The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

Publisher: Angry Robot Books - Pages: 544 - Buy: Book/eBook
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On the surface, The Mirror Empire, the first volume in Hurley’s The World Breaker Saga, is an epic fantasy about two warring empires. Not a wholly original concept, but Hurley’s take on the familiar story is a relentless avalanche of a novel that crams so many original ideas — clever magic, the intertwining politics of the warring empires, cultures with non-binary genders — that the familiarity of the overall plot is a beacon for readers to orient themselves while navigating Hurley’s twisted imagination. Her willingness to overtly and wholly subvert conventional genre tropes, specifically the Hero’s Journey1, is a testament to both Hurley’s understanding of the genre and her willingness to tear the house down around her just so she can build it up again. The Mirror Empire works both as a traditional secondary world fantasy, and as a complete dissection of the genre — few authors have the chops to pull off such a bold narrative. Read More »

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The Indispensable Prostitute

“Gosh, Bear,” you might think, “at least she’s a good person, in spite of being a prostitute!”

Hi! I’m Elizabeth Bear, the author of Karen Memory, and I’m here to talk about the fine art of avoiding some of Western literature’s most tired sex-worker tropes, such as The Disposable Prostitute and The Hooker with a Heart Of Gold.

On The Hooker with a Heart of Gold… words to strike dread into the hearts of… well, everybody who ever consciously tried, in their work, to avoid a stereotype. Any stereotype. And it’s not the only—or worst—stereotype—of sex workers around!

“Gosh, Bear,” you might think, “at least she’s a good person, in spite of being a prostitute!” Read More »

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Early in 2015, few debuts are generating as much excitement as Seth Dickinson’s The Traitor Baru Cormorant, an epic fantasy telling the story of the titular Baru Cormorant, “a character who rivals the entire Lannister clan in wit, cunning, and ambition.” Tor.com revealed the covers for the US and UK editions of The Traitor Baru Cormorant and pulled back the curtain on what might potentially be one of 2015’s early hits.

The US cover (left) is by Sam Weber, and the UK cover (right) is by Neil Lang. Read More »

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My, my, my. Let the pronoun speculation begin.

Subterranean Press is releasing a limited edition of Ann Leckie’s rockstar of a novel, Ancillary Justice, and this just revealed cover art, with art from Lauren Saint-Onge, is just so juicy for anyone who has fun trying to dissect the potential gender of the non-Radchaii characters. All limited and lettered editions of Ancillary Justice are already sold out.

And, is that a Lambda-class T-4a shuttle I see?

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Syfy, along with Universal Cable Productions, is adapting Robert Charles Wilson’s popular science fiction novel, Spin, for television. This adaptation, penned by Fight Club writer Jim Uhls, will be televised as a six-hour miniseries. Spin won Wilson a Hugo Award for ‘Best Novel’ in 2006, and remains one of my favourite big-idea science fiction novels of all time, and is a perfect candidate for a mini-series adaptation.

Part coming-of-age story, part political thriller, and part first contact story, Spin focuses on Tyler Dupree and his childhood friends, Diane and Jason Lawton, following them from the innocence of adolescence to their roles as adults caught up in an end-of-the-world crisis. Meanwhile, Earth is enveloped by an opaque bubble that slows down time on earth to the point that every passing second on the inside is equivalent to 3.7 years on the outside. As years whiz by outside, the citizens or Earth are threatened by the quickly approaching heat death of the sun, and a visit from a mysterious visitor from Mars. It’s a heady concept, but Wilson executes it brilliantly, and there is more than enough content in the story to create a tense and compelling mini-series.

Spin, along with Childhood’s End and Krypton is the latest in a series of efforts by Syfy to reinvigorate its network with original, science fiction-based programming. If they’re trying to catch the interest of core science fiction fans, they could do much worse than adapting Wilson’s work.

There is no announced air date for the Spin miniseries.