Archive for Angry Robot
“Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth”
It’s a blazingly hot day, June 1993. I’m nine years old and this memory is the only one I have of that particular summer, although I can certainly fill in the blanks with memories from other years—swimming pools and sprinklers and summer camp enrollment designed to keep TV from melting my brain out through my ears. But those memories are generic. This one’s special.
The whole family’s going to the movies. Me, my mom, my dad, my brother. We pile into the car and drive down to the theater for the first showing at mid-morning, arriving nearly forty minutes early. We’re the only people in the theater for at first. This early-arrival-at-a-morning-show is a scheme of my parents, who frequently go to excessive lengths to avoid “the crowds.” (I won’t see the inside of an amusement park until I’m an adult for this reason.) We settle into the best seats in the theater, Cokes and popcorn at the ready, and wait.
The movie we’re waiting for is Jurassic Park.
There are a handful of movies I remember seeing in the theater, and Jurassic Park is one of the earliest, after The Little Mermaid. At nine years old, I was terrified throughout the entire thing, covering my eyes whenever I thought a dinosaur was about to eat someone, but when I walked out of the theater I was completely enamored. Jurassic Park was now my favorite movie; later, it would be my favorite book as well. I dreamed of becoming a paleontologist and wearing kicky high-waisted shorts like Dr. Sattler, and for the next few years, any trips to the dinosaur exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science were spent ogling up at the big T-Rex skeleton in the entryway, pretending I had a PhD and one of those brushes for dusting dirt away from bones.
Jurassic Park was the first science fiction property to capture attention and earn my love. Like others my age, I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation (and putting my headband over my eyes so I could be Geordi), and as a child I caught Star Wars on TBS one dreary Saturday afternoon, although for years afterward I would confuse it with Cocoon. Science fiction novels weren’t really on my radar unless they made their way to the Newbery Medal nominee list. But Jurassic Park changed all that. There is a sense of wonder present in that movie which has stuck with me—remember the scene when Dr. Sattler and Dr. Grant see the dinosaurs for the very first time? I still remember the chill I got when I watched their expressions of shock and delight, and that’s the same feeling I get whenever I experience great science fiction, whether I find it on the page, on the screen, or in my imagination.
I originally intended to write this blog post about Dr. Sattler—how she was given the save-the-day scenes in the movie, and had to face down velociraptors and turn the power back on while Dr. Grant was tasked with the more nurturing role of caring for Hammond’s two grandkids. And that’s worth mentioning, although as a kid I didn’t admire her for being Action Girl and Subverting Gender Expectations. Rather, I admired her because she was smart, and pretty, and a scientist. She was the sort of person I wanted to grow up to be—the sort of woman I wanted to grow up to be.
And no, I never became a scientist. I became a writer instead, a science fiction writer. But I do think in some small way, Jurassic Park—and Dr. Ellie Sattler—helped me find that path. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Continuing our celebration of International Women’s Day, today’s piece comes from one of our newest authors – Ishbelle Bee
In Space Only Men Scream
“That’s the only way. We’ll move in pairs. We’ll go step by step and cut off every bulkhead and every vent until we have it cornered. And then we’ll blow it the fuck out into space! Is that acceptable to you?”
One of the most influential female characters for me is that of Ellen Ripley from the Alien films franchise. Female power and Queenship are explored through Ripley and her demonic counterpart, the Alien Queen. Male power is usurped, weak and in some cases artificial (androids); their role reduced to ‘food’ for the alien. These themes have inspired my own work and Ripley remains to me, one of the most powerful and iconic female roles I have come across.
‘The alien is more than phallus; it is also coded as toothed vagina, the monstrous feminine as cannibalistic mother.’ (Creed, 1986, p. 69 ‘Horror and the monstrous-feminine: an imaginary abjection’ Screen 27)
Giger’s Alien Queen as a divine devourer; where humans are edible offerings, is both beautiful and terrifying. Any thought of a degrading stereotypical female role, which entertains the masculine voyeur is squashed underfoot.
It is a shame, therefore, that we are still subjected to female protagonists who resemble little more than blow up sex dolls: gormless, restricted to minimal dialogue, and liable to puncture easily.
Marianne de Pierres provides us with our second piece to celebrate International Women’s Day. Hope you all enjoy! Remember please comment on these posts, we’d love to get your opinions and discuss your views with you!
Story Straws Gathered and Glued
At 53 I’m not a young writer, but neither do I feel even slightly old! I have reached stage in my life though, where everything that has gone before has suddenly become something I can write about. It’s quite interesting really. For many years, just living and surviving life was my mantra. I was writing and imagining stories along the way, sure, but they were stories born of desperation and immediacy – whatever was on the edge of my brain and at the tip of my fingers. Story straws gathered and glued together in the heat of now. Lots of tales about women surviving oppression, as I indeed felt that, as both a mother and a woman in a still largely patriarchal society.
More recently, the stories are coming from a different place. They’re a spring bubbling up from a deeper reservoir inside me. Take PEACEMAKER, for instance. The story was inspired by reading the full set of Zane Grey novels at the age of sixteen and Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock in my twenties – an unlikely combination. My recent Night Creatures YA series turned into an exorcism of old boarding school demons, and just the other day, I just wrote a short story (still unpublished) based on an incident that happened when I was 13. WTF?
With the change, I’m noticing a maturity in my work. For the first time since I became a writer, I have the opportunity to actually think and reflect and even tentatively speculate rather than just lash out and crack whips. Maybe that really is a sign of age. Whatever the case, writing has taken on a meta-appeal for me, as I wait to see what the inner well will let escape and float to the top next. Who needs therapy when a good book will do?
I’d really love to hear from other writers and bloggers on their own thoughts and experiences.
Here is the first of our posts celebrating International Women’s Day!
Female Protagonists in Traditional Fantasy.
Like many fantasy readers, I have grown up reading “The Lord of the Rings”. I adored these books and found myself deeply submerged into the worlds they opened to my imagination. For the longest time I took it for granted that many classical fantasies did not have any major female characters, definitely not among those who drove the events. True, there is Galadriel, and Arwen, and Eowyn, all of them memorable and powerful. But lead characters? Hardly.
Some of the newer fantasy books started successfully introducing women as lead characters and slowly expanding on their role. Many attributed this change to the emergence of major female authors, such as Marion Zimmer Bradley with her Darkover series and her all-time bestseller “Mists of Avalon”. Others said that, at least in fantasy, this had to do with the growing audience of female readers. I am not certain what the real reasons are. I have seen authors of both genders use males or females as protagonists, and I know for a fact that female readers enjoy both men and women in leading roles. In my view, this change has more to do with common sense, a realization that the world, even in books, is more complex than we used to believe. I tend to compare it to the change in painting technique, when, in 15th century, artists realized how to use perspective to show dimension. This happened in the society, especially in respect to women. It took longer in fantasy, but came as a natural step in the development of the genre.
These days we expect strong female leads in fantasy, and would feel unnatural reading a book prominently devoid of women. It is very interesting to observe how female point of view has enriched traditional fantasy, bringing a whole new angle into the story and enabling character development in a number of different ways. On a very basic level, leading female characters greatly expand the range of possibilities of what the main character should be all about. In the old days we got used to warriors, or dark mysterious strangers, or regular guys who are unexpectedly landed with the necessity of saving the world. All of these parts can easily be played by females. But more than that, female leads provide the previously missing second half, enabling the complexity of the interaction between sexes—romance, domination, or competition—with no rules in place. As an author, I find all these angles irresistible to explore.
The leading character in “Blades of the Old Empire”—an elite Majat warrior, Kara—seems fairly traditional on the outside. She is a fighter only a few can stand up to, and thus can easily fill the shoes of a traditional warrior type. She is also a beautiful woman many desire, and she can handle unwanted attention without a problem. But, unlike a typical attractive warrior in traditional fantasy, she is not competitive or aggressive. Instead, she has an inner strain that has to do with having to live with the combination of beauty and skill. This makes her enigmatic, an angle that emerged on its own and was so fun to build upon.
Initially I worked off a simple reversal of roles. Instead of the traditional pair, helpless but gifted girl protected by a strong male warrior, I have a gifted young man, not helpless but definitely a regular guy when it comes to fighting, protected by a strong female warrior. Building on this reversal, I found several aspects that enabled new levels of depth in the story. First, to enhance the enigma around Kara, I removed her point of view, showing her entirely through the eyes of a young man who is in love with her. Second, I gave her a nearly impossible problem to work with. And then it was literally down to sitting back and watching how everything about this woman I created feeds the major conflicts in the story. And yes, her point of view is coming, in the second book in the series. This reversal, getting into her head after I already learned so much about her, was even more fun.
As an author I feel fortunate to have entered the scene at the time when women characters are established an expected. I will probably never cease to feel amazed how female perspective in fantasy brings in a unique angle, a new dimension that both authors and readers can appreciate.
Given up the usual sweet treats for Lent? Perhaps you’re going without social media, cigarettes, or that extra shop-bought coffee. Here’s a Lenten idea: read more books! We’re celebrating the ultimate in divine comedy with a Goodreads Giveaway for Last God Standing by Michael Boatman: 40 copies over 40 days & nights. Here’s the entry details:
WIN 100 EBOOKS!
Earlier this month we published Angry Robot’s 100th book (Adam Christopher’s Hang Wire), and we’ve had lots of special offers and competitions with various online and offline partners. Today we’re running our last competition.
This competition is not open to residents of the US and Canada (though residents of Quebec may enter)*, but if you live anywhere else in the world you may enter.
The prize? Each of the first 100 Angry Robot ebooks on a shiny robot USB stick (click here for the full list).
How To Enter
Simply leave your favourite joke in the comments section, below, and once you’ve done it copy and Tweet the following:
Happy 100th Book to Angry Robot. Read my favourite joke at http://tinyurl.com/Angry100 #AR100
You get one entry for leaving your joke, and one extra entry for Tweeting. If you don’t have a Twitter account, don’t worry, you can still enter – you just get one name in the hat, instead of two.
Competition is open until we get into the office around 8.00am GMT on Monday 3rd March. We’ll announce the winner soon after.
*The magnificent folk at the equally magnificent Tor.com ran a similar competition (with the same prize) for residents of the US and Canada (excluding Quebec), so we thought it fair to let everyone else have a turn.
Last night (10pm-midnight GMT, 5pm-7pm EST) Angry Robot’s North American Sales & Marketing Manager, Mike Underwood, joined forces with Senior Editor Lee Harris to answer questions at r/Fantasy over at Reddit about Angry Robot, publishing in general, and socks*. There were lots of excellent questions, and very few rubbish ones.
Head on over to reddit.com/r/fantasy to read some of the responses…
*That one’s a lie.
Attention all Earthlings (and attentive extra-terrestrials),
We are very excited to share our latest acquisition with you! The deal, for Worldwide Rights, for The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath by Ishbelle Bee was negotiated between our Senior Editor Lee Harris and Bryony Woods of Diamond Kahn Woods. This sumptuous fairytale for adults will be published in November, with a sequel to follow in July 2015.
With a wonderful title – and by the way, the subtitle is The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, ESQ – I think we need to go straight to the blurb:
The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath
The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, ESQ
In the summer of 1887 my grandfather stole a clock.
It was six feet high
and the shape of a coffin.
1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds. Mirror does not know what she is, but she knows she is no longer human.
John Loveheart, meanwhile, was not born wicked. But after the sinister death of his parents, he was taken by Mr Fingers, the demon lord of the underworld. Some say he is mad. John would be inclined to agree.
Now Mr Fingers is determined to find the little girl called Mirror, whose flesh he intends to eat, and whose soul is the key to his eternal reign. And John Loveheart has been called by his otherworldly father to help him track Mirror down…
Lee: “Finding Mirror and Goliath in my reading list was a dream come true – it was one of those books that the whole team immediately fell in love with, and I can’t wait to share this one with our readers!”
Bryony: ”I’m thrilled to have found such a perfect home for Mirror and Goliath, and I know that Angry Robot will publish Ishbelle’s wonderful novels with all the passion and enthusiasm that they deserve.”
And now, here’s Ishbelle:
ISHBELLE BEE writes horror and loves fairy-tales, the Victorian period (especially top hats!) and cake tents at village fêtes. (She believes serial killers usually opt for the Victoria Sponge). She currently lives in Edinburgh. She doesn’t own a rescue cat, but if she did his name would be Mr Pickles.
The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath will be published in glorious hardback, and we’re sure will be a hit with everyone who loves fairy stories, old and young alike.
Welcome aboard, Ishbelle!
The Aurealis Awards are the premier Australian awards, recognising the achievements of Australian SF.F and WTF writers. The 2013 finalists have just been announced, and – as ever – the shortlist is chock full of literary fabulosity.
Elsewhere, other Angry Robot authors fight the good fight:
Other AR authors’ nominations
Jo Anderton‘s Mah Song (shortlisted for Best YA Short Fiction)
Jo Anderton’s Fencelines (shortlisted for Best Horror Short Fiction)
Jo Anderton’s The Last Tiger (shortlisted for Best Science Fiction Short Fiction)
Jo Anderton’s Mah Song (also shortlisted for Best Science Fiction Short Fiction)
Jo Anderton’s The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories (shortlisted for Best Collection)
Kaaron Warren‘s The Human Moth (shortlisted for Best Horror Short Fiction)
Kaaron Warren’s Air, Water and the Grove (shortlisted for Best Science Fiction Short Fiction)
Good luck to all of the nominees!
Last night saw the fifth Kitschies Awards at a packed venue in Covent Garden. The Kitschies reward the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic. Nexus by Ramez Naam was shortlisted for the Golden Tentacle Award (debut novel). And Will Staehle’s brilliant cover to Adam Christopher’s The Age Atomic was shortlisted for the Inky Tentacle Award (cover art).
In a hugely-competitive shortlist, Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice won the Golden Tentacle, but Will’s cover (right – click to biggerify it) won the Inky Tentacle! Both Will and Ramez will receive a bottle of Kraken Rum (*turns to face camera*: The Best Rum And No Mistake). As category winner, Mr Staehle will also receive a nice cheque (or check as he’s in the US) for £500.
You can find the full list of nominees and winners, at the Kitschies website.
And here’s the tentacle, held beautifully by a professional hand model, hired with no thought given to the cost, and not Angry Robot’s Lee, who apparently doesn’t know how to iron sleeves, no, not him at all:
After browsing the Kitschies Awards site, it appears that we are the only publisher to have ever won more than 2 Kitschies Awards (we’ve won one in each of the three main categories – Novel (Zoo City by Lauren Beukes), Debut (King Maker by Maurice Broaddus) and Cover Art (see above) – a feat unmatched by even the biggest publishers in the world). We’re also the only publisher to have more than 5 works shortlisted since the awards’ inception (and this includes the first year, when we couldn’t be shortlisted for anything, as we hadn’t started publishing at that point). That feels like a good reason for another shot of rum… :-)
We know you’ve been awaiting this news, and it gives us great pleasure to announce The Rebirths of Tao will be released in January 2015. The final instalment in the Lives of Tao trilogy, this stunning conclusion will be available in ebook and the UK on 30 December 2014 and in the UK / ROW on 1 January 2015. The deal, for worldwide English rights was negotiated between Lee Harris and Chu’s agent, Russell Galen of Scovil Galen Ghosh.
Wesley Chu: ”I am thrilled to continue the Tao series with Angry Robot Books. Together, over the past two years, the ill-tempered droids and I have gloriously kicked the crap out of Roen and Tao, and laid waste to those human-loving Prophus. Now, it’s death, taxes, and the Genjix. People of Earth, prepare for the final battle. You’re about to get rocked.”
Lee Harris: “Roen and Tao’s story became a firm favourite as soon as we published book 1, The Lives of Tao. Book 2 confirmed Wesley’s talent, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us in the conclusion!”
Five years have passed since the events in The Deaths of Tao. The world is split into pro-Prophus and pro-Genjix factions, and is poised on the edge of a devastating new World War. A Genjix scientist who defects to the other side holds the key to preventing bloodshed on an almost unimaginable scale.
With the might of the Genjix in active pursuit, Roen is the only person who can help him save the world, and the Quasing race, too.
And you thought you were having a stressful day…
It’s round up time again and this week we’re taking a look at all the fantastic awards and nominations our authors have been getting lately!
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
First up, we’re so excited that The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke has been nominated for the Philip K. Dick award! What is it about this book that readers and critics love so much? Here are just a few of the many amazing reviews:
“You won’t be the same after you read The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, trust me. [...] Rich, complex, and delightfully-developed, The Madman’s Daughter opens up new worlds of possibility and does so with elegance and grace.”
-s.e. smith, at this ain’t livin’
“The characters are what drives this story, whether it’s Cat struggling through life, her mad yet grounded and caring father, the friends and lovers Cat meets throughout her life, or Finn, the android who doesn’t want to be human yet seems like the most perfect creation.”
- Katherine Stubbs, Shades of Sentience
“One of the most heart-clenching and gut-wrenching love stories I have ever read. I bet no-one reading this review has ever read an unrequited love story where the love is only unrequited because science has not made it possible, yet. Heart meet knife! Clarke’s exploration of human nature versus science versus faith versus the disingenuous youth are the reasons this book needs to be read and loved by everyone.”
– Vicki, Open Book Society
“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!”
- Wendy of the Geek Syndicate
“The twist is that the cool, rational Finn is a robot, and Cat’s love for him is unrequited because she ages while he does not, and he is not programmed to respond to her emotions. It’s a neat premise and Clark examines the ramifications with the precision of a poet”.
- Eric Brown, The Guardian
“It’s not a story of future heroism. It’s not even, really, a story about robots. It’s a story of live and failure and expectations. It is, perhaps, in its relentless examination of one woman’s life, one of the most realistic science fiction stories ever told.”
- Michael Ann Dobbs for IO9.com
“Cat is a finely etched character, difficult, distant, and living in denial of her true feelings for years … Cassandra Rose Clarke does a fine job of staying inside her protagonist’s head, and capturing what it’s like to drift through life without the will or the opportunity to make the best decisions.”
- Adam-Troy Castro, Sci Fi Magazine (print only)
“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.”
- Tammy Sparks, Books, Bones & Buffy
“This book is about LOVE mostly and family, betrayal, emotion and what happiness means, but so totally science fiction. It is an amazing book and I enjoyed so much that I will be looking for more books by Cassandra Rose Clarke.”
- Katie Turner, Turner’s Antics
“At it’s heart, it’s a beautifully written story, not only exploring the complexities between Cat and Finn, but also her changing relationships with her parents, and the other men who enter her life.”
- Michelle, BCF Book Reviews
“I read this book with a constant sense of impending doom…I expected disaster and drama around ever corner. But this isn’t one of those books. This book is more subtle, a much more realistic picture of an imagined world, and I loved it.”
- Leah at LeahRhyne.com
“Cassandra Rose Clarke has proven she can write with the best of them in this one and I expect this was just a taste of what is to come from her.”
- Liam, The Troubled Scribe
“this book is heavy on the romance side. The science fiction element is there but very subtle but not as much until it becomes superficial. Instead, it gives the story this otherworldly quality.”
- Zuleeza at **QWERTY**
Nexus by Ramez Naam
Second, the fantastic Nexus by Ramez Naam has been nominated for the Golden Tentacle (Debut) award in the Kitschies! Congratulations also to the wonderful Will Staehle, whose cover art for The Age Atomic by Adam Christopher has been nominated for the Inky Tentacle.
Here’s what just a few people have had to say about Nexus:
“Ramez Naam’s debut novel Nexus is a superbly plotted high-tension technothriller about a War-on-Drugs-style crackdown on brain/computer interfaces … full of delicious, thoughtful moral ambiguity … excellent spycraft, kick-ass action scenes, and a chilling look at a future cold war over technology and ideology, making a hell of a read.”
- Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing
“It’s good. Scary good. Take a chance and stop reading now and have a great time reading a bleeding edge technical thriller that is full of surprises.”
- James Floyd Kelly, Wired.com’s GeekDad blog
“a fast, fun read which is both emotionally engaging and thought-provoking. You’ll be mulling over the implications of Nexus — the book and the drug — long after you put the book down.”
- Annalee Newitz, IO9.com
“Naam displays a Michael Crichton-like ability to explain cutting-edge research via the medium of an airport techno-thriller.”
- SFX Magazine
“the action scenes are crisp, the glimpses of future tech and culture are mesmerizing”
- Publishers Weekly
“Mr. Naam sees all the angles of future technology almost too imaginatively to keep up with … Nexus joins Paul McAuley’s Fairyland (1995) as a double-edged vision of the post-human.”
- Tom Shippey, Wall Street Journal
“This sophisticated page-turning techno-thriller is one of my favorite stories of all time … Naam is remarkable in his ability to address deep philosophical concepts while keeping the story line light, fast, and action-packed.”
- Stephen L. Macknik, Scientific American Illusion Chasers blog
“Naam, an expert in new technologies and author of More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement (2005), turns in a stellar performance with his debut sf novel … Naam has set himself a difficult challenge here: he’s telling a story in which much of the action and dialogue takes place inside the characters’ minds. But he succeeds admirably”.
- David Pitt, BookList
“a very readable book … deals with real world ramifications of next-generation technology in a believable, if somewhat scary, fashion. It’s accurate without being boring, and action-packed without being trite or vapid.”
- Matthew S. Dent, Interzone
The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu
The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu, which has not only been receiving amazing reviews but also made it into the top ten of the Goodreads Choice Awards science fiction novels of 2013, has now been given an Alex (ALA) Award for adult books that appeal to teens! Want a reminder of why Tao is getting so much love?
Since the moment I finished Wesley Chu’s debut novel, The Lives of Tao, I called reading it ‘the most fun I’ve had this year.’
- Staffer’s Book Review
Note to James Patterson fans: this is how to write a sci-fi page turner.
- Sci-Fi Bulletin
A sci-fi thriller this may be, but it has a lot of emotional depth to it.
- Fantasy Faction
Wesley Chu’s debut novel The Lives of Tao is a fun book that will appeal directly to those who enjoy Charles Stross’s Laundry novels (2004-).
- Strange Horizons
The Lives of Tao is a fun book with a lot of energy and it really worked for me. Full of action, adventure, martial arts, gunplay, and large quantities of geeky goodness. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for something a lighter than the current swathe of serious sci-fi / fantasy.
– Fantasy Book Review
An exceptionally entertaining book, Chu’s writing is easy to consume and leaves you wanting more. Definitely one to read, and an author to watch.
– British Fantasy Society
…makes this book what it is: one of the freshest, most fun debuts I’ve read in quite a while!
- My Bookish Ways
I think this is 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. The story is a nice one with a bit of everything to satisfy most readers, beginning with characterization.
- Fantasy Book Critic
We need to be able to identify with what’s going on, and while sci-fi has historically given us a vehicle to discuss some very serious things by using the unreality as a smokescreen (female officers on the Enterprise and whatnot) to tell a really compelling and interesting story in science fiction, the window dressing of future worlds and alien species needs to still allow reasonable suspension of disbelief and Chu absolutely nails it.
– Speculative Post
“Vividly entertaining, this is a book that looks past the lively and thrilling glamour of life as an international spy and also merges several genres together into a cohesive whole to tell a story that rocks from start to finish.”
– The Founding Fields (Shadowhawk)
“The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu is a very interesting book, and right from the start you will find yourself drawn into the strong narrative and the interesting characters.”
– The Founding Fields (Bane of Kings)
You guys, this book was just AWESOME. I literally don’t have a single complaint about it. It was an action-packed, fun-filled joy ride and I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for Roen and Tao.
– Sarah Says Read
It’s easy to forget about all of that science fiction stuff when you are busy laughing at and cheering for Roen Tan. And that, more than anything else, makes The Lives of Tao one of the best debuts I’ve read this year.
– The 52 Review
Pantomime by Laura Lam
Lastly, we wanted to mention one of our Strange Chemistry titles that has also been pulling in a lot of praise and awards nominations recently. Pantomime, a YA fantasy novel by Laura Lam, has been shortlisted in the 2014 NE Teen Book Award, nominated for the 2014 ALA Popular Paperbacks List in the GLBTQ category and the 2014 Cybils Award, and has been announced in the final 2014 Rainbow List! Wow! So what makes Pantomime so special? Here is just a small selection of what people have been saying:
“Pantomime by Laura Lam took me into a detailed and exotic world, peopled by characters that I’d love to be friends with . . . and some I’d never want to cross paths with.”
– Robin Hobb, author of the Farseer trilogy
“Ancient myths, vintage tech and living wonders abound in the riotous carnival of fancy which is Pantomime. Lam paints her world with greasepaint and stardust while exploring the notion of the circus ‘freak’ with subtle brilliance. A spectacular and brave debut!”
- Kim Lakin-Smith, author of Cyber Circus
“The atmosphere of R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is everything that I have been missing in other circus reads of late . . . It’s a brave book and one that deserves to be read by a wide audience.”
- Ellie @ Curiosity Killed the Bookworm
“These characters are brilliant . . . You can’t help but fall in love with each of them in turn . . . A completely eye-opening, enthralling debut.”
- Joanne @ Once Upon a Bookcase
“Pantomime is a dark, gritty world where all the fun of the fair can turn sinister at any time.”
- Hannah @ My Book Journey
“A fantastic read, a stunning debut and a jaw dropping secret! I cannot wait for book two.”
- Kirsty @ The Overflowing Library
“If there’s ever a book that you need to rush out and pre-order this is it . . . Pantomime is quite possibly one of the best fantasies of its type I have read this year.”
- Raimy @ Readaraptor
“Read Pantomime and know what good fantasy can be: intricate, heartbreaking and heartwarming. The best new book I’ve read this year.”
- Andrew Hook
“Pantomime has all the magic and mystery of The Night Circus . . .”
- Maria M. Elmvang
“ I actually stayed up to the early hours of the morning because I just needed to know what was going to happen . . . Pantomime is a fascinating, exciting, thought provoking, colourful read.”
- Leanne @ District YA