This week's New York Times Bestsellers (December 26th)

In hardcover:

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

Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 is up one spot, finishing the week at number 12. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons maintains its position at number 14. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus maintains its position at number 18. For more information about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Gregory Maguire’s Out of Oz maintains its position at number 25.

In paperback:

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is up seven positions, ending the week at number 3.

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings is up twelve spots, finishing the week at number 7.

George R. R. Martin's A Storms of Swords is up five positions, ending the week at number 8.

George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows is up eleven positions, ending the week at number 9.

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is up two positions, ending the week at number 10 (trade paperback).

Max Brooks' World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is up three spots, finishing the week at number 18 (trade paperback).

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings is up six spots, finishing the week at number 24 (trade paperback).

George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows is down one position, ending the week at number 32 (trade paperback).

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

This from the Angry Robot website:

That’s right! In the best tradition of purveyors of quality merchandise everywhere, we’re having a January sale. And likewise in the best tradition of purveyors of (etc. etc.) we’ve dropped the prices of our sale items a little early (as of… now!) with said lower price-points remaining in force until the end of January.

Which means that an impressive selection of our ebook titles – all our 2009 and 2010 titles, plus a few 2011 debuts – have been reduced in price, not only at the Angry Robot Store* but also on the virtual shelves of a number of major online retailers – including, and, among others.

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to your eBook store of choice, dig around, see what you can find! And be prepared to stuff your Kindle or fill your Nook (or, indeed, cram your Kobo or burst your eReader, if you’re that way inclined) with lots and lots of lovely Angry Robot eBooks.

You know it makes sense

Follow this link to peruse the selection of speculative fiction titles you can download on the cheap! Prices begin at 2.99$.

Mark Lawrence interviews me!

Mark Lawrence, fantasy author of Prince of Thorns, has turned the tables on me. If you want to see me go from interviewer to interviewee, Mark posted a Q&A with Yours Truly on his blog. Here's a teaser:

Does your personal opinion of an author ever sway a review in any direction?

No. I let the novel stand on its own merit.

Every time I'm perusing a message board and see readers bitching about Terry Goodkind, Orson Scott Card, Dan Simmons, or John C. Wright, and see them go on about how they'll never buy/read any of their books again, I can't help but shake my head and marvel at the silliness of it all.

Terry Goodkind is a dumbass and a crackpot. About as bad as they come. But that's not why I don't read and review his books anymore. It's just that he writes crap. Period. I would still hate his books if he was the nicest human being out there. . . Sadly, he's not
. . .

Follow this link to read the full interview.

Prologue and first two chapters of Ian Cameron Esslemont's ORB, SCEPTRE, THRONE

The prologue and the first two chapters of Ian Cameron Esslemont's Orb, Sceptre, Throne (Canada, USA, Europe) are now available online.

You can also see a new map of Southern Genabackis.

Follow this link to read the extract.

More inexpensive ebook goodies!

Part of the new ebook sale from Harper Voyager, you can now download Robin Hobb's Dragon Keeper for 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Return to the world of the Liveships Traders and journey along the Rain Wild River in this standalone adventure from the author of the internationally acclaimed Farseer trilogy. Guided by the great blue dragon Tintaglia, they came from the sea: a Tangle of serpents fighting their way up the Rain Wilds River, the first to make the perilous journey to the cocooning grounds in generations. Many have died along the way. With its acid waters and impenetrable forest, it is a hard place for any to survive. People are changed by the Rain Wilds, subtly or otherwise. One such is Thymara. Born with black claws and other aberrations, she should have been exposed at birth. But her father saved her and her mother has never forgiven him. Like everyone else, Thymara is fascinated by the return of dragons: it is as if they symbolise the return of hope to their war-torn world. Leftrin, captain of the liveship Tarman, also has an interest in the hatching; as does Bingtown newlywed, Alise Finbok, who has made it her life's work to study all there is to know of dragons. But the creatures which emerge from the cocoons are a travesty of the powerful, shining dragons of old. Stunted and deformed, they cannot fly; some seem witless and bestial. Soon, they become a danger and a burden to the Rain Wilders: something must be done. The dragons claim an ancestral memory of a fabled Elderling city far upriver: perhaps there the dragons will find their true home. But Kelsingra appears on no maps and they cannot get there on their own: a band of dragon keepers, hunters and chroniclers must attend them. To be a dragon keeper is a dangerous job: their charges are vicious and unpredictable, and there are many unknown perils on the journey to a city which may not even exist...

Here are the other titles on sale:

For 0.99$:

Phoenix Rising by Tee Morris and Pip Ballenyne
White Tiger by Kylie Chan
Den of Thieves by David Chandler
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
Scent of Shadows by Vicki Petterson
Heir of Night by Helen Lowe
Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake

For 1.99$:

Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison
Rides of a Dread Legion by Raymond Fiest
Earth Strike: Star Carrier by Ian Douglas
Shaman's Crossing by Robin Hobb
Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

The Hotties: 2011 Year-End Awards

Okay, we may not be as prestigious or glamorous as the Hugo, the Nebula, or the World Fantasy Awards, but winning a Hottie still means something, right!?! Well, maybe not but what the heck!?!

For the sake of posterity, I've also included my Top 10 SFF novels and the runner-up titles of the year in this post.

Without further ado, here are the 2011 Hottie Awards!

Top 10 Speculative Fiction Titles of 2011

1- Steven Erikson's The Crippled God [Tor, Bantam Press]
2- C. S. Friedman's Legacy of Kings [Daw, Orbit]
3- George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons [Bantam Dell, Voyager]
4- R. Scott Bakker's The White-Luck Warrior [Penguin Canada, The Overlook Press, Orbit]
5- James S. A. Corey's Leviathan Wakes [Orbit]
6- Robert McCammon's The Five [Subterranean Press]
7- Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes [Orbit, Gollancz]
8- Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's Fear [Daw, Gollancz]
9- Melanie Rawn's The Diviner [Daw]
10- Bradley P. Beaulieu's The Winds of Khalakovo [Nightshade Books]
11- Robin Hobb's The Inheritance and Other Stories [Voyager]
12- Carrie Vaughn's Kitty's Greatest Hits [Tor]
13- Peter F. Hamilton's Manhattan in Reverse [Del Rey, Macmillan]
14- Jasper Kent's The Third Section [Pyr, Bantam Press]
15- Alastair Reynolds' Troika [Subterranean Press]
16- Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns [Ace, Voyager]
17- Jeff Somers' The Final Evolution [Orbit]
18- Brandon Sanderson's The Alloy of Law [Tor, Gollancz]
19- Brian Ruckley's The Edinburgh Dead [Orbit]


- Daw

With three titles in my top 10, a couple of New York Times bestsellers, and the World Fantasy Award for best novel this year, it looks as though Daw can still kick some serious ass!


- The Wertzone

Adam has always been a passionate SFF fan and he remains one of my most trusted sources when it comes to books!


- Westeros

Honorable mention:

Hands down, the two most interesting and lively SFF message boards on the web!


- 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, I know, but it's true! Problem is, it was perhaps a bit too ambitious. Erikson will now need two additional trilogies to "complete" his portion of the tale. But hey, I'm not complaining! ;-)


- China Miéville's Embassytown

I like Miéville, no doubt about it. But this one was sleep-inducing for the better part of the book. . .


- C. S. Friedman's Legacy of Kings

Friedman's The Magister trilogy is one of the very best fantasy series of the new millennium, and yet it sometimes feels as though I'm the only one who has read it. Give these books a shot, damn it!


- Steve Stone's cover art for Steven Erikson's The Crippled God.

Awesome! I love it!


- Matthew Hughes' The Other

Pure visual crap. . .


- R. Scott Bakker, part 1 and part 2

For the first time in his career, Bakker was actually spoilerish!


- Bradley P. Beaulieu

Although The Winds of Khalakovo suffered from a number of shortcomings, at times it was simply brilliant.

It looks as though Beaulieu could be the real deal. . .


- Daw

For the same reasons stated for the Publisher of the Year award! It is obvious that the commercial success of Patrick Rothfuss has allowed them to experiment with new styles and directions, which is for the best. It doesn't hurt that all of their big names released novels this year as well.


- James S. A. Corey's Leviathan Wakes

Honorable mention: Melanie Rawn's The Diviner

I didn't really know what to expect, but Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck really knocked the ball out of the park with this one!


- We have a three-way tie between China Miéville's Embassytown, Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path, and Peter Orullian's The Unremembered.

I had high expectations for all three, but sadly none lived up to them. . .


- Bradley P. Beaulieu's The Winds of Khalakovo

Honorable mention: Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns

For a while, it looked as though Mark Lawrence would be cruising toward an easy victory. But December came and I read the Beaulieu. What can I say? Shit happens. It was a close call, but The Winds of Khalakovo ended up the victor.

Still, things are looking up for both authors!


- China Miéville's Embassytown

Well, it's China Miéville. . .


- Betsy Wollheim and Sheila Gilbert, the heart and soul of Daw Books.

It goes without saying that 2011 was a terrific year for Daw. A smaller publisher, they don't necessarily have the means to always compete with the genre powerhouses out there. But Rothfuss' success demonstrated yet again how important it is to have a passionate publisher backing you and promoting your books. This commercial success has allowed Daw to explore new horizons, which bodes well for the years to come. It's nice to see them on top once again! Well-deserved!

Ian McDonald contest winners!

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Pyr, our four winners will get their hands on a copy of Ian McDonald's Planesrunner! For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

The winners are:

- Ben Lorber, from Atlanta, Georgia, USA

- Galena Ostipow, from East Lansing, Michigan, USA

- Jenny Salyers, from Evanston, Illinois, USA

- Guillermo Cantu, from Houston, Texas, USA

Many thanks to all the participants!

More inexpensive e-book goodies!

You can download a combo of James S. A. Corey's excellent Leviathan Wakes and Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path for 2.99$ here!

Here's the blurb for Leviathan Wakes:

Welcome to the future. Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, The Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to The Scopuli and rebel sympathizer, Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe

If you enjoy Leviathan Wakes, you can also get James S. A. Corey's The Butcher of Anderson Station: A Story of The Expanse for 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A new story set in the world of The Expanse. One day, Colonel Fred Johnson will be hailed as a hero to the system. One day, he will meet a desperate man in possession of a stolen spaceship and a deadly secret and extend a hand of friendship. But long before he became the leader of the Outer Planets Alliance, Fred Johnson had a very different name. The Butcher of Anderson Station.

This is his story

And here's the blurb for The Dragon's Path:

Summer is the season of war in the Free Cities.

Marcus wants to get out before the fighting starts. His hero days are behind him and simple caravan duty is better than getting pressed into service by the local gentry. Even a small war can get you killed. But a captain needs men to lead — and his have been summarily arrested and recruited for their swords.

Cithrin has a job to do — move the wealth of a nation across a war zone. An orphan raised by the bank, she is their last hope of keeping the bank’s wealth out of the hands of the invaders. But she’s just a girl and knows little of caravans, war, and danger. She knows money and she knows secrets, but will that be enough to save her in the coming months?

Geder, the only son of a noble house is more interested in philosophy than swordplay. He is a poor excuse for a soldier and little more than a pawn in these games of war. But not even he knows what he will become of the fires of battle. Hero or villain? Small men have achieved greater things and Geder is no small man.

Falling pebbles can start a landslide. What should have been a small summer spat between gentlemen is spiraling out of control. Dark forces are at work, fanning the flames that will sweep the entire region onto The Dragon’s Path — the path of war

Two full-length novels for 2.99$??? It doesn't get much better than this! ;-)

Final US cover art for Stephen King's THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE

Here's the final US cover art for Stephen King's new Dark Tower book, The Wind Through the Keyhole.

Here's the blurb:

For those discovering the epic bestselling Dark Tower series for the first time—and for its legions of dedicated fans—an immensely satisfying stand-alone novel and perfect introduction to the series.Beginning in 1974, gaining momentum in the 1980s and coming to a thrilling conclusion when the last three novels were published in 2003-2004, the Dark Tower epic fantasy saga stands as Stephen King’s most beguiling achievement. It has been the basis for a long-running Marvel comic series.

Now, with The Wind Through the Keyhole, King has returned to the rich landscape of Mid-World. This story within a story within a story finds Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last gunslinger, in his early days during the guilt-ridden year following his mother’s death. Sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape-shifter, a “skin-man,” Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, a brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter. Roland, himself only a teenager, calms the boy by reciting a story from the Book of Eld that his mother used to read to him at bedtime. “A person’s never too old for stories,” he says to Bill. “Man and boy, girl and woman, we live for them.”

Sure to captivate the avid fans of the Dark Tower epic, this is an enchanting introduction to Roland’s world and the power of Stephen King’s storytelling magic

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

House of Leaves

I've had Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves sitting on my shelf for about a decade. Since then, the novel has acquired a cult following and it is said to be one of the scariest books ever written. I was in no hurry to read it, confident that it would be awesome whenever I elected to do so.

Well, I finally did read it. . . And I don't know if it's because my expectations were too high, but House of Leaves can be nothing but a major disappointment for me. Indeed, for the most part, I was bored out of my mind throughout the book.

Here's the blurb:

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth -- musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies -- the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.

Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices.

The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story -- of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams

What's it like? Hmmm, if The Blair Witch Project had been a novel instead of a movie, it would have been something similar to Danielewski's cult book. But House of Leaves is not really a novel; it's more like two narratives driving the story side by side. The first, known as The Navidson Record, was recorded by a dead blind man named Zampanò. It's a pseudo-academic study of what turns out to be a nonexistent documentary film shot by an award-winning photojournalist who just bought a new house so he and his family can enjoy a new beginning. Unfortunately, the house turns out to be haunted, which will splinter the family instead of bringing it together. As the plot goes, it is rather thin and nothing to write home about. No, it's the story within the story that truly is a feat of imagination. The footnotes, the appendices, the correspondence, the notes, the interviews,the quotes -- this is what likely helped this book achieve cult status. Yet to a reader like me, more focused on plot, these things were just distractions that always killed whatever momentum House of Leaves had going for it. The second, found in the footnotes, is that of Johnny Truant, the literary editor of this manuscript. Truant found the jumble of pages and notes in Zampanò's apartment when the old man was found dead. A sex, drugs, and rock and roll kind of guy, Truant is an assistant in tattoo parlor. But his life takes a dramatic turn for the worst as soon as he begins to read and compile Zampanò's The Navidson Record. More and more, it looks as though he will share Zampanò's fate.

I have to admit that I was engrossed and intrigued from the very beginning. Danielewski's oddly put together novel has a way of sucking you in and keep you turning those pages. But one soon loses interest, as very little actually takes place. Moreover, the excrutiating amount of minutiae found in the footnotes simply proved to be too much for me. In the end, I was just going through the motions, reading on and hoping that something interesting would finally happen. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be. Is it scary? Not one bit. Could it have been? Sure. But I have a feeling that Mark Z. Danielewski spent too much time padding up his narrative with quirky or pseudo-academic footnotes and appendices instead of focusing his efforts on the plot itself and the characterization.

I am acutely aware that this is what gives House of Leaves its own flavor, what made it the cult book it has become over the years. And it's all well and good. But unfortunately, it absolutely did nothing for me.

The pace is atrocious, made even more uneven by the panoply of footnotes and other devices that take you away from the story.

If you are looking for something weird, something completely different, something that you will either love or hate, then Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves might be for you.

The final verdict: 6/10

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

Merry Christmas!

Hi guys!

Just wanted to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!

Take advantage of the Christmas break to spend time with friends and family, for that's all you really need! =)

Have a good one!

More inexpensive e-book goodies!

You can now download Paolo Bacigalupi's The Alchemist for 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Magic has a price. But someone else will pay.

Every time a spell is cast, a bit of bramble sprouts, sending up tangling vines, bloody thorns, and threatening a poisonous sleep. It sprouts in tilled fields and in neighbors’ roof beams, thrusts up from between street cobbles, and bursts forth from sacks of powdered spice. A bit of magic, and bramble follows. A little at first, and then more— until whole cities are dragged down under tangling vines and empires lie dead, ruins choked by bramble forest. Monuments to people who loved magic too much.

In paired novellas, award-winning authors Tobias Buckell and Paolo Bacigalupi explore a shared world where magic is forbidden and its use is rewarded with the axe. A world of glittering memories and a desperate present, where everyone uses a little magic, and someone else always pays the price.

In the beleaguered city of Khaim, a lone alchemist seeks a solution to a deadly threat. The bramble, a plant that feeds upon magic, now presses upon Khaim, nourished by the furtive spellcasting of its inhabitants and threatening to strangle the city under poisonous vines. Driven by desperation and genius, the alchemist constructs a device that transcends magic, unlocking the mysteries of bramble’s essential nature. But the power of his newly-built balanthast is even greater than he dreamed. Where he sought to save a city and its people, the balanthast has the potential to save the world entire—if it doesn’t destroy him and his family first

You can also download Tobias S. Buckell's The Executioness for 2.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

Magic has a price. But someone else will pay.

Every time a spell is cast, a bit of bramble sprouts, sending up tangling vines, bloody thorns, and threatening a poisonous sleep. It sprouts in tilled fields and in neighbors’ roof beams, thrusts up from between street cobbles, and bursts forth from sacks of powdered spice. A bit of magic, and bramble follows. A little at first, and then more— until whole cities are dragged down under tangling vines and empires lie dead, ruins choked by bramble forest. Monuments to people who loved magic too much.

In paired novellas, award-winning authors Tobias Buckell and Paolo Bacigalupi explore a shared world where magic is forbidden and its use is rewarded with the axe. A world of glittering memories and a desperate present, where everyone uses a little magic, and someone else always pays the price.

Magic has a price.

In Khaim, that price is your head if you’re found using it. For the use of magic comes with a side effect: it creates bramble. The bramble is a creeping, choking menace that has covered majestic ancient cities, and felled civilizations. In order to prevent the spread of the bramble, many lose their heads to the cloaked executioners of Khaim.

Tana is one of these executioners, taking the job over from her ailing father in secret, desperate to keep her family from starvation. But now her family has been captured by raiders, and taken to a foreign city.

So Khaim’s only female executioner begins a quest to bring her family back together. A bloody quest that will change lives, cities, and even an entire land, forever. A quest that will create the legend of The Executioness

*** Please remember that anything purchased via the Amazon links (used or new) till January 15th will help raise funds for Breast Cancer Research.

Quote of the Day

It was as if the interlopers had suggested to a bunch of born-again Christians that they hunt up the Ark of the Covenant and turn it into a pay toilet.

- STEPHEN KING, The Waste Lands (Canada, USA, Europe)

'Tis the Season Giveaway: Daw Books

It's now Daw Books' turn to step up to the plate! Their prize pack includes:

- Legacy of Kings by C. S. Friedman
- The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
- The Diviner by Melanie Rawn
- Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
- Spellcast by Barbara Ashford
- Magebane by Lee Arthur Chane.

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

This week's New York Times Bestsellers (December 19th)

In hardcover:

Stephen King's 11/22/63 is up one position, ending the week at number 1. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 is down two spots, finishing the week at number 13. For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

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

Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus is up one position, ending the week at number 18. For more information about this title: Canada, USA, Europe.

Gregory Maguire’s Out of Oz is down eight spots, finishing the week at number 25.

In paperback:

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is up five positions, ending the week at number 10.

George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is up nine positions, ending the week at number 12 (trade paperback).

George R. R. Martin's A Storms of Swords is up five positions, ending the week at number 13.

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings is up four spots, finishing the week at number 19.

George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows is up four positions, ending the week at number 20.

Max Brooks' World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is down one spot, finishing the week at number 21 (trade paperback).

Max Brooks' World War Z returns at number 25.

Kim Harrison's Pale Demon debuts at number 29.

George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings is down four spots, finishing the week at number 30 (trade paperback).

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

Tad Williams e-book promotion + Exclusive Extract

From now till the end of January, you can download Tad Williams' latest collection of short fiction, A Stark and Wormy Knight, for only 4.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

A fat new collection by best-selling fantasy and science fiction author Tad Williams, containing new material original to this book.

Tad Williams is an acknowledged master of the multi-volume epic. Through such popular series as Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn and Otherland, he has acquired a huge and devoted body of readers who eagerly await each new publication. A Stark and Wormy Knight offers those readers something both special and surprising: a virtuoso demonstration of Williams's mastery of a variety of shorter forms.

The range of tone, theme, style, and content reflected in this generous volume is nothing short of amazing. The title story is a tale within a tale of dragons and knights and is notable for its wit and verbal inventiveness. "The Storm Door" uses The Tibetan Book of the Dead to forge a singular new approach to the traditional zombie story. "The Terrible Conflagration at the Quiller's Mint" offers a brief, independent glimpse into the background of Williams's Shadowmarch series. "Ants" provides an ironic account of what can happen when a marriage goes irrevocably wrong.

Two of the longer entries show Williams working, with great facility, within the fictional creations of other writers. "The Thursday Men" is a hugely entertaining foray into the world of Mike Mignolla's Hellboy comics. The wonderfully titled "The Lamentably Comical Tragedy (or the Laughably Tragic Comedy) of Lixal Laqavee" is both a first-rate fantasy and a deeply felt homage to Jack Vance's immortal Dying Earth. Two other pieces offer rare and hard-to-find glimpses into other facets of Williams's talent. "Bad Guy Factory" is the script for a proposed series of DC Comics that never came to fruition. "Black Sunshine" is the immensely readable screenplay for a movie that remains, at least for the moment, unproduced. One can only hope.

These and other stories and novellas comprise a stellar collection that really does contain something for everyone. For longtime Williams readers, and for anyone with a taste for literate imaginative fiction, A Stark and Wormy Knight is a welcome, and indispensable, volume

(Please note: Subterranean Books will be publishing hardback and paperback editions Summer 2012.)

And to give you a taste, here's an exclusive excerpt from the short story "And Ministers of Grace," courtesy of the author! =) It was originally published in Warriors, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.


The seed whispers, sings, offers, instructs.

A wise man of the homeworld once said, “Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” Everything is possible for a committed man or woman. The universe is in our reach.

Visit the Orgasmium – now open 24 hours. We take Senior Credits. The Orgasmium – where YOU come first!

Your body temperature is normal. Your stress levels are normal, tending toward higher than normal. If this trend continues, you are recommended to see a physician.

I’m almost alive! And I’m your perfect companion – I’m entirely portable. I want to love you. Come try me. Trade my personality with friends. Join the fun!

Comb properties now available. Consult your local environment node. Brand new multi-family and single-family dwellings, low down payment with government entry loans…!

Commodity prices are up slightly on the Sackler Index at this hour, despite a morning of sluggish trading. The Prime Minister will detail her plans to reinvigorate the economy in her speech to Parliament…

A wise woman of the homeworld once said, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.”

* * *

His name is Lamentation Kane and he is a Guardian of Covenant – a holy assassin. His masters have placed a seed of blasphemy in his head. It itches like unredeemed sin and fills his skull with foul pagan noise.

The faces of his fellow travelers on the landing shuttle are bored and vacuous. How can these infidels live with this constant murmur in their heads? How can they survive and stay sane with the constant pinpoint flashing of attention signals at the edge of vision, the raw, sharp pulse of a world bristling and burbling with information?

It is like being stuck in a hive of insects, Kane thinks -- insects doing their best to imitate human existence without understanding it. He longs for the sweet, singular voice of Spirit, soothing as cool water on inflamed skin. Always before, no matter the terrors of his mission, that voice has been with him, soothing him, reminding him of his holy purpose. All his life, Spirit has been with him. All his life until now. Humble yourselves therefore under the strong hand of God, so that He may raise you up in due time.

Sweet and gentle like spring rain. Unlike this unending drizzle of filth, each word Spirit has ever spoken has been precious, bright like silver.

Cast all your burdens on Him, for He cares for you. Be in control of yourself and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

Those were the last words Spirit spoke to him before the military scientists silenced the Word of God and replaced it with the endless, godless prattle of the infidel world, Archimedes.

For the good of all mankind, they assured him: Lamentation Kane must sin again so that one day all men would be free to worship God. Besides, the elders pointed out, what was there for him to fear? If he succeeds and escapes Archimedes the pagan seed will be removed and Spirit will speak in his thoughts again. If he does not escape – well, Kane will hear the true voice of God at the foot of His mighty throne. Well done, my good and faithful servant

Beginning descent. Please return to pods, the pagan voices chirp in his head, prickling like nettles. Thank you for traveling with us. Put all food and packaging in the receptacle and close it. This is your last chance to purchase duty-free drugs and alcohol. Cabin temperature is 20 degrees centigrade. Pull the harness snug. Beginning descent. Cabin pressure stable. Lander will detach in twenty seconds. Ten seconds. Nine seconds. Eight seconds

It never ends, and each godless word burns, prickles, itches.

Who needs to know so much about nothing?

* * *

A child of one of the Christian cooperative farms on Covenant’s flat and empty plains, he was brought to New Jerusalem as a candidate for the elite Guardian unit. When he saw for the first time the white towers and golden domes of his planet’s greatest city, Kane had been certain that Heaven would look just that way. Now, as Hellas City rises up to meet him, capitol of great Archimedes and stronghold of his people’s enemies, it is bigger than even his grandest, most exaggerated memories of New Jerusalem – an immense sprawl with no visible ending, a lumpy white and gray and green patchwork of complex structures and orderly parks and lacy polyceramic web skyscrapers that bend gently in the cloudy upper skies like an oceanic kelp forest. The scale is astounding. For the first time ever in his life, Lamentation Kane has a moment of doubt – not in the rightness of his cause, but in the certainty of its victory.

But he reminds himself of what the Lord told Joshua: Behold I have given into thy hands Jericho, and the king thereof, and all the valiant men

Have you had a Creemy Crunch today? It blares through his thoughts like a klaxon. You want it! You need it! Available at any food outlet. Creemy Crunch makes cream crunchy! Don’t be a bitch, Mom! Snag me a CC – or three!

The devil owns the Kingdom of Earth. A favorite saying of one of his favorite teachers. But even from his high throne he cannot see the City of Heaven.

Now with a subdermal glow-tattoo in every package! Just squeeze it in under the skin -- and start shining!

Lord Jesus, protect me in this dark place and give me strength to do your work once more, Kane prays. I serve You. I serve Covenant.

* * *

It never stops, and only gets more strident after the lander touches down and they are ushered through the locks into the port complex.

Remember the wise words, air quality is in the low thirties on the Teng Fuo scale today. First time visitors to Archimedes go here, returning go there, where to stand, what to say, what to have ready. Restaurants, news feeds, information for transportation services, overnight accommodations, immigration law, emergency services, yammer yammer yammer until Kane wants to scream. He stares at the smug citizens of Archimedes around him and loathes every one of them. How can they walk and smile and talk to each other with this Babel in their heads, without God in their hearts?

Left. Follow the green tiles. Left. Follow the green tiles. They aren’t even people, they can’t be -- just crude imitations. And the variety of voices with which the seed bedevils him! High-pitched, low-pitched, fast and persuasive, moderately slow and persuasive, adult voices, children’s voices, accents of a dozen sorts, most of which he can’t even identify and can barely understand. His blessed Spirit is one voice and one voice only and he longs for her desperately. He always thinks of Spirit as “her”, although it could just as easily be the calm, sweet voice of a male child. It doesn’t matter. Nothing as crass as earthly sexual distinctions matter, any more than with God’s holy angels. Spirit has been his constant companion since childhood, his advisor, his inseparable friend. But now he has a pagan seed in his brain and he may never hear her blessed voice again.

I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. That’s what Spirit told him the night he was baptized, the night she first spoke to him. Six years old. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

He cannot think of that. He will not think of anything that might undermine his courage for the mission, of course, but there is a greater danger: some types of thoughts, if strong enough, can trigger the port’s security E-Grams, which can perceive certain telltale patterns, especially if they are repeated.

A wise man of the homeworld once said, “Man is the measure of all things…” The foreign seed doesn’t want him thinking of anything else, anyway.

Have you considered living in Holyoake Harbor? another voice asks, cutting through the first. Only a twenty-minute commute to the business district, but a different world of ease and comfort.

And of things which are not, that they are not, the first voice finishes, swimming back to the top. Another wise fellow made the case more directly: “The world holds two classes of men -- intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence."

Kane almost shivers despite the climate controls. Blur your thoughts, he reminds himself. He does his best to let the chatter of voices and the swirl of passing faces numb and stupefy him, making himself a beast instead of a man, the better to hide from God’s enemies.

* * *

He passes the various mechanical sentries and the first two human guard posts as easily as he hoped he would -- his military brethren have prepared his disguise well. He is in line at the final human checkpoint when he catches a glimpse of her, or at least he thinks it must be her -- a small, brown-skinned woman sagging between two heavily armored port security guards who clutch her elbows in a parody of assistance. For a moment their eyes meet and her dark stare is frank before she hangs her head again in a convincing imitation of shame. The words from the briefing wash up in his head through the fog of Archimedean voices – Martyrdom Sister – but he does his best to blur them again just as quickly. He can’t imagine any word that will set off the E-Grams as quickly as “Martyrdom”.

The final guard post is more difficult, as it is meant to be. The sentry, almost faceless behind an array of enhanced light scanners and lenses, does not like to see Arjuna on Kane’s itinerary, his last port of call before Archimedes. Arjuna is not a treaty world for either Archhimedes or Covenant, although both hope to make it so, and is not officially policed by either side.

The official runs one of his scanners over Kane’s itinerary again. “Can you tell me why you stopped at Arjuna, Citizen McNally?”

Kane repeats the story of staying there with his cousin who works in the mining industry. Arjuna is rich with platinum and other minerals, another reason both sides want it. At the moment, though, neither the Rationalists of Archimedes or the Abramites of Covenant can get any traction there: the majority of Arjuna’s settlers, colonists originally from the homeworld’s Indian sub-continent, are comfortable with both sides – a fact that makes both Archimedes and Covenant quite uncomfortable indeed.

The guard-post official doesn’t seem entirely happy with Lamentation Kane’s explanation and is beginning to investigate the false personality a little more closely. Kane wonders how much longer until the window of distraction is opened. He turns casually, looking up and down the transparent u-glass cells along the far wall until he locates the one in which the brown-skinned woman is being questioned. Is she a Muslim? A Copt? Or perhaps something entirely different – there are Australian Aboriginal Jews on Covenant, remnants of the Lost Tribes movement back on the homeworld. But whoever or whatever she is doesn’t matter, he reminds himself: she is a sister in god and she has volunteered to sacrifice herself for the sake of the mission – his mission.

She turns for a moment and their eyes meet again through the warping glass. She has acne scars on her cheeks but she’s pretty, surprisingly young to be given such a task. He wonders what her name is. When he returns – if he returns – he will go to the Great Tabernacle in New Jerusalem and light a candle for her.

Brown eyes. She seems sad as she looks at him before turning back to the guards. Could that be true? The Martyrs are the most privileged of all during their time in the training center. And she must know she will be looking on the face of God Himself very soon. How can she not be joyful? Does she fear the pain of giving up her earthly body?

As the sentry in front of him seems to stare out at nothing, reading the information that marches across his vision, Lamentation Kane opens his mouth to say something – to make small-talk the way a real returning citizen of Archimedes would after a long time abroad, a citizen guilty of nothing worse than maybe having watched a few religious broadcasts on Arjuna – when he sees movement out of the corner of his eye. Inside the u-glass holding cell the young, brown-skinned woman lifts her arms. One of the armored guards lurches back from the table, half-falling, the other reaches out his gloved hand as though to restrain her, but his face has the hopeless, slack expression of a man who sees his own death. A moment later bluish flames run up her arms, blackening the sleeves of her loose dress, and then she vanishes in a flare of magnesium white light.

People are shrieking and diving away from the glass wall, which is now spiderwebbed with cracks. The light burns and flickers and the insides of the walls blacken with a crust of what Kane guesses must be human fat turning to ash.

A human explosion – nanobiotic thermal flare -- that partially failed. That will be their conclusion. But of course, the architects of Kane’s mission didn’t want an actual explosion. They want a distraction.

The sentry in the guardpost polarizes the windows and locks up his booth. Before hurrying off to help the emergency personnel fight the blaze that is already leaking clouds of black smoke into the concourse, he thrusts Kane’s itinerary into his hand and waves him through, then locks off the transit point.

Lamentation Kane would be happy to move on, even if he were the innocent traveler he pretends to be. The smoke is terrible, with the disturbing, sweet smell of cooked meat.

What had her last expression been like? It is hard to remember anything except those endlessly deep, dark eyes. Had that been a little smile or is he trying to convince himself? And if it had been fear, why should that be surprising? Even the saints must have feared to burn to death.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil

Welcome back to Hellas, Citizen McNally! a voice in his head proclaims, and then the other voices swim up beneath it, a crowd, a buzz, an itch.

* * *

He does his best not to stare as the cab hurtles across the metroscape, but he cannot help being impressed by the sheer size of Archimedes’ first city. It is one thing to be told how many millions live there and to try to understand that it is several times the size of New Jerusalem, but another entirely to see the hordes of people crowding the sidewalks and skyways. Covenant’s population is mostly dispersed on pastoral settlements like the one on which Kane was raised, agrarian cooperatives that, as his teachers explained to him, keep God’s children close to the earth that nurtures them. Sometimes it is hard to realize that the deep, reddish soil he had spent his childhood digging and turning and nurturing was not the same soil as the Bible described. Once he even asked a teacher why if God made Earth, the People of the Book had left it behind.

“God made all the worlds to be earth for His children,” the woman explained. “Just as he made all the lands of the old Earth, then gave them to different folk to have for their homes. But he always kept the sweetest lands, the lands of milk and honey, for the children of Abraham, and that’s why when we left Earth he gave us Covenant.”

As he thinks about it now Kane feels a surge of warmth and loneliness commingled. It’s true that the hardest thing to do for love is to give up the beloved. At this moment, he misses Covenant so badly it is all he can do not to cry out. It is astounding in one as experienced as himself. God’s warriors don’t sigh, he tells himself sternly. They make others sigh instead. They bring lamentation to God’s enemies. Lamentation.

He exits the cab some distance from the safe house and walks the rest of the way, floating in smells both familiar and exotic. He rounds the neighborhood twice to make sure he is not followed, then enters the flatblock, takes the slow but quiet elevator up to the eighteenth floor, and lets himself in with the key code. It looks like any other Covenant safe house on any of the other colony worlds, cupboards well stocked with nourishment and medical supplies, little in the way of furniture but a bed and a single chair and a small table. These are not places of rest and relaxation, these are way stations on the road to Jericho.

It is time for him to change.

Kane fills the bathtub with water. He finds the chemical ice, activates a dozen packs and tosses them in. Then he goes to the kitchen and locates the necessary mineral and chemical supplements. He pours enough water into the mixture to make himself a thick, bitter milkshake and drinks it down while he waits for the water in the tub to cool. When the temperature has dropped far enough he strips naked and climbs in.

“You see, Kane,” one of the military scientists had explained, “we’ve reached a point where we can’t smuggle even a small hand-weapon onto Archimedes, let alone something useful, and they regulate their own citizens’ possession of weapons so thoroughly that we cannot chance trying to obtain one there. So we have gone another direction. We have created Guardians -- human weapons. That is what you are, praise the lord. It started in your childhood. That’s why you’ve always been different from your peers – faster, stronger, smarter. But we’ve come to the limit of what we can do with genetics and training. We need to give you what you need to make yourself into the true instrument of God’s justice. May He bless this and all our endeavors in His name. Amen.”

“Amen,” the Spirit in his head told him. “You are now going to fall asleep.”

“Amen,” said Lamentation Kane.

And then they gave him the first injection.

When he woke up that first time he was sore, but nowhere near as sore as he was the first time he activated the nanobiotes or “notes” as the scientists liked to call them. When the notes went to work, it was like a terrible sunburn on the outside and the inside both, and like being pounded with a roundball bat for at least an hour, and like lying in the road while a good-sized squadron of full-dress Holy Warriors marched over him.

In other words, it hurt.

Now, in the safehouse, he closes his eyes, turns down the babble of the Archimedes seed as far as it will let him, and begins to work.

It is easier now than it used to be, certainly easier than that terrible first time when he was so clumsy that he almost tore his own muscles loose from tendon and bone.

He doesn’t just flex, he thinks about where the muscles are that would flex if he wanted to flex them, then how he would just begin to move them if he were going to move them extremely slowly, and with that first thought comes the little tug of the cells unraveling their connections and re-knitting in different, more useful configurations, slow as a plant reaching toward the sun. Even with all this delicacy, his temperature rises and his muscles spasm and cramp, but not like the first time. That was like being born – no, like being judged and found wanting, as though the very meat of his earthly body was trying to tear itself free, as though devils pierced his joints with hot iron pitchforks. Agony.

Had the sister felt something like this at the end? Was there any way to open the door to God’s house without terrible, holy pain? She had brown eyes. He thinks they were sad. Had she been frightened? Why would Jesus let her be frightened, when even He had cried out on the cross?

Lamentation Kane tells the pain, This is Your way of reminding me to pay attention. I am Your servant, and I am proud to put on Your holy, I praise You Lord, armor.

* * *

It takes him at least two hours to finish changing at the best of times. Tonight, with the fatigue of his journey and long entry process and the curiously troubling effect of the woman’s martyrdom tugging at his thoughts, it takes him over three.

Kane gets out of the tub shivering, most of the heat dispersed and his skin almost blue-white with cold. Before wrapping the towel around himself he looks at the results of all his work. It’s hard to see any differences except for a certain broadness to his chest that was not there before, but he runs his fingers along the hard shell of his stomach and the sheath of gristle that now protects his windpipe and is satisfied. The thickening beneath the skin will not stop high-speed projectiles from close up, but they should help shed the energy of any more distant shot and will allow him to take a bullet or two from nearer and still manage to do his job. Trellises of springy cartilage strengthen his ankles and wrists. His muscles are augmented, his lungs and circulation improved mightily. He is a Guardian, and with every movement he can feel the holy modifications that have been given to him. Beneath the appearance of normality he is strong as Goliath, scaly and supple as a serpent.

He is starving, of course. The cupboards are full of powdered nutritional supplement drinks. He adds water and ice from the kitchen unit, mixes the first one up and downs it in a long swallow. He drinks five before he begins to feel full.

Kane props himself up on the bed – things are still sliding and grinding a little inside him, the last work of change just finishing – and turns the wall on. The images jump into life and the seed in his head speaks for them. He wills his way past sports and fashion and drama, all the unimportant gibberish with which these creatures fill their empty hours, until he finds a stream of current events. Because it is Archimedes, hive of Rationalist pagans, even the news is corrupted with filth, gossip and whoremongering, but he manages to squint his way through the offending material to find a report on what the New Hellas authorities are calling a failed terrorist explosion at the port. A picture of the Martyrdom Sister flashes onto the screen -- taken from her travel documents, obviously, anything personal in her face well hidden by her training -- but seeing her again gives him a strange jolt, as though the notes that tune his body have suddenly begun one last, forgotten operation.

Nefise Erim, they call her. Not her real name, that’s almost certain, any more than Keenan McNally is his. Outcast, that’s her true name. Scorned – that could be her name too, as it could be his. Scorned by the unbelievers, scorned by the smug, faithless creatures who, like Christ’s ancient tormentors, fear the word of God so much they try to ban Him from their lives, from their entire planet! But God can’t be banned, not as long as one human heart remains alive to His voice. As long as the Covenant system survives, Kane knows, God will wield his mighty sword and the unbelievers will learn real fear.

Oh, please, Lord, grant that I may serve you well. Give us victory over our enemies. Help us to punish those who would deny You.

And just as he lifts this silent prayer, he sees her face on the screen. Not his sister in martyrdom, with her wide, deep eyes and dark skin. No, it is her – the devil’s mistress, Keeta Januari, Prime Minister of Archimedes.

His target.

Januari is herself rather dark skinned, he cannot help noticing. It is disconcerting. He has seen her before, of course, her image replayed before him dozens upon dozens of times, but this is the first time he has noticed a shade to her skin that is darker than any mere suntan, a hint of something else in her background beside the pale, Scandinavian forebears so obvious in her bone structure. It is as if the martyred sister Nefise has somehow suffused everything, even his target. Or is it that the dead woman has somehow crept into his thoughts so deeply that he is witnessing her everywhere?

If you can see it, you can eat it! He has mostly learned to ignore the horrifying chatter in his head, but sometimes it still reaches up and slaps his thoughts away. Barnstorm Buffet! We don’t care if they have to roll you out the door afterward – you’ll get your money’s worth!

It doesn’t matter what he sees in the Prime Minister, or thinks he sees. A shade lighter or darker means nothing. If the devil’s work out here among the stars has a face, it is the handsome, narrow-chinned visage of Keeta Januari, leader of the Rationalists. And if God ever wanted someone dead, she is that person.

Game of Thrones Season 2: In Production - Belfast

The cast and crew of Game of Thrones Season 2 discuss the beauty of shooting in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Prometheus Trailer

Will it be another Aliens, or will it be crap?

Here's to hoping that it'll be the shit!!!

More inexpensive e-book goodies!

You can get Robin Hobb's Shaman's Crossing for 1.99$ here.

Here's the blurb:

The first book in a brand new trilogy from the author of the Farseer, Liveship Traders and Tawny Man trilogies. When the two-hundred year war between the kingdoms of Vania and Landsing ended the Landsingers were left in triumphant possession of Vania's rich coal and coast territories. When young King Troven assumed the throne of Vania thirty years later, he was determined to restore her greatness, not through waging another assault upon their traditional enemies, but by looking in the opposite direction and colonising the wild plains and steppes to their east. Over the next twenty years, cavalry forces manage to subdue the rolling plains formerly wasted on nomadic herders and tribesmen.Troven's campaign restores the pride of the Varnian military and to reward them, Troven creates a new nobility that is extremely loyal to their monarch. Beyond the grasslands lies the current frontier of Varnia, the heavily forested Barrier Mountains, home to enigmatic Specks: a dappled, forest dwelling people, unable to tolerate the heat and full sunlight of the plains. The new settlers find the Specks slightly dim-witted and overly placid, and yet strangely difficult to control. There are tales that they are 'blood-drinkers' and their nature worship of ancestral trees has presented difficulties for those who wish to harvest the forest's exotic timber. They also harbour strange diseases, ones that cause the Specks little more than a week or two of discomfort but which frequently kills those settlers and soldiers who fall victim to it. For that reason, prolonged contact, and especially intimate contact with the Specks is judged both fool-hardy and disgusting. Nevare Gerar is the second son of one of King Troven's new lords. Following in his father's footsteps, a commission as a cavalry officer at the frontier and an advantageous marriage await him, once he has completed his training at the King's Cavalry Academy.


Ladies and gentlemen, A Memory of Light--the final book in The Wheel of Time--has been finished.

This was posted on Brandon Sanderson's Twitter account earlier today. It was later confirmed on

So the fall 2012 release date appears to be on target!

Book trailer for Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's SISTERHOOD OF DUNE

Here's the blurb:

It is eighty-three years after the last of the thinking machines were destroyed in the Battle of Corrin, after Faykan Butler took the name of Corrino and established himself as the first Emperor of a new Imperium. Great changes are brewing that will shape and twist all of humankind.

The war hero Vorian Atreides has turned his back on politics and Salusa Secundus. The descendants of Abulurd Harkonnen Griffen and Valya have sworn vengeance against Vor, blaming him for the downfall of their fortunes. Raquella Berto-Anirul has formed the Bene Gesserit School on the jungle planet Rossak as the first Reverend Mother. The descendants of Aurelius Venport and Norma Cenva have built Venport Holdings, using mutated, spice-saturated Navigators who fly precursors of Heighliners. Gilbertus Albans, the ward of the hated Erasmus, is teaching humans to become Mentats…and hiding an unbelievable secret.

The Butlerian movement, rabidly opposed to all forms of “dangerous technology,” is led by Manford Torondo and his devoted Swordmaster, Anari Idaho. And it is this group, so many decades after the defeat of the thinking machines, which begins to sweep across the known universe in mobs, millions strong, destroying everything in its path. Every one of these characters, and all of these groups, will become enmeshed in the contest between Reason and Faith. All of them will be forced to choose sides in the inevitable crusade that could destroy humankind forever….

All of these powerful characters rapidly become embroiled in a great struggle between the opposing forces of Reason and Faith, the consequences of which will indelibly shape the future of humanity—or destroy it. The first installment in a new trilogy going back to the formation of the Dune Universe, SISTERHOOD OF DUNE will captivate and awe fans of science fiction and adventure as well as followers of the Dune novels

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

More inexpensive e-book goodies!

Stephen Hunt's novella Sliding Void is available for free till December 23rd here.

Here's the blurb:

Control Lana Fiveworlds has a hell of a lot of harms.

She’s sliding void in an ageing seven-hundred-year-ancient space ship, scrabbling around the edges of civilised space tiresome to find a cargo valuable enough to pay her bills without proving so risky that it’ll kill her. She’s got an alien devout freak for a route-finder, an unreliable android for a initially mate, a shamed lizard for a trade speaker and a deserter from the fleet performing arts as her chief persuade.

And that was well before an ex-crewman turns up wanting Lana to rescue a barbarian prince from a long-failed colony world.

Sorry to say for Lana, the harms she doesn’t know about are even more treacherous. In fact, they just might be enough to ruin Lana’s rickety but much-loved vessel, the Gravity Rose, and abandon her and her crew into the void without a spacesuit.

But there’s one business you can by no means tell an self-determining space trader. That’s the odds…

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey trailer

Why must they sing???

Still think that two movies for such a short book means that it's going to be mostly filler and not enough killer. . .

'Tis the Season Giveaway: Transworld

It's now Ace's turn to step up to the plate! Their prize pack includes:

- Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley
- The Watchers by Jon Steele
- Snuff by Terry Pratchett
- The Crippled God by Steven Erikson
- The Scar Crow Men by Mark Chadbourn


- Orb, Sceptre, Throne by Ian Cameron Esslemont (Canada, USA, Europe)

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

Quote of the Day

The heart's memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good.


'Tis the Season Giveaway: Ace

It's now Ace's turn to step up to the plate! Their prize pack includes:

- Dead Mann Walking by Stefan Petrucha
- Supervolcano by Harry Turtledove
- The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick
- Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman
- Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

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

Extract from Stephen King's THE DARK TOWER: THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE just posted an exclusive extract from Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole:

In King’s own words: “What happened to Roland, Jake, Eddie, Susannah, and Oy between the time they leave the Emerald City (the end of Wizard and Glass) and the time we pick them up again, on the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis (the beginning of Wolves of the Calla)? There was a storm, I decided....”

The Wind Through The Keyhole takes place between books four and five in The Dark Tower series.

The cover is by Jae Lee. Follow this link to read the excerpt.

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