Thursday, 31 July 2014

Books Received in July, 2014 Part 2

All Those Vanished Engines by Paul Park - Sounds like Park's got an interesting alternative history here.

In All Those Vanished Engines, Paul Park returns to science fiction after a decade spent on the impressive four-volume A Princess of Roumania fantasy, with an extraordinary, intense, compressed SF novel in three parts, each set in its own alternate-history universe. The sections are all rooted in Virginia and the Battle of the Crater, and are also grounded in the real history of the Park family, from differing points of view. They are all gorgeously imaginative and carefully constructed, and reverberate richly with one another.
The first section is set in the aftermath of the Civil War, in a world in which the Queen of the North has negotiated a two-nation settlement. The second, taking place in northwestern Massachusetts, investigates a secret project during World War II, in a time somewhat like the present. The third is set in the near-future United States, with aliens from history.

Flight of the Golden Harpy by Susan Klaus - I mentioned recently that I'd like to see harpies come back into fantasy and here we have a novel that came out in June that features them!

Kari, a young woman, returns to the jungle planet of Dora after ten years in Earth's schools determined to unravel the mysteries surrounding the harpies, a feral species with the appearance half-bird, half-human.
The human colonists believe harpies are dangerous animals, which are known to steal women. The creatures are hunted like wild game, their wings considered rare trophies. But Kari distrusts these rumors. When she was attacked by a monster in the jungle as a child, a male harpy with rare golden coloring rescued her.

Constant hunting by men has driven the harpies to the brink of extinction. Is Kari's savior, the elegant golden harpy, is still alive? If so, how long can he and his flock survive the ravages of mankind?

Artemis Awakening by Jane Lindskold - I remember hearing about this book months ago but not much since.  I find the premise fascinating and have head great things about Lindskold's writing.

The distant world Artemis is a pleasure planet created out of bare rock by a technologically advanced human empire that provided its richest citizens with a veritable Eden to play in. All tech was concealed and the animals (and the humans brought to live there) were bioengineered to help the guests enjoy their stay…but there was always the possibility of danger so that visitors could brag that they had "bested" the environment.

The Empire was shattered in a horrific war; centuries later humanity has lost much of the advanced technology and Artemis is a fable told to children. Until young archeologist Griffin Dane finds intriguing hints that send him on a quest to find the lost world. Stranded on Artemis after crashing his ship, he encounters the Huntress Adara and her psych-linked companion, the puma Sand Shadow. Their journey with her will lead Dane to discover the planet's secrets…and perhaps provide a key to give unimagined power back to mankind.

The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi - This is another series (begun with The Quantum Thief) I've heard a lot of good things about and keep meaning to read.

With his infectious love of storytelling in all its forms, his rich characterization and his
unrivaled grasp of thrillingly bizarre cutting-edge science, Hannu Rajaniemi swiftly set a new benchmark for Science Fiction in the 21st century. Now, with his third novel, he completes the tale of the many lives, and minds, of gentleman rogue Jean de Flambeur.
Influenced as much by the fin de siècle novels of Maurice leBlanc as he is by the greats of SF, Rajaniemi weaves intricate, warm capers through dazzling science, extraordinary visions of a wild future,and deep conjectures on the nature of reality and story.
In The Causal Angel we will discover the ultimate fates of Jean, his employer Miele, the independently minded ship Perhonnen, and the rest of a fractured and diverse humanity flung throughout the solar system.

Books Received in July, 2014 Part 1

There are so many fantastic books coming out and publishers have sent me several of them!

Unwept by Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman - I've been meaning to give their books a try.  I loved the Deathgate Cycle that Tracy wrote with Margaret Weis and am curious to see how he writes with his wife.

Gamin, Maine, is a remote seaside town where everyone seems to know Ellis Harkington better than she knows herself-but she doesn't remember any of them.
Unknown events have robbed Ellis of her memory. Concerned individuals, who claim to be friends and loved ones, insist that she simply needs to recuperate, and that her memories may return in time. But, for her own sake-so they claim-they refuse to divulge what has brought her to this state.
Ellis finds herself adrift in a town of ominous mysteries, cryptic hints, and disturbingly familiar strangers. The Nightbirds, a clique of fashionable young men and women, claim her as one of their own, but who can she truly trust? And what of the phantom suitor who visits her in her dreams? Is he a memory, a figment of her imagination, or a living nightmare beyond rational explanation?
Only her lost past holds the answers she seeks-if she can uncover its secrets before she falls prey to an unearthly killer.

Of Bone and Thunder by Chris Evans - I loved Evans' Iron Elves trilogy so I'm happy to see there's a new book by him coming out this fall.  And this book is being tagged as Apocalypse Now meets Lord of the Rings.

Channeling the turbulent period of the Vietnam War and its ruthless pitting of ideologies, cultures, generations, and races against each other, military historian and acclaimed fantasy writer Chris Evans takes a daring new approach to the traditional world of sword and sorcery by thrusting it into a maelstrom of racial animus, drug use, rebellion, and a growing war that seems at once unwinnable and with no end in sight. In this thrilling epic, right and wrong, country and honor, freedom and sacrifice are all put to the ultimate test in the heart of a dark, bloody, otherworldly jungle.
In this strange, new world deep among the shadows under a triple-canopy jungle and plagued by dangers real and imagined, soldiers strive to fulfill a mission they don't understand and are ill-equipped to carry out. And high above them, the heavy rush of wings slashing through the humid air herald a coming wave of death and destruction, and just possibly, salvation.

The Wurms of Blearmouth by Steven Erikson - This is another book set in the world of the Malazan Book of the Fallen.  I believe it's a side tale and can be read independently of the other books.  This is a series I'm ashamed to admit I haven't read, though I've heard it's amazing.

Tyranny comes in many guises, and tyrants thrive in palaces and one-room hovels, in back alleys and playgrounds. Tyrants abound on the verges of civilization, where disorder frays the rule of civil conduct and propriety surrenders to brutal imposition. Millions are made to kneel and yet more millions die horrible deaths in a welter of suffering and misery.
But leave all that behind and plunge into escapist fantasy of the most irrelevant kind, and in the ragged wake of the tale told in Lees of Laughter's End, those most civil adventurers, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, along with their suitably phlegmatic manservant, Emancipor Reese, make gentle landing upon a peaceful beach, beneath a quaint village at the foot of a majestic castle. There they make acquaintance with the soft-hearted and generous folk of Spendrugle, which lies at the mouth of the Blear River and falls under the benign rule of the Lord of Wurms in his lovely keep.
Make welcome, then, to Spendrugle's memorable residents, including the man who should have stayed dead, the woman whose prayers should never have been answered, the tax collector everyone ignores, the ex-husband town militiaman who never married, the beachcomber who lives in his own beard, and the now singular lizard cat who used to be plural, and the girl who likes to pee in your lap. And of course, hovering over all, the denizen of the castle keep, Lord-Ah, but there lies this tale.

A Barricade in Hell by Jaime Lee Moyer - I'm reading this book now and it's just as good as the first one.  If you like ghost stories and mysteries, this is the urban fantasy for you.

Delia Martin has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with the ability to peer across to the other side. Since childhood, her constant companions have been ghosts. She used her powers and the help of those ghosts to defeat a twisted serial killer terrorizing her beloved San Francisco. Now it's 1917-the threshold of a modern age-and Delia lives a peaceful life with Police Captain Gabe Ryan.

That peace shatters when a strange young girl starts haunting their lives and threatens Gabe. Delia tries to discover what this ghost wants as she becomes entangled in the mystery surrounding a charismatic evangelist who preaches pacifism and an end to war. But as young people begin to disappear, and audiences display a loyalty and fervor not attributable to simple persuasion, that message of peace reveals a hidden dark side.

As Delia discovers the truth, she faces a choice-take a terrible risk to save her city, or chance losing everything?

Chasers of the Wind by Alexey Pehov - The synopsis of this book has me wanting to read Pehov's first trilogy (Shadow Prowler, Shadow Chaser, Shadow Blizzard).

Centuries after the disastrous War of the Necromancers, the Nabatorians, aligned with the evil necromancers of Sdis, mount an invasion of the Empire. Luk, a soldier, and Ga-Nor, a Northern barbarian, are thrown together as they attempt to escape the Nabatorian hordes and find their way back to their comrades.

Gray and Layan are a married couple, master thieves who are hiding out and trying to escape their former gang. They hope to evade the bounty hunters that hound them and retire to a faraway land in peace.

Tia is a powerful dark sorceress and one of The Damned-a group trying to take over the world and using the Nabatorian invasion as a diversion.

Unfortunately, for Gray and Layan, they unwittingly hold the key to a powerful magical weapon that could bring The Damned back to power.

Hounded by the killers on their trail and by the fearsome creatures sent by The Damned, Gray and Layan are aided by Luk and Ga-Nor-and Harold, the hero of The Chronicles of Siala. Realizing what's at stake they decide that, against all odds, they must stop The Damned.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Shout-Out: Free Agent by J. C. Nelson

When it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem —from eliminating imps to finding prince charming— as long as you can pay the price…
Working for Grimm isn't Marissa Locks's dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don't have many career options. To pay off her parents' debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she's called on to deal with.
Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm's turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can't resist: her heart's wishes.
Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm —or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending…

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Video: Diggy Diggy Hole by The Yogscast

My husband introduced me to the Yogscast when we were still dating.  Simon (Honeydew) and Lewis (Xephos) were just starting a series of videos for a new beta game that my then boyfriend wanted me to play with him.  The game was called Minecraft. (You can see their first Minecraft video here.)  We've been fans of the Yogscast ever since, even as they expanded their team and branched out to other games and shows.

They recently released a new music video based loosely on several of the in-jokes on their channel. You don't have to have watched their videos or played Minecraft to enjoy this.  The song's pretty catchy and the animation is great.  :D



Monday, 28 July 2014

Book Review: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

Pros: brilliant characterization, thought provoking premise, heart-wrenching circumstances

Cons: ending didn’t quite work for me

Amarra is an echo, woven by the Loom as a replacement in the event that her original dies.  She lives according to a series of rules, which require her to learn her original’s life, wearing the same clothes, reading the same books and having similar experiences.  In some countries, including India where her original lives, her existence is illegal.  When her original does die, Amarra has to subvert her natural rebellion and give up her chosen name of Eva, and try to be a good echo for once, lest her familiars - Amarra’s parents - decide to end her existence.

This book’s biggest strength is with character development.  Amarra/Eva feels so real.  I loved that you get to see numerous points of view on how people feel regarding her status as an echo.  You see her original’s anger at having to share her life with this copy, the echo’s frustration of having nothing of her own, the familiars’ hopes and despairs over whether the real Amarra’s soul has or hasn’t transferred to her ‘spare’ body, and more.  Eva feels horrible lying to people who love Amarra and who deserve to know their friend has died, even as she knows that if they learn the truth, her life will be forfeit.

The story brings up numerous questions, from whether the echoes are human with souls, to what extent a creator has the right to control their creations (the author compares weaving echoes with Frankenstein making his creature), etc.  There’s difficult morality here, with characters all reacting to the situation in realistic - if not always honourable - ways.

When things start to go bad they go really, really bad.  This is NOT a good public transit read.  It would however, make for a fantastic book club book.  There’s a lot of discussion potential here.

On the negative side, it surprised me that her guardians, while making sure she wore the same clothes and ate similar foods, etc. as her original wouldn’t make sure Eva’s language choice is also similar.  She grows up in England and once she gets to India she has to consciously remember to refer to things the Indian way, so calling television ‘TV’ rather then ‘telly’.  Her linguistic choices causes problems and really should have been a consideration in her upbringing.

I also had some issues with the ending.  I didn’t quite believe things would go the way they did.

This is a book that will make you think about life and its value.  It will make you cry.  And while the ending didn’t convince me of its reality, everything else in the book was so honest to how real people act and react in difficult circumstances.  It’s a great book and worth reading.


**********
Spoilers






















I followed the ending until the final confrontation in the green room.  I didn’t believe Matthew would make the decision he did considering the time that had passed and how his personality had changed.  It’s clear from the text that he doesn’t feel the same way about Alisha, and even if he did, I couldn’t see him stepping between Adrian and his vengeance.  I could see Matthew helping Eva in a covert manner (as he did when he didn’t tell the seekers where the pair were hiding in London) but I couldn’t see him overtly siding with her over Adrian and his job.

An even bigger question I had was why would they send Eva back to India?  With her school class knowing she’s an echo - something illegal in the country - and a hunter knowing there’s an echo in the area, India’s a terrible place for her at this point.  I’d assumed her running was so she could not only live past her 18th birthday but also so she could be herself - with Sean.  The ending implied that she’s stuck going back to being an echo, pretending to be Amarra again, and following all the rules she wasn’t good at following before.  They also didn’t mention whether they were going to re tag her so she couldn’t run again.

One thing I wish had come up that didn’t, was how Amarra’s parents feel about their other children’s echoes after dealing with Eva.  Having been through the experience once, would they really choose to do it again if one of their other children died? 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Shout-Out: The Buried Life by Carrie Patel

The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation - Recoletta's top-secret historical research facility.

When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs…

Out July 29th

Friday, 25 July 2014

Blast From the Past: The Seventh Princess by Nick Sullivan

This is the first fantasy book I remember reading (I’m not counting picture books).  The story starts out in the real world with Jennifer on a bus to school, worried about the homework assignment she hasn’t finished.  When the bus changes into a carriage she becomes Princess Miranda, the only living daughter of a sick king.  Meanwhile the kingdom is under the command of Duke Rinaldo, who immediately strikes Jennifer as evil and cruel.

The book made such an impression on me when I read it that years (and years) later, after I’d graduated from university, I went searching for it.  I found it at a used bookstore (it’s long out of print) and reread it.  I was delighted to find that the book held up remarkably well.

There are harpies in the book, which was so delightful to find, especially since I love(d) Greek mythology and they're so underused in fantasy despite being interesting and horrifying creatures.


It’s a fun adventure story and a great introduction to fantasy for young readers if you can find a copy.  

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Shout-Out: Premonitions by Jaime Schultz

TWO MILLION DOLLARS...
It's the kind of score Karyn Ames has always dreamed of —enough to set her crew up pretty well and, more important, enough to keep her safely stocked on a very rare, very expensive black market drug. Without it, Karyn hallucinates slices of the future until they totally overwhelm her, leaving her unable to distinguish the present from the mess of certainties and possibilities yet to come.
The client behind the heist is Enoch Sobell, a notorious crime lord with a reputation for being ruthless and exacting —and a purported practitioner of dark magic. Sobell is almost certainly condemned to Hell for a magically extended lifetime full of shady dealings. Once you're in business with him, there's no backing out.
Karyn and her associates are used to the supernatural and the occult, but their target is more than just the usual family heirloom or cursed necklace. It's a piece of something larger. Something sinister.
Karyn's crew and even Sobell himself are about to find out just how powerful it is… and how powerful it may yet become.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Video: Kid Snippets "The Wand of Universal Power"

If' you've never seen Kid Snippets, you're in for a treat.  The stories are told by kids and acted by adults.  This is a 4 part fantasy story.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Book Review: Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal

Pros: gut-wrenching scenes, interesting situation, fun characters

Cons: they’re helped a surprising amount 

Vincent and Jane head to Murano to try to make their verre obscurcie with a local glassmaker.  But their ship is waylaid by pirates and things go downhill from there.

This is the fourth book of the Glamourist Histories, and is a great continuation.  The couple fall upon bad circumstances and must work hard to regain their former standing.  As with the other books there’s a personal mystery that glamour is used to solve.

There were some gut-wrenching scenes in the book as the characters deal with what’s happened.  
Despite the grimness of their situation both the protagonists and some of the people they encounter have fun personalities and mostly upbeat attitudes.

I did question the intricacy of some of the plots Vincent and Jane come up with to return their property, especially considering the number of people who offer to help them.


This is a fun series and a great book. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Shout-Out: SynBio by Leslie Alan Horzitz

Scientists now have the capacity to hack into DNA the same way that hackers can infiltrate computer systems, manipulating organisms by inserting new DNA or exploiting genetic mutations that can trigger fatal heart attacks or induce bipolar illness or Alzheimer's. These biohackers as they're known can perform their experiments in their kitchens using equipment purchased for next to nothing on eBay.
Most of these biohackers are like Seth Stringer in Cambridge, MA who's made a name for himself exploring the frontiers of genetic manipulation. He's young, brash, ambitious and obsessed with his work. but also a little naïve. When his former professor Marcus Adair holds out the possibility of coming to London and going to work for an international pharmaceutical company called Chimera, he jumps at the chance. He can make good money and cement his relationship with his girlfriend, who has misgivings about his future prospects as a breadwinner. He fails to realize until too late that the principal business of Chimera isn't the manufacture of generic drugs but the production of lethal genetic products for well-heeled clients. This will then be used to assassinate or debilitate presidents, prime ministers and CEOs using their own DNA against them - a method that not only makes it difficult to identify the perpetrator (a cold virus can deliver the engineered DNA) but makes it almost impossible to determine that a crime has been committed in the first place.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Creature Feature: Harpies

In this column I talk about some of the more unusual fantasy creatures and/or creatures it would be cool to see in books.

"Harpy". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Harpy.PNG#mediaviewer/File:Harpy.PNG
I'm starting this series with a greatly underused creature from Greek myth.  

Harpies are:

“Huge predatory birds with the faces of women and the talons of eagles, used by the gods to punish or torment humans.” (Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were by Michael Page & Robert Ingpen, p.195)

Their name comes from the Greek word ‘snatchers’, which aptly describes what they do.  They scream as they fall upon their prey and their stench is overpowering. 

Sound cool, don’t they?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Shout-Out: The Falconer by Elizabeth May


Debutante by day. Murderess by night. Edinburgh's only hope. Edinburgh, 1844. Beautiful Aileana Kameron only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. In fact, she's spent the year since her mother died developing her ability to sense the presence of Sithichean, a faery race bent on slaughtering humans. She has a secret mission: to destroy the faery who murdered her mother. But when she learns she's a Falconer, the last in a line of female warriors and the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity, her quest for revenge gets a whole lot more complicated.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Video: Epic Rap Battles of History Artists vs TMNT

If you've never seen an Epic Rap Battles of History video, you don't know what you're missing.  While their season finale pitting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles against their namesake artists isn't my favourite, it's pretty cool.



While it's neither SFF nor kid friendly, my favourite rap battle (and it's a hard choice) is Santa Claus vs Moses.


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Book Review: London Belongs to the Alchemist by Stephen Henning

Pros: fast paced, multiple plotlines, real consequences for decisions, lots of plot twists

Cons:

For Parents: kissing, drug use (with consequences), bullying, gun violence, rioting

Sam and James are back in London returning to school for the first time since the bus bombing that gave them their powers and killed several of their classmates.  They’re coerced into attending a party run by the Alchemist, who hands out a new drug called Super D and falls for Sam.  Back at school the twins face bullying and their world is turned upside down when Lolly Rosewood comes calling.

This book has a bit of everything: drugs, guns, first love, grounding, bullying, and more.  It stays age appropriate, though things get bloodier than I’d expected.  Seeing the characters make difficult decisions and then deal with the consequences keeps things real.

Everything’s fast paced and several plotlines interweave to create a complex story where it’s hard to guess what’s going to happen next.

Lolly’s plot arc was very surprising, both in how she was treated by others and also in her personal growth by the end of the story.


This is the 4th book in the Class Heroes series, but not the last, as there are aspects of the story left open at the end of this novel.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Shout-Out: Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlitsch

Yesterday cannot last forever...

A decade has passed since the city of Pittsburgh was reduced to ash.

While the rest of the world has moved on, losing itself in the noise of a media-glutted future, survivor John Dominic Blaxton remains obsessed with the past. Grieving for his wife and unborn child who perished in the blast, Dominic relives his lost life by immersing in the Archive, —a fully interactive digital reconstruction of Pittsburgh, accessible to anyone who wants to visit the places they remember and the people they loved.

Dominic investigates deaths recorded in the Archive to help close cases long since grown cold, but when he discovers glitches in the code surrounding a crime scene, —the body of a beautiful woman abandoned in a muddy park, that he's convinced someone tried to delete from the Archive, —his cycle of grief is shattered.

With nothing left to lose, Dominic tracks the murder through a web of deceit that takes him from the darkest corners of the Archive to the ruins of the city itself, leading him into the heart of a nightmare more horrific than anything he could have imagined.

Out July 15.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Blast From the Past: The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Before I started reviewing books online I loved rereading my favourite SF/Fantasy books.  Since I don’t have time to do that anymore, this column is a trip down memory lane, where I’ll rave about books I love to read.  And then read again.  These aren’t reviews, as I won’t necessarily mention criticisms, they’re my chance to fan girl about books I love and hopefully garner some interest in some older titles.
----------------------------------------
I was going to start this column from the beginning, with a middle grade fantasy book, but I've decided to start with the book that got me hooked on fantasy instead.

Two of my older brothers were heavily into fantasy when I was 12 and, like any tag-along tom boy younger sister, I wanted to be like them.  So for Christmas they bought me a fantasy trilogy by Terry Brooks: The Sword of Shannara, The Elfstones of Shannara, and The Wishsong of Shannara.

I was into Christopher Pike and other horror/mystery authors at the time, so when I read the back of The Sword of Shannara and saw that it was about a boy who knows nothing about magic going on a quest where he defeats a big bad guy it didn't really interest me.  The premise just sounded so fake.  I read the first few pages, got bored, and put it back on my shelf.

My brothers read the books though, so when I finally picked up The Sword of Shannara again a few months later, needing an escape from the drudgery of life, the spine was well broken in.  This time I pushed past the first 50 or so pages, and before I knew it I was hooked.  I couldn't wait to find out what happened next.  Rather than being an unrealistic 'boy saves world after becoming good at everything' story it was actually a 'boy saves world despite knowing very little' story.  I found myself relating to Shea and his problems, the fact that the others needed to protect him and his resentment of that.  I loved that there were a number of characters who each had their own roles to play in the story, first as part of a fellowship and even more so when the fellowship failed.

I'd read The Hobbit before this, though not the Lord of the Rings so I didn't see the parallels between the stories at the time or, their derivative nature.  After I finished this trilogy I started into my brothers' collections with a vengeance and have never stopped loving fantasy.  

I knew I wanted to write novels before I read this, but this was the book that made me fall in love with fantasy as a genre.  I loved the sweeping descriptions.  I loved the use of words I'd never heard of (my dictionary got a good workout, and my vocabulary increased a lot reading these).  I also loved the idea that regular people could do extraordinary things if given the chance.  

Fantasy also started teaching me philosophy.  I began a notebook where I wrote down pithy phrases and words of wisdom like, "Don't believe everything you hear, you're young, not stupid." (Which is from Wishsong.)

When working at the bookstore I found it hard to recommend these, as a lot of people are turned off by the 'you have to get past 50 pages' requirement, and it's true that Brooks' opening would likely have been edited down were this published today.  But these are fun books once you get past the exposition and the action begins.  Also remember that a lot of the fantasy cliche's that are so common now were still being created back when these books came out.

I loved The Sword of Shannara, and used to reread the series every time a new book came out.  I've read it so many times that the last time I tried I discovered that it's so imprinted on my brain I just couldn't keep going.  The wonder and mystery were gone.  I'm hoping if I wait a few years to read it again it will feel new and wondrous once more.

A few years back I had the opportunity to meet Terry Brooks at Ad Astra, an SF con in Toronto.  I felt embarrassed handing him my tattered copy but I now have an autographed Sword of Shannara on my shelf. :D

And it seems that the Shannara series, long since optioned for a movie, will be coming to TV!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Shout-Out: Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

"I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath."
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.
The deceived will become the deceiver.
Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.
The betrayed will become the betrayer.
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.
Will the usurped become the usurper?
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds that his path may end as it began-in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Book Review: Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter

Pros: shows multiple viewpoints of challenging issues, thought-provoking, wide range of interesting characters

Cons: first chapter’s style didn’t work for me

It’s been a year since the Declaration that made it illegal for Gemtech companies to own their genetically modified humans went into effect.  In a few days Dr. Eli Walker’s report on wether gems are fundamentally different from unmodified humans will be delivered at a European Conference.  

Zavcka Klist of Bel’Natur, one of the main Gemtechs, has a plan to get the gems working again, and earning Bel’Natur more profits.  Aryel Morningstar, a petit gem with a disfiguring hump, is the spokeswoman for the gems, savvy and hopeful despite the realities of the challenges ahead.  Gabriel is a young boy, found by a gem in Aryel’s community, who has an unusual, and highly desirable, ability.

Tensions are high and, as the conference nears, a godgang starts attacking gems in the streets.

This is a brilliant book.  It takes place over 7 days, the last 5 days preceding the conference, the conference itself and the aftermath of Eli’s report.  It’s remarkable how much information and how many differing viewpoints Saulter manages to pack into those days.  She deals with the necessary background information via reports and news stories, so it feels natural.

There’s a lot of politics going on in the book as various players try to influence Eli and his report.  But the author makes sure the complexity of the issues being address is front and centre by showing not only the extremes of positions, but also the concerns of regular people, if mostly through mentions of what’s happening on streaming sites.

The economics of amalgamating a large group of people is also dealt with, both in terms of supporting those who are unable - or unwilling - to work and by showing the reaction of norms when gems ‘steal’ their jobs.

The issues being explored, slavery, humanity, discrimination, acceptance, as well as the gems themselves, with their engineered abilities, reminded me of Karen Sandler’s Tankborn trilogy, but the treatments and tones of the books are wildly different.  While Tankborn follows two protagonists who don’t have much power to change things, Gemsigns follows those at the forefront of the politics deciding what laws will be put into affect.  Gemsigns was very thought-provoking and relevant with regards to today’s politics, with its social issues (ex: do LGTBQ people deserve the same rights and privileges as their straight neighbours?).  

I loved the ending and the fact that I figured out the twist a few pages before it was revealed.   

The only complaint I had with the book was the style of the first chapter, which was a bit off-putting for me.  After that, the book took off and never stopped.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Revised Upcoming Fiction List for August, 2014

My SFF books coming in August list was suspiciously short, so, with a few suggestions from my husband on how to do better Amazon searches, I've revised the list (both on the original post and here) to better reflect what's coming out this August.

Hardcover:

Visions – Kelley Armstrong
Shadows – E. C. Blake
We Can Remember It For You Wholesale: The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, vol 5 – Philip K. Dick
The Arrows of Time – Greg Egan
Assail – Ian Esslemont
Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle – Phil Foglio & Kaja Foglio
Hellhole Inferno – Brian Herbert & Kevin Anderson
Fool’s Assassin – Robin Hobb
The Incorruptibles – John Horner Jacobs
The Getaway God – Richard Kadrey
The Collected Short Stories of R. A. Lafferty, vol 2 – R. A. Lafferty
The Godless – Ben Peek
Revenant – Kat Richardson
Islands of Rage and Hope – John Ringo
Lock In – John Scalzi
The Millennium Express: The Collected Stories of Robert Silverberg, vol 9 – Robert Silverberg
Equoid – Charles Stross
The Ultra Thin Man – Patrick Swenson
Dark Lightning – John Varley
Echopraxia – Peter Watts
The Broken Eye – Brent Weeks
The Bounty Hunter Code: Revelations of Boba Fett – Daniel Wallace, Ryder Windham & Jason Fry

Trade Paperback:

Jumper – Steven Gould (reprint)
Hilldiggers – Neal Asher
MaddAddam – Margaret Atwood
The Year’s Best Weird Fiction – Laird Barron
Wilde Stories 2014: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction – Steve Berman, Ed.
John Brunner SF Gateway Omnibus – John Brunner
Welcome to Camelot – Tony Cleaver
Soda Pop Soldier – Nick Cole
The Shadow Academy – Adrian Cole
The Incredible Star Portal – John Donald
The Runner and the Kelpie – Dave Duncan
Earth Flight – Janet Edwards
Shadows of the New Sun: Stories in Honor of Gene Wolfe – Bill Fawcett & J. E. Mooney
We Will All Go Down Together – Gemma Files
Sanctum – Sarah Fine
Slow Train to Arcturus – Eric Flint & Dave Freer
The Rise to Power – David Francis
Trial by Fire – Charles Gannon
The Darkest Edge of Dawn – Kelly Gay
Marauder – Gary Gibson
Shadow Fall – Seressia Glass
We Are All Completely Fine – Daryl Gregory
An Apple For the Creature – Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner
Journal of the Plague Year: An Omnibus of Post-Apocalyptic Tales – C. B. Harvey & Malcolm Cross
The Chosen – William Hatchett
Warhammer 40K: Warriors of the Imperium – Andy Hoare & Sarah Cawkwell
The Mirror Empire – Kameron Hurley
The Wanderer – Timothy Jarvis
The Fifth Season – N. K. Jemisin
The Scorched Earth – Drew Karpyshyn
Imaginarium 2014 – Sandra Kasturi
A Touch of Poison – Aaron Kite
The Family Unit and Other Fantasies – Laurence Klavan
Diablo: The Kingdom of Shadow – Richard Knaak
Black Ice – Susan Krinard
Unexpected Alliances – M. R. Lascola
Smiler’s Fair – Rebecca Levene
Endgame – Brad Linaweaver & Dafydd ab Hugh
Dawn Song – Michael Marano
The Arrivals – Melissa Marr
King of Shadows – Ann Marston
The Dystopia Chronicles – Matthew Mather
The Necromancer Candle – Randy McCharles
Warhammer 40K: Vengeful Spirit – Graham McNeill
Creations – William Mitchell
Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse – Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Ed.
Drakenfeld – Mark Newton
Javenny – Al Onia
Clockwork Secrets – Dru Pagliassotti
The Lobsterman and the UFO – Neal Parker
Fortune’s Favors – Marlene Perez
Once Dead – Richard Phillips
Charm – Sarah Pinborough
The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy – Jacopo Della Quercia
The Quantum Thief – Hannu Rajaniemi
The Chickens of Atlantis and Other Foul and Filthy Fiends – Robert Rankin
Throne of Stars – John Ringo & David Weber
The Ripper Affair – Lilith Saintcrow
Necking – Chris Salvatore
Angel’s Legacy – Morgana Starr
The Emperor’s Blades – Brian Staveley
A Second Chance – Jodi Taylor
The Seal of the Worm – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Throne of Stars – David Weber & John Ringo
Cursed Moon – Jaye Wells
The Devil Rides Out – Dennis Wheatley
The Ace of Skulls – Chris Wooding

Mass Market Paperback:

Warhammer 40K: Legion – Dan Abnett
Warhammer 40K: Prospero Burns – Dan Abnett
Havoc – Ann Aguirre
Memory Zero – Keri Arthur
Shadow Born – James Axler
The Incrementalists – Steven Brust & Skyler White
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance – Lois McMaster Bujold
Evernight – Kristen Callihan
Warhammer 40K: Battle for the Abyss – Ben Counter
Star Trek: Seekers: Point of Divergence – Kevin Dilmore & Dayton Ward
The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter – Rod Duncan
Fringe: Sins of the Father – Christa Faust
Plague World – Dana Fredsti
The Fire Prince – Emily Gee
Voices From Beyond – Simon Green
Codex Born – Jim Hines
Under the Final Moon – Hannah Jayne
Sixth Grave on the Edge – Darynda Jones
Warhammer 40K: Fallen Angels – Mike Lee
Let Me In – John Ajvide Linkqvist
World of Fire – James Lovegrove 
Warhammer 40K: A Thousand Sons – Graham McNeill
Warhammer 40K: Fulgrim – Graham McNeill 
Warhammer 40K: Mechanicum – Graham McNeill
Dawn for a Distant Earty – L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Nexus – Ramez Naam
The Stolen – Bishop O’Connell
Warhammer 40K: Tales of Heresy – Lindsey Priestley & Nick Kyme, Ed.
The Wandering Dragon – Irene Radford
Isaac Asimov’s I Robot: To Obey – Mickey Zucker Reichert
Warhammer 40K: Descent of Angels – Mitchel Scanlon
Royal Airs – Sharon Shinn
Walking in the Midst of Fire – Thomas Sniegoski
Warhammer 40K: Flight of the Eisenstein – James Swallow
Warhammer 40K: Nemesis – James Swallow
Warhammer 40K: Deliverance Lost – Gav Thorpe
Downfall – Rob Thurman
Rings of Anubis – E. Cahterine Tobler
Kitty’s Greatest Hits – Carrie Vaughn
Beginnings: Worlds of Honor 6 – David Weber +
Solaris Rising 3 – Ian Whates, Ed.
Burning Paradise – Robert Charles Wilson

eBook:

Engraved – Karina Cooper
The Phoenix Variant – Nathan Farrugia
ES Siren 2: Yours to Command – Shona Husk
The Freezer – Timothy Johnston
Rogue’s Paradise – Jeffe Kennedy
The Song of Albion Collection: The Paradise War, The Silver Hand, and The Endless Knot – Stephen Lawhead
ES Siren 3: Yours to Desire – Denise Rossetti
Gun Shy – Eleri Stone
This Changes Everything – Denise Grover Swank
ES Siren 1: Yours to Uncover – Mel Teshco
The Warrior King – Michael Wallace

YA:

Frostborn – Lou Anders
Chasing Before – Lenore Appelhans
Opposition – Jennifer Armentrout
The Islands at the End of the World – Austin Aslan
A Whispered Darkness – Vanessa Barger
A Slither of Hope – Lisa Basson
Love in the Time of Global Warming – Francesca Lia Block
Heap House – Edward Carey
The Bitter Kingdom – Rae Carson
Summer and Bird – Katherine Catmull
When the Tripods Came – John Christopher
Avian – Nicole Conway
Frozen Heart of Dread – Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston
The Rule of Thoughts – James Dashner
A Radiant Sky – Jocelyn Davies
My Tethered Soul – Dorothy Dreyer
The Revelation of Gabriel Adam – S. L. Duncan
Dark Shore – Kevin Emerson
The Far Dawn – Kevin Emerson
Fearsome Dreamer – Laure Eve
The Illusionists – Laure Eve
Of Metal and Wishes – Sarah Fine
Dragon Shield – Charlie Fletcher
Zomburbia – Adam Gallardo
Mercy Mode – Em Garner
When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears – Kersten Hamilton
Breathe for Me – Rhonda Helms
Zero Hour – Will Hill
Oblivion – Anthony Horowitz
The Devil’s Intern – Donna Hosie
The Summer Prince – Alaya Dawn Johnson
False Future – Dan Krokos
Overpowered – Mark Kruger
Fragile Destiny – Suzanne Lazear
The Revenge of Seven – Pittacus Lore
Scorched – Mari Mancusi
The Crystal Heart – Sophie Masson
Infinityglass – Myra McEntire
Not a Drop to Drink – Mindy McGinnis
Red Queen – Christopher Pike
The Howling Ghost – Christopher Pike
The Secret Path – Christopher Pike
Deception – C. J. Redwine
Deliverance – C. J. Redwine
The Fourth Wish – Lindsay Ribar
Anywhere – Jon Robinson
Everfound – Neal Shusterman
Flawed – J. L. Spelbring
Sisters’ Fate – Jessica Spotswood
Wordless – Adrianne Strickland
Relic – Heather Terrell
All Our Yesterdays – Cristin Terrill
Fractured – Teri Terry
Starlight’s Edge – Susan Waggoner
Storm Siren – Mary Weber
Treecat Wars – David Weber & Jane Lindskold
Black Out – Robinson Wells
Rebels – Jill Williamson
Fiendish – Brenna Yovanoff

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Shout-Out: Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis

Nolan doesn't see darkness when he closes his eyes. Instead, he's transported into the mind of Amara, a girl living in a different world. Nolan's life in his small Arizona town is full of history tests, family tension, and laundry; his parents think he has epilepsy, judging from his frequent blackouts. Amara's world is full of magic and danger--she's a mute servant girl who's tasked with protecting a renegade princess. Nolan is only an observer in Amara's world--until he learns to control her. At first, Amara is terrified. Then, she's furious. But to keep the princess--and themselves--alive, they'll have to work together and discover the truth behind their connection.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Book Review: The Tower Broken by Mazarkis Williams

Pros: lots of intrigue, complex story, satisfying series ending, great characters

Cons: climax felt rushed, Adam’s motivations at the end were puzzling

Picking up a few months after the events of The Knife Sworn, things are not well in the capital of Cerana.  With General Arigu missing Sarmin doesn’t have the full confidence of his army; the High Priest of Herzu is pressuring him to make sacrifices to appease the Gods; Sarmin’s brother is still missing; Mogyrk rebels are loose in the city, setting fires and killing guards; and the Storm, a vast emptiness that swallows all in its path, is almost at the city gates.

Sarmin is forced to make difficult choices to maintain his authority while dealing with numerous threats from both within and without his Empire.  A surviver of a Mogyrk pattern attack is kidnapped by Austere Adam because he’s able to read the symbols used in pattern magic.  The mages find a crack growing on one of the Tower’s walls.  And the Yrkmir army marches on Nooria.

As the conclusion to the Tower and Knife trilogy this book has a lot to accomplish.  There are so many things going on and numerous view points to see the action from.  Mazarkis does a fantastic job of keeping a coherent narrative, focusing on the essentials while ensuring a feeling of the scale of the Empire and the wide ranging consequences of everyone’s decisions.  Each of the major players felt like a complete individual with their own motivations for their actions.

There’s a huge amount of building up to the climax, and the climax as a consequence felt rushed.  Indeed, I wondered at one point, if maybe there was a 4th book to the series, as it didn’t seem possible to wrap everything up in time.  But Mazarkis did manage to deal with all the major plot threads, and in a satisfying way.

Having said that, I found Austere Adam’s motivations in the final few chapters of the book somewhat puzzling.  I’ll deal with this below in the spoilers section.

There were some minor things that irritated me about the book, the occasional unnecessary repetition, characters doing something odd in one scene, but on the whole I loved this series and highly recommend it.



***SPOILERS***

I normally try not to be too spoilery in my spoiler section but be warned, I’m being very explicit here about what happens in the final few chapters, so if you don’t want to have the ending ruined, stop reading here.























These were some comments/questions I had, mostly about the ending.

If Sarmin’s closing the rift in Beyon’s tomb caused him to lose his magic and he’s more powerful than the other pattern mages, how was Didryk able to close the much larger Storm without any adverse effects (and very little effort)?

I can understand why Adam joined Sarmin in attacking the first Austere - the Austere was killing people rather than converting them the way Adam preferred - but I’m confused as to why he’d aid the attack on Mogyrk.  Yes, the Scar is growing and will eventually destroy the world, but Adam firmly believes that this is meant to happen.  He mentions several times that the end is coming due to his god and he is entirely ok with that so long as his enemies convert and enter the light beforehand (or not, as they choose).  So why would he help Sarmin kill his god?  This isn’t properly explained.

I LOVED how Sarmin finally deals with Dinar.  I suspected he’d have to do something dramatic but even so I didn’t see that coming.

I wouldn’t have minded a slightly longer denouement as Sarmin has a lot of work to do to rebuild his kingdom, especially if he wants to abolish slavery.  And poor Mesema doesn’t realize that the slaves she tried so hard to find were all slaughtered after they entered the palace.  

Still, the best stories leave you wanting more.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

StoryBundle Releases 2 Fantasy Based DRM-Free Bundles

If you don't have enough to read, StoryBundle's released two fantasy bundles in addition to their still available Cosmic Sci-Fi bundle.

The new bundles are:

1) Weird Fiction






2) Multimedia Fantasy Music, which includes several music albums.  With this bundle, with less than 13 days left, they're unlocking new ebooks and "B-sides" to the albums for every 1000 bundle purchases.  If something's unlocked, everyone who bought the bundle gets those as well.  













I'm trying to cut down on my purchases until I have time to READ some of the ebooks I've bought, but both these bundles have books/music that interest me so my pile may be getting larger again.

Disability Should Not be Inspiration Porn For the Abled

Sorry, I tried embedding the amazing TED talk by Stella Young, an Australian comedian and journalist, into this post but couldn't get the code to work, so I hope you'll go over and watch the video so you'll understand what this post is about. (Or you can read the transcripts.)

Ms. Young talks about something that I'm sure we've all seen, motivational posters like these:


And she makes a very valid complaint about them.  And I quote (emphasis mine):

And these images, there are lots of them out there, they are what we call inspiration porn. (Laughter) And I use the term porn deliberately, because they objectify one group of people for the benefit of another group of people. So in this case, we're objectifying disabled people for the benefit of nondisabled people. The purpose of these images is to inspire you, to motivate you, so that we can look at them and think, "Well, however bad my life is, it could be worse. I could be that person."
And she's right.  Disability should not be inspiration porn for the nondisabled.  We shouldn't look at people who have achieved things despite differences and/or hardships and say "I should do better because look at what they did".  Being disabled doesn't mean being unskilled.  There are levels of disability just as there are levels of ability and yet it's easy to throw everyone under the same label and render them all 'less' as a result, despite that individual's individuality.  And when you start with a negative stereotype it's hard to see the real person under the labels and preconceived notions of their abilities.

This is one of the reasons I'm happy seeing more diverse characters showing up in SFF and why I think we need more.  Fiction is a great realm to explore difference and ability without the social awkwardness that accompanies rethinking your beliefs and expectations.  In other words, it's easier to learn new things and change your habits when you're exposed to something new in private rather than in a situation where you have to react to something you're perhaps not properly equipped to deal with in a respectful manner.

Ms. Young goes on to say:

And life as a disabled person is actually somewhat difficult. We do overcome some things. But the things that we're overcoming are not the things that you think they are. They are not things to do with our bodies. I use the term "disabled people" quite deliberately, because I subscribe to what's called the social model of disability, which tells us that we are more disabled by the society that we live in than by our bodies and our diagnoses.
I remember quite a few years back when I was working at a drug store, one of my managers came up to me and told me to help a customer who was visually impaired.  The customer was in the aisle I was restocking and I'd already noticed him, looking down the aisle to see if he needed help.  He didn't and so, despite my manager's prompting, I left him alone.  Sometimes people need help, and if they're adults they generally know when that is and can ask for it.  I helped numerous people at the bookstore, sometimes because of vision or hearing issues, most often because we didn't have an elevator and so often brought books downstairs for customers to browse.  But I tried not to assume that someone needed help simply because they were different.  And this video makes me think I did right by that.

I read a book about blindness as a kid that really stuck with me (Follow My Leader by James Garfield, if you're interested).  It stuck that being blind didn't mean a person was unable to live on their own like everyone else.  Yes, there are things they can't do, but not as much as sighted people tend to assume.

Books have the power to teach people how to deal with situations they've never faced.  They also have the power to teach people how to better deal with situations they did badly in.  I once worked with someone as seasonal staff who asked me to call them by a particular pronoun.  I'm ashamed to say that I can't remember what pronoun they requested as my mind blanked during the conversation as I tried to figure out what was going on.  I now understand it better - due to following particular inclusiveness conversations in SFF circles - but it's too late to change my response into a more appropriate and respectful one.  Sometimes we can only learn from our mistakes and resolve to do better in the future.

Again I quote the talk:

People, when they say, "You're an inspiration," they mean it as a compliment. And I know why it happens. It's because of the lie, it's because we've been sold this lie that disability makes you exceptional. And it honestly doesn't.
...
I really think that this lie that we've been sold about disability is the greatest injustice. It makes life hard for us. And that quote, "The only disability in life is a bad attitude," the reason that that's bullshit is because it's just not true, because of the social model of disability. No amount of smiling at a flight of stairs has ever made it turn into a ramp.
It's a really great talk and I hope you watch it/read it and take it to heart.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Coming in August 2014

** I have revised the list (July 7), adding a bunch of titles that were missed in my original post **

Like my last few lists, this one was generated from Amazon.ca.  It's suspiciously short, making me wonder if it's a slow summer for publishers or if Amazon's not reporting all the upcoming books the way it used to.  Anyway, it looks like Games Workshop is reprinting the Horus Heresy as I noticed many of its titles in the list (perhaps with new covers?).  I tried to confirm that the YA list was actually YA as Amazon has the tendency to throw 9-12 fiction in that list too, but if there's an error I apologize.

Hardcover:

Visions – Kelley Armstrong
Shadows – E. C. Blake
We Can Remember It For You Wholesale: The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, vol 5 – Philip K. Dick
The Arrows of Time – Greg Egan
Assail – Ian Esslemont
Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle – Phil Foglio & Kaja Foglio
Hellhole Inferno – Brian Herbert & Kevin Anderson
Fool’s Assassin – Robin Hobb
The Incorruptibles – John Horner Jacobs
The Getaway God – Richard Kadrey
The Collected Short Stories of R. A. Lafferty, vol 2 – R. A. Lafferty
The Godless – Ben Peek
Revenant – Kat Richardson
Islands of Rage and Hope – John Ringo
Lock In – John Scalzi
The Millennium Express: The Collected Stories of Robert Silverberg, vol 9 – Robert Silverberg
Equoid – Charles Stross
The Ultra Thin Man – Patrick Swenson
Dark Lightning – John Varley
Echopraxia – Peter Watts
The Broken Eye – Brent Weeks
The Bounty Hunter Code: Revelations of Boba Fett – Daniel Wallace, Ryder Windham & Jason Fry

Trade Paperback:

Jumper – Steven Gould (reprint)
Hilldiggers – Neal Asher
MaddAddam – Margaret Atwood
The Year’s Best Weird Fiction – Laird Barron
Wilde Stories 2014: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction – Steve Berman, Ed.
John Brunner SF Gateway Omnibus – John Brunner
Welcome to Camelot – Tony Cleaver
Soda Pop Soldier – Nick Cole
The Shadow Academy – Adrian Cole
The Incredible Star Portal – John Donald
The Runner and the Kelpie – Dave Duncan
Earth Flight – Janet Edwards
Shadows of the New Sun: Stories in Honor of Gene Wolfe – Bill Fawcett & J. E. Mooney
We Will All Go Down Together – Gemma Files
Sanctum – Sarah Fine
Slow Train to Arcturus – Eric Flint & Dave Freer
The Rise to Power – David Francis
Trial by Fire – Charles Gannon
The Darkest Edge of Dawn – Kelly Gay
Marauder – Gary Gibson
Shadow Fall – Seressia Glass
We Are All Completely Fine – Daryl Gregory
An Apple For the Creature – Charlaine Harris & Toni L. P. Kelner
Journal of the Plague Year: An Omnibus of Post-Apocalyptic Tales – C. B. Harvey & Malcolm Cross
The Chosen – William Hatchett
Warhammer 40K: Warriors of the Imperium – Andy Hoare & Sarah Cawkwell
The Mirror Empire – Kameron Hurley
The Wanderer – Timothy Jarvis
The Fifth Season – N. K. Jemisin
The Scorched Earth – Drew Karpyshyn
Imaginarium 2014 – Sandra Kasturi
A Touch of Poison – Aaron Kite
The Family Unit and Other Fantasies – Laurence Klavan
Diablo: The Kingdom of Shadow – Richard Knaak
Black Ice – Susan Krinard
Unexpected Alliances – M. R. Lascola
Smiler’s Fair – Rebecca Levene
Endgame – Brad Linaweaver & Dafydd ab Hugh
Dawn Song – Michael Marano
The Arrivals – Melissa Marr
King of Shadows – Ann Marston
The Dystopia Chronicles – Matthew Mather
The Necromancer Candle – Randy McCharles
Warhammer 40K: Vengeful Spirit – Graham McNeill
Creations – William Mitchell
Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse – Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Ed.
Drakenfeld – Mark Newton
Javenny – Al Onia
Clockwork Secrets – Dru Pagliassotti
The Lobsterman and the UFO – Neal Parker
Fortune’s Favors – Marlene Perez
Once Dead – Richard Phillips
Charm – Sarah Pinborough
The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy – Jacopo Della Quercia
The Quantum Thief – Hannu Rajaniemi
The Chickens of Atlantis and Other Foul and Filthy Fiends – Robert Rankin
Throne of Stars – John Ringo & David Weber
The Ripper Affair – Lilith Saintcrow
Necking – Chris Salvatore
Angel’s Legacy – Morgana Starr
The Emperor’s Blades – Brian Staveley
A Second Chance – Jodi Taylor
The Seal of the Worm – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Throne of Stars – David Weber & John Ringo
Cursed Moon – Jaye Wells
The Devil Rides Out – Dennis Wheatley
The Ace of Skulls – Chris Wooding

Mass Market Paperback:

Warhammer 40K: Legion – Dan Abnett
Warhammer 40K: Prospero Burns – Dan Abnett
Havoc – Ann Aguirre
Memory Zero – Keri Arthur
Shadow Born – James Axler
The Incrementalists – Steven Brust & Skyler White
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance – Lois McMaster Bujold
Evernight – Kristen Callihan
Warhammer 40K: Battle for the Abyss – Ben Counter
Star Trek: Seekers: Point of Divergence – Kevin Dilmore & Dayton Ward
The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter – Rod Duncan
Fringe: Sins of the Father – Christa Faust
Plague World – Dana Fredsti
The Fire Prince – Emily Gee
Voices From Beyond – Simon Green
Codex Born – Jim Hines
Under the Final Moon – Hannah Jayne
Sixth Grave on the Edge – Darynda Jones
Warhammer 40K: Fallen Angels – Mike Lee
Let Me In – John Ajvide Linkqvist
World of Fire – James Lovegrove 
Warhammer 40K: A Thousand Sons – Graham McNeill
Warhammer 40K: Fulgrim – Graham McNeill 
Warhammer 40K: Mechanicum – Graham McNeill
Dawn for a Distant Earty – L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Nexus – Ramez Naam
The Stolen – Bishop O’Connell
Warhammer 40K: Tales of Heresy – Lindsey Priestley & Nick Kyme, Ed.
The Wandering Dragon – Irene Radford
Isaac Asimov’s I Robot: To Obey – Mickey Zucker Reichert
Warhammer 40K: Descent of Angels – Mitchel Scanlon
Royal Airs – Sharon Shinn
Walking in the Midst of Fire – Thomas Sniegoski
Warhammer 40K: Flight of the Eisenstein – James Swallow
Warhammer 40K: Nemesis – James Swallow
Warhammer 40K: Deliverance Lost – Gav Thorpe
Downfall – Rob Thurman
Rings of Anubis – E. Cahterine Tobler
Kitty’s Greatest Hits – Carrie Vaughn
Beginnings: Worlds of Honor 6 – David Weber +
Solaris Rising 3 – Ian Whates, Ed.
Burning Paradise – Robert Charles Wilson

eBook:

Engraved – Karina Cooper
The Phoenix Variant – Nathan Farrugia
ES Siren 2: Yours to Command – Shona Husk
The Freezer – Timothy Johnston
Rogue’s Paradise – Jeffe Kennedy
The Song of Albion Collection: The Paradise War, The Silver Hand, and The Endless Knot – Stephen Lawhead
ES Siren 3: Yours to Desire – Denise Rossetti
Gun Shy – Eleri Stone
This Changes Everything – Denise Grover Swank
ES Siren 1: Yours to Uncover – Mel Teshco
The Warrior King – Michael Wallace

YA:

Frostborn – Lou Anders
Chasing Before – Lenore Appelhans
Opposition – Jennifer Armentrout
The Islands at the End of the World – Austin Aslan
A Whispered Darkness – Vanessa Barger
A Slither of Hope – Lisa Basson
Love in the Time of Global Warming – Francesca Lia Block
Heap House – Edward Carey
The Bitter Kingdom – Rae Carson
Summer and Bird – Katherine Catmull
When the Tripods Came – John Christopher
Avian – Nicole Conway
Frozen Heart of Dread – Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston
The Rule of Thoughts – James Dashner
A Radiant Sky – Jocelyn Davies
My Tethered Soul – Dorothy Dreyer
The Revelation of Gabriel Adam – S. L. Duncan
Dark Shore – Kevin Emerson
The Far Dawn – Kevin Emerson
Fearsome Dreamer – Laure Eve
The Illusionists – Laure Eve
Of Metal and Wishes – Sarah Fine
Dragon Shield – Charlie Fletcher
Zomburbia – Adam Gallardo
Mercy Mode – Em Garner
When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears – Kersten Hamilton
Breathe for Me – Rhonda Helms
Zero Hour – Will Hill
Oblivion – Anthony Horowitz
The Devil’s Intern – Donna Hosie
The Summer Prince – Alaya Dawn Johnson
False Future – Dan Krokos
Overpowered – Mark Kruger
Fragile Destiny – Suzanne Lazear
The Revenge of Seven – Pittacus Lore
Scorched – Mari Mancusi
The Crystal Heart – Sophie Masson
Infinityglass – Myra McEntire
Not a Drop to Drink – Mindy McGinnis
Red Queen – Christopher Pike
The Howling Ghost – Christopher Pike
The Secret Path – Christopher Pike
Deception – C. J. Redwine
Deliverance – C. J. Redwine
The Fourth Wish – Lindsay Ribar
Anywhere – Jon Robinson
Everfound – Neal Shusterman
Flawed – J. L. Spelbring
Sisters’ Fate – Jessica Spotswood
Wordless – Adrianne Strickland
Relic – Heather Terrell
All Our Yesterdays – Cristin Terrill
Fractured – Teri Terry
Starlight’s Edge – Susan Waggoner
Storm Siren – Mary Weber
Treecat Wars – David Weber & Jane Lindskold
Black Out – Robinson Wells
Rebels – Jill Williamson
Fiendish – Brenna Yovanoff