Book Review – INK AND BONE by Rachel Caine

17 Jul stacks_image_6740

Imagine if the Royal Library of Alexandria had not been destroyed in flames.

In Ink and Bone, Rachel Caine uses this alternate history speculation to craft a universe where the “Great Library” has survived and flourished through the centuries, expanded with satellite institutions around the world. The cultural influence and political power of the Library is significant, holding absolute control over written knowledge. Ownership of printed books is illegal, but Library-approved materials are ‘mirrored’ from the original texts through alchemy by Obscurists to personal blank ‘book’ instruments of Library design called Codexes. Continue reading

Book Review: Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells

16 Jul dirtymagic

Alchemy-based magic gives a relatively mild supernatural flavor to what is otherwise a novel focused strongly on police procedural lines in Dirty Magic, a novel by Jaye Wells. Dirty Magic, the first in the “Prospero War” series, follows the story of Kate Prospero, police officer. The novel brings us to her story just as the scourge of dirty magic in her rust belt hometown takes a dangerous, and even deadly, turn.

Genre mashups, or crossovers, are always a matter of balancing acts. Unless an author is truly ambitious, there usually is a dominant genre, and a secondary genre. Often for fantasy and science fiction readers, SFF is the dominant genre, with mystery, romance, or thriller elements as the secondary genre that is layered in. A relatively popular secondary genre as of late for layering into fantasy, especially urban fantasy, has the bones of the procedural. There are a lot of advantages for a writer to use elements of the procedural, especially in terms of structure and story beats, It provides authors a narrative framework to decorate with the genre elements, and everything else in the novel as well.

Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells, then, runs with that last, as the secondary genre to her urban fantasy structure is most definitely police procedural. Continue reading

Mining the Genre Asteroid: The Morgaine cycle of novels by C.J. Cherryh

9 Jul cherryh-morgaine

Imagine a universe where a set of Stargates connect distant worlds. Many of these worlds have a low level of technology, and often fear and distrust those who come through the Stargates. The secret of making the Stargates, and who and why they made them, is only distantly known.

Now imagine an expedition of individuals going through the various Stargates, seeing the various worlds that they connect. Meeting the human and not quite so human races to be found on these worlds. So far, you should be thinking of Stargate, the movie and its sequel series Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: Universe.

Now imagine that it was determined that the Gates had destroyed a galactic civilization, and could still change and wipe out worlds and polities with a careless bit of travel. And so this expedition’s mission isn’t just to explore the Stargate network — but to destroy it, one gate at a time.

The science fantasy Morgaine novels, by C.J. Cherryh, explore the quest of the last member of an expedition to do just that. Continue reading

276. Live at CONvergence! Space and Its Discontents (On Contact and Gravity)

8 Jul Contact -- Poster

Alien messages, space debris, and space women, oh my!  The Robogoblins descend upon CONvergence to discuss Gravity and Contact.  We tackle how each film addresses religion, science, trauma, and female characters, and we explore the optimism of Contact versus the pessimism of Gravity.

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Here’s the episode (show notes are below):

Episode 276 — Download (MP3)

Show Notes: Continue reading

Book Review: Between Worlds — The Collected Ile-Rien and Cineth Stories by Martha Wells

2 Jul BetweenWorlds

Six by Six: A New Kind of Spec-Fic Anthology was a kickstarter conceived by a sextet of science fiction authors: Bradley Beaulieu, Brenda Cooper, Stephen Gaskell, Tina Connolly, Will McIntosh, and Martha Wells. The idea was to make an anthology of anthologies. Six authors, each with a short anthology of selected stories, six in number. Thirty-Six stories in total. Now that the kickstarter has completed and the rewards been given, the individual authors are making their anthologies available to the general public.

Between Worlds: The Collected Ile-Rien and Cineth Stories is Martha Wells’ volume within Six by Six. Continue reading

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