The Hell of It February 25, 2015 The Hell of It Peter Orullian What will he wager? Schrödinger’s Gun February 18, 2015 Schrödinger’s Gun Ray Wood Maybe in some other timeline it would have gone smooth. Acrobatic Duality February 11, 2015 Acrobatic Duality Tamara Vardomskaya The two of her are perfectly synchronized. The Language of Knives February 4, 2015 The Language of Knives Haralambi Markov They share the rites of death, and grief.
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A Ranking of 1980s Fantasy That Would Please Crom Himself!
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February 27, 2015
Goodbye, Mr. Nimoy — What Spock Meant to One Geeky 12-Year-Old Girl
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February 26, 2015
Introducing the Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch
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February 23, 2015
Oh No, She Didn’t: The Strong Female Character, Deconstructed
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February 20, 2015
Evil Eighties: The Paperback Horrors of Lisa Tuttle
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Showing posts by: Justin Landon click to see Justin Landon's profile
Feb 26 2015 11:00am

Rocket Talk Episode 45: Ferrett Steinmetz and Monica Byrne

Monica Byrne Ferrett Steinmetz

In this episode of Rocket Talk, Justin is joined by authors Ferrett Steinmetz and Monica Byrne. They talk about their experience at the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop in 2008, how genre classifications worry them as writers, and about how alt-sex influences their writing.

[Listen now!]

Feb 25 2015 11:30am

Rocket Talk Episode 44: James L. Sutter and Mordicai Knode

Pathfinder Tales

James L. Sutter, the managing editor at Paizo Publishing, and Mordicai Knode, a National Accounts Coordinator for Macmillian, visit Rocket Talk to discuss the Pathfinder Tales novels and their new arrangement with Tor Books. The conversation looks at the nature of series fiction, how tie-in fiction works (or doesn’t work), and what Pathfinder is all about.

[Listen Now!]

Feb 20 2015 1:00pm

Reading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, The Last Argument of Kings: “Too Many Knives” and “Best of Enemies”

Joe Abercrombie reread The Last Argument of KingsI’m going to Disney World today, so thankfully, there isn’t much butchery in this week’s chapters. There’s something incompatible about meat cleavers and the Magic Kingdom. I mean, there is certainly some gruesome bits, per our favorite Inquisitor, but no one gets stabbed! Or slashed! Or burned! It’s almost like a Carebear episode.

Kind of…not really. There is that toe crushing hammer to contend with.

[Read the rest…]

Feb 13 2015 2:00pm

Reading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, The Last Argument of Kings: “Beloved of the Moon” and “Flowers and Plaudits”

Joe Abercrombie reread The Last Argument of KingsSomething Joe Abercrombie is so good at is putting a gun on the mantle and making sure it gets fired. Last week it was the pigs. As soon as we saw two people, with cause to murder, meeting in a pig pen, we knew someone was getting fed to the pigs. Probably in little pieces.

In this week’s chapters we finally see the culmination of Bayaz’ preparations come to fruition. And the payoff is fantastic. It is impossible that Jezal would rise to prominence and yet, as we see here, it was actually inevitable. After this chapter, I find it unlikely anyone won’t guess what’s in store for our cowardly hero...

[This Week’s Chapters]

Feb 6 2015 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, The Last Argument of Kings: “Bad Debts” and “A Ragged Multitude”

Joe Abercrombie reread The Last Argument of KingsI’ve got a lot going on: deadlines, manuscripts, kids, and golf (probably in that order right this second). The fact that I still get excited to sit down and read Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy every Thursday night says a lot about how good it is. It’s a real challenge reading something the way I do, only once a week and only two chapters at a time, and still want to keep reading. What can I say? I’m a junkie.

In other news, a fan of the reread asked me on Twitter who my favorite fantasy author was. I said, other than Abercrombie? Well, probably Daniel Abraham, or Rebecca Levene, or Elizabeth Bear, or Daniel Polansky... In other words, there are a ton of people writing great stuff right now. If you’re in the market for something new, do check those four out. It’s worth your time to get away from the standard “huge names” that get thrown out in every recommendation thread in internet history.

[This Week’s Chapters]

Jan 30 2015 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, The Last Argument of Kings: “Honesty” and “Ghosts”

Joe Abercrombie reread The Last Argument of KingsI told you we were back on schedule!

There are some interesting observations and opinions about Ardee’s character in last week’s comment thread. I’ll only say that I believe strongly that Ardee is one of the most important characters in the series and the ones I believe Abercrombie could execute far better now than he did then. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if Ardee would have been a much more significant player had Abercrombie written this book in today’s climate and with his developing mastery as a writer.

Something to ask when it comes time for the Q&A!

[On to this week’s chapters.]

Jan 23 2015 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, The Last Argument of Kings: “Feeding Time” and “So Much in Common”

Joe Abercrombie reread The Last Argument of KingsHappy New Year! It is 2015 and I have not written a reread for several weeks. It was the holidays people! Would you want to read the First Law Trilogy while you’re bouncing your children on your knee and roasting chestnuts and chugging champagne like it’s Yoohoo? Well, you’re weird. I was, instead, reading several books on how to improve my golf swing. Because, what’s weird about that? I’ll tell you. Nothing.

However, I play golf like Logen Ninefingers and Ferro do relationships. My heart is in the right place. I can really swing for the fences. But I usually screw it all up with immense anger to follow. Unfortunately, my love for the game of golf is just beginning. Say one thing for Justin Landon, he’s not a quitter.

[Keep reading...]

Dec 19 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, The Last Argument of Kings: “This Noble Business” and “The New Man”

Joe Abercrombie reread The Last Argument of KingsYou know what says Merry Christmas better than anything? Aggressive and awkward and angry sex. Yup. Thankfully, Joe Abercrombie delivers as we continue our reread of Last Argument of Kings. Ardee and Jezal are getting back together, folks, and that means good clean family fun...

Obviously that entire paragraph is full of shit. Except the part where Ardee and Jezal have sex. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that a sex scene in this series will be all kinds of hard to read.

In the meantime, I wish you, fair reader of this reread, a happy holiday season and a joyful New Year full of reading this reread. Because I’m sure that’s your New Year’s Resolution. Now on to this week’s business!

[This Noble Business]

Dec 16 2014 11:00am

Under the Radar: The Books That Pinged

Under the Radar best of 2014

Throughout the year, we’ve been taking turns with the Under the Radar column—looking at recent works that, despite being awesome, may have gone unnoticed by many readers (including us!). As we’re at the end of the year—and the end of our first year (woohoo!)—this seems the perfect occasion to kick back and think about what we’ve learned.

[Read More]

Dec 12 2014 2:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, The Last Argument of Kings: “The Poison Trade” and “Being Chief”

Joe Abercrombie reread The Last Argument of Kings When I began this reread over 18 months ago I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. In fact, as we begin The Last Argument of Kings I’ve begun to appreciate even more the skill with which Abercrombie has constructed the most subversive piece of epic fantasy that has ever been written. It is clever and funny and revelatory. I am once again ensorcelled.

We begin the third book with a quote from Paul Gauguin, a man whose work was only celebrated after his death. ‘Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.’ So, there’s that...

[This week’s chapters]

Dec 5 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “The Abode of Stones” and “Back to the Mud”

Joe Abercrombie reread Before They Are HangedHappy holidays! I managed to stuff my face excessively over Thanksgiving. I even managed to get some kind of virulent plague from my daughter simultaneously. I’m such a lucky devil. Er... not that kind of devil, I say as Ferro finally gets her hands on the ‘Seed’.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, has anyone noticed that Abercrombie covers about every possible vice except gluttony? Chamberlain Hoff is the closest thing, but he’s also just an idiot and not a very central character. I challenge Lord Grimdark himself, in his next novel, to really embrace utter corpulence in one of his point of view characters. Do it for me, Joe! Validate my holiday over eating!

Now that we’re in the holiday spirit, I hope you’re ready for the most buzz kill chapters in the history of epic fantasy! All these hundreds of pages we’ve been building toward a climax, right? Some big reveal! Some big event! Well.... sorry about that.

[On to disappointment...]

Nov 21 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “A Fitting Punishment”

Joe Abercrombie reread Before They Are HangedI’m writing this from a bus. Any typos are the failt [sic] of my zany driver Harvey. He’s got salt and pepper hair and a weird proclivity for loudly snorting to clear his nasal passages. All in all he seems like a swell fellow. The neon green vest he’s wearing is particularly charming. This is neither here nor there. Just trust me when I say you’re better off than I am right now.

You know who’s not better off? Everyone in Before They Are Hanged. We’ve got three chapters left, which for the sake of sanity, I’m breaking into one chapter this week and two next week. I apologize for the shorter post this week, but we’ll have a nice explosive finish coming up.

[This week’s chapter…]

Nov 14 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “Questions” and “Holding the Line”

Before They Are Hanged Joe Abercrombie rereadI missed last week’s post. I have an excuse. The power cord to my MacBook Air inexplicably stopped working. One minute I’m the happiest little blogger on earth. The next I’m attempting to resuscitate a cord with mouth to mouth, shouting why over and over again. This screaming continued when I learned that the replacement was $80. This is not a joke.

In any case, I was probably missing the signs for several months that this tragedy was about to befall me. Maybe I had to wiggle the cord to get the light to come on. Maybe little bumps were developing where the internal wires were kinking. Maybe my little cord was constantly burping at serious moments and blaming indigestion. One things leads to another and it’s spewing blood all over the battle plans in the middle of a gods damned war!

Crap. I might be getting a little ahead of myself here.

On to this weeks chapters, one of which contains Lord Marshall Burr doing some things even my MacBook Air cord would be grossed out by.

[Click to find out...]

Oct 31 2014 12:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “To the Edge of the World” and “Before the Storm”

Before They Are Hanged Joe Abercrombie rereadThunder and lightning kept me awake all night. Nature is a powerful thing. It can make you feel small and vulnerable. I imagine it’s a lot how Jezal, Logen, and Ferro felt sitting between Bayaz and Cawneil this week, or Colonel West between General Poulder and Kroy. In both cases the experienced ones, the ones who should know best, are squabbling like children, putting the responsibility for acting like an adult in the hands of the less capable.

Abercrombie might be playing once again with the trope of wizened experience that’s often present in fantasy, but I think it’s far more likely that instead he’s offering the idea that doing things as they’ve always been done is hardly a recipe for success. Perhaps instead he’s making a comment on his own work, which is clearly not doing fantasy as its always been done.

Food for thought.

[This week’s chapters...]

Oct 30 2014 1:30pm

A Sci-Fi Casserole: Peter F. Hamilton’s The Abyss Beyond Dreams

The Abyss Beyond Dreams reviewPeter F. Hamilton is a steak dinner, with sides, and a big helping of desert. He probably comes with an after dinner espresso too. He makes you feel like a bloated carcass when you push away from the table and stumble out of the restaurant, your top button straining to stay in place. He makes you feel like an elbow to the gut will result in the carnage of the last two hours of debauchery emptying into the gutter. He doesn’t just give you a story and move on, he gives you all the stories and then a few more. He’s delicious.

This sounds like a precursor to an episode of The Walking Dead. It’s actually an entry point in discussing his most recent novel, The Abyss Beyond Dreams, which aspires to be just as addictively bloating as his previous work. Unfortunately, it’s more like a tapas experience full of disparate tastes that won’t quite leave you satisfied.

[More food metaphors...]

Oct 27 2014 11:00am

Nobody Puts Jarl in a Corner: The Way of Shadows Graphic Novel

The Way of Shadows graphic novel

Say one thing for Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy; say it’s full of action. I borrow that turn of phrase from Joe Abercrombie, whose main character Logen Ninefingers often uses it to demonstrate his ‘tell it like it is’ demeanor.

I borrow it in much the same way that Ivan Brandon and Andy MacDonald have borrowed for the graphic novel The Way of Shadows; we create something similar to the original, but also completely pervert it to our own ends. Where Weeks took time to develop his narrative beyond mere action, the graphic novel glosses over much of the detail, creating a shallower tale that focuses on the action and, really, only the action.

[Read More]

Oct 24 2014 12:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “Coming Over” and “Cheap at the Price”

Before They Are Hanged Joe Abercrombie rereadThe best part of this reread has been the folks commenting. They see things I never would have. This week rather than a clever lead, I want to quote a few things said last week that I thought were particularly insightful.

From Xena Catolica: “The whole time he’s giving Jezal advice on good leadership he’s blatantly not doing that himself & that’s [Abercrombie] drawing our attention to the fact Bayaz has intellectual/theoretical knowledge to match his age, but not the moral mojo to go with it. The disconnect between power and judgment ought to apply to Bayaz like it does to everybody else.”

[More comments and this week’s chapters...]

Oct 17 2014 12:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “Cold Comfort” and “The High Places”

Before They Are Hanged Joe Abercrombie rereadOnce Joe Abercrombie decided it was time for the sex he didn’t bandy about. He jumped right in. We saw this last week with the most deliciously awkward sex scene I’ve ever read. Naturally, once wasn’t enough, and this week’s chapters give us a sex scene each! It’s like we’re living in Van Nuys.

Where Logen and Ferro had their moment in private, the scenes this week are voyeuristic. Does that change things?

[Let’s find out...]

Oct 10 2014 12:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “No Good for Each Other” and “The Hero’s Welcome”

Before They Are Hanged Joe Abercrombie rereadThe moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived. Ferro and Logen get horizontal. If this surprises any first time readers it’s because there’s been almost nothing to suggest such a thing might happen. Our lovers aren’t exactly the flirtatious sort. In fact, they seem to mostly hate one another.

So in “No Good for Each Other” something happens we never expected to, while in “The Hero’s Welcome” the thing we expect to happen comes to naught. It’s like bizarro narrative!

Fair warning: onomatopoetic sex quotes to follow.


Oct 3 2014 12:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “Luck” and “Beneath the Ruins”

Before They Are Hanged Joe Abercrombie rereadThis week’s chapters are mostly action. Bayaz and the gang being attacked by the Shanka to be precise. They get separated. Bayaz does some magic. Jezal feels better about his messed up body. Quai and Longfoot are afterthoughts. However...

It’s also foreplay. Trust me. As you read these two chapters pay special attention to how Logen and Ferro interact with one another. I won’t be discussing it much in my analysis, but it’s there. It should be observed as we move into the more intimate portion of the pair’s relationship. I say intimate, but if this is actually a reread you know that intimacy is something a little foreign to Ferro and Logen.

[Read More]