Starred Review: Afterparty by Daryl Gregory

Afterparty by Daryl Gregory“International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA) William L. Crawford Fantasy Award winner Gregory (Pandemonium; Raising Stony Mayhall) takes on the pharmaceutical industry, drug dealers, religion, and the intricacies of how our brains work. The way the author combines the energy of a thriller with the ideas of sf is reminiscent of William Gibson’s best one-step-into-the-future novels…”

Daryl Gregory’s Afterparty got a starred review in Library Journal!

Here’s the full review, from the April 15 issue:

In the near future, designer drugs can be produced by anyone with a chemjet printer. As the lead developer of a drug called Numinous, Lyda Rose knows the dangers of these new pharmaceuticals firsthand. Numinous was supposed to cure schizophrenia but instead caused uncontrollable visions taking the form of a very real, very personal manifestation of God. The hallucinations meant the drug was too dangerous to develop and also put Lyda in a mental hospital. When a girl on the ward with Lyda shows every sign of having taken Numinous, Lyda and her paranoid and usefully dangerous lover Olivia break out of the hospital to find and stop the other creators of the drugs. The tension grows as they get closer to the secret of who is producing Numinous, with the stakes made more real because of the amazing characters of Lyda and Olivia. VERDICT International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA) William L. Crawford Fantasy Award winner Gregory (Pandemonium; Raising Stony Mayhall) takes on the pharmaceutical industry, drug dealers, religion, and the intricacies of how our brains work. The way the author combines the energy of a thriller with the ideas of sf is reminiscent of William Gibson’s best one-step-into-the-future novels like Pattern Recognition.

Afterparty will be published on April 22.

Goodreads Sweepstakes: Flight of the Golden Harpy by Susan Klaus

Flight of the Golden Harpy by Susan Klaus About Flight of the Golden Harpy: Kari, a young woman, returns to the jungle planet of Dora after ten years in Earth’s schools determined to unravel the mysteries surrounding the harpies, a feral species with the appearance half-bird, half-human. The human colonists believe harpies are dangerous animals, which are known to steal women. The creatures are hunted like wild game, their wings considered rare trophies. But Kari distrusts these rumors. When she was attacked by a monster in the jungle as a child, a male harpy with rare golden coloring rescued her. Constant hunting by men has driven the harpies to the brink of extinction. Is Kari’s savior, the elegant golden harpy, is still alive? If so, how long can he and his flock survive the ravages of mankind? Suan Klaus’s Flight of the Golden Harpy is an imaginative and romantic fantasy novel that questions what it means to be human.

Enter for a chance to win here!

(Ends May 16th)

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Kevin J. Anderson at FanX

Kevin J. Anderson

Kevin J. Anderson, co-author of Mentats of Dune, will be at this year’s FanX!

Check out his schedule of panels:

Friday, April 17

  • 11:00 AM Panel: The Writers of Star Wars, Room 250A
    Featured: Kevin J. Anderson, David Wolverton, Michael A. Stackpole, and Bryan Young
  • 7:00 PM Panel: Steampunk for the Ages, Room 151A
    Featured: Kevin J. Anderson, James Wymore, Dan Willis, Scott Taylor, and Jennifer McGrew

Saturday, April 18th

  • 1:00 PM Panel: Building My First Lightsaber: From Fanboy to Bestselling Author, Room 151A
    Featured: Kevin J. Anderson

In addition to FanX, Kevin will also be stopping at conventions across the country. Here’s where he’ll be in the upcoming months:

  • Tuesday-Friday, August 29-September 1
    Dragoncon
    Atlanta, GA

Starred Review: Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal

Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal“Combining history, magic and adventure, the book balances emotional depth with buoyant storytelling.”

Mary Robinette Kowal’s Valour and Vanity got a starred review in Kirkus!

Here’s the full review, from the April 1st issue:

Renowned glamourists Lord and Lady Vincent become the victims of an elaborate scam that leaves them in dire straits until they conceive of a daring strategy to strike back.

 

After an extended voyage with her family, Jane and Vincent are anxious to find some time to themselves, traveling to Murano. They have a letter of introduction from the prince regent and hope to work with an artisan to experiment on infusing glamour—magical illusions of sight, sound and light—into glass. On the way, they’re waylaid by pirates, then rescued by a fellow passenger who takes them under his wing in the city. Without papers or money and with Vincent suffering a concussion from the attack, they’re grateful for the gentleman’s help. Once they make progress on their revolutionary glamour process, however, they’re detained by the local police and accused of fraud. Realizing their “friend” is a con man who has disappeared with all their notes and finished work, Jane and Vincent are left broke, in debt and under suspicion: “They had no funds and no friends at all. The only resources they had were the clothes upon their backs, and even those they owed money for.” Unable to find employment, Vincent becomes dispirited, especially when he must depend on the meager salary Jane manages to secure from a nearby convent. Things look up when a chance sighting of one of the crooks enables Vincent and Jane to turn the tables on them: “[S]he could see his mind working and putting together pieces of a plan, as surely as if he was plotting a glamural.” Kowal continues her creative Regency-set Glamourist Histories series with a clever, captivating plot that culminates in a magical heist storyline. Before we get there, though, we are treated to a touching examination of a loving marriage under duress and the connections and collaborations these extraordinary partners must create and reaffirm with each other and those around them in order to thrive.

 

Combining history, magic and adventure, the book balances emotional depth with buoyant storytelling.

Valour and Vanity will be published on April 29th.

Featured Review: The Revolutions by Felix Gilman

The Revolutions by Felix Gilman“Gilman’s descriptive powers are as economical as they are vivid, beautifully capturing the spirit of fin de siècle society and literature without grinding it into pastiche….And each item in Gilman’s grab-bag of wonder comes with symbolic resonance; even the book’s title can be read in multiple ways: Philosophical revolutions, astronomical revolutions, and the obvious political kind all overlap as the book’s intricate assembly of elements click together like clockwork.”

Felix Gilman’s The Revolutions got a featured review in NPR!

Here’s an excerpt from NPR’s post on April 3:

In his previous novels, Felix Gilman presented fantastic, mind-expanding visions of other worlds. His fifth, The Revolutions, sticks a little closer to home — at least at first. For a change, he’s set a book in the real world, albeit a skewed version of it. Gilman reimagines late-19th-century London as a dark and dangerous place; along with all the political, technological, and cultural upheavals of the age, he’s added an insidious dimension to the fashionable occultism that gripped the end of the Victorian Era. Spiritual seekers are determined to explore outer space as well as inner space — only without their bodies leaving their parlors. Call it séance fiction.

For all its heady concepts, The Revolutions launches on a humble note. In London in 1893, a recently unemployed journalist named Arthur Shaw tries his hand at writing detective stories, attempting to pick up where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is about to leave off. It’s one of many allusions to real-world figures that Gilman weaves into the story, including nods to Jack the Ripper, early computer pioneer Charles Babbage, and author Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. But in The Revolutions, the subtle differences between our world and Gilman’s alternate history eventually become striking. The mystical secret societies of London are about to go to war with each other, and Arthur — along with his fiancée Josephine Bradman, a stenographer who records the minutes of one of those societies’ meetings — is drawn into an increasingly dizzying scheme that involves astral projection to other planets. When Josephine participates in a magic ritual to that end, her astral consciousness not only travels beyond Earth, but gets marooned there. Arthur, in no way a magician himself, must find a way to conjure her home — even if it means collaborating with the terrifying occult forces that sent her there.

Click here for the full review.
The Revolutions went on sale on April 1.

The Best Bets for Speculative Fiction from Kirkus Reviews

The April issue of Kirkus Reviews lists 6 Tor titles for Best Bets for Speculative Fiction!

Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear

Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear

What it’s about: Having amassed an army of warriors and teamed with a wizard, an exiled heir to the Great Khan finally stakes his claim to the rule the Khaganate and defeat the evil that threatens all the lands with war.

Why you should read it: The previous books in The Eternal Sky trilogy, Range of Ghosts and Shattered Pillars, were met with wide acclaim and deservedly so. Its depiction of magic, politics and war set amongst diverse cultures makes for great reading.

 Shipstar by Gregory Benford and Larry Niven

Shipstar by Gregory Benford and Larry Niven

What it’s about: Human space exploration is thrown into uncertainty when a massive artifact—an enormous bowl-shaped object that encompasses a star and contains a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths—is found to be headed toward the same system that humans are trying to colonize.

Why you should read it: Two science fiction masters team up for a classic space story filled with sense of wonder? A better question would be: Why wouldn’t you read it?

Transhuman by Ben Bova

Transhuman by Ben Bova

What it’s about: A brilliant cellular biologist named Luke Abramson abducts his granddaughter from the hospital to circumvent the red tape that would allow him to cure her brain tumor with a new experimental enzyme. But the clock is ticking: Abramson has lung cancer and it’s spreading rapidly, despite injecting himself with another experimental enzyme that reverses his aging.

Why you should read it: Bova’s premise is enticing and his books are grounded in realistic science.

 

The Revolutions by Felix Gilman

The Revolutions by Felix Gilman

What it’s about: Set amongst spiritualist and occult societies of 1893 London, a young journalist-turned-accountant fights to save his fiance, who is fighting for her own survival somewhere in the vicinity of Mars.

Why you should read it: This standalone Victorian science fiction story is a throwback to planetary romances of yesteryear where the emphasis is on adventure and fun.

 

Afterparty by Daryl Gregory

Afterparty by Daryl Gregory

What it’s about: Technology meets Big Pharma in a story where anybody with an Internet connection can download recipes and print their own drugs—even if those drugs turn out to be deadly.

Why you should read it: Science fiction excels at asking “What if?” questions and this merging of mind-altering drugs with easily accessible technology is a great platform that does just that.

Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal

Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal

What it’s about: Set in a world where illusionary magic is possible, a couple who fell victim to a scam that cleaned them out of all their money devise a scheme to get it all back. Think: old-fashioned heist with magic.

Why you should read it: Unlike sprawling epic fantasies where the fate of the word is at stake, Mary Robinette Kowal’s quaint Regency stories are more intimate and personal, and thus quite refreshing.

 

Click here for the full list.

Starred Review: The Kraken Project by Douglas Preston

The Kraken Project by Douglas Preston“Whether or not you buy the premise of sentient software roaming the Internet, you won’t be able to deny that this is an exciting story. Preston sells the premise by sheer force of will: his characters are so compelling, his storytelling so persuasive, that we buy it all completely…Bravo.”

Douglas Preston’s The Kraken Project got a starred review in Booklist!

Here’s the full review, from the April 1st issue:

Preston’s latest solo novel (he’s mostly known as one half of the Preston-Child team who write the Special Agent Pendergast series) takes a wildly implausible premise and turns it into a very entertaining thriller. The Kraken Project is a NASA initiative to send a probe to Titan, a large moon of Saturn. Because of the distance involved, real-time control of the probe is impossible, so NASA decides to make the probe autonomous via cutting-edge artificial-intelligence software. But the software, called Dorothy, malfunctions and escapes into the Internet, where it plans a reign of terror that begins with revenge against its creator and will end with the annihilation of humankind itself. Dorothy’s creator goes on the run; Wyman Ford, ex-CIA agent and star of a few previous novels, is tasked by the president to find the woman (who, most everyone suspects, deliberately unleashed Dorothy). Whether or not you buy the premise of sentient software roaming the Internet, you won’t be able to deny that this is an exciting story. Preston sells the premise by sheer force of will: his characters are so compelling, his storytelling so persuasive, that we buy it all completely, at least as long as we’re inside the book. Bravo.

The Kraken Project will be published on May 13th.

New Audiobook Release: Playing With Fire by Renee Graziano

Playing With Fire by Renee GrazianoAbout Playing With FireReign Grazi is no stranger to dangerous men. Her whole life, they’ve been there. Grandfathers, uncles, cousins…she knows the difference between people who made the rules and those who broke them. But she has no idea why someone might want her dead.

Nick Fattelli is handsome, sophisticated, and…an assassin. He doesn’t know who hired him to take out Reign, but after they meet and sparks fly, he vows to protect her. Unless it’s really him they are after…

Thus begins Playing With Fire, a sexy thriller by Renee Graziano, star of VH1′s hit show Mob Wives.

The author knows this lifestyle firsthand: She is the daughter of one of the most famous mobsters of our day, with an ex-husband now in witness protection, and a trail of “connected” boyfriends a mile long.

See upcoming releases.

Starred Review: Afterparty by Daryl Gregory

Afterparty by Daryl Gregory“This taut, brisk, gripping narrative, dazzlingly intercut with flashbacks and sidebars, oozes warmth and wit. A hugely entertaining, surprising and perhaps prophetic package that, without seeming to, raises profound questions about the human mind and the nature of perception.”

Daryl Gregory’s Afterparty got a starred review in Kirkus Reviews!

Here’s the full review, from the March 16th issue:

An eye-popping glimpse of a near future when designer drugs are commonplace, from the author of Raising Stony Mayhall (2011, etc.).

It’s a future where anybody with a chemjet printer and a recipe from the Internet can create designer drugs. In Toronto, biochemists Lyda and her genius wife, Mikala, IT whiz Gil, finance specialist Edo and lab tech Rovil start a company dedicated to developing a drug that would combat schizophrenia. They achieve success with Numinous, but the drawbacks, alas, become apparent too late: It’s addictive, the effects are permanent—and those who take it gain the unshakable conviction that a personal deity accompanies them. Worse, after taking a massive overdose—how this all comes about emerges only gradually—Lyda stabs a now-estranged Mikala to death, or so it appears. Gil takes the blame; Edo goes hopelessly crazy; Rovil seems functional. Declared insane, Lyda’s locked up along with her invisible companion, a guardian angel called Dr. Gloria. While incarcerated, Lyda learns that a drug very much like Numinous has hit the street in the form of a sacrament dispensed by a new church. To prevent an epidemic of psychotic zombies, she must escape, locate the other survivors of the original five and put a stop to it. She’ll need the help of Ollie, a brilliant but drug-ravaged intelligence analyst. Among the obstacles they’ll negotiate are a drug-dealer gang of Afghan women; Native American cigarette smugglers who take great delight in outwitting the U.S. Border Patrol; and Vincent, a psychotic assassin who farms miniature buffalo in his living room.

This taut, brisk, gripping narrative, dazzlingly intercut with flashbacks and sidebars, oozes warmth and wit.

A hugely entertaining, surprising and perhaps prophetic package that, without seeming to, raises profound questions about the human mind and the nature of perception.

Afterparty will be published on April 22nd.

Goodreads Sweepstakes: Hurricane Fever by Tobias S. Buckell

Hurricane Fever by Tobias S. Buckell

About Hurricane Fever: A storm is coming…. Introducing a pulse-pounding technothriller by the New York Times bestselling author of Arctic Rising.

Prudence “Roo” Jones never thought he’d have a family to look after—until suddenly he found himself taking care of his orphaned teenage nephew. Roo, a former Caribbean Intelligence operative, spends his downtime on his catamaran dodging the punishing hurricanes that are the new norm in the Caribbean. Roo enjoys the simple calm of his new life—until an unexpected package from a murdered fellow spy shows up. Suddenly Roo is thrown into the center of the biggest storm of all.

Using his wits—and some of the more violent tricks of his former trade—Roo begins to unravel the mystery that got his friend killed. When a polished and cunning woman claiming to be murdered spy’s sister appears, the two find themselves caught up in a global conspiracy with a weapon that could change the face of the world forever.

In Hurricane Fever, New York Times bestselling author Tobias Buckell (Arctic Rising, Halo: The Cole Protocol) has crafted a kinetic technothriller perfect for fans of action-packed espionage within a smartly drawn geo-political landscape. Roo is an anti–James Bond for a new generation.

Enter for a chance to win here!

(Ends May 30)

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