Interview with R.F. KUANG

KuangRF-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is R.F. Kuang?

Me! I just graduated from Georgetown with a degree in International History. Next year I’ll be studying Chinese history on a Marshall Scholarship at Cambridge. I love corgis a lot.

Your debut novel, The Poppy War, was recently published by Voyager. How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s like Avatar: The Last Airbender-meets-Ender’s Game, except the main character is Azula and everyone is on drugs. It’s the first of a trilogy. Continue reading

Advertisements

Upcoming: HOLLYWOOD DEAD by Richard Kadrey (Voyager)

KadreyR-SS10-HollywoodDeadUSThis August, Kadrey’s fan-favourite anti-hero Sandman Slim returns in Hollywood Dead, his tenth novel! I’m a big fan of the series (although, I have fallen a little behind), and I’m really looking forward to reading this one. Here’s the synopsis:

Life and death takes on an entirely new meaning for half-angel, half-human hero James Stark, aka, Sandman Slim.

James Stark is back from Hell, trailing more trouble in his wake. To return to L.A., he had to make a deal with the evil power brokers, Wormwood — an arrangement that came with a catch. While he may be home, Stark isn’t quite himself… because he’s only partially alive.

There’s a time limit on his reanimated body, and unless Stark can find the people targeting Wormwood, he will die again — and this time there will be no coming back. Even though he’s armed with the Room of Thirteen Doors, Stark knows he can’t find Wormwood’s enemies alone. To succeed he’s got to enlist the help of new friends — plus a few unexpected old faces.

Stark has been in dangerous situations before — you don’t get named Sandman Slim for nothing. But with a mysterious enemy on the loose, a debt to pay, and a clock ticking down, this may truly be the beginning of his end…

Hollywood Dead is due to be published by Voyager in the US and UK, in August 2018.

Also on CR: Reviews of Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, Aloha From Hell, Devil in the Dollhouse, Devil Said Bang and Kill City Blues

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

KadreyR-SandmanSlim-1to5KadreyR-SandmanSlim-6to9

Books on Film: First FAHRENHEIT 451 teaser from HBO…

A couple of days ago, HBO released the first teaser for their upcoming adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Starring Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon, here it is:

So, not hugely informative, but I am certainly looking forward to watching.

BradburyR-Fahrenheit451US-60thThe novel is published in North America by Simon & Schuster, and in the UK by Harper Voyager. Here’s the synopsis:

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

Upcoming: THE POPPY WAR by R.F. Kuang (Voyager)

KuangRF-1-PoppyWarUSYesterday, Barnes & Noble’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog unveiled the cover for R.F. Kuang‘s upcoming debut novel, The Poppy War. This novel had only just come onto my radar, but I’m really interested in reading it.

The novel is inspired by China’s 20th Century history, according the above-linked post (I’m assuming early 20th), which made this novel shoot up my Must Read list — Chinese history is very much in my wheelhouse (BA and PhD). Couple that with the fact that I’m always on the lookout for interesting new authors… well, I’ve got to read this. Here’s the official synopsis:

When Rin aced the Keju — the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies — it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard — the most elite military school in Nikan — was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power — an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive — and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away…

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity… and that it may already be too late.

The Poppy War will be published in North America and the UK by Harper Voyager in early May 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Review: TROPIC OF KANSAS by Christopher Brown (Voyager)

brownc-tropicofkansasusA terrifyingly realistic dystopian novel

The United States of America is no more. Broken into warring territories, its center has become a wasteland DMZ known as “the Tropic of Kansas.” Though this gaping geographic hole has no clear boundaries, everyone knows it’s out there — that once-bountiful part of the heartland, broken by greed and exploitation, where neglect now breeds unrest. Two travelers appear in this arid American wilderness: Sig, the fugitive orphan of political dissidents, and his foster sister Tania, a government investigator whose search for Sig leads her into her own past — and towards an unexpected future.

Sig promised those he loves that he would make it to the revolutionary redoubt of occupied New Orleans. But first he must survive the wild edgelands of a barren mid-America policed by citizen militias and autonomous drones, where one wrong move can mean capture… or death. One step behind, undercover in the underground, is Tania. Her infiltration of clandestine networks made of old technology and new politics soon transforms her into the hunted one, and gives her a shot at being the agent of real change — if she is willing to give up the explosive government secrets she has sworn to protect.

As brother and sister traverse these vast and dangerous badlands, their paths will eventually intersect on the front lines of a revolution whose fuse they are about to light.

As the news is filled with stories of creeping fascism, an increase in the militarization of police forces, and a “fortress America” mentality settling in for those on the right (although, mostly, it’s anyone who voted for Donald Trump), this novel feels frighteningly realistic. It is also very good. Continue reading

Interview with ANNA SMITH SPARK

anna-smith-spark-author-photo-1Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Anna Smith Spark?

I tweet as QueenofGrimdark, I’m an ex-fetish model, and I have a PhD in Victorian occultism.

No, honestly.

I’m a fantasy novelist from London, UK.  I have a background in history and literature: I studied Classical History for my BA, Cultural History for my MA and English Literature for my PhD. Which really was about Victorian occultism, looking at the way it intersected with the physical sciences and with politics. My only real interests in life are history, mythology and literature. I spent several years as an obsessive D&D player, but sadly no longer play. I’m obsessed with Warhammer miniatures as well (Chaos Warriors … oh. Oh oh oh), but don’t actually play Warhammer either. Continue reading

Upcoming in 2017… Harper Voyager

upcoming2017-voyager

Tricky to find information about Voyager UK titles, unless they’re already established authors (Mark Lawrence, Richard Kadrey, etc.). So, this post features predominantly titles published in both North America and the UK.

Featuring: Christopher Brown, Becky Chambers, Nicky Drayden, Patrick Hemstreet, Richard Kadrey, Mark Lawrence, Wesley Snipes

Continue reading