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Showing posts from June, 2015

Book Review: The Devil's Only Friend

The Devil's Only Friend by Dan Wells, John Cleaver #4 John Wayne Cleaver hunts demons: they've killed his neighbors, his family, and the girl he loves, but in the end he's always won. Now he works for a secret government kill team, using his gift to hunt and kill as many monsters as he can... ...but the monsters have noticed, and the quiet game of cat and mouse is about to erupt into a full scale supernatural war. John doesn't want the life he's stuck with. He doesn't want the FBI bossing him around, he doesn't want his only friend imprisoned in a mental ward, and he doesn't want to face the terrifying cannibal who calls himself The Hunter. John doesn't want to kill people. But as the song says, you can't always get what you want. John has learned that the hard way; his clothes have the stains to prove it.   Dan Wells is an author I had previously heard from mostly because of his book series The Partial Sequence. I hadn't hea

Media Alert: Jock's 'Ex Machina' concept work to be released as 'Ava Evolved'

Media Alert: Jock's 'Ex Machina' concept work to be released as 'Ava Evolved' The creative process behind the break-out science fiction hit movie of 2015, Ex Machina , is to be opened up in a very special book this August. Alex Garland’s directorial debut has confirmed his position as the master of indie SF cinema and artist Jock’s concept work behind the film’s robot AI and the heart of the story, Ava, is being printed for the first time in a unique showcase format. AVA Evolved is a very special limited edition art book, that will feature loose-leafed A3 scale portfolio pieces, collecting Jock’s incredible concept art, detailing the evolution of Ava, from early mood-pieces to detailed key concept art. This stunning sequence of drawings, paintings and collages by the concept artist behind DREDD (2012) provides real insight into the creative process behind one of the most striking SF films of recent years. The book also includes an intr

Short Fiction Friday: Madeleine

Madeleine by Amal El-Mohtar, Lightspeed Magazine June 2015 [no synopsis provided]  A while back I read the short story Pockets from Amal El-Mohtar which was a very cool story and I have been keeping my eye out for another story to appear from her and this month in the special issue of Queers Destroy Science Fiction! from Lightspeed Magazine wherein another one of her stories appeared: Madeleine . I read the store once and didn't really know what to make of it (feelings wise). I read it again and just reading the first few sentences I understood the hidden beauty of the story. In the recent short fiction review I read more lighthearted stories, with Madeleine Amal El-Mohtar delves deeply into an emotional front.  The story focuses on Madeleine who lost her mother to the disease of Alzheimer. SInce Alzheimer has a degree of running in the family, Madeleine has chosen to sign up for an experimental drug procedure. SInce the medication is experimental, some side effects are st

Book Review: The Water Knife

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi In the American Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, and California skirmish for dwindling shares of the Colorado River. Into the fray steps Angel Velasquez, detective, leg-breaker, assassin and spy. A Las Vegas water knife, Angel "cuts" water for his boss, Catherine Case, ensuring that her lush, luxurious arcology developments can bloom in the desert, so the rich can stay wet, while the poor get nothing but dust. When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in drought-ravaged Phoenix, Angel is sent to investigate. There, he encounters Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist with no love for Vegas and every reason to hate Angel, and Maria Villarosa, a young Texas refugee who survives by her wits and street smarts in a city that despises everything that she represents.   With bodies piling up, bullets flying, and Phoenix teetering on collapse, it seems like California is making a power play to monopolize the life-giving flow of

Guest Blog: Creating and Recreating Renaissance Italy

Guest Blog: Creating and Recreating Renaissance Italy by Craig Cormick Big question 1: Can you write about somewhere effectively if you have never been there? Big question 2: If you’re creating a fantasy world, is there anywhere that you can visit that will actually be like it? So I was asked to blog about my Italian influences and world building, in relation to my two books the Shadow Master and the Floating City . They are both set in a version of Renaissance Italy, where science works like magic.  Where that idea came from is easy to tell. I was in Florence for a work conference – thankfully out of season – and after spending a few days sitting in conference rooms with ornate paintings and frescos, I went to visit the Galileo Museum. It’s a pretty awesome place – if you ever get the chance to visit. So I’m walking around and looking at all these telescopes and pulley-machines and all these marvellous things that he invented, and I’m thinking that these must

Guest Blog: How to hook your reader

Guest Blog: How to hook your reader by SL Grey We were asked to share a few tips on how to make horror writing more believable, but it’s less realist credibility than a suspension of disbelief we aim for when we write. That way, readers can trust what they’re being shown and can get drawn into the story. That’s when we know our writing is working – when we hook the reader in emotionally and physically. These are some of the strategies we try: Do the research Since coffee-swilling writers locked in small garrets don’t make for the most exciting protagonists, at some stage we all have to go beyond the famous advice to ‘write what you know’. In The Mall we drew on our shared fear of shopping malls and consumerism, and in The Ward we mined our collective experiences at the wrong end of a scalpel, but when it came to our third novel, The New Girl , we chose to delve into topics that were way beyond our personal experience, including paedophilia and the phenomenon of reborn

Guest Blog: Just the Two of Us: On Back-to-Back Releases

Guest Blog: Just the Two of Us: On Back-to-Back Releases by Carrie Patel The release of a first book is an exciting moment for a new author. There are months of anticipation as the date draws nearer and then weeks of guest posts, interviews, bookstore signings, and happy mayhem when it finally rolls around. Often, it’s at least a year before you start that dance all over again. In my case, four months are passing between the release of The Buried Life and its sequel, Cities and Thrones . That’s fast by the standards of traditional publishing, which must account for printing schedules, editorial work, and typesetting for a whole catalogue of books. It’s a reason to be thankful for Angry Robot, my nimble publisher, and their ability to release books fairly quickly after acquisition. It’s also an illustration of blessings in disguise. Originally, The Buried Life was scheduled to release in July of 2014. However, the sale of Angry Robot delayed my book and a