Hello again, internet. Hope you’re doing well. It’s still been raining here a great deal, and I’ve found that my backyard doesn’t drain well at all. Arnold our Yorkie has to sidle along the edge of the grass at our porch to find a dry spot to use as a bathroom. I’d pity him if the sight wasn’t so awkward and hilarious.
Somehow, in the midst of all this rain, my wife has managed to collect three nails in one tire of her Prius. It’s almost amazing, her bad luck. I’ve never had a nail in my tires at all.
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Had a beer with Dan the other night. I really enjoy having a neighbor on hand to have a beer with, and I think Dan does, too. We split a six pack of Lone Star in his shed. He seemed a little despondent, or at least more than usual, and after a while I gathered that his creation was giving him trouble.
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- - October 8th, 2009
Jane True #1 Out in November
Nicole Peeler’s debut novel TEMPEST RISING is out next month – but you can read chapter one on her website now.
Rockabill, Maine, is a small town with a rapidly growing supernatural population. Like her fellow citizens, Jane True, a 26-year old bookstore clerk, loves the ocean, but even her hardiest fellow Downeasters hesitate to go for a plunge in the surf every night, be it winter or summer. The few who know of her solitary swims are OK with it, of course; it is part of her heritage, and the supernatural is as traditional in New England as lobster rolls. But after she discovers a murder, she realizes she’s being drawn further into a world populated by creatures of myths and legends, sometimes lovely, often terribly dangerous. Creatures such as Ryu, the young (and, need we add, handsome) vampire sent to investigate the murder, and who’d very much like to be her new friend.
TEMPEST RISING is fast, fantastic seaside fun. Look for the book in November, and keep up with Nicole’s adventures on her blog.
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.
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- - October 6th, 2009
Gail Carriger’s debut novel SOULLESS (the first volume in The Parasol Protectorate) went on sale last week. Readers have been awaiting this one since the buzz began this past spring. Publishers Weekly called it ‘intoxicatingly witty.” Romantic Times gave it four and a half stars. Time’s Lev Grossman, blurbing the book, called it “ravishing” and said that it has “all the delicate charm of a Victorian parasol, and all the wicked force of a Victorian parasol secretly weighted with brass shot and expertly wielded.”
Pretty good for a start. Now that it’s out in the stores, what are people saying?
io9.com:“A character-driven romp with great worldbuilding and delicious rapier wit that recalls Austen and P.G.Wodehouse.”
Fresh Fiction:: “There are not many books I can recommend that will make you want to drop everything you are doing and run out to your nearest bookstore to buy. SOULLESS is one of them.”
SFRevu : “I was enchanted from start to finish.”
Falcata Times:“It’s a corker and definitely something that’s new in the field that I suspect will win Gail fans by the bucketload.”
Photo by Robert Andruszko
The verdict. Extremely victorious, and getting more so every day.
Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a piece of treacle tart on your way back from the bookstore.
My first addition to the official Orbit blog page. This is serious. This is important. This is something to think about. So I’m going to just leap into the fray and admit something.
Fantasy is silly.
It just is. There’s no way around this, and to think otherwise is an unnecessary strain on your justification cortex. (I don’t know if there’s such a thing but seems like there should be if there isn’t.)
Science Fiction is (mostly) silly, too. It’s all absurd, ridiculous, nonsensical stuff. It’s whimsy. It’s make-believe. It’s escapist. It’s childish. It’s all these wonderful things and more. 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 23rd, 2009
Apparently I am what is known as an Unreliable Narrator, though of course if you believe everything you’re told you deserve whatever you get.’
Iain M. Banks is back with TRANSITION, an apocalyptic fable for terrible times.
And starting today we’re serializing the abridged audio edition of TRANSITION on iTunes. Each Tuesday and Friday you can download a new chapter of the abridged edition for free.
“TRANSITION is a book that makes you think, one that makes you look at the world around you in a different light, and it’s also a properly thrilling read. If only more contemporary fiction was like it.” — The Independent
- - September 21st, 2009
Artistic Whispers Productions has staged a wonderful full-cast reading of chapter one of Gail Carriger’s forthcoming SOULLESS. Listen to it here. And while you’re listening, explore the Victorian fashion of SOULLESS.
- - 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.