Quick Review: THE HAUNTING OF TRAM CAR 015 by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com)

ClarkPD-HauntingOfTramCar015A second story in Clark’s fascinating historical fantasy Cairo

Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities — handling a possessed tram car.

Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi Youssef are exposed to a new side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons in a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.

I’m a newcomer to P. Djèlí Clark’s work, and I must say he is fast becoming one of my favourite new authors. The Haunting of Tram Car 015 is a novella set in the same world as the author’s A Dead Djinn in Cairo short story. Both are mysteries, with protagonists tasked with investigating supernatural goings-on in an alternate-history Cairo — one in which djinn, gods and spirits (among others) exist and changed the course of history. I really enjoyed this, and think a lot of others will too. Continue reading

Interview with P. DJÈLÍ CLARK

ClarkPD-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is P. Djèlí Clark?

I’m a writer of speculative fiction by night and a mild-mannered assistant professor of history by dayd. Neither of those personas fights crime.

Your latest novella, The Haunting of Tram Car 015, will be published by Tor.com early next year. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

The Haunting of Tram Car 015 takes place in the same world as a 2016 novelette published on Tor.com titled, A Dead Djinn in Cairo. Set in an alternate 1912 Egypt of steampunk, djinn, magic and clockwork angels, that initial story follows the exploits of Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities — tasked with policing the boundaries of the supernatural and the mundane. The Haunting of Tram Car 015 opens up this world further through two new characters — Agents Hamed Nasr and Onsi Youseff — as they attempt to deal with a case of magic and transportation gone awry. Hilarity and hijinks ensue. Continue reading

Quick Review: VIGILANCE by Robert Jackson Bennett (Tor.com)

BennettRJ-VigilanceA superb parable of an all-too-believable future American dystopia…

The United States. 2030. John McDean executive produces “Vigilance,” a reality game show designed to make sure American citizens stay alert to foreign and domestic threats. Shooters are introduced into a “game environment,” and the survivors get a cash prize.

The TV audience is not the only one that’s watching though, and McDean soon finds out what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera.

In Vigilance, Robert Jackson Bennett has written a frightening parable of a future, rapidly-declining America that has surrendered itself to gun violence. The author has managed to pack in a lot of commentary into this powerful novella. I very much enjoyed reading this, despite how disturbing it was. Continue reading

Interview with SCOTTO MOORE

7175b11415dc5d1f547365f299d07d6b_400x400Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Scotto Moore?

I’ve been a playwright in Seattle for the past fifteen years, focused on bringing ambitious science fiction and science fantasy stories to the stage. Sometimes they’re comedic, like H.P. Lovecraft: Stand-Up Comedian! which envisions Howie Lovecraft as a modern day comic expressing his vision of the mythos through increasingly dangerous stand-up routines. And sometimes they’re dark, like my recent musical, Silhouette, about a genocidal war fleet hunting down immortal mutineers in hiding. I’ve written shows about a genetics lab where experiments produce sentient, intelligent (and singing) mice; scientists who weaponize linguistic techniques; inventors who capture and transmit digital emotions; and an infinitely tall building at the center of the multiverse where demiurges and interdimensional travelers mingle.

I’ve also been a music blogger for more than a decade, and over the past year and half or so, I’ve become a progressive house DJ. Not for a living — just in my living room and at the occasional party. And I write a deeply absurd Lovecraft-themed meme generator on Tumblr called Things That Cannot Save You. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE HAUNTING OF TRAM CAR 015 by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com)

ClarkPD-HauntingOfTramCar015I first heard of P. Djèlí Clark when Tor.com published his novella The Black God’s Drum, which sounds like a fascinating fantasy set in an alt-history New Orleans (I haven’t managed to read it, yet, but it’s rapidly climbing my TBR pile). Recently, Tor.com announced The Haunting of Tram Car 015, a follow-up of sorts to his short story A Dead Djinn in Cairo (which I got recently). Due to be published on February 19th, 2019, I’m really looking forward to this. Here’s the synopsis:

Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities — handling a possessed tram car.

Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi Youssef are exposed to a new side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons in a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.

The Haunting of Tram Car 015 will be released on February 19th, 2019, in North America and in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming:VIGILANCE by Robert Jackson Bennett (Tor.com)

BennettRJ-VigilanceI’ve fallen really far behind on Robert Jackson Bennett‘s work! Shameful, really, given how much I love his novels. Anyway, hot on the heels of the acclaimed Foundryside, he has a new novella on the way from Tor.com! Due to be published on January 29th in North America and in the UK, here’s the synopsis for Vigilance:

A dark science fiction action parable from an America that has permanently surrendered to gun violence.

The United States. 2030. John McDean executive produces “Vigilance,” a reality game show designed to make sure American citizens stay alert to foreign and domestic threats. Shooters are introduced into a “game environment,” and the survivors get a cash prize.

The TV audience is not the only one that’s watching though, and McDean soon finds out what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera.

Really looking forward to reading this! While you’re waiting, I would highly recommend his Divine Cities trilogy, too — published by Jo Fletcher Books in the UK and Crown in North America.

Also on CR: Interview with Robert Jackson Bennett (2012); Guest Post on City of Stairs and the Super Tropey Fantasy Checklist”; Excerpt from City of Stairs; Review of City of Stairs

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: The ALICE PAYNE Series by Kate Heartfield (Tor.com)

HeartfieldK-AP1-AlicePayneArrivesKate Heartfield‘s first Alice Payne novella, Alice Payne Arrives was announced a little while ago by Tor.com, but today I saw that a sequel was also on the way: Alice Payne Rides! I haven’t managed to get hold of the first one, yet, but Heartfield will be in Toronto to launch the book on November 6th at Bakka Phoenix (a must-visit if you’re ever in Toronto). Anyway, here’s the synopsis for the first book, due to be published by Tor.com on November 6th, 2018.

The story of a time traveling thief turned reluctant hero in this science fiction adventure.

A disillusioned major, a highwaywoman, and a war raging across time.

It’s 1788 and Alice Payne is the notorious highway robber, the Holy Ghost. Aided by her trusty automaton, Laverna, the Holy Ghost is feared by all who own a heavy purse.

It’s 1889 and Major Prudence Zuniga is once again attempting to change history—to save history—but seventy attempts later she’s still no closer to her goal.

It’s 2016 and… well, the less said about 2016 the better!

But in 2020 the Farmers and the Guides are locked in battle; time is their battleground, and the world is their prize. Only something new can change the course of the war. Or someone new.

Little did they know, but they’ve all been waiting until Alice Payne arrives.

HeartfieldK-AP2-AlicePayneRidesAlice Payne Rides is due to be published by Tor.com on March 5th, 2019. Here’s the synopsis:

After abducting Arthur of Brittany from his own time in 1203, thereby creating the mystery that partly prompted the visit in the first place, Alice and her team discover that they have inadvertently brought the smallpox virus back to 1780 with them.

Searching for a future vaccine, Prudence finds that the various factions in the future time war intend to use the crisis to their own advantage.

Can the team prevent an international pandemic across time, and put history back on its tracks? At least until the next battle in the time war…

Both books will be available in the UK, too: Alice Payne Arrives and Alice Payne Rides.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter