Quick Review: THE SOLAR WAR by John French (Black Library)

FrenchJ-HHSoT1-SolarWarThe Siege of Terra as the Horus Heresy draws closer to the end

After seven years of bitter war, the end has come at last for the conflict known infamously as the Horus Heresy. Terra now lies within the Warmaster’s sights, the Throneworld and the seat of his father’s rule. Horus’ desire is nothing less than the death of the Emperor of Mankind and the utter subjugation of the Imperium. He has become the ascendant vessel of Chaos, and amassed a terrible army with which to enact his will and vengeance. But the way to the Throne will be hard as the primarch Rogal Dorn, the Praetorian and protector of Terra, marshals the defences. First and foremost, Horus must challenge the might of the Sol System itself and the many fleets and bulwarks arrayed there. To gain even a foothold on Terran soil, he must first contend the Solar War. Thus the first stage of the greatest conflict in the history of all mankind begins.

This series has been a long time coming. The Horus Heresy series began with Dan Abnett’s Horus Rising, published back in 2006. After 53 more books, countless short stories, audio-dramas and more, the traitor forces of Warmaster Horus are knocking on the doors of the Solar system. This novel covers the opening moves of the end-stage, and French does a fantastic job of portraying this chaotic, brutal siege. If the rest of the Siege of Terra series is as strong (or stronger) than this, fans are in for one hell of a ride. Continue reading

Interview with SOPHIE TANNER

TannerS-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Sophie Tanner?

Hiya! Who is she indeed? Well, I grew up in Devon and Dorset so I’m a west country girl. I was an animal-loving, day-dreaming child who went on to become a Britpop-obsessed cider-lover as a teenager. It was a bit of a culture shock when I went to uni in London but I loved it! I studied Theatre and English then worked in tourism, then went travelling to Mexico and Africa, which was mind incredible.

When I returned to Blighty, I fancied living near the beach and so headed straight for Brighton and, 12 years later, I’ve never left! I love the laid back, anything-goes vibe here and there’s always so much going on — music, theatre, street parties, every fitness class you can imagine etc. I live in a little flat near the sea with my bumptious Labrador, Ella. We spend a lot of time on the beach and roaming the Sussex Downs. I try to stay quite active — I like going to Kung Fu and trapeze class. As well as being an author I also work as a freelancer in PR and content writing. I just turned 40 and so far, so good!

Your debut novel, Reader, I Married Me, was recently published by Trapeze. It looks rather fun: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

I often introduce it as a romcom without the ‘rom’! It’s a light-heartedly subversive challenge to the traditional romcom narrative which suggests you need an ‘other half’ in order to be truly happy. I’d say it’s an uplifting, feel-good read if you’re in need of a boost. Continue reading

Upcoming: BLOOD OF AN EXILE by Brian Naslund (Tor)

NaslundB-DoT1-BloodOfAnExile

Blood of an Exile by Brian Naslund is one of the debut fantasy novels I’ve been most looking forward to. The first in the Dragons of Terra series, it has been described as “a fast-paced adventure perfect for comic readers and fans of heroic fantasy”. The novel is due to be published in August by Tor Books in North America (6th) and in the UK (8th).

Bershad was supposed to die…

When he was caught trying to assassinate a fellow noble, Flawless Bershad was given a death sentence. Fight monsters so that he would die serving the kingdom. But Bershad can’t die.

He’s never lost a fight, the most successful dragon slayer in history but marked as a doomed man, Bershad stands apart from the world. But that is about to change.

The man who sentenced Bershad to his fate has just given him an out. Kill a king and walk free forever. But Bershad could care less about the fates of kings and kingdoms, until, that is, he discovers he is the only person able to save an innocent child and, possibly, the life of every creature in Terra.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: MADE THINGS by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor.com)

Tchaikovsky-MadeThingsI will share information about each and every new Adrian Tchaikovsky book for as long as Civilian Reader continues. A fantastic author, with a prodigious imagination and a work/writing ethic (combined with ever-greater quality) that we can only aspire to emulating. Made Things is his next novella, due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on November 5th. The cover and synopsis were recently unveiled on Barnes & Noble’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog. Here’s what it’s about:

She was good at making friends.

Coppelia is a street thief, a trickster, a low-level con artist. But she has something other thieves don’t… tiny puppet-like friends: some made of wood, some of metal. They don’t entirely trust her, and she doesn’t entirely understand them, but their partnership mostly works.

After a surprising discovery shakes their world to the core, Coppelia and her friends must reexamine everything they thought they knew about their world, while attempting to save their city from a seemingly impossible new threat.

Also on CR: Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky (2012); Guest Posts on “Nine Books, Six Years, One Stenwold Maker”, “The Art of Gunsmithing: Writing Guns of the Dawn, “Looking for God in Melnibone Places: Fantasy and Religion”, and “Eye of the Spider”; Excerpt from Guns of the Dawn; Reviews of Empire of Black and GoldGuns of the Dawn, Spiderlight, Ironclads, Walking to Aldebaran

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Excerpt: SNAKESKINS by Tim Major (Titan Books)

MajorT-SnakeskinsToday, as part of the blog tour marking the novel’s release, we have an excerpt from Tim Major‘s Snakeskins. Here’s the synopsis:

Caitlin Hext’s first shedding ceremony is imminent, but she’s far from prepared to produce a Snakeskin clone. When her Skin fails to turn to dust as expected, she must decide whether she wishes the newcomer alive or dead.

Worse still, it transpires that the Hext family may be of central importance to the survival of Charmers, a group of people with the inexplicable power to produce duplicates every seven years and, in the process, rejuvenate. In parallel with reporter Gerry Chafik and government aide Russell Handler, Caitlin must prevent the Great British Prosperity Party from establishing a corrupt new world order.

Read on for just a small taste of this intriguing novel.

Continue reading

Quick Review: BEST. MOVIE. YEAR. EVER. by Brian Raftery (Simon & Schuster)

RafteryB-BestMovieYearEverUSAn excellent examination of “How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen”

In 1999, Hollywood as we know it exploded: Fight Club. The Matrix. Office Space. Election. The Blair Witch Project. The Sixth Sense. Being John Malkovich. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. American Beauty. The Virgin Suicides. Boys Don’t Cry. The Best Man. Three Kings. Magnolia. Those are just some of the landmark titles released in a dizzying movie year, one in which a group of daring filmmakers and performers pushed cinema to new limits—and took audiences along for the ride. Freed from the restraints of budget, technology (or even taste), they produced a slew of classics that took on every topic imaginable, from sex to violence to the end of the world. The result was a highly unruly, deeply influential set of films that would not only change filmmaking, but also give us our first glimpse of the coming twenty-first century. It was a watershed moment that also produced The Sopranos; Apple’s Airport; Wi-Fi; and Netflix’s unlimited DVD rentals.

Best. Movie. Year. Ever. is the story of not just how these movies were made, but how they re-made our own vision of the world. It features more than 130 new and exclusive interviews with such directors and actors as Reese Witherspoon, Edward Norton, Steven Soderbergh, Sofia Coppola, David Fincher, Nia Long, Matthew Broderick, Taye Diggs, M. Night Shyamalan, David O. Russell, James Van Der Beek, Kirsten Dunst, the Blair Witch kids, the Office Space dudes, the guy who played Jar-Jar Binks, and dozens more. It’s the definitive account of a culture-conquering movie year none of us saw coming…and that we may never see again.

Best. Movie. Year. Ever. is an excellent, illuminating discussion and examination of the movies that defined 1999: a year that produced an incredible number of excellent, ground-breaking movies. They broke the moulds of their respective genres, updated certain outmoded mores and tropes, or created something wholly new. A fascinating book that is a must-read for movie fans. Continue reading