- - December 11th, 2007
K.J. Parker’s Engineer Trilogy continues to wow the critics. In the Locus review of Evil for Evil (US, UK) and The Escapement (US, UK) Faren Miller says of the trilogy:
“The whole thing is brilliant – disturbingly so, since these fantasies (without a whit of magic) explore the human condition and reveal it all, brain, heart, guts and bowels, with a startling precision.”
And over at Strange Horizons, Farah Mendlesohn has a fascinating review of the trilogy that gets at the heart of what makes these books so compelling:
“The trilogy format of Parker’s work is deceptive: it both does, and doesn’t conform to recognisable fantasy trajectories. Yes, in almost all of the books there is at least one person who rises to power or moves towards the centre of the action; there is always big landscape; there are wars and many nameless people die. But the stories which form the plot are interlocked through future, present and past. Parker writes stories in which individuals become enmeshed in the machine, and in which economics is the god on which all the principals are sacrificed. ”
Read the whole review here.
You can find the first chapter of Devices and Desires here. Book three, The Escapement, is out this month.
- - November 29th, 2007
Over at SF World Mark Yon (clearly skeptical about any urban fantasy starring a Vampire) finds a lot to like in Jennifer Rardin’s Once Bitten, Twice Shy:
“This is one that should be read: one for me that stands with my current faves Jim Butcher and Mike Carey.”
At Scifichick.com Angela has a review of the next book in the Jaz Parks series, Another One Bites the Dust,
“With more action and tougher bad guys, this sequel doesn’t disappoint.”
And for a chance to win a copy of the first two books in the series (plus what looks like a very tasty chocolate snowman) visit Urbanfantasy.blogspot.com
- - October 29th, 2007
Another great review for Jennifer Rardin, as LoveVampires is calling Another One Bites the Dust:
Fast-paced, exciting and entertaining . . . recommended reading. It has mystery, spies, mad villains, romance, humour and vampires. Really, what’s not to like?
In other kick-ass vampire news, check out the interview they did with Charlie Huston, whose latest novel, No Dominion, is described by The Gravel Pit as:
[A] blast. It offers the same gritty noir-style with the brutal pace as did Already Dead . . . Bring on the third Joe Pitt!
And over at The Book Swede, there’s a wonderful review of Daniel Abraham’s The Long Price:
The ideas on which Abraham has built this series are original and thought-provoking . . . he is surely one of the brightest stars to come into the genre for quite a while.
Finally, Gav’s Blog gives Dead Men’s Boots an impressive five stars, saying:
Carey is a master plotter. His plots are focused and well planned though with enough clues that you mentally kick yourself when you start to see the connections . . . It’s a great read. You can’t help yourself from wanting to know how deep in shit Castor can go before he drowns.
- - October 25th, 2007
There are some great reviews coming in for Daniel Abraham’s The Long Price. Starburst says of it:
In this enjoyable, intelligent, original fantasy series, plot springs with tragic inevitability from character and there are no heroes and villains but only often flawed but eminently understandable human beings
SFX go further in their review:
Far from being a bog-standard tale of swords and sorcery, Daniel Abraham has served up a compelling, emotionally brutal and edgy fantasy that’s genuinely worthy of comparison with genre heavyweights like George R.R. Martin . . . [pushes] way beyond the genre’s comfortable boundaries, into bold and unsettling new territory.
- - October 15th, 2007
Once Bitten, Twice Shy is getting great reviews! The The New York Post featured it in their “Required Reading” column, and over at Katie’s Reading, Katie says:
“Before I started reading Once Bitten, Twice Shy I had read several reviews that claimed that this was a good book, a great book even. But in no way was I prepared for how truly wonderful Once Bitten, Twice Shy turned out to be. I loved it, plain and simple as that.”
Curious? Get to know Jaz with this excerpt, and then stop by Jennifer’s blog to meet the author.
- - October 15th, 2007
SFCrowsnest has just added some fantastic reviews of classic and new Orbit books. Now’s your chance to check out some great SF & Fantasy you might have missed:
Of Spindrift, the latest book in Allen Steele’s critically acclaimed Coyote series, they say:
Steele’s clean, crisp writing and careful scientific invention reminds me of Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama. There’s a definite feel of classic Science Fiction storyline brought up-to-date with technology and science. That’s no bad thing and the easy pace and good characterisation make it a pleasure to read.
Of Moving Target, Elizabeth Moon’s military SF thriller, they say:
The last eighty pages are complete page-turners . . . If you like space opera then this is a series I think you would enjoy.
Adding to the praise for Charles Stross’ The Atrocity Archives, SF Crowsnest says:
Stross mixes the weird monsters of a Lovecraft novel with the gadgets and clever action of a techno-thriller. . .an enjoyable romp through a crazy mix of genres.
And for the fantasy readers out there, here’s what they say about Ian Irvine’s The Fate of the Fallen:
[Irvine] delights in creating sweeping sagas and great journeys for the characters. There are some wonderful colourful passages of people and landscapes. What he really likes is to bring his characters right down into the core of themselves as they face great challenges.
- - October 15th, 2007
Words of praise in the latest Aurealis magazine for two of Orbit’s top Australian scribes, Sean Williams and Marianne de Pierres:
Sean has produced some good work in the past; he’s had the opportunity to flex his writing muscles in a wide variety of projects. In Saturn Returns, I felt a new assuredness, a strength of voice that was compellingly entertaining and thought-provoking. Saturn Returns is Sean’s best yet — go out and buy it.
Dark Space is an exciting adventure with plenty going on to keep you turning the pages. The story is primed to enter uncharted territory at the end of Book One. Marianne has a knack for creating compelling characters in complex realities — the Parish Plessis novels showed us that — so this is one to watch as it develops through the next two volumes.”
A shout out to former Aurealis editor, now reviewer, Keith Stevenson for his insightful reviews, which will appear in full in issue #38.
Keith also had some nice things to say about Orbit’s new global presence, so it would be rude — rude, I say! — not to repeat some of that niceness here:
The enthusiasm comes from what’s happening in the Australian market lately. This could be another false dawn — we’ve been through so many — but with the arrival of Hachette Livre and its much respected imprint Orbit into the local arena there is a level of energy and enthusiasm that I haven’t seen for a long while in Australian genre publishing . . . And so to another Orbit SF release (see what I mean: the release of two Australian science fiction books in as many months is unheard of in recent years).
Thanks, Keith. I hope we can continue to excite SF readers in Australia — and all around the world — for years to come!
- - October 4th, 2007
Following on a fantastic review and interview, The Book Swede is now giving away six copies of Karen Miller’s The Awakened Mage.
Be sure to visit for a chance to win one of the most popular books this year!
- - September 24th, 2007
There was a terrific double review in The Telegraph over the weekend, looking at Charles Stross’ latest books, The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue. Charlie is described as “British science fiction’s hot new writer, having turned out half a dozen novels in what seems like the last five minutes . . . Tremendously good, geeky fun.”
- - September 13th, 2007
Things are fairly hectic at Orbit UK — we’re really looking forward to fantasy legend Terry Brooks touring the UK next week, so there’s a certain amount of dotting Is and crossing Ts going on — and it’s all too easy to miss things taking place around the blogosphere. So here’s a catch-up on what’s being happening with our books and authors:
Ian Irvine has written an essay on the books that are important to him for the distinguished academic Norman Geras’ blog.
Sean Williams is answering questions from readers on the Australian SpecFic in Focus forum — you’ve got until 15 September if you want to ask him something.
As a marketing hack, I was fascinated by this interesting analysis of how a reader decides what to buy in a bookshop, using Brian Ruckley’s Winterbirth as a case study, written by a genuine marketing expert, Roy Bayfield of Edge Hill University.
Jeff Somers’ The Electric Church is out later this month. It’s already picked up some great reviews. The Guardian called it “an exhilarating example of powerful and entertaining storytelling.” Meanwhile, blogger Graeme Flory rated it eight out of ten and wrote of it: “I read a couple of pages; then I read some more, the next thing I knew, it was Sunday night and I’d finished it. Great stuff, every single page tells you in no uncertain terms why this book has been chosen as part of Orbit’s opening salvo on the US market . . . an entertainingly bullet spattered read that hints at great things from Somers in the future.”
Graeme has also reviewed Mike Carey’s new book Dead Men’s Boots, which rates a mighty nine and a half out of ten, and the comment, “If you’ve already read the first two books then I guarantee you’re going to absolutely love this one. If you haven’t then I suggest you pick up The Devil You Know [Mike’s debut for Orbit] and get reading. You won’t regret it.” There’s also an interview with Mike on Graeme’s blog.
The final word on Dead Men’s Boots goes to the estimable John Berlyne, who says in his SFRevu review: “What Carey develops . . . is yet another extraordinarily gripping supernatural mystery . . . These Castor books are as fiendishly addictive as nicotine and are made all the more satisfying by Castor’s deadpan, ironic fatalism . . . The net result is another superb, highly involving novel from Mike Carey.” You can read the rest of the review here.