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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

News, Opinions, More News, and Book Previews!!!

As promised, I just wanted to let you know that the second part of that massive blogger interview has now been posted HERE. You can check out my original post on the Q&A HERE and Part One of the interview HERE. For those who may not read the interview, I just want to give another shoutout to the band OneRepublic. They’ve actually been getting some buzz because their song “Apologize” appears as a remix on the new Timbaland album. Trust me though, the original version is much better and has been a regular on my iPod for over a year now and is the featured track on my Myspace page ;) Anyways, their debut album “Dreaming Out Loud” comes out today!!! It’s absolutely beautiful, emotive melodic alternative rock featuring the outstanding vocals of lead singer/producer Ryan Tedder (Chris Cornell, Lupe Fiasco). Standout tracks for me included “Apologize”, “Say (All I Need)”, “Mercy” and “Stop & Stare”, which I think is going to be the next single. In short, I can’t recommend them enough!

In book news, Eos Books is looking for TEN ADVANCE readers to check out the new Robin Hobb novel “Renegade’s Magic” which comes out January 8, 2008 and completes the Soldier Son trilogy. Just go over to their blog HERE for the details. (On a related note, I’m working on an interview with Ms. Hobb which I hope to have up around the book’s release so that’s something to look forward to :) Over at Solaris Book’s blog HERE, Mark has just posted the cover and synopsis for Paul Kearney’s new fantasy book “The Ten Thousand”. It sounds and looks pretty interesting—evokes shades of 300 meets Troy meets David Gemmell—and it comes with a ringing Steven Erikson endorsement!

Around the blogosphere I’ve been seeing posts (Engadget, Gizmodo, Solaris Books Blog) about the new Amazon e-reader Kindle that launched yesterday and thought I’d chime in with some thoughts. My first impression is that it’s a pretty slick little piece of hardware, at least spec wise. Visually, it’s not as appealing as the Sony Reader, but it’s also not as bad as some reviews have been making it out to be. My only real hangup is the price. I mean $400!?!? For that I could get a Playstation 3, an Xbox 360, or a 16GB iPod Touch, and as much as I may love to read, I guarantee you that I’d rather buy one of those before I buy a digital reader. And that’s not even taking into account the price of the books, and all of the other little extra costs. Still, I understand that it’s a work-in-progress. After all, with the success of mp3 players, handheld videogame systems, portable DVD players, et cetera, it was only a matter of time before books became digital. However, as Sony has discovered, the e-book market is a tough place to crack and I think we’re still quite a ways from it becoming fully realized. The most important thing that developers need to realize is that the demographic for book readers is completely different from other forms of media. So, what may work for the music/film/gamer crowd is more than likely not going to cut it with book lovers. Take me for example. I like to think that I stay pretty cutting-edge when it comes to new technology. I mean, I never had any problems getting rid of my cassettes, CDs, VHS tapes, cordless phones or whatnot in favor of cell phones, mp3s, DVDs, and high-definition flat-screen TVs. But at the mere thought of replacing my book collection with a digital reader?!?! It almost makes me sick to think about it. Perhaps I could see myself purchasing one just for the novelty or as a complement to books, but not at that price…maybe $50, maybe $100. But replacing actual books! That’s a whole different story and I think companies will have to come up with something a hell of a lot better than the Amazon Kindle to make me consider that. I guess time will only tell how the digital book fares, but for now I’m sticking with the real thing :)

In other book news, agent John Jarrold (Ian Cameron Esslemont, Paul Kearney, Stephen Hunt) has concluded a three-book World Rights deal with Simon Spanton of Gollancz for a dragon-fantasy series by debut novelist Stephen Deas. The first book in the series, titled “The Adamantine Palace”, is due for publication in the summer of 2009.

Simon came to me with the idea of an intelligent fantasy series involving dragons,” said Jarrold. “I thought that Steve Deas might be the man for this, after previous conversations we’d had, and so it proved. He has come up with a great idea and brilliant opening chapters.”

Simon Spanton said: “While it’s self evident that there have always been dragons in fantasy and that there are series out there at the moment featuring them I did feel (especially after a French publisher asked where the dragons were on the Gollancz list…) that there was room for a series that centered around dragons and which brought in the grittiness and moral ambivalence that has come to define modern epic-fantasy. Steve’s proposal for a trilogy featuring an Empire reaping a firestorm when the political chicanery behind the throne upsets the balance that has kept the Empire’s dragons under control was just excellent: exactly what I had in mind. Uncanny almost. He’s made the dragons and the idea for the series 100% his own. I can’t wait to publish.”

Stephen Deas has worked as a systems designer and project manager for a number of technology-based aerospace companies and has reviewed books for the British SF Association’s magazine VECTOR.

Finally, in a little preview of something I may do at the end of the year, I have some info on two books that I’m really anticipating in 2008. First is “Kushiel’s Mercy” by Jacqueline Carey, the final volume in the author’s current Imriel trilogy. Below is the description taken from Amazon which may have some minor spoilers:

From Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of “Kushiel's Scion” and “Kushiel's Justice” (Reviewed HERE), comes the final adventure in the Imriel Trilogy. “Having paid dearly for ignoring Elua's edict to love as thou wilt, Imriel and Sidonie have finally come forward to publicly confess their love for each other—only to watch the news ignite turmoil throughout the land. Those who are old enough cannot forget the misdeeds of Imriel's mother, Melisande, whose self-serving lies plunged their country into war. In order to quell the uprising, Queen Ysandre hands down a decree: she will not divide the lovers, but neither will she acknowledge them. And if they decide to marry, Sidonie will be disinherited. That is, unless Imriel can find his mother and bring her back to Terre D'Ange to be executed for treason…” – Release Date: June 12, 2008 (Grand Central Publishing). Click HERE to Pre-Order –

The second is “The Kingdom Beyond the Waves” by Stephen Hunt, which is sort of a sequel to “The Court of the Air” (Reviewed HERE) as it features a minor character from that book. Once again, the below synopsis is taken from Amazon:

“A tale of high adventure, set in a Victorian-style world – a fantastical version of Dickens. Featuring a gutsy Indiana Jones-style heroine, and filled with perilous quests, dastardly deeds and deadly intrigue. Professor Amelia Harsh is obsessed with finding the lost civilization of Camlantis, a legendary city from pre-history that is said to have conquered hunger, war and disease – tempering the race of man's baser instincts by the creation of the perfect pacifist society. It is an obsession that is to cost her dearly. She returns home to Jackals from her latest archaeological misadventure to discover that the university council has finally stripped her of her position in retaliation for her heretical research. Without official funding, Amelia has no choice but to accept the offer of patronage from the man she blames for her father's bankruptcy and suicide, the fiercely intelligent and incredibly wealthy Abraham Quest. He has an ancient crystal-book that suggests the Camlantean ruins are buried under one of the sea-like lakes that dot the murderous jungles of Liongeli. Amelia undertakes an expedition deep into the dark heart of the jungle, blackmailing her old friend Commodore Bla. With an untrustworthy crew of freed convicts, Quest's force of female mercenaries on board and a lunatic steamman safari hunter acting as their guide, Amelia's luck can hardly get any worse. But she's as yet unaware that her quest for the perfect society is about to bring her own world to the brink of destruction!” – UK Release Date: May 6, 2008 (HarperVoyager). Click HERE to Pre-Order – (I loved “The Court of the Air” and if anything, this book sounds even better!)

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