To Boycott, Or Not To Boycott?

November 8, 2013

ImageEnder’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, is considered one of the classics of science fiction.  It has appeared near the top of any comprehensive list of the best of sci-fi and fantasy since it was originally published, in 1985.  It is the winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards, the highest honors in the genre.  And yet, the long-delayed release of the film version of Ender’s Game has been accompanied by controversy and threats of boycott.

Continue reading “To Boycott, Or Not To Boycott?”

Being Elizabeth Bennet

November 1, 2013

As many Jane Austen fans prepare to read Pride and Prejudice from the servants’ point of view in Longbourn, they may wonder how they would have fared in the social whirl of the Regency world.  Would you have triumphed, like one of Austen’s heroines, or suffered ridicule and fallen into disrepute?  Now, you can join the new massive multi-player role-playing game “Ever Jane” online, and find out for yourself!  The game is currently in development, but the prototype is free to play.  Those who want more can contribute to the game’s Kickstarter fund, so that the developers can add more features.

Lorena N.

An Interview with Paul McComas and Greg Starrett: Men of Monstrous Ambitions

October 19, 2013

FIt For A Frankenstein

Paul McComas wears many hats…as well as the occasional half-head Frankenstein’s Monster mask.  McComas is the author of two novels and two short story collections, and the editor of two short-fiction anthologies.  In addition, the Evanston resident is an award-winning indie filmmaker, a teacher of writing, literature, and film, and a performance artist of no small repute.  His latest project is the novella Fit For A Frankenstein, co-authored with his long-time friend, Greg Starrett.  This is the first book for Starrett, a resident of Munster, Indiana, and the founder of Veidt Radio Theatre.

Fit For A Frankenstein pays homage to Universal Studio’s monster movies of the 1930s and 1940s, as it follows Ygor’s and the Monster’s increasingly zany quest for a size 66 X-X-Long suit. Logan’s Run author William F. Nolan recommends it for any reader with “fond memories of the iconic Monster.”  On Saturday, October 26, McComas and Starrett will perform scenes from the book, answer questions, and sign copies for anyone brave enough to venture to the Community Meeting Room at 3 p.m.  We recently overcame our fears, and sat down to talk with the co-authors about their monstrous collaboration.

Continue reading “An Interview with Paul McComas and Greg Starrett: Men of Monstrous Ambitions”

The Return of the Bastards

October 10, 2013

thieves Scott Lynch’s long-awaited and long-delayed third volume in his Gentlemen Bastards series is finally out!  The Republic of Thieves hit the shelves on October 8.  Fans familiar with the series will need no encouragement to rush right out to discover what the Gentlemen Bastards have gotten themselves into this time.  For those unacquainted with these particular “gentlemen,” I suggest starting with the first book in the series, The Lies of Locke Lamora, and continuing on to Red Seas Under Red Skies.  These books are set in a fantasy world where the rich live in magnificent buildings made of some material no longer recognized, by builders no longer remembered, while the poor struggle along in a more prosaic underworld.  Locke Lamora is – or was – one of the poor, but he is determined to change that situation, by hook or by crook.  Mostly by crook (although hooks may come in handy), in the form of his gang of con men, the Gentlemen Bastards.

Although these are fantasy novels, the books they most remind me of are the classic adventure novels of the 19th century.  There are shades of The Count of Monte Cristo, Oliver Twist, and Treasure Island (not to mention heists that would put anything the boys of Oceans Eleven could come up with to shame).  In The Republic of Thieves, we are even promised a meeting with Locke Lamora’s long lost love/chief rival, Sabetha.  Not since Sherlock Holmes met up with Irene Adler has a literary encounter been so fraught with possibilities…

– Lorena N.

Banned Books: Sci-Fi and Fantasy

September 26, 2013

Symbol Given that science fiction and fantasy books exist to challenge our preconceived notions of reality, it’s no wonder that they are frequently the targets of book-banning efforts.  Many books in these genres revolve around different views of politics, religion,  sex, or sexuality (or all of the above!).  While fans of science fiction and fantasy are often attracted by the mind-bending and challenging nature of books within this genre, others find them disturbing and controversial.  If you are in the mood to celebrate Banned Books Week by disturbing your mind a little, check out this list of Banned Science Fiction & Fantasy Books from Worlds Without End.

– Lorena N.

Fantasy Author Spotlight: Martha Wells

September 21, 2013

321357Martha Wells reminds me of why I fell in love with the sci-fi/fantasy genre in the first place. Wells is a master at world-building.  She has a rare talent for painting pictures in a reader’s mind that are so vivid, it is hard to remember that they are pictures of things the reader has never seen and that can never exist. You will never doubt for a moment that her characters and the worlds they inhabit are real. And yet, they are all stunningly original, in appearance, customs, and actions. There is nothing predictable about a Martha Wells book, unless you count how good they are.

The Death of The Necromancer kicks of Wells’ series set in Ile-Rien. The setting is quasi-Victorian, and the book centers around master thief Nicholas Valiarde and his quest for vengeance against the man who had his godfather murdered on false charges of necromancy.  The Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy (The Wizard Hunters, The Ships of Air, and The Gate of Gods) updates the setting to a WWII-type atmosphere, and follows the adventures of Nicholas Valiarde’s daughter, Tremaine, as she struggles to help throw back the invasion that threatens their land.

The Cloud Roads is the first of the three (so far) Books of the Raksura, set in a fantasy world populated by a staggering number of wholly original creatures.  And yet, Moon has never met another creature of his own kind…whatever that may be.  He is enough like a feared band of shape-shifters known as the Fell to terrify all who meet him, though, and so he seems destined to remain alone.  It is once he is discovered by his people and taken back into their society, however, that his real problems begin.

If you would rather not commit to a whole series, Wells also writes stand-alone novels. In Wheel of the Infinite, for example, a disgraced nun travels with her bodyguard in a race to discover the cause of the darkness that threatens to swallow her world.

If you are a fan of fantasy, rest assured that, while you may have no idea where Martha Wells will take you, she will never steer you wrong!

– Lorena N.

What to read while waiting for Game of Thrones to come back

September 12, 2013

The Blade Itself Joe Abercrombie (author of The First Law series, which starts with The Blade Itself) writes books for the George R. R. Martin fan who is ready to see what happens when someone looks at Game of Thrones and says, “It’s good, but it could stand to be way darker and more violent. Also, it would be great if the characters could be achingly wonderful and human, and if really horrible things could happen to them.”  If you are not a fan of the grimmer side of fantasy, then this book will not be your cup of tea. Unless you like your cup of tea to try to destroy you and everything you love on a regular basis. (And, if so, you have a really weird relationship with your tea.)
These are not books of redemption or the inevitable triumph of good over evil. And yet, they are wonderfully worthwhile. There is exhilaration in watching the characters face down their demons, both internal and external, without the usual fantasy comfort that they will find a way to win somehow. These characters often lose their battles. Or worse, win them, and find that their heart’s desire is the worst fate of all.  Did I mention that they are also laugh out loud funny, when they are not ripping your guts out (and sometimes when they are)?
Lorena N.

Translate »