James P. Blaylock was one of the writers, along with Jonathan Carroll, that was at the forefront of reeducation of what Fantasy was or rather could entail, and it was work like The Paper Grail and The Last Coin that would eventually prepare me for what has come next which would include exploring frequent collaborator, Tim Powers.
Steven Brust brings us another tale of our hero Vlad Talos as he goes to the East to learn about his family in the town of Burz. Being the outgoing chap that he is, Vlad starts asking about the family Merss (his mother’s side of the family) in this industrial town that makes paper, and then all hell breaks loose in this three-sided conflict.
ASH – A Secret History can in many respects be regarded as Mary Gentle’s magnum opus, both in terms of volume (a whopping 1100 pages) and in terms of its ambition and scope. It is also a work of literature that is very difficult, if not impossible, to categorize. It is simultaneously historical fiction, alternate history, fantasy and science fiction. The novel was awarded the Sidewise Award for Alternate History in 2000. It should also be noted that while ASH is published in one volume by Gollancz in the UK, it is published in four volumes (A Secret History, Carthage Ascendant, The Wild Machines, Lost Burgundy) by Avon Eos in the US.
Recently, I received a splashy invitation to the kind of event that a genre-bender like me can’t refuse. The location of the festivities was the Explorers Club on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. I couldn’t wait to see the headquarters of the organization “promoting exploration and field sciences since 1904.” The facilities are gloriously appointed, outfitted with mementos of treks and adventurers.
I found myself arriving among a group of those historically costumed from the 19th century, noir sharpies and dames, and others who were just plain swanky.
Readercon 18 was held July 5th through the 8th, 2007, in Burlington, MA, USA. Readercon is known as a very focused convention: there are none of the art shows, music, gaming, costumes, etc. that one often sees at conventions of the fantastic. Instead the attention is lavished on the convention program — the panels, talks, readings and interviews. As the name suggests, Readercon is very much a convention by and for those who share a love of books that require discussion.
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.
I first learned of the existence of Mike Mignola only in 2007 when I received an email out of the blue from a writer and editor by the name of Christopher Golden. His message informed me that he was editing an anthology of Hellboy stories by various writers, and would I like to contribute? I had no idea who or what Hellboy was, but the email made it sound interesting, and I always enjoy a challenge, so I replied along the lines of, “Yes, I’m interested. But I’ll have to do some research on Hellboy first.”
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.
Tem’s fantastical memoir The Man on the Ceiling, about his wife Melanie. And Melanie’s character, in one of her narrative turns, tells us how a strange and lost man did one night climb through her bedroom window, only to flee when she awoke. The Tems describe their book as “loosely autobiographical” (the book’s jacket adds a parenthetical “maybe” to the common descriptor “A Novel”) and we can guess that this episode may be one of those that are, as the word is typically understood, true.
This one’s for those of you who like to know what goes on before the book falls off the bookstore shelf into your hands. Lou Anders is the editorial director of Pyr books, as well as being the man behind many anthologies on a wide variety of topics.
Over the past week or so I’ve had the pleasure of picking his brain about how he chooses manuscripts, how he builds anthologies, what he sees as the current state of science fiction and fantasy, and more. If you’re a young editor, or someone trying to break into the field as a writer, or just someone who’s curious about the publishing industry from an insider’s perspective, be sure to read this interview! Continue reading “Lou Anders Interview – Pyr Editing”
Maledicte marks Lane Robins’ first effort as a novelist, and a glance at the cover – which depicts and androgynous face in profile, eyes covered with an ornate Venetian-style domino, the title written with gothic type and the tagline: “A novel of love, betrayal, and vengeance” – it quickly becomes clear that Robins is aiming at a brand of dark fantasy of manners and courtly intrigue that have been very successful in the hands of writers like Jacqueline Carey and Ellen Kushner.
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.
Mr. Williams, fellow DC dweller and my occasional drinking buddy, graciously agreed to be interviewed for BSC.
Deepsix is the second novel in Jack McDevitt’s “Academy” series, which can be described as mostly-hard science fiction with a few exceptions like faster-than-light travel included out of narrative necessity. However, while it has the same main character as the first Academy book, The Engines of God, it is a fully self-contained story and can easily be read by someone who has not read its predecessor.
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.
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.
In Last Dragon, J.M. McDermott strips the fat from the bones of epic quest-driven fantasy, then dresses up the resulting skeleton of story in layer upon layer of fragmented and elliptical narrative. The fit of this literary garb on the somewhat typical fantasy understory isn’t perfect; indeed, when the reading is done we may feel that the clothes have no emperor — or rather, empress, as we shall see.
Today we present an interview Allan Guthrie, writer, editor, and agent, best known for his Crime Fiction. His first novel, Two-Way Split, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award, won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2007. His next novel, Kiss Her Goodbye, was nominated for an Edgar Award and a Gumshoe Award.