The Grand Tour series by author Ben Bova deals with the exploration and colonization of the solar system. Each book tends to focus on a different planet with some common themes and characters appearing across the series. Exploration, colonization, amazing discoveries, corporate espionage, murder, space battles… this series has got something for everyone.
Strangely, Dr. Bova has not had much luck in the awards department despite a large and faithful following. The only Grand Tour book to garner a nomination was 2006’s Titan which won the 2007 Campbell Award. There are 18 total books in the series including the short story collection Tales of the Grand Tour and the 4 volumes that make up the Asteroid Wars: The Precipice, The Rock Rats, The Silent War and The Aftermath. We’ve got them listed in the author’s preferred chronological order though many of the stories overlap in time.
One of the nice things about this series is that despite the character and time overlaps most of the books can be read independantly or out of order. The exceptions would be the Asteroid Wars and the Mars trilogy: Mars, Return to Mars, and Mars Life which should be read in sequence as each novel builds on what went before. I cherry picked my way through most of the planets reading Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus and enjoyed them all. I really like the nice cover art as well. They’ve got a classic SF look.
The great thing about fantasy books is that they transport you. They manage to do it in ways that are often more immersive than movies, which have the advantage of sight and sound. For some of us, though, the story isn’t quite visceral enough. You haven’t been truly transported until you’ve experienced the sights, sounds, and smells of your favorite characters. If you are one of those types, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has something for you. Their own collection of Neil Gaiman scents.
No, they don’t actually smell like Neil Gaiman, but one of them smells like Mad Sweeney from American Gods. Apparently, he smells like whiskey and oak. If you’d rather sniff Mr. Ibis, well, you’re in luck, they’ve distilled his essence as well. Want to inhale characters from other books? You can choose from many varieties inspired by the worlds of Stardust, Anansi Boys, and The Graveyard Book.
We’re not sure that this is what Shakespeare meant when he said "verse distills your truth", but at least they’re doing their best to truly distil verse.
Profits go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
It’s been a few weeks since I last posted an update with new books. We’ve been busy with site updates this last month so I had to put them on hold. This latest addition is a bit thin with only eight new books but it does complete four series.
For Michael Moorcock I added 2 books to complete The Dancers at the End of Time trilogy. An Alien Heat and The End Of All Songs bookend 1976 BFS Winner, The Hollow Lands. I looked high and low for synopsis and excerpts for these with no joy. The older books are such a pain to find info for.
Tanith Lee‘s Tales from the Flat Earth series is now completed with the addition of three books: Delusion’s Master, Delirium’s Mistress and Night’s Sorceries. Book 1 Night’s Master was nominated for the 1979 WFA and book 2, Death’s Master, was the 1980 BFS Winner.
Last, but not least, is His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. I added in the first 2 books of the trilogy: The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife. The Amber Spyglass was a double nominee in 1997 for the WFA and Locus Fantasy awards.
Until next time… Stay curious my friends. ™
Well, it’s been a long time coming but it’s finally here. WWEnd has a functioning blog at last! We’ve been posting here and there for some time using an embedded RSS feed from LiveJournal as a stop-gap measure while we worked on other areas of the site. Who knew it would take almost 2 years to get back around to it? We own our shame.
The LJ embed did not allow commenting so we have 50+ posts below with zero comments to kick off our new blog. That’s virgin snow my friends. Plenty of opportunity to make your mark. Watch this space for more news and information as we ramp up to speed. We’ll be covering the awards, SFF news and events, author interviews, book reviews and even an ocassional science piece in addtion to regular updates about happenings here on WWEnd. Until next time….
The House of the Stag by Kage Baker (Tor)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins; Bloomsbury)
Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory (Del Rey)
Congrats to Jeffrey Ford and Margo Lanagan and all the nominees!
It was a cold, rainy Manhattan evening… the shadows oozing from the alleys seemed particularly menacing. Was that a puddle of street water at the curb, or a puddle of blood? As I paced nervously through the uninviting streets, past shuttered shops and grim Brownstones, I couldn’t help but wonder who would be out on a night like this? I soon got my answer… the followers of H.P. Lovecraft! I and his other adherents were happy to brave the dreary streets to attend the latest New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series event: the launch of the new Ellen Datlow compendium, "Lovecraft Unbound."
The reading and "soft launch" of the book took place in the SoHo Gallery of Digital Art, a bright and thoroughly hospitable space for an event like this. "Lovecraft Unbound" is the latest anthology from Ms. Datlow, a matriarch of the Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. The book is a collection of Lovecraft-inspired short stories as envisaged by some of the most formidable writers still alive and twitching. Producer and Executive Curator Jim Freund ran the evening, and he did a great job introducing the guests and hosting the reading in general.
Ms. Datlow (multiple winner of the Hugo Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the World Fantasy Award, the International Guild Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the Locus Award, among others) began the evening explaining that she wanted to present a vision of Lovecraft "…without the tentacles, but hopefully with the flavor, the paranoia, of Lovecraft. Okay, well, some tentacles." The anthology readers on hand were, in alphabetical order, Elizabeth Bear, Richard Bowes, and Michael Cisco.
Mr. Bowes (winner of the World Fantasy Award, the Lamda Literary Award and 2006 Nebula nominee for From the Files of the Time Rangers among others) read first, from his story "The Office of Doom," a wry, thoroughly enjoyable tale. Michael Cisco (winner of the International Horror Guild Award) read his story next, "Machines of Concrete Light and Dark." It was very different in flavor but no less entertaining… a dark, bloody story that left the crowd shivering. Was it mere coincidence that none of our pictures of Mr. Cisco came out? We leave you to decide….
Ms. Bear (winner of the Hugo Award, the Locus Award for Best First Novel, the John W. Campbell Award and 2006 PKD/2007 Locus nominee for Carnival) read a portion of her story, co-written with Sarah Monette, "Mongoose." It was a rich combination of science fiction artifice and Lovecraftian dread, and definitely left the audience wanting more. (We were able to catch up to Ms. Bear after the reading, and ask her, on behalf of WWEnd readers, what she was working on next. "I’ve just handed in the draft of the second Jacob’s Ladder novel, and I’m working on a couple fantasy novels after that.")
The SoHo neighborhood was a fine choice for the book launch: it still evoked, especially at night, the gritty gloom of the previous century’s tightly packed tenements. H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) lived not too far away for a time, across the river in Brooklyn. That borough inspired one of his stories, "The Horror of Red Hook", written in 1925.
"Lovecraft Unbound" successfully evokes that brand of grisly horror and macabre fantasy that Lovecraft spawned a century ago. The stories are as rewarding and collectively gratifying as you would hope and expect from an Ellen Datlow anthology, and we’re happy to recommend it to WWEnd readers. And for those in the greater New York area, we also recommend the NYRSF Reading Series! They do after all have access to some of the best talent in the business, and their readings are a monthly event worth checking out.