Pre-order Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season

You can now pre-order HBO's Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season in DVD (Canada, USA) and Blu-ray (Canada, USA).

Please note that there are no deleted scenes. The boxsets will hit the stores on March 6th, 2012.

The extras:

Both the DVD and Blu-ray versions include the first season’s 10 episodes, plus (descriptions are the official text):

Complete Guide to Westeros

“An interactive compendium of the noble houses and lands featured in season one.”

Making Game of Thrones

“An exclusive 30-minute feature including never-before-seen footage from the set and interviews from the cast and crew.”

Character Profiles

“Profiles of 15 major characters as described by the actors portraying them.”

Creating the Show Open

“An inside look at the creation of the Emmy-winning opening title sequence for Game of Thrones.”

From the Book to the Screen

“Executive producers David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, and author George R.R. Martin talk about the challenges of bringing Martin’s epic fantasy novel to life on HBO.”

The Night’s Watch

“An in-depth look at the unique order of men who patrol and protect the Wall, a 700 foot ice structure that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the darkness beyond.”

Creating the Dothraki Language

“An insightful glance into the comprehensive language created for the Dothraki people in Game of Thrones.”

Audio Commentaries

“Seven audio commentaries with Cast and Crew including David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, George R.R. Martin, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, and more.”


Blu-ray Complete Guide to Westeros

“An interactive compendium of the noble houses and lands featured in season one, PLUS 24 exclusive histories of the Seven Kingdoms as told by the characters themselves.”

In-Episode Guide

“In-feature resource that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations, and relevant histories while each episode plays.”

Anatomy of an Episode

“An in-episode experience that explores the creative minds and colossal efforts behind episode six, ‘A Golden Crown.’”

Hidden Dragon Eggs

“Find the hidden dragon eggs to uncover even more never-before-scene content.”

Should be awesome!!!

Elric: The Stealer of Souls

Like many readers, I'd love to have more time to read "older" SFF material. Since all the works of speculative fiction we enjoy today have been heavily influenced by novels/series that came before, it's always interesting to revisit themes and ideas that were explored decades before. When we met, both George R. R. Martin and Tad Williams bemoaned the fact that many of the SFF classics were nowadays criminally unread.

Though I tried, my attempts, other than with Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, were sort of an epic fail. Problem is, there's always something new out there, something you just have to read.

And yet, ever since Del Rey began to compile Michael Moorcock's Elric omnibus series in 2008, I promised myself to give them a shot. I remember trying some Elric of Melniboné Science Fiction Book Club editions in the late 80s or early 90s, but I wasn't quite taken with them at that time. And sure, most fans seem to agree that Erikson's Anomander Rake and Dragnipur are the version 2.0 of Elric and Stormbringer. Still, I wanted to give the first volume a shot, if only to discover how the stories had aged nearly fifty years down the line.

Here's the blurb:

When Michael Moorcock began chronicling the adventures of the albino sorcerer Elric, last king of decadent Melniboné, and his sentient vampiric sword, Stormbringer, he set out to create a new kind of fantasy adventure, one that broke with tradition and reflected a more up-to-date sophistication of theme and style. The result was a bold and unique hero–weak in body, subtle in mind, dependent on drugs for the vitality to sustain himself–with great crimes behind him and a greater destiny ahead: a rock-and-roll antihero who would channel all the violent excesses of the sixties into one enduring archetype.

Now, with a major film in development, here is the first volume of a dazzling collection of stories containing the seminal appearances of Elric and lavishly illustrated by award-winning artist John Picacio–plus essays, letters, maps, and other material. Adventures include “The Dreaming City,” “While the Gods Laugh,” “Kings in Darkness,” “Dead God’s Homecoming,” “Black Sword’s Brothers,” and “Sad Giant’s Shield.”

An indispensable addition to any fantasy collection, Elric: The Stealer of Souls is an unmatched introduction to a brilliant writer and his most famous–or infamous–creation

This first volume in the Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melniboné, Elric: The Stealer of Souls, is comprised of the short fiction that introduced the sorcerer Elric and his vampiric sword in June 1961 in Science Fantasy magazine. The rest, as they say, is history. Indeed, Elric of Melniboné would become one of the most popular fantasy protagonists of the 60s and 70s.

All the novellas fall into the category of the sword and sorcery subgenre. Moorcock's prose is evocative and the various settings come to life in a manner seldom seen in works of short fiction. True, subsequent novellas add depth to those that came before. And in the end, the many threads create a vast and impressive tapestry of storylines. Unfortunately, the format precludes the sort of depth the author likely envisioned, yet the results are remarkable.

The characterization can be uneven, however. Though Elric is well-defined, the supporting cast is often far from being three-dimensional. The same goes for the dialogue. Given that these stories are nearly five decades old, I was surprised by how well the novellas have aged over the years. Perhaps because the sword and sorcery subgenre has remained a bit more static compared to epic fantasy. . . But at no time does Elric: The Stealer of Souls feels like something which was written in the sixties.

The novellas comprising the Stormbringer storyline, "Dead God's Homecoming," "Black Sword's Brothers," "Sad Giant's Shield," and "Doomed Lord's Passing," raise the bar to another level. These stories reveal that Elric's earlier adventures are all part of a pattern that will put the albino sorcerer in the middle of the conflict between Order and Chaos.

The novella format means that the pace is never slow. Hence, you'll go through the various Elric tales quite rapidly.

Numerous threads on various message boards request suggestions for sword and sorcery books or series. If you are looking for such works, then Michael Moorcock's Elric: The Stealer of Souls is definitely for you. Even better, Del Rey released six volumes in the Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melniboné series.

If you want to discover the stories that gave birth to one of the most popular protagonists in the history of the genre, this book should do the trick.

The final verdict: 7.5/10

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

More inexpensive e-book goodies!

The first volume in David Chandler's The Ancient Blades trilogy, Den of Thieves, is available for 0.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Enter a world of darkness and danger, honour, daring and destiny in David Chandler’s magnificent epic trilogy: The Ancient Blades.

Croy is a knight errant, and bearer of an ancient blade with a powerful destiny. He's also kind of, well, dim. He believes in honour. He believes that people are fundamentally good, and will do the right thing if you give them a chance.

Unfortunately, Croy lives in the city of Ness. A thriving medieval city of fifty thousand people, none of whom are fundamentally even decent, and who will gleefully stab you in the back. If you give them a chance.

Ness is also the home to Malden. Malden is a thief. He lives by his wits, disarming cunning traps, sneaking past sleeping guards, and running away very fast whenever people are trying to kill him. Which is often. One time Malden stole a crown. And then he had to steal it back to avoid a civil war. Croy got the credit, of course, because he's a noble knight. Another time the two of them went into the tomb of an ancient warrior race, and Croy accidentally started a barbarian invasion. Guess who had to clean that up?

They probably wouldn't be friends at all if it wasn't for Cythera. Cythera is a witch. A mostly-good witch. And despite herself she can't stop thieves and knights falling in love with her… At the same time

Help raise funds for Breast Cancer research

As I did for the last couple of years, I will donate all the revenues generated by my Amazon Associate programs from December 1st to January 15th to Breast Cancer research.

If you want to help, you don't have to donate a single penny. All I'm asking is for you to shop for your Holiday presents via the various Amazon links you'll find throughout the Hotlist (the Canada, USA, Europe links).

So if you are looking for books, CDs, DVDs, video games, electronic devices, iPods, watches, and even clothes or groceries, please consider getting them through those links. Every penny raised brings us one step closer to the cure.

It's not that much, but it's the thought that counts! =)

Thanks in advance!

R. Scott Bakker news!

There have been rumors that R. Scott Bakker's final volume in The Aspect-Emperor series, The Unholy Consult, has been postponed and might not see the light next year.

Just heard back from Scott, and he is 2/3 into The Unholy Consult and it's still on track for its planned fall 2012 release date.

Can't wait!

Win a copy of Ian McDonald's PLANESRUNNER

Thanks to the generosity of the nice folks at Pyr, I have four copies of Ian McDonald's YA debut, Planesrunner, for you to win. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

There is not one you. There are many yous. There is not one world. There are many worlds. Ours is one among billions of parallel earths.

When Everett Singh’s scientist father is kidnapped from the streets of London, he leaves young Everett a mysterious app on his computer. Suddenly, this teenager has become the owner of the most valuable object in the multiverse—the Infundibulum—the map of all the parallel earths, and there are dark forces in the Ten Known Worlds who will stop at nothing to get it. They’ve got power, authority, the might of ten planets—some of them more technologically advanced than our Earth—at their fingertips. He’s got wits, intelligence, and a knack for Indian cooking.

To keep the Infundibulum safe, Everett must trick his way through the Heisenberg Gate that his dad helped build and go on the run in a parallel Earth. But to rescue his dad from Charlotte Villiers and the sinister Order, this Planesrunner’s going to need friends. Friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter, Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness.

Can they rescue Everett’s father and get the Infundibulum to safety? The game is afoot!

The rules are the same as usual. You need to send an email at reviews@(no-spam) with the header "PLANESRUNNER." 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 Pat's Fantasy Hotlist World Tour hits the road again!

Yes, that's right!

In another attempt to get away from the savage Canadian winter, I'll be flying south where it's nice and warm. Right after the Holidays, I'll be chilling out for a couple of days in South Beach, Miami, Florida.

And then, I'll be off to charming Belize, with a brief stint in Guatemala to visit the Maya ruins of Tikal! Three weeks away from the cold and the snow!

Can't wait! ;-)

Aliens on Ice

Thanks to Tad Williams for spreading the word about this!

Forget about Disney on Ice this Holiday season! How about Aliens on Ice!?!

Coming to an arena near you! :P

Quote of the Day

When has reason ever stood in the way of politics?

- BRAD P. BEAULIEU, The Winds of Khalakovo (Canada, USA, Europe)

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (November 21st)

In hardcover:

Stephen King's 11/22/63 debuts at number 1. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 maintains its position at number 6. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Brandon Sanderson's The Alloy of Law debuts at number 7. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Gregory Maguire’s Out of Oz is down four spots, finishing the week at number 9.

George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons is up one position, ending the week at number 14. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus maintains its position at number 17. For more information about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Chuck Palahniuk’s Damned is down three positions, ending the week at number 21.

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Night Eternal is down two spots, finishing the week at number 26. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is up eight positions, ending the week at number 16.

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings is up seven spots, finishing the week at number 21.

George R. R. Martin's A Storms of Swords is up eight positions, ending the week at number 22.

George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows is up eight positions, ending the week at number 23.

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones returns at number 28 (trade paperback).

Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars returns at number 31.

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings returns at number 33 (trade paperback).

Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson's Towers of Midnight returns at number 34.

Win a copy of Karen Traviss' HALO: GLASSLANDS

I'm giving away my copy of Karen Traviss' Halo: Glasslands to one lucky winner! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

The Covenant has collapsed after a long, brutal war that saw billions slaughtered on Earth and her colonies. For the first time in decades, however, peace finally seems possible. But though the fighting's stopped, the war is far from over: it's just gone underground. The UNSC's feared and secretive Office of Naval Intelligence recruits Kilo-Five, a team of ODSTs, a Spartan, and a diabolical AI to accelerate the Sangheili insurrection. Meanwhile, the Arbiter, the defector turned leader of a broken Covenant, struggles to stave off civil war among his divided people.

Across the galazy, a woman thought to have died on Reach is actually very much alive. Chief scientist Dr. Catherine Halsey broke every law in the book to create the Spartans, and now she's broken some more to save them. Marooned with Chief Mendez and a Spartan team in a Forerunner slipspace bubble hidden in the destroyed planet Onyx, she finds that the shield world has been guarding an ancient secret – a treasure trove of Forerunner technology that will change everything for the UNSC and mankind.

As Kilo-Five joins the hunt for Halsey, humanity’s violent past begins to catch up with all of them as disgruntled colony Venezia has been biding its time to strike at Earth, and its most dangerous terrorist has an old, painful link with both Halsey and Kilo-Five that will test everyone’s loyalty to the limit

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

With The Electric Church (Canada, USA, Europe), The Digital Plague (Canada, USA, Europe), The Eternal Prison (Canada, USA, Europe), and The Terminal State (Canada, USA, Europe), Jeff Somers introduced readers to Avery Cates, a far from likeable gunner you can't help but root for. Often down on his luck and not always the sharpest tool in the shed, Cates' first person narrative has been a highlight from this series since the opening chapter of the very first volume.

I felt that The Terminal State raised the bar to new heights, so I was eager to read "the bullet-ridden conclusion to the Avery Cates saga."

Here's the blurb:

The world is dying. With avatars replacing humans and the birth rate non-existent, the human race is almost extinct. In the end, it comes down to Canny Orel; Avery's long sought after nemesis -- transformed now into something other than human.

Orel might hold the secret to humanity's salvation, if he can be convinced -- or forced -- to relinquish it. And when Cates chances on a way to trick his old master, he suddenly has a choice to make: get his long-delayed revenge, or save the world

True to himself, Somers came up with yet another noir techno-thriller set in a futuristic dystopian Earth. As is usually his wont, the author's latest offering is a balls-to-the-wall, action-packed, kill-em-all novel that will keep you entertained from start to finish!

With The Eternal Prison and The Terminal State, I felt that Jeff Somers had matured quite a bit as an author. The overall arc echoed with more depth and featured more multilayered storylines. The same can be said of The Final Evolution, yet this installment is more about resolution and closure rather than continuing to raise the bar. As such, though it brings back elements from all previous volumes, I wasn't sucked into this one as much as the others. Maybe I didn't want the series to end. . .

As was the case with every Avery Cates book, the post-apocalyptic worldbuilding is a neat touch giving the series its own flavor. As always, it remains in the background and doesn't intrude on the story. It felt kind of odd to have the endgame take place in Split, Croatia. I had an awesome time in Split two years ago, and it was weird to have the Diocletian's Palace serve as the location where the faith of mankind would be decided.

The characterization remains my favorite facet of the book. The first person narrative filled with wise cracks and dark humor continues to work incredibly well and doesn't get old, even after five installments. As I mentioned in the past, Avery Cates is a despicable, manipulative, immoral, lousy, and sick fuck. Yet for all his faults and shortcomings, it's well nigh impossible not to root for the poor sod. The book is filled with gems like these:

Belling had always seemed to be dressed in expensive suits, killing people via suggestion and disdain. I was always covered in blood and bile, pinned under fat guys who never bathed. It was enough to make me question my approach.

I felt pretty good, despite being sick to my stomach, way too old, friendless, and sitting in a urine-soaked rad suit so heavy it was smothering me by increments. I felt at peace.

It was fucking amazing. Even as the world wound down, going still, all the assholes in the world were hard at work making everything more complicated, and more complicated, and then fucking more complicated.

The multilayered storylines add another dimension to The Final Evolution, true, but they did not slow the pace of the book. This final installment is another shoot-to-kill thrill ride that will keep you turning those pages.

As the blurb indicates, the fate of humanity lies in Avery Cates' hands. Needless to say, the gunner probably isn't the kind of fellow who's meant to be mankind's salvation. Hence, don't expect a "... And they lived happily ever after" sort of ending. The main protagonist remains true to himself till the very last page.

I've been saying it for years: These books are addictive! Give this series a shot!

The final verdict: 7.75/10

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


Anyone planning on seeing this movie???

Unless it gets savaged by critics before next week, I will likely go. Problem is, Martin Scorsese has always been hit or miss with me. . .

RIP Anne McCaffrey

Anne McCaffrey, bestselling SF and fantasy author best known for the Dragonriders of Pern series, has passed away.

McCaffrey was the first woman to win a Hugo Award for fiction, the first woman to win a Nebula Award, and the first author to hit the New York Times bestseller list with an SF title (The White Dragon).


Win a copy of Michael J. Sullivan's THEFT OF SWORDS

I have three copies of Michael J. Sullivan's Theft of Swords for you to win, compliments of the folks at Orbit. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles-until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires?

And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend

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

Kirkus Reviews: Best SFF of 2011

The lists of best SFF titles of 2011 are starting to appear, and here's the one from Kirkus Reviews:

- The Cold Commands by Richard Morgan
- Embassytown by China Miéville
- With Fate Conspire by Marie Brennan
- The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe
- The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
- Rule 34 by Charles Stross
- Scholar by L. E. Modesitt, jr.
- Snuff by Terry Pratchett
- Spellbound by Blake Charlton
- When the Saints by Dave Duncan

I've only read the Miéville and the Rajaniemi on this short list and both were far from what I'd consider the year's best. . . :/

Game of Thrones: Season 2 In Production

Roll on spring 2012!!!

Quote of the Day

I think of myself as a bad writer with big ideas, but I'd rather be that than a big writer with bad ideas--or ideas that have gone bad.

- MICHAEL MOORCOCK, Elric: The Stealer of Souls (Canada, USA, Europe)

Carrie Vaughn contest winners!

Thanks to the cool folks at Tor Books, our winners will receive a copy of Carrie Vaughn's Kitty's Greatest Hits. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here are the winners:

- Kerry Kuhn, from Schaumburg, Illinois, USA

- Michelle Carlson, from Gresham, Oregon, USA

- Alaina Armbruster, fromManor, Saskatchewan, Canada

Many thanks to all the participants!

Another WTF moment!

I met an Austrian girl through CouchSurfing and I'm helping her find a flat in Montreal. Here's an ad she found on Craigslist:

130ft² - Female wanted. FREE rent & food in exchange for FWB (Outremont available Now)

Looking to exchange rent and food in a very clean, modern and large house in a very desirable location close to everything for benefits and maybe is some even more twisted way, the stars somehow align, this could actually become a relationship. Weed is also included. So is laundry and wireless internet.

Room is large and furnished with night stand, bed, large armoire and large closest.

Im muscular,a thinker/athlete/pothead/philosopher, so there is a clue as to why I am writing this post. I dont need a woman for orgasms. I want one for intimacy, affection, cuddling, talking, sharing and sex. If I cant find emotional intimacy with this post, I dont want the sex. I can masturbate.

You must think Im fat and ugly if I am that lonely to post something this rediculous, but actually, most women look long or twice when Im in my 501's and a t-shirt. Im 42, 6ft tall with references.haha] but with a manly baby face and virtually no wringles and I have no kids.
Im also naturally muscular, love sleeping and showers, nature and competing in sports and pleasuring a woman orally. There is nothing I like more than that and kissing.

What's might be even stranger than this post, is if you met me, you would feel comfortable right away. Im not creepy at all, I just cant find a mind and body connection, so I have resorted to think and see what happens.

I eat mostly organic and no poisons disguised as food

This post is clearly very bizarre and if i was reading it , I would think so too but maybe someone out there is lonely like me and needs a warm , clean place to stay is the safest part of the city, where woman walk at any hour and dont feel fear.24 hr bus outside the door and who is also lonely

You can be alone or with up to one 1 kid.

Most things are within 5 min walk. MT-Royal is 15 min walk away.

If you would like to know more, please send me an email with as many question you have.

This is not a joke. . .

And women say romance is dead!!! :P

Shadows West

I've never been a fan of the western genre, both in the literary or film media. But I was immediately drawn to this weird mix of horror and western when I read the cover blurb for Joe R. Lansdale and John L. Lansdale's Shadows West.

I didn't expect this to win any major genre awards, yet this collection of three screenplays appeared to be quite entertaining. With my curiosity piqued, I decided to give the book a shot.

Here's the blurb:

Subterranean Press is proud to present a 400+ page volume containing a trio of excursions into the very weird west—screenplays written solo by Joe R. Lansdale and in collaboration with his brother, John L. Lansdale. In addition to the classic, “Dead in the West”, two scripts make their debut in the pages of Shadows West.

Six guns and zombies, a chicken eating werewolf, deals with the devil, and things that go bump in the night. John Wayne never had to deal with these kind of shenanigans, or these kinds of rowdies. But Joe R. Lansdale and John L. Lansdale aren’t afraid, partner. They make this kind of material their everyday business. Compared to the cowpokes in their stories, John Wayne was a big sissy.

We got shoot-em-ups and bite-em-ups and blow em-ups, and the appearance of classic bad guys, like Jesse James, sent straight from hell with a bad attitude. We got a horse black as the pit and fast as the wind. We got things that won’t die even when they’re dead. There are demons and ugly people, both inside and out, giant spiders and unnecessary cursing, and one hot red-head heifer with an eye patch and a bull whip.

Who could ask for anything more.

So, for your entertainment, pilgrim, here we have it: three screenplays that venture way out west… Way, way, way out west.

The Western and the horror film will never be the same

As mentioned, Shadows West is comprised of three screenplays: "Hell's Bounty," "Deadman's Road" and "Dead in the West." All three are fun and entertaining B-movie type of screenplays. Think about something akin to Lesbian Vampire Killers, but set in a Wild Wild West sort of environment. Not highbrow material by any stretch of the imagination, but oh so much fun to read!

In "Hell's Bounty," Smith is sent back from Hell to deal with a menace on Earth. Of course, the threat is such that the Devil sends Smith a few people to help him win the day.

In "Deadman's Road," Jubil and Terry are an unlikely duo that deals with werewolves and other supernatural problems. And now they are called upon to deal with the curse of the Pine Tree Road.

"Dead in the West" features Reverend Jedidiah Mercer, a man who has sinned and is now tested by God. Little does he know that in the little town of Mud Creek, his faith will be tested like never before.

All three screenplays are filled with witty narrative and dialogue, which will have you chuckling at every turn. Here are a few examples:

Just flat ass take off running, pushing the dead folk around like a right winger bitch slapping the Constitution.

Goddamn God hounds. Sorriest bastards ever squatted to shit over a pair of boots.

Sunrise is coming through the windows and the breaks in the door and walls, and it's lighting them up like Christians at the Coliseum on the Emperor's birthday.

Definitely not highbrow material, true. But it nonetheless makes for a fun reading experience from start to finish. The screenplay format precludes much depth, so it's all about the back and forth between the protagonists.

It's not exactly Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, yet Shadows West is an interesting hybrid of horror and western told with a humorous touch. There's never a dull moment throughout!

The final verdict: 7.5/10

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

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (November 14th)

In hardcover:

Haruki Murakami's IQ84 is down four positions, ending the week at number 6. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Gregory Maguire’s Out of Oz debuts at number 9.

George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons is down two positions, ending the week at number 15. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus is down three spots, finishing the week at number 17. For more information about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Chuck Palahniuk’s Damned is down nine positions, ending the week at number 18.

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Night Eternal is down seventeen spots, finishing the week at number 24. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Terry Pratchett's Snuff is down six positions, ending the week at number 28. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

R. A. Salvatore's Neverwinter is down three spots, finishing the week at number 32. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is down seven positions, ending the week at number 24.

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings is down four spots, finishing the week at number 28.

George R. R. Martin's A Storms of Swords is down four positions, ending the week at number 30.

George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows is down four positions, ending the week at number 31.

More inexpensive e-book goodies!

Just found out that the last Wild Cards triad can currently be bought on the cheap for the Amazon kindle. Edited by George R. R. Martin and Melinda M. Snodgrass, these mosaic novels are the perfect opportunity to jump into the Wild Cards universe.

- Inside Straight for 2.99$ available here.

- Busted Flush for 2.99$ available here.

- Suicide Kings for 2.99$ available here.

And if you want to know how it all began more than two decades ago, Wild Cards I for 2.99$ is available here.

Click on the titles to read my reviews. At 2.99$ each, these Wild Cards novels are extremely good value. I know that many of you were reticent to fork out money for the hardback editions, so here's your chance to get your hands on them for peanuts! =)

New Steven Erikson podcast

There is a new podcast featuring Steven Erikson out there, courtesy of the folks at Adventures in Scifi Publishing.

Topics include: the elements that cause societies to fail, readers fulfilling the Hero’s Journey through the accumulation of emotional context, the purpose of Homer’s work, inconsistencies in large stories, role playing games, feeling as if the muse had left him, and so much more.

You can check it out here.

Game of Thrones parody

Realized that I missed a few episodes. . .

I'm told episodes 3 and 4 are coming up!

A few other e-book bargains!

It appears that the 24-hour special that allowed lucky readers to download the Kindle edition of Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes was quite a success!

So here are a number of e-book deals, again only available in the USA:

- The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett for 0.99$ available here.

- The excellent Bright of the Sky by Kay Kenyon for free available here.

- Sasha by Joel Shepherd for free available here.

- The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks for 2.99$ available here.

- Child of Fire by Harry Connolly for 0.99$ available here.

- Boneshaker by Cherie Priest for 2.99$ available here.

- Mainspring by Jay Lake for 2.99$ available here.

- The Affinity Bridge by George Mann available for 2.99$ available here.

- Zendegi by Greg Egan for 0.01$ available here.

Do let me know if there are any other SFF titles at bargain prices like these. No self-published or vanity crap, please. . .


- Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke for 2.99$ available here.

- At the Queen's Command by Michael A. Stackpole for free available here.

- The Clockwork Rocket by Greg Egan for 3.99$ available here.

US cover art for China Miéville's RAILSEA

This is the American cover art for Railsea, a forthcoming YA SFF title by China Miéville. The book will be released in the spring of 2012.

No blurb available at the moment. . .

Quote of the Day

Beside her is a GAMBLER dressed up in card table duds. Oily face. Overgrown sideburns. Bowler. Black suit. Checked vest. A waxed mustache. He looks as if he'd probe a dead man's asshole for a nickel.

- Joe R. Lansdale and John L. Lansdale, in Shadows West (Canada, USA, Europe, and Subpress)

Gotta love the imagery. . . ;-)

New Guy Gavriel Kay Q&A

The folks at have recently interviewed Guy Gavriel Kay. Here's a teaser:

The artist always plays an integral role within your novels. What is it about an artist that moves you to write about them?

Artists of one sort or another are the great interrogators of a culture. They, almost by definition, are examining and observing their own time. They can (and should?) position themselves at an angle to power, to great events. In other, more specific ways, they ‘fit’ some settings I’ve explored. In Tigana, for example (and Arbonne, actually) I have a society where mobility was relatively limited, and it was musicians who had the license to travel, and that plays a role in both plots. Lions of Al-Rassan is, in good part, about the demise of an extraordinary culture, and the art of that culture is a key, so it made sense to have a poet there, just as it did in Under Heaven – in the Tang Dynasty skill in poetry was just about required if you wanted to rise in court ranks!

Follow this link to read the full Q&A.

Quote of the Day

Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.


Get Joe Abercrombie's THE HEROES for 1.99$!!!

This from Joe Abercrombie's website:

Yes, it’s true, The Heroes is today’s daily deal which means that FOR TODAY (14th November) ONLY lucky Americans can swoop upon the Kindle edition for the cutting-my-own throat daylight robbery price of $1.99. No, that’s not a misprint. One dollar ninety-nine cents. That gives you … let me see … thirty-two violent deaths per cent.

It shouldn’t be legal. But it is. Only for today. . .

Get it here!

Snow White & the Huntsman trailer

Looks visually stunning, no question! Still, should be another Hollywood stinker. . . :/

Rosa: An Amazing Sci-fi Short

ROSA from Jesús Orellana on Vimeo.

Saw this on Stephen Hunt's website:

Here's the blurb:

ROSA is an epic sci-fi short film that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where all natural life has disappeared. From the destruction awakes Rosa, a cyborg deployed from the Kernel project, mankind’s last attempt to restore the earth’s ecosystem. Rosa will soon learn that she is not the only entity that has awakened and must fight for her survival.

The short-film was created entirely by young comic-artist Jesús Orellana with no budget during a single year. Since it's world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival, ROSA has been an official selection at film festivals around the world such as Screamfest, Toronto After Dark, Anima Mundi or Los Angeles Shorts Film Festival. In October ROSA was screened at the opening night of the Sitges International Film Festival, considered the world's best festival specialized in genre films. Following the succesful festival run, the short film has attracted the attention of the major talent-agencies and Hollywood producers. Currently ROSA is in development to be a live-action motion picture


To learn more about it, check out the Rosa blog.

The Hypnotist

You may recall that my friend Joanie, when asked about good thrillers she could recommend, immediately came up with two suggestions. The first one was Donato Carrisi's disturbing The Whisperer (Canada, USA, Europe), which I thoroughly enjoyed. The second one was Lars Kepler's The Hypnotist, another international sensation.

Given the fact that The Hypnotist ended up on bestseller lists in 33 different countries, I figured I couldn't possibly go wrong. Once again, I was left wondering why it takes so long for these novels to reach North American soil. As was the case with Stieg Larsson and Donato Carrisi, Lars Kepler, the pen name of a Swedish literary couple, enjoyed worldwide success before the book was released by an American publisher.

Here's the blurb:

In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, Detective Inspector Joona Linna has been assigned to a gruesome triple homicide. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness---the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. With one hundred knife wounds on his body, the boy lies in a state of shock, scared into silence. Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes. It’s the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again---ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.

My expectations were quite high for this novel. Given the fact that Carrisi's The Whisperer had been incredible, I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into this one. Indeed, the rave reviews The Hypnotist garnered everywhere it was published promised another unforgettable reading experience.

The beginning doesn't disappoint. The plot captures your imagination, refusing to let go. As Dr. Erik Maria Bark gets a call to make his way to the hospital, where an injured teenage boy is the only witness to a number of gruesome murders, the reader gets sucked into this violent tale which gets more convoluted with each new chapter. For about a third of the novel, this thriller is about as good as it gets. A veritable page-turner, it makes for compulsive reading.

Problem is, The Hypnotist suffers from what I'd call the 24 syndrome. The main premise and everything attached to it are enthralling enough that readers have taken the bait, hook, line, and sinker. But like in the TV series 24, the authors felt the need to pad everything up with various extraneous plotlines that serve as false trails or complementary storylines. Which, in the end, sort of kills the pure awesomeness that made The Hypnotist such a spellbinding tale of murder from the start. True, regardless of that, the novel remains a very good thriller. And yet, The Hypnotist had the makings of a great book.

The characterization is impressive. In a genre in which character depth must sometimes suffer for the sake of a crisp pace, Lars Kepler did a wonderful job fleshing out the main protagonists and the supporting cast of this work. I'm probably a victim of my own expectations, but I do feel that Joseph Ek would have benefited from a bit more depth, as his plotline was by far the most fascinating early on. The authors have the annoying habit to change the POV perspective in the middle of a scene, which can be momentarily confusing.

As you know, I love multilayered works of fiction. The more complex, the better, I usually say. But there is such a thing as too multilayered, and The Hypnotist is the perfect example of that. True, there is no way to guess the ending. There are simply too many variables influencing the plot. My biggest complain would have to be that the novel's main premise, what makes you want to read The Hypnotist in the first place, suddenly gets relegated to a secondary plotline status, while other storylines kick into motion and take center stage for the rest of the book. It's not that I wasn't interested in Bark's past, in what caused him to quit and promise never to hypnotize patients again. Far from it. The long flashback chapter is one of the best sequences of the novel. But I could never look past the fact that the murder case at one point became secondary, as the blurb about the investigation is what sells you the book in the first place. As I mentioned, there was no need to involve Bark's wife, his past infidelity, Pokémon, teenage gangs, etc.

All in all, Lars Kepler's The Hypnotist is a good thriller that will keep you up a few nights running. Sadly, however, while the first 150 pages or so are incredibly perturbing and engrossing, the rest of the book fails to live up to its immense potential.

The final verdict: 7.75/10

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

Here's the book trailer:

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (November 7th)

In hardcover:

Haruki Murakami's IQ84 debuts at number 2. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Night Eternal debuts at number 7. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Chuck Palahniuk’s Damned is down three positions, ending the week at number 9.

Karen Traviss' Halo: Grasslands debuts at number 10. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons is down one position, ending the week at number 13. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus is down three spots, finishing the week at number 14. For more information about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Colson Whitehead’s Zone One is down three spots, finishing the week at number 19.

Terry Pratchett's Snuff is down five positions, ending the week at number 22. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

R. A. Salvatore's Neverwinter is down three spots, finishing the week at number 29. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

In paperback:

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is down eleven positions, ending the week at number 17.

Paul S. Kemp's Star Wars: Riptide debuts at number 19.

Max Brooks' World War Z debuts at number 22.

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings is down ten spots, finishing the week at number 24.

George R. R. Martin's A Storms of Swords is down fourteen positions, ending the week at number 26.

George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows is down ten positions, ending the week at number 27.

Mike Shepherd's Kris Longknife: Daring debuts at number 30.

George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows is down two spots, finishing the week at number 35 (trade paperback).

Musical Interlude

Public Enemy and Anthrax. Nuff said! ;-)

Extract from Saladin Ahmed's THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON

Just received my ARC for Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon, which will be released in February. If you want to get a taste of the novel, the author recently posted the first chapter online. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Here's the blurb:

One of the year's most anticipated fantasy debuts, from a finalist for the Nebula and Campbell Awards.

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms.

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat, just wants a quiet cup of tea. A fat old man who has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, he's more than ready to retire from his dangerous vocation. But when an old flame's family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter's path.

Adoulla's young assistant Raseed, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God's justice. But even as Raseed's sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.

Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man's title. She lives only to avenge her father's death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father's killer. Until she meets Raseed.

When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince's brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time - and struggle against their own misgivings - to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.

Follow this link to read the excerpt.

R. Scott Bakker's "The Four Revelations of Cinial’jin"

R. Scott Bakker just posted a short story on his website, one set in Eärwa's past, titled "The Four Revelations of Cinial’jin."

Haven't read it yet, but based on the comments it looks good!

Here's a teaser:

You drink of the River and it is clear. You drink of the River and it is foul. You breath of the Sky and it never empties. You weep, and the Sea stings your lips. Rejoice, and mourn, for you belong to this World.

Heaven does not know you
– Nin’hilarjal, Psalms to Oblivion

Aisralu. . .

The Men shouted and laughed. Papa. . . A walnut tree stood upon the rising pasture, great with age and solitude, dark with interior shadow. Please, Papa. . . He would not think that death could be beautiful.

The Men had bound him in their ignorant fury, pierced his flesh with nails. They raised him upon a pole, and piled sheaves of bracken about his feet. He watched them pour the oil from amphorae, wondered at the viscous beauty as it pulsed in the open sun, the skin-pricking sun. The Horns towered high, gold-gleaming while all the World’s glory thrashed and screamed below, nimil-clad Ishroi sheeted in the blood of obscenities, Totems tipping into masses of caterwauling Sranc. Betrayed! Betrayed! We are Betrayed! As they stand milling, the Men, so clear in the open sunlight, the filth, the bestial hair, the imperfections of frame, the scarred and diseased skin, dark, so that their eyes seem afire beneath their brows. Glimpses of doggish teeth. Quya Chariots scored the desolation of Shigogli, trailing lines of racing, roiling dust, fleeing the descent of Dragons. A torch was brought forth, little more than a bundle of blurring air in the open sunlight–and jubilation roared through the slovenly mob. Ciogli, the one called Mountain, stood upon the carcass of Wutteat, the Father of Dragons, beating down Bashrag with hammer and fist, only to be felled by a lone, impossible arrow, which had found the slit in his cauldron helm. As a weeping boy-child was given the torch, which he held in abject indecision, glancing to the mobbing Men in equine terror, bullied forward by the haranguing chorus, his shoulders hitching to soundless sobs, resembling his dead sister in the beauty of his cheek, the delicacy of his frame and heart–just as she had said one rare day that he remembered. “He is my image.” The boy thrust forward, a push like a blow, so that he stumbled, almost kissed the unseen flame. A shadow caught his eye, raised his gaze from the hellish din, so that it would be his curse to see it. The same mouth slung about indecision, the same tipping look, though he did not hate fear so much as his sister. Nin’janjin leapt from the tumult, his spear poised high, running Cu’jara Cinmoi through, and a moan passed through the Host of Nine Mansions, the very earth seemed to stagger. The boy grimaced in terror, of him and of his revenge–maddened kin, clutching the torch in two small brown hands, lowering it like something that might break of its own weight. The Copper Tree of Siol staggered, then fell. The boy let slip the torch, which bounced and dropped into the heaped bracken. The Inchoroi screamed in mewling exaltation, raised an iron pole so that all could see the corpse of Cu’jara Cinmoi, the Hated, the Beloved, bound upon it. And the flames took shallow root across the oil-soaked portions, spinning outward, smokeless lines which begot incendiary blooms, until all the fuel heaped about his bound feet was skinned in frantic orange and gold, the fire sinking in, sparking deeper and deeper, unlocking curlicues of smoke, threads that became ribbons that became streaming plumes, hanging like ink, misting like fog, raising a shroud across the hollow sky, smearing the sun into a blinding stain. Betrayed! Betrayed! We are Betrayed! And in the pits they overcame him, sweet Ensialas, his youngest son, and he cried out to the skies, to the boiling-robed Quya, who were there to save them–to save them!–not to flee. And a cool fell across his scalp and shoulders, the gift of rolling fronds of smoke-shadow, even as heat began chewing his feet, biting and biting with children’s teeth, and he rolled his face across the world, peered through the breezy screens, across the raucous assembly of Men, and saw misery-pocked faces, the demented grins of mortals inflicting their horror of death upon another, hands outstretched in wild gesticulation, fists brandished against his image, and beyond their mobbing, horsemen in gleaming cuirasses, banners tipping as they yanked their horses from their galloping rush. And she grew still in his arms, Aisarinqu, at once kindling light, and a stone, such a heavy stone, and he wept for holding her so punishing was her weight, his life strained unto ripping by her density, the gravity of her stationary heart, her mouth hung about emptiness, and he shrieked, for the bottomlessness, for the finality, for the treachery and the violence-to-come, and for the relief, the sobbing knowledge that her suffering had ended, that he now cradled oblivion in his arms. He began choking, coughing up the convulsions that wracked his bound form, flapped him like a blanket, for the fire was upon him, and he could see it, laving the white lines of his feet, the searing, the blistering, the charring–his feet, which had been with him since… since… now writhing and kicking of their own volition, and he threw his eyes skyward and he screamed and he laughed, knowing that this… this he would remember, that his burning would not pass through him, fall away into the black-of-black, but would dwell forever as another horror, so welding him to who he had been. For he was standing in the blackness, the dank that forever ruled the guttural foundations of Siol, his hand upon the neck and shoulder of his daughter, Aisralu, who even now clutched her belly, her womb, groaning against her headstrong pride, whispering, Please… Father… Please… You… Must… again and again, searching for his eyes, her face a summit, a beauty he had worshipped, bent into a pageant of strangers by anguish. He screamed and he laughed and through the screens of smoke he saw maniacal grins falter, the howling stumble, as the horror the Men celebrated became their own. Aisarinqu screams and Aisarinqu screams, again and again, not so much words as a storm of occasions, a piling of instants across an age, for theirs had not been a happy union. It seemed he should be a thing of wax, that the roaring phosphor should melt and consume him, not cook. He thrashed screaming and laughing, realizing, for the first time in ten thousand years comprehending, that he was a thing of meat, that he was of the self-same flesh, the very thing that nourished him, boar-squealing, bloody and alive. That is the sole curse of the Ishroi, she hissed. To only hope they had fathered their sons! His eyes were pinched and pricked by the effluence of the encircling furnace–no longer his own. Blackness fell away from her face, and for a wondering instant he gazed upon her, beloved Aisarinqu. A second, shrieking revelation. The white spark of some faraway light refracted in her tears, so that her contrition seemed holy. Fire is a thing that eats. A wondering instant, before the wrath seized his fists anew.

He slumped into his corporeal torment; burning seemed… proper.

Follow this link to read the whole tale.