Quick Review: OGRES by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Solaris)

TchaikovskyA-OgresAn excellent novella from one of the modern masters of fantasy/sci-fi

Ogres are bigger than you.
Ogres are stronger than you.
Ogres rule the world.

It’s always idyllic in the village until the landlord comes to call.

Because the landlord is an Ogre. And Ogres rule the world, with their size and strength and appetites. It’s always been that way. It’s the natural order of the world. And they only eat people sometimes.

But when the headman’s son, Torquell, dares lift his hand against the landlord’s son, he sets himself on a path to learn the terrible truth about the Ogres, and about the dark sciences that ensured their rule.

Tchaikovsky’s latest novella is an intriguing, engaging examination of a whole swathe of human qualities — ambition, weakness, economics, and more. Interesting from start to finish, it’s packed with original spins on a number of fantasy/sci-fi features. Each year, the author publishes a new book that shows readers that his range is far larger than we already believed. Continue reading

Interview with GAIE SEBOLD, Author of BAD GODS

SeboldG-AuthorPic2021Welcome back to CR! For new readers, let’s start with an introduction: Who is Gaie Sebold?

I never quite know how to answer this question in a way that doesn’t sound dreadfully dull! I’m a married fantasy writer with a cat. I used to do some interesting things and then middle age — not to mention the pandemic — happened. Now I mostly sit at a desk. I have been known to perform poetry to an audience, and run around in a wood with a latex sword, or a gym with a wooden one. I grow vegetables and cook.  That’s me.

Your debut novel, Bad Gods (originally titled Babylon Steel), is due to be re-issued by Solaris, in January. I really enjoyed it when it was first published, but for new-/latecomers: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s about a woman who runs a brothel, in a city connected by a series of portals to various planes. She gets hired to find a missing person case and also tracks down a serial killer while avoiding her own past. It has occasional sexy bits and more than occasional funny bits and quite frequent serious bits. It’s the first in what is currently a two book series, which I hope may be extended. Continue reading

Upcoming: OGRES by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Solaris)

TchaikovskyA-OgresA new book from Adrian Tchaikovsky is always great news. Next year, Solaris are due to publish the author’s fifth novella with them, Ogres. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each of the author’s shorter books (he’s published a few with Tor.com, too), and this one looks equally intriguing. Here’s the synopsis:

Ogres are bigger than you.

Ogres are stronger than you.

Ogres rule the world.

It’s always idyllic in the village until the landlord comes to call.

Because the landlord is an Ogre. And Ogres rule the world, with their size and strength and appetites. It’s always been that way. It’s the natural order of the world. And they only eat people sometimes.

But when the headman’s son, Torquell, dares lift his hand against the landlord’s son, he sets himself on a path to learn the terrible truth about the Ogres, and about the dark sciences that ensured their rule.

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Ogres is due to be published by Solaris Books on March 17th, 2022.

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 & Gold, Guns of the Dawn, Children of RuinSpiderlight, Ironclads, Made Things, One Day All This Will Be Yours, and Shards of Earth

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with WALTER GOODWATER, Author of THE LIAR OF RED VALLEY

GoodwaterWL-AuthorPic2021Welcome back to CR! For new readers, let’s start with an introduction: Who is Walter Goodwater?

Good to be back! My name is Walter, and I’m a software guy by day, and exhausted writer by night. (My two kids under four certainly contribute to that exhaustion). I’ve been reading fantasy my whole life, starting with Tolkien in the 5th grade, Dragonlance in the 6th grade, and Terry Brooks in the 7th grade. After that, I was hooked. I love writing fantasy because creating a new world is such an ideal way to shine new light on things in our own world in unexpected ways.

Your latest novel, The Liar of Red Valley, is due to be published by Solaris in September. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

It is a horror/fantasy set in Red Valley, a drought-stricken rural California town where magic and monsters are more of a nuisance than noteworthy. Dark, hungry things fly over the town at night. Junkies invite demons into their heads. The local dive bar has an almost human clientele, and a mysterious door in the back no one goes into (unless they are really desperate). People growing up in this town live by three simple rules: Don’t cross the King. Never, ever go in the River. And don’t trust the Liar. Sadie knows these rules as well as anybody, but since her mom died, she’s the Liar now, which means she keeps the towns secrets. And if she’s going to survive in Red Valley, she’s going to have to break some rules. Continue reading

Interview with JOHN APPEL

AppelJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is John Appel?

I’m an SFF writer from Maryland, recently retired after a career in information security and technology risk. I’m married to a university administrator and have two disabled adult children. I was a US Army paratrooper and cavalry scout back in the 1980s, and a life-long tabletop gamer. These days, aside from writing (and reading), my main hobbies are woodworking and historical fencing.

Your latest novel, Assassin’s Orbit, is due to be published by Solaris in the summer. How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Assassin’s Orbit starts with the investigation of an assassination/mass murder, but quickly spirals into a major planetary conflict. The protagonists have to work together to both solve the murder and deal with the events that spill from it, which include discovering that a threat from the past might just still be with them. Continue reading

Interview with SAMMY HK SMITH

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Sammy H.K. Smith?

Well, right now I think I’m a human but the lack of decent sleep or coffee is blurring my reality a bit…

I’m a mother, writer, publisher (owner of Grimbold Books), and police detective specialising in domestic abuse and sexual offences. I dabble with all sorts of genres but SF&F (and speculative dark fiction sub-genres) gather my interest the most.

I live and work in Oxfordshire next to the Cotswolds and Warwickshire border, which is an utterly beautiful part of the country.

Your new novel, Anna, is due out in May via Solaris. How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

ANNA is a story of one woman’s survival in a cruel world where might is right and regardless of gender, if you display any weakness, you’re fair game to those that want to control both the lands and the people.

We follow Anna’s story and emotional fallout of dealing with sexual abuse and PTSD in a dystopic future not far from our own reality and timeline. Her strength comes from within and she shows us that whilst physically she appears weak, she’s so much more inside. Continue reading

Interview with G.R. MATTHEWS

Let’s start with an introduction: Who is G.R. Matthews?

That would be me. Hello!

I am a fantasy and sci-fi author who has written a number of books; some set in Ancient China (to try and express my love of martial arts movies from Gordon Liu to Donnie Yen), some set in the far future where we all struggle to exist under the ocean waves (Jack Reacher with more sarcasm, and water).

I live in Kent, in the United Kingdom where I also work in education – writing is a relief from the noise, stress, and pressure of that.

Your new novel, Seven Deaths of an Empire, is due to be published by Solaris in June. It looks really intriguing: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Seven Deaths of an Empire is at heart a story about loyalty, honour, and duty. How much does it cost to keep true to those ideals, to yourself? How much would you sacrifice?

Oh, and there are great big battles, small skirmishes, magic, and political double-dealing. Continue reading

Interview with GARETH L. POWELL

PowellGL-AuthorPic2021Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Gareth L. Powell?

I’m an author from Bristol, in the South West of the UK. I’m 50 years old and have two teenage kids. I’ve won the British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel twice and been shortlisted for the Locus and Seiun Awards.

Your novel The Recollection celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, and will be re-issued by Solaris. For those who didn’t catch it the first time, how would you introduce it to a potential reader?

The Recollection was my first full-length novel (a shorter novel, Silversands, appeared the year before). It follows the adventures of Ed Rico, a failed artist and London taxi driver as he travels into the future to find his missing brother, and the struggles of Katherine Abdulov, a starship pilot, as she races to a distant planet in order to regain the trust of her powerful family. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE BLACK COAST and THE SPLINTER KING by Mike Brooks (Orbit/Solaris)

BrooksM-1-BlackCoastUKMike Brooks‘s first foray into epic fantasy, the God-King Chronicles series, arrives this year! The first novel, The Black Coast, is already out now in the UK (published by Orbit), and is due out in mid-March in North America. Fans of the first novel won’t have to wait long for the sequel, though, as The Splinter King is due out in July! The series has an intriguing premise, and I’m looking forward to reading the novels. For readers in North America, here’s the synopsis for book one…

WAR DRAGONS.
FEARSOME RAIDERS.
A DAEMONIC WARLORD ON THE RISE.

When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them because they know who is coming: for generations, the keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Tjakorsha. Saddling their war dragons, Black Keep’s warriors rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own land by a daemonic despot who prophesises the end of the world, the raiders come in search of a new home…

Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the crossfire – if only its new mismatched society can survive.

BrooksM-2-SplinterKingUKAnd, for those who have already had the chance to read the first novel, here’s the synopsis for The Splinter King

THE WORLD FRACTURES AS A DEAD GOD RISES…

Darel, dragon knight and the new leader of Black Keep, must travel to the palace of the God-King to beg for the lives of his people. But in the capital of Narida, Marin and his warrior husband will be drawn into a palace coup, and Princess Tila will resort to murder to keep her hold on power.

In the far reaches of the kingdom an heir in exile is hunted by assassins, rumours of a rival God-King abound, and daemonic forces from across the seas draw ever nearer…

Mike Brooks’s The Splinter King is due to be published by Orbit in the UK (July 7th) and Solaris Books in North America (September 7th). The two covers above are for the UK editions — I’ll update the post when I find the North American cover. In the meantime, the North American cover for The Black Coast is below. Brooks has also written a number of short stories and novels for Black Library, and is the author of the Keiko sci-fi trilogy (Del Rey in UK; Saga Press in North America).

Also on CR: Interview with Mike Brooks (2015)

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter Continue reading

Quick Review: ONE DAY ALL THIS WILL BE YOURS by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Solaris)

Tchaikovsky-OneDayAllThisWillBeYoursA fantastic, amusing and original take on the time travel paradox

Welcome to the end of time. It’s a perfect day.

Nobody remembers how the Causality War started. Really, there’s no-one to remember, and nothing for them to remember if there were; that’s sort of the point. We were time warriors, and we broke time.

I was the one who ended it. Ended the fighting, tidied up the damage as much as I could.

Then I came here, to the end of it all, and gave myself a mission: to never let it happen again.

This is the third of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s novellas that Solaris will publish, and I think it’s easily the best so far. An original and often amusing take on time travel and humanity’s tendency to inevitably ruin everything, I really enjoyed this. Continue reading