Monthly Archives: April 2012

TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (eBook)One Wheel of Time fan recently had the chance of a lifetime. Known as “Luckers” on the Dragonmount forums, this fan sat down with Brandon Sanderson and railed off a series of questions regarding some of The Wheel of Time‘s mysteries, both big and small. Most of the questions were answered with “RAFO” (Read and Find Out), or some variation thereof, but others were met with refreshing honesty (or devilish smiles, which tell almost as much). It’s a great read for fans of The Wheel of Time who’re just itching to get their hands on the final volume in the series, A Memory of Light, which releases early in 2013.

There are, of course, spoilers out the wazoo, up-to-and-including Towers of Midnight, and, some might consider, beyond. So, you’ve been warned. Read More »

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff SalyardsI’ve always been fascinated by embedded journalists. Chronicling a military campaign right in the middle of the action rather than second- or third-hand, at a safe remove. It’s hard to get more visceral than that—dust in the face, grit in the teeth, adrenaline thumping, shadows jumping, blood splattering immediacy, all while trying to just stay alive long enough to somehow give what happened some kind of coherency. Whether book or article, writing is often a solitary, quiet affair, but writing front and center on a military endeavor changes the whole ball game.

Being a self-professed geek (at least 12th level), I naturally take observations like this and start plugging them into a fantasy scenario. How would this play out with a quill and ink on a different world, and how could I complicate it to make such a chronicler’s life even more hellish than anything your modern embedded journalist might endure? I’m a cruel bastard like that.

Now, that phrase “embedded journalist” is a recent invention, but the notion isn’t—Jean de Joinville was a crusader groupie 700 years ago. And Glen Cook cooked up a ripping yarn about a chronicler in a mercenary company—you might have heard of it—so the idea isn’t unique to fantasy either. I had to figure out how to differentiate my take, so I resorted to that most ancient and venerable of writerly tactics, the “what if” game… Read More »

Women in SF&FSince the beginning of April, Fantasy Cafe has been running a wonderful series of articles for Women in SF&F Month, with the hopes of exploring and celebrating the impact that women (as authors and characters) have had on our favourite genre. In addition to this, there is some discussion of the politics in the genre, gender equality and reviewer bias.

Kristen, editor of Fantasy Cafe, explains the driving force behind Women in SF&F Month:

This particular subject is one I’ve felt pretty strongly about for a while now. A few years ago, I noticed that most of the fantasy and science fiction books being talked about on many blogs and forums were written by men and started questioning whether or not there was a significant number of women writing these genres. Since then, I’ve of course found that there are many female authors of fantasy and science fiction books and it’s become very important to me to make sure their work is recognized and discussed. Usually I just do this quietly by reading and reviewing a lot of books written by women, but after the topic came up again I decided I wanted to do more to showcase the many women who are writing and reviewing all kinds of different types of fantasy and science fiction. So I started asking around to see if there was any interest in being a part of this and have spent the past 2 or 3 weeks gathering volunteers and posts.

So, here are some of the articles from the series that have caught my eye:

Vanishing the Elephant by Stina Leicht:

Addressing touchy subjects with story is one of Science Fiction and Fantasy’s best traditions. Sure, not all Sci-fi and Fantasy does this. (Some novels are intended to be fluffy and they do have their place.) However, I feel the main thing that sets Sci-fi and Fantasy apart from other genres is its capacity to make the reader think, in addition to SFF readers’ willingness (perhaps even eagerness) to contemplate complex subjects.

Elizabeth Bear, author of Range of Ghosts, on how you can support women who write SF&F:

[T]he problem is not that women are not writing science fiction, or that science fiction by women is not being published. It’s that a certain segment of fandom doesn’t pay enough attention to notice.

As you might imagine, I find this intensely frustrating. It’s as if one or two women in each generation of writers are anointed to become token representatives of our gender in the general critical discourse, and the rest–somehow never get talked about very much.

The good news is, this is easy to fix.

Read More »

Unfettered, edited by Shawn Speakman

GRIM OAK PRESS TO PUBLISH UNFETTERED FANTASY ANTHOLOGY

Genre’s Best Writers to Contribute Against Fellow Writer’s Cancer Debt

SEATTLE, WA — Grim Oak Press, a new publishing company formed by webmaster and freelance writer Shawn Speakman, will be producing Unfettered, a fantasy short story anthology by some of the best writers in the genre, for a very good cause.

In 2011, Speakman was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He completed the recommended chemotherapy, but lacking health insurance, the treatment left him with almost $200,000 of financial debt. At the suggestion of New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks, and with the help of nearly two dozen authors who call Speakman a friend, Grim Oak Press will publish the short story anthology Unfettered, with the proceeds helping to alleviate the medical bills.

Authors contributing include: Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Naomi Novik, Brandon Sanderson, RA Salvatore, Tad Williams, Jacqueline Carey, Daniel Abraham, Peter V.Brett, Robert VS Redick, Peter Orullian, Todd Lockwood, Carrie Vaughn, Blake Charlton, Kevin Hearne, Mark Lawrence, David Anthony Durham, Jennifer Bosworth, Lev Grossman, Steven Erikson, and Shawn Speakman

Some of the authors will be writing short stories set in the fantasy worlds that made them famous. Other writers will be creating entirely new tales. The contribution by so many noteworthy authors of bestselling titles speaks to the generosity found within the science fiction and fantasy communities.

Unfettered will be published as a trade hardcover as well as a leather-bound, signed and numbered edition limited to 500 copies and autographed by all contributors. Speakman will also publish his full-length urban/high fantasy novel, The Dark Thorn, through Grim Oak Press to further offset treatment expenses.

Orders are currently being accepted for The Dark Thorn, which is tentatively scheduled to publish in August 2012. Unfettered will be released by early 2013.

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If you’d like more information about Grim Oak Press or wish to set up an interview about its projects, please email Shawn Speakman at shawn@grimoakpress.com

For anyone with even a vague interest in Epic/High/Secondary World/Traditional/Whatever Fantasy, that’s a monstrous who’s-who list of the biggest names in the industry at the moment.
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ORB, SCEPTRE, THRONE, a MALAZAN novel by Ian Cameron Esslemont

In the nameless shanty town rambling westward of Darujhistan, an old woman squatted in front of her shack carving a stick beneath a night sky dominated by the slashing lurid green banner of the Scimitar. Her hair was a wild bush about her head tied with lengths of string, ribbon, beads, and twists of leather. Her bare feet where they poked out beneath her layered skirts were as dark as the earth the toes gripped. She droned to herself in a language no one understood.

An old woman living alone in a decrepit hut was nothing unusual for the shanty town, peopled as it was by the poorest, most brokendown of the lowest class of tannery workers, sewer cleaners and garbage haulers of Darujhistan. Every second shack seemed occupied by an old widow or grandmother, the menfolk dying off early as they do everywhere – the men claiming this proves they do all the hard work, and the women knowing it’s because men aren’t tough enough to endure being old.

And so this woman had lived in her squalid hut for as long as anyone could remember and none remarked upon it, except for all the surrounding old widows and grandmothers who amongst themselves knew her as ‘that crazy old woman’.

Squatting in the mud before her hut she brought the thin stick she was carving close to eyes clouded by milky cataracts and studied the intricate tracery of curve and line that ran end to end. She crooned to herself, ‘Almost, now. Almost.’ Then she glanced fearfully, and rather blindly, to the starry night sky and its intruding alien banner, muttering, ‘Almost now. Almost.’

Malazan fans are wide and plenty these days, so surely there’re a few people out there who will ravenously gobble up this excerpt from Ian Cameron Esslemont’s bizarrely titled Orb, Sceptre, Throne, the latest instalment in the overarching Malazan story. Me? I’m not one of them, for various reasons.

You can find the excerpt from Orb, Sceptre, Throne on Tor.com.