Monday, November 30, 2009

Upcoming Reviews

First, let's start with the real excuse behind this post. I mean, a post that talks about upcoming reviews rather than the reviews themselves is a bit strange, I admit. However I'll be on holidays before the end of the week and I have to finish the project that I'm working on. So far, this has meant working very hard including the last two weekends and late nights.

Anyway, I have my review notes on three books that I really liked. I just need the time to go through them to organize my thoughts:

  • Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson
  • Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover
  • Transformation by Carol Berg
And the books that I'm currently reading:

  • Tyrant's Blood by Fiona McIntosh
  • Songs of the Dying Earth edited by G. R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois
  • Like Mayflies In A Stream by Shauna Roberts
So... I'm going to be mostly quiet during the first three weeks of December however I'm going to post 6 reviews before the end of the year... This is the plan, anyway :).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Books Received

It's time for me to start to read the books that I very recently received:

Tyrant's Blood by Fiona McIntosh

Tyrant's Blood is the second book of the Valisar Trilogy. I reviewed the first book, Royal Exile, last month and since then I had been looking forward to read it.


The second instalment of Fiona McIntosh's gripping epic fantasy, set in a world torn by revenge, love and ancient magic. Ten years have passed since Loethar, the barbarian warlord from the Likurian steppes, devoured the Devona Set with his army of mercenaries, decimating their ruling families and settling in their primary kingdom of Penraven. Believing the Valisar heirs of Penraven to be dead, he has styled himself as emperor and continues his efforts to integrate his people into the native population. But abandoning his more violent methods of persuasion hasn't quelled the undercurrent of rebellion; for the Valisar heirs do live. Hidden from the barbarian's wrath by loyal allies who risk everything for the future of their kingdom, they are bound to return and seek a tyrant's blood for the havoc he has wreaked.

Songs of the Dying Earth (Stories in Honour of Jack Vance)

This anthology simply looks amazing. With contributors like Neil Gaiman, Tad Williams, Dan Simmons and George R.R. Martin, it promises to be a delight.


Return to the unique and evocative world of The Dying Earth in this tribute anthology featuring the most distinguished fantasists of our day. A dim place, ancient beyond knowledge. The sun is feeble and red. A million cities have fallen to dust. Here live a few thousand souls, dying, as the Earth dies beneath them. Just a few short decades remain to the long history of our world. At the last, science and magic are one, and there is evil on Earth, distilled by time ! Earth is dying. Half a century ago, Jack Vance created the world of the Dying Earth, and fantasy has never been the same. Now, for the first time, Jack has agreed to open this intriguing and darkly beautiful world to other fantasists, to play in as their very own. The list of twenty-two contributors eager to honour Jack Vance by writing for this anthology includes Neil Gaiman, Tad Williams, Elizabeth Hand, Tanith Lee, Dan Simmons, Robert Silverberg, and George R.R. Martin himself.

Like Mayflies in a Stream by Shauna Roberts

I really like historical fiction and Shauna Roberts' Like Mayflies in a Stream is one such book. Ancient history of Mesopotamia has always intrigued me so I'm looking forward to read the Epic of Gilgamesh with Shauna Roberts' touch.


In the great city of Uruk, there is no peace when Gilgamesh is restless, and he is never at rest. Shamhat, a priestess of Inanna, goes into the wilderness to find and civilize a match for Uruk's violently active God-King. Like Mayflies in a Stream brings new life to the Epic of Gilgamesh, diving into one of the earliest conflicts between civilization and wilderness, civic order and freedom, romance and sexuality.

Malazan Quotes: Memories of Ice

"In a world full of pitfalls and sinkholes, you dance around the edges. Only fools jump feet first, and fools don't live long besides." - Ganoes Paran

"The soldier's moment, now, before the battle begins - who would choose such a life? You stand with others, all facing the same threat, all feeling so very alone. In the cold embrace of fear, that sense that all that you are might end in moments. Gods, I've no envy for a soldier's life" - Gruntle

"Every gift is edged." - Tool

"Names are not for the asking, mortal. Names are earned." - Tool

"The harder the world, the fiercer the honour." - Dancer

"As my father warned us - in success, we shall find seeds of despair." - Cafal (son of Humbrall Taur)

"Never admit your unwillingness to rule, Malazan. What you fear in yourself will cloud your judgement of all that your successor does. Your fear will blind you to his wisdom and stupidity both." - Humbrall Taur

"You are the plains bear at our side, urging us to lock talons with the southern tiger. A hunter always knows the mind of a tiger, but never the mind of a plains bear." - Humbrall Taur

"Teach him what? How to live beneath the burden of command? That's something I can't manage myself. I need only look into Whiskeyjack's face to understand that no-one can - no-one who has a heart, anyway. We learn to achieve but one thing: the ability to hide our thoughts, to mask our feelings, to bury our humanity deep in our souls. And that can't be taught, only shown." - Paran

"If you can, dear friends, do not live through a siege" - Ubilast (the Legless)

"Fights like a boar? Gods, no, this man is a big, plains-hunting cat. He has bulk, aye, but it passes unnoticed behind a deadly grace. Fener save us all, the Tiger of Summer's ghost walks in this man's shadow." - Itkovian

"Thick silence, swirling as if not yet settled by the sounds of violence, as if somehow still trembling, still shivering..." - Whiskeyjack

"Sooner or later, she now understood, we are all naught but food. Wolves or worms, the end abrupt or lingering, it mattered not in the least." - Mhybe

"What the soul can house, flesh cannot fathom." - Imarak, First Destriant

"The void of lost faith is filled with your swollen self." - A long-dead Destriant

"We are all pushed into a world of madness, yet it must now fall to each of us to pull back from this Abyss, to drag ourselves free of the descending spiral. From horror, grief must be fashioned, and from grief, compassion." - Itkovian

"The loss fills the shadows we cast. Know this, soldier, the enemy you left to us was brittle." - The Barghast Spokesman

"Victory is an illusion. In all things." - Mhybe

"Hood's marble balls on an anvil..." - Whiskeyjack

"And it seems you've no idea of how to forgive - not her, not yourself. Guilt has become a chasm-" - Paran

"The heart of wisdom is tolerance" - Paran

'If that would help. More directly, however, you seem to forget my… experience. For all that I seem to grate upon all of you, I have walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I have commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I have spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?'
'Yes. You never learn, Kallor.' - Kallor & Caladan Brood

"We were brittle. Destroyed months ago, outside Pale, it's just taken this long for the few of us left to realize it. Hedge, Trotts, Detoran. Corpses who kept saluting-" - Picker

Saturday, November 21, 2009

K'ell Hunter

I don't know you, but when I read a novel, I always have a clear enough picture of the protagonists. The same goes for the different races in fantasy novels. I'm about to finish Steven Erikson's Memories of Ice (the 3rd book of the Malazan book of the Fallen series). One of the races that I keep hearing is the K'ell Hunter (K'Chain Che'Malle - the first race on the Malazan world to evolve intelligence).

Here's a representation from Spindrift: K'ell Hunter. I think it's very good!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Malazan Twibbon

The Malazan community on twitter has been very active and rapidly growing. So, if you're a Malazan fan and if you have a twitter account, this could be of interest to you:

When you accept and click on "show my support now", this application will simply modify your twitter avatar.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Over the last few weeks, I've been connecting with more and more Malazan fans on Twitter. They are really a great bunch of people. One of the first ones that I had the pleasure to meet was Rahul Vohra.

Recently, Rahul had the brilliant idea of putting together a Web site that aggregates Malazan-related tweets: is a great tool to see who else is reading Steven Erikson's and Ian Cameron Esslemont's Malazan books and what they're thinking about them. Furthermore, it also allows one to selectively connect with like-minded people because most of these guys and gals are avid (fantasy & sci-fi) readers.

There also seems to be a group of gamers among us. I'm not counting myself in this group as my last serious gaming attempts died down after my college years. When it's about video games, I have an addictive personality and it looks like I change universe or dimension because 20 minutes of game time take approximately 2 hours in the real world. I never know when to stop... Actually I have to correct this: I know when to stop: in 20 minutes, which translates into sleepless nights and zombie-mode unpleasant work days. So I opted out! I'm not a gamer, full stop. :)

Anyway! Give a try when you get a chance!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Roadmap: What To Read Next?

Do I always know what to read next? Yes. At any given moment, I know exactly what my next book is going to be. The fact that I regularly get/buy more books than I can read doesn't mean I don't have a list in my head. And it's also nice to do a recap every now and then. Here's how it looks today:
Obviously this list keeps changing, mostly according to the review copies I get therefore I only commit to the first 2-3 :).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cover Art: Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my favorite writers. I blogged about his upcoming book 3 months ago and now we have the pictures of its cover for the UK and the US edition:

US CoverUK Cover

In general, I like the UK covers of books however this time, without a doubt, I prefer the US cover. I like its subtlety and its quiet suggestion of a far eastern setting.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Free On-line Reading: Nekropolis by Tim Waggoner

About Nekropolis

His mean streets are the city of the dead, the shadowy realm known as Nekropolis. And in this first case, Richter must help a delectable half-vampire named Devona recover a legendary artifact known as the Dawnstone, before it’s used to destroy Nekropolis itself. That is, if he can survive the myriad horrors that infest the city itself.

You can also watch Nekropolis' trailer on Tim Waggoner's site.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Free e-Books: The Best of Robert E. Howard, Vol 1: Crimson Shadows...

Suvudu's November free e-books include Robert E. Howard's Crimson Shadows. I, for one, am looking forward to reading it. And as usual, the e-books are in multiple formats.

The Best of Robert E. Howard, Volume 1: Crimson Shadows by Robert E. Howard

Robert E. Howard is one of the most famous and influential pulp authors of the twentieth century. Though largely known as the man who invented the sword-and-sorcery genre-and for his iconic hero Conan the Cimmerian-Howard also wrote horror tales, desert adventures, detective yarns, epic poetry, and more. This spectacular volume, gorgeously illustrated by Jim and Ruth Keegan, includes some of his best and most popular works.

Inside, readers will discover (or rediscover) such gems as "The Shadow Kingdom," featuring Kull of Atlantis and considered by many to be the first sword-and-sorcery story; "The Fightin'est Pair," part of one of Howard's most successful series, chronicling the travails of Steve Costigan, a merchant seaman with fists of steel and a head of wood; "The Grey God Passes," a haunting tale about the passing of an age, told against the backdrop of Irish history and legend; "Worms of the Earth," a brooding narrative featuring Bran Mak Morn, about which H. P. Lovecraft said, "Few readers will ever forget the hideous and compelling power of [this] macabre masterpiece"; a historical poem relating a momentous battle between Cimbri and the legions of Rome; and "Sharp's Gun Serenade," one of the last and funniest of the Breckinridge Elkins tales.

These thrilling, eerie, compelling, swashbuckling stories and poems have been restored to their original form, presented just as the author intended. There is little doubt that after more than seven decades the voice of Robert E. Howard continues to resonate with readers around the world.

Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon

Kylara Vatta is the only daughter in a family full of sons, and her father's only child to buck tradition by choosing a military career instead of joining the family business. For Ky, it's no contest: Even running the prestigious Vatta Transport Ltd. shipping concern can't hold a candle to shipping out as an officer aboard an interstellar cruiser. It's adventure, not commerce, that stirs her soul. And despite her family's misgivings, there can be no doubt that a Vatta in the service will prove a valuable asset. But with a single error in judgment, it all comes crumbling down.

Expelled from the Academy in disgrace-and returning home to her humiliated family, a storm of high-profile media coverage, and the gaping void of her own future-Ky is ready to face the inevitable onslaught of anger, disappointment, even pity. But soon after opportunity's door slams shut, Ky finds herself with a ticket to ride- and a shot at redemption-as captain of a Vatta Transport ship.

It's a simple assignment: escorting one of the Vatta fleet's oldest ships on its final voyage . . . to the scrapyard. But keeping it simple has never been Ky's style. And even though her father has provided a crew of seasoned veterans to baby-sit the fledgling captain on her maiden milk run, they can't stop Ky from turning the routine mission into a risky venture-in the name of turning a profit for Vatta Transport, of course.

By snapping up a lucrative delivery contract defaulted on by a rival company, and using part of the proceeds to upgrade her condemned vehicle, Ky aims to prove she's got more going for her than just her family's famous name. But business will soon have to take a backseat to bravery, when Ky's change of plans sails her and the crew straight into the middle of a colonial war. For all her commercial savvy, it's her military training and born-soldier's instincts that Ky will need to call on in the face of deadly combat, dangerous mercenaries, and violent mutiny...

A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton

"My name is Meredith Gentry, but of course it's not my real name. I dare not even whisper my true name after dark for fear that one hushed word will travel over the night winds to the soft ear of my aunt, the Queen of the Air and Darkness. She wants me dead. I don't even know why."

Meredith Gentry, Princess of the high court of Faerie, is posing as a human in Los Angeles, living as a P.I. specializing in supernatural crime. But now the Queen's assassin has been dispatched to fetch her back-whether she likes it or not. Suddenly Meredith finds herself a pawn in her dreaded aunt's plans. The job that awaits her: enjoy the constant company of the most beautiful immortal men in the world. The reward: the crown-and the opportunity to continue to live. The penalty for failure: death.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Free Short Fiction: People of Leaf and Branch by Jay Lake

Maribel ran along the top boards. The planks went from roof to roof, along the ridges, with a jumping-space to reach the peaks of the round huts. She didn’t have the skill of a danseuse, nor the grace of the best of the girls from the stone city below her, but among the woodkin, she was often accounted the most lithe and best.

The Tower Wander was ahead, with Shrike House clinging to its neck like a collar. The old wall had long since been swallowed by the spread of the stone city, gone from defense to landmark to landform in the space of a few generations. The Duke of Copper Downs had forbidden the woodkin to enter the abandoned towers, but their exteriors had never been under such a rule.

So the seven surviving towers acquired names, and superstructures, and held the long, narrow village that ran from the Broken Gate to the Tower Harbor. The towers were part of the stone city, but the houses were the woodkin’s memory of another time and place.

She slipped through the roof of Shrike House, dropping to the floor in a shower of dust and straw.

Monday, November 2, 2009

World Fantasy Award Winners 2009

As Science Fiction Awards Watch reports, here is the list for World Fantasy Award Winners 2009:

Lifetime Achievement: Ellen Asher & Jane Yolen
Best Novel (tie): The Shadow Year, Jeffrey Ford (Morrow) & Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin; Knopf)
Best Novella: "If Angels Fight", Richard Bowes (F&SF 2/08)
Best Short Story: "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss", Kij Johnson (Asimov's 7/08)
Best Anthology: Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy, Ekaterina Sedia, ed. (Senses Five Press)
Best Collection: The Drowned Life, Jeffrey Ford (HarperPerennial)
Best Artist: Shaun Tan
Special Award – Professional: Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant (for Small Beer Press and Big Mouth House)
Special Award – Non-Professional: Michael Walsh (for Howard Waldrop collections from Old Earth Books)

The judges for 2009 were: Jenny Blackford, Peter Heck, Ellen Klages, Chris Roberson & Delia Sherman.

Free Short Fiction: Ghost Technology From the Sun by Paul Jessup

Master told us that the earth was hollow, and that we lived on the inside of it, clinging to the top of the crust. Below us was another world, a world inside the world, a glowing bright sun of a place. What Master called the summerlands. That is where the dead live, he said. That is how we can talk to them, he said. They send us signals across the air, and the mediums pick them up and drink them in.

And when the words came in, we had to speak them. We cannot deny the dead our voices–the dead would be angry if we did. And nobody wanted the angry dead to fly their zeppelins up from the sun and attack us crust dwellers.

That wouldn’t do anyone any good.

Master knew this because he is an ambassador to the land of the dead. At night he walked through the door of the dead, and it beamed his body down above us, into the summer sun inside of the earth. That is where he talked to them, worked out trade between our two peoples.

The dead have a lot to offer the living.

He came back with schematics.

Ways of building circuit boards.

Ghost technology from the sun.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Free e-Book: There Was A Crooked Man by Edward Morris

Welcome to the world of master fabulist Edward Morris, where History has been pulled down a Hieronymus Bosch rabbit-hole and everything makes far too much sense. In this first volume of Morris's alternate history tour de force, on an East Coast two centuies after Armageddon, a rogue soldier throws himself back in Time to wreak havoc upon History and feed on the blood in the streets. He lands in the New World with the first white settlers. The Irrakwa try to stop him. And from two centuries ahead, the law tries to follow him back...

You can download a copy of There Was A Crooked Man as a PDF or Mobi file. I'm not sure why the ePub version is not enabled. It's a pity!