Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tides from the New Worlds by Tobias S. BuckellTobias Buckell is best known for his adult Science Fiction, including the Xenowealth novels and, most recently, Arctic Rising, a near-future eco-political thriller. So, naturally, his next step is YA. Right?

From Publishers Weekly, via twitter,

Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Tor Starscape has acquired The Island in the Sky, a debut YA novel plus a sequel by SF author Tobias S. Buckell (Halo: The Cole Protocol). The book follows a Caribbean boy, Kadie, who gets the opportunity to travel to the stars when a starship arrives on Earth offering lottery slots to volunteers in exchange for leaving alien diplomats behind. Publication is tentatively set for winter 2014. Joe Monti at Barry Goldblatt Literary did the deal for North American rights.

Though it might feel like something of a departure for those who are familiar with Buckell’s adult novels, I think YA will be a wonderful fit for his tone, writing style and the adventurous nature of his novels and short fiction. I’m also glad to see him ‘returning’ to a Caribbean setting. Buckell was raised in Grenada, a small island nation in the Caribbean, and his first novel, Crystal Rain was set on an alien world settled by relocated Caribbean refugees, providing a tone and culture to the characters and setting not often found in Science Fiction. Sign me up when The Island in the Sky is released next winter.

Cover Art for Red Country by Joe Abercrombie (UK)

Map by Dave Senior and Daggers by Didier Graffetaption

From the horse’s mouth to your ears:

I’ve got a contract for three more books in the First Law world, and those will be a trilogy, and I have some rough ideas about what the content and characters might be.

Yippee. But, we already knew that, didn’t we? For about two years. In a recent ‘guest post’ (to use the term loosely, it was more of an open letter to his fans on his publisher’s website), Abercrombie addressed this trilogy, and some of the complications he’s been facing in writing it. He further describes those ideas about content and characters for the trilogy as ‘very rough.’ With his previous projects, Abercrombie has finished each book with a good idea of what was coming next, so that he was well into the writing of it by the time his previous book was published. He explains, however, that Red Country was a difficult book to write.

He says,

Red Country was pretty draining. Not that I’m not totally delighted with the results because, you know, brilliant book and all that, but I found it hard work. Felt burned out at times. Felt like I was having to reach a long way for new ideas, new ways of doing things. It was not, at all times, a joyous process. So now seems a good time to take a break, do some reading, do some thinking, recharge the creative batteries.

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Exploring Avatar: The Last Airbender
Pop Culture is full of phenomena. These phenomena capture the imagination of millions, and dominate talk around water coolers, Internet forums, Twitter and pub tables. Many factors lead to the formulation of such zeitgeists, such as focussed marketing, fresh storytelling that taps into flash-in-the-pan societal fears and interests, a bold take on traditional concepts, or, well, because they’re just damn easy and accessible. Such phenomena, by their very nature, come and go. They sweep through fans like a fever, and burn out just as quickly.

Lost was a cultural phenomenon… until the second and third seasons when the show-runners jumped the trails and lost control of their script. As I write this, “Gangnam Style” is sweeping America, Europe and the rest of the world, yet Psy, the Korean musician behind the hit, will likely never release another song which significantly impacts Western pop music.

There are phenomena like Pokemon: a weird, complex Japanese videogame and television series that captured the attention of children fifteen years ago and still hasn’t let go. Each new iteration of the video game series sells millions of copies, and the animated series is still running today. Most famously, there is also J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. When it first rose to wide prominence at the turn of this century, it was easy to dismiss Rowling’s work as a fad. But then it kept on going, and going, and going. Harry Potter and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley are now literary staples on the same level as Bilbo Baggins and the Pevensies.

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I recently read The Red Knight by Miles Cameron and it provoked a mixed reaction in me. Without getting too long-winded, I absolutely loved some bits – for example, I thought some of the action scenes in particular were far better than even the biggest names in the genre offer up – but had significant issues with other parts. Of those, one that really struck me was the use of Christianity as the significant religion and while I stand by my opinions on it, at the same time I felt a certain inherent absurdity in my own argument.

Put simply, in a world with monsters and magic (whether or not it was sortof England) I found it looked rather ridiculous to use Christianity as a religious background. Now I might be an atheist, but even I have to admit Christianity is at the very least, no less illogical and baseless than a religion Cameron might have made up, yet I found its place in the book far less plausible.

Now logic doesn’t play a large part in religion. Whether you’re talking Norse myths where (as memory serves) a god’s born of basically nothingness and the first thing he sees is a cow, or Japanese where a god creates the land by stirring the sea with a spear (presumably creating all raw materials needed for spears let alone reasons to need a spear such as hunting anything but spontaneously-created cows), doing the 5-year-old thing of asking where the cow came from doesn’t serve much good. Read More »

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Yesterday, hosted one of their ongoing #TorChat twitter conversations, and invited Brandon Sanderson, co-author of A Memory of Light, the final volume of Robert Jordan’s long-running Wheel of Time series, to answer fan questions. And, well, it being Sanderson and Wheel of time, the questions were endless. And spoiler-filled. Egads, by the end of the chat, my virgin ears were stuffed full of more spoilers for A Memory of Light than I cared for. They were popping up on my twitter feed left and right. Ah well.

To save those of you still waiting to read the book from unwanted spoilers, I’ll hide them behind the jump. Read More »