The Ways of Walls and Words April 15, 2015 The Ways of Walls and Words Sabrina Vourvoulias Can the spirit truly be imprisoned? Ballroom Blitz April 1, 2015 Ballroom Blitz Veronica Schanoes Can't stop drinking, can't stop dancing, can't stop smoking, can't even die. Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David." The Museum and the Music Box March 18, 2015 The Museum and the Music Box Noah Keller History is rotting away, just like the museum.
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April 17, 2015
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April 15, 2015
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Showing posts by: Myke Cole click to see Myke Cole's profile
Jan 26 2015 12:00pm

Five Books About Deeply-Flawed, Despicable People

Locke Lamora

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to recommend five books based around a common theme. These lists aren’t intended to be exhaustive, so we hope you’ll discuss and add your own suggestions in the comments!

Stories are about people. When you get to the heart of what makes a compelling narrative, the only thing that ever really makes a story resonate is fascinating characters. Watership Down? Rabbits that are people. Temeraire? A dragon that’s really a person. Basin and Range? Rocks that are… well, people. A novel with complex and believable characters and a wooden plot is a great book. A plot heavy book with wooden characters isn’t worth your time. We’re pack animals. This is why reality TV is so incredibly popular, because the noisome wretches on Jersey Shore or Duck Dynasty are PEOPLE, and we want to know what becomes of them, for good or ill.

And here’s the thing about people: they aren’t perfect. People make mistakes, frequent and horrendous mistakes. We screw up early and often and horribly. The best protagonists in all genres, fantasy included, are equally flawed, not so horribly that we want to see them burn, but enough so that we see our own errors reflected in theirs. Because if our favorite fantasy characters can fall so far and find redemption, then maybe we can too.

[Read More]

Jan 28 2014 11:00am

Military Fantasy: What is “Military”?

Myke Cole Special Ops Breach Zone Diversity in speculative fiction is a hot topic lately. We want our stories to reflect the world around us, in all its unfathomable variety. Authors and fans alike are drawing attention to underrepresented cultures in genre fiction, and the result is a broadening of the market in response. It’s a great time to be a writer and a reader. We’re making great strides.

And we’ve still got a long way to go.

I get accused of being a writer of “military fantasy” with alarming frequency these days. I'm not a big fan of genre designations. They're designed to help booksellers shelve stuff, and lack real utility in helping readers dial in on books they might enjoy. But hey, life is competitive for blades of grass and bunny rabbits. If you’ve got a chance to stand out, you take it.

[Read More]

Jan 22 2014 12:00pm

That Was Awesome! What the Bad Guy in Daniel Polansky’s She Who Waits Really Wants

Daniel Polansky She Who WaitsI’ve written before about Daniel Polansky, who I consider to be one of the most under appreciated voices in fantasy, owing largely to some really unfortunate cover design choices on the part of his publisher. The don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover adage comes in awful handy here, and it’s a real tragedy that Polansky’s work hasn’t found a larger audience. I’m confident that it will, in time. Gold has a way of not staying buried for long.

Polansky’s Low Town series consists of three books: Low Town (or The Straight Razor Cure in the UK), Tomorrow The Killing and She Who Waits, which was just released on December 1st. The series tells the story of Polansky’s drug-addled and hard-bitten protagonist, The Warden of Low Town, a tough as nails crime lord who leans a lot closer to Heath Ledger’s Joker than Marlon Brando’s Godfather. The Warden is cunning, the Warden is witty, the Warden is resourceful. What the Warden isn’t is nice.

[But what he wants...]

Dec 5 2013 4:00pm

Breach Zone (Excerpt)

Myke Cole

Myke Cole Shadow Ops Breach Zone Check out Myke Cole’s Breach Zone, the third novel in the Shadow Ops series, available January 28th, 2014 from Ace Books.

In the wake of a bloody battle at Forward Operating Base Frontier and a scandalous presidential impeachment, Lieutenant Colonel Jan Thorsson, call sign “Harlequin,” becomes a national hero and a pariah to the military that is the only family he’s ever known.

In the fight for Latent equality, Oscar Britton is positioned to lead a rebellion in exile, but a powerful rival beats him to the punch: Scylla, a walking weapon who will stop at nothing to end the human-sanctioned apartheid against her kind.

When Scylla’s inhuman forces invade New York City, the Supernatural Operations Corps are the only soldiers equipped to prevent a massacre. In order to redeem himself with the military, Harlequin will be forced to face off with this havoc-wreaking woman from his past, warped by her power into something evil….

[Read an Excerpt]

Feb 12 2013 11:00am

Centuries Ago, a Man Made a Piece of Armor That Changed the Course of My Life

I recently wrote a blog post about unintended consequences. I talked about my resignation to the fact that once I complete a manuscript and send it out into the world, I lose all control over how the audience reacts to it. I write the words, but it is the reader who draws meaning from them, filtered through the screen of their own life experiences, varied and vast and completely beyond my control.

And because I have an artist’s ego, I naturally assume that this experience is unique to me, or at least, to my particular corner of the art world.

When you’re done laughing, take a breath and read on.

[Read more]

Jan 22 2013 2:30pm

Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier (Excerpt)

Myke Cole

Take a look at this excerpt from Myke Cole's Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier, sequel to Shadow Ops: Control Point. And take a look at the book trailer (also at the bottom of the excerpt!):

The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began to develop terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Overnight the rules changed…but not for everyone.

Colonel Alan Bookbinder is an army bureaucrat whose worst war wound is a paper-cut. But after he develops magical powers, he is torn from everything he knows and thrown onto the front-lines.

Drafted into the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder finds himself in command of Forward Operating Base Frontier—cut off, surrounded by monsters, and on the brink of being overrun.

Now, he must find the will to lead the people of FOB Frontier out of hell, even if the one hope of salvation lies in teaming up with the man whose own magical powers put the base in such grave danger in the first place—Oscar Britton, public enemy number one…

[Read more]

Feb 3 2012 4:00pm

Shadow Ops: Control Point (Excerpt)

Myke Cole

Now that you’ve had a chance to read the review, enjoy this excerpt from Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole, out now from Ace Books!:

Lieutenant Oscar Britton of the Supernatural Operations Corps has been trained to hunt down and take out people possessing magical powers. But when he starts manifesting powers of his own, the SOC revokes Oscar’s government agent status to declare him public enemy number one.



[Read more]

Jan 27 2012 11:00am

A Warrior’s Complexity: Orphanage by Robert Buettner

War is a tough thing to tell a story about. Like all extreme scenarios, it tends towards polarization. It’s either a glorious affair of flashing sabers and burnished medals a la Alexander Nevsky or it’s a meat grinder that chews up promising young men and turns them into shrieking red mist long before they can realize their potential (Platoon, All’s Quiet on the Western Front). Warfighters are either steel-eyed heroes (The Illiad) or adolescent killers (Generation Kill).

The tough truth? Wars are both glorious and horrible. The men and women who fight them are both heroes and villains, frequently at the same time. Military science fiction struggles just as mightily as literary fiction to wrap its arms around the complexity of what motivates people to step into what is arguably the most harrowing crucible a human can experience.

[Read more]

Jan 19 2012 3:00pm

Why Every Writer Should Join the US Military – Part II

(Read Part I here.)

Do or Do Not. There is no Try.

One of my assignments when I was activated to respond to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster was to put worthy sailors in for awards. I had to write the citations for dozens of men and women of assorted ranks, all of whom had been pulled away from their civilian lives and cast into an uncertain and tough situation, and worked tirelessly in spite of it.

I wanted to do right by them (and I was the writer in the unit), so I labored long and hard, banging out a score of citations, eloquently (or so I thought) extolling their outstanding command presence, their devotion to duty, their tireless and herculean efforts.

[Read more]

Jan 18 2012 2:00pm

Why Every Writer Should Join the US Military — Part I

A few months ago, I turned pro.

By “turned pro,” I mean that I got my novel picked up by one of the major publishing houses in a three-book deal.

I don’t want to overstate what that means. It’s the first step on a long road, and future sales and the conditions of the marketplace may consign me to the remainder rack quicker than you can say “Myke who?”

But it is, for me (and I suspect for most aspiring writers) the main line I sought to cross – making the majors, getting picked for the starting lineup.

Put me in coach, I’m ready to play.

[Read more]

Jun 29 2011 3:03pm

The Kids Are All Right: Greg Van Eekhout and Carrie Vaughn on YA and MG

There’s a lot of buzz lately about the phenomenon of “Young Adult” and “Middle Grade” audiences and their purchasing power. Fans of genre writing have watched writers like J.K. Rowling be propelled to superstardom supposedly via legions of adoring teen and pre-teen fans. Some of our dearest genre favorites, envelope-pushers like Paolo Bacigalupi and China Mieville have gotten in on the act to great acclaim.

Some hard core speculative fiction mavens turn their noses up at “kids stuff,” only to quietly insist on taking their own kids to the latest Pixar flick “you know, because they need adult supervision.”

What’s at the bottom of it? No one can deny that the so-called YA and MG audiences do demand special kinds of writing and are large enough of an audience to command serious attention from publishing houses. We asked two up and coming YA/MG genre writers, Greg Van Eekhout and Carrie Vaughn to discuss how they approach their audience.

[Read more]