Posts Tagged: Tad Williams

Cover Art for Happy Hour In Hell by Tad Williams

It’s, um… orange. And fiery. To be honest, even six month after reading the predecessor volume to Happy Hour in Hell, The Dirty Streets of Heaven, I’m still unsure what I think of this direction for Williams. Equally, I’m unsure what I think of this cover. Apologies for the poor quality.

The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad WilliamsOver on Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, you can find an excerpt from The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams. This is being publicized as William’s first foray into Urban Fantasy (though I wonder if what they’d consider The War of the Flowers, if not Urban Fantasy…?) and seems like quite a departure from an author who has long made a living on writing big fat Fantasy and Science Fiction. I recently got a copy of The Dirty Streets of Heaven and was surprised to find that it rings in at under 500 pages, considerably shorter than Tad’s other recent novels.

Of the novel:

Bobby Dollar has a secret. Actually he’s got a ton of them. The most important one is that his real name’s Doloriel and he’s an angel. Not an important angel, maybe, but a rough-and-tumble guy who’s always done his part in the long cold war between Heaven and Hell.

But now he’s stepped into the middle of something that’s got both sides very nervous — an unprecedented number of missing souls. And if that wasn’t enough, someone has summoned a truly unpleasant Babylonian demon that’s doing its best to track him down and rip him to pieces. Also, his opposite number on the case is arguably the world’s sexiest she-devil, and Bobby has feelings for her that Heaven definitely does not allow.

The Dirty Streets of Heaven is the first book in Tad’s new fantasy-fueled thriller series about an afterlife investigator — the angel Doloriel (Bobby Dollar) — who searches for a missing soul and finds himself caught up in a battle much larger than he imagined.

Three books are planned for the series: The Dirty Streets of Heaven, Happy Hour in Hell, and Sleeping Late on Judgment Day. Each will be somewhat shorter than Tad’s usual epic science fiction and fantasy fare, and although part of a series, each may be read as a stand-alone novel.

Let me just say, “Bobby Dollar” is an egregiously bad name, but I trust in Tad and am eagerly looking forward to reading The Dirty Streets of Heaven. Watch for my review and an interview with Tad Williams later this year.

SHADOWHEART by Tad WilliamsOver at Bookworm Blues, Sarah Chorn is running a series of thematic guest blog posts about the place of disability, whether physical, mental or other, in Speculative Fiction. She’s calling the event “Special Needs in Strange Worlds” and already has several articles from various bloggers and writers about the topic. One of those guest bloggers is me.

Here’s an excerpt from my article, which considers Tad Williams’ Shadowmarch series (beware of spoilers for the entire series):

One of my favourite characters in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn was Prince Josua, a rebellious prince who was the fulcrum of a rebellion that forms the core for much of the trilogy. It happens that Josua was missing a hand. This was a defining feature for Josua, in a visual sense, but had little-to-no effect on his being able to achieve his goals. It’s hard to believe that George R.R. Martin wasn’t influenced by Josua when one of his own characters loses a hand, though Martin takes the concept further, exploring how the loss of his character’s sword-hand affects not only his ability to compete physically against other characters, but how the loss of skill and ability can alter and manipulate a person’s outlook on life. Losing that hand is a major catalyst in allowing Martin’s character to evolve into one of A Song of Ice and Fire’s most conflicted and compelling characters.


Throughout the course of the latter two volumes in the series, as a result of both his bloodline and being exposed to the magic of the alien Qar, Barrick begins to overcome his physical disabilities. At first it seems like a cop-out by the author, a deus ex machina that allows Barrick to become ‘whole,’ but Williams is too smart for that and Barrick soon realizes that his physical disabilities are, in many ways, a smaller prison compared to the crippling social disabilities he created within himself as a guard against the sympathies of the other people in his life, including his sister, though he loves her dearly. The prince can never crawl out from under the shadow of his disabilities; though his body is healthy, his mind continues to be plagued by the demons of his own devices. Barrick’s lifelong struggle with his disabilities is a defining aspect of his character, and an intelligent foil to the struggles of his sister—where Barrick inwardly deals with the physical and mental shackles placed on his by his disabilities, Briony, physically healthy, must battle equally confining restrictions placed on her by society for being a female fighting for her place in society. To overcome his disabilities, Barrick must first convince himself that it’s possible, for Briony, she must convinces the others that surround her. It’s tough to say who has the more difficult road.

The Shadowmarch series is filled with characters who deal with varying degrees of physical disability, but it never stops a single one of them from having an important and positive impact on their imperiled world. Though a character like Ferras Vansen is physically strong and suffers only from a melancholy heart, his struggles are as difficult and important to him as those faced the physically-challenged Prusus. Different, yes, but equally demanding.

Sarah also writes some flattering things about me and A Dribble of Ink that set equally my ego and my humility into swirling mayhem. So, yes, thank you, Sarah, for inviting me to be a part of this event.

I hope you enjoy my article and encourage you to read the others, they’re all much more eloquent and better considered than my own. In particular, young Dan Goodman, who was diagnosed at birth with spastic cerebral palsy, writes well about the topic and how Fantasy allowed him to find a freedom he didn’t know he could have. Touching stuff.


You know, last night, when I stumbled across this cover, my first reactions was:


There aren’t enough sad faces in the world to express my dismay.

This morning, though, I looked at it again and thought:

I like the idea, and appreciate that it’s says ‘Urban Fantasy’ without the general cliches, but the execution is just weird. You know, it’s actually kina cool, except for the floating, super-imposed angel.

Regardless of which opinion is correct, I have high expectations that the book beyond the covers, The Dirty Streets of Heaven will be very good. Because, you know, it’s Tad Williams.

Otherland by Tad WilliamsVia Variety:

Warner Bros. is heading to “Otherland,” acquiring feature rights to Tad Williams’ sci-fi book series and setting it up with Dan Lin to produce.

Studio has tapped John Scott III to script the film, based on the four books published by DAW-Penguin USA between 1996 and 2001 as “City of Golden Shadow,” “River of Blue Fire,” “Mountain of Black Glass” and “Sea of Silver Light.”

Story for the adaptation is set 100 years in the future and follows a group of unexpected heroes who must escape an assassin and make their way through epic digital worlds to unravel a conspiracy that threatens to destroy humanity.

Seanne Winslow Wehrenfennig at Lin Pictures will serve as co-producer and oversee for Lin Pictures.

Seems like a large project for the big screen. Still, I love the Otherland quartet and am curious to see it translated to the big screen. I wonder if it will be a direct adaptation or a story set in that world. Of course, it being Hollywood, I’ll save my true excitement for the trailer. Too many movies turn into vapour after being optioned.