Monday 30 September 2013

Books Received in September 2013

These are the books I was privileged to receive from publishers this month.  With the exception of The Hangman's Replacement, which is from Amazon, all synopses are from the Indigo website.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl - The sales rep from Penguin Random House compared it to Ira Levin's work.

On a damp October night, the body of young, beautiful Ashley Cordova is found in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. By all appearances her death is a suicide--but investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. Though much has been written about the dark and unsettling films of Ashley's father, Stanislas Cordova, very little is known about the man himself. As McGrath pieces together the mystery of Ashley's death, he is drawn deeper and deeper into the dark underbelly of New York City and the twisted world of Stanislas Cordova, and he begins to wonder--is he the next victim? In this novel, the dazzlingly inventive writer Marisha Pessl offers a breathtaking mystery that will hold you in suspense until the last page is turned.

More Than This by Patrick Ness - I loved his other books so I'm hoping to make time for this one soon.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What's going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this.
MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood - I haven't read the other two books in this series, but now that it's finished, maybe it's time to start.  I've heard good things about these books.

Months after the Waterless Flood pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, Toby and Ren have rescued their friend Amanda from the vicious Painballers. They return to the MaddAddamite cob house, which is being fortified against man and giant Pigoon alike. Accompanying them are the Crakers, the gentle, quasi-human species engineered by the brilliant but deceased Crake. While their reluctant prophet, Jimmy -- Crake's one-time friend -- recovers from a debilitating fever, it's left to Toby to narrate the Craker theology, with Crake as Creator. She must also deal with cultural misunderstandings, terrible coffee, and her jealousy over her lover, Zeb.

Meanwhile, Zeb searches for Adam One, founder of the God's Gardeners, the pacifist green religion from which Zeb broke years ago to lead the MaddAddamites in active resistance against the destructive CorpSeCorps. Now, under threat of an imminent Painballer attack, the MaddAddamites must fight back with the aid of their newfound allies, some of whom have four trotters.

At the centre, is the extraordinary story of Zeb's past, which involves a lost brother, a hidden murder, a bear, and a bizarre act of revenge.

The Hangman's Replacement by Taona Dumisani Chiveneko - Speaking of diverse SFF, science fiction/horror set in Africa?  Oh yeah.  I've started this one and so far it's fantastic.

Zimbabwe’s last hangman retired in 2004. As the nation drifted towards abolition, no determined effort was launched to find a replacement. However, the discovery of carnivorous flame lilies at the Great Zimbabwe monument triggered a spirited search for a new executioner. Those who know why this discovery energized the recruitment effort refused to talk.
The frantic attempts to find a new hangman were impeded by the lack of suitable candidates. Well-placed sources confirmed that the fear of ngozi was a deterrent. According to this traditional belief, the spirit of a murdered person torments the killer and his family for generations. However, this is only half the story. Several promising applicants did come forward. None met the minimum requirements for the job. The selection criteria were designed to exclude the mentally ill, the vindictive, and the sadistic. However, they did not rule out the desperate.
The Sprout of Disruption (Book 1) introduces the universe of characters whose lives have been set alight by the plant which sparked the recruitment effort. It tells the story of the aspiring hangman who was obsessed with securing the job, the sympathizers who fought to protect him from his prize, and the anxious men who believed that emptying death row would end their horror before the meat-eating plants constricted around their necks.

The Lost Prince by Edward Lazellari - The second book in a series I've had my eye on but haven't had time to pick up yet.
In Lazellari's debut fantasy, Awakenings, New York City cop Cal MacDonnell and photographer Seth Raincrest found themselves stalked by otherworldly beings intent on killing them. The two had to accept the aid of a mysterious woman to unlock their hidden pasts, and what they discovered changed their lives.

Everything they knew about their lives was an illusion. They had in fact travelled to our dimension from the medieval reality of Aandor to hide their infant prince from assassins, but upon arriving, a freak mishap wiped their memories. Cal, Seth, and the rest of their party were incapacitated, and the infant prince was lost.
Thirteen years later, that prince, Daniel Hauer, is unaware of his origins--or that he has become the prize in a race between two powerful opposing factions. Cal and Seth's group want to keep Daniel safe. The other wants Daniel dead--by any means necessary.

From the streets of New York City to the back roads of rural North Carolina, the search for the prince sets powerful forces against each other in a do-or-die battle for the rule of the kingdom of Aandor.

The Third Kingdom by Terry Goodkind - I have to admit I didn't like the first book enough to read all the ones I'd need to in order to properly enjoy this one.

The bloodthirsty Jit is dead, and against all odds Richard and Kahlan have survived. But a new menace has attacked them in the Dark Lands. Infected with the essence of death itself, robbed of his power as a war wizard, Richard must race against time to uncover and stop the infernal conspiracy assembling itself behind the wall far to the north. His friends and allies are already captives of this fell combination, and Kahlan, also touched by death''s power, will die completely if Richard fails. Bereft of magic, Richard has only his sword, his wits, his capacity for insight -- and an extraordinary companion, the young Samantha, a healer just coming into her powers.

The Broken Hearted by Amelia Kahaney - This one sounds pretty interesting.

Some kinds of Heartbreak aren't temporary.
High in her tower above Bedlam City, prima ballerina Anthem Fleet has lived her whole life by her parents' strict rules, never leaving the sparkling, pristine North Side. Until she meets Gavin. An artist from the dangerous South Side of town, Gavin is like no one Anthem has ever met-and she falls for him suddenly and completely.
But Gavin's world is as dangerous as it is intoxicating, and their romance crashes down around them one terrible night when they are attacked on the South Side and Gavin is kidnapped. When she wakes in a dark, blood-soaked lab, Anthem has a jagged scar down her chest . . . and an experimental bionic heart ticking inside her. 
As Anthem will soon realize, her new mechanical heart didn't just save her life-it left her with a strange and terrifying new strength. A strength that she''s going to need if she has any chance of rescuing Gavin and mending the scattered pieces of her broken heart.

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

"I bought the milk," said my father. "I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road."
"Hullo," I said to myself. "That's not something you see every day. And then something odd happened."
Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal.

Friday 27 September 2013

Recommended Reading by Professionals... with Joshua Bilmes

In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven't received the recognition they deserve.

Today's recommendations are by Joshua Bilmes. Joshua is the president of JABberwocky Literary Agency, which he founded in 1994. He has been a literary agent for over 27 years, having made his professional debut at the Scott Meredith Literary Agency in 1986. His client list includes a large number of SFF authors including Charlaine Harris, Brandon Sanderson, Elizabeth Moon, and Jim C. Hines.  He also blogs about the business, movies, tennis and more.

Here are three authors off of the JABberwocky list with a book or books that I would consider to be under-appreciated at the moment.
  1. Since I'm doing this for a Canadian-based blog, I want to start off by talking about Tanya Huff's The Silvered.  Tanya's written a lot of novels, but this is one of her very, very best, and even more than that, it's something that's fresh and distinct in a genre that often can't be called either.  It's got werewolves, but not like what we're used to.  This isn't a horror novel with a few werewolves threatening human society.  It's not even a werewolf novel set amidst a group of werewolves within the world as we know it.  Those would be too easy!  And when I say it's set in an entire werewolf culture created by Tanya herself, that doesn't mean what you'd think it means from all the other werewolf novels you've read.  It's a world where men are from werewolf warrior genes and women are from magery, the men and the women both powerful in their own right and yet mutually dependent on one another.  Within that world, the plot itself has lots of things that will be familiar and welcoming to fantasy readers.  The ruler of the neighboring kingdom is trying to fulfill a prophecy.  The perilous journey that Mirian and Tomas embark on in the novel hearkens back to other work, including the male/female interplay of Sing the Four Quarters (another of Tanya's very best books) or of the classic quest journey of The Fire's Stone.  At no point can the familiar ingredients be entirely separated from the overall freshness and imaginative conceptualization of the world itself.  This is a story that could only be taking place in this book at this time.  If you like fantasy, you ought to be reading this novel.  If you're reading this novel, you'll be recommending it.  It almost suffers from "just" being one of the very best novels from an author who's written so many really good ones.
  2. Switching gears a bit, the next book I'll recommend is a nuts-and-bolts piece of science fiction called Infoquake and the other novels in the Jump 225 trilogy by David Louis Edelman. Back before Apple came up with the idea of an app store for the iPhone, David Louis Edelman came up with the idea of an app store for the human mind.  Buy enhancements for your eyesight or other intriguing things and plug 'em in!  A lot of the things that came along with the Apple app store were also anticipated by Edelman.  The eye focuses on the best-selling apps, so it's very important to become a best-seller or to be first out with a particular something.  Against that backdrop, somebody's playing around with a very powerful new app, both for what it can do and for the computing power it requires.  It's called Multi-Real, and it's an app that can run through versions of the future like a chess computer looking at the different outcomes of different moves, and find its way to the future.  A lot of people want to own the app, in both senses of the word -- as buying it for themselves or being the one it has to be purchased from.  People in both business and government.  There isn't a full appreciation of the impact of having this much processing power going to run through so many versions of the future for so many people at the same time.  Hence, whomever owns the app has the power to do a lot of danger.  These novels are full of action, ideas, political intrigue, and much much more.  When Infoquake came out, it got a lot of attention and made a lot of Best-of-Year lists and award ballots.  But in the half dozen years since all of that, the series has kind of fallen off the radar, and it shouldn't.  These are books as eerily predictive of technological advancement as William Gibson's Neuromancer.  You should be reading these books now, and people ought to still be reading the Jump 225 trilogy another dozen years from now.
  3. Finally, if it's possible to consider an international best-selling author to be under-appreciated, I'd make that case for Peter V. Brett. And it all has to do with his covers.  In fact, if you're ever wondering if covers make a difference, if covers sell books, Peter V. Brett and his Demon Cycle series answer that question.  His last book was #3 on the British bestseller lists, #5 on the German lists, and "only" #19 on the US lists, and it's because of the cover.

    Peter wrote this great first novel called The Warded Man (Painted Man in the UK). As a rule, people who pick up the book like it a lot, and they eagerly wait for the author's next book, and they tell all their friends, and it's the kind of thing from which bestsellers are made as they've been here.  But the biggest job a publisher might have is to get people to pick up the book in the first place.  In the UK and Germany, the publishers did a really good job of that.  If you look at the original hardcover cover for the Del Rey edition in the US, not so much.  It was a cover by committee, with a realization that it wasn't a great fantasy cover, so fantasy ingredients kept being added in, but it never quite worked.  Ultimately, the publisher realized this and switched to the better UK covers and/or UK cover artist for the next books in the series, and sales in the US started to pick up a lot when they did so.  Strange, isn't it?  The same book, but with a different cover it all of a sudden starts selling like it's got different words inside! So I don't have a time machine to go back and put a great cover on the first US edition of The Warded Man.  I can't do that, but I figured I'd use my soap box here to try and make up for it!
But I don't want to just be talking about a great first novel from commercial terms.  And creatively, what makes Peter's Demon Cycle work?  To go full circle some, it's not dissimilar to what makes Tanya Huff's The Silvered work so well.  He's got a lot of ingredients from other great fantasy series.  Good magic system and kick-ass good fight scenes and epic scope and rich world-building.  But a lot of fantasy writers who usually have that are doing it within the very familiar same-old same-old fantasy worlds that we've been in.  The demon magic in Peter's universe isn't that same-old.  More important, the magic has real implications for how people act in the world itself, so when you're spending time in the world you know you're spending time in Peter's world, and not in Tolkien's.  Pretty much all of these things could be said of Tanya Huff's The Silvered as well.  Tanya and Peter are very different authors.  Tanya's a little more the romanticist as you think of it in a romance novel, while Peter is maybe a little more the capital "R" Romanticist.  What both share is the ability to deliver the things readers want in unexpected, fresh and inspiring ways.  The Silvered should be talked about as much as Peter V. Brett.

Stay tuned for the next post where we learn whom Violette Malan thinks we should be reading more of!

Thursday 26 September 2013

Inclusive HIstory and SFF + a New Series Idea

I have a BA in Medieval Studies.  That 3 year degree taught me a lot about several hundred years of European history.  But over the past year or so I've started to realize just how little I know about history, even a period of history I studied in some depth.

I'm also discovering how biased my studies were, through some fault of my own, but also due to how history is taught and the heavily western centred system we have.

For example, I recently read a book about how regular Egyptians lived in ancient times.  One of the things that came out in the book was that the word 'Pharaoh' is Greek.  When you think about it, it makes sense that we don't use an Egyptian word, since ancient Egyptian wasn't understood until the discovery of the Rosetta Stone (rediscovered in 1799), by which point historians had already appropriated language from the only primary sources they could find, primarily that of the Greeks.  But why am I only discovering this now?  Why haven't some of the native words replaced the Greek words?  Why did I discover that ancient Egypt was called Kemet (or, as Wikipedia corrects it: kem.t) from the history book I'm currently reading?  (Here I'll acknowledge that while it's possible I was taught this at some point, the fact that it's not in common use - the book on ancient Egypt didn't mention it once, for example - is surprising.)

I've been following Medieval POC (people of colour) on tumbler, and the author's made me question so many things I thought I knew.  Easy things, that once you think about them for 2 minutes are so clear.  Like the fact that the Roman army, which conquered parts of Africa, would have had black soldiers.  Then consider that Rome also conquered most of England.  What's the likelihood that no black soldiers made up the conquering army?  How did I get through university believing England was a land of white people?  And that ignores trade, travel and other factors that mixed societies and races.

Look at a map, Africa and the Middle East are right there.  Right across the sea from Europe.  They're so close it's ridiculous to believe they had no contact or intermixing.  I've also discovered that Asian invaded and occupied Eastern Europe for decades.  More to research, more to learn!

So I'm trying to learn more about history - accurate, inclusive history.  Going outside the Eurocentric education I got.  I'm questioning the things I've never thought to question before about the past. 

The more I learn about history, the more I want multicultural fantasy and science fiction.  I've been keeping my eyes out for translations and different points of view.  It's why I read and reviewed The World of the End so quickly.  Science fiction translated from Yiddish?  Yes, please!

Of course, that doesn't make every story of interest.  Sofia Samatar's A Stranger in Olondria had a nice cover, so I put it on display at the store, but the synopsis doesn't interest me at this time (I'm still burned out on fantasy, and have been pushing myself to read the fantastic Throne of the Crescent Moon.  I'm almost done and should have a review up soon).  I've been focusing more on science fiction lately, but maybe when I'm more interested in fantasy again I'll pick this one up.

Whenever things like race fail and diversity in SFF come up the question is always, "What can I do about it?  I'm just one person after all."  What we forget is that change starts with us.  With each individual that makes up the whole.  If we educate ourselves, if we share stories with more diverse characters and storylines, if we are the change we want to see in the world, then over time the world will change.  We educate the generation coming behind us.  Do we want them to have the same issues with SFF that we have?  Do we want them to have the same lack of diversity when it comes to race, sexuality, etc.?  

A few months ago I started asking publishing professionals, predominantly authors, for book recommendations for a column on SF Signal.  The first people on my list were ones I know / have had contact with in the past.  Now that the series is going, I'm hoping to branch out more, to find authors who are lesser known.  Authors largely neglected by the SFF community.  (Is it just me or do N.K. Jemisin and Octavia Butler seem to be the only women of colour (WOC) most people know?  They're great writers and deserve to be on those lists, but there are quite a number of other WOC writing SFF who never seem to get mentioned.)

One of the things I do at the store is note down books by people from different backgrounds.  These notes help with recommending books and doing my displays (which become reading lists on my blog).  I've developed a decent list of POC SFF authors.  A few minutes spent googling them - and reading some of their blog posts - has increased those lists.  The internet is such an amazing tool and so woefully underused.  One of my new goals has become to actively look for novels by people different from me - even ones I'm not sure I'll like, for whatever reason, and review them.  Publishers won't publish books they don't think there's a market for, so let's give these books a market!

I'll be starting a new series called Reading Unbound, where I go over some of these authors on my blog.  I'd love to hear author suggestions and what information you'd like to get out of the series.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

LucasFilm Wants to Eliminate Movie Post-Production Process

I saw this posted on facebook yesterday.  What is it?

LucasFilm told attendees at Technology Strategy Board event in London last week that video game engines will be used in film-making, with the two disciplines combining over the next decade to eliminate the movie post-production process.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this becoming reality.  On the one hand, it would be an amazing technological advance, to do film post-production work during the actual filming.  And what they do in this video just looks awesome.  On the other hand, too much CGI makes films look fake, and if you're doing CGI costumes and make-up in addition to the backdrops, etc., why use actors at all?

You can read more about the test at the Inquirer.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Book Review: The Crimson Labyrinth by Yusuke Kishi

Translated by Masami Isetani and Camellia Nieh

Pros: creepy premise, interesting characters

Cons: introduced to too many characters at once making them hard to remember

When Yoshihiko Fujiki wakes up in a red stone canyon in the rain, he has no idea where he is or what's happened to him.  All he has are a few basic supplies and a handheld game system welcoming him to the Mars Labyrinth.  Before he has the chance to follow the directions to the first checkpoint he runs into another player, Ai Otomo.  Her game system is broken, so they team up to face... whatever comes next.

This is a novel that starts slowly - with Fujiki trying to figure out what's going on - but quickly builds momentum.  Like the characters, you're horrified by the turns the 'game' takes, as some of the players become less and less human.  And though Fujiki has some ideas of what's happening behind the scenes, figuring that out isn't as important as staying alive.

Try not to read the book's back cover synopsis as the first paragraph contains a spoiler that will colour how you read the novel.

The premise of the book is pretty creepy.  It starts off as a survival game with everyone in the wilderness.  As time goes on and a trap set by those running the game is activated, things shift and it becomes a different kind of survival game. 

The protagonists are pretty interesting, with down on their luck backgrounds.  Fujiki took a while to grow on me, but I liked his tenacity and cleverness.  While Ai gives good advice at times, she mainly stays in the background, letting Fujiki make most of the decisions.  The other players all have unique personalities, though you don't see much of them.

Fujiki and Ai encounter the other players at the first checkpoint and you're given a quick introduction of all of them.  It's too many people, too fast, several of whom have similar names.  I found that later in the book, when the pair met up with them again, I couldn't remember who was who.

I'd recommend this to people who would like a less violent Battle Royale.  It's got a bit of mystery, a bit of survivalistic writing, a tiny bit of romance and several violent, though not too graphic, deaths.

Friday 20 September 2013

New Author Spotlight: Tom King

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 Tom King! His debut novel is A Once Crowded Sky.

Here's the cover copy:
The superheroes of Arcadia City fight a wonderful war and play a wonderful game, forever saving yet another day. However, after sacrificing both their powers and Ultimate, the greatest hero of them all, to defeat the latest apocalypse, these comic book characters are transformed from the marvelous into the mundane.
After too many battles won and too many friends lost, The Soldier of Freedom was fine letting all that glory go. But when a new threat blasts through his city, Soldier, as ever, accepts his duty and reenlists in this next war. Without his once amazing abilities, he's forced to seek the help of the one man who walked away, the sole hero who refused to make the sacrifice--PenUltimate, the sidekick of Ultimate, who through his own rejection of the game has become the most powerful man in the world, the only one left who might still, once again, save the day.
If you like superhero novels (and 1 graphic novel), here are some you might want to check out:

Trance by Kelly Meding (Pocket Books)
Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines (Crown Publishing)
Leaving Megalopolis by Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore (Kickstarter Project I supported, which I assume will be on sale once the delayed kickstarter copies have been printed and sent out.)

Thursday 19 September 2013

Parody: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

While S.H.I.E.L.D looks like fun, you have to admit this parody by Fortress of Attitude has a good point:

Coming to ABC this Fall, the new show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings you everything you love about Marvel...except for the superheroes. That's the only thing it doesn't have.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Sunburst Award Winners Announced

From their press release: 

The Sunburst Award Committee is pleased to announce that the winner of its 2013 adult award is Maleficium by Martine Desjardins; translated by Fred A. Reed and David Homel (Talonbooks, 9780889226807) and the winner of its 2013 young adult award is Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Doubleday Canada, ISBN – 9780385668392)

About Maleficium, the Sunburst jury said: Rumour and speculation have it that there is hidden, somewhere in the archives of the Archdiocese of Montreal, a book so dangerous that the Church denies its existence. A copy has been found amongst papers of the author’s family, however, and its interlocking stories—originally told under the seal of confession—are here presented. Gorgeous and multilayered, Maleficium is a complex, devious, and vivid novel, in which all the senses, and most of the deadly sins, are invoked to exquisite and diabolical effect. Situated where Maria Monk meets the Arabian Nights, it weaves together elements at a thousand knots per square inch, its darkness of frame and intricacy of structure combining to subvert the pattern by the final chapter.

About Seraphina, the Sunburst Jury said: In the kingdom of Goredd, humans and dragons have co-existed in an uneasy peace for four decades, but tensions still run high. The dragons are able to present themselves in human shape, which gives them some safety, but cannot protect them from all elements of a society which forever see them as the other. Into this world comes Seraphina, a young and gifted musician who joins the royal court as the anniversary of the peace treaty nears, and a member of the royal family is murdered, apparently by dragons. Seraphina finds herself drawn into the investigation, which puts her in danger from both sides, for reasons she dare not reveal. This is a grand and enchanting tale, as rich and intricate as a medieval tapestry, told beautifully. Hartman's wildly imaginative, well-drawn, and intricate world of dragons and men is definitely a world that bears watching, and Seraphina is a fine, fitting heroine, making her independent way while struggling with a legacy which can be both a blessing and a curse.


The other shortlisted works for the 2013 adult award were:
Finton Moon by Gerard Collins (Killick Press)
Over the Darkened Landscape by Derryl Murphy (Fairwood Press)
The Blondes by Emily Schultz (Doubleday Canada)
Westlake Soul by Rio Youers (ChiZine Publications)

The other shortlisted works for the 2013 young adult award were:
Bright’s Light
by Susan Juby (HarperCollins)
Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen)
The Green Man by Michael Bedard (Tundra Books)
Rebel Heart by Moira Young (Doubleday Canada)


The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic is an annual award celebrating the best in Canadian fantastic literature published during the previous calendar year.

The winners receive a cash prize of $1,000 as well as a medallion which incorporates the Sunburst logo. 

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction.

For additional information about the Sunburst Award, the nominees and jurors, as well as previous awards, eligibility and the selection process, please visit the website at

Short Film: From the Future With Love

I saw this on Short of the Week.  It's a series of short videos following 3 cops over the course of one day, in a future where police protection services can be purchased like insurance.  I love the costumes.  It was written and directed by K-Michel Parandi.

From the future with love from Precinct 114 on Vimeo.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Book Review: The Explorer by James Smythe

Pros: interesting premise, interesting examination of perceived experience vs the larger reality,  quick read

Cons: scientific errors, protagonist gets irritating at times

Six astronauts are on a voyage to explore space, going further than any manned mission in the past.  But almost immediately things start going wrong, and as the crew die - one by one - their reporter, Cormac, the least skilled among them, wonders if their mission will succeed.

This is an interesting novel about the worth of exploration and what it takes to leave everything you know for such an opportunity.  There's a twist at the quarter mark that propels this novel from a simple exploratory mission into an examination of how we perceive events based on limited knowledge, memory vs reality and causality.

We get to know Cormac the most, as it's his POV we follow, but through his observations and experiences we also get to know the other crew members.  The story alternates between what's happening on the ship and the process of being chosen for the mission back on Earth.

Cormac's experiences are interesting but his personality gets a bit grating as things break down and he can't do anything but wait for death.

Twenty or so pages before the end of the ebook, the climax hits.  I eagerly turned the page to find out what happened only to discover that the novel was over and the final pages were an excerpt for Smythe's next book.  This was incredibly jarring and meant I didn't appreciate the open style of the ending as I otherwise might have.

I enjoyed the book enough to pass it along to my husband.  Turns out it was a good thing, as the first draft of this review stated the science was accurate. My husband is a huge hard SF fan and he pointed out several errors the book makes with regards to space.  There's a scene that mildly irritated him where water didn't act the way it would in zero gravity.  But the main problem is that the ship is brought to a halt on several occasions for checks and repairs.  Not only would this waste their fuel, both to stop and to start up again (having killed their momentum), each stop would alter their course, which we're told has been pre-set.  These errors made it harder for him to enjoy the book.

It's an interesting novel, and a very quick read, but those of you looking for hard SF might want to give this one a pass.  

Friday 13 September 2013

Recommended Reading by Professionals With... James Knapp

In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven't received the recognition they deserve.

Today's recommendations are by James Knapp. James Knapp's first novel, State of Decay was a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and won the 2010 Compton Crook Award. He's since completed the Revivors trilogy and written the first novel of a new series, Burn Zone, under the pseudonym James K. Decker.

  1. First up is T.C. McCarthy, author of the Subterrene War trilogy which includes Germline, Exogene, and Chimera (Germline won the 2012 Compton Crook Award).  He weaves stories of very broken people in very dangerous environments, and he does it all with a poetic flair that really stuck with me.  It’s much more than just futuristic war.   A struggle over rare earth elements has come to a head under the mountains of Kazakhstan, where soldiers sealed in suits of armor fight in tunnels under tons of rock.  In Germline, an embedded reporter quickly is forced to turn soldier, and the way it changes him so completely makes for compelling reading.  McCarthy explores the human psyche, what we're willing to do in order to survive, and the effects that the horrors of war can inflict on us.  He introduces genetically engineered soldiers, but explores the ethics of that (or lack thereof), and the mindset such soldiers might have, or be forced to have.  He wraps it all in a great series of novels, and he does it all believably and memorably.  His short story "Somewhere it Snows" proves that he's equally good at exploring other worlds, too, and I sincerely hope that he does.  Writers like him are the type that we want to stick around, and so I'm recommending him to anyone who likes hard science fiction - even if military fiction isn't usually your thing, give him a try.
  2. Next is Alex Hughes, author of the Mindspace series, which so far includes Clean, and Sharp.  I'm a big fan of science fiction and also noir, and her work has strong elements of both.  I likened Clean to a fun blend of Blade Runner and Chinatown, but that doesn't truly do it justice.  Her vision of a future Atlanta feels real, a hot, steamy place where a talented but damaged telepath named Adam uses his abilities to help track down criminals.  The handling of 'mindspace', the sort of psychic residue left behind by people, is something I'd like to see a lot more of.  Telepaths are able to perceive it, almost like an additional sense, and can use it to sort of look into the past.  Adam struggles with an addiction that Hughes handles perfectly, a fight that occurs day to day, minute to minute.  I'm really hoping this series turns into a long running thing.
  3. Lastly, although I don't read a lot of fantasy, I want to give a shout out to fantasy author Myke Cole whose work I was introduced to at Balticon (his debut novel Control Point won the 2013 Compton Crook Award, and the second novel in the series, Fortress Frontier, is out now) - he writes Military Fantasy so it’s a mixture of bullets and spell slinging.  His real-life military experience brings a lot to the table, and really pushes his work from just guns and explosions into a much broader examination of what it means to be in the armed forces.  You'll learn a lot of military jargon, and my fantasy-loving friends assure me that his magic system is top notch.
I realize that two of the authors on this list have won awards for their work.  Have they been recognized?  Yes.  Have they gotten the recognition they deserve?  Not in my book - not yet.  I'd like to see all three on the best sellers list, so give them all a read.  You won't be sorry.

Stay tuned for the next post where we learn who literary agent Joshua Bilmes thinks we should be reading more of!

Thursday 12 September 2013

Stranger Than Fiction: The Law Code of Hammurabi

A column dedicated to pointing out interesting tidbits of history, some of which would be cool to see in a fantasy novel or two. 

The Oldest Code of Laws in the World AKA The Code of Laws Promulgated by Hammurabi, King of Babylon 

Trans: C. H. W. Johns, M.A. in 1903
[Note: I'm sure there are more modern, accurate, and easier to read, translations, but this one's free and I could read it on my iPad, so it's what I went with.]

I had heard that the law code of King Hammurabi had similarities to the Ten Commandments in the Bible, but I didn't realize just how similar the laws were until I read them.  But it's not just the laws themselves that are similar, but also the way in which the law was given, by God (or, in Hammurabi's case, a god) to man.  From the introduction to the code, "It contains on the obverse a very interesting representation of the King Hammmurabi, receiving his laws from the seated sun-god Samas, 'the judge of heaven and earth'".

Though the translation isn't the easiest to read (or understand) the code as a whole has some very interesting laws with regards to property, especially that of women (both in marriage and upon the death of their father or husband).  Here are a few tidbits I found interesting:

section 1. If a man weave a spell and put a ban upon a man, and has not justified himself, he that wove the spell upon him shall be put to death.

section 2. If a man has put a spell upon a man, and has not justified himself, he upon whom the spell is laid shall go to the holy river, he shall plunge into the holy river, and if the holy river overcome him, he who wove the spell upon him shall take to himself his house.  If the holy river makes that man to be innocent, and has saved him, he who laid the spell upon him shall be put to death.  He who plunged into the holy river shall take to himself the house of him who wove the spell upon him.

I find it interesting that the first two sections of the law deal with witchcraft / spellwork, showing that not only were such things considered real, they were of such importance that they're mentioned before any other crime.  The second section also indicates that the idea of 'trial by water' or 'let God decide innocence' predates the Middle Ages by quite a lot.

section 21. If a man has broken into a house, one shall kill him before the breach and bury him in it (?).

I wouldn't have understood this had I not listened to a lecture (The Other Side of History, Mesopotamia) that explained it.  Basically, if I break into your house then you get to not only kill me, but wall me up in (or perhaps bury me in the foundation of) your house.  

section 48. If a man has a debt upon him and a thunderstorm ravaged his field or carried away the produce, or the corn has not grown through lack of water, in that year he shall not return corn to the creditor, he shall alter his tablet and he shall not give interest for that year.

I find it interesting that acts of God are considered worthy reasons to defer payment on a loan, an acknowledgement that life isn't always fair and people shouldn't be punished for things they cannot control.

Men were allowed to divorce their wives without any question BUT their ex's got to take their marriage portion (ie, dowry) with them and could then marry whoever they wanted once their children were grown.  

section 138. If a man has set his face to put away his concubine who has borne him children or his wife who has granted him children, to that woman he shall return her her marriage portion and shall give her the usufruct of field, garden, and goods, and she shall bring up her children.  From the time that her children are grown up, from whatever is given to her children they shall give her a share like that of one son, and she shall marry the husband of her choice.

For their own part, women could divorce their husbands but only if they acted well with regards to their households.

section 141. If a woman hates her husband and has said 'Thou shalt not possess me', one shall enquire into her past what is her lack, and if she has been economical and has no vice, and her husband has gone out and greatly belittled her, that woman has no blame, she shall take her marriage portion and go off to her father's house.

If they didn't, 
Section 143. If she has not been economical, a goer about, has wasted her house, has belittled her husband, that woman one shall throw her into the waters.

There are, of course, some extremely harsh rules, like those that led to the 'eye for an eye' Biblical ones.

section 195. If a man has struck his father, his hands one shall cut off.

section 196. If a man has caused the loss of a gentleman's eye, his eye one shall cause to be lost.

But the rules apply differently based of the class of the victim and perpetrator.

section 198.  If he has caused a poor man to lose his eye or shattered a poor man's limb, he shall pay one mina of silver.

section 199. If he has caused the loss of the eye of a gentleman's servant or has shattered the limb of a gentleman's servant, he shall pay half his price.

When it comes to doctoring, there are set payments for particular procedures, but fierce punishments should the procedure go wrong.

section 218. If the doctor has treated a gentleman for a severe wound with a lancet of bronze and has caused the gentleman to die, or has opened an abscess of the eye for a gentleman with the bronze lancet and has caused the loss of the gentleman's eye, one shall cut off his hands. 

The code ends with the costs of hiring various craftsmen, meaning there was a standard (something the guilds in the late middle ages were brought in to help create and regulate).

So, why post this here?  Because laws tell us a lot about the society that needs them.  If a crime isn't taking place, than a law against that crime isn't necessary.  If you're writing a SF/F novel, then what laws do your peoples follow?  How do they differ - and how might those differences cause problems?  Even lawless societies tended to follow some sort of code of conduct.  And even if the laws themselves don't make your story, they make good background information for you to know.

Personally, I'm curious how long the laws in Hammurabi's code were followed and why he decided it was time to write them down.  Might make an interesting story on its own.  If you disagree, consider the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Short Film: The Night Rail Before Christmas

This video is from the team that did the amazing Beetlejuice Minecraft roller coster that I posted a few weeks back, nuropsych1 and rivergrl21 (+ a team of builders).  This time, it's The Nightmare Before Christmas, a movie I absolutely love, and it took them 2 1/2 months to put together.  You can find behind the scenes videos on their site.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

History Book Review: Daily Life of the Ancient Egyptians, 2E by Bob Brier and Hoyt Hobbs

Pros: lots of good information about how normal Egyptians lived

Cons: few photographs, mostly drawn images; lots of repetition, chapter on medicine emphasizes modern superiority over ancient techniques

This is an overview of the life and times of ancient Egyptians, covering history, religion, government, work/play, food, clothes, architecture, arts/crafts, technology/construction, warfare and medicine/mathematics.  There's an extensive bibliography (including internet sources) and glossary of terms at the back.

Each section seems designed to be read independently from the others, for those doing research on one aspect of ancient Egyptian life, so if you read it through from start to finish (as I did) there's a lot of repetition.  The authors do a really good job of summarizing each topic, given the time periods involved and the changes encountered during different periods of Egypt's history.

My main complaint is that instead of photographs the authors primarily used hand drawn images to illustrate their information.  There are some photos, but they're few and far between.

Also, the final chapter, about medicine and mathematics, fails to mention the Egyptian practice of trepanation (cutting/drilling a hole into a patient's skull to relieve pressure on the brain), which surprised me.  The authors also spent a lot of time in this chapter pointing out how modern medicinal practices are better than what the ancient Egyptians use.  I didn't need that pointed out.

I did enjoy the book and I learned a lot about ancient Egyptian life that I'd never heard or considered before. 

Friday 6 September 2013

Author Interview: Samantha Shannon

Novel: The Bone Season



[Taken from an interview for The Today Show. Reprinted here with permission.]

> When did you begin writing The Bone Season and what inspired the story?

I started writing The Bone Season when I was nineteen years old, shortly after completing an internship at David Godwin Associates (DGA), a literary agency in Seven Dials, a small district in London. While I was there, I had a vivid image of a girl having the same day at work as me, but she happened to be clairvoyant – and The Bone Season was born. I sent the finished book to the same agency in April 2012 and it was bought by Bloomsbury a month later.

> Can you describe The Bone Season and the world of Scion? What inspired you to come up with the idea of clairvoyant powers?

The novel begins in 2059, two hundred years after the day that triggered its events, but 1859 still shapes the world of Scion. The way I handle this in the book is through anachronism. You’ll see gramophones, Victorian clothes and herbal remedies in the same space as oxygen bars, data pads and advanced painkillers. I’ve tried to find a word that fits what I’m doing with the novel in this respect. One of the guys at Bloomsbury suggested ‘penny farthing futurism’, which I love. The idea of clairvoyant powers just came to me while I was working at Seven Dials.

> Some of the themes are quite complex, how did you research the book? How many of the clairvoyant ideas are from historic stories, and how many created by you?

I wanted my clairvoyant society to be a cross-section of historical types of divination, extending to encompass twenty-first century parapsychology. I did quite a bit of reading about classical and Renaissance impressions of augury, soothsaying and so on. After that I moved on to nineteenth century Spiritualism, mainly using The Book on Mediums by Allan Kardec. I also integrated Native American legend for Paige’s gift. Although I did a lot of research, I wanted to put my own spin on each type, hence the Seven Orders classification system. I wanted there to be a sense of inheritance and progression, a coming together of legends and phenomena.

> Why is fantasy/dystopia as a genre growing steadily in popularity? Do you think women authors seem to have a better handle on it currently? How does the fantasy aspect of the book help you to get your ideas across?

I think they're still two distinct genres – dystopia tends to veer more towards science fiction than fantasy – but both crucially allow the reader to escape from reality. Personally I like writing and reading dystopian fiction because it takes its characters to the edge: the edge of sanity, of safety, of survival. They're in extremis, and that allows you to see a side of them that you wouldn't be see if they were in, say, a kitchen sink drama, which is pure realism. Fantasy provides a more luxurious escapism. It can often be as gritty as a dystopia, but instead of being woven from nightmares, it plays with the stuff of dreams.

I don't think female authors necessarily have a better handle on the genres, although it certainly can't be disputed that they're writing most of the 'blockbusters': Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Mortal Instruments and so on. Part of the success of these books may be that they boast female characters in leading roles. The vogue for ‘strong heroines’ has transformed the face of fantasy. While it’s great that so many series have female protagonists, the fact that they are still considered noteworthy shows that we need to keep writing them. I’ve never yet been asked why I put ‘strong male characters’ in my book. I think it’s time we stopped being surprised when female-driven books become successful. Paige is ‘strong’ in that she’s relatively independent, a fighter, not defined by her love interest, and driven by the need for freedom, but she has plenty of weaknesses. She’s proud and stubborn, has a knack for
trusting the wrong people, and in many ways, she’s very vulnerable. I try to treat my characters first and foremost as people, not as sexes.

> Do you have any advice for budding authors?

Be open to constructive criticism, don't be afraid to start again, and whatever you do, don't give up at the first hurdle.

Thursday 5 September 2013

Shout-Out: Containment by Christian Cantrell

I spotted this on the shelf at work and it's made my TBR pile: 

The colony on Venus was not built because the destruction of Earth was possible, but because it was inevitable…

A brilliant young scientist and one of the first humans born on Venus, Arik works tirelessly to perfect the science of artificial photosynthesis, a project crucial to the future of his home, V1. The colony was built on the harsh Venusian surface by the Founders, the first humans to establish a permanent extraterrestrial settlement. Arik’s research becomes critical when he awakens from an unexplained, near-fatal accident and learns that his wife is three months pregnant. Unless Arik’s research uncovers a groundbreaking discovery, V1’s oxygen supply will not be able to support the increase in population that his baby represents.

As Arik works against time, he begins to untangle the threads of his accident, which seem inextricably linked to what lies outside the protective walls of V1—a world where the caustic atmosphere and extreme heat make all forms of known life impossible. For its entire existence, Arik's generation has been expected to help solve the problems of colonization. But as Arik digs deeper and deeper, he discovers alarming truths about the planet that the Founders have kept hidden. With growing urgency and increasing peril, Arik finds himself on a journey that will push him to the limits of his intelligence and take him beyond the unimaginable.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Short Film: Momentum

There are so many people making interesting short SF films.  This one is by Stage 5 TV.  They've got a bunch of SF themed videos on their youtube site, including the Space Pals series, a humourous riff on 2001: a Space Odyssey with adult content; Biohazards, a job interview at the Umbrella Corporation (for Resident Evil fans) and a lot more.  

Here's their synopsis for Momentum, a film by Matt M. Murphy and Jeff J. Daniels:

In a not so distant future where fossil fuels is scarce and the search for the next energy source is at its highest, a lonely inventor struggles to develop the "never-ending battery". When a mysterious woman enters his life, it seems he's not the only one interested in his invention.

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Book Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Pros: compelling writing, brilliant characterization, minor romance elements, stand-alone story

Cons: close calls start to feel contrived, ending feels abrupt 

For Parents: some violence (murder, torture), no swearing, off screen sex

When Em finds the note in the drain of her prison cell, she knows she and Finn have travelled back in time 14 times, and that they've failed in their objective to save the future.  There's only one course of action left to them, to kill the man who made time travel possible, their former best friend and the man Em used to love.

This book was VERY hard to put down.  The characters feel real, their emotions felt true to life but without the overarching angst that sometimes makes YA hard for adults to enjoy.  Marina has complex relationships with everyone in her life.  She's afraid her best female friends only like her because they want to get closer to James.  Her parents are having trouble in their marriage, using her as a go-between.  She loves James but isn't sure he feels the same way.  And she's jealous of how close Finn and James have become, and so treats Finn badly, even if he doesn't always deserve it.

It's the first YA novel I've read that captured how conflicted I felt as a teen, so I really connected with Marina's character.

Em and Finn - the future versions - are equally complicated characters, having to make a tough decision knowing the pain it will bring their younger selves.

The two guys, one girl, formula sounds familiar but Terrill does great things with it.  Marina loves James and dislikes Finn.  Finn likes Marina, but recognizes that she doesn't like him back, which makes him snarky and bitter towards her at times.  And James... well, it's unclear what he feels.  Even their older selves have a unique dynamic.

Though I felt that Em's compunctions about killing her former crush were realistic, I started to feel the scenes involving close calls with him became contrived towards the middle of the book.  The last quarter of the book shook things up again, which I really liked.

There's little told about the dystopian future the teens are from or the science involved with time travel, so if that's what you're looking for, look elsewhere.

The ending felt abrupt, but on further reflection - and rereading some scenes - I realized that it fit what the author said about time travel.  This is a great book to reread, as you pick up all sorts of details you miss - especially in the first few chapters - the first time through.  

Finally, it's great to read a YA dystopian novel and have it stand on its own.  I highly recommend this one.

Note: The author's done a series of prequel videos, which you can find on her website.  Note, these take place in the future with Em and Finn being tortured in prison before the start of the novel.

Sunday 1 September 2013

Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Coming in October 2013

There might be more errors/omissions than usual this list as Amazon's SF/F listing wouldn't go far enough back for me to do this the way I normally do.  Instead, I had to go through SF and fantasy separately.  I also added the YA category back in.  I noticed some kids books creeping into the list, which I then deleted, but be aware that there might be some kids books.  Oh, and I used the US page (which, come to think of it, might be why I had trouble) rather than the Canadian one.  So these reflect the US release dates.  As always, release dates are subject to change.  If you spot a mistake, please tell me in the comments and I'll correct it.


Balfour and Meriweather in The Incident of the Harrowmoor Dogs – Daniel Abraham
Esrever Doom – Piers Anthony
Allegiance – Beth Bernobich
Behind the Sofa: Celebrity Memories of Doctor Who – Steve Berry, Ed.
Dark Talisman – Steven Booth
The Necromancer's House – Christopher Buehlman
Star Trek: The Stardate Collection, Vol 1 – John Byrne, Patrick Zircher, Greg Adams & Josep Maria Beroy
Autumn Bones – Jacqueline Carey
Copperhead – Tina Connolly
Memory of the Trees – F. G. Cottam
Childless – James Dobson & Kurt Bruner
The Last Dark – Stephen Donaldson
1636: The Devil's Opera – Eric Flint & David Carrico
The Power of Twelve – William Gladstone
Parasite – Mira Grant
After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse – Charlaine Harris & Lisa Desimini
Doctor Who The Vault: Treasures from the First 50 Years – Marcus Hearn
Johannes Cabal: The Fear Instituted – Jonathan Howard
The Cusanus Game – Wolfgang Jeschke
Fiendish Schemes – K. W. Jeter
Dead Set – Richard Kadrey
Day One – Nate Kenyon
Bastion – Mercedes Lackey
Love in the Time of Metal and Flesh – Jay Lake
The Last Man Standing – David Longo 
The Republic of Thieves – Scott Lynch
Old Mars – George Martin & Gardner Dozois, Ed.
Summer's End – Lisa Morton
Pachyderme – Frederik Peeters
The Wolves of Midwinter – Anne Rice
The Heavens Rise – Christopher Rice
Path of Anger – Antoine Rouaud
Veil of the Deserters – Jeff Salyards
The Estate – Craig Saunders
The Violent Century – Lavie Tidhar
The End of Love – Marcos Girald Torrente & Katherine Silver
Luminous Chaos – Jean-Christophe Valtat & Mahendra Singh
The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett – Daniel Wallace, Ryder Windham & Jason Fry

Trade Paperback:

Escaping Home – A. American
Tesseracts Seventeen – Colleen Anderson & Steve Vernon, Ed.
Rage's Echo – J. S. Bailey
In the Company of Thieves – Kage Baker
The Obsidian Heart – Mark Barnes
Tomorrowland – Joseph Bates
Steal the Day – Lexi Blake
Katabasis – Joseph Brassey, Cooper Moo, Mark Teppo & Angus Trim
Coins of Chaos – Jennifer Brozek
Light – Nathan Burgoine
The Demon Abraxas – Rachel Calish
Dreams and Shadows – C. Robert Cargill
Cold Blooded – Amanda Carlson
Iron Guard – Mark Clapham
The Wasteland Saga: Old Man and the Wasteland, The Savage Boy, and The Road is a River – Nick Cole
The Diamond Deep – Brenda Cooper
The Law of Superheroes – James Daily & Ryan Davidson
A Dance of Cloaks – David Dalglish
In Space No One Can Hear You Scream – Hank Davis
Knights Templar: A Secret History – Graeme Davis
The Night Eternal – Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Tales of the Wold Newton Universe – Philip Jose Farmer
Man in the Empty Suit – Sean Ferrell
The Science of Herself – Karen Joy Fowler
Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales – Paula Guran, Ed.
Gotrek & Felix: City of the Damned – David Guymer
His Sacred Bones – Ginn Hale
Theodore Savage – Cicely Hamilton
Lighthouse Island – Paulette Jiles
Child of Time – Bob Johnson
Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth – Stephen Jones, Ed.
Dying is my Business – Nicholas Kaufmann
Trollslayer – William King
Scarecrow Has a Gun – M. P. Kozlowsky
Warhammer 40K: Salamanders Omnibus – Nick Kyme
Autodrome – Kim Lakin-Smith
A Sojourn of Sorts – Douglas LeBlanc
Ancillary Justice – Ann Leckie
Lucia's Masks – Wendy MacIntyre
Fire Logic – Laurie Marks
Layman's Report – Eugene Marten
The Book of Ash – John McCaffrey
Red Hill – Jamie McGuire
Things Withered – Susie Moloney 
Dead North: Canadian Zombie Fiction – Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Ed.
Rogue Calls / Carbon Harbour – Garry Thomas Morse
The Quorum – Kim Newman
Robert Asprin's Dragon's Run – Jody Lynn Nye
Kabu Kabu – Nnedi Okorafor
Saving Morgan – M. B. Panichi
Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm – Philip Pullman
The Educated Ape and Other Wonders of the World – Robert Rankin
The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs – Mike Resnick & Robert Garcia, Ed.
Jack Glass – Adam Roberts
Heartwood – Freya Robertson
Omega – Jeremy Robinson & Kane Gilmour
Was – Geoff Ryman
Children of the Uprising – Trevor Shane
The Man Who Rained – Ali Shaw
Waking up Dead – Emma Shortt
E. E. 'Doc' Smith, SF Gateway Omnibus: The Skylark of Space, Skylark Three, Skylark of Valeron, Skylark Duquesne – E. E. Smith
Magellania – Jules Verne
The Palace Job – Patrick Weekes
Doctor Who: Summer Falls and Other Stories – Amelia Williams, Melody Malone & Justin Richards
Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture – Ytasha Womack
Flatland: The Early Days – Frannie Zellman

Mass Market Paperback:

Battleground – Terry Adams
Bronze Gods – A. A. Aguirre
Luck of the Draw – Piers Anthony
Kiss the Night Goodbye – Keri Arthur
The Beautiful Land – Alan Averill
Dream London – Tony Ballantyne
Bronze Summer – Stephen Baxter
The Lost Stars – Jack Campbell
Dark Currents – Jacqueline Carey
Rising Sun – Robert Conroy
King Breaker – Rowena Cory Daniells
Spellbound – Sylvia Day
Abyss Deep – Ian Douglas
Dragon Age: The Calling – David Gaider
Star Wars: Ewocks: Shadows of Endor – Zack Giallongo & Dave Marshall
Cursed – S. J. Harper
Ever After – Kim Harrison
Black Heart – Christina Henry
Herbmaster of Tarodash – Colin Hollis
A Study in Darkness – Emma Jane Holloway
Hellhound – Nancy Holzner
Darkship Renegades – Sarah Hoyt
The Scribe – Elizabeth Hunter
Star Wars: Annihilation – Drew Karpyshyn
Star Wars: The Clone Assassin – Steven Kent
The Clone Rebellion – Steven Kent
Redoubt – Mercedes Lackey
V-Wars – Jonathan Maberry, Ed.
Star Trek: A Ceremony of Losses – David Mack
The Disappearances – Gemma Malley
The Cassandra Project – Jack McDevitt & Mike Resnick
My Lady Quicksilver – Bec McMaster
Tour of the Merrimack – R. M. Meluch
Imager's Battalion – L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Merge / Disciple – Walter Mosley
All is Fair – Emma Newman
Accidentally in Love With... A God? – Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
Firebrand – Gillian Philip
Death and Mr. Right – Kendra Saunders
Kris Longknife: Defender – Mike Shepherd
Prince Rescue Me's Ride to Ruin – Lynne Tapper
Ecko Burning – Danie Ware


Vampire Games – Tiffany Allee
Redemption – C. J. Barry
The Dark Age of Apollos – Paul Moses Burrow, Jr.
Trancehack – Sonya Clark
Realm Walker – Kathleen Collins
Secret Unleashed – Sierra Dean
The Mountain's Shadow – Cecilia Dominic
Blood of an Ancient – Rinda Elliott
Paint it Black – John Hartness
Pushing Luck – Elliott James
Taste of Passion – Renae Jones
Rogue's Possession – Jeffe Kennedy
Agamemnon Frost and the Crown of Towers – Kim Knox
Nightlife – Matthew Quinn Martin
Wicked Misery – Tracey Martin
Battle Scars – Sheryl Nantus
Death Bringer – Kate Pearce
Whatever Happened to Billy Parks – Gareth Roberts
Undead Chaos – Joshua Roots
Redemption – Stephanie Tyler
Disenchanted & Co pt2: His Lordship Possessed – Lynn Viehl

Y. A. Fiction

Horde – Ann Aguirre
Altered – Gennifer Albin
Crewel – Gennifer Albin
Skulk – Rosie Best
Sorrow's Knot – Erin Bow
The Never Fade – Alexandra Bracken
Martyr's Fire – Sigmund Brouwer
Evanescent – Andria Buchanan
Entangled – Amy Rose Capetta
The Crimson Crown – Cinda Williams Chima
The Shadowhunter's Codex – Cassandra Clare & Joshua Lewis
Endless Knight – Kresley Cole
One Crow Alone – S. D. Crockett
The Eye of Minds – James Dashner
The King's Assassin – Stephen Deas
The Company of Ghosts – Berlie Doherty
Arthur Quinn & Hell's Keeper – Alan Early
The Lethal Target – Jim Eldridge
The Owling – Robert Elmer
Fearsome Dreamer – Laurie Eve
Starlight Grey – Liz Flanagan & Valeria Docampo
Beautiful Redemption – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Venus Angel – Susan Gates
Dragonfly – Julia Golding
Blythewood – Carol Goodman
The Dollhouse Asylum – Mary Gray
Slayers – C. J. Hill
Waterfell – Amalie Howard
Skyship Academy: Strikeforce – Nick James
Romeo Redeemed – Stacey Jay
Death and the Girl He Loves – Darynda Jones
The Iron Traitor – Julie Kagawa
The Brokenhearted – Amelia Kahaney
Teardrop – Lauren Kate
No Angel – Helen Keeble
Blinded by the Light – Joe Kipling
Hero – Alethea Kontis
Pull Down the Night – Nathan Kotecki
Flutter – Gina Linko
Backward Glass – David Lomax
Jet Black and the Ninja Wind – Leza Lowitz & Shogo Oketani
The Princess in the Opal Mask – Jenny Lundquist
Desert Tales – Melissa Marr
Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales – Melissa Marr & Tim Pratt, Ed.
Scarlet in the Snow – Sophie Masson
Necromancing the Stone – Lish McBride
The Indigo Spell – Rachelle Mead
Midnight City – J. Barton Mitchell
Allure – Lea Nolan
The Field – Tracy Richardson
Grail of Stars – Katherine Roberts
Tainted – A. E. Rought
The Invisible Kingdom – Rob Ryan
Endless – Jessica Shirvington
Unsouled – Neal Shusterman
Renegade – J. A. Souders
Shadowlark – Meagan Spooner
Blood Bound – Keshia Swaim
Phantom Eyes – Scott Tracey
Merlin's Shadow – Robert Treskillard
Second Verse – Jennifer Walkup
Treecat Wars – David Weber & Jane Lindskold
Black Out – Robison Wells
The Other Book – Philip Womack

Rebel Heart – Moira Young