Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty (broadcast 3-3-2014) Mur Lafferty is a writer, podcast producer, gamer, geek, and martial artist. Her books includeThe Shambling Guide to New York City, Ghost Train to New Orleans, Playing For Keeps, Marco and the Red Granny, and The Afterlife Series. She is the host of the award winning podcast I Should Be Writing, and the host of the Angry Robot Books Podcast. She is the winner of the 2013 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. In the newest of the Shambling Guides Zoë Norris (introduced in The Shambling Guide to New York City) who writes travel books for America’s community of supernatural entities, takes us on a ghostly ride to New Orleans. Zoë is human, but her boss is a vampire, her best friend is a death goddess, and at least one of her coworkers wants to eat her. A must for armchair travelers with a taste for the bizarre with a humorous twist.Find out more at murverse.com
Pull Down the Night by Nathan Kotecki (broadcast 10-7-2013) Written as the second of a series of Young Adult fantasy novels, Pull Down the Night offers the kind of storytelling that will keep engrossed any reader with an appreciation of taut writing combined with intricate imagination. The teen age protagonists and their concerns about life will be easy to identify with for any person currently in that age group or who ever has been. Combining the normal high school setting with intriguingly curious paranormal happenings that leave you wondering where and what the line is between good and evil, Kotecki also brings in an underscore of art, literature and alternative music. You can even access the playlist that the series compiles by going to Spotify and looking for Suburban Strange, the title of the first of the series. Find out more at www.thesuburbanstrange.com
Monsters of the Earth by David Drake (broadcast 9-2-2013) This is third in the series Books of the Elements, four fantasy novels set in a city and empire named Carce, which is very similar to that of Rome in 30 ad. This is a splendid introduction to Drake’s work for those unfamiliar with it and a welcome addition for those who have been enjoying his wonderful storytelling for many years. Here is a setting in which the myths and magic of the classical world are real, and in which classical myths interact with those of other portions of the ancient world.
The elements of the series are Fire, Water, Earth and Air. Each element is paired with a cardinal direction. Thus the first novel, The Legions of Fire, mixes Norse myths with classical myths about the far north. The second novel, Out of the Waters (July 2011), involves both Native American myths and classical myths about the Western Ocean. The third novel in the series is titled Monsters of the Earth (September 2013) and relates to African myths. The fourth book, currently being written, Air and Darkness, will involve the element Air and myths of the Indian Subcontinent.
Here in Monsters, the reader is swept up in a maelstrom of magic-a struggle between two powerful sorcerers, both mentored by the deceased poet and mage Vergil: one wants to destroy the world: the other wants to stop him. Finding out which is which in this fast paced traveling through the worlds of spells and counterspells is part of the fun. Find out more at david-drake.com
The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord (broadcast 8-5-2013) Karen Lord’s debut novel, the multiple-award-winning Redemption in Indigo, announced the appearance of a major new talent—a strong, brilliantly innovative voice fusing Caribbean storytelling traditions and speculative fiction with subversive wit and incisive intellect. Compared by critics to such heavyweights as Nalo Hopkinson, China Miéville, and Ursula K. Le Guin, Lord does indeed belong in such select company—yet, like them, she boldly blazes her own trail.
Now Lord returns with a second novel that exceeds the promise of her first. The Best of All Possible Worlds is a stunning science fiction epic that is also a beautifully wrought, deeply moving love story.
A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.
Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all. Find out more at http://merumsal.wordpress.com/the-best-of-all-possible-worlds/
Bull Spec publisher Samuel Montgomery-Blinn (broadcast 1-2-2012) Sam talks about the importance of fantasy and science fiction in the world of literature and about the why and how of his involvement in the world of publishing. Bull Spec is a magazine of speculative fiction devoted largely but not absolutely entirely to local Carolina writers. published quarterly from Durham, North Carolina. A very attractively put together magazine featuring some great reading. Explore a little at http://www.bullspec.com/
Here is a link, Fired Up, to Lev Grossman’s picks for the “best of….” for 2011. Looks like some good reading to me. What do you think?
He modestly didn’t put his own book, The Magician King, on the list but you can find out more about that by going to the Fantasy heading on this blog’s podcast and listening in to the interview we did with him.
Kingdom in the Balance/The Source by Debra Killeen/Diana Bastine (broadcast 9-19-2011) Sister authors, Killeen and Bastine, have each come up with good reading fantasy novels that fit into the young adult category. Kingdom in the Balance, by Killeen, is the final and very satisfying installment in The Myrridian Cycle. This series of five books takes place in a medieval kingdom discovered by accidental visitors from our time who become actively involved, as does the reader, in a world where Magic works and who controls it intensifies the intrigue. The Source, by Bastine, also takes us into another world but this is one hidden in ancient caves deep below the magic terrain of Ireland. The story begins when a young girl discovers a strange-looking man who she first suspect is a vampire but soon learns something about him even more fantastic. This is Bastine’s first novel and gives promise of a lot more enjoyable reading to come. Find out more at http://www.myrridia.net/ and http://www.fairycatmother.net/
The Magician King by Lev Grossman (broadcast 9-5-11) Here is an invitation to enter another world, a world of magic, challenging, oft times dangerous, but always offering the possibility of achieving all one might wish for. The Magician King continues the story of very human individuals who happen to have rare and special gifts. How these gifts effect their lives, their humanity and the worlds they live in forms the basis of the literary fantasy series that began with the bestselling The Magicians. Listen in as Grossman talks about the difference between Fantasy and Science Fiction, writing and why we need the printed page. Find out more at The Magician King.