Future Treasures: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Slow Regard of Silent Things-smallPatrick Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicle includes only two volumes so far — The Name of the Wind, reviewed for us by Robert Rhodes, and the Gemmel Award winner The Wise Man’s Fear — which doesn’t make it much of a chronicle by fantasy standards, really. But it has already vaulted into the front rank of modern fantasy, with great critical acclaim and a growing body of fans. Expectations are high for the third volume.

Now comes word that Rothfuss’s next book, featuring a character from the previous novels, is not the long-awaited third volume in The Kingkiller Chronicle. Instead it’s a novella featuring Auri, former student at The University, titled The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

This is the second of three novellas set in Temerant (known as the Four Corners of Civilization in the novels) that Rothfuss reportedly has planned. The first, ”The Lightning Tree,” was centered on Bast and was recently published in Rogues, the massive heroic fantasy anthology edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. The third, a very lengthy (100,000-120,000 words) volume featuring Laniel Young-Again, has not yet been officially announced.

The upcoming third volume in The Kingkiller ChronicleThe Doors of Stone, has a title but no firm release date.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things will be released as a standalone hardcover by DAW this October. Here’s the book description.

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Bloody Battles, Espionage, Dark and Beautiful Prose, & Lovecraftian Horror: A Review of Karl Edward Wagner’s Dark Crusade

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 | Posted by Connor Gormley

Dark Crusade Karl Edward Wagner-smallYou guys are going to love for me for this. So very much. Someone, somewhere might have mentioned this already, but whatever, now it’s my turn.

All of the Kane books, both the novels and short story collections, have been released on Kindle for four or five bucks each, which is a mere three pounds if you live in England. It’s kind of bittersweet actually, because it means all that time I spent rummaging around in the musty corners of used bookshops looking for Bloodstone (which I reviewed, by the way) has kind of gone to waste, and anyone that spent around 100 bucks for a copy of Gods in Darkness or Midnight Sun is going to want to curl up in a big ball over there in the corner and have a little cry. So whilst you do that, I’m going to get on with the review, if you don’t mind.

Dark Crusade revolves around the rise of the dark Cult of Sataki, its meteoritic domination of the kingdom of Shapeki, the brutal regime it establishes and its enigmatic and mysterious prophet Orted something or other. When Orted’s fanatical cult of peasants try to seize the southern kingdoms, they are swiftly and brutally quelled by a superior military force, and that’s when Kane, a mercenary, steps in to help.

Kane really is the star of the show here, as anyone familiar with the series will tell you, but for anyone not in the know, Kane is a prince cursed with immortality who has wandered the world for eternity, plumbing its secrets, learning grim and interdicted sorceries, seeking out mysteries and conflicts and battle and war, and just generally trying to entertain himself during the course of his unending life.

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Win a Copy of Peter Watts’ Echopraxia

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Echopraxia-smallPeter Watts is a fellow Canadian and that makes him cool.

Well, that and the fact that he writes intensely cool SF novels, like the Hugo-nominated Blindsight, which Charles Stross described as “a first contact with aliens story from the point of view of a zombie posthuman crewman aboard a starship captained by a vampire.” Any time you can get Charles Stross on record saying “zombie posthuman crewman,” you know you’re cool. Plus, Ken Levine, the Creative Director for the hit video game BioShock, credits Watts as a significant influence on his game. That’s coolness right there.

Watts’s latest novel Echopraxia, described as a “sidequel” relating events on Earth during Blindsight, arrives at the end of the month, and Tor Books has been kind enough to offer us a copy to use as a giveaway (Thanks, Tor! You guys are super-cool.)

How do you enter? Just send an e-mail to john@blackgate.com with the title “Echopraxia” and a one-sentence review of your favorite Tor science fiction novel. One winner will be drawn at random at the end of the month from all qualifying entries and we’ll publish the best reviews here on the Black Gate blog.

All entries become the property of New Epoch Press. No purchase necessary. Must be 12 or older. Decisions of the judges (capricious as they may be) are final. Not valid where prohibited by law, or outside the US and Canada.

Here’s the book description.

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New Treasures: Downfall by Rob Thurman

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Downfall Rob Thurman-smallI first met Rob (Robyn) Thurman at Dragon*Con back in 2010, when she had a booth right next to the chaotic and busy Black Gate booth in the Dealer’s Room. As Howard put it in his con report, hanging out with Rob was one of the highlights of the con for us — she was charming and funny, and told hilarious tales of cosplay misadventures in a knockout Deadpool costume.

Turns out Rob is also a terrific writer, as I discovered when I finally had a chance to pick up one of her popular Cal Leandros dark urban fantasy novels. The series began with Nightlife in 2006; since then she’s published one per year. The ninth and most recent, Downfall, arrived earlier this month. It’s not too late to discover this New York Times bestselling series — if you haven’t already.

I let it go — all of it. Everything I’d been saving up all my life, building and growing inside me, too much to hold in one half-human body. It pushed and fought to be free with a force that turned me into a bomb with a timer vibrating on zero. I was free.

But so was everything I’d fought so hard not to be….

Brothers Cal and Niko Leandros know trouble when they see it — and then proceed to wipe the floor with it. But now it seems their whole world is falling to pieces. Cal’s nightmarish monster side is growing ever stronger, changing Cal physically as well as mentally. Which is exactly what Grimm — Cal’s savage doppelgänger — wants. And when a covert supernatural organization decides that it’s time to put Cal down before he threatens pretty much everything else in existence, the brothers find themselves in a fight they actually might lose. But the dark temptations Cal has denied all his life may prove to be exactly what can save them.

Even if he must fall forever…

Downfall was published on August 5, 2014 by Roc Books. It is 338 pages, priced at $7.99 in paperback and $6.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Chris McGrath.


Vintage Treasures: Pavane by Keith Roberts

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Pavane Ace Special-small Pavane Berkley-small Pavane Ace-small

I think I first took notice of Keith Roberts’s classic alternate history Pavane because it was part of the famed Ace Science Fiction Special line. The Ace specials, edited by Terry Carr, were a legendary line of (mostly) original paperbacks that included some of the most acclaimed SF and fantasy ever published, such as R. A. Lafferty’s Past Master (1968), Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), Alexei Panshin’s Rite of Passage (1969), John Brunner’s The Traveler in Black (1971), and William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984). Pavane was one of the rare reprints; it first appeared in hardcover in 1968, and the Ace paperback came along a year later, with a cover by Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon (above left).

Pavane has been reprinted many, many times in the past four decades — at least 20 times, by my count. Frankly, I’d be surprised if it’s been out of print for more than a year or two over the past forty years. Trust me, that’s evidence of an exceptional book, with the kind of appeal that crosses generations. Berkley put a very purple Richard Powers on their 1976 paperback edition (above, middle), but I think my favorite cover may be Chuck Minichiello’s, for the 1982 Ace reprint (right).

What’s Pavane all about, then? It’s a collection of nine linked short stories, most of them published in the British SF magazine Impulse in 1966. Roberts imagines a complex and well-realized alternate world where England fell to the Spanish Armada in the 16th Century, and the 20th Century sees the all-powerful hegemony of the Church of Rome, which has ruthlessly smothered scientific progress through the terror of the Inquisition. But knowledge cannot be suppressed indefinitely and the world is beginning to inexorably change…

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The 2014 Hugo Award Winners

Monday, August 18th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Ancillary Justice Ann Leckie-smallThe 2013 Hugos were awarded at LonCon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention in London, England.

There’s a lengthy list of winners, so let’s get to it. The complete list follows.

Best Novel

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit)

Best Novella

“Equoid” by Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)

Best Novelette

“The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor.com, 09-2013)

Best Short Story

“The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)

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Future Treasures: Willful Child by Steven Erikson

Sunday, August 17th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Willful Child Steven Erikson-smallSince we’ve been talking about Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont’s Malazan books this weekend, I thought I’d slip in a mention of Erikson’s upcoming novel Willful Child — which looks like a pretty significant departure from his epic fantasy roots.

Erikson completed his monumental Malazan Book of the Fallen with the tenth volume, The Crippled God, in March 2011. He didn’t take much of a breather: Forge of Darkness, the first novel in his new Kharkanas Trilogy, appeared a year later; the second, Fall of Light, is scheduled to arrive next February. He’s also been writing short tales featuring the necromancers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach — five so far, including Crack’d Pot Trail.

But now comes word that his latest book is a tongue-in-cheek space opera called Willful Child, which Robert Sawyer calls “A love letter to Star Trek and its fans — a pitch-perfect tour de force.” Given Steven Erikson’s gifts as a storyteller, and my own love of Star Trek, this has immediately become one of the most anticipated novels of the year for me.

These are the voyages of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life-forms, to boldly blow the…

And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through ‘the infinite vastness of interstellar space.’

The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen sequence has taken his lifelong passion for Star Trek and transformed it into a smart, inventive, and hugely entertaining spoof on the whole mankind-exploring-space-for-the-good-of-all-species-but-trashing-stuff-with-a-lot-of-high-tech-gadgets-along-the-way, overblown adventure. The result is an SF novel that deftly parodies the genre while also paying fond homage to it.

Willful Child will be published by Tor Books on November 4, 2014. It is 352 pages, priced at $24.99 in hardcover and $11.99 for the digital version.


Win a Copy of Patrick Swenson’s The Ultra Thin Man

Sunday, August 17th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Ultra Thin Man-smallPatrick Swenson may be the coolest guy in the genre.

He started doing what all the cool people do, of course: editing a magazine. Patrick founded Talebones in 1995, a small press magazine of SF and dark fantasy, and he produced 39 issues over the next 14 years, discovering writers like Patrick O’Leary, Ken Scholes, Carrie Vaughn, and many others in the process. I called the magazine “a thoroughly impressive piece of work” when I reviewed issue #17 in 1999 for SF Site. Patrick then turned to small press publishing with Fairwood Press, where he’s published over 50 books from folks like James Van Pelt, Mary Rosenblum, Ken Rand, Jay Lake, Michael Bishop, Devon Monk, Alexei Panshin, William F. Nolan, and dozens of others. Most recently he has turned his hand to writing, producing short stories for Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine and other outlets.

Last year, Patrick announced that he’d sold his first novel, The Ultra Thin Man, to Tor, cementing his creative conquest of the entire genre. Not content with merely conquering science fiction, Patrick has also sent stories out to other genres, especially noir and detective fiction. Here’s a snippet from his recent interview with Forces of Geek on the inspiration behind The Ultra Thin Man.

It probably goes without saying that Dashiell Hammett’s novel The Thin Man was an influence, as was the 1934 film. Not so much for that particular plot, but the detective story in general. The witty dialogue. The one-liners. The back and forth repartee between the lead and other characters. Besides Hammett, I’d single out some of my favorite mystery writers, all of whom are masterful writing dialogue: Robert B. Parker, Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler, John D. Macdonald, and James W. Hall, to name a few.

To celebrate Patrick’s deep contributions to fantasy over the decades — and the fact that one human being can attain this level of coolness — we’re giving away a copy of The Ultra Thin Man, compliments of Tor Books.

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New Treasures: Dust and Light by Carol Berg

Sunday, August 17th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

Dust and Light-smallCarol Berg’s first novel was Transformation, a Roc midlist paperback, in August 2000. It was a success and it became the first novel of the Rai-Kirah trilogy.

Some fourteen epic fantasy novels followed, including four in The Bridge of D’Arnath series and the Collegia Magica trilogy. There were a couple standalone titles in there as well, including Song of the Beast (2003), and the story “Unmasking,” in the 2007 Elemental Magic collection.

The two novels in The Lighthouse Duet, Flesh and Spirit (2007) and Breath and Bone (2008), were set in the world of Sanctuary. Now Berg returns to Sanctuary with her latest novel, the first installment of a new duology.

How much must one pay for an hour of youthful folly? The Pureblood Registry accused Lucian de Remeni-Masson of “unseemly involvement with ordinaries,” which meant only that he spoke with a young woman not of his own kind, allowed her to see his face unmasked, worked a bit of magic for her… After that one mistake, Lucian’s grandsire excised half his magic and savage Harrowers massacred his family. Now the Registry has contracted his art to a common coroner. His extraordinary gift for portraiture is restricted to dead ordinaries — beggars or starvelings hauled from the streets.

But sketching the truth of dead men’s souls brings unforeseen consequences. Sensations not his own. Truths he cannot possibly know and dares not believe. The coroner calls him a cheat and says he is trying to weasel out of a humiliating contract. The Registry will call him mad — and mad sorcerers are very dangerous…

Dust and Light was published by Roc Books on August 5. It is 445 pages, priced at $16 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Gene Mollica.


The 1939 Retro Hugo Award Winners Announced

Saturday, August 16th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

The Sword in the Stone T. H. White-smallBack in April, we told you about the nominees for the 1939 Retro Hugo Awards, for the best science fiction and fantasy first published 75 years ago.

The Hugos were first awarded at the 11th World Science Fiction Convention in 1953. The 1939 Retro Hugo Awards celebrate the finest work published in 1938, which fans would have voted on at the very first Worldcon in New York in 1939 (if the Hugos had existed in 1939).

The Retro Hugos were awarded at Luncon 3, the The 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, held from Thursday, August 14th through Sunday, August 17th, in London, England. The 2014 (non-Retro) Hugos will be awarded tomorrow in a ceremony just before the close of the convention.

The Retro Hugo awards were presented by Mary Robinette Kowal and Rob Shearman.

Without further ado, here are the winners:

Best Novel:

The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White (Collins)

Best Novella:

“Who Goes There?” by Don A Stuart [John W. Campbell] (Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1938)

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