Guest Post: “Demand Quality Aliens!” by Alex Lamb

LambAlex-AuthorPicI’ve always been fascinated by aliens. From about the time I could talk, I’ve been obsessed with them. For a while, growing up, I was convinced I was one. Now, as an author, I love writing about them.

Over the course of my adult life, I’ve also had an unusual amount of exposure to the science of things alien. I studied artificial intelligence at university, married an astronomer, and recently worked as a researcher in Princeton’s biology department, doing research on abiogenesis. I’ve had the chance to talk to scientists studying exoplanets, researchers at SETI, exobiology, and other wonderful people working in a host of related fields.

Having that science under my belt makes me want to get extraterrestrials right in my novels. It makes me a little fussy about them. And because I care, I want you to get fussy too, dear reader.  Continue reading

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Upcoming: THE PROMISE OF THE CHILD by Tom Toner

Today, Barnes & Noble’s sci-fi/fantasy blog hosted a cover reveal (and guest post) for Tom Toner‘s upcoming debut, The Promise of the Child, which Night Shade Books will be publishing in September in the US. The novel, which is the first volume in the Amaranthine Sequence, is also due to be published in the UK by Gollancz. The two publishers have gone for similar cover designs, but taken different approaches to the synopsis. So, I thought I’d do another UK-vs.-US comparison posts.

TonerT-PromiseOfTheChildUKFirst (because they revealed first a while ago), here’s the UK cover and synopsis:

In the far future man has spread out into the galaxy. And diversified. Some have evolved physically into strange new forms, some have become immortal. Some hark back to the old ways. We have built a glorious new future. One that stretches from the sleepy Old World, to new terraformed planets and Dyson spheres built around artificial suns. For as long as we can remember (and some have lived 12,000 years) we have delighted in a rich new existence. Yes there have been wars but we are content in our splendour. Art is revered, life is easy, death forgotten for many. But now there are rumours of a bid to oust the Emperor and a worrying story that our history is not as we remember it — not only man left Earth…

TonerT-AS1-PromiseOfTheChildUSAnd here’s the more colourful US cover and more-descriptive/-detailed synopsis:

It is the 147th century.

In the radically advanced post-human worlds of the Amaranthine Firmament, there is a contender to the Immortal throne: Aaron the Long-Life, the Pretender, a man who is not quite a man.

In the barbarous hominid kingdoms of the Prism Investiture, where life is short, cheap, and dangerous, an invention is born that will become the Firmament’s most closely kept secret.

Lycaste, a lovesick recluse outcast for an unspeakable crime, must journey through the Provinces, braving the grotesques of an ancient, decadent world to find his salvation.

Sotiris, grieving the loss of his sister and awaiting the madness of old age, must relive his twelve thousand years of life to stop the man determined to become Emperor.

Ghaldezuel, knight of the stars, must plunder the rarest treasure in the Firmament — the object the Pretender will stop at nothing to obtain.

From medieval Prague to a lonely Mediterranean cove, and eventually far into the strange vastness of distant worlds, The Promise of the Child is a debut novel of gripping action and astounding ambition unfolding over hundreds of thousands of years, marking the arrival of a brilliant new talent in science fiction.

Interview with PETER NEWMAN

NewmanP-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Peter Newman

Peter Newman lives in Somerset with his wife and son. Growing up in and around London, Peter studied Drama and Education at the Central School of Speech and Drama, going on to work as a secondary school drama teacher. He now works as a trainer and Firewalking Instructor. He sometimes pretends to be a butler for the Tea and Jeopardy podcast, which he co-writes, and which has been shortlisted for a Hugo Award.

Your debut novel, The Vagrant, is due to be published this year by Voyager Books. How would you introduce it to a new reader? And is it part of a planned series?

A quick description would be: A silent figure wanders a far-future, post-demonic apocalypse, carrying humanity’s last hope. It features singing swords, demon knights, a baby and a goat.

It has been described recently (to my great delight) as: “A bit like China Mieville writing post-apocalyptic angelic knights.” A quote I’m sharing at every available opportunity!

The sequel will be out next year. [Possibly called The Malice – TBC] Continue reading

UK Cover: WHEN THE HEAVENS FALL by Marc Turner (Titan Books)

TurnerM-1-WhenTheHeavensFallUKI shared the US information about Marc Turner‘s upcoming debut fantasy novel, When the Heavens Fall, last month. Now, after the SciFi Now exclusive reveal, I can share the UK details and cover (right). The novel is due to be published in the UK by Titan Books on May 22nd, 2015. Here’s the synopsis:

Shroud is the Lord of the Dead.

Long ago he hid the Book of Lost Souls, a terrifying repository of unspeakable power, able to give its owner dominion over the fallen. For ages this perilous tome has been in the secret keeping of the mages of Erin Elal.

But when the renegade mage Mayot absconds with the Book and takes it deep into the haunted Forest of Sighs to decode its secrets, tendrils of death-magic snake out from its ancient pages. Spirits awaken. The dead rise. And the living face a war unlike any ever waged.

Into this dark vortex are swept four intrepid souls, each with their own agenda, their own cause, their own ghosts:

Luke, the betrayer and bitter former Guardian of Erin Elal, who is coerced into going after the book for his corrupt emperor; Romany, the high priestess of the goddess Spider, Shroud’s greatest rival, whose webs of deceit ensnared Mayot into stealing the Book in the first place; Ebon, heir to the throne of Galitia, who fights for his sanity and his realm against an onslaught of restless spirits; and Parolla, a deadly and resourceful young woman who seeks a direct confrontation with Shroud in order to settle an old debt.

Check back in mid-May for an interview with the author.

Review: THE THORN OF DENTONHILL by Marshall Ryan Maresca (DAW Books)

MarescaMR-1-ThornOfDentonhillUSAn interesting start to a new series

Veranix Calbert leads a double life. By day, he’s a struggling magic student at the University of Maradaine. At night, he spoils the drug trade of Willem Fenmere, crime boss of Dentonhill and murderer of Veranix’s father. He’s determined to shut Fenmere down.

With that goal in mind, Veranix disrupts the delivery of two magical artifacts meant for Fenmere’s clients, the mages of the Blue Hand Circle.  Using these power-filled objects in his fight, he quickly becomes a real thorn in Fenmere’s side.

So much so that soon not only Fenmere, but powerful mages, assassins, and street gangs all want a piece of “The Thorn.” And with professors and prefects on the verge of discovering his secrets, Veranix’s double life might just fall apart. Unless, of course, Fenmere puts an end to it first.

Maresca’s The Thorn of Dentonhill is the first novel set in the author’s Maradaine world. It is, for the most part, a well-conceived and well-written melange of popular fantasy sub-genres: there’s a university with a magic department, there is some vigilante derring-do and thievery. I had a couple of minor issues, but mostly this was an enjoyable, quite fun start. Continue reading

Interview with MARSHALL RYAN MARESCA

MarescaMR-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Marshall Ryan Maresca?

I’m a fantasy and sci-fi writer living in Austin, TX, as well as an occasional playwright. I grew up in upstate New York, outside of Syracuse, but fled from lake-effect winters to hotter climates when I finished college.

Your debut, The Thorn of Dentonhill, will be published by DAW Books in the US, in February. How would you introduce the novel to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

The Thorn of Dentonhill follows Veranix Calbert, a magic-student by day, vigilante-by-night who fights his own personal war against a drug trafficking gang.  It’s a fast-paced adventure, filled with action, magic and snappy dialogue. Is it part of a series?  Short answer: yes. More complicated answer: Thorn is the first in a series following Veranix, but my next book — A Murder of Mages — is in the same setting, but following different characters. So there will be two separate series that cohabit the same space. Continue reading