Of Blood and Honey
Author – Stina Leicht
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Is that a dirty phrase to your ears? Do you think of sexy vampires? Sassy heroines? Sex, tramp stamps and one-liners?
“Oh, I don’t like that stuff,” you say.
“Stina Leicht’s Of Blood and Honey is different,” I respond. It’s alive. It has a message. It’s violent because life is violent. There’s sex because the politics of it help define us as humans. More guns are loaded with rubber bullets than silver. No vampires are in sight, and the only werewolf is the shadow of the protagonist’s inner-demons. Throw your misconceptions aside, forget about Sookie Stackhouse and Anita Blake, and explore a whole other facet of the sub-genre.
Set in the early- to mid-seventies, Of Blood and Honey is told against the backdrop of the Troubles, the political warfare that plagued Northern Ireland from the 1960′s to as recently as 2010. As bloody, depraved, violent and twisted as any fictional war, this guerilla warfare between the Irish Republic Army, the British Army, the Ulster Defence Force, the Ulster Volunteer Force and many other forces is the perfect backdrop to tell the story of the mysterious Fey of Ireland as they struggle in a eerily similar battle against the fallen angels brought to the emerald isle when the Catholics settled.
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WINNER: “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made,” Eric James Stone (Analog 9/10)
“Map of Seventeen,” Christopher Barzak (The Beastly Bride)
“The Jaguar House, in Shadow,” Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s 7/10)
“Plus or Minus,” James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s 12/10)
“Pishaach,” Shweta Narayan (The Beastly Bride)
“The Fortuitous Meeting of Gerard van Oost and Oludara,” Christopher Kastensmidt (Realms of Fantasy 4/10)
“Stone Wall Truth,” Caroline M. Yoachim (Asimov’s 2/10)
BRADBURY AWARD BEST DRAMATIC PRODUCTION
WINNER: Inception, Christopher Nolan (director), Christopher Nolan (screenplay) (Warner)
Despicable Me, Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud (directors), Ken Daurio & Cinco Paul (screenplay), Sergio Pablos (story) (Illumination Entertainment)
Doctor Who: “Vincent and the Doctor,” Richard Curtis (writer), Jonny Campbell (director)
How to Train Your Dragon, Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders (directors), William Davies, Dean DeBlois, & Chris Sanders (screenplay) (DreamWorks Animation)
Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, Edgar Wright (director), Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright (screenplay) (Universal)
Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich (director), Michael Arndt (screenplay), John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, & Lee Unkrich (story) (Pixar/Disney)
ANDRE NORTON AWARD
So, congrats to all the winners! Glad to see Swirsky take home Best Novella, though I’ve not yet read ‘The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window’. I think I’ll set aside a chunk of time this summer to catch up on all the Nebula- and Hugo-nominated short stories, novelettes and novellas. There’s some good reading on those lists. I’m particularly interesting in the stories from Barzak, de Bodard and El-Mothar.
A huge update from George R.R. Martin about A Dance with Dragons. A few of the most interesting tidbits:
Now that the dust is settling at last, I thought I’d take a deep breath and look back at what a long strange trip this has been. If the process interests you, read on. But beware — past this point, there may be some SPOILERS lurking amidst my discussion. Read on at your own peril.
At 1510 pages, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS come in just slightly shorter than A STORM OF SWORDS, which was 1521 pages in manuscript, with the same software, settings, and margins.
At one point late in the process DANCE was considerably longer. The page count had gone beyond 1600 and was creeping up toward 1700, to my alarm. (At 1700 pages the book could not have been published in a single volume). Several things happened to bring it back down.
Shorter than A Storm of Swords, in the end. With all the fears of the novel being split up into two volumes, it looks like Marting and his publisher did everything they could to ensure that that didn’t happen. Martin solved this problem several ways. The first was moving some chapters into the next volume:
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Earlier this week, I featured a beautiful timeline based on the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, by the designers at Fast Company’s Co. Design. Thanks to Raphael (one of my readers), I was pointed in the direction of another awesome timeline of the movies, illustrated in a decidedly different manner.
This time, the art is by Randall Munroe, the Hugo-nominated artist behind the popular webcomic, xkcd. It seems simple and goody at first, but when you start following some of the character’s paths, the detail and thought put into it (juggling both time and location) is astounding. My favourite part is probably the orc’s tunnel-like timelines sprouting off from Sauron.
A nice, hi-res version of the timeline (along with similar timelines for Star Wars, Jurassic Park and a couple of other movies) can be found on the original xkcd strip.