Year: 2007

Fleet of Worlds by Larry Niven, Edward M. Lerner | Book Review

“Fleet of Worlds” is part of Larry Niven’s Known Space future history best known as the setting of the Ringworld books. However, while it utilizes characters and settings from other Known Space books, extensive knowledge of Known Space isn’t essential to understanding the book. The book does contain a number of other nods to other Known Space stories and events, however, so a previous knowledge of the setting will increase enjoyment of the book. It is also Niven’s first collaboration written in that setting.


The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall | Book Review

Some reviewers have been comparing The Raw Shark Texts to the movie Memento. It’s a largely uninspired comparison based solely on the fact that both protagonists share some form of memory loss. But it’s a superficial comparison at best and probably only lasts for the first 30 pages or so. Since the Raw Shark Texts becomes, in part, a sincere meditation on the nature of love, the power of its loss and the great lengths one is willing to go to re-capture it, a closer film comparison might be to a movie like The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a movie that also, in its own way, deals with fractured memory loss.


Scalped: Indian Country | Review

Indian Country collects the first five issues of the monthly series Scalped.

The art in Scalped is very good. Offering up shadows with hidden depths at times and bright, clear and detailed panel at others that may represent the duality of the story. Perhaps indicative of the pervasive skin tones of the characters or just a reflection of the sandy deserts where the story takes place there are a lot of red tones and shades in the art of Scalped. Just about every issue ends in a great cliffhanger moment that compels you to read further and the art accompanies these tense moments becomes fraught with peril and potential destruction.


Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb | Book Review

The first volume in the Liveship Traders trilogy. In this trilogy Hobb returns to the realm of the Elderlings where her hugely successful Farseer trilogy is set. Anyone expecting a return to the Six Duchies and Fitz is in for a surprise though. Except for the world the trilogies are very much different. Although they are loosely related, they could be read independently.


Shakedown by Charlie Stella | Book Review

Hello fellow, potential and future crime fiction readers, I think that an introduction may be in order. I’d like you to meet Charlie Stella. Mr. Stella here is a friend of ours and also happens to be the best-kept secret in crime fiction. His first four novels, Eddies World, Jimmy Bench-Press, Charlie Opera & Cheapskates were published in hard back only and are now, unjustly, out of print. His fifth novel, Shakedown, came out in hard cover last year and just recently became the first of his novels to be released in paperback, something long over due. These novels, coveted by readers and spoken of highly by writers, are some of the most exiting crime novels being written in the new millennium. So, in other words, come on in, the waters fine.

Let me tell you a little bit about Shakedown.


The Art Director | an Irene Gallo interview

I was finally able to get in touch with Irene, as she has a very busy schedule. This interview was all prompted from meeting Irene at last year’s New York Comic Con where I think I interrupted her lunch. Being the courteous person that I am, I figured I would let her finish lunch and track her down a bit later. That bit later took some stalking on my part and some annoying emails. I think Irene ended up finishing this interview just so I would not bother her anymore. All joking aside though I am very happy to introduce Irene Gallo, the Art director for Tor, Forge, and Starscape Books. I also want to thank Nicole Cardiff, one of my favorite young fantasy artists, who helped me with the questions for this interview.


New Spring: The Novel by Robert Jordan | Book Review

newspringthenovelOn September 16th, 2007, Robert Jordan, one of the giants of epic fantasy, left us. The biographies in the back of his books said that he intended to write until they nailed shut his coffin, and from what I can tell from his blog that is exactly what he did. Despite that, he left the work for which he will be remembered most by his readers, The Wheel of Time series, unfinished. It looks like A Memory of Light, the 12th and last novel of the series, will be published, although when is still uncertain. Jordan leaves behind an impressive body of work that has been translated into two dozen languages and millions of fans across the world. While by no means universally loved, his work has had a big impact on the genre, so it is no more than fitting that fantasybookspot had a closer look at one of his books.


Unnatural History by Jonathan Green | Book Review

Unnatural History is the first book in the Pax Brittannia series, written by Jonathan Green. The story is set in 1997 in an alternate universe, steampunk era London. In this universe the British Empire has continued to flourish under Queen Victoria, now in her 160th year of rule. The Magna Britannia Empire now controls two-thirds of the Earth and has colonies on the Moon and Mars. Through references made to the Challenger Wing of the London Zoo, containing living dinosaurs, it can be assumed that this is set in the Lost World universe, created by Arthur Conan Doyle. That was, however, tossed in there as a stray fact and never explained. Stray snippets of information, which intrigued but were never explained, were a recurring theme in this novel.


Campaign Cartographer 3 | Review


Do you have what it takes to create your own world?

I came across this gem of a program while doing some research work on the web, sometimes it pays to be lucky.  After talking to the fine folks over at ProFantasy Software LTD I was able to obtain a review copy of Campaign Cartographer 3 (CC3).  After many days filled with map making (and I curse you for making me so unproductive CC3), I felt I needed to share my thoughts on a program that is not only fun, but helpful for many different professions as well as hobbies.  It is a software that draws out your imagination, no matter what your original intention was.  Lets tackle the program itself, then delve into some of its uses.


Night of Knives by Ian Cameron Esslemont | Book Review

A novel of the Malazan empire by Steven Erikson’s partner in crime Ian C. Esslemont. Originally developed for use in roleplaying games, Esslemont and Erikson developed the world of the Malazan empire together and later agreed to each write certain parts of the story. Night of Knives is the first of 5 (some sources say 6) novels Esslemont plans to write about the Malazan Empire. This novel was published in 2005, the same year Midnight Tides, the fifth tale in Erikson’s series was published. By that time Erikson had established the series to much critical acclaim. The standard Erikson sets, confronts Esslemont with quite challenge and he deserves respect for taking it on. But while Esslemont’s first is a decent book, on the whole I expected a bit more ambition.


Dragons of the Highlord Skies by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman | Book Review

Dragons of the Highlord Skies is Volume II of the Lost Chronicles. Again it’s set between books 1 and 2 of the original DragonLance Chronicles. We get more of the viewpoint from Kitiara and the forces of Takhisis. Kitiara and Lord Soth occupy one sub-plot of the story, and a knightly quest occupies the other sub-plot.

We do get to see some of the Companions during the course of the book and that is always enjoyable since those characters are always the high point for me. I enjoyed the focus on the Solamnic Knights as well, and the interplay between three knightly friends and their differing interpretations of honor, duty, and even The Measure, by which they conducted themselves as Knights, was very well done. I often see depictions of knights that are one-dimensional. They’re honorable, loyal, duty bound, rigid and unyielding in their beliefs, and often stereotypically done. It was nice that to deviate from that in this book.


Shadowstorm by Paul S. Kemp | Book Review

Shadowstorm is the second release in Paul S. Kemp’s Twilight War Trilogy. It delivers the reader right back into the chaos that was brought to us by the first book, Shadowbred. In doing so, Kemp was able to sustain the A Song of Ice and Fire type presentation of multiple point-of-views, and, like George R. R. Martin, did it exceedingly well.

The opening pages of most books is where an author either grabs the reader’s attention, thwarting any desire to leave his/her world or does not set the hook, leaving the reader to idly swim to some other interesting feature. Kemp was able to do more than capture my attention; he strapped me to the front book jacket and warded me against outside evil wasting its time by attempting to lure me away.


1610: A Sundial in a Grave by Mary Gentle | Book Review

In 1610: A Sundial in a Grave Gentle mixes history and fiction into something that is not quite a historical novel and not quite historical fantasy. I am not completely familiar with Gentle’s oeuvre but I was very much impressed by Ash – A Secret History, a novel in which she uses the same techniques, so I had high hopes of this novel as well. As with many good books it did not live up to my expectations in some ways and surprised me in others.

As the title suggests the novel opens anno 1610, a year that may change history. After centuries of wars France is now slowly gaining influence under le bon roi, Henry IV. A process that would reach its peak under Henry’s grandson Louis XIV. Unfortunately for Henry not everybody agrees with his policies and in 1610 an attempt on his life succeeds. Valentin Rochefort has been coerced into an assassination attempt on Henry IV. Henry’s wife, Maria de Medici is the one behind the plot. After having a hand in the death of the ruling monarch, Rochefort decides to leave the city but is delayed by a duel with a young upstart named Dariole. Rochefort hates Dariole bitterly but also experiences a perverse pleasure in being humiliated by the younger man. Initially Dariole plans to settle their duel once and for all, but after a lively debate with Rochefort, Dariole decides to follow him. Rochefort being pressed for time has no alternative but to agree.


The Shotgun Rule by Charlie Huston |Book Review

Over the course of his brief career Huston has very quickly become one of the top crime fiction writers. One of the things that is the most impressive about Huston’s career so far is that he appears to be getting stronger with every new book.

In The Shotgun Rule, his first stand alone thriller, Huston pulls out all the stops. He uses every trick in his arsenal to full effect, while introducing some new ones as well. In A Dangerous Man Huston played with the dramatic tension in key scenes and the effect it had on the reader. By giving the conclusion to a scene in or near the beginning he doesn’t allow us an effective way to release the tension that has built up; so we are left to carry it over to the next scene. Huston not only employs this technique in The Shotgun Rule but develops it further.