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Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops Series

John Brown John, translator of the Zamonia Novels

Jim C. Hines author of Libriomancer

Nick Harkaway author of Angelmaker (review here)

Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

David Tallerman author of Giant Thief

Mazarkis Williams author of The Emperor's Knife

Rob Ziegler author of Seed

Steven Gould author of 7th Sigma

Douglas Hulick author of Among Thieves (review here)

Mark Charan Newton author of Nights of Villjamur (review here)

Kameron Hurley author of God's War (review here)

Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

Anthony Huso author of The Last Page (review here)

Brandon Sanderson author of The Way of Kings (review here)

Lou Anders Editor of Pyr Books

Ian Tregillis author of Bitter Seeds (review here)

Sam Sykes author of Tome of the Undergates (review here)

Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch author of Diving Into the Wreck (review here)

Ken Scholes author of Lamentation

Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker (review here)

Lev Grossman author of The Magicians (review here)

Character Interviews

Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Eva Forge from Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin

Atticus from Kevin Hearne's Hounded


The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
My BlogCatalog BlogRank Wikio - Top Blogs - Literature

Cover Unveiled for Robert Jackson Bennett's CITY OF STAIRS

Robert Jackson Bennett has steadily been putting out fantastic fiction the past few years. His work has traditionally been first world albeit with his own odd slant on the fringes of society. With City if Stairs Bennett turns his skills to a second world creation. The cover above is for the US edition and with it Bennett has joined the hooded society, which just seems to want every author in their clutches. Here is the blurb:

An atmospheric and intrigue-filled novel of dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, protean city—from one of America’s most acclaimed young SF writers.

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world’s new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself—first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it—stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem—and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

City of Stairs will be out this September. There is also a sequel titled City of Blades that will follow in 2015, most likely, which will also be Bennett's first attempt at a sequel of any sort.

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Sam Sykes Finally Gets A Cool Cover in the US!

Sam Sykes is returning to share more of his cynical wit with us later this year. The City Stained in Red will be the start to a new trilogy called Bring Down Heaven that centers around Lenk and his merry band yet again. From the sounds of things they'll be mired even deeper than before. 

Sykes has been plagued by eye popping yet odd cover direction with the Aeons Gate trilogy so I'm quite happy to see that his new publisher in the US, Orbit have opted for something with a darker tone and probably more mass market approach (still no dragonman).

US Design by Lauren Panepinto
The UK cover was released a while ago and Gollancz too tried something very different and to go along with it here is the blurb to whet your appetites:

Long before he was sent to hell, the Aeon known as Khoth-Kapira was the closest thing to a living god the world had ever known. Possessed of a vast intellect, he pioneered many of the wonders that persist in the world long after he was banished. Nearly every fragment of medical, economic and technological progress that the mortal races enjoyed could be traced back to him. But with his wonders came cruelty beyond measure: industrialized slavery, horrifying experimentations and a rage that would eventually force the world to bow to him.

UK Design by Benjamin Carrè
Now, as Khoth-Kapira stirs, the world begins to shudder with disasters yet to come.The epicenter is the city of Cier'Djaal. A religious war between two unstoppable military juggernauts begins to brew. The racial fury among many peoples of the world is about to explode. Demons begin to pour from the shadows at the head of a vicious cult worshipping dark powers.
And Lenk finds himself in the middle once more, his fate and the fate of Khoth-Kapira interlinked as the demon attempts to convince him of his earnestness.

'Your world is breaking around you,' He Who Makes says, 'let me fix it. Let me help you. Let me out.'

The City Stained Red should be out in early October January 2015 in the US and late August 2014 in the UK. And because my dreams have been answered here is the Dragonman I've been wanting.

French cover to The Skybound Sea by Marc Simonetti
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The Hattie Awards 2013!!! Or the best books of 2013 (That I've read)

They are finally here! What you've all been waiting for. The Hatties Awards have returned! At first I was behind. Then I was set on not putting this together until after the New Year as I don't care for best of the year lists coming out when there is still time left in the year. Then I got busy with other projects, but it is done. So with further preamble let's get to it.

Top Fantasy Novel of the Year

Winner - NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Runner-Up - The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Honorable Mentions - The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, The Age of Ice by J. M. Sidorova, and The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

Seeing Hill at the top is not too much of a surprise, at least to me. Some would say this is more of a Horror novel, but there are large fantastical elements that I think more than qualify it to stay in Fantasy. Wecker's is a book that caught me by surprise, but soon after starting it I knew I found something special. And Wecker and Sidorova definitely reminded me that I really like Historical related novels. Sidorova goes much further than I would have guessed with her ice cold protagonist showcasing parts of the world not seen nearly enough in Fiction. Lynch is the sole "traditional" Fantasy book on this list which surprised me though the debut category had plenty in that vein.

Top Science Fiction Novel of the Year

Winner - Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh
Runner-Up - Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Honorable Mentions - Dark Eden by Chris Beckett,  The Martian by Andy Weir, and Jack Glass by Adam Roberts

From the moment I finished McIntosh's latest effort I knew it would be hard to top in the Sci-Fi area at least. He brings the emotional side to Sci-Fi better than few authors and this is his best book yet. Leckie did some very interesting things with her debut that ten years from now people will be referencing as big influences in their own work. Once you get over the ick factor of Dark Eden you'll find it to be one of the most original worlds ever encountered in Sci-Fi.

Top Hybrid Novel of the Year - Forging New Ways

Winner - The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar
Runner-up - Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins
Honorable Mentions - No Return by Zachary Jernigan and Something More Than Night by Ian Tregillis

This has probably been my favorite category for the last couple of years simply because of how original the works strike me. Tidhar has written the book that will hopefully catapult him into everyone's damn good category and earn him the awards he deserves. Higgin's debut is staggeringly good. Jernigan made Science-Fantasy feel very cool again and Tregillis gave us an angel/noir story that is lovingly twisted.

Top Mind Fuck

Apocalypse Now Now by Charlie Human

It is impossible to read Human's debut and not be awed by the strangeness. If you ever thought Indian, Asian, or Irish mythology is weird than South African mythology mixed with Urban Fantasy will blow your mind hole.

Top Popcorn - Ohhh, that was fun!

Winner-The Martian by Andy Weir

Weir's book was exactly what I hoped it would be. It is as if Scalzi did something a bit more contemporary along with trying to keep as close to hard science as possible. MacGyver stuck on Mars, indeed.

Top Debut Novel

Winner -The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Runner-Up (Tie) - Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan and Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins
Honorable Mentions - Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, The Grim Company by Luke Scull, The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich, Apocalypse Now Now by Charlie Human, and Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein 

Wecker's novel has just stuck into my head even many months after reading it and it is probably the book I gave the most personal recommendations to this year. McClellan has almost instantly created the perfect Epic Fantasy series. Higgins novel brings the weird in wonderful ways and I can't wait to read the second half of this duology.

Series That Keep Turning Out the Hat-tricks

 Winner - Necessary Evil by Ian Tregilis   
Runner-Up - Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole
Honorable Mentions - The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett and Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone

I had to give it up for Tregillis this year. He continued to up his writing game with each book in the series and this being the cap to a trilogy he brought everything together perfectly. Cole upped his game a lot with the second volume to his trilogy fixing many misgivings I had with the first volume though the third volume is even better. Lynch's story is clearly not over, but his story-in-a-story was masterfully done and he recaptured much of what was so special about The Lies of Locke Lamora. Brett's world continues to enthrall me while Gladstone continues to unveil his very strange yet orderly world to us.

Best Overall Book of the Year - You guys have got to read this!

Winner - N0S4A2 by Joe Hill
Runner-Up -The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Honorable Mentions -The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, and Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh

This was a tough year to chose as so many of my favorite authors had new books out, but Hill manages to hit all the right buttons with me again as he did with Horns. Wecker's book is a beautiful look at early 20th century Manhattan and the only debut to make this list. Tidhar surprised me in all the best ways while Gaiman and McIntosh gave me exactly what I was hoping for from them: heartfelt, endearing stories with relateable characters.

Best Book I Read This Year Not Published This Year

Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin

Helprin's book has been on my bucket list for sometime now and I'm glad I got to it, but it is one I probably would have bounced off of 5+ years ago though it fit me perfectly now. Pure beauty in written form. No movie production could do it justice and I shutter to think how they would condense the story done. This goes on the to-reread shelf.

Best Graphic Novel

Winner - Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
Runner-up - Locke & Key: Alpha and Omega by Joe Hill
Honorable Mention - The Manhattan Projects Volume 2 and 3 by Jonathan Hickman

Saga is shockingly good. Star Wars good. It showcases a huge new universe yet centers on a love story for the ages. Hill's Locke & Key remains one of the best written graphic novels in the last ten years. Hickman is a wild and his alternative history of the Manhattan Project brings the best bad science, aliens, and strangeness possible.

In Closing...

2013 was a weird reading year for me where I didn't step outside my comfort zone much, but I had resigned myself to that as this was personally a very busy year even outside of The Way of Kings reread going on which all added up to the slowest reading year since before I started this blog. In all I read fewer than 70 books where my usual number is at least 100. That's still a good sampling, but hardly as exhaustive as I like to be. Hopefully, 2014 will be better and I'll get to share more with you all.

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Cover Unveiled for John Scalzi's Lock In

Fresh off his Hugo win for Redshirts and the commercial success of The Human Division, John Scalzi is coming back with what looks to be another standalone. And it is also his second near-future novel, if you could Agent to the Stars, which I do. Lock In explores a virus that is running rampant and for the most part it is manageable, but for some it turns them into virtually living statues. I'm definitely interested to see how Scalzi's trademark snark work into such a story.  Here's the teaser description:
Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. Four percent suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And one percent find themselves “locked in”—fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus.

One per cent doesn't seem like a lot. But in the United States, that's 1.7 million people “locked in”...including the President's wife and daughter.

Spurred by grief and the sheer magnitude of the suffering, America undertakes a massive scientific initiative. Nothing can restore the ability to control their own bodies to the locked in. But then two new technologies emerge. One is a virtual-reality environment, “The Agora,” in which the locked-in can interact with other humans, both locked-in and not. The other is the discovery that a few rare individuals have brains that are receptive to being controlled by others, meaning that from time to time, those who are locked in can “ride” these people and use their bodies as if they were their own.

This skill is quickly regulated, licensed, bonded, and controlled. Nothing can go wrong. Certainly nobody would be tempted to misuse it, for murder, for political power, or worse....
I'm not sure if the cover is final, but currently it seems a little bland for a Scalzi cover though it moves him into the clean look that has become so popular for many best-selling authors. Lock In should be out in late August, but it should be noted Scalzi is still currently writing the manuscript.

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Cover Unveiled for Armada by Ernest Cline

With Ready Player One released just two years ago Ernest Cline created the nearly perfect nostalgia trip to gamer culture of the 70s and 80s. His next work Armada seems to fit in a similar mode though in the real instead of the virtual. Judging from the blurb I'd say this will give heavy nods to things like Flight of the Navigator and The Last Starfighter. Here's the official blurb:
Zack Lightman is daydreaming through another dull math class when the high-tech dropship lands in his school's courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits and sunglasses leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he's sure he's still dreaming.
But the dream is all too real; the people of Earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the videogame he's been playing obsessively for years isn't just a game; it's part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they'll need to defend Earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming.
As he and his companions prepare to enter their ships and do battle, Zack learns that the father he thought was dead is actually a key player in this secret war. And together with his father, he'll uncover the truth about the alien threat, race to prevent a genocide, and discover a mysterious third player in the interplanetary chess game he's been thrown into.
The cover goes for a early Galaga/Space Invaders vibe which should hit the right market, but this may not be final. Armada will be released in July, 2014 from Crown. I'll be there with book tokens ready to plock down.

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7 Picks for the Summer

Summer is not only upon us, but sitting on most of our faces at this moment. Wouldn't it be nice to put something else a bit closer to your face? Well how about some good books? What a novel idea!

Below are my Summer picks, which also amount to what are some of my favorite reads of the year thus far. I left off novels from series in progress as I like to think of this as a list I'd rattle off to a friend I haven't seen in a long time who might not be down the genre hole as deeply as I. These are in no particular order.

The Age of Ice by J. M. Sidorova

This one is definitely the most challenging read of the bunch, but it is worth it. If you're feeling the heat then the cure is surely The Age of Ice with a protagonist who has not only a cold disposition, but whose icy skin leaves him at arms length from everyone in his life. Placed during the late 1700s in Czarist Russia it is both a wonderful historical look at the period as well as a beautifully told story about feeling out of place wherever you are.

Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh

This is exactly what I want my Sci-Fi to be. The story centers on a future in which good looking women who die are kept cryogenically frozen and can be reanimated if someone is willing to pay the exorbitant costs involved. In less capable hands this could have easily turned comic, but McIntosh has infused his characters with such believable depth you can't help care for them. The future McIntosh envisions is telling about the direction of our own hyper connected society and the direction that we're headed towards.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

As the title intimates a Jewish golem and a genie out of Arabian lore both end up in New York City in search of a place they fit in. One is as blank slate driven by simple desires while the other is already hundreds of years old, but far out of their own time. The New York City of the early 1900s is not only beautifully explored but so are the communities of Syrian and Jewish these character inhabit. It's a fantastical love story that had me from its opening pages.

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

Guns and magic have finally hit their stride with McClellan's opening salvo in the Powder Mage Trilogy which we enter in the middle of a coup d'état with the King and his mages of old being silenced to usher in the age of the Powder Mages. My only real complaint is that there are very few women of substance in the telling. Hopefully this will be fixed in the subsequent volumes. Still McClellan's got me hooked and I need my next fix. Someone pass the snuff box.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Yes, it is on everyone's list, but it deserves it for more than the author's name on the cover. A month removed and my mind still wanders back. The tone is highly personable which makes it feel like your own tale of childhood as you fight against an ancient evil mistakenly released.

Lexicon by Max Barry

Words of power are not necessarily a new idea, but Barry breathes life and high action into them with his secret society of Poets who have access to a lexicon that will have you doing back flips if they so desired. Simply a page flipping good yarn that hits far more often than it misses with a tight plot and humor in all the right places.

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

This is one falls into the "fun" category and lives up to the publisher tagline, which basically boils down to a European Forrest Gump. If you like road trip stories than consider this a world trip movie as the old man in question Allan Karlsson lives a rich full life and likes to blow things up. But this isn't just the story of an old man jumping out the window, but flips back and forth to the life of a young Allan who meets some of the most influential people of the last 100 years.

One thing is clear from this list: I have a thing for Historical fiction this year. So what have you really enjoyed this summer?

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NEWS | The Name of the Wind to TV and Abercrombie's new trilogy

According to The Bookseller Job Abercombie has just sold a new loose trilogy to Harper Voyager in the UK with the first book slated for 2014 to be titled Half a King. The new books will not be related to the First Law world, but a more traditional yet alternative ancient Europe in the time of the Dark Ages. The books will also be aimed at both a younger demographic as well as Joe's traditional adult audience. For Abercrombie this probably just means cutting down on the cuss words and graphic sex. Abercrombie said:
“In some ways this is a very different sort of book from what I’ve written so far. It’s aimed partly at younger readers (maybe the 12-16 range). It’s much shorter – 80,000 words compared to 175,000 for my shortest, Red Country, and 230,000 for my longest, Last Argument of Kings (though still over twice the length of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, believe it or not). It’s set in a very different world with what you might call a viking or anglo-saxon feel. It’s much more focused, with a single point of view. It’s not so overtly ‘gritty’ although it’s a long way from smooth. It is punchy. It has drive. I aimed to deliver a slap in the face with every page.”
No word on the US rights, but those should come quickly. Abercombie has mentioned a July 2014 publication date as likely on both sides of the pond for Half a King with the sequels spread 6 month apart thereafter. The rub is the next First Law trilogy is still in the works, but we probably won't be seeing that until at least 2017, but there will be a short story collection of the First Law  in 2015 or 2016. It will be interesting to see how Abercrombie transitions his style to a younger set and if it can truly hold a candle for those of us who are use to Lord Grimdark.

The other big piece of news is according to  New Regency and Fox have have optioned  The Name of the Wind for a TV show.  Now don't hold your breathe too much on this as option often lapse, but Fox is in a period of growth splitting FX into two channels with the new FXX starting in the not too distant future though the credits of some involved don't impress me much. Still I'll be there in a heartbeat once it starts airing.

I'm honestly not sure which piece of news excites me more. More Joe Abercrombie fiction is always a good thing, but being able to see the characters that Rothfuss has brought so well to life on to the page being fully realized could be an amazing thing.

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A Few Cool Covers

A fresh batch of covers is making the rounds for Tor's Winter 2014 list. So now we can all salivate over books we can't get for more than six months!

Tor US cover
The VanderMeer's killed it with their magnus opus to strange short fiction with The Weird earlier this year and they hope to do the same with The Time Traveler's Alamanc coming out in March with 800 pages of glorious time jumping stories from over the last century or so. Those in the UK will be able to get it from the newish imprint Head of Zeus late this year, but I think the US wins the cover contest this go around.

On the heels of the World Fantasy Award winning The Weird, the next genre-defining anthology from award-winning team Ann and Jeff VanderMeer explores the popular world of time travel fiction 
The Time Traveler's Almanac is the largest, most definitive collection of time travel stories ever assembled. Gathered into one volume by intrepid chrononauts and world-renowned anthologists Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, this almanac compiles more than a century's worth of literary travels into the past and the future to reacquaint readers with beloved classics and introduce them to thrilling contemporary examples of the time travel genre.
Featuring over seventy journeys into time from Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, Michael Moorcock, H. G. Wells, Connie Willis, Charles Yu, and many more, The Time Traveler's Almanac covers millions of years of Earth's history, from the age of the dinosaurs through to strange and fascinating futures.
In fact, The Time Traveler's Almanac will serve as a time machine of its very own: the ultimate treasury of time travel stories, spanning the distance from the beginning of time to its very end.

The Unwrapped Sky is Rjurik Davidson long await debut. I first heard about this book more than 2 years ago as the author has published a couple short and entirely weird short stories from the world of Caeli-Amur so I'm eager to see what a novel length work of his will read like. The cover is gorgeous and we'll be able to touch it come April.

A hundred years ago, the Minotaurs saved Caeli-Amur from conquest. Now, three very different people may hold the keys to the city's survival. 
Once, it is said, gods used magic to create reality, with powers that defied explanation. But the magic—or science, if one believes those who try to master the dangers of thaumaturgy—now seems more like a dream. Industrial workers for House Technis, farmers for House Arbor, and fisher folk of House Marin eke out a living and hope for a better future. But the philosopher-assassin Kata plots a betrayal that will cost the lives of godlike Minotaurs; the ambitious bureaucrat Boris Autec rises through the ranks as his private life turns to ashes; and the idealistic seditionist Maximilian hatches a mad plot to unlock the vaunted secrets of the Great Library of Caeli-Enas, drowned in the fabled city at the bottom of the sea, its strangeness visible from the skies above. 
In a novel of startling originality and riveting suspense, these three people, reflecting all the hopes and dreams of the ancient city, risk everything for a future that they can create only by throwing off the shackles of tradition and superstition, as their destinies collide at ground zero of a conflagration that will transform the world . . . or destroy it.>

I had never heard of The Goblin Emperor by the novel debuting Katherine Addison before I saw the cover, but it just looks like all kinds of crazy, which will be unleashed in April as well.
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir. 
Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment. 
Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne–or his life. 
This exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent.

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GUEST POST | Ken Scholes on Libraries and Memory, Knowledge and Power

Art  by Marc Simonetti

I’ve always loved libraries…and librarians.

It started in my elementary school, even before I fell in love with reading. A room full of books – many of which had pictures! At first, it was just the picture books that drew me in but once I started reading, I just couldn’t stop. When I learned that there was an even bigger library than the one in my school, I was elated. I checked out as many books as I was allowed and churned through sometimes one or two books a day, and even more in the summer.

So around the time the time the writing bug bit me, I decided that a real writer should probably work in a library, surrounded by books. At the age of fourteen, I started showing up at the Enumclaw Public Library, filling out applications regularly even though the librarian told me (in a very friendly but quiet voice) that I had to be sixteen to work for the library. Still, I was back every so often to try again. For two years.

Persistence paid off and when I turned sixteen, I started working as a library page, shelving returned books and doing whatever odd jobs needed doing. It was Heaven. No fines for late books and at the front of the line for anything new and exciting to come in. And pick of the litter when it came to books being disposed of. I still have some ancient volumes of Shakespeare in my personal library from that time.

Yes, I’ve always loved libraries.

Which is why, on the first page of the first chapter of my first novel, I blew one up.

And somehow, despite this, the American Library Association put that first novel, Lamentation, on the RUSA Reading List for Best Fantasy.

Maybe it’s because of how seriously my protagonists took this devastating act of terror and the hole its destruction left in their world. Or maybe because re-building the library became an important aspect of the story. No matter the reasons, I’ve had a lot of support for the series from libraries and librarians and I’m glad for it.

When I conceived the notion of the Great Androfrancine Library, it was initially just the background for a short story. It wasn’t until I started stitching together the two stories that became the beginning and middle of Lamentation that I saw clearly the re-building of the library – or the notion of a hidden replica of the library. I was drawing a bit from the murky soup of history – the destruction of the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, which is not quite as easy to pin down as legends would have us believe. That library appears to have gone through a series of events that eventually led, over time, to its loss. In reality, no one seems certain exactly what happened and when though speculation points widely to various events between approximately 50 BCE and 650 AD.

But in my world, I wanted it gone quickly, along with its Androfrancine keepers, and I wanted to explore how that kind of loss would play out while my characters sought to solve the puzzle of who destroyed Windwir and why. The “light” of human knowledge and accomplishment, dug painstakingly from the ruins of the Old World and stored away for safekeeping, suddenly snuffed out, and the glue that held a carefully monitored society of survivors suddenly burned away.

And there’s a deeper exploration there:  What happens when one group of people controls the flow of knowledge and what happens when another group takes away that knowledge?  Because knowledge is power but it is also memory.  And if you control or eliminate that memory, the river of history flows in favor of whichever group holds that power to impose their own recollection of how things are and should be.
As we progress deeper into the Psalms of Isaak, we see that it’s about much more than a destroyed library – it is about a sudden and unexpected war of cultures with blurry lines of motivation and intent on both sides.  And moreso, it is about how people react to those sudden, violent changes.

So like I said, I love libraries.  And librarians.  I think the world is a darker, colder place without what they do for us.  So I’ll try to go easier on them in my next series.  


KEN SCHOLES is the author of the acclaimed series The Psalms of Isaak, which comprises Lamentation, Canticle, Antiphon, and now Requiem.  He lives near Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Jen West Scholes, and their three-year-old twin daughters. Visit him on the web at

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New Procurements (Including Book Expo Swag)

My summer is already off to a busy start, but you know it is getting to be that season when Book Expo hits. I managed to spend a good chunk of Thursday and most of Friday at the Javits Center seeing what's on deck for the book industry for the next six months. I was a bit pickier than in years past in terms of the galley grabbing, but there was plenty to be had. I did have to back away from a couple giveaways as you don't want to get in the middle of a frothing mad librarian-bookseller galley grab fight. Trust me, you don't.

The biggest hit for me is that little number at the top which is Neil Gaiman's Fortunately, the Milk. My wife actually nabbed it and lo and behold it is signed. This indebted me to my wife, but I was able to balance the scales the next day by getting her a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert's new novel The Signature of All Things. I only managed to go two signings the first of which was for Paolo Bacigalupi's Zombie Baseball Beatdown and managed to run into Jim C. Hines while leaving the line. The Bacigalupi's is his first middle grade novel which I'll give a read and pass on to my nephew who I got it signed to. Also, Bacigalupi's next adult novel The Water Knife has a finished second draft so we should see that pop-up in the next year or so. Paolo said they don't have a US publisher yet, but given his rise over the years I doubt he'll have a problem finding one here.

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence is a coming of age story I've had my eye on and it is, I believe, the second release from the newest Hachette imprint Redhook. A couple years ago Alan Weisman's The World Without Us blew me away so I was quite glad to get a copy of Countdown, which is the flip side sequel exploring what humanity would need to do to survive on the planet long term. From Orbit I got Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson, his sort of historical novel about life 30,000 years ago and Mira Grant's Parasite, which is a start to a new series about parasitic symbyotes that cure all diseases, but want to be free. Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain is a debut about young expatriates in newly democratic Prague circa 1990. I already owned One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper, but since he was there singing I couldn't pass up getting a copy. My last grab was The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White which is about a shadowy group that has been around for a very longtime slowly changing the future in small ways. All in all a nice haul. The pile of books waiting for me at home wasn't bad either.

The first three in this stack were purchases. The Gist by Michael Marshall Smith is a lovely novella, which is  an interesting experiment. There is the original story then a French translation followed by a retranslation into English. Before you decry me for not having read The Princess Bride by William Goldman please know I have, just not in a very long time. But when I learned my wife had never read it I made it a point to get a copy for our library. I think I'll give it a read this summer as it is one of the most enchanting stories ever, in any form. I also had to get a copy of Martha Wells'Emile & the Hollow World. Had to I tell you. In the review copy department I received Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh, which I'm already devouring. It is fabulous so far and also one of the most beautiful packaging jobs I've seen this year. It is a paperback with a rice paper cover slipped over so the image bleeds through. Brilliantly done. Ecko Rising by Danie Ware is a cross genre novel not on my radar until I received the copy, but it sounds quite interesting:
In a futuristic London where technological body modification is the norm, Ecko stands alone as a testament to the extreme capabilities of his society. Driven half mad by the systems running his body, Ecko is a criminal for hire. No job is too dangerous or insane.

When a mission goes wrong and Ecko finds himself catapulted across dimensions into a peaceful and unadvanced society living in fear of 'magic', he must confront his own perceptions of reality and his place within it.

A thrilling debut, Ecko Rising explores the massive range of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, and the possible implications of pitting them against one another.
Joyland is Stephen King much anticipated carnie themed mystery set in the 70's. I haven't read a King story in a few years, but just may dip into this one. Last, but certainly not least is Shift by Hugh Howey. I must admit for having fallen hard for Wool, but this prequel is making me a bit trepidacious as it could ruin everything that was setup. Still I can't help myself.

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