Monthly Archives: March 2011

I Wrote a couple of Cage Matches for Suvudu!Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Suvudu Cage Matches are popular. When I was asked to come back again this year and write a few of the mock battles, I couldn’t say no.

I’ll admit, I was giddy to get my hands on some of the contestants. Last year, I was tasked with writing a faux-fight between Kahlen Amnell vs. Drizzt Do’Urden and Kvothe vs. Garet Jax, four characters I was very familiar with. This time around, I was given Severus Snape, Corvis Rebaine, Allanon and Paul Atreides. Awesome, right? Two classic badasses; a superstar Wizard; and an up-and-coming Warlord. But, wait. I was only familiar with two of them, one in each cage match.

What was I to do?

Well, several hours of research (and two skimmed novels) later, I felt mildly prepared to approach these characters and pit them against two familiar opponents. It was a challenge, I’ll admit, but I feel confident that even if I wasn’t able to nail them perfectly, I would be able to at least fool some of the readers into thinking I knew what I was writing about. One of them won their match, the other lost. I’ll let you decide who I was familiar with and who I worked with from scratch.

The matchups:

Severus Snape vs. Corvis Rebaine:

The Warlord swung his giant axe in the direction of the black shape, but the attack crawled through the air like it was cutting through water. Not a vicious charge on horseback, but a slow stroll through the park with a baby carriage.

Suddenly Snape was gone. The black shape disappeared and Sunder slammed heavily into the fountain in the middle of the courtyard, cutting through the ageless stone like it was nothing. Gradually, the spell slowing him lessened, until finally, it broke. The mobility in his arms returned. He spun, eyes searching the courtyard.

/Your grandmother could swing harder than that!/

“And that’s my fault? Counterspell, you useless thing!” Corvis raised a hand, gauntleted fist clenched tightly.

Allanon vs. Paul Atreides:

An eruption of blue flame engulfed the head of the enormous sandworm and tore the dunes apart around the beast. Endless sand was sucked into the superheated air, a vacuum of shredding, swirling madness. Paul was thrown violently from the back of his enormous steed. He fell heavily to the earth. Heated sand and melted globules of glass rained down on him. The acid smell of burning Spice and the sweet smell of charred Sandworm flesh filled the air, reminiscent of war.

Allanon tumbled from high above, shielded still by Druid Fire. He rolled as he hit the ground, came lightly to his feet, black cloaked billowing behind him. His dark face was grim, unharmed.

Not even this miraculous turn of events could shake Muad’Dib. He picked himself up off the ground so gracefully that one would never have thought he’d just been thrown so unceremoniously from the back of his blasted, dying, and—until recently—thought near-invincible steed.

“Impressive,” Paul said. “An army couldn’t defeat a sandworm so handily.”

The Druid stared back impassively. His Druid Fire shield had dropped, but his hands were still sheathed in cerulean flame.

So, go read the two matches, vote and let me know who you think would win in a fight to the death. After you’re done with my stories, check out the rest of the matches and make sure your favourites win!

Embassytown by China Mieville

The children of the embassy all saw the boat land. Their teachers and shiftparents had had them painting it for days. One wall of the room had been given over to their ideas. It’s been centuries since any voidcraft vented fire, as they imagined this one doing, but it’s a tradition to represent them with such trails. When I was young, I painted ships the same way.

I looked at the pictures and the man beside me leaned in too. ‘Look,’ I said.

‘See? That’s you.’ A face at the boat’s window.

The man smiled. He gripped a pretend wheel like the simply rendered figure.

‘You have to excuse us,’ I said, nodding at the decorations.

‘We’re a bit parochial.’

‘No, no,’ the pilot said. I was older than him, dressed-up and dropping slang to tell him stories. He enjoyed me flustering him. ‘Anyway,’ he said, ‘that’s not…It is amazing though. Coming here. To the edge. With Lord knows what’s beyond.’ He looked into the Arrival Ball.

There were other parties: seasonals; comings-out; graduations and yearsends; the three Christmases of December; but the Arrival Ball was always the most important. Dictated by the vagaries of trade winds, it was irregular and rare. It had been years since the last.

China Mieville’s a big deal these days.

How big? The City & The City was nominated for almost every single genre award (and won many of them). Perdido Street Station was recently chosen by readers of Tor.com as one of the ‘Best SFF Novels of the Decade’ in a reader poll. But, perhaps the most damning evidence is a recent party thrown by Tor UK to celebrate… the announcement of new cover art for his old books.

Yeah. Not a new book announcement. Not a celebration of his success on the awards circuit. Not a milestone in his career. New book covers.

Hidden in amongst this ‘celebration’ were several bloggers and industry folk who, by attending the party, were able to acquire early galleys of Mieville’s hotly anticipated Embassytown, the author’s first foray into hard Space Opera. Jealous fits could be heard the world over from those fans who didn’t get a copy.

Well, it’s not a galley, but now Mieville fans can get an early glimpse of Embassytown courtesy of Pan Macmillan (Mieville’s UK publisher), who have made the prologue and Chapter One of Embassytown available on their website.

Nicked from The Wertzone:

A fan-made map of Joe Abercrombie's THE FIRST LAW series

Since the publication of the first volume, fans of Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law were always clamouring to get a map of his world. Abercrombie, contrary as always, would not crumble under the weight of their pleas.

Since then, with Best Served Cold and The Heroes, fans have been treated to several (very beautiful) maps of various regions of Abercrombie’s world, but never the whole thing. Until now… sorta.

Using references in the text (and the map from Best Served Cold as a starting point, artist Scubamarco of Germany, has illustrated a lovingly rendered map of Abercrombie’s world that is, as far as I can tell, accurate to the text of The First Law and its pseudo-sequels (if not exact to the image in Abercrombie’s head).

If we’re lucky, an artist like Scubamarco should be snapped up quickly by the major (and smaller) publishing houses. This map’s better than a whole lot of the junk that appears in a lot of Fantasy novels.

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick RothfussIt’s almost hard to believe, given the various delays, but The Wise Man’s Fear had been sitting on store shelves and cracked open in the sweaty hands of fervent fanboys (and fangirls!) for three days. Not surprisingly, there are a number of (generally glowing) reviews on the web. Since I couldn’t finish the book in time for release (I read slower than molasses climbs a hill), I thought I’d round up some of those reviews for those still sitting on the fence.

Brandon Sanderson, author of The Way of Kings:

Why do I recommend it?

Because it’s awesome.

Why is it awesome?

This often stops me. Why IS Pat’s writing awesome?

Well, the books have an absolutely wonderful magic system. One part science, one part historical pseudoscience, one part magical wonder. It’s the type of magic system that I’m always delighted to read, and ranks among my favorites in fantasy literature. But that alone doesn’t describe why the books are awesome.

In many ways, Name of the Wind is like an old, familiar coat. A young man orphaned at a young age. Time spent on the streets living as a thief and a street rat. A wizards’ school. Those who have not liked the book have often complained about the familiar tropes. What I love about how Pat uses these tropes, however, is the realism he strives to impart.

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A DANCE WITH DRAGONS Release Date AnnouncedFrom Martin’s website:

No. Sorry. Not done yet.

I’m close, though. Watch this space. When the book is done, you will read it here.

Meanwhile… there is news. Big news. The end is in sight, at long long last, and we’re close enough so that my editors and publishers at Bantam Spectra have set an actual publication date.

[...]

Yes, I know. You’ve all seen publication dates before: dates in 2007, 2008, 2009. None of those were ever hard dates, however. Most of them… well, call it wishful thinking, boundless optimism, cockeyed dreams, honest mistakes, whatever you like.

This date is different. This date is real.

Barring tsunamis, general strikes, world wars, or asteroid strikes, you will have the novel in your hands on July 12. I hope you like it.

(For what it’s worth, the book’s a monster. Think A STORM OF SWORDS.)

The dragons are coming. Prepare to dance.

And hey… thanks for waiting.

So. July 12th, 2011. That’s, like, just around the corner. Martin (and his publisher) seem very confident about his date. What do you think? Can we get honestly excited now?