Nicked from the bald yeti:
Four decades ago, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa family, fled to a wild and lonely mountainous corner of British Columbia to avoid the draft. Smuggling backpack loads of high-grade marijuana across the border into Northern Idaho, he quickly amassed an enormous and illegal fortune. With plenty of time and money to burn, he became addicted to an online fantasy game in which opposing factions battle for power and treasure in a vast cyber realm. Like many serious gamers, he began routinely purchasing viral gold pieces and other desirables from Chinese gold farmers— young professional players in Asia who accumulated virtual weapons and armor to sell to busy American and European buyers.
For Richard, the game was the perfect opportunity to launder his aging hundred dollar bills and begin his own high-tech start up—a venture that has morphed into a Fortune 500 computer gaming group, Corporation 9592, with its own super successful online role-playing game, T’Rain. But the line between fantasy and reality becomes dangerously blurred when a young gold farmer accidently triggers a virtual war for dominance—and Richard is caught at the center.
In this edgy, 21st century tale, Neal Stephenson, one of the most ambitious and prophetic writers of our time, returns to the terrain of his cyberpunk masterpieces Snow Crash and Crpytonomicon, leading readers through the looking glass and into the dark heart of imagination.
Give me the US cover any day of the week. I like the skyline on the UK cover, but that weirdo texture at the top just is cheap and confusing; plus, a cityscape doesn’t really seem to properly represent the novel outlined in the synopsis. I love the bold, fuck you typography on the US cover. I’m not usually one for Stephenson’s work (“work” being the first word that comes to mind when I think of picking up one of his novels), but Reamde has my attention. I mean, British Columbia (where I live) and MMORPGs-come-to-life? Sign me up.
Via Tobias Buckell:
Lightspeed: Year One compiles all the fiction published by the online science fiction magazine Lightspeed in its first year. Originally published stories include Nebula Award finalists Vylar Kaftan’s “I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno” and Adam-Troy Castro’s “Arvies” as well as Carrie Vaughn’s Hugo Award-nominated “Amaryllis”. Plus there are classic stories by Stephen King, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, and more.
The popular, critically-acclaimed Lightspeed is edited by bestselling anthologist John Joseph Adams. Lightspeed publishes all types of science fiction, from near-future sociological soft sf to far-future star-spanning hard sf—and everything in between. Each month, Lightspeed features a mix of original and classic stories, from a variety of authors, showcasing the best new genre voices along with bestsellers, award-winners, fan favorites, and notable authors readers already know.
And the Table of Contents:
June 2010, Issue One
I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno – Vylar Kaftan
The Cassandra Project – Jack McDevitt
Cats in Victory – David Barr Kirtley
Amaryllis – Carrie Vaughn
July 2010, Issue Two
No Time Like the Present – Carol Emshwiller
Manumission – Tobias S. Buckell
The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball – Genevieve Valentine
…For a Single Yesterday – George R. R. Martin
August 2010, Issue Three
How to Become a Mars Overlord – Catherynne M. Valente
Patient Zero – Tananarive Due
Arvies – Adam-Troy Castro
More Than the Sum of His Parts – Joe Haldeman
September 2010, Issue Four
Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain – Yoon Ha Lee
The Long Chase – Geoffrey A. Landis
Amid the Words of War – Cat Rambo
Travelers – Robert Silverberg
October 2010, Issue Five (SF-Horror Hybrids Issue)
Hindsight – Sarah Langan
Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back – Joe R. Lansdale
The Taste of Starlight – John R. Fultz
Beachworld – Stephen King
November 2010, Issue Six
Standard Loneliness Package – Charles Yu
Faces in Revolving Souls – Caitlin R. Kiernan
Hwang’s Billion Brilliant Daughters – Alice Sola Kim
Ej-Es – Nancy Kress
December 2010, Issue Seven
In-Fall – Ted Kosmatka
The Observer – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Jenny’s Sick – David Tallerman
The Silence of the Asonu – Ursula K. Le Guin
January 2011, Issue Eight
Postings from an Amorous Tomorrow – Corey Mariani
Cucumber Gravy – Susan Palwick
Black Fire – Tanith Lee
The Elephants of Poznan – Orson Scott Card
February 2011, Issue Nine
Long Enough And Just So Long – Cat Rambo
The Passenger – Julie E. Czerneda
Simulacrum – Ken Liu
Breakaway, Backdown – James Patrick Kelly
March 2011, Issue Ten
Saying the Names – Maggie Clark
Gossamer – Stephen Baxter
Spider the Artist – Nnedi Okorafor
Woman Leaves Room – Robert Reed
April 2011, Issue Eleven
All That Touches the Air – An Owomoyela
Maneki Neko – Bruce Sterling
Mama, We are Zhenya, Your Son – Tom Crosshill
Velvet Fields – Anne McCaffrey
May 2011, Issue Twelve
The Harrowers – Eric Gregory
Bibi From Jupiter – Tessa Mellas
Eliot Wrote – Nancy Kress
Scales – Alastair Reynolds
I know it might seem silly to be anticipating an anthology that’s full of short fiction already available to read for free on the web (or eReader), but I admire Adams and his work and, well… that cover’s just lovely! In case you needed a bit of reading for the weekend, I’ve provided links to each of the stories on Lightspeed’s website!
What’s your favourite Lightspeed published story?
From Ahmed’s blog:
The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms.
Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat, just wants a quiet cup of tea. A fat old man who has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, he’s more than ready to retire from his dangerous vocation. But when an old flame’s family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter’s path.
Adoulla’s young assistant Raseed, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God’s justice. But even as Raseed’s sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.
Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man’s title. She lives only to avenge her father’s death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father’s killer. Until she meets Raseed.
When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince’s brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time – and struggle against their own misgivings – to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.
I written before about Jason Chan and his artwork. I appreciate how he’s able to straddle that thin line between fun/serious without falling into looking like a cheap comic book. I like this, though Doctor Adoulla Makhslood (who I’ve enjoyed since first discovering Ahmed’s short fiction), doesn’t look nearly as down-in-the-gutter ragged and imposing as I always pictured him. It’s fun and reminds me of old Sword & Sorcery novels from Lieber, Howard and their ilk (which, from what I can tell, is accurate of the novel, too). It’s also nice to see DAW embracing the Middle Eastern roots, rather than painting it with a more ambiguous image (as we’ve too often seen).
From the Orbit Books Blog:
Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles – until they are hired to steal a famed sword from the palace of the king and find themselves caught up in a conspiracy to overthrow the empire. Sentenced to death, they have only one way out, to get involved in the plots of the nobles and save the kingdom from itself.
Can one thief and his master swordsman of a friend keep their heads above water long enough to survive? Much less solve the mystery that threatens to topple the crown itself?
…and so begins this epic tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.
In one of the most charming success stories of recent years, Michael J. Sullivan‘s The Riyria Revelations (a previously self-published Fantasy series), was picked up for publication by Orbit Books. One of the more striking aspects of the self-published series (and something that set it head-and-shoulders over many of its compatriots) was its cover art, also designed by Sullivan.
I’m happy to see, then, that Orbit’s done justice to the series with the covers for the three-volume omnibus edition of the series. Sure, I don’t love the hooded-figures (natch), but it’s not surprising to see them gracing the cover. As Lauren Panepinto points out:
Besides, am I supposed to say no cloaks when they actually wear cloaks in the books? Tell the author to stop writing in cloaks then…he’s a thief after all, it’s kind of mandatory!
And, well… she has a good point! Other than the cloaked-cliches, I’m really digging the covers. Larry Rostant‘s art is gorgeous and I love the continuity and colours of the text area. It reminds of the covers for Greg Keyes The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, but executed much more efficiently. Really sharp, all around. Can’t wait to get my hands on these!
If you’re at all familiar with this blog, you’ve probably realized, by now, one thing: Aidan Moher does not like my covers. Not since the discovery of the hooded man has Aidan Moher despised so thoroughly a creature. Perhaps this is something to take pride in: that man standing in water has overtaken hooded man as most despotic cover criminal. But I could not take heart in this, my friends. Not when I knew I had wounded Aidan so.
Admittedly, this was tragic news to hear when I first discovered it. It took some time, but I did heal. It took even more time to recover from when he kept raising giant, blown-up prints of Black Halo’s cover on my lawn and setting them on fire, but even then, my commitment to restoring my honor with Clan Moher did not falter.
And then, joy of joys, he delivered me this terse, brusque invitation to do a guest blog for A Dribble of Ink. And thus, a child of opportunity was vomited forth from the womb of fate, cleaned by the doctor of second chances and delivered squealing into the heaving bosom of mother friendship to nurse at the teats of–
Well, you understand where I’m going with this, anyway.
So this blog post, Aidan, is my wedding present to you. Inspired by the elegant simplicity of the Criterion Collection series of DVDs, I create, for you, a re-imagined set of artistically tasteful covers. May I present…the Moher Collection.