This Chance Planet October 22, 2014 This Chance Planet Elizabeth Bear We are alone, except for the dog. Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza October 15, 2014 Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza Carrie Vaughn A Wild Cards story. The Girl in the High Tower October 14, 2014 The Girl in the High Tower Gennifer Albin A Crewel story. Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch October 8, 2014 Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch Kelly Barnhill An unconventional romance.
From The Blog
October 23, 2014
Devil in a Blue Dress: Horns by Joe Hill
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October 21, 2014
Fall 2014 Anime Preview: Symbiotic Alien Hands Don’t Make Good Pets
Kelly Quinn
October 21, 2014
Happily Remixed and Mashed-Up Ever After: Modern Fairy Tales!
Leah Schnelbach
October 20, 2014
Snow White: The Blankest Slate of Them All
Natalie Zutter and Emily Asher-Perrin
October 17, 2014
The Bloody Books of Halloween: The October Country by Ray Bradbury
Will Errickson
Showing posts by: Justin Landon click to see Justin Landon's profile
Fri
Oct 24 2014 1:00pm

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...]

Fri
Oct 17 2014 1:00pm

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...]

Fri
Oct 10 2014 1:00pm

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.

[Squelch]

Fri
Oct 3 2014 1:00pm

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]

Fri
Sep 26 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “To the Last Man” and “Jewel of Cities”

Before They Are Hanged Joe Abercrombie rereadLast week I encouraged commenters to comment on Tolomei, daughter of the Maker and lover(?) of Bayaz. You ignored me and told me it was too soon! Cue the shaking and rattling of a rereader gone drunk with power, calling down the heavens for your impudence. Or, you know, you were right. Whatever.

This week’s chapters are a little more pedestrian in terms of information reveals compared to last week’s, but I can assure you that they are the calm before the storm. We’re starting to get into the home stretch of Before They Are Hanged. Get ready to run!

[Read More...]

Wed
Sep 24 2014 11:30am

A Broken Binding: The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

Brent Weeks The Broken Eye reviewA colleague of mine, Jared Shurin of the blog Pornokitsch, once described Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer novels—the latest being The Broken Eye—as “COLORKABLOOIE.” His argument boiled down to the concept that Brent Weeks writes pulpy, charismatic fluff. Charismatic fluff that ensorcels readers like Jafar’s scepter in Aladdin, but charismatic fluff that has little to redeem it beyond entertainment value. I promise not to use the words charismatic fluff again. Damnit.

The frustration I have withn the phrase COLORKABLOOIE is that it suggests there’s something wrong with pulp, and that epic fantasy should necessarily have some larger agenda. I find myself fundamentally in disagreement with any such idea, although I adore saying COLORKABLOOIE. Say it with me. COLORKABLOOIE. Fun isn’t it?

[How fun is it?]

Fri
Sep 19 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “Scars” and “Furious”

Before They Are Hanged Joe Abercrombie reread This week’s chapters hold more stuff than usual, stuffed full of world building in “Scars” and laden with a most intriguing character shift in “Furious.” Remember, this reread does not contain spoilers in the text itself, but I strongly encourage them in the comments. Go nuts.

This week in particular I’d love to see some speculation on Tolomei. What do folks think her story is? Are there any details I’ve missed so far? Educate me rereaders!

 On to this week’s chapters!

[Read more...]

Fri
Sep 5 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “The Rest is Wasted Breath” and “A Matter of Time”

Good news reread fans! I have it on good authority that Joe Abercrombie would like to come join us for a reread (and otherwise) Q&A session. Does that sound good? I thought so. It would be quite embarrassing though if I was the only one asking questions, so this is my warning to you! Start preparing your questions in your mind! I am currently working with the production staff here and Mr. Abercrombie himself to find a suitable day and time, but suffice to say it will be soon.

In more immediate news, we have two chapters for your rereading pleasure. “The Rest is Wasted Breath” features the brief reuniting of Bayaz and Zacharus from Ferro’s point of view. Meanwhile, “A Matter of Time” shows Glokta coming to grips with the soon-to-come victory of the Gurkish and his captured Eater’s proclivities.

[Enjoy.]

Fri
Aug 29 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “So This is Pain” and “One Step at a Time”

Welcome back to the First Law Trilogy reread! I normally write a creative introduction with clever anecdotes. Not today. What can I say, I’m all clevered out.

Today’s post covers the chapters “So This is Pain” and “One Step at a Time,” from Jezal and West’s points of view, respectively.

[This week’s post...]

Tue
Aug 26 2014 10:00am

Unlocking John Scalzi’s Lock In

Lock In John Scalzi review

You know who’s going to love Lock In? John Scalzi fans. If you fit into that category, stop reading and just go buy the book. Read this article later. If, like me, your relationship with John Scalzi is complicated, keep reading.

Once, I loved Scalzi’s work. I found it witty and charming, with a perfect blend of action, humor, and drama. Once, I found his work indulgent and repetitive, with an overreliance on one voice and one perspective to carry the day. In both instances I was convinced I knew who John Scalzi was as a writer.

With Lock In, it’s time to reevaluate again.

[Unlocking Lock In]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “Heading North” and “Scant Mercy”

Joe Abercrombie First Law trilogy reread Before They Are Hanged So, where was I last week when I should have been posting a reread? I was in London, attending Loncon3 and the Hugo Awards. I was nominated for Best Related Work for a book I edited titled, Speculative Fiction 2012: The Year’s Best Online Reviews, Essays, and Commentary. I didn’t win. Please leave a mocking comments below.

While that part of the trip was a failure, the rest of it was a grand success. I had the opportunity to meet a ton of people and renew some friendships. Most relevant to this particular post, I got to hang out with Joe Abercrombie. Since this is the internet, pics or it didn’t happen, right? Well…

[Photo evidence abounds...]

Fri
Aug 15 2014 5:00pm

Boldly Going Where Many Have Gone Before: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling Erika Johansen review

Conservative is a loaded term. What once meant traditional, quiet, steady, demure, and prim, now means reactionary, right-wing, and hidebound. So, when I say that The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen is conservative, which it clearly is, I’m references the former and not the latter. It is not, as its copious marketing copy proclaims, a ‘bright new entry in the fantasy genre’, but a capable retread of the form.

Set in the distant future, after an undescribed cataclysm, Queen of the Tearling’s Earth has fundamentally changed. A second dark age has emerged, where sickness and hunger, slaves and serfs, and violence and despotism reign again. Once a country of modest freedom, Tear has become a place of fear as the dead Queen’s brother rules as regent, steeped in liquor and slaves. Kelsea, Johansen’s protagonist and primary viewpoint, is Tear’s last hope. Now nineteen, she will leave everything she’s known behind to assume her long dead mother’s throne. Nothing resists change so well as one who rules, and her uncle has other ideas. With the Queen’s Guard at her back, Kelsea must survive her uncle’s plot to even have a chance to make things right.

[Meeting expectations...]

Tue
Aug 12 2014 2:30pm

Pastoral Family Drama: The Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb Fool's Assassin

Oh, FitzChivalry. You self-flagellating, depression-suffering, and kindly-narcissist, I’ve missed you. Also, you infuriate me. Seriously, do you have any idea how angry it makes me to watch your turtle into your cocoon and wallow in self-pity, dragging down everyone you love and who loves you while you do it? Hulk angry. You would think thirty years later you’d be over some of your issues, but no… even into the silver years your wisdom is in short supply. If only you weren’t so damned interesting…

So begins my feelings on Robin Hobb’s most recent novel, Fool’s Assassin. Picking up many years after the end of the Tawny Man Trilogy, Fitz is living as Tom Badgerlock, the Holder of his daughter Nettle’s estate, with his wife, Molly. Her children and his are grown, leaving them with an empty nest and the duties of the estate to keep them busy. Of course, despite Fitz’s desire to isolate himself from the crown, Chade and King Dutiful seem to keep him on retainer as something of a consultant.

[Read More]

Fri
Aug 8 2014 4:00pm

It’s All Academic: Reviewing KJ Parker’s Academic Exercises

KJ Parker Academic Exercises review

Reading KJ Parker is a religious experience, which is ironic considering some of the stories included within the pages of Academic Exercises undermine institutions with rabid vigor. Two World Fantasy Award winning novellas, three essays, and nine other stories complete the volume and represent the scope of KJ Parker’s short work to date.

From grifting, to wizarding, to alchemy, to music making, Parker takes the reader deep into a professional psyches of her characters and lays their soul bare. This summation of the author’s work is a must read for anyone with even a passing interest in good fiction.

[Read more...]

Fri
Aug 8 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “One for Dinner” and “One of Them”

I begin this week’s chapters with the quote between Part’s I and II of Before They Are Hanged.

‘He is not fit for battle that has never seen his own blood flow, who has not heard his teeth crunch under the blow of an opponent, or felt the full weight of his adversary upon him.’

This quote can be read many ways, but I read it this way. Battle is love, or at least making meaningful connections with other people. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. And you’re not fit for it until you’ve tried it and survived. All of Abercrombie’s characters undergo this journey. Some more successfully than others. It’s a fitting quote to conclude the first part of Before They Hanged. It recognizes that character arc for Logen, Ferro, and Jezal, while pointing out West and Glokta’s inability do it.

Or it just means you’re a wuss until your crunch someone’s skull with a morning star. I’m open to discussion. This week’s chapters take place just before that quote, one long and one short.

[Read More]

Fri
Aug 1 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “Among the Stones” and “The Fruits of Boldness”

Reading the First Law Trilogy has been a different experience this time around. The pulse pounding excitement and visceral action has been far scarcer than I remember, replaced with thoughtful trope inversion and deeply fascinating characters. In fact, before this week there had been less than five scenes where serious ass-kicking (or blood letting) took place. This trend is changing in a major way at this point in Before They Are Hanged as Logen’s crew takes on their pursuers and Colonel West’s army is destroyed by Bethod. I’m pretty excited about it!

Get your athletic tape out and reinforce those joints, we’re about to get grimdark up in here.

[Among the Stones…]

Fri
Jul 25 2014 4:00pm

Tower Bored... I Mean Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan

Tower Lord Anthony Ryan review

Books have rhythm. Narratives have rhythm. When that rhythm is disrupted things fall apart very quickly. Tower Lord by Anthony has the rhythm of Kevin James in Hitch (2003). Which is weird, because Ryan’s debut novel, Blood Song, was like a breakdancer standing on his head with a beatbox accompaniment.

Blood Song, while a little clichéd, was digestible and addicting and incapable of being put down because the rhythm of it hooked the reader like an ear worm. Without that, Tower Lord falls apart, with a brutally benign first act and a dislocating sense of time and pace.

[Read more]

Fri
Jul 18 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “Long Odds,” “The Road to Victory,” and “Necessary Evils”

Joe Abercrombie puts us on the cusp this week in Before They Are Hanged. Ferro (and crew), West, and Glokta all sit on the precipice of battle. Rather than give the reader several complete chapters detailing the run up to the clashes of arms, Abercrombie gives three extremely small bite chapters that hit like staccato notes.

Rather than write about each of these chapters individually, I figured I’d write about them as a group. Below you’ll find summaries of each of the chapters, and then, for the rest of the post, I treat them as one chapter. We’ll see how it goes.

[Three for the Price of One…]

Fri
Jul 18 2014 9:00am

The Art of Julie Dillon

Julie Dillon

Julie Dillon. Twice nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Artist, she’s become synonymous with awards ballots. The Chesley Award, Spectrum, and the World Fantasy Award, among others, have all named her as one of the finest illustrators working in science fiction and fantasy art.

Oddly, she remains under used in the cover game, with only a handful to her credit among major publishing houses. And among cover artists, her name recognition in comparison to stalwarts like John Harris and Michael Whelan lags behind, which is a fact not long for this world. Because Julie Dillon has something few artists lay claim to, a distinctive point of view.

[Read More]

Mon
Jul 14 2014 10:00am

Grimdark for Young Adults: Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie Half a King reviewJoe Abercrombie is two writers. He is the writer everyone ascribes him to be and the writer he actually is. The former is Lord Grimdark, a moniker even the man himself has adopted, in which he is accused of, or praised for, writing the most despicable characters and situations. The latter is one of the most thoughtful writers of fantasy fiction, who undermines tropes, points out their absurdity, and makes us feel good about loving them still.

I have always believed in him to be the second of the two.

[Half a review? No! Click through!]