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.
It’s not secret that the television airwaves have recently been flooded with some outstanding science fiction and fantasy programming. And the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones and AMC’s Walking Dead have proven that sci fi and fantasy novels are worthy of being considered for TV series adaptations. So we weren’t surprised to learn that there are several more fantastic projects coming down the pipeline - this time from the Syfy Network.
This cable channel is hopping on the book-to-TV bandwagon with six new literary-related projects all expected to air in 2013. According to Syfy’s press release, viewers can expect to see a book series, short story, two stand-alone novels and two comic series transformed into TV shows. With more than a few talented producers and writers on board, we suspect longtime sci fi fans and genre newbies will be enjoying these promising programs and here’s why ...
In a similar vein as George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, Stephen King’s medieval fantasy The Eyes of the Dragon is currently being scripted for a show by the same name. The novel follows a wicked magician as he attempts to overthrow the kingdom’s current king to steal the throne. With plenty of bloodshed and treachery, a writer from the TV-adaptation of King’s The Dead Zone and the producer of the mini-series adaptation of King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes short story collection, we have a feeling the televised version of The Eyes of the Dragon will stay true to King’s work and satisfy fans of Game of Thrones.
Tor and Forge, publishing imprints of Tom Doherty Associates and a subsidiary of Macmillan, announced yesterday that by the end of July the two popular imprints, as well as Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen, will only be offering DRM-free e-books. DRM, which stands for Digital Rights Management, is technology that limits the access and use of certain digital products (MP3s, e-books, etc.) in order to curb pirating and prevent copyright infringement. Although DRM makes stealing digital content more difficult, it also limits the use of the product and can be a disadvantage for buyers.
Currently, almost all of the e-books offered by the “big six” publishers, the major New York City-based publishing houses, and sold through major online retailers are DRM encrypted and can only be used on the specific e-reader associated with the retailer (for example, you can’t — easily — read an Amazon e-book on a Nook, or a Barnes & Noble e-book on a Kindle). This challenge, the results of DRM restrictions, has been one of the issues that keeps ownership of e-books and print books from being synonymous.
Today was out of this world for Science Fiction & Fantasy romance lovers! Conventioneers enjoyed a day full of mixing and mingling with some of the best names in the genre. Hosted by Linnea Sinclair, the Intergalactic Bar & Grille party returned this year and SFF romance readers enjoyed an hour of food, goodies and the company of some fabulous authors including Catherine Asaro, Marcella Burnard, Robin Hobb, Stacey Kade, Isabo Kelly, Liddy Midnight and Janet Miller (aka Cricket Starr).
Mary Robinette Kowal blew us away with her 2010 debut, Shades of Milk and Honey, a Regency-set fantasy that won our August 2010 Seal of Excellence Award. Ever since, we've been waiting patiently for the sequel, Glamour in Glass. Thankfully, the series second releases next week. In celebration, we're offering chapter two of Glamour in Glass as a free download.
Fantasy author Eliabeth Bear is kicking off her Eternal Sky trilogy with the RT Top Pick! rated read, Range of Ghosts. It's an epic fantasy following the adventures of Temur, a young man destined to claim his grandfather's throne and become King of the Khaganate, and Samarkar, a former Princess who is now studying the magical arts. The two come together when they discover a secret cult that may be threatening their world. Today, the author shares five things that readers should know before entering into Range of Ghosts.
1) It's not historical fantasy.
While I drew a great deal of inspiration from the cultures of Eurasia over the course of about 500 years, I made the very conscious choice not to model this world on the history of "our" Earth. So you don't need to know any Mongolian or Central Asian or Eurasian history to read this book.
Because I made it all up. So it's my job to make sure you understand what's going on! No studying required.
When I first laid eyes on the sci fi novel Emperor Mollusk Versus The Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez, the first thing that struck me was the epic title and then the amazing cover. A mash-up of different fonts and colors and accompanied by a clean image of what one can only assume is Emperor Mollusk, it’s definitely striking.
RT reviewer Donna M. Carter describes the book as “reading like a cheap ‘50s sci-fi flick, filled with outrageous creatures such as a jelligantic (exactly what it sounds like), this is ridiculously fun.” With that in mind, it's worth noting that in a recent blog post, the author stressed that “ … this is not a silly novel. It is absurd, certainly, but no less absurd than John Carter’s Mars, Doc Savage’s bronze age, or any number of pulp realms … It is unapologetic pulp awesomeness.”
With references to 50s sci fi films and “pulp awesomeness,” I couldn’t help but think about how the cover of Emperor Mollusk is very reminiscent of the movie posters of some seriously fantastic early sci fi films, complete with equally long titles.