Interview with CAMERON JOHNSTON

JohnstonC-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Cameron Johnston?

Cameron Johnston lives in Glasgow, Scotland, with his wife and an extremely fluffy cat. He is a swordsman, a gamer, an enthusiast of archaeology, history and mythology, a builder of LEGO, and owns far too many books to fit on his shelves. He loves exploring ancient sites and camping out under the stars by a roaring fire.

Your latest novel, God of Broken Things, was published this month by Angry Robot. The second novel in your Age of Tyranny series, how would you introduce it to a potential reader? And what can fans of the first book expect from this follow-up?

The Traitor God is part blood-soaked murder mystery and part swords and sorcery Lovecraftian apocalypse. God of Broken Things expands that universe and we get to see the ramifications of the events in The Traitor God, and also Edrin Walker’s discoveries about himself and who he wants to be, as opposed to who he was told he was for most of his life. Readers will get to leave the confines of Setharis and explore the snowy mountains of the Clanholds, where Walker confronts daemons, ancient spirits, an invading army, and worst of all, the extent of his own powers. Continue reading

Guest Post: “How My Daughter Reacted When I Made Her a Main Character in my Novel” by David Walton

WaltonD-AuthorPic“They never write stories about people like me,” my thirteen-year-old daughter said. She had just finished yet another YA novel filled with active, adventurous, extroverted sort of people. But Naomi isn’t like that. She’s a beautifully quiet, caring, quirky introvert. Being with other people causes her anxiety, and her favorite activity is reading a book alone. She’s more likely to help quietly from the background, unseen, while others take the lead, and never argues with or confronts others. She wanted to know: Why were none of the people in those novels like her?

I decided that the world needed a protagonist like Naomi. For my novel Three Laws Lethal, I created a fictional Naomi, eight years older than the real one, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania. I invented for her a library nook that no one else knew about where she could spend hours reading or working and feel safe. I gave her an inner thought life based on all of the science fiction and fantasy books she’d read and reread. Continue reading

Review: KONRAD CURZE — NIGHT HAUNTER by Guy Haley (Black Library)

HaleyG-HHP12-KonradCurzeA look at the Night Haunter’s spiral into madness, and his last hours

Of all the Emperor’s immortal sons, the primarchs, it is Konrad Curze whose legend is the darkest. Born in the shadows of Nostramo, a world of murderers, thieves and worse, is it any surprise that he became the figure of dread known only as the Night Haunter?

Heed now the tragic story of the creature Konrad Curze, master of the Night Lords Legion, of how he became a monster and a weapon of terror. He who once served the Imperium saw the truth in a maddening universe and the hypocrisy of a loveless father. From the blood-soaked gutters of his hiveworld upbringing, to the last days of his ill-fated existence, Curze is a primarch like no other and his tale is one to chill the very bone…

In this, Guy Haley’s third Primarchs novel, readers get a fascinating look at Konrad Curze: the Night Haunter, and gene-father of the Night Lords, the Emperor’s terror troops. A nuanced examination of Curze’s place in the expanding Imperium, as well as an account of his final hours — lost to madness, despair and bitterness. Continue reading

New Books (April-May)

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Featuring: Troy Carrol Bucher, Gordon H. Chang, Dhonielle Clayton, John Connolly, Jennifer Giesbrecht, Stanley B. Greenberg, Georgia Hardstark, Guy Haley, John Hornor Jacobs, Kel Kade, Karen Kilgariff, Cassandra Khaw, Mary Robinette Kowal, Michael Laurence, Yoon Ha Lee, Nick Mamatas, Kassandra Montag, Tamsyn Muir, Brian Naslund, Anna Pitoniak, Christopher Ruocchio, John Sandford, Mel Stanfill, Jon Steinhagen, Neal Stephenson, Breanna Teintze, Chuck Wendig, Jen Williams

Continue reading

Quick Review: ONE WORD KILL by Mark Lawrence (47 North)

LawrenceM-IT1-OneWordKillThe first in the Impossible Times series

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange — yet curiously familiar — man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help — now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.

Mark Lawrence is best known for his three excellent grimdark fantasy series — The Broken Empire, The Red Queen’s War, and Book of the Ancestor. I’ve been a fan of his work since Prince of Thorns, which I was able to get as a review copy. One of the first things that struck me was how good a writer Lawrence is — something that is immediately apparent in everything he writes. In One Word Kill, the author shows that he’s just as adept writing in the real world as he is in his dystopian and fantasy settings. This was a lot of fun. Continue reading

Guest Post: “The Challenge of the Middle Books” by D.B. Jackson

JacksonDB-AuthorPicMy newest book, Time’s Demon, comes out on May 28 from Angry Robot Books. This is the second book in The Islevale Cycle, my time travel/epic fantasy trilogy, which began with Time’s Children (October 2018). This was a challenging – and ultimately rewarding – book to write for a number of reasons. Time travel stories are always difficult to construct because of the constant danger of creating paradoxes, anachronisms, and plotting loopholes. Epic fantasies come with their own challenges – the need to balance and keep track of multiple narrative strands and point of view characters.

Finally, and most importantly for our purposes today, Time’s Demon is the second book in a trilogy – the dreaded middle book – and as such it presented a unique set of issues. Now, not everyone is foolish enough to take on time travel in their novels, and hard SF, space opera, urban fantasy, grimdark, steampunk, and other varieties of speculative fiction are not necessarily any easier to approach than epic fantasy. But most if not all of us writing in our genre will eventually confront the dreaded “middle book” problem. So I would like to discuss my approach to second books. Continue reading

Interview with TJ BERRY

BerryTJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is TJ Berry?

I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror from Seattle. I’m originally from the New York City area, so I have a lot of opinions on the subject of pizza. I’m a survivor of the 2016 six-week Clarion West Writer’s Workshop — also known as sci-fi summer camp. In a previous life, I owned a bakery, and one of my enduring skills is whipping up a batch of cookie dough from scratch in under three minutes. That comes in handy more often than you’d imagine.

Your next novel, Five Unicorn Flush, will be published by Angry Robot in May. The sequel to Space Unicorn Blues, how would you introduce it to a potential reader?

Five Unicorn Flush picks up after the magical Bala have disappeared from the universe and the authoritarian Reason regime has devolved into chaos. All of the cheap labor and magical faster-than-light fuel that humans exploited to fuel their intergalactic expansion are gone. One angry man, Cowboy Jim Bryant, has decided to take the last remaining faster-than-light warship and hunt down the Bala and return them to captivity. His former partner and current nemesis, Captain Jenny Perata, is hot on his tail, keen on stopping him. Continue reading