Podcaster Query – Kate Baker

BloggerQueryThe Clarkesworld podcast is a standard staple on my bedtime podcast list. It features one of my favourite narrators, Kate Baker. So after I’d interviewed Alasdair, Kate was definitely the one I wanted to interview next. Especially since I remember her talking about her narrating process in one of her outro’s once, which was fascinating since she doesn’t follow the usual practices. Kate was kind enough to agree to an interview and sent me some wonderful answers, which I hope you’ll find as interesting as I did.  Read More …

Genevieve Cogman – The Masked City

genevievecogman-themaskedcityIrene is working undercover in an alternative Victorian London. for this librarian spy, it’s business as usual – until her assistant Kai is abducted. Kai’s dragon heritage means he has powerful enemies, and this act of aggression could trigger a war between his people and their greatest rivals. As they each represent the forces of order and chaos themselves, matters could turn unpleasant.

Irene’s mission to save Kai and avert Armageddon will take her to a dark, alternate Venice where it’s always Carnival. Here Irene will be forced to blackmail, fast talk, and fight. Or she’ll face mayhem – at the very least.

Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library, the first book in the series with the same title, couldn’t have been a book better suited to my tastes if the author had asked me what I wanted in my book. Alternate magical London, secret librarian spies, a witty and kickass heroine and a lovely assistant. That book had it all. And as such it was a tough act to follow. The Masked City had a lot to live up to and I certainly had some things I really wanted to see in there, not least more on Kai’s dragon heritage, but also more about Irene parentage. So did the book deliver what I was hoping for? Not exactly, but it delivered so much other awesomeness that it didn’t matter that I still don’t know more about Irene’s parents. The Masked City is a fantastic sequel to The Invisible LibraryRead More …

My Hugo Nominations 2016

hugo_rocketThis Tuesday MidAmericon II announced the Hugo nominations and, like last year, they’ve been hijacked by the Rabid Puppies. Especially the fan categories and the Best Related Works were a complete shitshow. Like many of those I regularly hang out with online I blew a gasket—so much so that Wiebe threatened to put me in time out or take away the internet if I didn’t stop blowing up. After calming down and thinking about it, I decided that instead of writing another Hugo hot take piece, I’d instead share my own nominations. That way hopefully they’ll get some more love and attention and I don’t give too much more oxygen to the RP/SP crowd.
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Editor Query – A Voyage to Arcturus

PostcardA long time ago, almost back in the Dark Ages, I used to be a Book and Publishing student at Leiden University’s English Department. One of my main regrets about my time as a student, secondary to not finishing my Master’s thesis that is, is never having had the opportunity of following the course where the students published their own edition of a particular book due to scheduling issues. So when I was contacted by Ruth (N), one of Edinburgh Napier University’s Publishing master students about perhaps reviewing their project, David Lindsay’s A Voyage to Arcturus, I immediately asked whether they’d also be up for an interview to see what I’d missed out on back in the day. The group kindly agreed and you can find their answers below. A Voyage to Arcturus is due to be published in May and I’m certainly looking forward to their interpretation and edition of the text.  Read More …

Corinne Duyvis – On the Edge of Gone

corinneduyvis-ontheedgeofgoneJanuary 29, 2035

That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter near their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship that’s scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

To start with full disclosure: I know the author personally, which is one of the reasons I was excited to read the book. Also I loved Corinne Duyvis’ debut Otherbound and I couldn’t wait to see her take on apocalyptic SF. So to be honest, I was already primed to like this book. But that aside, even if I hadn’t been, On the Edge of Gone blew me away and gave me insight into things that went far beyond the scope of the story.  Read More …

Guest Post: A.J. MacKenzie on Reykjavik

ajmackenzie-bodyonthedoorstepI always love a good historical crime novel and when I read the description for A.J. MacKenzie’s The Body on the Doorstep, I was immediately taken by the sleuthing duo of Reverend Hardcastle and his assistant Mrs Chaytor. The writing of historical fiction fascinates me, mostly because I can’t help but wonder about all the research that goes into it. I love hearing about authors’ research processes and how they decide what to include or not. Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel, the husband-and-wife team who write as A.J. MacKenzie, have a very specific method to decide that and kindly shared it with me in a guest post. Their codeword is Reykjavik.  Read More …

Sarah Hilary – Tastes Like Fear

sarahhilary-tasteslikefearYou’ll never be out of Harm’s way

The young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene.

A runaway who doesn’t want to be found, she only wants to go home.

To the one man who understands her.

Gives her shelter.

Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

He’s the head of her new family.

He’s Harm.

D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl’s disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she’s about to face.

Because when Harm’s family is threatened, everything tastes like fear…

I love DI Marnie Rome and it is always a treat to read her next adventure. Sarah Hilary’s third entry into the series, Tastes Like Fear, builds on the foundations laid in the first two books and builds the overarching story out while delivering a chilling and fascinating mystery to be unraveled in this book. There is an art to delivering a standalone experience while rewarding return readers that is especially important for crime series, which often run really long and need to be accessible at any point for new readers. Sarah Hilary manages this brilliantly with Tastes Like FearRead More …

Author Query – Shamim Sarif

shamimsharif-despitethefallingsnowYesterday saw the premiere for Despite The Falling Snow, Shamim Sarif’s novel about love, the Cold War, and what it means to be loyal. I was really excited to be able to ask Shamim some questions, as I was fascinated by the fact that she has directed the film adaptations of her own novels to critical acclaim. This interview is part of a blog tour and A Fantastical Librarian is the penultimate stop, so please see the banner at the bottom of the post and visit the other stops as well.  Read More …

Stephanie Burgis – Masks and Shadows

stephanieburgis-masksandshadowsThe year is 1779, and Carlo Morelli, the most renowned castrato singer in Europe, has been invited as an honored guest to Eszterháza Palace. With Carlo in Prince Nikolaus Esterházy’s carriage, ride a Prussian spy and one of the most notorious alchemists in the Habsburg Empire. Already at Eszterháza is Charlotte von Steinbeck, the very proper sister of Prince Nikolaus’s mistress. Charlotte has retreated to the countryside to mourn her husband’s death. Now, she must overcome the ingrained rules of her society in order to uncover the dangerous secrets lurking within the palace’s golden walls. Music, magic, and blackmail mingle in a plot to assassinate the Habsburg Emperor and Empress–a plot that can only be stopped if Carlo and Charlotte can see through the masks worn by everyone they meet.

I’ve been aware of Stephanie Burgis’ writing for years through the rave reviews I’ve read of her middle grade books, yet I’ve never actually read them. It did make me pay extra attention whenever her name popped up as the author of a story featured on the short fiction podcasts I listen to. And from what I’d heard I really liked Burgis’ writing. Reading the synopsis for her first fantasy novel for adults made me perk up immediately as it blends a lot of my favourite things: fantasy, history, mystery and conspiracy. And Masks and Shadows delivers on all of those things with the added bonus of a pinch of supernatural and a dash of romance thrown in.  Read More …

Podcaster Query – Alasdair Stuart

BloggerQueryI’ve had trouble falling asleep for over fifteen years; I can’t seem to shut down my thoughts and drop off. For a while I fell asleep with my TV on sleep timer and the news on repeat and later I’d listen to the BBC World Service on the radio. Until at one point, Wiebe rebelled as it was actually keeping him awake. At that point I started listening to audiobooks, until I discovered short fiction podcasts, specifically PodCastle and later EscapePod. Six years later I have a whole host of fiction podcasts I listen to while falling asleep, though to be fair, I sometimes stay awake a little longer, just so I can hear how the story ends.  Read More …