Hello, hello and welcome to another Robot Round-Up from your Angry, metallic chums. It’s been a massive week here at AR towers, with the hugely-anticipated publication of the first books from our YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. Our Amanda-bot has been working her nuts (as in: ‘…and bolts’, obviously) off to get everything ready and now the books are in the wild all she has to do is sit back and bask in the waves of rapturous applause. Oh, and push ahead with the ongoing Strange Chemistry publishing programme of course. Watch the SC space, folks, it’s going to be a wild ride.
Meanwhile, back in the Angry-Robot-flavoured reaches of T’Internets…
Officially published this week, Chuck Wendig‘s second Miriam Black novel, Mockingbird, has gathered more reviews into its growing flock:
• Stefan Raets, writing for the mighty Tor.com called it: “a shocking, twisting beast of a book that’ll have you on edge throughout” and went on to add: “I tore through this novel in less than 24 hours, unable to let go until there were no more pages left to turn”.
Sure, I could point out a few very minor negatives. The cheesiness of some of the chapter titles occasionally grated against the novel’s atmosphere. You could argue that these two books follow the same pattern a bit too obviously. Still, that’s all much less important than this simple fact: I tore through this novel in less than 24 hours, unable to let go until there were no more pages left to turn”
• Ant at SFBook.com said: “I love the way Wendig writes, he manages to make the prose feel both personal and accessible; lively and energetic and yet with a seriously bleak feel that has death lurking just out of sight. He also writes without any pretense, all of his creations are painted in various shades of grey and each could very well be real people; he seems to understand the human psyche very well.”
• Pablocheesecake at The Eloquent Page said: “I think we may have to start collectively fearing this author. I mean, I can only assume that Mr Wendig has made some sort of Faustian deal with the Dark Gods. Perhaps his books, and their addictive crack-like quality, are only the first step in some far more diabolical scheme?” (Chuck, he’s onto us. Can you send Miriam round? Just to, y’know, find out the score..?)
The first Miriam Black book, Blackbirds, was reviewed as well this week, by Alan at Thirteen O’Clock: “Blackbirds is the kind of book that draws out all those old, clichéd pulp adjectives – noirish, raw, gritty, bold, hard-boiled, visceral. It deserves all those medals. This is punchy, powerful, high-octane stuff built around great humour and sardonic observations of life. Balls-out, razor-sharp storytelling – I thoroughly recommend it.”
Also fresh out this week, we have Adam Christopher‘s second novel, a stand-alone superhero slugfest by the name of Seven Wonders and it was reviewed by Eric Brown in The Guardian, who said: “[Seven Wonders] is an artfully plotted and thrilling action-adventure with some satisfying set-piece confrontations and amazingly rounded characterisation.”
Adam also hugely enjoyed his launch event at the Forbidden Planet Megastore in London (see pic). FP nearly sold out of the exclusive Limited Edition Hardcover of Seven Wonders, but still have a few left if you’d like to get your hands on one – give ’em a call on 0207 420 3666 if you’d like to mail-order one, or reserve one for collection from the store.
Completing a hat-trick of September new releases is Lee Battersby‘s brilliant fantasy début The Corpse-Rat King, which was reviewed by Jessica at Allways Unmended: “It’s clear that Battersby has a real flair for storytelling. His fantastic descriptions often catch readers off-guard and vulnerable to unexpected emotions, while still managing to keep the overall tone lighthearted and comedic.” And Ros at Warpcore SF said: “On the surface it may be all about death, but it’s actually a story full of humour and warmth … a bizarre, heartwarming romp.”
You could be in with a chance of winning a copy of The Corpse-Rat King if you head on over to Stefan Raets’ Far Beyond Reality blog. And there’s an interview with Lee in the latest issue of Writing Magazine, which is available to subscribers via Writers Online.
Now just over a month old and growing fast (what has it been eating, we wonder?), Madeline Ashby‘s tale of robotic family life (like none you’ve ever imagined), vN, also got the Eric Brown treatment in The Guardian: “VN is a clever book with a wonderful ending by a writer who is well versed in AI technology, who can evoke sympathy with a few well-turned phrases and tells a satisfyingly complex story.” Cheers, Eric! And Keith at Futures Past and Present seems to be hooked on Amy: “I said this book surprised me, and it did … I have no idea where Ashby is planning on taking the next book. I just know I’m going to be there for it.”
Chris F. Holm has been talking to Civilian Reader, answering questions about his writing and reading habits, plus his forthcoming (October!) second Collector series novel, The Wrong Goodbye. You can read an Extract from The Wrong Goodbye at Civilian Reader as well. And for a chance to win a copy of the book, head on over to Crimespree Magazine.
There’s a rather fantastic review – the first we’ve seen as well! – of Lee Collins‘s forthcoming monster-hunting / western mashup The Dead of Winter, over at Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review. Graeme says: “I got a lot out of this brooding supernatural Western tale that turns in your grasp and bites you like a rattlesnake when you’re least expecting it. The Dead of Winter (a title you’ll appreciate more once you’ve read the book) is a gripping read that has left me eager for the sequel.”
A quick blast from dim and distant past (well, 2009) in the shape of a review of Lauren Beukes‘s Moxyland, from Jon at Seeking the New Earth, who appreciated the 1984-like, dystopian atmosphere of Lauren’s setting: “This is not a pretty book. This is not a pretty world. It’s foul-mouthed, it’s frustrated, it’s dark. It’s also just a step away from today.”
We can neither confirm nor deny that one. And as for the rumour that DARPA stands for ‘Doing Angry Robot’s Prototyping Assessments’… completely scurrilous. Baseless, too. What’s that? We started that rumour ourselves? There you go then: doubly scurrilous and baseless beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Right then, that’s all for this week. Remember, today is Buy a Book Day, so we suggest you do just that. Doesn’t have to be one of our books (although, if we just broadcast signal alpha-three-twenty and activate your remote obedience circuits, like that… feel anything? No? Really? Ah, well, back to the drawing board…) but for the sake of authors, publishers, cover artists, booksellers and allied trades everywhere: go buy a book! Any book! (Or, hey: two books. Two books is good. Four books is even better, no? Still nothing? Dammit, what’s wrong with this transmitter..?)