RT Daily Blog

N.K. Jemisin's Recipe For How To Make A Religion For A Fantasy Universe

BY , JUNE 29, 2012 | PERMALINK

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.


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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Science Fiction
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Cover Chat: Without A Summer By Mary Robinette Kowal

BY Whitney Sullivan, JUNE 25, 2012 | PERMALINK

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.


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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Science Fiction
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Why John Scalzi's Redshirts Is A Must-Read

BY Elisa Verna, JUNE 13, 2012 | PERMALINK

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.


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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Science Fiction
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BEA 2012: Science Fiction For All!

BY , JUNE 07, 2012 | PERMALINK

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


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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Science Fiction
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June Science Fiction And Fantasy Overview

BY , JUNE 04, 2012 | PERMALINK

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.


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Tags: Science Fiction
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Why I Cannot Wait For The 2013 Novel River Of Stars By Guy Gavriel Kay

BY Janine Johnston, MAY 30, 2012 | PERMALINK

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.


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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Science Fiction
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Cover Chat: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter's The Long Earth

BY Janine Johnston, MAY 23, 2012 | PERMALINK

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.


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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Science Fiction
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Steampunk: This Is Not Your Mother’s Victorian Era

BY , APRIL 30, 2012 | PERMALINK

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.


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Tags: RT Daily Blog, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
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Get Ready For Some Amazing Sci Fi And Fantasy Projects From The Syfy Network

BY , APRIL 27, 2012 | PERMALINK

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.


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Tags: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
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E-Books From Tor And Forge To Go DRM-Free In July

BY , APRIL 25, 2012 | PERMALINK

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.


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Tags: Publishing Industry News, E-Book, Science Fiction
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