are: La Gringa's horrifying speed-dating adventures from earlier this year.

Speed Dating 101


Speed Dating 102: Advanced Same-Sex Interpersonal Awkwardness. (With Golf.)

"white man smells like wet dog"

Yup, that is undoubtedly the weirdest Google search term to ever lead someone to this here blog.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Special Two by Missy Higgins

Leave it to Stealth Music Dude; he sends me the best video suggestions! And here's yet another. Smoky-voiced Aussie singer/songwriter Missy Higgins started singing in her brother's band at the tender age of thirteen. She is utterly adorable and crush-worthy. (Sigh! La Gringa may just have fallen in love. God, I'm easy.) Anyway, here's Higgin's singing The Special Two. And you can hear several more of her songs at her Myspace page, too (including my favorite, Where I Stood).

Monday night genre link dump.

Long day. Much of the same as last week, work-wise. (Although today did provide the added bonus of wrestling with a second computer, an older Mac with a temper. The Mac won.)

Bookslut has posted the new October issue and it is chock full o' skiffy: Geoffrey Goodwin has a wonderful interview with urban fantasy writer Justine Musk, author of Blood Angel (which is really, really, really good, by the way; you should go get it now, before you do anything else) and the new book Uninvited. Colleen Mondor reviews Cherie M. Priest's newest Not Flesh Nor Feathers. Mondor also contributes a wonderful round-up of spooky titles you should be reading in October. Lastly, Paul Kincaid looks at the dilemma of publishing SF/F short stories, and sneaks in a nice recommendation for one of my favorite new short story collections of 2007, The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, edited by Gavin Grant and Kelly Link.

At the Baltimore City Paper, Adrienne Martini also discusses The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. (Via Lawrence Schimel)

At Bookgasm, Rod Lott reviews Hilary Bailey's Frankenstein's Bride.

At the Amazon Book Blog, Jeff VanderMeer highlights some great books you might have missed, including the magnificent short story collection Dangerous Space by Kelley Eskridge.

At the Mumpsimus, Geoffrey Goodwin interviews horror writer Thomas Ligotti. (That Geoffrey is a busy boy!)

Andy Wheeler reviews The Spiral Labyrinth by Matthew Hughes.

At SFF World, lots of new content: Rob Bedford reviews Winterbirth by Brian Ruckely, Hobbit reviews The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller as well as The Devil You Know by Mike Carey. There's also a new interview with Jeff Somers, author of The Electric Church and a joint interview with George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, and Daniel Abraham.

The Book Swede reviews The Book of Joby by Mark J. Ferrari.

Kirkus Reviews genre reviews (October 15th issue)

Lots of good stuff here:
Breath and Bone by Carole Berg (Roc): * Starred Review * "Second part of a fantasy duology, following Flesh and Spirit (2007, etc.). Young Valen, a novice monk with magical skills of finding and unlocking, also has a personal problem. Owing to his ghastly upbringing, he's addicted to doulon, a pernicious drug that requires pain for release. His protg, the youthful scholar Jullian, whom Valen has sworn to protect, has been kidnapped by the evil renegade monk, Gildas. The latter's in league with the fanatic Sila Diaglou, who has lethal theories of destruction-as-salvation, and whose armies of Harrowers are running riot. Worse, Valen's liege lord, the sorcerer Prince Osriel—his secret identity is Gram, secretary to Thane Stearc—collects the eyes and souls of dead warriors. Sila Diaglou also threatens the elflike Danae; she poisons their secret places and imperils their homeland, a magical realm adjacent to human lands. Osriel agrees to help Valen pursue Gildas, but then gives him over to the Danae to be broken, whence Valen, not altogether surprisingly, discovers he's actually a half-breed, anathema to the Danae. But then, when he reveals abilities the Danae themselves can't match, Valen's Danae uncle Kol agrees to teach him the skills of the Danae. But while Kol teaches Valen, Sila Diaglou grabs Osriel (in his Gram persona) along with Stearc and Jullian. With his new magic, Valen conceives a plan to rescue the three. But can Valen really trust Osriel, whom he suspects of building an army of enslaved undead? Though the plot twists are sometimes obvious, the narrative crackles with intensity against a vivid backdrop of real depth and conviction, with characters to match. Altogether superior." (Jan. 2)

Firstborn by Arthur C. Clark (Del Rey): "Wrapping up the Time Odyssey trilogy—according to the publishers anyway. The book's contents speak otherwise. In Time's Eye (2004) one version of planet Earth was split into segments, then reassembled, with each segment from a different epoch. In Sunstorm (2005) another Earth defended itself against a gigantic solar flare. The enigmatic alien Firstborn, having caused both baffling events, intend to wipe out intelligent life, so that they can do—well, whatever it is they want to do, billions of years hence, without interference. This time, Sunstorm scientists note another object drifting toward Earth: a Q-bomb, a device powered by dark energy, peculiar stuff that (according to current real-world theories) powers the accelerating expansion of the universe. Athena, an artificial intelligence launched into space, finds a home, and reports back that Earth isn't the only planet to have suffered the aliens' malevolent attentions. Meanwhile, Bisesa Dutt, having survived on both Earths, wakes from a 19-year hibernation and hurries off to Mars, where scientists have discovered an Eye trapped in the polar ice by a Martian civilization billions of years ago. Bisesa has a curious affinity for the Eyes, enigmatic spheres by which means the Firstborn keep tabs on developments. The Eye sends her to Mir, the reassembled Earth, where a flabby, aging Alexander the Great is busy trying to conquer the patchwork planet. Various other characters wander about the cosmos, by space elevator, ion drive and whatever, each peregrination described in full scientific detail. Readable, but more science travelogue than science fiction—and if you were anticipating a conclusion, or at least an alien encounter, forget it." (Dec.26)

Frankenstein's Bride by Hillary Baily (Sourcebooks): "British author Bailey (The Strange Adventures of Charlotte Holmes, 1994, etc.) offers a continuation of the Mary Shelley classic. First published in the U.K. in 1995, the book is told from the perspective of Jonathan Goodall, who recounts his association with Victor Frankenstein. Jonathan meets Victor through mutual friends and the two men quickly develop a rapport, sharing an interest in the origin of languages. Eventually Victor forms a bond with (and displays an unseemly attraction to) a strange and beautiful woman, Maria Clementi, a singer and performer of some renown. When Victor's lovely wife, Elizabeth, and small son are found in Elizabeth's bed with their throats cut, Jonathan can't help but be disturbed by Victor's reaction. While on a mission to solve the killings, Jonathan observes an enormously strong, odd individual near Victor's home. Jonathan is distressed by the monster-like man's insistence that he wants his "bride" and flees in fear from the creature. It isn't until Victor suffers serious injury that the truth of his doings is revealed. Bailey displays a competent understanding of Shelley's original tale in this inventive narrative. Bonus: For those who need a refresher, the text of Frankenstein is also included." (Oct.7)

Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker (HarperCollins): "Any narrative that begins "Burn this book" definitely merits attention—unfortunately, readers would be much better off were they to heed this advice. The novel starts in Hell, so there's literally nowhere to go but up. The demon Jakabok Botch, also the narrator, introduces us to his sadistic and dysfunctional family. Botch wants to ingratiate himself with his mother by inventing "the first mechanical disemboweler." Shortly thereafter he is horribly disfigured in (go figure) a fire and winds up with no nose and no lips. Soon Botch and his father, Pappy Gatmuss, succumb to the temptation of steak and beer, but this turns out to be bait from the Upper (i.e. our) World. Although they're both hauled up in a net through the nine circles of Hell, only Botch makes it up alive. To disguise his demonhood, he wears clothes that cover his devilish aberration, two tails. In the Upper World he links up with Quitoon, an elder demon who's even more adept at evil than Botch. For 38 years they travel around the countryside, doing (as we would expect) repulsive things like burning people (Quitoon's specialty) and taking baths in the blood of infants. Eventually they meet Johannes Gutenberg, of printing-press fame, and his wife Hannah, who turns out to be an angel and hence an arch-enemy of Botch and his homoerotic friend. An overfed and puffed-up archbishop is also revealed to be on the side of the devil. During an apocalyptic battle between Hannah and the archbishop, Botch inadvertently puts his finger (claw?) on the problem: "Everyone continued to watch them as they carved up Humankind's future…the whole thing, for all its Great Significance and so on and so forth, was actually beginning to bore me." Exactly. An affected and pathetic narrative—nothing would be lost by confining it to the ninth circle of Hell." (Oct.30)

Troy: Fall of Kings by David and Stella Gemmell (Del Rey): "Final volume in the authors' historical fantasy (Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow, 2005, etc.) very loosely based on The Iliad. The narrative was completed by Stella following the death of her husband in 2006. Agamemnon of Mykene and his allies seek the destruction of Troy and its king, Priam, for the latter's supposedly vast hoard of treasure, not revenge for the abduction of the fabled Helen—here she is plain, plump and peripheral. Odysseus, a wanderer and fabulist, has strong ties to Troy's main ally, fierce mariner Helikaon (aka Aeneas) of Dardania, and sides with Agamemnon only because of a now-regretted oath. Warrior Achilles despises cold, treacherous, ambitious Agamemnon. Priam's in his dotage, and turns over the defense of Troy to his sons. However, before the battle for Troy can reach its climax, Helikaon must take Andromache, Prince Hektor's wife, to the island of Thera to return some bones and fulfill a vow. Andromache—just one of the many strong female characters—loves Helikaon as well as her husband, and complications ensue. Helikaon's warship is the most powerful on the seas—and he's armed with Greek fire! Other anachronisms abound: the Mykene fight in Macedonian phalanxes; the characters merrily chomp on corn bread. There's plenty of revisionism, too: Achilles kills Paris, not the other way around, and never sulks in his tent, while his single combat with Hektor ends not at all as Homer would have us believe. Finally, the Trojan Horse, still a brilliant deception inspired by Odysseus, owes nothing to a hollow statue on wheels. A rousing conclusion for fans of the previous volumes—but not one for the purists." (Dec.26)

Half the Blood of Brooklyn by Charlie Huston (Del Rey): "The further, even gorier adventures of Joe Pitt, Vampyre extraordinaire (No Dominion, 2006, etc.). Unbeknownst to most, there are 4,000 undead sucking blood in Manhattan. Among them, the talented Joe Pitt has always been a sort of paradigm of Vampyre independence—until now. Suddenly, he's become an establishment figure, head of security for the powerful Society clan. There are obvious advantages to a regularized undead life. It's nice, for instance, to have a reliable blood stash. Even more importantly, Joe gets the time he needs to care for his beloved and seriously ailing girlfriend Evie. There's a price, of course. Joe has to go along to get along, and when he's assigned the onerous Brooklyn gig he grumbles but obeys. Something strange is stirring there, he's told: Go find out if we have to worry about a Vampyre Civil War. What Joe discovers is strange enough: a motley group of Chosen Vampyres, including a Rebbe out of Fiddler on the Roof, a Jewish mother out of a Henny Youngman sketch and a cadre of murderous warriors in battle yarmulkes. Readers whose world view is as bleak as Joe's won't be surprised when his mission comes to a bad end. "Like there's any other kind," he says dourly. Violent, often ugly, Huston's series is not for the squeamish, but fans will find this installment the best to date." (Dec.26)

Publisher Weekly genre reviews (October 8th issue)

Here ya go, kidz. For the full fiction and YA reviews, click here and here.
Still Life with Devils by Deborah Grabien (Drollerie): "Grabien (New-Slain Knight) turns to supernatural crime with an artistic twist in this eerie thriller. Leo Chant and her brother, SFPD Lt. Cassius Chant, join forces to identify Captain Nemo, a psycho who kills pregnant women and then arranges their corpses according to feng shui principles. After Nemo claims a seventh victim in broad daylight, an elderly Chinese eyewitness helps Leo provide the police with a sketch, but the almost demonic features give Leo a shock. Has she seen them before? Digging through old sketchbooks with Mara, her preternaturally wise teenage niece, leads Leo to a dangerous attempt to catch Nemo by entering the “shadowlands of painted reality” through Leo's painting of the killer. Leo's blend of art and magic is a novel and intriguing method for closing cases and will leave readers hoping that a sequel is in the works." (Dec.)

Lye Street: A Novella of the Deepgate Codex by Alan Campbell (Subterranean): "Campbell's nightmarish prequel to Scar Night (2006) explores the depths of twisted revenge. Every half-century since the Deepgate year 511, when Henry Bucklestrappe was extracted mysteriously from the temple dungeons and nastily murdered, the hideously scarred angel, Carnival, has slain a Bucklestrappe descendent. Now, in 1012, it is wily old prospector Sal Greene's turn to be a victim. He asks phantasmacist Laccus Ravencrag to summon up the demon Basilis, unexpectedly impotent, to battle Carnival, herself victimized by her own psyche and trapped by the brutal witch Ruby. Campbell meshes pity with terror against the bleak phantasmagoric backdrop of a city suspended from chains, swinging dismally over a yawning abyss. In a civilization literally built upon nothing, dark magic and vengeance are the rule of the day, and Campbell will quickly have readers under his creepy and sometimes heartbreaking spell." (Jan.)

Dreamsongs: Volume II by George R.R. Martin (Bantam): * Starred Review * "Equal parts short fiction collection and candid retrospective, this second and concluding volume of Martin's shelf-bending compendium highlights a wide variety of his later work, including two stories set in the shared, superhero-laden universe of Wild Cards; “The Hedge Knight,” a prequel to the epic Song of Ice and Fire fantasy saga (A Game of Thrones, etc.); and “Doorways,” an action-packed, exceptionally plotted pilot script for a science fiction television series that never aired. Other notable selections include “Portraits of His Children,” the Nebula-winning story of a self-absorbed writer forced to come face-to-face with the consequences of his own heartlessness, and two outstanding cautionary tales featuring space-faring ecological engineer and savvy opportunist Haviland Tuf. Science fiction, fantasy and horror fans alike will be blown away by the diversity and quality of stories as well as by Martin's extensive and frank commentary about his life and experiences in the publishing and television industries, backed up by a 24-page bibliography. Both physically and thematically immense, this extraordinary collection is one to cherish." (Dec.)

High Deryni by Katherine Kurtz (Ace): "Fans of Kurtz's Chronicles of the Deryni will enjoy this convoluted conclusion to the newly revised trilogy (after Deryni Rising and Deryni Checkmate) originally published some 30 years ago. After much struggle, 14-year-old Kelson Haldane has become the first king of magical Deryni heritage to rule Gwynedd. He still faces trouble, however, from a suspicious Church that doesn't trust magic or anyone of Deryni blood, and from certain nobles who would exploit that distrust. Chief among these is Wencit of Torenth, a sorcerer king who is determined that he, not Kelson, will unite and rule the 11 Kingdoms. As Duke Alaric Morgan and Father Duncan McLain, powerful lords excommunicated for their use of magic, work to reinstate themselves with the Church and gain its support for Kelson, Wencit schemes to weaken Kelson's hold on the throne. With a complicated cast and tension-reducing plot twists, this volume doesn't stand alone well, but series completists will be more than satisfied." (Dec.)

Rise of the Blood Royal: Volume III of the Destinies of Blood and Stone by Robert Newcomb (Del Rey): "The chilling conclusion to Newcomb's majestic but sometimes ponderous trilogy (after March into Darkness) suggests that the bloody, centuries-old War of Attrition between the countries Rustannica and Shashida may never end. Evil wizard Gracchus Junius is determined to persuade the impoverished Rustannica Emperor Vespasian, whose magical gifts far exceed those of all other Rustannica wizards combined, to destroy Shashida with banned magic and steal all its gold. Meanwhile, Prince Tristan and Princess Shailiha of the distant country Eutracia, talented magicians destined to end the War of Attrition, are struggling to learn to use the magical substance known as “subtle matter” and find the subterranean Azure Sea that will take them to Shashida. Those who haven't read earlier installments and the preceding trilogy may feel a bit lost amid the intricate magical systems and large cast, but Newcomb juggles the various plots and people with aplomb." (Dec.)

The Sagittarius Command: A Novel of the U.S.S. Merrimack by R.M. Meluch (DAW): "Nostalgia-minded readers who yearn for the days of “Doc” Smith's Lensman books will enjoy the third installment (after 2006's Wolf Star) of Meluch's barely modernized space opera series. When the Palatine Empire's home world of Roma Nova almost falls to the voracious, nigh-invulnerable Hive, which travels between the stars in search of organic matter to consume, Caesar Magnus reluctantly subjugates the empire's forces to Capt. John Farragut and the U.S.S. Merrimack. This marriage of convenience is strained when the Legate voices suspicions that the Americans are trying to steal technology developed by long-dead Roman genius Constantine. As Farragut and the Roman cyborg Augustus (who plays a combination of Spock and McCoy to Farragut's Kirk) investigate the Hive infestation, they come to suspect Constantine might be not only alive but in possession of the secret to defeat the Hive. Assassinations, the threat of civil war and a canonically evil villain all keep things hopping in this fast-paced space adventure." (Nov.)

Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel (Tachyon): "Arranged loosely in order of publication, the 16 diverse selections in this decade-spanning anthology add up to a plausible snapshot of cyberpunk's short-form evolution. Kelly and Kessel (Feeling Very Strange) clearly describe cyberpunk counterculture in a cogent introduction, yet draw only one story from a nongenre source (Greg Egan's “Yeyuka”) and greatly undervalue the subgenre's ability, at its most popular, to reach beyond SF's core audience. While some entries (Charles Stross's “Lobsters”; Cory Doctorow's “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth”) focus strongly on techno-geek culture, others apply high-tech ideas in more down-to-earth contexts (Mary Rosenblum's “Search Engine”; Paolo Bacigalupi's “The Calorie Man”). The critical matter is too scant for academic readers and too intrusive for genre fans; discussion of specific stories is extremely sparse, and excerpts from correspondence between Kessel and Bruce Sterling distract rather than enlighten. Readers seeking a thorough critical study should look elsewhere, but those looking for well-told stories will be satisfied." (Nov.)

Carnifex by Tom Kratman (Baen): "Kratman (A Desert Called Peace) raises some disquieting questions about what it might take to win the war on terror in this military SF novel set in a future world with obvious parallels to our own. When Salafi fanatics launch a 9/11-style attack on the hated Federated States of Columbia, they end up killing the family of Col. Patricio Carrera. Carrera vows to destroy Salafism by any means necessary and raises an army in his wife's native land to provide that means. He takes the fight to Pashtia, where the planners of his family's doom are cowering. This disturbing but insightful narrative takes Nietzsche's aphorism about staring into the abyss and runs with it to its grim conclusion. As always, Kratman delights in offending left-wing sensibilities, but this will only enhance its appeal to his target audience, who will enjoy it for its realistic action sequences, strong characterizations and thoughts on the philosophy of war." (Nov.)

The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh (Hyperion): * Starred Review * "Marsh, a New Republic editor making her children's book debut, reworks the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in a supernatural tale about a 14-year-old boy's quest through an underworld in New York City, in search of his late mother's spirit. After introverted ninth-grade prodigy Jack Perdu is involved in a near-fatal accident, he is sent to see a specialist in Manhattan. There he meets Euri, a self-proclaimed “urban explorer” who reveals herself to be a ghost—part of a vast and complex community of people who have died in NYC. (Euri tells Jack that he might be able to find his mother if she has not completed her unfinished business in the world and “moved on” to Elysium, which is “somewhere in the Hamptons,” by her best guess.) Euri becomes his personal tour guide as they explore the city by night, when ghosts can leave the underworld to roam unseen. The pair tries to avoid capture by underworld authorities as they seek Jack's mother, in the process unraveling mysteries surrounding his parents' relationship and Jack's ability to infiltrate the spirit world. Mixing numerous references to mythology and classical literature with deft touches of humor and extensive historical details (former mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Dylan Thomas and corrupt police captain “Clubber” Williams, among others, make cameo appearances), this intelligent and self-assured debut will compel readers from its outset, and leave them satisfied as it explores universal themes of love, loss and closure. Ages 10-up." (Sept.)

The Glitch in Sleep by John Hulme and Michael Wexler, illus. by Gideon Kendall (Bloomsbury): "Hulme and Wexler turn the intelligent design concept on its ear in their children's book debut, a kickoff to The Seems series. The premise: everything that happens in our world, from falling in love to the weather to time itself, is controlled by The Seems—“the place on the other side of the World responsible for generating what you see outside your window right now.” Twelve-year-old Becker Drane lives a double life, secretly working for the Institute for Fixing & Repair; when something goes wrong in The Seems, “Fixers” put the cosmic cogs back in working order. Becker's first mission as a Fixer is a doozy—find the glitch in the Department of Sleep that has turned everyone in the world into an insomniac. The authors use the conceit to the fullest, creating a complex and intricate world with a sometimes daunting array of gadgets, bureaucracy, vocabulary and capitalization (a glossary is included—and welcome). These details don't become overwhelming, fortunately, thanks to the book's consistently lighthearted tone (the Department of Sleep's radio station, WDOZ, broadcasts tracks like “The Hum of the Air Conditioner [Remix]” into humans' subconscious minds). The high sense of adventure and an abundance of goofball humor should appeal especially to boys. Ages 10-up." (Oct.)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

iPod sets man's pants on fire. And not with rhythm.

McLovin' sends me the best links.

Man builds secret apartment inside mall;
lives there four years.

Dude. People are weird. (Thanks, McLovin'!)

Sunday night genre link dump. The all-print edition.

Too tired for commentary. Linkage:
At the Los Angeles Times, Ed Park discusses the new Overlook Press edition of John Crowley's Aegypt, now published under the author's preferred title, The Solitudes. Also, Michael Sims reviews Susan Tyler Hitchcock's Frankenstein: A Cultural History.

At the Philadelphia Inquirer, Gregory Feeley also looks at The Solitudes, as well as Crowley's Endless Things.

At the Contra Costa Times, Clay Kallam reviews D.M. Cornish's The Foundling (the first volume in the most excellent Monster Blood Tattoo series!), Scott Lynch's Red Seas Under Red Skies, Brandon Sanderson's The Well of Ascension, S.M. Stirling's The Sunrise Lands, and briefly mentions Mark Budz's Idolon and 'Till Human Voices Wake Us (neither of which he likes very much, sadly).

At the Houston Chronicle, Bill Radford reviews Kevin J. Anderson's The Last Days of Krypton.

At the Sunday London Times, Andrew Holgate reviews Jeanette Winterson's "not science fiction, dammit!" The Stone Gods.

Love Show by Skye

You know Skye Edwards as the elegant voice of Morcheeba. Let me assure you that Skye solo is just as magnificent. Here's her video for Love Show. And listen to more of Skye's music at her Myspace page.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Sinister Cat! (Aren't they all?)

A wonderful new discovery via Tempest: The Adventures of SinisterCat! (Oh, Nightgarden? I think you're going to love this site.)

Friday, October 5, 2007

7,000 lashes for being gay.

No, this isn't a joke.

The Friday night "Please please please let this be the last bad day" genre link dump.

Today I really needed emergency Scotch and a friendly face. Melicitlu provided both. And that's really all there is to say about this day.

A Winnipeg man has donated his enormous science fiction book collection - said to be worth as much as a million dollars - to the University of Alberta.

At NPR, Susan Cooper talks about why the new film based on her book The Dark is Rising will, um, well... why it'll suck.

Yesterday was Bradbury Day in the blogosphere. Colleen Mondor has all the details.

Monsters & Critics has a new review of Selling Out by Justina Robson.

Bat Segundo interviews Brian Francis Slattery, author of Spaceman Blues.

Book Fetish reviews Best New Romantic Fantasy 2, edited by Paula Guran. There's also a new review of The Princes of the Golden Cage by Nathalie Mallet.

At Strange Horizons, Nader Elhefnawy reviews Harry Turtledove's Settling Accounts: In at the Death.

A new issue of SF Site has been posted. Here's some of the good stuff awaiting you: Greg L. Johnson reviews Acacia by David Anthony Durham and Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan; Steven H. Silver reviews The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant; Nathan Brazil reviews Dreamsongs by George R.R. Martin and much more.

At Sci Fi Wire, John Joseph Adams profiles Steven Gould.

Sci Fi Dimensions reviews Stephen Baxter's Navigator.

Fantasy Debut interviews Carole McDonnell, author of Wind Follower.

Fantasy Book Critic reviews Stealing Light by Gary Gibson.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Cheap Tricks (Ver. 2) by Thea Gilmore

UK-based indie folk rocker Thea Gilmore was an accidental discovery. Okay, I'm fessin' up - I was Googling for Gilmore Girls information about two years ago and up popped Thea. Okay? Are you happy now? But, damn - this is good shit. Go buy all of her albums. I did. And hear more of her music at her Myspace page.