This month’s science fiction and fantasy releases are out of this world! So today we're playing tour guide and pointing out some of the hot spots of the genre. First up, Beth Bernobich gives us an insider's look at the sequel to her RT Award winning 2010 release Passion Play, this July’s Queen’s Hunt. Next, we spotlight some of the interesting supernatural creatures you can find in the month's new releases. Then Philippa Ballantine shares a behind the secenes look at the universe of her new fantasy series starter, Hunter and Fox. After that, we share our favorite space-y songs inspired by Rob Reid’s Year Zero. And finally, we bring you up to speed on the genre-related industry news that you need to know!
Devon Monk kicked off her Age of Steam series with last year's Dead Iron, which began the adventures of bounty hunter Cedar Hunt. Set in an alternate American western frontier, Cedar is faced with not only capturing monsters, but he also must deal with transforming into one himself during every full moon. For those new to the series, we asked the author to share what readers will need to know about Cedar, his story and steam age America before picking up a copy of the series second, Tin Swift which releases today.
In steam age America, men, monsters, machines and magic battle to claim the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, one man must fight to hold on to what is left of his humanity ...
Fantasy fans know that a well-built world is crucial for an irresistible story. And author N.K. Jemisin always immerses readers into new and interesting worlds. The author's recent Dreamblood books tell the tale of Gujaareh, a nation torn apart by war in which the Gatherers, priests of the dream-goddess, are responsible for ensuring peace. Reviewer Natalie Luhrs boasts that "Jemisin excels at worldbuilding and the inclusion of a diverse mix of characters makes her settings feel even more real and vivid," and part of her excellent worldbuilding is her intricately crafter religion. Today the author reveals her "recipe" for whipping up a religion fit for a fantasy universe.
The folks at RT asked me to describe how I came up with the Egyptian-flavored religion in the Dreamblood books. The straightforward answer is, simply: I made it up. There's some Jungian dream theory in there, a little Egyptian religion, and a whole lotta "Yeah, this sounds cool, let's try that." But that's not much of an explanation, and since I was making dinner while writing this, I thought I'd try a different tack to explain what was involved in the "making it up" process.
BAM! The cover for Mary Robinette Kowal’s upcoming release Without A Summer is absolutely eye-catching. It makes an impression — something I’d think even if it weren’t the art on the front of the third book in one of my favorite new series. But it is!
This just-revealed cover graces book three in the Glamourist Histories, the continuing adventures of artists Jane and Vincent. These main characters were first introduced in the author’s debut, Shades of Milk and Honey, which won her the August 2010 RT Seal of Excellence. The story's concept was “Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with magic.” The premise which sounds tired and overdone, instead launched a series that is simply put, a joy to read.
These books are Regency England-set tales with an emphasis on the conventions of the era. The only addition that Kowal makes to the Regency world is that certain skilled people are able to “weave glamours.” Glamourists, including hero and heroine Vincent and Jane, can paint pictures with light — a fascinating skill which Kowal is somewhat familiar as, in addition to writing, the author is also a puppeteer who uses stage lights in order to create artistic scenes during her shows. Thus it fits perfectly that in Kowal's fiction her characters are able to create light shows by simply manipulating the element with their thoughts. Kowal incorporates the glamour working into her stories so seamlessly that at points you will forget that there wasn’t truly magic in the time period. Clearly, I devoured book one and two and am eagerly awaiting this novel’s release on April 2, 2013.
Have you ever finished a book that was so good, you didn’t quite know exactly how to explain the magnitude of its awesomeness, or convey how much joy it brought you, but you do know that you’ll be peddling it to everyone from your garbage man to the random lady on the bus? That is exactly how I feel about sci fi author John Scalzi’s most recent release Redshirts, a comedic spin on popular space opera tropes. The morning I finished the story, I bought my boyfriend a digital copy, which he promptly read over the course of a few hours. Maybe he devoured the book because he’s preparing to start the Every Star Trek Ever project and reading a deconstruction of “bad” science fiction stories seemed fitting, or maybe it’s because Scalzi’s latest sci fi is, at the very least, an immensely fun adventure (and at the most, effing brilliant). I’m going to go with the latter.
Science Fiction fans were in for a treat at this year’s BookExpo America publishing conference. A fantastic panel of authors made up of Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, John Scalzi and Walter Mosley discussed the many ways that geek has become chic in the last year. Their conversation about the mainstream readers’ positive reception of all things sci fi was moderated by Tor.com staff writer Ryan Britt. If you weren't able to attend the session, here are some of the panel highlights.
Authors Walter Mosley, Jeff and Ann VanderMeer and John Scalzi
This month science fiction and fantasy new releases are keeping readers on their toes. Lisa Searin’s All Spell Breaks Loose wins a rare rating of a Gold RT Top Pick! During this month’s genre roundup, we suggest a must-read new fantasy series. The we report on Mira Grant’s chilling Newsfeed series. And finally we highlight a horror novel with a cover that may have you thinking twice before you dive into the terrifying tale.
Sometimes a book comes along that I am simply itching to get my hands on, one I absolutely cannot wait to crack open. Guy Gavriel Kay’s upcoming fantasy, River of Stars, certainly makes this esteemed list. Although the book won’t be out until 2013, it already has me dreaming of what I will find between the covers.
If you happen to know nothing about this esteemed author then let me give you a one-second taste of his genius: He was a writer who J.R.R. Tolkien’s son tapped to help complete The Silmarillion after the fantasy master’s death. (‘Nuff said, right?)
Kay is also known for his own works of fantasy and science fiction, and is perhaps best known for his alternate history fantasy stories. Most of these are set in Europe. However in recent years he’s taken his unusual view of the past to a new locale: China.
There are few things more enjoyable than a fresh new release from a fan favorite bestselling author … except for a fresh new release from two fan favorite bestselling authors. And we have Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter to thank for this gem of good reading fortune.
Pratchett is renowned as the king of humorous, oddball fantasy. His Discworld series is still going strong at 39 books, with about a new book in the series releasing every year since it began in 1983. However, the man hasn’t written a science fiction story in nearly 30 years. On the other hand, Baxter is a prolific hard science fiction writer. His stories about space, aliens and, more recently ecological disasters in his Northland trilogy are influenced by his background as a mathematician and engineer.
Whether or not you are familiar with the paranormal sub-genre steampunk, these "retro futuristic" books are definitely here to stay. However, with so many different types of stories, readers can easily become confused by these gear and steam laden tales. But don't despair, we are here to help! Today we discuss what constitutes a steampunk story, suggest a few starter books for readers new to the sub-genre and preview a few of the upcoming tales that we can’t get our hand on. So let’s take a page from the steampunk genre and put on our traveling goggles to prepare for adventure!
SO, WHAT IS STEAMPUNK ?
The term “steampunk” is thought to have been coined during the 1980s, as an alternative to cyberpunk, to describe the books written in an HG Wells-ian and Jules Vern-ian style. At its most specific, the term refers to an alternate Victorian-era England where steam-powered inventions are all the rage. However, this premise provided so much fodder for authors and creators who quickly re-imagined the entire world pivotally changing at this moment in time.