Posts Tagged: Fantasy

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2015 Hugo Nominations v 0.1
Best Novel

The flush of the 2014 Hugo Awards is fading, and, with the holidays just peeking around the corner, I wanted to take the time to discuss some of my favourite novels from 2014, the ones that, at this very moment, would comprise my nomination slate for the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel. Will it change by next spring when nominations are due? Undoubtedly.

These are all terrific novels, and, if you haven’t read them already, well, I envy you.

Best Novel

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

Say hello to the best fantasy novel of 2014.

Even as I was startled by its twisted depth, I adored every moment I spent with City of Stairs. Colonialism lies at City of Stairs‘ centre, and RJB handles it with equal parts boldness and delicacy. The ruined beauty of Bulikov and its fallen gods haunted me long after I turned the final page.

Robert Jackson Bennett is best known for his contemporary fantasy and horror crossovers, such as American Elsewhere and The Troupe, so his move into more traditional epic fantasy put him on the radar of a lot of new readers, and the result is something special. On first reading City of Stairs, I described it to a friend as “China Mieville without the ego.” I’m not sure I still agree with that statement, because it’s unfair to saddle one writer with another’s baggage, but while reading City of Stairs I couldn’t fight the feeling that RJB was mixing and refining elements from some of my recent favourite fantasies. Other touchstones exists, such as Kameron Hurley’s The Mirror Empire and Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence, that place RJB among the most exciting and vibrant young fantasy writers working today.

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

Buy City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

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Hold off on your re-reads, ardent Tad Williams fans! The author of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn announced via his Facebook page that the first volume in the upcoming sequel trilogy, The Last King of Osten Ard is being delayed until Spring 2016.

“It appears as though the publication date of The Witchwood Crown has been pushed back to Spring 2016,” revealed OstenArd.com, “to allow time for editing of what is likely to be a massive manuscript.”

There was never an official release date for the novel, so calling this a delay might be somewhat disingenuous, but it is a pretty dramatic shift from the previously projected release date of Fall 2015. Given the length and complexity of Williams’ novels, this original date appeared quite ambitious in the first place.) Williams said on his website message board that he is 555+ pages into the manuscript, and is currently working on Chapter 32 of the novel, making it already longer than Stone of Farewell, though well off the pace to beat To Green Angel Tower, which had 60 chapters. “I’ve actually had time again to get into a rhythm,” he said.”It’s amazing how much faster it goes when I have dedicated working time and thinking time.”

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Ana Grilo and Thea James, of The Book Smugglers, are no strangers to the publishing industry and good story telling. Since they first started smuggling, way back in 2007, and reviewing in 2008, Grilo and James have nurtured one of the finest speculative fiction blogs and were awarded for their hard work this year with as Hugo Award finalists for “Best Fanzine”. Now, the talented duo are set to apply their passion and eye for fiction to a new venture: Book Smugglers Publishing. I caught up with Ana and Thea to chat about the new venture, the challenges they’ve faced along the way, and why the speculative fiction community should be so excited for this new short fiction market.

In 2014, Grilo and James co-edited Speculative Fiction 2013, the follow-up to the Hugo nominated and British Fantasy Award winning non-fiction collection, Speculative Fiction 2012, and the experience opened up a whole world of options for the Smugglers. “It just seemed like such a natural progression for us,” said Grilo. “Unlike many of our fellow bloggers, we have no interest in becoming writers, but we do love stories and the publishing world.

“We’ve been editing our own blog for seven years, and during that time we’ve had the opportunity to beta-read a lot of novels. After our experience editing Speculative Fiction 2013, we felt ready to take the plunge into publishing short fiction as we felt we could make a contribution to the SFF world–by publishing diverse, feminist fiction. True Fact: we had not talked about publishing anything until this one day when we were having a discussion about What Comes Next™ for The Book Smugglers, and we both at the same time said, ‘let’s do short stories.’ And then we did.” Read More »

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The science fiction and fantasy publishing community was abuzz with rumours over the past couple of months about various buyers for Angry Robot Books, a popular imprint that most recently caught the attention of readers with Kameron Hurley’s The Mirror Empire. News broke yesterday that Angry Robot Books finally founder a new owner: Watkins Media, spearheaded by American entrepreneur Etan Ilfeld.

I reached out to Marc Gascoigne, Managing Director & Publisher for Angry Robot Books, to chat about the his excitement for the sale, and what it means for the imprint and its authors moving forward. Gascoigne was quick to excite. “Huzzah! Onwards!” he said, summing up the thoughts of everyone in the company in a couple of words.

“The sale of Angry Robot has been several months in coming to completion, as the break-up of the Osprey Group proved very complicated,” he continued. “As a result, we’ve been in an uncomfortable place, unable to talk freely about the situation, and having to respond to concerned questions to which we, as mere employees, were unable to answer or action. As you can imagine then, we’re extremely pleased with the sale to Watkins Media. Read More »

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This Heron-mark Sword, designed and smithed by Fable Blades is inspired by the famous weapons of the Blademasters from Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, including protagonist Rand al’Thor.

The sword, which measures 45.25″ from tip-to-tip, is made of twice-tempered steel (blade) and ebony (grip) and features beautiful detailing, such as Rand’s iconic heron mark, Aes Sedai-inspired symbols, and an engraving that Wheel of Time fans will recognize: “Death is Lighter Than a Feather, Duty is Heavier Than a Mountain”.

According to a post on Reddit, the sword has been designed with realistic weight, size, and mass production possibility in mind. However, Fable Blades produces only one-of-a-kind pieces on commission only. Read More »