Things keep getting stranger here. In fact, they are now positively surreal.
If you’ll remember from my last post, Dan’s packaging device was having some unintended consequences.
Those consequences have broadened out a great deal in the past few days.
Read the rest of this entry »
- - October 13th, 2009
*warning: contains Monsters! Aliens! and Robots!
Now October is here, a reading essential is the fabulous Red Claw by the talented Philip Palmer, out this month (UK I US). We’d already had a heap of interest in this title, not least from the Guardian, who said ‘Red Claw is that rare treat, an intelligent action adventure replete with intellectual rigour, human insight and superb storytelling’.
While such praise is always hugely welcome, we can’t say we’re entirely surprised as we expected great things after Debatable Space (UK I US)! Red Claw is another fast-paced package that somehow manages to contain within its straining covers a rollercoaster of a plot with some big explosions, a plethora of strange new aliens grown in the vat of the author’s imagination and some entertaining philosophizing. It’s also dark and gritty with flashes of strangeness to counterbalance Philip’s great sense of fun. All in all, a unique mix of elements woven together to make something pretty special. Read the rest of this entry »
I like toys. We all do, whether we admit it or not. Cars, houses, and clothes are grown up toys. Ninety-five percent of the SUV owners in the universe are merely expressing their inner child’s frustration that they can’t buy a sportscar that transforms into a robot. And if most of us were honest with ourselves, we’d just go ahead and admit that we’d pay through the nose if we could pull a hidden lever and have our house change into a secret command bunker.
Games can be a great way of indulging our inner child while engaging our outer adult. Studies have shown that playing video games not only increases visual acuity, but can have positive psychological effects. Tetris helps reduce post-traumatic stress. Halo teaches us to always keep an eye on our forcefield meter. And if I ever have to fight a giant robot, experience tells me to look for the glowing points because that’s the only way to drain the robot’s health. Read the rest of this entry »
Well, what started out odd has only gotten odder.
Things began pretty well. This week I bought some decent cowboy boots, a nice ostrich pair, and that was fun. Then later I spotted Dan entering his gate, and he seemed very pleased. Practically glowing. He said he’d made some huge steps very recently, but he wasn’t sure so he wasn’t going to get my hopes or anything. He had wads of tissue paper stuck up his nose, though. I forgot to ask him what that was about. Then later the washing machines were gone, and I took that for a good sign.
Then last night things got a bit worse. Read the rest of this entry »
Well, for the first time, hello everyone! My name, as you can probably tell already, is Robert Jackson Bennett, and I’m currently about to be a first time author. It’ll be official in January 2010 when Mr. Shivers comes out from Orbit, which is about four months away. That’s all self-promotion stuff, however, and I have a blog already started for whatever tooting is necessary for my own horn. To be honest, I’ve never written in any official kind of capacity on the internet, so I’m not sure what to say. Easily the most curious thing that’s going on with me at the moment, though, is what’s happening next door.
Read the rest of this entry »
- - September 29th, 2009
The Company started with an old friend of mine. He’s nothing like General Kunessin, but he used to have an old Air Force greatcoat with the rank and unit insignia cut off (he was a pacifist; military greatcoats are amazingly warm; we lived in a cold place)
The image of a tall man in just such a coat coming home stayed with me for thirty years. During that time, I figured he must be coming home from the war; which in turn begged the question, what war? My spasmodic studies of history during that time led me to the unavoidable truth that there’s only ever one war, and it’s never over.
All of the veterans I’ve met over the years brought the war home with them. They came back dressed in it, like a coat. Some of them put the coat neatly away in a cupboard. Some of them hid it in the attic, lagging the hot water tank. Some of them, usually the ones who didn’t do so well in peacetime, carried on wearing it because they had nothing else to wear, and they lived in a cold place.
It’s sad that war never seems to go out of style. The veterans I’ve talked to all said the same thing; it was the comradeship, the friends, that made it bearable, even joyful. Do you still see your old army buddies, I ask? None of them do. I conclude that my original mental image was deceptive; nobody comes home from the war, because everybody who fights in the war stays there, for ever and ever, and somebody else comes home, wearing their coat.
The Company [UK|US] is K.J. Parker’s first stand alone novel and is available in paperback this month from all good booksellers.
- - September 18th, 2009
When you’ve been away from a series as long as I’ve been away from the Landover books, there is a certain amount of trepidation involved when you consider returning. Readers have asked for a new Magic Kingdom book ever since the last one in 1995, but I just didn’t have a good enough idea to justify the writing of one. And, besides, other projects kept interfering. So I dragged my feet on the project and kept hoping something would happen to inspire me.
Eventually, of course, it did. But it came from an unexpected source. The Landover books always have something to do with what happens to me in real life, but things have been going along pretty smoothly for some time and so nothing much occurred to me when thinking of Ben and Willow. Then I remembered that their daughter, Mistaya, would be in her teen years. Some sort of trauma is always happening where teens are involved. Sure enough, I remembered an incident of some years back when one of my kids – one who shall remain nameless – got tossed out of boarding school. Now there’s some trauma. But what to do with it? This resourceful child managed to talk their way back in, but that wouldn’t do for Mistaya.
So I decided to deal with what happens when going back isn’t an option the child cares to consider and growing up is very much at issue. Mistaya, sent away to a world she doesn’t like, suddenly finds herself forced to discover what it is she really wants to do. A journey ensues, and along the way she has to come to terms with what it means when you have set yourself against virtually everyone and don’t have a real plan for how to make things come out right.
When young, we all go through a period of leaving childhood and entering adulthood and finding the effort a big fat pain in the butt. But what if you are a Princess, privileged and beautiful and heir to a magic that surpasses anything anyone else commands? What if who you are and what you are is at the source of the problem, and your flailing about puts the people you love the most at risk? Throw in some nasty opponents, some clueless G’Home Gnomes, a mystery in a haunted library, add your favorite talking dragon, and you’ve got something to work with.
I wouldn’t say that by the end of the book Mistaya’s troubles are over – far from it – but I would say she’s done some growing up. Even more important, she’s come to an understanding with her parents that will help smooth out the road ahead and let her continue her journey to adulthood.
A Princess of Landover [UK| AUZ] is available this month from all good booksellers.
- - September 17th, 2009
I’m pleased to announced that we will be publishing a new series from Gail Z. Martin! Set in the world of THE SUMMONER and THE BLOOD KING, this new series follows the fate of Summoner King Martris Drayke as he struggles to maintain the tenuous peace he has won for Margolan. Facing a new invasion from the north and tragedy at home, he must seek the aid of old friends and new allies, the guardians of an ancient power that watches the portals to the underworld, a nomadic fighting force known as The Sworn. Rumors have reached Tris’s ears that the dead The Sworn have vowed to protect are stirring uneasily in their burial mounds. The Dread are coming and Tris must do everything in his power to protect his home and his people.
We’re delighted to welcome Gail on board. THE CHRONICLES OF THE NECROMANCER has been a terrific series with the last installment coming out in December of this year—THE DARK LADY’S CHOSEN. Check it out at www.chroniclesofthenecromancer.com!
- - September 10th, 2009
Jeff Somers, author of The Eternal Prison, has a few words for his critics.
- - September 3rd, 2009
Symir: The Drowning City. Home to exiles and expatriates, pirates and smugglers. And violent revolutionaries who will stop at nothing to overthrow the corrupt Imperial government.
Amanda Downum’s fantasy adventure debut is out this week in both the US and the UK. Set in the dark alleyways of a port city on the edge of a corrupt empire, Isyllt Iskaldur must find and finance the rumored revolutionaries on behalf of her country. A necromancer and a spy, she must find a way to complete her mission, topple the palaces of Symir, and prove herself to the crown. But in a land where even the dead are plotting, she will be lucky to escape with her own life intact.
“THE DROWNING CITY is a compelling fantasy in a richly imagined setting dripping with visceral detail, building to a conclusion at once unexpected, appropriate and moving.”
— Jacqueline Carey
“If you read only one first novel this year, read this one. I promise it’s good.”
— Elizabeth Bear
“Lush, evocative. Amanda Downum creates a richly realized, refreshingly Eastern world full of charms and spirits, espionage and intrigue and the wars of great powers fought by proxy.”
— Brent Weeks
“Amanda Downum may just be a force to be reckoned with.”
“[A] complex and striking debut”
– Publisher’s Weekly