Upcoming: THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS

Caught this second trailer for the upcoming fourth Matrix movie when I went to see No Time To Die. My anticipation for this movie just keeps growing. It releases later this month.

In “The Matrix Resurrections,” return to a world of two realities: one, everyday life; the other, what lies behind it. To find out if his reality is a physical or mental construct, to truly know himself, Mr. Anderson will have to choose to follow the white rabbit once more. And if Thomas… Neo… has learned anything, it’s that choice, while an illusion, is still the only way out of — or into — the Matrix. Of course, Neo already knows what he has to do. But what he doesn’t yet know is the Matrix is stronger, more secure and more dangerous than ever before. Déjà vu.

Reeves reprises the dual roles of Thomas Anderson/Neo, the man once saved from the Matrix to become the savior of humankind, who will once again have to choose which path to follow. Moss portrays the iconic warrior Trinity… or is she Tiffany, a suburban wife and mother of three with a penchant for superpowered motorcycles?

Upcoming: IN THE SHADOW OF LIGHTNING by Brian McClellan (Tor Books)

McClellanB-GI1-InTheShadowOfLightningUSHCIt shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m looking forward to Brian McClellan‘s next novel. I’ve been reading his stuff since his debut, Promise of Blood — the novel that launched the Powder Mage series in fine style. The Powder Mage series was followed by Gods of Blood and Powder (same world, set later). With next year’s In the Shadow of Lightning, McClellan launches a new series — Glass Immortals — set in a wholly new fantasy world. Here’s the synopsis:

A brand-new epic fantasy where magic is a finite resource — and it’s running out.

Demir Grappo is an outcast — he fled a life of wealth and power, abandoning his responsibilities as a general, a governor, and a son. Now he will live out his days as a grifter, rootless, and alone. But when his mother is brutally murdered, Demir must return from exile to claim his seat at the head of the family and uncover the truth that got her killed: the very power that keeps civilization turning, godglass, is running out.

Now, Demir must find allies, old friends and rivals alike, confront the powerful guild-families who are only interested in making the most of the scraps left at the table and uncover the invisible hand that threatens the Empire. A war is coming, a war unlike any other. And Demir and his ragtag group of outcasts are the only thing that stands in the way of the end of life as the world knows it.

In the Shadow of Lightning is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, on June 21st, 2022.

Also on CR: Interview with Brian McClellan (2013); Guest Posts on “My Favourite Novel” and “Protagonist Ages in Epic Fantasy”; Excerpt from The Autumn Republic; Reviews of Promise of Blood, The Crimson Campaign, The Autumn Republic, and War Cry

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: DAUGHTER OF REDWINTER by Ed McDonald (Tor/Gollancz)

McDonaldE-RC1-DaughterOfRedwinterUSHCNext summer, Ed McDonald returns with Daughter of Redwinter, the first in a new fantasy series. (With that title, though, one can’t help but think it would have been more apropos to publish it in a colder season?) The author’s debut trilogy, the Raven’s Mark, was an extremely well-received grimdark affair, and no doubt fans are looking forward to reading more from McDonald (although, this new series might be a shade less grimdark). Here’s the synopsis:

Those who see the dead soon join them.

Raine can see — and more importantly, speak — to the dead. It’s a wretched gift with a death sentence that has her doing many dubious things to save her skin. Seeking refuge with a deluded cult is her latest bad, survival-related decision. But her rare act of kindness — rescuing an injured woman in the snow — is even worse.

McDonaldE-RC1-DaughterOfRedwinterUKHCBecause the woman has escaped from Redwinter, the fortress-monastery of the Draoihn, warrior magicians who answer to no king and who will stop at nothing to retrieve what she’s stolen. A battle, a betrayal, and a horrific revelation forces Raine to enter Redwinter. It becomes clear that her ability might save an entire nation.

Pity she might have to die for that to happen…

Daughter of Redwinter is due to be published by Tor Books in North America (June 28th) and Gollancz in the UK (June 30th).

Also on CR: Interview with Ed McDonald (2017); Annotated Excerpt from Ravencry

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Upcoming: THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE KILLED HIS DOG by Edward Gross & Mark A. Altman (St. Martin’s Press)

GrossAltman-TheyShouldntHaveKilledHisDogUSHCLike many, I am a big fan of Keanu Reeves. Ever since his superb supporting part in Parenthood, I’ve always been on the look-out for new projects in which he appears. The Matrix blew my mind, Bill & Ted are totally awesome, The Replacements is still entertaining after multiple re-watches (even if they did rip off a lot of jokes from Little Giants — a movie I watched for the first time last week). And then there’s John Wick: Reeves’s most recent franchise, an extravaganza of action, violence, and superb world-building. Fans of the series will be happy to learn that, in May, St. Martin’s Press is due to publish They Shouldn’t Have Killed His Dog, an oral history of the franchise by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman.

There have been iconic moments in the action movie genre over the years, but nothing has come close to matching the kinetic, balletic gun-fu of the John Wick films.

In They Shouldn’t Have Killed His Dog: The Complete Uncensored Ass-Kicking Oral History of John Wick, Gun-Fu and The New Age of Action, bestselling authors Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross take you behind the scenes of a franchise that includes three films with more on the way, while exploring the action classics that led to John Wick as well as the films it inspired, like Atomic Blonde. They bring you right into the middle of the action of the John Wick films, detailing how the seemingly impossible was achieved through exclusive interviews with the cast, writers, directors, producers, stuntmen, fight choreographers, cinematographers, studio executives, editors, critics, and more. Together, they break down key action sequences while also providing a look back at the road the action genre has taken that led to John Wick, and a look at the character itself, an anti-hero who carries on the grand tradition of Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name, but with a twist — and a never-ending supply of ammo — while showcasing the enduring appeal of the action movie as well as John Wick’s unique reinvention of the genre.

Really looking forward to reading this. They Shouldn’t Have Killed His Dog is due to be published by St. Martin’s Press in North America and in the UK, on May 17th.

Follow the Author (Gross): Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Follow the Author (Altman):
Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: BLOOD, SWEAT & CHROME by (William Morrow)

BuchananK-BloodSweath&ChromeUSHCIs it just me, or are we living in a bit of a golden age for movie and TV oral histories? It’s still not a massive sub-field in publishing, true, but I’ve seen quite a few upcoming books announced, and have also read quite a few over the past couple of years. As someone who very much enjoys behind-the-scenes content, I fully support this. To that end, let me draw your attention to Blood, Sweat & Chrome by Kyle BuchananNew York Times pop culture reporter and “The Projectionist” (awards season columnist). It is the “wild and true” oral history of Mad Max: Fury Road!

A full-speed-ahead oral history of the nearly two-decade making of the cultural phenomenon Mad Max: Fury Road — with more than 130 new interviews with key members of the cast and crew, including Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, and director George Miller, from the pop culture reporter for The New York Times, Kyle Buchanan.

It won six Oscars and has been hailed as the greatest action film ever, but it is a miracle Mad Max: Fury Road ever made it to the screen… or that anybody survived the production. The story of this modern classic spanned nearly two decades of wild obstacles as visionary director George Miller tried to mount one of the most difficult shoots in Hollywood history.

Production stalled several times, stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron clashed repeatedly in the brutal Namib Desert, and Miller’s crew engineered death-defying action scenes that were among the most dangerous ever committed to film. Even accomplished Hollywood figures are flummoxed by the accomplishment: As the director Steven Soderbergh has said, “I don’t understand how they’re not still shooting that film, and I don’t understand how hundreds of people aren’t dead.”

Kyle Buchanan takes readers through every step of that moviemaking experience in vivid detail, from Fury Road’s unexpected origins through its outlandish casting process to the big-studio battles that nearly mutilated a masterpiece. But he takes the deepest dive in reporting the astonishing facts behind a shoot so unconventional that the film’s fantasy world began to bleed into the real lives of its cast and crew. As they fought and endured in a wasteland of their own, the only way forward was to have faith in their director’s mad vision. But how could Miller persevere when almost everything seemed to be stacked against him?

With hundreds of exclusive interviews and details about the making of Fury Road, readers will be left with one undeniable conclusion: There has never been a movie so drenched in sweat, so forged by fire, and so epic in scope.

Really looking forward to reading this. Blood, Sweat & Chrome is due to be published by William Morrow in North America and in the UK, on February 22nd, 2022.

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Upcoming: THESE PRISONING HILLS by Christopher Rowe (Tor.com)

RoweC-PrisoningHillsIt was the cover for These Prisoning Hills that first drew my attention to this upcoming novella by Christopher Rowe. With an intriguing premise, if the story is as moody as that image, I’m definitely in. Here’s the synopsis:

Deallocate all implications,
Fortran harrows all the nations.

In a long-ago war, the all-powerful A.I. ruler of the Voluntary State of Tennessee — Athena Parthenus, Queen of Reason — invaded and decimated the American Southeast. Possessing the ability to infect and corrupt the surrounding environment with nanotechnology, she transformed flora, fauna, and the very ground itself into bio-mechanical weapons of war.

Marcia, a former captain from Kentucky, experienced first-hand the terrifying, mind-twisting capabilities of Athena’s creatures. Now back in the Commonwealth, her retirement is cut short by the arrival of federal troops in her tiny, isolated town. One of Athena’s most powerful weapons may still be buried nearby. And they need Marcia’s help to find it.

Looking forward to giving this a read. These Prisoning Hills is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on May 31st, 2022.

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Upcoming: THE LEGACY OF MOLLY SOUTHBOURNE by Tade Thompson (Tor.com)

ThompsonT-MS3-LegacyOfMollySouthbourneNext year, Molly Southbourne returns! In The Legacy of Molly Southbourne, Tade Thompson brings to a close his excellent series. I very much enjoyed the first two novellas in the series, and I can’t wait to read this finale. Here’s the synopsis:

Whenever Molly Southbourne bled, a murderer was born. Deadly copies, drawn to destroy their creator, bound by a legacy of death. With the original Molly Southbourne gone, her remnants drew together, seeking safety and a chance for peace. The last Molly and her sisters built a home together, and thought they could escape the murder that marked their past.

But secrets squirm in Molly Southbourne’s blood — secrets born in a Soviet lab and carried back across the Iron Curtain to infiltrate the West. What remains of the Cold War spy machine wants those secrets back, and to get them they’re willing to unearth the dead and destroy the fragile peace surrounding the last copies of Molly Southbourne.

The Legacy of Molly Southbourne is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on May 17th, 2022.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Murders of Molly Southbourne and The Survival of Molly Southbourne

Follow the Author: Goodreads

Upcoming: THE KAIJU PRESERVATION SOCIETY by John Scalzi (Tor Books)

ScalziJ-KaijuPreservationSocietyUSHCJohn Scalzi has a new standalone novel coming out this spring! And it’s one that sounds like a lot of fun: The Kaiju Preservation Society. I’ve been lucky enough to get a DRC, so I’ll hopefully be reading it very soon. The novel will be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, with two quite different covers — while I like both, the UK cover (below) is quite striking. Here’s the synopsis:

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

ScalziJ-KaijuPreservationSocietyUKHCWhat Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous panda and they’re in trouble.

It’s not just the Kaiju Preservation Society whose found their way to the alternate world. Others have, too. And their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.

The Kaiju Preservation Society is due to be published by Tor Books in North America (March 15th) and in the UK (March 17th).

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Quick Review: NETWORK EFFECT by Martha Wells (Tor.com)

WellsM-MB5-NetworkEffectMurderbot/SecUnit returns in its first full-length novel

You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you’re a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you’re Murderbot.

Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century.

I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90 plus percent of my problems are.

When Murderbot’s human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.

Drastic action it is, then.

It was recently announced that one million copies of Martha Wells’s Murderbot series have been sold. This is an incredible milestone, and one that reminded me that I had fallen behind on the series! So, I decided to dive right back in with this, the first full-length novel in the series. Populated with some great characters (returning and new), and an intriguing plot, I enjoyed this a lot. Which is just what I expected. Continue reading

Quick Review: WARHAWK by Chris Wraight (Black Library)

WraightC-HHSoT5-WarhawkOne of the most-anticipated battles of the Horus Heresy finally comes to pass

The Inner Walls are breached.

Traitor vanguards tear towards the heart of the Palace, sensing victory. Desperate gambits are attempted: an unwilling saint is released into the ruins, as well as an enthusiastic sinner. A black sword rises, forged from spite, ready to create a legend. But amid the slaughter, Jaghatai Khan, Warhawk of Chogoris, prepares to launch the most audacious strike of the conflict. His goal is nothing less than the liberation of the Lion’s Gate space port. Cut off from any help, he stakes everything on one desperate counter-offensive, launched against an old enemy who has been made far greater than he ever was before. As the White Scars ride out against the newly crowned lords of life and death, they know that defeat for them dooms not only the Legion, but Terra itself.

And so we come to the penultimate book in not only the Siege of Terra series, but the Horus Heresy over all. It’s been quite a journey, with many twists and turns of the story along the way. In Warhawk, fans will finally get to read about a particular confrontation that has been a long time coming. It’s one of the most epic duels I’ve read in Black Library fiction (or any other), and Wraight has done a fantastic job of realizing it on the page. I very much enjoyed reading this. Continue reading