At WFC I had the pleasure to meet Jonathan Howard. I was really stoked to speak to him about guest posts and the writing of them, especially as I’d already contacted Strange Chemistry for a guest post in honour of the publication of Katya’s War, the second book in the Russalka Chronicles. Jonathan wrote me the following fascinating post about how he went about creating his water world of Russalka. I’m really pleased to share it with you today and it’s made me look forward to reading Katya’s War even more than I already did! Continue reading
By 5 December, 2013
Posted in guest post, science fiction, YA
Telepath Den Harper did the dirty work for the authoritarian Expansion, reading the minds of criminals, spies and undesirables. Unable to take the strain, he stole a starship and headed into the unknown, a sector of lawless space known as Satan’s Reach. For five years he worked as a trader among the stars – then discovered that the Expansion had set a bounty hunter on his trail.
But what does the Expansion want with a lowly telepath like Harper? Is there validity in the rumours that human space is being invaded by aliens from another realm? Harper finds out the answer to both these questions when he rescues an orphan girl from certain death – and comes face to face with the dreaded aliens known as the Weird.
Satan’s Reach is the second volume in the Weird Space series, a fast-paced action-adventure that pits humanity against the unimaginable Terror from Beyond.
Satan’s Reach is the second book set in the shared world of the Weird Space, a property developed by Eric Brown for Abaddon Books. Being rather unfamiliar with shared worlds, especially in book form, I was curious to see what it would be like to move away from that first story told in The Devil’s Nebula and start all over with new characters in a new place. Would we see more of the protagonists in the first book? Would what happened there impact the story much? The answers to both questions would be yes and no. We do see Carew and crew and the events from The Devil’s Nebula certainly impact Den Harper’s story in Satan’s Reach, but we don’t meet up with Carew until almost at the end of the book and the influence on Harper’s story is indirect at best. But knowing the events from the first book makes for a richer reading experience, plus it is fun to spot things we know the background for. Continue reading
By 2 December, 2013
Posted in review, science fiction
Last Thursday was Thanksgiving in the States and the lovely team at Angry Robot and their various imprints surprised us with their Team Robot Blogger Award. I was really flattered to have been shortlisted and while the ultimate win went to the wonderful Kristin at My Bookish Ways and to Josh from Just A Guy That Likes To Read, it really is true what they always say in these situations, it was an honour to be nominated. One of my fellow nominees, Ellie from Curiosity Killed the Bookworm created a post with covers of all the Angry Robot, Strange Chemistry, and Exhibit A titles she’s reviewed on her blog, in honour of her shortlisting and to say thanks. I thought this was a really cool idea, so with Ellie’s blessing I nicked it and today I bring you my own cover post of all the AR titles I’ve reviewed to date here on the blog. Hopefully there will be many more to come. Continue reading
By 30 November, 2013
Posted in article, crime, fantasy, science fiction, YA
The Book of the Dead addresses the most fascinating of all the undead: the mummy. The mummy can be a figure of imperial dignity or one of shambling terror, at home in pulp adventure, contemporary drama, or apocalyptic horror. The anthology will be published in collaboration with the Egypt Exploration Society, the UK’s oldest independent funder of archaeological fieldwork and research in Egypt, dedicated to the promotion and understanding of ancient Egyptian history and culture.
This anthology includes nineteen original stories of revenge, romance, monsters and mayhem, ranging freely across time periods, genres and styles. The stories are illustrated by Garen Ewing, creator of The Adventures of Julius Chancer and introduced by John J. Johnston, Vice Chair of the Egypt Exploration Society.
By 26 November, 2013
Posted in fantasy, horror, review, science fiction
To celebrate the two month book birthday for her lovely YA debut When the Earth Was Flat (and we were in love) Ingrid Jonach and Strange Chemistry are releasing a book trailer. I really liked the book and while I’m normally not easily sold on book trailers, I loved the understated spareness of this one. It focuses on the most important things in the book, without forcing a certain image of the protagonists on the reader.
So without further waffling from me here is the book trailer. Let me know what you think!
By 3 November, 2013
Posted in article, science fiction, YA
For years they guarded the British Empire. Oblivion and Fogg, inseparable friends, bound together by a shared fate. Until one night in Berlin, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and a secret that tore them apart.
Now, recalled to the Retirement Bureau from which no one can retire, Fogg and Oblivion must face up to a past of terrible war and unacknowledged heroism to answer one last, impossible question:
What makes a hero?
What makes a man? What makes a hero? Both are questions often asked by different characters throughout Lavie Tidhar’s The Violent Century. In some ways these are the central questions to the narrative, but neither question is answered in a definitive fashion. The reader is left to formulate her own answer. Tidhar’s story is set over the course of the twentieth century, whose violent years gave rise to many heroes, both the comic book kind and those of flesh and blood The narrative shows us these comic book heroes made flesh though an accident with the machine created by the German scientist Dr Vomacht, in an alternate reality that is amazingly detailed in its historical facts and just ‘off’ enough to feel rather alien at times. Its mood is noir and slowly moves from moody black and white to the grimy over-saturated colours of the sixties on to a still gritty, but sharply-defined present. Continue reading
According to the Mayan Calendar the world as we know it is about to end – but despite the threat of impending eco-apocalypse, Sydney Travers, an impetuous blonde runaway, is determined to reinvent herself as a top hi-tec fashion model in Seoul. The glitzy Asian metropolis is also a haven for Damien Meadows, an inept drug smuggler and untrained English tutor desperate to buy a fake passport to the planet’s safest terrain. For Lee Mee Hee the road to the city is slick with tears: grieving the loss of her newborn son to famine, she lets a kind Foreign Aid medic smuggle her from North to South Korea in the bottom of a truck.
Assessing all three from a secluded mountain villa is Dr Kim Da Mi, a maverick Korean-American bioengineer with a visionary scheme to redesign humanity and survive the coming catastrophe. Mee Hee and her fellow refugees are offered sanctuary – in return for signing up as surrogate mothers – but convincing prime Caucasian specimens Sydney and Damien to donate their DNA is a more complex procedure. Over a long hot summer, seduction bleeds into coercion and mutual betrayal, until Lucifer’s hammer, the long-prophesied meteor, nears the Earth and the ruthless forces backing Dr Kim demand a sacrifice . . .
Recently I’ve found myself answering “It’s complicated.” more and more when asked how I liked a certain book and Seoul Survivors is the latest in that set. While overall I could see its potential, there were a number of elements in the book that just didn’t work for me and lots of elements that raised questions. This last isn’t really a problem, as I think one of the prime benefits of reading is expanding your mind and making you think about things you wouldn’t encounter in daily life, so Seoul Survivors did its job in that respect. But the elements that didn’t work for me, really didn’t work for me. There will be some spoilers in this review and I have to add a trigger warning for rape as well. Continue reading
By 7 October, 2013
Posted in review, science fiction
Sixteen stories of discovery from Australia’s best writers. Each story in some way addresses the idea of discoveries, new beginnings, or literal or figurative “small steps”, but each story takes you to places you far beyond the one small step you imagine… Journey through worlds and explore the reaches of the universe with this collection.
Looking at my shelves a surprising number of my favourite female authors is Australian: Rowena Cory Daniells, Fiona McIntosh, Trudi Canavan, and Jo Anderton. So when I was offered a review copy for an anthology featuring an all-female, all-Australian line-up, including two of the afore-mentioned authors, I didn’t have to think twice really; I said yes. And I’m glad I did, because I didn’t just get new stories from Anderton and Daniells, but I was also presented with a host of other stories by very talented writers. Continue reading
By 26 September, 2013
Posted in fantasy, review, science fiction
When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.
But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.
When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.
An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.
I’m not a maths head, I studied English Language and Literature for a reason; me and numbers, we’re not the best of friends. So reading the blurb for When the World Was Flat (and we were in love) was a bit of a mixed experience. It sounded really good and sometimes a good love story is just what the doctor ordered, but then I hit that final line and saw “…taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories…” and my heart sank, because numbers, maths, physics… argh! But the first part sounded good enough, that I decided to work through the hard stuff if I had to, only to find out that the hard stuff wasn’t that hard after all and my Humanities-oriented mind could grok the science explained in the book fine. Continue reading
By 25 September, 2013
Posted in review, romance, science fiction, YA
Today I’m bringing you an interview with Ingrid Jonach as part of her Around the World in 80 Days Blog Tour. I’ll be posting my review for the book
tomorrow later this week, as I’m sick and can’t focus on writing it, but spoiler: it really is very, very good. And at the end of the interview you’ll find a very exciting giveaway that Ingrid is doing and which you can enter right from the blog. But enough preambling, let’s get to the interview! Continue reading
By 23 September, 2013
Posted in interview, romance, science fiction, YA