Archive for June, 2012

Lavie-ly Steampunk Debate

June 26, 2012 - 11:25 pm 1 Comment

Today has seen the continuation of a liveky debate following a ost by Lavie Tidhar about Facism in Steampunk.

Take a look at http://lavietidhar.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/fascism-for-nice-people/ if you have any interest in Steampunk. I won’t say much. I will let the posts speal for themselves. But I will say this; we have a moral obligation as writers to challenge the status quo. I know where I stand. Do you?

Darkening Skies

June 26, 2012 - 10:37 pm No Comments

Author: Juliet E McKenna
Publisher: Solaris Books
Page count/Size: 448pp
Release date: 1st March 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Book two of the Hadrumal Crisis, this novel picks up as Captain Corrain has married Ilysh, the thirteen year-old daughter of Widow Lady Zurenne, in order to protect their family following the death of Baron Halferan. The novel begins as he is called to an impromptu parliament at Ferl to prove his right to the title of new Baron Halferan.

Captain Corrain is hailed as a hero but he knows all such praise would turn to anger if certain people knew what had really happened. The wizard who supposedly saved him and his comrades has merely claimed the island of the corsair’s for his own. No one knows what this enigmatic newcomer intends to do next. Corrain has good reason to fear the worst, as he confides in Lady Zurenne of Halferan. He knows he can trust her now that still more perilous secrets bind the two of them together. This disastrous turn of events cannot be concealed from Hadrumal’s powerful mages. The Chief Mage Planir’s leadership is now openly questioned. Surely he will enforce his authority by crushing this upstart? But the Aldabreshin warlords act first. The warlords are watching the ominous skies as a once in a lifetime conjunction of the stars approaches. Will the warlords be content to drive this solitary wizard out of the Archipelago or has the time come for them to destroy all magic?

There’s a lot going on here, and without reading the first book it could be a little confusing, however, McKenna quickly immerses you in her vibrant world.

This book is brimming with adventure, and also offers some interesting characters to get your teeth into. Jilseth, the mage who lost her powers to protect Halferan, is a particularly strong female character, just as Mabdarkin wizard Anskal is a loathsome and fully crafted figure. Each character is gradually drawn from their own point of view, so we get insight into all sides of the world McKenna has created. And speaking of worlds, her world building is effective and sturdy.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first venture into McKenna’s imagination, and I can’t wait to try her again. Ignore this writer at your peril!

The Great Game

June 23, 2012 - 6:28 pm No Comments

It’s still Steampunk Season on this site, so here is another review to tickle your tastebuds…

The Great Game
Author: Lavie Tidhar
Publisher: Angry Robot
Page count: 416pp
Release date: 2nd Feb 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

The third instalment of The Bookman Histories, The Great Game is perhaps the wildest of the trilogy. In a vivid Steampunk environment, the novel continues the series as The Bookman attempts to insidiously overthrow the royalty of the British Empire, who in this series happen to be lizards, possibly from another planet. A number of spies work against him to thwart his plans; and what a collection of characters they are!

From Prime Minister, to petty thieves, to government employees and the hierarchy of ‘Victorian’ society, the characters are a ‘who is who’ from 19th century fiction and historical fact. We have Bram Stoker, Lucy Westenra, Harry Houdini and Mycroft Holmes. And that’s just for starters.

Smith, an expert operative is cajoled out of retirement from ‘The Village’ in order to investigate the deaths of two former operatives; his ex beloved Alice & the infamous Mycroft Holmes. At the same time a strange observer wonders the globe ‘collecting’ samples from various characters. Smith is hunted throughout the novel as he jumps from ‘car’ chase to airship chase and Lucy Westenra, sent on a similar mission also finds herself ducking for her life. And whilst we’re at it, what are those giant tripods trampling throughout Paris on the Champ de Mars?

Tidhar’s world is energetic and a tad confusing as he switches from points of view and narrative styles, but nevertheless it is a thoroughly fun book and a lively adventure. It is a literary visual feast, if that isn’t an oxymoron, and is worth investing your time and money in to join the adventure.

Come and play The Great Game with Lavie Tidhar.

Hauntings Book Launch

June 23, 2012 - 3:51 pm No Comments

Hauntings Book Launch

Come and join us at the Small Press Expo! @ Forbidden Planet for the Hauntings book launch, in which my story ‘The Things I See’ appears. A whole host of us will be there to celebrate the event and have some fun. In the meantime, if you can’t make it you can always come to Fantasycon. See this note from Ian Whates below.

Dear All,

Against all expectation, Helen and I will be pitching up at Fantasycon this year, though only on the Sunday.

I’m delighted to say that the organisers (thanks Marie and Paul!) have agreed to squeeze in a launch event for the signed limited edition of Hauntings (the paperback will be available too, of course). This will take place between 11.00 and 12.00 on Sunday morning. It would be great if those of you attending the con were able to be there, and, at any time between now and then, please feel free to broadcast the fact to the world! Details of the launch and of the book will be appearing on the Fantasycon website shortly.

I appreciate that the first half hour coincides with the end of the BFS AGM, and that some will be delayed as a result, but trust that those affected will be able to hurry across for the second half.

Monsters Anonymous

June 22, 2012 - 9:03 pm 2 Comments

Coming Soon: Monsters Anonymous

Hello and welcome to Monsters Anonymous. This is an anthology of short horror stories with a twist. There are no deep meaningful messages hidden here; no secrets of the universe revealed. This is brash-fiction.
In this anthology you will find a collection of stories that I hope will make you smile, possibly make you squeamish but most of all, entertain you. Brash-fiction is what it says on the tin; it is a collection of horror stories that are bold and in your face.
From Marilyn Monroe zombies, to the search for the Holy Grail at the end of the world, a vibrator that possesses its innocent user and a support group for the Universal monsters inhabiting our world, this anthology is fun with a capital F.
There is plenty of humour, a good dose of gore and characters that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the book.
So welcome, and step into Monsters Anonymous.

Theresa Derwin
May 2012