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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fantasy Book Critic’s 2008 Review/2009 Preview — Robert Thompson

At first, I wasn’t sure if I would do a Year End’s list, partly because I hardly read anything after August 2008, but also because I’ve been so busy. But, I managed to find some free time and, inspired by Lou Ander’s contribution HERE, I’ve decided that my list would cover more than just literature. So, even though it’s a little bit late, here’s my 2008 Review/2009 Preview...

2008 FAVORITES — Books:


True to the name of the blog, I read more fantasy than any other genre in 2008. And even though there were many outstanding titles that I didn’t get to like Steven Erikson’sToll the Hounds”, Joe Abercrombie’sLast Argument of Kings”, Brandon Sanderson’sThe Well of Ascension”, Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy, Paul Kearney’sThe Ten Thousand”, Brian Ruckley’sBloodheir”, and Pamela Freeman’sDeep Water”, etc., I still ended up reading a ton of great fantasy:

01)The Kingdom Beyond the Waves” by
Stephen Hunt. Reviewed HERE. Set in the same marvelous world as “The Court of the Air”, “The Kingdom Beyond the Waves” is even better with greater thrills and adventure while retaining the magic, creativity and novelty of the first book…
02)Return of the Crimson Guard” by
Ian Cameron Esslemont. Despite a somewhat slow and haphazard start, “Return of the Crimson Guard” was a monster of a book, breathlessly epic in scope with awesome characters and a wonderfully elaborate story. It was almost the same level of mastery as Steven Erikson...
03)Iron Angel” by
Alan Campell. Reviewed HERE. Superior to its predecessor in every area, “Iron Angel” blew me away with it’s larger-than-life tale of a gothic, steampunk-influenced world of fallen gods, angels, and demons. It’s like a blockbuster videogame told in prose :)
04)The Magicians and Mrs. Quent” by
Galen Beckett. Reviewed HERE. Exquistely written, “The Magicians and Mrs. Quent” is a remarkably charming, witty, and entertaining fantasy that evokes Jane Austen and “Jane Eyre”. I just couldn’t put it down...
05)The Hounds of Ash and Other Tales of Fool Wolf” by
Greg Keyes. Reviewed HERE. Embodying the spirit of classic sword & sorcery fantasy like Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, “The Hounds of Ash and Other Tales of Fool Wolf” is jam-packed with adventure, swordplay, magic, mythology, tongue-in-cheek humor and clever deception. I absolutely loved it!
06)Kushiel’s Mercy” by
Jacqueline Carey. Reviewed HERE. Jacqueline’s Kushiel novels are among my personal favorites, and with her latest book, Ms. Carey concludes the excellent Imriel trilogy on a very joyful and triumphant note. Even more, it’s one of the best books in the whole Kushiel saga...
07)Empire In Black & Gold” by
Adrian Tchaikovsky. Reviewed HERE. Offering a familiar, yet refreshingly original take on epic fantasy, “Empire In Black & Gold” was impressive as both a debut and the start to a promising new series :)
08)The Born Queen” by
Greg Keyes. Reviewed HERE. Individually, “The Born Queen” is not the best book in The Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone series, but as the rewarding endpiece to one of the more underrated and entertaining fantasy sagas out there, the novel is a brilliant standout...
09)Shadow Gate” by
Kate Elliott. Reviewed HERE. Much better than “Spirit Gate”, featuring rich worldbuilding, intimate characterization, thought-provoking themes and a compelling story, “Shadow Gate” was one of the most intelligent and ambitious fantasy releases of the year...
10)Lord Tophet” by
Gregory Frost. Reviewed HERE. A huge improvement over its predecessor, “Lord Tophet” is the richly rewarding conclusion to the Shadowbridge duology, and just a marvelous work of invention and storytelling.
11)Midnight Never Come” by
Marie Brennan. Reviewed HERE. Spectacularly researched, beautifully imagined, and utterly charming, “Midnight Never Come” is a spellbinding cross between an Elizabethan historical and a gothic fairy tale...
12)An Autumn War” by
Daniel Abraham. Reviewed HERE. The third—and in my opinion, the best—volume (so far) in the superb Long Price Quartet, “An Autumn War” delivers the goods including a jaw-dropping finale!
13)Havemercy” by
Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett. Reviewed HERE. One of the year’s biggest surprises, “Havemercy” really delighted me with its strong writing, wonderful characters and Sarah Monette-like uniqueness.
14)The Steel Remains” by
Richard K. Morgan. Reviewed HERE (UK Release). Bold, entertaining as hell, and tailor-made for adult readers, Morgan’s first foray into the fantasy genre is for anyone who likes their fantasy harsh, cynical, bloody and extreme…
15)The Red Wolf Conspiracy” by Robert V.S. Redick. Reviewed HERE. Even though the book falters at the end and I had some issues with the plot, “The Red Wolf Conspiracy” was intelligently crafted, highly imaginative with superb world-building, and highly appealing...
16)Blood Ties” by
Pamela Freeman. Reviewed HERE. Possessing the accessibility of a children’s book while telling a powerful coming-of-age story rich in imagination, emotion, and wonder, “Blood Ties” was undeniably charming and fun to read.

~Science Fiction:

2008 was not a good year for me when it came to science fiction as I somehow managed to not read many of the titles I was planning to including Neal Stephenson’sAnathem”, Peter F. Hamilton’sThe Temporal Void”, David Weber’sBy Schism Rent Asunder”, Walter Jon Williams’Implied Spaces”, David Louis Edelman’sMultiReal”, Greg Bear’sCity at the End of Time”, Tobias S. Buckell’sSly Mongoose”, Kay Kenyon’sA World Too Near”, and Andy Remic’sBioHell”. But of the titles I did read, there were a number of highlights:

01)The Host” by
Stephenie Meyer. Reviewed HERE. “The Host” is the first and only book that I’ve ever read by the author of the mega-popular Twilight Saga, and while it’s arguably more of a romance than science fiction, the book thoroughly impressed me with its superb storytelling and complex characters...
02)Escapement” by
Jay Lake. Reviewed HERE. Vastly improved over its predecessor, “Escapement” is a stunningly sophisticated, creative and distinctive mixture of steampunk, alternate history, fantasy, and science fiction with travelogue/coming-of-age elements, theology and philosophy all mixed in.
03)Singularity’s Ring” by
Paul Melko. Reviewed HERE. Acessible and involving with a truly unique narrative voice—a pod quintet named Apollo Papadopulos—“Singularity’s Ring” really left an impression on me.
04)Debatable Space” by
Philip Palmer. Reviewed HERE. Incredibly zany, unpredictable and unorthodox, “Debatable Space” was a totally wild trip—and I loved every minute of it :) I can’t wait for Palmer’s next offering.
05)Hunter’s Run” by
George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, and Daniel Abraham. Reviewed HERE (US Debut). “Hunter’s Run” may not have lived up to its billing as a “new benchmark in modern SF”, but it was well-written and thought-provoking.
06)Death’s Head: Maximum Offense” by
David Gunn. Reviewed HERE. Full of brutal in-your-face action, sardonic humor and badass characters, “Death’s Head: Maximum Offense” is awesome, testosterone-fueled military SF fun :D
07)The Mirrored Heavens” by
David J. Williams. Reviewed HERE. Though flawed, “The Mirrored Heavens” was a smart, intense and engaging futuristic thriller that effectively combined cyberpunk, military science fiction and espionage...

~Young Adult:

Even though I never got around to reading Neil Gaiman’sThe Graveyard Book”, Terry Pratchett’sNation”, Kristin Cashore’sGraceling”, Marie Rutkoski’sThe Cabinet of Wonders” and a number of other titles like I wanted to, I still read more YA/children’s books in 2008 than I did in 2007 including such highlights as Andrew Peterson’sOn the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness” and Christopher Golden’sPoison Ink”. But the two standouts of the year were easily
Cory Doctorow’sLittle Brother” (Reviewed HERE) and Peter David’sTigerheart” (Reviewed HERE). I loved both books equally but for very different reasons—“Little Brother” because it was smart, timely, plausible, provocative and fun; and “Tigerheart” because it was charming, whimsical, insightful, magical and timeless. In short, not only were “Little Brother” and “Tigerheart” two of the year’s best YA releases, but they were also two of the best books I read in all of 2008...

~Misc. (Horror, Literary, Urban Fantasy, etc.):

From horror, thrillers, historical fiction and urban fantasy to steampunk, literary novels, crime noir and all those in between, I branched out quite a lot in 2008. But since I didn’t really read all that much in any one of the aforementioned subgenres, I just decided to group together all of my miscellaneous favorites:

01)The Resurrectionist” by
Jack O’Connell. Reviewed HERE. Deftly blurring the line between reality and imagination, “The Resurrectionist” is a simply magical tale of drama, mystery and fantastical adventure. Arguably my favorite book of 2008.
02)Severance Package” by
Duane Swierczynski. Reviewed HERE. A wild mix of noir, espionage, and dark office humor—think Alias meets The Office meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith as imagined by Quentin Tarantino—“Severance Package” was the most entertaining novel I read all year. Bring on the movie!
03)The Monsters of Templeton” by
Lauren Groff. Reviewed HERE. “Part contemporary story of a girl’s search for her father, part historical novel, and part ghost story”, “The Monsters of Templeton” was 100 percent spellbinding...
04)Stalking the Unicorn” by Mike Resnick (Re-Release). Reviewed
HERE. Smart, highly inventive, and outrageously funny, “Stalking the Unicorn” (1987) was just a blast to read! A true classic that will stand the test of time...
05)The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski. Beautifully written, profound, heartwarming, and heart-wrenching, “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” is a stunning novel that I will be re-reading for years to come...
06)Sharp Teeth” by
Toby Barlow. Reviewed HERE. Mixing pulp fiction noir with horror and the supernatural, “Sharp Teeth” is a contemporary werewolf tale written in verse. Need I say more :)
07)Whitechapel Gods” by S.M. Peters. Reviewed
HERE. Full of imagination and movie/videogame-like action & adventure, “Whitechapel Gods” is a Victorian steampunk sci-fi/fantasy hybrid that totally kicks ass!
08)The Alchemy of Stone” by
Ekaterina Sedia. Reviewed HERE. A magnificent blend of steampunk, gothic romance, political intrigue, and fairy tale spirit, “The Alchemy of Stone” completely enchanted me with its exquisite prose and surreal imagination...
09)The Queen’s Bastard” by
C.E. Murphy. Reviewed HERE. Falling somewhere between historical fiction and Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel novels, “The Queen’s Bastard” was one of the year’s most pleasant surprises for me. Simply captivating.
10)Through a Glass, Darkly” by
Bill Hussey. Reviewed HERE. Dark, disturbingly imaginative, skillfully written, and featuring a story that see-saws between the psychological and the macabre, “Through a Glass, Darkly” was easily the best horror novel I read in 2008 :)
11)Infected” by
Scott Sigler. Reviewed HERE. A genre-busting blend of bio-thriller, horror fiction and suspense, “Infected” is a pulse-pounding novel that delivers both chills and thrills...
12)Happy Hour of the Damned” by
Mark Henry. Reviewed HERE. Sassy, sexy, and loads of fun, “Happy Hour of the Damned” turned out to be the most daring and original urban fantasy novel I read in 2008.
13) The Magician and the Fool” by
Barth Anderson. Reviewed HERE. Partly a contemporary tale of identity, love, and redemption; and partly a thought-provoking mystery based on the origins of Tarot and the founding of Rome; “The Magician and the Fool” opened up my imagination and challenged my perception of the unknown...
14)Inside Straight” edited by
George R. R. Martin. Reviewed HERE. A smart, imaginative and realistic look at a world with superheroes, “Inside Straight” exceeded the hype and made me a permanent fan of the Wild Cards universe.
15)Neuropath” by
Scott Bakker. Reviewed HERE (UK/Canada Release). Combining psychological/techno thrills with police procedural, horror, and a sprinkle of near-future science fiction, “Neuropath” offers a uniquely smart, provocative and unsettling reading experience…

Honorable mentions include Mike Carey’sVicious Circle” (US Debut) and David J. Schwartz’sSuperpowers


More than anything else, I love reading debut novels, and even though I missed a few (Andrew Davidson’sThe Gargoyle”, Peter V. Brett’sThe Painted Man”, Nick Harkaway’sThe Gone-Away World", Hannah Tinti’sThe Good Thief”, etc.) 2008 was just full of outstanding debuts:

01)The Magicians and Mrs. Quent” by
Galen Beckett. Reviewed HERE. See comments above.
02)The Monsters of Templeton” by
Lauren Groff. Reviewed HERE. See comments above.
03)The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski. See comments above.
04)Sharp Teeth” by
Toby Barlow. Reviewed HERE. See comments above.
05)Empire In Black & Gold” by
Adrian Tchaikovsky. Reviewed HERE. See comments above.
06)Whitechapel Gods” by S.M. Peters. Reviewed
HERE. See comments above.
07)Through a Glass, Darkly” by
Bill Hussey. Reviewed HERE.
08)Singularity’s Ring” by
Paul Melko. Reviewed HERE. See comments above.
09)Debatable Space” by
Philip Palmer. Reviewed HERE. See comments above.
10)Happy Hour of the Damned” by
Mark Henry. Reviewed HERE. See comments above.
11)Havemercy” by
Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett. Reviewed HERE. See comments above.
12)The Red Wolf Conspiracy” by Robert V.S. Redick. Reviewed HERE. See comments above.
13)The Mirrored Heavens” by
David J. Williams. Reviewed HERE. See comments above.
14)The Wolfman” by Nicholas Pekearo. Reviewed
HERE. Blending hard-boiled crime noir with horror and the supernatural like Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt novels, “The Wolfman” was a striking debut by an author whose life was cut short way too early...
15)The Somnambulist” by
Jonathan Barnes. Reviewed HERE (US Debut). Mixes Victoriana, detective mystery, gothic horror, black comedy, supernatural fantasy and an unreliable narrator for a bizarre, yet entertaining reading experience. Will definitely be picking up the sequel, “The Domino Men”.

Honorable mentions include Chris Evan’sA Darkness Forged In Fire”, David Oppegaard’sThe Suicide Collectors” and Dorothy Hearst’sPromise of the Wolves

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2009 — Books:

If the books (Jasper Kent’s "Twelve", Eric Nylund’sMortal Coils”, Daniel Fox’sDragon In Chains”, Ken Scholes’Lamentation”) I’ve read so far are any indication, then 2009 is going to be another banner year for speculative fiction. I’ve already covered a bunch of titles that I’m looking forward to this year with my Upcoming 2009 Releases articles
HERE (Part 1) + HERE (Part 2), but there are still a ton of books that I can’t wait to get my hands on...

The Pretender’s Crown” by C.E. Murphy
Audrey’s Door” by Sarah Langan
Watcher of the Dead” by J.V. Jones
The Cardinal's Blades” by Pierre Pevel
The Unseen” by Alexandra Sokoloff
The Angel’s Game” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
In Ashes Lie” by Marie Brennan
The Edge of the World” by Kevin J. Anderson
Death's Head: Day Of The Damned” by David Gunn
Naamah’s Kiss” by Jacqueline Carey
The Light of Burning Shadows” by Chris Evans
The Price of Spring” by Daniel Abraham
By Heresies Distressed” by David Weber
The Long Man" by Steve Englehart
Dragon Keeper” by Robin Hobb
The Desert Spear” by Peter V. Brett
The Red Tree” by Caitlin R. Kiernan
The Rats and the Ruling Sea” by Robert V.S. Redick
Dust of Dreams” by Steven Erikson
The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart” by Jesse Bullington
The Golden City” by John Twelve Hawks
The Other Lands” by David Anthony Durham
The Cold Commands” by Richard K. Morgan
My Dead Body” by Charlie Huston
Orbus” by Neal Asher
A Memory of Light” by Brandon Sanderson & Robert Jordan
...and many others that I’ve forgotten about or haven’t discovered yet ;)

2008 FAVORITES — Graphic Novels:

Ever since I started Fantasy Book Critic, I haven’t read nearly as many comic books as I used to. Still, I managed to read some really good graphic novels this year like Stephen King’sThe Gunslinger Born” and “The Long Road Home”, GRRM’sThe Sworn Sword”, Michael Easton’sSoul Stealer”, Garth Ennis’The Boys” and Ultimates 2. But three titles really stood out for me in 2008:

1)The Umbrella Academy” by
Gerard Way & Gabriel Bá. Despite the hype, I was pretty wary about checking out this series. I mean, since when has a rockstar ever written a decent comic book series? Well Gerard proved me wrong, and coupled with Gabriel’s deliciously distinctive artwork, the duo produced one of the most eclectic, yet rewarding comic books of the year...

2)Joker” by
Brian Azzarello & Lee Bermejo. Because of The Dark Knight I’ve been jonesing for anything Batman/Joker-related. Luckily for me, along comes the “Joker” original graphic novel, a superbly gritty and realistic vision of Batman’s arch-nemesis. Immediately ranks right up there with other classic Joker stories like “The Killing Joke” and “Arkham Asylum”...

3)Madame Mirage” by
Paul Dini & Kenneth Rocafort. Reviewed HERE. Now I admit that what I loved the most about “Madame Mirage” was Rocafort’s stunning artwork, but the story is nothing to scoff at either, and with Paul Dini’s stamp on it, you can bet you’re going to be entertained...

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2009 — Graphic Novels:

Since I don’t read individual comic book issues any more, I have to wait for the collected editions to be released. As a result, my graphic novel wishlist is immense, but here are some of the more notable titles:

Stephen King’sDark Tower: Treachery
Stephen King’sThe Stand: Captain Tripps
Orson Scott Card’sEnder’s Game” + “Ender’s Shadow
Dean Koontz’sFrankenstein: Prodigal Son
Wild Cards: The Hard Call” by Daniel Abraham
Todd McFarlane’sHaunt
The Umbrella Academy: Dallas
Joe Hill’sLocke & Key: Head Games
Peter David’sSir Apropos of Nothing
Warren Ellis’Hotwire
Incognito” by Ed Brubaker
Batman: R.I.P.
City Of Dust” by Steve Niles
Mark Millar’sKick-Ass
Tales of the Green Woman” by Peter Straub & Michael Easton
Soul Stealer: Blood and Rain
Dark Delicacies Anthology Series

2008 FAVORITES — Movies:

I watch a ton of movies, not in the theatre, but I average about 3-4 DVDs per week. That’s a lot of movies, but I enjoyed no film more than
The Dark Knight. I already blogged about the film HERE, so let me just add that The Dark Knight wasn’t just my favorite movie of 2008; it’s now one of my all-time favorites right up there with the 1989 Batman and the original Crow starring the late Brandon Lee...

Other movies I really enjoyed included Iron Man, Kung Fu Panda, Hellboy II which I thought was a lot better than the first one, the inspirational August Rush, Horton Hears A Who, Cloverfield, Eagle Eye, Planet Terror, and the imaginative Hong Kong horror/dark fantasy film Re-Cycle.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2009 — Movies:

Like a lot of people, I’m most excited to see the adaptation of
Watchmen, although I might wait until the unrated and uncut version is released on DVD. But there are a lot of other films that I’m anxious to watch as well including G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, the very cool-looking animated film 9, Terminator: Salvation, Star Trek, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Monsters Vs. Aliens, Coraline, The Wolfman, Sherlock Holmes and James Cameron’s Avatar if it manages to come out...

~On DVD:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Quantum of Solace
Let the Right One In
Midnight Meat Train
Gran Torino
Repo! The Genetic Opera

2008 FAVORITES — Television Shows:

All we have is very basic basic cable—local channels basically—so I’m a bit limited at what I can watch television-wise. Fortunately, ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS continue to offer some of my favorite programs like
Chuck, The Office, 30 Rock, Heroes, Family Guy and my number one favorite, Lost, which continues to captivate year in and year out. It’s also the show I’m looking forward to watching the most in 2009, although I am intrigued by Dollhouse.

And thanks to DVDs, my wife and I were introduced to a couple of new favorites in 2008 including the superb
Dexter and How I Met Your Mother. Myself, I finally decided to see what all of the buzz was about regarding the anime series Death Note, and was subsequently blown away...

Of the new shows, I’m really enjoying the hell out of
Fringe. Even though it’s basically an updated version of The X-Files and includes actor Joshua Jackson who I could care less about, it features great production & writing and is a program that I’ll be following weekly...

2008 FAVORITES — Videogames:

2008 was the year I finally got a PS3, as well as a Nintendo DS. And even though I didn’t get to play very many games, what few I did play simply reinforced why I bought the systems in the first place...

Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3). Apart from Final Fantasy and Resident Evil, there is no other franchise I enjoy playing more than Metal Gear. And even with all of the hype surrounding the game, Metal Gear Solid 4 exceeded all of my expectations and delivered one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had, punctuated by stunning graphics, an interactive movie-like story, and a memorable cast of characters...

Fallout 3 (PS3). I bought this free-roaming RPG when it first came out in October and I’m still playing it. Massively huge, Fallout 3 is another super-hyped up game that delivers the goods and is just a blast to play...

Dead Space (PS3). This was the surprise of the year for me. I had no expectations when I first started playing the game, but by the time I had finished beating it, Dead Space had become one of my favorite survival horror games of all time. Highly recommended to any fan of the genre...

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS). Castlevania is another videogame franchise that I’m a huge fan of and even though Order of Ecclesia is a bit old-school and wasn’t one of the better entries in the series, I still had a lot of fun vanquishing Dracula . . . again...

Prince of Persia (PS3). The platforming and boss fights can get a bit repetitive, and the story itself is fairly simple, but Prince of Persia is just beautiful to look at, the controls are incredibly intuitive, and I have to applaud the developers for trying something different...

Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword (DS). Featuring fast & furious ninja sword action that required the use of your stylus, Dragon Sword was incredibly fun to play, but doesn’t rank higher because it was just too damn short...

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2009 — Videogames:


Resident Evil 5
Bionic Commando
Batman: Arkham Asylum
The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf

And if they come out in 2009—Final Fantasy XIII, God of War III, Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier, the White Knight Chronicles, and Final Fantasy Versus XIII

~Nintendo DS:

Suikoden Tierkreis
Dragon Quest IX: Protectors of the Sky

2008 FAVORITES — Artwork:

Last year I provided a list of my favorite book covers, but for 2008 I decided to just honor one artist. Now, between the stunning pieces he contributed to the “Gardens of the Moon” limited edition (
Subterranean Press) and his amazing work on the A Song of Ice & Fire 2009 calendar, Michael Komarck would normally have been the runaway favorite. But 2008 also saw the passing of Michael Turner, my favorite comic book artist of all time, so I felt that it was only fitting that the honor went to him and the legacy that he leaves behind...

2008 FAVORITES — Music:

2008 was a year of disappointment for me as most of the albums I was anticipating failed to live up to expectations including records by Metallica, Coldplay, Guns N’ Roses, Snow Patrol, Keane, Weezer, Oasis, 10 Years, Death Cab For Cutie, Glasvegas, etc. On the flipside, I was surprised by a few albums I didn’t expect to enjoy like Akon’sFreedom”, Kanye West’s808’s & Heartbreaks” and MGMT’sOracular Spectacular”, while Head’s solo effort was much better than I thought it would be. Overall though, there wasn’t a single album that I liked from start to finish. There were several songs I enjoyed though:

Take & Take” by Garfield Mayor
Only One” by Alex Band
Mercy” by Ours
I’m Not Over” by Caroline Liar
Say (All I Need)” by OneRepublic
You Got Me” by One Block Radius
Insane” by Scars on Broadway
Spiraling” by Keane
Love Is Noise” by The Verve
Paranoid” (Ft. Mr. Hudson) by Kanye West
It Can’t Rain Everyday” by P.O.D.
Sensual Seduction” by Snoop Dogg
By the Way” by Theory of a Deadman

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2009 — Music:

I haven’t really paid attention to what’s coming out in 2009, but here are a few bands whose records I will be anticipating...

Blue October
The Fray
Lily Allen
Busta Rhymes
Chris Cornell
The Prodigy
Depeche Mode
Dr. Dre
Green Day
Tinchy Stryder
Korn/Jonathan Davis solo
Alice in Chains
Breaking Benjamin

NOTE: For more responses, please visit Fantasy Book Critic's 2008 Review/2009 Preview index


Anonymous said...

your problem, robert, is that you are a complete slacker...:P

two suggestions:

i final got to read all the GN's for marvel's civil war. If you get the chance, this probably the best 'mega' event from either of the Two Big Guys since the last Crisis. Excellent issues, a tight control of characters and information, each 'family' adds to the intensity instead of being 'me too' syndrome.

And then there is the Eternals written by neil gaimen. Frankly, its a revision masterwork that stands alone. Marvel would be insane not to hire him to do anything they want to bring back from the publishing grave. Gaimen could make Power Pack worth reading again.

Some stuff you mention i have been dying to check out, but i cant order and the local library system doesnt have...such as the empire ofblack and gold/red wolf conspiracy. For my experience this year; fantasy definately had the better debut of new writers...but sci-fi had the better returning champs. And george martin had the most interesting 'sleeper' books in the new wild cards, which had next to no fan fare.

Video games have been a disappointment for most of 2008 for me; call of duty 5, GTA 4, Red alert 3, Warhammer MMO, Conan MMO, Spore...maybe i expected too much in each case or bought into the hype, but i feel let down lately when i thought it was going to be a better year for it.

Oh and the killers,the bravery,radiohead's new albums is pretty easy to love.

Robert said...


I totally agree ;) After all, I was typing up this list while watching a couple of NFL playoff games :D

Thanks for the suggestions! I'm really not a fan of those huge crossovers by Marvel and DC and tend to avoid them. I liked Identity Crisis though, and I have to admit that the concept behind Civil War was pretty cool. So I'll probably check it out at some point.

I love anything by Gaiman :) So I'll definitely be reading that one at some point. For now though, I plan on checking out that Fables series I keep hearing so much about...

As far as videogames, I don't really like first-person shooters or MMO games, so I can't really comment those. But there are big releases in those genres coming out this year, so maybe you'll have better luck :D

The Killers was another big disappointment for me. It was a little better than their sophomore, but I still liked their debut the best. Radiohead I forgot about. It was a decent album, like all of their records are, but nothing that stayed with me. On the other hand, I loved The Bravery's record, but that was released in 2007 here...

Scott Sigler said...

Holy crap, what a list! So glad INFECTED made it on there, much appreciated.

Rick said...


I just recently found your blog and I have to say that the variety and amount of fantasy you read is amazing! I've added your rss to my reader and I'll be back often.


L. Clarke said...

G,day hi there i am an avid pc gamer and fiction writer. I really got into Soldier Of Fortune Double Helix Gold Edition when it came out and have loved most games since. I still play Gore and Vietcong.
I love science fiction writing and think it is a great mind expanding genre. I am a humanitarian but agree with the concept of therio primitivism for humans and their interaction with other species. I have tried to use it as a motive in my own fiction writing. I have tried to show the fundamental horrors of not being ontop of the food chain in my novel called Doom Of The Shem.
Doom Of The Shem is a science fiction novel that incorporates the horror of military action with the unavoidable hostilities that occur when an alien species invades a planet in search of food. The barbarity of war is brought to light by the work achieved by the nurses and medical personnel of the planets inhabitants. While a full blown military action story emerges from an ensuing war that involves the whole planet. It is especially centered on a squad of the planets army forces, who fight the alien invaders. These nasties try to subjugate captured species my genetic manipulation such as in Dr Moreau, and use these creatures to run fast food outlets across their empire, giving out a free plastic toy with every sale of a Happy Hatchling Brain Burger.

Unknown said...

Great list!

Mihai A. said...

Very nice list, Robert :) And comprehensive one as well.

You better keep that Luis Royo behind you safe, because I would certainly like to put my hand on it ;)

GFS3 said...

Wow. I'm impressed with how detailed and comprehensive this list is. I can't read it in one sitting, but I've bookmarked it so I can come back later. Nice work.

See you like Conan as well. We're giving away three Conan books at my site starting today. Easy entry, big chance to win. If anyone is interested:

And thanks for the reading suggestions, Robert!

Robert said...

You're welcome Scott :) Now I just need to read Contagious!

Welcome to the blog Rick! I hope you'll enjoy your time here :D

Thanks for the heads up Leon. I'll look into your novel...

Thanks JB!

Mihai, the Luis Royo is just a print. You can get it online (I can't remember where at the moment) for like 30 bucks or something. It's probably my favorite piece by him though and I hope to get it framed at some point. Of course, I have much rarer signed/original prints from him that I'm keeping safe :)

I'm glad you like the list GSF3 :) And thanks for the heads up about the Conan giveaway! I'll be sure to check it out :D

Anonymous said...



01) “The Magicians and Mrs. Quent” by Galen Beckett. Reviewed HERE. See comments above.[/Snip]

You are aware that Galen Beckett is actually Mark Anthony?

I wouldn't count that as a "Debut"...

Robert said...

Anonymous, yeah, I just heard that about the book...from you I believe ;) But considering that the publisher marketed the book as a debut and that I reviewed it as a debut, I'm still considering it one :D

Ben said...

"The Resurrectionist" was also my favorite book of the year. An amazing book.

Science Bear said...

LOVE the picture in the background! Great list too, it seems as though we have similar taste in literature.

Thanks for the list!

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