Guest Post: “Living Larger with Animism” by Arianne “Tex” Thompson

ThompsonAT-AuthorPicYou know, one of the coolest things about SFF is how it invites us to mothball our skepticism and explore just about any metaphysical concept. Avatar Aang lives in a world where reincarnation is inarguably real. So does Rand Al-Thor. Just so, Narnia is a world with a concrete moral order, and the Marvel universe is absolutely lousy with gods. Fate, karma, magic, ghosts – you name it; we’ve got a franchise for it.

But here’s one big idea that I’d like to see getting more air-time: animism. It’s one of the oldest belief systems in the world, and put simply, it’s the idea that non-human creatures and things have souls, and therefore should be treated with awareness. In sci-fi and fantasy, animism usually comes to the fore whenever a creator wants to craft a culture that’s all about living in harmony with nature – your wood-elves, blue cat-people, et al. The problem is usually that they are so dang harmonious that they would never be worth writing about if they didn’t get bulldozed by the plot. (Literally, if we’re talking Ferngully and its like.) Continue reading

Interview with STEVE RASNIC TEM

steverasnictemLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Steve Rasnic Tem?

Writer, father, grandfather (but not in that order), dabbler in art and photography, ex-puppeteer, ex-magician, ex-ventriloquist, ex-animator (maybe).

Your new novel, Ubo, will be published by Solaris in February. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

Ubo is a meditation on violence using a story which is a mix of both science fiction and horror. Daniel is trapped in Ubo. He has no idea how long he has been imprisoned there by the aliens who resemble giant cicadae or roaches. Every resident has a similar memory of the journey there: a dream of dry, chitinous wings crossing the moon, the gigantic insects dropping swiftly over the houses of the neighborhood, passing through walls and windows as if by magic, or by some unknown technological means, “like a deck of baroquely ornamented cards, fanning themselves from one hidden world into the next.”

The residents of Ubo are forced to take trips into the past where they must live inside the heads of some of history’s most violent figures: Jack the Ripper, Charles Whitman, Stalin, Himmler, Gilles de Rais, and others. Continue reading

Interview with K.M. McKINLEY

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is K.M. McKinley?

You can call me Kay. I’m a writer. There, I said it. I have been for several years now. Before that I worked as a journalist and editor for fourteen years or so. I live in Yorkshire, in the UK. The Iron Ship book bio is out of date, as I wrote it before moving back to where I grew up.

Your new novel, The City of Ice, will be published by Solaris this month. It looks rather good: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

It’s an epic, multiple point of view fantasy set in a world undergoing an industrial revolution fuelled by the science of magic. Six siblings make their way through a society undergoing massive upheaval, while a terrible threat from ancient days makes itself known. The world is lovingly crafted, and hides deep mysteries. I’d recommend it. Continue reading

Interview with HILLARY MONAHAN

monahanh-authorpicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Hillary Monahan?

An author, a queer woman, a basset hound enthusiast, a feminist, among other things. For the purposes of this interview, I’m a New York Times bestselling author of YA and adult horror under Hillary Monahan. I’ve received critical acclaim for my humorous YA under Eva Darrows, and I have three romances under Thea De Salle coming out from Simon & Schuster starting in February.

Your new novel, Gods & Monsters: Snake Eyes, was recently published by Abaddon. It looks rather cool: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

It’s a modernized telling of the Lamia and gorgon myths set in the Everglades. We know what happened thousands of years ago, but let’s talk about what happens to immortals in a modern day when they are, for all intents and purposes, forgotten. Continue reading

Interview with JAMES LOVEGROVE

LovegroveJ-AuthorPicWelcome back to CR! Let’s start with an introduction, for new readers: Who is James Lovegrove?

James Lovegrove is, right now, someone struggling to get stuff done during the dog days of the school summer holidays. I’m a writer who likes peace and quiet when working, and my two boys, aged 13 and 10, are very solicitous about that but they’re also just kids and want their dad to play with them whenever possible. It’s tricky, this work/life balance thing. I’m also, incidentally, the author of 50-odd books, a similar number of short stories, and quite a hefty amount of book-related journalism.

Your latest novel, Age of Heroes, will be published by Solaris. How would you introduce the novel and series to a potential reader?

The string of books which has come to be known as the Pantheon series centres around the gods of various ancient religions and their relationship with the mortals who worship them. The novels are largely military SF and each is a standalone tale that can be read independently of the others. The tone differs from one to the next but the core theme is the same: what responsibilities do our deities have towards us, and we towards them, and where do the two dovetail? Age of Heroes continues the trend but this time I’m delving into a slightly lower stratum – demigods. My main characters are the heroes of Ancient Greek myth such as Theseus, Perseus and Heracles. I’ve envisaged them as ageless immortals who continue to walk among us in the twenty-first century, three and a half millennia after their heyday, the proverbial Age of Heroes. Some of them have adapted better to modern life than others, and some are striving to remain heroic in an era that is desperately cynical about such things as self-sacrifice and virtue.  And then they start dying… Continue reading

Interview with GAIE SEBOLD

SeboldG-AuthorPicWelcome back to CR! Let’s start with an introduction, for new readers: Who is Gaie Sebold?

I’m a fantasy writer and (very) occasional poet, with a partner (writer David Gullen) a small cat, and a large garden. I run writing workshops – I’m currently running a series of them for my local women’s centre. I occasionally disconcert the neighbours by plotting aloud to myself while weeding.

Your next novel, Sparrow Falling, will be published by Solaris. It’s the second novel in your latest series: How would you introduce the series to a potential reader?

It follows the adventures of a street child and professional con-artist Eveline Sparrow, in a fantasy Victorian era where the Fey and many other mythical beings exist. Eveline gets caught up in events where the politics of our world overlap dangerously with those of the Fey while discovering the truth about her past and trying to protect herself and those she cares about in the present. Continue reading

Guest Post: “Beginning, Ending and Extending Book Series” by Gail Z. Martin

Gail Martin, Dreamspinner Communications

With six different book series in various stages, it seems like I’m always contemplating beginnings, endings and extensions.

I’ve got a new epic fantasy series coming out in 2017 from Solaris Books (which I’m not allowed to name or reveal details about), so beginning a new book and starting a brand-new series have both been on my mind as I finish up that manuscript. In March, Shadow and Flame marked the final novel in my Ascendant Kingdoms epic fantasy series (Orbit Books), so wrapping up not just a single book but a story arc and a series is also fresh in my thoughts. The Shadowed Path (Solaris Books) is a collection of eleven of my Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures short stories that are prequels to The Summoner and my Chronicles of the Necromancer series, which has wrapped up (for now). Continue reading

Guest Post: “On Writing & Being a Writer” by Paul Kearney

KearneyP-AuthorPicIt’s an odd occupation, this writing business. You sit alone in a room and make up stuff, and if you’re lucky, you find that someone else likes it, has faith in it, and is willing to put it out in the world for you. If you are even luckier, you make a little money out of the process and find that it becomes a job – a career, even.

I’ve been writing full-time for twenty-five years now, a figure that has me scratching my head and wondering where in the hell the time went. I look up above my desk, where there is a shelf upon which sits a copy of each of my books, and as I look at the titles on the spines I think not of the characters and worlds therein, but of the places I was at when I wrote them. They are waypoints in my life, and within their pages are ideas which flared up at certain times like a match struck in the dark, only to die out in the darkness again when their time was past and a new idea was being lifted out of the box. Continue reading

Upcoming: EUROPE IN WINTER by Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)

HutchinsonD-3-EuropeInWinterDave Hutchinson‘s third Europe novel is out this November! Due to be published by Solaris, Europe in Winter follows the critically-acclaimed, award-nominated Europe in Autumn and Europe at Midnight. Here’s the skinny:

A fractured Europe. A parallel world. A global threat.

Union has come. The Community is now the largest nation in Europe; trains run there from as far afield as London and Prague. It is an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity.

So what is the reason for a huge terrorist outrage? Why do the Community and Europe meet in secret, exchanging hostages? And who are Les Coureurs des Bois?

Along with a motley crew of strays and mafiosi and sleeper agents, Rudi sets out to answer these questions – only to discover that the truth lies both closer to home and farther away than anyone could possibly imagine.

Really looking forward to this. I need to do a binge-catch-up first, though — something I think I’ll try to do in April. I’ve heard only great things about the series.

For more on Hutchinson’s novels and writing, check out the author’s website, and follow him on Goodreads and Twitter.

Also on CR: Interview with Dave Hutchinson

HutchinsonD-EuropeSeries2015

Upcoming: SPARROW FALLING by Gaie Sebold (Solaris)

SeboldG-2-SparrowFallingA new Gaie Sebold novel! I thoroughly enjoyed Sebold’s debut, Babylon Steel, and have been eager to read more of her work (which, actually, makes me wonder why I haven’t…). Due to be published by Solaris on July 26th, 2016, and the sequel to Shanghai SparrowSparrow Falling sounds quite fun:

Master spy, former con-artist, Eveline Duchen returns in an adventure set in a world of steam and magic.

Eveline Sparrow (formerly Duchen) hopes to put her past experiences as a thief and con-artist to more legitimate use; which is why some of the girls at her Sparrow School receive private lessons in burglary, fakery, and other such underhand practices.

But it’s hard to get honest work when few businesses will employ young ladies in the security professions. The duns are at the doorstep, her friend Liu the half-fox-spirit is in some sort of trouble, and the rivalries of the Folk are in danger of overspilling into the mundane world and forcing the Empire into a bloody and horrifying war.

Can Eveline pull things out of the mire this time, or will the Sparrow’s wings be clipped once and for all?

Gaie Sebold is the author of Babylon Steel, Dangerous Gifts, Shanghai Sparrow and Sparrow Falling — all published by Solaris Books. For more on her writing and novels, be sure to check out the author’s website, and follow her on Twitter and Goodreads.

SeboldG-Backlist