Quick Review: VIGILANCE by Robert Jackson Bennett (Tor.com)

BennettRJ-VigilanceA superb parable of an all-too-believable future American dystopia…

The United States. 2030. John McDean executive produces “Vigilance,” a reality game show designed to make sure American citizens stay alert to foreign and domestic threats. Shooters are introduced into a “game environment,” and the survivors get a cash prize.

The TV audience is not the only one that’s watching though, and McDean soon finds out what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera.

In Vigilance, Robert Jackson Bennett has written a frightening parable of a future, rapidly-declining America that has surrendered itself to gun violence. The author has managed to pack in a lot of commentary into this powerful novella. I very much enjoyed reading this, despite how disturbing it was. Continue reading

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Two Quick Reviews: SPEAR OF ULTRAMAR by David Annandale and DREADWING by David Guymer (Black Library)

HH-Novellas2018

Two new Horus Heresy novellas, set before the Siege of Terra

Released as part of the first Black Library Novella Series, these two books tell the story of what prevented two loyalist Legions from rushing to Terra’s defence during the final push before the Siege. If you’ve been following the Horus Heresy series, then I definitely recommend you read these very good novellas.

Continue reading

Interview with SCOTTO MOORE

7175b11415dc5d1f547365f299d07d6b_400x400Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Scotto Moore?

I’ve been a playwright in Seattle for the past fifteen years, focused on bringing ambitious science fiction and science fantasy stories to the stage. Sometimes they’re comedic, like H.P. Lovecraft: Stand-Up Comedian! which envisions Howie Lovecraft as a modern day comic expressing his vision of the mythos through increasingly dangerous stand-up routines. And sometimes they’re dark, like my recent musical, Silhouette, about a genocidal war fleet hunting down immortal mutineers in hiding. I’ve written shows about a genetics lab where experiments produce sentient, intelligent (and singing) mice; scientists who weaponize linguistic techniques; inventors who capture and transmit digital emotions; and an infinitely tall building at the center of the multiverse where demiurges and interdimensional travelers mingle.

I’ve also been a music blogger for more than a decade, and over the past year and half or so, I’ve become a progressive house DJ. Not for a living — just in my living room and at the occasional party. And I write a deeply absurd Lovecraft-themed meme generator on Tumblr called Things That Cannot Save You. Continue reading

Upcoming:VIGILANCE by Robert Jackson Bennett (Tor.com)

BennettRJ-VigilanceI’ve fallen really far behind on Robert Jackson Bennett‘s work! Shameful, really, given how much I love his novels. Anyway, hot on the heels of the acclaimed Foundryside, he has a new novella on the way from Tor.com! Due to be published on January 29th in North America and in the UK, here’s the synopsis for Vigilance:

A dark science fiction action parable from an America that has permanently surrendered to gun violence.

The United States. 2030. John McDean executive produces “Vigilance,” a reality game show designed to make sure American citizens stay alert to foreign and domestic threats. Shooters are introduced into a “game environment,” and the survivors get a cash prize.

The TV audience is not the only one that’s watching though, and McDean soon finds out what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera.

Really looking forward to reading this! While you’re waiting, I would highly recommend his Divine Cities trilogy, too — published by Jo Fletcher Books in the UK and Crown in North America.

Also on CR: Interview with Robert Jackson Bennett (2012); Guest Post on City of Stairs and the Super Tropey Fantasy Checklist”; Excerpt from City of Stairs; Review of City of Stairs

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Quick Review: WAR CRY by Brian McClellan (Tor.com)

McClellanB-WarCryAn intriguing, entertaining new novella from the author of the Powder Mage series: a new universe, new armies, and new monsters…

Teado is a Changer, a shape-shifting military asset trained to win wars. His platoon has been stationed in the Bavares high plains for years, stranded. As they ration supplies and scan the airwaves for news, any news, their numbers dwindle. He’s not sure how much time they have left.

Desperate and starving, armed with aging, faulting equipment, the team jumps at the chance for a risky resupply mission, even if it means not all of them might come. What they discover could change the course of the war.

Despite falling behind on his ‘main’ fantasy series, the Powder Mage trilogy and the new Gods of Blood and Powder, McClellan is one of my favourite (fantasy) author working today. When I heard that he had a novella on the way from Tor.com, I immediately put it on my must-read list. Due out in a couple of weeks, War Cry lived up to my expectations: it’s really good. Continue reading

(Very) Quick Review: OF GODS AND MEN by Stephen Aryan (Orbit)

AryanS-B0-OfGodsAndMenA prequel to the Age of Dread trilogy

The gruff and mysterious warrior known as Vargus has meant many things to many people over the course of his long life. But when he hears of a village suffering strange attacks in the dead of night, he must take up the role of the Gath — the people’s protector — once again, before any more children go missing.

Of Gods and Men is a very good introduction to the fantasy world Stephen Aryan has created. In this novella, we are introduced to Vargus, one of the main characters of the novels.

I enjoyed the novella — Vargus is an interesting protagonist, and through the mystery that is at the core of the story we learn a fair bit about him: who he is (albeit, with a fair bit of mystery remaining in place), what his motivations are, and what his relationship is to Lanny. To begin with, I was a little confused by certain things — who was who, for example, wasn’t immediately apparent, but I quickly oriented myself. Continue reading

Quick Review: DOWNFALL OF THE GODS by K.J. Parker (Subterranean Press)

ParkerKJ-DownfallOfTheGodsAn entertaining tale of gods behaving badly

If you visit the Temple and ask nicely for forgiveness, you might get it — assuming you aren’t Lord Archias and you haven’t killed the Goddess’s favorite musician, Lysippus. But even goddesses are expected to follow certain rules, and as much as she wants to punish Lord Archias it seems her troublesome, all-powerful father forbids it. So the Goddess will just have to get around that by forgiving Lord Archias if he can manage some simple — or, rather, seemingly impossible — tasks. A Goddess has to do what a goddess has to do.

And in World Fantasy Award winner K.J. Parker’s sharply inventive new novella Downfall of the Gods that means everything from soothing supernatural egos to accompanying the argumentative Lord Archias on an epic quest to save his soul… and get her own way. As the Goddess and her mortal charge make their way across the world to the Land of the Dead, a host of divine surprises await them. Could what they find at the end be the downfall of the gods themselves? Only time will tell.

“The generally accepted form of communication in my family is melodrama,” says the divine narrator of Downfall of the Gods. Fans of Greek and Roman mythology will certainly be familiar with this notion. In this novella, K.J. Parker turns his playful pen to dissecting humanity’s relationship with its gods, and how pernicious and frustrating the gods can be. A quickly-paced, well-written and amusing novella. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading