Posts Categorized: Art

Buy Speculative Fiction 2013, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James: Book

Buy Speculative Fiction 2013, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James

In 2013, Jared Shurin and Justin Landon published Speculative Fiction 2012, the first volume of a new anthology series aimed at collecting the best speculative fiction essays, commentaries, and reviews from around the internet. I was pleased to contribute my own essay on George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons.

This year, the editorial reins were handed to the wonderful Ana Grilo and Thea James, otherwise known as The Book Smugglers, who today have revealed the cover for Speculative Fiction 2013 and the list of contributors for the latest volume.

Speculative Fiction 2013 collects over fifty truly awesome pieces from all corners of speculative fiction fandom,” they said. “From book criticism to incisive commentary on important issues like sexual harassment at conventions; from feminist themes in summer blockbusters to life-changing video games; from the merits of grittiness and the downfalls of grimdark.”

And what would an anthology be without a foreword from someone fancy and fun? James and Grilo rounded up Seanan McGuire, she of many, many Hugo nominations, to introduce the volume. “Seanan is the author of the Toby Daye urban fantasy series, and, under pseudonym Mira Grant, the Newsflesh trilogy and Parasite. She’s also a Hugo Award-winning podcaster, and a prolific blogger – making her the perfect person to introduce this year’s edition of SpecFic,” described Grilo and James. Read More »

A Song of Ice and Fire, SejeiA Song of Ice and Fire, SejeiA Song of Ice and Fire, Sejei

We all love a good twist-on-formula, right? We also love interesting artwork? Imgur user Seiji recently published these wonderful (faux-) Japanese woodblock printing-style illustrations of iconic scenes from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (or, Game of Thrones, to you of the boob tube generation.)

“I thought it would be interesting to draw a retelling of the [A Song of Ice and Fire] universe as if it took place in feudal-era Japan,” said Seiji. “These drawings are inspired by the Ukiyo-e style (traditional woodblock printing).”

If you’ve not read the book, or seen the first season of the HBO show, Game of Thrones, beware spoilers. You can view the rest of Seiji’s woodblock-style renditions here.

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Oh, I get it. It’s like a snowflake, and also a sword. I can’t imagine that would be a very efficient or easy-to-wield weapon. Perhaps an accident on the training yard leads to the king losing his other half? In any case, the cover’s fine (non-offensive, if bland) and fits the mould for YA fantasy, though holds nothing on Abercrombie’s previous covers (the dude’s damned with comparisons to The First Law‘s covers for the rest of his career, they were so good.)

io9‘s Charlie Jane Anders calls Half a King “a classic ‘coming of age’ story about Yarvi, the youngest son of a warrior king.” Fans of Abercrombie should feel familiar with the concept, and io9′s full description sounds like it is sure to please. “Because Yarvi is born with one disabled hand,” Anders explains. “He’s regarded as ‘half a man,’ and he can’t ever live up to his father’s expectations of what a real man ought to be. He’s expected to go into the ministry instead of becoming a soldier or an heir to the throne — but after his father and brother are killed, he’s thrust onto the throne (the Black Chair) where he has to find a way to rule. But of course his journey doesn’t turn out to be that easy.”

Along with the cover and synopsis, Abercrombie released the first chapter of Half a King. An excerpt of the full excerpt:

There was a harsh gale blowing on the night Yarvi learned he was a king. Or half a king, at least.

A seeking wind, the Gettlanders called it, for it found out every chink and keyhole, moaning Mother Sea’s dead chill into every dwelling, no matter how high the fires were banked or how close the folk were huddled.

It tore at the shutters in the narrow windows of Mother Gundring’s chambers and rattled even the iron-bound door in its frame. It taunted the flames in the firepit and they spat and crackled in their anger, casting clawing shadows from the dried herbs hanging, throwing flickering light upon the root that Mother Gundring held up in her knobbled fingers.

‘And this?’

It looked like nothing so much as a clod of dirt, but Yarvi had learned better. ‘Black-tongue root.’

‘And why might a minister reach for it, my prince?’

‘A minister hopes they won’t have to. Boiled in water it can’t be seen or tasted, but is a most deadly poison.’

Mother Gundring tossed the root aside. ‘Ministers must sometimes reach for dark things.’

I can just picture mothers and fathers reading this to their children as they lay curled within the warm cocoon of their blankets and jammies, Abercrombian nightmares biding their time until the light is flicked off.

Good stuff.

Rising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie DillonRising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie DillonRising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie DillonRising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie Dillon

When Kate Elliott, author of The Spiritwalker Trilogy, approached me about the idea of debuting artwork from Julie Dillon, who’s just about the greatest thing going in fantasy and science fiction art at the moment, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. For all of genre’s current obsession on gritty-grimdark-[insert buzzword here], Dillon is a shining beacon of colour, imagination and diversity among the drab, grey-cloaked and tired masses.

Last week, I gave a sneak peek of the art on A Dribble of Ink’s new Tumblr page (check it out, yo.), and today I’m proud to debut “Rising from the Sea of Smoke,” artwork by Julie Dillon, inspired and commissioned by Kate Elliott. Read More »

Every once in a while, an artist nails the artwork from the book they are covering. Marc Simonetti does it on an alarmingly regular basis.

Marc Simonetti's Artwork for MistbornMarc Simonetti's Artwork for MistbornMarc Simonetti's Artwork for MistbornMarc Simonetti's Artwork for Mistborn

This artwork, created by Simonetti for the Brazilian edition of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn: The Final Empire, is gorgeous, and the most accurate to imagery that I had in my mind’s eye when reading Sanderson’s trilogy. That Mistcloak! Those Inquisitors! Kelsier’s grin!

Known among fantasy fans for his work on foreign-language versions of many of fantasy’s biggest series, like Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicles or Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, it’s about time that Simonetti makes the leap to working with some of the big North American and British publisher on the first run major fantasy releases from those authors. The guy’s good enough that his art should be on bookstore shelves everywhere.