Friday 31 May 2013

Books Received, May 2013

The Gypsy King & A Fool's Errand, both by Maureen Fergus.

A runaway slave with a shadowy past, sixteen-year-old Persephone has spent four long years toiling beneath the leering gaze of her despised owner and dreaming of a life where she is free to shape her own destiny. Then, one night, a chance encounter with a handsome chicken thief named Azriel changes her life forever.

Sold to him for a small bag of gold coins, Persephone soon discovers what she already suspected: namely, that Azriel is not what he seems. And when she realizes that he believes Persephone has a special destiny—she is determined to escape him and his impossibly broad shoulders.

But things are no longer as simple as they once were.

Torn between her longing for freedom and her undeniable feelings for the handsome thief with the fast hands and the slow smile, Persephone faces the hardest choice she will ever have to make.

And no one—least of all her—could have imagined the shocking truth her decision will reveal.

Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

Gameboard of the Gods by Rachel Mead - I started reading it earlier this week and am really enjoying it so far. 

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military's most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.

When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board. 

100 Years of Vicissitude by Andrez Bergen

"First up, a disclaimer. I suspect I am a dead man. I have meagre proof, no framed- up certification, nothing to toss in a court of law as evidence of a rapid departure from the mortal coil. I recall a gun was involved, pressed up against my skull, and a loud explosion followed." Thus begins our narrator in a purgatorial tour through twentieth-century Japanese history, with a ghostly geisha who has seen it all as a guide and a corrupt millionaire as her reluctant companion. Thrown into the milieu are saké, B-29s, Lewis Carroll, Sir Thomas Malory, Melbourne, ''The Wizard of Oz'', and a dirigible - along with the allusion that Red Riding Hood might just be involved.

Blood and Bone by Ian Esslemont - I have to admit, I haven't read any of the Malazan books yet, but I've heard from many sources that they're excellent (both the ones by Esslemont and Steve Erikson).

In the western sky the bright emerald banner of the Visitor descends like a portent of annihilation. On the continent of Jacuruku, the Thaumaturgs have mounted yet another expedition to tame the neighboring wild jungle. Yet this is no normal wilderness. It is called Himatan, and it is said to be half of the spirit-realm and half of the earth. And it is said to be ruled by a powerful entity whom some name the Queen of Witches, and some a goddess: the ancient Ardata. Saeng grew up knowing only the rule of the magus Thaumaturgs -- but it was the voices out of that land''s forgotten past that she listened to. And when her rulers mount an invasion of the neighboring jungle, those voices send her and her brother on a desperate mission.

To the south, the desert tribes are united by the arrival of a foreign warleader, a veteran commander in battered ashen mail whom his men call, the Grey Ghost. This warleader takes the tribes on a raid like none other, deep into the heart of Thaumaturg lands. While word comes to K'azz, and mercenary company the Crimson Guard, of a contract in Jacuruku. And their employer... none other than Ardata herself.

Antiagon Fire by L. E. Modessit, Jr.

The hard-won battles fought in Imager's Battalion have earned Quaeryt a promotion to commander, as well as an assignment to convince the Pharsi High Council in the nation of Khel to submit to Lord Bhayar's rule, which is key to Bhayar's ambition to unite all of Solidar. Joined by his pregnant wife Vaelora, who is also Bhayar's sister, Quaeryt leads an army and a handful of imagers deeper into the hostile lands once held by the tyrannical Rex Kharst, facing stiff-necked High Holders, attacks by land and sea--including airborne fire launched by hostile imagers from the land of Antiago--and a mysterious order of powerful women who seem to recognize the great destiny that awaits Quareyt and Vaelora, as well as the cost of achieving it.

Thursday 30 May 2013

Survivorship Bias and POC in European Art

I read a couple of interesting articles yesterday that I thought I'd share.

The first was an article by Tobias Buckell, author of, among other things, Crystal Sky, Arctic Rising, and several Halo novelizations.  It's about how only looking at the self-publishing success stories is giving authors a skewed picture of their own chances of success.  Why is this a problem?

"...because so many rah rah eBook advocates have been indicating to me that if I’d only just publish digitally first I’d keep 70% of the profits and *obviously* make more than I would with ‘traditional publishing."

As an author who's been published by one of the big 6 and also done a successful kickstarter campaign,  and sold stories through fictionwise, he's in a good place to judge how accurate the 'everyone can do better on their own' idea works in practice.

He links to a power point presentation by Smashwords founder Mark Coker, which is pretty interesting.  it was done for the Romantic Times Conference, so the later graphs deal specifically with those genres, but Buckell: focused on this slide:
Basically, there is a small group of most books on Smashwords sell a lot (that's the green) and they're making it seem like everyone's doing well, while most people are actually by that dot at the end of the graph.  Quoting again:

The problem, right now, in eBook direct sales, is that everyone is paying and listening to people in the green area. They’re listening to everything they say, and sifting everything they say as if it’s a formula for success.
Like in most cultish behavior, if you follow the rules and don’t get the results, you’re either ostracized, ignored, or it’s pretended you don’t exist. Many who don’t get the same results just shut up and go away. Thus creating an environment where people are creating massive amounts of confirmation bias by continually listening to the top sellers.
He then links to this post on survivorship, which is definitely worth the read.  There's a story about a WWII scientist, whose story is used as an example of why only paying attention to those who succeed is problematic.

Simply put, survivorship bias is your tendency to focus on survivors instead of whatever you would call a non-survivor depending on the situation. Sometimes that means you tend to focus on the living instead of the dead, or on winners instead of losers, or on successes instead of failures. ...
... After any process that leaves behind survivors, the non-survivors are often destroyed or muted or removed from your view. If failures becomes invisible, then naturally you will pay more attention to successes. Not only do you fail to recognize that what is missing might have held important information, you fail to recognize that there is missing information at all.
Survivorship bias also flash-freezes your brain into a state of ignorance from which you believe success is more common than it truly is and therefore you leap to the conclusion that it also must be easier to obtain. You develop a completely inaccurate assessment of reality thanks to a prejudice that grants the tiny number of survivors the privilege of representing the much larger group to which they originally belonged.
One of the most interesting things David McRaney says in this article is:

Your sense of a past era tends to be informed by paintings and literature and drama that are not crap, even though at any given moment pop culture is filled with more crap than masterpieces. Why? It isn’t because people were better artists back in the day. It is because the good stuff survives, and the bad stuff is forgotten. So over time, you end up with skewed ideas of past eras. You think the artists of antiquity were amazing in the same way you associate the music of past decades with the songs that survived long enough to get into your ears. The movies about Vietnam never seem include in their soundtracks the songs that sucked.
Think about it.  All those women, all those people of colour missing from history, they've all been erased, forgotten and wiped out because those writing things down only picked the 'best' and 'most important' - from their point of view - items.  Or what we're left with is simply a matter of luck.  One of my sisters once asked why we study the Illiad and the Odyssey.  What about those works makes them famous?  My answer, they survived.  She was incensed that we could be putting up on pedestals works those of the time probably considered pop culture, simply because they're some of the few pieces of literature from that era to survive.

Which brings me to the next topic.  Lee & Low Books, which publishes the Tu Books line of SFF (focusing on POC as authors and protagonists), posted a link on facebook to this tumbler account.  It posts European artworks from the fall of Rome to the present day (though it's focus is the Middle Ages and Renaissance) that depict people of colour.  And it is fascinating.

Just scrolling through the most recent entries I learned several things.  Like the first Duke of Florence was half black, the son of a nobleman and a black slave woman.  Oddly enough though the painting above toured the U.S. a few years back, no one thought to emphasize his race as a way of garnering interest in the exhibit.

Due to a kind of snobbery endemic to the field - a subject which Phillipe de Montebello at the Met in New York so unabashedly has talked about - it is not just the Philadelphia Museum but the American art establishment in general that appears to be having difficulty coming to terms with this Medici scion from whom descends some of Europe's most titled families, including two branches of the Hapsburgs.
In just the last three years, for example, a portrait of Alessandro's daughter, Giulia, Princess of Ottojano, and another portrait of the Duke himself have appeared in two major exhibitions in the U.S.: one at the National Gallery in Washington in 2001 and another at the Art Institute of Chicago in an exhibit which a few months later travelled to the Detroit Institute of the Arts where it closed in 2003. However, as with the current Philadelphia exhibit, little was done by the curators of these shows to draw the public's attention to either the Duke's color or his place in history. (Source)
History is a fascinating thing, and we've got such skewed views of it.  

I hope I've given you some interesting things to think about and read. 

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Man of Steel - How Does He Shave? campaign

Gillette and Man of Steel have put together a clever ad campaign with famous people postulating their theories of how Superman shaves (since our sun gives him the power of invulnerability, Earth razors wouldn't work on him).

There are videos on Gillette's youtube site by Bill Nye the Science Guy, Kevin Smith (actor, director+), Mayim Bialik (from Blossom and Big Bang Theory) and Mythbusters' Jamie & Adam.  They're all pretty reasonable theories.  You can vote on which you think is most probably.  Here's one to get you started:


Tuesday 28 May 2013

Book Review: R. U. R. by Karel Capek

Translated by David Wyllie

Pros: first use of the word 'robot', social concerns of using artificial labour to replace humans, fears of uprisings and treating everyone the same 

Cons: product of its time with regards to depiction of black nanny*, Jewish accountant and infantile woman

R.U.R. is short for Rossum's Universal Robots.  Written in 1920, this play introduced the term 'robot' into the English lexicon, though the robots described in the story are human in appearance with skin and tissue rather than mechanical parts.  The play begins with the arrival of Helena Glory to a private island where a group of male specialists produce robots based on formulas created by a deceased scientist named Rossum.  After the prologue, the play is told in three acts, which take place ten years later, after robots have become indispensable to the nations of the world.

The story indirectly addresses fears of robots taking the jobs of human workers, becoming soldiers sent to kill humans, and finally rising up against their human overlords.  As the location of the play never leaves the island, the viewer learns about the social impact of the robots on the rest of the world through the interactions of the specialists, Helena, and her nanny.

The only con with the play is the obviously racist/sexist depictions of the characters.  While the accountant doesn't do anything stereotypically Jewish negating the need to refer to the character as a Jew in the first place (it's easy to overlook the casting direction when you're reading the play and his religion is never mentioned in the play), the nanny speaks in broken English and is treated in some ways as a child by Helena.  Helena herself is treated like an imbecile by the men, with them taking care to not to tell her what's going wrong on and off the island.

Aside from that, the play is very readable and at 55 pages, only takes a short time to read.  It's in the public domain, which means you can read it for free.  I found my copy at

* According to a comment on this review on Goodreads by the translator, the nanny was meant to have a Prague accent rather than depicting a black nanny as I assumed.  I read her lines like the broken English you hear in films like Gone With the Wind and didn't consider the time/place of the play's production.  This is also something that would come across when viewing the play that's isn't necessarily easy to get when reading it.  My apologies for this error.   

Friday 24 May 2013

New Author Spotlight: Rhodi Hawk

New Author Spotlight is a series designed to introduce authors with up to 3 books in the different SF/F subgenres.

Today's spotlight shines on Rhodi Hawk!

She has written:

Here's the cover copy for A Twisted Ladder:

Psychologist Madeleine LeBlanc has spent her whole career trying to determine the cause of her father''s schizophrenia. She always felt that if she could unravel the disease's origins, she could cure the man who left her and her brother, Marc, to practically raise themselves on the Louisiana Bayou. When Marc takes his own life, Madeleine embarks on a shocking journey into her family's history-fraught with dark secrets, conjured demons, and a powerful relative who puts Madeleine's own life and property in peril. The only way to she can save herself is to face the ghosts of the past, the dangers of the present, and the twisted ladder that links them all together.

Check out her books if you enjoyed any of the following:

The Hollow City by Dan Wells (Tom Doherty Associates)
Audrey's Door by Sarah Langan (HarperCollins)
Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman (Berkley Trade)

Thursday 23 May 2013

12 Question SF/F/H Book Meme

SF Signal did a book meme post this past Saturday and I've now got time to do it. :)

  1. The last sf/f/h book I read and enjoyed was: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (YA); Up Against It by M. J. Locke (adult SF)
  2. The last sf/f/h book I read and did not enjoy was: something I didn't finish and now can't remember
  3. A sf/f/h book that I would recommend to new sf/f/h readers is: 0.4 by Mike Lancaster (YA); Transformation by Carol Berg (fantasy); The Shining by Stephen King (horror); On Basilisk Station by David Weber (SF)
  4. A sf/f/h book that I would recommend to seasoned sf/f/h readers is: Kop by Warren Hammond (SF); The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie or The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas (fantasy), Shadows by John Saul (horror)
  5. The sf/f/h book I most want to read next is: I have a huge list that's constantly changing and growing.  Some books I want to read soon (but won't due to other obligations) are: The Explorer by James Smythe, The Testament of Jesse Lamb by Jane Rogers, The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin, A Once Crowded Sky by Tom King, Stand on Zanzibar by John Brenner, The World Inside by Robert Silverberg, Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed...
  6. My favorite sf/f/h book series include: Terry Pratchett's Discworld, Weiss & Hickman's Death Gate Cycle, Terry Brooks' Shannara Books (though I'm woefully behind), R. A. Salvatore's Drizzt books (which I'm also behind in)
  7. I will read anything by this sf/f/h author: Carol Berg.  She's created several worlds, all complex with different magic systems and manages to torture her characters while still imbuing her books with humour.
  8. The first sf/f/h book I read was: either The 7th Princess by Nick Sullivan (I managed to track down a copy and enjoy it just as much as an adult) or Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert O'Brien; the book that got me reading SF/F almost exclusively was The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, but I had to start it 2 or 3 times before I really got into it
  9. The sf/f/h book I’m most surprised that more people don’t like is: Transformation by Carol Berg.  It's got humour, character growth, magic, and some very dark moments.  Berg's a fantastic author and criminally under read.
  10. The sf/f/h book I’m surprised so many people do like is: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.  I forced myself to finish it because it's so well revered, and hated every page.
  11. The most expensive sf/f/h book I own is: None of my books were more expensive than the art and history texts I needed for university.  I paid $90 for a hardcover Chaucer, which is beautiful and worth every cent.
  12. The number of sf/f/h books I own and have yet to read is: at least 50-100, not counting my husband's collection.  With his books, add at least 100 or 200 more.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Historical accuracy in SF/F

I just read this fascinating article by Kameron Hurley where she mentions that women have always fought in wars, they've just been edited out of history by the men recording events.  She links to several interesting articles, among them this one on default settings in SFF (ie, white, male, heterosexual).

Having studied medieval history I have a better grasp than many what life was like during those times.  Even so, my knowledge was shaped by the books I read, what my professors thought was important, what was known/believed at the time.  In other words, despite 'knowing' what the middle ages was like, I'm constantly learning things I didn't know about the era.  That's the beauty of life, learning new things and correcting your beliefs to accept the new knowledge.

A lot of people don't seem to do that though, thinking what they learned in school is 100% truth (it's not, - sorry this is a U.S. example.  I'm sure every other country manages to teach half truths and outright lies as well) and there's nothing else to know.

It occurred to me, while reading the above articles, that a great way of educating SFF readers would be to do what many historical fiction authors already do: list their research bibliography at the end of the book and have a short author's note on what's real in the book and what they made up/fudged to make the book work.  I've seen several authors do this, and each time it not only made what happened in the book feel more real (truth really is stranger than fiction), it taught me things about history I didn't know before.

The first time I encountered this was with Mary Stewart's Merlin series (The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment, The Wicked Day, The Prince and the Pilgrim).  I've read all but the last one (which was written more recently, and I didn't realize it was part of this series) and they are fantastic.  If you like the King Arthur legends, this is a great series.  Anyway, I remember getting to the end of The Crystal Cave and learning what the real legend was and how and why Stewart played with it.  Similarly, The Wicked Day took a VERY different interpretation of Mordred's story than is generally portrayed and her explanation of why she made the decisions she did was fascinating.

The only other places I remember seeing something similar was in Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus (for an SF example) and Michael Ennis's The Malice of Fortune.  M. J. Locke had a quick note about the real program she based one of her programming languages in Up Against It on, which was cool too.

I think it would be a great opportunity for both readers and authors for authors to have a section at the end of the book that gives them the chance to mention some of the research they did for their book.  The things readers could learn!  Even in just a few paragraphs.  And with books to refer to if they don't believe you so they too can expand their understanding of history (and perhaps open their eyes to truths they otherwise can't/won't see).

I'm (slowly) reading a history book called Ancient Inventions by Peter James and Nick Thorpe.  It's organized by theme rather than period or geographical location, so it's easy to see who had discovered what, in relation to everyone else.  And it is fascinating.  Modern people have such a skewed grasp of history and what our ancestors were capable of.  We short change them in so many ways and on so many topics.

It would be great to see fantasy books (and SF when relevant) reflect more of what history was actually like.  And perhaps adding an addendum of 'this is what's true' would help educate readers, making them less likely to question similar historical accuracies the next time they encounter them in books.  Because the only way to change beliefs is to educate people into new ones.  And the only way to show the real contributions of women in the past is to represent them accurately, and then make readers understand that they were accurate portrayals.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Pros: horrifying invasion story, believable protagonists, compelling story


For Parents: some swearing, kissing, the violence isn't graphic but there are child soldiers, executions, and murder

Cassie has survived the first 4 waves of the alien invasion: light's out, surf's up, pestilence and the silencer.  Seven billion people didn't, including her mother and father.  Her five year old brother was taken away in the 4th wave.  Now she waits for the 5th wave and the courage to keep the promise she made to her brother, that she'd come after him.

This is a brutal invasion story.  These aliens know how to wipe out humanity and do so in sweeping waves, each more destructive than the last.  Through Cassie's eyes we learn about the 4 previous waves, and through her eyes, and those of a few other characters, we slowly learn what the 5th and final wave is.

There's a fair amount of violence, particularly when the child soldiers come into the picture.  But it's violence that serves a purpose and isn't graphically portrayed.  This is a book that questions humanity.  What will humans do to survive?  What makes you human in the first place?  The book doesn't answer these questions, making it a great jumping point for discussion.

The characters are believable, falling apart under the pressures of the new world and picking themselves up again because doing otherwise means death.  This makes the book difficult to put down.  The writing is intense and while you may see the revelation that is the 5th wave coming, it doesn't stop it from being horrifying in its implications.

The ending is very tense, though I'm not sure I believe the kids could accomplish everything they do, and it ignores the larger picture.  But it does give a good closure for the book.

I highly recommend it.

Friday 17 May 2013

Signed Copies of A TURN OF LIGHT

Julie Czerneda stopped in at the World's Biggest Bookstore last week, which means we've got some signed copies of her new fantasy novel, A Turn of Light.  She even signed my interview page.

But she didn't just sign her name in the books, she also used an adorable toad stamp beside it (which has relevance to the story). :D  So if you're in Toronto and want a signed copy, come on down to 20 Edward Street.

Thursday 16 May 2013

Book Review: Up Against It by M. J. Locke

Pros: hard SF, interesting characters, complex interconnected story lines

Cons: characters sometimes solve problems too easily, ending felt too pat

Jane Navio manages resources for 25 Phocaea, an asteroid settlement.  When an accident destroys most of the current shipment of ice that provides water, air and fuel for the colony, she's beset by numerous problems.  A feral sapient is born from the disaster and must be dealt with before it creates havoc and the martian mob appears to be the only ones in possession of enough ice to save them.  But Jane's dealth with the mob before, on her previous home, Vesta.  She barely escaped with her life.  Many others she knew weren't so lucky.

Meanwhile, four young bikers who happened to be at the scene of the accident, keep getting in and out of trouble as they cross paths multiple times with those investigating and those exacerbating the crises.
This is a clever hard SF story with multiple major conflicts and some great protagonists.  Jane is a complex character who's used to dealing with politics even though she's not keen on them.  She's first introduced making a life or death decision reminiscent of Ripley, but while she's got a cold exterior, she's got a sense of morality that won't let her deal with the mob, even when their ice shipment appers to be the colony's only means of survival.

While the book focuses on certain people, it's clear that this is a large colony, with multiple layers of bureaucracy that are mentioned when necessary, but not in enough detail to swamp the book.  I only remember one occasion where a name was mentioned and I couldn't place it because it was a beurocrat only mentioned in passing before.

The larger world is also shown to have complex politics and economics, even if they're only hinted at.  There's the martian mob, the 'Stroders (cameras that record what happens in the colony) sending data to reality TV watchers on Earth, and the Earth politics that made gene splicing illegal and forced the Viridians to emigrate.  Apparently Canada's no longer a nice place to live, as it's referenced as having refuge camps and detainee centres.

I appreciated the mix of races and religions represented, as well as sexualities, from the expectant homosexual couple barely mentioned in a park to the Viridians who prefer non-gendered pronouns that reflect their gene spliced states.

One of my favourite things in the book was Tonal-Z, a music based programming language used to talk to the feral sapient.  The acknowledgements credit a real life interface concept as the genesis for it and I'd have loved to see more of it in action.

The only problems with the book that I found were that the 4 teens kept running into more and more problems in a way that started to feel manufactured even though there were logical reasons why they were in each of the places.  And while I liked the fact that, given the locations, characters realized if they were going to get out of bad situations they needed to save themselves as the chances of someone else learning of their problem and/or arriving in time to help were slim, there were a few times when characters got out of tough spots remarkably easily.  Similarly, given all the problems the protagonists faced, the ending seemed a little too pat.  

If you're looking for space battles, look elsewhere.  There are a few fight scenes (which are all remarkably different), but on the whole this is a cerebral SF novel.

If you like interesting science, cool characters, depictions of what it might be like to live in space and complex world building, then give this book a try.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

The AGO's Revealing the Early Renaissance Exhibit

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to see the Art Gallery of Ontario's Revealing the Early Renaissance Exhibit, about art in Florence from 1300-1350.

The exhibit was incredible, taking me several hours to go through a handful of rooms.  My university degree is in Medieval Studies, and I took a few art courses (mainly on manuscripts and cathedrals) and the exhibit's range was at the tail end of what I studied and introduced a few new elements.

I learned several things from this exhibit, which I thought I'd share.  Sometimes when world building we try to make things logical and forget that the real world often ignores logic (or has a logic that made sense at the time and no longer does).  For example, most craftsmen belonged to guilds.  These gave protections - both for the craftsmen and the patrons - set prices, assured quality, etc.  Because Florentine painters (the real focus of the exhibit) bought their pigments from apothecaries, they belonged to the guild of Doctors and Apothecaries.

Florence's gold Florin was the dominant currency in Europe during this period.  In earlier ages royal patrons built churches, etc. to decrease their sins in the eyes of God.  In Florence, bankers (that is, Christian bankers) funded churches and religious art in order to remove the stigma attached to them due to their charging interest (usury - something the Christian church would not allow other Christians to do, making it one of the few career options open to Jews - who, according to their own religious laws, could charge interest to Christians but not other Jews).

Famous artisans created workshops where they would train apprentices and get them to do the grunt work associated with the art.  Modern scholars try to figure out what portions of artworks were done by the masters and what by the apprentices.  Sometimes it's easier to see than others.  Like with the Peruzzi Alterpiece.  Christ and the two figures to his right are significantly better shaded (look at the cheeks, necks, creases on foreheads and in clothing) and therefore look more alive than the two figures to the left.  The right hand figures were done by Master Giotto di Bondone.

One of my favourite pieces (and yes, I'm strange), was the Laudio of Sant'Agnese.  Commissioned for a lay confraternity, it has the music and notation that would have been sung, as well as some truly gorgeous manuscript illustrations.  These illustrations were so beautiful that the manuscript was dismantled and the individual pages scattered.  A number of them have been identified and gathered for this exhibit.  The colours are still vibrant and the scenes from worshipful to downright macabre (like the roasting- I mean the Martyrdom - of St. Lawrence, which you can see at the above link).  There's also a creepy two panel page with a man being flayed alive and then kneeling with his skin as a cloak as he waits for his head to come off.  Yeah.

The exhibit ends with a 10 minute video on doing a panel painting (like the alterpiece).  The amount of prep work required, and the time sensitive nature of each step, shows how much dedication these people had to their art.  Amazingly I've found the video on the J. Paul Getty Museum (which owns many of the works on display in the exhibit)'s youtube page.  The narrator is different, but the information is the same.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Book Review: 14 by Peter Clines

Pros: very interesting mystery, well paced, some great twists 

Cons: characters don't consider that the past dangers might still be around, don't really get to know any of the characters

Nate Tucker's new apartment has a few issues.  The kitchen light always shines as a blacklight, no matter what bulb he puts in, the cockroaches are green, and the elevator doesn't work.  But the price was unbelievably low for L.A. and his data entry job doesn't pay well.  The mysteries of the building intrigue him and he slowly gathers a group of other tenants who want to know why it is the way it is and why so many rooms are padlocked. 

When I requested this for review I thought it was a horror novel.  It's not.  The cover's calling it an  "Apocalyptic Mystery" is accurate.  There are no jump out of the closet scares.  But, the last third of the book has a lot of horror based imagery (and location) in it.  The book is predominantly a mystery regarding the apartment building.  Why does each room have a different layout?  Why does room 14 have four padlocks on it?  What's up with the mutant cockroaches?  Where's the elevator?  Some famous people are mentioned, including an important horror author, whose works the last few chapters reference.

The mystery is very intriguing and is well paced so you never get bored.  And this building is WEIRD, with a lot of minor and some major issues the group discovers.

The characters themselves are interesting, with all sorts of backgrounds.  You don't learn as much about them as you'd like, but it makes it feel real as how much do you know your neighbours?  

Most of the twists were completely unpredictable, though I was surprised that, given what they'd discovered, the tenants never considered that the danger that faced the people who built the building might still be around.

The ending fit all of the build up, being appropriately freaky and challenging.

Friday 10 May 2013

Author Interview: Wesley Chu

Novel: The Lives of Tao


> What is The Lives of Tao about? 
Here’s the 140 character tweet version.
Loser meets snarky alien. Gets in shape. Fights war over control of humanity’s evolution. Finds a girlfriend. Not in order of importance.

> What drew you to writing about alien brain hitchhikers? 

I've always been fascinated with history not so much for what happened, but why things happened. I didn't want to rewrite it. History is fascinating enough as it is, but I wanted to explore the logic behind it. How did we get to where we’re at today? What were these famous historical figures thinking?

My original idea was to explore and retell that why, and tie it in with the present. Basically, is it murder or manslaughter, because that matters. Now, let's toss in a few more variables. Add an alien civil war, toss in a lazy loser who hates his life, and let the fun begin.

> What made you want to be a writer when you already know kung-fu and moonlight as an actor? 

I often say a writer can’t help but write. My first short story was in second grade when I wrote about the planets in the solar system always running into each other and getting into fist fights. My English professor Father read it and was like “this doesn't suck.” And if a traditional Asian parent tells you that, it must be pretty decent.

I've always had interests in many different hobbies, but writing was the one thing I always came back to. At the end of the day, when I had to choose what I wanted to do with my life, writing won out. Getting a little older of course helps in the decision making process. I’m not as limber as I used to be, you know.

> The protagonist of The Lives of Tao, Roen Tan, shares your Information Technology day job. Do you have anything else in common?

We’re both terribly insecure, love pizza, and hear voices in our head. Oh, and we’re both Kung Fu masters and we both tried to mug someone who was trying to mug us.

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

Good question. That’s a tough one. On one hand, it would be awesome to have this eternally wise alien who once invented Tai Chi and inhabited great historical figures doling out free advice. On the other hand, getting caught in an alien civil war and hunted by an international cabal sounds like it would suck. And I heard the job doesn't pay well either.

In the end though, I probably wouldn't do it. After all, as an author, I already have the best job in the world. Besides, I have a very low pain threshold.

> When and where do you write?

I used to do the whole café circuit around Chicago, but it kind of became a waste of time. These days, I write at home. There’s something to be said about having a set place and time every day that gets someone in the right frame of mind to write. I also get to write in my bathrobe.
> What’s the best/worst thing about writing? 

The best thing about writing is creating that story. It’s the most difficult and most rewarding thing I've ever done. The downside is these books are our babies. I lived, ate, and dreamt The Lives of Tao for years, and I’m just so ready to release it to the world. It’s like the world’s longest pregnancy.

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

The author needs to do a lot of marketing. You don’t just write a book and let the publisher do the rest. In the age of social networking, it’s up to the author to engage and grow his fan base. It’s a lot of work, and can be a massive time sink that could be spent writing instead.

However, there’s also this direct connection with the reader that an author makes that is very rewarding as well. Guess while we’re at it, please look me up at:

Twitter: wes_chu



> Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

Write for yourself, not for the money or fame. The odds are slim you’ll get much of either. It’s a long road filled with potholes and road kill. Keep at it. Don’t ever show anyone your first draft. Keep reading books as you write. Don’t lose touch with your friends.

And get a dog or cat. Trust me on that last one. Eva Da Terrordale dragging me out for walks was the only thing that got my increasingly pasty white arse to see the sun once in a while.

> Any tips against writers block? 

Keep writing. Write crap. Hate your words, but keep at it. It’s the only way you’ll bust out of the writers block. If you can’t think of anything to write, pretend you don’t have a backspace key and just plug away. Write about your day, your lunch, about how much your hamster Harold means to you. Just get something down and worry about sorting things out later.

And then have a scotch; neat. Then maybe an ice cream; just not at the same time. It doesn't taste good together. I’ve tried. You’ll feel better afterward.

> How do you discipline yourself to write?

You also have to treat writing as a priority. Give it the same respect and passion you would for anything else you’re serious about. It shouldn’t be something you do at the end of the day if you have time. Writing should be something you feel guilty for not doing.

Be hard on yourself. Go to war with it. Conquer it. Always remember have a beer with it at the end of the day. Then do it all over again tomorrow

> What's the first novel (published or unpublished) that you wrote and how long did it take to write it? How many rejection letters did you get for it?

The first book I ever wrote was a 190k monstrosity called Woes, Toads, and Crossroads. How many rejections do you think I got? =) It took a year to write the rough draft and was pretty much a hot mess.

I will say this. It was probably the most important thing I’ve ever written. The lessons I learned from it were invaluable for my writing career.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Book Review: Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal

Pros: historical accuracy, intricate plot, complex characters


The year is much colder than usual as Jane and Vincent visit with her family, and while they know the coldmongers aren't to blame, those less educated in the working of glamour aren't conviced.  They take a commission for a glamural in London and ask Melody, whose marriage prospects at home are slim, to accompany them.  But the weather remains dark and cold, and riots are breaking out.  And when Vincent's family comes calling, things get worse.

Like Kowal's other books in this series, this one starts off by showing the life and times of the Vincents and slowly adds in intrigue.  Only at the end of the book, when the full plot is revealed, do you realize how brilliant Kowal's writing is.

She takes great care getting the details in her book accurate, with notes at the back where readers can both check up on her facts and contact her if they discover an error.

The characters continue to grow, even as they're sometimes reminded of the events of the previous two books.  The finale depends heavily on the climax of book two, so keep that in mind if you chose to start here.

This book didn't have the uneven pacing of book two, and, with its ending, is probably my favourite of the three so far.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

TED: Violence & Silence, Jackson Katz

I don't normally post things that aren't SF/F related here, but I saw this TED talk today and had to share it.


The entire video is fantastic, but here are some of the highlights for me (and when they show up).  Please note, all of these quotes are out of context and context is everything, so watching the video to understand why he's said these things is important.

"But let's be clear.  Asking questions about Mary is not going to get us anywhere in terms of preventing violence.  We have to ask a different set of questions.
The questions include things like: Why does John beat Mary?  Why is domestic violence still such a big problem in the United States and all over the world?  What's going on?  Why do so many men abuse - physically, emotionally, verbally and in other ways - the women and girls and the men and boys, that they claim to love.  What's going on with men?" (6:34-6:51)

" can we change the practices, how can we change the socialization of boys and the definitions of manhood that lead to these current outcomes." (8:24 -8:33)

"One of the things that really bothers me about some of the rhetoric against feminists and others who have built the battered women's and rape crisis movemets around the world is that, somehow, like I said, that they're anti-male. What about all the boys who are profoundly affected in a negative way by what some adult man is doing against their mother, themselves, their sisters  What about all those boys.  what about all the young men and boys who have been traumatized by adult men's violence. You know what, the same system that produces men who abuse women, produces men who abuse other men.  And if you want to talk about male victims, let's talk about male victims.  Most male victims of violence are the victims of other men's violence.  So that's something that both women and men have in common.  We are both victims of men's violence. So we have it in our direct self-interest, not to mention the fact that most men that I know have women and girls that we care deeply about in our families and our friendship circles and every other way.  So there's so many reasons we need men to speak out."

"...if you don't say something in the face of other heterosexual people doing that [making homophobic comments] then isn't your silence in a sense a form of consent and complicity?  Well the bystander approach is trying to give people tools to interrupt that process and to speak up and to create a peer culture climate where the abusive behaviour will be seen as unacceptable not just because it's illegal but because it's wrong and unacceptable in the peer culture.  And If we can get to the place where men who act out in sexist ways will lose status, young men and boys who act out in sexist and harrassing ways towards girls and women - as well as towards other boys and men - will lose status as a result of it, guess what?  We'll see a radical dimunition of the abuse". (13:22 -13:56)

"Among the many great things that Martin Luther King said in his short life was: "In the end, what will hurt most is not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends."  "In the end, what will hurt most is not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends."  There's been an awful lot of silence in male culture about this ongoing tragedy of men's violence against women and children, hasn't there?  There's been an awful lot of silence.  And all I'm saying is that we need to break that silence.  And we need more men to do that."  (14:04-14:34)

Aussie Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Bloke

Saw this last night and couldn't stop laughing.  It was uploaded to youtube by Stuntbear.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Book Review: Swans & Klons by Nora Olsen

Pros: interesting premise, great characters, positive depictions of lesbian relationships, positive depictions of handicapped, thought provoking, doesn't provide easy answers, great use of linguistical shifts

Cons: underdeveloped world-building, less development than the story deserved

For Parents: no sex but there is kissing, swearing done in German, minor violence

After a mysterious disease turned all men into 'Cretinous Males' with degenerative disorders, humanity chose 300 specimens of female perfection on which to build Society.  Hatched from tanks, those without modifications are human.  Those with modifications are klons, stronger and without the passions and intelligence of their human similars, they serve so the humans can achieve their full potential. 

Rubrik and Salmon Jo are sixteen, schatzies (lovers), and leaving the academy for their first mentoring assignments in the city.  Rubrik is an artist.  Salmon Jo is a scientist working at the hatcheries.  When Salmon Jo makes a startling discovery about the klons, their lives are forever changed.

This is a quick, fun read.  The characters are a little quirky and their relationship fantastic (no angst, no unwarranted fights or wafflings of affections, no love triangles, just a nice, functional relationship).

I loved that the girls are products of their society, thinking pregnancy and males (at least on Rubrik's side) are disgusting.  Similarly, the linguistical shifts, adding in some German words (or, German based words) was neat, and I loved their misunderstanding/misuse of the word 'hacker'.

Later in the book there are some descriptions of handicapped people that are done with great care and respect.  Indeed, this is a great book for questioning biases on several accounts, and specifically what makes a person human.  I loved that the author provided no answers, just ethical and philosophical questions

The biggest downside to the book was its low word count.  The publisher lists the page count at 264, but the epub file on my iPad came up to 108.  On numerous occasions the pacing felt rushed as the story jumped from one aspect to another trying to get everything in.  I think the world-building especially suffered here.  There's enough information to follow the story, but I'd have loved to see it fleshed out better, especially given the complexity of the issues being addressed.

Also, things on the whole go too easily for the girls.  With very little planning most of their crazy schemes turn out ok, which seemed a bit far fetched considering what they were doing.

Still, it's an interesting read.

Monday 6 May 2013

Razorbill Fall Preview

Last friday I had the opportunity to go to the Penguin Offices in Toronto for the Razorbill Fall Preview.  Razorbill, for those of you who don't know, is Penguin's YA line.

Sequels to some awesome sounding series are coming out.  Which means my to be read pile's grown some more as I've been woefully under reading it lately.

The first book's already on my list (because it sounds great and that cover is amazing), but in case you haven't heard of it, here you go:

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects'' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:
Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.
Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people''s revolution centuries in the making.
Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.
Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . .
The only outcome that''s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

Book two, Rebel Spring, will be out in December.

Slated by Teri Terry

Kyla has been Slated—her memory and personality erased as punishment for committing a crime she can't remember. The government has taught her how to walk and talk again, given her a new identity and a new family, and told her to be grateful for this second chance that she doesn't deserve. It's also her last chance—because they'll be watching to make sure she plays by their rules.
As Kyla adjusts to her new life, she's plagued by fear. Who is she, really? And if only criminals are slated, why are so many innocent people disappearing? Kyla is torn between the need to know more and her instinct for self-preservation. She knows a dangerous game is being played with her life, and she can't let anyone see her make the wrong move . . . but who can she trust when everyone is a stranger?

I'm afraid I missed the release date for this one, but the sequel's called Fractured.

Champion, book three of Marie Lu's Legend series, will be out in November.  I loved the first book but haven't had the chance to pick up the second yet.  

Legend by Marie Lu 

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic''s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic''s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country''s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June''s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family''s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias''s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Throne of Glass is getting a new cover for the paperback edition, that will match that of book two, Crown of Midnight (which just got a starred review from Kirkus).

Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

There were some books that are series starters, rather than sequels:

Gameboard of the Gods by Rachel Mead

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military's most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.
When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.

Control by Lydia Kang

Control is set in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.
After the violent death of her father, 17 year-old Zelia loses her younger sister, Dylia, during an abduction at a foster care agency. It turns out her sister Dylia isn’t just pretty and sweet—she’s illegal. In the year 2150, DNA must be pure by law, and anyone with enhanced genes face death. Zelia’s only allies are the freak-show inhabitants of her new, underground foster home. Along with the unexpected love of a very strange boy, she will need her flaws and their illicit traits to save the only family she has left.

Finally, and this is about a sequel again, The Gypsy King's sequel, A Fool's Errand, now has a cover!  We got to meet the author, who was very funny and excited to be writing the third book (currently slated for next May). 

A novel with only light fantasy elements, this series is supposed to be good for the history crowd too.  I've got the first book so look forward to my review soon. 

The Gypsy King by Maureen Fergus

A runaway slave with a shadowy past, sixteen-year-old Persephone has spent four long years toiling beneath the leering gaze of her despised owner and dreaming of a life where she is free to shape her own destiny. Then, one night, a chance encounter with a handsome chicken thief named Azriel changes her life forever.
Sold to him for a small bag of gold coins, Persephone soon discovers what she already suspected: namely, that Azriel is not what he seems. And when she realizes that he believes Persephone has a special destiny—she is determined to escape him and his impossibly broad shoulders.
But things are no longer as simple as they once were.
Torn between her longing for freedom and her undeniable feelings for the handsome thief with the fast hands and the slow smile, Persephone faces the hardest choice she will ever have to make.
And no one—least of all her—could have imagined the shocking truth her decision will reveal.

Thursday 2 May 2013

Small Press Spotlight: Blind Eye Books

Shelving books gives you a great opportunity to see what publisher's mark is on the spine.  I've been noticing more and more books by smaller presses lately so I'll try to spotlight a few of them in the next few months.

Here's an introduction to Blind Eye Books.

Blind Eye Books is an independent press dedicated to publishing science-fiction and fantasy stories with gay and lesbian protagonists.
Our books span a wide variety of styles, settings and themes, but they are always exciting and positive. They are heart-pounding and heart-warming, sensual and sensational. In short, they are stories that we love and are proud to present to the world.
Some of the titles they've published are:

Smoketown by Tenea Johnson

The city of Leiodare is unlike any other in the post-climate change United States. Within its boundaries, birds are outlawed and what was once a crater in Appalachia is now a tropical, glittering metropolis where Anna Armour is waiting. An artist by passion and a factory worker by trade, Anna is a woman of special gifts. She has chosen this beautiful, traumatized city to wait for the woman she’s lost, the one she believes can save her from her troubled past and uncertain future.

When one night Anna creates life out of thin air and desperation, no one is prepared for what comes next – not Lucine, a smooth talking soothsayer with plans for the city; Lucine’s brother Eugenio who has designs of his own; Seife, a star performer in the Leiodaran cosmos; or Rory, a forefather of the city who’s lived through outbreak, heatbreak, and scandal. Told through their interlocking stories, Smoketown delves into the invisible connections that rival magic, and the copst of redemption.

Irregulars by Nicole Kimberling, Josh Lanyon, Astrid Amara, and Ginn Hale

NATO’s Irregulars Affairs Division is a secret organization operating in thousands of cities around the globe. Its agents police relations between the earthly realm and those beyond this world, protecting us from terrible dangers as well as enthralling temptations.

These agents—Irregulars, as they are known to the few who know them at all—are drawn to the work for their own reasons and close cases in their own unique ways.

Agent Henry Falk–an undead tramp brought back for a mission that might finally put him into a grave he can’t climb back out of.

Agent Keith Curry–a former carnivore chef turned vegetarian currently dealing with a goblin problem.

Agent Rake–a tough and ambitious guy with a penchant for easy living and dangerous games.

Agent Silas August–an uncompromising jerk with a dead partner and an assignment babysitting an assassin.

Four adventures from four award-winning authors, all set in one amazing world. Is your security clearance high enough to read on?

Strange Fortune by Josh Lanyon

Valentine Strange, late of his Majesty’s 21st Benhali Lancers, needs money. Happily, the wealthy Holy Orders of Harappu are desperate to retrieve the diadem of the Goddess Purya from an ancient temple deep in the mountainous jungle—an area Strange knows well from his days quelling rebellions. The pay is too good and the job seems too easy for Strange to refuse. But when Master Aleister Grimshaw, a dangerous witch from a traitorous lineage, joins the expedition, Strange begins to suspect that more is at stake than the retrieval of a mere relic.

Grimshaw knows an ancient evil surrounds the diadem— the same evil once hunted him and still haunts his mind. However, experience has taught him to keep his suspicions to himself or risk being denounced as a madman. Again.

Harried by curses, bandits and unnatural creatures, Strange and Grimshaw plunge onward. But when a demonic power wakes and the civilized world descends into revolution, their tenuous friendship is threatened as each man must face the destruction of the life he has known.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Coming in June, 2013

This is my second month using for the book listings.  Again, there are a bunch of self-published titles added, as well as direct to kindle books on this list.  The other ebook listings are from Carina Press.  The list reflects Canadian release dates.  I try to mark books that are being reprinted, but I might have missed a few.


Lexicon – Max Barry
Wisp of a Thing – Alex Bledsoe
A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs (reprint)
Earth Afire – Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnston
Sovereign – Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee
Burdens of the Dead – Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint & Dave Freer
Alas, Babylon – Pat Frank (reprint)
The World of the End – Ofir Touche Gafla
The City – Stella Gemmell
Casino Infernale – Simon Green
Mutants & Masterminds: Deluxe Hero's Handbook – Steve Kenson & Jon Leitheusser
Warhammer 40K: Fist of Demetrius – William King
Deeply Odd – Dean Koontz
Steadfast – Mercedes Lackey
Gameboard of the Gods – Richelle Mead
The Goliath Stone – Larry Niven & Matthew Joseph Harrington
Reviver – Seth Patrick
Poison – Sarah Pinborough
Requiem – Ken Scholes
The Guiding Nose of Ulfant Banderoz – Dan Simmons & Tom Kidd
Eight Million Gods – Wen Spencer
Travel Scholarships – Jules Verne (reprint)
Sea Change – S. M. Wheeler

Trade Paperback:

Clockwork Fairy Tales – Stephen Antczak & James Bassett, Ed.
Thirteen – Kelley Armstrong
iD – Madeline Ashby
The Beautiful Land – Alan Averill
Terminus – Adam Baker
Elves: Beyond the Mists of Katura – James Barclay
City of Bohane – Kevin Barry
Goslings – J. D. Beresford & Astra Taylor
Cryonic – Travis Bradberry
The Plain Bitter of Honey – Alan Chin
Abaddon's Gate – James Corey
Warhammer 40K: Soul Drinkers: Annihilation – Ben Counter
Warhammer 40K: The Soul Drinkers: Redemption – Ben Counter
The Best Horror of the Year, Vol. Five – Ellen Datlow, Ed.
Keeping Secrets – Sierra Dean
The Black Mausoleum – Stephen Deas
Fire – Sara Elfgren & Mats Strandberg
Cold Steel – Kate Elliott
Queers Dig Time Lords – Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian Thomas, Ed.
The Collected Stories, Vol 2 – Carol Emshwiller
The Mad Goblin – Philip Jose Farmer
Captive – K. M. Fawcett
88 – Michael Fletcher
Empty Space – M. John Harrison
Type – Alicia Hendley
A Method to the Madness – Jeffrey Hite & Michell Plested, Ed.
River Road – Suzanne Johnson
Exodus – Paul Antony Jones
Devil Said Bang – Richard Kadrey
The Afterblight Chronicles: Hooded Man – Paul Kane (omnibus)
The People's Will – Jasper Kent
The Armies of Heaven – Jane Kindred
Warhammer 40K: The Angel of Fire – William King
Before the Fall – Francis Knight
The Maggot People – Henning Koch
Blood Sacrifice – Maria Lima
The Dusk Watchman – Tom Lloyd
Apocalypse Cow – Michael Logan
Half-Sick of Shadows – David Logan
Aliens: Recent Encounters – Alex Dally MacFarlane, Ed.
Iron Kingdoms Chronicles: In Thunder Forged – Ari Marmell
Western King – Ann Marston
Love Minus Eighty – Will McIntosh
The Broken Univers – Paul Melko
The Tide King – Jen Michalski
Something Red – Douglas Nicholas
The Geisters – David Nickle
Man-Kzin Wars, 25th Anniversary Edition – Larry Niven
Trail of Dead – Melissa Olson
The Map of the Sky – Felix Palma
Reanimators – Peter Rawlik
Dr. Who: Harvest of Time – Alastair Reynolds
Lady of Sherwood – Jennifer Roberson (reprint)
Jack Glass – Adam Roberts
The Mona Lisa Sacrifice – Peter Roman
Was – Geoff Ryman
Phallos: Enhanced and Revised Edition – Samuel Delany, Robert Reid-Pharr, Steven Shaviro & Kenneth James
New Taboos – John Shirley 
The Age of Scorpio – Gavin Smith
Spellcasters – Kelley Armstrong (Omnibus with 2 novels and 2 stories)
Osiris – E. J. Swift
Warhammer: Headtaker – David Tuymer
Ecko Rising – Danie Ware
Beyond Dinocalypse – Chuck Wendig, Ed.
Long Fall From Heaven – George Wier & Milton Burton
The Last Policeman – Ben Winters
The Legend of Snow Wolf: Redemption – F. Lit Yu
Cobra Slave – Timothy Zahn

Mass Market Paperback:

Deadbeat – Guy Adams
Star Wars X-Wing: Mercy Kill – Aaron Allston
Darkness Unmasked – Keri Arthur
Star Trek Enterprise: A Choice of Futures – Christopher Bennett
Queen's Hunt – Beth Bernobich
Orion and King Arthur – Ben Bova
Monster Hunter Legion – Larry Correia
Heaven's War – David Goyer & Michael Cassutt
Live and Let Drood – Simon Green
In a Fix – Linda Grimes
Crash – Guy Haley
Hunted – Kevin Hearne
Crescent – Homer Hickam
Writers of the Future Vol. 29 – L. Ron Hubbard & Dave Wolverton
Home From the Sea – Mercedes Lackey
Freedom's Choice – Anne McCaffrey (reprint)
Blade Reforged – Kelly McCullough
The Dragonstone – Dennis McKiernan
Dead Iron – Devon Monk
The Double Human – James O'Neal
The Long Earth – Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter
Damn Him to Hell – Jamie Quaid
2312 – Kim Stanley Robinson
The Seven-Petaled Shield – Deborah Ross
Guildwars: Sea of Sorrows – Ree Soesbee
The Miss Education of Dr. Exeter – Jillian Stone
The Apocalypse Codex – Charles Stross
Slow Apocalypse – John Varley
When Diplomacy Fails – Michael Williamson
Alif the Unseen – G. Willow Wilson
Diegeses – D. Harlan Wilson


The League of Illusion: Destiny – Vivi Anna
Tamsin – Peter S. Beagle
The First Bird – Greig Beck
Throne of Oak – Dana Marie Bell
Doors – Daniel Brako
Serpent's Treasure – Elaine Cook
Seducing the Demon Huntress – Victoria Davies
The Reluctant Reaper – Gina Grant
The Year of the Ladybird – Graham Joyce
The Taken – Mike Kearby
Bloodcast 6 – Claudia Kern & Michael Peinkofer
Secret of the Crystal – Brian Larson
Wine of the Dreamers – John MacDonald
Family Pride – Sheryl Nantus
Witch Bound – Eleri Stone
Timesplash – Graham Storrs
Sky Runners – Fae Sutherland
Dark Child – Adina West (omnibus edition)