Archive for Robot Round-Up
Damn, April already? Isn’t this year flying past? But also, that means that it’s British launch week for the wonderful The Age Atomic, the terrifying Black Feathers and the incontinence-inducing hilarity of The Marching Dead.
That man Joseph D’Lacey has been hither and thither promoting his book in the UK, and many thanks to Blackwells and Big Green for letting us hijack your stores. Black Feathers is getting raves everywhere right now:
• The mighty Tor.com said the novel is “an exceptional piece of apocalyptic/horror/fantasy fiction”, which is true.
• Upcoming4Me rather agreed: “a refreshing take on the whole post-apocalyptic genre and a great introduction to the writing of Joseph D’Lacey”.
• SciFi Now magazine gave it a half page and said the novel “artfully weaves a tale of destruction and rebirth”.
• Head to Popcorn Reads for a review and a chance to win an advance proof: “I loved this novel, despite the fact that it gave me chills and some bad dreams.”
• … or Book Bones Buffy, who also has a proof to give away, to celebrate “a story that is irresistibly addicting.”
• Fantasy blog Draumr Kopa recommended Black Feathers “to anyone who wants a more intelligent story, with lots of secrets and mystery, people who don’t mind a little thinking while reading.”
• And Then I Read a Book were blown away by the book: “It terrified me, made me angry, made me sad, transported me somewhere new and yet strangely familiar, and hasn’t left my head yet. It combines mythology, folktale, shamanism, coming of age and apocalyptic themes to create something very special.”
• And Stanley Eriks concluded by saying: “Black Feathers is an original and intelligent apocalypse story. It’s a myth-filled fable of the end of the world on an individual basis. It’s a coming-of-age story set on a cruel and broken Earth.”
The inimitable Lee Battersby has returned, bringing hapless half-dead Marius don Hellespont with him in The Marching Dead, the sequel to The Corpse-Rat King:
• Kate Of Mind blog loved loved loved it, giving it “all the stars” and saying “With this sequel, Battersby kicked up everything I loved about the first novel by a notch or two – world-building, storytelling, hilarity, and most of all, characters who just made me punch the air over and over again, usually while laughing.”
• Don’t forget you can get a taster in the form of an exclusive short story, Lying Like Cards, right here on this very website.
The tireless Adam Christopher was out and about promoting The Age Atomic, the two-fisted follow-up to Empire State. Thanks to Forbidden Planet in London for a fab launch event this Thursday – we rocked the joint, again.
• The book was an April pick for Kirkus Reviews, which was nice.
• A Writer’s Sidequest said it is “a glorious and joyous ode to the pulp science fiction of old. Awesome fun, from start to finish, just straight up, pure entertainment.”
• Adam was interviewed on My Bookish Ways, who also have a copy to give away too, so hurry over there!.
Upcoming debut author Wesley Chu continues to wow folks with the breakneck thrillride that is The Lives of Tao, out in May.
• Wes had a guest post on The Qwillery this week to talk about the first time a novel really spoke to him.
• I Will Read Books had this to say: “By the end of the books I was close to tears, which proves my emotional investment in the characters and their fates. I wish every book made me care about the characters as much as The Lives of Tao.”
• Over at Tome of Geek, Wes managed to overcome their usual aversion of genre mash-up novels: “We get the full sci-fi feeling combined with the spy genre without either side getting diluted or ignored. We get the full effect and in turn get a character we care about.”
Emma Newman, despite losing her wisdom teeth this week (wishing you a speedy recovery, Em), was still full of the joys of Between Two Thorns.
• Her guest post on The Creative Penn talked charmingly about urban fantasy, as a genre, its influences and its many strands.
• And finally, blog heavyweights Fantasy Faction gave the book nine stars out of ten, saying: “If you like a bit of fairy magic, the juxtaposition between ancient and modern, here and there, and you don’t mind being left in suspense for a good few months, you’ll really enjoy it.” (They’re going to be overjoyed when they hear that the sequel, Any Other Name, will be out in June then!)
Hello and welcome to a double-bank-holiday Easter special Robot Round-Up. No choccie eggs or anything, just lots and lots of luvverly links to some Red Hot Angry Robot Action. Without further ado:
It’s US/Ebook release week for Black Feathers, the first part of Joseph D’Lacey‘s post-eco-apocalyptic dark fantasy duology, The Black Dawn and it’s fantastic to see a whole gang of reviewers (of clearly impeccable taste, we might add) getting right behind the book:
• Chris at All Things Urban Fantasy, said: “D’Lacey does an excellent job interweaving the two narratives and the story moves along at a brisk pace … D’Lacey’s definitely an author you should be checking out and this is an excellent book with which to start.”
• Ryan at Fantasy Book Review said: “Black Feathers is one of the best books I have read this year … I don’t think I’ve read a book quite like Black Feathers, but I know I liked it and I suspect that many of you will like it too.”
• In the same double-header at Fantasy Book Review, Jasper added: “Black Feathers is a unique take on horror and it was for a me a story that did not turn out the way I expected. The narration of the book was great and it felt like the myth surrounding the Crowman is being read to me, being handed down to the next generation.”
• Tabitha at My Shelf Confessions said: “Seldom does it happen that I get so upset by a book that I literally have nightmares after having read it … If you like a gritty apocalyptic that will have you thinking this may be for you but definitely not recommended for the feint of heart, there be no rainbows and fluffy bunnies here kiddos.”
• Lou at More 2 Read said: “This story has epic qualities like that of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King that went on for many volumes. The Black Dawn Saga has plenty more to come in its next instalment”.
• Leanna at Leeanna.me said: “Read it. If, like me, you feel like you’ve read every post-apocalyptic book out there, you haven’t. Black Feathers is something different, with a new take on the end of the world.”
Joseph was also interviewed by Leeanna at Leeanna.me, delving into the background to Black Feathers and the Black Dawn duology, and by Kristin at My Bookish Ways, talking about Black Feathers and his writing career to-date.
Also out this week we have The Age Atomic, the sequel to Adam Christopher‘s dimension-shattering debut Empire State. It was reviewed by Christian DuChateau for CNN.com, who said: “The Age Atomic defies classification as it incorporates elements across the sci-fi and fantasy spectrum. Christopher has let his imagination run wild, with some fantastic results.” Christian also interviewed Adam in the same article – well worth a look-see. Chris at All Things Urban Fantasy also took a look and said: “You’ve got political intrigue, super heroes and villains, and a cracking good mystery. What’s not to like? My only word of warning though is that this is not a series you can just jump in to. You do need to read the previous volume or you’ll be completely lost. Which is a good thing, because the first book is stellar as well.”
Speaking of Empire State, OzNoir posted a review at Just a Guy That Likes to Read, which concluded: “Empire State is not an easily definable novel in terms of confining it within a single genre as there are simply too many facets and faces to the story Christopher tells … This is a must read for fans of superhero and sci-fi fiction.”
Adam has also been doing a superb job of putting himself about online this week, with a guest post on John Scalzi‘s Whatever on the subject of The Big Idea behind The Age Atomic, another guest post for Mary Robinette Kowall, telling her all about his Favourite Bit from the book, He’s also answered Ten Questions put to him by the mighty Chuck Wendig and was interviewed by Lawrence M. Schoen for his regular Eating Authors column, on the subject of all things foody.
We’ve spot another couple of early reviews of Wesley Chu‘s forthcoming (May!) debut The Lives of Tao, from Lisa at Wilder’s Book Reviews who said: “I think The Lives of Tao was very well done and I will definitely keep my eye out for the next one. Between the humor and the originality of the story, I would certainly recommend reading it.” and from Josh at Examiner.com, who said: “The Lives of Tao marvelously casts all of war, science, politics, religion, and economics into a stark new light. It switches well between action-packed scenes and philosophical discussions about human nature and the pitfalls of manipulation, even guided by the best of intents.”
Emma Newman‘s Between Two Thorns was reviewed by
Theresa at Terror Tree who said: “It has been a very long time since I have read a book that has enthralled me to the extent I become miserable at the thought of it ending. Well done Newman. I want more.” Good news, Theresa: the sequel, Any Other Name will be out in June.
Matthew Hughes‘s third To Hell and Back novel, Hell To Pay, was reviewed by Mieneke at A Fantastical Librarian who called it: “a highly enjoyable read, with some interesting philosophical underpinnings and surprising twists. The book makes for a satisfying ending to the To Hell & Back series, which gave us a quirky, off-beat story about an unlikely super hero, with unexpected depths.”
Ramez Naam‘s Nexus is still going strong, with new reviews this week from Stephen L. Macknik for the Scientific American Illusion Chasers blog: “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.” and from Larry at 42 Webs: “Reading Ramez Naam reminded me of a time when I was younger, in my high school years, when I dove into books that some would say were well beyond my comprehension … I expect much from Naam. He is a talented writer who can produce hope like Crichton but still make us feel weary like Philip K. Dick.” Larry also added Nexus (and the first To Hell and Back book, The Damned Busters) to his Top Ten Books I Recommend The Most list.
Lee Collins‘s weird western debut The Dead of Winter was reviewed at OwlCat Mountain: “I blazed through this book in record time and found much to enjoy. I’m looking forward to the second novel, which promises to be just as engrossing as the first. The Dead of Winter is a great read for these cold nights as we transition into spring.”
Paul S. Kemp‘s first tale of Egil and Nix, The Hammer and the Blade, was reviewed by Mike at Stuff And/Or Junk: “The story moves fast, the dialogue is witty, the combat is oiled slick and the characters are crazy enjoyable. It’s straight up fantasy but it’s not kowtowing to the stodgy traditionalist parts of the genre. The Hammer and the Blade is fresh with life in it, the kind of fantasy novels I want more of.”
Anne Lyle‘s first Night’s Masque book, The Alchemist of Souls was reviewed by Lor for Wilder’s Book Reviews, who had lots of good things to say about the book and only one that wasn’t: “My only complaint about this novel is that it was over too quickly. My first read was in one sitting over about 6 hours. It is addictive, the characters make you care, and the setting is beautiful. What more can you ask for from a novel?”
Zoo City author Lauren Beukes – whose brand new novel The Shining Girls will be published in the UK and South Africa in a month or so and a couple of months later in the US – was interviewed by Sci Fi Now, wherein she explains how to write a science fiction novel (in case you’ve ever wondered…)
And finally, brand new Angry Robot author Freya Robertson has braved Lee Battersby‘s blog as a guest of his Room 102 feature, wherein she gets to remove something from the universe for ever and ever and ever. Which is nice.
That’s your lot for this week. We’re off to the pub for four days. Except for Angry Robot Lee, who’ll be at Eastercon, in the bar, instead. Have a good holiday, everyone!
Hello and welcome to this week’s whizz round all the online Angry Robot Action that’s fit to link to. Without further ado:
Emma Newman‘s Between Two Thorns was reviewed by Kathy at Kindle-aholic’s Book Pile, who said: “This is a book that contains MANY THINGS. This can be tricky sometimes … [but] Newman managed to corral the different worlds, characters and machinations to deliver an engaging read that left me wanting more.”
And you can enter a giveaway at The Founding Fields for your chance to win one of two copies of the book, before the closing date of April 1st.
Matthew Hughes‘s third To Hell and Back novel, Hell to Pay, was reviewed by David Brzeski for the British Fantasy Society and he said: “The first book in the series was very good, the second was better. The events of those books were leading up to this final volume in the trilogy and it’s the best yet.”
Lee Collins‘s second Cora Oglesby novel, She Returns From War was also reviewed by Kathy at Kindle-aholic’s Book Pile, who found the change in POV-focus from book one a bit of a wrench, but came to appreciate the twist: “I was reminded a few times of the movie Unforgiven, with the younger generation getting a look at the real life of a legend, and also learning about the costs of living such a life.”
Joseph D’Lacey‘s Black Feathers, the first part of the Black Dawn duology, which will be with you next week in US/CAN print and global ebook, received a 4.5/5 star review from Rebecca at Book Chick City, who said: “I really did love this book, as it had everything I was looking for and more, and really redefined the genres of fantasy and dystopian fiction. I know the two genres have been merged before, but this book just had that special un-put-down-able spark I couldn’t resist.”
Wesley Chu‘s The Lives of Tao is out in May and Wesley was the guest of Abhinav Jain’s latest Names: A New Perspective guest post series this week, talking about the importance of appropriately-named villains. You can also read an exclusive excerpt at Tor.com. And if you’re a US-based Goodreads user, you can put your name in the hat to win a signed ARC copy of The Lives of Tao by visiting Goodreads.com and clicking the ‘Enter to Win’ button. Easy as.
Cara Fielder, writing for the Waterstones Blog, has taken a look at the future of SF and declared that a good-sized chunk of it is Adam Christopher shaped. Adam has also been releasing a series of teaser excerpts from The Age Atomic, the soon-to-be-released sequel to Empire State. The latest snippet went live today at Em’s Place.
Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s The Mad Scientist’s Daughter was treated to an extremely thorough, in-depth reading by Michael Ann Dobbs for IO9.com, with the following conclusion: “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.” And Adam-Troy Castro, writing for the (print only) Sci Fi Magazine enjoyed the novel’s characterisation: “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.” The book was also on was on the receiving end of a glowing review from Leah at Uncorked Thoughts, who said: “I found this novel absolutely fascinating … It has so many themes and issues running through it and it’s absolutely brilliant. If you’re a science-fiction lover, a robot lover, or even a lover of books which delve into romance, tragedies and the issues of real life then this book is definitely for you!”
Anne Lyle‘s The Alchemist of Souls and Lee Collins‘s The Dead of Winter have been entered into the BookSpotCentral 7th Annual Book Tournament. Voting will commence on March 21st and will involve all sorts of emailing and Facebook liking… check out the link for full details and vote, vote, vote!
Aaaand that’s everything we’ve spotted in the past seven days or so. We’ve got a double bank holiday coming up in the UK next weekend, so depending on how things go there’ll either be a shorter Round-Up next Thursday or a bumper double-dose the Friday afterwards. See you then!
Hello and welcome to our regular round-up of all the Angry Robot flavoured online activity and coverage that we’ve spotted since the last round-up. Getting things under-way this week, he have:
More reviews of the first part of Emma Newman‘s fabulous The Split Worlds urban fantasy series Between Two Thorns:
• Paul Weimer, writing for the mighty SF Signal said it was: “An enchanting novel from Emma Newman, an urban fantasy that has no sign of tattooed women in leather pants. A headstrong scion and an investigator discover dark doings in the outwardly genteel world of Bath’s secret mirror city.”
• Shadowhawk of Founding Fields fame added: “Between Two Thorns is a book that is packed with a ton of things to entice the reader … I can definitely recommend this to readers of urban fantasy if you are looking for something different”.
• Rebecca at Book Chick City said: “This was a well-crafted fantasy novel which makes a great start to a new series … I can’t wait to see what happens next.”
• Tsana at Tsana’s Reads said: “Between Two Thorns is an excellent read and I highly recommend it to fantasy fans looking for something a bit different, particularly in the form of merging modern day settings with fantasy worlds.”
The first part of Joseph D’Lacey‘s post-eco-apocalyptic Black Dawn duology, Black Feathers, is almost upon us (late March / early April, folks!) and the always-Epic Dave-Brendon de Burgh had this to say about it: “As can be expected from Joseph’s work, there are moments of horror, moments of wide-eyed disbelief, moments of laughter and tears and silence pregnant with either peace or rage. He managed to handle everything beautifully and with respect, making both his characters and the world they inhabit come alive.” And Theresa at Terror Tree said: “The images of a bleak and savage world are genuinely horrific … Gripping stuff and I look forward to the conclusion of this tale.” Theresa has also posted an interview with Joseph about his writing and plans for future work, at the same link.
Likewise, it’s not long now until we unleash Adam Christopher‘s The Age Atomic, sequel to his terrific debut Empire State. Over at Daily Steampunk, Traveler had the following high praise to hand out: “The Age Atomic is another masterful tale by Adam Christopher. An action-packed noir Atompunk tale with more layers, facettes and twists than one would expect and which keeps the reader enthralled from the first to the last page. Highly recommended reading!” And Brandon at Every Read Thing had this to say: “While the ideas behind this series show that Adam is imaginative and bright, it’s the writing that keeps you enthralled. I couldn’t tell you the amount of evenings where I lost track of time reading this book – it’s that good.”
Brandon has posted his interview with Adam Christopher as well; plenty there on Adam’s background as a writer, Empire State and The Age Atomic.
Wesley Chu‘s action-packed debut The Lives of Tao is a little further away (late April / early May) but we’re already starting to see a review or two surfacing here and there, including one at Being a Big Sandwich, in which blogger Scott declares: “I would highly recommend this book to fans who like their espionage tinged with sci-fi, or vice-versa.”
Eric Brown, in his latest science fiction column for The Guardian has this to say about Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s The Mad Scientist’s Daughter: “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”.
Peter at My Bookish Ways said of Ramez Naam‘s freshly movie-optioned Nexus: “reads like a high energy thriller and you’ll find his reluctant hero, Kade, worth rooting for … Nexus is a strong, and exciting, debut from an author to watch!”
The first of Lee Collins‘s Cora Oglesby novels, She Returns From War was reviewed by Shadowhawk at The Founding Fields and Shadowhawk said: “She Returns From War is a most excellent novel, and lives up to the promise of The Dead of Winter.” Word.
Madeline Ashby‘s vN was reviewed by Steve Jones for Terror Tree, who said: “vN is a thrilling adventure story with a well-developed cast of both humans and vNs, which challenges the meaning of being a person without ever being preachy about it.”
Josh at In Order of Importance took a look at Chris F. Holm‘s first Collector novel, Dead Harvest and called it a “classic mix of deduction, ultra-violence, narrow escapes, shocking revelations, and sudden turns of fortune that make noir such a satisfying genre. Also, possessions, demons, seraphs, and lucky cat statues. Just fantastic enough to be entertaining, but not so unrealistic that it stretches the bounds of credulity.”
And finally: the closing date for applications to be the Angry Robot Fiction Publicity Manager isn’t until March 25th, so you still have plenty of time to polish your c.v. and hone your covering letter. Go on, you know you want to. We promise the implant procedures won’t hurt too much…
Hello and welcome to this week’s Robot Round-Up, our regular look at all the last week or so’s Angry Robot action that’s fit to link to. Starting with…
• Pablo Cheesecake at The Eloquent Page, who said: “Treading similar thematic ground to the likes of Clive Barker’s Weaveworld and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Emma Newman’s first Split Worlds novel still manages to be a wonderfully iconoclastic affair. I feel like I’ve only been given a tantalising glimpse through a fantastical doorway.”
• Sarah at And Then I Read a Book summed things up rather neatly: “Missing people, kidnap, three wishes, charms, deception and Grand Tours collide in a story that’s part fairytale, part fantasy, part Jane Austen, with a sprinkling of bonkers brilliance.”
• Steven M. Long enjoyed the world-building: “What I want from an alternate, magical reality is a mix of the expected and the surprising, and Between Two Thorns does a good job of delivering that, primarily through the use of some off-beat points of view and the addition of some unique flourishes.”
Meanwhile, Emma has been interviewed over at My Bookish Ways – and don’t miss the feature interview in the latest issue of SFX Magazine – as well as talking to Abhinav Jain about how she picked great names for the great families in The Split Worlds. Plus, the fifty-second and final instalment of Emma’s truly epic Split Worlds short story writing project has gone live on Paul Cornell‘s blog. Read! Read them all!
The first review we’ve seen of Lee Battersby‘s The Marching Dead is a cracker from Bob at Beauty in Ruins, who said: “Battersby absolutely nails the narrative style, balancing humour and horror, fantasy and felony. It’s another quick-moving, well-written story that amuses, excites, and concludes with some rather deep, and remarkably heavy musings on the subjects of life, death, and the afterlife – or the lack thereof.”
Joseph D’Lacey‘s soon-to-be-unleashed Black Feathers has received another red-hot review, this time from Bane of Kings at The Founding Fields, who declared it to be: “A brilliant take on the post apocalyptic genre. Creepy, unnerving and page-turning, D’Lacey creates a compelling story with some fasnicating characters.”
There’s an interview with Joseph at Thirteen O’Clock with some searching questions from Alan Baxter on the subject of Black Feathers, writing and horror in general. And Joseph has been talking to Abhinav Jain about the character of names.
Lee Collins‘s The Dead of Winter was reviewed by firebreathingmonsters: “Collins really nails the balance between western and horror in the novel, with the plot moving at a slow boil punctuated by periods of intense action”.
Richard at Elf Machines From Hyperspace said Anne Lyle‘s first Night’s Masque instalment, The Alchemist of Souls is “a gem of a first novel” and went on to explain why: “I felt as if I walked those smelly Tudor streets as strongly as I’ve felt it reading writers like Mantel or Peter Ackroyd … Anne Lyle has given us the Elizabethan London we know from reading history and Shakespeare; but she’’s also created a London that has just enough strangeness in its shadows to keep us anticipating wonder.”
And finally… scared yet? No? Give it time…
Hello and welcome to our regular Robot Round-Up of links out to Stuff About Angry Robot and our Awesome Authors that we’ve spotted out on the intertubes in the past week or so. Heck, you know the drill. Let’s just get on with the linkage action, shall we?
Out Now and flying off the shelves (we should really stop greasing our book covers), Emma Newman‘s Between Two Thorns has been reviewed this week by a number of fine, discerning lovers of top-notch fantasy fiction, including:
• MK at Popcorn Reads said: “I enjoyed every minute of these split worlds. The fairy-tale mythology, fantasy, sci-fi-mystery, police procedural, romance and all the other genre-bending elements worked together seamlessly.” MK is also giving away an Advanced Reading Copy of the book – click the link for details, closing date March 7th.
• Usagi at Birth of a New Witch who loved the prose: “The sensory language was fantastic – especially when we were in the Nether or in Exilium. That’s where Newman really shines the most – showing us entirely new worlds that are only connected by a thin string, and that are absolutely gorgeous to behold.”
• Deniz at Closet Geeks and Slow Mo loved the atmosphere: “Good fantasy is the ability to not only tell a good story set in a different world – but to create that world with beautiful worlds. Evoke it in the reader’s mind. Where it comes alive and leave the impression as if one visited there. Newman definitely has a gift for that.”
• Elloise Hopkins, called it: “a solid start to a great new fantasy trilogy that will be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys urban fantasy, stories about the Fae and detective stories.”
Also: Emma was a guest at John Scalzi’s legendary Whatever blog, where she explained the Big Idea behind Between Two Thorns. She was a guest on the 182nd episode of the mighty SF Signal Podcast as well, in response to which Timothy C. Ward had some very nice things to say. And if you’ve been stirred into a frenzy of anticipation and just can’t wait to get your hands on the book, there’s a chance you could do so for free – as long as you’re based in the US of A – via the Tor.com Sweepstake that’s running until noon on Sunday March 2nd.
Lee Collins‘s recently-released second Cora Oglesby novel, She Returns From War was reviewed by Keith at Adventures Fantastic: “This is a different book from the first one [The Dead of Winter]. That’s a good thing, because it means the author isn’t locking himself into a formula, in essence refusing to become a one trick pony … I recommend them both highly.” And Larry at 42 Webs enjoyed the story’s true-to-genre authenticity: “One of my major pluses for Collins work is that he writes a western that stays a western … He doesn’t try to build a computer for a cowboy or give him a ‘fancy flying machine’ to soar with. Cora uses six shooters, silver bullets, a blessed knife, and that’s about it. Thank you Collins.”
Another review of Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s The Mad Scientist’s Daughter has crossed our sensor screens, this time from Andrea at Cozy Up With A Good Read, who said: “Everything that Cat goes through is so heartbreaking and I loved seeing her and Finn have scenes together because there was so much tension.”
Anne Lyle‘s The Alchemist of Souls was reviewed by Alisa at The Book Bundle, who said: “An intricate story of political intrigue in an alternate Tudor London, Anne Lyle’s The Alchemist Of Souls is an engaging fantasy novel. I give it 8 stars.”
Anne is giving away two copies of the sequel The Merchant of Dreams over on Goodreads (you’ll need a Goodreads account to enter, but it’s completely free-to-join and you can log in with your Facebook account to speed the process).
Joseph D’Lacey‘s Black Feathers will be with us next month and was reviewed this week by Alan at Thirteen O’Clock, who suggested: “You need to go into this book knowing that its message is central to its existence. If you accept that, you will enjoy a superbly written dark fantasy with some truly original ideas and a very clever culture-crossing hero’s journey.” And Tiara at The BiblioSanctum said: “I really enjoyed this book … The ending made my heart drop and almost frantic for more … This is a story I will be thinking about for a very long time.” And Jason at The Mad Ravings of an Entertainment Junkie felt the empathy: “D’Lacey is not only a thought-provoking author who has the gift to make you think, he has the gift to make you feel what his characters are feeling as well (their fear, their pain, their emotion).”
Joseph has also written a guest post on the fine art of editing, over at fellow writer Wayne Simmons‘s blog.
Chris F. Holm‘s second Collector novel, The Wrong Goodbye was reviewed by Marion at Fantasy Literature, who said: “Another fine example of supernatural noir … Holm is working this sub-genre (sub-sub-genre?) really well.”
Madeline Ashby‘s debut vN was reviewed at Fictavia: “Ashby does a good job of immersing the reader in her vision of the future, through strong images and well-written prose. Overall, it’s a gripping read – check it out, even if (and maybe especially) if you’re not a sci-fi reader.”
There’s a feature interview with Madeline on the Globe and Mail website, as well as a video feature in which she discusses her creative process. No embedding options, alas, so you’ll have to click through to watch it.
The 2013 Ditmar Awards are open for nomination and the eligibility list has been posted. We wouldn’t want you to think we were attempting to coerce you or anything, but nominating our three highly eligible authors – Trent Jamieson, Jo Anderton and Lee Battersby – might get you into our good books ahead of the coming Robopocalypse. Which means you might survive until the second wave. Or even the third. Just sayin’…
And Finally (speaking of the Robopocalypse…)
Ha! If this the best you meat-suits can do by way of defence strategies, it’s going to be a cake-walk for our lot:
(“Aim for the leg joints”? As if we haven’t triple-reinforced those already…)
That’s all for this week. See you again at the back end of the next.
Hello and welcome to the latest Robot Round-Up, bringing you all the very best in Angry Robot themed link action from around the Interwebs.
We’re going to kick things off this week with a fresh selection of reviews of Emma Newman‘s Between Two Thorns – the first volume of her Split Worlds series, which we’re publishing next Tuesday in US/CAN print and Ebook, with the UK print edition to follow on Thursday March 7th. Reviews we’ve spotted this week include:
• Sarah at SF Crowsnest: “This novel draws you in from the very first, tempting you with magical creatures set against present day Bath. I tried only reading one chapter just to test the writing style, etc but found myself, a few hours later, having read a vast amount of the book … It sits beautifully within my favourite type of fantasy novel, fairy tale within the present day.”
• Christal at Badass Book Reviews: “The world-building in this novel was very strong and was what transformed this novel into something distinctive.”
• Momo the Mome Rath at Where the Mome Raths Outgrabe: “Between Two Thorns had good prose, great characters, and was a well done mystery. I recommend it to anyone who loves faeries, high society related books, and/or a good mystery.”
Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s The Mad Scientist’s Daughter was reviewed by Lisa at Starmetal Oak Reviews: “I was impressed with the quality of writing and the flow of the story. I was absorbed for the entirety of the book and found myself emotionally involved with all the characters.” And by Tahlia Newland: “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is the most extreme story of unrequited love that I have ever read.”
Joseph D’Lacey‘s Black Feathers won’t be with us until early April, but early reviews continue to come in. Shadowhawk at The Founding Fields said: “Spectacular is the word I’d use to describe [Black Feathers]. Nothing else can capture the reading experience.” And Vicky at Vicky Thinks thought aloud: “With memorable settings, vivid writing and important themes, Black Feathers is an extremely atmospheric and thought-provoking read.”
Ramez Naam‘s Nexus was reviewed this week by Ed at Starburst Magazine, who said: “Nexus is a strong debut novel; its central premise is interesting and Naam draws us into a highly detailed and technologically literate world. Fans of The Matrix, Strange Days or Wild Palms will find this an interesting read which will make you want to learn more about the issues raised.” And Paul at SF Signal: “Ramez Naam presents an interesting world and characters 30 years hence strongly grounded in the real life research and speculation he was hitherto best known for … An interesting and intriguing fiction debut from a non fiction pioneer in bio-technological issues.”
Chuck Wendig‘s second Miriam Black book, Mockingbird was reviewed in the latest issue Geek Syndicate Quarterly (link to a big ol’ pdf file there, folks, or you can read it on issuu.com), wherein it was said: “This is an earthy book, descriptive and dark, with black comedy at the oddest places. Miriam is a hardboiled heroine, who doesn’t pull her punches or her speech. For fans of horror and paranormal, this is well worth the read.”
Stories by Chuck Wendig and Matt Forbeck are included in the current Bundle of Holding, a package of fiction ebooks written by games writers, on a pay-what-you-want basis (bearing in mind that the more you pay, the more bonus material you get…)
We’ve donated some ARCs to the current Con or Bust drive to raise funds to help fans of colour attend SF conventions. Between now and Sunday you can bid on rare print ARCs of either Black Feathers or The Mad Scientist’s Daughter and help the Con or Bust folks reach their target.
Our Robot Overlord Marc has been talking to Publishing Perspectives about what it takes to build a publishing house from scratch.
And finally: Want to write a novel? Chuck Wendig Tells You How. (Warning: just a tad sweary…)
That’s your lot for this week, folks. Have a good weekend. See you next time.
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.
• 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.”
• 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.”
And 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.
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:
• 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.
Ramez 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.”
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.
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…
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.
Hello, hello and welcome to this week’s Robot Round-Up of all the Angry Robot flavoured activity that we’ve spotted out there in the big, wide Internets since this time last week. Lots to tell you about, so without further ado or kerfuffle:
Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s newly published tale of loss, love and robots, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter continues to win fans and break hearts in roughly equal measure. This week we’ve seen a cascade of new reviews, including these, from:
• Angie at Pinkindle was deeply affected: “I was madly in love with this book from the very beginning. It reminded me a lot of Bicentennial Man, which happens to be one of my favorite movies. Both have seriously heartbreaking plots that I just can’t help but be drawn to.”
• Jessica at Sweet Green Tangerine (who is also running a giveaway, closing date Feb 3rd) was enchanted: “Watching these two characters fall in love and struggle with what it means to be human, I found the whole topic to be truly beautiful. I love this story”.
• Caroline at Big Book, Little Book felt the need to warn the faint-hearted: “If you are looking for hearts, flowers and candle lit dinners you won’t find it here but if you are in the mood for a tear inducing, head shaking, heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting love story, within an unusual setting and with a unique love interest, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is for you.”
• Livvy at Nerdy Book Reviews reached for her hankie: “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a novel that moved me to tears. I truly did not expect to feel so emotional about a robot.”
• Strangely Literary admired Cat’s fighting spirit: “Cat is an engaging character struggling against a society that she doesn’t quite fit within. She will keep you turning the pages to see where she goes next.”
• Tienh at Tien’s Blurb found our heroine uncomfortably compelling: “Even though I didn’t like Cat, I found myself sympathising with her throughout and it’s rare that I’d sympathise with a character I don’t like. That’s what I found most amazing about this book.”
• Maja at The Nocturnal Library felt the angst: “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is by no means a light-hearted, fun book, and it’s certainly not young adult. Had I known how complicated and angst-filled it was, I doubt I would have picked it up, but now I’m glad I did.”
• Richard at Richard’s SF Ramblings was moved to poetry (and must have had a Friday night curry on his mind): “Reading the last page | I am rendered | I am clarified | I am ghee”
• Upcoming4Me named it their Book of the Week. Cheers, guys!
Cassandra has also been out and about in the genre blogosphere. She guest-posted at Mary Robinette Kowall’s blog for the My Favourite Bit column, and was interviewed by The Qwillery and My Bookish Ways.
Also newly published this month, we have She Returns From War, Lee Collins‘s sequel to his weird western debut, The Dead of Winter, which we published last November. The second Cora Oglesby adventure was reviewed this week by Mel at Mel’s Random Reviews, who said: “This really is a fresh air in the world of supernatural hunters … Recommended for fans of Kate Griffin and Chris Holm. 9 out of 10.” Shelley Romano at Gizmo’s Reviews called it: “a well paced and intriguing story that left me satisfied with my overall experience. I would HIGHLY recommend that if you are thinking about reading this series, go out and borrow or buy The Dead of Winter first! You won’t be sorry that you did.” And Mike at Untitled*United said: “She Returns from War is a fun continuation of the world Collins has been building, and he sets the stage for further expanding this world in future books. I look forward to seeing where he goes next.”
Ramez Naam‘s debut science fiction thriller Nexus continues to go from strength to strength, winning new fans and admirers along the way, including:
• Annalee Newitz at the mighty IO9.com, who declared it to be “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.”
• M Todd Gallowglass was effusively fulsome in his praise: “Nexus is fantastic. It’s brilliant. Feel free to tack on as many positive adjectives as you can come up with. It’s not just a well-written and thought-provoking book, it’s also highly entertaining … Do yourself a favor and get on the Ramez Naam band wagon now, so you can say, ‘I was there when.'”
• Erik at I Will Read Books: “Nexus is a terrific read, covering a highly interesting topic in a entertaining way. It’s a book brimming with action and gun fights, which also has a lot of technical content made accessible by Ramez Naam’s skilful penmanship.”
• Literary Escapism: “Nexus engages the reader to think about scientific advancements and the ethical questions we all may face. With a backdrop that would be worthy of any spy novel, Nexus looks at human evolution in a way that is unique.”
• John at Terror Tree: “it is a hard-hitting romp of a novel that fulfils expectations. A good debut.”
• Richard’s back, with more SF Ramblings and more poetry: “Get your radar out | Acquire Ramez Naam | Lock On, And Read”
Emma Newman‘s Angry Robot debut, Between Two Thorns, is still just over a month away from publication, but we’ve started seeing a few reviews, including Aoife at Footnotes, who enjoyed the ride: “I was very quickly captivated by the brilliant characters and fast pace of the story.” and Tiffany at A_TiffyFit’s Quiet Corner who didn’t want it to stop: “With 20 pages or so left to go, I felt that booklover’s panic start. ‘What? NO! I can’t be coming to the end!'” And John DeNardo, in a genre recommendations round-up Kirkus Reviews, called it “a modern fantasy that playfully mixes magic and interesting characters into an intriguing mystery.”
Emma also guested on a writing workshop episode of the Round Table Podcast, taking a look at a story by guest writer Sara Sambrook.
Also out in just over a month is Hell to Pay, the third volume in Matthew Hughes‘s To Hell and Back series and Annie at Summer Reading Project, who enjoyed the plot development in the new instalment: “I love it when an author reveals that there’s been a bigger story behind the individual books’ plots. Hughes never hid this, but each new book shows new layers and tie them all together. I’m very curious to see what Hughes reveals in the next book.”
We’ve also seen the Official First Review of Joseph D’Lacey‘s forthcoming (April 2013) post-apocalyptic saga Black Feathers, which was posted by Julie-Anne at Thoughts of a Scot, who declared: “I highly recommend this to any fans of horror, post-apocalyptic type books. Loved it, loved it – I want the next one already.”
Chuck Wendig‘s Mockingbird was reviewed recently by OzNoir at Just a Guy Who Likes to Read: “Short, quick fire chapters keep the novel moving along while the limited cast allows for greater character depth and meaningful story. Wendig is on to a real winner with Miriam Black.” And by Renee for New York Journal of Books: “Chuck Wendig’s second offering is fast-paced and raw, filled with gutter-like prose that never minces words and is expressed with the all the subtlety of a punch in the face.”
What’s that? You want more poetry from Richard? Happy to oblige. Here’s his SF Ramblings take on Trent Jamieson‘s first Nightbound Land book, Roil: “Loaded with action on several fronts | Science to ponder throughout | People to love and loath | Ideas to grab and gasp”
World Fantasy Award Winner and The Bookman Histories author Lavie Tidhar is the co-administrator of the World SF Travel Fund. They’re seeking to raise $3,000 to continue the Fund’s annual mission of enabling one or two international persons involved in science fiction, fantasy or horror to travel to a major genre event. We’re backing the fund drive with a pledge of ebook packages for supporters who pledge via peerbackers.com. Check the sidebar on that page to see what’s available at various levels of pledging.
Paul S. Kemp was interviewed by SF Signal about his writing in the Star Wars and Forgotten Realms universes and, of course, his Egil and Nix books, The Hammer and the Blade and A Discourse in Steel (coming in June, folks!)
Over at her blog, Anne Lyle has posted details of her 2013 events schedule, so if you want to say hello and get your copies of The Alchemist of Souls and The Merchant of Dreams signed by their author, them’s your chances.
And finally, last, but most definitely not least, we’re delighted to have been named the Horror Publisher of the Year for 2012 in the This is Horror Awards poll. “Woot!” and indeed, “Yay!” and a big thank you to all who voted for us. We shall endeavour to remain suitably horrible to all and sundry throughout 2013…
That’s all for this week. More at the same time, in approximately the same place, a week from now.
Hello and welcome to another Robot Round-Up. Off we go:
Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s rather wonderful tale of love, loss and robots, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is so very nearly almost, almost with us – Feb 7th in the UK, Jan 29th in the US and Ebook – and we’ve seen a flood of great new reviews this week, like these:
• Mk at Popcorn Reads: “I had planned to say that you could just read the surface of this multi-dimensional story and walk away but that isn’t true. Once it grabs you, you’re going to have to dive into the deep end. You’ll look at what it means to be human with new eyes.”
• Rebekah at The Reflections of a Bookworm “Recommended to Sci-Fi fans and those of us who are incredibly nosy about what the future could hold! I would give it 4 Stars – This book was really good, a definite re-reader!”
• Janice at The Demon Librarian: “At its core, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a love story. An unusual one, perhaps, but powerful and thought-provoking, and a book I won’t soon forget.”
• Nafiza at Bipliophilic Monologues: “[The novel] It asks some very difficult questions and while it doesn’t expect any clear answers, it does expect that you, the reader, will think about the questions it raises.”
• Soma at Insomnia of Books: “I absolutely adored this novel. it made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me think about the true meaning of love. True love, not something cutout of cardboard and taped together with lies.”
• Katrina at On Fiction Writing: “Cat is one of the most complicated and wonderfully written female leads I’ve read this year … The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is the ideal blend of story for story’s sake and a story that leaves you thinking after the final page is turned.”
• Ellie at Curiosity Killed the Bookworm: “This book is just stunning; a beautiful story about the nature of love and the sentience of artificial intelligence.”
• Julie at New Adult Addication: “I was blown away – BLOWN away by this story. I loved it.”
• Low Country Books Lover: “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is a book that has continued to stay with me even weeks after finishing … this was one of my favorite reads this year. 5/5 stars and highly recommended.”
• AH at Badass Book Reviews: “The writing is beautiful. Ms. Clarke has a wonderful way with words. I was enthralled and I really could not put this book down.”
• Sassyreads: “this is more a love story than anything else. But under that there’s a tale of a girl/woman who grows over time, stumbles, and makes mistakes, proves herself selfish… but redeems herself in the end.”
• Karissa at Karissa’s Book Reviews: “I just absolutely loved this book. The characters are spot on, the writing is beautiful, the pacing is deliberate but still absolutely engaging.”
You still need to be convinced? Here, read a few sample chapters, that should help.
We’ve spotted a bunch of fresh reviews of Ramez Naam‘s kick-ass debut Nexus this week as well:
• Matthew S. Dent in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Interzone magazine: “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.”
• Char at Apocalypse Mama: “Basically, it’s made of awesome … I LOVED this book and highly recommend it to fans of near-future science fiction, action/adventure, explosions, spies, and adrenaline rushes.”
• Sarah at And The I Read a Book: “The story is tense and exciting, with that ‘just one more chapter’ addictive quality to it.”
• C. Michael Miller: “Wow. I mean seriously, wow. This book is seriously science fiction, but like most good sci-fi reads, it is also a fantastic story outside of the science.”
Speaking of loveable Aussie curmudgeon Lee Battersby, he’s launched a new feature on his blog: Room 102, in which a series of guest grumpy bastards write about their pet peeves and peccadilloes. A direct rip-off of hit TV concept ‘Room 101?’ you susepect? Why, yes. Yes, it is.
A collection of Chuck Wendig‘s writing advice – multiple volumes of which can be purchased as ebooks from Chuck’s website and the usual online ebook retailer-types – is going to be published in print form by Writer’s Digest, under the title The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience.
Paste Magazine’s Illustrated Timeline of Robots seems to be missing Angstrom, for some reason… we’ll have to drop them a line, see if we can get that updated, eh? 😉
And that, it would seem, is that. For this week at least. Have a great weekend and we’ll see you again next week.
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:
Cassandra 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.
Chris 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”.
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?
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…
Wotcha. Robot Round-Up time. Bit shorter than last week’s epic, but still plenty of good stuff to tell you about, starting with:
The Merchant of Dreams, the second book in Anne Lyle‘s Night’s Masque series, was reviewed by Tammy at Books, Bones & Buffy, who enjoyed the “beautifully written story” but felt she missed out on a lot of back-story through not having read The Alchemist of Souls first… “With the back story of Book One firmly in place, The Merchant of Dreams will most likely enthrall any reader who loves history.” And by Ros at WarpcoreSF: “One of the things I enjoyed most in this novel was its complexity. Just when you think you know who the bad guy is, it turns out to be someone else. There’s very little good and evil, but almost everyone is wearing a mask of one sort or another and there’s much fun to be had figuring out what’s behind all of them.”
Both The Alchemist of Souls and The Merchant of Dreams were mentioned by Aoife in her Holiday Reading round-up: “It’s a heady world of politics, intrigue, and xenophobia, and Lyle makes creating a vivid and grimy Elizabethan background look easy … I love any book that can combine my loves of both historical and fantasy fiction.”
We’ve spotted another batch of reviews of Ramez Naam‘s Nexus this week, including a few earlier ones that somehow slipped through the net last week:
• Tyson at Speculative Book Review: “Nexus was a great debut and I can not wait to see what Ramez Naam comes up with next. Highly recommended.”
• R. A. Bardy for the British Fantasy Society: “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this for anyone looking for a good action yarn — it’s fast-paced, feels very hip and happening (even a bit “modern cyberpunk”-ish), and the author’s voice is genuinely refreshing.”
• Merikay at Popcorn Reads: “Michael Crichton has nothing on Ramez Naam when it comes to writing fast-paced scientific thrillers that ooze with authenticity. I could not put Nexus down and literally read until my eyes were crossed.”
• Mel at SF Revu: “readers will enjoy the excitement as Kade does his best to keep his friends safe and yet remain true to his own belief. Naam provides plenty of action and high body counts.”
• Steven at Foes of Reality: “I’d categorize Nexus as a novel whose uniqueness is in its ideas”.
• Think at Think Books: “Nexus was definitely a thriller! This book made me think and I love books like that.”
Ramez was a guest on the Singularity 1 On 1 Podcast as well.
Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s forthcoming tale of love, loss and robots, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, was reviewed by Catherine at The Functional Nerds: “Fantastic character building and a truly classic love story make The Mad Scientist’s Daughter a literary classic for lovers of both genre fiction and classic romance.” And Aoife read and enjoyed this one over the holidays as well: “It’s wonderfully moving, and I’ll be thoroughly recommending this one to both science fiction and drama/romance fans.”
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter and iD by Madeline Ashby – the follow-up to vN – were both highlighted in Charlie Jane Anders’ round-up of All the Essential Science Fiction and Fantasy Books That Are Coming in 2013 on IO9.com.
Lee Collins‘s The Dead of Winter was reviewed by Jenn at Tynga’s Reviews: “If you’re a fan of westerns and dark fantasy, this may just be the book for you. The Dead of Winter is well written and chock full of great characters and twists and Lee Collins has earned himself a place on my must-read list with his first novel.” And The Dead of Winter gets a mention in Mihir’s Top Ten Debuts of 2012 at Fantasy Book Critic.
Phil Ambler reviewed Adam Christopher‘s superhero extravaganza Seven Wonders for The British Fantasy Society and concluded: “As a non-comic book reader, this was an enjoyable read and one I would definitely recommend you go out and buy.”
Chris F. Holm‘s second Collector series novel, The Wrong Goodbye was reviewed by Renee for New York Journal of Books and Book Fetish: “Riding on an intricately woven plot filled with witty, flawlessly executed dialogue, Mr. Holm’s sophomore effort proves that he’s no one-hit wonder, but rather a true contender. The author’s amazing talent for writing and limitless genius for storytelling guarantees readers a wild ride”. And Dead Harvest was named as one of the Readers Choice Top 5 novels (US) by The House of Crime and Mystery.
Taking over the planet, one cover version at a time…
Until next week…
Hello and welcome to the first Robot Round-Up of 2013! It’s been three weeks since our last, pre-holiday-season Round-Up, which means there’s absolutely loads to tell you about. So, without further ado or faff, strap yourselves in and off we’ll go.
It’s been a titanic few weeks for Ramez Naam, whose debut sf thriller Nexus was officially published on January 3rd, but actually came out in the US and ebook editions in mid-December. Here’s a run-down of the review coverage that we’ve seen so far:
• Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing: “Nexus is a superbly plotted high tension technothriller … full of delicious moral ambiguity … a hell of a read.”
• James Floyd Kelly at Wired.com’s GeekDad blog: “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.”
• Tom Shippey for the Wall Street Journal: “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.”
• David Pitt at BookList: “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”.
• Ben Goertzel at H+ Magazine: “Nexus, as well as being a fun read, has something to contribute to the dialogue that humanity is now having with itself, as it creates the transhuman future.”
• Mieneke at A Fantastical Librarian: “Nexus was a fabulous read. The plot was riveting and this near future SF thriller was not just exciting because of its action scenes, but also because of the questions it poses the reader. It’s a compelling, intelligent and, above all, fun story that will keep you reading for far longer than you intended.”
• Dragana at Bookworm Dreams: “Nexus by Ramez Naam reminds me of my favorite science fiction authors: Cory Doctorow with dystopia/government conspiracy themes, Michael Crichton with unexpected twists and action/adventure, Arthur C. Clarke because everything Ramez Naam described has a scientific background.”
• Upcoming4me.com called it “Great and thought provoking stuff reminiscent of Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson or Accelerando by Charles Stross.”
• Katherine McCarthy, writing for the Institute for Emerging Ethics & Technologies said: “If it isn’t the cinematic handling of some very futuristic images or the curious immersion of cybernetic pondering into the narrative flow; Ramez Naam’s Nexus will impress a reader with one very unusual device: it is the unadulterated humanity with its entire heritage that is the most alien and unfamiliar of this world.”
Meanwhile, Ramez was interviewed by tech portal Ars Technica about the genesis of Nexus. And by Trevor Hogg at Flickering Myth about the evolution of technology. And by Brenda Cooper for SFSignal on the subject of trans-humanist fiction. And by Kristin at My Bookish Ways, talking about all things Nexus and sci-fi in general. And he was named Geekwire’s Geek of the Week in an interview with them.
Ramez was also a guest poster on John Scalzi’s Whatever blog, where he explains the Big Idea behind Nexus and he talked about re-wiring the brain over at IO9.com. He was a guest of the 41st episode of the Audio Tim Podcast with Tim Ward, and the 35th episode of Cesar Torres’s Labyrinth Podcast as well.
Likewise out this month we have the second instalment in Anne Lyle‘s Night’s Masque saga of Elizabethan fantasy and intrigue, The Merchant of Dreams, which has been reviewed by Mieneke at A Fantastical Librarian, who said: “The Merchant of Dreams is a fantastic sequel to The Alchemist of Souls … Lyle is a master of blending historical fact and fantastic fiction and she’s only gotten better with her second book.” And Shadowhawk at The Founding Fields said: “Full of vitality and some spectacular sequences, The Merchant of Dreams is simply fantastic.”
Anne was also a guest poster on Mary Robinette Kowall’s My Favourite Bit column.
• Michelle at BCF Book Reviews said: “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.”
• Leah at LeahRhyne.com said: “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.”
• Zuleeza at **QWERTY** was definitely feeling the lurve: “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.”
• Escapism Fanatic was likewise enamoured: “It was a story of love, temptation, need, growing up, about friends and most important it was about never changing hopeless love. Does love conquer all? No, certainly not but yes, it changes you … The story was heart breaking and tragic yet it left you content that perhaps love is all you need.”
• Katie at Turner’s Antics clearly concurred: “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.”
Lee Collins‘s November release, The Dead of Winter, was reviewed by Mihir at Fantasy Book Critic said: “Lee Collins marks himself out with his debut that has an eclectic mix of genres and some pretty terrific prose and characterization to dazzle readers with.” And by Keith at Adventures Fantastic, who said: “This is a fantastic blend of western and horror, a fine addition to the subgenre of weird western. If your tastes run to weird westerns, monster hunting, or some combination of the two, then you’ll want to pick this one up.”
Lee was the subject of a New Author Spotlight at SFSignal.com as well.
David Tallerman‘s Crown Thief was reviewed by Ros at WarpCoreSF: “[Easie] Damasco is the kind of vivacious, irreverent character who will steal your affections, and any book with him in it is too short.”
Adam Christopher‘s Seven Wonders was reviewed extremely enthusiastically by Stephan at The Ranting Dragon: “If you are a fan of comic books and superheroes, Seven Wonders may well be your perfect read. Its grand scale and impressive prose will definitely appeal to anyone who enjoys comics. Its flamboyant action and incredible characters will entertain you for hours.”
Chuck Wendig‘s Blackbirds was reviewed by Amanda at Opinions of a Wolf, who called it “a dark, gritty tale that literally takes urban fantasy on a hitchhiking trip down the American highway.” And the second Miriam Black book, Mockingbird, was reviewed by Ashik at The Ranting Dragon: “Chuck Wendig’s Mockingbird is a fast-paced and horrific urban fantasy with sharp dialogue, nuanced characters, and an original voice in a glutted genre. Wendig grabs you by the collar then throws you down a set of literary stairs and leaves you begging for more.”
Jo Anderton has written a guest post for Abhinav Jain’s ‘Names: A New Perspective’ blog post series, entitled ‘A Squishy Treasure Map‘ and just how that applies to the world-building behind Debris and Suited.
And now, time for some Awards and Plaudits!
‘Tis the season for end-of-year-reviews and best-of-year-lists, and we’re chuffed to bits that our authors have been mentioned, recommended and plaudited by the following reviewers and bloggers (many thanks, all!)
After a hard-fought battle over several rounds of public voting, the Ranting Dragon Most Beautiful Cover of 2012 award went to Chuck Wendig‘s Blackbirds, featuring the gorgeous design work of the always-awesome Joey Hi-Fi! Huge thanks to all who voted and please feel free to click the cover image to see a larger version in all its detailed glory.
Meanwhile, polling is currently open to name The Qwillery‘s 2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars Cover of the Year and we have three awesome pieces of artwork in the final ballot: Dead Harvest, Blackbirds and The Dead of Winter. You can cast your vote here, should you be that way inclined. (Disclaimer: Please bear in mind that if you do decide to vote for any of the other nine shortlisted covers, we will be forced to release the robo-hounds on your ass. Just sayin’.)
Abhinav Jain named Lee Collins‘s The Dead of Winter as his Best Book of the second half of 2012, with honourable mentions for The Wrong Goodbye by Chris F. Holm and Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher as well. Plus, The Dead of Winter, Adam Christopher‘s Empire State, Chris F. Holm‘s Dead Harvest and Anne Lyle‘s The Alchemist of Souls were all named in his Best Debuts of 2012 list! Wow. Cheers, Abhinav!
Aaaand… that’s your lot. Phew! You’ve read and memorised everything already? Good. We shall be asking questions later… but probably not before our compiler-bot has been for a bit of a lie down and a shot of something suitably medicinal (ohhh, my aching digits…)
Until next week: be good to one another. And if you can’t be good, be quick on your propulsion-units.
Hello, hello and welcome to what could, quite possibly, depending on how next week goes, be the last Robot Round-Up of 2012. If that does indeed turn out to be the case then rest assured that our compiler-bots we’ll save everything that comes in between now and the start of January for a bumper holiday season Round-Up early in the New Year. But right now, on with the links!
The plaudits for Ramez Naam’s debut science fiction thriller Nexus – officially published in January, but likely to be available in US/CAN bookstores and in ebook edition from next Tuesday – are starting to pour in and to those we can add a few new ones:
• Frishawn at WTF Are You Reading? said: “One is never quite sure who the good guys are in [Nexus] and the web of intrigue, lies, secrets and tech just gets more complex as the story goes on … [the] writing style is perfect for the nonstop action and minute to minute plot twists”.
• Sammy at Open Book Society said: “This story is for anyone that enjoys a action packed sci-fi thriller with things that could be possible in the near future.”
• Trevor at Flickering Myth said: “Naam has a visual style with his words which leads to one experiencing cinematic scenes rather than being swamped with textbook exposition.”
And Ramez explains the science of Nexus over at SF Signal. And don’t forget you can still get a free ebook copy of Ramez’s non-fiction book More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement if you pre-order (or, after December 18th in the US/CAN or on ebook, order) Nexus before December 31st. Details on Ramez’s blog.
Anne Lyle‘s second Night’s Masque novel of alt-historical-fantastical Elizabethan intrigue, The Merchant of Dreams, is also out next month / next week (depending…) and the book was reviewed by Jessica at Sci-Fi Fan Letter, who said: “Where Lyle excels is with the amount of accurate historical detail she peppers the book with. She’s careful about using period expressions and terminology, making the book feel authentic.”
Anne has also been interviewed by Dominick for Fantastical Imaginations, with questions and answers on Mal Catlyn, Anne’s future plans, and the required levels of accuracy in historical fantasy. And Anne’s flash fiction tale ‘Christmas Market’, also set in the Night’s Masque milieu, will be going live at Literary Escapism sometime today…
Cassandra Rose Clarke‘s forthcoming tale of deepest love, heart-rending loss and artificial intelligence, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter was reviewed by Jamie at The Title Page, who said: “This novel is a beautifully written, incomparably powerful love story. I loved and hated it for how it made me feel. My heart broke (along with Cat’s) multiple times.”
Madeline Ashby‘s debut science fiction novel vN was reviewed in most pleasing depth and detail by Lauren at Violin in a Void, who said, among many other things: “the more I think about it, the more impressed I am with its story and ideas, and all the interesting questions it raises, both for the characters and as a serious consideration of the possibility of AI in human society.”
Chuck Wendig‘s Blackbirds was named by Dave Barnett as one of the Independent on Sunday Best Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror Books of the Year. And Blackbirds was reviewed by Book Monkey, who may have experienced something of an urban fantasy awakening: “There is often something about urban fantasy series that don’t pull me in enough to make me want to read more. But Blackbirds is definitely the exception, and I literally can’t wait to read the next instalment Mockingbird.”
Chuck has also posted a suggested list of 25 gifts for writers, just in case you were stuck for seasonal prezzie inspiration for the penmonkey in your life. And everyone could do with more of numbers 1, 2 and 3, surely? And 6, and 12…
Meanwhile, Chuck and Chris F. Holm own the urban fantasy section of The Snobbery’s Best of 2012 list, with Blackbirds, Mockingbird, Dead Harvest and The Wrong Goodbye all making the grade. Three cheers for Snobbery!
Speaking of all things Chris F. Holm, The Qwillery is featuring the recently-revealed artwork for the third Collector series novel, The Big Reap, and is also running a giveaway to win the first two books in the series (which ends on December 26th).
Paul S. Kemp was a guest on the December 4th episode of Dungeon Crawlers Radio, talking about a great many things including, of course, Egil and Nix of The Hammer and the Blade and A Discourse in Steel (July 2013!) fame.
Admiral.Ironbombs at Battered, Tattered, Yellowed, & Creased reviewed Lauren Beukes‘s Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning Zoo City, saying: “I loved reading this book. Beukes combines fantastic writing with impressive creativity to create an excellent novel. The world is alive with depth and flavor; the characters are superb, sympathetic, and complex”.
Gav Thorpe‘s Empire of the Blood series-opener The Crown of the Blood was reviewed by Liam at The Troubled Scribe, who said: “If this has been one of those books you are on the edge about getting, don’t think twice about grabbing a copy the next time you see it on a shelf, you won’t be disappointed.”
World Fantasy Award-winner Lavie Tidhar‘s The Bookman was reveiewed by Brandon at Every Read Thing, who said: “There’s a lot to like about this book … Tidhar’s world building is top-notch and you really feel a part of this universe he’s created.” And speaking of Mr Tidhar, do you fancy a free ebook from the man himself? Of course you do. How’s about a novelette by the name of Strigoi?
David Tallerman – author of the Easie Damasco novels Giant Thief and Crown Thief, with Prince Thief completing the trilogy in 2013 – has a new chapbook out this month’ ‘The Way of the Leaves’ from Spectral Press. Check out David’s blog for details.
Our man Michael R. Underwood – Angry Robot sales droid for the North of the Americas and also a published author-type in his own right – has been talking to Chuck Wendig at Terribleminds.com about his bookish activities.
Okay, that’s it for this week. If it does turn out to be the last round-up of the year, then we’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy end to the year, whatever holidays or traditions you choose to observe.