Julius Heartstriker has a problem. Several, actually. He’s a dragon from a powerful and fecund dragon clan on a near-future Earth where the Magic Has Returned. Dragons are not trusted at all and are often actively hunted — for good reason — by anyone and anything else. But it gets worse. Julius is not the heartless and ambitiously machiavellian dragon his brothers and sisters are, much to the disappointment of Mother. He’d rather play World of Warcraft.
So when Julius gets booted from the dragon’s lair to the center of magical activity on Earth — the ruins of Detroit — and trapped into his human form with a one month time limit to prove himself, Julius is under the gun to adapt or die. But a mage on the run from Las Vegas with secrets of her own might be as much the answer to his problems as he is to hers. Especially given given the rogue spirits, other dragons and the rest of the magical nastiness the former Motor City can throw at them. Oh, and some high powered mobsters following Marci from Sin City…
Do Nice Dragons Finish Last? If Julius is not careful, he’ll just be finished. Continue reading
The back cover of Through the Woods claims that it contains five mysterious, spine-tingling stories. Sure, I thought, but really it’s not going to be that scary, right? I expected to feel the small frisson that comes with reading ghost stories and the visual delight of paging through some cool looking art. Pleasant, simple, fun. A nice summer read.
So I put it in my bag and took it to Vermont.
Vermont, in case you were wondering, is full of woods.
Let me properly set the scene here: we’d gone for a weekend to get away from all the hustle and bustle of work and city life. We had not packed our laptops, we did not bring our phone chargers, and each of us brought exactly one book to read (Moss’ was the excellent Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, which I had already read). During the day, we stopped to meet friends for lunch in New Hampshire, and then hiked for four and a half hours in the green mountains, getting back to our car right as the sun was beginning to set. We checked into our hotel, The Vermont Inn, which was lovely and remote, and the sort of independent old inn that has lots of creaky charm in the stairs and floorboards. We ate a lovely dinner in the inn’s restaurant, followed by a delicious dessert cocktail — which tasted like a maple milkshake — in the inn’s bar. We soaked in the inn’s hot tub under the stars. And then we went upstairs, and read our books. Before bed. Continue reading
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 Max Gladstone to talk about how the power of Oblivion relates to Full Fathom Five.
My writer superpower is Oblivion.
Obliviousness to surrounding conditions may seem more a liability than a superpower — the kind of “gift” that gets you pancaked by a city bus because you tried to read a Buzzfeed listicle and cross the road at the same time. Obliviousness leads to working through lunch and dinner because you didn’t realize it was 7pm already, to bad plays in poker and go (oh, I didn’t realize there were two kings on the board), to sleep deprivation and household mess (what dust bunnies in which corners, now?).
But it does help the writing.
See, distraction is an enemy of word count. You know how the Force connects all things, carrying impulses and emotions from one end of the galaxy to the other? Imagine being a Jedi — I mean, a fully-realized one like Obi-Wan in A New Hope or Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, so in tune with the Force that it’s a state of being, not an ability you turn on and off. Walk down a street, as a Jedi, and emotions overwhelm you. Imagine trying to get anything done in that environment! Sure, Yoda and Obi-Wan lived on barren colony worlds to hide from Imperial death squads, but it’s quite possible that a peaceful remote hermitage is just plain more comfortable for folks with low-level always-on psionics. Continue reading
Creepy children, fallen planes, and a world gone mad, oh my! Author Sarah Lotz joins us for our World SF Tour bonanza to talk about her new book, The Three. We talk about her fascination with plane crashes, horror and religion, writing multiple cultures, and much more!
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Episode 210 — Download (MP3)
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In 1588, Queen Elizabeth, the Faerie Queen, was assassinated. Without her leadership, and with the rise of English Catholics in response, Spain found it easy to occupy England and bring her back to Mother Church. And with England so tamed, the throne of St. Peter took back the entirety of Europe from Protestantism, and then the world. James Cook had the flag of the Pope, not of England, when he landed in Australia. Spain controls the entirety of the New World.
The Church keeps a tight control over technology and culture, as well, shutting down obvious lines of development. Semaphone wires, coal fired trains, and a residual feudal culture dominate England and the world. Black powder guns are still state-of-the-art weapons. Such tight control has its costs, and its victims. Now, though, almost four centuries after Elizabeth’s death, in a small region of England, the dominance of the Church in matters temporal and spiritual — in England and the world — may finally begin to loosen. All of this can be found in Keith Roberts’ alternate history classic, Pavane. Continue reading