Tag: aliette de bodard

Angry Robot, AR Authors, Awards, General skiffy bollocks

Freya Robertson, Award-Winning Author

It’s been a busy start to the awards season for Angry Robot: Ramez Naam is enjoying 6 placements on 4 awards short-lists and NPR’s best-of list, including the Arthur C. Clarke awardCassandra Rose Clarke was short-listed for the Philip K. Dick awardThe Age Atomic won the Inky Tentacle at the Kitschies; Kaaron Warren and Jo Anderton won at the recent Aurealis Awards; aaaaand Wesley ChuAliette de BodardKameron Hurley, and our own Lee Harris and Mike Underwood are up for Hugos.

But that’s not enough for us. We want MORE.

Luckily enough, we now also have Freya Robertson, winner of the Sir Julius Vogel Award for BEST NOVEL, for Heartwood!

Freya AwardFreya was at the awards ceremony on Saturday, and was delighted to receive the award; read more from Freya on this win here at her blog. For those who have read – and loved Heartwood as much as the members of SFFANZ –  Sunstone is now available!

Click the book links for all the buying info, and click here to buy Heartwood on audio – read by Barnaby Edwards!

Please join us in congratulating Freya – and if you’d like to reach out to her on Twitter, here she is: @epicfreya!

Sunstone, by Freya RobertsonHeartwood by Freya Robertson

More →
Angry Robot, Angry Robot Media, AR Authors, Books, News, Reviews

Robot Round-Up 26.04.13

Caroline here for my first Robot Round-Up, and what a gathering it is!

The week of April 15 was off a great start with Damien Walter’s Guardian round-up of the best young novelists from SF’s universe, even more so with not 1…nor 2…nor 3…but 4 Angry Robot authors being highlighted. Lauren Beukes, Madeleine Ashby, Aliette De Boddard, and Chuck Wendig are definitely four writers who, simply put, “tell great stories”.

Courtesy of @EMAldred, I present to you the wonderful display of Angry Robot Books in Foyles St Pancras:

I do like it when authors promote their stable mates and Joseph D’Lacey’s tweet does just that, with this photo of Adam Christopher and Emma Newman from WHS.

The Lives of Tao by Wesley ChuAs we fast approach the publication date (April 30 for US/ebook and May for 2 UK) for Wesley Chu‘s debut novel, The Lives of Tao, the reviews are coming in thick, fast and impressive…just the way we like them!

• Over on The Founding Fields Bane of Kings declared The Lives of Tao to be an “awesome, fun read” whilst Upcoming4me not only agreed, likening it to “the best carnival rides, it is unlikely that you will forget it anytime soon, they also were lovely in praising the noses of our editorial Overlords in sniffing out new talent…thank you!
• Wesley and The Lives of Tao were busy on Fantasy Book Critic with Wesley’s Guest Blog on what goes into a great villain such as Sean Diamont, and after picking up his blown-off socks Mihir Wanchoo excitedly reviews The Lives of Tao as “one of the best amalgamations of SF, Thriller, buddy-stories, comedy and other genre assortments, which was even more impressive because it’s a debut and is funny as hell.” Nice!
• Troubled Scribe’s Liam is currently searching for his own brain-sharing alien but before he left, he described The Lives of Tao as “a fun, exciting, alien, sci-fi romp through history and espionage. Tao has had way too many lives to meet them all, but you should be sure to give it a shot by reading this book!” and gave it 9 out of 10 Liams.
• Christal on Badass Book Reviews highly recommends The Lives of Tao to all “those looking for a uniquely modern science fiction yarn” and reckons it to be an enthralling debut!
• If you want to hear Wesley reading from the book, check out this YouTube link, courtesy of William Shunn.
• Wesley has taken part in a number of SF Signal Mind Melds recently, one such talking about humans and AIs, which also featured Madeline Ashby whose second Machine Dynasty novel iD will be out in June.
• Every Read Thing interviewed Wes, and there you can read about his books of 2012, favourite books and authors, his love for sci-fi, and some of the ideas and research behind The Lives of TaoThe Author - Wesley Chu
• Kirkus reviews have picked The Lives of Tao as one of their April picks: check it out here
• Jessica at the Apex Book Company has highlighted Wes’ debut as a recommended read
• The Qwillery are continuing their Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars and April features the fantastic cover of The Lives of Tao (by Argh! Oxford). Click here to vote!
• Finally, here’s a link to Wesley’s blog where he has a great list of interviews and blogs to date, plus forthcoming!

 

The Age Atomic, by Adam Christopher, art & design by Will StaehleMore reviews for Adam Christopher‘s The Age of Atomic:

Adventures Fantastic not only currently have Adam Christopher’s books in their Featured section but have been writing about The Age Atomic and the fast clipped action within. With “plenty of chases, fights, and intrigues for fans of pulp fiction”, they demand readers to Pick. It. Up. Their sentiment; my bossy intonation.
•Over on The Fiction Stoker The Age Atomic is awarded four strokes out of five, and rightly so for it is declared “relentlessly entertaining” and with a “remarkably striking and disturbing villain” in Evelyn McHale, “fans of funny robots, pulp detective novels and genre-bending will find much to like”.
• Make sure to keep an eye on the forthcoming April issue of VS Comics for an interview with Adam.
Empire State by Adam ChristopherThe Financial Times delightfully announced The Age Atomic “a worthy successor [which] has the same jazzy plotting and anything-goes attitude that made Empire State such an unalloyed pleasure.”
• As always, Adam was kept busy and held an AMA over at Reddit, answering amongst other questions, his ideal casting for Jennifer Jones and Evelyn McHale.
• And in a HUGE finally, Adam has been short-listed for not one but two awards at this year’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards! Empire State has been shortlisted for the Best New Novel (and deservedly so) and Adam himself is up for Best New Talent. Eligible voters are members of SFFANZ or Au Contraire, the NZ national science fiction convention, so please do pass this on if you happen to know any such members, or indeed are one!

The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig, Art by Joey Hi-Fi• If the June release of Chuck Wendig’s The Blue Blazes (May 28 for US/ebook release and June 6 for UK) is just too far away, then head to the mighty Tor.com and whet your appetite with a glimpse into this fantastic title.
• “Sin City after doing an 8-ball of mystic cocaine”…an epic summary of The Blue Blazes from The 52 Review.  It thusly describes Chuck’s prose as “blunt force choreography, full of brutally disturbing descriptions, and wrecking ball action” whilst saying “fans of noir fantasy and urban fantasy with a bleeding edge should definitely explore the world of The Blue Blazes.” Roll on June!

Black Feathers by Joseph D'Lacey, April 2013

• Joseph D’Lacey had, in his words, a huge first this last week with Black Feathers being excitedly photographed in WHS. Photo courtesy of Joseph’s Twitter
• The review on A Fantastical Librarian firstly highlights the importance of a great cover as Black Feathers image grabbed and intrigued Mieneke, and she does sound pleased that it did! Describing Joseph’s prose as poetic at times, Mieneke praises Black Feathers as “a compelling narrative and an amazing adventure”.
• Joseph was also on My Shelf Confessions to discuss his love for all things apocalyptic
• Since our last Robot Round-Up, the book trailer for Black Feathers was released, and if you haven’t already seen it, here’s your chance!

The Marching Dead by Lee Battersby, April 2013The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby, in stores September 2012 • Ever catch yourself thinking about what must go into writing a book like The Marching Dead, or about the worries of writing a sequel to the brilliant The Corpse-Rat King? Wonder no more, but head over to Upcoming4me to hear Lee Battersby’s ‘Story Behind’

 

 

 

Any Other Name by Emma Newman, Artwork by Sarah J. ColemanBetween Two Thorns by Emma Newman, March 2013 • The cover reveal for Emma Newman’s Any Other Name (May 28 for US/ebook release and June 6 for UK) was excitedly received. Fantasy Fiction’s Jennie Ivin is already looking forward to book three’s cover given how fantastic Between Two Thorns and Any Other Name look side by side, whilst Uncorked Thoughts thinks it “absolutely beautiful”
• Emma was busy with a short story featuring Between Two Thorns’ characters Claudia, Richard, and Imogen, over on Dark Faerie Tales, which is also running competition for a copy of the book, as well as appearing on Ujima Radio’s Women’s Outlook with Cheryl Morgan, which can be listened back to here.
• Over on Portland Book Review, Between Two Thorns was awarded five stars out of five, with reviewer Katie Richards declaring it “part Jane Austen novel of manners mixed with a contemporary fantasy novel”.

That *should* be everything for this round-up but do let me know if I’ve missed anything (be gentle!), and do come back next week for more linkage!

More →
Angry Robot, AR Authors, Books, Robot Round-Up

Robot Round-Up, 15.02.13

Hello and welcome to this week’s Robot Round-Up. Having put our email woes behind us, our compiler-bot has been able to gather up another bountiful harvest of Angrily Robotic links.

The reviews of Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s astonishing and heart-breaking novel The Mad Scientist’s Daughter continue to pour in:

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke - Feb 2013• Kristin at My Bookish Ways: “Think you can’t get invested in a romance between a human and a robot? Think again. Cat’s longing and desire for Finn is a force of nature, and the tragedy, and joy, of Cat and Finn’s romance will stay with you long after reading the last page.”
• Sophia at Page Plucker: “The writing is beautiful; highly atmospheric and rich in melancholy. I was convinced it was bound to have a tragic ending as it all seemed so very sad, but you’ll have to read it for yourself to find out if I was right”.
• Shweta at Literary Grand Rounds: “Cat and Finn and every other minor detail in this story makes for a very very absorbing and totally addictive reading. Highly recommended!”
• Jared at The Oracular Beard: “The style and substance of Clarke’s world-building catapults this story above and beyond my hopes for it. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a deep, dark tale of passion that fills the emptiness with the same lies and rationalities we tell ourselves to make us feel better about the choices we make.”
• Chris at A Writer’s Sidequest: “While it is a story of love, that story actually serves as a framing device for a larger narrative about the nature of programming vs emotions, and whether sentient machines deserve the same rights as people.”
• Kristin at OwlCat Mountain: “hits all the right notes and delivers a tale that is often heartbreaking but always has that element of hope that love will conquer all. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a lovely and moving story, and I highly recommend it.”

Lee Collins‘s second Cora Oglesby novel, She Returns From War was reviewed by Paul at Sci-Fi Bulletin, who enjoyed its lack of predictability: “Lee Collins’ follow-up to The Dead of Winter isn’t what you might expect – and that’s a very good thing … Like his characters, Collins hasn’t been afraid to take a risk, and it pays off.”

Black Feathers by Joseph D'Lacey, April 2013Joseph D’Lacey‘s post-ecopocalyptic thriller Black Feathers will be with us in April 2013 and the reviews of this one are starting to build up a nice head of steam as well:

• Lisa at Wilder’s Book Reviews: “full of powerful and beautiful passages that while written for this fictional Earth, are also very strongly advocating for us as a people to take better care of the Earth we live on.”
• Karl at Kodex Karlthulu: “I really, really enjoyed this book. I thought the elements of horror were woven into fantasy of the novel with real expertise … The mythology of The Crowman is well designed and feels very real.”
• Alisha at Dear Constant Reader: “There’s so much to be had in this book. The prose is stunning. D’Lacey’s imagery is complete without being overwhelming. The unique plot is well-paced, and populated with believable characters.”
• Richard at (careful, this one’s a bit spoilery…) Pan-Dimensional Elf Machines From Hyperspace: “D’Lacey has served up his most delectable treat yet with this novel.”

Anne Lyle‘s The Alchemist of Souls was reviewed by Nina at Death, Books and Tea: “Anne’s writing style is beautifully descriptive … I’ll definitely read on in the series!” And The Merchant of Dreams was reviewed by Theresa at Terror-Tree: “If you’ve read the first book, this escalates the world and mythology. If you are new to this world, you can read this independently, but if were you, I would buy both books. They are simply brilliant, and I can’t wait for the next installment.” That would be Prince of Lies, which we’re publishing in November.

We think it’s fair to say that Mieneke at A Fantastical Librarian absolutely loved Emma Newman‘s forthcoming Split Worlds series-opener Between Two Thorns: “Between Two Thorns really was an unalloyed pleasure to read and it’s hard to write a review for it that isn’t just gushing … Newman has created a unique blend of urban, historical, and crime fantasy clothed in a Regency veneer. Between Two Thorns is delicious, engrossing, and enchanting and, so far, my debut of the year.”

Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman, March 2013And if you just can’t wait for the first novel in the series to be posted, check out www.splitworlds.com, where for over a year now Emma has been writing and narrating short stories set in the Split Worlds, the latest of which can be found at Fantasy Faction, along with a guest post on the evolution of the series.

Adam Christopher‘s debut, Empire State, was reviewed by Weirdmage, deep in the forests of Norway: “Whether your preference lies in parallel universes, crime, or superheroes, this is a novel that should find its way into your hands at the earliest opportunity. The world, the characters, and the story are all excellent and together they will give you a great reading experience.”

Meanwhile, Adam has been talking to SFSignal.com for a SFFWRTCHT session, answering questions on his love of all things genre-y, his interest in superheroes, and of course Empire State, Seven Wonders and the forthcoming The Age Atomic (April 2013!)

Two from the archives now, as DaveBrendon de Burgh has reviewed both Harbinger of the Storm by Aliette de Bodard: “Action- and magic-wise, this book really kept me on the edge of my seat … deities enter the fray, and Aliette did a great job in layering them with incredible menace and danger; definitely not deities who sit back and move pieces on a board.” and Death’s Disciples by J. Robert King: “a thrill-a-second ride, supremely plotted, exciting, hard-hitting, and definitely falls into the Twisted Blockbuster category – one hell of an awesome ride!”

Ramez Naam is on the Hugo and Campbell campaign trail: he’s offering to buy and send a free ebook copy of Nexus to attendees of Worldcon 2012, or anyone who’s registered for Worldcon 2013, in the hope that they’ll read the book and consider nominating the book for the Hugo or Campbell Awards. See rameznaam.com for details.

David Tallerman has posted details of his 2013 convention schedule, so you’ll know where to turn up with your needing-to-be-signed copies of Giant Thief, Crown Thief, and if you’re aiming for Worldcon, Prince Thief as well.

That’s everything for this week, folks. Enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you back here in seven days. Last one in buys the first round.

More →
Angry Robot, AR Authors, Robot Round-Up

Robot Round-Up 08.01.13

Hello and welcome to our weekly Round-Up of all the Angry Robot themed online activity that’s fit to link out to. Starting with:

Another batch of glowing reviews for Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s rather wonderful The Mad Scientist’s Daughter this week:

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke - Feb 2013• Sarah Elizabeth, of Sarah Elizabeth’s Bookshelf said: “I cried on more than one occasion, the story was just so sad in places, but it was so beautifully written that even the sad parts were heartbreakingly good. I actually find it really difficult to tell you how emotionally taxing this book was, and still I loved it, and I’m not going to forget this one in a long time.”
• Tammy at Books, Bones & Buffy said: “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter reminded me of a couple of books I haven’t read in years, books I loved dearly that still haunt me. It has the strange feel of Geoff Ryman’s The Child Garden, a terribly sad story that was ultimately so rewarding. It also sparked some of the same emotions I feel while reading anything by China Miéville.”
• Christa at More Than Just Magic said: “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a beautiful book. Even if you’re not a science fiction fan and don’t care for stories about robots (side note: Robots are cool! What’s wrong with you?) this book has definite cross genre appeal.”
• Kallen at Geeky Library said: “As soon as I started reading this book, I was swept along by the storyline. In my opinion, a really good book will cause you to experience a range of emotions and this one certainly succeeded.”

Have you tried The Mad Scientist’s Daughter yet? No? Honestly, you don’t know what you’re missing. But don’t just take our word for it, check out the ever-growing wall of reviews to see what the reviewers have been saying.

Nexus by Ramez NaamRamez Naam‘s Nexus is most definitely still going strong. This week Liam at The Troubled Scribe found it reassuringly exciting: “I was worried that since this book was so ‘Far-future and Technologically based’ that it would be somewhat dull and action-less. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Start to finish Nexus is a thrill ride taking main character Kade into one unforgettable scene after another.” And Matt at The Fiction Stroker appreciated the mix of action and scientific clever bits (technical term): “Naam’s (frequent) action sequences are powerful and pull a lot of punches. His language is peppered with action words that hammer home the, at times, comical violence. Yet he has the skill to incorporate dense scientific concepts in an easy-to-follow manner.” Also, 115 four-star or five-star reviews on Amazon.com tells its own story…

Ros at Warpcore SF was impressed: “Between Two Thorns is a fascinating new take on the fairytale myth, and it keeps the elegance and old-fashioned glamour we tend to associate with the fae whilst adding a fresh modern perspective.” Kristijan’s review at Upcoming4me starts with: “Wow, what a book! I can’t remember when was the last time I enjoyed reading something so much” and ends by calling it a “stunningly original take on the Faerie myth and worthy beginning of one of the most exciting fantasy series on the market today.” And Beth at Sky Rose Reviews said: “As with all first of series there are slow moments and a lot of details that need to be absorbed but I felt that Newman did a very good job of introducing and creating a world of dangerous politics, magic and a resentment for those of us that were born on the wrong side of the barrier.”

Mockingbird, by Chuck WendigHannah reviewed Chuck Wendig‘s Mockingbird at her blog My Book Journey and declared: “Mockingbird is a hard edged thriller, with gory action and plenty of mystery. Handle with care.”

Chris Holm was interviewed by Brandon at , who also reviewed the second Collector novel, The Wrong Goodbye, and said: “I feel like the series gained a lot of ground in terms of Sam’s development … this series is only getting stronger.” He also answered questions five for Jen’s Book Thoughts.

Lavie Tidhar was interviewed by Every Read Thing and talked Bookman, Osama, the World Fantasy Award and what he’s got lined up next, among other things.

Lee Collins shared his publication day thoughts upon the occasion of She Returns From War hitting the bookstore shelves.

Aliette de Bodard was Abhinav Jain’s latest guest on his Names: A New Persective blog series, talking about appropriate forms of names and naming conventions.

David Tallerman writes about Giant Thief, Crown Thief and failing the Bechdel Test, over at Fantasy Faction.

Chuck Wendig has promised to write a twelve-part story-serial for Fireside Magazine, if the project can raise enough funding for another year’s worth of issues, via Kickstarter. He’s also been thinking thoughts on book piracy and used e-books and book piracy again, as well as taking the time to ask ten questions about Pantomime of Strange Chemistry‘s Laura Lam. Just another week in Wendig-World…

Anne Lyle shares her reaction to the news that the bones of King Richard III of England are definitely those found under a car park in Leicester.

Maurice Broaddus posted agreat idea for his fellow writers on how to dispose of those mountains of complimentary books: why not donate them to a captive audience, one with plenty of time on their hands..?

That’s all for now, but there’ll be lots more linky-goodness next week, you lucky, lucky people.

More →
Angry Robot, AR Authors, Books, Robot Round-Up

Robot Round-Up, 18.01.13

Hello and welcome to another Robot Round-Up. We’ve got snow here in the UK, which means half the nation has ground to a halt and the whole of Scandinavia is laughing up their sleeves at us. But that’s probably nothing new. Anyhow, all of the above has very little to do with this week’s collection of links-of-Angry-Robot-interest, which looks a little something (or, indeed, rather a lot) like this:

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke - Feb 2013Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s first Angry Robot novel, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, continues to attract just the right kind of attention in the lead-up to its official publication date of February 7th. This week, Mieneke at A Fantastical Librarian said: “With this second book, Clarke has cemented her status as a must-read author. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is really something special and I look forward with anticipation to what Clarke produces next, because she is definitely a talent to watch closely”. And Emily at Ed and Em’s Reviews said: “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter surprised me at every turn. It was completely unpredictable. The writing was addicting and absolutely phenomenal, as expected from Cassandra Rose Clarke. I knew it would be good, but the author really blew my expectations out of the water.”

Ramez Naam‘s debut novel Nexus continues to amaze and impress. This week, Jessica at AllwaysUnmended said: “Nexus is a story everyone should read. As a cautionary tale, it will likely be considered in league with Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World in the years to come. The question is, will we learn from this one?” Meanwhile, over at Trash Mutant, Ninja Ross said: “This is an action movie in book form. It’s Demolition Man, Replicant, Eagle Eye, Time Cop and all of those action Sci-Fi films we love to watch with a few beers, snacks and friends.”

Ramez has been talking to New Books in Science Fiction and Fantasy, about his fiction and non-fiction work to-date, as well as Crux, the forthcoming sequel to Nexus.

Anne Lyle‘s The Alchemist of Souls was reviewed by Janea at The Ranting Dragon: “This is a fun romp through Tudor England, filled with mythical creatures, swordsmen, and theatre-types. The characters are well-rounded and compelling, and there is a very real urgency to the plot.”

Anne was also the guest of the Comic Book Outsiders Book Club podcast, talking about her work, the evolution of the Night’s Masque series and what she has planned for the future. And Anne is running a giveaway over on her blog: leave an appropriate comment on that blog post and you could win a paperback or audio copy of The Merchant of Dreams.

The Wrong Goodbye, by Chris F. HolmChris F. Holm‘s The Wrong Goodbye was reviewed by Kristin at OwlCat Mountain: “I love Holm’s creativity and his willingness to not simply follow the herd of current fiction trends. The Wrong Goodbye is a great novel, filled with adventure and a straightforward storytelling style that makes this book a real treat.”

Chris has been guest-blogging at Criminal Minds, talking about sex and violence and stuff like that.

Madeline Ashby‘s (Kitschie Award Nominated) debut vN was reviewed by Shaheen at Speculating on SpecFic, who said: “vN is an exciting, refreshing book that I liked, and I was surprised to find out that it is Madeline Ashby’s debut novel. It’s a terrific accomplishment and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future”.

Chuck Wendig‘s Blackbirds was reviewed by Ray at Endless Falls Up: “insanely good, acrid, burning prose … Wendig is a phenomenal talent, breakthrough of the last year. Absolute must-read.”

As we’re sure you all know by now, Emma Newman has been writing a series of short stories set in her Split Worlds milieu in the run up to the publication of the first novel in the series, Between Two Thorns, in March. With only a handful of weeks left to go, Emma would like to offer you the chance to be involved in the creative process: “I wanted to do something a little bit different for the last ten. I’d like to invite you to submit story prompts below and if yours either inspires a story and/or appears within it, I’ll send you a handwritten copy of the story and a little note to say thank you.” Head on over to www.emmanewman.co.uk for full details of how to participate.

Emma was also a guest of the Roundtable Podcast, sharing her insights into the nature of writing advice, the distinction between long and short fiction, her unique process, the cyclical nature of post-apocalyptic fiction, and more.

The Qwillery 2012 Debut Cover Battle readers’ poll ended in a completely honourable tie for Chuck Wendig‘s Blackbirds (artwork and design by Joey HiFi) and Chris F. Holm‘s Dead Harvest (artwork and design by Amazing 15), with a whopping 492 votes each, between them amounting to 82% of the total votes polled. With seemingly-inevitable bloodshed duly averted, that seems like a good result all round, no?

Adam Christopher talked about the Importance and Mysteries of Names for Abhinav Jain’s latest Names: a New Perspective article.

Kaaron Warren was interviewed by Mihai Adascalitei for revistadesuspans.ro. It is in Romanian, but Google translate will have a go at converting it to a language near you…

Jo Anderton has announced the planned publication of a brand new collection of her short fiction, The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, by Fablecroft Publishing.

Speaking of short fiction, Lavie Tidhar has posted a guide to the Continuity Universe, in which may of his future history short stories are set.

And finally, congratulations to Aliette de Bodard, whose short story ‘Immersion’ has been shortlisted for the BSFA Award. Likewise Lavie Tidhar, whose World SF Blog has been nominated in the Best Non-Fiction category.

That’s all for this week, people. Same time, same place…

More →
Angry Robot, AR Authors, Books, Robot Round-Up

Robot Round-Up, 30.11.12

Hello, hello and welcome to this week’s round-up of Angry Roboty goodness from all around the world wide webs. What do we have for you this week? Let’s see…

Nexus by Ramez NaamRamez Naam‘s rather wonderful (if we do say so ourselves) debut science fiction thriller, Nexus was reviewed in great depth by Adam at The Page of Reviews, who said (along with much more): “As a story told from the intersection of theoretical neuroscience and contemporary geopolitical issues, Nexus is a fascinating study into how technology might inform human evolution.” We’ve also heard a whisper that a rather cracking review will be going up on Boing Boing round about publication day… here’s a taster: “Excellent spycraft, kick-ass action scenes, and a chilling look at a future cold war over technology and ideology… a hell of a read.” Oh, yes indeedy. We can’t wait to post the link to that one.

Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s astonishing novel of robot sentience and very human drama, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter (February 2013) has been reviewed by Wendy of the Geek Syndicate, who said: “I urge you to read this book, it will haunt you and stay with you for a long time. It is very hard to believe that this is only the author’s second novel – bravo Miss Clarke!”

Lee Collins‘s The Dead of Winter was reviewed by Paul for Sci-Fi Bulletin. His verdict? “A bloody good read. 7/10” And Jared at The Oracular Beard said: “I can’t gush quite enough as to how well this book holds up. The vampires and gunslinging are all well and good, but where the light really breaks through the clouds is the attention to character detail.”

Chuck Wendig‘s second Miriam Black novel, Mockingbird has been reviewed for the mighty IO9.com by Ed, who said: “What appears to be a simple ‘find the serial killer’ story at first delves down a few blind alleys before unravelling in a bizarre and stunning way. And even when the story does move in a linear manner, it’s highly entertaining.”

And if you’ve ever wondered how Chuck writes a novel, here’s a blog post from the man himself that might help: How Chuck Wendig Writes a Novel. You’re welcome.

The Corpse-Rat King, by Lee BattersbyLee Battersby‘s rip-roaring fantasy The Corpse-Rat King was reviewed by Kate at Kate of Mind, who concluded with a resounding “Hurrah for Mostly Dead Marius!”

The Brilliance Audio edition of Chris F. Holm‘s second Collector series novel The Wrong Goodbye was reviewed by Dan at SFFaudio, who said: “The narration of Brian Vander Ark of the band Verve Pipe perfectly matches the first-person hardboiled tone of these stories.”

Chris has also been talking to Karina at Nocturnal Book Reviews about the five books that have most influenced his Collector series.

Emma Newman, author of the forthcoming Split Worlds series, has been talking to Iain Broome for the Write For Your Life Podcast about “suspect writing advice and prolificness”.

All you Egil and Nix fans jonesing for another hit of Paul S. Kemp‘s demon-bashing, dungeon-mauling duo will be pleased to learn that an excerpt from the second instalment of their adventures, A Discourse in Steel (June 2013) over at Roqoo Depot or Paul’s Fecebook Page.

Congratulations to Kaaron Warren on winning a Canberra Critics’ Circle award for her short fiction collection Through Splintered Walls!

That-there Next Big Thing meme is marching on, with contributions from four more of our fine, upstanding writerly types: Jo Anderton, Aliette de Bodard, Guy Haley and Anne Lyle.

And finally:

Damn. They’re onto us.

See you next week!

More →
Angry Robot, AR Authors, Robot Round-Up

Robot Round-Up 09.11.12

Hello, hello and welcome to your regular Robot Round-Up, bringing you all the online AR-related activity that we’ve spotted over the course of the last week or so.

The Dead of Winter, by Lee CollinsFor starters, we’ve been thoroughly chuffed to spot a bunch more reviews this week of Lee Collins‘s weird western debut The Dead of Winter:

• Tammy at Books, Bones & Buffy said: “There are so many successful elements that make up this book, but the best one has got to be the character of Cora, a truly unique protagonist whose rough edges might turn some readers off, but will more likely have you cheering by the end of the book.”
• Dave, writing for the British Fantasy Society mused: “Cora comes over a bit like Calmity Jane, from the TV show, Deadwood, albeit somewhat cleaner and not quite so drunk.”
Leah Rhyne was mightily impressed: “All-in-all, I’d call this book an entertaining journey through a much more threatening Old West world. If you like Westerns, and you’re into horror, this is totally the book for you.”
• Mel, at Mel’s Random Reviews called it: “An exciting action-packed adventure which adds vampires and creatures to the Wild West and let’s rip! The Magnificent Seven crossed with Buffy, this is very a much read for those who want more action and less angst in their Vampire and Monster Slaying.”

The Merchant of Dreams, by Anne LyleThe second instalment in Anne Lyle‘s Night’s Masque series, The Merchant of Dreams will be published in January and was reviewed this week by Leo Cristea, who said: “I loved everything about The Merchant of Dreams: it is exciting, thrilling and Lyle’s gorgeous prose drives the story elegantly forwards towards a goal … A fantastic example of historical fantasy going all the way and holding nothing back, The Merchant of Dreams is complex and exciting.” And Elloise Hopkins enjoyed the simultaneous depth and lightness of Anne’s story-telling: “The exploration of gender, relationships (both political and personal) and sacrifice continue in a historical fantasy that is as light-hearted and entertaining as it is deep. Perhaps its most admirable quality is Lyle’s willingness to explore and represent the minority in a realistic and unashamed manner.”

Ramez Naam‘s forthcoming debut novel of mind-altering nanodrugs, military skullduggery and emerging post-humanism, Nexus, was reviewed for Publishers Weekly and they declared: “the action scenes are crisp, the glimpses of future tech and culture are mesmerizing”.

Keith at Adventures Fantastic gas good things to say about Crown Thief, the second instalment in David Tallerman‘s Tales of Easie Damasco series, which began with Giant Thief and concludes with Prince Thief in 2013: “I loved David Tallerman’s debut novel, Giant Thief, earlier this year. With the next installment in the series, Tallerman proves he’s more than a flash in the pan. Crown Thief is a fast moving, exciting adventure.”

Kimberley at The Windy Pages thoroughly enjoyed Chuck Wendig‘s Mockingbird: “I wasn’t shy about my love for Blackbirds, book one of this series and lucky for me, book two does not disappoint … Pick up this book, buckle up and set some time aside. You’re going to need it.”

The latest instalment in Emma Newman‘s ongoing Split Worlds short story series, ‘Drinking Problem’ has been posted at Iain Broome’s Write For Your Life.

Chris F. Holm was interviewed by Raging Bibloholism. about the origins of the Collector series and his writing practices and preferences.

Aliette de Bodard has been talking to Luc Reid about “writing, reading, cultural divides, and the bridges that span them”.

Madeline Ashby has been explaining why she wouldn’t be a writer without Ursula K. LeGuin.

Jo Anderton has posted photos from her recent Suited book launch and it looks like a fun time was had by all 🙂

Benoit Lelievre seems to be a fan of the AR design department, with two of our covers on his shortlist for his personal choice of the Best Book Covers of 2012. Cheers Benoit!

And finally:

Can you feel the robo-future creeping ever closer..?

More →
Angry Robot, AR Authors, Events

Angry Robot Authors at Bristolcon, Saturday October 20th

BristolCon 2012, a one-day science fiction convention organized by the Bristol Fantasy & SF Society, will be taking place this coming Saturday, October 20th, with a strong Angry Robot contingent in attendance.

Bristolcon 2012

Angry Robot author John Meaney (a.k.a. Thomas Blackthorne) will be the convention’s Guest of Honour, and the deeply-missed Colin Harvey is the convention’s “Ghost of Honour”. They’ll be joined by Aliette de Bodard, Guy Haley, Anne Lyle, Emma Newman and Ian Whates, plus Strange Chemistry’s Jonathan L. Howard. Angry Robot Overlord Marc Gascoigne will be there as well, to keep the scribe-bots in line and get the drinks in gratefully accept any alcoholic gratuities that might happen to pass his way.

Convention membership is just £20 and a full Programme of Events kicks off at 10.00 a.m.

See www.bristolcon.org for more details.

More →
Angry Robot, AR Authors, Robot Round-Up

Robot Round-Up, 31.08.12

Hello, hello and welcome to another Robot Round-Up. It’s been a quiet week at Angry Robot HQ, what with half the Overlords jetting off to Chicago for Worldcon. But it’s been anything but quiet out in the AR-flavoured reaches of the Interwebs, with plenty of reviewage and interview action going down. Here’s what we’ve spotted this past week: Read More

More →
Angry Robot, AR Authors, Other people's business, Robot Round-Up

Robot Round-Up, 10.08.12

Hello, hello and welcome to your regular dose of rounded-up Angry Robot online goodness. With a scorching weekend in prospect here at AR’s UK HQ we’re all eager to be off out into the sunshine (or, more likely, down the pub for a cold one) so without further faff, here’s this week’s panoply of links to peruse.

vN by Madeline Ashby, cover Martin Bland/SpyroteknikThe reviews of vN (Out Now!), Madeline Ashby‘s astonishing debut novel of robot sentience, techo-evolution and family drama are really starting to flow:

• In a piece for the Guardian blog on Women Authors in Hard SF, Damien G. Walter said: “In Ashby’s expert hands vN cuts a painful incision into the emotional complexity of oppression in our society, and the way love can feed the worst kinds of hate. vN is a powerful novel and a fine exemplar of exactly the perspectives chauvinist SF so often stifles.”
• Adrienne Martini, writing for Locus Magazine said: “The world that Ashby has created is an interesting one, as is her construction of this tightly plotted story. Her real skill is in capturing those ineffable, emotional moments when Amy juggles her longing for her parents and her newfound freedoms.”
• Tabitha at My Shelf Confessions mused: “The ideas presented in vN are fascinating. Could this be where we are headed?” Guess we’ll all have to wait and see…
• Matt at The Fiction Stroker enjoyed the character development in the novel: “Amy is a very complex character. Tuned in to detail rather than emotion, she grows throughout the story. Pairing her with the unsympathetic Javier is an interesting move as the duo bring out different qualities within each other.”

There’s an interview with Madeline by Tabitha at My Shelf Confessions as well, and a book giveaway too. Go, check them out!

If you fancy reading a chunk of Adam Christopher‘s forthcoming superhero extravaganza Seven Wonders – which is out at the end of this month (US/CAN) and early next month (UK/EU) – head on over to Tor.com. Adam has been interviewed by Zoe at Fantasy Bytes. He’s also written a tourist’s guide to San Ventura, the setting for Seven Wonders for All Things Urban Fantasy’s Deadly Destinations series and you can enter their giveaway to win a copy of the book there as well.

Chuck Wendig has started posting snippets from his soon-to-be-released second Miriam Black novel, Mockingbird, over on his This is How You Die Tumblr site. And there’s a hugely enthusiastic review of Mockingbird over at Graeme’s Fantasy Book Reviews, where Graeme gives it a Nine and a Half out of 10 score and says Mockingbird is: “…nothing short of compelling reading, a book that eclipses Blackbirds in its determination to head to new depths for the sake of a good story. Wendig knows that his readers deserve nothing less. If you’re waiting for MockingbirdMockingbird, well… you should be.” Over at Seeking the New Earth, Jon has taken a look as well and concluded: “I greatly appreciated the deepening of the supernatural aspects of the setting. Miriam is getting in touch with her abilities, and this opens up a whole can of worms – including new threats that are not of this world.”

Jo Anderton‘s Debris, the first part of the Veiled Worlds series, has been reviewed by Shadowhawk at The Founding Fields, who called it: “Fun and original … one of the most refreshing sci-fi novels I’ve read this year.” And the second Veiled Worlds book, Suited, was reviewed by Ros at Warpcore SF, who greatly enjoyed Jo’s characterisation skills and said: “It’s a fantasy that talks the language of science, with programmers and awful experiments and portals that seem to be full of something like antimatter, but the reason I really like this series is that it’s rooted in the psychological truth of how people with physical and mental difficulties experience life.”

Aliette de Bodard‘s Obsidian and Blood omnibus has been reviewed by Theresa at Terror Tree: “This is top notch fantasy with moments of horror and lots of action. A must have for fantasy fans, and a bargain to boot!”

Chris F. Holm‘s Dead Harvest was reviewed by Trent at Pulp 300, who said: “[W]hat I enjoyed most were not the slam-bang escapist thrills but Sam’s flashbacks that leaked his history throughout the novel, teasing the reader along, whetting your appetite for the ending’s big reveal.”

More giveaway action! Gav Thorpe is running a competition over on his blog, to win a set of all three Crown of the Blood books by naming a hypothetical fourth in the series. You’ve got until August 17th to add your suggestion in the comments on that post.

Another giveaway! US-based readers can win a copy of Anne Lyle‘s fantastic debut The Alchemist of Souls over at Anne’s blog, personalised and signed, too.

And another! Stefan Raets, who reviewed Madeline Ahsby‘s debut vN last week for Tor.com, is giving away two copies of the book via his own blog, Far Beyond Reality.

Anne Lyle and Adam Christopher took part in a Mind Meld at SFSignal.com talking about the important of Point of View; Anne’s in Part 1 and Adam’s in Part Two.

Matt Forbeck and Maurice Broaddus will both be attending Gencon this year and have posted their busy schedules: here’s Matt’s and here’s Maurice’s.

Tabitha's Robot PlushiesAnd finally: robot plushies! Okay, they’re not particularly angry robots, but you could probably play croquet or bash someone over the head with their feet, and apparently their heads spin round. Which is nice. Tabitha at My Shelf Confessions made these for her imminently-arriving sproglet in an effort to make his life as surreal as possible from day one.

That’s an Etsy career waiting to happen, surely? Also: very best of luck with the whole motherhood thing Tabitha! 🙂

More →
Angry Robot, AR Authors, Robot Round-Up

Robot Round-Up, 20.07.12

The Hammer and the Blade, by Paul S KempPaul S. Kemp‘s The Hammer and The Blade is Out Now and has been reviewed by Cape Rust at Geek-Life.com: “There are so many things to like about this book. The characters are delicious in the way that they are under described, but never underdeveloped. The writing shows a wit and polish rarely seen these days. I knew Kemp was good, but set free in a world of his creation, he exceeds, excels, and is excellent!” Also by John Ottinger III at Grasping for the Wind, who concluded: “Kemp is an excellent write of sword and sorcery that understands its tropes so well that he is able to reinvigorate it with new themes that will resonate with modern readers.”

Paul was the guest of the 107th episode of the Skiffy and Fanty Podcast this week as well.

Also Out Now: Jo Anderton‘s Suited has been reviewed by Keith at Adventures Fantastic: “Suited is a dizzying tour de force that’s not really like anything out there. And that suits me just fine.” Also by MK at Popcorn Reads, who said: “Jo Anderton has written a unique series in The Veiled World Trilogy, on a world that has taken technology to the extreme. Suited continued to hold my interest every bit as much as Debris did. In other words, I couldn’t put it down.”

Jo has been guest-blogging as well, over at Dark Matter Fanzine, where she talks about the Veiled Worlds series to-date, and at Rabia Gale’s Website, where she discusses writing a middle book in a trilogy, and Ebon Shores where she talks about the physical practicalities of writing and the importance of an effective fitness regime.

vN by Madeline Ashby, cover Martin Bland/SpyroteknikMadeline Ashby‘s thought-provoking debut vN is out next month and continuing to recieve some great reviews, including one from Jon at Seeking the New Earth, who said: “vN is a great novel. The prose drives forward. The tension never slackens. Amy is an instantly likable character.” And over at UpComing4.me, they’re helping to spread the love with a print ARC giveaway (closing date: July 25th).

The first early reviews of Adam Christopher‘s forthcoming superhero smackdown Seven Wonders are starting to come in: Bane of Kings at The Founding Fields called it: “An awesome novel that is one of my favourites so far this year. For those who thought that Christopher’s Empire State would be the best of his novels, then think again – Seven Wonders is much better. Reads like a superhero comic book in novel form. Unmissable.” Rocky at The Geeky Guide to Nearly Everything said it was: “the equivalent of a major comic book crossover event across several titles given the number of twists and turns the story takes. And this isn’t a bad thing – it makes the whole adventure richly complex.” And sj (not SJ) at Book Snobbery said: “I had so many passages highlighted that made me laugh OR creeped me the hell out OR were JUST SO awesome I wanted to share – but I’m not going to. I really hope you’ll all take the time to discover them on your own.” There’s also an audio review over at the Austen Space podcast (the review kicks in round about 1:09).

Mockingbird, by Chuck WendigLikewise, we’ve seen some early reviews of Chuck Wendig‘s Mockingbird, the forthcoming sequel to the sensational Blackbirds: Glenn Mehn, reviewing for the BFS Webzine said: “There’s a particularly inventive killer, and some especially vulnerable girls in danger, and Wendig grabs you by the face and drags you through 384 pages, with the pacing of a craftsman … It is a fun, playful ride and a bloody good book.” Zoe at Fantasy Bytes said: “Miriam is out doing her thing and it’s un-putdownable stuff. I read this in two days, and would’ve happily nailed it in one if work hadn’t got in the way.” Damn that work stuff, we say. Damn it! And Keith at Adventures Fantastic, nobly keeping things spoiler-free, had this to say: “Wendig has come up with a killer that is at least as scary as Hannibal Lector. There were scenes that were downright flawless in their creepiness. I doubt I’ll ever look at crows the same way again.” Intrigued? You should be…

There’s also a review of Blackbirds by Dave at Beers n Books… we’ll just skip ahead to the beer recommendations, shall we? Yes, we shall: “Rogue Dead Guy Ale or Left Hand Fade to Black are the beers to sip while reading this.” Cheers Dave, and also: noted! Here’s another from Ryan at Battle Hymns, who summarised thusly: “an interesting premise, an engaging lead character, and an easily devoured, fast-paced read”. And here’s another review that we missed when it was posted back in June, from Drew at SF Revu: “Wendig is a visceral streetfighter of an author, pulling no punches and drawing the reader into his world by a fishhook to the eye.” Fishhook where now? Ewww, Drew! Ewww!

The Corpse-Rat King, by Lee BattersbyLee Battersby‘s debut fantasy escapade The Corpse-Rat King was reviewed by Liam at The Troubled Scribe, who concluded: “the last three-fourths of this book are beyond spectacular. Lee Battersby definitely saved the best for last in this unforgettable tale of death, dead things, and more awesome dead stuff.” Also by Bob at Beauty in Ruins, who said: “This was a novel that I thoroughly enjoyed and will gleefully recommend, without reservation.”

The first book in Chris F. Holm‘s Collector series, Dead Harvest, was reviewed by Drew at Raging Biblioholism: “Sam is a reliably troubled anti-hero, the His Dark Materials-esque war between heaven and hell is always a reliably interesting backstory, and there’s a sequence where a certain New York landmark is destroyed that feels… well, I’d say it’s the most realistic ‘terrorist’ attack on New York that I’ve seen in literature in a long time.”

Matt Forbeck‘s Carpathia was reviewed by John at The Secret Lair, who said: “Carpathia is a fun and entertaining read. I would be remiss in not mentioning that the vampires involved here are not only intriguing individuals, but also delightfully menacing and horrific in the classic vein of Dracula.”

Chris F. Holm and Anne Lyle have both contributed to a discussion on whether data-mining of e-reader usage will affect writers and their writing processes in future, over at A Fantastical Librarian. Anne took part in an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit and is also taking part in the Debut Authorpalooza Q&A session over at Staffer’s Musings on July 26th. See Anne’s blog for more details.

Lauren Beukes has posted the cover art and blurb from the forthcoming Fables mini-series that she’s writing, over on her blog.

Aliette de Bodard has been talking to Khaalidah about the art, science and responsibility of Worldbuilding.

Matt Forbeck talks about the joys of writing standing up.

And finally, if you’ve ever wondered what goes on in a typical Angry Robot staff meeting…

(Dubstep Dispute from Fluxel Media on Vimeo, via blastr.com).

More →
Angry Robot, AR Authors, Guest Posts

Guest Post: Aliette de Bodard Looks Back on Her Aztec Saga of Obsidian & Blood

Today is the official publication day of the Angry Robot Omnibus edition of the Obsidian & Blood series of Aztec mystery adventures starring Acatl, Aztec High-Priest of the Dead, by Aliette de Bodard. To mark the occasion, we asked Aliette to share her thoughts on the series now that it was complete and this is what she told us…

 
Obsidian & Blood by Aliette de Bodard, omnibus editionSix years ago, I wrote my first Acatl short story. At the time, it wasn’t particularly or recognisably Aztec: all I knew of the culture was the few things I’d gleaned from one or two research books, and from my Spanish courses. I certainly didn’t imagine, as I was writing “the end”, that I was going to launch into a whole novel, much less a trilogy!

Now that the last book, Master of the House of Darts, is finished, and the entire Obsidian & Blood series has been collected into an omnibus, I can look back with a sense of achievement: I have finished novels and series, I am a real writer (ha, I wish! My inner panicky self so totally continues to believe I’m faking it and that it’s only a matter of time before I get found out).

More seriously, though, there is definitely achievement in not only writing three books, but managing not to write the same book over and over again–to keep a series going in the same universe while having different plots and an overall progression for the characters that gets carried from book to book. But, because everything has a darker lining, this achievement is also accompanied by regrets. Over at Codex, a writer’s forum I frequent, James Maxey says that all novels are haunted by what they could have been – by the choices that shaped them, the decisions that the writer made, either consciously or unconsciously, and which end up having such a huge impact on the shape and heft of the finished novel(s).

Accordingly, here are the things I’m most proud and or two things I mildly regret, with regard to Obsidian & Blood.

 

Things I Could Maybe Have Handled Better

First-Person as a Limit to the Storyline

Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de BodardI made the choice of first person because it seemed easier to handle as a novice writer, and because it made sense, writing as I did within a Chandler-esque tradition of a private eye haunting the mean streets (er, OK, mean canals) of a city. Were I to rewrite the books now, I’m not entirely sure I would keep that choice. The first drawback is evident: first person is inherently limiting, and I pretty much had to make sure to stay with my narrator Acatl for the entirety of the series, whereas there were plenty of other awesome characters whom I would have wished to follow.

By book three, this has started to become very limiting, in particular in the handling of gender roles: in a gender-segregated society, my male narrator pretty much stuck with other males, which means that female characters, by and large, were elided from the narration. I did my best by giving large roles to priestesses, but I still feel that women could have had a more prominent role if the series had been in alternating third-person point of view.

First-Person as a Limit to Character Exploration

The other problem I had with first person was its intense focus on one character – it’s hard to make said character come across as anything but selfish and self-centred, because he’s talking all the time and only knows about his own emotions and feelings.

As a corollary, it’s also hard to make him have emotional crises without coming across as hysterical – which is a bit problematic in a series which relies on a bunch of emotional crises… 🙂

Cultural Appropriation

I was much less aware of the issues and pitfalls of cultural appropriation at the time I wrote those (though my understanding notably expanded as I was writing the series, and it shows!) I did my best with existing material; and I tried to do justice to a vibrant culture without demonising it, but the fact remains that I’m not writing in a culture that is my own or close to my own. I’m not saying that it makes the series worthless or bad (on the contrary, I very much hope it’s a valuable depiction); but I’m acutely aware that, as an outsider writing about that culture, in both time and space, I might be to some extent perpetuating an exoticism problem! I did try my best, but I most probably stumbled in places.

 

Je Ne Regrette Rien…

Harbinger of the Storm by Aliette de BodardThe Mexica/Aztecs as a vibrant culture

This is the flipside of the cultural appropriation thing I was talking about earlier. I’ve already said that one of the motivations for tackling those books was presenting the Mexica in a more favourable light than the Barbarians demonised by the Spanish, or the bloodthirsty incarnation of evil used as a shorthand for villains in too many genre books to mention. And I think that, at least from those (admittedly low) standards, that I’ve succeeded.

The books bring to life the Mexica as a vibrant culture, advanced in many respects from medicine to astronomy (just like the historical culture). And they do so without sweeping human sacrifice under the carpet: sacrifice is seen as a glorious feat, an act of abnegation that averts the end of the world and elevates the sacrifice victim to the same level as the gods – and not as a scary, inhuman and demonised practise.

Religion and magic in the books

I was trying not to replicate what I’d seen in a lot of genre novels, where religion is a lip-service that not only doesn’t really seem to affect the societal structure (whereas it should, profoundly), but is also not followed by a large majority of the people. I’m not saying everyone subscribed to, say, the teachings of the Catholic Church back in the Middle Ages (there were, of course, practitioners of other religions as well as atheists), but it’s highly unlikely that most of the population would have been against Catholicism, and that 90% of the clergy would have seen it only as a stepping stone to power.

In my novels, Acatl is a profoundly devout man (at the expense of his own social advancement), who trusts not only in the existence but also in the powers of the gods, and religion permeates every aspect of daily life. Which isn’t to say, of course, that the clergy wouldn’t be out looking for their own interests: High Priest of Tlaloc Acamapicthli is the perfect example of a man who cares very much for his own advancement (though he also acknowledges the power of the gods).

Melding the Mystery and the Fantasy

Master of the House of Darts by Aliette de BodardAnother motivation for writing the books in the format of an investigation with magic was merging two of my favourite genres. I love fantasy, from Patricia McKillip to Ursula Le Guin and everything in between; but I also gobble up mysteries from writers like Elizabeth George, Tran-Nhut (and forebear Robert Van Gulik) or Arthur Conan Doyle. The one thing that I found really hard to do, when I introduced magic into a mystery storyline, was to strike the right balance: for me, magic should be a little wild and a little dangerous, and not like the magic of a videogame where the rules are set once and for all. At the same time, if magic has no rules, it becomes hard to keep any kind of mystery: after all, if you really can summon the dead from the underworld, why do you even bother having an investigation into a murder? Summon the victim, ask what happened, et voilà, you’re done!

Needless to say, that would have made a really brief series, so I sought to convey a sense of cosmology – an overarching logic that would be followed by magic and by the gods without being a framework so rigid it killed every possibility. By and large, I think that worked pretty well: the magic in the story feels real to me, alien and large and unpredictable, but I never found myself scrambling for reasons to hide information from my main characters. The universe provided everything I needed on its own 🙂

Nezahual-tzin and Teomitl

And, last but not least, something far smaller-scale, a.k.a. my favourite duo of characters. Teomitl is Acatl’s brash and impulsive student of magic, whereas Nezahual-tzin, who the ruler of a beleaguered city, is more measured, more used to hiding his true feelings. And, of course, his fondness for courtesans adds an extra layer of fun, since Teomitl is a bit prissy. Whenever those two are involved in the narration, sparks fly – and the scenes involving those two together were easily my favourite to write.

 
There you go, my favourite and most instructive things about the series, in a universe that has been following me around for six years, three books and three short stories. Hope you enjoyed the retrospective, and don’t forget to pick up the omnibus!

 
Obsidian & Blood is out now and available from all good booksellers – online, offline, chain and indie alike – in both print and ebook formats. Speaking of the latter, you can pick up a DRM-Free ePub edition from our very own Robot Trading Company webstore.

More →
Angry Robot, AR Authors, Other people's business, Robot Round-Up

Robot Round-Up, 29.06.12

Hello, hello and welcome to another Robot Round-Up from your Robot Overlord chums. Can’t think of anything preambly this week, so without further ado, on with the links!

The Hammer and the Blade, by Paul S KempPaul S. Kemp‘s The Hammer and the Blade (out now in the US/CAN and ebook, next Thurs in UK/EU) was reviewed by a number of clearly discerning bloggers of obviously excellent taste this week:

• Alex Brown, writing for the mighty Tor.com, said: “Did I mention how much fun Egil and Nix are? So. Much. Damn. Fun. … I loved it. No, seriously, I really did. The Hammer and the Blade is about as sword and sorcery as it gets.”
• Keith at Adventures Fantastic said: “This is a sword and sorcery novel that reminds you why sword and sorcery is fun in the first place … It’s fast paced, smart, funny, and at times extremely dark.”
• Skuldren at Roqoo Depot said: “If you like sword and sorcery books, The Hammer and the Blade presents an entertaining duo that blows Gotrek and Felix out of the water … It’s witty, fun, entertaining, and explores some interesting themes about the portrayal of women in sword and sorcery tales. I give it a five out of five metal bikinis.”
• Mieneke at A Fantastical Librarian said: “The book is a great romp of a story that will leave you grinning at its characters and humour and leave you cheering when they save the day. Hopefully this is the first of many Egil and Nix tales; I know I’m curious to see what trouble they’ll land themselves in next!”

Paul was also interviewed by fine folks at Roqoo Depot and you can listen to his dulcet tones on the 109th Functional Nerds Podcast.

Obsidian & Blood by Aliette de Bodard, omnibus editionAliette de Bodard‘s Aztec fantasy saga Obsidian & Blood received a fantastic review from Shadowhawk at The Founding Fields, who really made an effort to explore the themes, setting and atmosphere of the three novels, as well as the more obvious character and plot elements, and concluded by saying: “If you are tired of all the medieval Europe fantasy settings and are looking for something different, or you just want to experiment for the fun of it, then this is the collection you should be reading. Obsidian and Blood is a visceral and thrilling ride through the Aztec culture” He gave it 9.5 / 10 as well. Can’t get much better than that.

Also, in a guest post for The Founding Fields, Aliette explores one of her own favourite blog-themes: Writing Convincing Non-Western Fantasy. Well worth a read. Meanwhile, Val’s Random Comments takes a second look at Aliette’s Xuya Universe short fiction.

Jo Anderton’s Debris – the opening volume in the Veiled Worlds series, which continues with our July release Suited – was reviewed by Mieneke at A Fantastical Librarian: “what remains after finishing [Debris] is both a sense of unfinished business and the enjoyment of a fun read … I look forward to starting Suited“.

Congrats to Jo on winning the Australian Horror Writer’s Association short story competition as well!

Night's Engines by Trent JamiesonTrent Jamieson, author of the steampunk-esque apocalyptic duology The Nightbound LandRoil and recently released Night’s Engines – was interviewed by his local radio station for their 4ZZZFM Podcast.

Justin Gustainis‘ second Occult Crimes Investigation, Evil Dark, was reviewed by Sheryl at I Wish I Was a Book: “If you like supernatural detective stories with 3D characters and inventive plots, you’ll have a great time.” And there’s a succinct review at CSI: Librarian, which concluded with: “I can’t wait for the next book in this series, and I wish more Urban Fantasy was written in a similar fashion.”

Justin has also been guest blogging again – and there are giveaways, too – at Dark Faerie Tales (‘Genre Writers Deal With Darkness – Literally’) and Supernatural Snark (‘The Top 15 Things People Say when I tell them I Write Urban Fantasy’).

Madeline Ashby‘s forthcoming vN (August 2012) was reviewed by Odo at Sense of Wonder (also in Spanish): “vN is a fresh and original novel and an extremely interesting debut. I highly recommend it if you want to read a book which is not tour typical humans-vs-robots story.” Madeline has also penned a guest post for The Qwillery entitled ‘Gynoid Trouble’, which covers everything from android psychology to the positioning of artificial females within genre literature and popular culture. A fascinating read, check it out. As well as her lastest blog post: “Are you concerned with where science fiction is going?”.

Chuck Wendig‘s Blackbirds continues to be discovered and win new fans, including Kristin at Owlcat Mountain, who said: “Blackbirds is tough and gritty, and it isn’t afraid to get in your face with a curse and a puff of cigarette smoke. It’s not for sensitive readers, but this dark fantasy is a stand-out among the novels that equate ‘bloody’ with ‘edgy’.” And Battyward at Notes From the Belfry, who got on really well with Miriam Black: “[Miriam] may not be a role model, but like Arya Stark, Lisbeth Salander, or any number of Whedon’s warrior women before her, she’s one girl that doesn’t take any shit.”

Anne Lyle has followed up last week’s appearance as a guest on the Roundtable Podcast by hosting the latest in their writing workshop series.

David Tallerman (author of Giant Thief and its forthcoming sequel, Crown Thief) has posted a series of articles on ‘Ten Things the Small Press Can Do As Well (or Better) Than the Professional Press’ and has provided a handy index to the series.

Lauren BeukesMoxyland has been reviewed at Upcoming4.me: “What struck me most was how Beukes reminded me of something that William Gibson once was, a true visionary with an intuition for expanding the current technology trends.”

Lavie Tidhar‘s The Great Game was reviewed by Theresa at Terror Tree: “Tidhar’s world is energetic and a tad confusing as he switches from points of view and narrative styles, but nevertheless it is a thoroughly fun book and a lively adventure.” And series-opener The Bookman was reviewed by The Broken Bullhorn: “Tidhar is a skilled writer telling a solidly constructed tale. The book finishes with an ending, not a cliffhanger, so it can be read as a stand-alone, though I’ll be moving right along to the second book, Camera Obscura.”

And finally, our soon-to-be-launched YA imprint Strange Chemistry has unleashed another book trailer on the world, with this short teaser for Shift:

That’s all for this week, people. Our regular Robot Round-Up Compilobot is on annual leave for the next couple of Fridays, but we’ll do our best to keep things ticking over in its absence. Failing that, there’ll be the RoboMother of All Round-Ups for you once it’s back at its desk (with electro-ankle-shackles firmly re-affixed, of course…)

More →
Angry Robot, AR Authors, News

Happy US/CAN & ebook Pub Day to Paul S. Kemp, Jo Anderton & Aliette de Bodard!

Our three brand new July 2012 books are officially published next Thursday, but as usual the distribution system in the US and Canada means that our North American editions are out a littler earlier. And the ebook editions are available from today, too.

All of which means that if you’re on the right side of the Atlantic, or if you’re nicely ereader-equipped, you can get your mitts (virtual or otherwise) on the following new books:

 

The Hammer and the Blade, by Paul S KempThe Hammer and The Blade

by Paul S. Kemp

A Tale of Egil and Nix

A fast paced adventure redolent with the best of classic sword and sorcery tales…

Kill the demon. Steal the treasure. Retire to a life of luxury. Sounds easy when you put it like that.

Unfortunately for Egil and Nix, when the demon they kill has friends in high places, retirement is not an option.

More Info, Reviews & Free Extract here

Grab the ebook from the Robot Trading Company!

 

Suited by Jo Anderton, art by Dominic HarmanSuited

by Jo Anderton

The Veiled Worlds, volume II, sequel to Debris

Tanyana has chosen to help the Keeper, to stand against the Puppet Men, who continue to force the Debris into unnatural creations.

And when even her own suit becomes aggressive against her, Tanyana must weigh some very personal issues against her determination to serve the greater good.

More Info, Reviews & Free Extract here

Grab the ebook from the Robot Trading Company!

 

Obsidian & Blood by Aliette de Bodard, omnibus editionObsidian and Blood

by Aliette de Bodard

An omnibus edition of all three volumes of the Aztec Mystery series:

1. Servant of the Underworld
2. Harbinger of the Storm
3. Master of the House of Darts

Acatl is the high priest of the dead to the Aztec Emperors. In this trilogy of historical fantasy mysteries, he investigates murders, disappearances and magical plagues against the blood-drenched backdrop of the pre-Conquest Americas.

More Info & Reviews here

Grab the ebook from the Robot Trading Company!

More →
Angry Robot, AR Authors, Other people's business, Robot Round-Up

Robot Round-Up, 08.06.12

Hello, hello and welcome to another of our regular Robot Round-Up link-a-thons. It’s been a short week here in the Angry Robot UK HQ, thanks to QEII’s diamond jubilee and the associated double bank-holiday. But that hasn’t stopped our authors from doing their thing, nor the massed ranks of reviewers who have been taking a look at an impressive selection of Angry Robot books this week. So, without further ado or digression:

Strangeness and Charm by Mike ShevdonMike Shevdon‘s recently-released Strangeness and Charm – volume III in the Courts of the Feyre series – was reviewed this week by Pablocheesecake The Eloquent Page, who loved it: “The Courts of the Feyre is swiftly becoming one of my favourite series. There is a fantastic quality to Mike Shevdon’s work that I’ve yet to discover anywhere else. Strangeness and Charm is a great example of modern urban fantasy executed perfectly.” Paul Simpson at SciFi Bulletin enjoyed Mike’s attention to historical detail: “Shevdon incorporates a lot of real history into his stories (although having lived there for a long time, I don’t recall there being a museum in Burgess Hill that has useful artefacts that can be used for nefarious purposes – maybe there’s a glamour on it?” Mike could tell you the answer to that one, but then he’d have to magically mind-wipe you. (Or maybe he already did..?)

Paul S. Kemp‘s The Hammer and the Blade is out next month and the reviews are continuing to flood in (bullet-point time…)

• Bane of Kings at The Founding Fields: “An awesome fantasy novel shows that Kemp can work his magic in almost any setting, be it in a galaxy far far away, the Warhammer World or in his own creation. A rollercoaster ride that is not to be missed.”
• Matthew at Silver Pen Scribe: “I wouldn’t hesitate in picking up on future novels featuring Egil and Nix … I’d gladly take part in any adventure those two set out on, and treasure every blessed moment.”
• Ryan at Battle Hymns: “If you like your fantasy to have stakes that are more personal than epic, and if you like heroes who are short on morals, then The Hammer and the Blade is for you. You’ll get a heavy dose of action and adventure, and a plot that will make it hard to put this book down.”
• Rebekah, for the British Fantasy Society: “To all intents and purposes this is a buddy movie waiting to happen, and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment. It kept my attention and interest throughout and has obvious potential to continue and develop.”
• A succinct summary from Gillian Pollack: “enough humour and enough cliff-hangeriness to make every page worth turning”. (We’re with Gillian: if ‘cliff-hangeriness’ isn’t a word then it bloody well should be.)

The Hammer and the Blade, by Paul S KempPaul has been talking to The Founding Fields, about The Hammer and the Blade and the differences in writing shared-universe and original creation fiction and to Big Shiny Robot about lots more Egil & Nix related stuff. There’s another interview with Paul at Civilian Reader, with lots of discussion of The Hammer and the Blade as well as Paul’s writing influences and practices, plus his advice for would-be tie-in / shared-universe writers out there. And over on his blog Paul presents Ten Reasons to Buy The Hammer and the Blade, none of which we could argue with (especially number 6 – who wants pet pee in their shoe, eh? – and number 4, which goes without saying…)

Madeline Ashby‘s vN (August 2012) was reviewed by Carl Barker for the British Fantasy Society, who had this to say: “With an excellent grasp of her subject matter and much to say within the genre, Ashby looks set to become one of the most important new voices in this particular branch of SF, and I for one shall be awaiting her next book with great interest. Download to your system at the earliest opportunity.”

Lee Battersby, author of The Corpse-Rat King (September 2012) has been profiled and interviewed for an Aussie Snapshot at Ebon Shores. Lee has begun posting on-request excerpts from The Corpse-Rat King via his Facebook Page and, come publication day, two lucky participants will win ebook copies of the book… full details on Lee’s blog.

Leo Elijah Cristea was suitably impressed with Anne Lyle‘s The Alchemist of Souls and said so in his review: “Anne Lyle’s writing is beautiful, elegant and gripping; be prepared to be swept away to a rich and colourful depiction of a different Elizabethan England, where treachery and danger abound.”

Adam Christopher‘s debut Empire State was reviewed by Vinca for SF Crows Nest: “With enough twists and turns to keep you engaged throughout this was an entertaining novel and a highly promising debut from Adam Christopher.” And Empire State has also been spotted in the wild, in the Empire State Building Gift Shop, no less. Now that’s what we call product placement!

We think this is a first for one of our books: a drunken video review of Chuck Wendig‘s Blackbirds by LeAnna the Literary Lush:

Not that we condone the excessive consumption of alcohol per se but… ah, hell, who are we kidding? We work in publishing for crying out loud! Hugely entertaining drunken reviews? More, please! (Chuck was impressed, too.)

Amortals by Matt Forbeck was reviewed by Shadowhawk at The Founding Fields, who said: “Incredibly gripping and a downright science-fiction thriller, Amortals is a non-stop roller-coaster ride.” Matt was also the guest of honour of the 37th episode of the Audio Tim podcast. Well worth a listen.

Harbinger of the Storm by Aliette de Bodard was reviewed by Hannah at My Book Journey: “The fast pace and intrigue pull you into a captivating world, where the fury and vengeance of the gods can change everything and no one can be trusted.” There’s also a short and slightly odd one-question interview with Aliette at The Science of Fiction. Plus: Aliette’s short story ‘Immersion’ has been published at Clarkesworlds Magazine, and Aliette has posted her Author’s Notes on her own blog.

Lauren Beukes‘ Arthur C. Clarke Award-Winning Zoo City was reviewed by Bane of Kings for The Founding Fields: “A wonderful ride, entertaining and unputdownable. You won’t want to miss this.”

Lavie Tidhar‘s short story ‘A Brief History of the Great Pubs of London’ is now available in audio form via Dark Fiction Magazine, narrated by our very own Emma Newman, no less!

Chris F. Holm has been guest blogging at Criminal Minds on the subject of pets – specifically, why Sam Thornton, protagonist and star of Dead Harvest doesn’t have one.

Guy Haley has posted his latest Monday Short Story: ‘The Great Tide‘.

Gary McMahon shares his Top 5 Horror Films.

Trent Jamieson has posted another Book Corner Vidblog, offering some deeply sage advice on the subject of ‘How to Win Awards’. Watch and learn, people. Watch and learn…

Chuck Wendig reveals… [drum-roll, please!] The Secret to Writing! Seriously. And not as complicated as you might think.

GalleyCat gave us a mention in an article on DRM-Free eBooks. Cheers, Galleycat!

And our Amanda has been talking Buffy at Stella Matutina.

Phew! That’ll do for this week. Is it beer o’clock yet? No? Well somebody show some initiative and move the clocks an hour forward, dammit!

See you again, same time, same blog, next week.

More →
Angry Robot, Other people's business, Robot Round-Up

Robot Round-Up, 11.05.12

Hello, hello and welcome to the latest Robot Round-Up. We’re kicking off with a couple of pieces of coverage for one of our forthcoming titles, Madeline Ashby‘s debut novel vN, which we have more than a sneaking suspicion you’ll be hearing a lot more about this summer:

Charlie Jane Anders has reviewed vN for the mighty IO9.com and under the headline “The Most Messed Up Book About Robot Consciousness Ever” draws a few comparisons to Philip K. Dick, Amy Thomson and Battlestar Galactica, before concluding “So yeah, if you have been missing the kind of thought-provoking-yet-exciting stories about artificial creatures that only come along once in a while, vN is well worth grabbing … a strikingly fresh work of mind-expanding science fiction.” We’ve also heard from the one and only Cory Doctorow, whose full review will be going live on BoingBoing later in the year, but who has given us permission to post a snippet in the meantime: “Ashby’s debut is a fantastic adventure story that carries a sly philosophical payload about power and privilege, gender and race. It is often profound, and it is never boring.”

You can look forward to seeing vN on a bookshelf near you (virtual or otherwise) from August onwards.

Back to our current crop of top-notch new novels and we’ve seen a bunch of new reviews of Justin Gustainis‘ second Occult Crimes Investigation, Evil Dark, this week (enough for him to get his own bullet-list, no less):

• Ed at Starburst Magazine said: “Fans of TV shows like Supernatural and Grimm will find this worth a read, and it’s a lovely mix of real world nightmare and fantastic horror” and draws comparisons to Mike Mignola and Jim Butcher as well.
• Over at The Bibliophilic Book Blog, they said: “Rich and diverse, this gritty noir thriller will leave you thirsting for more!”
• Julia at All Things Urban Fantasy said: “The dry police banter, methodical exploration of crimes, and a story and world that were easy to jump into make this a great introduction to the series as well as a satisfying stand alone.”
• Mieneke at A Fantastical Librarian said: “Evil Dark was a terrifically entertaining read, which kept me invested in its characters from beginning to end.”
• Laura at Book Chick City reviewed series-opener Hard Spell and said: “Hard Spell was a nice sojourn from my usual urban fantasy style. Gritty, dark, with a mystery that kept you guessing … An enjoyable read for urban fantasy and police drama fans alike.”

Justin has guest-blogged at The Bibliophilic Book Blog as well, on the subject of James Bond… but not as we know him. And at All Things Urban Fantasy he muses on the topic of “What the Hell Is Urban Fantasy, Anyway?”

Blackbirds, by Chuck WendigBlackbirds by Chuck Wendig has been on the receiving end of another round of glowing reviews in the past few days:

• Gef at Wag the Fox said: “I want to find fault with the novel somewhere, but nothing springs to mind. The damned thing is about as immaculately gritty and unrelenting, while avoiding nihilistic venom, as a guy like me could ask for. I have a feeling this one will be on a lot of summer reading lists this year.”
• Niall at The Speculative Scotsman said: “Chuck Wendig was one to watch beforehand, but with this twisted little treat he cements an already-estimable reputation. Blackbirds is dirty, filthy, nasty… fantastic. If you can stand the sight of some awfully ugly stuff, you’re exceedingly likely to love it.”
• Ros at Warpcore SF said: “I finished the book wanting to know more about Miriam’s world with all its peeling paintwork, fading bruises, and grotification. It’s the kind of story where no-one is getting out without a fair amount of staining, but the characters are more interesting as a result.”
• Bobby at This Writing Life, drawing a comparison between Chuck and The Beastie Boys c.1984, said: “Look in the dictionary under the word audacious. There’ll be a picture of Chuck Wendig.”

Chris F. Holm is the subject of a New Author Profile at SF Signal. He’s also a guest, along with Stina Leicht, on the 102nd episode of the Functional nerds Podcast. Meanwhile, Dead Harvest has been reviewed by Dan O’Shea, who said: “If you are an urban fantasy fan, than Dead Harvest is sure to be a new favorite. But even if you’re not, I encourage you to give it a shot.”

David Tallerman – author of Giant Thief and the forthcoming sequel Crown Thief (October 2012) – has been interviewed at length by Ryan at Fantasy Book Review, with discussion roaming over David’s writing habits, the background and inspiration for Giant Thief and his plans for the future.

Snippets from our Authors’ Blogs:

Guy Haley has been exploring the Mythology of Star Wars and has re-posted a 2010 interview with fellow AR author Dan Abnett as well.

Aliette de Bodard has been discussing SFF as metaphor: aliens, vampires, foreigners and immigrants, sparking off a lively debate in the comments thread in the process.

Gary McMahon has been getting to grips with Meme Horror and in the process has discovered the creepy delights of Marble Hornets, which by all accounts isn’t for the faint-hearted: “The whole thing is both epic and intimate, absurd and insightful, messy and often completeley fucking terrifying. I think it’s the first masterpiece of internet-based meme fiction.”

Chuck Wendig was both surprised and delighted to realise that he has fans. We weren’t. Surprised, that is. Delighted, definitely. But not surprised in the slightest.

Anne Lyle is giving away three copies of her swashbuckling, Elizabethan alt-history debut novel The Alchemist of Souls to readers from the UK/EU. Head on over to www.annelyle.com for entry details.

And finally…

Here’s a short animated film by Kibwe Tavares that was released last year and won a great deal of acclaim, as well as the RIBA Presidents’ Medal, but which we (or I anyway – DT) only saw for the first time this week thanks to a mention from Mark C Newton.

Robots of Brixton… welcome to your robo-future, meat-sacks:

(Hmmm. A tale of dark, dystopian robotics? That’s a meme we like the sound of. Wonder where we can get us some more of that sort of thing..?)

More →