Monthly Archives: March 2011


Just to ensure that Orbit Books doesn’t curbstomp me, I should make it clear that this is likely an early catalog cover and is subject to change (slightly or drastically) before the book ships later this year. For example, the first cover for Jemisin’s The Broken Kingdoms looked like this, the second (and final) version looked like this.

Phew. With that out of the way, can I squee? I don’t love it quite so much as the cover for the first and second volumes in Jemisin‘s The Inheritance Trilogy (no, not this one), but only due to my partiality towards the colour palettes used. It’s easy to say that Jemisin’s trilogy is one of the most consistent and sharpest looking sets to hit store shelves in years. Designer Lauren Panepinto and artist Cliff Nielsen deserve much attention and back-patting. It’s a crying shame that Orbit never released them in hardcover.

NASCENCE by Tobias Buckell

What is Nascence? In Buckell’s own words:

I’ve written 145 or so short stories and sold 45 of them. It took me the better part of 100 stories to start selling them. I often get asked about those 100 ‘trunked’ stories (that’s what many of us call stories we’ve retired). The truth is, I’ve not found much value in them, or attempting to rewrite them.

But as a way of talking about how I learned to write stories that now sell, and in terms of explaining the evolution of what I was writing, they make for an interesting journey.

While I wouldn’t want to just plop those stories out onto an unsuspecting public, the idea of a curated look at the stories, what they taught me, and how I learned from them over 15 years of writing, I thought a very cool collection could be assembled.

I don’t talk of my own writing very often, but my own place as an aspiring writer is at the heart of my interest in this recently released collection of short fiction from Tobias Buckell. You see, just a few months ago, I began to play the submit-a-short-story-and-wait-endlessly-before-having-your-heart-ground-to-dust-beneath-the-heels-of-evil-evil-short-fiction-editors game. Sounds fun, no? But being able to read about the experiences of an established author like Buckell is exactly the type of motivation and extra shove I need to remind myself that it’s not worth curling up in a corner and crying. It teaches me that these stories I’m busting my balls on might not sell. Probably won’t sell, I suppose. But there’s something of value in the creation of them, whether they find an audience or not.

You see, Buckell’s a good writer. A damn good writer. But, even with a few novels and award nominations under his belt, he’s still humble enough to admit and speak eloquently about his ‘failures’. But, as I’m sure Buckell examines in the collection, is it really a failure if it teaches you something that helps you succeed in the future?

Sure, they’re stories that’ve been rejected and ‘trunked’, but who cares? Whether you’re an aspiring short fiction writer like myself, looking for inspiration; or a voracious reader of short fiction, Science Fiction or Fantasy, Buckell’s collection of stories is sure to offer something of value.

You can find out more about Nascence or purchase a copy HERE.


Terry Brooks has been around for a long time. He’s had good covers. He’s had bad covers. By this point, they could write his name in comic sans on a blank white cover and he’d sell like hotcakes. You’re either into Terry Brooks, or ambivalent. This cover’s just another trot around the block for artist Steve Stone. Nice colours, nice sense of exploration and the fantastic. In the end, it looks like a Terry Brooks book, and that’s good enough for me.

INHERITANCE by Christopher Paolini

Not so very long ago, Eragon—Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider—was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.

Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be stro—

Oh. Wait.

For a second there I forgot that I stopped caring about Paolini’s series six years ago. Sorry, just a hump-day brainfart.

BLACK HALO by Sam SykesSam Sykes is a good Internet friend of mine. Why? Because he’d crotch-stomp me if I said any differently. He’s also a bloody good interview, achingly funny and of similar age to myself. It’s like we’re destined to be buddies.

You’ll notice, perhaps, that I’ve not said anything about his books. Easily explainable. You see… I haven’t read them. Derp. What a friend I am, huh? Still, doesn’t mean I can’t get excited about the release of his second novel, Black Halo (or move his first novel, Tome of the Undergates even closer to the top of my TBR pile…). Luckily the good folks at have Sam’s fans better covered than I do.

Dawn had never been so quiet in the country.

Amid the sparse oases in the desert, noise had thrived where all other sound had died. Dawn came with songbirds, beds creaking as people rousted themselves for labor, bread and water sloshed down as meager breakfast. In the country, the sun came with life.

In the city, life ended with the sun.

Anacha stared from her balcony over Cier’Djaal as the sun rose over its rooftops and peeked through its towers to shine on the sand-covered streets below. The city, in response, seemed to draw tighter in on itself, folding its shadows like a blanket as it rolled over and told the sun to let it sleep for a few more moments.

No songbirds came to Anacha’s ears; merchants sold such songs in the market for prices she could not afford. No sounds of beds; all clients slept on cushions on the floor, that their late-night visitors might not wake them when leaving. No bread, no water; breakfast would be served when the clients were gone and the girls might rest up from the previous night.

A frown crossed her face as she observed the scaffolding and lazy bricks of a tower being raised right in front of her balcony. It would be done in one year, she had heard the workers say.

One year, she thought, and then the city steals the sun from me, too.

So, head on over to and read a lengthy excerpt from Black Halo and support young Sam Sykes. I get to keep my balls intact and un-mushed, you get to read a good story and Sam gets to feel special. Really, it’s a win-win(-win) situation.