Mar 23, 2011

Covering Covers: Firebird - Jack McDevitt

Cover Artist: John Harris

One of these days I'm going to break down and buy an original piece of Harris artwork. Now this isn't his best cover (the ship feels a little stubby for whatever reason) but I'm still a huge fan of the vibrant color and trademark style. I'm also a huge fan of Jack McDevitt who is back to with his latest Alex Benedict adventure. Here's the blurb: 
Forty-one years ago the renowned physicist Chris Robin vanished. Before his disappearance, his fringe science theories about the existence of endless alternate universes had earned him both admirers and enemies.
Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath discover that Robin had several interstellar yachts flown far outside the planetary system where they too vanished. And following Robin’s trail into the unknown puts Benedict and Kolpath in danger…
Harris's latest work will be available for display in your personal library after November 1st from Ace. Chances are there will be a pretty good story somewhere in there as well.

Mar 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Surprisingly few green books in the library

A late night at work precluded any attempt toward extensive posting today. In lieu of something substantive, here's a list of notable Irish SF & Fantasy Authors that @irishhatgirl posted over on the newly refurbished Tor forums.

The one name that everyone seems to agree on is Celine Kieran (author of The Poison Throne and subsequent books). I might have to give the The Moorehawke Trilogy a try.

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Mar 15, 2011

Call for Comments: The Old Weird

In genre circles, I hear a lot about the New Weird. Spearheaded by China Mieville, Jeff Vandermeer, it's part urban fantasy (mostly the urban part), part dark fantasy, part horror, all strange. I get it, at least mostly.

But what pray tell constitutes The Old Weird? Lovecraft? Others?

Actually Da Vinci's Notebook. Strange dude.

Doth a seminal list of Old Weird stories exist outside the dark pages of the Necronomicon? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Mar 14, 2011

On Notice!

Time to stomp some more yeti grievances, particularly some irksome publishing practices. Be better, bookbinders.

[Author's Note: Please read these "notices" in the light-hearted tone with which they were written. Mostly.]

I'll get to it...eventually

ON NOTICE - One of the Not So Fine Editors At Tor - Over on his blog, Ian Tregills shared the unfortunate news that The Coldest War will likely be delayed until summer 2012. Why you ask? Is he struggling with the complexity introduced by combining time travel, precognition, and free will? No. The book is done (as is the third volume, Necessary Evil). The problem? The book sat untouched on his editor's desk for 20 months. That's two babies and a partial summer in Europe (diapers are expensive). I understand not e-mailing me an ARC because you hate me but if your job is to read and edit contracted manuscripts, you should probably take the manuscripts you've got and read and edit them. Especially if they are contracted. Seriously, do your fucking job. I'd blame Big [If there was a replacement for helium, I'd insert it here] in some kind of conspiracy theory as they probably want to stop Ian's great coverage of Peak Helium. I already had to deal with the fact that I'll never be able to record the entire Malazan Book of the Fallen as read by Alvin the Chipmunk and now I have to wait until 2012 to read The Coldest War? But seriously,  Bitter Seeds is awesome. Delaying The Coldest War is not.

This time, we swear.

ON NOTICE - A Certain Unnamed Publisher Who Lies - You know who you are and why you lay awake at night. And that's all I'm going to say on that topic.

One does not simply write his way into Mordor

ON NOTICE - Patrick Rothfuss - I can't 1) write a #1 NYT Bestselling Book; 2) Speak  in front of crowds and manage to speak coherently much less be personable, comfortable and absolutely hilarious; 3) Grow an EpicBeard that could emasculate Gimli even after he simultaneously bedded Galadriel and slew? slained? slought? Smaug with a self-forged combination of Excalibur and Callandor.You can do all three. Frak you.


ON NOTICE - ; & : - As you are probably aware, I don't know the difference.

Not bad but have some shelf respect.

ON NOTICE - The Art Department at Bantam - Everyone was excited to hear the A Dance With Dragons got yet another final release date. Or at least that's what I assume, since everyone and @dianamoher posted about it. Somewhat less appealing? Another round of new covers. I understand the HBO series is coming out and it's superhypermondoubercritical to plaster "Now A Hit Series on HBO" all over what used to be self-respecting fantasy books. But why did you have to abandon the green ADWD cover? I believe this is now the third (possibly fourth) time these books have been recovered. Just because I want all of my books to match does not mean I will repurchase ever volume. No, I'm serious, I won't. Why don't you believe me? Quit Laughing! Damn it.

And some updates....

OFF NOTICE - Anyone with an ARC of The Heroes. That group grew to include me. And I'm already On Notice. Not to mention the fact that the book is readily available everywhere.

REMAINING ON NOTICE - Naomi Novik - Still waiting on that interview

REMAINING ON NOTICE - China Mieville - Still too awesome

REMAINING ON NOTICE - Myself - The other names are removable. I'm engraved. For a number of reasons.

Mar 9, 2011

Waiting for Rothfuss...

It's 9:34pm and I am sitting in the Oak Brook (note: still not Chicago) Borders (note: still in business) awaiting my turn to get a few copies of Patrick Rothfuss's latest book signed. I've got a copy of each book for myself, one WMF for a friend, one WMF for this sweet local indie bookstore I just discovered, and one more I'm not sure what to do with. Anyone fancy a signed first edition giveaway?

Well I'm sure I'll find something to do with it. A few weeks back I was lamenting the lack of local Chicago proper book signings and my first time at a suburban signing really cleared up why. There are A LOT of f***ing people here. Between 400 or 500 by somebody's estimate, which is 399 to 499 more than the NY Times Bestseller's List Ranking that The Wise Man's Fear earned in it's debut week. Rothfuss found out he hit the #1 spot earlier today and was very proud to announce it to the appreciative crowd. I don't know if he blogged about it yet, so I'm glad to steal his thunder.

Side note on stealing, anyone fancy an interview with Rothfuss's dad and/or personal assistant? They're sitting right next to me and I'm tempted to kidnap one or both of them and get a real exclusive on the 3rd and Final Day of the Kingkiller Chronicles from Rothfuss himself. Although I don't think I could carry both a hostage and 57 lbs of books. Or I could just ask a polite question to see what working for The Bearded One is like. Decisions...

Back on track, I'm not sure if it's ever been confirmed but Rothfuss specifically mentioned that Kvothe's story will end with the 3rd book. Now, this is the same person who announced that The Wise Man's Fear would only take a year to complete but he did seem pretty confident in a 3 book conclusion. However, he also stated very matter-of-factly that there would be more stories set in the world of The Four Corners, specifically stating they would take place either before, during or after the time frame established in The Kingkiller Chronicles. He also mentioned a unrelated urban fantasy novel / modern fairy tale set in Madison, WI that he would "have a lot of fun writing."

Can't help but be jealous. He loves his jobs and kicks ass at it.

Other than those few items, there wasn't really any significant information to be gleaned from the Q&A, aside from the fact that Rothfuss is a consummate storyteller, plain and simple. He's great with a crowd and with the mic, a talent that isn't exactly common in the geek circles I frequent. Besides The Kingkiller Chronicles, Rothfuss's topics of choice ranged from writing related to the truly bizarre. It no specific order, he touched upon the worldbuilding behind his books, breast feeding confusion, semi aquatic guinea pigs, something about giving Natalie Portman and Keira Knightly some type of lessons, a general lack of literary influences, and whether or not Nathan Fillion has taken him up on his offer to help buy the rights to Firefly, Voltron-style. (Unfortunately, he hasn't)

Anyway, I think there are only 20-30 people in front of me, so I should probably put the laptop away. Green than Blue than Red than Yellow than Pink than Orange than Silver than Gold (that's me) than Purple. I'm pretty sure I could have driven to the Walmart down the street and made my own bracelet in the time I've been sitting here. Wish me luck.

Mar 7, 2011


Things have been a little bit quiet around here for which I apologize. It's just the way I work, even more so when I'm extra busy at the day job. My blogging/reading productivity tends to be coupled in an inversely proportional manner. My free time is for the most part fixed - assuming of course that I don't just stop going to work. Granted while that would lead to a large increase in the amount of free time, it would be balanced by the inability to shelve my books (also worth considering - sheltering/feeding my wife and myself).

I don't believe in dimmer switches.

I'm either I'm blogging on a regular schedule or I'm reading a lot of books. As it currently stands, I've got a metric pile of books to read (even more so than normal) by a bunch of authors that I really want to review in a timely fashion. Which means fewer blog posts - deal with it.

Currently Reading
Engines of Desire - Livia Llewellyn
Fuzzy Nation - John Scalzi
Little Fuzzy - H.R. Piper
The Quantum Thief (re-read) - Hannu Rajaniemi

On Deck
The Winds of Khalakovo - Brad Beaulieu
Up Against It - M. J. Locke
The Dragon's Path - Daniel Abraham
Leviathan Wakes - James S. A. Corey
The Unremembered - Peter Orullian

In summary, quiet blog now = better, timelier blog later.

[Oh, and the mere fact that I mention this suggests that I will be grabbed by the blogging bug and crank out consecutive posts for the next 3 weeks]


Mar 5, 2011

YetiStomper Picks for March

Didn't realize how many good books came out this month until I sat down to write this post and it took me a few extra days. Happy Birthday to me, I guess.

Black Halo - Sam Sykes

The Aeons' Gate, Book 2 - Sam Sykes's band of less-than-amiable adventurers continues their fantastic exploits in Black Halo. Lenk and his five compatriots return to cause more chaos with the unique blend of action and hilarity that only Sykes can deliver. (March 22 from Pyr)

Star Wars: The Old : Deceived - Paul S. Kemp

Star Wars Novel, The Old Republic Era - I've been somewhat hard on the Star Wars universe lately, particularly after the disappointment that was Red Harvest. Fortunately, the next Star Wars novel scheduled to hit shelves is penned by Paul S. Kemp, one of the few Star Wars authors still capable of recreating the magic of the Original Trilogy. Deceived is set in the same era as Bioware's new MMORPG, and further explains the situation highlighted in this cinematic short. (March 22 from Del Rey/Lucasbooks)

The Wise Man's Fear - Patrick Rothfuss

The Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2 - I almost didn't include The Wise Man's Fear on this list. Rothfuss is a genuine genre superstar and his inclusion here won't add a single sale to the total of this year's most anticipated novel (barring A Memory of Life or A Dance With Dragons [damn you GRRM!]). Rothfuss originally delayed The Wise Man's Fear due to the colossal expectations built upon the foundations of his stellar debut. He's finally satisfied with his sophomore effort and the early word is that everyone else is too. Go get it, if you haven't already. (March 1 from DAW)

King's Justice - Maurice Broaddus

The Knights of Breton Court, Book 2 - The Knights of Breton Court is a retelling of the traditional Arthurian Legend, albeit with a few minor changes. Broaddus moves the action from Medieval England to modern day Indianapolis where King James White tries to bring order to the drug dealers and gang members of the Breton Court Projects. So it's really not that different from the original.  (March 1 from Angry Robot)

Up Against It - M.J. Locke

Stand Alone - A promising SF debut, Up Against It came out of nowhere to quickly become one of my most anticipated books of early 2011. It's already garnered a starred review from Publisher's Weekly who called it "compulsively readable" and "smart, satisfying hard SF" that "celebrates human resilience."  Up Against It blends space opera, cyberpunk, and post-humanist concerns into a mixture of ideas that ignites like rocket fuel. But that's par for the course where alien crime syndicates and rogue AIs are concerned, right? (March 15 from Tor)

Locke & Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom - Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez

Locke & Key, Book 4 - Over the past few months, I've sampled some of the best graphic novels the industry has to offer. Fables, The Walking Dead, Y: The Last Man, Atomic Robo. All great, but none as good as Locke & Key. At a high level, the setup sounds like a generic "house with a history" tale, but Hill's oddly gripping tale is anything but. As the Locke family attempts to escape their tragic history, they find secrets hidden behind the ancient locks of Keyhouse and a set of magic keys that do so much more than open doors. I'm a sucker for object based magic (anyone remember The Lost Room?) and Hill displays talent beyond his years as each collection builds to another game changer. Locke and Key is without a doubt the most captivating comic I've ever read and Rodriguez's gorgeous art refuses to let Hill take all the credit. (March 29 from IDW Publishing)

Moon Over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch

Peter Grant, Book 2 - Del Rey is quick to follow up on the success of last month's Midnight Riot with the second book in Aaronovitch's Urban Fantasy series. Musicians are mysteriously dying and it's up to supernatural detective Peter Grant to find out why. If you're a Dresdenfiliac craving your next hit of paranormal adventure, Aaronovitch might just scratch that itch. (March 1 from Del Rey)

Equations of Life - Simon Morden

Samuil Petrovitch Trilogy, Book 1 - The lovechild of near-future thrillers and theoretical physics, Equations of Life is the first volume of The Samuil Petrovitch Trilogy. With Books 2 and 3 coming in May and June, fans won't have to wait long for the conclusion of Morden's unique blend of science fiction tropes and it's hard to deny the appeal of yet another rapid fire publishing plan from Orbit. When the Russian Mafia, the Yakuza, and the New Machine Jihad all share an interest in your (lack of) well being, things are bound to get interesting.(March 29 from Orbit)

Wolfsangel - M.D. Lachlan

Claw Trilogy, Book 1 - Wolfsangel received rave reviews from the UK blogosphere last fall. If your version of a werewolf doesn't include shirtless teenage boys, you'll be happy to know that Lachlan agrees, taking the werewolf mythos and redefining it from scratch. Wolfsangel is the first book in a sprawling epic that chronicles the lunar intolerant throughout history. (March 22 from Pyr)

Enigmatic Pilot - Kris Saknussemm

Stand Alone, Book - I don't know too much about this one other than I like the cover and Del Rey has a tendency to put out some extremely solid literary cross-over novels (think China Mieville or Daryl Gregory). Apparently part Twain and part Pychon, Enigmatic Pilot is a "puzzle packed yarn" chronicling a young genius's journey across Civil War era America.  (March 22 from Del Rey)

The Crippled God - Steven Erikson

Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 10 - Like A Memory of Light, this is one of those books where maybe isn't an option. Either you've read the 9 doorstops in Erikson's epic history or you need to back up and start from scratch. If you are interested in this weighty fantasy series, I'd recommend starting with the first volume, Gardens of the Moon. If you don't have time to read 10K pages of intricate worldbuilding, you might want to read something else. is also featuring an extensive re-read so you might want to head over there to see if it's up your alley or even just to refresh your memory. (March 1 from Tor)

Late Eclipses - Seanan McGuire

October Daye, Book 4 - Seanan McGuire won last year's John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Find out why with the latest entry in her faerie based Urban Fantasy series. It's often hard to find the diamonds behind the rough covers of the Urban Fantasy marketing but make no mistake, McGuire is one gem of a storyteller. (March 1 from DAW)

Revolution World - Katy Stauber

Stand Alone - Why choose between economic collapse and ecological disaster when you can have both? In Revolution World, Stauber hypothesizes that everything the pundits predict will go wrong, does, and sooner rather than later. The end result is a crazy cultural mash-up that needs to be read to fully understood. Don't believe me? Here's the first line from the back cover - "Revolution World is an over-the-top bio-punk adventure novel featuring fire-breathing cows, ninja Pomeranians, marijuana bombs, hovercars, laser guns, and vampires. I think "over-the-top" is putting it mildly. (March 1 from Night Shade Books)

The Gravity Pilot - M.M. Buckner

Stand Alone - Probably the least speculative of all the books on this list, The Gravity Pilot tells the story of Orr Sitka, stratospheric skydiver whose high altitude exploits earn him a sort of celebrity in an all-to-plausible future.  (March 15 from Tor) 

Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & Other Horrors - Livia Llewellyn

Short Story Collection - I've only read a few stories in Livia Llewellyn's debut collection so far but it's easy to see why Laird Barron speaks so highly of her. Her work is simultaneously erotic and grotesque, titillating and terrifying. With an effortless complexity that consciously confuses predator and prey, Llewellyn's stories touch on the dark side of sexuality with a fearless voice. And if you couldn't figure it out from that description, be forewarned - this collection does contain explicit sexual content. (March 15 from Lethe Press)

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 5 - Jonathan Strahan
"Best of" Short Story Anthology, 5th Edition - Strahan returns to catalog the best genre shorts of the year in what I believe to be the preeminent genre "Best Of" anthology. Strahan selects fewer stories from a larger pool (both SF & F) than Dozios and typically produces a better book top-to-bottom. This year's edition includes stories from a lot of great new writers including Hannu Rajaniemi, Theodora Goss, Ian Tregillis, and Rachel Swisky. Gaiman and Abercrombie also make an appearance. You can see the full ToC here. (Febuary 22, 2011 from Night Shade Books)

YetiStomper Pick Of The Month: His debut novel came in third on's Best of the Decade list. His second book is rumored to be better than the first. Ten years from now, chances are high that more people will be reading The Kingkiller Chronicles than any other book on this list.  And that's not taking anything away from the other books on this list - Rothfuss's work is simply nothing short of must read fantasy. Which is why (surprise, surprise) The Wise Man's Fear is my YetiStomper Pick for March.

YetiStomper Debut Of The Month: March's slate of debuts is another strong one, including Revolution World, Engines of Desire, Wolfsangel, Equations of Life and Up Against It among others. All of these books are intriguing for one reason or another but none more so than Up Against It. Science Fiction needs more Scalzi-, Stross- or Reynolds- caliber authors to remind readers that it's not dead yet (it can dance and it can sing!). With a few more novels as strong as Up Against It, Locke has a chance to join them.

YetiStomper Cover Of The Month: With 16 books to choose from, this one is almost impossible. The optical illusion on Equations of Life is eye-catching even if I can't look at it for long. The photograph on Engines of Desire is pitch perfect for the tone of the collection. I also really like the cool tones and perspective that DAW used to strength the typical fantasy cover of The Wise Man's Fear. Then, I can't deny that Enigmatic Pilot's graphical collage is what drew me to it in the first place. But despite all these strong covers, The Gravity Pilot takes the cake this month (Note: The cake is a lie.) Looking at it makes me feel like I'm sitting at a Space Station viewport as the lonely figure drifts across the silent vacuum of space. Almost as if it's not a still image but instead a video lacking a velocity defining reference point.

And sorry Sam, Black Halo's cover is better than the travesty that graced the front of Tome of the Undergates but it's still not enough to prevent it from being my choice for Worst Cover of the Month.

Anyway, as always, if you are interested in more details regarding any of the above books, just click on through the Amazon links. I'm more interested in telling you why I recommended them rather than simply what the books are about. Let me know if there is anything I may have missed in the comments.

You can view previous installments of YetiStomper Picks here.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...