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Showing posts from 2016

Guest Blog: Darker Gods by James A. Moore

Darker Gods by James A. Moore Religion as a Dark Force in Fantasy It’s an interesting thing, religion. In the right hands and mindset it can make amazing things happen. Communities can get together and build villages in pretty quickly. Homes and farms ruined by natural forces can be restored in short order because neighbors and friends can gather together and work as a unit. Often times those units are started by the religious leader in an area. The Amish raise barns in a day that no single person could manage in a month. But then we have to look at the other side of that coin. Atrocities have been committed in the name of God or gods. The witch hunts in Europe devastated tens of thousands. Wars were fought in the name of God, not because it was a different god, but merely because the ways of worshipping said god did not match up. Well, okay, and because there was land and gold to consider, but it was all done in the name of the one god. The Crusades. The Holy Inquisition.

Book Review: Willful Child: Wrath of Betty

Willful Child: Wrath of Betty by Steven Erikson, Willful Child #2 And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through ‘the infinite vastness of interstellar space.' The continuing adventures of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life-forms, to boldly blow the... Last year Steven Erikson managed to surprise me with his new series devoted to his passion for Star Trek: Willful Child . Steven Erikson is of course most famous for his Malazan Empire which he created together with Ian C. Esslemont. I went in Willful Child  expecting nothing and got everything in return. A cool space romp and a hell off an adventure. Back then it wasn't know if Willful Ch

Book Review: The Shadow of What Was Lost

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs - once thought of almost as gods - were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs' fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion's Four Tenets. A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience. As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought – and lost – before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests.  But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the

Days of the Dead: My Perfect Halloween

My Perfect Halloween by Gail Z. Martin I really love Halloween. Guess that’s not a surprise since I write about necromancers and dark magic, ghosts, monsters and things that go bump in the night. Halloween is my second favorite holiday, after Christmas. Always has been, still is. As far as the ‘perfect’ Halloween goes, I’ve had several different types over the years. When I was a kid, I loved looking forward to getting my costume and going around the neighborhood. I always tried to fancy-up my boxed costume with individual touches. Everyone always knew it was me, anyhow. Where I’m from, it’s cold in late October, so the costume had to work over top of a winter coat, which definitely cut down the options. When my kids were little, the neighborhood we lived in did Halloween in a big way. It was just three streets, and everyone knew each other, so taking the kids around was a social events for the grown-ups. We all caught up on the news with each other while the kids rang

Book Review: The Apothecary's Curse

The Apothecary's Curse by Barbara Barnett In Victorian London, the fates of physician Simon Bell and apothecary Gaelan Erceldoune entwine when Simon gives his wife an elixir created by Gaelan from an ancient manuscript. Meant to cure her cancer, it kills her. Suicidal, Simon swallows the remainder—only to find he cannot die.  Five years later, hearing rumors of a Bedlam inmate with regenerative powers like his own, Simon is shocked to discover it’s Gaelan. The two men conceal their immortality, but the only hope of reversing their condition rests with Gaelan’s missing manuscript. When modern-day pharmaceutical company Transdiff Genomics unearths diaries describing the torture of Bedlam inmates, the company’s scientists suspect a link between Gaelan and an unnamed inmate. Gaelan and Genomics geneticist Anne Shawe are powerfully drawn to each other, and her family connection to his manuscript leads to a stunning revelation. Will it bring ruin or redemption? It has been a lo

Book Review: Zombie XI

Zombie XI by Pete Kalu Leonard is on the bench. In the dead zone. Stuck there like a zombie. And it’s not as if his soccer team is even any good without him! They lose all the time—until lightning strikes. When his team plays near a nuclear power plant, a weird energy passes through Leonard, and that night he is visited by zombies. During a ghostly conversation with the entire 1966 England World Cup soccer team, the players tell him that if he follows their instructions, he’ll finally make the school team and start winning. Leonard obeys and the team’s prospects surge, but at what price? What pound of flesh will the zombies demand? Young Adult is an interesting genre when you think about it. There are books that feature knights and dragon slayers, paranormal activities, magicians, and normal everyday activities. This latter always strikes me in ways different than an fantasy story. To be completely honest I thought that Zombie XI would be about a complete zombie soccer team tha

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, Hollow City #1  A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teen

author interview with R. Scott Bakker

Author interview with Richard Scott Bakker Hi Scott, welcome over to thebookplank and for taking your time to answer these few questions for us! BP: First off, can you tell us a bit more as to who Richard Scott Bakker is, what are your likes/dislikes and hobbies? SB: I’m a white male gen-X-er with a working class, rural background. I dislike greed, pettiness, status judgments, and canned aspiration. I’m a knowledge junkie, especially when it comes to politics, science, and technology. My hobbies are cognitive science and consciousness research. BP: You have been writing for quite a time now when and where did you first decide to pick up the pen and start writing? SB: I’ve always been writing—for as long as I can remember. The funny thing is, I’m a statistics guy as well, and though I had dreamed of being a writer as a child, I set that aspiration aside as soon as I learned the odds against earning enough to survive, and decided to become an academic instead (I-

Two years since Serial's audio debut

Two years since Serial's audio debut  On Friday 3 rd  October 2014, the podcast that became a worldwide cultural phenomenon made its debut. Serial, described by critics as an audio game-changer, gripped the world with its exploration of Adnan Syed’s 1990 conviction for the murder of his former girlfriend, Hay Min Lee. The podcast was downloaded over 20 million times in 2014 alone and went on to win a Peabody Award in 2015. Two years on from Serial, the editors at  have selected the best Serial spin-offs and investigatory true-crime, for those who still can’t let go… 1. Adnan's Story: The Case That Inspired the Podcast Phenomenon Serial Author: Rabia Chaudry Narrated by: Rabia Chaudry 'The first letter I received after being arrested in 1999 was from Rabia. Since that time until now, she has believed in my innocence and been committed to my exoneration.... There is no one better to help tell my story, and no one that I trust more to tell it, than
Author interview with D. Nolan Clark Hi Nolan, welcome over to thebookplank and for taking your time to answer these few questions for us! BP: First off, can you tell us a bit more as to who D. Nolan Clark is, what are your likes/dislikes and hobbies? NC : Hi! D. Nolan Clark is actually a pseudonym. In reality, I’m David Wellington, the horror writer. I’m partial to long walks and sunsets… and writing and reading. I don’t have much free time for hobbies at the moment, but I play the occasional video game. BP: What is your foremost reason to write under a pseudonym? NC: It was a decision I made with my wonderful editors at Orbit. We wanted to make sure people didn’t expect this book to be another horror novel. It’s not. It’s straight up science fiction. Though there’s plenty of suspense and some intense scenes here! BP: Forsaken Skies isn’t your debut novel but still a first in a series, how did you went about and plan to write Forsaken Skies? NC: You co