Sunday, January 13, 2013

SF & F From TOR

Here are some of the recent science fiction and fantasy titles from Tor Books that have arrived at my door recently.

The Hermetic Millennia 
by John C. Wright
Continuing from Count to a Trillion, Menelaus Illation Montrose—Texas gunslinger, idealist, and posthuman genius—has gone into cryo-suspension following the discovery that, in 8,000 years, a powerful alien intelligence will reach Earth to assess humanity’s value as slaves. Montrose intends to be alive to meet that threat, but he is awakened repeatedly throughout the centuries to confront the woes of an ever-changing and violent world, witnessing millennia of change compressed into a few years of subjective time. The result is a breathtaking vision of future history like nothing before imagined: sweeping, tumultuous, and evermore alien, as Montrose’s immortal enemies and former shipmates from the starship Hermetic harness the forces of evolution and social engineering to continuously reshape the Earth in their image, seeking to create a version of man the approaching slavers will find worthy.
 Release date: December 24, 2012

The Rise of Ransom City 
by Felix Gilman
This is the story Harry Ransom. If you know his name it’s most likely as the inventor of the Ransom Process, a stroke of genius that changed the world.

Or you may have read about how he lost the battle of Jasper City, or won it, depending on where you stand in matters of politics.

Friends called him Hal or Harry, or by one of a half-dozen aliases, of which he had more than any honest man should. He often went by Professor Harry Ransom, and though he never had anything you might call a formal education, he definitely earned it.

If you’re reading this in the future, Ransom City must be a great and glittering metropolis by now, with a big bronze statue of Harry Ransom in a park somewhere. You might be standing on its sidewalk and not wonder in the least of how it grew to its current glory. Well, here is its story, full of adventure and intrigue. And it all starts with the day that old Harry Ransom crossed paths with Liv Alverhyusen and John Creedmoor, two fugitives running from the Line, amidst a war with no end.  
 This is a standalone sequel to The Half-Made World.  Release Date: November 27, 2012

Bard's Oath 
by Joanne Bertin
In The Last Dragonlord and Dragon and Phoenix Joanne Bertin created a world unlike our own, where Dragonlords soar in the skies above the many realms of the land. The Dragonlords’ magic is unique, giving them the ability to change from dragon to
human form; to communicate silently among themselves; and other abilities not known to mortals.

For many millennia, the Dragonlords have been a blessing to the world, with their great magic and awesome power. And though they live far longer than the humans who they resemble when not in their draconic state, these fabled changelings are still loyal to their human friends. But their magic is not the only power abroad in the world. And not all the magic is as benign as theirs.

Leet. a master bard of great ability and vaulting ambition, has his own magic, but of a much darker nature. Years ago, death claimed the woman he loved, setting him on a course to avenge her death, no matter the consequences. Now, mad with hatred and consumed by his thirst for revenge, Leet has set in motion a nefarious plot that ensnares the friend of a Dragonlord, using his bardly skills . . . and dark powers only he can summon, to accomplish his bitter task.

Raven, a young horse-breeder friend of the Dragonloard Linden Rathan, is ensnared by Leet and under the bard’s spell, is one of the bard’s unwitting catspaws. When accused of a heinous crime, Raven turns to Linden, and while Dragonlords normally do not meddle in human affairs, Linden comes to Raven’s aid, loath to abandon him in his time of desperate need. But Raven, and others vicimized by Leet, are at the mercy of human justice. Can even a Dragonlord save them from a dire fate before it is too late?
Third in the Dragonlords series, this volume appears after an absence of 13 years. Release Date:  November 27, 2012

River Road 
by Suzanne Johnson
Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.
Second in the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. The third book, Elysian Fields will be out in August. Release Date: November 13, 2012.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

New SF Series Coming in April - Defiance

I came across this trailer the other day for a new science fiction TV series called Defiance debuting in April this year from the SyFy channel. The visuals look interesting and I hope the writing will hold up unlike last years big budget Terra Nova that devolved into the Jurassic Swiss Family Robinson. Defiance is filmed here in Scarborough (Toronto). Feels a bit like an SF Western.


Website

 

 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Promo - The Blood Gospel by James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell

I received an alert on Blood Gospel, a new mainstream vampire novel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell that might be of interest for readers looking for a change of pace from the usual urban fantasy treatment of vampires. I've included some information from the package sent to me for your review.

THE BLOOD GOSPEL on sale 1/8/2013 is the most innovative treatment of vampires since Anne Rice’s seminal novel, Interview with the Vampire. In his first-ever collaboration, New York Times bestselling author James Rollins combines his skill for cutting-edge science and historical mystery with award-winning novelist Rebecca Cantrell's talent for haunting suspense and sensual atmosphere in a gothic tale about an ancient order and the hunt for a miraculous book known only as . . . THE BLOOD GOSPEL.

THE BLOOD GOSPEL is a bold gothic story about an ancient cryptic order and the hunt for a miraculous and forbidden book— a book rumored to have been written by Christ’s own hand, in His own blood, a tome that is said to hold the secrets to Christ’s divinity and miracles.
Rollins explains, “Vampires have been around for ages, and the mythology is often tweaked to match the times. After viewing Rembrandt’s painting of “The Raising of Lazarus” in a museum in Los Angeles, it struck me strange how scared everyone looked, and this started me down a road of reflection about early Catholicism, vampirism, and a story began to unfold, a story that examines the line between faith and science. I knew this could be a huge, ground-breaking new mythology, a story so epic in scope that I knew I didn’t want to tackle this alone.”

Cantrell adds, “The church has a long and well-known history of revering blood, from the mythology of Christ’s blood being created during mass, through using the blood-drenched marble of the Coliseum to face the columns surrounding St. Peter’s Square to building the holiest church in Rome on ground soaked with the blood of Christian martyrs. But what if that blood draws its power and strength from a group equally mingled with blood—vampires, hidden within the power structure of the Church, shaping its destiny from its founding?”
An earthquake in Masada, Israel, kills hundreds and reveals a tomb buried in the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators-Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensic expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist-are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body of a mummified girl.

But a brutal attack at the site sets the three on the run, thrusting them into a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb's sarcophagus: THE BLOOD GOSPEL. The enemy who hounds them is like no other, a force of ancient evil directed by a leader of impossible ambitions and incalculable cunning.

From crumbling tombs to splendorous churches, Erin and her two companions must confront a past that traces back thousands of years, to a time when ungodly beasts hunted the dark spaces of the world, to a moment in history when Christ made a miraculous offer, a pact of salvation for those who were damned for eternity. Hidden within the Vatican is a secret sect, one whispered as rumor but whose very existence was painted for all to see by Rembrandt himself, a shadowy order known simply as the Sanguines.

In the end, be warned: some books should never be found, never opened-until now.


About the Authors:

JAMES ROLLINS is the New York Times bestseller of thrillers translated into forty languages. His Sigma series has been lauded as one of the “top crowd pleasers” (New York Times) and one of the “hottest summer reads” (People magazine). Acclaimed for his originality, Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets--and he does it all at breakneck speed. Find James Rollins on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and at www.jamesrollins.com.

REBECCA CANTRELL’s Hannah Vogel mystery novels have won the Bruce Alexander and Macavity awards and been nominated for the Barry and RT Reviewers Choice awards; her critically-acclaimed novel, iDrakula, was nominated for the APPY award and listed on Booklist’s Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth. She and her husband and son just left Hawaii’s sunny shores for adventures in Berlin. Find Rebecca Cantrell on Facebook, Twitter, and at www.rebeccacantrell.com.


The Blood Gospel Q&A:
James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell discuss collaborating for the first time,
the reality of vampires and the science behind strigoi

How did you two meet?

Rebecca:  I used to live in Hawaii, and Jim was my instructor at the Maui Writer’s Retreat where I was workshopping a thriller. My first novel, A Trace of Smoke, had been accepted for publication a few weeks before and he kindly agreed to give me my first blurb. It was so good, I printed and hung it above my writing desk until it got covered in gecko poop. Then I took it down. Sorry about the poop, Jim.

The Blood Gospel is a bit of a deviation from the books that both of you are traditionally known for. What inspired the idea for this book?

James:  This book came about from viewing Rembrandt’s painting of the Raising of Lazarus. It struck me strange how scared everyone looked, and this started me down a road of reflection about early Catholicism, vampirism, and a story began to unfold. I knew this could be a huge, ground-breaking new mythology, a story so epic in scope that I knew I didn’t want to tackle this alone.

Rebecca:  Jim called to ask me if I was interested in collaborating on a project. The premise and the world were so intriguing and controversial, I said yes immediately.

Both of you are well known authors in your own right, how did you learn to collaborate?

Rebecca:  We went back and forth a lot while trying to decide what would be fun and interesting for both of us. Since we’re two people, more ideas come out and the books end up going in a direction I don’t think either of us would have found on our own. Luckily, he’s very open and easy to work with and has never once said “that’s the stupidest idea ever,” because I think you need to feel safe to throw out any idea at the beginning and see what sticks.

James:  It’s one of the best things about collaboration: we each bring a unique skill set to the table. Scenes where I know I perhaps am more deft (i.e. action), I handle. Likewise, Becky’s skill at characterization and atmospheric historical descriptions, I let her run with it. That said, then we each take each other’s work and tweak it in new and surprising ways that neither of us could have done alone.

Could vampires have been or be real?

Rebecca: Our series plays with the idea that vampires are and always have been a myth, but the myth is based on some truth—that strigoi have always existed within and without the Church and their bloody crimes have formed the basis of the vampire myth.

James:  It was interesting how many of the Church’s trappings (hooded robes, crosses, celibate priests, and the rite of turning wine into Christ’s blood) could be directly folded into the vampire mythology. It makes you wonder if the Church isn’t keeping something secret about a mythology that has existed for millennia.

Can fans expect to find elements of science in this series?

Jim:  With a scientific background in biology, I wanted to instill into the mythology how vampirism might be possible, how such creatures could live among us, how they could survive without beating hearts, why silver would be toxic to them. The goal of this book was to explore the line between faith and science, so that meant exploring a scientific and historical rationalization for the existence of vampires.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year to All

Being Canadian I thought I'd share the New Year's message from Chris Hadfield, also from Canada, who is the current Commander of the International Space Station. All the best for the forthcoming 2013.

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