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Showing posts from February, 2016

Book Review: Speak

Speak by Louisa Hall She cannot run. She cannot walk. She cannot even blink. As her batteries run down for the final time, all she can do is speak. Will you listen? From a pilgrim girl's diary, to a traumatised child talking to a software program; from Alan Turing's conviction in the 1950s, to a genius imprisoned in 2040 for creating illegally lifelike dolls: all these lives have shaped and changed a single artificial intelligence - MARY3. In Speak she tells you their story, and her own. It is the last story she will ever tell, spoken both in celebration and in warning. When machines learn to speak, who decides what it means to be human? Artificial Intelligence. How close are we?  Orbit has been publishing ground breaking Science Fiction for a long time. For me most notable were the books of Claire North: Harry August and Touch. This year Orbit once again releases a stunning title. Speak by Louisa Hall, when I first read the synopsis I was directly caught and actually got a

Guest Blog: Escaping the Castle : Medieval Europe in fantasy fiction.

Escaping the Castle : Medieval Europe in fantasy fiction. By Adrian Tchaikovsky Fantasy fiction has an odd relationship with history, a relationship that involves jumping into bed a lot and telling inaccurate stories about it the next morning.             Some books are set in a straight-up historical setting, but where magic, dragons or some other mythical element is real, albeit sufficiently low-key so as not to disrupt the course of recorded history (which course may itself have been populated by people who believed in both magic and dragons, albeit sufficiently distant so as not to disrupt their lives). Other books present a secondary world that clearly shows the influences of the real. My own insect-kinden from Shadows of the Apt start off with a classical flavour (Ants with big shields and shortswords; not too much of a puzzler where that came from) and then make a jump to 20 th century history when the war really gets going. This sort of echo history is pretty much

Book Review: Sorcerer to the Crown

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, Sorcerer Royal #1 In Regency London, Zacharias Wythe is England's first African Sorcerer Royal. And that's only the first of his problems. He must juggle the conflicting demands of a wayward Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, where a faction schemes to remove him from his position by fair means or foul. He must cope with the Fairy Court refusing to grant Britain the magical resources it needs. And now the British Government is avid to deploy this increasingly scare magic in its war with France. He must also contend with rumors that he murdered his predecessor and guardian, Sir Stephen Wythe. But this task would be easier if Sir Stephen's ghost would just stop following him around. And now he has to deal with something even more outrageous than any of these things: a female magical prodigy. Ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman is desperate to escape the school where she has drudged all her life, and a visit by the Sorcerer Royal se

Author Interview: Chris A. Jackon

Author interview with Chris A. Jackson Author bio:  Chris A. Jackson fell in love with the sea the first time he set eyes on those majestic waves. As a youth, he spent summers working on his father’s fishing boat in Oregon. Trained as a marine biologist, he was sidetracked by a career in biomedical research, but regained his heart and soul in 2009 when he and his wife Anne left the dock aboard a 45-foot sailboat to cruise the Caribbean and write fulltime. His acclaimed Scimitar Seas nautical fantasies won three consecutive Gold Medals in the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards. His repertoire also includes six more fantasy novels, and several short stories published in anthologies. Shooting from the sea to the stars, Chris now has a triad of science fiction/humor novellas available. -------------------------------------------------------- Hi Chris, welcome over to The Book Plank and thanks for taking your time to answer these few questions for us.  A: My pleasu