Deepsix by Jack McDevitt | Book Review

Deepsix is the second novel in Jack McDevitt’s “Academy” series, which can be described as mostly-hard science fiction with a few exceptions like faster-than-light travel included out of narrative necessity. However, while it has the same main character as the first Academy book, The Engines of God, it is a fully self-contained story and can easily be read by someone who has not read its predecessor.

In the 23rd century, the Academy of Science and Technology and its fleet of superluminal ships is tasked with exploring the reaches of space and pushing back the frontiers of human knowledge. When a rogue gas giant adrift in deep space for half a billion years enters the Maleiva system, a scientific team is sent to watch. The rogue giant is on a near-collision course with the third planet of the Maleiva system, dubbed Deepsix, providing a rare opportunity- the chance to observe as a planet is ripped apart by gravity. Teams of scientists and an interstellar liner full of tourists gather in the Maleiva system to observe.

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Surly Vision – an Ian Cameron Esslemont Interview

… on friendship, Dassem, and ascension with ICE.

ian cameron esslemont

After a long and trying journey into the Azath I was finally able to track down one of the architects of the Malazan world that I find myself completely addicted to. When I first read Ian Cameron Esslemont’s first book, Night of Knives, I must admit my reaction was a bit lukewarm, not unwelcome but not a piece that impacted me. After I added more pieces to the puzzle and studied the ones I had with more scrutiny I tackled the book again and it was one of those books that made me review it. One of those books that — even if originating completely from a fan’s notion most nonsensical — necessitated thought being put down in one those rare works or series that we actively love. We can all come up with long lists of books we enjoyed or loved, but the beauty of the epic series — and in some sense SF’s Space Operas — is that it provide a constant adoration that lives between books not just during them or in the recent aftermath. Today I talk to Ian Cameron Esslemont, who along with Steven Erikson is responsible for one of the latest additions of this affair, and we chat about his first book, his soon to be released Return of the Crimson Guard, all things Malazan, and more.

You can check out my lengthy interview with Steven Erikson as well.

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Caught Stealing with Joe Pitt – a Charlie Huston Interview

… we open the casebook with the pulp noir master.

charlie huston

Today we are pleased to present an interview with Charlie Huston. Coming off of a run on Marvel’s Moon Knight Charlie Huston is a writer who also has several novels to his credit, including being three books into the continuing vamp noir adventures of Joe Pitt, and The Hank Thompson trilogy. More recently, the Edgar nominated author, switched perspectives and wrote the stand-alone Shotgun Rule. The fourth book in the Joe Pitt Casebooks, Every Last Drop, is scheduled for a September 2008 release.

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A Mystery/Crime Fiction Primer

motehrless brooklyn

Awhile ago here at Boomtron we had a contest to win a copy of The Blonde. And when the person who won the contest finished reading it he placed his thoughts in the review comments thread. One of the things that he said was:

“Also, I know this is categorized as mystery, but when I think mystery, I think dead bodies and some kind of something that has to be figured out,”

This to me speaks to expectations and pre-conceived notions. The very name of the genre, mystery, implies the solution of a crime, but the genre isn’t limited to just that type of story. Then in a private correspondence recently I was asked the following question:

“I wonder which books are a good way to start to read mystery/crime novels more; to delve deeper in the genre.”

And it’s a good question, especially for a site like Boomtron where readers of different genres rub shoulders with one another. But also for readers at large because the genre is big with a lot of different facets and it can be hard to know where to start.

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The Magician and the Fool by Barth Anderson | Book Review

Barth Anderson’s second novel, The Magician and The Fool, is marketed as a thriller in the DaVinci Code mode, with the hidden history behind the Tarot being the focus. Indeed, the novel is fast-paced and full of spectacular deaths, chases, and secret societies. But Anderson flips the script of the traditional thriller, and creates something much richer and more mysterious.

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Paper Cities | an Ekaterina Sedia Interview

Ekaterina Sedia’s second novel, The Secret History of Moscow, has made her a new author to watch. It has garnered critical praise, from no less than Neil Gaiman and is selling quite well.

The novel is set in Post-Communist Russia, where everyone is suffering under the growing pains of capitalism gone amuck. Thugs and gangs share the stage with those used to the old communist way of doing things, poverty and uncertainty abounds, and yet there is an excitement in the air.

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Zombie Stripper | a Shamron Moore Interview

 

I am very happy to introduce Shamron Moore who has a lead part in the new film Zombie Strippers with Robert Englund and Jenna Jameson.  The synopsis of the movie from the official site is as follows:

When a secret government agency lets out a deadly chemo virus causing the reanimation of the dead, the first place to get hit is Rhino’s, a hot underground strip club.  As one of the strippers gets the virus, she turns into a supernatural, flesh-eating zombie stripper, making her the hit of the club.  Do the rest of the girls fight the temptation to be like the star stripper, even if there is no turning back?

Now on to Shamron Moore!

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Counting Heads by David Marusek | Book Review

My latest review is for Counting Heads by David Marusek. This is a catchy read. The story pulls up sort of like a shiny new car to whisk you off to an exotic location. It is March 30, 2092. That is announced immediately like a road sign. The technology is exotic and plentiful from the get go, so that serves as an invitation to put the imagination on cruise control, kick the seat back and enjoy the scenery that Marusek supplies along the way. Along the way he throws descriptive zingers out there that are good for a laugh. On the first page we get the line:

“Her eyes peered out at you like eels in coral.”

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Scar Night by Alan Campbell | Book Review

scar nightThere is a complex theology at the heart Scar Night, the first book of the series known as the Deepgate Codex. The celestial goddess Ayen banished her son Ulcis to Hell because she wanted to close access to Heaven to mortals, while Ulcis, in a Promethean way, disagrees with her, She cast him down to Hell, which is at the bottom of a seemingly endless abyss. The city of Deepgate is built over the this abyss, hanging from chains. At its center is the Church of Ulcis, where the dead are properly disposed of through its rituals; bodies are flung down in the abyss, where their souls can join Ulcis’ army and storm Heaven. Bodies that are improperly cared for are damned to Iril, a blood-soaked labyrinth even further below the abyss.

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Gridlinked | a Neal Asher interview

Combining large-scale space opera, intense, visceral action, and occasional elements of horror, Neal Asher is one of the most exciting authors to come out of the United Kingdom in recent years. Born in England in 1961, Asher spent many years writing stories for British small-press magazines. In 2001 his first novel, Gridlinked, was published by by MacMillan in the UK, and by Tor in the United States. His “Polity” future history, the setting of books such as Gridlinked, The Skinner, and Hilldiggers, is one of the most intriguing settings in science fiction today. He has also written stand-alone stories, such as his novel Cowl. His next novel, The Shadow of the Scorpion, will be published by Night Shade Books in May 2008.

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Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane | Book Review

Darkness-Take-My-Hand-Dennis-LehaneIt becomes immediately apparent from the opening pages of Darkness, Take My Hand that Dennis Lehane has upped the ante since A Drink Before the War. Darkness, Take My Hand stands in stark contrast to A Drink Before the War as a new level of sophistication permeates the story. The prologue allows Lehane to demonstrate for the first time his desire to toy with our expectations for these characters. It could be said of A Drink Before the War that it ended on a high note that fostered certain hopes for the characters specifically the two leads Patrick and Angie. Lehane is happy to destroy those closely held notions that were carefully constructed right from the start and the experience is all the more richer for it. If the characters were given three dimensions in A Drink Before the War then Darkness Take My Hand breaths life into them. We learn a lot from Patrick in those first few pages, none of which is predictable and all of it shocking. The device used is that of the present looking back, so we don’t know what happened yet. We set our imaginations free and try to conceive of the horrors that brought such results and Darkness Take My Hand details all of it.

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Goblin Quest | a Jim C. Hines interview (2008)

jim hinesJim C. Hines began writing in the early 90s, while working on a degree in psychology from Michigan State University. For many years, he focused on short fiction. His work has appeared in Realms of Fantasy, Turn the Other Chick, Sword and Sorceress XXI, and over thirty other magazines and anthologies.

His first published fantasy novel was Goblin Quest, a funny, popular tale about a nearsighted goblin runt named Jig. Goblin Hero followed in 2007, and Goblin War will be out in March of 2008.

DAW will also be publishing The Stepsister Scheme, which will hopefully be the first book in a new series.

Jim lives in mid-Michigan with his wife and children, who have always shown remarkable tolerance for his bizarre and obsessive writing habits.

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The Demon and the City by Liz Williams | Book Review

Seneschal Zhu Irzh, demonic scion and star of the first Detective Inspector Chen Novel, is now officially, if grudgingly, a member of the Singapore 3 police force while Chen is on his honeymoon. An investigation lands in his lap, when a socialite ends up missing. He takes on the investigation, getting a whiff of his native Hell in the mix—and it gives him something to do.

At the same time, Robin Yuan, the lesbian lover of the missing socialite, starts an investigation of her own. Robin works at the pharmaceutical Paugeng Corporation, where she conducts secret, torturous experiments on a seemingly kind creature from Hell, something she finds distasteful.

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The Last Dragon by J.M. McDermott | Book Review

In Last Dragon, J.M. McDermott strips the fat from the bones of epic quest-driven fantasy, then dresses up the resulting skeleton of story in layer upon layer of fragmented and elliptical narrative. The fit of this literary garb on the somewhat typical fantasy understory isn’t perfect; indeed, when the reading is done we may feel that the clothes have no emperor — or rather, empress, as we shall see. But the sheer pleasure the novel infuses the process of reading with, the way it trusts readers to engage deeply and carefully, makes Last Dragon a book that may be equally enjoyable to epic fantasy fans looking for something different and challenging, and to readers who enjoy challenges and who had all but given up on epic fantasy’s ability to provide them.

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Traitor | a Michael Cisco Interview

First off, I’d like to thank Michael Cisco for agreeing to this interview and welcome him as our guest at Boomtron. Michael Terry Cisco is an American writer and teacher. He currently resides in New York City and probably best known for his first novel, The Divinity Student, which has won the prestigious of the International Horror Guild Award for Best First Novel of 1999. Other works by Cisco include The Tyrant (2003), The San Veneficio Canon (2004) and two books published last year, The Traitor and Secret Hours.

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Kill Clock | an Allan Guthrie interview

Today we present an interview Allan Guthrie, writer, editor, and agent, best known for his Crime Fiction. His first novel, Two-Way Split, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award, won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2007. His next novel, Kiss Her Goodbye, was nominated for an Edgar Award and a Gumshoe Award.

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Steps Through the Mist by Zoran Zivkovic | Book Review

There are fantasists and there are master fantasists; I’d like to suggest that the masters reveal themselves not only by their greatest works, but by what are — for them and them only — lesser volumes. Steps Through the Mist, the latest of Serbian author Zoran Živković’s novels to be published in the USA, is a revelatory volume of this later sort; it confirms Živković’s status as a master. The book’s chief flaw is that there is simply not enough of it, leaving us wanting more.

In the United States, Steps Through the Mist follows 2006’s Seven Touches of Music (both first appeared in English in the UK magazine Interzone several years ago, and were part of 2006’s Impossible Stories omnibus from the UK’s PS Publishing). Like the previous American release, Steps Through the Mist is an exquisite slim black volume from Aio Publishing; like that earlier volume, Steps Through the Mist is a mosaic novel, a story suite of short fabulations linked both literally and in thematic concern. Here Živković’s concerns are predestination, fate and the future; in the five stories that make up his mosaic he builds a multifaceted view into how modern people might relate to having, knowing and choosing their own fates — and those of others.

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The Lost District by Joel Lane | Book Review

“One night, I dreamt that trapped cries of ecstasy were turning to water between the floors, staining my ceiling with the shape of a naked woman. I woke and turned on the light, but couldn’t make out anything from the scattered bruises of damp and the cracks in the wood-chip wallpaper. As I was a bout to drift back into sleep, I heard a faint stirring and a dull moan, then a long shuddering wail. I curled into a fetal position as my crotch spasmed uncontrollably, impregnating the dark shape of my dream….” (The Bootleg Heart)

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