Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original


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Put down your books, your paintbrushes, and your pencils.

All of this is beautifully written and thoroughly involves the reader despite its predictability. Unfortunately, the story starts to go wrong just as his life starts to go wrong, and the last few chapters seem entirely out of character to me. If you want to know why I felt that way, read the next paragraph, but it contains spoilers. The setting of the novel is mildly depressing in itself. The US is in the grip of some sort of right wing government, although we never know the details.

Many of the characters are either repulsive — the prominent scientist who publicly assails the protagonist — or act badly — the colleague who rejects his friendship because of her own alcoholism and personality problems. Despite this, he remains upbeat, although he becomes obsessed with the question of reincarnation following his lover's death. He is eventually arrested for murder on evidence so flimsy that I had trouble believing that the hard nosed detective responsible would ever have done such a thing.

He contemplates and eventually commits suicide so that he can be reunited with his lost love even though a there's no reason to believe that they will be geographical close, and b no memory survives so death is effectively the end regardless of the truth or falsehood of his reincarnation theory. Efforts to make the suicide seem like a move toward a goal fall flat. Instead he is just running away from the problems caused by his unpopular theory, the suspicion of his complicity in the murder, and other personal problems.

But the author never established the flaws in his protagonist's character until the breaking point, so his actions didn't fit with the character I'd been reading about. And even worse, the field is effectively abandoned to the bad guys. The close minded scientist gets to retain his position, his self centered friends don't even seem to regret his passing, his project is effectively finished, and the suicide will likely add to the public belief that he killed his lover. This was a definite downer to read.

Very well written, and the first half is excellent, but the rough ride at the end left a bad taste in my mouth. The first is a new novel, which I can best describe as rationalized orcs in outer space. Mutated soldiers have enhanced powers and aren't entirely human any longer, but they make excellent troops for the imperium. Unfortunately, when faced with a dilemma, their actions aren't always predictable. Since magic works after a fashion, I suppose this is fantasy, and it certainly feels that way despite the other worldly setting. Competently written, though I've read far better military SF.

On the other hand, the Watson novel, originally published in , and it's the second volume in a trilogy he wrote in this universe. The Inquisition was designed to protect humans from falling prey to either the supernatural forces in the universe, or the rather more natural alien menaces, but trouble comes when its inner ranks are themselves corrupted. If you think game tie in novels have to be derivative and uninteresting, it's because you haven't read Watson's Warhammer novels. Following in the tradition of art concept books inspired by the previous movies in the series, the latest Star Wars epic has resulted in this selection of the artist's work in developing costumes, landscapes, creatures, and devices used in the film.

Most of this is not finished drawing, so as art it's rough and unfinished. The attraction of the volume is that it provides insight into the development of the visual effects we saw on the screen, and a few we didn't get to see. The text is above average for this sort of thing. The most recent in this set of black and white omnibuses brings the X-Men up to , still a long way from the present. Chris Claremont remained the main writer and the mutant superheroes moved away from the rest of the Marvel world with these, spending much of their time battling an alien race known as Sleazoids who impregnated the team with their eggs.

A Tor.Com Original

Their other main opponents are the Morlocks, an underground gang of mutants, and the Hellfire Club, yet another evil mutant group. Rogue, a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants — which is fairly inactive in this volume — abandons the gang to join the X-Men, despite their mistrust. There are also several romances, a battle with a giant squid, the return of Dracula, and other minor menaces.

More thoughtfully written than many of the other Marvel series. Explorer by C. The sixth adventure set in the Foreigner universe opens things up and adds some new and intriguing plot elements. A joint human and atevi expedition has been launched to find out what happened at a partially abandoned space station after a supposed attack by aliens.

What they find is another matter entirely. The aliens are still there, but when the protagonist manages to communicate with them, he discovers that they believe the humans initiated hostilities. Efforts to find out the truth on the station are hampered by a series of booby traps and other problems designed to keep anyone from entering. Our hero has made a living negotiating between human and atevi. Can he now use those skills to smooth over another rift and prevent an even greater conflict?

What do you think? Even when I can pretty much tell where the plot is going, it's almost always great fun to see how Cherryh manages to get us to our destination, and this one's no exception. The first two Time Traders novels by Andre Norton made an enormous impression on me when I first read them, and I've reread both three or four times since then.

The later volumes were not as satisfying, lacking the inventiveness of their predecessors. After a gap of many years, Norton and collaborator Sherwood Smith have decided to continue the series, and the results so far have been reasonably good. This latest, third in the new series, is unfortunately the weakest of the new cycle. Ross Murdock and company discover that someone has been interfering with the history of Atlantis, so they travel back to straighten things out, running into the usual run of bad humans and the alien Baldies.

There are the usual captures and escapes and they're fairly well done, but the sense of wonder about the universe that made the earlier books so good just isn't there this time. Lou Arrendale is an autistic adult, a condition which makes it very difficult for him to interact normally with the people around him.

Scientists develop a new treatment which might improve his condition, but the procedure involves some risk and Lou has to make a difficult and potentially dangerous decision about his future. The novel, which is only marginally science fiction, bears obvious similarities to Daniel Keyes classic Flowers for Algernon , although the story explores an entirely different aspect of character. Moon apparently has an autistic child of her own so she knows whereof she speaks. I liked the story very much, even if it isn't SF, and Lou Arrendale is one of those characters that seems like someone you actually met once.

Deathstalker Legacy by Simon R. Owen Deathstalker died in the previous volume in this series, but that doesn't mean there can't be a sequel. Years have passed and a new ruler has ascended to the throne, ruling the entire human interstellar empire. He's a reluctant monarch, however, and an uncertain one. He appoints the descendant of Owen to be his closest confidant and protector, and just in time, because an old and secretive enemy is about to launch a campaign to undermine his reign.

Green is one of the few writers still using the galactic empire as a theme, and he does it to good effect. At times the stories have some of the feel of a fantasy epic, but they're undeniably SF, rip roaring space operas with dastardly villains, exciting battles, nefarious plots, and strong willed heroes. Take this as an antidote after one too many serious and relevant stories about the human condition. Although I enjoyed the previous two volumes in the Engines of Light series, neither struck me as the kind of story that would linger in my memory.

The third and concluding volume surpasses its predecessors and is easily the best MacLeod I've read. Humanity has achieved a kind of immortality as it expands to the stars, but it's also about to discover that all of the achievements of its civilization pale to insignificance compared to the abilities of at least one alien sentience. As one group attempts to alert the race as a whole to the danger of alien invasion, another suspects that it has already taken place.

But the greatest danger may come not from belligerent aliens, but from an intelligence that sees life such as our own as merely an infestation to be eradicated without a second thought. Really good stuff. This young adult novel is a blend of horror and SF, and it's also an old, familiar plot, although done reasonably well. A teenager at a private school is sneaking around at night when he stumbles upon something that he's not supposed to know about. It appears that some if not all of the faculty and staff are actually not human beings at all.

He and his friends investigate further and uncover a secret colony of aliens masquerading as human and planning the conquest of the planet. They thwart the plot, obviously, while leaving room for a sequel. Moderate thrills and chills but no points for originality. The Lost Continent by C. The War in the Air by H. The University of Nebraska Press continues its line of reprint of classic SF with these three titles just out. The first is arguably fantasy since the elemental forces commanded by the denizens of Atlantis are indistinguishable from magic.

This is probably the best Atlantean novel ever written, first appearing in , and out of print since the Donald Grant limited edition in There's a new introduction by Harry Turtledove. Next we have one of Wells' minor SF novels, his entry in the future war cycle that was very popular in England at the time. Also out of print for a long time, particularly as a single novel. It was part of a Dover omnibus back in the s.

A little dated and not nearly as good as his other genre work, but reasonably entertaining and certainly the best of its type. Finally we have the second adventure of David Innes at the center of the Earth. More of the usual stuff, but the Pellucidar books were among his best written, though admittedly that's not saying much. Put your literary sensibilities aside for a few hours and go on a nostalgic adventure. All three are packaged in the same style as Bison's other titles, including original illustrations and sturdy bindings. This is another of those anthologies designed to give a launching pad for new writers, so there's no one in this collection whose name will be familiar.

These usually have uncertain results — with no big names to attract buyers, it's hard for the stories to get read. Like the series from Bridge publications a while back, the stories are certainly all publishable and sometimes quite clever, but as was the case with those anthologies, there are no really outstanding works here. The stories cover a host of familiar themes, invisibility, virtual reality, time travel, computers, dystopian futures, and travel to outer space. You'll find this, on average, as good as most other original anthologies being published today and who knows, one of the authors may turn out to be a major writer a few years from now and you'll be able to say your read his or her first story.

This is the sequel to Echoes of Earth and it's an even better story than the first. Earth has been destroyed, but human civilization continues on several colony worlds. Or at least, it will continue if the aliens responsible for destroying the home world don't continue and complete the extermination of humanity. The most promising defense is the secret of a handful of alien artifacts acquired under mysterious circumstances, but the problem is that activating these devices seems to be what attracts the attention of the enemy.

Is the gift actually a curse? Can the oncoming Starfish horde be defeated or evaded? You'll have to pick up this exciting space opera to find out. Lisanne Norman has been chronicling the history of the planet Shola and its felinelike inhabitants for seven volumes now, and this latest is her biggest and most complex adventure. Kusac, hero to his people, is sent on a secret mission as a representative to one of their enemies, which is interpreted by many on his home planet as an act of treason.

Not even his friends know the truth, and they're finding it difficult to understand his apparent betrayal. But there's a new player in the game, an enemy more powerful than either side, and it may be necessary to make common cause if either is to survive.

This is a big, sprawling, convoluted novel sure to appeal to fans of C.

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Tor.com: Ekaterina and the Firebird

Cherryh and others who have made space adventure their territory. I found it a bit too talky from time to time, and the story really didn't need to be as long as it is, but it's still a good adventure story for those who enjoy long submersions in an imagined world. Third in the series of mass reprints of the X-Men comics. This sequence starts off with the partial reformation of several victims. We discover that Dr. Doom has his soft side, that Caliban is just misunderstood, and that Magneto has a conscience after all.

Further adventures ensue when Storm and the evil White Queen exchange bodies for a while, and there's an epic space adventure pitting them against Deathbird and her gang. More space adventures follow, plus a very odd encounter with Dracula during which Storm is turned into a vampire.

With guest appearances by the Fantastic Four and Doctor Strange, although the X-Men seemed to move away from the rest of the Marvel universe for the most part during this period. Dancers in the Dark by Jack L. Five Star books has quietly but quickly become a significant player in reprint SF collections and their latest selections are likely to increase their visibility. These four writers may have very disparate styles and thematic interests, but they have all displayed a high level of accomplishment. Esther Friesner's collection is the lightest in mood, with several very funny stories including one original to this collection.

Jack Chalker's isn't really a collection; it consists of two unrelated short stories plus the complete early novel, Dancers in the Afterglow. On the other hand, the novel — which pits human colonists against mind controlling aliens — is an exciting and entertaining adventure story, not as innovative as was Chalker's later work but still worth reading. Timothy Zahn contributes a novella and five shorter pieces, predominantly action oriented, but written in his usual intelligent and convincing style. George Zebrowski's collection is probably the most serious in tone, but no less satisfying than the others.

His selections are lumped into sections for the near, middle, and very distant future. In an era when single author collections are largely ignored by the major publishers, it's very good news when a hardcover publisher invests in a reprint collection program of this magnitude, and hopefully readers will respond and help it prosper. It is the contention of the editors, well supported by the contents of this collection, that hard SF had made a major comeback in recent years. It's hard to dispute the point faced with almost one thousand pages of very good fiction from some old standbys and many new talents in the field, although in a few cases one might argue that the stories included aren't really "hard" SF.

Whatever you may call the individual entries, this is a very large and comprehensive anthology, providing a good cross section of the genre, and includes a number of stories that didn't appear in normal genre venues and which may be new to readers. Even if the majority are not, it's a great opportunity to have them collected in hard covers. A few of the stories were later expanded into novels because there wasn't room enough at shorter length to explore the possibilities of the plot. A great buy for the money, whether to be read or re-reread. Foster's latest novel of the Commonwealth is a particularly good one.

The planet Fluva endures almost constant rain, and has some of the most fecund and dangerous fauna and flora in the universe. The native inhabitants are a warrior race recently introduced into the interstellar culture. The planet is also host to an immigrant race that has grown so populous that the natives resent them and internecine conflict is always a possibility. When a human prospector goes missing under unusual circumstances, and a mixed race search party disappears while looking for him, the local administrator suspects foul play.

But her resources are tied up in a well orchestrated wave of civil unrest, behind which lies the devious hands, or claws, of the insidious Aann. Wonderfully rich in detail, well plotted and written, and featuring some of Foster's most interesting characters. There has been considerable mention of Stephen King's recent announcement that he was pretty much done with his writing career and that he wanted to go out before he started rehashing old plots. As a long standing fan of his work, and particularly after the very rewarding The Green Mile and Bag of Bones , I think he might be seeing a problem that hadn't yet arisen.

On the other hand, his most recent novel is certainly one of his weakest. The premise is that a state police troop in western Pennsylvania has been secretly hiding a mysterious object which looks something like a Buick, but which is actually a porthole between realities. Occasionally monstrous things some through it into our world, and occasionally animals and people from our world are sucked into it and disappear forever. The story is told as a series of retrospective narrations to a teenager whose father died in the line of duty.

There are two significant problems with the novel. First and most important, the wonderfully realistic characters that fill most of King's other novels are completely absent. The police officers in this case are virtually interchangeable and I had trouble keeping track of who was whom. The kid is a sounding board and isn't significant as a character until the final fifty pages.

The two most realistic characters are an obnoxious prisoner who gets sucked into another reality, and the troop's dog, Mister Dillon. Secondly, there's no success. Since the story is narrated from years after the fact, we know who lives and who dies. The creatures that appear die, without exception, within minutes of their arrival, and none of them pose any serious threat to the characters.

There's no empathy and no suspense and even at the end no real surprises. I'm sure King still has many fine books left to write, but this wasn't one of them. Walter Jon Williams has become the latest major SF writer to contribute to the ongoing chronicles of the Star Wars universe. His contribution is set following the fall of Coruscant to an aggressive alien force, with the Republic on the verge of collapse.

The usual gang of recurring heroes wants to fight on, using the Force as their most powerful weapon, but others in the Republic have decided on a different tactic, one which might result in an outcome just as bad as defeat. The novel is a space opera and the emphasis is on the physical action, but Williams manages to sneak in some serious speculation about moral choices, their costs, and the way in which people can selectively choose what to believe. This one's good enough to stand as a distinct novel as well as a chapter in an ongoing series.

Cory Doctorow's first novel is decidedly and refreshingly different. It's the not too distant future, but the world has radically changed. People routinely record their personalities and, in the event of a fatal accident, upload themselves into cloned bodies in what amounts to immortality. As you might expect, this changes the way people interact and how society works. The protagonist has fulfilled a childhood ambition by taking up residence in Disneyland. Although the attractions there are technically obsolete, a corps of volunteers maintains and restores them as a tribute to the past.

Unfortunately, there's another faction that wants to introduce new attractions, and since death isn't permanent, assassinating the opposition has become a viable if not entirely accepted way to slow down the opposition. As you might expect, the novel deals with the resolution of the conflict, and even if we can pretty much guess who will be the ultimate winner, it's quite a puzzle how they're going to accomplish that feat. Cleverly plotted, amusingly written, and always entertaining.

A very fine debut novel from a writer who has already established himself with some excellent short stories. I hadn't realized that Hard Shell was actually publishing its books in bound format, so it was quite a surprise when this turned up in the mail. The plot is a familiar one, but with an interesting twist. Several chunks of Texas have been transported into the distant past where they exist near to but separate from each other.

Eventually exploration parties begin to make connections, but unfortunately one of those circles includes a large number of brutal prisoners, who have decided to set themselves up as masters of the "new" world, enslaving the rest, particularly women and minorities.

A workmanlike story follows as the struggle moves back and forth before its ultimate resolution. The human race has been to the level of serfs by an alien race known as the Dark Lords on the planet Latent Emanation and elsewhere. The protagonist is a young woman practicing a form of alchemy on that world when her services are requested by an offworld visitor who specializes in poisons. The story is a fast paced adventure with a culture far more interesting and unusual than most portrayed in SF, and her likable and conflicted main character gives the book a definite advantage over its competition.

I liked this much better than her two previous novels, and they were pretty good as well. Jak Jinnaka is not your ordinary young man. In a solar system that has been largely colonized, except for Pluto which is held by an intermittently hostile alien race, he's the friend of a young woman who is secretly the daughter of one of the noble families, and when she's kidnapped, he's just the right person to launch a rescue, sort of. Barnes' new novel is a rollicking space opera with outlaws, space travel, kidnappings, rescues, chases, and the abrupt coming of age of the protagonist.

Not as meaty as his more serious efforts, but quite enjoyable for desert. Wondrous Beginnings edited by Steven H. Silver and Martin H. Damon Knight edited an anthology a few years back that consisted of the first stories of major SF writers. Interesting ideas have a habit of recurring, and this collection takes that original idea and adds introductions by the authors and brief essays in some cases by other parties.

The authors represented here include L. Sprague de Camp, Arthur C. Martin, and others. Although the stories generally do not reflect the level of fiction their writers would eventually achieve, they are all competent and interesting and in some cases, most notably De Camp, Hal Clement, and Michael Burstein, the stories are remarkably good for debuts or otherwise.

This is one of the rare Verne adventure novels that never saw an English edition, at least not until now. The reason for that is explained in the comprehensive notes section that accompanies the text, There's also an excellent bibliography. The story is about an expedition in South America, and contains all of the adventures you'd expect — hostile natives, crocodiles, villains, troublesome weather, disorientation, and disease.

Illustrations from the French edition are reproduced as well in this longish, occasionally pedantic, but highly adventurous novel. Fans of Verne should welcome the chance to read a previously unavailable and unknown full length novel. I had nostalgic memories of Fredric Brown's fiction for a long time, so about a year ago I re-read virtually his complete SF output, with mixed results. The five novels, collected in this new volume, were more of a mixed bag.

That said, at least four of the five novels here bear re-reading anyway. What Mad Universe , for example, is still one of the most fascinating alternate world stories, in which a man from our reality finds himself in another where Earth is involved in an interplanetary war. The Mind Thing is an alien invasion story, with just one alien, but one capable of controlling the minds of living things, one at a time. Rogue in Space , presented here with the two long stories upon which it is based, is about an alien who becomes fascinated with humans, and Martians Go Home is the strangest, and funniest, alien invasion story ever written.

The one clunker is The Lights in the Sky Are Stars , in which one determined man decides to stir the space program back to life. It has its moments, but it's not nearly as good as the other four. An excellent volume, however, and likely to help preserve Brown's well deserved reputation. I'm not exactly sure what this new novel by Joe Haldeman was intended to be. Until the closing chapters, it's a fascinating and deftly written story of a woman growing up shortly after the Civil War, finding herself married to an abusive but powerful man, and her subsequent flight across the country with her teenaged son, aided at times by cryptic messages delivered to her by a crow.

Her story is fascinating, the prose is superb, and I was completely drawn into her world. Eventually she ends up in Alaska and becomes acquainted with a local shaman, and the closing chapters consist of a magical tour of the universe in which shaman and human woman change their physical form magically on each world they visit.

The two portions of the novel seem to me completely mismatched, and the solution to her problems is a metaphorical cat out of the hat magic trick that I found completely unsatisfying. I'm still going to recommend this, because the first two thirds of the book — though not really fantastic in any sense — are great, but as a fantasy novel, it just doesn't hold together. Eternal Frontier by James H. Omnibus volumes continue to be popular, and these are two very good ones. Although they lack some of the polish of the later books, their enthusiastic and skillful storytelling more than makes up the difference.

At this price, this volume is a real bargain.

The second title combines the late James Schmitz's lesser novel, The Eternal Frontiers , with twenty one short stories, some of which are minor but many of which are just as good now as when I first read them. With this edition, most of Schmitz's short fiction has now been collected in one form or another, and hopefully that means that his reputation will spread once more. He was one of my favorite writers when I was first getting hooked on the field, and I'd like to think that great pleasure will be shared with a new generation of readers.

Editors Guy Gordon and Eric Flint have grouped the stories together in related sequences, but they all stand up quite well by themselves. This is an omnibus edition of two previously published novels, Surface Action and The Jungle , both set in the world created by Henry Kuttner in his classic novel Fury.

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We all know now that Venus is not a jungle planet, but that really doesn't matter. The premise is that Earth was wiped out by a nuclear war and the only remnants of humanity live in domed cities on Venus. Unfortunately, conflict among the cities is on the rise and a new war is threatening to break out.

The two novels are essentially about naval warfare, but Drake does a good job of evoking an otherworldly, if somewhat old fashioned, setting and as always, he does a fine job of creating believable and entertaining military SF. This very long, episodic novel is set in the world of the Deadlands computer game, which I have not seen. The premise is a familiar one in the gaming world.

A human colony is cut off on a distant planet and menaced by the local inhabitants, some of whom can use psi powers so great that they are magical or even supernatural, which lets the game designers introduce almost any element they want, while making it difficult for writers to construct novels that follow any really consistent set of rules. The authors in this case have done a good job of blending all of the chaos into some form of consistency, and while the adventures are necessarily somewhat comic bookish in nature, they have some success in making their characters more than two dimensional, and there are even scenes with genuine tension and suspense.

Adventures in Crime & Space

New York Nights introduced a future America where terrorist attacks have fragmented the infrastructure and easy retreats into virtual reality has shattered the social structure of the nation. The protagonist is a private detective who specializes in missing persons, and this chronicles his second case.

His newest client is a movie stars whose sister is missing, but in order to find her, he has to immerse himself within a subculture that is unconscionably taking advantage of the public to enrich itself and further drive the country into a self indulgent dead end. Although everything gets resolved, readers should be aware that this is not an optimistic, action packed adventure but rather a brooding, thoughtful warning about one possible wrong turn our society might take.

Easily as good as its predecessor, and there's a third on its way. This is the second collection of her work to appear, both from small presses, and is an even better selection than the first. There are twenty stories here, four of them original to the book, ranging in quality from quietly enjoyable to quite rewarding, particularly "The Day Before They Came", "Luna Incognita", "Assembly Line", and the title story. Her stories are more about the people in them than the science or other fantastic element that invades their lives, and their reactions are therefore more believable and more interesting, and occasionally also quite funny.

She has yet to produce a novel or a story so remarkable that it instantly makes her reputation, but the quality of the tales here promises that she's approaching that point very quickly. Ebriel Serique is a successful musician in a divided world nearly a century from now. She lives among the privileged class, believing that those outside are evil and predatory until her family strays across the line and falls victim to terrorists.

Her initial quest for revenge changes, however, when she crosses the border herself and discovers that the reality is much different than the portrait drawn by her government. The gradual shift in her loyalties is well handled, and the future described is plausible if rather repellent. Dystopian novels seem to be coming back into style, perhaps a reflection of the current political atmosphere, and while they often leave the reader depressed, in this case it's ameliorated by the fresh plot and Marley's highly entertaining style.

Allen Steele's latest is very different from his previous work. The opening section is set in a repressive future America where the extreme right has succeeded at a coup and has built the first starship as a monument to its new ideals. The captain of that ship is part of a conspiracy that successfully hijacks the starship — shades of Jefferson Airplane — which then takes them in suspended animation to the planet Coyote, which they settle after a variety of problems are overcome. The novel is very episodic, and there's one particularly good section in which one of the sleepers wakens in mid-voyage and must spend his entire life alone.

There is a saboteur, of course, and some members of the company are not happy with the hijacking, but eventually they realize that it doesn't matter. For the most part, I found the story very entertaining, but the transitions were sometimes a bit abrupt and it would take me a while to get back into the flow of his narrative.

This wasn't helped by the regular switch back and forth from present tense to past tense, which I found even more distracting. Marya and Koschei go underground, become subversive figures, quietly working for and waiting for the day when they can emerge and be told anew, when all these books can be written, when Valente can write Deathless.

Some of her techniques are readily apparent: the repeated phrases, the triads of encounters, the book within the book, the question of narration raised by the story itself. While many of her past works focused on the inner conflicts of her characters, the addition of an external antagonist, Viy, here helps throw the plotting into greater relief, lends the telling more urgency.

Other techniques that emphasize the storytelling of Deathless are more subtle. Symbols are used that excite the mind because of the commonalities in their seeming contradiction—like birds, which seem to represent both a symbol of freedom, of flying away, and also the urge to family and domesticity, nesting.

And indeed Valente is excellent with the timed release of information throughout. Only gradually do we learn just how alive the city of the Tsar of Life is; only gradually do we learn what kind of character Madame Lebedeva is; which all emphasizes how we are at the mercy of the storyteller.

Withholding information in this manner is in a sense a power play, and this feels very natural here. Storytellers are seducers, in a fairly obvious sense. Less obvious are the power relationships in storytelling.

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The storyteller might be assumed to be the dominant partner, but the reader can always stop reading; throwing a book across the room is the ultimate safe word. And writers, to at least some degree, publish in the hope of being read well , of having their writings understood.

Not unlike Koschei. It makes me wonder who is who in this story? Meanwhile, reviewers of course attempt to overlay stories of their own: like, a good way to get the most out of Deathless is to consider it according to these three conceptual levels…. Which is all to say, the question of power in a story is the question of who gets to define the narrative. Three is the minimum number required to establish and then break a pattern. But Marya is the fourth daughter it is Ivan who is the youngest of three sons ; after seeing her three sisters marry three birds, the man Marya marries is not really a bird; her first three attempts at ordering her relationships all end unsatisfactorily.

Which is apt. Deathless is not an unproblematic novel, but it comes by its problems honestly, by ambitiously melding a variety of complicated subjects, and making hard choices of focus in order to say something interesting about almost all of them—while remaining at heart a well-written, compelling character drama.

For all its awareness of itself as a story I do wish that Deathless showed more awareness of the limits of its story, of what is being left out. Or pick up Episode 5 — e-version. I know it. Episode 3 of Hollow Empire — Night of Knives is on the market. Snag the Amazon Kindle version here. The Smashwords version will be out in a few days. In Episode 3 : Vadim stares down a hard, hard truth. And poor Murgul the Maggot learns just how Luka healed all his children. Call it luck, circumstance, or one of the four artists bugging the crap out of other three …whatever.

Our small portfolios have begun to flourish. We can look forward to the days our articles skewer the web. Top Six Video Games — Never, ever saw this one coming. So what? Why Digital? Good question. Print Sale on Etsy — Because pretty stuff sells. And it should. I mean, many of my favorite blogs appear at the bottom of the click list. I mean way down there. So…what else did our first year bring us?

Lots, by our reckoning. We redesigned the entire site to allow more fluid reading. We added new books, art, and free downloads. We want an article smacking the net almost every day, and some days we want two. To the coming cold season, full of long nights, falling leaves, and frosted bones, I say bring it. Hear that? Episode 2 of Hollow Empire — Night of Knives is out! Six weeks. Six episodes. Six chapters per episode…. On the fence about Hollow Empire? Think post-apocalyptic medieval dark fantasy opera. All of that. Get in on this. Dark Moon Daughter — Alternate Art softcover edition now available and on sale!

Dragon Con was, as always, hot, crowded and loads of fun. I may not have seen everything I wanted to see, but I loved every minute, including my Artist ribbon I proudly wore on my badge. You can read more about my Art Show experiences on my website and see more photos from the convention on Facebook. This weekend I tried to make some new memories. The first thing that always occurs to me is how big the con has gotten since I first went down to it so many years ago. I will say that I believe Atlanta has scheduled a few too many things for Labor Day weekend maybe.

But also actually making our way to that early panel in light of the parade. The sidewalks packed with people, we struggled to reach the Whedonverse panel over at the Westin, only to find it packed. Which brings us to our first real story. Of course we make room, as do many of the others lined up on the sidewalk. Though, Karma is a thing, because the parade was over less than a minute later, so all their deceit got them nothing. About 15 people showed up, and even though there was no real rehearsal, I think we acquitted ourselves pretty well.

It is always weird to see something you had a hand in creating being shown on a screen for others to see in a good way. Hopefully we did a decent enough job that Dragon Con will invite us to do more next year. Ran into literally in couple of cases a few friends I had not seen in a while. Finding out how everyone is doing. This year I also got to show a complete con newbie around. And she enjoyed it enough that she went ahead and got her 4 day pass for next year. The Dealers room is a bit of a nightmare to deal with. If Dragon Con is going to keep getting bigger, they need to figure out a way to handle that.

Second story of the con — We are ready to leave for the night. It is about Saturday evening. I am finished with the Terminus panel and am looking forward to getting home, to bed, and then back again the next day for more fun. We only have to get down the outside stairs of the Hyatt, which for some reason the DCON staff decided to block with their bodies so as to allow a line for one of the late night panels to move through. When it takes 10 minutes then maybe you need to pause that line and let the queue of people on the stairs out to where they might be able to get to meeting spots, late dinners, gaming, or home in our case.

What kills me is that they finally did have to pause that line because I think we were about to storm through them. Not the best way to end the night. Those that know me know of my fierce love of 80s movies that include C-Tom as I like to call him. A bold statement, for sure, but one I stand by. So that was a bit of my Dragon Con for the year. The Art Show opens the doors at p. Click on the map below and right-click to download.

Did you know that convention attendees can vote on their favorites? To get one, all you have to do is ask me for one. Dragon Con is this weird thing for me because it has always been there. It is where I first realized that there were these comic book conventions, and where I got my very first comic autographed issue of Amazing Spider-Man by Todd McFarlane.


  1. Books similar to The Secret History of Fantasy?
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  3. Politics of Yiddish: Studies in Language, Literature and Society (Winter Studies in Yiddish)!
  4. A Tor.Com Original Series.
  5. Join Kobo & start eReading today.
  6. Reward Yourself.
  7. BLAM! Episode 3 (Between Love And Murder).

We were only there for a few hours, but my mind was blown, and I resolved to come back again the following year. For the weeks afterward my friends all made sure to let me know what I missed out on. A year later the Magic the Gathering frenzy had taken over. You had to wake up early, stand in line for some crazy amount of time, and if you were lucky you would get 1 pack of Legends.

Now I know that must sound crazy to think that the current set could not be bought at any random comic store, but it was the world we were living in. But then a curious thing happened… friends began to move away or maybe they lost interest into going. And not long after that, I was the only one going to con… and it became strictly a 1 day thing for me.

Sure, I might see a couple of people I knew, but that old core group was nowhere to be found… and it lessened things a bit. For most of this time my wife avoided Dragon Con. It was something I think that amused her from a distance. And she came to Con, and saw the panel, and then saw that Charlene Harris and TruBlood was there and sat in on another panel. And we spent the evening watching the costume contest with some good friends in their room on closed circuit enjoying room service. I had my best friend to nudge and point at a cool costume and to experience things with and just enjoy this piece of my own life with her.

Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original
Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original
Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original
Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original
Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original
Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original
Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original
Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original Ekaterina and the Firebird: A Tor.Com Original

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