Posts Tagged: Elizabeth Bear

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Writing in Ink
to Samarkand

You can hear a distant thunder of hoofbeats, steadily growing louder as it approaches. It is a stratum of fantasy that looks beyond the boundary.

You can hear a distant thunder of hoofbeats, steadily growing louder as it approaches. It is a stratum of secondary world fantasy that looks beyond the boundary, the Great Wall of Europe. Secondary world fantasy that is inspired by Byzantium and the Silk Road, all the way to the western borders of China. Characters, landscapes, cultural forms derived from the Abbasid Caliphate, the Taklamakan Desert, and the Empires of Southeast Asia much more than Lancashire.

Thanks to the rising popularity of fantasy fiction, riding, in part, on the wave of Game of Thrones‘ massive success, many of science fiction and fantasy’s old paradigms and forms of have gotten a new look by virtue of new and diverse styles and varieties of stories, new and formerly inhibited voices (primarily women, genderqueer, and minorities), and new or formerly under-utilized wellsprings of inspiration. Elizabeth Bear, one of the many authors at the center of this paradigm shift, calls this “Rainbow SF.” As Science fiction readies its generation ship to move beyond the white-heteronormative-males-conquer-the-galaxy pastiche, popular fantasy is beginning to look beyond the faux-medieval western European that remained so popular throughout the genre’s formative decades. And this doesn’t even include the rise of World SF, as fiction from markets and voices beyond North America and England begin to be heard in the field.

I call such books “Silk Road Fantasy.” Read More »

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I’ve made no secret of my excitement for Elizabeth Bear’s The Eternal Sky trilogy. I recently sang my praise of the trilogy in a review of the final volume, Steles of the Sky, which was released yesterday:

Bear fills Steles of the Sky, and the entire trilogy, with a masterfully crafted meld of Asian and Middle Eastern mythology, legend and history with the wholly unique and deeply considered secondary world she has created. Shedding the tried and true landscapes and politics of faux-medieval western Europe, Bear introduces readers to a diverse world and political landscape that avoids feeling like the same ol’, same ol’, despite readers a story that uses many of the genre’s most recognizable tropes—ancient magic; an exiled youth of royal blood; a journey from one side of the map to the other; evil sorcerers; dragons; clashing armies.

So, it is with no small amount of enthusiasm that I pass along news that Bear has sold a sequel trilogy, The Lotus Kingdom, to Tor Books. “While Range of Ghosts, Shattered Pillars, and Steles of the Sky comprise a complete story arc in and of themselves,” said Bear, via The Big Idea on John Scalzi’s blog, “I can now reveal that Tor will be publishing at least three more books in this world.”

The Lotus Kingdoms, will follow the adventures of two mismatched mercenaries–a metal automaton and a masterless swordsman–who become embroiled in the deadly interkingdom and interfamilial politics in a sweltering tropical land.

The first volume of The Lotus Kingdom will be released in (*gasp*) 2017. Meanwhile, if you haven’t read The Eternal Sky trilogy, you should, starting with Range of Ghosts: Book/eBook.

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Gollancz announced today that they have acquired a two-volume Space Opera from award-winning author (and A Dribble of Ink-favourite) Elizabeth Bear. The first volume is titled Ancestral Night.

“I’m thrilled to be writing long-form SF again,” Bear told me when I reached out to her to find out more about the novels.

“I’ve been looking for the opportunity to get back into science fiction for some time,” she continued. “Ancestral Night is in its own mode, but deeply beholden to the work of Iain Banks, Andre Norton, and C. J. Cherryh. Expect sprawling conflicts, politics, and ancient alien technologies, all wrapped up in a package of gritty, grounded personal drama.”

Details are scant at the moment, but the Gollancz announcement about the acquisition contained an early peek at what readers can expect.

Combining a unique concept with a compelling plot, Elizabeth Bear’s novels imagine the invention of The White Drive: an easy, nonrelativistic means of travel across unimaginable distances. The gripping story follows salvage operators, Haimey Dz and her partner Connla Kurucz, as they pilot their tiny ship into the scars left by unsuccessful White Transitions, searching for the relics of lost human – and alien – vessels.

“We’re always looking for exciting new voices in SF,” said Simon Spanton, Associate Publisher at Gollancz, “Sometimes that voice is already there but hasn’t broken through in a particular market. Elizabeth’s novels have always fizzed with ideas, passion and character. The chance to publish a new SF novel from her and welcome her to Gollancz is one I absolutely relish.”

Ancestral Night is currently scheduled for a late 2016 release.

Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear

As anyone who followed my reviews in 2013 knows, I’m a slavering fan-boy for Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky trilogy (Reviews: , Shattered Pillars, Steles of the Sky). Seriously. It’s the best completed fantasy trilogy I’ve read in a decade. Along with Kameron Hurley, I think that Bear is publishing some of the most progressive, interesting and important SFF today.

So, needless to say, I’m pretty excited to see that the first details about Bear’s next novel, Karen Memory, have been revealed. An I think you should be, too.

In conversation with Liz Bourke on Tor.com, Bear said:

Currently I’m working on a wild west Steampunk novel called Karen Memory, which is coming out from Tor in 2015. It involves heroic saloon girls, massive conspiracies, and at least one fascinating and oft-ignored historical character.

While fans of her fantasy trilogy might be disappointed to see Bear leaving the epic fantasy subgenre, I’m excited to see that she’s continuing to explore the boundaries of genre fiction. Bear is one of the genre’s more diverse and exploratory writers, and readers can expect the same level of care and thoughtfulness that she applied to epic fantasy to be shown towards Steampunk and its (very popular) tropes and traditions.

Karen Memory is slated for release in 2015 from Tor Books.

Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear

Publisher: Tor Books - Pages: 432 - Buy: Book/eBook
Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear

Steles of the Sky, like its two preceding volumes in Elizabeth Bear’s outstanding Eternal Sky trilogy, proves that room remains in fantasy for fresh ideas, unique world-building, hearty characterization and high-stakes magic and warfare. Bear’s trilogy pushes the genre forward, challenging her contemporaries to write tighter, more inclusive and creative fantasy, while also paying homage to many of the genre’s oldest roots.

Bear fills Steles of the Sky, and the entire trilogy, with a masterfully crafted meld of Asian and Middle Eastern mythology, legend and history with the wholly unique and deeply considered secondary world she has created. Shedding the tried and true landscapes and politics of faux-medieval western Europe, Bear introduces readers to a diverse world and political landscape that avoids feeling like the same ol’, same ol’, despite readers a story that uses many of the genre’s most recognizable tropes—ancient magic; an exiled youth of royal blood; a journey from one side of the map to the other; evil sorcerers; dragons; clashing armies. Read More »