Saturday, June 26, 2010

Locus 2009 awards


Earlier today the Locus awards were posted... I read the list
at the TOR website.... and if you do not want to follow the link here is the list from the site:

The 2010 Locus awards, voted on by the readers of Locus, the magazine of the professional science fiction and fantasy field, were announced today in Seattle, Washington. Congratulations to the winners!

Winner: Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (Tor)
Also nominated:
The Empress of Mars, Kage Baker (Subterranean; Tor)
Steal Across the Sky, Nancy Kress (Tor)
Galileo’s Dream, Kim Stanley Robinson (HarperVoyager; Ballantine Spectra)
Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)

Winner: The City & The City, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan UK)
Also nominated:
Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK)
Drood, Dan Simmons (Little, Brown)
Palimpsest, Catherynne M. Valente (Bantam Spectra)
Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (Underland)

Winner: The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade)
Also nominated:
The Manual of Detection, Jedediah Berry (Penguin)
Soulless, Gail Carriger (Orbit US)
Lamentation, Ken Scholes (Tor)
Norse Code, Greg van Eekhout (Ballantine Spectra)

Winner: Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK)
Also nominated:
The Hotel Under the Sand, Kage Baker (Tachyon)
Going Bovine, Libba Bray (Delacorte)
Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins (Scholastic; Scholastic UK)
Liar, Justine Larbalestier (Bloomsbury; Allen & Unwin Australia)

Winner: The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, Kage Baker (Subterranean)
Also nominated:
“Act One,” Nancy Kress (Asimov’s)
“Vishnu at the Cat Circus,” Ian McDonald (Cyberabad Days)
Shambling Towards Hiroshima, James Morrow (Tachyon)
“Palimpsest,” Charles Stross (Wireless)

Winner: “By Moonlight,” Peter S. Beagle (We Never Talk About My Brother)
Also nominated:
“It Takes Two,” Nicola Griffith (Eclipse Three)
First Flight,” Mary Robinette Kowal (
“Eros, Philia, Agape,” Rachel Swirsky (
“The Island,” Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2)

Winner: “An Invocation of Incuriosity,” Neil Gaiman (Songs of the Dying Earth)
Also nominated:
“The Pelican Bar,” Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse Three)
“Spar,” Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld)
“Going Deep,” James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s)
“Useless Things,” Maureen F. McHugh (Eclipse Three)

Winner: F&SF
Also nominated:

Winner: Tor
Also nominated:
Night Shade

Winner: The New Space Opera 2, Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan, eds. (Eos; HarperCollins Australia)
Also nominated:
Lovecraft Unbound, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Dark Horse)
The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martin’s)
Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Subterranean)
Eclipse Three, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Night Shade)

Winner: The Best of Gene Wolfe, Gene Wolfe (Tor; as The Very Best of Gene Wolfe, PS)
Also nominated:
We Never Talk About My Brother, Peter S. Beagle (Tachyon)
Cyberabad Days, Ian McDonald (Pyr)
Wireless, Charles Stross (Ace, Orbit UK)
The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny: Volumes 1-6, Roger Zelazny (NESFA)

Winner: Ellen Datlow
Also nominated:
Gardner Dozois
David G. Hartwell
Jonathan Strahan
Gordon Van Gelder

Winner: Michael Whelan
Also nominated:
Stephan Martinière
John Picacio
Shaun Tan
Charles Vess

Winner: Cheek by Jowl, Ursula K. Le Guin (Aqueduct)
Also nominated:
Powers: Secret Histories, John Berlyne (PS)
Spectrum 16: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Cathy & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood)
This is Me, Jack Vance! (Or, More Properly, This is “I”), Jack Vance (Subterranean)
Drawing Down the Moon: The Art of Charles Vess, Charles Vess (Dark Horse)

Congratulations: Ms. Priest, Mr Miéville, Mr. Bacigalupi, Mr. Westerfeld, et al...

Boneshaker is one of the novels that I got when it came out and hope to get signed sometime... and sadly I have not yet read my copy too Finch, Windup Girl, Lamentation, Soulless (got the last too signed and the authors are very cool) , Leviathan, and NorseCode. The Cuty and the City I look forward to reading and owning....

There are two Kage Baker stories names here. Sadly I have to admit having only read two short tales by Ms. Baker. I want to read her novels and am sorry to have heard about her struggle with and death by cancer. She is one among teh many I thought of when I lit a candle at Notre Dame under the statue of Joan of Arc.

Mary Robinette Kowal whom I am glad to have had a chance to meet this year at Borderlands and Peter Watts who was sadly treated so badly by US boarder guards both got nominated in then novelette category along with Rachel Swirsky who I have enjoyed on Podcastle over its several year life.

Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow was such a fun read for me. I loved all the japanese giant monster novies of my yourth on late night TV and this was a novel written seemingly for the child in me. Thanks James. Again I have to thank Borderlands for the signed copy.

I could go on and on and on but I'll but it short and congradulate everyone and say I can not wait for next years awards since this has been such a good year so far. I got a chance to meet and speak withPaolo Bacigalupi, Ellen Datlow, Ken Scholes and Jeff VanderMeer in addition to the others mentioned above and all of them were so cool and gracious after meeting so many other fans... I have to thank you all for your work and being great people in person...

Take care
Read something on this list - its a worthy one...

I included links to the ones that I knew of that you an look at for free... well stories and some great sites....


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

another fine e-format reprint

Though I have my attachment to old dead tree products I have to say that getting my hands on reprints of books from 15 or 25 years ago in electronic format to re-read is pretty great. Rudy Rucker has allowed another of his creations out for free here; this time it is is fine four volume masterpiece comprising Software, Wetware, Freeware, and Realware. Up till now to re-read these fine novels I would be scavenging in used book shops for ages to re-acquire them... they are now mine and can be yours for the small fee of free. Now I am all for authors getting full payment for their work but I will happily download these and buy their next new volume when it comes out.

Prime Books has made a print version of the novels available and in celebration of this they are allowing a free e version to be distributed. This has been touted by several of the blogs that I follow today but I thought I would pass it along to anyone interested.

So anyone who missed these slim novels an age ago go download these and see one of the classics of the genre. Then go and pickup a copy of Postsingular and its sequel. Rudy Rucker has given his dues and is worth your money; but get this for free is you don't have access to them in another way.


Prime books if also the publisher for Nick Mamatas of Move Underground and You Might Sleep, Ekaterina Sedia who wrote Alchemy of Stone and Secret History of Moscow along with editing some fince collection and John Langan of Mister Gaunt and other uneasy Encounters. They also printed Seeds of Change edited by John Joseph Adams which was one of my favorite collections of 2009.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

...In medias res...

Would I advise jumping into the Chronicles of the Raven series with Noonshade, the second book, well yes and no. Though I will say that it is a cracking good book in its own rite and could be read on its own but I think that some of the emotional impact of some of the events would be stronger if you start with Dawnthief. I would say, though, if you are a fan of old school sword and sorcery stories or the “new” grim and gritty fantasy you will probable enjoy reading James Barclay’s work.

The series was originally published at about the same time as a favorite of mine, Seven Erikson’s Malazan Tales of the Fallen. Both have more adult cast of characters then other fantasy novels of the late 90’s and like the Black Company books have a more military fiction feel to them and may appeal to more “adult” readers. Where Eriksons books are more unique in their style of fantasy and possibly harder to just jump right into (it took me two stabs at starting the series before I got stuck in to be honest) Noonshade is a more recognizable setting and easier to jump into. The world of Balaia is one populated by the usual suspects; elves, humans, schools of magic, “barbarian” hordes at the gates, the “civilized” cities in peril. Barclay’s magic is very visual, cinematic and easy to get a feel for and his combat is well written and likewise cinematic in delivery.

The main story follows The Raven, a well established mercenary force with a decade of experience, who saved the world from the threat of the Wytch Lords in the previous book and now have to deal with the fallout of their solution to the crisis. The spell they used opened a growing breach to a dimension inhabited by warring dragons. One dragon brood is protecting Balaia but the growing hole will become indefensible and the Raven being the culprits now must find or build a spell to close the breach between the worlds lest everyone die by dragonfire. But wait that is not all the barbarians tribes are still a potent threat and one of the magic colleges in protecting itself from destruction may be making things worse.The novel also tells the stories of the defending armies of Balaia and that of the invading generals and their forces.

James Barclay’s is a show rather then tell writer; his characters are built up through what they say and do so it takes a while to get a real grasp on them. His players have foibles no matter how competent they seem and only once did I feel that someone acted in a “typecast” way but people do act out of selfish self-interest even if its not the smart thing to do. The members of the Raven go through a whole lot in the course of the story and are changed by the events and some of them move on from the life they have been living in the end. The story has a real conclusion to the crisis introduced in it but there are still more tales to be told in this world - four more to date.

For the adventure alone it would be worth a read but the characters do stick with you after you finish. Noonshade deserves its place on the shelf of epic fantasy and sword and sorcery readers. James' website can be found here and you can click through here to PYR books website to read a bit of the first book Dawnthief... maybe I should have dome that before diving into Noonshade but c'est la vie...

Here is the cover copy for the first book Dawnthief:

The Raven: six men and an elf, sword for hire in the wars that have torn apart Balaia 

For years their loyalty has been only to themselves and their code. 

But, that time is over. The Wytch Lords have escaped and The Raven find themselves fighting for the Dark College of magic, searching for the location of Dawnthief. It is a spell created to end the world, and it must be cast if any of them are to survive.

And here is the description of Noonshade
Now the land of Balaia, still riven by war, must live with the consequences. The Dawnthief spell—designed to destroy the world, but cast to save it—has torn a hole in the sky, a pathway into the dragon dimension, and, through it, unfriendly eyes are turning to Balaia. 

With war already sweeping the land, there are no armies to send against the dragons. All that stands between Balaia and complete dominion by these tyrannous beasts is a tiny, but legendary band of mercenaries: The Raven. And if they fail, Balaia will fall beneath the wings of countless dragons...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

you and the singularity...

Though its not in a paper/bound format the online magazine Clarkesworld publishes some fantastic speculative fiction all free of charge (and like public radio if you read you should donate to their future existance by becoming a citizen - check the website) along with interviews and fact articles.

This months offerings include a great short story by Brenda Cooper who wrote Reading the Wind, Bright of the Sky and has written a novella and novel with Larry Niven which I forget the title of.

The tale in Clarkesworld is a post singularity story set in her home area near Seattle about a boy growing up in the wake of a singularity event that will change his life but most likely won't help the dad that he loves. Throughout his life his father had told him that he would live in a world made unimaginable by the coming change. It is a good tale about how the singularity may not really change people all that much since people are still motivated by their needs and desires. I would encourage people to check it out if they like the work of Charles Stross.

I enjoy the post human tales since they usually involve lots of wacky imagination and invention... I liked this one because to me it focused on how we will remain human none the less despite the change technology will make in us. Also it touches on the way the event if it happens would really be a generation gap event...

Anyway go check out Clarkesworld and look around there are lots of good writing there...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Review stall


I am working on trimming down the thoughts I have down for the Noonshade review... I think I have said a bit too much at the moment and don't want to give anything away... it is hard since I will be giving away the end of the first novel to begin with...

anyway in on another front Tobias S Buckell's collection of short fiction Tides from the New Worlds available in hardback from Wyrm Publishing (Clarkesworld magazine) is now out in several electronic formats and Tobias sent me a review copy to read on my Itouch.... I know its not deadwood but the man is such a good writer and the hardcover is 40US... and from the little I've read well worth the money... the collection is available for numerous formats and I will have a review up for that on the heels of Noonshade...

Till then take care


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Next up and more...

Hello all
just to let you know the next novel up for review will be James Barclays Noonshade

which should be posted within about a week...
Noonshade is the second in The Chronicles of the Raven sequence and my first exposure to the series and to be honest it took a while to get into the characters but I quite liked it once the setting grew on me.

Following that I will be attacking several collections published by Nightshade Books of the Dread Empire Books by Glen Cook. These I did not know about till the re-issued versions. These were not ARC editions and am glad to have paid for them none the less. Glen Cook I was familiar with having been a reader of his Black Company series in the 90's.

I will start with the collection of short stories Empire Unacquainted with Defeat

to be followed by the collection of novels I am currently reading through A Cruel Wind

Unless I receive ARC's during that time these will be followed by the first in a recent Epic Fantasy series Empire of Black and Gold

After these it is hard to say but I may try to get some short stories or books I read last year and did not review in... I would love to see books like The Steel Remains get the attention they deserve....

Take care


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pulp age hero....

“…I have no name
and I know where to find you”

The above line is the end of the opening line of the Ghosts of Manhattan and sets the tone of the novel quite well invoking the pulp age hero The Shadow. George Mann’s first novel set 25 years later then his Newbury & Hobbes series ventures into pulp age superhero action. Its a combination of genres that for me really checks all the boxes; golden age/ pulp era superhero, police procedural, steampunk with more then a few nods to Lovecraft and finer literature. If F Scott Fitzgerald were to have been a fan of wierd tales this is the world he might have envisioned in an alternate universe version of The Great Gadsby.

Ghosts of Manhattan takes us on a decidedly different spin in the now much in vogue Steampunk Genre. Ghosts is set in the 1920’s removed from the prim and proper Victorian Age of steam and consulting detectives by 25 years and the Atlantic Ocean. The book is steampunk in atmosphere but is something new in substance; maybe pulppunk.
The story is set in the roaring 20’s New York with all the usual trappings; prohibition, mob bosses, tommy gun toting thugs, jazz club speakeasies, torch singers, swank parties, lots of illicit booze and cigarettes; add to these things coal fired steam driven autos, rocket assisted biplanes and the odd steam or tesla gadget and you get the picture. The Ghost, our hero, is the product of the battlefields first world war and his brush with death therein. The opening chapter gives you a taste of his brand of vigilante justice and the tools of his trade; flechette guns, ankle rockets and the requisite goggles.

The Ghosts of Manhattan is a slim book at 240 pages in this day of doorstop volumes being the norm. I read slow so this book took me two days of sporadic reading but I think it could be an afternoon read for some. Given that it is a book I would gladly shell out dosh for and may get a real copy when I get back to the US. Sure its a “superhero” tale, yeah its got lots of cinematic action scenes just you wait for those biplanes to make a showing. The characters may be archetypes on the surface but they have depth; they make decisions based on their own moral codes, choices that make them realer people. Me, I cant wait for the next installment there are not so subtle clues that there is more to come.

Watch out for those gear driven thugs mad from mud and moss and don’t assume all artifacts are without a curse. Its a time of larger then life heroes, mobsters and cops with a little spicing of HPL. Check out George Mann’s website here and get a free taste of the his Newbury & Hobbes series. Oh he is a great editor too - look for the original short fiction collections from Solaris press.
Pyr books has made the first six chapters of Ghosts available to read online here for your reading pleasure...