Tag Archives: Books

Book Review: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

17 Apr Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

“A knife is not malicious merely because it is sharp, and a plot is not evil merely because it is effective. All depends on the wielder. The grace of kings is not the same as the morals governing individuals.”

My expectations were high after learning about Ken Liu’s debut novel, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Grace of Kings is both spectacular and significant, an approach to epic fantasy that combines some of the best elements of the established genre with Liu’s unique sentiments and voice. I’ve been trying to avoid reviews before writing this up, but judging from the headlines, I’m not alone in excitement and appreciation.

First in a series dubbed The Dandelion Dynasty, the novel is set in an archipelago called Dara. Following a mythological pre-history, Dara existed for generations as a divided land of seven kingdoms, each with a patron god and its own unique resources and culture. The instability of shifting alliances and waves of conflict represented the price for maintaining the independent nations until one king realized the potential peace, stability, and progress that could be achieved by uniting Dara into one standardized empire. Yet the common people still suffer, and many miss the aspects of local culture now being lost. Rumblings of unrest lead to eventual rebellion following the chaos of a difficult imperial succession. But with the empire dissolved, what will a new Dara look like, and upon whom will each god’s favor befall? Continue reading

267. Betsy Dornbusch (a.k.a. the God Sword) — Emissary (An Interview)

17 Apr

Diplomacy, war, and glowing swords, oh my! Betsy Dornbusch joins Shaun and Paul to discuss her newest novel, Emissary.  We explore the novel’s treatment of diplomacy, its worldbuilding, war tactics, and much more.

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 267 — Download (MP3)Emissary by Betsy Dornbusch

Show Notes: Continue reading

266. Juliet E. McKenna (a.k.a. the Historian) — An Interview at LonCon3

15 Apr

London, airplanes, and history degrees, oh my!  Author Juliet E. McKenna joined Shaun, Julia, and Paul at LonCon3 last year to discuss her work, politics and their influence, her experience with historical research, and feminism!

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 266 — Download (MP3)

The Assassin's Edge by Juliet E McKenna

Show Notes: Continue reading

My Superpower: Ken Liu (Grace of Kings)

7 Apr Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

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 Ken Liu to talk about how the power of tax enthusiasm relates to Grace of Kings.

———————————

My superpower is the ability to get readers excited about taxes.

Taxes are critical in my silkpunk epic fantasy, The Grace of Kings. This is the story of two unlikely friends, a duke and a bandit, who join together to overthrow tyranny only to find themselves on opposite sides of a deadly rivalry over how to create a more just society. There are all sorts of cool things in it:  soaring battle kites and airships based on Chinese prototypes from antiquity; unyielding heroes, kennings, and litotes in the mode of Anglo-Saxon epics; magical books that read minds; jealous gods who are concerned with the value of Pi; a street urchin who becomes the greatest battlefield tactician of her generation and teaches women to fight in the skies; ladies and princesses who plot and fight alongside lords and princes; and giant water beasts who bring storms and tempests to human affairs. Continue reading

Around the Podosphere: Podcasts of Note for 3/30/2015

30 Mar

Here are some of the exciting things we’ve been listening to in the past few weeks:

On Awards

On Science

On Movies

On Literature

On Writing

What have you been listening to?  Let us know in the comments!

262. Brenda Cooper (a.k.a. The Space Farmer) — Edge of Dark (An Interview)

25 Mar

Giant space rings, transhumanists, and space cows, oh my!  Brenda Cooper joins Shaun and Paul to discuss her latest novel, Edge of Dark.  We tackle Brenda’s love of science fiction, the transhumanist themes in her work, character development, and the wonders of space.  Plus much more!

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 262 — Download (MP3)Edge of Dark by Brenda Cooper

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

261. Carrie Patel (a.k.a. Mayor of Mole City) — The Buried Life (An Interview)

20 Mar

Underground cities, murder-y murders, and snarky detectives, oh my!  Carrie Patel joins us to discuss her new novel, The Buried Life.  We discuss worldbuilding, writing detectives, the nature of power and class, gaming, and much more!

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 261 — Download (MP3)The Buried Life by Carrie Patel

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,111 other followers

%d bloggers like this: