Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wanted Dispatch Sept 28

The Girl Who Flew Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M Valente...

The first two books in this series have been a marvelous treat and this tops my list of books I must get this next week and I'm crushed that Catherynne won't be doing a signing on her tour anywhere near me. Her take on fairy tales and her writing voice has just the perfect dark and foreboding tone with the right approach to magic for me as a reader and I recommend these books without any sort of reservation. Here is the short synopsis and you can go here to to read an excerpt of this volume....

September misses Fairyland and her friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. She longs to leave the routines of home and embark on a new adventure. Little does she know that this time, she will be spirited away to the moon, reunited with her friends, and find herself faced with saving Fairyland from a moon-Yeti with great and mysterious powers


Copperhead by Tina Connolly

A stand alone sequel to last years Nebula nominated novel Ironskin which was on my to read list and which I have yet to get to. Tina has written a re-imagined the novel Jane Eyre in a world where the fae waged war on man and have left a changed world in their wake.

Here is the synopsis for Copperhead from Tina's website which you can go to here to peruse her other work.


Helen Huntingdon is beautiful -- so beautiful she has to wear an iron mask.

Six months ago her sister Jane uncovered a fey plot to take over the city. Too late for Helen, who opted for fey beauty in her face -- and now has to cover her face with iron so she won't be taken over, her personality erased by the bodiless fey.

Not that Helen would mind that some days. Stuck in a marriage with the wealthy and controlling Alistair, she lives at the edges of her life, secretly helping Jane remove the dangerous fey beauty from the wealthy society women who paid for it. But when the chancy procedure turns deadly, Jane goes missing -- and is implicated in the murder.

Meanwhile, Alistair's influential clique Copperhead -- whose emblem is the poisonous copperhead hydra -- is out to restore humans to their "rightful" place, even to the point of destroying the dwarvven who have always been allies.

Helen is determined to find her missing sister, as well as continue the good fight against the fey. But when that pits her against her own husband -- and when she meets an enigmatic young revolutionary -- she's pushed to discover how far she'll bend society's rules to do what's right. It may be more than her beauty at stake. It may be her honor... and her heart.


Autumn Bones by Jacqueline Carey

As an epic fantasy fan and one who often likes really different takes on the genre I am remiss in having never read any of Jacqueline Carey's work. Dark Currents the earlier volume of this suburban fantasy series reminded me a while back that I really need to read her and now I find myself thinking that again. Cribbed from the Book Smugglers site here is the synopsis... Here is a link to the first chapter...

Fathered by an incubus, raised by a mortal mother, and liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, Daisy Johanssen pulled the community together after a summer tragedy befell the resort town she calls home. Things are back to normal—as normal as it gets for a town famous for its supernatural tourism, and presided over by the reclusive Norse goddess Hel.

Not only has Daisy now gained respect as Hel’s enforcer, she’s dating Sinclair Palmer, a nice, seemingly normal human guy. Not too shabby for the daughter of a demon. Unfortunately, Sinclair has a secret. And it’s a big one.

He’s descended from Obeah sorcerers and they want him back. If he doesn’t return to Jamaica to take up his rightful role in the family, they’ll unleash spirit magic that could have dire consequences for the town. It’s Daisy’s job to stop it, and she’s going to need a lot of help. But time is running out, the dead are growing restless, and one mistake could cost Daisy everything.



The Necromancers House by Christopher Buehlman

The title alone is enough to get my macabre seeking attention but with all the people who have recommended Those Across the River to me because of my leaning towards horror fiction this is on my much check out list. Christopher launched a kickstarter campaign to support a publicity campaign for the novel that was successful and has hopes that Necromancer's House will find a bigger audience then his previous work. Here is the synopsis from the Science Fiction Book Club's website for their version is a link to the you tube video promotion for the book....

Andrew Ranulf Blankenship is a handsome, witty nonconformist with a classic Mustang, a massive library, a drinking problem…and the ability to speak with the dead. Andrew's a warlock. His house is a maze of sorcerous booby traps and escape tunnels, because magic is a brutal game that requires blood sacrifice—especially if you're sitting on a treasury of stolen Soviet sorcery. But his years of comfort and false youth have made him soft. Now a monster straight from the pages of Russian folklore is coming for him, and frost and death are coming with her. Will his house save him—or seal his fate? The Necromancer's House is a terrifying story of the evil next door from author Christopher Buehlman—a modern master of horror in the making.

Ghosts Know by Ramsey Campbell

Lastly to keep a theme going here is another bit of gothic horror that I am looking at with an eye to getting a copy. posted an excerpt here and her is the synopsis that precedes the excerpt.... This looks like a good deal of fun for the season ...


Graham Wilde is a contentious, bombastic host of the talk radio program Wilde Card. His job, as he sees it, is to stir the pot, and he is quite good at it, provoking many a heated call with his eccentric and often irrational audience. He invites Frank Jasper, a purported psychic, to come on the program. He firmly believes that the man is a charlatan, albeit a talented one. When Jasper appears on his show, Wilde draws upon personal knowledge about the man to embarrass him on air, using patter similar to that which Jasper utilizes in his act.

Wilde’s attack on Jasper earns him the enmity of his guest and some of the members of his audience. He next encounters Jasper when the psychic is hired by the family of a missing adolescent girl to help them find her. Wilde is stunned and then horrified when Jasper seems to suggest that he might be behind the girl’s disappearance...


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hey all....

I just want to say I'm sorry I'm a day late and the I'll be a day late with my Sunday comics.... I have thoughts but I need a night to post them,... I worked Saturday and well that stalled me a day....

On Tuesday I have a couple of books I am so looking forward to like Vicious, Plague Forge and Finally Doctor Sleep...

So looking forward to Doctor Sleep.... I will have to wait to get a copy but I so want to have one.... Stephen King can get in touch with me at if he has an arc I will be happy to read it for a free comment and review.,, love and fear the Shinig....


Wanted Dispatch Sept 21...

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

V.E. Schwab is someone I'm totally jealous of and she is so much younger then me. This book has the kind of beginning that grabs you from the first few lines. Its creepy in all the right ways that I wish that the eARC I recieved was a full version of the novel but it is just a preview version. You get hints in the opening chapters as to what this novel is about and once you realize its about superheroes, super villains and the very slight and tenuous distinction between the two not only was I engaged with it I was more then happy to dive in and get the novel when it comes out. Some of the actual comic companies have it so wrong these days and this book gets it so right; the interesting thing about the genre is the exploration of character, the battles and physical struggle is cool but the people and their lives are what we comic fans stay for. Good on ya V.E. I'm so blood jealous. Here is a link to an excerpt and to her website ... Enjoy.... Here is the synopsis...

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Here is a second entry into the realm of superhero fiction and the beginning of another series from epic fantasy author Brandon Sanderson. Having read the first chapter. The series has a very classic start for a character in a superhero story, the loss of family and a desire for Justice. Knowing Brandon Sanderson's leaning where it somes to world building and "magic systems" there will be a concrete reason as to the how's of the powers work and where they arose from in the first place. The book does not have its hooks in me the way Vicious does but it is certainly on my to read pile. Here is a link to Brandon's site and the following is the introduction to the novel....

There are no heroes.

Every single person who manifested powers—we call them Epics—turned out to be evil.

Here, in the city once known as Chicago, an extraordinarily powerful Epic declared himself Emperor. Steelheart has the strength of ten men and can control the elements. It is said no bullet can harm him, no sword can split his skin, no explosion can burn him. He is invincible.

It has been ten years. We live our lives as best we can. Nobody fights back . . . nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans who spend their lives studying powerful Epics, finding their weaknesses, then assassinating them.

My name is David Charleston. I’m not one of the Reckoners, but I intend to join them. I have something they need. Something precious, something incredible. Not an object, but an experience. I know his secret.

I’ve seen Steelheart bleed.

Plague Forge by Jason M. Hough

The Dire Earth series is one that I need to hit with full reviews for each of the individual volumes since the third will be out in just a few days... call me freaking exited and I know it will eat my reading time for next week. This is a near future science fiction series that combines the feel of series like Farscape and Stargate with a setting built with the concepts of the enigmatic alien artifacts, possible invasion and zombie plague paranoia. Jason's characters from his roguish scavenger heroes to the one time villain come refugee captivate me and the real evils of the series totally need a comeuppance. I can not wait to see what plot elements get solved in this volume and what new mysteries arise. These books have stimulated the role playing gamer in me and I so want to play a character in this awesome game. Here is the synopsis...

The elevators connected Earth to the stars. The towers suppressed the deadly plague. As the final Builder event approaches, five keys will unlock their secret.

After discovering the first key in the wreckage of a crashed Builder ship, Skyler Luiken and his crew follow the migrating aura towers in search of the four remaining relics. But time is running out: the survivors learn that the next Builder event will be the last, and one of the objects has already fallen into dangerous hands...

As the alien Key Ship looms above Earth, and the surface below is ravaged by corrupt councils, fanatical cults and infected subhumans, the team race to retrieve the missing artefacts.

Will they finally reveal the Builders’ plan?

Book of Iron by Elizabeth Bear

A prequel to her previous novella Bone and Jewel Creatures published by Subterranean press apparently in the same setting as the series that began in Range of Ghosts Book of Iron is something I'm probably ordering next week. It's been a while since I read a book by Ms. Bear and I think it is well time I redress that failing. Here is a link to the subterranean press website and a look at the synopsis. This small press book is coming out at 20.00 for the trade paperback and that is so totally a deal for this publisher....

And the synopsis for your entertainment....

Bijou the Artificer is a Wizard of Messaline, the City of Jackals. She and her partner—and rival—Kaulas the Necromancer, along with the martial Prince Salih, comprise the Bey's elite band of trouble-solving

But Messaline is built on the ruins of a still more ancient City of Jackals. So when two foreign Wizards and a bard from the mysterious western isles cross the desert in pursuit of a sorcerer intent on plundering the deadly artifacts of lost Erem, Bijou and her companions must join their hunt.

The quest will take them through strange passages, beneath the killing light of alien suns, with the price of failure the destruction of every land.


A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway

This is a novel that grabbed my attention on netgalley and it is totally on my need to they out list. After opening my mind to potential romance novels a few months ago with Delilah S Dawson's Wicked as they Come. I don't know if this is your kind of thing but well here is the synopsis and see for yourself...


Evelina Cooper, the niece of the great Sherlock Holmes, is poised to enjoy her first Season in London Society. But there’s a murderer to deal with—not to mention missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse.

In a Victorian era ruled by a council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch and sorcery the demon enemy of the Empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines—something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty’s secret laboratories. What’s a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she’s never found out?

But then there’s that murder. As Sherlock Holmes’s niece, Evelina should be able to find the answers, but she has a lot to learn. And the first decision she has to make is whether to trust the handsome, clever rake who makes her breath come faster, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything for her if she would only just ask.

Advance praise for Emma Jane Holloway’s Evelina Cooper novels

“Sherlock Holmes’s niece Evelina Cooper is a charming addition to the canon.”—Jacqueline Carey, on A Study in Silks

“Quite a ride through an alternate Victorian England, full of thrills and frills.”—Nicole Peeler, on A Study in Darkness

“Magic, machines, mystery, and mayhem: This book has just about everything.”—Kevin Hearne, on A Study in Ashes

Charming by Elliot James...

Today's last entry among all the great books out there including ones I'll post about later this week is one my partner loved and I have yet to get to and feel bad about not being able to share with her. This looks a lot like a novel that could be a Buffy the vampire slayer from the male side... Taking the Prince Charming thing into the modern day with magical threats all around and vampires lurking in the sidelines.... You can go here to check out the comments about the book from the author but I have not seem Natasha read anything genre related quite so fast in a long time....... I think this novel has to be a good time no matter its genre elements... Check this one out if urban fantasy is your thing and your tired of the Dresden thing....

Take care all GL....

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Comics....Sept 15

Shameless anime cover aside Fearless Defenders continues to deliver the goods when it comes to fun comics and Cullen Bunn is the hero here. The book includes a collection of the current and not so current squeezes of the leads of Defenders these days. The guys are getting together to have an intervention with their distaff partners including luminaries like Venom (Flash T. is the man), Doctor Strange (who totally needs his own title), Iron Fist (ditto), Hercules, Werewolf (assumedly by night), Cannonball and Xman all in a bar run by the onetime heroine Shamrock(hmmmmm). The leads of the book are entangled in a combat with a bunch of female and other villains including a new Enchantress, Sandwoman and the totally weird group the Headmen (and woman) en route to the meeting. The interactions between the players here is really great in light of the usual fare of super hero relationships and the woman formerly known mainly as Shamrock was totally sarcastically charming. The next issue looks to be great too... till low sales kills this great book I'm totally on board.

Among the other books I actually bought this week were Wolverine by Paul Cornell which was a good book but at 3.99 a pop

The other book I had to get was Avengers Arena... Its as much a guilty pleasure as Paul's Wolverine but they are both great books its just if your into the books themselves when it comes to spending the money.... I like the ideas Paul and David are playing with... Logan is so much more interesting now hat he can't just Waid into damage... and Arcade is so much cooler now that he can well be what heal wars should have been... I'm sad to see young heroes die but... Well if death is off the table how much can you buy into the struggle....


Till next week...




Wanted Dispatch Sept 14


Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff

Stormdancer was a novel I very much wanted to read when it came out last year and it still tops my want to read list these days but that list is so big I had kind of forgotten about it till I say the cover designs for the second book in the trilogy. Jay Kristoff got some excellent reviews and Stromdancer was even blurbed by Patrick Rothfuss so my hopes are set pretty high for this series. With its setting being a mythologized version of Japan steeped in magic and steampunk technology its nearly a mix of all my favorite elements and the that the promise of a great female warrior protagonist I'm pretty much onboard. Here is a link to Jay's personal website and here is a second link.

Here is the synopsis from his British publisher...


Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.


Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches.


Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat. The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

The Rose and the Thorn Michael J. Sullivan

Before being published by Orbit Book both in the US and the UK Michael's epic fantasy series that began back in 2005 with The Crown Conspiracy had some measure of success; hopefully now it is getting the notice it rightly deserves. Orbit republished the novels that began the Riyria series last year and are now telling the stories of the early careers of thief Royce Melborn and his partner Hadrian Blackwater. This is the second book in the new series that began with The Crown Tower and you can go to the Orbit website here to read an excerpt from this novel. Here also is a link to the publishers site for more information about the series.

Here is the synopsis for your reading pleasure too...

For more than a year Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner Hadrian Blackwater from certain death. Unable to get her out of his mind, Royce returns to Medford with Hadrian but the two receive a very different reception --- Gwen refuses to see them. The victim of abuse by a powerful noble, she suspects that Royce will ignore any danger in his desire for revenge. By turning the thieves away, Gwen hopes to once more protect them. What she doesn't realize is what the two are capable of --- but she's about to find out.

Jupiter War by Neal Asher

Those unfamiliar with the fantastic neo space opera book of Neal Asher have been missing out on some great character driven action packed stories. I have yet to read any of "The Owner" series of novels that began a couple of years ago with the novel "Zero Point" and continued with "The Departure" which came out first in the UK and were picked up for US publication by Nigh Shade Books. Neal's world building is always thought provoking as science fiction is at its best and this series looks to be worthy of his reputation as a great storyteller. Here is a link to the UK tor website where you can look at the interviews and synopsis' of the three books. ...

And here is the one for Jupiter War...

Alan Saul is now part human and part machine, and our solar system isn't big enough to hold him. He craves the stars, but can't leave yet. His sister Var is trapped on Mars, on the wrong side of a rebellion, and Saul's human side won't let her die. He must leave Argus Station to stage a dangerous rescue -- but mutiny is brewing on board, as Saul's robots make his crew feel increasingly redundant.

Serene Galahad will do anything to prevent Saul's escape. Earth’s ruthless dictator hides her crimes from a cowed populace as she readies new warships for pursuit. She aims to crush her enemy in a terrifying display of interstellar violence.

Meanwhile, The Scourge limps back to earth, its crew slaughtered, its mission to annihilate Saul a disaster. There are survivors, but while one seeks Galahad's death, Clay Ruger will negotiate for his life. Events build to a climax as Ruger holds humanity’s greatest asset -- seeds to rebuild a dying Earth. This stolen Gene Bank data is offered at a price, but what will Galahad pay for humanity’s future?

The Delphi Room by Melia McClure

I always look forward to books from ChiZine because I know they choose stories that tickle that need that I have for existential horror in my fiction every so often. I know nothing about the author but I think that the synopsis alone my just sell the book for you if your anything like me. Here is a link to the ChiZine site and to Melia's also for your perusal

Is it possible to find love after you've died and gone to Hell?

For oddball misfits Velvet and Brinkley, the answer just might be yes. After Velvet hangs herself and winds up trapped in a bedroom she believes is Hell, she comes in contact with Brinkley, the man trapped next door. Through mirrors that hang in each of their rooms, these disturbed cinephiles watch the past of the other unfold - the dark past that has led to their present circumstances. As their bond grows and they struggle to figure out the tragic puzzles of their lives and deaths, Velvet and Brinkley are in for more surprises.

By turns quirky, harrowing, funny, and surreal, The Delphi Room explores the nature of reality and the possibilities of love.


Wikiworld By Paul di Filippo

Paul was one of the early steampunk writers long before it really became a thing and he is a great short fiction writer that crosses genre boundaries. ChiZine is pulling together some of his works over the last several years including the story Wikiworld that appeared in Lou Anders Fast Forward #1. Here is the synopsis for this collection that compares him to several other great authors...

WikiWorld contains a choice assortment of Di Filippo's best and most recent work. The title story, a radical envisioning of near-future sociopolitical modes, received accolades from both Cory Doctorow and Warren Ellis. In addition, there are alternate history adventures such as "Yes We Have No Bananas" (which critic Gary Wolfe called "a new kind of science fiction"); homages to icons such as Stanislaw Lem ("The New Cyberiad"); collaborations with Rudy Rucker and Damien Broderick; and a posthuman odyssey ("Waves and Smart Magma"). WikiWorld is the best of the best from this British Science Fiction Association Award-winning and Nebula, Hugo, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Award-nominated author.

Anarchy by James Treadwell

When I saw this title comig up and available on net galley to read I had to request it. James Treadwell is a name I recall from when I had a job that allowed my lots of time to listen to speculative fiction podcasts and it was a name I recalled being exited to hear. This is the second book in a modern era thriller where magic has returned to the world. Reviewers on goodreads compare James Treadwell to Charles de Lint and Stephen King to name a couple... Here is the synopsis of this volume ...

If there’s one thing Gavin Stokes knows, it’s that something unimaginably dangerous has returned to the world. A mad dog runs amok, a mermaid floats in the bay, and a wild beast stalks the countryside. He and others make the same strange claim: magic has returned. All signs point to it.

Now, Gavin’s aunt has disappeared. A young girl who’s been accused of murder vanishes from a locked cell. She is at large somewhere in a vast wilderness. Meanwhile, a desolate child leaves the home that has kept her safe all her life and strikes out into the unknown. And a mother, half mad with grief for her lost son, sets off to find him.

There is a place where all their journeys meet. But someone is watching the roads .

Here is a link to James' site... The title of the first volume in this series is Advent and here is a link to the UK publishers website....


Business as Usual by David Barnett

This weeks free story is something I mentioned earlier in the week and has been on here for a little bit. This story is another view on the world in the novel Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl which was a brilliantly pleasant surprise that came out just last week. This story is from the point of view of a more shadowy figure in this Victorian era travelogue pulp adventure setting. Told from the POV of the government agent Wallsingham you get distinctly differ view of this world and a hint there is a secret history just aching to be explored.....


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Penny Blood....


David Barnett gave a great interview to My Bookish Ways (here) which you should definitely read if your interested in Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl; he talks about how he did not set out to write a steampunk or an alternate history novel or any of the other pop sub-genres but just a novel that was great fun and he succeds handily. Gideon and the Mechanical Girl is a great fun read, at times hilariously funny in its irony, its a look at how fans of fiction deal with struggles at times and its touching in its treatment of its characters. I the oddest things I would say about it is that though it has all the trappings of steampunk; clockwork "people", weird technology, odd magic, mythic monsters, young daring heroes, Zeppelins and Victorian cameos galore David's novel feels like something totally different. Its really lore of a penny blood, a penny dreadful and a pulp serial adventure all wrapped up in a look at the role of heroic fiction in the world. This story has heroes that are young and untested, heroes that are old and wanting a last chance to glory and characters struggling to find themselves all around; has published a couple of short works that spotlight the main character Gideon from early in his story, a background character called Wallsingham both ruin nothing of the novel and are very different glimpses into this world and a peek at the first chaper about a normal shop girl in London which is rather chilling. Gideonmand the Mechanical Girl has lots of the heart and enthusiasm of Raiders of the Lost Arc mixed with the classic Hero's journey and steampunk setting and I thnk appealing to more then just subgenre lovers.

Set solidly in an alternate late Victorian Britian where America failed to break free, the new world is a patchwork of interests; where there are steam powered vehicles, clockwork wound engines wild tales of scientific adventure pulp daring do and the classes god forbid ever try to mix. "Gideon" is an adveture novel that has as much in common with the old penny dreadfuls as it does with the 20th century pulp serials and is certain to find many fans but I will give a word of caution if you expect kitschy steampunk sensibilities and all that go with them you may be in for a surprise. This novel is a novel of heroic quests of revenge and discovery, tours along the countryside and to the airways, it has a mechanical girl as in the title but vampires monsters and other things abound here. This setting has as much to do with ancient magics as it does with crazy inventions and is really likely to thrill readers looking for an old fashioned Saturday serial like tale. David's story is classic in that it is the untried young man coming into himself but it is equal amounts intrigue of older heroes who's time is coming due and who may become something else.

Gideon Smith, our titular hero, is a young man looking at an in appealing future; he is likely to inherit his father's clockwork fishing trawler in a nowhere Yorkshire town and live out a life bereft of the adventure he craves. He is a well too old fan of the adventures of the Hero of the Empire Captian Trigger who's stories of daring do appear in the penny dreadfuls and make Gideon long for foreign shore like the splintered colonies in the Americas, expeditions to the floor of the ocean and to fight the likes of desiccated mummies, vampires and the secessionists of Texas. It will be gaining nothing away that he gets his wish and gets the call to adventure in the worst of all possible ways, that being tragedy. He is a character driven by his desire to be the hero of the tales he loves so much and believes the tag line that goes with the stories that proclaim their veracity. Gideon is very much a Victorian era fiction geek and would be well at home in a conversation debating the merits of one hero over another like many that happen in comic shops and specialty book store these days. This is the story of him learning that your heroes can be both much less and much more then you think; its a familiar tale but David's version is quite well told.

In terms of temporal cameos there are a few but one of the other major characters happens to be theatre reviewer of the era and writer Bram Stoker. Gideon meets this older fellow by chance and they get pulled into each others stories; Stoker is in the small town searching for writing inspiration and think he finds it in this earnest young man. Together they begin to investigate the mysteries cropping up in Sandsend, Yorkshire. Though older and perhaps should be wiser then Smith, Bram too seems a man adrift in life when we meet him, he's a husband and father distant from his family and possessed of a desire to be something more then what he is at the moment. Some of the elements of the story that surrounds him could be guessed at but the way things play out are far too much wry humerous fun and lead to more adventures to ruin for people who have yet to get the book. The other players and viewpoints include a crusty brash reporter, a mysterious mechanical Girl, and variations on the characters mentioned in the tales of the aformentioned Captain Trigger stories not to forget people reminiscent of Indiana Jones's first adventure.

David in the creation of this world seems to have let his imagination fly. The setting if familiar in that there are the dirigibles, steam vehicles and odd clockworks that are e fare of steampunk novels. The British Empire is preeminent among the mperial powers but the way that he has remixed them and played with details is pure joy to discover in the action and exploration that happens throughout London. The novel plays a lot like an adventure travelogue in the Victorian era; we get races through the London streets and skies, air travels across Europe and well beyond that would be telling. There is action and bloodshed a plenty along the way and since most of the characters are motivated by the need for justice otherwise known as revenge its no surprise that violence is the outcome. If you read the above lined tales you can get a feel for the way David handles it and its very pulp fiction in my opinion. He does not linger on details but on the outcomes and when the chips finally fall, though there is plenty of questions and territory to explore, this tale feels satisfyingly concluded.

Gideon Smith over the corse of the story goes from being naive and hero worshiping fan to someone who can step up and be the hero he admires. The undertone of the novel to me explored the nature of having a heroic figure that you pin your hopes to and looked at the realities of being exposed to the person you'd imagined the hero to be in reality. Exposure to the world away from Sandend change Gideon from his meeting the man Bram Stoker who aids Gideon for his own ends, his faithful encounter with the Mechanical Girl who's situation and struggles motivate him to act, the gruf profane journalist Bent who offers his aid for price - a story to his meeting with the idols of the penny blood stories Captain Lucian Trigger, Rowena the Belle of the Airways and the rogueish American antihero to name just a few. Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl is a book hat will thrill and surprise people who check it out; it should have wider appeal then books locked into a subgenre, Davdi succeded to write a truly ripping yarn that leaves you satisfies and wanting another look at this alternate history pulp adventure.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Comics Sept 8

First off a few comics from this week that may have slipped by you among all the hype...

Ok, yes. Last week I posted a good bit about the Superior Foes of Spider-Man by Spencer and Lieber and here I am posting again about this book about third stringer super villains and this book delivered the fun again this week. Its not the kind of book that you can just fall into one issue of since this one references events from both the previous ones and does so subtlety so I think this one will read as an excellent collection once it comes out. This time around we get a lot of play between out title character Boomerang and his new parol officer introduced at the end of last issue and there is a bit of backstabbing that goes on all throughout. The story really evolves around the interpersonal problems between these all too human characters.

One of the real fun things about this book comes when you pay full attention to everything going on in the panels, there is a story going on being told through the smaller icon only word bubbles and though some are just defining the background characters I think its a great way to move the story along. No really its a good time....


Oh look this may just be a theme like from A Christmas Story; here is another book I mentioned real recently. I would say if your a Marvel Unlimited member this is a book that you should definitely be reading. Cullen Bunn is moving this story towards a conclusion soon bringing in elements that have been lingering in the story since the Remender run including Damien Hellstorm who its seems people are gunning for... well actually skinning. He also reveals the why's of The speed with which Mania has become bonded to her symbiot. Also to give some of you a taste if you have yet to read Venom starring Flash Thompson check out the Marvel Unlimited app - there is an issue from a couple months ago up there for free and its a very good insight into the new Flash and the growth in his character.

Lastly this week I'll point out Catalyst Comics from Dark Horse again. This is an anthology of stories in the Dark Horse super hero universe in which Ghost and X are lead characters. This one stars in its lead tale another take on the flying super strong handsome hero and asks some questions that really need to be asked about where the real villains in the world are and why the spandex crowd kinda does nothing about them. The follow up stories do new and different things with superheroes too. I like this book and think Joe Casey who's been doing new and interesting thing with the genre since leaving the big too is doing something that needs a much bigger audience. Lacking the meddling of editorial shackles this books takes chances others might not be able to.




This last week there were a couple of big things that happened and both related to issues caused by DC editorial decisions and both in my opinion were a sign of an attitude I do not like at all. Because of editorial demands for changes and a roadblock put in the way of a lesbian marriage between Batwoman and her long time girlfriend Maggie Sawyer co writers JH Williams and W Haden Blackman both have decided to leave the title as of issue 26 (god knows what issue number it really is because of the Forever Evil thing et al marketing BS). I read several reasons as to why they decided that including the idea that marriage ages characters which is questionable that the editorial stated audience is 40 something men at some con this summer. I for one feel that alienating creative teams is pretty bad for a struggling industry especially when the title is so well recieved. 

(Let me make this absolutely clear I have nothing against the new announced writer  Marc Andreyko and would love to check out his work but will have to look elsewhere since buying Batwoman now is the half the poster child for editorially driven storytelling that I personally disagree with.... Check this link for more reasons via Dan Dido...

The other editorial piece of strangeness and misogyny relates to the new Harley Quinn ongoing series. If you have not read about that well here is the skinny; DC ran an artist search allowing new unknown artists to try out to draw part of the book, all pages of which become property of DC winning or not (corporate creepy much?), but it gets better in in that one page is images of poor disturbed Harley committing suicide in increasingly silly ways including a planet showing her naked in the midst of the attempt. I don't know your mileage and morals may differ but that just seems in all bloody kinds of bad taste. This comes on top of the extra sexification of Catwoman in the new DC and the travesty that they did to Starfire.   I don't know about anyone else this seems to be misogynistic and in absolute as bad a taste as the dead girlfriend I the refrigerator thing. I don't mention DC much here and there is a reason... I could name the titles I liked and I think you'll see some similarities in their fate... Frankenstein Agent of SHADE, Demon Knights, and Dial H... I'm pretty sure that Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol would not survive given where it fit thematically and story wise. So, I do not like saying negative things but these events well they leave me wondering about the general direction of one of the big two


Wanted Dispatch Sept 7 addendum

The Thicket byJoe Lansdale

I have no idea how I overlooked this one. I have been a Lansdale fan since discovering him through the amazingly fun comic western Jonah Hex Two Gun Mojo. I have read his crime and weird fiction and will read pretty much anything he publishes. Here is a link to an excerpt from this novel that will hit the shelves this next Tuesday.

The blog Den of Geek has an interview with him here

And here is the synopsis from Mulholland Books enjoy...

Love and vengeance at the dark dawn of the East Texas oil boom from Joe Lansdale, “a true American original” (Joe Hill, author of Heart-Shaped Box).

Jack Parker thought he’d already seen his fair share of tragedy. His grandmother was killed in a farm accident when he was barely five years old. His parents have just succumbed to the smallpox epidemic sweeping turn-of-the-century East Texas—orphaning him and his younger sister, Lula.

Then catastrophe strikes on the way to their uncle’s farm, when a traveling group of bank-robbing bandits murder Jack’s grandfather and kidnap his sister. With no elders left for miles, Jack must grow up fast and enlist a band of heroes the likes of which has never been seen if his sister stands any chance at survival. But the best he can come up with is a charismatic, bounty-hunting dwarf named Shorty, a grave-digging son of an ex-slave named Eustace, and a street-smart woman-for-hire named Jimmie Sue who’s come into some very intimate knowledge about the bandits (and a few members of Jack’s extended family to boot).

In the throes of being civilized, East Texas is still a wild, feral place. Oil wells spurt liquid money from the ground. But as Jack’s about to find out, blood and redemption rule supreme. In The Thicket, award-winning novelist Joe R. Lansdale lets loose like never before, in a rip-roaring adventure equal parts True Grit and Stand by Me—the perfect introduction to an acclaimed writer whose work has been called “as funny and frightening as anything that could have been dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm—or Mark Twain” (New York Times Book Review).


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Wanted Dispatch Sept 7...

Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett

I'm speeding through an e-arc of this today and hope to get a full review of this amazingly fun Victorian steampunk ish weird novel. David's novel opens with a very normal appearing series of events and spirals quickly out into a fantastical series of horrifying events followed by disarmingly funny totally English humor funny ones. I'm thoroughly charmed by this brand new approach to my favortie alternate history era to visit and one that presents the social restrictions and limits of that world starkly and effectively. This novel promises cameos from figures of the era both real and fictional. You can go here to get a taste of David's writing in this TOR novel that I think will fit perfectly on my shelf of favorite alternate histori like the Bookman and the Burton and Swinburne books.

Here is the cover synopsis...

Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire. Airships ply the skies and Queen Victoria presides over three-quarters of the known world—including the East Coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.

London might as well be a world away from Sandsend, a tiny village on the Yorkshire coast. Gideon Smith dreams of the adventure promised him by the lurid tales of Captain Lucian Trigger, the Hero of the Empire, told in Gideon’s favorite “penny dreadful.” When Gideon’s father is lost at sea in highly mysterious circumstances Gideon is convinced that supernatural forces are at work. Deciding only Captain Lucian Trigger himself can aid him, Gideon sets off for London. On the way he rescues the mysterious mechanical girl Maria from a tumbledown house of shadows and iniquities. Together they make for London, where Gideon finally meets Captain Trigger…


The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich

I have great hopes for this what might be called Silk Road fantasy since it is set n a fictionalization version of the continental Far East. Chris has been writing in this setting for a bit now having short fiction appear in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceasless Skies the latter two of which are free to read and you can click through here to Chris' site where he links to the stories themselves. Several of my favorite people in speculative fiction, namely Saladin Ahmed and Howard Taylor, have written some very intriguing things about this in addition to the fact the the editor of Beneath Ceasless skies and the great Lou Anders choose to print his work. Here is the synopsis from

Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone are a romantic couple and partners in crime. Persimmon is a poet from a well-to-do family, who found herself looking for adventure, while Imago is a thief in his ninth decade who is double-cursed, and his body has not aged in nearly seventy years. Together, their services and wanderlust have taken them into places better left unseen, and against odds best not spoken about. Now, they find themselves looking to get away, to the edge of the world, with Persimmon pregnant with their child, and the most feared duo of assassins hot on their trail. However, all is never what it seems, and a sordid adventure-complete with magic scrolls, gangs of thieves, and dragons both eastern and western-is at hand.

Gods of Earth by Craig De Lancey

I came across this just yesterday while preparing for today's post and was intrigued by the synopsis hat I found on It seems the kind of thing that I should really take a peek at... Not having much time with it I'll give you fantasy fans a link to the authors website here and add the synopsis....

Thousands of years after a war against the gods drove humanity nearly extinct, something divine stirs. It awakens the Guardian, an ancient being pledged to destroy the gods—a task it believes long-accomplished. Through deep caverns, he makes his way to the desolate surface of Earth and stalks toward the last human settlements, seeking the source of this strange power.

Far away, the orphan witch child Chance Kyrien is turning seventeen: today he will be confirmed as a Puriman and learn what stake in the family’s vineyard his adopted father will give him. Ambitious, rebellious, but fiercely devout, Chance dreams only of being a farmer and winemaker, and marrying the girl he loves, the Puriman Ranger Sarah Michaels.

But a shocking cataclysm of violence and destruction turns Chance’s peaceful world upside down. Aided by his loyal friends and the Guardian, Chance must travel through time and space to battle the last remaining god. For the destinies of Chance and this final deity are fatally intertwined, and only one of them can survive.


Spirit of the Centure: Khan of Mars by Stephen Blackmoore

Yes I'm totally looking forward to a book based on a role playing game. Yes I love the pulp era game Spirit of the Century and apparently so do a couple of my favorite gritty urban noir authors Chris Wendig who is writing a Triliogy and apparently Stephen Blackmoore who is writing a stand alone spin off. I will say it I want so much to read a novel starring the Gorilla hero Khan on Mars in the pulp age era of non costumed hard hitting heroes. Anyone who has read City of the Lost knows that Stephen can write bloody pulp action and dark edged heroes with the best of them. I have hopes for this to be as much big stupid fun in all the best senses.

Read this add copy and blurb by fellow action neo pulp writer Nathan Long.... You can go here to see the order page at Evil Hat games, the makers of the Spirit of the Century, FATE, and Dresden role playing games to name just a few....

When erudite ape Professor Khan and rough-and-tumble cowboy Bulls-Eye Gutierrez are zapped away on a one-way trip to Mars, they are thrown into a world in chaos. Under the malevolent gaze of the Weather Witch, Princess Cyclone, our heroes face the intrigue and war raging across an alien world. Will they survive long enough for the other Centurions to build a way back home, or will they perish upon the shifting sands of the Red Planet, never to be seen again?

A spin-off adventure from the Dinocalypse Trilogy!

“Who would have thought a four hundred pound gorilla could be so agile? Khan of Mars moves with the speed and whiplash reverses of a hunting hawk, yet packs the punch of a rampaging Yeti. Engaging characters, endless invention, and a breakneck plot that never lets you catch your breath—Stephen Blackmoore must have that ape by the short hairs to make him hop around like that.” — Nathan Long, author of Jane Carver of Waar

And now for something totally free... With all the free fiction venues on the Internet I have to start adding these a bit too so a new bit of this weekley feature...

A Rumor of Angles by Dale Bailey has been publishing free short fiction on their website since the first few days of its existence. This one looks like a particularly interesting addition to that stable. Dale Bailey writes about an alternate dust bowl era America with hits of urban fantasy elements. Its enough to get my antenna up and I will be checking it out. It will be hitting on Tuesday the 10th on their site and will be for sale to through all the normal e-channels. Dale has written a good deal of fiction including several novels and short stories, one that won the International Horror Guild award and he's been a Nebula Nominee.... Go to to take a peek next week...


Till next week that a taste of what I would love to have on my bookshelves....take care ...