New Audio Interview With Scott Lynch

There is a new audio interview with Scott Lynch available on the Orion Publishing Group website. The author talks about the upcoming The Republic of Thieves (Canada, USA, Europe) and a whole lot more.

Here's the blurb:

After their adventures on the high seas, Locke and Jean are brought back to earth with a thump. Jean is mourning the loss of his lover and Locke must live with the fallout of crossing the all-powerful magical assassins the Bonds Magi.

It is a fall-out that will pit both men against Locke's own long lost love. Sabetha is Locke's childhood sweetheart, the love of Locke's life and now it is time for them to meet again. Employed on different sides of a vicious dispute between factions of the Bonds Sabetha has just one goal - to destroy Locke for ever.

The Gentleman Bastard sequence has become a literary sensation in fantasy circles and now, with the third book, Scott Lynch is set to seal that success

To listen to the Q&A, simply follow this link and click on the "Extras" tab.

Steven Erikson contest winners!

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Tor Books, our winners will get their hands on a copy of Steven Erikson's The Crippled God! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winners are:

- Brian McCullogh, from Kirkland, Québec, Canada

- Lauren Hersey, from Washington, DC, USA

- Bryan Flood, from Nepean, Ontario, Canada

Many thanks to all the participants!

New Game of Thrones trailer

Christ, only a couple more weeks left!!!

M. L. N. Hanover contest winner!

Thanks to the kindness of Daniel Abraham, our winner will receive a complete set of The Black Sun's Daughter series! The prize pack includes:

- Unclean Spirits (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Darker Angels (Canada, USA, Europe)
- Vicious Grace (Canada, USA, Europe)

The winner is:

- Riva Laughlin, from Pearland, Texas, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

New extract from Richard Morgan's THE COLD COMMANDS

I was still in Argentina when this was originally posted on Richard Morgan's website, so I just found out about it. The author is very close to being done with The Cold Commands (Canada, USA, Europe). A matter of weeks now, or so it seems. . .

Meanwhile, Morgan rewarded our patience with a new excerpt from the book. Follow this link to read it.

Sam Sykes on "the genre"

Sam Sykes, author of Tome of the Undergates (Canada, USA, Europe) and Black Halo (Canada, USA, Europe), wrote an interesting piece on the genre. Following in the wake of Leo Grin's article, I found myself agreeing with basically everything Sykes wrote. Which, in an of itself, is a bit scary! :P

Here's a teaser:

No. I don’t think “genre” is a dirty word.

Rather, I think it’s getting slightly too revered. It’s becoming my least favorite phrase in the sense that we can’t seem to have a conversation about a book without involving “the genre.” Is steampunk good or is it not part of “the genre”? Is “the genre” being destroyed by the nihilism of today? What is the work of today doing for “the genre”? Is my author more “the genre” than your author? How can I best feed “the genre”?

I write genre fiction. Specifically, I write fantasy fiction. I write fantasy fiction because I like to write fantasy fiction. I like exploring new worlds, meeting new peoples, finding out how things work on a world not my own. I wrote a book in which a dragonman beat the tar out of a wizard and fought the urge to urinate him. I wrote a character that uses the phrase “round-ear.” I don’t say I’m writing objectivist morality. I don’t scoff at the notion that I write fantasy. I don’t mind being called a nerd. Some of my favorite authors write fantasy. Some don’t. I am a fantasy writer.

And I don’t really care about “the genre.”


Rejection is a part of art. It’s not part of the creation, as creation based on rejection tends to be (but isn’t always) flimsy and unfounded. But rejection is important in that it sets us apart and makes our work unique. Most of that comes after the book is published, of course, but it can factor in prior and during the creation, as well. And that’s where “fuck” comes in.

Fuck the influences, fuck the traditions, fuck the hallmarks. Fuck the way things are done. Fuck the things that tell you what to write. Fuck the definition of what is and isn’t genre, true genre or the genre. Fuck the cries for more of the same. Fuck the laments that there isn’t another Established Author Name Here. Fuck not reading something because it’s outside your comfort zone. Fuck not writing something because it’s never been done. Fuck everything


Don’t be afraid of the influences, don’t be afraid of the traditions, don’t be afraid of the hallmarks; they aren’t yours. Don’t be afraid of protocol; you don’t have to follow it. Don’t be afraid of things that tell you what to write; they aren’t writing it. Don’t be afraid of the definition of the genre; your work will occupy its own space. Don’t be afraid of people crying for the same thing they’ve always read; you aren’t writing for them. Don’t be afraid of reading and writing outside of your comfort zone; you’re never at a loss for having experimented. Don’t be afraid of anything.

Follow this link to read the full piece.

Excerpt from Mark Charan Newton's THE BOOK OF TRANSFORMATIONS

Mark Charan Newton, author of Nights of Villjamur (Canada, USA, Europe) and City of Ruin (Canada, USA, Europe), just posted an extract from the forthcoming The Book of Transformations (Canada, USA, Europe) on his website.

Here's the blurb:

A new and corrupt Emperor seeks to rebuild the ancient structures of Villjamur to give the people of the city hope in the face of great upheaval and an oppressing ice age. But when a stranger called Shalev arrives, empowering a militant underground movement, crime and terror becomes rampant.

The Inquisition is always one step behind, and military resources are spread thinly across the Empire. So Emperor Urtica calls upon cultists to help construct a group to eliminate those involved with the uprising, and calm the populace – the Villjamur Knights. But there’s more to Knights than just phenomenal skills and abilities – each have a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything they represent.

Investigator Fulcrom of the Villjamur Inquisition is given the unenviable task of managing the Knights, but his own skills are tested when a mysterious priest, who has travelled from beyond the fringes of the Empire, seeks his help. The priest’s existence threatens the church, and his quest promises to unravel the fabric of the world. And in a distant corner of the Empire, the enigmatic cultist Dartun Súr steps back into this world, having witnessed horrors beyond his imagination. Broken, altered, he and the remnants of his order are heading back to Villjamur.

And all eyes turn to the Sanctuary City, for Villjamur’s ancient legends are about to be shattered

Follow this link to read the excerpt.

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

In hardcover:

Deborah Harkness' A Discovery of Witches debuts at number 2. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Dean Koontz's What the Night Knows maintains its position at number 13.

Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson's Towers of Midnight is up one spot, finishing the week at number 19. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Karen Marie Moning's Shadowfever is down thirteen positions, ending the week at number 21.

Kristen Britain's Blackveil is down fourteen spots, finishing the week at number 26.

Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars is up three positions, ending the week at number 29. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Greg Bear's Halo: Cryptum is up two spots, finishing the week at number 32. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Lost Souls is down seven positions, ending the week at number 15.
Patricia Briggs' Silver Borne is up two spots, finishing the week at number 16.

New Q&A with Jon Sprunk

Suvudu just posted a new interview with Jon Sprunk, author of Shadow's Son (Canada, USA, Europe).

Here's an excerpt:

Don’t give up and don’t stop learning. The minute you think you know it all about writing fiction, you’d better hang up your word processor because you’re done. I’ve been writing with an eye toward professional publication for a little more than twenty years and I’ve just scratched the surface. And sit your butt in the chair. That book or short story isn’t going to write itself. Treat writing like a profession, and maybe someone will treat you like a professional. I’ll probably have better advice in another twenty years.

Follow this link to read the full Q&A.

Quote of the Day

It matters as much why something is done as what is done. Mercy or forbearance in return for true evil is not virtue; it is disaster. Condemning the killing of those who have murdered and created great suffering and who would continue to do so is an exercise in empty righteousness. Yet there are always those who would judge without sullying their hands, and for that reason, much that is done must remain unspoken and unacknowledged.

- L. E. MODESITT, JR., Imager's Challenge (Canada, USA, Europe, AbeBooks)

Ares Express

If I could sum up this novel with one single word, it would have to be "weird." In a good sort of way, mind you, but weird nonetheless. Big, ambitious, and multilayered the way all Ian McDonald books are, Ares Express also possesses a healthy dose of fun, wit, and absurdity which make this work quite different from what McDonald has accustomed us to in recent years. If Jack Vance, Terry Pratchett, and Hal Duncan had ever teamed up to write a book, they would have come up with something akin to Ares Express.

Hence, those readers who found novels such as River of Gods and Brasyl a bit too cerebral may enjoy Ares Express on a very different level. Just buckle up and get ready for quite a ride! Things don't always make sense, and at times one wonders what the heck is going on and where McDonald is going with this story, but stick with it to the end. Ares Express is a satisfying and rewarding read.

Here's the blurb:

A Mars of the imagination, like no other, in a colorful, witty SF novel, taking place in the kaleidoscopic future of Ian McDonald's Desolation Road, Ares Express is set on a terraformed Mars where fusion-powered locomotives run along the network of rails that is the planet's circulatory system and artificial intelligences reconfigure reality billions of times each second. One young woman, Sweetness Octave Glorious-Honeybun Asiim 12th, becomes the person upon whom the future—or futures—of Mars depends. Big, picaresque, funny; taking the Mars of Ray Bradbury and the more recent, terraformed Marses of authors such as Kim Stanley Robinson and Greg Bear, Ares Express is a wild and woolly magic-realist SF novel, featuring lots of bizarre philosophies, strange, mind-stretching ideas, and trains as big as city blocks.

As far as the worldbuilding goes, since the book is set in the future of McDonald's Desolation Road, I was afraid that not having read that novel would mean that I might miss nuances and certain plot points. Yet Ares Express takes place sor far in the future that you can read and enjoy it without having read Desolation Road. As is always his wont, Ian McDonald's narrative makes the setting come alive. This is a semi-terraformed Mars whose imagery is nothing short of arresting.

Although Ares Express is doubtless Sweetness Octave's book, it's the supporting cast which gives the novel its depth and flavor. Grandmother Taal, Devastation Harx, the United Artists, and many more characters add more layers and help make this an unforgettable tale.

The pace is uneven throughout, and trying to make sense of what exactly is happening can be mind-boggling at times. There are POV shifts from one paragraph to another in certain portions of the novel, which takes some getting used to. But once you grow comfortable with the fact that McDonald is willingly pushing this story all over the place, everything settles down and it gets easier.

Though Ares Express possesses some of the qualities which made books like River of Gods, Brasyl, Cyberabad Days, and The Dervish House such fantastic reads, this book is a world away from the others. Wild, strange, picaresque, and funny, Ares Express will surprise you on several levels.

The final verdict: 7.75/10

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

The Orbit Podcast, Episode 1

Hey folks,

Orbit just put together their first podcast, this time with the always entertaining Joe Abercrombie, author of the recently released The Heroes (Canada, USA, Europe).

Subjects covered include: hand-to-hand combat, warfare and film, gallows humor, death metal, the American Civil War, and more.

You can listen to it here.

Patrick Rothfuss contest winner!

Thanks to the generosity of the nice folks at Daw Books, our winner will receive a complimentary copy of Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's Fear! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winner is:

- Troy Kimball, from Tucson, Arizona, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

Game of Thrones: An Invitation to Westeros

Man, I can't wait till April 17th!!! =)

Musical Interlude

There are classics, and then there are CLASSICS!

Quote of the Day

What is it about young people today, she thought as the purple-clad faithful rushed beneath her, that fun and dancing and drinking and sex aren't enough for them? Why do they want to be going and joining religions and dressing up all the same and getting dreadful dreadful haircuts?

- IAN MCDONALD, Ares Express (Canada, USA, Europe)

Excerpt from Patrick Rothfuss' THE WISE MAN's FEAR

There is a new extract from Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's Fear available on You can check it out here.

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

Brayan's Gold

Having enjoyed Peter V. Brett's The Painted Man/The Warded Man (Canada, USA, Europe), but with no time to plunge into its sequel, The Desert Spear (Canada, USA, Europe), I was glad for the opportunity to revisit Brett's universe, if only for the duration of a novella.

A friend convinced Brett to pen this novella during the short break the author allowed himself between finishing The Desert Spear and starting The Daylight War.

Here's the blurb:

Return to the world of The Warded Man and The Desert Spear in an illustrated new novella by Peter V. Brett.

Humanity has been brought to the brink of extinction. Each night, the world is overrun by demons—bloodthirsty creatures of nightmare that have been hunting the surface for over 300 years. A scant few hamlets and half-starved city-states are all that remain of a once proud civilization, and it is only by hiding behind wards, ancient symbols with the power to repel the demons, that they survive. A handful of Messengers brave the night to keep the lines of communication open between the increasingly isolated populace.

Arlen Bales is seventeen, an apprentice Messenger in brand new armor, about to go out for the first time alongside a trained Messenger on a simple overnight trip. Instead Arlen finds himself alone on a frozen mountainside, carrying a dangerous cargo to Count Brayan’s gold mine, one of the furthest points in the duchy. And One Arm, the giant rock demon, hunts him still.

But Brayan’s Gold may offer a way for Arlen to be free of One Arm forever, if he is willing to wager his life on the chance

As was the case with Brett's The Great Bazaar and Other Stories, although Brayan's Gold is part of a vaster story, this novella works perfectly as a stand-alone. Then again, unless you are already a fan of Brett's series, I doubt that readers would buy such a limited edition. Still, whether you are a fan or a newbie, you won't have any trouble following the action.

Though the novella was essentially an indulgence Brett allowed himself for the sake of writing about snow demons, Brayan's Gold feature a younger Arlen, one who's just beginning his training as a Messenger. As such, it gives the author a chance to explore a different locale from his universe, while telling a tale that helps flesh out one of his main protagonists even more. I found it particularly interesting how various wards were used to heat the waystation and the inn.

All in all, Brayan's Gold is an entertaining read and a worthy addition to the canon of Peter V. Brett's Demon Cycle. For those of you who can't wait till The Daylight War is released, this novella should help take care of your Brett fix.

The final verdict: 7.5/10

For more info about this title, check out the Subpress website.

Joe Abercrombie's response

Crap, just realized that Abercrombie had also responded to Leo Grin's article on his website. Here's an extract:

I’m a little suspicious, I must say, of any argument that lumps Tolkien and Howard together as one thing, although Leo has made the photos of them in his piece point towards each other in a very complimentary fashion. I think of them as polar opposites in many ways, and the originators (or at least key practitioners) of, to some extent, opposed traditions within sword-based fantasy. Tolkien, the father of high fantasy, Howard the father of low. Howard’s work, written by a man who died at thirty, tends to the short and pulpy (as you’d expect from stories written for pulp magazines). Tolkien’s work, published on the whole when he was advanced in years, is very long and literary (as you’d expect from a professor of English). Tolkien is more focused on setting, I’d say, Howard on character. Leo’s point is that they both celebrate a moral simplicity, a triumph of heroism, but I see that too as a massive over-simplification. Howard celebrates the individual, is deeply cynical (could one even say nihilistic) about civilisation. Tolkien seems broadly to celebrate order, structure, duty and tradition. And I celebrate, well

Follow this link to read Abercrombie's post.

R. Scott Bakker responds to Leo Grin

Bakker responded to Grin's article on his blog. Here's an extract:

Given this, you might say that Grin thinks this is fantasy’s vocation, to endlessly eulogize, and that writing that strays into the baroque or revisionary are not only morally and imaginatively bankrupt, they are symptomatic of some great disease of the soul that is presently claiming the world and humanity.

Sound familiar? It should if you read fantasy. This particular salad of attitudes and concepts – moral certainty writ on a cosmic scale – is precisely what you find in almost all premodern works of fantastic fiction, everything from Upanishads to the Holy Bible. Consider the hyperbole. Consider the way he structures his oppositions in the above quote: on the one side you have the sacred, the treasured and the cruciform, while on the other side you have, well, shit and piss.

Pure purity and abject pollution.


The ‘nihilism’ that Grin blames on decadent individuals (who also happen to be his political competitors) is as impersonal as can be, the result the forces unleashed by the Enlightenment twins of science and capital. Someone like him is bound to see ‘liberal contamination’ everywhere he turns, simply because, like our less tolerant ancestors, he needs to personify those things he does not like. But you don’t need liberal conspiracies or social dystopia to explain the evolution of contemporary fantasy. The transformation of ‘earnest art’ into forms than are progressively more baroque and revisionary is something you find in pretty much all genres of artistic expression. Familiarity breeds boredom, if not contempt. Humans stranded with old equipment come up with new games to play.

Thus the paradox: People are generally allergic to complexity and uncertainty, and so crave the apparent simplicity and certainty delivered by the Same. But they are also allergic to monotony, and so begin to improvise, to complicate and to surprise. ‘To go for baroque.’ The severity of these allergies depends on the sensibilities of the individual: we react to our reading, then rationalize accordingly, typically using what themes that dominate our thinking otherwise. Grin sees contemporary fantasy as the expression of liberal decadence. I see Grin’s diagnosis as the expression of our all too human cognitive shortcomings.

Me right. He wrong! So very wrong!

Follow this link to read the entire piece.

Montevideo, Uruguay, photo album

Hey guys,

This is my last day in Argentina, which blows big time. Tomorrow, I'm leaving Mendoza for Santiago, Chile.

Public computers being what they are, it's been more of a pain in the ass to upload pictures during this trip. Only recently did I manage to upload some photos from Montevideo, Uruguay, where I started my South American adventure.

For those of you who are curious, there are pics of various Montevideo sights, art deco buildings, parrillas, and their annual defilee del carnaval. Good fun all around!

Follow this link to see the pics. . .

Hasta luego! ;-)

The Bankrupt Nihilism of our Fallen Fantasists

Leo Grin from Big Hollywood ain't happy with what the fantasy genre has become, or so it appears. . .

Here's an extract from his piece:

In the case of the fantasy genre, the result is a mockery and defilement of the mythopoeic splendor that true artists like Tolkien and Howard willed into being with their life’s blood. Honor is replaced with debasement, romance with filth, glory with defeat, and hope with despair. Edgy? Nah, just punk kids farting in class and getting some giggles from the other mouth-breathers.

You can read the full article here.

To me, it all sounds like someone caught in the past, refusing to see the genre we love evolve and grow. But that's just me. . .

Musical Interlude

One of Puff Daddy's best beats ever, and the track for which The Notorious B. I. G. will always be remembered!

Win a copy of the US edition of Steven Erikson's THE CRIPPLED GOD

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Tor Books, I have three copies of the US edition of Steven Erikson's The Crippled God up for grabs! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Savaged by the K’Chain Nah’Ruk, the Bonehunters march for Kolanse, where waits an unknown fate. Tormented by questions, the army totters on the edge of mutiny, but Adjunct Tavore will not relent. One final act remains, if it is in her power, if she can hold her army together, if the shaky allegiances she has forged can survive all that is to come. A woman with no gifts of magic, deemed plain, unprepossessing, displaying nothing to instill loyalty or confidence, Tavore Paran of House Paran means to challenge the gods – if her own troops don’t kill her first.

Awaiting Tavore and her allies are the Forkrul Assail, the final arbiters of humanity. Drawing upon an alien power terrible in its magnitude, they seek to cleanse the world, to annihilate every human, every civilization, in order to begin anew. They welcome the coming conflagration of slaughter, for it shall be of their own devising, and it pleases them to know that, in the midst of the enemies gathering against them, there shall be betrayal.

In the realm of Kurald Galain, home to the long lost city of Kharkanas, a mass of refugees stand upon the First Shore. Commanded by Yedan Derryg, the Watch, they await the breaching of Lightfall, and the coming of the Tiste Liosan. This is a war they cannot win, and they will die in the name of an empty city and a queen with no subjects.

Elsewhere, the three Elder Gods, Kilmandaros, Errastas and Sechul Lath, work to shatter the chains binding Korabas, the Otataral Dragon, from her eternal prison. Once freed, she will rise as a force of devastation, and against her no mortal can stand. At the Gates of Starvald Demelain, the Azath House sealing the portal is dying. Soon will come the Eleint, and once more, there will be dragons in the world

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam) with the header "TAVORE." 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 Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack

This novel has intrigued me ever since I received the ARC from Pyr a few months back. I knew I was going to read it , but I had no idea when. Then, after reading Mark Hodder's guest blog post for the Hotlist, my curiosity was piqued even more. So when I had to select what novels to bring with me to South America, Hodder's The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack seemed to be just what the doctor ordered as far as vacation reading is concerned.

Here's the blurb:

London, 1861.

Sir Richard Francis Burton—explorer, linguist, scholar, and swordsman; his reputation tarnished; his career in tatters; his former partner missing and probably dead.

Algernon Charles Swinburne—unsuccessful poet and follower of de Sade; for whom pain is pleasure, and brandy is ruin!

They stand at a crossroads in their lives and are caught in the epicenter of an empire torn by conflicting forces: Engineers transform the landscape with bigger, faster, noisier, and dirtier technological wonders; Eugenicists develop specialist animals to provide unpaid labor; Libertines oppose repressive laws and demand a society based on beauty and creativity; while the Rakes push the boundaries of human behavior to the limits with magic, drugs, and anarchy. The two men are sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum when Lord Palmerston commissions Burton to investigate assaults on young women committed by a weird apparition known as Spring Heeled Jack, and to find out why werewolves are terrorizing London's East End.

Their investigations lead them to one of the defining events of the age, and the terrifying possibility that the world they inhabit shouldn't exist at all

One thing about this book is that it's incredibly hard to label it. Yes, it is steampunk. But it is much more than that. There are alternate history/alternate reality elements throughout. The time-traveling aspect brings a definite science fiction aspect to the story. Add to that a number of fantastical elements and you've got yourself an inventive melting pot of speculative fiction staples that should intrigue and satisfy even the most jaded genre readers!

Mark Hodder did a very good job in capturing the essence of this pseudo-Victorian Age with its myriad mannerisms and nuances. Moreover, Hodder's colorful narrative creates an imagery that brings this tale to life. The dialogues are witty and engaging, and there is never a dull moment from start to finish.

The characterization was probably the facet I enjoyed the most. Both Sir Richard Francis Burton and Algernon Charles Swinburne are well-drawn characters, though the former more than the latter. The supporting cast has a few endearing protagonists, chief among them Constable William Trounce. And last but not least, the presence of many historical figures such as Oscar Wilde, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Florence Nightingale, and more add a little something to an already compelling novel.

The pace is fluid enough, though there are a few rough spots here and there. The only problem I had was with various POV shifts with no clear breaking point within the narrative. It doesn't take anything away from the overall reading experience, but it does take you by surprise from time to time.

Although to some it may sound as "same old, same old," Mark Hodder's take on steampunk is fresh and entertaining, and I'll be reading the upcoming sequel in the near future. If it's as fun a read as The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, then it will undoubtedly be a very good read!

The final verdict: 7.75/10

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

Win an Advance Reading Copy of Sam Sykes' BLACK HALO

Having received two ARCs of Sam Sykes' Black Halo, I'm giving one away to one lucky winner! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:


...and the gates of hell remain closed. Lenk and his five companions set sail to bring the accursed relic away from the demonic reach of Ulbecetonth, the Kraken Queen. But after weeks at sea, tensions amidst the adventurers are rising. Their troubles are only beginning when their ship crashes upon an island made of the bones left behind from a war long dead.

And it appears that bloodthirsty alien warrior women, fanatical beasts from the deep, and heretic-hunting wizards are the least of their concerns. Haunted by their pasts, plagued by their gods, tormented by their own people, and gripped by madness personal and peculiar, their greatest foes may yet be themselves.

The reach of Ulbecetonth is longer than hell can hold

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam) with the header "BLACK HALO." 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!

Final US cover art for Robin Hobb's THE INHERITANCE & OTHER STORIES

Here's the final US cover art for Robin Hobb's collection of short fiction, The Inheritance & Other Stories. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Still too simple and visually bland for my taste, but the ying-yang thingie looks cool.

And it's better than the UK cover art. . .

Quote of the Day

On the other hand, Squirrel Hill wasn't far away and he'd embarked on this adventure not just to help Richard Burton but also to experience life in its raw and bloody nakedness; seeking inspiration for his poetry; a quest for creative authenticity. Men digging up cadavers to sell to crooked medical practitioners -- could life be any less embellished than that?

- MARK HODDER, The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack (Canada, USA, Europe)

A bit of humor. . .

Ah man, the Super Bowl ads are always cool, but this one brought back the Star Wars kid in me!!! ;-)

US cover art for Guy Gavriel Kay's UNDER HEAVEN

Hmmm, compared to the hardcover edition of Kay's Under Heaven (Canada, USA, Europe) this one is a bit underwhelming. . .

Steven Erikson contest winners

Our two winners will get their hands on a copy of Steven Erikson's excellent The Crippled God, compliments of the folks at Transworld! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winners are:

- Tadej Markus, from Volicina, Slovenia

- Petteri Jalonen, from Turku, Finland (ShadowRaven on

Many thanks to all the participants!

Musical Interlude

My favorite Limp Bizkit song of all time!

I will always regret missing out on the Eminem/Limp Bizbit doubleheader when the Anger Management Tour stopped in Montreal...

Wild Cards I

Having loved the latest Wild Cards triad (Inside Straight, Busted Flush, and Suicide Kings, I was curious to read about how it all began. And with Tor Books reissuing the original Wild Cards installments, I wasn't going to miss out on the opportunity.

Here's the blurb:

Back in print after a decade, expanded with new original material, this is the first volume of George R. R. Martin’s Wild cards shared-world series.

There is a secret history of the world—a history in which an alien virus struck the Earth in the aftermath of World War II, endowing a handful of survivors with extraordinary powers. Some were called Aces—those with superhuman mental and physical abilities. Others were termed Jokers—cursed with bizarre mental or physical disabilities. Some turned their talents to the service of humanity. Others used their powers for evil. Wild Cards is their story.

Originally published in 1987, Wild Cards I includes powerful tales by Roger Zelazny, Walter Jon Williams, Howard Waldrop, Lewis Shiner, and George R. R. Martin himself. And this new, expanded edition contains further original tales set at the beginning of the Wild Cards universe, by eminent new writers like Hugo–winner David Levine, noted screenwriter and novelist Michael Cassutt, and New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn

I remember being concerned about the mosaic novel format when I first read Inside Straight, fearing possible glitches in terms of continuity, consistency, chronology, style and tone. I was worried about how the individual stories would fit and further the plot of the overall story arc. But as was the case with the last triad, the various plotlines are woven together almost seamlessly, and the entire cast of writers involved in the production of this book maintain an even style and tone throughout.

This expanded edition also features new material that could potentially clash with the stories which were more than two decades old. And yet, had I not known that this was the case, I would never have been able to tell you which is which. In retrospect, the addition of new voices and stories provide even more depth to this collective work.

My favorite aspect of Wild Cards I is that it is also somewhat of a social commentary of about four decades of American history. It begins with post-WWII America, and we then follow the evolution of the Wild Cards virus and its repercussions on Aces and Jokers and the American and international psyches through the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the hippie movement, the Kennedy assassination, etc, all the way to the 80s.

It starts off with a bang as Jetboy tries to prevent a tragedy in the skies above New York City. And then we are taken for a ride throughout about forty years' worth of Americana experienced through the eyes of a disparate group of individuals touched by the virus.

As fun as it is intelligent, Wild Cards I will satisfy readers in myriad ways. Beyond being a political and social commentary, the opening chapter of the Wild Cards sequence is a rousing tale of unlikely heroes.

Newbies wanting to sample George R. R. Martin's labor of love for more than twenty years should look no further. Though the latest trilogy could be read as a stand-alone meant to attract new fans into the fold, new readers like me couldn't possibly get all the nuances. But with Wild Cards I, you find out how it all began with no ambiguity.

Give it a shot if you are looking for something different. You won't be disappointed.

The final verdict: 7.75/10

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

Comic adaptation for GRRM's ASOIAF

This from Random House:


NEW YORK, NY – February 2, 2011 – Bantam Books, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, announced today the acquisition of the comic book and graphic novel rights to the worldwide bestselling A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. The series will be illustrated by Tommy Patterson and adapted by Daniel Abraham, the award-winning and bestselling author of The Long Price Quartet. The first issue of the monthly comic—which will be published by Dynamite Entertainment—is planned to release in late spring 2011, with compilations of the comics in graphic novel form to follow under the Bantam imprint. With the television adaptation of A Game of Thrones scheduled to air on HBO starting in April 2011, the comics and graphic novels will further expand the Song of Ice and Fire series into a new medium, creating opportunities for readers old and new to immerse themselves in this bestselling world.

GEORGE R. R. MARTIN sold his first story in 1971 and hasn't stopped. As a writer-producer, he worked on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and pilots that were never made. In the mid-90s he returned to prose and began work on A Song of Ice and Fire. He has been in the Seven Kingdoms ever since. He lives with the lovely Parris.

DANIEL ABRAHAM is the author of ten books and more than thirty short stories. He has been nominated for the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy awards, and won the International Horror Guild Award. He has written the graphic novel adaptations of George R. R. Martin's novel Fevre Dream and novella "Skin Trade," and original scripts for Wild Cards: The Hard Call. He also writes as MLN Hanover and James S. A. Corey. He lives with his family in the American southwest.

Artist TOMMY PATTERSON’S credits include Farscape for Boom! Studios, the movie adaptation The Warriors for Dynamite Entertainment, and Tales From Wonderland the White Knight, Red Rose and Stingers from Zenescope Entertainment. He has a BS in Studio Art and also works as a graphic designer. Patterson lives in Western Kentucky with his wife and daughter.

Video interview with Patrick Rothfuss

Okay, so I may not be too quick on the uptake these days. . .

But cut me some slack, will you! I'm taking it easy in South America! With Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's Fear (Canada, USA, Europe) just a few weeks away, Shawn Speakman posted this video Q&A on Suvudu a couple of weeks ago.

Check it out!

2010 Comic Con Patrick Rothfuss Interview from Suvudu on Vimeo.

Game of Thrones: The Artisans

Maisie Williams who plays Arya Stark talks about her sword training.

Quote of the Day

Well now, Captain, there's much to be said in favour of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.

- MARK HODDER, The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack (Canada, USA, Europe), borrowing from Oscar Wilde.