Sunday, 23 December 2007

Author Interview - Joel Shepherd

Novels:
Crossover,
Breakaway,
Killswitch,
Sasha
(Australia)

website: www.joelshepherd.com

In the books you've written, who is you favourite character and why?

>Very hard to pick a favorite, but since we're talking about the Cassandra Kresnov series here, I'll say Sandy (Cassandra) herself. She's possibly the least biased and most open minded person you'd be likely to meet on most matters -- a natural pragmatist who is simultaneously intrigued by non-pragmatic things precisely because they're unnecessary. She looks at everything as though it were new and fascinating, which as a writer forces me to do so too.

What character is most like you?

>I think they all have elements of me, but none of them are truly like me. If writers were that interesting, we wouldn't have to invent other people to populate our novels.

If you could, would you change places with any of your characters?

>Hell no. My characters live dangerous lives.

If you could live in your fantasy/sf world, would you? Would you live in somebody else's?

>I think Tanusha would be a cool place to live sure. I actually think one of the coolest fantasy universes to live would be the Star Wars universe... which is not to say I like every tale in every medium set in that universe. But living in a place with countless inhabited worlds, where you can actually travel between them all, wouldn't get boring very quickly

What was the hardest scene for you to write?

>The ones that don't work are the hardest to write. Sad scenes (killing a major character) are usually quite easy, because emotion usually flows well onto the page for me. When a scene doesn't work, when it's boring, when it doesn't do what I want it to do, I usually have to figure out why, and where it's gone wrong, and if I truly need it anyway -- that's hard.

What is your university degree in?

>International Relations. My primary interest is human civilisation, all my books are about it in one way or another.

Do you think it is easier to write fantasy or science fiction?

>I find them about the same. Fantasy tends to be more lyrical, which is fun as a writer, because you can just let the words play with each other through the sentences. My SF tends to be a little more brutal and direct.


What is something you didn't know about the publishing industry before you had your fist book published?

>How long everything takes!

Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

>Patience.

Any tips against writers block?

>It's different for every author. But with me, if I'm stuck, or there's no inspiration flowing, it's usually because I've taken a wrong turn. So I retrace what I've written, find the last bit in the story where I was very confident I knew where I was going, and progress from there. Often I just cut what I've written from that point, and start again. If you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Arthurian Reading List

As with the other reading lists posted on this site, the list is by no means complete (especially where the secondary sources are concerned). But if you're interested in King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table you'll find quite a few interesting reads herein.

Primary Sources:

Morte D’Arthur - Sir Thomas Malory
Lais - Marie de France
Parzival - Wolfram Von Eschenbach
Sir Gawain & the Green Knight - Anonymous
Death of King Arthur - Anonymous
Arthurian Romances - Chretien de Troyes
Arthurian Chronicles - Wace & Layamon
History of the Kings of Britain - Geoffrey of Monmouth

Secondary Sources:
Myths and Legends of the British Isles - Richard Barber
Companion to Arthurian & Celtic Myths & Legends - Mike Dixon-Kennedy
Mammoth Book of King Arthur - Mike Ashley
King Arthur - Norma Lorre Goodrich
King Arthur; the Truth Behind the Legend - Rodney Castleden

"Modern" Literary Works:
Jennifer Roberson, Ed. - Out of Avalon
Mary Stewart - Crystal Cave, Hollow Hills, Last Enchantment, The Wicked Day
Irene Radford - Guardian of the Balance, Guardian of the Trust, Guardian of the Vision, Guardian of the Promise, Guardian of Freedom
J. Robert King - Mad Merlin, Lancelot Du Lathe
T.H. White - The Once & Future King, The Book of Merlin
Guy Gavriel Kay - Summer Tree, Wandering Fire, Darkest Road
Marion Zimmer Bradley - Mists of Avalon, Priestess of Avalon, Lady of Avalon
Diana L. Paxson - Ancestors of Avalon, Ravens of Avalon
Alice Borchardt - Dragon Queen, Raven Warrior
Robert Carter - Giants’ Dance, White Mantle
Jack White - Skystone, Singing Sword, Eagles’ Brood, Saxon Shore, Sorcerer: Fort at Rivers Bend, Sorcerer: Metamorphosis, Clothar the Frank, Uther, Eagle
Bernard Cornwell - Winter King, Enemy of God, Excalibur
Rosalind Miles - Guenivere, Queen of the Summer Country; Knight of the Sacred Lake; Child of the Holy Grail
Judith Tarr - Kingdom of the Grail
Stephen Lawhead - Taliesin, Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon, Grail, Return of King Arthur
A.A. Attanasio - Dragon & the Unicorn
Mark Twain - Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Douglas Clegg - Mordred, Bastard Son

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Author Interview - Joshua Palmatier

Novels:
The Skewed Throne
The Cracked Throne
The Vacant Throne (coming in January)

Website: www.sff.net/people/jpalmatier/

> Pitch your latest novel OR the first novel of your series.

A millennium ago, the city of Amenkor was caught in the White Fire, a mysterious force that swept across the land spreading madness, drought, famine, and disease. Now the White Fire has blasted through Amenkor again, and as the city begins an inexorable downward spiral, it is up to Varis—-a gutterscum thug from the slums of the city—-to stop it. Trained as an assassin, and with hidden magical talents of her own, she must break free of the diseased slums and ascend to the city proper to face the true power in Amenkor: The Skewed Throne.

Only the throne is waiting. And it’s insane.

> What are your favourite three books (not by you, either in the field or out of it)?

Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay
Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams

> In the books you've written, who is you favourite character and why?

Um, well, it would have to be Varis. She's the main character of the three novels I've written, so I've spent the most time with her, gotten to know her rather well, perhaps too well. I like the fact that she's learning and growing throughout the series; I like her practicality; and I like the fact that she likes to get things DONE, now.

> What character is most like you?

This is a hard one, because there's a little bit of me in practically all of the characters. But out of all of them, I'd have to say Varis again. Not because I grew up in the slums, alone and starving, and then became trained as an assassin, but because in the process of writing Varis, I constantly asked myself what it would take for me to be pushed to the point where would kill someone. What would it take for ME to step beyond that invisible line? Once I figured that out, I'd use that to push Varis, further and further and further.
So in that sense, I see much more of myself in Varis than I do in any of the
other characters in the novels.

> If you could, would you change places with any of your characters?

Oh, hell, no! No matter how much we romanticize "medieval" times, it was a rather nasty, dirty, horrible place to live, and the mortality rate was extremely high. None of my characters really have what I would call a great life. I think one of the best aspects of my novels is that they ARE realistic. The world itself has a dirty, gritty realism to it, and the people in the novel react to that. That's not to say that there isn't any good moments in the novel either, but I think we currently live in rather sheltered times in comparison. And novels are all about strife and peril and overcoming what seem to be impossible odds. My life is eventful enough without adding additional strife and mayhem. *grin*

> If you could live in your fantasy/sf world, would you? Would you live in somebody else's?

I'd love to live on the Frigean Coast . . . provided it wasn't being attacked, starved, or in some other way made to suffer. I think almost any writer would say they secretly wish to build themselves a palace or castle on a hill and live there. Some of us have actually made enough money to do this to some extent. I've almost always lived on the coast, so naturally my fantasy world is currently centered around coastal regions.

If I had to choose someone else's world to live in . . . I'd live in Anne McCaffrey's Pern. A pet dragon would be nice.

> What was the first novel (published or unpublished) that you wrote and how long did it take to write it?

The first novel I wrote, not currently published, was called "Sorrow". It's set in the same world as the Throne books, but with a completely different cast of characters, on a completely different coast. I wrote the first draft over the course of high school and the first few years of college. It's hard to tell exactly how long it took. When I hit grad school, I started revising it. I ended up revising it four or five times over the next few years. So in the end, it probably took me 5 years to get the current draft down. I've become much quicker at the writing and revising game since then of course.

> What was the hardest scene for you to write?

Probably the hardest scene for me to write would be in the second novel, "The Cracked Throne." I can't really talk about it much without giving away a significant portion of the plot of the book, but the scenes that are hard for me to write almost always involve some type of strong emotional reaction. The most interesting parts of novels to me aren't the battles or the magic or plot elements, but how the characters react emotionally to all of those elements and how those elements make the characters change and grow. How does the battle effect the beliefs of the main characters? How do they handle the death and loss of friends and family? How do they handle betrayal? These reactions are what interest me as a writer, and also what give me the most problems writing. Because they're hard to capture, and even harder to create and make believable.

> What is the strangest question you have ever been asked by a fan? OR Share an interesting fan story.

*snort* Ok, the strangest question I've ever been asked by a fan was at my first official signing, the day the first book was released. I was at Flights of Fantasy, a bookstore in Albany, New York, and the reading/signing was going really well. I opened up the floor to questions from the audience and after a few standard types of questions that I'd expected, the owner of the bookstore, Maria Perry, asked me, "Why doesn't Varis have a pet? She needs a cat or something to keep her company."

I was caught totally off guard and honestly didn't know what to say. My mind was completely blank. But after a moment of silence, I guess I started channeling Varis or something because I said, "Because . . . she'd eat it?"

The room burst into laughter of course, but I was being serious! Part of Varis's life is the fact that she's living in the slums, and realistically, in the slums you're fighting to survive. Any kind of animal--cat, dog, rat, pigeon, whatever--would be viewed as a food source. This didn't exactly make Maria happy (she's a cat lover). She's asked me at every signing I've given at the bookstore since then, but so far Varis hasn't had the luxury of having a
pet.

> What was the most fun book signing, convention, etc. you've attended and why?

Ah, the absolute best book signing, convention, and event (all rolled into one) was the Zombies Need Brains party that a group of fellow authors threw at the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs, New York. It was a total blast! I think it was fun because there was no pressure from me or the other authors to be anything other than ourselves. We weren't reading from our books, it wasn't a "staged" event in any way, nothing. We simply invited anyone at the con to come and enjoy some free drinks and food, and if they wanted to buy books and get them signed there were some available. It was an extremely relaxed (and loud and hot and . . .) event, and completely exhausting for us hosts. But well worth it. Because it was totally casual, I could chat with fans and prospective fans and be completely at ease, laughing and joking and whatnot. It's the most fun I've had at any writing-related event I've ever been to.

> If you still have one, what's your day job?

Oh, I most definitely still have a day job. Only the most successful writers have the luxury of not working at another job, unless they're being supported by a spouse or significant other. I support my writing habit by teaching mathematics at the College at Oneonta, part of the State Universities of New York system. I teach during the fall and spring semesters, and do most of my writing during the summer months and the break between the semesters.

> What is your university degree in?

I have a Bachelor's of Science, a Master of Arts, and a Ph.D. in mathematics. I wrote fantasy during all of those degrees in order to keep myself sane. When the strict logic and structure of the math became too frustrating, I'd take a break from it all and escape to the fantasy worlds I'd created. And when the writing came grinding to a halt for whatever reason, I'd go back to the math. It balanced itself out rather well.

> Do you think it is easier to write fantasy or science fiction?

I think it's easier to write fantasy, although neither one is particularly easy to write. Fantasy requires that you craft a world so well that it becomes totally believable to the reader, no matter what magical elements that world may contain. Convincing someone--even someone who's willing to suspend their disbelief--that something magical is real, and that it will work in that particular world, is extremely difficult. You're doing essentially the same thing in science fiction, except that instead of establishing a whole new world, you have to use the known rules of this world to create something completely believable for our possible future. In both, you're working hard to convince the reader that everything is REAL.

> When and where do you write?

I write whenever and wherever I can typically. I have a desk where I do most of my writing, with nothing much on it except my laptop, a notebook for notes, and a stack of CDs. I always write to music (although none of the music has lyrics; I can't write with someone singing actual words in the background). I usually turn the computer on, put in the earbuds, pop in a CD, and open up the file and write. This usually happens during the day, when most everyone else is at work, including my partner. However, I've also gotten up early to write before work (rarely), and stayed up late at night (more likely), when on a particular deadline. I've basically written enough that I don't need a particular schedule or a particular place in order for the words to flow.

> What's the best/worst thing about writing?

The best thing about writing is the complete submersion of myself into the world and the characters that live in that world. I want to make the world as real and believable as I can for the reader, and in order to do that I basically have to LIVE there, even though that isn't really possible. Once I put those earbuds in and turn on the music, I sink into the world and it just comes alive to me. The only thing that feels better is when I've finished the novel. I usually emerge from the story with a sense of euphoria that's impossible to describe.

The worst thing about writing is the middle of the book. That's usually when all of the serious doubt about whether the story is going to work, whether it's going to be good, etc, kicks in. It's often called the "muddle" by writers, because it seriously feels like you're muddling through, that the book sucks, that it's going nowhere, and so forth. It's depressing. Even when you know that you felt the same way during the LAST book, you convince yourself that this time it's different, that this time it's going to be a disaster, that you can't salvage anything from the crap that you're writing, etc. It's the exact opposite of the euphoria of finishing the book and knowing that it's good.

> What is something you didn't know about the publishing industry before you had your first book published?

I didn't know that in the publishing industry the author is the last to know. Seriously. The author (and the editor and publisher as well) pretty much are in the dark about how the book is being received. Sure there are reviews here and there, and you always hope for critical acclaim, but for the most part you don't hear from the majority of the people reading the books. It's like a silent void that you throw your book into and wait intently for an echo . . . and you get nothing. It's rare that the author hears from fans, so you don't know if they like it or hate it, or what. And you don't know how well it's selling. Not even a year after it's been out. You know if it's selling HUGE amounts, but if you're not on the bestseller list . . . then you just don't know. So I didn't realize to what extent the author is in the dark about the whole process once the book has left the publisher's warehouse.

> Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

I'll give hopeful authors out there the same advice that I got as a "hopeful author" from Kate Elliott: persistance and patience. Those are the two key elements for anyone trying to get published. You have to be patient, because nothing in the publishing industry happens fast, even when you've already been published multiple times. Things are slow, responses are slow. And when you do get a response, it's generally a rejection, which is where the persistence comes into play. More than likely, you'll get lots and lots of rejections before you get an editor to say yes and buy your book. It's depressing when those rejections come in, but you just have to persist and send that novel out again, to the next person on the list. Eventually, someone will say yes. If not to the current book, then to the one you write next. I wrote four complete novels before I got someone to say yes.

> Any tips against writers block?

My only suggestion against writer's block is to write. It sounds stupid, but I think the key is that you have to realize that every writer, no matter how accomplished, no matter how many books they've written, writes crap on occasion. So you have to allow yourself to write crap. When writer's block hits, you have to force yourself to sit down at the computer or paper or typewriter and just write. And don't worry that it all might be horrible, horrible garbage, just plow through it. What I've found in the past with my own writing is that often when I go back and reread all that crap I've allowed (or forced) myself to write, there are usually a few really good ideas hidden inside of it. And those ideas are what you're searching for, and what will get you through that block.

> How many rejection letters did you get for your first novel or story?

Ugh, I can't even count them all. I used to have an entire folder of them. A rather thick folder. But during a move I decided I didn't need to keep them anymore and so trashed them. But I can safely say that it was over 50 rejections, for various short stories, but mostly for the novels. Remember I went through three other novels before someone finally said yes to the fourth. Getting rejections from both editors and agents for each of those books . . . the rejections pile up. So if you've already got a nice stack of rejections in your own little folder, don't fret. Almost every writer out there could plaster their entire house with their rejections.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Sci-Fi Fan Letter Issue 16

December 2007

Sniper Elite: Spear of Destiny
By: Jaspre Bark

Berlin, 1945. Germany has all but lost the war. However, they have managed to build the A-bomb before any other superpower. Lacking the resources to launch it, SS General Helmstadt has decided to sell the plans and the weapon to the Russians. Only Karl Fairburne, a very gifted sniper working for the American secret service, can stop the renegade Nazi from handing over the secrets to the Russians and prevent them from winning the Cold War before it has even started.

Filled with espionage, and a great deal of action, this book is a definite page turner that will keep you reading from the beginning straight through to the end. This is not your typical “what if the Nazis won” alternate history book but instead it is more like “what if the Soviets beat the Americans to getting the bomb?”

- DG-88

I Am Legend
By: Richard Matheson

"How long can one man survive in a world of vampires?"

Richard Matheson drops us down in a world where the only living human left, Robert Neville, is forced to defend himself against mobs of vampires and his own despair. Neville struggles to find a way to survive, and perhaps cure the plague that has destroyed mankind. Outside his door, other humans, infected but not turned, search for a way to recreate society in a new mold. The two cannot exist together. This simple tale of survival and desperation is fraught with tension. It asks us what humanity is; and forces us to look at how we define society and our place within it. Better than your usual vamp-lit, I Am Legend is both a great tale of horror and a perfect morality tale.

-Cat

Fitzpatrick's War
Theodore Judson

Judson presents us with the memoirs of a 25th century Knight, Robert Bruce. He lived and wrote during a crucial period in the history of the Yukon Confederacy, the sole superpower in a world that, since the Storm Times, has had to live without electronics of any kind. To aid our understanding and guard us from Bruce's perceived spite and error, Doctor Van Buren, a prominent 26th century scholar has edited and footnoted this edition thus giving us the official history to contrast with the soldier's version.

A long but fascinating read with a unique use of double narrative.

-Leeman (Yonge and Eglinton)

The Traveler
By: John Twelve Hawks

Unlike other futuristic depictions of life in a world where freedoms are curtailed (1984, We), The Traveler does not take place 50+ years in the future. It takes place now.

The technology described is currently available, the security measures that track humanity have been implemented. The book which can alternately be classified as a suspense (for the secret societies involved), a fantasy (for the shamanistic power of the Travelers), or science fiction (for the genetically engineered animals and the quantum computer) seems to morph into a horror story of what the world is becoming.

The author’s willingness to kill off characters keeps you on edge through all the action sequences. These scenes alternate with quieter segments where philosophical questions about power, privacy and personal choices are asked, if not answered.

It’s well worth the read.

-Jessica Strider

Check out the website for themed reading lists and, starting this month, author interviews.

Coming in January: Hardcover:
Ruby Dice - Catherine Asaro
Tracing the Shadow - Sarah Ash
Pebble in the Sky - Isaac Asimov
Ring of Fire - Eric Flint
Thundered - Felix Gilman
Finger Pointing Solward - Donald Kingsbury
Inside Straight - George Martin, Ed.
Dragon Magic - Andre Norton
Vacant Throne - Joshua Palmatier
Dragons of Babel - Michael Swanwick

Trade Paperback:
Gods & Pawns - Kage Baker
Breath & Bone - Carol Berg
Earthbound & Other Stories - Eric Flint, Ed.
Shadow Bridge - Gregory Frost
Black Magic Woman - Justin Gustainis
Dark Wars: The Tale of Meiji Dracula - Hideyuki Kikuchi
Firebird - Mercedes Lackey
Resolution - John Meaney
Keepers of the Flame - Robin Owens
Roman Dusk - Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Mass Market:
War Hammer: Ravenor Rogue - Dan Abnett
Brass Man - Neal Asher
Dust - Elizabeth Bear
Flesh & Spirit - Carol Berg
Deliverer - C.J. Cherryh
Weavers of War - David Coe
Lord of the Silent Kingdom - Glen Cook
Star Trek: A Burning House - Keith R.A. DeCandido
Borderkind - Christopher Golden
Fellowship Fantastic - Martin Greenberg, Ed.
The Future We Wish We Had - Martin Greenberg, Ed.
Wolf is Night - Tara Harper
Rebel Fay - Barb & J.C. Hendee
Wolf’s Blood - Jane Lindskold
Khai of Khem - Brian Lumley
Command Decision - Elizabeth Moon
Oath of Fealty - Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
Moonsinger - Andre Norton
Return to Quag Keep - Andre Norton
East of the Sun, West of the Moon - John Ringo
Idlewild - Nick Sagan
Kitty & the Silver Bullet - Carrie Vaughn
Off Armageddon Reef - David Weber
Canyon of Bones - Richard Wheeler
War Hammer: Masters of Magic - Chris Wraight
Dragon & Soldier - Timothy Zahn

Monday, 26 November 2007

Space Opera Reading List

As per the other reading lists, this list is not complete, merely a jumping off point for further reading. The books are in no particular order (except for the two anthologies at the beginning).

David G. Hartwell, Ed. - Space Opera Renaissance
Jonathan Strahan, Ed. - The New Space Opera
Ken MacLeod - Newton’s Wake
Brian W. Aldiss - Eighty-minute hour
Catherine Asaro - Skolian Empire series
Lois McMaster Bujold - Vorkosigan series
Elizabeth Bear - Hammered, Scardown, Worldwired
M. Buckner - War Surf
Simon Green - Deathstalker series
Mike Shephard - Kris Longknife series
Sharon Shinn - Heart of Gold
Linnea Sinclair - Finders Keepers, Gabriel’s Ghost, Accidental Goddess, Games of Command, Down Home Zombie Blues
S. L. Viehl - Stardoc series, Blade Dancer
Sharon Lee & Steve Miller - Crystal Soldier, Crystal Dragon
Julie Czerneda - Trade Pact Universe trilogy, Species Imperative trilogy, Web Shifters trilogy, A Thousand Words for Stranger
C. J. Ryan - Dexta, Fifth Quadrant, Glorious Treason, Burdens of Empire
Diana Palmer - Morcai Batallion
Elizabeth Moon - Vatta’s War series
David Weber - Honor Harrington series
Various - Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who, etc.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Vampire Reading List

As with the Time Travel reading list posted last month, this list is not meant to be comprehensive, simply to give more ideas of books to read if you liked a particular theme. In with the Vampire books I've thrown a few Werewolf stories. Other vampire books will show up on forthcoming lists. The books are listed here in no particular order.

“…Take care how you cut yourself. It is more dangerous than you think in this country.”
-Bram Stoker, Dracula

Jeanne Stein - Becoming, Blood Drive
Sergei Lukyanenko - Night Watch, Day Watch, Twilight Watch
Barb & J.C. Hendee - Dhampir, Thief of Lives, Sister of the Dead, Traitor to the Blood, Rebel Fay
Octavia Butler - Fledgling
Karen Chance - Touch the Dark, Claimed by Shadow
Rob Thurman - Nightlife, Moonshine
Patricia Briggs - Moon Called, Blood Bound
George R. R. Martin - Fevre Dream
E. E. Knight - Way of the Wolf, Choice of the Cat, Tale of the Thunderbolt, Valentine’s Rising, Valentine’s Exile, Valentine’s Resolve
Carrie Vaughn - Kitty & the Midnight Hour, Kitty Goes to Washington, Kitty Takes a Holiday
Alice Borchardt - Silver Wolf, Night of the Wolf, Wolf King
Orson Scott Card - Lost Boys
Allen Kupfer - Journal of Professor Abraham Van Helsing
Bram Stoker - Dracula
Anne Rice - Interview with the Vampire, Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned, Tale of the Body Thief, Memnoch the Devil, Vampire Armand, Merrick, Blood & Gold, Blackwood Farm, Blood Canticle
Kit Whitfield - Benighted
Wm Mark Simmons - One Foot in the Grave, Dead on my Feet, Habeas Corpses
Susan Sizemore - The Hunt, Partners, Deceptions, Heroes
Scott Macmillan - Knights of the Blood, At Sword’s Point
Andrew Fox - Fat White Vampire Blues, Bride of the Fat White Vampire
Stephanie Meyer - Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse
L.A. Banks - Minion, Awakening, Hunted, Bitten, Forbidden, Damned, Forsaken, Wicked, Cursed
William Hill - Vampire Hunters
Raven Hart - Vampire’s Kiss
Robin McKinley - Sunshine
Darrell Schweitzer - Secret History of Vampires
Richard Laymon - Traveling Vampire Show
Jennifer Rardin, Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Jennifer Armintout - The Turning, Possession, Ashes to Ashes
Chris Green - Night Rising
Natasha Rhodes - Dante’s Girl

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Writers of the Future Event

Asked to introduce our guests only a few hours before the event, I went into a flurry of reading their websites and blogs. I learned some interesting things.

I already knew that Robert J. Sawyer had won a Nebula Award (Terminal Experiment) and a Hugo Award (Hominids). But I didn't know he'd won a John W. Campbell Award (Mindscan) or that this year he was given an Honourary Doctorate from Laurentian University. Also this year, he won an Aurora Award for his short story 'Biding Time', which appeared in the anthology Slipstreams. And of course, he was a judge for this year's L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest. Robert J. Sawyer is truly one of Canada's most prominent science fiction authors.

He is also an excellent public speaker, waxing eloquent on the merits of the Writers of the Future Contest, both literary and monetary. The four quarterly winners received cash prizes of $1000 USD, while the Grand Prize winner received $6000 (though, as Mr. Sawyer pointed out, "...it's only American dollars, so it's not what it once was."). In addition to money the winners got to spend one week at a writer's workshop for free. They also got to make contacts in the writing industry and join the ranks of those who won the contest in the past. Here's a clip of Robert J. Sawyer pointing out some of those past winners.

video
(Sorry about the quality of the video. I took it with my digital camera. I'm not sure why it's on it's side...)

As for the winners themselves, Stephen Kotowych, was this year's Grand Prize winner for his short story 'Saturn in G Minor'. This is only the second time in its 23 year history that a Canadian has won the grand prize (the first winner was James Alan Gardner). Stephen's work can also be found in the anthologies Under Cover of Darkness ('Borrowed Time') and Tesseracts 11 ('Citius, Altius, Forius').



And Tony Pi, second place winner for his short story 'The Stone Cipher' has been busy as well. He has stories in Tales of the Unanticipated #28 ('Pinocchio Cantatas') and Abyss and Apex ('Metamorphoses in Amber').

The two award winners read excerpts from their stories and then signed copies of the Writers of the Future anthology for audience members.

For anyone wishing to learn more about the international Writers of the Future Contest, check out their website.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Sci-Fi Fan Letter Issue 15

World’s Biggest Bookstore’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Newsletter November 2007

Writers of the Future Event

Tuesday November 6th join us in store at 6pm as we host two of the winners of this year's L. Ron Hubbard Writer's of the Future Contest. Meet Grand Prize winner, Stephen Kotowych, for his short story 'Saturn in G Minor' and the 2nd Place winner, Tony Pi, for his novella 'The Stone Cipher'. Robert J. Sawyer, a judge of this year's contest and a prominent Canadian Science Fiction author will host the event.


Expendable
By: James Alan Gardner

Mankind has reached the stars, found fellow sentient life and lives in a utopia where sudden and violent death is unknown but for a handful of people known as Explorers. Explorers reach out to new worlds and in doing so are invariably killed by hostile terrain, plagued by unknown infections, or eaten by native lifeforms.

To keep the psychological strain these deaths have on the rest of society low, Explorers are unofficially picked from the outskirts of society: the handicapped, the deformed and the ugly.

Placed in this impossible situation, one Explorer does all she can to face up to the challenges and expectations.

Superb premise and a superb read.

-Leeman

The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
By: Robert Rankin

Well, if you’re looking for a story that follows the standard fantasy formula, you may not want to pick up this book. The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse takes some of the stories that we grew up with and adds a twist that will leave you laughing and thinking that Robert Rankin is twisted. This is a story of mystery, love and control over Toy City.

Toy City is plagued with the murders of the rich and famous with no rhyme or reason. It is up to Eddie bear and a new comer to the city, Jack, to solve the cases and unravel the riddle of why this is happening. Their only clue is a hollow chocolate bunny left at the crime scenes. Meanwhile, Jack is trying to come to grips with the fact that the toys are alive and have their own city to live in, and you often wonder if Jack has a deeper and darker purpose to his presence in Toy City.

If you love a book with action, sex, crazy and in some cases literal murders, you have found the right book. But, whatever you do, don't read this book in a public place or you may get the crazy person look from everyone around you. Just remember that the truth about the murder victims comes to light in Chapter 4!

- Sheila

Elantris
By: Brandon Sanderson

Told from the circling viewpoints of the three main characters, Elantris is a well written High Fantasy.

Prince Raoden wakes one morning to discover that he’s been damned by the curse that destroyed Elantris, once the golden city of the blessed, now a decaying mass outside the capital. Exiled to Elantris, Raoden begins to learn the magic once practiced there as he attempts to discover why Elantris fell.

Princess Sarene of Teod arrives to meet her betrothed, only to be told that Raoden is dead and she is legally his widow. She is immediately thrust into court intrigues of which she is ignorant.

Hrathen, high priest of Fjordell, has come to convert the people of Arelon. This is their last chance. If they don’t accept his teachings, the Fjord army will wipe them out.

Brought to a satisfying ending, Elantris is a story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it.

- Jessica Strider

Coming in December
Hardcover:

War Hammer: Only in Death - Dan Abnett
Metal Swarm - Kevin Anderson
Captain’s Fury - Jim Butcher
First Born - Arthur Clarke & Stephen Baxter
Sorcerers’ Plague - David Coe
Inferno - Ellen Datlow
Star Wars: Rule of Two - Drew Karpyshyn
High Deryni - Katherine Kurtz
Dragon Harper - Anne & Todd McCaffrey
Rise of the Royal Blood - Robert Newcomb
Morcai Battalion - Diana Palmer
Starship: Mercenary - Mike Resnick
Sister Time - John Ringo & Julie Cochrane
Lifehouse Trilogy - Spider Robinson
Endless Blue - Wen Spencer
Voyage of the Snake Lady - Theresa Tomlinson
Borne in Blood - Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Trade Paperback:
Shadow Bridge - Grogory Frost
Dragon Outcast - E.E. Knight
Star Trek: Creative Couplings - David Mack
Blue Sword - Robin McKinley
Escapement - K.J. Parker
Another One Bites the Dust - Jennifer Rardin
The Terror - Dan Simmons
Soldier of Sidon - Gene Wolfe

Mass Market:
War Hammer: Armour of Contempt - Dan Abnett
Patron Saint of Plagues - Barth Anderson
Alpha - Catherine Asaro
Final Impact - John Birmingham
Devil Inside - Jenna Black
Lady of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley
Knighthood of the Dragon - Chris Bunch
Scar Night - Alan Campbell
Mistress of Winter - Giles Carwyn & Todd Fahnestock
1634: the Ram Rebellion - Eric Flint & Virginia De Marce
Eifelheim - Michael Flynn
Blood Bowl: Rumble in the Jungle - Matt Forbeck
Forgotten Realms: Neversfall - Ed Gentry
The Future We Wish We Had - Martin Greenberg & Rebecca Lickiss
Mechwar: Last Charge - Jason Hardy
Vampire’s Kiss - Raven Hart
Starcrash - Elysa Hendricks
Forgotten Realms: Crypt of the Moaning Diamond - Rosemary Jones
Dragon Lance: Black Talon - Richard Knaak
Star Trek: Forged in Fire - Michael Martin & Andy Mangels
War Hammer: Defenders of Ulhtuan - Graham McNeill
March Into Darkness - Robert Newcomb
Dragon Lance: Secret of Pax Tharkas - Douglas Niles
War Hammer: Hour of the Daemon - Aaron Rosenberg
Thraxas at War - Martin Scott
War Hammer: Desert Raiders - Lucien Soulban
Star Wars: Allegiance - Timothy Zahn
Blue-Haired Bombshell - John Zakour

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Time Travel Reading List

Once or twice a month I'll be adding themed reading lists to the blog. These lists won't be comprehensive lists of all the books for any given topic (that's nigh on impossible), but they should give you ideas of other books to look into if you like that topic. Please note that some of these books are out of print, so support your local library or used bookstore!

I've got a few lists to start with but I'm open to suggestions. So if you've read a book and want something similar, either comment on one of these posts or send me an email at: scififanletter@gmail.com. Be sure to leave your name so I can credit you when the list goes up.

- Jessica Strider

Time Travel Reading List

Roger Allen - Depths of Time, Ocean of Years, Shores of Tomorrow
Richard Matheson - Somewhere in Time
Orson Scott Card - Pastwatch
S.M. Stirling - Island in the Sea of Time, Against the Tide of Years, On the Oceans of Eternity
Terry Pritchett - Night Watch
Kay Kenyon - Seeds of Time
Robert Sawyer - Flash Forward
Andre Norton - Echoes in Time
Will Hubbell - Cretaceous Sea, Sea of Time
Robert Asprin & Linda Evans - Time Scout, Wagers of Sin, Ripping Time
Lynn Abbey - Taking Time, Down Time, Out of Time, Beyond Time
Michael Crichton - Timeline
Jon Georges - Faces of Mist & Flame
H.G. Wells - The Time Machine
Connie Willis - Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog
James Hogan - Thrice Upon a Time
Dennis Little, Ed - Time After Time
Audrey Niffenegger - Time Traveler’s Wife
Harry Turtledove, Ed - Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century
David Gerrold - Man Who Folded Himself
Chris Roberson - Here, There & Everywhere
Jack Finney - Time & Again, From Time to Time
John Varley - Millennium
Paul Levinson - Plot to Save Socrates


(My thanks to the staff at SF Signal, for pointing out some of my list omissions and linking to this site.)

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Writers of the Future Signing at the World's Biggest Bookstore

For those of you who would like more information about the signing next month, the event will take place on Tuesday November 6th at 6pm and feature this year's L. Ron Hubbard Writer's of the Future Contest's Grand Prize winner, Stephen Kotowych, for his short story 'Saturn in G Minor' and the 2nd Place winner, Tony Pi, for his novella 'The Stone Cipher'. Robert J. Sawyer, a judge of this year's contest and a prominent Canadian Science Fiction author will also be in attendance.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Sci-Fi Fan Letter Issue 14

The World's Biggest Bookstore's Science Fiction and Fantasy Newsletter Issue 14 October 2007

Hominid
By Robert J. Sawyer.

In the Hugo Award winning first book in the Neanderthal Parallax Trilogy, Robert J. Sawyer posits an alternate Earth where Neanderthals rose to sentience while our forebears went the way of the dodo. A modern day Neanderthal physicist, through a freak quantum accident, finds himself trapped in our world's Northern Ontario surrounded by strange, thin, hairless apes. As the two cultures learn to bridge their differences, the ramifications of this event is seen on both Earths. Sawyer manages to combine the qualities of "Planet of the Apes", Clan of the Cave Bear, "Stargate" and Perry Mason into an imaginative work of speculative fiction.

-Leeman

***Meet Canadian Science Fiction author Robert J. Sawyer and several winners of L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest at the World’s Biggest Bookstore Tuesday Novembr 6th at 6 pm. ***

Lord of the Fading Lands
By: C. L. Wilson
If you enjoy the blend of romance and fantasy employed by LUNA books, then you will love this new book by Dorchester Publishing: Lord of the Fading Lands.
C.L. Wilson’s city of Celieria is impeccably detailed and populated with an interesting and yet wholly realistic cast of characters.
The Fey Truthspeaker is coming for her annual visit, and this year the Feyreisen, King of the Fey, is accompanying her. He is searching for the woman whom their oracle showed could save the dying tairen, magical winged cats, whose fates are intertwined with those of his people.
Little does he realize that this woman is his shei’tani, his soul-mate, and that she is already unwillingly betrothed to another. As if that weren’t enough, the Eld, mages and ancient enemy of the Fey, are plotting once more.
This debut will draw you into a magical weave of spirit and air that won’t release you until the last word is read.

-Jessica Strider

Poltergeist
By: Kat Richardson
Harper Blaine was an ordinary small-time PI on a case that went wrong when she was killed. She was medically dead for two minutes and when medical technology brought her back, she discovered something different about herself: she was able to see the unseen and to walk within the veil separating the past from the present and the normal from the paranormal. It is a power she does not want, especially as it seems to attract all sorts of trouble, including her most recent case centering around a research group that has created an artificial poltergeist that seems to have a penchant for murder.
What can I say about the Greywalker novels? The covers are intriguing, and that alone was enough to get me to pick up the books. But what about the actual stories themselves?
With Greywalker, there was something about the book that kept drawing me back no matter how many times I put it down and went to something else. I decided to reserve judgment until I read a second book. Now a second book has come out, Poltergeist, and this time I read it from start to finish without going to something else. Kat Richardson is an author to keep an eye on. She gets better and better with each book.

- Mel

Dreams of Inan: Stealing Life
By: Antony Johnston
If Nicco Salarum had been more careful during his bank heist he wouldn’t have gotten caught and thereby gone into debt to the local mob boss, Wallus Bazhanka, for getting him out of jail. He wouldn’t have gone further into debt by deciding to dump Bazhanka’s cargo rather than kill a man. And so he wouldn’t have taken the wizard Xandus’s job to steal Governor Werrdun of Hurrundan’s necklace of office during his visit to Azbantha. Which would have been good for Nicco. Because stealing the necklace is just the start of his troubles.
Dreams of Inan is a new series by Abaddon Books, where magic and technology are both highly developed though not equally or universally accepted.
A unique idea with a lot of potential, keep your eyes peeled for the next book in this series.

-Jessica Strider

Coming in November
Hardcover:
War Hammer: With Only Death - Dan Abnett
Prador Moon - Neal Asher
High King’s Tomb - Kristen Britain
Genesis - Paul Chafe
Fallowblade - Cecilia Dart-Thornton
Confessor - Terry Goodkind
Carnifex - Tom Kratman
Cauldron - Jack McDevitt
Sagittarius Command - R.M. Meluch
Reader & Raelynx - Sharon Shinn
Better to Beg Forgiveness - Michael Willamson
Pirate Freedom - Gene Wolfe

Trade Paperback:
Sky Coyote - Kage Baker
Tesseracts 11 - Cory Doctorow & Holly Phillips
Eifelheim - Michael Flynn
Heart of Stone - C.E. Murphy
Evil for Evil - K.J. Parker
Killswitch - Joel Shepherd
Elemental Magic- Sharon Shinn
Star Trek: Blood Will Tell - Scott Tipton

Mass Market Paperback:
War Hammer: Armour of Contempt - Dan Abnett
Star Wars: Fury - Aaron Allston
Cursor’s Fury - Jim Butcher
Empire - Orson Scott Card
Pearls - Deborah Chester
Tower of Fear - Glen Cook
Weatherwitch - Cecilia Dart-Thornton
Grantville Gazette Vol III - Eric Flint
Forgotten Realms: Neversfall - Ed Gentry
Prodigal - Marc Giller
Wizards, Inc. - Martin Greenberg & M. Coleman
Assassin King - Elizabeth Haydon
People of the Dark - Robert Howard
Forgotten Realms: Crypt of the Moaning Diamond - Rosemary Jones
Dragon Lance: Black Talon - Richard Knaak
Crystal Dragon - Sharon Lee
Dragon’s Fire - Anne McCaffrey & Todd McCaffrey
Dragon Lance: Secret of Pax Tharkas - Douglas Niles
Star Born - Andre Norton
Cracked Throne - Joshua Palmatier
Choosers of the Slain - John Ringo
Sixty Days & Counting - Kim Stanley Robinson
War Hammer: Hour of the Daemon - Aaron Rosenberg
Saint City Sinners - Lilith Saintcrow
War Hammer: Descent of Angels - Mitchel Scanlon
War Hammer: Desert Raiders - Lucien Soulban
Wolf Who Rules - Wen Spencer
Watcher - Jeanne Stein
Dragon Lance: Warroir’s Bones - Stephen Sullivan
Star Trek: Sword of Democles - Geoffrey Thorne
Dragonfrigate Wizard Halcyon Blithe - James Ward

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Violette Malan comes to the WBB.


Violette Malan, author of fantasy novels Mirror Prince and Sleeping God was at the World's Biggest Bookstore on September 8th.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Sci-Fi Fan Letter Issue 13

Sleeping God
By: Violette Malan
Rather than sitting the characters down for a history lesson they already know, Violette Malan introduces her world through the actions and personalities of her protagonists.
And the actions begin with a well orchestrated scape goating campaign by the New Believers, a sect of the Sleeping God's priesthood, against the Marked, those with special abilities to Heal, Find, Mend and See.
Enter Dhulyn Wolfshead, mercenary partner of Parno Lionsmane and a carefully hidden Seer. They have returned to Parno's homeland, where unknown to them, the priesthood is coming to greater power. Their job to escort Mar-eMar to the capital takes several unexpected turns involving kidnapping, assassination and mob violence.


***Meet Violette in store on Saturday September 8th at 2pm.***


Stardust
By: Neil Gaiman
Now that the movie is out, and the reviews are floating around, I thought it would be nice to remind people that Stardust was a BOOK first, and not the other way around.
Following the journey of young Tristran Thorn, on his quest to bring back a fallen star for the girl he loves, Neil Gaiman spins a gorgeous tale of faerie magic and moonlight. Although magical and romantic, Stardust is also very terrifying and cold, but in a rather mischievous manner.
Seventeen year old Tristran, raised in the city of Wall, embarks on an innocent journey into the woods, into the Faerie realm, to find the one thing that will bring him love - a fallen star. With some curious help, he finds the Star, not realizing that this star - this girl - would bring him more than his Heart's Desire. And he is not the only one looking for her. Tristran and the Star must face a unicorn, a witch-queen, an old merchant woman, an heir-to-the-throne and each other to find the greatest prize of all quests - true love.
Neil Gaiman's wonderful prose captivates the reader with mystery and imagery that evokes the fairy tales of old. Stardust is hard to put down, and leaves you wanting more.
NOW, go see the movie.
- Kat

The Blade Itself
By: Joe Abercrombie
My only problem with this novel was that instead of using profanity to enhance the emotion of specific scenes, it was used everywhere, spoiling the effect it would otherwise have had. It was hard to picture the Gandalf figure, Bayaz, First of the Magi, employing casual curses. Then again, I'd also be hard pressed to imagine Gandalf using magic while naked and dripping from an interrupted bath. But Abercrombie makes you imagine all sorts of strange, yet oddly compelling things.
This book is great if you want a more realistic view of 'barbarian' life meets civilization. Here are 'heroes' whose arrows sometimes miss and who get injured during swordfights, outnumbered or not.
And if its realistic fight scenes fail to catch your interest, the characters can't. The three protagonists from the beginning are less than likeable and yet you find yourself liking them anyway.
There's Logan Ninefingers, a Named Man, for his fearsome deeds of the past, come form the barbarian North. Glokta, a crippled inquisitor, who doesn't get any pleasure from torturing people because, after being tortured for two years himself, he no longer gets any pleasure from anything. And Jezal, proud officer in the king's army and unhappily training for this year's fencing competition.
Brought together by the tidings of war and through the machinations of Bayaz, this book will leave you asking for more.
- Jessica Strider

Eclipse
By Stephenie Meyer
Our favourite ensemble of characters is back for a reappearance in Stephenie Meyer's latest instalment of her vampire series, Eclipse.
Isabella: Graduation draws ever closer and putting on a gown and cap are not the only things that Isabella Swan looks forward to -she also looks forward to the fruition of the promise that was made to her- to be made into a vampire.
Edward: He knows he's being selfish, but he wants Isabella by his side for an eternity, not only as an immortal being, but also as his wife. But will dangling the promise of transforming her into a vampire himself be enough to make her say yes instead of no?
Jacob: A werewolf who wants Isabella to choose humanity­ to choose him instead of Edward. And he will do anything in his power to convince her, even at the cost of his life.
And in the midst of it all, a new threat is approaching, memorizing Isabella's scent and slowly gathering in for the kill.
If you have not read this series yet, all I can say is: Why not? Don't let the fact that it is a teen book put you off it. Good writing is good writing and likeable characters are people we want to find out more about. Read the series already! Why delay the inevitable?
-Mel

Coming in October Hardcover:
Air Apparent - Piers Anthony
God's Demon - Wayne Barlowe
Queen Ferris - S.C. Butler
A War of Gifts - Orson Scott Card
When all Seems Lost - William Dietz
Themepunks - Cory Doctorow
1634: The Bavarian Crisis - Eric Flint & Virginia Demarce
Patrimony - Alan Dean Foster
V: The Second Generation - Kenneth Johnson
Sword From Red Ice - J.V. Jones
Phoenix Unchained - Mercedes Lackey
Reserved for the Cat - Mercedes Lackey
A Companion to Wolves - Sarah Monette
Metatemporal Detective - Michael Moorcock
Fleet of Worlds - Larry Niven
Star Flight - Andre Norton
Year of the Grey Wolf - Andre Norton
Making Money - Terry Pratchett
Star Wars: Death Star - Michael Reaves
Star Trek: The Academy: Collision Course - William Shatner, Judith Reeves-Stevens & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Halting State - Charles Stross
The Merchant's War - Charles Stross
One Day on Mars - Travis Taylor
Ha'penny - Jo Walton
The Third Lynx - Timothy Zahn

Trade Paperback:
Keeper's Child - Leslie Davis
End of the World Blues - Jon Courtnay Grimwood
Nova Swing - M. John Harrison
Rewired - James Patrick Kelly & John Kessel
Counting Heads - David Marusek
Star Trek: Sky's the Limit - Marco Palmieri
Devices & Desires - K.J. Parker
Not Flesh nor Feathers - Cherie Priest
Once Bitten, Twice Shy - Jennifer Rardin
War Machine - Andy Remic
Selling Out - Justina Robson
Voice of Crow - Jeri Smith-Ready

Mass Market:
School's Out - Scott Andrews
Stork Naked - Piers Anthony
Eternity - Greg Bear
Reiffen's Choice - S.C. Butler
Destiny's Forge - Paul Chafe
Dragon Lance: Protecting Palanthas - Douglas Clark
Forgotten Realms: Star deep - Bruce Cordell
Star Trek: Before Dishonor - Peter David
Spirit Gate - Kate Elliott
Trouble Magnet - Alan Dean Foster
Fate Fantastic - Martin Greenberg & Daniel Hoyt
Battlestar Galactica: Unity - Steven Harper
Dragon's Teeth - James Hetley
Aerie - Mercedes Lackey
Clone Alliance - Steven Kent
Dog Days - John Levitt
War Hammer: Manslayer - Nathan Long
Blade of Fortriu - Juliet Marillier
Odyssey - Jack McDevitt
Awakened Mage - Karen Miller
Soarer's Choice - L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Blood Engines - T.A. Pratt
Princess of Wands - John Ringo
Horizons - Mary Rosenblum
Android's Dream- John Scalzi
Kris Longknife Audacious - Mike Shepherd
Star Wars: True Colors - Karen Traviss
At All Costs - David Weber
Forgotten Realms: Sands of the Soul - Victoria Whitney-Robinson
Lord of the Fading Lands - C.L Wilson
Eberron: Rise of the 7th Moon - Rich Wulf

Fan Expo 07



The World's Biggest Bookstore once again had a booth at this year's Fan Expo. We were in a much better location than last year with better stock, and so had a much busier show.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Sci-Fi Fan Letter Issue 12

World’s Biggest Bookstore’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Newsletter Issue 12 August 2007

Perdido Street Station
By: China Mieville
For fans of Neil Gaiman, Perdido Street Station offers a mix of dark fantasy with an industrial sense of ambiguity and decay all wrapped up in the chilling story of a rogue theoretical physicist who, unwittingly releases a terrible evil on the bloated city of New Crobuzon. Mieville crafts this city into a character itself alongside insectile artists, Demonic ambassadors, humans twisted into abominations for the sake of justice, science, profit and many others. Followed by The Scar and The Iron Council, Perdido Street Station is a rich if morbid book in an intoxicating setting.
-Leeman (Yonge & Eglinton Chapters)
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One Jump Ahead
By: Mark L. Van Name
Think a military version of James Bond answering to no one but himself, with a sneaky AI attack ship in the role if ‘Q’ and you’ll have a decent idea of what to expect in One Jump Ahead.
Jon Moore accepts a job against his better judgement. And while the job comes off without a hitch, it comes back to haunt him as things in his life suddenly start going wrong and becoming more complicated.
Plenty of action, nifty gadgets and intelligent characters makes this a great read.
-Jessica Strider
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Gardens of the Moon
By: Steven Erikson
The first book in one of the best fantasy series I have ever read. A fantasy book for those readers who are tired of the "by the numbers" fantasy book template. Similar to George R.R. Martin's books only in that the author continuously breaks with convention. Full of power, military might and magic, as well as a list of unforgettable characters who will get under your skin and force you to care about what happens to them. Highly recommended, the series continues to get better as you finish book after book...
-Frank (Yorkdale Indigo)
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Transformation
By: Carol Berg
Seyonne was once a Warden, a man with the magic and knowledge to fight demons - and win. For the past 16 years he has been a slave, his magic ability removed by the Derzhi, the race who conquered his people.
As the novel opens Seyonne is bought by Aleksander, prince of the Derzhi, an arrogant and seemingly unprincipled young man. This surprisingly humoruos novel traces the odd friendship that develops between master and slave. A friendship destined to change both of them.
Carol Berg writes with a facility for dealing with strong emotion that forces you to not just read about her character’s lives but experience them as though you were living the events yourself.
This is a touching tale of power, friendship and what it takes to be a man in a difficult world.
- Jessica Strider
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Metropolis
By: Thea Von Harbou
How did such an amazing piece of literature become so forgotten that it required the re-release of the silent, black and white film, for me to hear about it?
Thea Von Harbou’s exquisite use of repetition creates a novel that reads more like poetry, or a prayer, than a story. Yet it is the story of the young privileged son of Metropolis’s creator that makes the book memorable. Watching Freder learn about the plight of the working man and seeing his obsession with the beautiful Maria bloom into love culminates in the double message propounded by the author.
Furthermore, the description of the machines that run Metropolis, and their desire for ‘human food’, as well as their effect on the people who run them, makes this a look at the future that rivals the works of Wells, Verne and Orwell.
This is a book you’ll have to read more than once.
- Jessica Strider

Coming in September: Hardcover:
House of the Stag - Kage Baker
Queen of the Wolves - Douglas Clegg
Reap the Wild Wind - Julie Czerneda
Vorpal Blade - Eric Flint & Travis Taylor
Moon in the Mirror - P.R. Frost Dark Lord - Ed Greenwood
Palladian Mask - Tappan King
A Desert Called Peace - Tom Kratman
Feral Sapiens - M.I. Lake
Fleet of the Worlds - Larry Niven & Edward Lerner
Fathom - Cherie Priest
Forgotten Realms: Orc King - R.A. Salvatore
Return of the Sorcerer - Clark Ashton Smith
Sunrise Lands - S.M. Stirling
All About Elfland - Freda Warrington
Quadrail Sequel - Timothy Zahn

Trade Paperback:
Blade Itself - Joe Abercrombie
Divine by Blood - P.C. Cast
Inferno - Ellen Datlow
Guards of Heaven - Simon R. Green
Darkness of the Gods - Amber Hayward
Ravenloft: Scholar of Decay - Tanya Huff
River of Gods - Ian McDonald
City of the Beast - Michael Moorcock
Splinter - Adam Roberts
Winterbirth - Brian Ruckley
When the People Fell - Cordwainer Smith
Electric Church - Jeff Somers

Mass Market Paperback:
War Hammer: Lord of Ruin - Dan Abnett & Mike Lee
Slan Hunter - Kevin J. Anderson
Class Dis-Mythed - Robert Asprin & Jody Lynn Nye
Vlad Novel - Steven Brust
Territory - Emma Bull
Destiny’s Forge - Paul Chafe
Spellwright - Blake Charlton
Lady of Serpents - Douglas Clegg
Man-kzin Wars XI - Hal Cole batch & Matthew Harrington
Dragon Lance: Destiny - Tonya Cook & Paul Thompson
Crossroads - Kate Elliott
Toll the Hounds - Steven Erikson
Worlds of Making - David Forbes
Hounding the Moon - P.R. Frost
Heroes in Training - Martin Greenberg & Jim Hines
The Two Worlds - James Hogan
Royal Destiny - Morgan Howell
Diablo: Veiled Prophet - Richard Knaak
30 Days of Night - Tim Lebbon
Music to my Sorrow - Mercedes Lackey & Rosemary Edgehill
Innocent Mage - Karen Miller
Diamond Isle - Stan Nicholls
Empire of Ivory - Naomi Novik
Battle at the Moons of Hell - Graham Sharp Paul
Birth of the Pack - Petru Popescu
War Hammer: Dark Apostle - Anthony Reynolds
Princess of Wands - John Ringo
Devil’s Right Hand - Lilith Saintcrow
Dragon Lance: Stolen Sun - Jeff Sampson
Star Trek: Captain’s Glory - William Shatner, Garfield Reeves-Stevens & Judith Reeves-Stevens
Genesis - Ken Shufeldt
Forgotten Realms: Heirs of Prophecy - Lisa Smedman
A Meeting at Corvallis - S.M. Stirling
At All Costs - David Weber

Monday, 30 July 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Bookstore Event

At midnight on July 21st Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out. I, along with several thousand other people, eagerly awaited its release. In anticipation of the event, our store set up decorations and staff put on costumes. We had a sorting hat, tarot readings, interesting critter and potions lessons. Here's the result: