Quick Review: THE LAST WITNESS by K.J. Parker (Tor.com)

ParkerKJ-LastWitnessAn interesting short fantasy about memory and guilt

When you need a memory to be wiped, call me.

Transferring unwanted memories to my own mind is the only form of magic I’ve ever mastered. But now, I’m holding so many memories I’m not always sure which ones are actually mine, any more.

Some of them are sensitive; all of them are private. And there are those who are willing to kill to access the secrets I’m trying to bury…

I’ve had a rather mixed history with K.J. Parker’s novels. There’s never been any doubt that he is a great writer, but sometimes his novels have felt too plodding for my taste. With his short fiction, however, I have had a completely different experience. I loved The Devil You Know, another novella published by Tor.com, for example. Each new piece of Parker fiction I read, I become ever-more impressed at his creative range. Continue reading

Interview with MARGARET KILLJOY

KilljoyM-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Margaret Killjoy?

I’m an author who comes out of the DIY tradition of zines and has recently been making headway into traditional publishing. I’m recently-out as a transwoman and I’m a longtime anarchist organizer. I’ve spent most of my adult life traveling but just recently decided to hang my hat in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Your new novella, The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, will be published by Tor.com in August. It looks rather fascinating: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion is the first book in my Danielle Cain series, which follows a group of squatter-punk demon hunters. In the first book, our protagonist heads to a utopian town to figure out what happened to her dead best friend and stumbles upon magic and demons. It’s hard to describe the themes of a book without offering spoilers, but it’s a book about the ways in which we wield power over one another and it’s a book about a traveler trying to find home.

Continue reading

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