Monthly Archives: November 2010

Over at Speculative Horizons, James Long is hanging them up and ceding his spot in the race to become the most awesome, money-hatted and influential blogger in the SFF Blogosphere, moving me one step closer to claiming that illustrious title (damn you Wert and Pat!) James leaves the blogosphere to pursue his efforts to become the world’s scariest Sting impersonator.

James Long:

James Long or Scary Sting?


Sting or James Long?

Long still has a *ahem* long way to go.

In all seriousness, James has accepted a gig at Orbit Books as their new Editorial Assistant and the blogosphere will soon be a poorer place for his absence. The blogosphere’s bigger than ever, but for my money Long’s Speculative Horizons was king of the hill. He wasn’t the most prolific blogger, nor did he have the largest audience, but I always anticipated his reviews and commentary and often weighed my own blogging endeavours against his blog. We’ve often seen eye-to-eye on most of the major brushfires that’ve swept through our community and our taste in books (not to mention our reading speed!) has always been eerily similar. Always witty, James was able to balance acidic humour with keen criticism, a combination that made him one of the most interesting voices among independent bloggers. I remember when Speculative Horizons first arrived and watching it grow from that infancy has been great fun. In a huge sea of bloggers, there were few I appreciated as much as James Long. Orbit Books is a lucky organization to have him joining their ranks.

Congrats, Long. Now… can you help me find my new favourite blog?

Dune by Frank HerbertYesterday, I hooked into the twitter hivemind and posed a question:

Let’s pretend I’ve never read a Science Fiction novel. What novels would you suggest?

Now, of course, that’s not entirely true. I have read Science Fiction, but my experience in the genre is, well… lacking. Rather, I was curious to see what people would consider the staples and foundations of the genre. Would we see a lot of recommendations for contemporary Science Fiction? Or aging classics? Space Opera or Dystopian Fiction? It’s an incredibly varied genre, and, predictably, the responses were just as broad, with a few authors/series popping up with some regularity.

The results:

@JasonBakiForge of God by Greg Bear is a favourite of mine

@ALRutter — When I asked my housemate the same question a few years back, he said Pandora’s Star [by Peter F. Hamilton]. Never looked back since.

@EwaSRI, Robot [by Issac Asimov] and any [John] Wyndham. And I’d want to recommend the Forbidden Planet film as well.

@BookwormBlues — The first scifi book I read was The Reality Dysfunction [by Peter F. Hamilton], but I have a feeling most people wouldn’t start w/scifi there.

Read More »

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Artwork by Beth White, design by Peter Lutjen

Irene Gallo, Art director at, on the cover:

In a way this was a tough one—if only because all the cool-kids of Tor kept telling me how much they loved the book. The pressure was on.

The story is a reimagining of the Russian folk-tale of Koschei, the Deathless, set in Stalinist Russia. I remembered seeing (and being jealous of) Beth White’s cover for The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate for our sister company, Henry Holt. I thought the story-book quality of Beth’s artwork and the bold use of graphic shapes would due well to set Deathless apart in our catalog and in the stores.

Awesome. You can never go wrong with black and red and the iconic silhouettes stand out amongst all the generic photo manipulation and CG art that floods bookstore shelves these days. I also appreciate how the design gets more distressed as the eye moves down the image. Tons of characters, and you immediately get the sense about what you’ll find between the pages. I hadn’t heard of Deathless before I saw this cover, but count me now among the curious.

You can read more about the process and see more early designs at

Via Winter is Coming:

Nikloaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister

Jaime Lannister

Jon Snow and Bran Stark

Jon Snow and Bran Stark

Tyrion Lannister and Catelyn Stark - HBO'S GAME OF THRONES

Tyrion Lannister and Catelyn Stark

Sean Bean as Eddard Stark - HBO'S GAME OF THRONES

Eddard Stark

Tyrion Lannister - HBO'S GAME OF THRONES

Tyrion Lannister

The colour palette of the show is fantastic. Lots of browns and greys, absolutely perfect for the northern reaches of Westeros, where much of A Game of Thrones takes place. I’ll be interested to see how that palette changes as the show moves locations to King’s Landing, Dorne, The Dothraki Sea, The Iron Islands, etc… it should be a great opportunity to show the variety and depth of Martin’s world.

Several more photos, including Cersei Lannister, Danaerys Targaryen and Samwell Tarley, can be found on Entertainment Weekly’s Game of Thrones Photo Gallery.