Herald of the Storm
Release Date: 20130425
Richard Ford made me into Emperor Palpatine because all I could think reading the opening chapters of Herald of the Storm was, ‘Patience my friend. . .’ None are particularly boring, but they are exhausting. Ford takes eight chapters and some hundred pages before a point of view character is revisited. With only 398 pages to work with, so many characters left the novel rushed and me not particularly invested in anyone’s fate.
Herald of the Storm opens with a herald (stunning right?), coming to the city of Steelhaven. He brings word of his employer’s intent to defeat King Cael in the north, and offers deals to those within the city who will aid him. Despite the rebellion he sows, the populace seems content in their ignorance and life goes on as normal to one degree or another–officials squander their wealth, assassins and thieves lurk in the shadows, and agendas run rampant. Continue reading
2014 Hugo Award Nominations (ver. 0.5)
So, the Hugo awards have come and gone for 2013. People have blogged widely about it, and all that need saying has already been said (see here for my thoughts on this year’s ‘Best Novel’ winner, Redshirts by John Scalzi, for instance). So, instead of recapping the conversation (which, to be frank, I’m a little behind the curveball in catching up on), I thought it would be more interesting to look ahead at next year’s awards, and start the conversation a little early. This way, I can hopefully convince you to check out some of the year’s best works while there’s still time to enjoy and nominate it.
I’ll work through several of the categories, those which I have any sort of opinion of, and discuss the works that I think are most impactful and important, and will, as of right now, appear on my ballot (until they’re replaced by something even more awesome between now and the time nominations are due.) And then, in the ‘Also/maybe/are these good?’ sections, I’ll list off a few choices that I haven’t read/experienced yet, but feel that they deserve to be in the conversation and will likely be considered when I do get around to them.
I’d also encourage you to join me in the comments. Tell me why I’m wrong. Tell me what you’ve read this year that resonated with you. Because, what’s the point of award season if not to encourage people to discover great new books, films, and every other story of art? Continue reading
Earlier this week, N.K. Jemisin revealed the cover and synopsis for her next novel, The Fifth Season. Since first debuting as a novelist with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Jemisin has been blessed with some of the most inspired art direction in current fantasy. Lauren Panepinto, Art Director at Orbit Books, is responsible for Jemisin’s covers, so I gathered her up and we discussed The Fifth Season and the process of evolving an author’s brand as they mature and move from series-to-series.
“Working on N. K. Jemisin books are the best kind of challenge for me,” said Panepinto. Jemisin’s books are often praised for their strong worldbuilding, approach to magic and uniquely drawn characters, which turns out to be both something of a curse and a blessing for an art director. But Panepinto is never one to back down from challenges. “Really strong, fleshed out characters inhabiting intricately thought-out worlds means there’s always a wealth of material to draw from for the covers,” she explained. Continue reading
With work wrapping up on the third Bobby Dollar novel, speculation has begun about what Tad Williams will begin working on after his first foray into novel-length urban fantasy. The answer might be something close to his roots. Williams has discussed the fan pressure for him to return to the world of Osten Ard, made famous in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, the modern fantasy classic that inspired George R.R. Martin to write A Song of Ice and Fire. Most recently, Williams took part in a thread on his official message board which asked, “Will Tad write a book about Deornoth & Derra?” He said:
“I can only promise that one of these days, there WILL be more about the prophecy twins,” he said. “Too many people have asked me over the years for me just to ignore it. I did too good a job, I guess, at showing what further interesting things might happen in Osten Ard. Thanks for caring.”
Deornoth and Derra, the ‘prophecy twins’ that Williams refers to in his reply, are introduced at the end of To Angel Tower, the final volume of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, with a prophecy that might give hint to the adventures in the (potential) upcoming series:
They will be as close as brother and sister can be although they will live many years apart. She will travel in lands that have never known a mortal woman’s step, and will lose what she loves best, but find happiness with what she once despised. He will never have a throne, but kingdoms will rise and fall by his hand.
It has been pointed out that there are some similarities between this prophecy, and the plot of Shadowmarch, Williams fantasy series that concluded in 2010.
Williams further hinted at a return to Osten Ard during a chat with fans on twitter. Of his future projects, he mentioned a fourth Bobby Dollar book, and a “special project that will surprise (and I hope please) my readers.” What would please his readers more than a return to the land that made him a pillar of modern fantasy?
We got very lucky. That has a lot to do with it. [We] managed not to turn into squeeing fanboys.
James S.A. Corey has a lot of fans. ‘His’ books, The Expanse series, have been nominated for the Hugo and appeared on the New York Times Bestsellers list. It wasn’t much of a surprise, then, when Variety revealed that The Expanse series was optioned for television by some of the people behind the Iron Man films and Breaking Bad. I reached out to ‘Corey’ to find out more about the project.
“We got very lucky. That has a lot to do with it,” said Daniel Abraham (who, along with Ty Franck, forms James S.A. Corey) when I asked him about how the project came together. As often happens in Hollywood (or an industry as small as science fiction/fantasy publishing), it all began with a daisy-chain of acquaintances and friendly introductions. “We actually had a fair number of inquiries from one place and another about the film rights, and we have a manager out there — Brian Lipson — who knows his way around. He put us together with Sean Daniel and Jason Brown, who’d been handed Leviathan Wakes by Ben Cook. Sean, in addition to producing some obscene percentage of all the good films ever made, knew Mark and Hawk.” Continue reading