A Pointer to Badasses, Outlines, Grimdark, and Heaven?

As we prepare to relaunch Boomtron as a podcast I’ve been blogging here and shifting content over here as I have the time.

I’ve been adding more of the guest blogs we’ve hosted from authors to the Sandman Meditations and Notes from New Sodom I brought over here earlier in the week.

This time I brought over Ben Thompson’s kind of hilarious Badass of Week column he did for us. Over at his own site he does wonderful write-ups of historical figures.. well being badass and he did several for me of fictional characters. I’d point to the one he did of Thanos for us – which fans of Infinity War should check out asap.

Erin M. Evans, the author of several novels in Forgotten Realms offered up her expertise on Outlines and Shared World writing.

The great Guy Gavriel Kay I think was on a book publicity leg for his Under Heaven and dropped a guest blog for us.

For fans of Warhammer 40k, author of numerous books Aaron Dembski-Bowden, did a handful of very entertaining and personal pieces for us about grimdark and canon in those settings.

Ian R. MacLeod wrote on Alternate Londons for us. He’s written several novels but his short fiction is really great. His “New Light on the Drake Equation” is a singularly magnificent story and he has at least a couple of collections that are terrific.

I’ll make sure I mention the next group when I move them over, though I am trying to keep this joint more or less my online hub.

 

The Best Science Fiction Book of this Century is…

blindsight

It’s probably Blindsight by Peter Watts.

but

Blade of Tyshalle by Matthew Stover is a sneaky underrated choice that’s simply more smart, thoughtful, AND asskicking than just about every SF book with a larger reputation.

Two completely different examples of science fiction. Both top shelf speculative fiction.

Blindsight might be a challenging book if you’re vice is more space sword I have a destiny science fiction though I find it more enjoyable than other good hard science fiction by the likes of say a Greg Egan. Watts is able to avoid making it a joyless endeavor, as some books feel like fictionalized text books with a story wrapped around it just because. In the same sense I’ve always felt like Ken MacLeod’s Learning the World is a vastly underrated first contact novel.

Blade of Tyshalle could be construed as fantasy and continues a story in Stover’s Heroes Die. Stover’s Caine books feels a bit like a cult  favorite but they should not be. They in fact feel more like the ideal as Stover is deep in all of character elements that make reading Gene Wolfe feel weighty, have you questioning who you are following like Stephen Donaldson does, yet has it offset by being perhaps the best visceral action writer writing today.

Stover didn’t make a choice, he put all of the good shit in this. I like Heroes Dies very much but I think Blade of Tyshalle is a masterpiece.

 

A Pointer to Sodom

Just as I did with Matt Cheney’s Sandman Meditations, I’m pointing to another feature we hosted as we shift domains around to keep good content alive as we are going to use Boomtron for something else.

This time it’s a series of columns the great Hal Duncan did for us and it’s just full of epic – in length and content – opion from Hal, a lot of which centers around defining and the redefinitions of science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction in general, representation (or lack thereof), via history, taste, trends and style.

You can read them all at Notes From New Sodom.

I want to point to a couple directly as samples:

The Lost Airbender – Hal points  his gauze at the Avatar discussion. Hal tells me what Monstrum is in his piece on Gareth Edwards’ Monsters  and when he tackles is Science Fiction is Dead?

It  has come to my attention literally this second that Hal published some of these since in Rhapsody: Notes on Strange Fictionswhich I’m pleased about because I want to buy a copy and support it. Lol maybe I don’t know about it because there is some negative thing about me in for foreword or something haha. That would actually be cool because Hal could probably take 10 pages to intricately call me a simple ass or something lol.

I’d literally have it inscribed around the patio of one of my pools because I’m self-deprecating like that.

I’ve always liked Hal, guy is a fountain of information and style in his takes, and I’ve interviewed him three times so I hope people take the plunge – many, many already have in the near decade it’s been online – as it’s just great reading for true fans of science fiction and oddly the humans who write and consume it.

I also want to point to a single guest blog we hosted, by Richard Kadrey, one of the writers at the very forefront of Cyberpunk and the author of the incredibly fun Sandman Slim novels.

My First Steps Within The Ruin of Kings

The first thing I ever did when I got online in terms of writing was talking about books so I thought it was apt that I start off with a post about what I’m reading.

jenn lyons

I spent several years running a book review site and in the years since I left that game I’ve still been a fan and reader of speculative fiction who while not reading every announcement and galley/arc since, I still would wager definitely pay more attention than the average fan or reader, which is a product of both my natural interest and simply that I have the time to do so.

Jenn Lyons’ The Ruin of Kings has buzz that’s rather unusual but I think it speaks to something that I felt growing up a kid reading epic fantasy and I feel is perhaps more true now.

The King or Queen of epic fantasy runs the room.

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Before Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice are Fire Books -The Daenerys Targaryen Asimov Debut

Emilia Clarke has been heating up watercooler talk for 7 years now in HBO’s monster hit adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, that the world calls Game of Thrones.

game of thrones

Even as a veteran multiple double digit rereader of all of the books in the series that jumped on the literature before the turn of the century, I never thought that I’d see the day that “Khaleesi” would enter pop culture vernacular, a thought that was smashed when I got my 8-year old niece an “I’m not a Princess I’m a Khaleesi” t-shirt and she knew what it was.

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pre-Annihilation chat w/ Jeff VanderMeer in Ambergis and… Predator?

I’m back combining a couple of interviews again, like I did with the Malazan duo of Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont, this time with the great Jeff VanderMeer.

jeff vandermeer

It includes and interview I conducted with Jeff around the time his novel Shriek: the Afterword was coming out, which to this day is perhaps my favorite of his novels, and

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an Epic Fantasy Come True – Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont Interview Combo

This is me combining two interviews I conducted with Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont and representing them in one convenient place. Back in 2008 I was able to interview the architects of my favorite book series of all time – The Malazan Book of The Fallen –  one of the handful of entertainment/art that I truly obsess about and love.

steven erikson

You also can check out my gut take and review after completing the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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The Long Price Before The Expanse w/ Daniel Abraham & My Thoughts on A Shadow in Summer

I’ve been combining appropriate and related content into single posts lately and this is an interview I conducted with Daniel Abraham in 2006 with my review of his debut novel, A Shadow in Summer, following it.

daniel abraham

Abraham has gone on since to be the co-creator of The Expanse, which is a dope science fiction tv show that started on Syfy and has since moved on to Amazon, based on his novels as James S. A. Corey (the pen name of Abraham and his writing partner Ty Frank).

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Glorious Bastards – Love For Scott Lynch’s Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies

I’ve been repackaging some of my older writing and combining them and today I have my reviews of both The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies, the first two books by Scott Lynch and in the Gentlemen Bastards series. You can check out my thoughts on Lynch’s third book The Republic of Thieves as well if you want to.

scott lynch

Before you get to the reviews though I do want to add some thoughts that may or may not be of interest but The Lies of Locke Lamora was the first new novel I sniffed out during my days of owning a science fiction/fantasy book related website.

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In Vellum – Hal Duncan in His Own (Ten Thousand) Words

In the course of my time as book reviewer/author interviewer I’ve (publicly) traded most words with Hal Duncan and this combo post of the three interviews is my proof lol.

hal duncan

I thought we covered just about everything in these 10000 words where we talk about Vellum, Ink, Escape From Hell!, and touch on a ton of topics on science fiction, fantasy, and genre in general, but I was wrong because he went on to do these crazy must read columns for us.

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Matthew Stover Reveals Caine’s Bookshelf To Me – Also Caine Black Knife and Blade of Tyshalle Takes

Way back in 2005 I interviewed Matthew Stover after reading a book that blew my, his Blade of Tyshalle, which was a sequel to Heroes Die which at the time I had not read (and went back to).

matthew stover

In my opinion Blade of Tyshalle remains an underrated absolute neo-classic of both fantasy and science fiction, and prefer it over Heroes Die (which was recently written about over at Tor) which is also awesome. It is a remarkable, visceral, smart piece of speculative fiction and I feel like you see it in this interview I conducted with him.

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David Anthony Durham Tells Me Of Mixing Middle Earth & Curry Tinged Trinidadian Breezes

This is another combo post of an interview I conducted with David Anthony Durham and a review I did of his first epic fantasy novel Acacia.

david anthony durham

At this point Durham was already an accomplished writer in historical fiction and I remember being able to tell how much more confident it was than many fantasy novel debuts I read that often, even the good ones, feel stunted with this kind of sheen of just happy to be here juvenile male fantasy fulfillment that both comes from good and maybe not so good places.
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Kicking the Shift with Steph Swainston in The Year of Our War

Another combo I’m repackaging here in the form of an interview Steph Swainston and a review of her debut novel The Year of Our War.

steph swainston

I conducted this interview with Steph in 2005 and I saw awhile back ago she quit writing (at least as a profession) for reasons that seem quite reasonable (time and isolated grind) and also, if I’m reading correctly due some experience with fandom or what was at the time the initial wave of fan journalists/blogs/reviewers that were popping up around that time.

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The One Where I Found The Warded Man – My Lost Peter V. Brett Interview

For the longest time I knew I had conducted an interview with Peter V. Brett but for some reason maybe the file never carried over during various iterations of the site. I finally found a copy in my email circa 2008. This would have been right before his debut novel was released and I recall vividly I had one question I really wanted to ask him (regarding a specific rather dark scene) after reading, so I knew my interview wasn’t something I was just imagining. Here it is and I must say he gave some great thoughtful answers to some rather base questions by yours truly.

peter v brett

I’m pleased to be able to represent this interview with novelist Peter Brett, whose Warded Man may soon be headed to the big screen.

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