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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God’s Demon by Wayne Barlowe Review

Hell is a setting but never quite a theme in Wayne Barlowe’s debut novel God’s Demon; this explains both the book’s successes and its disappointments. At its best Barlowe’s novel provides a fairly typical, quasi-medieval fantasy story — in an infernal setting that evokes the primal otherness of games like Doom and Diablo.

Wayne Barlowe

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Live Chat – Paul S. Kemp of the Forgotten Realms

On November 10th (2007) best selling author Paul S. Kemp joined us live for a chat in our chat room. Kemp has written several books perhaps most notable those featuring the adventures of his creation, Erevis Cale, in the Forgotten Realms setting. He also wrote an installment of the R.A. Salvatore presented War of the Spider Queen series, Resurrection, bringing it to a conclusion.

paul s kemp
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Your Prescription for Reading?

This is the first of a new monthly feature we are calling Synergy. Basically, one of our contributors offers a single question for our other contributors to give answer to. Beyond that, we go out and get talented outsiders who choose to become  extended family to participate.

So what we have is a combining our regular contributors with a group of people that count among them bestselling authors, award winning novelists, editors, and leaders in commentary and opinion in a variety of mediums. We have Synergy. We come together – especially with this edition – as readers. Matt Denault offers up the first question for the feature.

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Interfictions: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing Review

What makes certain writings “interstitial” is largely a matter of expectations, say Delia Sherman and Theodora Goss, editors of Interfictions: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing. How, then, to set expectations for the anthology itself? For reader expectations may either highlight or camouflage that this is a good if somewhat homogeneous assemblage of literate, fantastic short stories.

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Fleet of Worlds by Larry Niven, Edward M Lerner – Review

“Fleet of Worlds” is part of Larry Niven’s Known Space future history best known as the setting of the Ringworld books. However, while it utilizes characters and settings from other Known Space books, extensive knowledge of Known Space isn’t essential to understanding the book. The book does contain a number of other nods to other Known Space stories and events, however, so a previous knowledge of the setting will increase enjoyment of the book. It is also Niven’s first collaboration written in that setting.

fleet of worlds

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Scalped: Indian Country Review

Indian Country collects the first five issues of the monthly series Scalped.

The art in Scalped is very good. Offering up shadows with hidden depths at times and bright, clear and detailed panel at others that may represent the duality of the story. Perhaps indicative of the pervasive skin tones of the characters or just a reflection of the sandy deserts where the story takes place there are a lot of red tones and shades in the art of Scalped. Just about every issue ends in a great cliffhanger moment that compels you to read further and the art accompanies these tense moments becomes fraught with peril and potential destruction.


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The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall Review

Some reviewers have been comparing The Raw Shark Texts to the movie Memento. It’s a largely uninspired comparison based solely on the fact that both protagonists share some form of memory loss. But it’s a superficial comparison at best and probably only lasts for the first 30 pages or so. Since the Raw Shark Texts becomes, in part, a sincere meditation on the nature of love, the power of its loss and the great lengths one is willing to go to re-capture it, a closer film comparison might be to a movie like The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a movie that also, in its own way, deals with fractured memory loss.

steven hall

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Irene Gallo interview – The Art Director

I was finally able to get in touch with Irene, as she has a very busy schedule. This interview was all prompted from meeting Irene at last year’s New York Comic Con where I think I interrupted her lunch. Being the courteous person that I am, I figured I would let her finish lunch and track her down a bit later. That bit later took some stalking on my part and some annoying emails. I think Irene ended up finishing this interview just so I would not bother her anymore. All joking aside though I am very happy to introduce Irene Gallo, the Art director for Tor, Forge, and Starscape Books. I also want to thank Nicole Cardiff, one of my favorite young fantasy artists, who helped me with the questions for this interview.

Irene Gallo

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Best Books of 2007 – Summer Edition


With the first half of 2007 behind us we wanted to gather the BSC think-tank and stop to smell the pages. To look in the rear-view mirror and take stock of the books that we have read. A lot of books had their thumbs out, vying for our attention, trying to hitch a ride. Because we are a trustworthy bunch we stopped for quite a few of them.

But which one’s had some gas money in their pockets or offered to drive for a stretch?

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Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis Review

Michael McGill is a burned-out private detective and self-described “shit magnet” who is enlisted by the White House Chief of Staff to retrieve the Constitution of the United States, not the one taught about in history class but the REAL Constitution. The one with invisible amendments held in secret and meant to be used in a time of moral crisis to return the country back to more traditional values.

warren ellis

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Enter Richard Kadrey’s Dominion – Butcher Bird Review

The Butcher Bird was dropped, impaled on the never to read pile its first time around, not for future consumption — just out of spite — and forgotten rather quickly and not unthankfully so. Even while sporting some blurbage from Cyberpunk don William Gibson and capo Pat Cadigan, my worst fears seemed to becoming reality in the first few chapters, namely, another fringe ultra hip wannabee, smart ass protagonist — complete with the job as a tattoo artist and oh yeah…his sidekick is of course a quip-ready, lesbian version of himself — who together find out reality isn’t what it seems.

richard kadrey

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Neal Asher Interview and The Skinner Review

Combining large-scale space opera, intense, visceral action, and occasional elements of horror, Neal Asher is one of the most exciting authors to come out of the United Kingdom in recent years. Born in England in 1961, Asher spent many years writing stories for British small-press magazines. In 2001 his first novel, Gridlinked, was published by by MacMillan in the UK, and by Tor in the United States. His “Polity” future history, the setting of books such as Gridlinked, The Skinner, and Hilldiggers, is one of the most intriguing settings in science fiction today. He has also written stand-alone stories, such as his novel Cowl. His next novel, The Shadow of the Scorpion, will be published by Night Shade Books in May 2008.

neal asher

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Napoleon’s Pyramids by William Dietrich Review

The initial appearance of the pulp hero in the newspapers, radio shows and cinema of 1920s America was a reassuring affirmation of rugged American individualism in a world that, in the wake of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, seemed suddenly large and uncertain. America’s gradual acceptance of an increasingly multicultural world can be seen in the pulp revivals that followed.

William Dietrich

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Getting Jig with GoblinQuest – Jim C. Hines Interview

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Hines author of Goblinquest. I want to make a comment here, just because an author has a smaller publishing firm you can find some real gems that way. Jim was a pleasure to interview and we both learned a little something I like to think. Without further interruptions let us get started.

jim c hines


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Academ’s Fury by Jim Butcher – Review

There are a few sentences in the Prologue of Jim Butcher’s Academ’s Fury that in some ways reveal all that you need to know about the book:

The steady, smoldering throb from his left knee was of little more concern to him than the aching of his tired feet or the stretching soreness of weary muscles in his shoulders and arms after a day of hard drilling. He ignored them, his face as plain and remote as the worn hilt of the sword at his belt.

Butcher’s writing is descriptive and flows well, and his characterizations deftly evoke at least a modicum of sympathy. The story and characters themselves however are a rather tired and worn assemblage of epic fantasy clichés that disrupt the book’s imaginative impact, and the quick-moving pace covers up some rather silly plot holes in much the same way as the quick-moving prose covers up questions such as how exactly a sword worn at the belt can be “remote.”

Academ's Fury

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Warrior and Witch by Marie Brennan – Review

From its cover one might suspect Marie Brennan’s Warrior and Witch to be a fantasy-romance hybrid, but there is actually very little romance in this tale of magic, politics and cultural change. Also misleading about the cover is its failure to note that this is a sequel to Brennan’s previous novel Doppelganger (the story, and this review, contain spoilers for that book). The omission of lineage is unfortunate because Warrior and Witch is not the best introduction to Brennan’s work, nor is it as good a story as she is capable of.

Marie Brennan

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