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New Fantasy From Raymond E. Feist
News of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series
By Tim Janson
March 29, 2009
Feist Returns to The Riftwar Cycle in “Rides a Dread Legion”
This week brings many outstanding new releases but nothing is bigger than the latest fantasy from Raymond E. Feist, “Rides a Dread Legion”. Feist returns to the world of Midkemia and the master magician Pub, first introduced over twenty years ago in the “Riftwar Saga”. This title begins a new series set within the Riftwar Cycle and I am very excited. Expect a review on this one very soon.
Over on the Horror side, Leisure brings us two new mass-market releases, Ed Lee’s Golem and Ray Garton’s Bestial. There’s also some great non-fiction titles out this week as weel.
…As mentioned earlier this week, the final ballot for the 2008 Bram Stoker Awards was announced. Vying for the best novel award is: Coffin County, Gary Braunbeck (Leisure); The Reach, Nate Kenyon (Leisure); Duma Key, Stephen King (Scribner); and Johnny Gruesome, Gregory Lamberson (Bad Moon/Medallion). Now admittedly I have not read all five but I really loved The Reach and I hope it takes home the award.
…In other awards news the finalists were announced for the Prometheus Awards:
Best Novel: Matter, Iain Banks (Orbit); Little Brother, Cory Doctorow (Tor); The January Dancer, Michael Flynn (Tor); Saturn's Children, Charles Stross (Ace); Opening Atlantis, Harry Turtledove (Roc); and Half a Crown, Jo Walton (Tor).
Hall of Fame: Falling Free, Lois McMaster Bujold; Courtship Rite, Donald M. Kingsbury; "As Easy as A.B.C.", Rudyard Kipling; The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien; The Once and Future King, T.H. White; and The Golden Age, John C. Wright.
The awards are given by the Libertarian Futurist Society and will be announced at Anticipation, the 67th World Science Fiction Convention, to be held August 6-10, 2009 in Montreal.
…It appears as though the final volume of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series will be split into two or three volumes with the first book, The Gathering Storm, to be released in November.
New In Fantasy
Undead on Arrival (Crimson Moon, Book 3) L.A. Banks (St. Martins)
Just one month ago, secret government operative Sasha Trudeau thought she’d tasted victory. Orchestrating détente between the warring factions of the supernatural world had nearly cost her life—but it also opened the door to a future with Max Hunter, her mate and fellow Shadow Wolf.
Until now. A poisonous virus is wreaking havoc on Hunter’s immune system. And the passionate man who Sasha loves has become unpredictable, dangerous—and possibly deadly. When Hunter disappears the night a human is found ravaged, Sasha is thrust into a race against the clock to find the cure for her mate…and the traitor who’s determined to see them both dead.
The Secret War M.F.W. Curran (MacMillan)
For thousands of years a secret war has been fought between Heaven and Hell. Daemons and angels, vampires and knights clash for the future of mankind, and as the two sides wage war across the world, innocent people are caught up in the conflict—men like Captain William Saxon and Lieutenant Kieran Harte, two great friends who have recently survived the horrors of the Battle of Waterloo. But now they face a greater struggle, against the daemonic forces of Count Ordrane, and the clandestine ambitions of the Vatican. They must try to survive assassination attempts, political machinations, epic battles on land and sea, and above all the power of a mysterious bronze pyramid—the Scarimadean—that brings everlasting damnation to all who come into contact with it. Their only allies are an old man, a fading secret organization in the Church, and an enigmatic warrior, who may hold the key not only to the friends’ fates, but to the fate of all mankind.
Rides a Dread Legion: Book One of the Demonwar Saga Raymond E. Feist (Eos)
The last remnants of an ancient advanced race, the Clan of the Seven Stars, are returning at long last to their lost homeworld, Midkemia—not as friends, but as would-be conquerors. Led by the conjurer Laromendis, they are fleeing the relentless demon hordes that are sweeping through their galaxy and destroying the elves' vast empire planet by planet. Only by escaping to Midkemia and brutally overtaking the war-weary world can the last remnants of a mighty civilization hope to survive . . . if the Dread Legion does not pursue them through the rift.
The magician Pug, Midkemia's brave and constant defender, is all too familiar with the Demon King Maarg and his minions and their foul capacity for savagery and horror, and he recognizes the even graver threat that is following on the heels of the elven invasion. The onslaught to come will dwarf every dire catastrophe his imperiled world has previously withstood, and there is no magical champion in all of Midkemia powerful enough to prevent it. Only one path remains for Pug and Midkemia's clandestine protectors, the Conclave of Shadows: forging an alliance of formidable magical talents, from the demon-dealing warlock Amirantha, brother of Pug's hated foe, and the demon-taming cleric Sandreena, to the elven Queen Miranda, to the warrior Tomas. However, uniting enemies and bitter, vengeful former lovers will be no easy task, and even together they may ultimately be unable to turn the death tide. But a failure to do so will most certainly ensure Midkemia's doom.
The Fantasy Writer's Assistant: And Other Stories Jeffrey Ford (Golden Gryphon)
When renowned writer Ashmolean loses touch with the fantasy world he has created, he pleads with his young assistant to visualize the story's end, enabling him to complete what will surely be his greatest novel ever. "The Fantasy Writer's Assistant," a finalist for the prestigious Nebula Award, is the title story to Jeffrey Ford's highly anticipated first short-fiction collection.
One tale written exclusively for this volume, "Bright Morning," recounts the search for a Kafka story that may be the key to an author's future success, but this story can only be found in an illusive—and quite possibly cursed—violet-bound edition. On an alien world in "Exo-Skeleton Town," humans dress in full-body protective exo-skins in the personas of old Hollywood movie stars, and barter old Earth movies for an alien aphrodisiac known as freasence. "The Delicate," a grisly tale about a creature that absorbs life essences, formed the genesis of Ford's award-winning "Well-Built City Trilogy." A young boy comes to terms with "Creation" when he molds his own "man" out of the detritus of a nearby forest; and in "High Tea with Jules Verne," an interview with the master fantasist Verne leads to a few unexpected revelations.
Jeffrey Ford mixes myths, dreams, and realities into the consistency of a well-blended fantasy story; he then adds a dash of the noir, a pinch of the sardonic, and seasons liberally with the profound. He's cooked up these sixteen delicacies just for your reading pleasure.
The Empire of Ice Cream Jeffrey Ford (Golden Gryphon)
Ford's second, long-awaited short fiction collection, The Empire of Ice Cream. In the title story, winner of the prestigious Nebula Award (and a finalist for the Hugo Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award), a young musician perceives another sensory world of sights and sounds and smells while consuming cup after cup of coffee.
A faerie Twilmish chronicles his brief yet adventurous life in a sand castle, during those few hours between the outgoing and incoming tide, in "The Annals of Eelin-Ok." Through a complex formula we can calculate "The Weight of Words," and thus determine their subliminal, and surreptitious, affect on the reader. In "A Night in the Tropics," we learn of a possibly demonic chess set, originally crafted in 1533 by Italian goldsmith Dario Foresso, in a New Jersey bar called The Tropics. And in "Boatman's Holiday," Charon, the boatman of Hell, takes a hiatus from his horrific day job to embark on a rather memorable vacation.
Also included is a new, previously unpublished novella (nearly 40,000 words), entitled "Botch Town," in which a young boy from Long Island comes of age in a town peopled by family and neighbors, each trying to live a life, amidst both a real and a perceived menace. Jeffery Ford can take the mundane, the everyday, and, with the skill of an adept, mold these into brilliantly realized visions, wondrous yet elusive.
The Complete Chronicles of Conan Robert E. Howard (Gollancz Hardcover)
Conan the Cimmerian—the boy-thief who became a mercenary, who fought and loved his way across fabled lands to become King of Aquilonia. Neither supernatural fiends nor demonic sorcery could oppose the barbarian warrior as he wielded his mighty sword and dispatched his enemies to a bloody doom on the battlefields of the legendary Hyborian age. Collected here in the chronological order they were first published are Robert E. Howard's definitive stories of Conan, exactly as he wrote them. A foreword and afterword by Stephen Jones provide a biography of Howard along with a comprehensive overview of his writing and background on the world of pulp fiction. World Fantasy Award-nominee Les Edwards contributes a black and white frontispiece, along with a gold embossed work on the leather-style cover, while Hugo Award- and Bram Stoker Award-winning editor and author Stephen Jones provides an insightful after word.
New In Science Fiction
Primeval: Extinction Event Dan Abnett (Titan Books)
When an Entelodon goes on the rampage down Oxford Street, causing untold damage and loss of life, Cutter decides a new approach to tackling the anomalies is needed. However, his investigations expose him and the team to a violent encounter with a mysterious Russian scientist and a situation more catastrophic and frightening than they've ever faced before... When Cutter, Abby and Connor disappear without a trace, Lester and Jenny must use every trick in the book to try and track them down...
Horus Heresy: Tales of Heresy Nick Kyme (Games Workshop)
An anthology of short stories set during the time of the Horus Heresy, featuring tales by star writers Dan Abnett, Graham McNeill, James Swallow, Mike Lee and more.
Doom 3: Maelstrom Matthew Costello (Pocket Star)
In the year 2145, a space marine assigned to the Union Aerospace Corporation research centre on Mars is one of the few survivors of a massive interdimensional invasion - an overwhelming demonic force from the mouth of Hell itself. As he struggles to survive the chaos and horror while dealing his own shock and fear, he discovers more than he could ever bargain for - the truth behind the shadowy research taking place within the very facility he is desperately trying to escape...
Buyout Alexander Irvine (Del Rey Hardcover)
One hundred years from now, with Americans hooked into an Internet far more expansive and intrusive than today’s, the world has become a seamless market-driven experience. In this culture of capitalism run amok, entrepreneurs and politicians faced with rampant overcrowding in the nation’s penal system turn to a controversial new method of cutting costs: life-term buyouts. In theory, buyouts offer convicted murderers the chance to atone for their crimes by voluntarily allowing themselves to be put to death by the state in exchange for a one-time cash payment, shared among their heirs and victims, based on a percentage of what it would have cost taxpayers to house and feed them for the rest of their natural lives. It’s a win-win situation.
At least that’s what Martin Kindred believes. And Martin is a man who desperately needs something to believe in, especially with his marriage coming apart and the murder of his brother, an L.A. cop brutally gunned down in the line of duty, unsolved.
As the public face of the buyout program, Martin is a lightning rod for verbal and physical abuse–but he embraces every challenge, knowing his motives are pure. But when evidence comes to light that a felon in line for a buyout may have been involved with his brother’s death, Martin’s professional detachment threatens to turn into a personal vendetta that will jeopardize everything–and everyone–he holds dear. Inspired by today’s politics, Buyout is an unforgettable look at an all-too-believable future . . . and one man’s struggle to do the right thing.
New Dawn Rising Scott Gamboe (Medallion Press)
A year has passed since the end of the conflict between the United Systems Coalition and the Bromidian Empire, and from the ashes of war a democratic government has arisen, with both governments working to form a fragile peace. But behind the scenes, a conspiracy is growing, threatening to destroy the stability Captain Arano Lakeland and his elite unit have fought to protect. When a coup d'état overthrows the provisional Bromidian government, Arano finds himself trapped behind enemy lines and has to lead an unlikely band of companions against a shadowy foe. Fighting for their very survival, the group waits for word about who is behind the insurrection and prepares to hunt down the intergalactic terrorist responsible for a series of deadly bombings. Before it is over, the unit's search will expose a vast and terrible conspiracy that could destroy the Coalition. At that point, their task will be not just to save the galaxy—but to stay alive long enough to get back to their headquarters.
God Emperor of Didcot (Chronicles of Isambard Smith 2) Toby Frost (Myrmidon Books)
Tea . . . a beverage brewed from the fermented dried leaves of the shrub Camelli sinensis and imbibed by all the great civilizations in the galaxy's history; a source of refreshment, stimulation, and, above all else, of moral fiber—without which the British Space Empire must surely crumble to leave Earth at the mercy of its enemies. Sixty percent of the Empire's tea is grown on one world—Urn, principal planet of the Didcot system. If Earth is to keep fighting, the tea must flow! When a crazed cult leader overthrows the government of Urn, Isambard Smith and his vaguely competent crew find themselves saddled with new allies—a legion of tea-obsessed nomads, an overly-civilized alien horde. and a commando unit so elite that it has only five members. Only together can they defeat the self-proclaimed God Emperor of Didcot and confront the true power behind the coup—the sinister legions of the Ghast Empire and Smith's old enemy, Commander 462.
Close Encounters: An Alien Affairs Novel, Book 1 Katherine Allred (Eos)
Kiera Smith is not like ordinary Genetically Engineered Persons . . . The Bureau of Alien Affairs needed a special GEP agent with empathic abilities to handle their most extraordinary assignments—and a rogue geneticist saw to it that Kiera fit their specifications. But she turned out stronger, faster, smarter, and more impervious to harm than anyone anticipated. A reluctant "superhero," Kiera wishes she were normal, but it is not to be.
On Orpheus Two, the indigenous Buri race faces extinction, a prospect the powerful Dynatec corporation welcomes and, in fact, may be actively hastening. It is Kiera's job to protect these beautiful, exotic aliens . . . and to discover what there is on Orpheus Two that Dynatec feels is worth killing for. But the magnetic allure of Thor, the breathtaking Buri leader, is proving a dangerous distraction. And now, to save Thor's people, Kiera will need a power she's never before possessed—something hidden in the unexplored recesses of her heart.
New In Horror
The Golem Ed Lee (Leisure Horror)
From the bones of the dead, and from a long buried secret...they rise to kill. The original Golem was molded from riverbed clay centuries ago, enchanted by spells to protect the innocent. But now a diabolical design has perverted the ancient, mystical rites to forge new Golems that stalk the night. Into the twilight deeps of the quiet Maryland coast, they come forth, to rape, mangle, and murder, and to bring horror and atrocity to all in their demonic path. Only a young couple can stop them but little do they know, an even worse secret is buried in their own midst...
Ghost Whisperer: Ghost Trap Doranna Durgin (Pocket Star)
When the bank repossesses her storefront, a would-be ghost whisperer decides to possess it right back. After years of manipulating people with fake readings, she finally proves her validity by amassing a horde of ghosts--but they-ve been taken against their will. When Melinda is inundated with desperate cries for help, she discovers the ghost trap, and its wicked warden. Will she find a way to help the disillusioned ghosts cross over, or has the old woman already manipulated them into sticking around . . . for good?
Bestial Ray Garton (Leisure Horror)
Something very strange is happening in the coastal California town of Big Rock. Several residents have died in unexplained, particularly brutal ways, many torn apart in animal attacks. And there’s always that eerie howling late at night….
You might think there’s a werewolf in town. But you’d be wrong. It’s not just one werewolf, but the whole town that’s gradually transforming. Bit by bit, as the infection spreads, the werewolves are becoming more and more powerful. In fact, humans may soon be the minority, mere prey for their hungry neighbors. Is it too late for the humans to fight back? Did they ever have a chance from the start?
The Ride Tom Brandner (Grey Swan Press)
A horrific accident, a dead man, and an extraordinary red truck set the stage in this thrilling ride into the past with the doomed and the dead. When body shop owner, Carl Lee, is handed a mysterious envelope containing the gold key, his life and those around him are forever changed. "Hide them," the dying man warned. Instead, Carl restores the battered truck and gives it as a birthday present to his grandfather, seventy-five-year old Thaddeus A. James. When Thaddeus is reunited with a childhood friend, he uncovers the secrets of the key and the truck he named Rita . . . and the ride begins.
New In Non-Fiction
Psycho in the Shower: The History of Cinema's Most Famous Scene Philip J. Skerry (Continuum)
Psycho in the Shower is a multi-dimensional study of Psycho's astonishing shower scene. Philip J. Skerry shows how it may be the most significant and influential film scene of all and substantiates this claim by providing chapters on the evolution of the scene in Hitchcock's career, with particular focus on his methods for creating suspense and terror in the audience. In tracing the evolution of the shower scene, the author discusses and analyzes many films (both Hitchcockian and otherwise) that lead up to Psycho.
The book places the shower scene in the cultural and social contexts of American popular culture of the 1950s and 1960s, arguing that it helped to create a revolution in both sensibility and cinematic style. Several unique dimensions help to set this study apart from other books on Psycho and Hitchcock: extensive and detailed interviews with people who worked on the film, including star Janet Leigh and screenwriter Joseph Stefano (the last significant interviews before their deaths); a close study of Hitchcock's employment of mise en scene and montage in the scenes leading up to the famous shower murder; a shot by shot analysis of the scene itself and a discussion of the numerous controversies surrounding it; and a provocative and insightful account of the writing of the book itself, which provides a unique look at the author's creative process. The book culminates with examples of how the shower scene has become embedded in the matrix of contemporary culture and the remarkable ways in which the scene affected people on first viewing.
Daniel Craig: The Biography Sarah Marshall (John Blake)
He's gorgeous, tremendously talented, charming, and sexy. His breathtaking performance as the new James Bond in Casino Royale won him legions of fans and proved that, as well as being an outstanding actor, he could cut it as an action hero and could redefine a cinematic icon to huge critical acclaim. Daniel Craig has truly made it as an A-list film star. This fascinating and affectionate book reveals everything about Hollywood's newest leading man—how he endured poverty-stricken years when he was first struggling to make it as an actor in London; how he rejected the "trivial" publicity that came when he started to make a name for himself; his relationships, including his marriage to a British actress with whom he has a daughter; plus his encounters with Sienna Miller and Kate Moss; and how he has handled the adulation that has come from his new role as 007.
101 Sci-Fi Movies You Must See Before You Die (Barron’s)
From the classic, low-budget Flash Gordon Saturday matinee serials of the 1930s and ’40s to mammoth blockbusters like Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey, filmdom’s most imaginative contributions to science fiction are vividly recaptured in this compelling book. With intriguing insights from film critics and a wealth of factual details from historians and academics, general editor Stephen Jay Schneider has brought together the data, the drama, and the passions that have inspired movies about time travel, close encounters, distant planets, extraterrestrial monsters, alien invasions, and the many other story ingredients that enliven science fiction films. Plot summaries, cast and credit listings, and 200 dramatic illustrations recapture unforgettable moments from sci-fi hits that include Alien, The Andromeda Strain, The Empire Strikes Back, The Fly, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Planet of the Apes, Silent Running, The Thing, and many, many others. Illustrations include dramatic still shots from the films and memorable movie posters. Here is a reference volume that belongs on the bookshelf of every film buff and science fiction fan
101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die (Barron’s)
Vampires, monsters, sadistic psychopaths, serial killers, vengeful ghosts, and Satan himself have been frightening and entertaining filmgoers for generations. This comprehensive, chronological film guide summarizes the 101 most important horror movies ever produced, from the 1922 silent classic Nosferatu to the low-budget, 1999 Sundance Film Festival hit, The Blair Witch Project. General editor Stephen Jay Schneider presents film summaries, reviews from a wide array of critics, cast and credit lists, and film production notes. The book’s 200 illustrations include unforgettable still shots from the movies as well as iconic film posters. Horror film buffs who open this book will renew their chilling memories of Hitchcock thrillers like Psycho and The Birds, revisit Dr. Frankenstein’s castle with Boris Karloff, haunt the sewers of Paris with Lon Chaney’s Phantom of the Opera, and recall Anthony Hopkins’ most chilling role in The Silence of the Lambs. 101 Horror Movies is international in scope, and covers films from Japan, Russia, Italy, Germany, France, and Australia. Fans of horror movies will want to see all 101 films before they die--and they’ll also want to own this entertaining and informative book.
Fantastic TV: 50 Years of Cult Fantasy and Science Fiction Steven Savile (Plexus)
Fantastic TV celebrates five decades of sci-fi and fantasy television — the cult shows that have defined popular culture. Featuring interviews with the writers and originators of the many series covered, along with the historical context of their creations, this book offers insight into a truly beloved genre of home entertainment. Detailing favorites as varied in theme and time period as The Twilight Zone, The 4400, Wonder Woman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Heroes, and with black-and-white photographs, this guide has something for every devoted sci-fi fan.
Scream Queen Brendan Hay & Nate Watson (Boom Studios Graphic Novel)
I’ve said before that Boom Studios is one of my most favorite small press comic publishers, and by small press I mean companies not named Marvel, DC, Image, or Dark Horse. Boom has particularly been eager to embrace the horror genre with many outstanding series. In Scream Queen, Brenday Hay and Nate Watson deliver a gory but hysterical take on the Beauty and the beast type storyline crossed with the slasher genre.
Sweet High scool girl Molly trudges away selling hot dogs and grape drinks at a shopping mall. She’s not one of the “in crowd” but all that’s about to change. The bestial, and deformed “Wrighty” has been living in the Mall’s maintenance tunnels ever since being rescued from a dumpster by a mall janitor when he was an infant. When his “father” dies in a freak accident, Wrighty finally decides to leave the mall so he can keep tabs on Molly, the girl of his dreams. When the snotty head cheerleader picks on poor Molly, Wrighy causes an spot to “open up” on the cheer team…when Molly’s manager won’t let her have the day off to try out of the team…the “Grape Scott” counter suddenly has a new manager…and when Molly needs a car, one shows up on her doorstep, along with the remains of the previous owner. Molly discovers she has herself a demented secret admirer!
The story is quirky and fun but with enough blood and gore to keep slasher fans happy. Watson’s art is well-suited to the tongue-in-cheek story. Grade B+
Supernatural The official Companion Season 3 Nicholas Knight (Titan Books)
This guide covers season 3 of the hit WB series in which the clock begins ticking for Dean after making a deal with a demon to save Sam’s life. The book examines each of the fifteen episodes from season three in great depth with cast, detailed plot synopses, production notes, and comments from cast and crew. There’s also some amusing anecdotes from the set such as show Creatoer Eric Kripke talking about his real-life experience that inspired the maggot-burger scene in the episode “Malleus Maleficarum”.
Throughout the book there are little “Did you know” side notes that provide sort of pop-up trivia bits about the show including the actual radio station that inspires the music that Dean and Sam listen to in their car. There are also notes that mention each of the classic rock songs used in the episodes. The season finale, “No Rest for the Wicked” is also dealt with in-depth with a special section on the episode which saw Dean dragged to Hell at the end.
There are sections which highlight and include interviews with the Special FX crew, property master, make-up staff, and a look at Supernatural in novels, comic books, and magazines. The book also features a 16-page color photo section. At 160 pages Knight packs in a surprising amount of material. I thought it was kind of slim but after reading it, there’s a wealth of information in here for fans. Grade A
Tarzan: The Jesse Marsh Years Volume 1 (Dark Horse Comics Archive Edition)
Once again, Dark Horse has dug into the pile of long-forgotten comics to produce another fabulous hardcover archive edition. Tarzan: The Jesse Marsh Years Volume 1 collections Tarzan stories from the 1940s that originally appeared in the pages of Dell Four Color Comics #134 and 161, and in Tarzan #1 – 4. Tarzan has been a stalwart in comics and newspaper strips for over 70 years and Dark Horse has rescued these stories which otherwise would have remained lost.
Marsh had worked for Walt Disney as an animator on films such as “Fantasia” and “Pinocchio” before going to work for Western Publishing who put out Dell and Gold Key Comics. These stories were the first original Tarzan stories to appear in comics. Previously, only reprints of the newspaper strips were published. There’s an adventurous simplicity to the seven stories in this volume. They are all book-length tales, the best being “Tazan and the Black Panther” where Tarzan battles slavers. Marsh’s art is also quite simple, perhaps even a bit primitive but he knew how to tell a story and frame the action perfectly. Not for everyone’s tastes certainly but Tarzan fans will certainly appreciate these stories being back in print after so many years. Grade B