New Treasures: First-Person Singularities by Robert Silverberg

Saturday, March 17th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

First-Person Singularities-smallA new book by SF grandmaster Robert Silverberg is a cause for celebration. It took a while for the cake and balloons to arrive, but we’re now ready to celebrate his collection First-Person Singularities. It gathers stories spanning the last six decades, all told in first person singular. Here’s Kirkus Reviews.

The sheer diversity of storylines is nothing short of extraordinary. In “House of Bones,” a time traveler is marooned more than 20,000 years in the past and is forced to assimilate into a tribe of nomadic cavemen. “Ishmael in Love” chronicles a bottle-nosed dolphin’s attempt to woo a human researcher with whom he’s fallen in love. The Nebula Award–winning “Passengers” tells the tale of a man living in a future where aliens have invaded Earth and can temporarily take possession of human minds and hijack their bodies. “Going Down Smooth” is told from the perspective of a computer, designed to help psychoanalyze troubled human patients, that finds itself slowly losing its sanity. “Caliban” chronicles a normal man’s plight in a world where everyone looks like a model. But arguably the most memorable story is “The Reality Trip,” about an alien spy — a beetle-ish creature living inside a humanlike body made of synthetic flesh — who must deal with an amorous woman who lives, as he does, in Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel and is bent on seeking an intimate relationship with him…. this book [is] a master class in first-person narrative for aspiring writers. Additionally, each story is preceded by a short introduction by Silverberg that offers invaluable insight into the cultural landscape, the publishing industry, and the author’s personal life at the time of writing.

Decades after being originally published, most of these stories are still just as entertaining and powerful as they were when first released. A singularly unique collection.

The collection includes multiple awards winners and nominees, including the Hugo Award-nominated “Our Lady of the Sauropods,” the Nebula Award-winning “Passengers,” and the Locus Award-winning novella “The Secret Sharer.”

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.

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New Treasures: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Children of Blood and Bone-smallAfrican fantasy and SF is experiencing a true renaissance, and while it’s tempting to give much of the credit to the astonishing worldwide success of Black Panther, in truth the trend has been building for years.

Tomi Adeyemi’s West African-inspired debut is a full-blown publishing phenomenon all on its own, for example. Publisher Henry Holt Books made a pre-emptive 7-figure bid for it last year, making it one of the biggest debut YA books of all time. Entertainment Weekly labels it “A phenomenon,” Ebony calls it “The next big thing in literature and film,” and, closer to home, Andrew Liptak features it prominently in “15 new science fiction and fantasy books to read this March” at The Verge.

Children of Blood and Bone is the first installment of a new trilogy. It follows Zélie Adeola, whose mother is killed when the king orders the death of all maji, as she fights to bring magic back to the kingdom of Orïsha, while struggling to keep her own growing power under control. Here’s the description.

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Children of Blood and Bone was published by Henry Holt and Co. on March 6, 2018. It is 544 pages, priced at $18.99 in hardcover and $9.99 for the digital editions. Read an excerpt at Entertainment Weekly.

A Worthy Successor to an Award-Winning Tradition: Provenance by Ann Leckie

Saturday, March 10th, 2018 | Posted by Elizabeth Galewski

Provenance Ann Leckie-smallIngray Aughskold hasn’t just risked her life’s savings for this moment. If she fails, she’ll have to work for years to make up the debt. Her reputation will be ruined, and she’ll lose her job. Worse, her adoptive mother will never choose her to inherit over her vile foster-brother Danach. But just when the deal’s supposed to come together, everything’s falling apart.

Sitting in a holographic room, Ingray can see the Facilitator clearly, and the Facilitator can see her. The Facilitator can also see the opposing party. To Ingray, however, he’s just a gray blur.

The blur cites “unexpected difficulties” in fulfilling the contract. “The package will not be delivered unless the payment is increased.”

But Ingray doesn’t have any more money. If this deal goes through, she won’t even be able to afford her next meal. She’ll have to wait to eat until she’s on board the ship home to Hwae. She really should’ve forced herself to eat breakfast that morning, no matter how nervous she may have been. “Then do not deliver it,” she says.

She’d probably be better off if the anonymous procurer didn’t cave. All she’d suffer would be a dent to her savings for the Facilitator’s fee and her travel expenses. She could go home and hatch some new scheme to outdo Danach. But she doesn’t get that lucky.

“Very well, then,” the blur says. “The deal goes forward.”

“Very well,” she answers. At which point, she takes custody of a large shipping crate. Which wasn’t what she was expecting at all.

Arriving at the small cargo ship she’s booked passage on, she runs into a new problem in the form of Captain Tic Uisine. Taking one look at the size and shape of her shipping container, he suspects human trafficking and insists on opening it.

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In 500 Words or Less: All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault by James Alan Gardner

Friday, March 9th, 2018 | Posted by Brandon Crilly

All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault-back-small All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault-small

All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault
By James Alan Gardner
Tor (384 pages, $17.99 paperback, $9.99 eBook, November 2017)

Imagine a world where vampires, werewolves and demons all exist in public, courtesy of rich people making pacts with dark entities for immortality and power. Got that? Okay, now imagine a world where people can become superheroes by being exposed to the right (or wrong) kind of powerful energies, with as wide an assortment of powers as any comic book. Good? Take another pocket of your mind and add in things like wizard magic and weird science like opening rifts to other dimensions. And then combine all of this together into a single world.

Still with me?

If you’re not, I’d understand – but nonetheless, all of the above is present in James Alan Gardner’s All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault. I’m sure some of you are sitting back and thinking that sounds insane. But the X-Files/Cops crossover episode or establishing Bones and Sleepy Hollow in the same universe came with an expectation of a certain amount of ridiculousness, and the world Jim has created definitely has that flair. It’s interesting in that there’s a fast-paced and arguably straightforward narrative, even when the narrative pauses again and again with moments of “okay, I’d better explain this before we move on,” where this might be were-bats, rifts to other worlds that spew telepathic fireflies, university buildings named after rich vampires, or why a cascade of superpowers like force fields and telescopic vision and encyclopedic knowledge and whatever you would call Ant-Man (which is all in the first five chapters) makes logical sense.

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New Treasures: The Hyperspace Trap by Christopher G. Nuttall

Thursday, March 8th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

The Hyperspace Trap-small The Hyperspace Trap-back-small

47North, the science fiction publishing imprint of, has taken a lot of chances on new authors, with considerable success. Jeff Wheeler (the Legends of Muirwood trilogy, The Kingfountain Series) has become a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, and Meg Elison’s The Book of Etta was a 2018 Philip K. Dick Award nominee, just as a few examples.

Christopher G. Nuttall is another example of a 47North author who’s a little outside the mainstream. Nuttall has published over fifty novels through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, as well as 16 volumes in the Schooled in Magic series through Timeless Books. His latest, The Hyperspace Trap, is a deep-space thriller set in the set in the world of his Angel in the Whirlwind series. It’s a creepy tale of a shipwreck in a floating graveyard, in a war-ravaged galaxy beset by pirates. Sounds like a winning combo to me.

The Hyperspace Trap was published by 47North on February 27, 2018. It is 397 pages, priced at $14.99 in trade paperback and $4.99 for the digital edition. Read an excerpt here.

Future Treasures: The Body Party by Jeff Noon

Thursday, March 8th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

A-Man-of-Shadows-Jeff-Noon-small The Body Library Jeff Noon-small

Jeff Noon, author of the 1993 Arthur C. Clarke award-winning Vurt (1993), returned after too long an absence with A Man of Shadow last year, which Warren Ellis called “superb… one of our few true visionaries,” and Adrian Tchaikovsky said was “A disturbing and bizarre journey by one of the great masters of weird fiction.” The sequel, The Body Party, arrives next month from Angry Robot, continuing the tale of a P.I. in an weird and inverted city.

Jeff Noon returns with a staggering hallucinogenic sequel to A Man of Shadows, taking hapless investigator John Nyquist into a city where reality is contaminated by the imagination of its citizens

In a city dissolving into an infected sprawl of ideas, where words come to life and reality is contaminated by stories, John Nyquist wakes up in a room with a dead body… The dead man’s impossible whispers plunge him into a murder investigation like no other. Clues point him deeper into an unfolding story infesting its participants as reality blurs between place and genre.

Only one man can hope to put it all back together into some kind of order, enough that lives can be saved… That man is Nyquist, and he is lost.

The Body Party will be published by Angry Robot on April 3, 2018. It is 384 pages, priced at $12.99 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover design is by Amazing15. Read Part One here.

New Treasures: The Song of All by Tina LeCount Myers

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

The Song of All-smallI can’t keep up with all the new SF and fantasy released every month, no matter how I try. Fortunately I’m not alone — I’m part of the Black Gate community, and there’s no more knowledgable or connected brotherhood (and sisterhood!) in the field.

Last month David B. Coe, author of “Night of Two Moons” in Black Gate 4, tipped me off to an exceptional debut fantasy novel, The Song of All by Tina LeCount Myers. Dave called it “A compulsively readable tale, steeped in mythology, suffused with magic, and beautifully realized. Highly recommended.” That’s good enough for me.

A former warrior caught between gods and priests must fight for the survival of his family in this dark epic fantasy debut, set in a harsh arctic world inspired by Scandinavian indigenous cultures.

On the forbidding fringes of the tundra, where years are marked by seasons of snow, humans war with immortals in the name of their shared gods. Irjan, a human warrior, is ruthless and lethal, a legend among the Brethren of Hunters. But even legends grow tired and disillusioned.

Scarred and weary of bloodshed, Irjan turns his back on his oath and his calling to hide away and live a peaceful life as a farmer, husband, and father. But his past is not so easily left behind. When an ambitious village priest conspires with the vengeful comrades Irjan has forsaken, the fragile peace in the Northlands of Davvieana is at stake.

His bloody past revealed, Irjan’s present unravels as he faces an ultimatum: return to hunt the immortals or lose his child. But with his son’s life hanging in the balance, as Irjan follows the tracks through the dark and desolate snow-covered forests, it is not death he searches for, but life.

The Song of All was published by Night Shade Books on February 20, 2018. It is 452 pages, priced at $25.99 in hardcover, and $14.99 for the trade paperback and digital editions. The cover artist is uncredited. It is the first volume of the series Legacy of the Heavens. Read an excerpt here.

See all of our recent New Treasures here.

New Treasures: Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Her Body and Other Parties-smallCarmen Maria Machado’s short stories have appeared in Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy, Best Horror of the Year, Year’s Best Weird Fiction, The Long List Anthology, The New Voices of Fantasy, Nebula Awards Showcase 2016, and magazines like The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, and others.

But it was Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe’s excellent Coode Street Podcast that alerted to me the existence of her debut collection. Jonathan writes:

When… Her Body and Other Parties was shortlisted for the National Book Award it went to the top of everybody’s “to read” piles. A smart, sensitive and thoughtful look at issues to do with sex, gender, violence and horror, it proved to be one of the very best books of 2017.

That’s a pretty strong endorsement. I don’t know about other folks, but the book sure shot to the top of my to read pile. Here’s the description.

In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella “Especially Heinous,” Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naïvely assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgängers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.

Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.

Her Body and Other Parties was published by Graywolf Press October 3, 2017. It is 248 pages, priced at $16 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Kimberly Glyder Design.

Derek Discovering Web Comics

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 | Posted by Derek Kunsken


A lot of my Black Gate posts lean into the realm of the fantastic in sequential art, but until now, I’ve primarily stuck to the traditional comic book format, with some occasional diversions into older magazine-sized editions. A few weeks ago, I tweeted out a request for people to recommend web comics to me, because I’d never tried any.

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Experience a Darkly Gripping Vision of the Future with the San Angeles Trilogy by Gerald Brandt

Friday, March 2nd, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

The Courier Gerald Brandt-small The-Operative-Gerald-Brandt-smaller The Rebel Gerald Brandt-small

Every time a trilogy completes, we bake a cake at the Black Gate rooftop headquarters.

Today’s cake is in honor of Gerald Brandt’s San Angeles series. It opened with The Courier, which the B&N Sci-fi Fantasy Blog called “a darkly gripping vision of the future.” It was published in hardcover by DAW in March 2016. Here’s the description.

The first installment in the San Angeles trilogy, a thrilling near-future cyberpunk sci-fi series

Kris Ballard is a motorcycle courier. A nobody. Level 2 trash in a multi-level city that stretches from San Francisco to the Mexican border — a land where corporations make all the rules. A runaway since the age of fourteen, Kris struggled to set up her life, barely scraping by, working hard to make it without anyone’s help.

But a late day delivery changes everything when she walks in on the murder of one of her clients. Now she’s stuck with a mysterious package that everyone wants. It looks like the corporations want Kris gone, and are willing to go to almost any length to make it happen.

Hunted, scared, and alone, she retreats to the only place she knows she can hide: the Level 1 streets. Fleeing from people that seem to know her every move, she is rescued by Miller — a member of an underground resistance group — only to be pulled deeper into a world she doesn’t understand.

Together Kris and Miller barely manage to stay one step ahead of the corporate killers, but it’s only a matter of time until Miller’s resources and their luck run out….

The Rebel, the third and final volume, arrived in hardcover November 14.

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