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Skybound Moves Forward With Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber

Skybound Moves Forward With Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber


The Great Book of Amber, containing Roger Zelazny’s 10-volume
Amber Chronicles (Avon EOS, December 1999). Cover by Tim White

Molly Templeton at Tor.com is reporting that Stephen Colbert has joined forces with Skybound Entertainment to develop an adaptation of Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber, bringing much-needed hope that the long delayed-series will finally be brought to the screen.

In 2016, Skybound Entertainment announced that the series was in the works, with The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman also on board. Though it’s been nearly seven years, this team is still in place, alongside Vincent Newman Entertainment and now Colbert’s production company, Spartina. Variety reports that Colbert said, “I’ve carried the story of Corwin in my head for over 40 years, and I’m thrilled to partner with Skybound and Vincent Newman to bring these worlds to life. All roads lead to Amber, and I’m happy to be walking them.”

Roger Zelazny was one of the greatest fantasy and science fiction writers of the 20th Century, and The Chronicles of Amber was his magnum opus. If you want to dip your toe into the original novels, Rajan Khanna has a splendid book-by-book reread at Tor.com.

New Treasures: Silver Queendom by Dan Koboldt

New Treasures: Silver Queendom by Dan Koboldt


Silver Queendom (Angry Robot, August 23, 2022). Cover design by Alice Claire Coleman

Have you ever made a purchase decision less than halfway through the book description?

That’s exactly what happened to me on Sunday at Barnes & Noble, about ten seconds after I picked up Dan Koboldt’s Silver Queendom and read:

Service at the Red Rooster Inn leaves much to be desired. The innkeeper, Darin, has a scowl for every new face. The homebrewed ale seems to grow less palatable with each new batch. The barmaid, Evie, only seems to work when wealthy young men are around, and the old witch Seraphina ensures that’s not too often. As for Big Tom, well, everyone learns quickly to stay on the bouncer’s good side. There’s a reason everyone in the Red Rooster crew is bad at their job… by night, they’re the best team of con artists in the Old Queendom.

That’s all I needed to decide to take the book home with me.

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Vintage Treasures: Moonheart by Charles de Lint

Vintage Treasures: Moonheart by Charles de Lint


Moonheart (Ace Books, 1984). Cover by David Mattingly

I started reading science fiction and fantasy in the late 1970s, with authors like Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Stephen R. Donaldson, and of course J.R.R. Tolkien. I learned an enormous amount from those early books, about astronomy, and space travel, and speculative physics and chemistry. And about adult relationships, and the US. military, and the kind of alien life that might exist on Venus (the kind that resembled dinosaurs, obviously).

But one of the most important things I learned was that fantasy adventures occurred elsewhere. In big cities in the United States, and small, magical towns in England. In underground government labs, and secret rebel bases on the ice planet Hoth. They certainly didn’t happen in my home town of Ottawa, Ontario, and the surrounding valley. At least, they didn’t until Chares de Lint burst on the scene with his own brand of fantasy in 1984, with books like the groundbreaking Moonheart, which helped launch the urban fantasy explosion of the 80s and 90s.

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The Modern Horrors of Ronald Malfi

The Modern Horrors of Ronald Malfi


Black Mouth and Ghostwritten (Titan Books, July 2022, October 2022). Cover designs by Julia Lloyd

There’s nothing quite like a thoroughly unexpected discovery in a good bookstore.

I couldn’t find the last Dell Magazines at my local Barnes & Noble in nearby Geneva, Illinois. So before Christmas I made a snowy road trip to the B&N superstore in Naperville. I didn’t find the magazines I wanted (what the heck, B&N magazine clerks??), but the 20 minutes I spent browsing their Science Fiction & Fantasy section turned out to be enormously rewarding anyway.

Possibly the most consequential discovery I made was a small section of shelving real estate devoted to a horror writer I’d never heard of, Ronald Malfi. I ended up taking two of his books home with me, Black Mouth and Ghostwritten, and spending time this week tracking down the rest online.

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A Valentine’s Gift for Lovers of Fantasy Intrigue: The Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan

A Valentine’s Gift for Lovers of Fantasy Intrigue: The Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan


The Justice of Kings and The Tyranny of Faith (Orbit, 2022 and 2023). Covers by Martina Fackova

When I wrote about Richard Swan’s debut fantasy novel The Justice of Kings back in October, I got an enthusiastic response. Wayne Ligon called it “My favorite fantasy this year, so far!” and BG blogger Sarah Avery said,

I’m a sucker for fantasy novels that care about the rule of law. I loved Sebastian de Castell’s Greatcoats series, about badass itinerant magistrates in a recently failed state, to no end. This one looks likely to scratch the same itch.

Hot on the heels of The Justice of Kings comes The Tyranny of Faith, due from Orbit on Valentine’s Day. Kirkus Reviews tells us, “While The Justice of Kings was pretty dark, this volume gets even grittier.” I know that’s just what you bloodthirsty lot were dying to hear.

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Future Treasures: Meru by S.B. Divya

Future Treasures: Meru by S.B. Divya

Meru by S.B. Divya (47North, February 1, 2023)

S.B. Divya has made a heckuva splash in just a few years. She was the co-editor (with Mur Lafferty) of the Hugo-nominated Escape Pod, and her debut novella Runtime (Tor.com, 2016) was nominated for a Nebula. Her first novel Machinehood (Saga Press, 2021) was also nominated for a Nebula last year.

Needless to say, her upcoming novel Meru is highly anticipated. A far-future thriller of a woman who attempts the impossible to prove that mankind is ready to live among the stars, it’s already been called “a thrilling combination of traditional SF space travel and forward-thinking examinations of what ‘humanity’ will mean in the future” by Library Journal, and “rich and complicated [with] plenty of jaw-dropping space scenes” (Kirkus Reviews).

Meru will be released in trade paperback by 47North early next month.

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Vintage Treasures: Citizen in Space by Robert Sheckley

Vintage Treasures: Citizen in Space by Robert Sheckley


Citizen in Space (Ace Books, December 1978). Cover by Dean Ellis

Robert Sheckley isn’t discussed much these days. But he had a towering reputation as an SF short story writer in the mid-20th Century. He sold his first story in 1951, and quickly became one of H.L. Gold’s stable of writers at Galaxy, one of the leading science fiction magazines of the 1950s.

Sheckley was a very prolific writer of satirical SF, and he produced hundreds of short stories in his career. His first collection, Untouched by Human Hands, was published by Ballantine in 1954, followed by Citizen in Space (Ballantine, 1955), Pilgrimage to Earth (Bantam, 1957) and two in 1960: Notions: Unlimited and Store of Infinity, both from Bantam.

Many of Sheckley’s best collections were reprinted in the late 70s by Ace books, which is when I discovered them. They made very entertaining reading then, and they still do today.

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Horror Pervades the UK: Terror Tales Of The West Country, Edited by Paul Finch

Horror Pervades the UK: Terror Tales Of The West Country, Edited by Paul Finch

Terror Tales Of The West Country (Telos Publishing, October 31, 2022). Cover by Neil Williams

This is volume 14 in the successful ongoing series Terror Tales, a bunch of anthologies collecting horror short stories set every time in a different area of the United Kingdom. Which, all in all, appears to be a really spooky place where dark and supernatural events occur all the time.

For the present  book editor Paul Finch (an excellent horror writer himself) has chosen the West Country as a setting for fifteen tales of terror penned by as many dark fiction authors. Each story is preceded by an historical recalling of disturbing and sometimes violent horrific events which took place in the past in the various parts of the West Country. 

Truth be told the long, vivid introductions by Finch are sometimes even more interesting and engrossing than the subsequent pieces of fiction.

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New Treasures: The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach

New Treasures: The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach


The Dawnhounds (Saga Press, June 14, 2022). Cover by Bo Moore

Between online sources like Amazon and my bi-weekly trips to Barnes & Noble in nearby Geneva, IL, my book needs are generally well met. But it’s still nice to walk the aisles of a major Dealers Room, like the one at Worldcon here in Chicago last fall. I came away with a number of delightful finds (see the pic below for the bulk of my haul).

One of them was The Dawnhounds, an unusual (to say the least) debut novel by Sascha Stronach, a Māori-inspired fantasy about a murdered police officer brought back to life with a mysterious new power, and tasked with protecting her city from an insidious evil. Tamsyn Muir says it’s “Part police procedural, part queer fever dream, and part love letter to a city that doesn’t exist.”

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In 500 Words or Less: End of 2022 Round-Up!

In 500 Words or Less: End of 2022 Round-Up!


The Bone Shard Emperor, Finish, and The Kaiju Preservation Society (Orbit, Portfolio, and Tor Books)

Oh man, what a year, people. I won’t bore you with the details, but you already got a glimpse of my debut novel Catalyst, and there was additional coolness on top of that. See my bio below for the title of my first games writing publication, and some of the recent spots for my short fiction.

We’re here to talk books, though, and I’ll freely admit that I didn’t read quite as much in this back half of 2022, for reasons of being busy and sometimes very stressed. Because I figured out quickly that I was going through a period of “less reading, more Steam” I was choosy with what I read. The silver lining of which was that the books I stuck with turned out to be excellent, and I’m excited to share them below with you.

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