Kill the Farm Boy is the literary love child of Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, who partnered up to create a fantastical, trope-skewering romp of a Pratchett-esque novel. That was a lot of words, but I promise they’re all accurate. Within the pages of Kill the Farm Boy, readers will find plenty of laughter and an abundance of interesting fairy tale problems, ranging from botched adventures to a nice-guy troll to a sand witch whose wand is the prettiest thing on the beach. Even when you think you’ve finally grasped their mischievous style, Dawson and Hearne surprise you again and again with unique villains and intense violence. A tale of the hero’s journey it may be, but the journey itself is not typical in the slightest. This book almost feels like a D&D campaign with a ridiculously imaginative DM and a fantastic group of players, and that’s the opposite of a bad thing. [Read more…]
My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome A Demon in Silver author R.S. Ford.
I’ve had to give this a lot of thought. What superpower could possibly aid in my writing? Most of the time, as most writers, I feel crushed under the colossal weight of a super-impediment rather than a superpower. At various points all writers will take on the role of Imposter Syndrome Boy, Captain Excuses or Procrastinato Woman. Life is full of things that hinder our creative flow. That stop those words spilling onto the page. That’s why there’s one superpower that we all share as writers. One we couldn’t be successful without. [Read more…]
This month, I have two stories that will give you heavy, negative feels (but in a good way, I promise!), and one story that can probably cheer you up afterward. In “One Day, My Dear, I’ll Shower You with Rubies” by Langley Hyde, which appears in Podcastle Episode 520 (May 1, 2018), a genocidal wizard is put on trial years after the war, and his daughter is called to testify against him. She won’t forgive him, and he won’t apologize. This story is challenging, unique, surprisingly real. Want a story about a succubus in the age of social media? Check out “Sucks (to Be You)” by Katharine Duckett, which appears in Uncanny Magazine Issue 22 (May/June 2018). It’s thoughtful and deeply unsettling in the very best way. Finally, I loved “Our Side of the Door” by Kodiak Julian, which appears in Lightspeed Magazine Issue 96 (May 2018). It’s a warm, beautiful portal fantasy that left me thinking about ethics and gender.
I don’t recall exactly what drew me to picking Blood Orbit out of the many options for potential reviewing here. Likely it was a combination of good experience/trust in the publisher and the description of a crime noir/science fiction blend, a combo of two of my beloved genres. I certainly didn’t recognize the name of the author, and upon finally beginning the novel I had no memory of what that blurb said it was even about. I started reading the electronic copy Pyr had provided expecting a typical slow start. Without the ease of a physical copy I find getting into a novel really challenging while trying to ‘turn’ back to firmly get characters or the seeds of plot to stick in mind. Instead I found little need for that, and my finger tapped through pages in a focused rush to read more. Blood Orbit is exceptionally crafted from its opening, and at no point through its last page did I ever end up feeling like it faltered. Happening to be at Barnes & Noble at the time, I soon decided to get up and just get the actual book, because I already had a feeling this “Gattis File” debut would be one series I’d want to keep up with. [Read more…]
Drawing together strands, plots, and conflicts from the first two novels, The Realms of God winningly completes Michael Livingston’s Shards of Heaven trilogy.
Next weekend I’ll be attending Continuum, a speculative fiction convention held in Melbourne. Whenever I’m attending a convention, I always like to try to review something by one of the Guests of Honour. This year, Continuum is playing host to Alison Evans, one of Australia’s up-and-coming talents in YA SFF. Their debut novel Ida won the Victorian Premier’s People’s Choice Award and was shortlisted for this year’s Aurealis Awards.
The story is about Ida, a young woman with the ability to go back in time and revisit any decision she’s ever made. The decision can be as trivial as which type of shampoo she buys to something as important as choosing to drive another route in order to avoid a fatal car crash. However, one day Ida finds herself saddled with the consequences of a decision she’d previously tried to avoid. Then she starts traveling back in time against her will.
To Guard Against the Dark, the final novel set in the Trade Pact ’verse by Julie Czerneda, winningly ties together characters, plotlines and threads into a grand, unifying finale.
Welcome to the latest installment of my comics review column here at Skiffy & Fanty! Every month, I use this space to shine a spotlight on SF&F comics (print comics, graphic novels, and webcomics) that I believe deserve more attention from SF&F readers.
Today, I want to take a closer look at a comparatively well-known but, these days, infrequently discussed long-running webcomic — because it just delivered a huge plot and character payoff and thus is also the comic that made me the most squeeful this month— Questionable Content. (This review contains spoilers!) [Read more…]
Today on Skiffy and Fanty, we have a guest post from Julie Czerneda about the forthcoming Tales From Plexis, an anthology set in her Clan Chronicles ’verse, including a cover reveal, art and photography done by her husband, Roger Czerneda.
Jade Mere’s debut work with Dreamspinner Press, The Architect and the Castle of Glass, takes readers on an adventure to a strange castle in a distant land, where the main character, Tahki, is faced with the greatest architectural challenge of his life, that may or may not lead him to love. A high fantasy novel with touches of steampunk that mix with fascinating class systems, The Architect and the Castle of Glass is a coming-of-age tale that follows a troubled path. And while it may not be a complete stunner, it’s a comfortable novel that has some great themes and a solid ending. [Read more…]