Hello, hello and welcome to what could, quite possibly, depending on how next week goes, be the last Robot Round-Up of 2012. If that does indeed turn out to be the case then rest assured that our compiler-bots we’ll save everything that comes in between now and the start of January for a bumper holiday season Round-Up early in the New Year. But right now, on with the links!

Nexus by Ramez NaamThe plaudits for Ramez Naam’s debut science fiction thriller Nexus – officially published in January, but likely to be available in US/CAN bookstores and in ebook edition from next Tuesday – are starting to pour in and to those we can add a few new ones:
• Frishawn at WTF Are You Reading? said: “One is never quite sure who the good guys are in [Nexus] and the web of intrigue, lies, secrets and tech just gets more complex as the story goes on … [the] writing style is perfect for the nonstop action and minute to minute plot twists”.
• Sammy at Open Book Society said: “This story is for anyone that enjoys a action packed sci-fi thriller with things that could be possible in the near future.”
• Trevor at Flickering Myth said: “Naam has a visual style with his words which leads to one experiencing cinematic scenes rather than being swamped with textbook exposition.”

And Ramez explains the science of Nexus over at SF Signal. And don’t forget you can still get a free ebook copy of Ramez’s non-fiction book More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement if you pre-order (or, after December 18th in the US/CAN or on ebook, order) Nexus before December 31st. Details on Ramez’s blog.

Anne Lyle‘s second Night’s Masque novel of alt-historical-fantastical Elizabethan intrigue, The Merchant of Dreams, is also out next month / next week (depending…) and the book was reviewed by Jessica at Sci-Fi Fan Letter, who said: “Where Lyle excels is with the amount of accurate historical detail she peppers the book with. She’s careful about using period expressions and terminology, making the book feel authentic.”

The Merchant of Dreams, by Anne LyleAnne has also been interviewed by Dominick for Fantastical Imaginations, with questions and answers on Mal Catlyn, Anne’s future plans, and the required levels of accuracy in historical fantasy. And Anne’s flash fiction tale ‘Christmas Market’, also set in the Night’s Masque milieu, will be going live at Literary Escapism sometime today…

Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s forthcoming tale of deepest love, heart-rending loss and artificial intelligence, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter was reviewed by Jamie at The Title Page, who said: “This novel is a beautifully written, incomparably powerful love story. I loved and hated it for how it made me feel. My heart broke (along with Cat’s) multiple times.”

Madeline Ashby‘s debut science fiction novel vN was reviewed in most pleasing depth and detail by Lauren at Violin in a Void, who said, among many other things: “the more I think about it, the more impressed I am with its story and ideas, and all the interesting questions it raises, both for the characters and as a serious consideration of the possibility of AI in human society.”

Chuck Wendig‘s Blackbirds was named by Dave Barnett as one of the Independent on Sunday Best Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror Books of the Year. And Blackbirds was reviewed by Book Monkey, who may have experienced something of an urban fantasy awakening: “There is often something about urban fantasy series that don’t pull me in enough to make me want to read more. But Blackbirds is definitely the exception, and I literally can’t wait to read the next instalment Mockingbird.”

Chuck has also posted a suggested list of 25 gifts for writers, just in case you were stuck for seasonal prezzie inspiration for the penmonkey in your life. And everyone could do with more of numbers 1, 2 and 3, surely? And 6, and 12…

The Wrong Goodbye, by Chris F. HolmMeanwhile, Chuck and Chris F. Holm own the urban fantasy section of The Snobbery’s Best of 2012 list, with Blackbirds, Mockingbird, Dead Harvest and The Wrong Goodbye all making the grade. Three cheers for Snobbery!

Speaking of all things Chris F. Holm, The Qwillery is featuring the recently-revealed artwork for the third Collector series novel, The Big Reap, and is also running a giveaway to win the first two books in the series (which ends on December 26th).

Paul S. Kemp was a guest on the December 4th episode of Dungeon Crawlers Radio, talking about a great many things including, of course, Egil and Nix of The Hammer and the Blade and A Discourse in Steel (July 2013!) fame.

Admiral.Ironbombs at Battered, Tattered, Yellowed, & Creased reviewed Lauren Beukes‘s Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning Zoo City, saying: “I loved reading this book. Beukes combines fantastic writing with impressive creativity to create an excellent novel. The world is alive with depth and flavor; the characters are superb, sympathetic, and complex”.

Gav Thorpe‘s Empire of the Blood series-opener The Crown of the Blood was reviewed by Liam at The Troubled Scribe, who said: “If this has been one of those books you are on the edge about getting, don’t think twice about grabbing a copy the next time you see it on a shelf, you won’t be disappointed.”

Aliette de Bodard’s Obsidian and Blood omnibus was talked about by John at Black Gate.

World Fantasy Award-winner Lavie Tidhar‘s The Bookman was reveiewed by Brandon at Every Read Thing, who said: “There’s a lot to like about this book … Tidhar’s world building is top-notch and you really feel a part of this universe he’s created.” And speaking of Mr Tidhar, do you fancy a free ebook from the man himself? Of course you do. How’s about a novelette by the name of Strigoi?

David Tallerman – author of the Easie Damasco novels Giant Thief and Crown Thief, with Prince Thief completing the trilogy in 2013 – has a new chapbook out this month’ ‘The Way of the Leaves’ from Spectral Press. Check out David’s blog for details.

Emma Newman‘s latest Split Worlds short story, ‘A Fair Exchange’ is now online at The Eloquent Page

And finally…

Our man Michael R. Underwood – Angry Robot sales droid for the North of the Americas and also a published author-type in his own right – has been talking to Chuck Wendig at Terribleminds.com about his bookish activities.

And our man Darren was a guest on this week’s episode of The Readers podcast, talking about one of his favourite non-AR authors, Graham Joyce and his latest novel Some Kind of Fairy Tale.

Okay, that’s it for this week. If it does turn out to be the last round-up of the year, then we’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy end to the year, whatever holidays or traditions you choose to observe.