Novels

The Shambling Guide to New York City cover

by on Jan.14, 2013, under Art, Books, Entertainment, Novels

Mur Lafferty, one of my favorite podcasters (I Should Be Writing) and author, has a new book coming out and it just got a cover!

Cover art by Jamie McKelvie

Cover art by Jamie McKelvie

It looks awesome! Here’s the blurb for the actual book:

“Because of the disaster that was her last job, Zoe is searching for a fresh start as a travel book editor in the tourist-centric New York City. After stumbling across a seemingly perfect position though, Zoe is blocked at every turn because of the one thing she can’t take off her resume — human. Not to be put off by anything — especially not her blood drinking boss or death goddess coworker — Zoe delves deep into the monster world. But her job turns deadly when the careful balance between human and monsters starts to crumble — with Zoe right in the middle.”

Author Source (Murverse.com)
Artist Source 1 (Website)
Artist Source 2 (Tumblr)

 

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Publishers using court systems to bully license fees out of eBook publishers

by on Feb.20, 2012, under Books, Novels, Opinions, Technology

I just came across this article about how Harper Collins is suing Open Road claiming copyright infringement. Open Road is publishing as an eBook Jean Craighead George’s storyJulie of the Wolves. Harper Collins already published this as a book back in the 1970s.

Random House did this back in 2001 but was shot down in two court cases that ruled that eBooks were not the same as books, and therefore prior contracts about publishing books did not include the rights to digital publishing. These cases, however, ended up having a settlement between the ePublisher and Random, likely because Random threatened to continue appealing and most eBook publishers are small operations that can’t handle sustained court cases.

I personally suspect HC is attempting the exact same thing as Random. They know precedence is against them but they are hoping to either overturn the rulings, and therefore not have to renegotiate to turn their back library into eBooks, or at least sue every eBook publisher who has already contracted with the original estates or authors for settlements and licensing agreements out of court. HC unfortunately may have a chance due to the wording of their prior contracts due to wording. The contracts included a clause which gives HC the exclusive right to publish “in book form” as well as the right to exploit future technologies “now known or hereafter invented,”. The argument will be that this implicitly includes a grant of electronic rights–even though those rights did not exist when the contract was signed.

If the courts rule in favor of this, contracts are going to get very scary here soon. Adding the “now known or hereafter invented” clauses will start appearing everywhere and it is going to be up to the courts to really start to decide if something is a new media, or just a “future technology” of the same media.

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My Fantasy Football Team for the SPFL.

by on Sep.14, 2011, under Books, Comics, Entertainment, Gaming, Novels, Video Games

So as per my post yesterday, showing off Dan Well’s fantasy football team, I’ve decided to draft my own team in similar style. Afterall if there is only one team in the SPFL (Speculative Fiction Football League) (I would have claimed FFL but I suspect the NFL already has that as their acronym for fantasy football, right?) then Dan’s team would automatically win and we can’t have that, right?

So to be fair, I’ll be picking in a similar style to Dan Well’s choices and I will also not be able to pick any of the choices he has made.

Coach
So according to the snippets of football movies and televisions shows I’ve seen, the Coach is the guy who gets pissed off a lot on the side lines while their team sucks and then ultimately gets liquids poured on them when the team manages to come together and win, despite all the odds. I also think they plan the maneuvers the team does on the field, because I remember scenes of coaches pointing at Xs and Os a lot. So I need someone who is a master of strategy, and for flavor, I want someone who stays cool under pressure. First person that comes to mind is The Riddler but having my coach get beat up at half time by some lunatic in a bat costume (who isn’t a mascot!) would be bad press. There is, of course, Original Universe Spock, whose logic would likely benefit the team heavily but I suspect his cool demeanor would work against his ability to motivate the rest of the team. So ultimately my choice is going to have to come from Shikimaru from Naruto. Sure he is a little young to be a coach, but he is a master strategist. Additionally his usually lazy demeanor would keep him from getting overly heated when his team was losing while still motivating him and his ability to control shadows would keep this team from sneaking up behind him to pour liquids over his head.

Quarterback
So as Dan put it, the QB need to throw stuff and be a good field leader. I’ll translate good field leader into is good with tactics. Well the first choice is Waka from Final Fantasy X. Afterall he played in his world’s version of football called Blitz Ball, and his primary combat weapon is throwing a blitz ball at enemies. However I think he might be lacking in the tactics part, since his team kinda sucked until Tidus came along. Another good thrower would be Donkey Kong but I suspect his tactics would be to just throw passes or run the ball himself, which is tactically sound but not always preferable. I don’t want a QB who is predictable. So I will have to go with Link from Legend of Zelda: A link to the Past. Link is a weapon’s expert, well-known for his ability to throw both boomerangs, bombs, rocks, bushes, and even clay pots. In addition the man has saved the kingdom of Hyrule (and various other principalities) from evil multiple times over without a team or coaching, which would suggest excellent tactical capabilities.

(continue reading…)

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Video: Harry Potter: How It Should Have Ended

by on Sep.13, 2011, under Books, Entertainment, Novels, Videos, Visual Media

I love that line. “Honey Badgers take what they want.”

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Trailer: Transcendent Man

by on Jul.14, 2011, under Articles, Books, Information Technology, Novels, Science, Technology, Trailers, Visual Media

Transcendant Man is a documentary about Ray Kurzweil. You might find that name familiar because I’ve often linked to his website, KurzweilAI, that keeps track of amazing scientific advancements.

Transhumanists already know his name and have likely already flocked to read the book or see the movie, for those of you who haven’t, there is an one night viewing come to theaters across the US that includes both a showing of the movie and commentary by Ray Kurzweil himself. The showing is August 3rd and you can download a PDF contain the list of theaters here or enter you zipcode on this site.

 

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FEED & DEADLINE Book Trailer

by on Jun.17, 2011, under Art, Books, Entertainment, Novels, Reviews, Trailers, Visual Media

(http://youtu.be/kUXWlXK985U)

I’ve been posting more and more book trailers recently and I keep saying how amazed I am at their quality. The script by Mira Grant, video design by Lauren Panepinto, audio by Matt Schwenker. The dialog and voice acting are pure gold, of course. Having read the books I already knew it was Shaun talking simply because of the words. The entire trailer is perhaps not as compelling as our last book trailer from a cinematic standpoint, it more than makes up for with graphic design. I do have a soft spot for animated narration. Additionally this trailer doesn’t suffer from ‘now we have to tell you what these other people said’ montage that breaks the flow of almost any good real-time advertisement. Overall I think this might be my favorite book trailer, but I might also be biased due to loving the book series.

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Book Watch: FEED and DEADLINE by Mira Grant

by on Jun.06, 2011, under Book Watch, Books, Entertainment, Flash Fiction, Novels, Reviews, Short Stories

Double feature today. I was going through my Book Watch posts and realized I hadn’t posted my review of FEED by Mira Grant. Considering how much I raved about this book to my offline friends, I feel I’ve done a disservice not at least mention it here. The reviews below are non-spoiler reviews covering both FEED and the newest book in the Newsflesh series, DEADLINE. I highly recommend both.

Feed (Newsflesh, #1)Feed by Mira Grant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Easily one of the most entertaining books I have ever read.

The tag line is fun and confusing at the exact same time: A book about blogging, politics, and zombies. Of course it is much more than that. Mira Grant gives us a glimpse into a future where blogging has become a legitimate journalistic endeavor and threat of a biological plague which reduces people to mindless zombies keeps everybody well cloistered behind bio-hazard sealed doors and finger pricking locks. Yet in this future, America still lives, and it still needs a President, so campaigning must continue.

I waited to read this book because the premise sounded so far-fetched until a friend loaned me a copy. It is a stark reminder that any premise, no matter how odd or ridiculous sounding, can be made into a good story.

Deadline (Newsflesh, #2)Deadline by Mira Grant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Date Started: June 1s, 2011
Date Ended: June 4th, 2011

DEADLINE is the sequel to FEED, the book about Politics, Blogging, and Zombies. DEADLINE is not about Politics, Blogging, and Zombies. It is about Conspiracies, Zombies, and Blogging. The second novel in a trilogy, DEADLINE once again introduces us to a post-apocalyptic future where humanity survives, in fear, of a zombie plague. Where FEED introduced us to the world and it’s politics, giving us a glimpse into conspiracies that run a zombie infested America, DEADLINE jumps right into the conspiracy and hauls the reading along for the ride.

Where DEADLINE suffers, its suffers in being both the sequel to FEED and the second novel in a trilogy. The novelty of the world has worn off and we’re left with the characters and plot to drive the story. The plot is somewhat ham-stringed by the book’s status and the fact that the slow reveals of parts of the conspiracy were not as compelling as the further questions they raised. However, the characters, their insight, dialog, and interaction, manage to keep DEADLINE sailing smoothly in the compelling read sea.

View all my reviews on Goodreads
View all my Book Watch reviews on The Singularity

Interested in the books but not quiet sure if it is for you? Mira Grant, otherwise known as Seanan McGuire, keeps a live journal. During the month leading up to the release of DEADLINE, she posted a series of flash/short fiction set in the Newsflesh world. It is intended to be read after FEED but there are no actual spoilers. You can follow this tag to find them all but you have to scroll down to the first post, titled T-minus 29 Days to DEADLINE.

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Trailer: Meowmorphsis

by on May.11, 2011, under Books, Entertainment, Novels, Trailers, Visual Media

Just the other week I was posting about an awesome book trailer I found about zombies. Well I stumbled upon yet another awesome book trailer, this one, I believe, even more compelling than last week’s.

That’s right. Kakfa’s work goes lolcat in the style of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

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Hugo Nominations are up! (Part 1 of 3)

by on Apr.25, 2011, under Articles, Books, News, Novels, Podcasts, Short Stories, Writing

The Hugo Award Nominations are available

Man, do we have some great nominations this year. The Hugo Award is the leading award for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy. The Hugos are awarded each year by the World Science Fiction Society, at the World Science Fiction Convention. Let me go over some of the ones I am excited about.

Best Novel

FEED is nominated!!

This actually came as light surprise to me. I am not used to having already read one of the year’s Hugo Award nominees for Best Novel. I’ve written about how the book is awesome.  FEED is by Mira Grant, the alter ego of Seanan McGuire and it has a sequel coming out, DEADLINE, on May 31st, a book I am anticipating as much as Ghost Stories by Jim Butcher. So congratulations  Ms. McGuire!

I haven’t read any of the other novels nominated but I do recognize one of the other authors nominated, Lois McMaster Bujold for her book Cryoburn.

Best Short Story

I have not read any of the short stories nominated, however I will be looking forward to Escape Pod in the coming weeks, as they typically make a point of releasing all five Hugo Nominated short stories on as podcasts.

Best Related Work

Speaking of podcasts, Writing Excuses: Season 4, has been nominated for Best Related Work. Created and staring , Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells, the podcast focuses on various topics related to writing and becoming an author while keeping any particular topic under fifteen minuets because, as they say: “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” Obviously you’re smart enough to get nominated for a Hugo. Congrats guys!

Part 2 and Part 3 of the Hugo Nominees will be posted in just a little bit!

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Warm Bodies by Issac Marion

by on Apr.24, 2011, under Articles, Books, Entertainment, Novels, Trailers, Visual Media

So this has got to be the best book trailer I have ever seen in my life. I haven’t seen very many but the ones I have seen don’t meet this kind of quality both in terms of being a video and presenting a compelling reason to read the book. I’m a fan of zombies, so I’m already predisposed I suppose, but other than the end, which drags on a little in regards to showing testimony about how awesome the book is, the first two-thirds of the trailer are compelling both in narration and in visuals, slipping in word bites like you might a movie contending for an Oscar.

Kudos to the author, Issac Marion, who was also the director, narrator, and I am guessing producer. And Tiffany Laine De Mott for cinematography.

The book is set to release April 26th from Atria Books. You can also find a rather featureless site that will maybe be updated with more information.

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