Posts Tagged: Kameron Hurley

Hugo Awards Logo

On Saturday, April 19th, the 2014 Hugo Award nominations were announced, and I’m proud to announce that A Dribble of Ink is represented in two categories: Best Fanzine and Best Related Work.

Best Fanzine

Alongside The Book Smugglers*, Elitist Book Review, Journey Planet and Pornokitsch*, A Dribble of Ink is in the running for Best Fanzine of 2013. If you’ve followed my writing for any time, you’ll know that I’ve long been critical of this category for dipping its pen into the same inkwell too often, so I’m thrilled to be included on a ballot that is guaranteed to see a new winner.

On that note, I expect to get crushed by Pornokitsch and/or The Book Smugglers, but it’ll be fun competition between these friends of mine regardless. Read More »

God's War by Kameron Hurley

Buy God’s War by Kameron Hurley: book/eBook

Yesterday, Angry Robot Books announced the Worldbreaker Saga, a new fantasy/science fiction trilogy from Kameron Hurley (remember her?). “The Mirror Empire will be published worldwide in September this year, with the sequel to follow a year later,” explains Angry Robot.

Surprising to note, The Mirror Empire is set to release this September, a very quick turnaround in the world of traditional publishing, and sure to set some readers to shuffling around their fall reading list. It’s instantly become one of my most anticipated novels of 2014.

Hurley’s best known for her Bel Dame Apocrypha, a slim trilogy (by genre standards) about the bounty hunter Nyx, which Dan Hartland of Strange Horizons described as, “like a live grenade, lobbed with abandon and not a little mischief.” So, I was rightfully surprised when she described The Mirror Empire to me. “This is Game of Thrones meets Fringe,” she said. “Across three respectable doorstoppers.”

Along with the announcement, we also have an early synopsis:

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. At the heart of this war lie the pacifistic Dhai people, once enslaved by the Saiduan and now courted by their former masters to provide aid against the encroaching enemy.

Stretching from desolate tundra to steamy, semi-tropical climes seething with sentient plant life, this is an epic tale of blood mages and mercenaries, emperors and priestly assassins who must unite to save a world on the brink of collapse. As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler struggles to unite a country fractured by civil war; a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family to save his skin; and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

Through tense alliances and devastating betrayals, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.

In the end, only one world will rise – and many will perish.

Art by Jung Park

Art by Jung Park

I caught up with Hurley to chat about the new deal an what to expect of her new trilogy. “his book has been a long time coming,” she said. “It’s one of those projects that brews at the back of your brain for nearly twenty years, waiting for you to achieve the skill you need to actually pull it off.”

Hurley’s first trilogy has been a huge critical success (most recently, God’s War was nominated for a BSFA), but she wasn’t ready to return to that world for novel-length material, so began this new project.

“After I finished my God’s War trilogy, I needed a break from writing a world mired in apocalyptic war… so of course I sat down and wrote The Mirror Empire, which is about a world at the brink of apocalyptic war with multiple worlds. Because one world at war just isn’t, you know, enough for me. It’s the most intricate and complex book I’ve ever written, and I had a lot of help along the way, in particular from my agent, Hannah Bowman, who has a very keen sense for how to thread together multiple plot lines over multiple worlds and… well… a lot of multiple things, as folks will note pretty early on.”

“I’m pretty jazzed to see what folks think of it.”

Art by Jason Chan

Even if you put aside problematic assumptions of biological determinism, there’s still one thing I just can’t understand: why on earth would a fantasy world have to conform to the (supposed) rules of this one?

Lately there have been questions as to whether epic fantasy is inherently “conservative.” The term is sometimes specified in terms of political movement or ideological conservatism, but more broadly refers to the production and reproduction of social convention. I have serious doubts about the ideological bit, a point already well articulated by Liz Bourke. Unfortunately, I have little doubt about the rest—particularly in comparison to epic fantasy’s sibling genre, science fiction. But why is that, and does it really have to be that way?

I started thinking about these questions after reading excellent essays by Kameron Hurley and Foz Meadows on the historical precedent for women warriors in epic fantasy (as well as Django Wexler’s epic follow-up piece), and particularly after being drawn into a vigorous online discussion on that topic. The prevalent counter-argument, as I understand it, is this: for biological-evolutionary reasons (lesser upper body strength, necessity for the slow human reproductive process, greater empathy, etc.), women in our world are less likely to be soldiers; therefore, they should be less common as soldiers in fantasy worlds.

Huh? Read More »

Art by Jason Chan

I’m going to tell you a story about llamas. It will be like every other story you’ve ever heard about llamas: how they are covered in fine scales; how they eat their young if not raised properly; and how, at the end of their lives, they hurl themselves – lemming-like- over cliffs to drown in the surging sea. They are, at heart, sea creatures, birthed from the sea, married to it like the fishing people who make their livelihood there.

Every story you hear about llamas is the same. You see it in books: the poor doomed baby llama getting chomped up by its intemperate parent. On television: the massive tide of scaly llamas falling in a great, majestic herd into the sea below. In the movies: bad-ass llamas smoking cigars and painting their scales in jungle camouflage.

Because you’ve seen this story so many times, because you already know the nature and history of llamas, it sometimes shocks you, of course, to see a llama outside of these media spaces. The llamas you see don’t have scales. So you doubt what you see, and you joke with your friends about “those scaly llamas” and they laugh and say, “Yes, llamas sure are scaly!” and you forget your actual experience. Read More »

God's War by Kameron Hurley

There has long raged a debate about the quality of UK vs. US cover art and the different ideals behind design aesthetics in the two regions. In general, fans seem to consider the UK to be the stronger market, and for a long time they were, but it’s my feeling that in the past couple of years, thanks to publishers like Tor, Night Shade Books, Pyr Books and Orbit Books, that the US has eclipsed the UK and is generating much more interesting cover art in general. Hurley herself said, “I am told the UK market is way more stuck-up about their covers. I adore my Conan covers, but $1 says the more mainstreamy-cover sells more books.”

If this is a ‘mainstreamy’ cover, I’m not sure I like where Del Rey UK is taking the series. Still, It’s nice to see Hurley seeing a release from a major publisher. What some people might not know is that Del Rey was originally meant to publish Hurley in the US, first picking up her novel, God’s War, before, for a variety of reasons that I’m not clear on, deciding to let Hurley and the series go. It, and its edits, were then picked up by Night Shade Books. Read More »