Friday, 28 February 2014

Recommended Reading by Professionals... with Jack Campbell

In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven't received the recognition they deserve.

Today's recommendations are by Jack Campbell. Jack Campbell (aka John G. Hemry) is a retired U.S. Navy officer and the New York Times bestselling author of the Lost Fleet and Lost Stars series.  His most recent books are The Lost Stars - Perilous Shield and the stand-alone alternate history novella "The Last Full Measure".  Coming in May will be the next Lost Fleet book, Beyond The Frontier - Steadfast. He’s also written several SF novels as John G. Hemry (one series featuring Sergeant Ethan Stark and another, Paul Sinclair), and a lot of short stories.

  1. Madeleine Robins' Sarah Tolerance stories are noir detective stories with an alternate history twist (among other twists). Imagine The Maltese Falcon or The Thin Man set in Regency England, with an Agent of Inquiry (private investigator) named Sarah Tolerance whose mind is as sharp as the sword she wields with expert skill.  Miss Tolerance moves from the lowest whore houses of London to the heights of society as she pursues mysteries, solves murders and avoids threats to her life. Point of Honour, Petty Treason, and The Sleeping Partner are sometimes mistaken for Regency Romances, but anyone who likes a good detective novel where the hardboiled protagonist has to stir the dregs of society to find the answers to mysteries should enjoy these brilliantly realized stories. They'll also learn some sword play, since Madeleine Robins makes her fights as realistic as everything else about the period.
  2. We're coming up on the one hundredth anniversary of Fifty-One Tales by Lord Dunsany, which was originally published in 1915. He was one of the first writers of modern fantasy, and this collection of what are now called short short stories gives a good look at how brilliant he could be. The short pieces are sometimes moody, sometimes humorous, sometimes just plain beautifully written, but they are never boring. They don't feel dated, either, in their comments on modern trends that seem just as pointed and relevant now as they were when written (such as the vision of an angel angrily adding on to hell to make room for the marketers who sold unsafe food for children). You don't have to buy this book (it's available online in a variety of forms), and it's well worth the time to see a real artist of words at work. Just one of the shortest pieces in here, "After the Fire", sets out in three short paragraphs what others have used entire novels to try to say.
  3. The books in Kristine Smith's Jani Killian series (Code of Conduct, Rules of Conflict, Law of Survival, Contact Imminent, and Endgame) never got the attention they deserved, but they are still out there for anyone who wants an excellent read steeped in espionage and double-dealing that captures the reality of it all better than most thrillers set in the modern day. (They are real enough to make me wonder if "Smith" knows more about that sort of thing than she lets on.) The books accurately evoke the life of an undercover operative in a tale in which Jani never really knows who to trust and sometimes can't even tell who she herself really is.  Aliens, interstellar travel and genetic engineering further complicate things. Jani is a great character in a great story. Kristine Smith is working at getting the earlier books re-released in ebook format and possibly POD, so keep an eye out for them.
Stay tuned for the next post where we get more reading recommendations!

Books Received in February, 2014

As usual, here are the books I received this month for review consideration.

Hollow World by Michael Sullivan


Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but faced with a terminal illness he's willing to take an insane gamble. He's built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he'll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. Ellis could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began...but only if he can survive Hollow World.

Sailor Twain: Or the Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel

One hundred years ago. On the foggy Hudson River, a riverboat captain rescues an injured mermaid from the waters of the busiest port in the United States. A wildly popular--and notoriously reclusive--author makes a public debut. A French nobleman seeks a remedy for a curse. As three lives twine together and race to an unexpected collision, the mystery of the Mermaid of the Hudson deepens.
A mysterious and beguiling love story with elements of Poe, Twain, Hemingway, and Greek mythology, drawn in moody black-and-white charcoal, Sailor Twain is a study in romance, atmosphere, and suspense.

Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci - I'm almost done reading this one and it's been a fun ride.  Expect my review of it this Tuesday.

On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist''s leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.

When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula''s desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.

The Furnace by Timothy Johnston

Dead Space, 2401 AD
Kyle Tanner is about to die. Alone, floating in a vacsuit only a few million kilometers from a massive, uncaring sun, he has barely enough time or juice to get out a distress signal before either his oxygen runs out or he succumbs to the radiation.
When the CCF sent investigator Kyle Tanner to SOLEX One, a solar energy harvester past Mercury, he thought it would be an open-and-shut murder case. A crew member was found dead, minus his head and hands. Not the worst Tanner has ever seen, but the deeper he delves, the more nightmarish it becomes. A shadowy figure, bleeding from his hands, assaults Tanner in his quarters. Then two more turn up dead, missing their heads and hands as well.
With no one to trust and everyone a suspect-even the intriguing chief engineer, Shaheen-Tanner must navigate a crew on the brink of madness to uncover a conspiracy that could threaten the whole of the human race. Even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.

The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku

The New York Times best-selling author of Physics of the Impossible, Physics of the Future and Hyperspace tackles the most fascinating and complex object in the known universe: the human brain.

For the first time in history, the secrets of the living brain are being revealed by a battery of high tech brain scans devised by physicists. Now what was once solely the province of science fiction has become a startling reality. Recording memories, telepathy, videotaping our dreams, mind control, avatars, and telekinesis are not only possible; they already exist.

The Future of the Mind gives us an authoritative and compelling look at the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world-all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics. One day we might have a "smart pill" that can enhance our cognition; be able to upload our brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; send thoughts and emotions around the world on a "brain-net"; control computers and robots with our mind; push the very limits of immortality; and perhaps even send our consciousness across the universe.

Dr. Kaku takes us on a grand tour of what the future might hold, giving us not only a solid sense of how the brain functions but also how these technologies will change our daily lives. He even presents a radically new way to think about "consciousness" and applies it to provide fresh insight into mental illness, artificial intelligence and alien consciousness.

With Dr. Kaku's deep understanding of modern science and keen eye for future developments, The Future of the Mind is a scientific tour de force--an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Movie Review: The Lego Movie

Directed by: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, 2014

Pros: fun story, humour works for adults and kids

Cons: occasional jerky animation, not enough knights and castles!

Emmet Brickowski is revealed to be the lego minifigure of prophecy when he finds the Piece of Resistance, the only thing that can stop Lord Business from unleashing a superweapon on the world.

This movie is so much fun.  The characters are great, with quirky personalities (especially the 80s something astronaut), with the exception of Emmet who’s so ordinary he acts as a straight man for the others’ humour.  

The film manages to use a lot of proprietary characters like Batman and other DC heroes, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars characters etc.  While only Batman has a major part, it’s crazy seeing so many different universes intersect.

I found the animation style took a little getting used to.  It’s filmed as though it’s done with stop motion animation, so things are a bit jerky at times.  

My only other ‘complaint’ is that they spent a decent amount of time in the western world, but only passed by the medieval one (which is my favourite).

There’s an odd commentary in the film about whether adults should collect LEGO sets, making them to their exact designs and displaying them or if LEGO is best enjoyed as a kid’s toy, mixing up all the pieces and coming up with new, sometimes crazy, things.  As someone who loved LEGO as a kid (back before they had kits) and who now has a LEGO Hogwarts on display (as well as numerous sets done by my husband) I’m a bit of a fence sitter.  Given LEGO’s push for kits in the last decade or so, it seems odd that they’re now saying to let your kids tear those labourously built brick sculptures apart (and make no mistake, it is VERY time consuming putting these things together).

I did leave the film wanting to actually play with the Hogwarts set, rather than have it on display - or pull out some old LEGO blocks and build something new.  The movie was a lot of fun and if you like LEGO and using your imagination, go check it out.

[Normally I would embed the trailer here, but I saw this film without having seen the trailer and it was... liberating seeing a film with no expectations and no idea what the plot was.  So I'm linking to the trailer instead.]

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Book Review: Conquest by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard

Pros: compelling story, political machinations, minor romantic elements

Cons: slow opening

Conquest takes place roughly 16 years after the Illyri, a race similar to humans, take over the Earth.  Syl, conceived among the stars and the first Illyri born on Earth, lives with her father, the governor of Britain and Ireland, in Edinburgh castle.  On her 16th birthday she and a friend sneak out of the castle and encounter two human teenagers, members of the Resistance just as a bomb goes off on the Royal Mile.  Events spiral into a series of political machinations that change the world as these 4 youths know it.

The book gets off to a slow start, as there’s a lot of background information the reader needs to know in order to follow what happens after the bombing in Edinburgh.  Once things start happening they happen fast.  By page 100 I found that I couldn’t put the book down, I was so invested in the characters and what was happening.  

While a lot of the politics happen off stage, given the ages of the protagonist, there’s still a fair amount of political maneuvering, among the humans (different resistance groups) but mainly among the Illyri (the sisterhood, the military and the diplomatic corps).  It’s the alien politics that fascinate, and I’m hoping the next book includes more information about the sisterhood.

There are a lot of SF elements borrowed from other sources, but the authors do a great job of using those elements in new ways.  The addition of a burgeoning romance between one of the humans and Syl only enhances the difficulties the two races face.  And the ending contained some great twists.

This book is more complex than humans: good, aliens: bad.  Having protagonists on both sides makes both sides partly sympathetic.  And partly not.  It’s a great start to a series.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The World's Biggest Bookstore Closes in One Month

There's only one month left until the World's Biggest Bookstore closes its doors (March 23rd).  After working there for 10 years, it's a sad time for me, seeing the shelves slowly empty out.  All of my endcaps are gone, but there's still a decent amount of SFF books on the shelves - not the stock I'm used to, but still more than a smaller format mall store.  The New and Hot SFF display is still up and we've got some great bargain books currently 50% off their already low prices (note: this is something only being done at our store).

Still, the closing of the store opens new opportunities.  I'll have more time to devote to my blog and book reviewing.  I've come up with a few new features for the blog, which I'll talk about soon.  I'll also have more time for some of my craftier endeavours.  So in a way, while I'm not happy the store's closing, I'm ok with this change and looking forward to what the future will bring.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Shout-Out: Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Now this is a book that sounds awesome.  It came out February 11th.

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization, and the government is involved in sending secret missions to explore Area X. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
Annihilation opens with the twelfth expedition. The group is composed of four women, including our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all of their observations, scientific and otherwise; and, above all, to avoid succumbing to the unpredictable effects of Area X itself.
What they discover shocks them: first, a massive topographic anomaly that does not appear on any map; and second, life forms beyond anything they're equipped to understand. But it's the surprises that came across the border with them that change everything-the secrets of the expedition members themselves, including our narrator. What do they really know about Area X-and each other?

Friday, 21 February 2014

Mindsets on Disability

I had some great comments on my Special Needs in Strange Worlds reading list post, with more books to add to the list.  I also had someone question why I added A Spell for Chameleon to the list, when the character isn't, in point of fact, differently abled.  The book is in a category called 'problems with magic' and there are two books (one of which is Spell) where the protagonist doesn't have magic in a world where having magic is the norm.  You eventually discover that Bink, from Spell, doesn't really fit the category, but that doesn't stop him from being treated differently because people perceive that he's without magic.

Which got me thinking.  To what extent does perception create disability.  Could it be considered a disability to be the one poor kid in a school of rich kids?  Disadvantaged is probably the correct word, since the kid would be able to do everything the other kids could - potentially.  But it's that potentiality that got me questioning.  What if the other kids went horseback riding as a sport (something that was offered - at an extra cost - at my highschool).  Would that lack 'dis' able you?  Could you be perceived as being less because you couldn't do it?

So much of disability is considered so because it calculates what someone can't do - when compared with someone who's "normal".

In discussing this with my husband he said (and then wrote and edited) the following:

When a society has a clearly defined norm then it’s easy for members of that society to perceive any difference from that norm as a reflection of an individual’s ability when, in actuality, the perceived difference may have no correlation with ability at all.
For example, when explorers from western Europe crossed the ocean and met with indigenous people in the americas, they perceived them as less intelligent, and hence less able, due to their different style of living and beliefs.  Yet these same people had learned to tame the land on which they lived, and created thriving societies with complex social structures that had stood the test of time.  Looking back now it is clear to us that peoples, such as the Mayans and the Aztecs, had no lack of ability.  There is plenty of evidence that they had a firm grasp of architecture and mathematics.  Instead they had simply followed a different path and developed a different way of life from the Europeans.
Just as we now know that people from around the world are equally capable of intellectual thought, despite dramatic differences in lifestyle, one should not be so quick to judge the abilities of another based upon a perceived disability.  One person may not be able to walk like others, yet that doesn’t mean they are incapable of getting around.  Humans have an incredible ability to adapt to the circumstances they find themselves in.  Don’t be so quick to discount someone simply because they’ve had to adapt given a different set of capabilities than you.  You may be surprised when you discover that they have other capabilities which exceed yours.

What he said reminded me of a series of videos on youtube by Tommy Edison, a man who's been blind from birth.  He answers questions about what it's like to be blind.  Here's one on some of the perks of blindness, one on colours and one on dreaming.

I've also seen several great Ted Talks on the topic, by some exceptional people who have, what some would call, disabilities.

I tried to embed the videos but it didn't work for some reason, so I'm adding the links instead.  The first video is by Maysoon Zayid.  Her talk is entitled I got 99 Problems... Palsy is just One.

I strongly urge you to watch the entire video, but if you can't here are two of my favourite quotes.

"Disability is as visual as race.  If a wheelchair user can’t play Beyonce, than Beyonce can’t play a wheelchair user.  People with disabilities are the larges minorities in the world and we are the most under represented in entertainment." (11:34 - 11:58)

"I hope that together we can create more positive images of disability in the media and in every day life.  Perhaps if there were more positive images, it would foster less hate on the internet." (12:08 - 12:21) 

The second video is by Sue Austin, on Deep Sea Diving... in a Wheelchair.

In talking about how people's reactions to her changed once she started using a wheelchair she says:

“They seemed to see me in terms of their assumptions of what it must be like to be in a wheelchair.  When I asked people about their associations with the wheelchair, they used words like: limitation, fear, pity and restriction.  I realized I’d internalized these responses and it changed who I was on a core level." (1:02 - 1:35)

She explains that for her, a wheelchair represented mobility and the ability to do things she was otherwise incapable of.  And she wondered why the perception of a wheelchair was the opposite of the reality, and so started using her chair to create artwork, to help people see things differently.

My final example is a talk by Aimee Mullins on My 12 Pairs of Legs.

"From my experience kids are naturally curious about what they don’t know or don’t understand, or is foreign to them.  They only learn to be frightened by those differences when an adult influences them to behave that way, and maybe censors that natural curiosity or reigns in the question asking for them, in the hopes of them being polite little kids." (0:26 - 0:46)

She gives an example of asking a group of kids what legs they would design for her to be able to jump over a building and one asked if she wouldn't like to fly as well, "And just like that I went from being a woman that these kids would have been trained to see as disabled to somebody who had potential that their bodies didn’t have yet." (2:05- 2:13)

Now, these three Ted examples are all exceptional, but I hope I made my point, that so called 'normal' people put restrictions on those considered 'disabled' with preconceived notions of what they can and cannot do.

I don't want to say that some people are incapable of things.  We all are.  I can't paint with my toes, like this remarkable woman - or rather, I could, perhaps.  I've never tried.  Because I don't need to.  People learn new ways of doing things if the 'normal' way doesn't work for them.

And, of course, there's a huge difference between the experiences of these people and what happens when someone is subject to crippling pain, like Cat Valente's current, unfortunate experience with carpal tunnel syndrome.  Her post about her experience is both heartbreaking and enlightening, if you've never experienced something similar.

(Dis)ability is varied and complex.  And it should be just as varied and complex in our entertainment, including our books.  It's why I think Sarah Chorn's Special Needs in Strange Worlds column, first on her own website, Bookworm Blues, and now on SF Signal, is so important.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Video Lecture: Through a PRISM, Darkly

Here's a long but very interesting video about just what the NSA is doing and how much (ie little) privacy we really have.  This talk was given at the 30th Chaos Communication Congres [30c3] on December 30th, 2013. 

Through a PRISM, Darkly
Everything we know about NSA spying
From Stellar Wind to PRISM, Boundless Informant to EvilOlive, the NSA spying programs are shrouded in secrecy and rubber-stamped by secret opinions from a court that meets in a faraday cage. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Kurt Opsahl explains the known facts about how the programs operate and the laws and regulations the U.S. government asserts allows the NSA to spy on you.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil society organization, has been litigating against the NSA spying program for the better part of a decade. EFF has collected and reviewed dozens of documents, from the original NY Times stories in 2005 and the first AT&T whistleblower in 2006, through the latest documents released in the Guardian or obtained through EFF's Freedom of Information (government transparency) litigation. EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl's lecture will describe how the NSA spying program works, the underlying technologies, the targeting procedures (how they decide who to focus on), the minimization procedures (how they decide which information to discard), and help you makes sense of the many code names and acronyms in the news. He will also discuss the legal and policy ramifications that have become part of the public debate following the recent disclosures, and what you can do about it. After summarizing the programs, technologies, and legal/policy framework in the lecture, the audience can ask questions.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Cover Reveal: Exodus 2022 by Kenneth G. Bennett

My apologies to the author.  I was supposed to post this two days ago, but due to an error it's going up today instead.

Joe Stanton is in agony. Out of his mind over the death of his young daughter. Or so it seems.  Unable to contain his grief, Joe loses control in public, screaming his daughter’s name and causing a huge scene at a hotel on San Juan Island in Washington State. Thing is, Joe Stanton doesn’t have a daughter. Never did. And when the authorities arrive they blame the 28-year-old’s outburst on drugs.
What they don’t yet know is that others up and down the Pacific coast—from the Bering Sea to the Puget Sound—are suffering identical, always fatal mental breakdowns.  With the help of his girlfriend—the woman he loves and dreams of marrying—Joe struggles to unravel the meaning of the hallucination destroying his mind. As the couple begins to perceive its significance—and Joe’s role in a looming global calamity—they must also outwit a billionaire weapons contractor bent on exploiting Joe’s newfound understanding of the cosmos, and outlast the time bomb ticking in Joe’s brain.

You can read the first five chapters of the book, being published on May 21st, on the author's website.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Graphic Novel Review: Leaving Megalopolis by Gail Simone and J. Calafiore

Pros: great story, multi-racial cast, beautiful artwork

Cons: some gory scenes

A group of civilians tries to leave Megalopolis, The Safest City Anywhere, after the heroes who once protected the city begin killing everyone.

I bought this comic as part of a kickstarter campaign.  Its production was delayed due to illness and an extension of the story, so I only got it recently.  It was worth the wait.

Megalopolis is a cosmopolitan city, so the characters in the book are from varied backgrounds.  Mina, the caustic ‘leader’, had a traumatic childhood, seen in flashbacks, that makes it hard for her to care for anyone other than herself.  Yet she forms a group that hopes to make it out of Megalopolis to safety. 

The comic is filled with harsh realities, some swearing and the aftermath of horrific acts.  However, there’s also something amazing in the idea that humans - under the worst circumstances - can become heroes in their own right.  The characters constantly try to pass off responsibility - for their lives, for their safety - to others, only to have it made perfectly clear that if a hero’s coming, they’ll have to play that role.

The story expects you to piece together what’s happening and works perfectly for an apocalyptic premise.  I really liked the realism of the artwork and the fact that some of the more gruesome acts were hinted at rather than shown. 

It’s a pretty brutal story but a great start to a series.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Shout-Out: The Furnace by Timothy Johnston

I got an email from the author of this book.  It came out in December and sounds pretty cool.

Dead Space, 2401 AD
Kyle Tanner is about to die. Alone, floating in a vacsuit only a few million kilometers from a massive, uncaring sun, he has barely enough time or juice to get out a distress signal before either his oxygen runs out or he succumbs to the radiation.
When the CCF sent investigator Kyle Tanner to SOLEX One, a solar energy harvester past Mercury, he thought it would be an open-and-shut murder case. A crew member was found dead, minus his head and hands. Not the worst Tanner has ever seen, but the deeper he delves, the more nightmarish it becomes. A shadowy figure, bleeding from his hands, assaults Tanner in his quarters. Then two more turn up dead, missing their heads and hands as well.
With no one to trust and everyone a suspect - even the intriguing chief engineer, Shaheen - Tanner must navigate a crew on the brink of madness to uncover a conspiracy that could threaten the whole of the human race. Even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Recommended Reading by Professionals... with Maurice Broaddus

In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven't received the recognition they deserve.

Today's recommendations are by Maurice Broaddus. Maurice Broaddus has written hundreds of short stories, essays, novellas, and articles. His dark fiction has been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and web sites, including Asimov’s Science Fiction, Cemetery Dance, Apex Magazine, and Weird Tales Magazine. He is the co-editor of the Dark Faith anthology series (Apex Books) and the author of the urban fantasy trilogy, Knights of Breton Court (Angry Robot Books). Visit his site at

I tend to hope around in genre, from science fiction to fantasy to horror, both in what I write and what I read.  So it was tough trying to narrow down a list of 2-3 impactful but overlooked works until I made my criteria books have I come back to read again and again.
  1. My favorite genre to read is crime fiction, so I was already a huge Walter Mosley fan.  When I found out that he’d written a collection of short stories, I snatched it up immediately.  Futureland: Nine Stories of an Imminent World (2001) had a huge impact on me and is one of those collections that I rarely hear anyone talk about.  A series of nine interconnected tales about a dystopian future where rich technocrats rule and poverty is basically considered a crime.  The world-building is dizzying and he piles idea on idea on idea while speaking to issues of race and class.  This book is second only to Octavia Butler in terms of writers that have inspired me to find my unique voice.
  2. I was torn for my fantasy pick.  There are two books that immediately leapt to mind as being under-rated.  The first is Patrick O’Leary’s The Gift.  Beautiful, complex, and layered, the book speaks to the power of story by nesting story within story within story to great effect.  On the other side of the fantasy scale is Charles Saunders Imaro, a tale some would say is simply a “black Conan” tale, except for Saunders wonderful story telling style, world-building, and exploration of character and cultures.
  3. When it comes to horror, I think of Brandon Massey.  I’ve been a fan of his since Thunderland, back when people were running around calling him “the black Stephen King” which was honestly what caught my attention.  With his brisk plotting style and keen characterization, I quit thinking of him as a “black Stephen King” and he became “Brandon Massey.”  It was his Dark Dreams anthology series that introduced the world to many up and coming African American horror writers, including Lamar “L.R.” Giles, whose debut novel, Fake ID has just been released.

Stay tuned for the next post where we get more reading recommendations!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Rethinking Gender Part 2

Posting my review of Ancillary Justice this week got me thinking about gender in books again.  Paired with Bookworm Blues’ post from last week, where she reflects on how some people have recommended books to her with the proviso ‘but you’d probably not enjoy it because you’re a woman’, I started thinking about my own relationship with gender and books.

I’ve personally never had anyone say that I wouldn’t like a book because of my gender (for which I’m grateful), but it reminded me of something I’d noticed over the holiday season when I was working extra at the bookstore.  I realized that when men asked me for book recommendations I avoided recommending books by women unless I’d read the book in question and knew there was limited/no romance.

This disturbed me because I was assuming that men wouldn’t want books written by women and/or men didn’t want romance in their books.  Granted, I tend to ask what other books a reader liked before recommending something and try to fit my recommendation within that framework.  But the fact that I automatically defaulted to ‘dude wants stereotypical dude book’ was an awkward revelation for someone who believes women write books equal to men.

It was also disturbing because I wasn’t sure if this was something I’ve always done and only recently become aware of or if my aversion to recommending female authors was because of all the posts I’ve read on the internet by and about men saying they don’t read female authors.

The posts have made me more aware of the female authors out there and I’ve made a point of displaying them on endcaps, but it still disturbs me that I could be actively preventing men from reading women by assuming they don’t want to read books by women.

I’m personally not keen on romance plots (though I like sexual tension in books - as it tends to create fun dialogue and situations), so I generally look for books by women - and men, since they write romantic plots too - that are light on or missing the romance and are, instead, heavy on plot.  I also tend to recommend books I’ve personally read, since it’s easier to be excited about a book - and pass on that excitement - when you liked it yourself.

It’s also only something I’ve done with regards to SF, probably because I’m more widely read in fantasy and so have more I can recommend.  I’ve been reading more SF lately, including books by women, so I plan to make more female SF recommendations in future.

Rethinking Gender Part 1

I had a lot of these thoughts back when I read Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice in December and they resurfaced when I reread my review before posting it this week.  

For those who haven’t read the book, Ancillary Justice deals with an empire that’s subjugated numerous other planets.  The main language has no gendered pronouns (he/she) so the protagonist, an ancillary of a formerly powerful AI, has trouble distinguishing between genders when forced to by other languages.  The character, therefore, calls everyone ‘she’ unless told otherwise.  I want to stress that this is a cultural aspect of the book, rather than the plot (which is about revenge - since some people will read this sentence and avoid the book believing it’s purely didactic), but it was one of the more unusual and therefore thought provoking aspects of the book.

I read an article by Ann Leckie before reading the book about why she chose to use female pronouns for most of the characters.  This section of the article hit me:

I could have gone with the old standby, “the masculine embraces the feminine,” and just called everyone “he.” This is, in fact, the choice made by Ursula K LeGuin when she wrote The Left Hand of Darkness (Which is awesome, and if you haven’t read it, it is my considered opinion that you should.) Years later, she expressed some dissatisfaction with having made that choice. It made the Gethenians seem to be all male, which they were not, and failed to convey their non-binary nature.
There was, as I saw it, one more possibility–I could use “she” for everyone. This would have the same disadvantages as using “he” with the advantage of not being the oh-so-common masculine default.

As I said in my review of the book: 

The use of ‘she’ in the book for everyone made me question my own preoccupation with gender, as I first tried to figure out what gender all the characters were, with some difficulty.  As the book wore on, I finally gave up, even though the correct genders for several characters were stated.  Once I got used to the idea that the character’s gender didn’t matter, I found it oddly liberating not caring about what gender everyone was and simply appreciating the characters for their actions.

I want to elaborate on what I said here.  Western society is very intent on women being women and men being men despite the fact that men and women are spectrums with differences in behaviours, wants, abilities, etc.  It’s easy to generalize and say that all women prefer service oriented jobs, like shopping and want to be thin, just as it’s easy to say all men love sports, drinking and lack commitment.  And while some of those things are true they’re not all true for every person who identifies with those genders.  Reading Ancillary Justice made me realize just how gender oriented I am, because had the author gone with ‘he’ I wouldn’t have questioned it.  I would have pictured every character - every person - in that universe as male and probably not even thought it was odd.  I only questioned it because the idea that everyone was a woman was strange, uncomfortable even.  I wanted to know what gender everyone was so I could picture them in my mind.  But I found that assigning genders based only on the actions of people was hard.  Yes, the one who cries is probably a woman - or is it?  I’ve seen men cry.  Despite how the media likes to portray them, men have ‘softer’ emotions.  And women can be angry, vengeful, brilliant, sad, happy, stupid.  We’re all spectrums and can be different things at different times.

It was liberating when I stopped trying to put a gender on people and let everyone be who they were without that distinction.  We acknowledge that people can be anything they want (or at least pay lip service to this idea) but we still expect, on the whole, that our reflections of the real world (books, movies) obey traditional boundaries. 

I recently saw the film The Last Days on Mars.  There was a female character who reminded me very strongly of Ripley.  Because she was cold in a calm - analytical - way.  Ripley in the original Alien movie isn’t someone I’d want to know in real life.  Because she’s too cool, too concerned with the rules, too concerned with saving herself rather than helping others (she would have left her facehuggered crew member outside the ship).  She’s a survivor, and survivors do what’s necessary, even if it’s not 'morally' right.  She’s in stark contrast in the film with the only other female crew member, who is caring (she lets the others back in against Ripley’s orders, facehugger included) and breaks down under pressure.  

Ripley’s remembered because she’s the original female SF movie badass.  

Ripley’s role was written for a man.  But the scriptwriter had an important disclaimer: “The crew is unisex and all parts are interchangeable for men or women.” (It's a great article about making Ripley's character a woman and some of the politics around the decision.)

I personally liked her better in Aliens, when she becomes a bit more caring while remaining badass.  That role showed that stereotypically male and female attributes could be combined to create a strong, believable, woman.  One I looked up to as a role model growing up.

On a different note it also annoys me when a strong female character is reduced to an element, especially when that element never really comes into play.  The whole 'team Gale' and 'team Peeta' campaign for The Hunger Games in my opinion missed the point, that Katniss was, if anything, 'team Prim'.  The books aren't about romance but for some reason the marketing around the film reduced it - and her - to that element.

I think the problem with gender is that there are so many MANY expectations of what men and women are (and want from their entertainment) that when someone writes a person without these attributes we cry foul, and when they write someone with too many of them we cry ‘stereotype’ or ‘cliche’.  

The right answer, as I’ve heard from several sources, is to write motivations rather than genders.  We’re all motivated by things in life, and those motivations determine our actions.  What are we willing to do to achieve our goals?  What are we willing to sacrifice?  Men and women have more in common than society sometimes credits.  And people are more complex in their personalities than is generally portrayed.

I think we’re moving in the right direction.  I’ve seen a lot more complex characters in books and movies recently and I’m hoping this trend continues.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

NASA and Tor team up to bring out hard SF

Got a press release today talking about this article by The Wall Street Journal on how NASA and Tor Books are partnering to create more fact based science fiction, aka hard SF.

The first of these 'NASA-inspired works of fiction' is:

PILLAR TO THE SKY by William Forstchen, the New York Times bestselling author of One Second After, is the first in the series and was released today. The new novel takes technology to a whole new level with the introduction of a space elevator that offers infinite possibilities that could transform the world. Forstchen’s latest extraordinary story exemplifies the driving force behind America’s superpower status throughout history - the brilliant and inquiring minds of its scientists, visionaries, entrepreneurs and leaders in technology who see the future as a challenge to achieve the impossible.

To commemorate the event, they're having a talk/signing with both William Forstchen and the scientist who advised him, John Panek, PhD.  Details from the release below:

Greenbelt, MD – Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC—the largest publisher of science fiction in the world—and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, are excited to announce a special public speaking engagement for local high schools and universities with Goddard scientist Dr. John Panek and William Forstchen, the New York Times bestselling author of One Second After and the new release PILLAR TO THE SKY (February 11, 2014), on Wednesday, Feb. 19th, from 10:00-11:30 AM at Goddard’s Visitor Center.

Forstchen will be signing copies of PILLAR TO THE SKY after the presentation, and attendees will be invited to tour the center’s breathtaking “Science on a Sphere” room, which is a mesmerizing visualization system developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that uses computers and video projectors to display animated data of objects in the solar system on the outside of a suspended, 6-foot diameter, white sphere.

The event celebrates the partnership forged between Tor and NASA in releasing the new book, which is the first title in a thrilling new series of “NASA-Inspired Works of Fiction” that are intended to not only educate, but also encourage young adults to examine the rewarding careers that science and technology have to offer. With the enormous popularity of science fiction—countless people who work in the fields of science and technology credit science fiction as a significant inspiration for their career choice—the ultimate goal of the series is to raise awareness and inspire the study of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), while educating the general public on the significant role NASA plays in everyday lives.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Book Review: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Pros: fascinating premise, thought provoking, hard SF

Cons: Seivarden’s personality changes a lot

Twenty years ago she was Justice of Toren, the artificial intelligence of a Radchaai spaceship with thousands of ancillary units at her command.  Now she is simply Breq, a single ancillary.  Her mission: to destroy the entity that reduced her to her present state.  

This is a fascinating novel.  It’s predominantly told in chapters alternating between Breq’s present and what happened 20 years ago when One Esk was stationed in the newly annexed city of Ors.  

I liked the idea that the Radchaai language had no genderization (he/she), so Breq finds it difficult to determine the genders of people when speaking other languages, often guessing wrong.  The use of ‘she’ in the book for everyone made me question my own preoccupation with gender, as I first tried to figure out what gender all the characters were, with some difficulty.  As the book wore on, I finally gave up, even though the correct genders for several characters were stated.  Once I got used to the idea that the character’s gender didn’t matter, I found it oddly liberating not caring about what gender everyone was and simply appreciating the characters for their actions.

There were several quotes that spoke to me in the book, like this one by Breq about the actions of her ancillaries and officers who participated in a genocide:

“It’s easy to say that if you were there you would have refused, that you would rather die than participate in the slaughter, but it all looks very different when it’s real, when the moment comes to choose.” (p. 114, ebook edition)

The book definitely makes you think about identity and choices.

While there are jump gates to facilitate and speed up space travel, the book is hard SF in that it still takes a long time to get places.  While you won’t find detailed explanations of how the ship and station AIs work, there is enough information about it to create a good backdrop for the rest of the book.

While there is a plot, it’s the character of Breq/One Esk that carries the book.  She’s such a fascinating figure that you read on just to find out more about her and her past.  

I’m not sure I believed the extent of Seivarden’s transformation from highborn snob to what he becomes at the end of the book, but I did appreciate what he went through and could see how such events would change a person a lot. 

The ending was exciting and satisfying given what’s happened in the story.  It’s open enough for the coming sequel but does stand on its own.

I highly recommend this book.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Shout-Out: A Darkling Sea by James Cambias

This is a new SF release from Tor that sounds pretty interesting.

On the planet Ilmatar, under a roof of ice a kilometer thick, a team of deep-sea diving scientists investigates the blind alien race that lives below. The Terran explorers have made an uneasy truce with the Sholen, their first extraterrestrial contact: so long as they don't disturb the Ilmataran habitat, they're free to conduct their missions in peace.
But when Henri Kerlerec, media personality and reckless adventurer, ends up sliced open by curious Ilmatarans, tensions between Terran and Sholen erupt, leading to a diplomatic disaster that threatens to escalate to war.
Against the backdrop of deep-sea guerrilla conflict, a new age of human exploration begins as alien cultures collide. Both sides seek the aid of the newly enlightened Ilmatarans. But what this struggle means for the natives--and the future of human exploration--is anything but certain.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Adobe to update their DRM programs this July

Good E Reader is reporting that Adobe is updating their digital rights management programs this July, meaning a lot of older ebook readers won't be able to read new books come this summer.

Here's a video explaining what this means (or go to their article if you'd prefer to read it).

I'll also point out that someone from Adobe commented on the article/video stating that some of the information is wrong - there won't be an 'always connected to the internet' feature and older books will still work with their devices, but new books won't.

My position is that if I'm buying something, I should own it and be able to read it on whatever device I choose.  It's one reason I haven't been buying many ebooks (beyond SF bundles and kickstarter books that come DRM free).  I'd love to buy more ebooks, but not if I'm crippled by technology so that I can't share my books over all the devices I own.

You can find more information about this at The Digital Reader (which also mentions the July deadline for stores to upgrade has been softened)

Graphic Novel Review: Code Monkey Save World

Written by Greg Pak, Based on the songs by Jonathan Coulton
Illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa

Pros: quirky characters, bizarre plot, great illustrations

Cons: you’re missing out if you don’t know the songs it’s based on

My husband bought this as part of a kickstarter campaign.  The story is based on Jonathan Coulton songs.  The only song of his I was familiar with (beyond a vague memory of something about 'skullcrusher mountain') were the ending theme songs for the Portal video games and not ones alluded to in the story.  The upside is that you don’t need to know the songs the story is based on in order to really enjoy the quirkiness of this graphic novel, but I imagine there’s a lot of subtlety I missed because I didn’t know the references.  [The kickstarter also included digital downloads of acoustic versions of the songs used in the graphic novel, which I listened to after reading it.  And yes, there are a lot of minor references and details I didn’t pick up on the first time.]

Charles is a monkey who writes code for SCM Industries.  He’s enamoured of the secretary who works on his floor and annoyed by his in-your-face manager.  When robots attack their office and his co-workers are kidnapped, Charles is drafted by the company’s CEO, ‘Skullcrusher’ to defeat The Robo Queen.  But Skullcrusher’s not so concerned with rescuing Charles’ crush as he is with proving he’s an evil genius and convincing The Robo Queen to love him.

There’s a lot more going on than that summary indicates, most notably with the zombies.  The story jumps around a bit, but it’s always entertaining and hilarious, making me laugh out loud on several occasions.  The characters are all quirky, with the villains being the right cross between creepy and funny.

The artwork was fantastic, very expressive and brilliantly coloured.  I especially loved The Robo Queen’s metal armour.

This is a great 4 issue graphic novel.

[You can preview and buy all of Jonathan Coulton's songs on his website, and you can get the comic, up to issue #3 at Monkeybrain Comics and ComiXology.]
ETA: Since there's a lot of music on his site, here are some songs to start you off: Code Monkey, Skullcrusher Mountain, Re: Your Brains, Better, Creepy Doll, The Future Soon, and Chiron Beta Prime, all of which influenced this comic in some way.)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Shocking Celebrity Cartoon Voices

Screen Junkies (known for their Honest Trailer videos) recently did a video wherein they revealed some surprising voice actors for older cartoons.  I still remember what it felt like discovering Mark Hamill, best known as Luke from the original Star Wars trilogy, did the voices of the Joker on the 90s Batman: the Animated Series and the Hobgoblin from the 90s Spider-Man.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Novella Review: Where’s Lolly? by Stephen Henning

This is a novella that takes place after Class Heroes book 2, What Happened in Witches Wood.  While it is possible to read this without reading the 2 novels that precede it, this novella does somewhat spoil aspects of the second book’s ending. 

The story focuses on Lolly Rosewood, on the run from the police, in London, looking for help after the events of book 2.  The story’s fast paced, and involves lying, sex and bad decisions.

Due to her loss of powers, Lolly’s more sympathetic here than in the novels, though she does make choices that make you forget how young she is.

It’s a fun, quick read.  And while you can read it as a stand-alone, those who have read the novels will obviously get more out of it.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Shout-Out: Darkwalker by E. L. Tettensor

SF Signal has a fascinating mind meld where 2013 debut authors talk about things they've learned since getting published.  One of the authors had a book come out in December which I somehow missed.  It looks pretty interesting, so here's a shout-out for it.

He used to be the best detective on the job. Until he became the hunted...
Once a legendary police inspector, Nicolas Lenoir is now a disillusioned and broken man who spends his days going through the motions and his evenings drinking away the nightmares of his past. Ten years ago, Lenoir barely escaped the grasp of the Darkwalker, a vengeful spirit who demands a terrible toll on those who have offended the dead. But the Darkwalker does not give up on his prey so easily, and Lenoir has always known his debt would come due one day.
When Lenoir is assigned to a disturbing new case, he treats the job with his usual apathy —until his best informant, a street savvy orphan, is kidnapped. Desperate to find his young friend before the worst befalls him, Lenoir will do anything catch the monster responsible for the crimes, even if it means walking willingly into the arms of his own doom…

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Coming March, 2014

This list is compiles using and as such represents Canadian release dates for books.  I also add in the Carina ebooks, as they're one of the few ebook publishers that lists their upcoming titles.  If I've missed something, mention it in the comments and I'll add it in.  The YA listing may include some younger titles and be missing some YA SF.  Amazon's sorting for that category is rather broad and I tried to judge based on cover/synopsis if the books should be on this list.


Murder of Crows – Anne Bishop
The Midnight Witch – Paula Brackston
The Tropic of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady Trent – Marie Brennan
Night Broken – Patricia Briggs
Black Moon – Kenneth Calhoun
The Burning Dark – Adam Christopher
Liberty 1784: The Second War for Independence – Robert Conroy
Working God’s Mischief – Glen Cook
Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves – James Corey
William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back – Ian Doescher
The Pilgrims – Will Elliott
Notes from the Internet Apocalypse – Wayne Gladstone
The Night of the Hunter – Davis Grubb (reprint)
Kindred of Darkness: A Vampire Kidnapping – Barbara Hambly
The Gospel of Loki – Joanne Harris
Mentats of Dune – Brian Herbert & Kevin Anderson
Truth and Fear – Peter Higgins
A Mountain Walked – S. T. Joshi, Ed.
Immortal Muse – Stephen Leigh
The Detainee – Peter Liney
Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson
Lockstep – Karl Schroeder
Sword of the North – Luke Scull
The Time Traveler’s Almanac – Ann VanderMeer & Jeff VanderMeer

Trade Paperback:

Dr. Who: Prisoner of the Daleks – Trevor Baendale
Boundary Problems – Greg Bechtel
Days of the Deer – Liliana Bodoc
Dr. Who: Corpse Maker – Chris Boucher
The Fall of Atlantis – Marion Zimmer Bradley (reprint)
Bedlam – Christopher Brookmyre
The Weirdness – Jeremy Bushnell
The Fell Sword – Miles Cameron
Dr. Who: Sting of the Zygons – Stephen Cole
The Emissary – Patricia Cori
Future Dyke – Lea Daley
Viral Execution – Amanda Davis
The First Great Misfortune – H. O. De Jonge
Traitor’s Blade – Sebastien De Castell
Dr. Who: Shakedown – Terrence Dicks
The Mapmaker's War – Ronlyn Domingue
Traveler’s HOT L – C. R. Downing
Metro 2034 – Dmitry Glukhovsky
Questionable Practices: Stories – Eileen Gunn
Werewolf Sings the Blues – Jennifer Harlow
The Bloody Cup – M. K. Hume
Votan and Other Novels – John James (omnibus reprint)
Winter’s Heart – Robert Jordan (reprint)
Foamers – Justin Kassab
A Country of Ghosts – Margaret Killjoy
Without a Summer – Mary Robinette Kowal
Warhammer: The Empire Omnibus – Darius Hinks, Nick Kyme & Chris Wraight
Ghost Train to New Orleans – Mur Lafferty
The Lascar’s Dagger – Glenda Larke
Convergent Colony: Sent 144,000 Through – Rick Lee
Splanx – Peter Magliocco
Channel Blue – Jay Martel
Warhammer 40K: False Gods – Graham McNeill
Dr. Who: Touched by an Angel – Jonathan Morris
The Wicked – Douglas Nicholas
Clockwork Lies – Dru Pagliassotti
Dead Americans – Ben Peek
Twilight of the Wolves – Edward Rathke
Elsewhens – Melanie Rawn 
The Memory of Sky – Robert Reed
Dr. Who: Sands of Time – Justin Richards
Sunstone – Freya Robertson
Dr. Who: Scales of Injustice – Gary Russell
The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson
Myths & Legends: The Fall of Troy – Si Sheppard
Breakpoint: Nereis – Alison Sinclair
The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies – Clark Aston Smith
The Barrow – Mark Smylie
Blood and Iron – Jon Sprunk
Shadow Hand – Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Hope Rearmed – S. M. Stirling & David Drake
War Master’s Gate – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Necessary Evil – Ian Tregillis
Strange Bedfellows: An Anthology of Political Science Fiction -  Hayden Trenholm & Eugie Foster, Ed.
Dr. Who: Illegal Alien – Mike Tucker & Robert Perry
Quintessence – David Walton
Shadow of Freedom – David Weber
Thief of the Ancients – Mike Wild
The Braided Path – Donna Glee Williams
Warhammer 40K: Blood of Asaheim – Chris Wraight
The Uncovering – Jes Young

Mass Market Paperback:

Rogue Angel: River of Nightmares – Alex Archer
Death Lands: Hanging Judge – James Axler
Dawn’s Early Light – Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
The Six-Gun Tarot – R. S. Belcher
Star Trek: Enterprise: Tower of Babel – Christopher Bennett
Written in Red – Anne Bishop
Last God Standing – Michael Boatman
Children of Kings – Marion Zimmer Bradley (reprint)
Warhammer 40K: Path of the Archon – Andy Chambers
A Turn of Light – Julie Czerneda
The Heretic – Tony Daniel & David Drake
Sovereign – Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee 
Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch – Christian Dunn
Talus and the Frozen King – Graham Edwards
Carpathian – David Golemon
Dead Ever After – Charlaine Harris
Forgotten Realms: The Godborn – Paul Kemp
Styxx – Sherrilyn Kenyon
Age of Shiva – James Lovegrove
Half-Off Ragnarok – Seanan McGuire
Antiagon Fire – L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Some Girls Bite – Chloe Neill
The Barsoom Project – Larry Niven & Steven Barnes (reprint)
Children of the Gates – Andre Norton (reprint)
Blood for the Sun – Errick Nunnally
Night Owls – Lauren Roy
Red Planet Blues – Robert Sawyer
The Grim Company – Luke Scull
Shadow People – James Swain
Shadowbound – Dianne Sylvan 
Dragonships of the Vindras – Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
No Hero – Jonathan Wood


Dr. Who: Salt of the Earth – Trudi Canavan
Dancing with Dragons – Lorenda Christensen
Death’s Daughter – Kathleen Collins
The Raven Queen – Che Golden
At Star’s End – Anna Hackett
Full-Blood Half-Breed – Cleve Lamison
Off to Be the Wizard – Scott Meyer
Slam Dance with the Devil – Nico Rosson
Helmut Saves the World – Matt Sheehan
Red Cells – Jeffrey Thomas
The Epherium Chronicles: Embrace – T. D. Wilson


The Rising – Kelley Armstrong
The Nightmare Dilemma – Mindee Arnett
The Finisher – David Baldacci
Avenger – Heather Birch
Cloak of the Light – Chuck Black
Resistance – Jenna Black
Taken – Erin Bowman
The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare – M. G. Buehrlen
Sing Sweet Nightingale – Erica Cameron
Hidden – P. C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Airlock - Simon Cheshire
City of Lost Souls – Cassandra Clare
Death Sworn – Leah Cypess
The Sowing – Steven dos Santos
Killer Frost – Jennifer Estep
Til Death – Kate Evangelista
The Slanted Worlds – Catherine Fisher
Elusion – Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam
Strangelets – Michelle Gagnon
Shinobi – Cole Gibson
Shadow on the Sun – David Macinnis Gill
Spellcaster – Claudia Gray
Half Bad – Sally Green
When WE Wake – Karen Healey
Promise of Shadows – Justina Ireland
Vengeance Bound – Justina Ireland
The Shibboleth – John Horner Jacobs
The Twelve-Fingered Boy – John Hornor Jacobs
Soulmate – Kate Kaznak
Wanderers – Susan Kim
Every Never After – Lesley Livingston
A Death-Struck Year – Makiia Lucier
The Assassin’s Blade – Sarah Maas
Storm – D. J. MacHale
SYLO – D. J. MacHale
Nil – Lynne Matson
Siren’s Song – Heather McCollum
Arclight – Josin McQuein
The Peculiars – Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Let the Storm Break – Shannon Messenger
The Violet Hour – Whitney Miller
The 100 – Kass Morgan
The Watcher in the Shadows – Chris Moriarty & Mark Edward Geyer
Strands of Bronze and Gold – Jane Nickerson
The Mirk and Midnight Hour – Jane Nickerson
The Shadow Throne – Jennifer Nielsen
ACID – Emma Pass
Falling Kingdoms – Morgan Rhodes
Wayfarer – Lili St. Crow
Game Over, Pete Watson – Joe Schreiver & Andy Rash
Fire & Flood – Victoria Scott
Orleans – Sherri Smith
Dragonwood – Alex Stewart
Remnants of Tomorrow – Kassy Tayler
Merlin’s Nightmare – Robert Treskillard
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender – Leslye Walton
Fragments – Dan Wells
Ruins – Dan Wells
Haven – Carol Lynch Willaims
The Program – Suzanne Young

Poison – Bridget Zinn