Hello, hello and welcome to the latest Robot Round-Up from your friendly, neighbourhood, Planet Conquering Robot Overlords. We’ve been enjoying the full glory of the British Summer Experience this week: three days of mixed sunshine and cloud, followed by what appears to be the onset of the monsoon season, with more scheduled for the weekend. But we care not! Our shiny, angrytonium carapaces are entirely rust-proof and particularly well-lacquered (especially round about 5.00p.m. on a Friday, eh? eh?) and so we laugh our great, booming laughs at the pathetic attempts of the weather godlings to dampen our mood. Besides, you don’t need to venture outside to enjoy the latest batch of Angry Robot Author links, do you? Speaking of which…

The Hammer and the Blade, by Paul S KempPaul S. Kemp‘s scintillating sword and sorcery saga The Hammer and the Blade (published early next month, folks!) was reviewed for the Library Journal this week: “Kemp delivers sword and sorcery at its rollicking best, after the fashion of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.” Also by Carli at Strangely Literary, who said: “fans of fantasy will find plenty to like about Nix, Egil and the cast of secondary characters that populate Kemp’s fictional world. Readers looking for a new sword and sorcery series will want to check this book out.” And apologies to Lexie at Posioned Rationality, who we fear may have lost her lunch: “The sections devoted to Rakon and his machinations made me more than faintly queasy; when the full scope of the horror the Norristru men visited upon their own is made clear, I felt even worse.” But she recovered in time to post an interview with Paul, with an attached giveaway as well. So all’s well that ends well.

Meanwhile, our Mr Kemp was a guest on the SFSignal Podcast. If you fancy trying to win a copy of the book, Stefan is giving away two of ’em via email sweepstake at his Stefan’s Bookself blog – you have until Tuesday 26th to get your entry in. And Roqoo Depot have been asking their readers to nominate their favourite: Egil or Nix. Click that link to see who won the popularity contest.

Jo Anderton‘s Suited (also out in a couple of weeks) was reviewed by Elloise Hopkins, who said: “With a surprisingly realistic heroine, flawed to the hilt as we are in real life, this is an intriguing story with a protagonist that is as compelling as she is frustrating, and a world that is as rife with danger as it is with misunderstanding.” Plus: Jo talked to Dark Matter fanzine during Natcon in Melbourne and the audio interview has now been posted.

Obsidian & Blood by Aliette de Bodard, omnibus editionThe omnibus edition of Aliette de Bodard‘s Obsidian and Blood (July again) is the Featured Book of the Week at Upcoming.me and The Saint posted a review at Halos and Anvils: “The [Aztec] setting of these books is wonderful, and de Bodard creates a really immersive sense of place that draws you in and encourages you to find out more for yourself.”

We’ve seen a terrific review of Trent Jamieson‘s Nightbound Land duology-closer Night’s Engines from J. M. Blackman, who concluded a litany of entirely justified praise with: “I couldn’t have asked for more. [Night’s Engines] very easily placed itself amongst my favorite books ever. It’s that damn good. And I’m sad that it’s over. This is definitely going to be the case of a series to re-read.” Cheers, J. M.!

Shelia at Dark Faerie Tales has really gone to town on Justin Gustainis‘ Occult Investigations series this week, with reviews of both Hard Spell, posted here: “A perfect blend of criminal justice and paranormal mayhem. This is a gem found among the multitude of similarly themed books.” and Evil Dark, posted here: “I thoroughly enjoyed Evil Dark and would recommend it to those readers that enjoy paranormal crime novels. Justin Gustainis has made it onto my must-read-author list and I look forward to what he has in store for us next.” And there’s more! (Oops! Linked to the wrong article previously… we’ll get you the link to Justin’s new guest post when it’s live…)

vN by Madeline Ashby, cover Martin Bland/SpyroteknikMadeline Ashby‘s forthcoming debut novel of artificial humanity, vN (August) has been reviewed this week by Ed Fortune for Starburst Magazine: “vN is a strong debut novel; its central premise is interesting and Ashby draws us into a highly detailed and technologically literate world. Fans of Bladerunner, the Portal games and Raising Cain will find this an interesting read with more than a little bit of food for thought.” Bit of advance notice of an author event for you as well: Madeline will be taking part in a ‘How to Get Published’ panel event at the World’s Biggest Bookstore in Toronto on Saturday October 13th.

We’ve seen the first review of Lee Battersby’s rather fabulous forthcoming fantasy debut The Corpse-Rat King (October) from Katy O’Dowd at the British Fantasy Society and it’s a cracker. “Bloody Brilliant!” says Katy, and then goes on to say some more: “If you had a wish list every time you read a book – great characters, story, pace, writing – that you ticked off every time you came across one of them, you’d soon wear out your pencil while reading The Corpse-Rat King. Or stylus if you have a newfangled eReader.” Cheers Katy, very glad you enjoyed that one!

Chuck Wendig‘s Blackbirds was reviewed by Kari at Imperfect Clarity who said things like: “I LOVE Wendig’s writing style in this book. He grabbed me by the throat on the first page and never let me down. It’s engrossing, it’s gritty, it’s funny, it’s sick, it’s everything that I would expect from Chuck Wendig.” Also by Peter at Onlooker Slowdown, who mused: “The punches come so quickly that, when redemption comes, you almost miss it. Funny how life is like that.”

Matt Forbeck’s Carpathia – a vampiregeddon movie waiting-to-happen if ever there was one – has been reviewed by Billzilla at Flames Rising: “Carpathia is a fantastically fun read. Its vampires are definitely not the sparkly, angst-ridden types, but rather ruthless predators who defend themselves viciously and do what they must to survive without remorse. In this, they are true inheritors of the legacy of Dracula himself.”

The Alchemist of Souls by Anne LyleThere’s a cracking review of Anne Lyle‘s The Alchemist of Souls from Sarah at And the Pilcrow; so many potential pull-quotes there, we’ll go with Sarah’s summary: “I recommend Alchemist of Souls wholeheartedly, and I will definitely be picking up the sequel.” Lovely. Anne is a guest of the Round Table Podcast this week as well.

Chris F. Holm‘s Dead Harvest was reviewed by Axie for the Sacramento & San Francisco Book Review, who said: “Sam is a flawed and tragic hero who is utterly compelling and strangely sympathetic. The cast of demons and angels surrounding, and often chasing, him are equally intriguing. This is a solid debut for a thrilling new novelist.”

And finally… Angry Robot crime imprint Exhibit A‘s Editor Emlyn has been guest-blogging at CriminalElement.com, debunking the age-old adage that you should only ‘write what you know’…

That’s everything for this Round-Up. See you same time, same place next week. In the meantime, have a great one – however wet you end up getting in the process – and remember to read lots – scientific research suggests your brain could dissolve dribble out of your ears if you don’t. (Yah. Srsly!)