Happy New Year!!!

Yep, it's time to kiss 2009 goodbye!=)

May 2010 be everything you want it to be!

And since many of you will be going wild tonight (some of you, like the Aussies, already have!), I took the liberty of posting my favorite party song these days. I'm not your mom, so I'm not going to tell you to drink responsibly. Get hammered all you won't, yet remember that throwing up is a MAJOR party foul. Just don't drink and drive, that's all. We all want to live to see another party, after all, right!?!:P

Have fun, you guys!;-) I know I'll raise a glass or three to your health. . .

Quote of the Day

Trust is like ink; once spilled, it cannot be recovered.

- KAY KENYON, Prince of Storms (Canada, USA, Europe)

Do yourself a favor and read the first three volumes of Kenyon's The Entire and the Rose:

- Bright of the Sky (Canada, USA, Europe)
- A World Too Near (Canada, USA, Europe)
- City Without End (Canada, USA, Europe)

New Steven Erikson interview

Some of you have been waiting for this one for quite a while, so here it is! Sadly, I didn't have time to do a Q&A when Dust of Dreams came out. Fortunately, Erikson was happy to oblige when I queried him about the possibility of doing an interview late in the game.

Ken from http://www.nethspace.blogspot.com/ helped me out with this one. In addition, a few questions came from fans from http://www.malazanempire.com/. All in all, this is another interesting interview with the author, if I may say so myself!=)

If you have yet to discover Steven Erikson's The Malazan Book of the Fallen, by all means do so ASAP!:

- Gardens of the Moon (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Deadhouse Gates (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Memories of Ice (Canada, USA, Europe)
- House of Chains (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Midnight Tides (Canada, USA, Europe)
- The Bonehunters (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Reaper's Gale (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Toll the Hounds (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Dust of Dreams (Canada, USA, Europe)


- Are you happy with the way DUST OF DREAMS has been received thus far, what with the cliffhanger ending and the fact that it is essentially the first installment of a two-volume novel?

I track things for a time, usually at the start, but invariably someone decides to trash whatever book is being discussed; it's not the trashing that bothers me, it's the often inane observations accompanying that trashing. I'm as human as the next guy, after all, though over the years my skin has toughened and, ultimately, I continue to go about my business unaffected by criticism -- even still, it does sometimes seem that reviews (ie amazon reader comments) attack with a hidden agenda that baffles me. What's become clear via the internet is that some readers of certain writers confuse their pleasure at that writer's work and end up positioning themselves in some weird kind of belligerent loyalty: as if other writers were somehow competing with their favourite. It's an odd notion, and for what it's worth, I often hang out with said writers and, surprise, we get along just fine, and bizarre ideas about competition or rivalry, well, they are the exclusive inventions of fans, not us writers. As to the lengths such fans will go, now that's alarming indeed. But it's all misplaced and a waste of energy, as far as I can see.

Having said all that, the only thing that rankled me in some of the reviews was the expression of doubt regarding my ability to pull off this finale, to which I respond: for fuck sake, there's been nine books so far, and each one has delivered the punch I intended (even if some readers objected to some of those punches), so where does this doubt come from? I'll deliver. I always have and there's no sign of stumbling this time around. Yeesh.

But generally, it does seem that most of my genuine readers remain on board, which is a relief (especially after the ruckus with Toll the Hounds), and certainly the cliff-hanger ending was forewarned enough for people to be all right with it.

- A decade following the release of your fantasy debut, how rewarding is it to see the 10th anniversary edition of GARDENS OF THE MOON hit the shelves?

Very rewarding, and that one combined with the Sub Press editions, well, wow, I couldn't be more pleased. See below!

- A few months back, Subterranean Press released a gorgeous limited edition of GARDENS OF THE MOON. How special was it to see your fantasy debut receive such a treatment, and what are your thoughts regarding the sublime artwork by Michael Komarck?

I loved the lower priced edition, and then upon my return from San Jose I discovered the high-end edition had arrived in the mail. I was floored. Simply gorgeous, and the thought (dream?) of one day seeing the whole series in that format has my mouth watering. The privilege of being given a list of potential artists and then being able to choose one was wonderful, and how can I have any regrets over Komarck? The illustrations are simply stunning and I'm reminded to see if I can beg some prints from him....

- What has changed the most about the genre and writing in it since GARDENS OF THE MOON was published?

I don't know. Hmm. Cover designs have to some extent moved away from what they once were, with more efforts to cadge fantasy novels into the mainstream. A flurry of young writers have arrived to push the limits, which I think is healthy. Seeing the resurgence of Glen Cook's Black Company series was most pleasing (and after reading that interview with Glen, why, next time I see him I'll buy the first round).

One discernible change is the role of the internet, but that almost goes without saying. Once, thousands of years ago when I was just starting out, writers produced stories and books and all they had to say was in their fiction. Now, they speak in their own voices, in blogs and such, and that's stirred things considerably. We're no different in feeling the need to fire a salvo every now and then, across the bow or rather more directly on target, and sometimes the fallout gets ... heated. And, for all that I said upon beginning this interview, ultimately I think a writer should speak through his or her work; all the rest is just fluff. Often well-written fluff, but still. That said, some writers truly know how to exploit the new media, in terms of self-promotion, and my hat's off to them. But for me, even the thought of it has my head ducking down. Gun shy, I guess, or maybe it's that I'd probably end up sounding off on things a little too forcefully. Best I keep my mouth shut, for the most part (and these interviews are like cracks in the smoky glass, I dart out, then back in again).

- How do you feel that your writing (including interests and goals) has evolved over the years you’ve been writing the Malazan books?

Questions like that are almost impossible to answer. What begins as balls ends up as confidence, but isn't that just a question of semantics? My writing changes all the time, in my own mind, as does my relationship with it. My interests shift, find focus, and then move on. As for my goals ... unchanged. I set out to do something and I'm almost done. It does feel like a long haul, but then, what else would I have done with my time (I shiver to think)?

- You spent the better part of last summer working in Mongolia. Do you feel that such a break was required for you to finish THE CRIPPLED GOD and The Malazan Book of the Fallen they way you and Esslemont have always envisioned the series?

Well, not that kind of break. It definietly wasn't what I had in mind, and if nothing turned out the way I thought it would, well, it doesn't seem to have affected writing the last novel. The effect of near-death experiences did serve one thing: my sense of mortality was heightened and with it arrived a combination of fear and desperation -- to finish what I started, to at least get that done before the clock stops ticking. Any psychiatrist worth anything would simply nod at that: it all comes with something coming to an end, with the closure of what has been a major investment in my adult life. And so, even as I write, I'm aware of the grieving process -- and I'm using it mercilessly, as I am with all the other emotions lit awake in me right now: a sense of getting old, breaking down physically, of seeking some sort of legacy -- now, apply all those to the characters in my tale, and to the series itself, and you'll see just how well it fits.

- Speaking of Esslemont, how far along is he with STONEWIELDER? Now that you are bringing the series to a close, do you two work closer together to ensure that everything works the way it was always meant to be?

He's delivered the manuscript a couple months ago. We worked out plenty in San Jose.

- Rumor has it that you and Esslemont are writing a Malazan novella together. I'm aware that it is probably in the early stages, but what can you tell us about the project?

We are, but the bigger stuff keeps getting in the way. It'll get finished, eventually. Basically, we're alternating chapters and running with our own characters, leading to some sort of ... you guessed it, convergence.

- The fourth Bauchelain and Korbal Broach novella, CRACK'D POT TRAIL will soon be released. How different is your approach to writing short fiction compared to the process of producing the epic Malazan volumes? And no pressure, but when can fans expect the next adventures of our two favorite necromancers?

Oh my. Crack'd is a special case in every way imaginable, as shall soon become obvious. My approach in the shorter stuff only differs from that regarding the bigger stuff in the tone and voice I choose. I lighten up with the novellas, only to find that if anything it gets even more vicious and outrageous.

I hope to rip another one off as soon as I complete The Crippled God. This new one ... it's about yobs.

- Having released THE DEVIL DELIVERED, do you have plans to write another futurist/sf book at some point?

I do plan a near-future sf novel, though more 'literary' than sf. Can't say much more about it, yet.

- All of your novels have several themes which are present throughout the length of the book - referrenced by the narration and characters, or simply made evident through the plot itself. These often set the tone of the book and add a lot to atmosphere - thoughts on the cyclical nature of civilisations while the characters are in the ruins of Raraku, Nimanders musings on the nature of leadership leading up to the finale of TOLL THE HOUNDS, etc. Do you choose these themes before you start writing, or do they simply develop as you write? Do any of the themes have special meaning for you (other than the obvious links to anthropology and archeology)? And what would you say is the overarching theme of the series as a whole?

I try to tie themes to particular characters: their points of view with their story arcs, and if those two elements are tied together sufficiently, a biofeedback ensues to affirm both (the progression and growth of the character, and the sense of inevitability to their tales). I don't think it's simplistic to say that every age is an age of flux, at least in the history of civilizations (those pre-humans who made the same damned hand-axe for six hundred thousand years or whatever don't quite obtain, hence qualifying things with 'civilizations'). We have always lived in interesting times, to revise the Chinese curse. And it is in this sense that themes born on this world flood over into the created one: I don't think I ever fought with that. This world is my cattle prod and the charge is a sharp one.

All themes, alas, fascinate me, but if boiled down, they are relate to the relationship of our species with our world (including with our fellow humans); which is just another way of saying 'the human condition.' How can one not obsess over that?

- After the massive commercial success of the Lord of the Rings films, do you look at the growing mainstream success of authors like George R. R. Martin and Neil Gaiman, following in the impressive footsteps of Terry Pratchett, and take comfort that genre fiction is starting to become more accepted as a whole by society? Do you think the perceived social stigma attached to it can ever be overturned so that authors such as yourself are compared on a level playing-field to those who write in other more widely "respected" genres? And, I suppose, do you actually care?

No, no, and sometimes. With each writer you have named, the critics invariably practise exceptionalism: these writers are not fine representatives of their genre; by virtue of their fineness, they have left the genre. By this alchemy the stigma remains. Will my stuff someday cross that threshold? What if it does? I will simply have been made ... exceptional.

- There doesn't seem to be any middle ground where the Malazan series is concerned. Readers either love it passionately, or hate it in visceral fashion. Do you have any idea what it is about your writing that makes the series so divisive?

Hee hee. Recall that crack in the smoky glass? It's squeezing shut, Pat. You just asked a most pointed question, and to it I dare not answer.

- What's the progress report regarding THE CRIPPLED GOD? Any tentative release date at this point?

Hope to be done by the beginning of the summer. It's coming along just fine. My son has read what I've done to date, and looks at me and says: "It's all going down, isn't it?" And no, he doesn't mean that in any negative sense. But he's right. It's all coming down. It's all coming down.

Orbit contest winner!

Thanks to the folks at Orbit, our winner will receive a bundle of SFF novels! Their prize pack includes:

- The Drowning City by Amanda Downum (Canada, USA, Europe)
- The Prodigal Mage by Karen Miller (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Soulless by Gail Carriger (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Red Claw by Philip Palmer (Canada, USA, Europe)
- The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Fallen Dragon by Peter F. Hamilton (Canada, USA, Europe)
- The Digital Plague by Jeff Somers (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Flesh Circus by Lilith Saintcrow (Canada, USA, Europe)

The winner is:

- Ethen Adams, from Santa Monica, California, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

What makes a good book blogger?

Ken wrote a blog post to respond to an earlier post by author/editor Mark Charan Newton regarding what makes a good SFF book blogger. And if you are interested in that sort of thing, these posts have sparked a lively debate on the topic.

Newton elaborates on seven different aspects in his piece. Here's an excerpt:

What do I, as an author and an individual, wish reviewers should or shouldn’t discuss?

1) There are bloggers who use the right tools, and those who are tools.
2) Slow and steady.
3) Prose & style.
4) The synopsis should remain on the back of the book.
5) Reviewers who are also writers (of the unpublished variety).
6) You can’t love every novel.
7) Edit thyself.

My contribution to this discussion:

What makes a good book blogger?

Peruse my blog and check out what I do. Do the opposite. You’re good to go!:P


If you have been hanging around here for a while, then you know that I've never taken myself very seriously. By my own admission, I never considered myself a particularly good book reviewer. Simply put, I write the kind of reviews I would want to read. Which is the reason why I created the Hotlist in the first place back in 2005. It works for some, while it doesn't work for others. . .

Having said that, this is nevertheless an important issue, and the debate raises some interesting questions. Do check it out.

NFL SHOWDOWN: GRRM vs Pat (Week 16)

Carolina Panthers: 41
New York Giants: 9

Dallas Cowboys: 17
Washington Redskins: 0

Wow! The G-Men got their asses handed to them against the Panthers, in front of their own fans no less! Which made the Sunday Night Football game all the more important. With Green Bay locking in their playoff spot earlier that afternoon, the Giants would be eliminated if the Cowboys managed to beat one of their archenemies.

So guess who's going to be killed in brutal and spectacular fashion in either A Dance with Dragons or The Winds of Winter!?! Why me, that's who!=) Finally!!!

And judging by how poorly the Giants played yesterday and by how the Cowboys kicked the G-Men out of playoff contention, methinks GRRM will make me suffer. A LOT!

And if they beat the Eagles next week, Dallas can still win the division. . .

Life is good!=)

Unseen Academicals

A new Terry Pratchett Discworld title is always a nice treat. Especially now that the author is battling with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, his legions of fans are aware that there might not be that many more installments to come.

With Pratchett's tackling his country's passionate love affair with football (or soccer, if like me you live on the other side of the Atlantic), I believed that Unseen Academicals had the potential of being another terrific addition to the Discworld sequence. With his trademark witty humor and intelligent narrative, I felt that this would be another winner. And yet, sadly, Unseen Academical was, for me at least, one massive failure to launch.

Here's the blurb:

Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork - not the old fashioned, grubby pushing and shoving, but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go going when you drop them. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood for trying everything else. The prospect of the Big Match draws in a street urchin with a wonderful talent for kicking a tin can, a maker of jolly good pies, a dim but beautiful young woman, who might just turn out to be the greatest fashion model there has ever been, and the mysterious Mr Nutt (and no one knows anything much about Mr Nutt, not even Mr Nutt, which worries him, too). As the match approaches, four lives are entangled and changed for ever. Because the thing about football - the important thing about football - is that it is not just about football. Here we go! Here we go! Here we go!

The main problem was that Pratchett is all over the place with this one. And as a result, the novel fails to form a cohesive whole. The chuckles and the laughs are there, don't worry. But the various storylines don't come together very well. And for the first time in my life, portions of a Terry Pratchett book bored me out of my mind. I simply could not get into Unseen Academicals.

Some of the plotlines are hilarious, true. Everything that had to do with the Unseen University was a lot of fun to read. Alas, all the scenes regarding Juliet's burgeoning modelling career were on the lame side. The same could be said of the relationship between Mr. Nutt and Glenda the Night Kitchen cook. Mr. Nutt was an interesting character in his own right until the truth about his identity is revealed. Overall, these disparate storylines make for an uneven read.

At times it feels as though Pratchett lacked enough material for a complete novel, so he was forced to pad the plot with filler material. Given the fact that I was expecting another brilliant Pratchett offering, Unseen Academicals sometimes felt a bit uninspired.

Nonetheless, this novel will likely please some of the author's less demanding fans or those looking for light fantasy fare, but I doubt it will help win him new ones. If you have yet to sample Pratchett's comical and intelligent style, Unseen Academicals is not a good place to start.

Here's to hoping that the next Discworld book will be a return to form. . .

The final verdict: 6/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

The Hotties: 2009 Year-End Awards

It's about time to kiss 2009 goodbye, so what better way to do so than with Yours Truly's year-end awards!?!

Oh, of course, the Hotties might not be as glamorous as the Hugo or the Nebula Awards. And they might not be as prestigious as the World Fantasy Awards. Heck, we don't even have a stupid trophy to hand out! But it's better than nothing, right!?!

Many SFF fans seem to feel that it wasn't a very good year for speculative fiction. Which is a bit weird, for when I take a look at my top reads of the year there are a good number of terrific books that were published in 2009. Sure, GRRM, Scott Lynch, Tad Williams, Patrick Rothfuss, and a few others remained missing in a action. But overall, it was still a very good year. At least in my own humble opinion. . .=) But I'm a dumbass, so what do I know!?!

An editor recently asked me how it felt to be what is probably the most influential SFF book-reviewing blogger on the web? Well, considering the amount of people who hate my guts and appear to believe that I have as much insight as what can be found in your cat's litter box, I'm unsure as to how much influence I may or may not have on the blogosphere. People continue to visit Pat's Fantasy Hotlist in droves, more so this year than ever before. So I guess that this ought to count for something, right? I don't know. . . When the elitist wankers and their ilk agree with me, I'm considered an online reviewer. When they don't, I'm relegated to the status of a vulgar blogger, something that appears to be a necessary evil, like dog poop that must be sidestepped when strolling in the park. All I know is that I've been doing the same thing since January 2005. And as long as it's fun, I'll probably keep on doing it. After nearly 5 years of blogging, I figure that people should know what to expect by now. . .

Without further ado, here are the 2009 Hotties Award!


1- Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson (Tor Books/Bantam Press)
2- The Judging Eye by R. Scott Bakker (The Overlook Press/Orbit)
3- The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Doubleday/Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
4- Wings of Wrath by C. S. Friedman (Daw Books/Orbit)
5- Fall of Thanes by Brian Ruckley (Orbit)
6- Twelve by Jasper Kent (Pyr/Bantam Press)
7- Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie (Orbit/Gollancz)
8- Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald (Pyr/Gollancz)
9- A Magic of Nightfall by S. L. Farrell (Daw Books)
10- The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Nightshade Books)
11- Thousandth Night & Minla's Flowers by Alastair Reynolds (Subterranean Press)
12- The City & the City by China Miéville (Del Rey/Pan MacMillan)
13- City Without End by Kay Kenyon (Pyr)
14- The Burning Skies by David J. Williams (Bantam Spectra)
15- The Eternal Prison by Jeff Somers (Orbit)
16- The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books/Orbit)
17- Imager by L. E. Modesitt, jr. (Tor Books)
18- Suicide Kings edited by George R. R. Martin (Tor Books)
19- Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry (St. Martin's Griffin/Gollancz)
20- Muse of Fire by Dan Simmons (Subterranean Press)


- Orbit

With 3 Orbit titles in my top 5 and 6 in this top 20, Orbit is now a force to reckon with on both sides of the Atlantic. Which might not please everyone on our side of the pond. You know, the one where we drive on the right side of the road!:P


- The Wertzone

If you hang out on the principal SFF message boards, you probably know Adam "Wert" Whitehead. Well, the guy also has a very nice blog that you should check out from time to time.=)


- It's a tie between Jeff Somers for The Eternal Prison (Canada, USA, Europe) and David J. Williams for The Burning Skies (Canada, USA, Europe). I feel that both authors should be read more widely.


- http://asoiaf.westeros.org/

Honorable mention: SFFWorld.com

I know that the Hotlist is the only place some readers visit for SFF news and reviews. But even if you are just a lurker, these two message boards should be visited to get a more global feel for what's going on in the genre.


- The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont

In terms of depth and scope, nothing even comes close to this series. I say that every year, but it's true!


- Lev Grossman's The Magicians (Canada, USA, Europe)

Still not sure how this novel managed to garner all these rave reviews. . .


- S. L. Farrell's A Magic of Nightfall (Canada, USA, Europe)

Farrell's The Nessantico Cycle is one of the better ongoing fantasy series out there. You should give A Magic of Twilight (Canada, USA, Europe) a shot.


- Michael Komarck's wrap-around cover for the Subterranean Press lettered edition of Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon. WOW!


- Patrick Rothfuss

Honorable mentions: Peter V. Brett and Joe Abercrombie

Sure, some of you could bitch about the fact they they aren't writing the books you're waiting for while they are being so friendly to their fans. But those are the same people bitching about the fact that authors like George R. R. Martin and Scott Lynch never provide updates anymore, etc. Food for thought. . .


- Tor Books

For coming up with godawful covers for the new WoT eBooks. Damn, I feel bad about having complained about the Sweet WoT covers in the past.


- Glen Cook Q&A

The wankers jumped up and down in glee, happy to see me look bad, while many people felt that the author acted like a complete idiot. This from a Tor bestselling author: "What an asshole." Do read it again, though. It's probably the most entertaining interview I have ever done.;-) A writer who has known Cook for years told me, "This is just Glen Cook acting like Glen Cook." If you haven't read it yet, don't let that Q&A deter you from giving the Black Company books a shot.


- Brandon Sanderson proving that, while he can never make A Memory of Light as good as Robert Jordan would have, he can nevertheless do a very good job of it. And he won't accept anything less than his best effort.


- I would say that it's a tie between Lev Grossman's The Magicians (Canada, USA, Europe) and John Twelve Hawks' The Golden City (Canada, USA, Europe ).

Honorable mention: Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Bones of the Dragon (Canada, USA, Europe)


- Paolo Bacigalupi for The Windup Girl (Canada, USA, Europe). Already an award-winning short fiction author, I'm looking forward to any novel-length material he'll come up with.


- Robert Stanek

This self-proclaimed bestselling and beloved fantasy author joins past dumbass finalists such as Terry Goodkind and M. John Harrison for coming up with stuff you wouldn't believe. For the full story, check out these links: link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4.

Who am I to say stuff like this? Why just the kind of guy who gets shanked in jail. . .:P


- Twelve by Jasper Kent (Canada, USA, Europe)

This one came out in January, and no debut managed to even come close to it in terms of quality.


- Sadly, I have a feeeling that the wankers will give a lot of love to Lev Grossman's The Magicians. But if Paolo Bacigalupi doesn't win the Hugo for The Windup Girl, what little respect I have left for the Hugo Awards might evaporate rather quickly. . .


- Lou Anders

The heart and soul behind the Pyr imprint, this man is pretty damn close to being a genius. Though he's the head of a smaller publishing house and hence cannot compete financially with the genre powerhouses, Lou Anders always managed to put out a wide array of quality speculative fiction titles every year. He's like the general manager of a small-market team who always finds a way to get the players he needs for the team to make the playoffs. And with what he and the Pyr crew has in store for 2009 as they celebrate the imprint's 5th anniversary, this could be Pyr's biggest year yet! Long live!=)

Happy Holidays, and roll on 2010!

Bantam Spectra/Del Rey contest winner!

Cool, I get to play Santa Claus on Christmas day!=)

Our winner will get his hands on a bundle of books, courtesy of the nice folks at Bantam Spectra and Del Rey! Their prize pack includes:

- A signed copy of China Mieville’s The City & the City (Canada, USA, Europe)
- A signed copy of John Birmingham’s Without Warning (Canada, USA, Europe)
- A signed copy of Naomi Novik’s In His Majesty's Service (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Robert V.S. Redick’s The Red Wolf Conspiracy (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Peter V. Brett’s The Warded Man (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Terry Brooks’s A Princess of Landover (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Harry Connolly’s Child of Fire (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge’s Black and White (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Alan Deniro’s Total Oblivion More or Less (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Catherynne Valente’s Palimpsest (Canada, USA, Europe)
- An Advance Reading Copy of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Galileo's Dream (Canada, USA, Europe)

The winner is:

- Gabriel Stevens, from St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Many thanks to all the participants and Merry Christmas to everyone!;-)

*** Please remember that anything purchased via the Amazon links (used or new) throughout December will help raise funds for Breast Cancer Research.

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (December 22nd)

In hardcover:

Stephen King's Under the Dome maintains its position, ending its fifth week on the prestigious list at number 4. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Laurell K. Hamilton's Divine Misdemeanors debuts at number 6.

Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan's The Gathering Storm is down one spot, finishing its seventh week on the NYT list at number 15. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Drew Karpyshyn's Star Wars: Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil debuts at number 18. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Stephenie Meyer's The Host is up seven positions, ending the week at number 25.

In paperback:

Sherrilyn Kenyon's Born of Ice is down seven spots, finishing its second week on the prestigious list at number 8.

Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is up one position, ending its 37th week on the bestseller list at number 16 (trade paperback).

Kim Harrison's White Witch, Black Curse is down one spot, finishing its second week on the NYT list at number 20.

Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters' Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is up seven spots, finishing the week at number 24 (trade paperback).

Jim Butcher's Princep's Fury is down one position, ending its third week on the charts at number 27.

Stephen King's Just After Sunset returns at number 34.

Max Brooks' World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is down seven positions, ending the week at number 35.

Three of Charlaine Harris' eight Sookie Stackhouse novels are on the paperback bestseller list, ranking at number 29 and 33.

*** Please remember that anything purchased via the Amazon links (used or new) throughout December will help raise funds for Breast Cancer Research.

Merry Christmas!!!

Just wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!=)

Win a copy of China Miéville's THE CITY & THE CITY

Since I already own it in hardcover, I'm giving away my UK paperback edition of China Miéville's The City & the City. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Besźel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to conspiracies far stranger, and more deadly, than anything he could have imagined. Soon his work puts him and those he cares for in danger. Borlú must travel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own, across a border like no other.

With shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984 , The City & The City is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "CITY." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

The Sandman: Brief Lives

With The Sandman: Fables & Reflections (Canada, USA, Europe) ending up being such a letdown, I was hoping that this seventh omnibus, The Sandman: Brief Lives, would be a return to form. The last couple of installments had been great, and I had heard a lot of positive things about this story arc.

Well, I'm glad to report that The Sandman: Brief Lives is my favorite omnibus thus far! In the past, I have complained that the plotlines are often all over the place, without any sort of continuity, that many of the stories appear to be vignettes that have little or nothing to do with one another. Yet the great thing about this story arc is that it does tie a lot of what seemed to be loose ends together. The Sandman: Brief Lives unveils connections between various plotlines which, at face value, did not appear to be linked.

Here's the blurb:

From Neil Gaiman's award-winning Sandman series comes the longest story arc in Gaiman's extraordinary saga of the Endless. This is the story of the search for the Sandman's long missing brother, Destruction, and of the consequences of that endeavour. The great quest begins when Delirium, the youngest of the Endless family, prevails upon her brother Dream (the Sandman), to help her find her missing sibling. Their travels take them through the world of the waking until a final confrontation with the missing member of the Endless and the resolution of The Sandman's painful relationship with his son, Orpheus, change the Endless forever.

The presence of Delirium helped with the overall characterization. Like Death, she brings out another side of Dream that shows a more human side to the character. It was a delight to follow their adventure as they wander in search of Destruction. This story arc also reveals more information about the Endless and how they interact with one another.

This omnibus was illustrated by Jill Thompson and Vince Locke, and it features some of the best artwork in the series. And since, for once, the various chapters have not been produced by a panoply of disparate artists, there is a much appreciated visual continuity as well.

The Sandman: Brief Lives is comprised of nine chapters. It also contains an afterword by bestselling author Peter Straub.

Though the series momentum is at times crooked, I really think Neil Gaiman fans should give the Sandman a try, if only to discover where the author's genius first manifested itself! Check them out: The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes (Canada, USA, Europe), The Sandman: The Doll's House (Canada, USA, Europe), The Sandman: Dream Country (Canada, USA, Europe), The Sandman: Season of Mists (Canada, USA, Europe), The Sandman: A Game of You (Canada, USA, Europe), and The Sandman: Fables & Reflections (Canada, USA, Europe).

Onward to the 8th omnibus, The Sandman: World's End!

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

*** Please remember that anything purchased via the Amazon links (used or new) throughout December will help raise funds for Breast Cancer Research.

Win a copy of Orson Scott Card and Jake Black's THE AUTHORIZED ENDER COMPANION

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Tor Books, I have two copies of Orson Scott Card and Jake Black's The Authorized Ender Companion up for grabs. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

The Authorized Ender Companionis a complete and in-depth encyclopedia of all the persons, places, things and events in Orson Scott Card’s Ender Universe. Written by Jake Black under the editorial supervision of Card himself, The Authorized Ender Companion will be an invaluable resource for readers of the series.

If you ever wondered where Ender went after he left Earth, before he arrived at Lusitania, you’ll find the answer here. If you ever wondered how the battle room worked, you’ll find the answer here. If you forgot the names of the people were who discovered the descolada, the answer is here. The history of Gloriously Bright’s world? Here.

The Authorized Ender Companion contains all that and more. There are character biographies, time-lines, colony histories, and family trees.

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam)gryphonwood.net with the header "ENDER." Remember to remove the "no spam" thingy.

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail!), otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries will disqualify whoever sends them. And please include your screen name and the message boards that you frequent using it, if you do hang out on a particular MB.

Good luck to all the participants!

SFF author Jim C. Hines responds to a self-published dumbass

According to that anonymous commenter, getting published is not about talent, skills, and hard work. Really??? WTF!

It appears that it has more to do with pitching, luck, who you know, and the stars being aligned.

Anyway, Jim C. Hines took a few minutes out of his day to respond to this nameless commenter who replied to the author's post regarding self-publishing myths.

Read Hines' post here.

Top 10 Speculative Fiction Novels of 2009 + Runner-up Titles

I wasn't supposed to reveal the runner-up titles until my year-end awards, but it seems that quite a lot of folks around here want to know now!

So here it goes!


1- Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson (Canada, USA, Europe)
2- The Judging Eye by R. Scott Bakker (Canada, USA, Europe)
3- The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Canada, USA, Europe)
4- Wings of Wrath by C. S. Friedman (Canada, USA, Europe)
5- Fall of Thanes by Brian Ruckley (Canada, USA, Europe)
6- Twelve by Jasper Kent (Canada, USA, Europe)
7- Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie (Canada, USA, Europe)
8- Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald (Canada, USA, Europe)
9- A Magic of Nightfall by S. L. Farrell (Canada, USA, Europe)
10- The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Canada, USA, Europe)
11- Thousandth Night & Minla's Flowers by Alastair Reynolds (Canada, USA, Europe)
12- The City & the City by China Miéville (Canada, USA, Europe)
13- City Without End by Kay Kenyon (Canada, USA, Europe)
14- The Burning Skies by David J. Williams (Canada, USA, Europe)
15- The Eternal Prison by Jeff Somers (Canada, USA, Europe)
16- The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Canada, USA, Europe)
17- Imager by L. E. Modesitt, jr. (Canada, USA, Europe)
18- Suicide Kings edited by George R. R. Martin (Canada, USA, Europe)
19- Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry (Canada, USA, Europe)
20- Muse of Fire by Dan Simmons (Canada, USA, Europe)

As always, feel free to disagree!=) But these are my selections. . .

UK cover art and blurb for China Miéville's KRAKEN

This is the UK cover art for China Miéville's forthcoming Kraken. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's one blurb:

The Natural History Museum's prize exhibit - a giant squid - suddenly disappears. This audacious theft leads Clem, the research scientist who has recently finished preserving the exhibit, into a dark urban underworld of warring cults and surreal magic. It seems that for some, the squid represents a god and should be worshiped as such. Clem gradually comes to realise that someone may be attempting to use the squid to trigger an apocalypse. And so it is now up to him and a renegade squid-worshiper named Dean to find a way of stopping the destruction of the world as they know it whilst themselves surviving the all out-gang warfare that they have unwittingly been drawn into...

Here's another:

Deep in the research wing of the Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly preserved, giant squid. But what does it mean when the creature suddenly and impossibly disappears?

For curator Billy Harrow it's the start of a headlong pitch into a London of warring cults, surreal magic, apostates and assassins. It might just be that the creature he's been preserving is more than a biological rarity: there are those who are sure it's a god.

A god that someone is hoping will end the world.

Kraken will be released next spring.