A dark fantasy about Jeoffry, a cat who fights demons, a poet, who is Jeoffry’s human confined to an insane asylum, and Satan, who schemes to end the world.
Author Jack Vance was such a driven world-creator that I’m beginning to suspect it was less of a talent and more of a compulsion. For a timely example of Vance’s relentless societal construction, take the Planet of Adventure quartet of novels, the middle two books of which are celebrating their fiftieth anniversary this year. The books have already been summarized quite well on this site, but I’ll give you the quick version: Space explorer Adam Reith arrives on the planet Tschai, and discovers that four alien races already call it home. The reptilian Chasch arrived thousands of years ago, followed by their enemies, the pantherlike Dirdir and the hulking amphibious Wankh. There’s also a mysterious race called the Pnume who are indigenous to Tschai. And there are humans—lots of them.
The Dirdir, it turns out, gathered up some neolithic humans when they visited earth tens of thousands of years ago, and have been breeding their descendants into a servant race. The Chasch and the Wankh have joined in, as have the Pnume, creating another quartet of exotic races: The Chaschmen, the Dirdirmen, the Wankhmen, and the Pnumekin. Then there are the various humans who live in the towns and wildernesses of Tsachi who have no alien affiliation, and who have created their own cultures in the shadows of the aliens’ cities.
If you’re keeping score, that’s over half a dozen distinct cultures; when you start reading the books, you soon find even more, as Reith encounters wildly varying societies of humans struggling to survive on the strange planet, some with elaborate customs and cities, others still operating at a caveman level.
When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die…
A publishing phenomenon; the biggest TV series in the world; a book that revolutionised a genre. A Game of Thrones is also, above and beyond all these things, a uniquely addictive piece of literature, claiming legions of fans and winning vast critical acclaim, and now The Folio Society presents the ultimate illustrated collector’s edition, with art by Jonathan Burton and a special introduction by fantasy author Joe Abercrombie.
The emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.
Each month, the Tor.com eBook Club gives away one (or two, or five…) free sci-fi/fantasy ebook to club subscribers. For July 2019, the Ebook Club pick is The Emperor’s Blades, the first volume of Brian Staveley’s fantasy trilogy “The Chronicles of Unhewn Throne”!
Hello dear readers and welcome back to week 21 of the read of The Dragon Reborn. This week the strands of the wheel are drawing our protagonists ever closer to the Heart of the Stone and the climax of the long-building drama of The Dragon Reborn. I’ve been noticing that, somehow, this book seems slower than the previous two, although I can’t quite put my finger on why. It feels, though, that there have been fewer side quests and stand-alone adventures for everyone—more focus has been put on learning information, conversations, and world building than on, say, getting lost in Shadar Logoth or mirror worlds. I’m not sure if it would feel as slow if I was reading straight through without stopping every few paragraphs, but doing things this way, it certainly does.
We get a nice little reprieve this week as Perrin goes back to smithing, at least for a day. It’s like the calm before the storm, as it’s followed up by Moiraine’s revelation that the forsaken Bel’al is in Tear and Liandrin and the others catch up to Nynaeve.
One note about last week’s post: I forgot a page! My recap ended with Thom and Mat returning to The White Crescent for sleep, but I had forgotten (and not indicated in my notes, apparently) that there was a bit more to the end of Chapter 49. So the first little bit of today’s recap will be finishing that up, before we head into Chapter 50 and 51.
Series: Reading The Wheel of Time
Publishing this month, Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn: Treason is the third installment in the Star Wars: Thrawn series, and takes place before the battle for Lothal’s liberation, as depicted in the series finale of Star Wars: Rebels. And io9 has a first look at the book. Some initial details ahead!
Not only does General Admiral Thrawn find his TIE Defender project on hold in favor of Director Krennic’s future Death Star plans (as depicted in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), but an unexpected run-in with his former protégé Commander Eli Vanto redirects Thrawn’s attentions back towards his people, the Chiss. Essentially, Thrawn finds his loyalties being tested and split once more.
So, what exactly has Thrawn been up to in the events leading up to Thrawn: Treason?
It’s been a while since I remembered any elements of a Norton novel in this reread, but Dread Companion definitely rang some bells. I remembered the names of the children, Oomark and Bartare, and the weird landscape of geometrical shapes in which the protagonist finds herself. I also recognized the scary hairy beast-man when he appeared, though I didn’t recall much of who he was or how he got there.
What I had forgotten, or maybe just didn’t notice, was how dark and ultimately heartless the book is.
The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in a dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is full of magic and myth – and we want to send you a copy!
The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own. Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room.
Only in Tananen do people worship a single deity: the Deathless Goddess. Only in this small, forbidden realm are there those haunted by words of no language known to woman or man. The words are Her Gift, and they summon magic.
Mage scribes learn to write Her words as intentions: spells to make beasts or plants, designed to any purpose. If an intention is flawed, what the mage creates is a gossamer: a magical creature as wild and free as it is costly for the mage. For Her Gift comes at a steep price. Each successful intention ages a mage until they dare no more. But her magic demands to be used; the Deathless Goddess will take her fee, and mages will die.
To end this terrible toll, the greatest mage in Tananen vows to find and destroy Her. He has yet to learn She is all that protects Tananen from what waits outside. And all that keeps magic alive…
The Goassamer Mage, a new fantasy epic from Julie E. Czerneda, is available August 6th from DAW.
The news has been keeping a weather eye on the latest James Bond film (currently only known as Bond 25), leading to a sizable leak and subsequent announcement over the weekend that could shake the series all the way to its foundations—and I’m not talking about the obliteration of Bond’s ancestral home, Skyfall.
I’m talking about the new 007.
We have just under three weeks left until The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance hits Netflix, and what better way to prepare for the long-awaited sequel than a six-part ode to its creator? On Sunday, DefunctTV uploaded the last episode of their miniseries on Jim Henson’s “life and works,” and we’re not hyperbolizing when we say you should drop whatever it is you’re doing and go watch the whole thing right now.
One of the hallmarks of Star Trek: The Next Generation is its meditative quality; unlike like the excellent, nail-biting action in Star Trek: Discovery, the vast majority of TNG’s best episodes are quiet and more reflective. In fact, current Trek executive producer Alex Kurtzman has described Discovery as a “bullet” contrasting it with the upcoming TNG sequel saying: “Picard is very contemplative show. It will find a balance between the speed of Discovery and the nature of what Next Gen was.” And part of what the show is seemingly contemplating is not just what is happening with Picard in real time, but also what has happened since the events of Star Trek Nemesis. We’ve all got theories, but what if Kurtzman, Michael Chabon, Kirsten Beyer, and Patrick Stewart are willing to go super-dark? Here’s a speculative peek into the Picard possibilities you haven’t even brought yourself to consider yet…
Spider-Man has always been inextricably linked with New York City. From his very first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15, he’s been a city kid, though that he was actually in the Big Apple wasn’t specified until later. (Marvel’s earliest superhero comics tended to take place in generic, unidentified cities, or in “Central City” or the like…)
Some of Spidey’s most iconic moments have been part of the city that never sleeps, most notably Gwen Stacy’s death on the Brooklyn Bridge (or the George Washington Bridge, depending on whether you believe the art or the script, though the story really only makes sense at the former, given the geography).
But while his surroundings have always looked like NYC, his supporting cast has never quite lived up to it—at least until the Marvel Cinematic Universe…
Buckle up, kiddos, because The King’s Man is about to take you on a wild ride through history. The first trailer for the Kingsman prequel is here, and it largely consists of Ralph Fiennes narrating the shady (BIG understatement. HUGE.) deeds of the British Empire as things explode in slow-motion.