Monthly Archives: May 2011

From the Orbit Books Blog:

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan

Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles – until they are hired to steal a famed sword from the palace of the king and find themselves caught up in a conspiracy to overthrow the empire. Sentenced to death, they have only one way out, to get involved in the plots of the nobles and save the kingdom from itself.

Can one thief and his master swordsman of a friend keep their heads above water long enough to survive? Much less solve the mystery that threatens to topple the crown itself?

…and so begins this epic tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

In one of the most charming success stories of recent years, Michael J. Sullivan‘s The Riyria Revelations (a previously self-published Fantasy series), was picked up for publication by Orbit Books. One of the more striking aspects of the self-published series (and something that set it head-and-shoulders over many of its compatriots) was its cover art, also designed by Sullivan.

I’m happy to see, then, that Orbit’s done justice to the series with the covers for the three-volume omnibus edition of the series. Sure, I don’t love the hooded-figures (natch), but it’s not surprising to see them gracing the cover. As Lauren Panepinto points out:

Besides, am I supposed to say no cloaks when they actually wear cloaks in the books? Tell the author to stop writing in cloaks then…he’s a thief after all, it’s kind of mandatory!

And, well… she has a good point! Other than the cloaked-cliches, I’m really digging the covers. Larry Rostant‘s art is gorgeous and I love the continuity and colours of the text area. It reminds of the covers for Greg Keyes The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, but executed much more efficiently. Really sharp, all around. Can’t wait to get my hands on these!

Open Your Eyes by Paul Jessup(or how I stopped worrying and learned to love the genre name game)

Fatastika, speculative fiction, science fiction, scifi, slipstream, interstitial, magical realism…

You’re probably reading all these posts from all these different authors swimming around in the blogosphere, and you feel like you’re drowning in a soup of labels and categorizations. You probably think you can’t possibly keep all this crap in your head right, and you wonder why (why? WHY?) do we need a million different ways to say the same damn thing. I mean, they’re all Science Fiction, right? Or they’re all Fantasy right? Why not just SFF? Or F/SF?

Let’s slip aside taxonomy for a moment here, and just focus on the labels that are all seeming to say the exact same thing differently. We’re skipping taxonomy and sub classifications and spin off genres for the simple reason that genre fiction is geek fiction, and geeks like to break things down and classify them. That’s what geeks do, and the more classifications we can make, the more complex this living organism of rules and logic and labels becomes, the happier we are. So we’re going to strip those away for a moment and focus on the big guns: Speculative Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Fantastika.
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The Sword of Sha Na Na by Terry BrooksFor a bit of fun on a rainy Friday: Yesterday twitter was inundated by clever folk using the #lessinterestingbooks hashtag. How’s it work (for you twitter uninclined)? Take the title of a famous book and twist it around into a blander/funnier/less interesting rendition!

Here are some of the ones I came up with:

The Sword of Sha Na Na by Terry Brooks

Of Mucus and Jam by Stina Leicht

Canadian Gods by Neil Gaiman

Kinda Quiet and Sorta Far Away by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Middle-aged Man’s War by John Scalzi

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azerbaijan by J.K. Rowling

Lord of the Files by William Golding

The Old Man and the Pee by Ernest Hemingway

My favourite:

East of Aidan by John Steinbeck

And, to cap things off, Sam Sykes‘ favourite:

The Crystal Shart by R.A. Salvatore

So, I thought it’d fun to open the floor to you, my lovely readers, and see what your collective wit can come up with! Post away with your favourite #lessinterestingbooks in the comments section below, or let me know some of your favourites that you stumbled across yesterday on twitter!

No, I won’t ramble about my thoughts on the finale (I liked it more than most people, though it was littered with problems and proved that Lindelof and Cuse had no friggin’ clue what was happening through most of the series), but instead I’ll point you to this wonderful pixellized rendition of 108 of Lost‘s most prominent characters.

108 characters from LOST

Included are:

ROW ONE: Jack / Locke / Kate / Sawyer / Hurley / Sayid / Jin / Sun / Ben / Juliet / Charlie / Claire w.Aaron

ROW TWO: Richard / Desmond / Penny / Michael / Vincent / Walt / Boone / Shannon / Faraday / Charlotte / Miles / Frank / Rose / Bernard

ROW THREE: Ana Lucia / Eko / Libby / Ilana / Bram / Nathan / Arzt / Nikki / Paolo / Frogurt / Rousseau / Pilot / Officer Mars

ROW FOUR: Charles Widmore / Eloise Hawking / Tom Friendly / Ethan / Goodwin / Mikhail / Cindy / Emma / Zack / Alex / Karl / Ms. Klugh / Pickett / Colleen

ROW FIVE: Matthew Abadon / Naomi / Keamy / Omar / Captain Gault / Minkowski / Regina / Dogan / Lennon / Zoe / Seamus / Montand

ROW SIX: Dr. Chang / Horace / Phil / Razinsky / Roger Linus / Young Ben / Amy / Oldham / Kelvin / Annie / Leonard / “Dave”

ROW SEVEN: Christian Shephard / Sarah Shephard / David Shephard / Achara / Aaron / Kate’s Mother / Kate’s Step-Father / Claire’s Mother / Nadia / Cassidy / Liam / Anthony Cooper

ROW EIGHT: Mr. Paik / Mrs. Paik w.Ji Yeon / Jai Lee / Hurley’s Mother / Hurley’s Father / Randy Nations / Yemi / Isabella / Helen / Susan Lloyd / Richard Malkin / Billy Dee Willaims as Himself :)

ROW NINE: Jacob / The Man In Black / Mother / Young Jacob / The Smoke Monster

A full-sized version of the image is included on artist Ol’ Fuzzy Bastard’s tumblr. My favourites? Frogurt on fire; Frank; and, of course, Nikki and Paolo. Which’re your favourites?

Also, a year later? What’re your thoughts on the much-maligned series finale of Lost? What about the show in its entirety?

OF BLOOD AND HONEY by Stina LeichtAs much as I adore Fantasy, being a female and writing Fantasy has it’s drawbacks — particularly when you write Urban Fantasy. Conversations tend to go like this:

Party guest: “Oh? You’re a writer? What do you write?”

Me: “I write fiction. SciFi and Fantasy. Fantasy mainly.”

Party guest: “For kids?”

Me: “I write Fantasy for adults.”

Party guest: “Oh, you write erotica about tramp-stamped detective chicks and vampires.”

Me: “Um. No. I’m writing about Irish myth and the Troubles.”

Party guest: “Oh, you write erotica about tramp-stamped Irish chicks and fairies with butterfly wings.”

Me: [sigh]

I’ve never witnessed a conversation like the one above when the author in question is male. Writing for children is never brought up, let alone erotica. During my last signing at Barnes and Noble, I spent more than half my time explaining to customers that no, there aren’t any vampires in the book, the main character is male, and the only tattoos present on any character are prison tattoos. As much progress as has been made in SciFi and Fantasy circles* and in American society in general, we’ve still got a long way to go. So, let me get something off my chest here and now. As much as I’m okay with Romance’s interest in all things Fantasy, it can be, let’s just say, extremely frustrating for someone like me.

Because I don’t like Romance as a literary genre, and I never have.
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