Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Throne of the Crescent Moon & Dangerous Visions at SFFWorld

Yes, today is Wednesday, so a slight slippage in the weekly SFFWorld review shout-out’s here at the o’ Stuff. Unchanged are the authors of the book reviews, Mark and me. I’ve got a hot new writer who has received award nominations for his shorts and bursts onto the scene with his spectacular debut while Mark looks at one of the most important and praised anthologies in SF history.

Two months of 2012 in the books, and we already have two supremely impressive debut novels in the books. The one I write of today is Saladin Ahmed’s, Throne of the Crescent Moon which is his take on sword and sorcery, with slight dashes of epic fantasy. Whatever the ingredients, the resultant stew is wondrous. Below is the typical cover shot review excerpt:

A fat old wizard/demon hunter as the hero and central figure of the story, the swordsman as the more mature, but younger sidekick, and the setting a desert empire that resembles a Middle East and Egypt of myth. Not exactly the most typical ingredients for sword & sorcery novel, but the elements are somewhat familiar and the framework of the story – an impeding doom with an oppressive government – is recognizable. One can’t just add new ingredients to a new formula and expect it to magically work. Technique is required, and in this case, Saladin Ahmed breathes vitality and life into the sword and sorcery sub genre with Throne of the Crescent Moon, his debut novel and the first of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms saga.

The threat of the ghuls is more than just random occurrence. The monsters encountered by Adoulla and his partner are larger and more powerful than any he’s encountered in the past. This leads the good doctor to surmise that a larger threat is present and creating these larger, more monstrous ghuls. When Adoulla and Raseed first encounter the Falcon Prince, Adoulla hesitantly allows for the thief’s safe passage and misleads his pursuers, strking up a somewhat early, if tenuous alliance with the vigilante. Adoulla is admonished by his pious, and young apprentice about breaking the lay and being an accomplice. Makhslood shakes him off a bit since the Doctor shares many with the Falcon Prince, specifically the increasingly strong and oppressive hold the Khalif has on the city.

That landmark anthology Mark reviewed is Dangerous Visions by the living legend Harlan Ellison:

In SF circles, Dangerous Visions is one of those that many know of by reputation but have rarely actually read. It was the Gone with the Wind of SF anthologies when it was first published in 1967. Like the film Gone with the Wind before its release, there was great speculation in the genre about Dangerous Visions before the book was published. Heralded as the best of cutting edge New Wave SF at the time, the rumours of what Harlan was doing and which authors were included, and perhaps more importantly which ones were not, were rife. Its content was allegedly salacious, sexy, outrageous, exciting, and thought-provoking, at a time when SF was maturing into something beyond the space opera pulp of the 1940’s and 50’s.

The eventual list of 33 stories from 32 authors reads like a Who’s Who of SF writers: Philip K Dick, Samuel ‘Chip’ Delany, Robert Bloch, Philip José Farmer, Robert Silverberg, Brian Aldiss, Theodore Sturgeon, JG Ballard, John Brunner, Norman Spinrad, Fritz Lieber, Frederik Pohl, Lester del Rey, Roger Zelazny, and even Isaac Asimov, who amusingly explains in one of his Introductions why he’s not in the collection, other than for the Introduction. Ellison cherry-picked who he saw as the best in the US at the time and the emerging British New Wave at the time.

Jo Walton claims that it is ‘an astonishing anthology’. Harlan himself, with no lack of modesty, declares at the beginning of the collection, “What you hold in your hands is more than a book. If we are lucky it is a revolution.” (page xxxii)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest Post: Tobias Buckell Blog Tour

I'm handing over the content of my blog today to Tobias Buckell, whose new novel Arctic Rising publishes today. I posted my review a week ago and really enjoyed the novel, which is a mix of spy thriller, eco-thriller, with a classic Science Fictional Big Dumb Object (or lots off little big dumb objects) as the MacGuffun. Without further ado, here's what Tobias has to say today about how well the timing of the book's publication worked with a certain actress protesting:

Today I'm reading that Xena actress Lucy Lawless is perched on top of an oil exploration ship that docked in New Zealand somewhere. Apparently she and other activists rushed on board the ship and are refusing to leave it. By the time this blog post goes up I'm sure that the standoff will have ended (actually, after writing it I checked, she's been arrested and charged).

But what draws my attention is the reason she's engaged in the act of civil disobedience. And that is the boat she hopped on board is chartered by Shell, and was on its way to the Arctic where it was going to drill exploratory wells.

For a while, when I told people that I was fascinated by the fact that large oil companies were proceeding under the assumption that the Arctic would be more or less ice-free within a few decades I would get these 'conspiracy theory' faces from people. But as I wrote the book they were filing permissions to gain access to the new resources that are being uncovered as Arctic Ice retreats.

Now as the book is about to drop, they're already heading up there. For the first time in recent history, the Northwest Passage is becoming passable. And that changes… a great deal. Geopolitics. Resources. Even entire nations.

As a science fiction writer, I just couldn't resist dropping a character, Nigerian-born Anika Duncan, into the middle of all that. She's no Lucy Lawless, but she's an ass-kicking warrior in her own right. It makes the whole connection all the more interesting to me...

Buy from hardcover | kindle| hardcover | nook

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Books in the Mail (2012-02-25)

This week, two patterns emerged in the books to arrive for review:

(1) Only authors with surnames from the first half of the alphabet had books arrive
(2) A good portion of the books which arrived are Young Adult novels

That is all, now behold those books…

The Legend of Eli Monpress (Books 1 through 3 of Eli Monpress) by Rachel Aaron (Orbit Books, Trade Paperback 02/24/2012) – I love omnibus volumes and Orbit has been putting a fair amount of their books into such grand doorstoppers. Mark Yon (aka SFFWorld's Hobbit) reviewed the first installment, The Spirit Thief, when it first published back in 2010.

Eli Monpress is talented. He's charming. And he's a thief.

But not just any thief. He's the greatest thief of the age - and he's also a wizard. And with the help of his partners - a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls - he's going to put his plan into effect.

The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he'll need to steal some big things. But he'll start small for now. He'll just steal something that no one will miss - at least for a while.

Like a king.

The Legend of Eli Monpress includes the novels: The Spirit Thief, The Sprit Rebellion, and The Spirit Eater.

Soulbound (Legacy of Tril #1) by Heather Brewer (Dial Books for Young Readers Hardcover 07/05/2012) – Launch of a brand new historical fantasy series from the author of popular vampire novels for young adults.

A brand-new fantasy with a kick-butt heroine from the author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod

Tril is a world where Barrons and Healers are Bound to each other: Barrons fight and Healers cure their Barrons' wounds in the ongoing war with the evil Graplar King. Seventeen-year-old Kaya was born a Healer, but she wants to fight. In Tril, and at Shadow Academy, where she is sent to learn to heal, it is against Protocol for Healers to fight. So Kaya must learn in secret. Enter two young men: One charming, rule-following Barron who becomes Bound to Kaya and whose life she must protect at all costs. And one with a mysterious past who seems bent on making Kaya's life as difficult as possible. Kaya asks both to train her, but only one will, and the consequences will change their lives forever.

Heather Brewer has created a thrilling, action-packed, and romantic first installment of the Legacy of Tril series, where one strong heroine must break the rules to claim her destiny and her heart.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (Dial Books for Young Readers, Hardcover 05/01/2012) – Third in Cashore’s very popular sequence which began with Graceling, which Hobbit reviewed for SFFWorld.

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past. Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

Apocalypse: (Fate of the Jedi Book Nine) by Troy Denning (Hardcover 03/13/2012 Del Rey) – Another Star Wars series comes to a close with one of the Expanded Universes best and most consistent authors, Troy Denning.

There can be no surrender.
There will be no mercy.
It’s not just the future of the galaxy at stake—
It’s the destiny of the Force.

In the stunning finale of the epic Fate of the Jedi series, Jedi and Sith face off—with Coruscant as their battlefield. For the Sith, it’s the chance to restore their dominance over the galaxy that forgot them for so long. For Abeloth, it’s a giant step in her quest to conquer all life everywhere. For Luke Skywalker, it’s a call to arms to eradicate the Sith and their monstrous new master once and for all.

In a planetwide strike, teams of Jedi Knights take the Sith infiltrators by swift and lethal surprise. But victory against the cunning and savage Abeloth, and the terrifying endgame she has planned, is anything but certain. And as Luke, Ben, Han, Leia, Jaina, Jag, and their allies close in, the devastating truth about the dark side incarnate will be exposed—and send shock waves through the Jedi Order, the galaxy, and the Force itself.

Silent Partner by Jonathan Kellerman adapted by Ande Parks and Michael Gaydos (Villard Hardcover 02/28/2012) – These graphic novel adaptations are becoming more popular and prevalent as of late. Kellerman is an award winning, best-selling suspense/thriller writer and this one features his popular Alex Delaware character.

The first graphic novel adaptation from master of psychological suspense Jonathan Kellerman brings a stunning new visual edge to the classic New York Times bestseller Silent Partner—a “harrowing tale of murder and manipulation” (The Plain Dealer) that “hits the reader right between the eyes” (Los Angeles Times Book Review).

Alex Delaware is struggling to keep his relationship with girlfriend Robin Castagna alive when a beautiful face from the past suddenly steps back into his life. Sharon Ransom was Alex’s lover back in the day—until her mind games and increasingly erratic behavior drove them apart. Now Sharon tries to rekindle old feelings and seek his help with some new troubles. Alex turns her away—a decision he bitterly regrets when Sharon ends up dead the next day.

The official ruling is suicide, but for Alex the case won’t be closed until he finds out what happened. Driven by guilt and grief, he plunges deep into the territory he knows best—where dark secrets, dangerous fears, and twisted needs prey on hearts and minds. With the aid of his trusted friend, homicide cop Milo Sturgis, Alex traces Sharon’s fatal path through a world of Hollywood high life riddled with scandal, corruption, and blood—where innocence and lives are easily lost.

Scripted by Ande Parks, author of the acclaimed graphic novels Union Station and Capote in Kansas, and illustrated by Marvel and DC comics veteran Michael Gaydos, Silent Partner captures Jonathan Kellerman’s trademark blend of crime drama and psychodrama with noirish style and eye-catching, page-turning intensity.

The Games by Ted Kosmatka (Del Rey, Mass Market Paperback 03/13/2012) – Nominated for short-stories, Kosmatka’s debut is a mix of SF and horror and has already received some impressive pre-publication praise.

This stunning first novel from Nebula Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist Ted Kosmatka is a riveting tale of science cut loose from ethics. Set in an amoral future where genetically engineered monstrosities fight each other to the death in an Olympic event, The Games envisions a harrowing world that may arrive sooner than you think.

Silas Williams is the brilliant geneticist in charge of preparing the U.S. entry into the Olympic Gladiator competition, an internationally sanctioned bloodsport with only one rule: no human DNA is permitted in the design of the entrants. Silas lives and breathes genetics; his designs have led the United States to the gold in every previous event. But the other countries are catching up. Now, desperate for an edge in the upcoming Games, Silas’s boss engages an experimental supercomputer to design the genetic code for a gladiator that cannot be beaten.

The result is a highly specialized killing machine, its genome never before seen on earth. Not even Silas, with all his genius and experience, can understand the horror he had a hand in making. And no one, he fears, can anticipate the consequences of entrusting the act of creation to a computer’s cold logic.

Now Silas races to understand what the computer has wrought, aided by a beautiful xenobiologist, Vidonia João. Yet as the fast-growing gladiator demonstrates preternatural strength, speed, and—most disquietingly—intelligence, Silas and Vidonia find their scientific curiosity giving way to a most unexpected emotion: sheer terror.

The Hammer and the Blade (The Tales of Egil and Nix #1) by Paul S. Kemp (Angry Robot Mass Market Paperback 06/26/2012) – This is Paul S. Kemp’s first non-shared world novel, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his work in The Forgotten Realms (The Erevis Cale Trilogy, Shadowbred, Shadowstorm, and Shadowrealm)

A pair of down-at-heel treasure hunters and incorrigible rogues. Egil is a priest, happy to deliver moral correction with his pair of massive hammers. Nix is a sneak-thief; there’s no lock he cannot open, no serving girl he cannot charm. Between them, they always have one eye open for a chance to make money – the other eye, of course, is on the nearest exit. So...

Kill a demon.
Steal the treasure.
Retire to a life of luxury.

Sounds easy when you put it like that.

Unfortunately for Egil and Nix, when the demon they kill has friends in high places, retirement is not an option.

A fast paced adventure redolent with the best of classic sword and sorcery tales.

Fair Coin by E.C. Myers (Pyr Hardcover 03/06/2012) – This is Myer’s debut novel and another impressive looking novel in Pyr’s Young Adult line. Myer’s been writing Star Trek recaps and film reviews for

Ephraim is horrified when he comes home from school one day to find his mother unconscious at the kitchen table, clutching a bottle of pills. Even more disturbing than her suicide attempt is the reason for it: the dead boy she identified at the hospital that afternoon—a boy who looks exactly like him.

While examining his dead double’s belongings, Ephraim discovers a strange coin that makes his wishes come true each time he flips it. Before long, he’s wished his alcoholic mother into a model parent, and the girl he’s liked since second grade suddenly notices him.

But Ephraim soon realizes that the coin comes with consequences—several wishes go disastrously wrong, his best friend Nathan becomes obsessed with the coin, and the world begins to change in unexpected ways.

As Ephraim learns the coin’s secrets and how to control its power, he must find a way to keep it from Nathan and return to the world he remembers.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Awesome Omnibus: Jump Gate Twist by Mark L. Van Name

Today’s Awesome Omnibus features Jump Gate Twist by Mark L. Van Name published by the fine folks at Baen a publisher well known for bundling their series books in handy omnibus format. Chances are, I’ll feature at least one or two more Baen titles in future installments of Awesome Omnibus.

On to this book…I read it about a year-and-a-half ago, wrote a review which disappeared when the place for which I wrote the review revamped its Web site last year. What prompted me to post about his one now is the fact that I’m finally getting around to reading Overthrowing Heaven, the third book in the series after having it on the to read stack for well over a year.

Anyway, I’d seen good things about Van Name’s novels, specifically from liviu at Fantasy Book Critic (who I have come to consider a Trusted Reader over the past couple of years).

Essentially, these books are Space Operatic SF adventure novels with a dash of Military SF. The protagonist is an augmented human and his partner is the AI of his space vessel. I kept thinking these books reminded me of Brust’s Vlad Taltos novels (which have also been omnibified), except IN SPAAAACE! Regardless, they are solid books that really capture the fun of SF very well.

Mark L. Van Name has risen quickly among Baen’s stable of science fiction novelists and with good reasons. Many of those reasons are on full display in Jump Gate Twist, an omnibus containing One Jump Ahead and Slanted Jack, the first two novels in his Jon and Lobo series plus two short stories set in the universe. Jon is the human protagonist and first person narrator while Lobo is the living, space-faring warship who provides dry responses to Jon’s rhetorical questions. The dialogue between Jon and Lobo is entertaining and provides a strong narrative current. I was reminded a bit of Steven Brust’s assassin Vlad Taltos and his familiar Loiosh in that both duos communicate on a silent, mental wavelength.

Jon is not exactly normal human, as a result of experiments conducted while Jon was younger, his body is teeming with nanobots which provide him a level of superhuman abilities, not the least of which is the ability to communicate with machines. One Jump Ahead introduces both characters as Jon acquires Lobo when vacationing on the planet Macken, Jon is convinced to help save a young kidnapped girl. Before the second full novel, we get a very early glimpse at Jon before he is the experienced courier and ex-military man. The story, “My Sister, My Self,” is set on Jon’s birth planet Pinkelponker and offers readers the only glimpse at Jon’s sister Jenni, the memory of whom haunts Jon in the two novels in the omnibus.

In Slanted Jack, the second novel in the omnibus, Jon runs into an old ‘business partner’ who lures Jon back to his side in order to save the life of a young boy who is contention point between a religious cult (with ties to Jon’s home planet of Pinkelponker); a crime lord who wants the boy for his own purposes; and strong-armed government. While the setting of the books is a vast galaxy, Van Name does a great job of making these stories personal and intimate deftly balancing character and action.

One of the cooler SF-nal elements allowing for such widespread travel are the Gates, which allow quick travel across galaxies and are thought by some to be relics of an ancient civilization or even gods. All told, I highly recommended this book both as an introduction to Van Name’s work and a great value for containing two flat-out entertaining Science Fiction novels.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sixty One Nails, Interview, and After the Golden Age

We’ve got some more reviews up at SFFWorld, this time from some of the irregulars.

Nila White is one of the new contributor/moderators at SFFWorld, but she’s been doing a bang up job of everything. This time ‘round she did double duty with Mike Shevdon (also a member of the SFFWorld forums) reviewing his first novel, Sixty One Nails from Angry Robot books and conducting an e-mail interview with him.

Sixty-One Nails is Mike Shevdon’s first book. But it doesn’t feel like it. The characters are well defined, the plot engaging, and the story arc brings a satisfactory conclusion to the first book in a series that I predict will become one of my favorites.

This is a fast paced book that, if it grabs you, will leave you sleepless till you finish. It is hard to put the book down when so much is happening to the character. Because Niall is being chased for pretty much the entire book, the reader is imbued with that same sense and is impelled to finish the story. Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was the descriptions of the use of magic and the magical beings. Though these creatures are familiar to many who know English folk-lore, i.e. wraiths, fairies, leprechauns, etc, they are painted in darker hues and given a history and problems just as real as our own. This made their story just as interesting to read about as the main character’s. I was also impressed with the descriptions of Niall’s power over the ‘void’, the spaces between things, and how, when the character draws upon that power, it changes his physical appearance. Don’t ask me why, but I was reminded of Dr. Manhattan from the Watchmen.…

Again, here’s that interview with Mike, go have a look, won’t you?

Dan has written a handful of reviews for SFFWorld in the past, his latest review is of Carrie Vaughn’s After the Golden Age:

Celia West is the daughter of the leaders of a superhero crime fighting team, a fact that did not bring her much pleasure growing up. She loves her parents but can't stand being around them for great lengths of time.

This is a comic book without pictures – that is basic to the encounter - and it works very well. Knowing too much about the heroes and villains will detract from the enjoyment of the tale but know that the interrelationship between the characters is played flawlessly. Celia's character makes sense; her love life makes sense, and the progress toward conclusion makes sense.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Buckell and Holm - New Reviews at SFFWorld

This is the Tuesday post where I link to the reviews Mark and I have posted to SFFWorld over the past week. Well, at least one of us usually posts a review per week and Tuesday has become the day when I do the whole cover, review snippet, and and link to said review.

Tobias Buckell ’s, Arctic Rising is his first novel, not set in a franchise, in a couple of years. I thoroughly enjoyed his Xenowealth novels but this one is a slight change of pace – an eco-thriller with SFnal touches. Below is the typical cover shot followed review excerpt:

Buckell starts the action early with the aforementioned ship conflict, causing Anika to crash and her partner to eventually die. From there, she’s chased, nearly run off the road and killed, taken in by her potential lover Violet and meets the spy Roo. The characterization is, as that sentence suggests, not your typical one. Violet (aka Vy) is perhaps the most infamous drug dealer on Baffin Island, where much of the early portion of the novel takes place. There’s also an unusual international variety amongst the main characters. Anika is of mixed Nigerian background, whilst Vy has a Russian bodyguard, and Roo is of Caribbean origin. I wouldn’t be surprised if Roo is somehow related to Buckell’s character Pepper (from his Xenowealth saga), if not by blood, then he’s at least a spiritual cousin of sorts.

The Arctic landscape provides for an interesting cross-section of the world, many individuals and cultures on the fringes have gravitated to the Arctic, which is in many ways, a new melting pot of a society trying to find an identity. Many people are willing to take advantage of a land where the law is fairly loose. As Anika becomes more entrenched in the geopolitical intrigue, she finds herself questioning her personal limits. This began with killing in self-defense and leads to even darker questions where the answers she seeks might leave the fate of not just the Arctic region, but possibly the world hanging in the balance.

Mark has a review of a debut, Chris Holm’s, Dead Harvest:

It would be easy to summarise the book as ‘detective thriller meets the supernatural’ but it is a pretty glib summary. There’s more going on here than you might think. Sam is an interesting character himself in that he’s not particularly pleasant, at least to begin with, in a manner that’s rather more Charlie Houston’s Joe Pitt than Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden. Sam holds grudges and isn’t going to let this one go.

The book starts fast and keeps the pace up throughout. We go from the original incident to wider issues as it seems the episode is being used to escalate a War between the Angels and the Collectors. We meet the commanders of each side who are unwilling to believe Sam’s opinion. There’s a lot of running and hiding with Sam and Kate finding some unexpected allies, as well as meeting formidable foes. There’s a lot of collateral damage in the city, with police cars damaged, explosions at a hospital, an underground train wrecked, and a helicopter crash along the way as the police try to catch Sam and Kate and the Angels and the Collectors try to find them. The ending’s a big showdown, with a big revelation that connects Sam in ways previously unconsidered, and with a nod to events on a larger playing field that will no doubt be covered in later books.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Books in the Mail (W/E 2012-02-18)

You all know the drill by now...this is my Sunday post which contains the list of books I received for review the previous week.

The Scar by Sergey Dyachenko and Marina Dyachenko (Tor Hardcover 02/28/2012) – In a seeming trend, another popular and acclaimed Russian fantasy novel is translated and published here in the US.

Reaching far beyond sword and sorcery, The Scar is a story of two people torn by disaster, their descent into despair, and their reemergence through love and courage. Sergey and Marina Dyachenko mix dramatic scenes with romance, action and wit, in a style both direct and lyrical. Written with a sure artistic hand, The Scar is the story of a man driven by his own feverish demons to find redemption and the woman who just might save him.

Egert is a brash, confident member of the elite guards and an egotistical philanderer. But after he kills an innocent student in a duel, a mysterious man known as “The Wanderer” challenges Egert and slashes his face with his sword, leaving Egert with a scar that comes to symbolize his cowardice. Unable to end his suffering by his own hand, Egert embarks on an odyssey to undo the curse and the horrible damage he has caused, which can only be repaired by a painful journey down a long and harrowing path.

Plotted with the sureness of Robin Hobb and colored with the haunting and ominous imagination of Michael Moorcock, The Scar tells a story that cannot be forgotten.

Stark’s War (Stark’s War #1) by John G. Hemry (Ace Hardcover 07/26/2011) – This is the first in a trilogy Hemry wrote before he exploded with the Jack Campbell pen name. Short Military SF Thrillers (it seems) that look like fun and star Dominic Monaghan as the hero. With the success and popularity of Hemry/Campbell’s Lost Fleet series, Ace is smartly reissuing these books. Mark from SFFWorld liked the first one when it hit UK bookshelves last year.

The United States of America reigns over Earth as the last surviving superpower. To build a society free of American influence, foreign countries have inhabited the moon, taking advantage of the natural resources to earn their own riches. Now the U.S. military has been ordered to wrest control of Earth's satellite from their rivals. Sergeant Ethan Stark must train his squadron to fight in an airless atmosphere at one-sixth normal gravity against a desperate enemy. Ensuring his team's survival means choosing between which orders to obey—and which to ignore.

Stark’s Command (Stark’s War #2) by John G. Hemry (Ace Hardcover 11/26/2011) – This is the second in a trilogy Hemry wrote before he exploded with the Jack Campbell pen name. Short Military SF Thrillers (it seems) that look like fun and star Dominic Monaghan as the hero. With the success and popularity of Hemry/Campbell’s Lost Fleet series, Ace is smartly reissuing these books. Mark from SFFWorld liked the first one when it hit UK bookshelves last year.

The United States military forces on the moon have overthrown their high-ranking officers and placed Sergeant Ethan Stark in command. Instead of just issuing orders, Stark confides in his fellow sergeants in hopes of forging an army based on mutual respect. Now, in addition to fighting a merciless enemy on the moon's surface, Stark must contend with the U.S. government's reaction to his mutiny . . . .

The moon's American civilian colony has offered to assist the military with food and supplies on one condition: that Stark's troops back the colony's plea for independence. In order to survive, civilian and soldier must learn to trust each other as one man's cause becomes a crusade . . .

Stark’s Crusade (Stark’s War #2) by John G. Hemry (Ace Hardcover 11/26/2011) – This is the third and final in a trilogy Hemry wrote before he exploded with the Jack Campbell pen name. Short Military SF Thrillers (it seems) that look like fun and star Dominic Monaghan as the hero. With the success and popularity of Hemry/Campbell’s Lost Fleet series, Ace is smartly reissuing these books. Mark from SFFWorld liked the first one when it hit UK bookshelves last year.

When the American Lunar colony was threatened, he served his country in battle. But when high ranking officers betrayed him and his soldiers, he had only one choice—rebellion. Now Sergeant Ethan Stark is in charge of a rebel organization he never intended to create, and the United States has just joined forces with its former enemy to insure his destruction.

Stark has no intention of compromising his honor, even in the face of impossible odds. He and his soldiers have no desire to fight American forces, but they are willing to pay any price to defend the rights of the colonists they were sent to protect. Now Stark and his soldiers must fend off deadly aggression from their own country without igniting a full scale civil war.

Exogene (The Subterrene War #2) by T. C. McCarthy (Orbit, Mass Market Paperback 03/01/2012) – McCarthy’s debut and the first in this series, Germline was very impressive, and one of the best debuts I read last year.

Exogene (n.): factor or agent (as a disease-producing organism) from outside the organism or system. Also: classified Russian program to merge proto-humanoids with powered armor systems (slang).

Catherine is a soldier. Fast, strong, lethal, she is the ultimate in military technology. She's a monster in the body of an eighteen year old girl. Bred by scientists, grown in vats, indoctrinated by the government, she and her sisters will win this war, no matter the cost.

And the costs are high. Their life span is short; as they age they become unstable and they undergo a process called the spoiling. On their eighteenth birthday they are discharged. Lined up and shot like cattle.

But the truth is, Catherine and her sisters may not be strictly human, but they're not animals. They can twist their genomes and indoctrinate them to follow the principles of Faith and Death, but they can't shut off the part of them that wants more than war. Catherine may have only known death, but she dreams of life and she will get it at any cost.

Crucible of Gold (Temeraire #8) by Naomi Novik (Del Rey, Hardcover 03/06/2012) – This is the seventh book of in Novik’s popular Dragons-in-Napoleonic-War series. I read the first three when they first hit shelves a few years ago (His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War) and enjoyed them and Novik’s been trucking along swimmingly since.

Naomi Novik’s beloved series returns, with Capt. Will Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire once again taking to the air against the broadsides of Napoleon’s forces and the friendly—and sometimes not-so-friendly—fire of British soldiers and politicians who continue to suspect them of divided loyalties, if not outright treason.

For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain’s last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon.

So the British government dispatches Arthur Hammond from China to enlist Laurence and Temeraire to negotiate a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio—and as bait, Hammond bears an offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one’s country do not always run on parallel tracks.

Laurence and Temeraire—joined by the egotistical fire-breather Iskierka and the still-growing Kulingile, who has already surpassed Temeraire in size—embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that leave the dragons and their human friends forced to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Inca empire, where they face new unanticipated dangers.

Now with the success of the mission balanced on a razor’s edge, and failure looking more likely by the minute, the unexpected arrival of an old enemy will tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk—for one bold enough to grasp it.

Touchstone (Glass Thorns #1) by Melanie Rawn (Tor Hardcover 02/28/2012) – Rawn gained a pretty strong following in the late 1980s and early 1990s with her Dragon Prince and Dragon Star sagas. This is the first of a new trilogy, so could be good place for (somebody like me) who hasn’t read her work before.

Cayden Silversun is part Elven, part Fae, part human Wizard—and all rebel. His aristocratic mother would have him follow his father to the Royal Court, to make a high society living off the scraps of kings. But Cade lives and breathes for the theater, and he’s good—very, very good. With his company, he’ll enter the highest reaches of society and power, as an honored artist—or die trying. Cade combines the talents of Merlin, Shakespeare, and John Lennon: a wholly charming character in a remarkably original fantasy world created by a mistress of the art.

Although Touchstone can stand alone, it is the first book of a brilliant, utterly engaging new fantasy series from the author of the bestselling Dragon Prince series.

POD by Stephen Wallenfels (Ace Mass Market Paperback 04/24/2012) – This is an alien invasion story, and quite frankly, we haven’t had quite as many of them lately. From the little I gathered on the intarwebs, it looks like Mr. Wallenfels published an earlier version of this novel with a small press. .

Surviving a massive alien siege is one thing-­surviving humanity is another.

I'm all cried out. I'm still alone. The sky is full of giant spinning black balls that kill anyone stupid enough to go outside. I've only been out of the car twice-once to pee and once to look at the sky. That one look was enough for me. Now I sit alone in the car, staring out the window like a rat in a cage. But I don't have anyone to look at. The parking garage is empty, except for twisted-up cars, broken glass, and the smell of leaking gasoline.

POD is the story of a global cataclysmic event, told from the viewpoints of Megs, a twelve-year-old streetwise girl trapped in a hotel parking garage in Los Angeles; and sixteen-year-old Josh, who is stuck in a house in Prosser, Washington, with his increasingly obsessive-compulsive father. Food and water and time are running out. Will Megs survive long enough to find her mother? Will Josh and his father survive each other?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tchaikovsky and Baker Reviewed @ SFFWorld

Today is the holiday Hallmark invented which, in all honesty, has no bearing on the main thrust of this post – two new book reviews at SFFWorld. The usual suspects are present – Mark and I.

In my intermittent quest to catch up with books, specifically interesting series books, that have been sitting on the to read stack for more than a year, I picked up: Adrian Tchaikovsky’s, Dragonfly Falling a couple of weeks ago. The result of this particular ‘quest’ in the form of my review can be read below:

One element in which I feel Tchaikovsky showed improvement was the panoramic, emotional sweep of the novel. Dragonfly Falling shows the true start of the war, with Collegium beginning to actively participate, the other nations getting involved and having that large-scale conflict coming into full view. Some of the battles and conflicts he imagines conjure up spectacular images, airship conflicts with characters leaping to and fro, a siege outside of a city. He shows a fairly equal balance from both sides of the conflict through the character of the Wasp Captain Thalric, who has a great deal of honor and passion for his ideals. Though Thalric is the most fleshed out of the characters in the Wasp army, his strength is that Tchaikovsky makes him a character you find yourself rooting for at times despite the fact that he’s high up in the “enemy” army.

Dragonfly Falling is a lot of things, pulpy action, sweeping epic, mini-character studies, and all of these elements against a powerfully imagined backdrop of a milieu. While there was a great deal I enjoyed in the novel; however, I did find the pacing to be uneven at times. Some of the set pieces seemed to either take a bit to get going or lingered a bit, at times things lingered long enough that it almost counter-balanced some of the more briskly paced action set pieces of the novel.

Mark has been reading more zombie novels than he expected, and seems to be enjoying them more than he expected. The latest of which is Adam Baker’s, Juggernaut:

This is a no-nonsense, straight-forward thriller tale, admittedly with added zombies. The action scenes are thrillingly done, with enough bone-crunching, biting and beheading to satisfy most gore-fans. Adam manages to make this un-repetitive, which is impressive considering the limited number of living cast and the number of zombie encounters they have to endure.

Its style is very straight-forward, though clearly knowledgeable, and its tale told in a very matter-of fact manner. Sentences are short, yet the action fast. As a result, the characters do not spend too much time contemplating their navel, and consequently can read as typical stereotypes: the hard-nut mercenary, world-weary and emotionally detached, yet doing their difficult job as professionally as they can, the faceless evil corporation determined to keep things secret, the ancient torturer determined to atone for previous sins. This allows the focus to be on the action sequences, which it does in spades.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Books in the Mail (W/E 2012-02-11)

It’s a frigid Sunday in February here at the local o’ Stuff. Some books arrived this week, primarily forthcoming releases from the great folks at Black Library, thought not quite as many as in past weeks. This is a good thing because I can only read so many books. Anyway, here's the rundown....

Know No Fear (Horus Heresy #19) by Dan Abnett (Black Library, Mass Market Paperback 03/07/2012) – The man who launched the mega-selling saga of Far Future Civil war returns with the 19th Installment!

Unaware of the wider Heresy and following the Warmaster’s increasingly cryptic orders, Roboute Guilliman returns to Ultramar to muster his Legion for war against the orks massing in the Veridian system. Without warning, their supposed allies in the Word Bearers Legion launch a devastating invasion of Calth, scattering the Ultramarines fleet and slaughtering all who stand in their way. This confirms the worst scenario Guilliman can imagine – Lorgar means to settle their bitter rivalry once and for all. As the traitors summon foul daemonic hosts and all the forces of Chaos, the Ultramarines are drawn into a grim and deadly struggle in which neither side can prevail.

When war comes to Calth and set the planet aflame, the Ultramarines face annihilation against a foe who will use any means to settle their bitter grudge.

Path of the Renegade (Eldar/Warhammer 40,000) by Andy Chamber (Black Library Mass Market Paperback 03/07/2012) – Andy Chambers was lead designer for Games Workshop for many years, went to work for Blizzard and comes back to pen a new novel of the Dark Elves for his old friends.

Andy Chambers returns to the Black Library with the first novel in a new dark eldar trilogy, exploring the dark kin and their ominous city in unprecedented detail.

For millennia, Asdrubael Vect has ruled the dark city of Commorragh, crushing any who dare to cross him. His reach is long and his position unassailable... or so he thinks. Yllithian, an ambitious archon with the desire to unseat the tyrant, joins forces with a twisted haemonculus in an attempt to revive a long-dead warrior and challenge the might of the overlord, both racing to achieve their goal before Vect discovers their treachery. But a cataclysm is coming, and Yllithian’s actions may in fact be the cause...

The Ruined City by Paula Brandon (Spectra Trade Paperback 02/28/2012) –Sequel / Second in the series to / of Brandon’s earlier novel, The Traitor’s Daughter, which has been getting quite a nice buzz.

Paula Brandon’s epic and captivating trilogy continues as magic and mystery wreak havoc with the very fabric of existence.

Reality is wavering. Soon its delicate balance will shift and an ancient force will return to overwhelm the Veiled Isles. Now those with the arcane talent forge an uneasy alliance in hopes that their combined abilities are enough to avert an eerie catastrophe. Yet it may be too late. The otherworldly change has begun. The streets of the city are rife with chaos, plague, and revolt. And it is here that Jianna Belandor, once a pampered daughter of privilege, returns to face new challenges.

The dead walk the streets. The docile amphibian slaves of humanity have taken up arms. Jianna’s home lies in ruins. Her only happiness resides in her growing attraction to Falaste Rione, a brilliant nomadic physician whose compassion and courage have led him to take dangerous risks. Jianna, stronger and more powerful than she knows, has a role to play in the unfolding destiny of her world. But a wave of madness is sweeping across the land, and time is running out—even for magic.

Theif’s Covenant: (Book One of Widdershins) by Ari Marmell (Pyr Hardcover 02/24/2012) – I enjoyed The Conqueror’s Shadow and thought The Goblin Corps was a blast. This is the first of a new YA series for PYR’s YA program.

Once she was Adrienne Satti. An orphan of Davillon, she had somehow escaped destitution and climbed to the ranks of the city ’s aristocracy in a rags-to-riches story straight from an ancient fairy tale. Until one horrid night, when a conspiracy of forces—human and other—stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder.

Today she is Widdershins, a thief making her way through Davillon’s underbelly with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and the mystical aid of Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdershins herself. It’s not a great life, certainly nothing compared to the one she once had, but it’s hers.

But now, in the midst of Davillon’s political turmoil, an array of hands are once again rising up against her, prepared to tear down all that she’s built. The City Guard wants her in prison. Members of her own Guild want her dead. And something horrid, something dark, something ancient is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go. Widdershins and Olgun are going to find answers, and justice, for what happened to her—but only if those who almost destroyed her in those years gone by don’t finish the job first.

Iron Warriors: The Omnibus (The Space Marines) by Graham McNeill (Black Library, Mass Market Paperback 3/14/2012) – Graham McNeill is vying with Harry Turtledove and Dan Abnett for most review books to arrive at the o’ Stuff househould since I started doing these weekly posts. This is an omnibus of some of his early WH40K stuff.

Follow the schemes of the embittered Warsmith Honsou in his struggles against the hated Space Marines of the Imperium. Containing the novel Storm of Iron and the novella Iron Warrior, gathered alongside several Iron Warrior shorts, including two new stories.

On the nightmare battlefields of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, few foes spark more fear and dread than the Chaos Space Marines. Nurturing a hatred that is millennia-old, they attack without mercy, spreading terror and destruction in their wake. Now hell has come to Hydra Cordatus, for a massive force of terrifying Iron Warriors, brutal assault troops of Chaos, have invaded the planet and lain siege to its mighty imperial citadel. But what prize could possibly be worth so much savage bloodshed and destruction and how long can the defenders possibly hold out?

The brutal Iron Warriors lay siege to a huge imperial fortress in the classic novel Storm of Iron, collected alongside the full range of Iron Warriors short stories and novellas.

Knights of the Blazing Sun by Josh Reynolds (Black Library, Mass Market Paperback 3/14/2012) – Reynolds has written quite a bit of short fiction, this is his first Warhammer novel, which focuses on the Old Empire.

The Knights of the Blazing Sun are a noble and venerable order of templars dedicated to the warrior-goddess Myrmidia. The young knight Hector Goetz is sent to the distant island of Svunum to investigate the disappearance of a group of knights. Reunited with his comrades, he battles vicious pirates and bloodthirsty raiders, but from his increasingly disturbing nightmares Goetz realises that there is more to the place than meets the eye. As northern savages lay siege to the island, a deadly secret is revealed that threatens to damn his order for all eternity.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Awesome Omnibus: The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron

I love omnibus volumes, you know, when publishers take a few books in a series and put them under one cover? If you are reading this blog than you likely know what an omnibus is. I'm starting a new feature here at the 'o Stuff - Awesome Omnibus - where I'll highlight a soon-to-be published omnibus that looks great, one I've read that is terrific, or an omnibus I want to get and read.

So, with that in in mind, the fine folks at Orbit Books are re-releasing the first three books in Rachel Aaron's Eli Monpress series in a lovely omnibus, the cover of which is below:

The big honking omnibus officially hits bookshelves on February 14, 2012.

Here's a sample chapter from the first book, The Spirit Thief.

Mark Yon (aka SFFWorld's Hobbit) reviewed the first installment, The Spirit Thief, when it first published back in 2010.

Here's a really cool post at the Orbit Books blog highlighting artist Sam Weber's process for creating the snazzy cover.

Here, author Rachel Aaron gushes about the omnibus and announcing a contest to win the omnibus (which actually sort of prompted this post, but as a result, I've given myself a new blog feature!).

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Alastair Reynolds and Eric Brown at SFFWorld

We’ve got two SF novels for review this week at SFFWorld. I’m catching up with a book from a few years back and Mark reviewed one of the most anticipated SF titles for 2012.

Mark’s review needs no more introduction than this: Alastair Reynolds’s, Blue Remembered Earth:

The story is focused on Geoffrey, initially a young boy living in Africa with his sister Sunday and his grandmother Eunice. As the story develops we discover that the Akinya family are quite well-to-do, and in the rapidly changing global economy are clearly one of the groups to take advantage of Africa’s burgeoning new-found wealth and economic prosperity. At the beginning of the novel they have Asher-like implants to connect them to the AI global network, the Mechanism, with human-like simulacrums by the end. With an absence of war and famine, it soon becomes clear that Humanity’s future lies in expansion to the rest of the Solar System and beyond, something Geoffrey’s family are quick to take advantage of. They have made a considerable sum mining resources from the solar system, though Geoffrey is more interested in studying elephant psychology in Africa.

It is, in essence, a generational space-family-saga of the type quite common in the 1980’s and 90’s, (see, for example, Michael Flynn’s Firestar series) though where the focus then was often US based, this one is stridently African/Asian, reflecting current trends. Though I’m not convinced that the role of Europe and North America in future space exploration would be quite as low key as it is suggested here, it’s an interesting take. And there are reasons suggested in the novel as to why this is – hints of global catastrophes (both physical and technological) which might allow the dominance of those countries as a consequence.

I read and reviewed ith the first of Eric Brown's Bengal Station Trilogy, Necropath, which is his take on the Psychic Detective:

Jeff Vaughn is a telepath working on Bengal Station assisting the police in several investigations. One of these investigations is related the death of Tiger, a young girl whom he befriended. As Vaughn learns more about the cause of her death – overdose of an exotic drug called Rhapsody – a web of connections to an cult emerge and Vaughn’s life becomes increasingly endangered. He begins to suspect his supervisor, Weiss, of having connections to the illicit trade. Vaughn’s pseudo-partner helps Vaughn in his secret investigations all the while trying to urge Vaughn to come out from behind the cold barrier he’s erected around himself. As their investigations progress, Vaughn learns of a cult that worships a star god that, to this reader, had parallels the Great Old One Cthulhu. All the while Vaughn and Chandra are moving along their investigation, Brown parallels their story with that of Tiger’s sister Su (a lady of the night) as Su searches for Tiger.

Brown makes Vaughn’s ability out to be more of a curse than a power he enjoys using. Being able to read minds is not a pleasant thing and it takes a great deal for Vaughn to block out other’s thoughts. Due to events in his past, he is even more reluctant to use his ability, but he often realizes inaction would bring him more guilt than action. The whole idea of the telepathic individual and the background for the development of these individuals was very well-thought out by Brown, telepathy comes across as very plausible.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Books in the Mail (W/E 2012-02-04)

Another batch of new books, most of which are the March 2012 releases from DAW, for your perusal this Superbowl Sunday.

Betrayer (Foreigner #12) by C. J. Cherryh (DAW M Mass Market Paperback 03/06/2012) – Every spring Cherryh publishes a new installment in this popular saga, and to coincide with the new installment, the previous installment is re-issued in mass-market paperback. My (now) colleague at Jo Walton did a nice re-read of the series.

The twelfth book in Hugo Award winner C.J. Cherryh's epic Foreigner series.

The civil war among the alien atevi has ended. Tabini-aiji, powerful ruler of the Western Association, along with Cajeiri his son and heir, and his human paidhi, Bren Cameron, have returned to the Bujavid, their seat of power.

But factions that remain loyal to the opposition are still present, and the danger these rebels pose is far from over.

Deceiver (Intruder #13) by C. J. Cherryh (DAW Hardcover 03/06/2012) – Every spring Cherryh publishes a new installment in this popular saga, this being the 13, which comes out the same time as the mass-market paperback re-issue of the 12 book. My (now) colleague at Jo Walton did a nice re-read of the series.

In the wake of civil war, Bren Cameron, the brilliant human diplomat of the alien atevi civilization, has left the capital and sought refuge at his country estate, Najida. But now he is trapped inside Najida-which has been surrounded by enemies- with the powerful grandmother of his ally, Tabiniaiji, atevi leader of the Western Association. Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, is not inclined to be passive and sends Bren into enemy territory, to the palace of the leader of the rebels.

Bren's mission is to negotiate with Machigi-a young atevi lord who has never actually seen a human-and somehow persuade him to cease his hostile actions against the west. Is Bren a shrewd enough negotiator to stay alive, and not alienate Ilisidi or Tabini, while also representing the interests of their enemy?

The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan (Roc, Trade Paperback 03/06/2012) – I read Kiernan’s last novel, The Red Tree from Roc shortly after it was published in 2009 and thought it one of the stand-out novels of that year. So yeah, I’ll be reading this one for sure.

India Morgan Phelps-Imp to her friends-is schizophrenic. Struggling with her perceptions of reality, Imp must uncover the truth about her encounters with creatures out of myth-or from something far, far stranger...

Discount Armageddon (An InCryptid Novel) by Seanan McGuire (DAW Mass Market 03/06/2012) – To be perfectly honest, looking at this cover, I’d normally set the book aside. However, McGuire is the real name of Mira Grant whose Newsflesh Trilogy is 100-proof Awesome Sauce, plus the description here sounds fun.

Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night... The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity-and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right? It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed. To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city...

Echoes of Betrayal (Book Three of Paladin’s Legacy ) by Elizabeth Moon (Del Rey Hardcover 02/21/2012) – I liked the first two in this series (Oath of Fealty and Kings of the North) and earlier this year I read (and thoroughly enjoyed) the first trilogy set in this world, The Deed of Paksenarrion) which is now in my Omnibus Hall of Fame [© PeterWilliam]. So yeah, I’m looking forward to this one.

The action continues fast and furious in this third installment of Elizabeth Moon’s celebrated return to the fantasy world of the paladin Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter. This award-winning author has firsthand military experience and an imagination that knows no bounds. Combine those qualities with an ability to craft flesh-and-blood characters, and the result is the kind of speculative fiction that engages both heart and mind.

All is not well in the Eight Kingdoms. In Lyonya, King Kieri is about to celebrate marriage to his beloved, the half-elf Arian. But uncanny whispers from the spirits of his ancestors continue to warn of treachery and murder. A finger of suspicion has been pointed toward his grandmother, the queen of the Ladysforest elves, and that suspicion has only intensified with time and the Lady’s inexplicable behavior. Clearly, she is hiding something. But what? And why?

Meanwhile, in Tsaia, the young king Mikeli must grapple with unrest among his own nobility over his controversial decision to grant the title and estates of a traitorous magelord to a Verrakaien who not only possesses the forbidden magic but is a woman besides: Dorrin, once one of Kieri’s most trusted captains. When renegade Verrakaien attack two of Dorrin’s squires, suspicion and prejudice combine to place Dorrin’s life at risk—and the king’s claim to the throne in peril.

But even greater danger is looming. The wild offspring of a dragon are on the loose, sowing death and destruction and upsetting the ancient balance of power between dragonkind, humans, elves, and gnomes. A collision seems inevitable. Yet when it comes, it will be utterly unexpected—and all the more devastating for it.

The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray (DAW Mass Market 03/06/2012) –The March 2012 Monthly anthology from DAW comes to us courtesy of an editorial duo who previously edited After Hours: Tales from Ur-Bar, which published just about exactly a year ago. This new book contains the usual gang for these things like Seanan McGuire, Jim Hines, Jay Lake, Anton Strout, and Kari Sperring.

What if the fae were still here, living among us? Perhaps living in secret, doing their best to pass for human. Or perhaps their existence is acknowledged, but they're still struggling to fit in. How have they survived? Are they outcasts clinging to the edges of society, or do their powers ensure success in the mortal realm?

Here are fourteen fabulous tales--ranging from humor to dark fantasy--that explore how the creatures of the fae realm are fitting into the modern world.

From a mortal who offers to do internet marketing for a woman bent on reclaiming her baby from the Queen of the a dryad grove menaced by urban a Selkie in need of a new home and career...these are original looks at how the world of the imagination can survive and perhaps even thrive in the everyday mortal lands.