The Ant King and Other Stories by Benjamin Rosenbaum Review

Imagine Borges and Dali hanging out at Pee Wee Herman’s playhouse, and you have a brief inkling of what Rosenbaum’s fiction is like. The Ant King and Other Stories is Rosenbaum’s debut collection of short fiction, which features pieces have been that have nominated for genre awards, and have appeared in a slew of venues, from Interzone, Realms of Fantasy, and McSweeney’s.

The Ant King and Other Stories

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Ekaterina Sedia Interview and The Alchemy of Stone Review


Ekaterina Sedia’s second novel, The Secret History of Moscow, has made her a new author to watch. It has garnered critical praise, from no less than Neil Gaiman and is selling quite well.

The novel is set in Post-Communist Russia, where everyone is suffering under the growing pains of capitalism gone amuck. Thugs and gangs share the stage with those used to the old communist way of doing things, poverty and uncertainty abounds, and yet there is an excitement in the air.

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Un Lun Dun by China Mieville Review

China Mieville is the premiere iconoclast of the fantasy genre. Before (or at the same time) that “punk” (as in cyberpunk, splatterpunk and mythpunk) became a common subgenre suffix, Mieville laid out the manifesto of the New Weird movement, a literary movement about subverting fantasy and horror tropes. His work is gritty, urban, political, subversive, disquieting—and adult. His language is baroque—he knows the Oxford English Dictionary and isn’t afraid to use it. Mieville’s imagery borders on the Lovecraftian. And the work is ripe with allusion, from Marxist and gender theory to African literature. (Iron Council, the last of the Bas Lag novels, unabashedly models itself after the late Senegalese filmmaker Sembene Ousmane’s novel God’s Bits of Wood). So it is naturally intriguing to see how Mieville reconciles heady version of fantasy to the young adult novel, in Un Lun Dun.

china mieville

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David J. Williams Interview – Mirrored Heavens

The Mirrored Heavens by debut author David J. Williams is described by Stephen Baxter as “Tom Clancy interfacing Bruce Sterling.”  Williams combines future technology and espionage with a richly imagined political climate, with action and mordant humor to spare. The main characters–the Razor (hacker) Claire Haskell and the Mech (assassin) Jason Marlowe hunt the terrorist group Autumn Rain through virtual and real worlds, not sure who to trust–even their own memories. The book is a rollercoaster ride, but Williams’ future is grimy and intense–this isn’t shiny new gadgets–and there is a serious exploration of the clash between the developing world and the first world.

David J. Williams

Mr. Williams, fellow DC dweller and my occasional drinking buddy, graciously agreed to be interviewed for BSC.

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The Magician and the Fool by Barth Anderson Review

Barth Anderson’s second novel, The Magician and The Fool, is marketed as a thriller in the DaVinci Code mode, with the hidden history behind the Tarot being the focus. Indeed, the novel is fast-paced and full of spectacular deaths, chases, and secret societies. But Anderson flips the script of the traditional thriller, and creates something much richer and more mysterious.

Barth Anderson

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The Demon and the City by Liz Williams Review

Seneschal Zhu Irzh, demonic scion and star of the first Detective Inspector Chen Novel, is now officially, if grudgingly, a member of the Singapore 3 police force while Chen is on his honeymoon. An investigation lands in his lap, when a socialite ends up missing. He takes on the investigation, getting a whiff of his native Hell in the mix—and it gives him something to do.

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The Lost District by Joel Lane Review

“One night, I dreamt that trapped cries of ecstasy were turning to water between the floors, staining my ceiling with the shape of a naked woman. I woke and turned on the light, but couldn’t make out anything from the scattered bruises of damp and the cracks in the wood-chip wallpaper. As I was a bout to drift back into sleep, I heard a faint stirring and a dull moan, then a long shuddering wail. I curled into a fetal position as my crotch spasmed uncontrollably, impregnating the dark shape of my dream….” (The Bootleg Heart)

Mostly set in England’s industrial north, The Lost District Joel Lane’s second collection of short stories uses bleak, unrelenting cityscapes to explore the human condition. The burnt out factories, the grey weather and the depressed economy are ever-present characters in his tales.

joel lane

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