Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Firedrake, Realms of Fantasy, and The Departure at SFFWorld

We’ve been averaging two to three new reviews per week at SFFWorld lately, and this week is no exception, one from me, one from Erfael/Joey, and one from Mark/Hobbit. I’ll do the link/cover/review blurb in that order.

I returned to the worlds of Warhammer 40,000 with the second book in Nick Kyme’s Tome of Fire Trilogy, Firedrake

Nick Kyme continues the story of a group of Salamanders, a unit of Space Marines in the military force of the Emperor’s Imperium of Man, in Firedrake, the middle book of the Tome of Fire Trilogy. Picking up not quite immediately from the events of Salamander, Kyme follows two storylines throughout the novel, one of which continues Da’Kir’s story, whose dreams and past continue to haunt him as he becomes initiated as a Lexicanum in the Librarium, in other words, the lowest rank of a military Librarian responsible for overseeing communications, memoirs, history of the chapter, as well as providing support in psychic battles against enemies of the Imperium of Man. As a Da’Kir undergoes the initiation rituals under Pyriel, Da’Kir’s dreams may have a large meaning, and Da’Kir himself may be the one prophesized in the legendary Tome of Fire, the bible for the Salamanders.

As he follows two storylines, Kyme plots them in different fashions. For Da’Kir’s story, it is a very mythic and singular journey. Da’Kir searches within himself, takes part in a symbolic, mental, and metaphysical struggle to become a member of the Librarium. I thought these scenes provided a sense of power, not just for Da’Kir, but for the overall mythology of the Salamanders themselves. This ‘hero’s journey’ also served to show how, even though the Salamanders are part of the overall Imperium of Man, they have a unique almost nationalistic identity that is their own.

Another review of short fiction from Joey/Erfael, this time the August 2011 Realms of Fantasy
This issue contains 5 short stories, an article on female fantasy artists, a Folkroots column on monsters, and a full complement of reviews of fiction (epic fantasy, urban fantasy, YA fantasy), games (PnP and electronic), graphic novels, and movies.…

The final short story of the issue, Alan Smale's "Leap of Faith" brings us an other-dimensional retelling of the fall of Sodom, or in this case Shadom. The main character, Levi, seems to be some sort of engineer or construction worker doing God's work in helping to shape the world. While his exact role is never made clear, the impacts of his work are: He leaves his family for months at a time, and when he comes back he has difficulty adjusting back to normal life. This story picks up just as he's returning from one of his times away from home when he's approached by a pair of "angels", bluish fellows who seem to know that the town is in trouble. In fact, they're there to save Levi and his family because they're the only good people in Shadom and God has further work for them. The family drama here and the way it fits into the Biblical story is interesting. There are some turns of phrase that feel very out of place in the setting until one realizes that this may not be a world quite like our own. This was an engaging, enjoyable story on which to close the issue's fiction section. RECOMMENDED

Mark returns to a favorite, Neal Asher, for a review of what turns out to be a new series titled The Owner, the first of which is The Departure:

Things in this dystopia are generally not good. A too-large population using too many of its finite resources without the luxury of expansion means that life for many is arduous. The idea that ‘Power Corrupts’ is important here, and there’s clearly something rotten in the socio-political structures of the 22nd century. The world government administrators live in luxury, whilst the ZA (Zero Asset) people, who contribute nothing to the economy, exist on a bare minimum with limited health care and facilities.

It’s all pretty fast, dramatic stuff. We have city riots, shootings, space planes destroyed, the deliberate bombardment of the Earth from space, and combat in space aided by construction robots. As you might therefore expect, the body count is very high (though that is something that you rather expect with Neal’s books.) This is definitely not one for the faint hearted in that respect, with body parts flying around and blood splashing many a wall.

Similarly, like many of Neal’s other books there’s also lots of cool gadgets: the robot-like Shepherds ensuring control, spider guns (robotic tanks), readerguns (that can recognise their targets before shooting them), space planes with scram jets and lots and lots of lethal guns.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Books in the Mail (W/E 2011-08-28)

A decent mix this week just before Hurricane Irene hit New Jersey, including some nice looking books from Orbit and a debut from Solaris and the latest from a genre heavyweight from Roc.

Stone Spring (Book One of The Northland Trilogy) by Stephen Baxter (Roc) Trade Paperback 11/01/2011 – Baxter is a leading Hard SF writer, though here, he turns his pen to the distant past, something he’s done in previous books. This could be an interesting set of books.

Alternate history at its most mindblowing-from the national bestselling author of Flood and Ark.

Ten thousand years ago, a vast and fertile plain exists linking the British Isles to Europe. Home to a tribe of simple hunter-gatherers, Northland teems with nature's bounty, but is also subject to its whims.

Fourteen-year-old Ana calls Northland home, but her world is changing. The air is warming, the ice is melting, and the seas are rising. Then Ana meets a traveler from a far-distant city called Jericho-a city that is protected by a wall. And she starts to imagine the impossible...

Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy #1) by Mira Grant (Orbit Trade Paperback 05/01/2010) – I’ve seen pretty good things about this book in the year since it first published, and the book received a Hugo nomination for best novel and the second novel just published recently. Not too shabby for a writer who also writes Urban Fantasy under the name of Seanan McGuirre.

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

NOW, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives-the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.

Germline (The Subterrene War #1) by T. C. McCarthy (Orbit , Trade Paperback 08/02/2011) – This is an interesting sounding military science fiction debut from an author whose background is quite impressive. I saw the Big Idea piece McCarthy did on John Scalzi’s Whatever, and I became even more interested in the book than I already was.:

Germline (n.) the genetic material contained in a cellular lineage which can be passed to the next generation. Also: secret military program to develop genetically engineered super-soldiers (slang).

War is Oscar Wendell's ticket to greatness. A reporter for The Stars and Stripes, he has the only one way pass to the front lines of a brutal war over natural resources buried underneath the icy, mineral rich mountains of Kazakhstan.

But war is nothing like he expected. Heavily armored soldiers battle genetically engineered troops hundreds of meters below the surface. The genetics-the germline soldiers-are the key to winning this war, but some inventions can't be un-done. Some technologies can't be put back in the box.

Kaz will change everything, not least Oscar himself. Hooked on a dangerous cocktail of adrenaline and drugs, Oscar doesn't find the war, the war finds him.

Hell Ship by Philip Palmer (Orbit Books, Trade Paperback 07/01/2011) – I’ve been wanting to get to Palmer’s SF for a while, from what I’ve gathered he’s a solid writer and storyteller. This one looks like a lot of fun with a great SF concept that for some reason reminds me of the old zoo exhibit in Superman’s Fortress of Solitude in classic the Silver Age stories.

The Hell Ship hurtles through space. Inside the ship are thousands of slaves, each the last of their race.

The Hell Ship and its infernal crew destroyed their homes, slaughtered their families and imprisoned them forever.

One man refuses to accept his fate. Sharrock, reduced from hero to slave in one blow, has sworn a mighty vengeance.

But help is closer than he knows. Jak has been following the Ship for years. Battle after battle has left Jak scarred and broken, a mind in a starship's body, bent on destroying the Ship for its crimes. Working together, can they end this interstellar nightmare?

The Recollection by Gareth L. Powell (Solaris Mass Market Paperback 08/23/2011) – Space Opera debut from an author who’s been plying his trade in short stories for quite some time.

When his brother disappears into a bizarre gateway on a London Underground escalator, failed artist Ed Rico and his brother's wife Alice have to put aside their feelings for each other to go and find him. Their quest through the 'arches' will send them hurtling through time, to new and terrifying alien worlds.

Four hundred years in the future, Katherine Abdulov must travel to a remote planet in order to regain the trust of her influential family. The only person standing in her way is her former lover, Victor Luciano, the ruthless employee of a rival trading firm.

Hard choices lie ahead as lives and centuries clash and, in the unforgiving depths of space, an ancient evil stirs...

Gareth L. Powell's epic new science-fiction novel delivers a story of galaxy-spanning scope by a writer of astounding vision.

Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations Omnibus #1) by Michael J. Sullivan (Orbit, Trade Paperback 11/23/2011) – Sullivan’s series has been making great waves since he published it under his and his wife’s imprint last year – terrific reviews and supremely impressive sales. Mr. Sullivan signed on with Orbit to publish the six books of the series in three 2-in-1 Omnibus volumes publishing in November, December, and January. I’m really looking forward to reading these books.

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 in order to keep a secret too terrible for the world to know?

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

When author Michael J. Sullivan self-published the first books of his Riyria Revelations, they rapidly became ebook bestsellers. Now, Orbit is pleased to present the complete series for the first time in bookstores everywhere. Theft of Swords was originally published as: The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Swords, Griffins, and Short Stories - Oh My!

Two more reviews this week at SFFWorld, I’ll start with mine. I took a look at a novel that launches both a trilogy The Chaos Knight trilogy, and an author’s novel writing career: Sword of Fire and Sea by Erin Hoffman:

Hoffman throws the reader directly into the fray with little preamble or wasted time, somewhat refreshing for a novel set in such a richly developed world. As Vidarian progresses through the story and communicates through a mental bond with the Gryphons, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Dragons from Anne McCaffrey’s Pern saga. Where the similarities end; however, is in the assertiveness of Hoffman’s Gryphons who are much more in tune with Andovar, the world in which the novel takes place. There’s a sense these beings are comprised of a portion of magic, or at the very least, have a direct connection to the source of magic in the world. Hoffman’s use of the Gryphons as something both intimate, because of how Vidiarian and the other characters communicated with them, as well as foreign and magical, in the way they possess a shared knowledge and power of magic, is perhaps the strongest element of the novel. Through her characters, Hoffman imbues the Gryphons with a true sense of awe, and an initial feeling of them being the Other.

The shortness of the novel may be both its strength and weakness. It seems clear that Hoffman is telling a longer story in a very well-developed world, both from a historical perspective (hinted and explained events prior to the novel, magic) and a global perspective (societies, cultures). Sword of Fire and Sea could have benefited from some more development of the characters to complement the hinted at developed world and backstory which serves as a pre-amble to the novel. I also felt as if some scenes weren’t entirely connected, things seemed to happen without a direct connection and I found this to be a major strike at the plausibility in Vidarian and Ariadel’s relationship.

Joey’s (Erfael) tear through short-fiction continues with the July/August 2011 issue of Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction edited by Gordon van Gelder:
The July/August issue contains 9 short stories, 5 columns, and a number of cartoons. As sometimes happens with an issue, there seems to be a recurring theme this month: Many of the stories either deal directly or indirectly with the loss of family members or loved ones.

In his first F&SF story in over a decade Peter David tells us of "Bronsky's Dates With Death". Bronsky suffers from a condition which forces him to speak honestly of anything that comes to mind. As he ages, he becomes more and more focused on his death, which he doesn't fear. In time, Death invites him to a meeting where he informs Bronsky that his frank candidness about his inevitable death is preventing it. Death can't work when he's his coming is both expected and welcomed. Bronsky and Death have a number of meetings over the course of the story. In his way, Bronsky speaks frankly about these meetings to his wife and daughter, who become understandably concerned for him. These various encounters with an exasperated death are quite funny. Between all that are the very real concerns Bronsky's wife and daughter have for his health. In the end David turns all the humor around and gives us a heartfelt finish where everyone gets what he or she wants or deserves.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Books in the Mail (W/E 2011-08-20)

An average week of arrivals here at the 'o Stuff,a couple from Pyr, a couple from Del Rey and one from Solaris.

Ravensoul (Legends of the Raven #4) by James Barclay (Pyr Trade Paperback 08/15/2011) – Fourth installment of The Legends of the Raven, the second trilogy of James Barclay’s mercenary heroes, and the novel which (for now) closes out the story of the popular mercenary heroes. Once again, the book has a stunning cover by Raymond Swanland.

Death cannot separate them.

For those who believe that death is the end, an unbroken rest and peace, here is the wake-up call. For those who believed that the defeat of the demons had finally secured peace for Balaia, here is an enemy far more deadly, far more ruthless and far, far colder.

The Garonin: dimensional travelers seeking new worlds to rape of the element of magical power. Technologically advanced in weaponry and armor, and facing only swords and magic, they are destroying everything in their path.

Surely this is not a battle The Raven can win, even with allies both elven and dragon. But prevail they must, somehow. One thing we know for sure is that they will not subside meekly into the void.

For aficionados of The Raven, this is the ultimate challenge. It cuts to the very heart —from calls beyond the veil of death, to dissension in their ranks, to the greed of men who cannot see they are about to die, to betrayal by one they loved. But above it all, the heroism and selfless sacrifice displayed will bring tears to the eyes of even the most hardened fantasy reader.

This is The Raven, older, wiser, some returned from the grave. Grieving they seek nothing but rest from conflict, something the world will not grant them. But they remain The Raven, still answering when the call comes, still the force most likely to survive and bring the world with them, and still willing to die so that those they love can live.

Thirteen Years Later (The Danilov Quintet #3) by Jasper Kent (Pyr , Trade Paperback 10/25/2011) – The venerable Hobbit has reviewed the second in the seriesThirteen Years Later in 2010 and the first, Twelve, before that for SFFWorld. He and Pat (of the Fantasy Hotlist) conducted an interview with Mr. Kent late last year. Here’s the back cover copy of the book:

Russia 1855. After forty years of peace in Europe, war rages. In the Crimea, the city of Sevastopol is besieged. In the north, Saint Petersburg is blockaded. But in Moscow there is one who needs only to sit and wait – wait for the death of an aging tsar, and for the curse upon his blood to be passed to a new generation.

As their country grows weaker, a man and a woman—unaware of the hidden ties that bind them—must come to terms with their shared legacy. In Moscow, Tamara Valentinovna Komarova uncovers a brutal murder and discovers that it not the first in a sequence of similar crimes, merely the latest, carried out by a killer who has stalked the city since 1812.

And in Sevastopol, Dmitry Alekseevich Danilov faces not only the guns of the combined armies of Britain and France, but must also make a stand against creatures that his father had thought buried beneath the earth, thirty years before.

Dangerous Waters (Book 1 of The Hadrumal Crisis) by Juliet E. McKenna (Solaris Books, Mass Market Paperback 08/30/2011) – The only bit of fiction I’ve read by Ms. McKenna is The Wizard’s Coming now available free which appeared in The Solaris Book of New Fantasy a few years ago. I liked it then and only realize as I write this blog entry the story is a prequel to this novel. Solaris is backing this book rather nicely and I love that cover by Clint Langley.

The Archmage rules the island of wizards. From here he enforces the Edicts of the Council of Wizardry. Foremost is the ban on magecraft in warfare. But there is a rumour of rogue wizardry in Lescar’s recent civil war. There’s the rise of Artifice, its adepts not subject to the Archmage’s edicts. Now the Emperor of Tormalin is offering them his protection. There are corsairs raiding the Caladhrian Coast, enslaving villagers and devastating trade. Barons and merchants beg for magical aid. But all help has been refused.

This is no comfort to Lady Zurenne whose husband has been murdered by corsairs. Now a man she doesn’t even know stands as guardian over her and her daughters. Corrain, former captain and now slave, knows that man is a rogue wizard, selling his skills to the corsairs. If Corrain can escape, he’ll see justice done. Unless Jilseth, magewoman and Archmage’s confidante, can catch the renegade first, before the full extent of his villainy is revealed.

If that happens, at a time when wizardry faces so many other challenges, the scandal could have dire consequences indeed!

Dangerous Waters is the first book in a stunning new fantasy series from a major voice in fantasy.

Hellbent (Cheshire Red Reports Series #2) by Cherie Priest (Spectra, Trade Paperback 08/30/2011) – Second in Priest’s urban fantasy mixing vampires, thieves, spies, and governmental intrigue. Hobbit reviewed the first in the series, Bloodshot, recently for SFFWorld, upon the book’s UK publication.

Cherie Priest — the acclaimed author of Boneshaker, the hottest steampunk novel of 2009 — now returns with the second novel in her hip urban fantasy series, following February's Bloodshot.

With the government now off her tail, vampire and superthief Raylene Pendle is up to her old tricks, hired to retrieve a valuable magical artifact. But this time, a powerful witch also wants the artifact — which she plans to use to unmake the world as we know it. And to make matters worse, someone wants to kill the only friend Raylene has made in years. So now, Raylene must cross the country in company with ex-Navy SEAL and fabulous drag queen Adrian, trying to juggle two incredibly tricky assignments at the same time without losing control of either.

Wayfinder (Book Two of The Worldwalker Duology) by C.E. Murphy (Trade Paperback 09/6/2011 Del Rey) – Crossover fantasy featuring a Boston woman fighting in the world of Faery. .


Lara Jansen is a truthseeker, gifted—or cursed—with the magical ability to tell honesty from lies. Once she was a tailor in Boston, but now she has crossed from Earth to the Barrow-lands, a Faerie world embroiled in a bloody civil war between Seelie and Unseelie. Armed with an enchanted and malevolent staff which seeks to bend her to its dark will, and thrust into a deadly realm where it’s hard to distinguish friend from foe, Lara is sure of one thing: her love for Dafydd ap Caerwyn, the Faerie prince who sought her help in solving a royal murder and dousing the flames of war before they consumed the Barrow-lands.

But now Dafydd is missing, perhaps dead, and the Barrow-lands are closer than ever to a final conflagration. Lara has no other choice: she must harness the potent but perilous magic of the staff and her own truthseeking talents, blazing a path to a long-forgotten truth—a truth with the power to save the Barrow-lands or destroy them.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Conan, Realms of Fantasy, & Gary Gibson Reviewed at SFFWorld

Lest anybody think I’m the only person providing content, in the form of reviews, to SFFWorld. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. Over the past week, we’ve got three new reviews. First up, Mark Yon’s review of Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard. This is the latest mass market release collecting stories about the mighty-thewed barbarian just in time for the new film:

This short time of intensive publication is such for a very sad reason. Howard killed himself, following the death of his mother, at the age of thirty in June 1936. Most of his Conan tales therefore were written between 1932 and 1936, and set in the Hyborean Age, which Howard described as a time after the disappearance of Atlantis but before present civilizations appeared.

The tales included here are:
The Tower of the Elephant; Rogues in the House; The Frost Giant’s Daughter; Queen of the Black Coast; A Witch Shall Be Born; The People of the Black Circle; Red Nails; Beyond the Black River; and the background article for the stories, The Hyborian Age.

The selection is generally a good one. The tales are not in written/publication order, but instead broadly chronologically throughout Conan’s life. The Conan in The Tower of the Elephant is described as ‘a youth’, the Conan of Beyond the Black River an older man.

Joey (Erfael) continues his short-fiction reviews with the June 2011 issue of Realms of Fantasy by Fiction Editor - Shawna McCarthy; Editor - Douglas Cohen , the 100th issue of the venerable fantasy magazine:
The June 2011 issue marks the 100th issue of RoF. RoF is a full-sized, full-color magazine with full-page art accompanying every short story. This is the second magazine added to our collection of periodical short fiction reviews.

This issue contains 7 short stories, poetry by Ursula K. LeGuin, a gallery and article on artist Petar Meseldzja, a Folkroots column on fairies, and a full complement of fiction, gaming, graphic novel, and movie reviews.

"Wreathed in Wisteria, Draped in Ivy" is an Oriental-themed story by Euan Harvey. It's made up of tales within tales within a letter that implies an even larger tale above all. The letter tells of one man's discovery and pursuit of never-ending life. He follows the trail through many hardships and battles and eventually comes to know the secret of avoiding death. All of this is done in pursuit of vengeance he seeks to serve on someone he refers to only as Noble Lord. This is a fun quest fantasy outside of the more typical medieval setting, and all the more interesting for it. RECOMMENDED.

Back to Mark for a review of the latest from a fairly new, yet relatively popular and acclaimed, UK SF writer – Gary Gibson. The book under review is Final Days:

The story is set in 2235. The key premise of the tale is that wormholes, if one end is accelerated to relativistic speeds, can allow people to travel hundreds of light years quickly. People who travel outside the gate can eventually catch up with the people who have travelled through the gate but only by travelling at standard speeds. Thus we appear to travel in time, with those going through the wormholes able to travel into the future, so to speak.

This is a big Niven-esque type disaster novel, or perhaps a Greg Bear (Forge of God springs to mind), so much so that it really needs one of those dramatis personae lists at the front. Though there are the main characters, a number of others are there to help develop the plot, which are a little more less developed and can take careful following.

It’s also a book that you have to just accept at the beginning, even when things don’t always make immediate sense travelling forward and backward in time. It’s a tale that needs a while to set the scene and develop. Of course, as we have ‘seen’ video from 2245, we know what is going to happen: if the title of the book doesn’t give it away, it does seem that the future is set and unchangeable, though this is never as clear-cut as it sounds..

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Prince of Thorn by Mark Lawrence Plus Interview

Mark Lawrence's debut novel, Prince of Thorns, published two weeks ago. When I read it last week, I tore through it in less than one 24 hour period. That's how addictive and engaging his first person narrative, as told through Prince Jorg, was for me. The book has been one of the more buzzworthy debuts of the year, with one of the more active discussion topics at SFFWorld dedicated to the book.

Today, I posted my review of the book, as well as an interview I conducted with Mark via e-mail over the past week or so. Regular readers of my blog know the drill -- I post the cover shot, an excerpt of the review and link. Below the excerpt/cover is another link to the interview.

Told in a first person narrative, Prince Jorg comes across as an unapologetic, contentious, cruel, spiteful, and angry young man. Think Thomas Covenant with a healthy dose of teen angst and a sword and you might be halfway to getting a feel for the protagonist. First person narrative can be a tricky method for telling a novel-length story for the entirety of the thing rests on the shoulders of the protagonist, and the writer’s ability to generate a charismatic and compelling voice. The maturity of Jorg’s voice, along with the smooth almost matter-of-fact delivery makes it very easy to forget the protagonist is only 13/14 years old for a majority of the novel. Jorg does not mince words and at just over 300 pages, Lawrence’s novel is powerful and packs a great deal in a concise and powerful package. In other words, Lawrence has created a compelling storyteller in Prince Jorg.


this book is not for the squeamish or the light of heart. What is most refreshing about Jorg is that he makes no excuses for the things he’s done. He only hints at these things, and along the path of the narrative, the horrible things are implied more often than not.

… On the road I did things that men might call evil. There were crimes…I’ve grown, but whatever monster might be in me, it was always mine, my choice, my responsibility, my evil if you will. …

Here's a bit from the interview:

You come across as honest and savvy with the people of the Intarwebs. Speaking as a moderator at SFFWorld, this is most welcome. How important is keeping your virtual presence active, in terms of cultivating readers?

I don’t know. Many sources tell me that the influence of the blog-sphere and groups like SFF World is not as significant as you might think. Certainly no publisher has ever suggested that joining forums etc was a good investment of time. And the darlings of many forums (Bakker for example) are not noticeably more successful than many who are widely reviled in such places. So I spend time on SFF World primarily because it’s damn good fun. Of course, I can’t believe that it’s not good for spreading the word as well – it has to be doesn’t it? And because being a carer for my little girl means I’m never free for more than a few hours at a time, I can’t travels for signings and events, so it seems an ideal way for me to do my bit.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Books in the Mail (W/E 2011-08-13)

Lots of books this week, with nine arriving on Monday alone.

Circle of Enemies (A Twenty Palaces Novel, #3) by Harry Connolly (Del Rey Mass Market Paperback 8/30/2011) – Third in Del Rey’s answer to Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. Right, I know that sounds a little unfair, but the story does fit the practicing sorcerer in the modern world.

Former car thief Ray Lilly is now the expendable grunt of a sorcerer responsible for destroying extra-dimensional predators summoned to our world by power-hungry magicians. Luckily, Ray has some magic of his own, and so far it’s kept him alive. But when a friend from his former gang calls him back to his old stomping grounds in Los Angeles, Ray may have to face a threat even he can’t handle. A mysterious spell is killing Ray’s former associates, and they blame him. Worse yet, the spell was cast by Wally King, the sorcerer who first dragged Ray into the brutal world of the Twenty Palace Society. Now Ray will have to choose between the ties of the past and the responsibilities of the present, as he and the Society face not only Wally King but a bizarre new predator.

Rage by Del Rey Trade Paperback 8/30/2011) – The latest in Del Rey’s growing line of video game novelizations/tie-ins from a writer who has experience across most genre media.

An action-packed adventure based on the award-winning videogame from id Software, the creators of DOOM® and QUAKE®, Rage follows one man’s fight to save the future of humanity in a ravaged, post-apocalyptic world.

The asteroid Apophis has annihilated Earth, and only a small percentage of humanity’s best and brightest have been saved. Buried deep below the ground in life-sustaining Arks, these chosen few are tasked with one vital mission—to restore civilization to a devastated planet hundreds of years after the impact.

When Lieutenant Nick Raine emerges from his Ark, he finds a future indistinguishable from nightmare. Humankind has not been entirely destroyed on the surface world, and a primitive new society has emerged in which life is nasty, brutish, and short. Mutants and bandits prey upon the weak, and a mysterious military group known as the Authority preys upon everyone. Worst of all, a would-be tyrant seeks to impose his will upon the shattered planet. Armed with nothing more than his combat training and survival instincts, Raine must rise to meet the challenges of the wasteland.

Thomas World by Richard Cox (NightShade BooksTrade Paperback 09/06/2011) – I’m continued to be impressed with the interesting sounding debut novels Night Shade has been publishing this year. The cover on this one looks VERY much like the Vintage trade paperback re-issues of Philip K. Dick’s backlist. Not surprising since the book is compared to PKD.

Thomas Phillips knows he''s losing his mind. He''s been losing it for as long as he can remember. And yet, when a strange old man asks him to consider that he, out of everyone in the world, knows the real truth, Thomas'' life begins to spiral out of control. He loses interest in his job and is fired. He refuses his wife''s suggestion of psychiatric care, and she leaves him. In the end, Thomas is alone. Except he''s not, because someone seems to be following him. What if you were Thomas? Where would you go? What would you do? What if you realized every person in your life had been scripted to be there? What if you were haunted by the idea that you''d lived all these encounters before, hundreds or even thousands of times before? And what if the person watching all this time was you?

Thomas World explores what happens when the borders of reality start seeming a bit pores... when things start bleeding through the edges, challenging ones perceptions of the universe. The grand tradition of Dickian, New Wave SF is explored by Richard Cox in this 21st century thriller!

Necropolis by Michael Dempsey (NightShade BooksTrade Paperback 09/06/2011) – Zombies and noir mix in Dempsey’s debut novel, which to me has a similar premise to James Knapp’s State of Decay

Paul Donner is a NYPD detective struggling with a drinking problem and a marriage on the rocks. Then he and his wife get dead--shot to death in a "random" crime. Fifty years later, Donner is back--revived courtesy of the Shift, a process whereby inanimate DNA is re-activated.

This new "reborn" underclass is not only alive again, they're growing younger, destined for a second childhood. The freakish side-effect of a retroviral attack on New York, the Shift has turned the world upside down. Beneath the protective geodesic Blister, clocks run backwards, technology is hidden behind a noir facade, and you can see Bogart and DiCaprio in The Maltese Falcon III. In this unfamiliar retro-futurist world of flying Studebakers and plasma tommy guns, Donner must search for those responsible for the destruction of his life. His quest for retribution, aided by Maggie, his holographic Girl Friday, leads him to the heart of the mystery surrounding the Shift's origin and up against those who would use it to control a terrified nation.

Twilight of Lake Woebegotten by Harrison Geillor (Nightshade Books Trade Paperback 10/04/2011) – This seems to be a sequel to Geillor’s Zombie novel set in Woebegotten with a humorous twist on a certain northwest group of vampires:

A small town... a plucky heroin, a shiny vampire, and a hunkey Native American rival with a secret. But all is not as it seems in Lake Woebegotten. Let Harrison Geillor reveal what lies beneath the seemingly placid surface. You’ll laugh. We promise.

When Bonnie Grayduck relocates from sunny Santa Cruz California to the small town of Lake Woebegotten, Minnesota, to live with her estranged father, chief of the local two-man police department, she thinks she’s leaving her troubles behind. But she soon becomes fascinated by another student - the brooding, beautiful Edwin Scullen, whose reclusive family hides a terrible secret. (Psst: they're actually vampires. But they're the kind who don't eat people, so it's okay.) Once Bonnie realizes what her new lover really is, she isn't afraid. Instead, she sees potential. Because while Bonnie seems to her friends and family to be an ordinary, slightly clumsy, easily-distracted girl, she’s really manipulative, calculating, power hungry, and not above committing murder to get her way - or even just to amuse herself. This is a love story about monsters... but the vampire isn't the monster.

The Mandel Files, Volume I (Mindstar Rising and A Quantum Murder #1) by Peter F. Hamilton. (Del Rey Trade Paperback 08/23/2011) – Omnibus reissue of Hamilton’s early novels, which are in the Psychic Detective subgenre. I’ve seen good things about these so I’ll likely get to these eventually.


For the first time in a single volume, Peter F. Hamilton’s acclaimed novels—Mindstar Rising and A Quantum Murder—set in a near-future so real it seems ripped from tomorrow’s headlines

In Mindstar Rising, Greg Mandel, gifted—or cursed—with biotechnology that makes him a living lie detector, is hired to investigate corporate espionage by Event Horizon, a powerful company about to introduce a technology that will solve the energy problems of a world decimated by global warming.

Set two years later, A Quantum Murder once again teams Mandel with Event Horizon and its beautiful young owner, Julia Evans, in a locked-room mystery that combines the ingenuity of an Agatha Christie novel with cutting-edge speculative brilliance.

Read together, these novels take on fresh depth and complexity, underscoring the magnitude of Peter F. Hamilton’s creative talent.

The Truth of Valor (A Confederation Novel) by Tanya Huff (DAW Mass Market Paperback 09/06/2011) – Fifth book in Huff’s Military SF/Space Opera saga from the prolific and varied Huff.

Having left the Marine Corps, former Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is attempting to build a new life with salvage operator Craig Ryder. Turns out, civilian life is a lot rougher than she'd imagined. Torin is left for dead when pirates attack their spaceship and take Craig prisoner. But "left for dead" has never stopped Torin. Determined to rescue Craig, she calls in her Marines. And that's when her mission expands to stopping the pirates from changing the balance of power in known space.

The Book of Cthulhu edited by Ross E. Lockhart (Nightshade Books Trade Paperback 10/04/2011) – Ross has been in the Night Shade fold for quite a while and this is his first full anthology with them. Who doesn’t love some Cthulhu craziness? Only crazy folks and this looks to be another in an impressive line of themed anthologies from the NSB folks.

The Cthulhu Mythos is one of the 20th century''s most singularly recognizable literary creations. Initially created by H. P. Lovecraft and a group of his amorphous contemporaries (the so-called "Lovecraft Circle"), The Cthulhu Mythos story cycle has taken on a convoluted, cyclopean life of its own. Some of the most prodigious writers of the 20th century, and some of the most astounding writers of the 21st century have planted their seeds in this fertile soil. The Book of Cthulhu harvests the weirdest and most corpulent crop of these modern mythos tales. From weird fiction masters to enigmatic rising stars, The Book of Cthulhu demonstrates how Mythos fiction has been a major cultural meme throughout the 20th century, and how this type of story is still salient, and terribly powerful today.

Table of Contents:

Caitlin R. Kiernan - Andromeda among the Stones Ramsey Campbell - The Tugging Charles Stross - A Colder War Bruce Sterling - The Unthinkable Silvia Moreno-Garcia - Flash Frame W. H. Pugmire - Some Buried Memory Molly Tanzer - The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins Michael Shea - Fat Face Elizabeth Bear - Shoggoths in Bloom T. E. D. Klien - Black Man With A Horn David Drake - Than Curse the Darkness Charles Saunders - Jeroboam Henley''s Debt Thomas Ligotti - Nethescurial Kage Baker - Calamari Curls Edward Morris - Jihad over Innsmouth Cherie Priest - Bad Sushi John Hornor Jacobs - The Dream of the Fisherman''s Wife Brian McNaughton - The Doom that Came to Innsmouth Ann K. Schwader - Lost Stars Steve Duffy - The Oram County Whoosit Joe R. Lansdale - The Crawling Sky Brian Lumley - The Fairground Horror Tim Pratt - Cinderlands Gene Wolfe - Lord of the Land Joseph Pulver, Sr. - To Live and Die in Arkham John Langan - The Shallows Laird Barron - The Men from Porlock

One Salt Sea (An October Daye Novel) by Seanan McGuire (DAW Mass Market 09/06/2011) – McGuire as an extremely fast writer, who seems to manage quality along with that timeliness as she’s been nominated for several awards under the Mira Grant moniker for Feed. This is the fifth book in the series in just under two years.

October "Toby" Daye is settling into her new role as Countess of Goldengreen. She's actually dating again, and she's taken on Quentin as her squire. So, of course, it's time for things to take a turn for the worse.

Someone has kidnapped the sons of the regent of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist. To prevent a war between land and sea, Toby must find the missing boys and prove the Queen of the Mists was not behind their abduction. Toby's search will take her from the streets of San Francisco to the lands beneath the waves, and her deadline is firm: she must find the boys in three days' time, or all of the Mists will pay the price. But someone is determined to stop her-and whoever it is isn't playing by Oberon's Laws...

Coronets and Steel (Dobrenica Urban Fantasy Series #2) by Shrewood Smith (DAW Mass Market Paperback 09/06/2011) – First novel in a series about a young swashbuckling girl.

Kim's a grad student in L.A. Her passions are ballet, fencing, Jane Austen, and swashbuckling, romantic old movies. When her grandmother begs her to go east and see if "they" are safe, then slips into an uncommunicative silence, Kim goes to Vienna to search for a family, armed with only two clues. She's having no luck when she first runs into a ghost, and then encounters a guy she mentally dubs Mr. Darcy. Only this Mr. Darcy acts like he knows her. When she goes out for a drink and wakes up on a train, the adventure begins. This story began as an homage to Prisoner of Zenda, only with a female having to prove her courage, dash . . . and honor.

Tears of the Sun (A Novel of the Change) by S. M. Stirling (Roc Hardcover 09/06/2011) – Like clockwork, it’s September and time for a new Stirling novel. The post-apocalyptic (or post-‘Change’) setting of this novel seems right up my alley in a lot of ways. I’ve never read any Stirling and this is quite a few books into the series so I wonder if it is a good jumping-on point. I’ve seen good things about Stirling, so this book may be a “I’ll catch up with it eventually”

Rudi McKenzie-now Artos, the High King of Montival-must fulfill his destiny. He wields the sword crafted for him before he was born. He has made friends of his enemies. He has won the heart of the woman he loves.

And now he must defeat the forces of the Church Universal and Triumphant, knowing he may lose his life in the final battle...

Count to a Trillion by John C. Wright (Tor Hardcover 12/20/2011) – First in a quartet of Space Opera novels by the author of Fugitives of Chaos, which I reviewed a couple of years ago.

John C. Wright burst upon the SF scene a decade ago with the Golden Age trilogy, an innovative space opera. He went on to write fantasy novels, including the popular Orphans of Chaos trilogy. And now he returns to space opera in Count to a Trillion.

After the collapse of the world economy, a young boy grows up in what used to be Texas as a tough duellist for hire, the future equivalent of a hired gun. But even after the collapse, there is space travel, and he leaves Earth to have adventures in the really wide open spaces. But he is quickly catapulted into the more distant future, while humanity, and Artificial Intelligence, grows and changes and becomes a kind of superman..

Seed by Rob Ziegler (Nightshade Books Hardcover 11/15/2011) – Relatively near future dystopic SF debut with a superb cover.

It's the dawn of the 22nd century, and the world has fallen apart. Decades of war and resource depletion have toppled governments. The ecosystem has collapsed. A new dust bowl sweeps the American West. The United States has become a nation of migrants -starving masses of nomads who seek out a living in desert wastelands and encampments outside government seed-distribution warehouses.

In this new world, there is a new power. Satori is more than just a corporation, she is an intelligent, living city that grew out of the ruins of Denver. Satori bioengineers both the climate-resistant seed that feeds a hungry nation, and her own post-human genetic Designers, Advocates, and Laborers. What remains of the United States government now exists solely to distribute Satori seed; a defeated American military doles out bar-coded, single-use Satori seed to the nation's starving citizens.

When one of Satori's Designers goes rogue, Agent Sienna Doss-Ex-Army Ranger turned glorified bodyguard-is tasked by the government to bring her in: The government wants to use the Designer to break Satori's stranglehold on seed production and reassert themselves as the center of power.

Sianna Doss's search for the Designer intersects with Brood and his younger brother Pollo - orphans scrapping by on the fringes of the wastelands. Pollo is abducted, because he is believed to suffer from Tet, a newly emergent disease, the victims of which are harvested by Satori.

As events spin out of control, Brood and Sienna Doss find themselves at the heart of Satori, where an explosive climax promises to reshape the future of the world.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Age of Zeus Plus Two Interviews @ SFFWorld

Just one review this week, but a couple of interviews to keep things nice and active at SFFWorld. We’ll start with my review of a book that provides a crackling mix of mythology and military science fiction, The Age of Zeus by James Lovegrove:

Imagine the Greek Gods are real and have returned to Earth. Imagine they’ve set up shop as the new rulers of the world, but aren’t exactly benevolent. Imagine humanity fighting back after about ten years of being subjugated by those gods. Well, James Lovegrove has imagined such a scenario and told the story in The Age of Zeus, the second novel in his thematically linked Pantheon Trilogy* of books. If I were the type to throw a high-concept tag line onto a book, and I am, I would say this is book is one part John Scalzi novel, one part God of War video game, and all-together fun and entertaining.

In such a fun and entertaining novel, Lovegrove still has room for touching on some deeper issues. For example, with Sam as our protagonist, we get to view a man of power, Landesman, from the outside as she deconstructs his motivations and just who he is. With many members of the Titan army, Lovegrove explores the sense of loss and motivation for joining Landesman's Titans, as well as the power of religion and interpersonal relationships.

Recent interviews include

Liane Mercel – author of Heaven’s Needle which is the sequel to River Kings Road

J.A. Pitts – author of Black Blade Blues and the forthcoming sequel Honeyed Words

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Books in the Mail (W/E 2011-08-06)

Here’s the weekly round-up of books that arrived in my mailbox/in front of my garage/on my porch, depending on the carrier who delivered the books.

The Measure of the Magic (Legends of Shannara) by Terry Brooks (Hardcover 8/30/2011 Del Rey) – I've said it before, I find him a frustrating writer in that I like the concepts of what he wants to do, but my reading sensibilities don't always agree with his execution of those concepts. I really enjoyed The Scions of Shannara when I read it and think Brooks is one of the most important fantasy writers of the last 25-30 years.

After more than three decades of captivating epic fantasy readers, the storytelling magic of New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks’s Shannara saga continues to enthrall. Now the fascinating chronicle of Shannara’s prehistory reaches a thrilling new peak in the sequel to Bearers of the Black Staff.

For five hundred years, the survivors of the Great Wars lived peacefully in a valley sanctuary shielded by powerful magic from the blighted and dangerous outside world. But the enchanted barriers have crumbled, the borders have been breached by predators, and the threat of annihilation looms large once more. Sider Ament, bearer of the last black staff and its profound power, devoted his life to protecting the valley and its inhabitants—and, in his final moments, gave stewardship of the black staff to the young tracker Panterra Qu. Now the newly anointed Knight of the Word must take up the battle against evil wherever it threatens: from without, where an army of bloodthirsty trolls is massing for invasion; and from within, where the Elf king of Arborlon has been murdered, his daughter, Princess Phryne Amarantyne, stands accused, and a heinous conspiracy is poised to subjugate the kingdom. But even these will pale beside the most harrowing menace Panterra is destined to confront—a nameless, merciless figure who wanders the devastated land on a relentless mission: to claim the last black staff . . . and the life of he who wields it.

Out of the Waters (Books of the Elements #2) by David Drake (Tor, Hardcover 07/19/2011) – Drake is a giant in Military themed fantasy and science fiction. This is the second book in “a series of four fantasy novels set in a city and empire named Carce, which very similar to that of Rome in 30 AD.” Drake mixes myth and magic with history

The second novel of The Books of the Elements.

The wealthy Governor Saxa, of the great city of Carce, has generously and lavishly subsidized a theatrical/religious event. During this elaborate staging of Hercules founding a city on the shores of Lusitania, strange and dark magic turns the panoply into a chilling event. The sky darkens and the waves crash in the flooded arena. A great creature rises from the sea: a huge, tentacled horror on snake legs. It devastates the city, much to the delight of the crowd. A few in the audience, although not Saxa, understand that this was not mere stagecraft, but something much darker and more dangerous. If all signs are being read right, this illusion could signify a dreadful intrusion of supernatural powers into the real world. Saxa’s son, Varus, has been the conduit for such an event once before.

This new novel in David Drake’s chronicles of Carce, The Books of the Elements, is as powerful and elaborate as that fantastic theatrical event, a major fantasy for this year.

The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman (Tor Trade Paperback 07/19/2011) – I read the author’s debut Thunderer and was a bit let down, especially after the early buzz I’d seen about the book. This looks to be set in a different world.

The world is still only half-made. Between the wild shores of uncreation, and the ancient lands of the East lies the vast expanse of the West—-young, chaotic, magnificent, war-torn.

Thirty years ago, the Red Republic fought to remake the West—-fought gloriously, and failed. The world that now exists has been carved out amid a war between two rival factions: the Line, enslaving the world with industry, and the Gun, a cult of terror and violence. The Republic is now history, and the last of its generals sits forgotten and nameless in a madhouse on the edge of creation. But locked in his memories is a secret that could change the West forever, and the world’s warring powers would do anything to take it from him.

Now Liv Alverhuysen, a doctor of the new science of psychology, travels west, hoping to heal the general’s shattered mind. John Creedmoor, reluctant Agent of the Gun and would-be gentleman of leisure, travels west, too, looking to steal the secret or die trying. And the servants of the Line are on the march.

The Riftwalker (A Vampire Empire #2) by Clay and Susan Griffith (Pyr Trade Paperback 09/09/2011) – Second novel in the Griffith’s entertaining mix of Steampunk and Vampire Romance..

Princess Adele struggles with a life of marriage and obligation as her Equatorian Empire and their American Republic allies stand on the brink of war against the vampire clans of the north. However, the alliance's horrific strategy for total victory drives Adele to abandon her duty and embark on a desperate quest to keep her nation from staining its hands with genocide. Reunited with her great love, the mysterious adventurer known to the world as the Greyfriar, Adele is pursued by her own people as well as her vengeful husband, senator Clark. With the human alliance in disarrray, Prince Cesare, lord of the British vampire clan, seizes the initiative and strikes at the very heart of Equatoria.

As Adele labors to bring order to her world, she learns more about the strange powers she exhibited in the north. Her teacher, Mamoru, leads a secret cabal of geomancers who believe Adele is the one who can touch the vast power of the Earth that surges through ley lines and wells up at the rifts where the lines meet. These energies are the key to defeating the enemy of mankind, and if Princess Adele could ever bring this power under her command, she could be death to vampires. But such a victory will also cost the life of Adele's beloved Greyfriar.

The Rift Walkeris the second book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternative history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, the Vampire Empire series brings epic politcal themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.

The Magic of Recluce (The Saga of Recluce #1) by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. (Tor Paperback 06/20/2011) – 20th Anniversary edition of one of Tor’s cornerstone Big Fat Fantasy novel series of the nineties and perhaps Modesitt’s best-known work.

An epic adventure world that has so far spanned fifteen novels and has run for twenty years was launched inThe Magic of Recluce, a triumph of fantasy. Young Lerris is dissatisfied with his life and trade, and yearns to find a place in the world better suited to his skills and temperament. But in Recluce a change in circumstances means taking one of two options: permanent exile from Recluce or the dangergeld, a complex, rule-laden wanderjahr in the lands beyond Recluce, with the aim of learning how the world works and what his place in it might be. Many do not survive. Lerris chooses dangergeld.

When Lerris is sent into intensive training for his quest, it soon becomes clear that he has a natural talent for magic. And he will need magic in the lands beyond, where the power of the Chaos Wizards reigns unchecked. Though it goes against all of his instincts, Lerris must learn to use his powers in an orderly way before his wanderjahr, or fall prey to Chaos.

This twentieth anniversary edition will feature an all-new cover and include the Recluce map, plus a new foreword from the author.

Down to the Bone (Quantum Gravity Book Five) by Pyr Trade Paperback August 2011) – As I’ve said before I read the first one (Keeping it Real), while Hobbit/Mark read the first and second (Selling Out) and he seems to enjoy them more than I do.

Lila Black faces her greatest challenge yet as she takes herself, her dead lover, and the AI in her head into death’s realm …

Lila Black is now a shape-shifting machine plugged into the Signal—the total dataset of all events in the known universe and all potential events; Zal, the elf rock star with a demon soul, is now a shadow form animated and given material actualization by firelight; Teazle the demon has taken up the swords of Death and is on the way to becoming an angel. To say this puts some pressure on their three-way marriage is an understatement.

Meanwhile the human world is seeing an inexplicable influx of the returning dead, and they’re not the only ones. Many old evils are returning to haunt the living following three harbingers of destruction created in the ancient past.

What seems epic is revealed as personal to all concerned as events unfold and that which cannot be escaped must be faced. Heroic destinies unravel as greater powers reveal themselves the true masters of the game.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Leviathan Wakes & Necroscope - SFFWorld Book Club August 2011 Discussions

Our Book Club selections at SFFWorld for Fantasy and Science Fiction are, respectively, a novel some consider to be a Vampire/Horror classic and one of the more popular and best-reviewed SF novels of 2011 (and at this point, my favorite SF novel of 2011).

Necroscope by Brian Lumley

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

So go forth and discuss!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Quantum Thief and Chris Foss @ SFFWorld

Another week rolls through and another couple of reviews at SFFWorld, one each from Mark and me. We’ll start with my review of one of the more talked-about SF debuts over the past couple of years The Quantum Theif by Hannu Rajaniemi:

The novel opens as our protagonist, Jean le Flambeur con artist and theif, is in the midst of a prison sentence in the Dilemma Prison at the outer reaches of the solar system. Since we likely wouldn’t have a book to read had he not been broken out of prison, that’s just what happens though le Flambeur isn’t set free to do as he wills. His rescuer, a warrior by the name of Miele, indicates he must use his skills as a thief in a mission for her employer. However, since Jean has changed bodies and personalities so many times over the course of his career, he must secure those past memories from the Martian Oubliette where Time is a currency, before fully completing the task Miele sets before him.

The basic framework to the novel seems a rather straight-forward mixture of espionage, thriller, heist, and adventure. That said, the meat attached to those bones is spectacularly science-fictional WOW. Rajaniemi is a mathematician and reading through the novel, I got the sense that Rajaniemi tried to put as much of that science into the story as possible. Thankfully, those SF-nal details are mostly expounded in a readable and interesting manner; and give a new perspective on which to view life, our galaxy and where humanity can go in the future as it achieves that much-fictionalized goal of post-humanity. Some of those SF ideas include an intelligent ship, a virtual prison, life on Mars, telepathy, shared and public memory, and Time as a currency.

Mark reviewed Hardware: The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss by Rian Hughes, which is one of those occasional oversized art books, this one (obviously) focuses on British artist Chris Foss:
Awesomely sized and detailed spaceships and buildings with people reduced to the size of mere dots, brightly painted in lines and stripes and with backgrounds not just of black, blue and grey, but vibrant greens, yellows and reds, Chris’s work is a triumphant sign of technology. It’s not by accident that this book is called Hardware.

As well as the pictures, there are some details included to fill out the artist’s CV. The Introduction, by Rian Hughes, sums up much of what is great about Chris’s paintings. Then there is an interview with Chris by his daughter Imogene, which gives us a career summary and points to future work from Chris: he’s still working. There are also two Forewords – one by artist Moebius, writing about the artistic influence Chris has had on today’s artists, and one by Alejandro Jodorowsky, updating the Introduction he first wrote in 21st Century Foss.