A city besieged by a powerful warlock seeks salvation from a fabled warrior in the second of three gripping new stand-alone eBook short stories set in the world of the fantasy-fiction phenomenon that is Shannara—by beloved New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks.
His extraordinary—and deadly—skills have earned Garet Jax renown and infamy as the man called the Weapons Master. Rootless, solitary, and endlessly sought after, he roams the Four Lands, loyal to none but himself . . . and whomever can afford his services as warrior, assassin, and avenger for hire. But Lyriana is unlike any who have come to him before: as beautiful as she is bold, as enigmatic as the distant city she is desperate to save, and possessed of an intangible, irresistible allure that entices even the hardened Garet Jax more than any amount of gold or silver ever could.
But the challenge she comes bearing may give even the celebrated Weapons Master pause. The remote city of Tajarin, Lyriana’s home, is being laid to waste by an immensely powerful and boundlessly evil warlock of the deadliest order. With the populace enslaved and no champion to stand against the invader, Tajarin will soon be wiped from the map—perhaps only the first city to fall. Whatever hope exists rests in the deft hands, lethal blades, and unerring instincts of Garet Jax. With righteous fury in his blood, and feelings he has never before known in his heart, he will face the most dire of enemies, and dare the blackest of fates, for the mysterious woman at his side—whose deepest secrets have yet to be revealed.
The cover’s pretty crummy, but whatever… Brooks is a brand now, and it’s identifiably Brooks, so I suppose that’ all that matters, whether I’m happy with it for not! The story itself, however, sounds like an interesting direction for Brooks. Though his previous short story, “Allanon’s Quest,” was weak, Garet Jax is one of Brooks’ most popular characters, and it’s pleasing to see him tackling a more personal story for the Weapons Master, who, previously, was more-or-less an enigmatic warrior, defined by his prowess, but lacking in personality. Hardcore Shannara fans will likely be watching closely to see how this reflects on the popular Stee Jans/Garet Jax theory that has floated around for years.
Ever wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons against some of Fantasy’s best (and coolest) authors? Of course you do. Last year, thanks to Justin Landon, we were privy to a documented game of D&D featuring Patrick Rothfuss, Peter V. Brett, Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear and a whole bunch of other awesome people. The saliva lost by drooling Fantasy fans was enough to fill the Dead Sea (and just as salty). You can read Brent Weeks’ account of the game right here on A Dribble of Ink, in fact. Now, this time around, you (yes, you), have an opportunity to take part in the next D&D game, alongside many of these same authors, including Patrick Rothfuss and Peter V. Brett, and newcomers like Sam Sykes. How? By auction. Continue reading
There used to be a time, way back when, that I used to run interviews with authors. They were fun, challenging and people liked to read them. Then I stopped for some reason. Well, today, the interviews are back, but the tables are turned. I was asked by Jo Fletcher Books, a great genre imprint from the UK, to be subject to an interview. Mostly, we talk about blogging, but there is also discussion about some of the novels that really opened my eyes to the world of Fantasy literature. Since its terribly topical and popular, here’s a taste from the interview that discusses one of my favourite novels, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien:
What are your all-time favourite reads?
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
As I grew from childhood and into adolescence, I veered away from Fantasy, magic and adventure, replacing them instead with laser guns, time portals and spacefaring. Science Fiction ruled much of my pre-adolescence. I still remember being in grade four, I was nine, and getting gruff from my teacher because I wasn’t reading the assigned novel during silent reading. It was The Cay by Theodore Taylor, appropriate for most readers my age. Instead of reading The Cay, I was reading Jurassic Park. I lost touch with Fantasy because, well . . . I was a boy and Fantasy was full of princesses, unicorns and other such girly stuff. I don’t know where I got such ideas, certainly not from my parents, but there they were.
At age eleven, however, my mom finally convinced me to give The Hobbit a shot. She was an avid reader of both Fantasy and Science Fiction, and rarely steered me wrong. I expect the only reason I gave The Hobbit a shot, however, was because of the languorous, fiery Smaug, stretched out atop his pile of gold, scrolls of gold-etched dwarfish runes capped the top and bottom of the book’s cover. It was pretty cool. I still own that copy of The Hobbit I read it, and fell in love. The rest, if you’ll pardon the expression, is history.
You can read the rest of the interview on Jo Fletcher Books’ website. I hope you enjoy it.
Set 120 years in the future, the premise revolves around a plausible future Earth, one that has developed near space flight, but nothing much faster. The story opens with Earth discovering a signal from an alien life. This discovery kicks off something called the Morning Star protocol, an agreement that outlines what to do if alien intelligence is discovered. The research vessel MSRV-Joplin is outfitted with military weapons and sent to Saturn, where the signal is coming from, to explore.
It’s not so much an announcement, as knowledge of Scalzi’s involvement with the creation of a videogame has been floating around for a while, but this is the first concrete information about the title. Scalzi reports on the project:
As most of you know, for the last year or so I’ve been working on a video game with Industrial Toys, the new video game studio formed by former Bungie founder Alex Seropian. We’ve been quietly chugging along in the background putting the game together; my job has been working with them to create an overall game concept as well as the narrative that fits into that concept. It’s been a hell of a lot of fun, in no small part because my co-workers at Industrial Toys are some of the smartest and most creative people in the video game business.
As the trailer notes, the video game is a first-person shooter, but with a bit of a twist: It’s designed specifically for mobile gaming on tablets, which means that everything — gameplay, controls, story — was put together incorporating both the physical layout of tablets and the gameplay dynamic of mobile gaming. It’s not a port from another video game medium, in other words: It’s at home in mobile. Which is also very exciting.
Whether you like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series or not (and there are many reasons to fall on either side of the fence), the upcoming release of its final volume, A Memory of Light, will be one of the biggest Fantasy events in decades. Wheel of Time has helped shaped contemporary Fantasy, and opened the doors for authors like George R.R. Martin (who launched his own series, which you maybe heard of, with a juicy quote from Robert Jordan plastered on the cover), Patrick Rothfuss, and even Brandon Sanderson, who now carries the torch for the late Jordan. To celebrate the life and career of Jordan, Tor has produced a loving video looking back at the aurhor, featuring his wife, Harriet McDougal, Tom Doherty, the big guy at Tor Books, and Brandon Sanderson.