Review: RIVER OF TEETH by Sarah Gailey (Tor.com)

gaileys-riverofteethAn classic-style Western. Only, with killer hippos…

In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.

Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

This was a terrible plan.

Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.

River of Teeth has a fantastic premise: what if hippos were imported into the United States, to make up for the decline in buffalo stocks? This was a real proposal, way back when, and Gailey has done a great job of imaging an America in which hippos have spread and thrived — some are used as mounts, and there are thousands of deadly “ferals” populating the waterways. Now, throw in a group of mercenaries, drawn together on an operation (not a caper), and you have all the ingredients for a fun, original adventure. Continue reading

Interview with GWYNETH JONES

jonesg-authorpicLets start with an introduction: Who is Gwyneth Jones?

Of Irish descent, despite the Welsh name, I live in Brighton, on the south coast of England, but I was brought up in Manchester, a city in the north west. I’ve been a storyteller and a writer of stories for as long as I can remember which is now quite a long time. I overcame the fact that I can’t write legibly, or in a straight line, and can’t spell, by being born conveniently close to the development of computers with keyboards (my first was a BBC B). I’ve won a few awards in my time, but I don’t let it get me down. I have one husband, one son and two cats, I love reading, thinking, playing the piano, playing fantasy games; being outdoors, walking in the hills and tending my garden.

Your new novella, Proof of Concept, will be published by Tor.com in April. It looks rather interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s about a huge cavern, called the Giewont Abyss, a drained magma chamber that’s been discovered deep, deep in ancient rocks, in Poland. The Abyss is the ideal venue for a Post Standard Model Physics experiment called “the Needle”, which might remotely have something to do with the feasibility of mass faster than light travel. A team of scientists goes down there, locked in for a year with a team of TV entertainers, from a hugely popular reality show, who are allegedly “training as starship crew”.  With the scientists is a Scav-kid called Kir, (Scav as in scavenger, she’s from a Dead Zone), whose chief claim to fame is that her brain hosts the most advanced quantum computer in the world. The “quaai” is called Altair (quaai = quasi-autonomous artificial intelligence). Things don’t go according to plan. Or maybe they do, it depends on who you think was doing the planning. Continue reading

Interview with SARAH GAILEY

gaileys-authorpicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Sarah Gailey?

Sarah Gailey is a Bay Area native currently living in beautiful Oakland, California. She enjoys painting, baking, vulgar embroidery, and writing stories about murder and monsters. Her fiction been published internationally; her most recent credits include Mothership Zeta, Fireside Fiction, the Colored Lens, and the Speculative Bookshop Anthology. Her nonfiction has been published by Mashable and the Boston Globe, and she is a regular contributor for Tor.com.

Your new novella, River of Teeth, will be published by Tor.com. It looks rather fabulous: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

River of Teeth is the first novella in a duology. If I only had ten seconds to convince someone to read it, I’d say this: Cowboys riding hippos and trying to blow up the Mississippi River. Continue reading

Interview with COREY J. WHITE

whitecj-authorpic-cropLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Corey J. White?

I live in Melbourne, Australia, and I enjoy scotch and playing with the cat. When I’m not writing, I work in education for an Australian retailer and publisher. I’m not particularly interesting on paper, but my mum thinks I’m cool.

Your debut novella, Killing Gravity, will be published by Tor.com. It looks pretty awesome: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Killing Gravity follows Mars Xi, the most powerful space witch in the galaxy, and her experimental, cat-like pet named Seven. Mars has the ability to kill you with her mind — and if you cross her she’ll do exactly that. She wants little more than peace, but finds herself on a path toward answers and, inevitably, revenge against MEPHISTO — the military research group that made her what she is.

Or if I wanted to be reductive, I could say it’s like The Force Awakens, but where Rey is damaged and merciless, with the psychic powers of Akira‘s Tetsuo. Continue reading

Upcoming in 2017… Tor.com

upcoming2017-torcom2

Tor.com has an incredible range of novellas coming out in 2017. So, here are details for just some of those coming up in the first half of the year (I’ll have to do another of these posts in a couple months). All of these sound interesting. I also have many of them already, so I’ll be reading and reviewing them over the next few months.

Featuring: Marie Brennan, Maurice Broaddus, Ruthanna Emrys, Sarah Gailey, Gwyneth Jones, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Joe M. McDermott, Emma Newman, Nnedi Okorafor, Chris Sharp, Martha Wells, Corey J. White

Continue reading

Interview with MAURICE BROADDUS

broaddusm-authorpic2Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Maurice Broaddus?

A husband of one, a father of two, and an author of nearly a hundred short stories and the urban fantasy series, The Knights of Breton Court. I live in Indianapolis where I do a lot of community development work, finding ways to use writing/art to improve neighborhoods and protest. I keep my faith simple (love God, love people, don’t be a dick). And I binge watch a LOT of television.

Your new novella, Buffalo Soldier, will be published by Tor.com in April 2017. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series? 

It’s set in the steampunk universe that I created for my story “Pimp My Airship.” In this universe, America lost the Revolutionary War and remains a colony of England. Buffalo Soldier is a stand alone sequel to my novelette, Steppin’ Razor (published in Asimov’s Magazine). Set in a Jamaica which was never a colony of England and thus flourished, an undercover agent, Desmond Coke, gets drawn into a web of political intrigue when he stumbles across a young boy, Lij. As it turns out, Lij is a clone of Haile Selassie, a messiah figure to the Rastafarians, who the government plans to raise as their puppet to control the people. Desmond frees the boy and goes on the run. In Buffalo Soldier, the pair is on the run through the United States of Albion, searching for a place to call home. Continue reading

Interview with CHRIS SHARP

sharpc-authorpicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Chris Sharp?

A middle-aged dreamer with a propensity for long-winded storytelling, a fierce resistance to adulthood, and an optimist’s belief in magic — within the hardened shell of a pragmatic pessimist.

Your new novel, Cold Counsel, will be published by Tor.com in February. It looks rather awesome: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

Looks are not deceiving; it is rather awesome. It’s a reimagining of Norse mythology in a post-Ragnarok world from the vantage of the angry losers of the ancient Vanir/Aesir war. It’s also a ferocious coming-of-age/revenge yarn about a boy, his aunt, and his ax against the backdrop of a dying dreamland. There are no humans or easy heroes to hold to, but you’ll find yourself rooting for a loveable band of bloodthirsty killers, and wishing for more at the story’s close. Continue reading