Hello, hello and welcome to the latest Robot Round-Up from your Robot Overlords. Look, we’ll keep the intro short this week… we’ve got a four-day weekend coming up, the weather’s balmy and it’s nearly pub o’clock, so let’s just all agree to crack on with it, shall we? Good. Starting with:

Night's Engines by Trent JamiesonTrent Jamieson‘s Night’s Engines (out now in the US/CAN and in ebook, available from UK bookstores as of Thursday) has been reviewed by Ros at Warpcore SF who said: “The feisty Margaret and the strange, conflicted David are characters that work well together in this fast-paced, exciting adventure.” And Jason at Vampires in the Sunburnt Country took a look at the prequel, Roil, saying: “Roil is sumptuous … from its prose to its world building, you can sink into Roil in near perfect comfort.” (That’s the complete duology there as well, folks; no waiting for volume three next year).

Mike Shevdon‘s Strangeness and Charm (likewise out on June 7th in the UK, out now in the US/CAN and ebook via The Robot Trading Company and elsewhere) was reviewed by Becky at No More Grumpy Bookseller: “There are many things that make this series a true standout. Shevdon’s worldbuilding is the key, though.” Likewise suitably impressed, Mr Timothy C. Ward stayed up late to finish the book: “I love a book with a strong ending, one that shows the author stepped up his game to create a spectacular finish. Mike pulled out all the stops on this one, creating one of the most memorable climaxes I’ve read across any genre.”

Mike has been talking to The Qwillery (plus: giveaway!) as well. And on his own blog he shares the background inspiration for one of the more mysterious elements of the latest Courts of the Feyre instalment.

Paul S. Kemp‘s The Hammer and the Blade (July 2012) was reviewed by Publishers Weekly: “The structure of the story has the feeling of a classic Dungeons & Dragons campaign as the heroes and supporting cast cross a wasted plateau in search of the tomb; however, the strong characters, setting, and history turn what could be a cookie-cutter adventure into a gripping tale.”

vN by Madeline Ashby, cover Martin Bland/SpyroteknikMadeline Ashby has been interviewed this week by the Little Red Reviewer, talking about manga and anime, Madeline’s role as a Strategic Foresight Consultant and of course, her forthcoming (and rather astounding, if we do say so ourselves) debut novel, vN. The same Little Red Reviewer has posted a review of vN as well: “[There] are just so many incredible aspects of this book – the characters and their lives, the surprising way this future came to be, the dark subtexts, and the easy to understand technology, just to mention the ones that quickly come to mind … I guarantee vN is unlike anything you have ever read before, it will blow your mind.” We’ll second that.

Justin Gustainis has been guest-blogging for Amber Katze’s Book Blog; this time he’s playing a round of ‘truth or dare’ with the star of Hard Spell and Evil Dark, Sergeant Stan Markowski of the Scarnton P.D.’s Occuly Crimes Unit. He (Justin that is, not Stan) has also been talking to Sara’s Urban Fantasy Blog about the “Haunted Scrancton” series so far (and to come…) and you could be in with chance to win a copy of Evil Dark, courtesy of Sara, as well.

Chuck Wendig‘s Blackbirds was reviewed by James Lovegrove for the Financial Times this week: “Wendig’s second novel is a splendidly profane slice of urban fantasy – hard, dark and fast. Slick one-liners and laugh-out-loud descriptions pepper the prose, making Blackbirds a black comedy that even the Grim Reaper could smile at.” And Theresa at Terror-Tree said: “[Blackbirds] is macabre, gruesome, enchanting and poetic. Filled with startlingly vivid imagery, Wendig has created a masterpiece of modern urban fantasy weaved with horror. This is a must read book.” See that? Must-read. What are you waiting for..? (What, you’ve read it already? Three times? Okay, we’ll let you off.)

Chuck also fulfilled a lifetime ambition when he got to interview one of his all-time favourite authors, Robert McCammon, for Amazon’s Omnivoracious blog.

Dead Harvest, by Chris F. HolmChris F. Holm‘s Dead Harvest isn’t going away any time soon either and was reviewed this week by Locus Magazine (print only, so no link) wherein it was said: “The Collector series gets off to a strong start with this noir urban fantasy, a very promising first novel.” Also (in English and Russian) at Nocturnal Book Reviews: “Recommended to all fans of UF with male protagonists. An excellent read!” And by Marion for Fantasy Literature: “it was ‘strap in, and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times,’ as I devoured this fast-paced, convoluted thrill ride.” Plus, Ryan at Fantasy Book Review, said: “This is a fun book full of cool concepts and big action sequences. Mysteries are posed, answers that make sense are found, and characters are fundamentally changed in the process. Holm has created a fantastic world and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Chris has also been telling Criminal Minds what’s on his bookshelves. And in advance of his reading and signing event at Flights of Fantasy, Albany NY, on June 10th, the store is running a giveaway for a copy of Dead Harvest: details here.

Anne Lyle‘s alt-hist Elizabethan-era fantasy The Alchemist of Souls was reviewed by Stephen Palmer at SFF Chronicles: “If you like your fantasy with a historical flavour, try this. It’s really good.” We concur.

Matthew HughesThe Damned Busters, prequel to the recently-released Costume Not Included, was reviewed by John deNardo for SFSignal and he summed it up thusly: “A witty superhero story that’s just plain fun”.

Matt Forbeck has been talking about Carpathia, Amortals and much more with Bryan Thomas Schmidt for an [SFFWRTCHT] session on Grasping For the Wind.

We were all quite delighted when Damien G Walter highlighted the work of our chaps Adam Christopher (Empire State) and Chuck Wendig (Blackbirds) in a Guardian blog post on the New Pulp Fictioneers.

Lauren Beukes has been raving (and quite rightly so!) about the work of artist Joey HiFi – who recently won the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire 2012 Prix Wojtek Siudmak du graphisme for the cover art on Zoo City – in a guest post for Pornokitsch.

And finally… Tin Angry Men! Robot junk-sculptures by Michigan artist Cre Fuller. File under: Want One! (via cmdrtaco.net, who also posted a gallery of Tin Angry Men Pics).

And finally, finally… Artist David Finley, we like your style! (although we’re not happy that you’ve leaked the design for our new World Mashing Destructobot ahead of schedule, so we’re going to have to knock a couple of billion off your fee this time…)

Right, that’s it. UK people: four-day weekend! Go! Go! Everyone else: awwww, you’ve got to work on Monday and Tuesday? We’ll be thinking of you. Honest.