Archive for the 'ENGLISH CONTENT' Category

Patrick Rothfuss: „I will come back!“

Weiter geht’s mit der Multimedia-Schau. Nach dem Interview habe ich zwei kurze Filmchen von Pat aufgenommen. In diesem hier spricht er zu seinen deutschen Fans und verspricht, beim nächsten Mal hierzulande so viele Lesungen zu absolvieren, wie nur möglich:

Im zweiten Film, der ebenfalls bei YouTube zu sehen ist, spricht Pat über seine Reise.

Die Fotogalerie mit Aufnahmen in allen möglichen Situationen ist jetzt auch bei Flickr zu sehen. Morgen geht’s dann weiter mit einem Pat-Porträt in Textform.


Patrick Rothfuss: „There will be sex“

Patrick Rothfuss: Bibliotheka-Phantastika-Fragen, gestellt von Memesis Virtualis, 14. Mai in Amsterdam

IMG_3557According to an interview with SFFWorld, TNOTW has been rejected by „at least 40-50 agents“. What would you like to tell them now?

(laughs) When the book finally did find an agent, that‘s what my mum wanted to do. She said „we‘re going to take a copy of the contract letter and mail it to all those people who didn‘t want the book“. And it was very nice that she wanted to that. My reaction was to tell her ,no, no, they were just doing their job…‘.

But honestly: I owe those people a lot of thanks because everytime it got rejected I went back and revised it, looked at it more closely. And the end product turned out much better than it would have been otherwise. So thank you!

The current trend in Fantasy seems to favor „grim & gritty“ or mass compatible novels like the „Twilight“ series. Your novel is quite the opposite of both – was it a challenge to write against those literary currents or did you plan that from the beginning?

I was trying to do something different. I was aiming for gritty, for realistic. It had to be a Fantasy world that had money, sewers, disease, as opposed to Tolkien‘s Fantasy which is a little bit cleaner. It‘s still real, just a different type of real. What I wanted to avoid were the things that had gotten stale and the stereotypes. But I wasn‘t specifically avoiding the grimness, though. Parts of the story are pretty grim, I think. There are many grim stories that I read which I couldn‘t really enjoy – they were too dark. So it had to be realistic, but at the same time I wanted it to be entertaining to read. An enjoyable stories with some dark edges.

Recently, quite a few eagerly awaited sequels have been postponed. (Pat chuckles) Would you say that publishers should actively communicate that really good books cannot be „produced“ on an annual basis by the same author?

We do live a society of mass production. If you want a shirt, you go to a store. And if they don‘t have one that fits you feel justifyably angry. Also, everything that is mass-produced is easier to market.

I admit that when I was growing I could always get the next book in the series every year.

And those were…?

The „Dragonlance“ books, Pierce Anthony‘s „Xanth“ novels. But every writer, every book is different. The best plans that a person might have can be obstructed by life. You can rush it, and I now authors who do it themselves or are rushed by their editors. But I think good publishers and editors are very aware of the fact that if you give an author the necessary time to produce a quality book, everyone will be happier in the long run. In the short run, there are some bruised feelings and problems.

The main reason I feel bad about taking so long is because I‘ve made my publisher‘s job harder. And my poor editor! She doesn‘t just get emails from readers, but also from the sales force, from foreign countries. From my film agent, who also wants to read the second book because he knows people who want to read it.

So my editor is a saint. She shelters me from all that.

At the same time publishing is a business, they have to produce a product and have to get books out every month. I really sympathize with them and I hope to be better in the future, now that I‘m more used to be a professional writer.

And was officially announcing TWMF‘s postponement a relief for you?

When I was growing up, there was no internet. There were probably places where you could find out something like that. But I never went to conventions, never was part of fandom. So, a book showed up when it showed up. But when you waited for it, then went to the bookstore and there wasn‘t a new „Dragonlance“ on the shelf, you‘d be disappointed. But it wasn‘t as if you would have expected that.

Now with my book, everybody knew it was coming out. There was even someone who emailed me, saying that it was due on his birthday… It was so awful and so I posted that announcement on my blog…  And, yes, it was a great relief to finally get it out there. I had been planning it for months, actually. Because I was so busy working on the book it took me a week to write the announcement – it went through four drafts! People had a right to know, at the same time I knew some feelings would be hurt.

After the announcement I was so amazed at how gracious people have been. I received something like 400 emails, saying „take your time, we want a good book“. I didn‘t really expect that. Only one of them was saying „you‘re a dick, you suck“. (laughs)

A George R. R. Martin situation.

George Martin is a saint but he did get tetchy at people after a while. But it‘s not nearly as tetchy as I would be if I were him. And you know, people would email me and say we‘re behind you, you‘re not like George Martin. They don‘t realize that he and I are on the same team!

Book one has a stylistic tendency toward All Age. Will you develop your melodic sentence structure into a more adult style as the story moves on to Kvothe‘s adult life?

Absolutely. And I‘m hoping that my readers anticipate this. There is a world of difference between a story about a young boy and a story about a young man. Even though they might have fallen in love with that first book, I can‘t tell that story again.

We enjoy the familiar, it‘s always comfortable. What‘s coming up in „The Wise Man‘s Fear“ is a much different part of Kvothe‘s coming of age. A thirteen, fourteen year old boy isn‘t the same as a sixteen year old boy. Especially in this time period, he is effectively a man, he is forced into situations that are much more adult: There will be more violence, there will be sex.

Sex and High Fantasy seem to exclude each other in general. Won‘t it offend those readers who want it „clean“?

That is actually something I‘m a little bit anxious about. Especially in the US, a lot of High Fantasy readers are strangely prudish about sex. Maybe because we have been living in Tolkien‘s shadow. In his books, there is no money, no sex. Those things are mostly not part of the story. But I‘m telling a different story.
It is a story of a young man growing up – if that doesn‘t have any sex in it, it‘s just not real.

That would be a myth, then, wouldn‘t it?

Yes, it would be too mythic to be believable. Even Siegfried had sex.

Which episodes in book one were most fun to write, which were the toughest ones in that respect?

That‘s a good question… (thinks hard). The toughest ones to write were probably the ones with Denna. She is a very complex character, very difficult to portrait.

On the other side, the most fun ones to write were those with Ary, when she‘s up on the roof. She‘s so sweet and it‘s very easy to write her. There‘s something about where I feel that I got very lucky with her.

There is a part in book two where I would write a scene with her in it, and when later I come back and read it I would almost cry because she is so sweet. It‘s such a nice interaction between her and Kvothe, it‘s fun to write. But Ary isn‘t as big a part of the story as is Denna. Also, Kvothe‘s attachment to her isn‘t as big the one to Denna. Her character is troublesome to write and read because she has a troublesome life – I spent a lot of time managing to convey that in a subtle way.

What about the beginning? Seems like people either love it or hate it.

Yes, one of the hardest parts actually was the beginning. I struggled with that for literally eight years, writing and rewriting it. I‘m really satisfied with how the whole book turns out but it does have the flaw of a slow start. You have several beginnings: The introduction of the Waystone, the one with the troupe, then another one where the scenes keep shifting. That takes a lot of time but people seem to love this slow revelation of the world and the story of this person‘s life. Those who hate it all write the same thing, saying that this is a book where nothing happens. And they are right in a way – no sword fights, no goblin army striking…

I‘ve been struggling with book two in this respect as well. You need to re-introduce the readers to the world and don‘t want to bore by explaining everything again.

Talking with the people from BookSpotCentral you said about the „The Last Unicorn“: „In fact, that novel is probably the reason unicorn stories have become a little cliché. When someone writes something as dazzlingly brilliant as that novel, people want to imitate it. The result is a lot of less-than-brilliant knock-offs. Elves, Dwarves, Goblin army, cursed ring, evil sorcerer. Tolkien did it. It rocked. Let’s move on. Let’s do something new.“ How hard is it for you to avoid such clichés? Did you accidentally slip into cliché sometimes?

I don‘t doubt that there are a few clichés in here, because it‘s something I think about a lot. So there are very few clichés that made it into the book accidentally.

There is a difficult distinction between a cliché, a stereotype and an archetype. A cliché is like a bad photocopy of a photocopy. A stereotype is like an embarrassing piece of war propaganda from old days. But an archetype is different, it‘s like the bone of certain old stories. It‘s the way archetypes are portraited that makes them stereotype or cliché. And that‘s very tricky and difficult to sort out the difference: Is what I‘m doing cliché or archetype? Or a cleverly hidden cliché? Or is it a stereotype I‘m twisting a little bit to make fun of it?

I think about that all the time so I can navigate through them successfully without disappointing the readers.

Do you discuss this brainwork a lot with Sarah (his girlfriend)? How deep is she in that world?

(giggles) Sarah actually is very smart. She is very much inside the world and she has read the series all the way to end. I get a lot of good critical feedback from her. For instance, she doesn‘t approve of some of the sentence structure I use because it‘s not grammatically correct. You see, I speak and write in a lot of sentence fragments, sometimes they are so long that they contain two full sentences.

The other day we were watching Battlestar Galactica and somebody got in trouble, brought up in front of a tribunal. Sarah looked at me and said „There‘s somebody going on the horns. too…. Did I just say that?“ It‘s what they say in the book, when you go in front of the master in the university. That‘s how much she‘s in the world. Happens to me, too.

To Pat‘s Fantasy Hotlist you said that the „tendency to over-explain and over-describe is one of the most common failings in fantasy. It’s an unfortunate piece of Tolkien’s legacy. Don’t get me wrong, Tolkien was a great worldbuilder, but he got a little caught up describing his world at times, at the expense of the overall story.“ Do you have the feeling that „show, don‘t tell“ is becoming sort of boundless?

Again a good question. When I took a creative writing class and kept on repeating this „show, don‘t tell“ I thought, well, shut up. They said it so many times, yet it is true. Sometimes you can even show by telling.

Can you give an example from the book?

In a lot of ways, when Kvothe is telling you something, he is describing something. When is talking about Tarbean, he is telling you about it. While he is telling you, I, as the author, am showing you the city. I‘m showing you Kvothe and, at the same time, I‘m showing you Kvothe‘s opionion of the city at the same time. So, in that piece of telling I‘m showing ypou three things.

Once I started to get my head around that, I realized that all the revelations of a book sort of unfold like a flower where you want to show one thing that implies twenty things. When Sarah and I were in Rome, she was excited about the Collosseum, the Vatican. I got excited about the cobblestones and said: Look, there‘s a cobblestone. It‘s shaped like a tooth so it holds in the ground. It shows there can‘t be any snow in Rome because otherwise it would buckle and upheave the street, it shows this, it shows that. It reveals so much about a culture. Like the way the talk in Rome, or drive in Rome… If you know the right to looking at it, it shows so much about a culture.

If you look deep enough at those fractal details, they spiral out and touch upon so many different aspects of a world. And if you‘re a good writer, it‘s not an issue of seeing it. It‘s an issue of choosing and presenting that detail which shows so much about your world.

On the other hand, of course, there still has to be the story which cannot be neglected. Otherwise you don‘t get things done. And otherwise it‘s slow: ultimately we are all drawn in by the appeal of story. Not plot, not character, not world, but story.

Could it be that you chose to portrait Kvothe as an unreliable narrator because of that or rather because you like to fib a little sometimes?

(laughs) There is a lot of discussion as to whether or not Kvothe is a reliable narrator. It‘s interesting for me to listen to because when I ask people „Do you trust Kvothe?“ they think  a little and say „Well, mostly“. The fact that they have to stop and think about it shows that they trust him. If they didn‘t trust him they wouldn‘t have to stop and think about their answer, they would know right away.

We know that Kvothe is clever, that he is a liar and that he can manipulate people. But I think we know that he is good person and that he is good to us. He ends up being a liar, but he is our liar.

There will be more along that vein because this is a story about stories, the truth behind them. Expect more revelations and discussion about that in the next two books.

Which minor character is your favorite? And is the eternal student Manet alluding to your own extended and various studies?

(laughs again) A friend of mine read the book and said I was so much like Kvothe. Then I told her I‘m like Eludin, and she admitted that. So I told her that I‘m really like Manet and she saw that, too…

To assume that Manet is just there to represent a piece of me might lead people in the wrong direction. Truth is, however, left to my own devices I would still be going to college, taking every class that I could. And Manet is like that, so the fact that I know where he is coming from helps me describe him in a realistic way.

Actually, the way that Manet looks is the way that I look sometimes. Kind of disheveled and rumpled, you know.

Obviously, you have many interests: To BookSpotCentral you said that you have taken a class on Medieval drama and that it has helped shape the idea of a theater troupe in TNOTW. How much have those dramas influenced your writing, overall? Which of their themes do you find in the novel?

Oh, themes… To tell you the truth: I‘ve never ever thought about themes when writing this book. It just doesn‘t occur to me to think in those terms.

Regarding the world of the Four Corners: First off, it‘s not medieval. You have free travel, incredible trade, it‘s much more like our Renaissance. Yet historically and culture-wise, you  still have to realize that my world is different.

In a world without any means of modern communication, information spreads by word of mouth, by travelling performers. And if one of them comes into to town, that is the best thing! New songs, new stories, news, everything. They wear bright colors, speak foreign languages, they‘ve been everywhere. Yet, they were on the lowest step of the social ladder.

Imagine you were living in the Middle Ages or Renaissance. Could you think of a playwright „Sir Patrick“? Or would you rather live here and now?

I might have been a playwright but it was very hard getting published back then and you probably weren‘t very well off. Sometimes I get a little nostalgic but I do like the her and now. Clean water and antibiotics do have certain advantages. Cheap books, too.

Thanks for that, Pat, now let’s move on to multimedia…

Nicht verpassen: Morgen an dieser Stelle verneigt sich Patrick Rothfuss vor seinen deutschsprachigen Fans und verspricht seinen Besuch so bald wie möglich.

Frühlingsbücher 6: Chloe Healy, TOR UK

Der letzte Beitrag in Sachen phantastischer Frühjahrsliteratur kommt von Chloe Healy, Sprecherin von TOR UK:

city-and-the-city-fc„Spring 2009 is a hugely exciting time for Tor UK. The team here is relatively new; Editorial, Marketing and Publicity changed hands in 2008. We’ve brought lots of new energy and ideas to the table and plans are coming to fruition. We’ve just announced a partnership with one of the leading UK SF magazines, SciFiNow, to find the next Tor author. We’ll be asking UK-based readers to submit a full synopsis and the first three chapters of their Science Fiction or Fantasy novel and the judging panel will announce the winner of a publishing contract with Tor in November.

In other news, six Tor authors were dominating the literature events programme at this year’s Sci-Fi-London festival (29 April – 4 May). China Miéville, Tony Ballantyne, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Liz Williams, Mark Charan Newton and Charles Stross all have been discussing their latest works alongside SF luminaries Stephen Hunt, Joe Abercrombie, Nick Harkaway and Stephen Deas. Look out for video footage of the events on and

We’re also celebrating John Scalzi’s Hugo award nomination for Zoe’s Tale and the acquisition of three more books in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s brilliant ‘Shadows of the Apt’ series.


Spring publishing highlights include the much anticipated new novel from China Miéville, The City & The City (May 2009). It’s a bold new direction for China; a speculative fantasy novel within the structure of a police procedural crime mystery. Early review coverage deems it ‘head and shoulders above most of its peers in the genre‘. It will doubtless be one of the very best speculative fiction titles of 2009’ Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist.

June sees the publication of a stunning debut, Nights of Villjamur, from a promising name to watch in British fantasy: Mark Charan Newton. And in July we’ll be celebrating a new novel from Alan Campbell, God of Clocks, volume three of the Deepgate Codex.

Further treats to look forward to later in the year include new novels from Adrian Tchaikovsky, Neal Asher and Gary Gibson. You can keep up to date with goings in Spring and beyond at“

Frühlingsbücher 5: Marc Gascoigne, Angry Robot Books

Heute schreibt Marc Gascoigne, Publishing Director bei Angry Robot, dem neuen HarperCollins-Ableger, über das erste Programm des jungen Verlages:

greyred_on_black_10cm_72dp„As Spring rapidly threatens to turn into Summer, a pesky voice in the Angry Robot office keeps counting down just how long it is till we launch. The voice belongs to Lee Harris, AR’s inimitable assistant editor, and today he said the terrifying words, „Nine weeks!“ In that short time, our first titles will hit the stores in the UK (September in the US) and our mission to create a new imprint devoted to best in SF, F and WTF?! will be unveiled. Which means that, after months of passionate discussion and sinister plotting, we can unveil these beauties to the world at last:

MoxylandLauren Beukes
One of the premises behind Angry Robot is that we want to find books for what, for want of a better phrase, we’re calling „Post-YA“ readers. This near-future thriller is very much
in the mould of recent books by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross. It features a bunch of digital native young folks who don’t realise how much their lives depend upon being connected – to credit, communications, personal ID – until they find themselves disconnected. Very smart writing from a new South African writer who’s now spending her free time in refugee camps researching her next AR novel, about a shaman who will arise a few years from now to promise freedom to the stateless.

slights-72dpi-actual-187x300SlightsKaaron Warren
Everyone asks the question: Kaaron, you look like a perfectly pleasant mother and wife, so how the hell do you come out with these incredibly disturbing tales of everyday terror? We don’t know either, but we’re delighted and amazed that she does. From her temporary home in Fiji, Australian native Kaaron’s been attracting attention and awards in equal measure for her short fiction, but the incredible power of her writing in her debut novel is almost overwhelming. Using the now-familiar structure of a „misery memoir“, she explores life after death, the violence of grief and just what you’re meant to do when you realise that not only was your father a serial killer, you might be turning into one as well. The atmosphere of isolation and life out of kilter, of the rituals that her heroine Stevie creates to try to make sense of her life, has only one comparison point, that of The Wasp Factory. I think this book is more than worthy of standing next to that landmark. And dare I add, it’s just the first of three from Kaaron that we’re publishing.

Kell’s LegendAndy Remic
We’re releasing two books a month from our launch in July, so there are already close on a dozen Angry Robot babies I should be boosting to you here, but press me for just one more, and it’s got to be this explosive fantasy. Andy Remic has a reputation as the hardman of military SF thrillers, but when I discovered his first love was the epic heroic fantasy of David Gemmell it was obvious we had to help him explore that side of his writing further. Kell, the eponymous protagonist, is a fabulous creation, far from the hero he’s asked to be. And the bad guys? Let’s just say two words: clockwork vampires. Immense stuff, with great characters and incredible battle scenes. A fantasy trilogy with everything turned up to 11.

That’s just a taster of what’s wearing us out right now. But damn, this is such fun, and to be honest we keep chuckling maniacally as we contemplate all the reactions we’re going to get when our range hits the streets. If you’re interested, see for more. Must dash now. Got more nefarious plots to hatch.“

Frühlingsbücher 4: Philip Palmer

Memesis Virtualis today proudly presents:

Three books, by Philip Palmer

philip-palmer-author-of-debatable-space„Three strange worlds that have enchanted me recently are:  the eerie haunted Duma Key, in Florida; the murder-torn Jewish enclave of Alaska; and the far-future worlds of the Universe where humans once upon a time vanquished the Stargazer alien.

There are huge distances between these worlds, in terms of time, and place, and genre. That for me is one of the joys of reading; to enter a parallel universe conjured up in an author’s fevered mind.

The world of Duma Key, by Stephen King, is on the face of it, a real world. It’s a fictional location, but modelled on real places on Florida’s west coast. And the novel tells the story of a bluecollar millionaire Edgar Freemantle, who retires to Duma Key after an accident that has cost him an arm. But whilst there, Edgar is haunted by noises, and visions, a phantom ship, and some very scary ghosts. It’s a chilling novel with one foot in the world, one foot in nightmare, and one phantom fist in the reader’s face. King is a writer who is master of the thrilling evocation of people and place and period, and this 2008 bestseller shows no slackening of his storytelling skills.

And the book contains a shocking, thoughtful, painfully candid portrait of a man maimed in a vehicle accident – in a clear echo of King’s own experiences after a terrible car crash that left him seriously injured. From this shard of truth – a universe of mad imagining is created.

Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union is also astonishingly evocative. It conjures up the bizarre world of Jewish Alaska, where Yiddish is a second language and for many a first language,  and where shiksas and goyims are rare, and mensches do what mensches have to do. It is an uncanny, confident recreation of a world that never was, but which feels more real than reality.

In one parallel universe – ours! –  the Jews after World War II settled in Palestine, with sobering and long-lasting consequences for the Arab denizens. But in this different parallel universe, the Jews settled in Alaska – this was a real historical possibility, it just never happened – and although the Palestinians were thus spared a world of grief, these Jews of Alaska find that anti-Semitism will always deny them a homeland.

This bizarre, rich, funny, crazy novel is a rather good detective story; and a wonderful rich novel; and a truly great piece of alternative-history writing. I found myself inwardly raging,  ‘This is what so easily could have happened.’ And so the book packs a political punch, but  you have to think and mull a little before the punch lands.

In exhilarating contrast to this mainstream-novel-with-an-SF-conceit, Peter F. Hamilton’s The Dreaming Void is science fiction at its most science-fictiony. It’s a grand space opera, with amazing technology, ultradrive spaceships, post-life human beings living like angels in a computer hard drive, and a vast cast of characters. Hamilton nonchalantly picks up the strands of the story he concluded in his epic Commonwealth saga (Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained) and starts all over again with a brand new tale. Paula Myo features as a character! The Stargazer wars are referenced lovingly. And many loose story-ends are carefully tied up, with the true obsessive’s attention to detail.

And this new story takes us into a world where psychic dreamers are leading their people into a black hole (or is it a trans-dimensional reality?) called the Void – even though this may spell the end of the Universe. This is not a synopsis, it’s just a nod in the direction of the story. But it seems to me that Hamilton, one of the finest and cleverest writers in modern SF, does something magnificent here. He interweaves a host of rich and engrossing stories into a dense tapestry of tale that is closer to fantasy than science fiction in its tone and feel. And yet his mastery of SF concepts and far future technology is exhilarating, and persuasive.

Hamilton’s novel  – the first in a trilogy that will surely make his previous vast epics look like footnotes – blazes a brave trail in modern SFF. It is what I like to call ‘ampersand’ fiction – not SF/F but SF & F.  And his bold concepts, like the Silfen (able to walk between worlds) and the Void, and the Dreamer, and his wonderful evocation of the Void world where telepathy and ‘third hands’ are a matter of course, make his novel into a rich blend of myth, yarn, and rattling good tale.

I hope and pray the story’s eventual third book conclusion is as perfect and heart-stopping as the final page of this, Hamilton’s first in the epic series.“

Frühlingsbücher 3: John DeNardo

n1275050202_84481Heute: John DeNardo, in seinen eigenen Worten „…one of the rabid cage-monkeys at SF Signal, a group blog that covers science fiction (and sometimes fantasy and horror) in all formats.  It’s a one-stop site for seeing what’s going on around the sf blogosphere, offering daily tidbits, book reviews, and a regular Mind Meld interview feature that provides a cross-section of viewpoints on a variety of genre-related topics.“

Seine Favoriten heißen:

The Repossession Mambo by Eric Garcia
It takes place in a bleak future where artificial organs are prohibitively expensive and people take out huge loans to pay for them. When they miss a payment, the Credit Union sends a Bio-repo Man after you to take back the merchandise, even it means leaving you with your insides spilling out. The narrator of the story is a Bio-repo Man, himself on the run.  Garcia’s stylish and fast-moving prose will hook you from the first page and take you for a ride.

The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko
The basis for this novel was a Hugo- and Nebula-nominated novella and the novel is equally enjoyable. It’s a compelling treatment of the Many Worlds theory in which the protagonist, John Rayburn, meets the John Rayburn from another universe. The story explores how one might profit from such technology. Melko’s ideas are the stuff of wonder and there’s never a moment where you don’t want to find out what happens next.

Three Unbroken by Chris Roberson
Roberson’s Celestial Empire stories and novels (of which this is the latest) are not to be missed. It posits an alternate future history in which Imperial China has become a superpower and wages war with their frequent enemy, the Mexic Dominion. Here, the battle is taken to the Red Planet (Mars) and follows three separate players of the Dragon Throne. Roberson’s story never once falters as it serves up a tasty combination of world building, military strategy and characterization.“

Frühlingsbücher 2: Jim C. Hines

jimUS-Autor Jim C. Hines (Die Goblins) hat in diesem Frühjahr drei sehr unterschiedliche Favoriten:

Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan. Set in the late 16th century, Midnight Never Come tells the tale of Elizabeth the Virgin Queen and Invidiana, faerie ruler of the Onyx Court below London. This is a book that invites you to slow down and savor, with rich worldbuilding and a story you can truly immerse yourself in.

Sly Mongoose by Tobias Buckell. Space zombies. Floating cities. And a kick-ass soldier leaping out of a spaceship and riding a heatshield down to the planet below, without a parachute. This is Buckell’s third novel, and his best so far. Plenty of action, fascinating cultures, and tension that holds you until the very last page then leaves you wanting more.

WebMage by Kelly McCullough. This is an older book I only recently picked up. It’s not deep, life-changing literature, but I loved it … not just because the main character, Ravirn, has a magical webgoblin named Melchior who changes into a laptop. (Though goblins do make everything better.) The book blends Greek mythology and modern-day computer hacking for a shamelessly fun ride.“

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