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Friday, October 31, 2008

SPOTLIGHT: Graphic Novels of November 2008

Welcome to the November 2008 edition of Fantasy Book Critic’s monthly Spotlight for Graphic Novels. The debut spotlight for October 2008 can be found HERE. Please note that the following is NOT a comprehensive list of graphic novels released throughout the month, but rather a list of titles that I’m personally interested in or that I believe readers of speculative fiction might enjoy. Also, please be aware that all of the releases dates listed are taken from and that readers might be able to find the titles at an earlier date online or at your local comic book store:

Joker” written by
Brian Azzarello, Illustrated by Lee Bermejo and Mick Gray. Cover by Lee Bermejo. Release Date: November 4, 2008. Published by DC Comics.

In the all-new, hardcover original graphic novel “Joker”, writer Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Batman, Superman) and artist Lee Bermejo (Hellblazer covers)—the creative team behind the acclaimed miniseries Lex Luthor: Man of Steel—show an even darker and more disturbing side to the most dangerous man in Gotham: The Joker.

After yet another stint in Arkham Asylum, the Joker finds “his city” divided among mobsters and costumed villains. Not content to settle for a piece of the pie, the Joker vows to take back the whole damn enchilada by any means necessary. Look for appearances by a slew of Gotham’s most wanted, including gritty takes on Two-Face, Riddler, Killer Croc, Penguin, Harley Quinn and even Batman.

Not since “The Killing Joke” have you seen such a powerful tale of the Joker—you won’t want to miss this one…
Order “Joker
Newsarama’s Interview with Brian Azzarello
Read A Preview
Read Reviews via
ComicMix + IGN
NOTE: I’ve been anticipating this graphic novel ever since it was announced. I can’t wait!

Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein” written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Illustrated by Bernie Wrightson. Release Date: November 5, 2008. Published by
Dark Horse Books.

Few works by comic book artists have earned the universal acclaim and reverence that Bernie Wrightson's (Swamp Thing, Wolves of the Calla) illustrated version of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein was met with upon its original release in 1983. Twenty-five years later, this magnificent pairing of art and literature is still considered to be one of the greatest achievements made by any artist in the field.

Now, Wrightson and
Dark Horse Books are collaborating on a beautiful new hardcover edition of the book, published in a larger 9” x 12” format intended to show off the exquisitely detailed line art of one of the greatest living artists in comics today. This book includes the complete text of the original ground-breaking novel, and the original forty-seven full-page illustrations that stunned the world with their monumental beauty and uniqueness…
Official Bernie Wrightson Website
Order “Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein
Read A Preview HERE
NOTE: The original edition of this book is nearly impossible to find. Don't miss your chance to enjoy one of the most talked-about books of the last twenty-five years. I don’t intend to :)

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite Limited Edition” written by Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance frontman), Illustrated by Multiple Eisner Award-winning artist Gabriel Bá and colored by
Dave Stewart. Released Date: November 5, 2008. Published by Dark Horse Comics.

In an inexplicable worldwide event, forty-seven extraordinary children were spontaneously born by women who'd previously shown no signs of pregnancy. Millionaire inventor Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of the children. When asked why, his only explanation was, “To save the world.”

These seven children form The Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers. Their first adventure at the age of ten pits them against an erratic and deadly Eiffel Tower, piloted by the fearsome zombie-robot Gustave Eiffel. Nearly a decade later, the team disbands, but when Hargreeves unexpectedly dies, these disgruntled siblings reunite just in time to save the world once again…

This Oversized, Slipcased Hardcover (collects the entire six-issue mini-series) is limited to 1500 copies, comes with a tip-in sheet signed by both Gerard and Gabriel, and features an expanded sketchbook with concept designs and original artwork; commentary from the artists; and the short story from the hit 2007 Free Comic Book Day issue. A more affordable TPB of “The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite” is also available for purchase…
Official The Umbrella Academy Myspace
Official Gabriel Bá Myspace
Order “The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite Limited Edition
Read A Preview
Read Reviews
NOTE:The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite” won the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Finite Series/Limited Series. A second six-issue limited series by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, titled “The Umbrella Academy: Dallas”, will hit stores on November 26, 2008 with issue #1. Recently, it was announced HERE that Univeral Pictures has picked up the option to adapt "The Umbrella Academy" into a major motion picture.

Watchmen” written by
Alan Moore (Swamp Thing, The Killing Joke, V For Vendetta), Art and Cover by Dave Gibbons (Doctor Who). Release Date: November 11, 2008. Published by DC Comics.

With a major motion picture in production for release spring 2009 from
Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures and director Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead), “Watchmen” is hotter than ever and in anticipation of the upcoming film, DC Comics is offering the first-ever hardcover edition of the Hugo Award-winning epic from writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, offered at DC's standard trim size.

It all begins with the paranoid delusions of a half-insane hero called Rorschach. But is Rorschach really insane or has he in fact uncovered a plot to murder superheroes and, even worse, millions of innocent civilians? On the run from the law, Rorschach reunites with his former teammates in a desperate attempt to save the world and their lives, but what they uncover will shock them to their very core and change the face of the planet! Following two generations of masked superheroes from the close of World War II to the icy shadow of the Cold War comes this groundbreaking story—the story of The Watchmen

This volume collects the entire 12-issue series, features a new cover by Gibbons and contains the high-quality, recolored pages found in “Watchmen: The Absolute Edition”, which were restored by WildStorm FX and original series colorist John Higgins. Also included are selected bonus sketch materials.
Official Watchmen Movie Website
Order “Watchmen
NOTE: One of the most influential graphic novels of all time and a perennial bestseller, “Watchmen” is a must-read and this is the perfect time to read the classic story if you haven’t yet. Because in addition to this new hardcover of “Watchmen”,
DC Comics is also offering a special International Edition (September 10, 2008), a fifth printing of the gorgeous Absolute Edition (November 12, 2008)—includes samples of Alan Moore's Watchmen scripts, the Watchmen proposal, Dave Gibbons' concept art, cover roughs, et cetera—and a New Printing of “WatchmenIssue #1 (December 3, 2008), available as a standalone comic for the first time in years at its original cover price of $1.50!

The Absolute Sandman: Vol. 4” written by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Various Artists. Cover by Dave McKean. Release Date: November 11, 2008. Published by
DC Comics.

The Sandman, written by New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Stardust), was the most acclaimed comic book title of the 1990s. A rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama and legend are seamlessly interwoven, The Sandman is also widely considered one of the most original and artistically ambitious series of the modern age. By the time it concluded in 1996, it had made significant contributions to the artistic maturity of comic books and become a pop culture phenomenon in its own right.

DC Comics is proud to present this comics classic in an all-new Absolute Edition format. This final volume of four beautifully designed slipcased hardcovers, “The Absolute Sandman: Vol. 4” collects issues #57-75 of The Sandman, behind-the-scenes extras, and a story from Vertigo Jam #1. Don't miss the end of what Playboy called “a modern myth, as well as a précis on why the stories we tell matter so much”…
Official Neil Gaiman Website
Order “The Absolute Sandman: Vol. 4
NOTE: These Absolute Editions are a must-buy for any fan of The Sandman comic book series. I already have a copy preordered!

Advance Knight” written by GZA, Illustrated by James Reitano. Release Date: November 12, 2008. Published by
Grand Central Publishing.

Founding Wu-Tang Clan member GZA, also known as Genius, has two passions: hip-hop and chess. In his first graphic novel, the two themes combine in the story as G and his two cousins navigate the tumultuous rap scene in New York in the 1980s and early 1990s—the era of mix tapes and grimy record deals. Using his chess prowess, G goes head to head with other rap acts and gets into scrapes with shady music producers as he battles his way to the top of the charts…

GZA is widely recognized as the best lyricist in the Wu-Tang Clan, with highly visual and intellectual content, and his solo album “Liquid Swords” is considered one of the most impactful hip-hop albums of all time. He has appeared on three episodes of The Chapelle Show, gave a memorable performance in Jim Jarmusch’s film “Coffee and Cigarettes” alongside Bill Murray and fellow Wu-Tang member RZA, and continues to write music and tour frequently. He is currently working on his sixth solo album, and a Wu-Tang documentary entitled GZA presents: Wu-Tang Revealed.

GZA remains a core member of the Wu-Tang Clan, the Grammy Award-nominated, multi-platinum rap group that totally revolutionized the world of hip hop in the early ’90s. Their fifth album was released in December 2007 to wide critical acclaim and the group launched a major tour in late 2007 and early 2008 to promote it.

Coauthor James Reitano is an animator, writer, graphic artist, and film director who has worked with Digital Entertainment Network,, and HP, and has animated and produced music videos for Biz Markie, Kool Keith, Masters of Illusion, MF Doom, and Madlib.
Official GZA Myspace
Order “Advance Knight

Haunt Of Horror: Lovecraft” written and illustrated by Richard Corben. Release Date: November 19, 2008. Published by
Marvel Comics.

Horror comics legend Richard Corben (Heavy Metal, Hellblazer, Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allen Poe) presents a new series of eerie new spins on the poems and short stories of
H.P. Lovecraft. Each adaptation is beautifully rendered in black and white with gray tones as only Corben can do it, and features a printing of the original source text by H.P. Lovecraft.

Adapted stories and poems include “Dagon”, “Recognition”, “A Memory”, “The Music of Eric Zann”, “The Canal”, “The Lamp”, “Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family”, “The Well”, and “The Window.” It’s classic Lovecraft with a new twist…

This Premiere Hardcover collects “Haunt Of Horror: Lovecraft” issues #1-3.
Official Richard Corben Website
Order “Haunt Of Horror: Lovecraft
Read A Preview

Sky Doll: Volume One” written & illustrated by Barbara Canepa and Alessandro Barbucci. Release Date: November 19, 2008. Published by
Marvel Comics.

Created by the Italian team of Barbara Canepa and Alessandro Barbucci in 1997, “Sky Doll” is a timely socio-political thriller in which a young android must decide her destiny by challenging the very government—and faith—that has controlled her life:

Meet Noa, a so-called Sky Doll—a life-like female android without rights, who exists only to serve the State's needs and desires. But when Noa meets two so-called “missionaries” who aid in her escape from her tyrannical master, all hell breaks loose for our cyborg siren as she uncovers clues that she may be much more than just a robotic toy…

Canepa and Barbucci, the team behind the international bestselling series W.I.T.C.H. and Monster Allergy, have seen “Sky Doll” translated into French, Italian, German and Spanish. To date,
Soleil has published three volumes of Sky Doll in Europe with a fourth one currently in development. There was also Volume 0: Doll’s Factory, which was a “making of” sketchbook published by Carlsen Comics.

In January,
Marvel Comics and French publisher Soleil announced a joint publishing venture that will see “Sky Doll” and some of Europe’s most popular comics published in new editions in English for the first time. The Marvel version of the hit series debuted in May and was an instant sell out. This Volume One Premiere Hardcover collects issues #1-3.
Official Barbara Canepa Blog
Official Alessandro Barbucci Blog
Order “Sky Doll
Read A Preview

Heroes: Volume Two” by Various Writers & Artists. Cover by Gene Ha. Release Date: November 25, 2008. Published by

The sequel to last year's top-selling “Heroes” hardcover is here! This stunning new volume collects the incredibly engaging online comics based on the smash-hit, Emmy Award-nominated
NBC TV series Heroes. Collecting every online chapter from Season Two, this volume features the work of top TV and comics writers. Included are the stories “The Ten Brides of Takezo Kensei”, “The End of Hana and Drucker”, “The Golden Goose”, and many others.

Contributing writers include: Joe Kelly, Steven T. Seagle, Duncan Rouleau, Christopher Zatta, Mark Sable, Mark Warshaw, Christine Boylan, Chuck Kim, Harrison Wilcox, Pierluigi Cothran, Jim Martin, Timm Keppler, DJ Doyle and others. Contributing artist include: Staz Johnson, Michael Gaydos, Tom Grummett, Ryan Odagawa, Jason Badower, Travis Kotzebue, Marcus To, et cetera…
Official Heroes Website
Order “Heroes: Volume Two

Marvel Illustrated: The Iliad” written by
Roy Thomas (X-men, Avengers, Conan the Barbarian), Illustrated by Miguel Angel Sepulveda. Cover by Paolo Rivera. Release Date: November 26, 2008. Published by Marvel Comics.

Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, one of the true cornerstones of Western literature, comes to the Marvel Illustrated line (Treasure Island, Moby Dick, Last of the Mohicans, etc):

The ancient world is embroiled in a mighty clash of armies: Greek vs. Trojan. Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world, has betrayed her husband—the Greek, Menelaus—and fled to Troy with Trojan prince, Paris. The Greeks have sailed to Troy to bring her back—and crush all that stand in their way. This is the saga that virtually defines the word epic. It is a tale of gods and men, heroism and betrayal…

This Premiere Hardcover collects “Marvel Illustrated: The Iliad” issues #1-8.
Official Marvel Illustrated Myspace
Order “Marvel Illustrated: The Iliad
Read A Preview
Thursday, October 30, 2008

Winners of the Jim Butcher, Anathem T-Shirt and Miami Book Fair Giveaways! + News (PS Publishing, G. Wells Taylor)

Congratulations to Kathleen Shattuck (California), Cynthia Beaumont (New Jersey), Mark Locascio (Texas) and James Coyne (Pennsylvania) who were all randomly selected to win Issue 1 of Jim Butcher'sThe Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle” comic book, and to Tracey Walas (Illinois) who won the GRAND PRIZE which includes both Issue 1 of the “Welcome to the Jungle” comic book and the “Welcome to the JungleHardcover Graphic Novel (collects issues 1 through 4), all thanks to Del Rey!!! “The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle” graphic novel was officially released on October 14, 2008 and you can find more information HERE or read Fantasy Book Critic’s Review.

Congratulations also to Lynnette Flick (Louisiana) and Cindy Lethbridge (Canada) who were both randomly selected to win an EXCLUSIVE Limited Edition American ApparelAnathem” T-Shirt from
Wiredset!!! Find more information about Neal Stephenson’sAnathemHERE or read Fantasy Book Critic’s Review.

Lastly, congratulations to Deborah Wellenstein (Kansas) and James Anderson (New York) who were both randomly selected to win a Miami Book Fair International PRIZE PACK from
Miami Book Fair and Palley Promotes!!! Each PRIZE PACK will include the following:

~Hatter M” graphic novel SIGNED by
Frank Beddor (The Looking Glass Wars)
~The Monsters of Templeton” paperback novel by
Lauren Groff
~BAT-MANGA!” graphic novel by
Chip Kidd
~The Given Day” (
Browse Inside) novel by award-winning author Dennis Lehane (Mystic River; Gone, Baby, Gone)
~ZOT!” graphic novel by
Scott McCloud
~Prince of Persia” graphic novel by
Jordan Mechner (creator of the Prince of Persia videogame)
~Identity Crisis” graphic novel by
Brad Meltzer (The Book of Lies, The Book of Fate)
~The Dracula Dossier” novel by
James Reese (The Herculine Trilogy)
~TWO TICKETS to the Miami Book Fair

Don’t forget, the
25th Annual Miami Book Fair International will take place from November 9th through November 16th at Miami Dade College!

Miscellaneous News:

First off, we have a bunch of
PS Publishing news starting with the announcement of “Powers: Secret Histories”, John Berlyne's extensively researched and lavishly produced collection of Tim Powers material.

A book that essentially redefines the term 'bibliography’, “Secret Histories” has been nearly ten years in the making and brings together an astonishing range of Powers ephemera—a huge treat and a remarkable resource for both fans and collectors alike. As well as a complete, illustrated reference of every
Tim Powers book published to date, “Secret Histories” offers an extraordinary insight into the stories behind the stories, collecting together in a single volume Powers material previously seen only in private collections. Here—in print for the very first time—you'll find poetry, drawings, research and plotting notes, novel outlines, early drafts, out-takes and an excerpt from the author's unpublished 1974 novel, “To Serve in Hell”.

Supporting these riches are story notes and commentary by Powers himself as well as articles and essays from collaborators, friends and renowned Powers aficionados including Dean Koontz, Jim Blaylock, China Miéville, Karen Joy Fowler, John Bierer, John Berlyne and William Ashless. “Powers: Secret Histories” is an unprecedented bibliographic tribute celebrating the work of a truly extraordinary writer and will be issued in three different oversized hardcovers, all printed in glorious full colour and all dust-jacketed.

For more information on the three different “Powers: Secret Histories” editions, new Postscripts subscriptions rates, a special Stephen King incentive, and PS Publishing 10th Anniversary projects, click

In other news, October 30, 2008—Midnight, marks the launch of “The Forsaken” by horror / fantasy author
G. Wells Taylor at the Official G. Wells Taylor Website and the Official Detective Wildclown Website. To celebrate the release of the second book in The Apocalypse Trilogy, the author is giving away FREE E-book downloads of his popular first book, “When Graveyards Yawn”:

When Graveyards Yawn begins when a dead lawyer hires Detective Wildclown to find his killer. The detective is soon entangled in a battle for control of a secret that offers hope or doom for humanity. Welcome to the World of Change where people have stopped aging, the dead rise from their graves, and it never stops raining…

The long-anticipated sequel, “The Forsaken”, returns readers to the World of Change when a Demon hires an assassin to kill an Angel from a rival gang. It’s not the first time the hit man’s had an employer from Hell, so he checks the fine print before setting bloody quill to parchment. Just one stipulation: he’ll have to make it quick if he wants to avoid the End of the World.

Powerful forces battle for mastery over the coming darkness as The Apocalypse Trilogy continues in this epic series by the creator of the Detective Wildclown case files and the World of Change.

Visit the
Official G. Wells Taylor Website or the Official Detective Wildclown Website for sample chapters and more information.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"The Devil's Eye" by Jack McDevitt (Reviewed by Liviu C. Suciu)

Order “The Devil’s EyeHERE

INTRODUCTION: Ever since I read “A Talent for War” fifteen years or more ago, I have been a big-time Jack McDevitt fan, having bought and read all of his books on publication with the aforementioned “A Talent for War” and “Engines of God” being among my top science fiction novels of all time. Mr. McDevitt does not write “big idea” sf, but is a great storyteller and his books suck you in and are impossible to put down. In “Polaris” (2004) he returned to the Alex Benedict/Chase Kolpath setting of the magnificent “A Talent for War”, this time using Chase as a narrator, and I enjoyed both that one and its direct sequel “Seeker” (2005, Nebula Award-winner 2007). Both followed in the tradition of the first novel in the series as archaeological/historical mysteries that reverberate into the present and “The Devil's Eye” is no different, except that here Mr. McDevitt takes the series to another level, moving closer to the more epic feeling of both “A Talent for War” and his Academy novels.

SETTING: In a far future that feels similar to our present—with a little extra goodies like air-cars, AI's, avatars and ftl—humanity has expanded throughout the Galaxy and colonized many worlds that are now linked together in a loose Confederation. Some notable human planets are Earth which is preserved as a historical monument as well as being still important; Rimway, a planet at the end of the Confederacy and home to our heroes; Dellaconda which was the leader in the last war against the Mutes that made the current Confederacy more than a paper construct; and Salud Afar, the loneliest and remotest human planet that is not a formal part of the Confederacy but is associated with it. These human worlds of the Confederacy have a long and varied history and there is ample scope for past mysteries, archaeological finds and evocation of a rich, diverse culture.

The other major sentient species is The Ashyyur—known, feared and loathed as Mutes by humanity. The Mutes are telepathic so they do not speak unless they use voice boxes to communicate with the “violent, deceitful, no honor, upstart primates”, and they look similar to huge mantises ready to pounce at a moment on the hapless humans. So despite the long, mostly peaceful history and culture of the Assemblage—as the Ashyyur worlds are known—humanity and the Mutes have either been at war or in preparation for war since first contact. The negative visceral reaction to each other has made peaceful contact very hard to achieve, though in recent years, through efforts of well intentioned people like Alex and Chase, there is a detente between the two sides, although occasional “incidents” between Mute and human warships still occur.

FORMAT/INFO: The arc copy of the book stands at 359 pages divided over forty-three numbered chapters, a Prolog and an Epilog. As with all McDevitt novels, each chapter has a quote relevant to its content, this time from the works of popular, bestselling Rimway horror novelist Vicki Greene whose terrible discovery on a research visit on Salud Afar and subsequent “suicide” bring Alex and Chase to investigate. The narration is first tense via Chase who is in some ways Dr. Watson to Alex's Sherlock Holmes persona, though she is a very resourceful pilot and is becoming such an important part of the series that it may soon become known as the Chase Kolpath novels rather than the Alex Benedict mysteries. The novel is largely self-contained with the references to earlier novels being minor, and the ending is superb bringing all the threads to a close and taking the series to a different level.

November 4, 2008 marks the North American Hardcover publication of “The Devil’s Eye” via
Ace Books. Cover illustration provided by John Harris.

PLOT HINTS AND ANALYSIS: When she traveled on a Mute world in “Seeker”, Chase made friends with a couple there despite the instinctive visceral mutual fear & loathing and now they are taking a tour of Earth with Alex and herself, while occasioning the same avoid/keep-the-distance reaction from fellow passengers and assorted locals. Not that different from when Chase visited Borkarat, the Mute world home to Selotta and Kassel.

In the meantime, on Alex and Chase’s distant home world of Rimway, a famous horror novelist, Vicki Greene, tries to contact Alex—renowned artifact finder and mystery solver—to help her about something terrible that is obsessing her.

When our heroes come home they find that Vicki has committed psychic suicide by taking a legal mindwipe and starting life again as a blank slate under an assumed name and personality. Discovering that she wired them a very large sum of money just before her mindwipe, Alex and Chase feel bound to investigate and learn that everything seems to be connected with Salud Afar where Vicki took a research tour recently and came back depressed and considerably changed. In her desperate last recorded message to Alex, Vicki Green was saying “God help me, they are all dead”.

Retracing Vicki's path on Salud Afar, Alex and Chase slowly stumble upon a horrifying truth, but at the same time discover a possible opportunity for lasting peace between humanity and the Mutes . . . or vast unimaginable destruction and all out war…

From visitations to haunted places and presumed supernatural events like ghost appearances and people coming out of their graves to mysterious skimmer crashes and the assorted set of regular people that mostly rise to the occasion when the situation requires it, “The Devil's Eye” is full of superb storytelling and will keep you glued to the pages. Myself, I stayed up late and finished the novel as quickly as possible because I just had to know what happened.

Highly, highly recommended, I think “The Devil's Eye” is the best McDevitt novel since “Engines of God” and I am very curious to see where Jack will take the series next since this book will be a tough act to beat in the Alex/Chase universe…
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Winners of the Gregory Maguire | Let the Right One In Giveaways + News (Dog Eaters, The Hoard of Mhorrer, Neal Asher)

Congratulations to Alice Colwell (Connecticut), Betty Shoemaker (Indiana) and Elena Callas (Minnesota) who were randomly selected to win a PRIZE PACK that includes 4 Movie Tickets (Landmark Theatres Only) to see the “Let the Right One In” film, a Magnet Films T-Shirt, and the “Let the Right One InMovie Tie-In paperback novel, all thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Magnet Films!!! John Ajvide Lindqvist’sLet the Right One In” Movie Tie-In paperback novel is officially out today, while the film is playing in select theatres. For more information on the book, please click HERE.

Congratulations also to Amanda Kinder (Texas) and Joanne Bernard (Connecticut) who were randomly selected to win a SET of
Gregory Maguire’s Wicked Years novels including copies of “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”, “Son of a Witch” and “A Lion Among Men”, thanks to HarperCollins!!! “A Lion Among Men” was officially released on October 14, 2008, and more information on the book can be found HERE.

Miscellaneous News:

Back in July 2008,
Dabel Brothers Publishing released a PRESS RELEASE about Malcom Wong’s Dog Eaters, a screenplay adapted into a six-issue manga-style comic book miniseries that tells the tale of a world 175 years after the “Die Off”—a catastrophe that occurs when the balance of world economic, political, and ecological systems is upset by an oil crisis that spins out of control, eventually wiping out 90% of the world's population. Well, issue one of that series—which was adapted by Sean J. Jordan with artwork by Chilean illustrator Guillermo A. Angel—hits comic book stands on November 19, 2008, and in support of the issue’s release, a Preview of the first Sixteen Pages can be downloaded HERE (PDF). An accompanying graphic novel, which will collect the entire six-issue miniseries, is currently planned for an early summer 2009 release, just in time for the San Diego Comic-Con.

On January 2, 2009,
Pan Macmillan New Writing will publish “The Hoard of Mhorrer”, a sequel to MFW Curran’s debut novel, “The Secret War”. I had never heard of these books before, but they sound really interesting, so included below is the synopsis for “The Hoard of Mhorrer”:

The Secret War continues. . .

Prepare to confront the incarnation of evil. It is 1820 and the world is on the brink.

A fearless cohort of soldier-monks, led by Lieutenant Williams Saxon, has been dispatched to Egypt on the most important mission in history. For thousands of years a great secret has been kept: a stockpile of appalling malevolence, which, if let loose, will plunge the world into eternal damnation. This is the Hoard of Mhorrer. The soldiers must find and destroy the Hoard before the demonic agents of the evil Count Ordrane of Draak locate it.

In a heart-stopping race against time, ranging from Papal Rome to the desolate heart of Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, the soldiers must battle murderous militiamen and pitiless daemons, and finally, terrifyingly, the bloodthirsty Guardians of the Horde.

If William and his men succeed, the clandestine war between Heaven and Hell will at last begin to favor the forces of light. But if they fail, and the agents of Hell claim the Hoard, then they will unleash an army of invincible daemons, and humankind—what is left of it—will come to know the true meaning of evil…

Lastly, in support of the November 7, 2008 UK publication of his short story collection, “The Gabble and Other Stories”,
Neal Asher will be signing copies of his new book. Dates and synopsis info are included below:

The Gabble and Other Stories” by
Neal Asher. UK Release Date: November 7, 2008. In the eight years since his first full-length novel “Gridlinked” was published by Pan Macmillan, Neal Asher has firmly established himself as one of the leading British writers of Science Fiction, and his novels are now translated in many languages. Most of his stories are set in a galactic future-scape called ‘The Polity’, and with this collection of marvelously inventive and action-packed short stories, he takes us further into the manifold diversities of that amazing universe.

No one does monsters better than
Neal Asher, so be prepared to revisit the lives and lifestyles of such favorites as the gabbleduck and the hooder, to savor alien poisons, the walking dead, the Sea of Death, and the putrefactor symbiont.

Through these thirteen stories, welcome to a universe of unbridled imagination, each one of them a delight in itself…

Signing Dates:

Waterstone’s, Culver Square, Colchester
Saturday 22nd November, 1-2pm

Forbidden Planet, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London
Thursday 27th November, 6-7pm

GIVEAWAY: Solaris Books ‘Extreme’ Photo Contest!!!

Order “BiohellHERE

In support of the October 28, 2008 release of Andy Remic’s action-packed new novel, “Biohell”, Solaris Books is offering readers a chance to show off their ‘Extreme’ side. All contestants have to do is have a picture of themselves—and ANY Solaris book—taken somewhere cool, unique or extreme...

To get a better idea of how this works,
Andy Remic himself has graciously provided us with a couple of examples above. (NOTE: Andy would like to give his thanks to the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington, York, for “Letting a greasy monkey clamber all over their kit.”)

All photo entries must be submitted to You may submit a MAXIMUM of TWO PHOTOS per entry, but please, only ONE ENTRY per household. In the body of the e-mail please include your NAME and MAILING ADDRESS. Once the contest is concluded, all of the submissions will be judged by the Solaris Book staff and Andy Remic, and a total of SIX WINNERS will be selected for the following Prizes:

GRAND PRIZE — A Solaris Bumper Pack including copies of Paul Kearney’sThe Ten Thousand”, “Extraordinary Engines” edited by Nick Gevers, Eric Brown’sNecropath”, “Sideways In Crime” edited by Lou Anders, Brian Lumley’sThe Taint and Other Novellas” and Andy Remic’sBiohell”!!!

FIVE RUNNER-UPS — A COPY of Any Remic’sBiohell”!!!

Official contest rules are included below. Giveaway ends Tuesday, November 25, 2008 – 11:59AM PST. Thank you for entering and Good Luck!


1) Open To Anyone
2) Only One Entry Per Household (Multiple Entries Will Be Disqualified) and a Maximum of TWO PHOTOS Per Entry
3) Must Provide Valid Mailing Address + Name
4) No Purchase Necessary
5) Giveaway Will End November 25, 2008 – 11:59AM PST
6) Winners Will Be Judged and Chosen by
Andy Remic and the Solaris Books Staff. Winners will be Notified By Email
7) Personal Information Will Only Be Used In Mailing Out the Prizes To the Winners
Monday, October 27, 2008

"The Memorist" by M.J. Rose (Reviewed by Liviu C. Suciu)

Official M.J. Rose Website
Order “The Memorist
Read An Excerpt
Watch the Book Trailer
Read Reviews HERE

AUTHOR INFORMATION: M.J. Rose is the international bestselling author of ten novels including “The Reincarnationist”. She is also the coauthor of two nonfiction books on marketing: “How to Publish and Promote Online” (w/Angela Adair Hoy) and “Buzz Your Book” (w/Douglas Clegg). M.J. is a founding member and board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder for the first marketing company for authors: Author Buzz. She also runs two popular blogs in Buzz, Balls & Hype and Backstory.

INTRODUCTION:The Memorist” is volume two of a loose series by M.J. Rose which is centered around the idea of reincarnation, past lives and a society/foundation dedicated to proving scientifically the validity of those concepts. After finishing “The Memorist”, I read “The Reincarnationist” which is the first volume in the series. Between the two, “The Memorist” is superior in many respects and has me really looking forward to the next installment…

Even though “The Memorist” has characters and references to “The Reincarnationist”, the book is self-contained and readers should be able to start out with “The Memorist” first like I did, and fully enjoy it. Both novels are romantic thrillers with strong fantastical elements that should appeal to readers of historical thrillers and contemporary fantasy alike.

SETTING:The Memorist” is mostly set in present-day Vienna with interludes occurring in the famous 1814 Congress of Vienna era as well as in the Indus Valley of 2120 B.C.E. The novel's descriptions of Vienna and several of its historical curiosities, some quite dark, are excellent.

FORMAT/INFO: The PDF Advance Reader's Copy of “The Memorist” that I received stands at 444 pages of text divided over 107 numbered chapters. Each chapter has a heading indicating the place, day and time of its action. Every once in a while a quote is also used, mostly from writers and thinkers like Balzac, Whitman, Socrates, Jung, etc. with musings about the possibility of past lives and other relevant tidbits.

At the end of the novel there is an Author Note about what is factual in “The Memorist” regarding setting, historical events and such, as well as the inspiration for some of the fictional organizations and characters that appear. After that, there is a suggested reading list about reincarnation and related subjects that the author recommends for an introduction to the subject.

The Memorist” is written in the third-person via multiple POVs with each short chapter told from the point-of-view of a single character. The main protagonist is Meer Logan, with important roles played by her father Jeremy, her mentor Malachai Samuels who was a main character in “The Reincarnationist”, the journalist David Yalom, the musician Sebastian Otto and several other people from different times and places who you will have the pleasure of discovering.

The ending is very well done and wraps up the main threads of the novel as well as advancing the overall arc of the series. Personally, I am quite interested in reading the next installment and hope we get to see Meer again since she is the most interesting and well-developed character so far…

November 1, 2008 marks the North American Hardcover publication of “The Memorist” via
Mira Books.

PLOT HINTS AND ANALYSIS: Meer Logan is a 31-year-old woman who is currently working for the Phoenix Foundation, an organization dedicated to the exploration of memory and does a lot of work helping children cope with the “overwhelmingness” of “past-life” memories. Meer was one such child and at the age of nine, experienced such a powerful memory flash that, in her panic, she suffered a terrible spine injury that almost left her paralyzed for life. After she recovered from the accident, Meer shut down emotionally and only the treatment of Malachai Samuels, an associate of her father Jeremy, allowed her to develop the techniques necessary to deal with those overwhelming experiences.

Meer does not believe that the flashes she experiences are truly “past-life” memories, but merely false memories. However, she renounced her early passion for music and dedicated herself to the understanding of how memory works and is now an associate of Malachai despite her complete disbelief in the theories embraced by her father and Malachai.

Through her memory flashes, Meer finds herself connected to a magical flute that was supposedly discovered in India in the early 1800s by one of the founders of the Memorist society which is based in Vienna—both Jeremy and Malachai are prominent members of the society. After various adventures, the “magical” flute is given to Beethoven to decipher its mysterious music that may be a key to unearthing memories of earlier lives, but Margaux—the desperate wife of the disappeared discoverer of the flute—wants it back so she can sell it to other interested parties and raise money for an expedition to find her husband. When Jeremy Logan, the “Indiana Jones” of Jewish artifacts, finds a previously unknown posthumous Beethoven letter in Vienna that may lead to the flute and the music, there is a stunning fact: the letter was discovered in an old gaming box that Meer used to draw obsessively as a child! Meer believes the drawing is from her imagination or from seeing it elsewhere, but Jeremy and Malachai insist that she drew it from a past life memory. So Meer flies to New York to see the box and letter for herself, and maybe acknowledge that her visions are not false memories after all, but actually true glimpses of past lives…

In a different thread, journalist David Yalom, a veteran of covering numerous terrorist and underground organizations, is on a path of revenge after his family was murdured due to one of his articles. The target of David’s revenge is a famous Beethoven concert attended by many VIPs…

The Memorist” took a little while for me to get into because of its multiple threads, characters and short chapters that jump around. However, once I started understanding what the book was about and once Meer started taking over the novel, I couldn’t put “The Memorist” down and just had to find out what happens.

Highly recommended…

NOTE: This review and the giveaway (Posted at Noon) is part of the
October/November 2008 M.J. Rose Book Tour sponsored by TLC Book Tours. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour stops!
Sunday, October 26, 2008

Song of the Week: "Death" by White Lies

Order “DeathHERE

White Lies’ debut album, “To Lose My Life”, doesn’t come out until February 2009 (Fiction/Geffen Records), but the British trio has already amassed a ton of hype due to their first single “Unfinished Business” and the recently released “Death EP”. “Cinematic!” says The Guardian and christened by NME as the “Grandiose Archbishops of Cathedral Pop (Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen)”, White Lies is on the cusp of stardom. Then again, Scottish act Glasvegas had a lot of hype surrounding their debut which sorely disappointed me, so even though I really enjoy “Death”, I’m not completely sold on the band yet. For now, check out the “Death” Music Video, the “Death (Crystal Castles Remix” and the Album Version of “Death”:

Previous Songs of the Week:

August 17, 2008
August 24, 2008
August 30, 2008
September 7, 2008
September 14, 2008
September 21, 2008
September 28, 2008
October 5, 2008
October 12, 2008
October 19, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008

"The Way of Shadows" by Brent Weeks (Reviewed by Liviu C. Suciu)

Official Brent Weeks Website
Order “The Way of Shadows
Read An Excerpt
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INTRODUCTION: Brent Weeks is a new voice in epic fantasy that publisher Orbit Books hopes to catapult to the top of the field with the consecutive monthly release of his debut trilogy, Night Angel. “The Way of Shadows” is the first book in the trilogy and I found it so engrossing that after I stayed up late to finish it, I stayed up late again to reread the book! And the next book in the trilogy, “Shadow’s Edge”, instantly became one of my most anticipated books for the rest of 2008…

SETTING: On the continent of Mydciru, there are various countries jockeying for dominance. Most developed some form of magic: some purely benign like healing magic and some that can be used for good or for evil. But the Khalidoran dynasty of the Ursuuls possesses the “vir” magic which is pure evil, as described by the seer Dorian—one of the most fascinating characters in the book—and for good reason.

The main action of the book takes place in Cenaria, a smaller country to the south of Khalidor. Cenaria is corrupt, not particularly wealthy or special in any way, and moreover it is used to being occupied by neighboring powers. A weak king and several powerful noble lines jockeying for dominance make it easy for the Sakage—the local underworld—to run the capital. The Sakage is led by the Nine, each with a particular area of responsibility, all being under the ultimate authority of the “Shinga”. There is fierce competition to ascend to the Nine, so assassinations are common within Sakage leadership and nobility, thus resulting in a thriving assassin profession.

However there is a twist. The Shinga's top assassins, called wetboys, possess some magical talent which makes them more effective, but also subject to a loyalty compulsion, so no “normal” assassin is allowed to get too skilled in Cenaria before being eliminated as a threat on the Shinga's orders. The number one wetboy is Durzo Blint, and for reasons that are made clear later in the book he finally decides to take an apprentice, the eleven year old “rat boy” Azoth. From here, we follow the two for about 10 years in which Azoth is trained in the skills of the blade and poison killing, as well as impersonating a minor outland noble named Kylar Stern.

FORMAT/INFO:The Way of Shadows” stands at 645 pages of text divided over 66 numbered chapters. The book also includes a map of Midcyru and an Epilogue. After the Epilogue there is a bonus section including an Author Interview and a very cool Excerpt for the next volume in the series, “Shadow's Edge”. The book is narrated in the third person present tense via several POVs, though the story mainly follows Azoth/Kylar. The ending comes at a natural stopping point but it's clear that the big picture is just now starting to impinge on our characters.

October 1/October 2, 2008 marks the North American/UK Mass Market Paperback publication of “The Way of Shadows” via
Orbit Books. The cover art is provided by Calvin Chu. The second book in the trilogy, “Shadow’s Edge”, will be published October 28/November 6, 2008 (US/UK), while the concluding volume, “Beyond the Shadows”, is scheduled for a November 25/December 4, 2008 (US/UK) release.

PLOT HINTS AND ANALYSIS: As a terrorized eleven-year-old gang member, Azoth has two goals: first he needs to protect his friends—Jarl a shy, handsome boy of his age that the brutal gang leader Rat targets for rape and submission, and Doll Girl a mute eight-year-old—and second, to become Durzo Blint's apprentice so he will never again be afraid.

For Durzo Blint is a legend, the wetboy that strikes terror in the hearts of anyone—commoner, nobleman or even a king—foolish enough to provoke him or his masters in the Sakage. The reality of course is more complex and we first meet Durzo dead drunk and despondent since the agents of Garoth Ursuul, the Godking of Khalidor, killed his lover and stole something presumably valuable of his. Of course, even in this state, Durzo still easily kills a bunch of assassins sent by rivals hearing about his misfortune.

For reasons that are only understood later in the book, Durzo accepts Azoth as an apprentice but with one condition—Azoth needs to prove himself worthy by killing the evil Rat. When Azoth dithers and tragedy strikes his friends, he finally takes action though his moral scruples against killing, no matter how a worthy cause, will still be with him all the way to the end of the story…

Also part of the story are some lost magical jewels with awesome properties that is wanted by the Godking, Durzo Blint and various other parties, and which may be attuned to Azoth/Kylar for reasons to be found by reading the book.

Throw in a “prophet” that sees the future, a super-magical sword—the mother of all magical swords if you want—a trio of magicians determined to fight the Godking at any price, a plot that zigs and zags several times in unexpected directions, plenty of fights, assassinations by poison and blade, intrigue and even a little comic relief provided by Aleine Gunder IX (Durzo’s uninteresting master), and you have all the trappings of a superb epic fantasy that will absorb you from start to finish…

Highly, highly recommended.


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