Excerpt: FLEET OF KNIVES by Gareth L. Powell (Titan)

PowellGL-EoW2-FleetOfKnivesToday, we have a short excerpt from Gareth L. Powell’s Fleet of Knives. The sequel to Embers of War, it is out now, published by Titan Books. Here’s the synopsis:

The former warship Trouble Dog and her crew of misfits is called upon by the House of Reclamation to investigate a distress call from the human starship the Lucy’s Ghost. Her crew abandon their crippled ship and seek refuge abroad an abandoned, slower-than-light generation ship launched ten thousand years before by an alien race. However, the enormous ship contains deadly secrets of its own.

Recovered war criminal, Ona Sudak, faces a firing squad for her actions in the Archipelago War. But, at the last moment, she is smuggled out of her high security prison. The Marble Armada has called for her to accompany its ships as observer and liaison, as it spreads itself across the human Generality, enforcing the peace at all costs. The alien ships will not tolerate resistance, and all dissenters are met with overwhelming and implacable force. Then her vessel intercepts messages from the House of Reclamation and decides the Trouble Dog has a capacity for violence which cannot be allowed to endure.

As the Trouble Dog and her crew fight to save the crew of the Lucy’s Ghost, the ship finds herself caught between chaotic alien monsters on one side, and on the other, destruction at the hands of the Marble Armada.

Read on for the excerpt…

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Upcoming: FINDER by Suzanne Palmer (DAW)

PalmerS-1-FinderUSDescribed as an “action-packed sci-fi caper” starring an “interstellar repo man and professional finder”, this debut space opera looks like a lot of fun! Suzanne Palmer‘s Finder (maybe the first in a series?) is due to be published by DAW Books in North America, on April 2nd, 2019. At the time of writing, I couldn’t find any information about a UK edition. Here’s the synopsis:

Fergus Ferguson has been called a lot of names: thief, con artist, repo man. He prefers the term finder.

His latest job should be simple. Find the spacecraft Venetia’s Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. He’ll slip in, decode the ship’s compromised AI security, and get out of town, Sword in hand.

Fergus locates both Gilger and the ship in the farthest corner of human-inhabited space, a gas-giant-harvesting colony called Cernee. But Fergus’ arrival at the colony is anything but simple. A cable car explosion launches Cernee into civil war, and Fergus must ally with Gilger’s enemies to navigate a field of space mines and a small army of hostile mercenaries. What was supposed to be a routine job evolves into negotiating a power struggle between factions. Even worse, Fergus has become increasingly — and inconveniently — invested in the lives of the locals.

It doesn’t help that a dangerous alien species thought mythical prove unsettlingly real, and their ominous triangle ships keep following Fergus around.

Foolhardy. Eccentric. Reckless. Whatever he’s called, Fergus will need all the help he can get to take back the Sword and maybe save Cernee from destruction in the process.

Looking forward to this one!

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Guest Post: “On Worldbuilding” by Rhonda Mason

masonr-authorpicIn the beginning, there was the protagonist, and the author saw that it was good.

My worldbuilding process starts after the creation of the protagonist, never before. I write novels to tell the story of a person, not the story of a world, and all of my novels have sprung from a first impression of the main character. For The Empress Game trilogy it was an image of Kayla holding a kris dagger in each hand, fighting another woman in a pit while criminals cheered her on.

Once I have that first impression of a character, the worldbuilding begins. Who is she? (The exiled princess from a rival planet) Where is she? (Hidden on the slum side of her hated enemy’s border planet) Why is she there? (Trying to raise credits to buy passage back to her homeworld) And, most importantly, why is she special? Why are we telling her story, and not someone else’s? Continue reading

Interview with YOON HA LEE

LeeYH-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Yoon Ha Lee?

I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with my family and a cat with the personality of an unusually submissive marshmallow. My twelve-year-old daughter would like you to know that I have a twelve-year-old daughter.

She also wants to let you know that I write genocidal science fiction. Her term, not mine. Maybe I had better set her up with some computer games or a book and get her away from me…

Solaris are publishing your new novel, Ninefox Gambit, in June. It looks rather fascinating: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Ninefox Gambit is about a disgraced captain, Kel Cheris, who allies with a brilliant undead tactician, Shuos Jedao, to defend one of her nation’s star fortresses. The good news: Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one capable of cracking the fortress’s defenses. Continue reading

Upcoming: STAR WARS: BLOODLINE by Claudia Gray (Del Rey)

GrayC-SW-BloodlineAs I’ve mentioned before on CR, I have read a lot of Star Wars fiction in the past. Recently, though, I haven’t really liked any that I’ve tried. Claudia Gray‘s Bloodline, however, sounds like it could be good. Set before The Force Awakens, here’s what it’s about:

WITNESS THE BIRTH OF THE RESISTANCE

When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy — from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy. 

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position — even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing…

Bloodline is due to be published by Del Rey in the US, on May 3rd, 2016. Gray also wrote Lost Stars, part of the YA Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens series.

Guest Post: “The Long Orbit of RADIANCE” by Catherynne M. Valente

ValenteCM-AuthorPicSometime in 2009 I was asked to write a science fiction story for Clarkesworld Magazine. At the time, I had mainly written fantasy — I was eager to dive into the other side of the speculative field. Two things had been bouncing around my head, and they bashed together at once. I had sprouted a fascination with the pulp SF planets of Zelazny, Bester, Burroughs, and Asimov’s day. The worlds we thought might be out there before satellite footage assured us it was not. Savage deserts of Mars, undersea Neptune, Venusian waterways. I wanted to make a planet like that. I didn’t want to follow the trend of hewing closely to established scientific fact. I wanted to go back to the wild, free-wheeling pulp universe, where there are no shackles on what you can imagine out there.

At the same time, I had read an interview with Mark Danielewski, who wrote House of Leaves, one of my favorite novels. He talked about his father, a cinematographer, and what a profound influence on his writing his father’s profession had been. And I thought: I was raised by a film director. It shaped every way I see the world and the ways I make my own. And I’ve never written about it even a little.
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Interview with S.K. DUNSTALL

DunstallSK-AuthorsPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is S.K. Dunstall?

S.K. Dunstall is the pen name for Sherylyn and Karen Dunstall, sisters who live in Melbourne, Australia.

We’ve told stories ever since we can remember. At first, we wrote individually, but even back then we always dipped into each other’s stories to edit them. We gradually came to realize that the stories we worked on together were better than the ones we worked on alone, and were a lot more fun to write.

Your latest novel, Alliance, is published by Ace. The second in your Linesman series, it looks rather interesting: How would you introduce the series to a new reader, and what can fans expect from the second book?

Linesman is classic space opera, although our protagonist, Ean, might not quite be your classic space opera hero. It’s character-based, lighthearted action/adventure with some fun moments. Continue reading