Interview with AMAL EL-MOHTAR and MAX GLADSTONE

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Let’s start with an introduction: Who are Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone?

AE: Two sentient beings, both alike in dignity, in fair EssEffEff, where we set our — wait maybe that’s too zoomed out. Let’s see. Max is a brilliant superhuman writer, author of The Craft Sequence books (at six and counting!), just-released standalone space opera The Empress of Forever, and head writer of Serial Box’s Bookburners.

MG: And Amal is a world-renowned and award-winning writer, editor, scholar, NYT-published critic, and general badass — her phenomenal “Seasons of Glass and Iron” won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards!

This is How You Lose the Time War, a novel you have written together, will be published in July. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

AE: It’s an epistolary spy vs. spy novella across time and space; think Griffin and Sabine meets Killing Eve by way of Steven Universe. Alternately, imagine if Florence + the Machine’s Lungs was a novella in which all the songs are sung to women in letter-form. Continue reading

Very Quick Review: Terry McCaleb in Michael Connelly’s BOSCH Universe (Orion/Little, Brown)

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I’ve recently been blitzing my way through Michael Connelly’s excellent novels in the “Heironymous Bosch Universe” — those that star the eponymous detective, and also those starring the characters who have cycled in and out of Bosch’s orbit over the course of the series. I tend to focus my reviews on either upcoming, new or fairly-recently-published books. However, Connelly’s crime novels have so taken over my imagination and reading time this past month (eight since the beginning of June), that I decided I should put something together for CR. In this post, I take a quick look at the novels featuring Terry McCaleb. Continue reading

Quick Review: GODS & MORTALS (Black Library)

Various-Gods&MortalsAn anthology of Age of Sigmar short fiction, which serves very well as an introduction

For too long, the Mortal Realms have suffered under Chaos’ twisted crusade. Tainted lands writhe in agony and once great cities lie in ruins, the hopes of their people extinguished. But the storm winds rise. Sigmar’s greatest creation, the Stormcast Eternals, strike with His vengeance. Their lightning drives the darkness away and their thunder drowns out the screams of the Foul Gods’ acolytes as they fall to sword and halberd. The sons and daughters of the storm know they cannot fail. For now is the time where the fate of a world will be decided. Where Gods and mortals must rise and fight, or face their final damnation.

CONTENTS
The Dance of the Skulls & Obsidian by David Annandale
Blacktalon: Hunting Shadows by Andy Clark
Vault of Souls by Evan Dicken
Bear Eater, Force of Personality, Gods’ Gift & The Hardest Word by David Guymer
Pantheon by Guy Haley
Callis & Toll: The Old Ways by Nick Horth
Pilgrim’s Trial by Robbie MacNiven
Auction of Blood, Eight Lamentations: The Tainted Axe, The Library of Forgotten Moments, Order of the Fly: Tourney of Fate & The Road of Blades by Josh Reynolds
Gravesend Gold & The Witch Takers by C L Werner

The Age of Sigmar is a pretty massive fantasy setting, one that continues to grow. It could be a bit daunting to find a way into it. If you are looking for a way in, this is a substantial collection of short fiction may be your best bet. Including stories featuring some established characters, as well as touching upon many of the myriad facets of the Mortal Realms, reading Gods & Mortals will give readers a nice, broad glimpse of the Age of Sigmar. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Our Fascination with Genre Distinctions” by Christopher Ruocchio

RuocchioC-AuthorPicI don’t know what it is about genre distinctions that so fascinates writers and readers alike. We enjoy them perhaps for the same reason we obsess about character classes and skill trees and so on in games like Dungeons and Dragons and why so many of us obsess (wrongly) about “magic systems” (as if anything which supercedes and violates natural law should be systematic, ha)! We like complexity, perhaps too much, we like categories (heavens, so much trouble in fan culture of late is the result of trying to categorize fans and creators alike: for their immutable traits, for the beliefs, for their politics, and so on). Complex categories give the world a texture that we nerds find pleasing, for they bespeak a deep sense not merely of order, but of ordered chaos.

The best of both worlds. Continue reading

Audio Excerpt: SWEET SORROW by David Nicholls (W.F. Howes)

NichollsD-SweetSorrowUKAUDToday, W.F. Howes publishes the audiobook edition of Sweet Sorrow, the new novel by David Nicholls. I’ve enjoyed a few of Nicholls’s past novels, starting with Starter for Ten and The Understudy which I read during a summer at college (can’t remember exactly when, but it’s been quite a while). The excerpt is below, and here’s the synopsis…

One life-changing summer, Charlie meets Fran… David Nicholls’s highly anticipated new novel, narrated by Rory Kinnear.

In 1997, Charlie Lewis is the kind of boy you don’t remember in the school photograph. His exams have not gone well. At home he is looking after his father, when surely it should be the other way round, and if he thinks about the future at all, it is with a kind of dread.

Then Fran Fisher bursts into his life and despite himself, Charlie begins to hope.

But if Charlie wants to be with Fran, he must take on a challenge that could lose him the respect of his friends and require him to become a different person. He must join the Company. And if the Company sounds like a cult, the truth is even more appalling.

The price of hope, it seems, is Shakespeare. Poignant, funny, enchanting, devastating, Sweet Sorrow is a tragicomedy about the rocky path to adulthood and the confusion of family life, a celebration of the reviving power of friendship and that brief, searing explosion of first love that can only be looked at directly after it has burned out.

The excerpt is narrated by Olivier award-winning actor Rory Kinnear.

The print and eBook editions of the  novel are out now in the UK, published by Hodder & Stoughton; the US edition is still a while away, due to be published by Mariner Books in May 2020.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: THRAWN – TREASON by Timothy Zahn (Century), plus pre-order special!

ZahnT-SWThrawn3-Treason-PreorderPicThe third novel in Timothy Zahn‘s rebooted Thrawn trilogy is out later this month! An enduring, fan-favourite character from the Star Wars Expanded Universe (he was introduced in 1991’s Heir to the Empire), the character was revived in Thrawn (2017).

Set within the new canon, the new series has been popular and fans have welcomed the return of the cold, calculating and brilliant Empire Admiral. In Thrawn: Treason, Zahn brings the trilogy to an end. Here’s the synopsis:

Grand Admiral Thrawn faces the ultimate test of his loyalty to the Empire in this epic Star Wars novel from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

Such was the promise Grand Admiral Thrawn made to Emperor Palpatine at their first meeting. Since then, Thrawn has been one of the Empire’s most effective instruments, pursuing its enemies to the very edges of the known galaxy. But as keen a weapon as Thrawn has become, the Emperor dreams of something far more destructive.

Now, as Thrawn’s TIE defender program is halted in favor of Director Krennic’s secret Death Star project, he realizes that the balance of power in the Empire is measured by more than just military acumen or tactical efficiency. Even the greatest intellect can hardly compete with the power to annihilate entire planets.

As Thrawn works to secure his place in the Imperial hierarchy, his former protégé Eli Vanto returns with a dire warning about Thrawn’s homeworld. Thrawn’s mastery of strategy must guide him through an impossible choice: duty to the Chiss Ascendancy, or fealty to the Empire he has sworn to serve. Even if the right choice means committing treason.

To celebrate the release of the novel, Zahn’s UK publisher, Century, is holding a special giveaway for everyone who pre-orders the novel. If you send proof of the pre-order through this form, they will send you a special edition pin. (They did something similar for the release of Thrawn: Alliances.)

The novel is due to be published by Century in the UK (July 25th) and Del Rey in North America (July 23rd).

Further Reading: Interview with Timothy Zahn on The Verge (2018)

Follow the Author: Facebook, Goodreads

Interview with TOM CHATFIELD

ChatfieldT-AuthorPic C Lewis KhanLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Tom Chatfield?

I’m a British geek in his late thirties who has written a number of books of non-fiction exploring digital culture, and is now embarking on a parallel career as a writer of techno-thrillers with (I hope) a satirical edge. I’m also the father of a couple of small children and a keen jazz pianist, both of which help keep me sane in different ways.

Your new novel, This is Gomorrah, is due to be published soon by Hodder (UK) and Mulholland (US – as The Gomorrah Gambit). It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

In five words: Jason Bourne meets Edward Snowden. In slightly more than five words: Azi Bello, a hacker who’s spent much of his life hiding in a shed in East Croydon, finds things getting very real very fast when dangerous knowledge about the darknet marketplace known as Gomorrah drags him into the world of terrorism, political extremism and technological manipulation. With a side order of sardonic wit and romantic incompetence. Continue reading