Michael J Sullivan – Book of the Month Theft of Swords- Ask the Author Review

Michael J. SullivanMichael writes classical fantasy and science fiction with unlikely heroes and epic adventures. His books have sold more than three quarters of a million English language copies, been translated into 12 foreign languages, and appeared on more than 150 best-of or most-anticipated lists.

Last year we chose Theft of Swords, part one of the Riyria Revelations as our Fantasy Book of the Month for October and Michael J Sullivan was kind enough to do an ask the author thread for us.

Here I will show some of the questions and answers from the thread including a really interesting comparison of his upcoming series Age of Myths to his other work.

Also keep an eye out for an upcoming interview by our own Sir Lancer with the author, where Sir Lancer asks a more interesting variety of Questions.

Michael J. SullivanMember -“Will your upcoming First Empire series be in this same style, or is it…

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Book of the Month – Look Back at 2015

Before we start posting upcoming book of the month details I thought it might be interesting to highlight the group choices over the previous year.

Each month we choose a Fantasy book and a Scifi book through nominations and voting and I believe we chose a great selection last year.

Our discussions stay open and anyone can join .

Let us know have you enjoyed any of these

All discussions saved here –

Overall – https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_folder/183499?group_id=106876

Fantasy – https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_folder/180241?group_id=106876

Scifi https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_folder/189817?group_id=106876

January –

– FANTASY: City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

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– SCI-FI: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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February –

– FANTASY: The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

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– SCI-FI: Lock In by John Scalzi

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March –

– FANTASY: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

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– SCI-FI: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

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April –

– FANTASY: Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate…

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Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Morning Star (Red Rising, #3)Morning Star by Pierce Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A stunning trilogy. Seriously a different level to most things out there. To rate the whole series I think I need more than the 5 star scale .
I was only telling a friend a few days ago that I avoided Red Rising for quite a while as the level of hype was too much to live up to.
But sometimes hype is deserved and this is one of those rare cases.
I’ll be honest in saying this book is not quite as good as the first two in some small ways but that would be nit picking and Morning Star is still brilliant in its own right.
Some great twists and some very intelligent political thought processes. Brown never takes the easy way out and writes some very difficult passages. And mist importantly you care about his characters right to the finish.
Some authors have difficulty wrapping up a series but the ending is well constructed and wonderfully done.
I’m already looking forward to seeing what Brown does next.
And where can I join the Howlers.

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United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas- An interesting update on Man in the High Castle

United States of JapanUnited States of Japan by Peter Tieryas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An interesting take on a similar scenario to Man in the High Castle . Set in the western US under Japanese rule following a lazy solder and a secret police officer as they dig through the layers of the society and track a rebel group and a computer game showing a different outcome to the war.
Comparisons to PKD are inevitable but the style is quite different. But like PKD the book has a dramatic technological advance based on a culture with little morals holding testing back. The level of computer technology is highly advance come the 1980s , maybe a little too much but it still works well.
The story overall is more accessible than Man in the High Castle and maintains a good pace , builds on a well thought out point of divergence.
Some points in the plot move through a little too easily and I saw the final twist a mile off but still very enjoyable .

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Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell – A Great Intro to his Work

Witches of LychfordWitches of Lychford by Paul Cornell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Short but exceptionally good. Cornell has a wonderful way with language, even the crude kind. Wonderful use of the word Wankery.
The main characters in this are great and I really came to like the three of them.
A lot of development in such a short story is a credit to the author.
The story itself is very good and the couple of twists and flipping of convention make it a really interesting read.

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The BuildersThe Builders by Daniel Polansky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An interesting and quirky short book , set in a world of anthropomorphised animals coming together to re-fight an old battle in a civil war.
The book manages on the one hand to be dark and violent while still having an element of fun as to how its all set up. The animals all have a bit of nature about them and its interesting to see how that surfaces as the plot moves.
The story itself isn’t the most complex, a revenge story with a couple of twists but the end makes it all both an interesting statement and a tongue in cheek joke.
My first book by the author and interesting enough to entice me to his longer work

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The Last Mortal Bond – Brian Staveley

Before I review The Last Mortal Bond I must make you aware that there will be spoilers if you have not read The Emperor’s Blades and The Providence of Fire. Furthermore if you have not read t…

Source: The Last Mortal Bond – Brian Staveley

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Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel Advance review

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel (Themis Files #1) Publisher – Penguin Imprint – Michael Joseph ISBN – 9780718181680 Pages – 320 Release date – April 7th 2016 Si…

Source: Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel Advance review

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Sci-Fi Month – Review of Press Start to PlayAnthology

Press Start to PlayPress Start to Play by Daniel H. Wilson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

 

My final review of what has been a very enjoyable Scifi Month

 

 

Video games are a multi-billion dollar a year industry that has outpaced movies and books combined. The humble, pixelated games of the ‘70s and ‘80s have evolved into the vivid, realistic, and immersive form of entertainment that now rivals all other forms of media for dominance in the consumer marketplace. For many, video games have become the cultural icons around which pop culture revolves.

PRESS START TO PLAY is an anthology of stories inspired by video games: stories that attempt to recreate the feel of a video game in prose form; stories that play with the concepts common (or exclusive) to video games; and stories about the creation of video games and/or about the video games—or the gamers—themselves.

These stories will appeal to anyone who has interacted with games, from hardcore teenaged fanatics, to men and women who game after their children have gone to bed, to your well-meaning aunt who won’t stop inviting you to join her farm-based Facebook games.

At the helm of this project are Daniel H. Wilson—bestselling novelist and expert in artificial intelligence—and John Joseph Adams—bestselling, Hugo Award-nominated editor of more than a dozen science fiction/fantasy anthologies and series editor of Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy(volume one forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin in 2015). Together, they have drawn on their wide-ranging contacts to assemble an incredibly talented group of authors who are eager to attack the topic of video games from startling and fascinating angles.

Under the direction of an A.I. specialist and a veteran editor, the anthology will expose readers to a strategically chosen mix of stories that explore novel video game concepts in prose narratives, such as save points, kill screens, gold-farming, respawning, first-person shooters, unlocking achievements, and getting “pwned.” Likewise, each of our authors is an accomplished specialist in areas such as science fiction, fantasy, and techno-thrillers, and many have experience writing for video games professionally.

Combining unique viewpoints and exacting realism, this anthology promises to thrill generations of readers, from those who grew up with Atari 2600s to the console and PC gamers of today.

I love reading anthologies, its a great way to find new authors , read side stories so current favourites , and see a range of imaginations in bitesize form.
For me , in recent years I have found John Joseph Adams to be one of the best editors in the game.
This is a book I was quite excited to start and anticipated great things.
The book was inspired to some degree by Ernest Clines recent books but the intro reveals his story failed to make the deadline and the dissapointment continued from there. Its not all terrible. I enjoyed a reasonable amount of the stories. Andy Weirs humour shines through, Hugh Howey’s was a strong one to finish on, Rhianna Pratchetts was a decent story, Ken Liu’s was very good. Of the lesser knowns I quite enjoyed Jessica Barber. But so much of the rest ranged from ok to bad. Many barely fit the guidelines for the collection.
To be honest I think about 200 pages could have been cut and it would have vastly improve the book.
It felt like digging through a pile of muck to find anything of quality and frankly an anthology shouldn’t be that much effort.
Maybe they were a bit soft on the submissions or only got a very small amount buy it really could have done with a harder hand .
Its a bit of a shame , the idea did bring out some good imaginative stories but I won’t be recommending this too much.

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Sci-Fi Month Review Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Gods of Mars (Barsoom #2)The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A bit brainless and manic in parts but still a fun and interesting story. Not only does the story build up the mythology of Mars it then proceeds to tear it back down again in over the top masculine ways.
Carter is as arrogant and alpha male as the previous book and is all about killing thousands to save one or two. Its all gung ho with the action turned up to eleven.
The one big difference to A Princess of Mars is that the racism is toned quite a bit down, ok it is a planet split between various barbaric war like races defined by their colour but its not as balatant and insulting here. Its still highly sexist with any female stepping within ten foot of Carter falling madly in love and becoming all but useless.
And with the added Carter Jr its (one of the worst hidden twists in the history of books) its just added crazy sword wielding action to the whole thing.
The ending is quite an interesting little cliff hangar to keep the series flowing along.

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