Monthly Archives: June 2014

Step Into the Sorcerer’s House

The Sorcerer's HosueThe Sorcerer’s House
Gene Wolfe
ebook $8.89

I picked this one up in a remainder bin during all the travel and disruption of routine a few weeks ago. I’ve not read much Wolfe, but every time I do, I come away with the desire to read more. He’s a unique voice in American letters, whose works are lyrical, funny, thought-provoking, and always strange and original.

The Sorcerer’s House is no exception. While it probably won’t be considered one of his major works, it’s a great read. Of course, when your major works include classics such as The Book of the New Sun, someone saying a particular novel isn’t a major work isn’t exactly damning with faint praise. Continue reading

A Review of K. V. Johansen’s The Leopard

LeopardThe Leopard
K. V. Johansen
Pyr Books
Trade Paper US $18.00 Can $19.00
Ebook $11.99 Kindle Nook

This book was released about a week and a half ago. I had intended to have it finished and the review posted before then, but as I stated elsewhere, family commitments and life have been getting in the way for the last six weeks or so.

The Leopard is K. V Johansen’s second novel Pyr has published. The first was Blackdog, which I’ve had since it was published. I hadn’t read it yet because of length; I can’t always work longer books into my schedule. That turned out to be a mistake. While I don’t think The Leopard is a direct sequel, a knowledge of the characters and events from Blackdog would have proven convenient in the second half of The Leopard.

I say convenient because characters from Blackdog don’t show up until The Leopard is well under way.  Continue reading

Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A Cease Publication

Angry Robot Books announced earlier today that their YA imprint Strange Chemistry and their mystery imprint Exhibit A will both be ceasing publication immediately.  The announcement is here.  There was no word on what would happen to ebooks.  Hopefully they won’t disappear from your ereader.

Angry Robot also announced that they will increase their output from 2 books a month to 3.  This may be a cost saving measure in which the company moves assets from poorer performing units to strengthen its core business.  I hope it works out for them.

My sympathy is for those who have lost their jobs, especially the authors with books under contract.  If there’s a title from either Strange Chemistry or Exhibit A  you’ve had your eye on, now would be the time to pick it up.  I especially recommend the Emilie series by Martha Wells.  My review of Emilie and the Hollow World is hereEmilie and the Sky World is in the TBR pile.

Why It’s Been So Quiet Around Here Lately

LeopardSome of you may have (hopefully) noticed that I’ve not posted much in the last month or so.  There are reasons for that.

When the spring semester ended, I thought I would have a few weeks where things slowed down.  Not so.  My son had few weeks of school left, and his schedule was pretty full.   Also, I’m on a 12 month contract, so I still had things to do at the office, things I’m still working on.

Memorial Day involved some travel, both to see family as well as visit Scarborough Renaissance Festival.  This makes 25 consecutive years I’ve attended. The next weekend was my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration.  The actual anniversary was a week later, but that was when we could all get together at the same time.  Everyone had a great time.

Classes started the Monday after that, my son got braces, life happened.  Nothing bad, but time consuming.

The first Friday in June, a friend and I spent a couple of days in New Mexico.  He’s moving back to Kansas this week, and we’d been talking about taking this trip for months.  We got up early and drove over to the Lincoln National Forest and spent the afternoon hiking up to about 9k feet.  Then we went and spent the night at the Wortley Hotel in Lincoln, where no guest has been shot for over 100 years.  It was once owned by Pat Garrett, the man who shot Billy the Kid.

The next morning we took a walking tour of the town, which is a historic site.  The whole town, not just a few buildings.  I’ll probably write about that on Dispatches From the Lone Star Front.  I also intend to post something here about Lincoln and Robert E. Howard, since Howard was interested in the Lincoln County War.  I knew almost nothing about it, but I can see why Howard was so keen on it.  It’s fascinating stuff.

The day after we got back, I went with my son as a sponsor at his church youth camp.  The camp was in Estes Park, Colorado.  We had a blast.  The elk we walked up on before dawn on our hike to see the sun rise from a ridge above camp was worth getting up at that hour.

We got back at 2:30 in the morning Saturday.  The only downside (besides being on a bus full of middle school students for a total of 24 hours) was that I ended up missing Howard Days.  I had hoped to drive down for Saturday, but that wasn’t in the cards.

Since Memorial Day weekend, we’ve gotten almost 8 inches of rain, which is unusual.  I had to go buy a power mower when I got back because the grass was too high for my old fashioned push mower to handle.

Other than a diving competition in Corpus Christi at the end of the month, things should start settling down for the rest of the summer.

It’s been hard to squeeze much reading in, and when I’ve had the time, I’ve been too tired to read.  I’ve been trying to finish K. V. Johansen’s The Leopard.  I had intended to have the review up before the book went on sale, but no luck.  I should finish it tomorrow and get the review posted by Thursday.  After that, there are a number of titles I’ve been trying to get to or finish, including the new issue of Weird Tales.  I’ll try to get as many things read and reviewed as possible over the next few weeks.  Hopefully, everything will fall into a routine by the end of the week.

2014 David Gemmell Award Winners Announced

emperor of thornsThe winners of the 2014 David Gemmell Awards have been announced.

The top prize, the Legend Award for best fantasy novel, went to Mark Lawrence for Emperor of Thorns.  The Morningstar Award for best debut novel was for Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan (reviewed here).  And the Ravenheart Award for best cover art went to Jason Chan for Emperor of Thorns.

Adventures Fantastic would like to congratulate all the nominees and especially the winners.  More detail can be found at the David Gemmell Awards page.

Long Looks at Short Fiction: “Seven Turns in a Hangman’s Rope” by Henry S. Whitehead

Voodoo TalesVoodoo Tales The Ghost Stories of Henry S. Whitehead
Wordsworth Editions
704 p., ebook, $3.99

It is my opinion that had he lived, the Rev. Henry S. Whitehead would have be better remembered today. He was a prolific and popular writer for Weird Tales in the 1920s and early 1930s and a personal friend of H. P. Lovecraft.

Most of his work consisted of short stories, but there were a few novelettes and novellas. “Seven Turns in a Hangman’s Rope” is one of his best. In addition to the intriguing title, the story also has pirates, voodoo, and a painting that bleeds. How cool is that? Continue reading

In Grim Company

GrimCoversThe Grim Company
Luke Scull
Roc, mmp, $7.99
ebook Kindle $5.99 Nook $7.99

I had hoped to have this one finished and reviewed before the voting on the Gemmell Awards closed since it’s on the short list for the Morningstar, which is the award for best first novel.

Alas, my parents’ had their 50th wedding anniversary celebration last weekend, and so I wasn’t able to finish it on time.

The title might imply that the novel is similar to Glen Cook’s Black Company. Put that idea out of your mind. This isn’t the Black Company or anything like it. But it’s still a darn good book. Continue reading