Monthly Archives: April 2011

Embassytown by China Mieville

Can’t wait for Mieville’s Embassytown? You’re not alone. To sate your gnawing appetite, however, Del Rey Spectra has released the first fifty-eight pages of the weird author’s first Space Opera. So, go immerse yourself in Accelerated Contact Linguistics, Hosts and Embassytown. Get back to me when you’re done.

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.

Read the excerpt from Embassytown by China Mieville.

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster BujoldWhat’s better than free fiction? Free fiction that’s considered some of the best published in the past year. Here’s a rundown of the Hugo-nominated short stories, novellas, novelettes, and even a novel that’re legally available for free reading.

Best Novel

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold — Download via Baen Books

Best Short Story
“Amaryllis” by Carrie Vaughn — Read on Lightspeed
“For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal — Read on Robinette’s website
“Ponies” by Kij Johnson — Read on Tor.com
“The Things” by Peter Watts — Read on Clarkesworld

Best Novelette
“Eight Miles” by Sean McMullen — Read on McMullen’s website
“The Jaguar House, in Shadow” by Aliette de Bodard — Read on de Bodard’s website
“Plus or Minus” by James Patrick Kelly — Read on Kelly’s website
“That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” by Eric James Stone — Read on Stone’s website

Best Novella
“The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window” by Rachel Swirsky — Read on Subterranean Press
The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang — Read on Subterranean Press
“The Sultan of the Clouds” by Geoffrey A. Landis — Download a PDF from Asimov’s

That should keep you busy for a while, huh? Enjoy!

My thoughts on GAME OF THRONES

Ahoy, spoilers ahead! If you haven’t watched the show yet, go do so. Otherwise, there are no spoilers for the series outside of those covered in the first two episodes.

So, so, it’s finally here. I’ve been a fan of A Song of Ice and Fire for nearly ten years. I’ve been waiting for the show with bated breath for three or four. And now that it’s aired, I thought I’d gather some rambling thoughts about the show, its characters and why it’s both stronger and weaker than I’d expected and hoped.

I won’t say much about the prologue. I’ve always thought it was a little out of place in the novels and feels even more out of place here. I understand that both Martin and HBO want to establish the Others for, presumably, their invasion in the later volumes of the series, but the prologue always seemed out of place in tone and subject matter compared to the rest of the novel. In any case, it’s creepy, so there’s that.

Winterfell, and all its characters and storylines, is wonderful. Robb is stiff-necked; Jon is brooding; Bran is feisty and Sansa is irritating and awkward. And Arya, oh Arya. Alongside Tyrion Lannister (who we’ll get to shortly) and his brother Jaime, Arya Stark is my favourite character in the series and Maisie Williams captures everything wonderful about the irascible little black sheep. She’s fiery as she shows up Bran with her bow; she’s charming and believable when Jon gifts her Needle; she’s perfectly loyal and determined as she defends Lady, despite Sansa’s betrayal.

I want to punch Joffrey in his stupid face. So, yeah, they nailed him.
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