The Exploding Spaceship Announces The Women Author Book Donation Project to Benefit the Glasgow Women’s Library

ColumnLogoColorSmall

We are pleased to announce the start of a project to increase the size of the science fiction and fantasy collection at the Glasgow Women’s Library!

The library serves women of all ages so we want to include books aimed at middle grades, teens and adults. We would like to include as many author/editor signed books as possible but any books appropriate for a feminist audience are fine.

So please send us books and graphic novels by women with women main characters, we will deal with getting the volumes to the library.

We have setup an information page here: http://www.blackwelldevice.com/gwlproject.html

Please send books to P.O. Box 5845 Statesville, NC 28687-5845.

If you have any questions please direct them to Angela on Twitter @ExplodnSpceship.


The Exploding Spaceship Reviews Time Salvager, Iron and Blood, Cities and Thrones, Roboteer and The Dead Man’s Reach

ColumnLogoColorSmall

Review of Time Salvager by Wesley Chu (Tor July 7, 2015 in the UK, Angry Robot July 9, 2015)

The premise that the future is so bleak that they need to send people to the past to salvage energy sources and other resources makes for a very interesting setting. The main characters are salvager James, and two women, Grace and Elise. He meets both of them on trips to the past, but ends up bringing them to his own time in order for them to help him save the future. James’ efforts to balance his relationships with the two women make for some interesting scenes. They actually get along quite well but both are better at manipulating him than he is at dealing with either of the women.

The government in the future is just as screwy as the present US bureaucracy and seeing some of the workers try to get around the crazy rules was very familiar, unfortunately (Your Humble Reviewers both used to work for the US Government). In order to fix the Earth, Grace and Elise try to reverse the damage to the oceans. James makes many trips into the past for equipment and supplies with the help of his friend Smitt, who is still working for ChronoCom. This puts his life in danger because he doesn’t have the drugs needed to recover from the trips, plus he might get discovered and arrested by his former employers. James discovers that not all the time travelers follow the rules and that the world ended up a dismal mess because someone interfered with the plan to fix it many years before. This discovery makes him, Grace and Elise really pissed off so they rally everyone and fight the government people.

time salvager cover

As expected of Chu’s novels, there is fast action with fighting both hand-to-hand and with guns. Even the bit characters have some depth and the cast is quite diverse. Elise is our favorite character, a scientist action heroine who has to use her people skills as well as her science and defense skills. She is awesome and deserves a later book from her viewpoint.

If you like SF or action adventure stories then you need to read this book!

Review of Iron and Blood by Gail Z and Larry Martin (Solaris, July 7, 2015) Read the rest of this entry »


Coming to Town: Paul Tremblay for A Head Full of Ghosts at Flyleaf Books, interviewed by Richard Dansky

Interview by Richard Dansky:

With A Head Full of Ghosts, Paul Tremblay has catapulted himself into the front rank of American horror authors. Born in Colorado but currently residing in Boston, Tremblay teaches AP Calculus by day and then unleashes an entirely different set of horrors by night. His previous works include Swallowing A Donkey’s Eye and the short story collection In The Mean Time, both from ChiZine Publishing. Nominated twice for the Bram Stoker Award, he also serves as a juror for the Shirley Jackson Awards. He was kind enough to take time out from his Guest of Honor duties at NECON to talk a little about the role of pop culture references in fiction, blogging as a framing device, and why he’s disappointed in Les Stroud, ahead of his appearance this Sunday (July 26) at 4 pm at Flyleaf Books [Facebook].

Q: First question: Do you believe in Bigfoot?

Do I believe in Bigfoot? I do not. You know, I kind of want to, but I’m kind of taking up the “no Bigfoot” position just as devil’s advocate because my ten year old daughter is so [into it]. She hasn’t watched it much in the last six to 8 months, but my daughter had a section of time where she was totally obsessed with Bigfoot. She has a Bigfoot t-shirt and loves the show [note: the reality show Finding Bigfoot, which features prominently in A Head Full of Ghosts] so I would playfully argue with her that there was no Bigfoot. “How come they don’t find any bodies” and she always responds with “well, they bury their dead”. But I have a hard time believing that there’s a Bigfoot.

Q: Just a spoiler alert here – the last few episodes of Finding Bigfoot, they have not actually found Bigfoot. I know that’s a tremendous shock. Read the rest of this entry »


The Exploding Spaceship Reviews The Oathkeeper by J.F. Lewis, Dark Run by Mike Brooks, and The Shadow Revolution by Clay and Susan Griffith

ColumnLogoColorSmall

Review of The Oathkeeper by J.F.Lewis (Pyr, June 9, 2015)

This is the second volume of the Grudgebearer Trilogy.  The main characters in this volume are Rae’en and Wylant. These female characters had a lesser role in the first volume because Kholster was alive then and for this volume he is a god.

Wylant and Kholster’s marriage is still ongoing even though he has passed into godhood, but the situation definitely makes for some amusing romantic confusion. Kholster wasn’t the brightest bulb about romance before he died, and becoming a god only made him more obtuse in some ways.

The Zaur attack while several of the other races are trying to make peace so that gets delayed and the city must be evacuated while also trying to fight the Zaur.  It has lots of fight scenes and general confusion, including some caused by a dragon.  The reptiles invaded the other races’ territories from several directions over both land and sea. They also are trying to settle a treaty with one of the races, but everyone is suspicious of this. The Zaur they are speaking with does have an ulterior motive but not the one they think.

Several characters in this book moved from being male idiots in the last book to being more sympathetic beings. This made this volume have a better overall tone than the last one (where several characters were males who deserved to have some sense slapped into them).

OathkeeperCover

There is more magic use in this volume because of some changes with a few Eldrennai characters. The setting and races of beings in this are quite amazing.  None of them are really typical fantasy races, although there are analogs to several. The writing is well done and it moves fast. That is actually the one problem with this volume: the scene shifts are too rapid in some cases so it is easy to get confused on where geographically you are and even in some cases whose viewpoint it is. Read the rest of this entry »


The Hardest Part: Alex J. Cavanaugh on Dragon of the Stars

North Carolina author Alex J. Cavanaugh already has three Amazon bestsellers under his belt with his first trilogy, as well as a sizzling review from Library Journal which praised the series as one which “calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels.” After the publication of CassaStorm in late 2013, I’d been on the lookout for his next book, but it wasn’t until I e-stumbled onto it in late December last year on a popular Goodreads list (Most Anticipated Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Novels of 2015) at #3 that I started to get an idea just how much of a following Cavanaugh has grown over first years of his young writing career. As I wrote him, “Dude, That’s one way to let a guy know that you have a new book coming in April!” (Now he’s at #15 on the list, which is still pretty impressive, above such heavyweights as John Scalzi and Stephen King, and this fellow named Neil Gaiman. You may have heard of him.) Here, Cavanaugh writes about finding a new voice and a new world for Dragon of the Stars.

Dragon of the Stars - Alex J Cavanaugh

Starting a New Story After Finishing a Series
By Alex J. Cavanaugh

When I wrote my first book, I never envisioned a series. When it expanded to three books, I found certain aspects of the sequels were easier since the world and characters were already established. It provided a starting point on which I could continue to build.

Once I finished the series, I wasn’t sure I would write another book. I knew I wouldn’t continue with the Cassa universe. I’d taken the main character on his journey and there wasn’t much farther I could go with the story.

And then an idea hit me for a standalone story. Dragon of the Stars would not take place in the same universe though. That meant starting from scratch. Read the rest of this entry »


Paul Kincaid’s From the Other Side, June 2015: David Mitchell, Al Robertson’s Crashing Heaven, Chris Beckett, Neal Stephenson, Terry Pratchett, Laura Barnett, and more

From the Other Side, June 2015
By Paul Kincaid

[Editor’s Note: From the Other Side is Paul Kincaid’s monthly column on books and news from the other side of the Atlantic.]

It has turned out to be something of a David Mitchell month for me. First to the glorious setting of the Union Chapel in North London where Mitchell and Neil Gaiman were in conversation, with Erica Wagner, the Literary Editor of The Times as a (fairly unnecessary) moderator. It turns out that, though they admire each other’s work, this was the first time they had actually met (the conversation was recorded and can be heard here). During the course of the conversation, Gaiman revealed that, just minutes before, he had received confirmation that the television series of American Gods is to go ahead. The novel itself will provide the first three seasons, and he had already laid out his plans for the as-yet-unwritten sequel which will provide subsequent seasons.

A few days later, Mitchell turned up in Canterbury where he gave the first ever public reading from his forthcoming novel, Slade House. He told me that this could be considered as a prequel to The Bone Clocks, though the extracts he read seemed to me to be more like a ghost story, and also one of the funniest things he’s written to date.

Slade House Crashing Heaven

But all of that, of course, is in the future. For the present, the big novel of the month is probably Al Robertson’s debut, Crashing Heaven (Gollancz). It’s a big concept sf thriller with elements of cyberpunk and elements of space opera in the mix, and an intriguing hero in the shape of Hugo Fist, a ventriloquist’s dummy whose AI mind is slaved to that of his companion, Jack Forster, and who is suspected of turning traitor in the recently-ended war against rogue AIs. Read the rest of this entry »


Coming to Town: Nathan Ballingrud for “Noir at the Bar” at 106 Main in Durham

Tonight (Thursday, June 18) at 6:30 pm, Downtown Durham’s 106 Main hosts the city’s second Noir at the Bar event, with eight authors of dark fiction from across North Carolina holding court over drinks to talk about their work, including Durham’s Eryk Pruitt (DirtbagsHashtag) and Chapel Hill’s Jeremy Hawkins (The Last Days of Video), as well as Asheville’s Nathan Ballingrud who took the time for an email interview ahead of tonight’s event. Ballingrud is the author of the award-winning 2013 collection North American Lake Monsters (Small Beer Press) and the recently-released novella The Visible Filth (This Is Horror). Listening to Ballingrud read his story “The Good Husband” from North American Lake Monsters at Quail Ridge Books a couple years back, I could feel my chest tightening, my breath straining, my stomach clenching. He infuses his work with such realism and dread, an unease born of infidelity, weakness and inadequacy, of irrevocable violence, of disconnect, of inevitable mistakes, of decay. Whether grounded in the everyday dirt of reality or, as he does as well as anyone I’ve read ever has, on that rusted knife’s edge between our reality and another which lurks, ever-present even if not mentioned directly, under the surface, just out of your peripheral vision, or even in your own mind. The Visible Filth combines elements of crime fiction and The Weird, with nods to books like Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow and films like Koji Suzuki’s The Ring, as bartender Will deals with the aftermath of a fight and a misplaced cell phone. I’m looking forward to catching up with Nathan, Eryk, and Jeremy, and meeting the rest of the fantastic lineup that Eryk has put together for this one.  See you there!

The Visible Filth by Nathan Ballingrud

Q: What are some of the essential differences to you when writing horror v. dark fantasy v. weird v. crime fiction, other than, say, “in some of them there are some possibly supernatural bits”?

I’ve never set out to write crime fiction, so I’m not sure I can answer that. I even like to keep descriptors like “weird” and “horror” out of my mind when I write. I like to keep my own mental field as uncluttered by genre expectation as I can. As far as differences go, crime fiction seems to me to be more about the condition of our society. When I think of the novels of Richard Price, Dennis Lehane, Patricia Highsmith, John D. MacDonald, and others, the focus is either on transgressions against the social order, or they’re interrogations of that order. Horror fiction — if you’re going to set aside the supernatural for the purposes of this question — seems more focused on personal transgression, whether that’s spiritual or physical. Now, that’s a simplistic answer to a question which deserves several thousand words devoted to it, and I’m not sure I won’t change my mind about it as I think about it further.

Q: Tending bar is one of the staple occupations of crime and other dark fiction. Particularly a dive bar. How do you make these elements more than “genre markers”, keep them interesting and not just variations on a theme? Read the rest of this entry »


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 92 other followers