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Book Buzz: The Author-Reader Relationship
How today's authors interface with fans.
By Pat Ferrara
July 07, 2008
George R.R Martin book display in Lisbon, Portugal
© George R.R Martin.com
Back in the olden days an author’s book was the sole connection to his readership. Regardless of the story particulars a writer’s characters, places and themes are their own private dialogue to a very public world. But outside of actually reading their novel, fans used to have pretty limited means to interface with their favorite authors. The staunchest of admirers could glean information from interviews and possibly get some face time at book-signing events, yet much like everything else the internet has changed all that.
The age of online blogging and instant news casting has upped the ante for author relations. More so than other book genres sci-fi and fantasy novels can command huge followings. Our thirst for information is rooted in always wanting more, a desire to continuously assimilate new knowledge and break the stimulus shield of modern life. In an entertainment industry dominated by the Hollywood Star System, it’s really no surprise that fiction fans are reading up on their favorite authors on a daily basis.
At George R.R. Martin’s site you can find out what the author likes to do for fun, how his trip to Portugal is going, and even what he currently likes to watch on television. Over at Brandon Sanderson’s page you can read chapter-by-chapter annotations on his Mistborn trilogy, check out his read-through notes on RJ’s Wheel of Time series, and even see how far along he is on the first draft of A Memory of Light (currently at 25% completed). The amount of time an author spends on their site is usually indicative of not only their fan base but also of the quality of their writing and their dedication to their readership. Martin and Sanderson’s respective websites are two good examples of accessible, information-packed interfaces that can appease even the most interested of followers.
Though Martin has long since expressed frustration with updating his Ice and Fire developments, his site is still a valuable resource for fantasy-related info. In addition to quantifying progress on his upcoming work, Sanderson’s website is great for providing a lot of background on the actual process behind his writing; by offering annotations and before and after edit posts Sanderson caters not only to his fans but also to aspiring writers eager to learn more about the different steps of publishing.
In short an author’s website and blog have become full-time projects in and of themselves. While they may not be as entertaining as their next series installment, they put the time and effort to connect with you during the wait, take advantage of it.
New in Hardcover:
The Dog of the North, Tim Stretton (Macmillan UK)
Lady Isola, travelling to the fortified city of Croad, is kidnapped by the dreaded Beauceron, the Dog of the North. But Beauceron is no mere brigand; he has bigger schemes in mind: it is his lifes ambition to capture Croad itselfwhatever the cost. Meanwhile in Croad, Arren, is taken under the wing of the citys ruler, Lord Thaume, and grows into a young knight of prowess and reputation. But as his fortunes rise, those of his childhood friend Eilla decline. Years later, Beauceron has returned with Lady Isola to his home. He is determined to raise an army to defeat his enemies in court and capture the city he loathes. In Croad, when Eilla is forced to take employment as a servant in Lord Thaumes household, Arren realizes that his love for her is more important than his prospects for advancement.
Vampyres of Hollywood, Adrienne Barbeau & Michael Scott (Thomas Dunne Books)
Hollywood, California: three gruesome deaths within two weeks and every one of them a major star - an Oscar winner, an ingénue, and an action hero. A serial killer is working through the Hollywood A-list and celebrities are running scared. Each crime scene is worthy of a classic horror movie, and all three victims share a connection to the powerful scream queen, Ovsanna Moore. The stunning and formidable Moore is the legendary head of a Hollywood studio, as well as the writer and star of seventeen blockbuster horror films (and a few that went straight to DVD). She’s also a 500 year old vampyre…but this is Hollywood after all, and no one ever looks their age. Beverly Hills Police Detective Peter King knows a lot about the City of Angels, but he certainly doesn’t know that most of the famous actors in town are actually an established network of vampires. Or that secretive and seductive Ovsanna Moore happens to be their CEO. Moore and King may be from opposite sides of the Hollywood Hills, but both have something to gain by stopping the killer who the tabloids have dubbed the Cinema Slayer. Ovsanna must protect her vampire legacy and her production schedule, while King just wants to keep his Beverly Hills beat as blood-free as possible. But when the horror queen and the cop with the movie star looks form an unholy alliance, sparks fly and so do the creatures of the night. Film, television and Broadway star Adrienne Barbeau and New York Times bestselling author Michael Scott have teamed up to deliver this sexy, scary, and deliciously clever novel full of Hollywood glamour, behind-the-scenes secrets, and the truly bloodthirsty reality of Tinseltown. So grab some popcorn and some holy water and lose yourself in the high-stakes, back-stabbing world of the Vampyres of Hollywood.
Vlad: Jhegaala, Steven Brust (Tor)
Fresh from the collapse of his marriage, and with the criminal Jhereg organization out to eliminate him, Vlad decides to hide out among his relatives in faraway Fenario. All he knows about them is that their family name is Merss and that they live in a papermaking industrial town called Burz. At first Burz isn’t such a bad place, though the paper mill reeks to high heaven. But the longer he stays there, the stranger it becomes. No one will tell him where to find his relatives. Even stranger, when he mentions the name Merss, people think he’s threatening them. The witches’ coven that every Fenarian town and city should have is nowhere in evidence. And the Guild, which should be protecting the city’s craftsmen and traders, is an oppressive, all-powerful organization, into which no tradesman would ever be admitted. Then a terrible thing happens. In its wake, far from Draegara, without his usual organization working for him, Vlad is going to have to do his sleuthing amidst an alien people: his own.
Iron Elves: A Darkness Forged in Fire, Chris Evans (Pocket Books)
First in a stunning debut series,A Darkness Forged in Fire introduces an unforgiving world of musket and cannon...bow and arrow...magic, diplomacy, and oaths--ach wielding terrible power in an Empire teetering on the brink of war. In this world, Konowa Swift Dragon, former commander of the Empire's elite Iron Elves, is looked upon as anything but ordinary. He's murdered a Viceroy, been court-martialed, seen his beloved regiment disbanded, and finally been banished in disgrace to the one place he despises the most--the forest. Now, all he wants is to be left alone with his misery...but for Konowa, nothing is ever that simple. The mysterious and alluring Visyna Tekoy, the highborn daughter of an elfkynan governor, seeks him out in the dangerous wild with a royal decree that he resume his commission as an officer in Her Majesty's Imperial Army, effective immediately. For in the east, a falling Red Star heralds the return of a magic long vanished from the earth. Rebellion grows within the Empire as a frantic race to reach the Star unfolds. It is a chance for Konowa to redeem himself -- even if the entire affair appears doomed to be a suicide mission...and that the soldiers recruited for the task are not at all what he expects. And worse, his key adversary in the perilous race for the Star is the dreaded Shadow Monarch—a legendary elf-witch whose machinations for absolute domination spread deeper than Konowa could ever imagine...
Detective Inspector Chen: The Shadow Pavilion, Liz Williams (Night Shade Books)
The Snake Agent returns in The Shadow Pavilion, the fourth Detective Inspector Chen novel from Liz Williams! When Chen's partner, the demon Seneschal Zhu Irzh, disappears, along with Chen's wife Inari's guardian badger, Chen must enlist all of his allies and assets in order to locate them. From the strange streets of Singapore Three to the rough and tumble world of Bollywood, where money flows fast and emotions flare even faster; from the realms of the Celestial to the haunts of the Infernal and all the spaces in between, The Shadow Pavilion delivers the thrills, excitement, and near-future occult action fans have come to expect.
Crosstime Traffic: The Valley-Westside War, Harry Turtledove (Tor)
Usually Crosstime Traffic concerns itself with trade. Our world owns the secret of travel between parallel continuums, and we mean to use it to trade for much-needed resources with the worlds next door. Preferably without letting them know about any of that parallel-worlds stuff. But there’s one parallel world that’s different. In it, the atomic war broke out in 1967, at the height of the Summer of Love. Now, Crosstime Traffic has been given a different sort of mission: find out what on earth, or on the many earths, went wrong.
Warhammer 40K Ultramarines: The Killing Ground, Graham McNeill (Games Workshop)
The long-awaited return of the Ultramarines series, starring Uriel Ventris, by Horus Heresy author Graham McNeill. Killing Ground picks up where Dead Sky, Black Sun leaves off as Uriel finds himself on a chaos world and choices to make, none of which are very appealing or may bring him home.
New in Paperback:
Dark Sisters: Dangerous Tides, Christine Feehan (Piatkus Books)
Libby Drake never saw herself as the kind of woman who could attract the attention of handsome and brilliant biochemist Tyson Derrick. Until fate throws them together-and leaves them vulnerable to a secret enemy.
Blood Bound, Patricia Briggs (Orbit Books)
Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind. But this new vampire is hardly ordinary--and neither is the demon inside of him.
Warhammer 40k: Blood Angels Omnibus, James Swallow (Games Workshop)
This Omnibus collects the first two Blood Angels novels, Deus Encarmine and Deus Sanguinius. In this two-book sequence, battle-brothers Rafen and Arkio find themselves pitted against each other in a battle for the very soul of the Blood Angels Chapter.
Touching Silver, Jamie Craig (Juno Books)
The chase of the Silver Maiden continues in this second of the series…A young woman reappears five years after being kidnapped and cold-case detective Olivia Wright reopens the investigation. The dangerous Gabriel de los Rios appears to be involved so Olivia turns to Isaac McGuire, the LAPD detective who knows Gabriel all too well. Gabrial wants to gain the supernatural power of the Silver Maiden coin and kidnapping is not the only crime he is willing to commit in order to possess it. Olivia and Isaac hope to stop Gabriel before he can do more harm, but Olivia's single-minded professionalism is derailed by the highly distracting Isaac…
Alchemy of Stone, Ekaterina Sedia (Prime Books)
Mattie, an intelligent automaton skilled in the use of alchemy, finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between gargoyles, the Mechanics, and the Alchemists. With the old order quickly giving way to the new, Mattie discovers powerful and dangerous secrets - secrets that can completely alter the balance of power in the city of Ayona. However, this doesn't sit well with Loharri, the Mechanic who created Mattie and still has the key to her heart - literally! A steampunk novel of romance, political intrigue, and alchemy, The Alchemy of Stone represents a new and intriguing direction by the author of the critically-acclaimed The Secret History of Moscow.
Dragon Age: Dragonforge, James Maxey (Solaris)
After the death of King Albekizan, Shandrazel and his allies struggle to keep the kingdom intact as the radical human prophet, Ragnar gathers forces to launch a full scale rebellion against the dragons. When all out war erupts, legendary dragon hunter, Bitterwood, must face his own personal daemons and choose where his loyalty really lies.
Vampire Huntress Legends: The Shadows, L.A. Banks (St. Martin’s Griffin)
In the newest Vampire Huntress novel from national bestselling author, L. A. Banks, more than vampires are coming out to play…The Dark Realms are taking cover after an angel onslaught from On High. The Anti-Christ has been injured and the fourth Biblical seal has been broken. Yonnie and Val, a strange combination of a daywalker and an angel hybrid, have joined Damali and Carlos’s team. And the two new Council Level vamps, Elizabeth Bathory and Lucrezia Borgia, are still in recovery from their last mission. Seething in the underworld is the Unnamed One, so furious that he's bringing the battle topside, unleashing a full-frontal assault on mankind for the offenses committed by the Vampire Huntress team. This time, Damali and Carlos must address serious human casualties and collateral damage...all while the vampire councilman, Nuit rebuilds Blood Music to become more than a record label, but a media brainwashing empire for the dark lord.
Endless Quest: Search for the Pegasus, Roger E. Moore (Mirrorstone)
Pick a path to adventure! In Endless Quest, readers become heroes in their own fantasy quest. Fight a dragon; ride a flying carpet, or fling spells at an evil wizard. The adventure is endless and the choices are yours! In the latest Endless Quest adventure your best friend Clarion the pegasus has been kidnapped by the Evil Blue Hag. It's up to you and your friends, a noble gnome and a colorful leprechaun, to save Clarion before it's too late. An update of the Choose Your Own Adventure Novels?? Awww yea.
Jump 225 Trilogy: Infoquake, David Louis Edelman (Solaris)
Natch is a master of biologics, the programming of the human body. He's clawed and scraped his way to the top of the biologics market using little more than his wits. Now his sudden notoriety has brought him to the attention of Margaret Surina, the owner of a mysterious new technology called MultiReal. Only by enlisting Natch's devious mind can Margaret keep MultiReal out of the hands of High Executive Len Borda and his ruthless armies. To fend off the intricate net of enemies closing in around him, Natch and his apprentices must accomplish the impossible. They must understand this strange new technology, run through the product development cycle, and prepare MultiReal for release to the public - all in three days. Meanwhile, hanging over everything is the spectre of the infoquake, a lethal burst of energy that's disrupting the biologic networks and threatening to send the world crashing back into the Dark Ages.
Jump 225 Trilogy: Multireal, David Louis Edelman (Pyr)
David Louis Edelman's debut novel Infoquake was called "the love child of Donald Trump and Vernor Vinge" and hailed as the best science fiction debut of 2006. The story continues with MultiReal, the stunning second book in the Jump 225 trilogy. Natch has just won his first battle with the Defense and Wellness Council for control of MultiReal technology. But now the Council has unleashed the ruthless cunning of Lieutenant Executive Magan Kai Lee. Lee decides that if Natch's company can't be destroyed from without, it must be destroyed from within. As black code continues to eat away at Natch's sanity, he faces a mutiny from his own apprentices, a legal onslaught from the government, and the return of enemies old and new. In desperation, the entrepreneur turns to some unlikely allies: a radical politician with an agenda of his own, and a childhood enemy to whom he has done a terrible wrong. Natch's struggle will take him from the halls of power in Melbourne to the ruined cities of the diss. Hanging in the balance is the fate of MultiReal, a technology that could end the tyranny of the Council forever-or give the Council the ultimate weapon of oppression.
Doctor Who: Starships and Spacestations, Justin Richards (Random House UK)
The Doctor has his TARDIS to get him from place to place and time to time, but the rest of the Universe relies on more conventional transport. From the British Space Programme of the late twentieth century to Earth's Empire in the far future, from the terrifying Dalek Fleet to deadly Cyber Ships, this book documents the many starships and spacestations that the Doctor and his companions have encountered on their travels. In this stunningly-illustrated book, Doctor Who historian Justin Richards documents the amazing story of Earth's ventures into space, examines the many alien fleets who have paid Earth a visit, and explores the other starships and spacestations that the Doctor has encountered on his many travels.
Year’s Best Science Fiction: 25th Annual Collection, Ed. by Gardner Dozois (St. Martin’s Griffin)
In the new millennium, what secrets lay beyond the far reaches of the universe? What mysteries belie the truths we once held to be self evident? The world of science fiction has long been a porthole into the realities of tomorrow blurring the line between life and art. Now, in The Year’s Best Science Fiction Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection the very best SF authors explore ideas of a new world. This venerable collection brings together award winning authors and masters of the field such as Robert Reed, Ian McDonald, Stephen Baxter, Michael Swanwick, Paolo Bacigalupi, Kage Baker, Walter Jon Williams, Alastair Reynolds, and Charles Stross . And with an extensive recommended reading guide and a summation of the year in science fiction, this annual compilation has become the definitive must read anthology for all science fiction fans and readers interested in breaking into the genre.
The Voyage of the Space Beagle, A E. van Vogt (Orb Books)
One of the great original classics of modern SF returns! An all-time classic space saga, The Voyage of the Space Beagle is one of the pinnacles of Golden Age SF, an influence on generations of stories. An episodic novel filled with surprises and provocative ideas, this is the story of a great exploration ship sent out into the unknown reaches of space on a long mission of discovery. They encounter several terrifying alien species, including the Ix, who lay their eggs in human bodies, which then devour the humans from within when they hatch. This is one of the most entertaining and gripping stories in all of classic SF.
Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse, Victor Gischler (Touchstone)
Mortimer Tate was a recently divorced insurance salesman when he holed up in a cave on top of a mountain in Tennessee and rode out the end of the world. Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse begins nine years later, when he emerges into a bizarre landscape filled with hollow reminders of an America that no longer exists. The highways are lined with abandoned automobiles; electricity is generated by indentured servants pedaling stationary bicycles. What little civilization remains revolves around Joey Armageddon's Sassy A-Go-Go strip clubs, where the beer is cold, the lap dancers are hot, and the bouncers are armed with M16s. Accompanied by his cowboy sidekick Buffalo Bill, the gorgeous stripper Sheila, and the mountain man Ted, Mortimer journeys to the lost city of Atlanta--and a showdown that might determine the fate of humanity.
Rogue Angel: Gabriel’s Horn, Alex Archer (Gold Eagle)
The stranger could be insane. Or he just might be our salvation. Archaeologist Annja Creed is more than curious when a decrepit, ancient-looking man visits her, claiming the end of the world is near. The stranger spins wild tales and speaks as if he actually knew King Arthur. But, strangest of all, he insists that Annja is the only one who can stop the horrible event that is about to happen. When Annja's mentor and friend Roux goes missing, she quickly realizes there may be something to the stranger's stories. Making her way through the dark and violent underbelly of Istanbul, Annja must find her missing friend and the Holy Grail before the relic gets into the wrong hands. She may not fully believe the fate of the world is on the line, but she doesn't really want to die finding out.
New in Audiobook:
Victory of Eagles, Naomi Novik (Random House Audio Unabridged)
Naomi Novik’s triumphant debut, His Majesty’s Dragon, introduced a dynamic new pair of heroes to the annals of fantasy fiction: the noble fighting dragon Temeraire and his master and commander, Capt. Will Laurence. Now in the latest novel, they soar to new heights of breathtaking action and brilliant imagination. It is a grim time for the dragon Temeraire. On the heels of his mission to Africa, seeking the cure for a deadly contagion, he has been removed from military service–and his captain, Will Laurence, has been condemned to death for treason. For Britain, conditions are grimmer still: Napoleon’s resurgent forces have breached the Channel and successfully invaded English soil. Napoleon’s prime objective: the occupation of London. Separated by their own government and threatened at every turn by Napoleon’s forces, Laurence and Temeraire must struggle to find each other amid the turmoil of war and to aid the resistance against the invasion before Napoleon’s foothold on England’s shores can become a stranglehold. If only they can be reunited, master and dragon might rally Britain’s scattered forces and take the fight to the enemy as never before–for king and country, and for their own liberty. But can the French aggressors be well and truly routed, or will a treacherous alliance deliver Britain into the hands of her would- be conquerors? Read by Simon Vance.
Dies the Fire: A Meeting at Corvallis, S.M. Stirling (Tantor Media)
In the tenth year of The Change, the survivors in western Oregon have learned how to live in a world without technology-but there are those who would exploit the new world order. On one side stands Michael Havel's Bearkillers and their allies, Clan MacKenzie under the leadership of Juniper MacKenzie. On the other is the Lord Protector, Norman Arminger-the Warlord of Portland, whose neo-feudal empire rules over much of the Pacific Northwest. The tensions between factions have been building for some time, and the only reason they haven't met on the battlefield is because Arminger's daughter has fallen into Clan MacKenzie's hands. But a plan to retrieve her threatens to plunge the entire region into open warfare. Read by Todd McLaren.
Check back next Monday for all the latest info on current sci-fi, fantasy, and horror book releases. Questions or comments? Hit me up at Pferrara.firstname.lastname@example.org.