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Saga Press revealed the gorgeous cover for Ken Liu’s upcoming short fiction collection, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, today. Liu, who’s best known for his award winning short fiction, is publishing his first novel this year, an epic fantasy called The Grace of Kings, which has been receiving some great praise from early readers.

The full Table of Contents:

  • Preface
  • The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species
  • State Change
  • The Perfect Match
  • Good Hunting
  • The Literomancer
  • Simulacrum
  • The Regular
  • The Paper Menagerie
  • An Advanced Readers Picture Book of Comparative Cognition
  • The Waves
  • Mono no aware
  • All the Flavors
  • A Brief History of the Trans-Pacific Tunnel
  • The Litigation Master and the Monkey King
  • The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary

In an interview with Andrew Liptak of the Barnes & Noble Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog, Liu and Saga Press Editorial Director Joe Monti reflected on the collection’s award winning short fiction. “It’s great to be able to offer readers who are new to my fiction, or who have read only a few stories, a convenient selection of the best non-novel work I’ve done in a well-designed package,” Liu told Liptak. “[I] was surprised by how much I remembered of what I was thinking about at the time of writing them—memories that often are not obviously connected to the stories themselves, yet resonant in some way. It was like looking through an album of old snapshots of my mind.”

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories includes many familiar stories, including the title story, “The Paper Menagerie”, which won several awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award – and “An Advanced Reader’s Picture Book of Comparative Cognition,” a previously unpublished short story.

“This is not a ‘Best of Ken Liu,'” Monti told Liptak. “[It’s] more a representation of the themes and voices that his work has explored.” Liu’s back catalog of short fiction is impressive, all the more so when you consider that he has only been publishing regularly since 2010.

“I think it ranks up there with the greatest collections of the field, alongside Le Guin, Butler, and Sturgeon,” Monti said. “If you enjoy George Saunders, read Ken Liu.”

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories will be released by Saga Press on November 3, 2015. It is available now for preorder.

Art by SharksDen

Art by SharksDen

Legendary director Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List, Jaws, and Jurassic Park) has reportedly been brought on board by Warner Bros. to direct the film adaptation of Ernest Cline’s hit SF novel, Ready Player One. Spielberg is expected to begin work on Ready Player One after he completed The BFG, an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. Spielberg and several of his films are mentioned in Ready Player One, which could make for a fun cameo in the film.

Ready Player One is set in a near future dystopia where the protagonist, a young man who dearly loves all things ’80s SF, lives the majority of his life inside a virtual world. A nostalgia trip from end-to-end, Deadline points out the challenges that Warner Bros. faces in regards to licensing for all of the various properties that Cline includes in Ready Player One. “The book is loaded with references of popular culture rich in 1980s video game icons. How will the studio handle that?” Deadline asked in their piece about Spielberg’s involvement.

“I think what we have to do is drill down to the best version of the movie and then see who wants to be a part of what will surely be a great film,” Greg Silverman, Warner Bros.’s President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production, told Deadline. “What we found with The Lego Movie is that when we went and talked to those having the rights, people got excited about being involved.” Interesting times ahead for the production company. A lot of Ready Player One‘s plot relies heavily on the properties it directly references.

The initial script was written by Cline himself and Eric Eason, with Avengers screenwriter Zac Penn brought on to pen (*ahem*) a rewrite based on their work.

There is no announced release date for the film.

samsara_by_suiatsu-d7hozqfthis_way_please_by_joshhutchinson-d7xwpw1-1winter_is_coming_by_joshhutchinson-d85grfiover_fields_of_lavender_by_suiatsu-d79dtztcrag_by_suiatsu-d7gudyvbustling_market_by_suiatsu-d6y9wchthe_offering_by_joshhutchinson-d87zjlcwater_garden_by_joshhutchinson-d82pjdx

Sometimes you just want to let your mind wander to other worlds, to meander through the idyllic corners of a world full of wonder. UK artist Josh Hutchinson has opened a portal to those worlds and is illustrating their beauty one at a time. I like that Hutchinson’s art manages to be both cartoony and colourful, realistic in a way that reflects places and people that you could find here on our world, all while creating that sense of wonder and mysticism that makes fantasy worlds so compelling.

More of Hutchinson’s art can be found on his official website and his DeviantArt gallery.

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Holy moly. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t generally expect great things from Roc Books covers. But this? This is just gorgeous. Eloquent and impactful, great little details all around. The House of Shattered Wings is one of my most anticipated novels of the year, and I’m glad to see it has a cover to match my excitement.

The first details about The House of Shattered Wings were released several weeks ago, but now we have a new blurb with more details about the story:

Multi-award winning author Aliette de Bodard, brings her story of the War in Heaven to Paris, igniting the City of Light in a fantasy of divine power and deep conspiracy…

In the late Twentieth Century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins. The Great Magicians’ War left a trail of devastation in its wake. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires’ salvation—or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself.

The House of Shattered Wings, the first volume in a duology, is due out on September 1st, 2015 from Roc Books (North America) and Gollancz (UK).

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From Up On High

I still remember the day I got my first sight of serious mountains. I was a student at Caltech, working at JPL as a summer intern, and one of the engineers on my project invited me along on a backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada. It’s a good thing I wasn’t the one driving to the trailhead. I probably would’ve crashed the car when we reached the Owens Valley and saw the Sierra’s stunning eastern escarpment. Jagged snowcapped peaks rise to 14,000 feet straight out of the sagebrush and alkali desert of the Owens Valley, which is one of the deepest in the world.

As it was, I craned my neck out the backseat window with my jaw hanging open and only one thought in my head: OH HELL YES. I yearned to climb those airy ridges and balance on those serrated pinnacles. But during my undergrad years I had to settle for occasional backpacking trips in the Sierra. As a student I had no money, no car, and most climbers I knew were rock jocks rather than mountaineers. Read More »