Today, the dead town seemed completely empty, though he knew it wasn’t so. Wax had come here hunting a psychopath. And he wasn’t the only one.
He grabbed the top of the fence and hopped over, feet grinding red clay. Crouching low, he ran in a squat over to the side of the old blacksmith’s forge. His clothing was terribly dusty, but well tailored: a fine suit, a silver cravat at the neck, twinkling cuff links on the sleeves of his fine white shirt. He had cultivated a look that appeared out of place, as if he were planning to attend a fine ball back in Elendel rather than scrambling through a dead town in the Roughs hunting a murderer. Completing the ensemble, he wore a bowler hat on his head to keep off the sun.
A sound; someone stepped on a board across the street, making it creak. It was so faint, he almost missed it. Wax reacted immediately, flaring the steel that burned inside his stomach. He Pushed on a group of nails in the wall beside him just as the crack of a gunshot split the air.
Despite having some issues with the final two volumes of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, I loved, loved, loved the first volume, The Final Empire. It’s with that enthusiasm that I choose to look towards The Alloy of Law, Sanderson’s next Mistborn novel, set hundreds of years after the events of the original trilogy.
In anticipation of the release, Tor.com has released the prologue and first chapter of The Alloy of Law. There are five more excerpts to come. My first impression? Waxillium is still a stupid name.
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?
Thanks to the good folk at Suvudu, the first five chapters of Mark Charan Newton’s Nights of Villjamur (REVIEW) are available to read for free! Mark is a good friend of this blog (even if I make fun of his cover art) and I’m always happy to have an opportunity to endorse and promote his work. If you’re looking for Epic Fantasy that strays away from the traditional tropes of the genre, Newton’s your man.
Reviewing Fuzzy Nation was a bit troublesome for me. You see, I’ve always counted myself as a huge John Scalzi fan, but his latest novel (hitting store shelves soon) started to make me wonder if I wasn’t simply a fan of Old Man’s War (REVIEW), clinging on to his classic novel and hoping he could top it. I’ve enjoyed his subsequent novels (some quite a bit, even), but none of them have been able to recapture that magic, despite similar characters, settings and motifs. But, regardless, Fuzzy Nation is a fun, entertaining novel and a good palate-cleanser if you’re knee-deep into a long series, a turgid door-stopper or just looking for a quick diversion.
Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn’t care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp’s headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation’s headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that’s not up for discussion.
Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.
But there’s another wrinkle to ZaraCorp’s relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.
Then a small furry biped—trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute—shows up at Jack’s outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp’s claim to a planet’s worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the “fuzzys” before their existence becomes more widely known.
You can read chapters one and two on Tor.com and chapters three and four on io9.com.
Can’t wait for Mieville’s Embassytown? You’re not alone. To sate your gnawing appetite, however, Del Rey Spectra has released the first fifty-eight pages of the weird author’s first Space Opera. So, go immerse yourself in Accelerated Contact Linguistics, Hosts and Embassytown. Get back to me when you’re done.
The children of the embassy all saw the boat land. Their teachers and shiftparents had had them painting it for days. One wall of the room had been given over to their ideas. It’s been centuries since any voidcraft vented fire, as they imagined this one doing, but it’s a tradition to represent them with such trails. When I was young, I painted ships the same way.
I looked at the pictures and the man beside me leaned in too. ‘Look,’ I said.
‘See? That’s you.’ A face at the boat’s window.
The man smiled. He gripped a pretend wheel like the simply rendered figure.
‘You have to excuse us,’ I said, nodding at the decorations.
‘We’re a bit parochial.’
‘No, no,’ the pilot said. I was older than him, dressed-up and dropping slang to tell him stories. He enjoyed me flustering him. ‘Anyway,’ he said, ‘that’s not…It is amazing though. Coming here. To the edge. With Lord knows what’s beyond.’ He looked into the Arrival Ball.
There were other parties: seasonals; comings-out; graduations and yearsends; the three Christmases of December; but the Arrival Ball was always the most important. Dictated by the vagaries of trade winds, it was irregular and rare. It had been years since the last.
Read the excerpt from Embassytown by China Mieville.