Booktopia SF & Fantasy Buzz
August 2013 | Edition 7
Welcome to the August Science Fiction and Fantasy Buzz
I have two very exciting pieces of news to share with you this month. First is the announcement of the sale by Joe Abercrombie of a new fantasy series to HarperVoyager. This series will be different to his First Law tales, being set as it is in an alternate-history medieval Europe. The first book will be called Half a King and will be published in July 2014. The sequels, Half the World and Half a War, will follow in January and July 2015.

Second, if you've been hoping that we might have more great novels turned into TV magic after the success of GRRM's Game of Thrones then your wish just might come true. It has been announced that New Regency Productions and Fox Television have optioned the TV rights to Patrick Rothfuss' novel, The Name of the Wind . Now 'optioned the TV rights' is very different to 'green lighting' a project but if any novel could come across to a 'broader audience' the way GRRM's have then Rothfuss' work certainly has that potential.

Also this month we are very lucky to have Aussie author Ingrid Jonach answering our Ten Terrifying Questions and telling us about her new novel. This one has already gone onto my 'reading next' list!

Kind regards
Mark Timmony
Supreme Overlord of Science Fiction and Fantasy


Follow me on Twitter: @MarkTimmony

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Compelling, fast-moving, and intense, The Third Kingdom is a powerful tale that welcomes new readers to Terry Goodkind's world, while opening up new vistas of worldbuilding for longtime readers of the adventures of Richard Rahl and Kahlan Amnell.

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by Terry Goodkind

The bloodthirsty Jit is dead, and against all odds Richard and Kahlan have survived. But a new menace has attacked them in the Dark Lands. Infected with the essence of death itself, robbed of his power as a war wizard, Richard must race against time to uncover and stop the infernal conspiracy assembling itself behind the wall far to the north. His friends and allies are already captives of this fell combination, and Kahlan, also touched by death's power, will die completely if Richard fails.

Bereft of magic, Richard has only his sword, his wits, his capacity for insight - and an extraordinary companion, the young Samantha, a healer just coming into her powers. 

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This month's bestsellers list is packed in the top four spots with Media tie-in madness. Michael A. Stackpole, ever a favourite with fans of Star Wars, has turned his pen to the World of Warcraft to tell the tale of Vol'jin , the leader of the Darkspear Trolls, and the deadly politicking of the Horde. Jenny T. Colgan sends the Doctor (as played by Matt Smith) back to the time of the Vikings in Dark Horizons. Aaron Allston offers a new tale in the ever popular X-Wing series. A follow up to Imperial Commandos: 501st, Mercy Kill is the tale of those the Republic commandos now wearing the white armour of the stormtroopers in service to the Empire; and William Leisner takes us back to the Original Star Trek series with The Shocks of Adversity.   
by Michael A. Stackpole

by Jenny T. Colgan
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by Aaron Allston

by William Leisner

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What I've Been Reading
What I've just read: The Raven's Shadow by Elspeth Cooper - book three in Cooper's Wild Hunt series (it starts with Songs of the Earth) is due out next month so you will hear more about it then, but it is awesome!

What I'm reading now: Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak - so yeah, I admit it. I play WoW, and every now and then I geek out and read some of the fiction set in the world my friends and I raid in. This title, for those in the know, is set just after the death of the Lich King but before the events of Cataclysm.  Cool stuff.

What I'm reading next: Cast in Sorrow by Michelle Sagara. I talk about this title below - I. Can't. Wait!

Click here for more details or to buyTHE BLACK GUARD
By A.J. Smith

This is a big book. A tome. And don't we just love those door-stop books of epic fantasy? I do!

A.J. Smith's debut is a cross between Abercrombie's noir fantasy and Martin's Game of Thrones with David Eddings base. It's strong, bold and gritty. Working with political machinations, grand world building and holy wars this is a well crafted tale that promises exciting things to come from a new voice epic fantasy. 

The Duke of Canarn is dead, executed by the King's decree.

The city lies in chaos, its people starving, sickening, and tyrannized by the ongoing presence of the King's mercenary army. But still hope remains: the Duke's children, the Lord Bromvy and Lady Bronwyn, have escaped their father's fate. Separated by enemy territory, hunted by the warrior clerics of the One God, Bromvy undertakes to win back the city read more

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Click here for more details or to buy THE BLINDING KNIFE
by Brent Weeks

The second book in Weeks' Lightbringer series The Blinding Knife is an exciting work of fantasy with wonderfully realised characters, edge of your seat action and breathes new life into a story that was, for some, a little more traditional that his previous series The Night Angel Trilogy, despite it's inventive magic system.

Played out in meditteranean-like setting this book packs a punch and ramps things up with twists that will leaving begging for the third book. Get into Brent Weeks now!


He'd thought he had five years left - now he's got less than one. With fifty thousand refugees, a bastard son and an ex-fiancee who may have learned his darkest secret read more...

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Click here for more details or to buy CAST IN SORROW
By Michelle Sagara

I adore Michelle Sagara nee West. I don't care which name she writes under she is without doubt one of my favorite authors. As soon as one of her novels is release I drop whatever else it is I am read and pick her book up.

She is by no means a perfect writer, but for me her voice is sublime , her characters moving and her imagination and creativity is breath taking. Also. She makes me think - which is not always a good thing as her stories have this 'one more page' drive that leaves deep thought in the dust as I scramble to find out 'what happens next!'

A while back I asked Michelle about her Cast novels and their obvious diferences to the more epic fantasy novels she writes under the surname West, and this is what she had to say:

I decided that I would try something totally different for me, and that I would make a conscious effort to be more accessible.

For one: One viewpoint. I would limit myself to one viewpoint. I love multiple viewpoints in novels; I love reading them; I love the sense of tapestry that emerges, the way the threads weave into a whole. So I've always written them -- in the write-what-you-love way. One viewpoint would also mean I would write Shorter Books.

This meant I had to create a character whose voice would sustain me for a whole book. Or more. I had to have a character who felt real enough to me, emotionally, and who had room to grow. I *like* Kaylin Neya. I mean, I would probably *fire* her if I were her boss, but I empathized in the extreme with both her past and the difficulties she faces in the present. She's not me, and she has some issues I don't have--obviously, given her cultural context and the very different worlds in which we grew up.

Second: I wanted a much more contemporary tone of voice. Why did I not write a paranormal fantasy, if I wanted that? Good question. I often wonder. But then again, I know the answer: the more contemporary the tone of voice, the more strange stuff you can throw in. I have Leontines (anthropomorphized lions/tigers), winged Aerians, Dragons.

But mostly, I have Kaylin Neya, a junior cop in her city's police force.

There were, of course, other considerations about the novels and about the world. I wanted to have a world in which there was room to explore. I wanted it to be open enough that I could turn a corner and something new and relevant would be waiting--because it takes months to years to write a novel, and even if readers don't feel there's much new in a new book, *I* have to feel there is when I'm writing it.

Third: I would write something tonally less dark. This would by my cheerful, less heavy, less grim book!

So, this was the plan...


The Barrani would be happy to see her die. So Kaylin Neya is a bit surprised by her safe arrival in the West March. Especially when enemies new and old surround her and those she would call friends are equally dangerous read more...

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Click here for more details or to buy EMPEROR OF THORNS
By Mark Lawrence

The final book in Lawrence's brilliant debut series is a bittersweet affair that disappoints only in that it ends.

Lawrence was recommended to me by a very excited publisher and I picked up his first book with some trepidation, after all it is the job of a publisher to wax lyrical over the book they are trying to sell. Happily Lawrence's work has lived up to the praise and I have been turned into a total and utter fanboy.

Much 'squeeing' ensued when I got my hands on this book.

Emperor of Thorns continues Lawrence's weaving of what went before with what is happening now, and he leads the reader with masterful precision through the brutal world of Jorg Ancrath - a post apocalyptic Earth where reality has been shifted and magic seeps through the cracks.

All the various threads are gathered in this volume and spearheaded with Jorg's typical nonchalant grace into the beating heart that has been his goal all along. Surprises still abound, along with the crimson stain of blood soaked pages that Lawrence - erm, Jorg - has become renown for.

I remarked when I read Prince of Thorns that this really isn't the sort of book I'd normally like. Lawrence tells a violent tale and doesn't shy away from the darker side of the human condition, it's epic yet physically lacks the 'heftiness' of epic fantasy, and the main character Jorg is as much an anti-hero as he is a hero. But I loved it!

In a genre fit to bursting with toadstools on Tolkien's tomb Lawrence is a vibrant and original voice who blazes his own trail (often bloody). In space of three books, Mark Lawrence has become a Name in fantasy fiction, sitting beside the likes of George  R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie and Richard Morgan - and showing them how it's done.

To reach the throne requires that a man journey. Even a path paved with good intentions can lead to hell, and my intentions were never good.

The Hundred converge for Congression to politic upon the corpse of Empire, and while they talk the Dead King makes his move, and I make mine read more...

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The internationally bestselling author of the Mistborn and Stormlight Archive series presents two very different novellas that nevertheless showcase his remarkable gift for gripping narrative, world-building and empathetic characters. Available for the first time in one volume, a publishing event for all his many fans.

Click here for more details or to buyLEGION

Stephen Leeds, AKA 'Legion', is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the story begins, Leeds and his 'aspects' are drawn into the search for the missing Balubal Razon, inventor of a camera whose astonishing properties could alter our understanding of human history and change the very structure of society. The action ranges from the familiar environs of America to the ancient, divided city of Jerusalem. Along the way, Sanderson touches on a formidable assortment of complex questions: the nature of time, the mysteries of the human mind, the potential uses of technology, and the volatile connection between politics and faith.


When Shai is caught replacing the Moon Scepter with her nearly flawless forgery, she must bargain for her life. An assassin has left the Emperor Ashravan without consciousness, a circumstance concealed only by the death of his wife. If the emperor does not emerge after his hundred-day mourning period, the rule of the Heritage Faction will be forfeit and the empire will fall into chaos.

Shai is given an impossible task: to create - to Forge - a new soul for the emperor in less than one hundred days. But her soul-Forgery is considered an abomination by her captors. She is confined to a tiny, dirty chamber, guarded by a man who hates her, spied upon by politicians, and trapped behind a door sealed in her own blood. Shai's only possible ally is the emperor's most loyal councillor, Gaotona, who struggles to understand her true talent.

Time is running out for Shai. Forging, while deducing the motivations of her captors, she needs a perfect plan to escape. . .

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Click here for more details or to buy AGE OF GODPUNK
By James Lovegrove

James Lovegrove has waded into the growing Godpunk genre with engrossing novels that combine brilliant world building with pulse racing action. Here for the first time three novellas, one previously unreleased, are presented for your your enjoyment in this omnibus, the perfect place to give Lovegrove's Pantheon series a try.

Age of Anansi

Dion Yeboah leads an orderly, disciplined life... until the day the spider appears. What looks like an ordinary arachnid turns out to be Anansi, the trickster god of African legend, and its arrival throws Dion's existence into chaos. Dion's already impressive legal brain is sharpened. He becomes nimbler-witted and more ruthless, able to manipulate and deceive like never before, both in and out of court. He has been transformed into Anansi's avatar on earth.

Then he discovers the price he has to pay for his new-found skills: he must travel to America and take part in a contest between avatars of all the other trickster gods. It's a life-or-death battle of wits, full of skulduggery and double-cross. At the end, only one will be left standing.

Age of Satan

1968. Guy Lucas, son of a murdered British diplomat, is sent to an old-fashioned boarding school, where he is bullied and abused. A fellow student persuades him to perform a black mass and plead with Satan to intervene, with horrific consequences. For the next ten years, the shadow of Satan is cast across his life; he flees, across the sea and into obscurity, but tragedy follows him. eventually, he must confront the Devil, and learn the truth about himself...

Age of Gaia

Billionaire Barnaby Pollard, energy industry magnate, thinks he has the world at his feet. the planet's fossil fuel resources are his to exploit, as are the size-zero girlfriends he loves and leaves in swift succession.

That's until he meets lydia laidlaw, a beautiful and opinionated eco-journalist. She's the very opposite of the kind of woman he normally dates: large and outspoken, with a firm belief that Mother Nature is not to be tampered with.

It's a strange kind of love, one that threatens to derail Barnaby's wealth, his status and how the very world itself works.

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Click here for more details or to buy THE ETERNAL FLAME
By Greg Egan

Greg Egan's The Clockwork Rocket introduced readers to an exotic universe where the laws of physics are very different from our own, where the speed of light varies in ways Einstein would never allow, and where intelligent life has evolved in unique and fascinating ways. Now Egan continues his epic tale of alien beings embarked on a desperate voyage to save their world . . . .

The generation ship Peerless is in search of advanced technology capable of sparing their home planet from imminent destruction. In theory, the ship is traveling fast enough that it can traverse the cosmos for generations-and still return home only a few years after they departed. But a critical fuel shortage threatens to cut their urgent voyage short, even as a population explosion stretches the ship's life-support capacity to its limits.

When the astronomer Tamara discovers the Object, a meteor whose trajectory will bring it within range of the Peerless, she sees a risky solution to the fuel crisis. Meanwhile, the biologist Carlo searches for a better way to control fertility, despite the traditions and prejudices of their society. As the scientists clash with the ship's leaders, they find themselves caught up in two equally dangerous revolutions: one in the sexual roles of their species, the other in their very understanding of the nature of matter and energy.

The Eternal Flame lights up the mind with dazzling new frontiers of physics and biology, as only Greg Egan could imagine them.

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Click here for more details or to buy DEEP SPACE
By Ian Douglas

Deep Space is the fourth book in the Star Carrier series. The action in this installment of the military SF juggernaut is at an all-time high as the stakes are raised, with mankind battling against enemies within and without.

In the vein of the hit television show Battlestar Galactica comes the fourth book in this action-packed, New York Times bestselling, science fiction series in which humankind is in a vast power struggle to bring down an evil empire.

20 years after the fragile truce with the Sh'daar, Koenig is now President of the USNA, and Gray is skipper of the CVS America... soon to be promoted to commander of the entire battle group, Koenig's old position, and one which he might not be ready for.

The truce with the alien Sh'daar is unravelling as many predicted, and Humankind still knows little about them, or what they are. arcu.

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Click here for more details or to buy A CLOCKWORK HEART
By Liesel Schwarz

I am hearing  good things about Ms Schwatz and her steampunkary! Gail Carriger 'watch out!' is but one of those things.

Not all fairy tales end with Happy Ever After. Some begin that way.

They gather at night. The steady click keeping them in time, unified, controlled. Their maker made them that way.

As more Londoners disappear, their numbers grow. One has joined their ranks. A special one, with power more potent than any other. Old warlock magic, and something else... an enchantment wound so tight it's near impossible to unravel.

And only Eleanor Chance - the oracle; the girl they call Pythia - has a hope of saving these unfortunate souls... souls that are burdened with the slow death from a clockwork heart.  

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Click here for more details or to buy 1. To begin with why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself - where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Canterbury Hospital in Sydney, NSW. I have no memory of living in Sydney though. I moved to the Central Coast of NSW when I was a couple of years old. Since then I have lived all over NSW, in Gundaroo, Kurri Kurri, Stanford Merthyr, Dora Creek, Halekulani and then we literally came full circle to the first house I remember at Toukley.

By the time I had finished high school I had lived in nine houses and attended eight schools! I loved moving though. I used to love running through a new house to claim my bedroom ahead of my two brothers. We even moved next door once, when we lived in Dora Creek. That was the easiest move of all!

I moved to Canberra, ACT, for university and am still here more than a decade later with my husband Craig and pug dog Mooshi.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

When I was twelve I wanted to be a zoologist. I loved animals and was actually good at biology (unlike chemistry and maths). I was an avid reader and writer, but it took me a long time to realize that being an author could be a career.

When I was eighteen, I was looking at university courses and spotted a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing at the University of Canberra. There was suddenly no other option.

I have just turned thirty and I still very much want to be an author, which is good, because I now am! I love writing and would do it all day and night if I could, but I have also been working across the years, first as a journalist and then as a public relations consultant and now as a public servant.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I used to think that being an author was about locking yourself in a room and bashing out a manuscript. I have since learned that it takes a village to publish a book. In the past couple of years I have been working closely with my agent (Meredith Kaffel at DeFiore and Co) on polishing my manuscript; with my editor (Amanda Rutter from Strange Chemistry) on getting my manuscript ready for publication with edits, a blurb, a cover, etc.; and I have also developed relationships with other authors, readers and reviewers. Most of it is all via email, phone and online, which makes me feel like I actually work in a virtual office!

4. What were three works of art - book or painting or piece of music, etc - you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

1. Brother Knight. I am eternally grateful to my sixth grade teacher for dragging me away from Sweet Valley High and Babysitter's Club and encouraging me to read this book by Victor Kelleher . I have since devoured all of his books and still bawled my eyes out on re-reading this book as an adult! Reading Brother Knight introduced me to a range of genres, as Kelleher writes across fantasy, science fiction, crime and horror.

2. Pride and Prejudice. I just love an old-fashioned romance and reading this novel directly led to me writing When the World was Flat (and we were in love). In fact, I initially intended it to be a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice and I have actually retained a sneaky mention of Mr. Darcy and Pemberley.

Click here for more details or to buy3. The Matrix . This movie BLEW MY MIND. I loved its explanation of the world as simulated reality. I swear I hear references to it every other day, e.g. there is no spoon and the glitch in the Matrix. I really wanted to achieve a similar sense of what-the-heckness with my own writing and have finally achieved it (I hope!) with When the World was Flat (and we were in love).

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I have previously written a picture book (A Lot of Things) and two chapter books (The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France) for children. I was starting to feel like I was writing to entertain others and I decided I wanted to entertain myself first and foremost. I was really interested in writing romance and I thought my next work should not only be my first full-length novel, but my first foray into the young adult genre.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel 'When the World was Flat (and we were in love)'

I have heard When the World was Flat (and we were in love) compared to The Time Traveller's Wife, Meet Joe Black, The Matrix and Twilight (at least one of those comparisons was by me - guess which one!).

Here is the blurb:

Click here for more details or to order When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it's like fireworks - for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.

But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind - memories of the two of them, together and in love.

When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger - and much more terrifying and beautiful - than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.

An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein's theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.

And it has already received some lovely reviews from fellow authors that I respect, with Jack Heath (author of The Lab, Money Run and Ink) calling it "an addictive read", and K. J. Taylor (author of The Fallen Moon and The Risen Sun trilogies) saying it "stands out from the rest with its realistic teenage characters, believable romance, wit and invention."

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I really hope that When the World was Flat (and we were in love) leaves readers with a new sense of wonder about the world. I have played around with a few theories by Albert Einstein to establish a new explanation for everyday occurrences such as déjà vu and dreams (cue The Matrix!).

However, the story is a love story above all else and I really hope that readers take away a belief or at least some faith in the endurance of true love.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

This one is easy: Victor Kelleher.

Click here for more details or to buyI read somewhere that he was determined not to be pigeon holed and as a result wrote across a range of genres.

Having written for children, and now sci-fi romance for young adults, I think every writer should have the freedom to reinvent themselves and explore a variety of genres. I firmly believe that writers should write what they would want to read themselves. They say write what you know. I say, write what you love - whether it be stories for children, young adults or adults.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I really want to establish a following for my books.

I remember reading how J. K. Rowling thought there was a sale on when she first saw people lining up for her book signing. I cannot even imagine the warm and fuzzy feeling upon realizing they were there for her and her work.

I would love to have readers lining up before my next book is released.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I tell them getting published is about dedication, at least in the end.

You hear a lot about the good luck stories where a writer gets a dream agent and a dream book deal within months of putting pen to paper, but the reality for the vast majority of us is that it is a hard slog.
They say the road to publication is paved with rejection slips. I have definitely had my fair share of rejections. There are also many competing pressures, like a day job or family commitments, and many, many rewrites of manuscripts along the way.

You have to remain focused and dedicated to your end goal if you want to make it to publication and beyond (because that is not the end of the line!).
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In This Issue

Book of the Month


What I've Been Reading

Epic Fantasy


Ten Terrifying Questions

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