At Last, the Night Has a Hero

Midian Unmade Edited by Joseph Nassise and Del Howison
Written by Joseph Nassise

“At last, the night has a hero.” That was the subtitle given to the short novel, “Cabal,” by horror fantasist Clive Barker when it was first published in 1988 and I have to admit, it’s pretty catchy. Rather cool, too, in some indefinable way. But then again, the whole book is like that.

“Cabal” was first published in 1988, as part of the sixth and final installment in Barker’s Books of Blood series in the United States and as a stand-alone edition in the United Kingdom. Two years later the story was adapted into the film, Nightbreed, written and directed by Clive himself. I discovered both the book and the film about the same time and began my love affair with the Tribes of the Moon.

The hero in question is a young man by the name of Aaron Boone. When the reader first meets him in the opening scenes of “Cabal,” he is being treated by a psychiatrist named Decker for an unspecified mental disorder. To Boone’s surprise and horror, he soon learns, through Decker, that he is responsible for the savage murders of eleven people. This is too much for him to bear and Boone tries to kill himself. When that simple act fails, he attempts to escape his fate by fleeing to the legendary city of Midian, the place “where the monsters dwell” in the wilds of Canada, a place he has been regularly seeing in his dreams for some time.

Boone sees himself as a monster, and he hopes to find sanctuary in Midian, among those he considers his own kind. What he doesn’t realize is that the so-called monsters don’t consider themselves to be monsters at all. In fact, they reserve that label for humanity, for what else would they call those who have hounded, hunted, and slaughtered them through the centuries?

This juxtaposition is part and parcel of what makes “Cabal” so intriguing. In Barker’s world there is beauty in the monstrous. There is darkness in the light. There is horror in the normal and the familiar. And he shows that to us without hesitation or subterfuge. Characters that are supposed to represent the good of society—the doctor, the cop, the priest—are all figures of darkness. The doctor, Decker, is the actual killer. His plan to escape the swift hand of justice by pinning the killings on Boone falls apart when the younger man flees. The officer of the law whom Decker enlists to track down Boone is an egomaniac concerned only with his own brand of justice. The priest, the supposed moral compass of the authorities, is nothing more than a hypocrite.

Boone, on the other hand, represents the opposite path. His conversion from human to Nightbreed to the savior known as Cabal takes him on a journey from the human to the monstrous. Far from being a figure of evil, however, he becomes the savior of the Tribes of the Moon, tasked with rebuilding the city of Midian and saving the breed from destruction by those with far less humanity than they.

The stories in Midian Unmade: Tales of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed are all extensions of this theme. Co-editor Del Howison and I sought to pick up where Clive left off, to select stories that not only illustrated what happened to the Nightbreed after the destruction of their beloved city of Midian, but also asked the reader to look deeper, to see beyond the surface, and to handle their expectations with care.

In “Cabal,” the night had a hero and his name was Boone. In Midian Unmade: Tales of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, the night has many heroes and they are never what you expect them to be.

Buy Midian Unmade today:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

Follow Joseph Nassise on Twitter at @Jnassise, on Facebook, or visit him online.

A Brief History of the Notorious Tricksters Darger and Surplus

Chasing the Phoenix by Michael Swanwick
Written by Michael Swanwick

Darger and Surplus, post-utopian con men extraordinaire, were born in a moment of idle whimsy. I had the desire to write about a talking dog. So I stood one up on two legs and dressed him as if he had just stepped out of a Mother Goose illustration—with lace at his wrists and a silver knobbed cane in one paw. Because he needed a place to be, I put him on the docks of a future London. Because he needed somebody to talk to, I introduced Aubrey Darger, a nondescript man unencumbered with honesty.

At which point, the two rogues seized control of what was to become “The Dog Said Bow-Wow” and ran off with it, leaving me trotting in their wake, scribbling furiously and crying, “Wait! Sirs? Wait for me!”

At the end of their first adventure, Darger and Surplus accidentally set fire to London. This was their original sin, an act whose consequences would follow them forever. Over the next several stories (there will be more) they bounced about a de-industrialized but biologically sophisticated Europe, always setting out for one destination and arriving somewhere else. The boys being nothing if not distractible. In Prague, they unleashed a plague of golems. In Germany, Darger was eaten by a dragon. Always, they were headed for Moscow, where they planned to run the greatest scam of their careers.

Prior to discovering Sir Blackthorpe Ravenscairn de Plus Precieux (Surplus’s full name), and his mentor, I had never written series characters. I didn’t write stories whose protagonists would want to return for more. Darger and Surplus, however, were oblivious. They believed that they were good people having an excellent time. In both respects, they were completely deluded. But as long as they were having fun, so was I.

One day, casting about for what to write next, I realized that the time had come for my heroes to finally reach Russia. Recognizing that such a long-anticipated event would require a full novel to chronicle, I wrote Dancing With Bears. I will not say whether or not Moscow, a city I love, suffered the same fate as London.

By this time, it was clear to me, though not to them, that the rascals were on an inadvertent voyage around the world. So, at the end of their Russian adventure, it only made sense that they should continue eastward.

Thus, in Chasing the Phoenix, their newest adventure, the melancholic Darger and the dog of action Surplus find themselves conquering China. Literally, I mean. With armies and such.

Beyond the last page of that novel, there are more discoveries to come. Surplus has to return to the Demesne of Western Vermont to confront his origins. He was, after all, a product of the gene-mills of Winooski, and someone there had reasons for creating him. Darger has to return to the slums of Mayfair to learn the fate of his own mentor, and to see what has become of London during his long absence.

Here I will share with you a secret: Darger and Surplus are not the random factors that they would seem to be. They are catalysts. Their adventures are, in ways both large and small, changing the world. Should they ever reach London—and if they do, this will not be their final adventure, but it will be the last one I record—they will find the world transformed. The age they were born into, with all its glories and limitations, will be over.

They will see the new age in its infancy. But they will never know it was their doing.

Preorder Chasing the Phoenix today:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

Follow Michael Swanwick on Twitter at @MichaelSwanwick, or visit him online.

Sneak Peek: The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu

The Dark Forest by Cixin LiuRead the first chapter of The Dark Forest, the much-anticipated sequel to The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, coming out on August 11th.

Chapter One: Year 3, Crisis Era

Distance of the Trisolaran Fleet from the Solar System: 4.21 light-years

It looks so old.…

This was Wu Yue’s first thought as he faced Tang, the massive ship under construction in front of him, bathed in the flickering of electric arcs. Of course, this impression was simply the result of countless inconsequential smudges on the manganese steel plates of the ship’s nearly completed body, left behind by the advanced gas-shield welding used on the hull. He tried unsuccessfully to imagine how sturdy and new Tang would look with a fresh coat of gray paint.

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On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events in August

The End of All Things by John ScalziChasing the Phoenix by Michael SwanwickHover by Anne A. Wilson

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in August! Once a month, we’re collecting info about all of our upcoming author events. Check and see who’ll be coming to a city near you:

Mindee Arnett, The Nightmare Charade

Tuesday, August 11
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Cincinnati, OH
7:00 PM

Wednesday, August 12
Books & Co
Beavercreek, OH
7:00 PM

Carrie Bebris, The Suspicion at Sanditon

Thursday, August 6
Murder by the Book
Houston, TX
6:30 PM

Saturday, August 8
Ann Arbor District Library
Also with Susanna Calkins, Anna Lee Huber, and Sam Thomas, hosted by Aunt Agatha’s.
Ann Arbor, MI
2:00 PM

Monday, August 17
Mystery One Bookshop
Milwaukee, WI
7:00 PM

Wednesday, August 19
Mystery to Me Books
Madison, WI
7:00 PM

R. S. Belcher, Nightwise

Saturday, August 22
Barnes & Noble
Roanoke, VA
1:00 PM

W. Bruce Cameron, The Dog Master

Thursday, August 20
Roscommon Area District Library
Books provided by Saturn Booksellers
Roscommon, MI
4:30 PM

Saturday, August 22
Horizon Books
Traverse City, MI
10:00 AM

Cathy Clamp, Forbidden

Saturday, August 22
Hastings Entertainment
Stephenville, TX
12:00 PM

Saturday, August 29
Barnes & Noble
Harker Heights, TX
12:00 PM

Tom Doyle, The Left-Hand Way

Saturday, August 8
Barnes & Noble
Hackensack, NJ
7:00 PM

Wednesday, August 26
Petworth Neighborhood Library
Washington, DC
7:00 PM

Carolyn Ives Gilman, Dark Orbit

Thursday, August 6
Politics and Prose
Washington, D.C.
7:00 PM

Saturday, August 8
Dreamhaven Books
Minneapolis, MN
2:00 PM

Neal Griffin, Benefit of the Doubt

Wednesday, August 26
The Reader’s Loft
Green Bay, WI
7:00 PM

Friday, August 28
Mystery to Me Books
Madison, WI
7:00 PM

Del Howison and Joseph Nassise, Midian Unmade

Saturday, August 1
Dark Delicacies
Burbank, CA
2:00 PM

Sunday, August 2
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego, CA
2:00 PM

Mary Pat Kelly, Of Irish Blood

Friday, August 14
Boswell Book Company
An Irish Fest Preview!
Milwaukee, WI
2:00 PM

Jane Lindskold, Artemis Invaded

Saturday, August 22
Barnes & Noble
With Melinda Snodgrass and Victor Milán
Las Cruces, NM
1:00 PM

Victor Milán, The Dinosaur Lords

Monday, August 3
Jean Cocteau Cinema
Santa Fe, NM
7:00 PM

Saturday, August 8
Page One Bookstore
With Melinda Snodgrass
Albuquerque, NM
4:00 PM

Wednesday, August 12
Mysterious Galaxy
With Melinda Snodgrass
San Diego, CA
7:30 PM

Saturday, August 22
Barnes & Noble
With Melinda Snodgrass and Jane Lindskold
Las Cruces, NM
1:00 PM

Tim Pratt, Pathfinder Tales: Liar’s Island

Tuesday, August 25
Copperfield’s Books
In conversation with Ross Lockhart
Petaluma, CA
7:00 PM

John Scalzi, The End of All Things

Tuesday, August 11
Booksellers at Laurelwood
Memphis, TN
6:30 PM

Wednesday, August 12
Quail Ridge Books and Music
Raleigh, NC
7:00 PM

Thursday, August 13
Avid Bookshop
Athens, GA
6:30 PM

Friday, August 14
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Lexington, KY
7:00 PM

Saturday, August 15
Barnes & Noble
Westlake, OH
2:00 PM

Sunday, August 16
Schuler Books and Music
Lansing, MI
4:00 PM

Monday, August 17
Madison Public Library
Books provided by A Room of One’s Own
Madison, WI
7:00 PM

Tuesday, August 18
Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
Beaverton, OR
7:00 PM

Wednesday, August 19
Seattle Public Library
Books provided by Elliott Bay Books
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM

Thursday, August 20
Boise Public Library
Books provided by Rediscovered Books
Boise, ID
7:00 PM

Sunday, August 23
Midtown Arts Center
Books provided by Old Firehouse Books
Fort Collins, CO
3:00 PM

Monday, August 24
Borderlands Cafe
San Francisco, CA
12:00 PM

Tuesday, August 25
The Last Bookstore
Los Angeles, CA
7:30 PM

Wednesday, August 26
Poisoned Pen
Scottsdale, AZ
7:00 PM

Melinda Snodgrass, The Edge of Dawn

Saturday, August 8
Page One Bookstore
With Victor Milán
Albuquerque, NM
4:00 PM

Wednesday, August 12
Mysterious Galaxy
With Victor Milán
San Diego, CA
7:30 PM

Saturday, August 22
Barnes & Noble
With Victor Milán and Jane Lindskold
Las Cruces, NM
1:00 PM

Michael Swanwick, Chasing the Phoenix

Tuesday, August 11
Main Point Books
Bryn Mawr, PA
7:00 PM

Saturday, August 15
Quail Ridge Books
Raleigh, NC
7:00 PM

Sunday, August 16
Oak City Comic Show
North Raleigh Hilton
Wake Forest Road
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Monday, August 17
Flyleaf Books
Chapel Hill, NC
7:00 PM

Tuesday, August 18
Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe
Asheville, NC
7:00 PM

David Thurlo, Looking Through Darkness

Saturday, August 1
Bloomfield City Public Library
Bloomfield, NM
7:00 PM

Carrie Vaughn, Kitty Saves the World

Wednesday, August 5
Tattered Cover
East Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO
7:00 PM

Jo Walton, The Philosopher Kings

Sunday, August 9
Borderlands Books
San Francisco, CA
3:00 PM

Monday, August 17
Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
Beaverton, OR
7:00 PM

Anne A. Wilson, Hover

Wednesday, August 12
RJ Julia Booksellers
Madison, CT
7:00 PM

Saturday, August 15
Midshipman Store
Annapolis, MD
10:00 AM

Sunday, August 16
Fountain Bookstore
Richmond, VA
2:00 PM

Monday, August 31
Warwick’s Books
San Diego, CA
7:00 PM

Goodreads Sweepstakes: Ungodly by Kendare Blake

Ungodly by Kendare BlakeAbout Ungodly: As ancient immortals are left reeling, a modern Athena and Hermes search the world for answers in Ungodly, the final Goddess War novel by Kendare Blake, the acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood.

For the Goddess of Wisdom, what Athena didn’t know could fill a book. That’s what Ares said.

So she was wrong about some things. So the assault on Olympus left them beaten and scattered and possibly dead. So they have to fight the Fates themselves, who, it turns out, are the source of the gods’ illness. And sure, Athena is stuck in the underworld, holding the body of the only hero she has ever loved.

But Hermes is still topside, trying to power up Andie and Henry before he runs out of time and dies, or the Fates arrive to eat their faces.

And Cassandra is up there somewhere too. On a quest for death. With the god of death.

Just because things haven’t gone exactly according to plan, it doesn’t mean they’ve lost. They’ve only mostly lost. And there’s a big difference.

Enter for a chance to win here!

(Ends August 26)

Also, don’t forget to check out our other sweepstakes!

Sneak Peek: Dragon Heart by Cecelia Holland

Dragon Heart by Cecelia HollandWhere the Cape of the Winds juts into the endless sea, there is Castle Ocean, and therein dwells the royal family that has ruled it from time immemorial. But there is an Empire growing in the east, and its forces have reached the castle. So begins a saga of violence, destruction, and death, of love and monsters, human and otherwise.

In Dragon Heart, Cecelia Holland, America’s most distinguished historical novelist steps fully into the realm of fantasy and makes it her own. We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

Chapter One

Jeon could hear his sister screaming all the way from the other end of the cloister, and beside him the abbot was fumbling with a set of keys. Jeon wheeled on him.

“You’ve locked her up? How dare you lock her up!” He strode down the walkway toward the heavy door, which Tirza’s wails pierced like knives through the wood.

“My lord, she is uncontrollable; she screams during prayers, she hits us—”

“She is a Princess of Castle Ocean.” He tore the key from the monk’s hand and thrust it into the lock. “You’ll suffer for this, Abbot.”

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Hard Knocks eBook is Now on Sale for $2.99

Hard Knocks by Howie CarrThe ebook for Hard Knocks by Howie Carr is now on sale for $2.99!*

About Hard Knocks: Following the lead of Boston crime-thriller writers like Dennis Lehane and Chuck Hogan, New York Times bestselling author and radio sensation Howie Carr delivers Hard Knocks—a hard-hitting tale of survival, betrayal, deceit, and murder…in other words, a fictional odyssey through the last thirty years of crime in Boston.

Jack Reilly, a dodgy ex-Boston cop, is trying to make ends meet as a private investigator. When a client is killed, execution style, Reilly finds himself in a whole world of pain. Someone wants him dead—but why? To find out, Reilly must weed through thirty years of duplicity, corruption, and killing…a web of politicians dirtier than mobsters and criminals nobler than senators. He needs to uncover the dangerous truth behind the bribery, blood, and backdoor deals that define the highest levels of both organized crime and State House politics—before it’s too late.

Buy Hard Knocks today: B&N Nook | eBooks.com | Google Play | iBooks | Kindle | Kobo

*sale ends September 4th

The Planet Thieves eBook is Now on Sale for $2.99

The Planet Thieves by Dan KrokosThe ebook for The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos is now on sale for $2.99!*

About The Planet ThievesThe Planet Thieves is the first thrilling installment of a new middle-grade series by Dan Krokos.

Two weeks ago, thirteen-year-old Mason Stark and seventeen of his fellow cadets from the Academy for Earth Space Command boarded the SS Egypt. The trip was supposed to be a short routine voyage to log their required spacetime for summer quarter.

But routine goes out the airlock when they’re attacked by the Tremist, an alien race who have been at war with humanity for the last sixty years.

With the captain and crew dead, injured, or taken prisoner, Mason and the cadets are all that’s left to warn the ESC. And soon they find out exactly why the Tremist chose this ship to attack: the Egypt is carrying a weapon that could change the war forever.

Now Mason will have to lead the cadets in a daring assault to take back the ship, rescue the survivors, and recover the weapon. Before there isn’t a war left to fight.

Buy The Planet Thieves today: B&N Nook | eBooks.com | Google Play | iBooks | Kindle | Kobo

*sale ends September 4th

Goodreads Sweepstakes: Quicksand by Carolyn Baugh

Quicksand by Carolyn BaughAbout Quicksand: Quicksand is the beginning of an engrossing new suspense series featuring Philadelphia policewoman Nora Khalil by Carolyn Baugh, acclaimed author of The View From Garden City.

Officer Nora Khalil is used to navigating different terrains. As part of a joint task force set up by the Philadelphia Police Department, the FBI, and the local sheriff’s offices, she works to keep Philly’s mean streets safe from gang violence, while trying to honor the expectations of her traditional Egyptian-American family. She can hold her own against hardened murderers and rapists, and her years as a competitive runner ensure that no suspect ever escapes on foot.

Nora tries to keep her professional and personal lives separate, but when a mutilated body is discovered in a tough section of town, Nora must rely on both her police training and her cultural background to find out whether this is another gang-related killing or the grisly evidence of something even darker and more disturbing.

Enter for a chance to win here!

(Ends August 25)

Also, don’t forget to check out our other sweepstakes!

Sneak Peek: The End of All Things by John Scalzi

theendofallthingsHugo-award winning author John Scalzi returns to his best-selling Old Man’s War universe with The End of All Things, the direct sequel to 2013’s The Human Division!

Part One

So, I’m supposed to tell you how I became a brain in a box.

Huh. Well, that starts off a little dark, doesn’t it.

Also, I don’t really know, technically, how they did it to me. It’s not like once I woke up as a disembodied brain they showed me an informational video about how they did it, just in case I was curious. Here’s the part where we snipped off all the blood vessels and peripheral nerves, the video would say. Here’s how we removed the skull and spinal column, and here’s how we stuffed your brain full of nifty little sensors to track your thoughts. Pay attention, there’s a test later.

Jesus, I’m really bad at this.

I’m not a writer or an orator. I’m not a storyteller. I’m a spaceship pilot, so let me just get that right out there. The Colonial Union asked me to tell what happened to me, because they think that information will be useful to them. Fine, I’ll do it, happy to help. But it’s not going to be, you know, classic literature. It’s going to skip around. I’m going to get lost telling the story and come back to points and then get lost again. I’m doing this off the top of my head.

Well, metaphorically. I don’t have a head anymore. Pretty sure they tossed my head into an incinerator or something.

See what I mean?

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