Random House has sent us 3 autographed hardcover copies of A. J. Paquette’s new YA novel Paradox to give away. For your chance to win all you have to do is re-tweet our tweet, share our FB post, or leave a comment below! Do all three and triple your chances. The contest is open to all and will last until next Wednesday when we’ll draw 3 names from the hat.
Ana only knows her name because of the tag she finds pinned to her jumpsuit. Waking in the featureless compartment of a rocket ship, she opens the hatch to discover that she has landed on a barren alien world. Instructions in her pocket tell her to observe and to survive, no doubt with help from the wicked-looking knives she carries on her belt. But to what purpose?
Meeting up with three other teens–one boy seems strangely familiar–Ana treks across the inhospitable landscape, occasionally encountering odd twists of light that carry glimpses of people back on Earth. They’re working on some sort of problem, and the situation is critical. What is the connection between Ana’s mission on this planet and the crisis back on Earth, and how is she supposed to figure out the answer when she can’t remember anything?
From the Publisher:
Fans of James Dashner’s Maze Runner series will love this postapocalyptic adventure about a girl who must survive an alien planet in order to save the Earth.
“The backstory, initially revealed through interspersed newspaper articles, presents the intriguing notion of memories as a kind of infection. The result is a delayed, but eventually worthwhile, payoff.” – Booklist
“The fate of two worlds hangs in the balance in this unorthodox science-fiction thriller.” – Kirkus
For those of you participating in the Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge, A. J. Paquette would be an excellent choice for a new author since this is her first YA book or even to satisfy the 1 random author requirement. I’m looking forward to seeing some reviews for this one. Good luck to all!
Besides having been brought up watching Star Wars as well as Lord of the Rings later on, Pat Doherty (Patremagne) has been a science fiction/fantasy fan in literature since the age of 15 when he picked up a Dragonlance novel. He is now a hopeless addict to reading and getting lost in new worlds. When not reading, Pat can be found playing and watching sports, primarily the Boston Bruins, and posting reviews and other ramblings on his blog, A Bitter Draft.
Jo Fletcher Books is publisher to many good authors, including Tom Pollock, Snorri Kristjansson, and one Sarah Pinborough. Sarah is author of many dark stories, including her Dog Faced Gods horror series, as well as rewritten fairy tales, one being Poison (Snow White) and another being Beauty (Sleeping Beauty). I’ve yet to read any of her other work, so Mayhem was a first for me in a few ways. Prior to reading it, I hadn’t really read any novels that could be categorized under mystery or crime; I’d read some with elements of each, but never something strictly one or the other.
Two things drew me to Mayhem. First, there was the cover – exceptionally elegant and very fitting of the 19th century tale that is told. Second, Jack the Ripper. If for some reason you are unaware of who he was, Jack was a serial killer in late 19th century London who targeted female prostitutes and murdered them in brutal ways. He killed at least five women, likely more, but get this – he was never caught. This anonymity led to widespread terror throughout the area for years to come. Mayhem is not a story of Jack, though, but one of a new killer, dubbed by some as The Thames Killer and as The Torso Killer by others. Though there are similarities between Jack’s killings and those of the newcomer, primarily that they both target women, the protagonist, Dr. Thomas Bond, knows that there is indeed a second killer in the London slums who keeps his victims’ heads as trophies.
Scott Lazerus came to Worlds Without End looking for a good list of books. He found David Pringle’s Best 100 Science Fiction Novels to his liking and is currently working his way through the list. He has posted many fine reviews for WWEnd including several for last year’s GMRC. Be sure to check out Scott’s excellent blog series Forays into Fantasy too!
One possible definition of science fiction is that SF is about the potential effects of technology on humanity and the human environment. The potential of technology can create the “sense of wonder” that SF readers are often looking for, but technology can also be seen as a potential danger. Out of hand or out of our control, technology can become the source of our destruction—thus the cautionary dystopias of nuclear apocalypse and climate change that appear alongside more hopeful stories of space exploration and other wonders of the future.
Leigh Brackett plays with this dichotomy masterfully in The Long Tomorrow (1955), the story of two teenage cousins brought up in Piper’s Run—a community of “New Mennonites” in Ohio eighty years after a nuclear war destroyed most U.S. cities. (The details of the war itself are not presented, but apparently the U.S. “won”, for whatever it’s worth.) In the aftermath of the Destruction, as the nuclear devastation has come to be known, fundamentalist religious groups have gained political power, enforcing, with popular support, an anti-technological society supported by the Thirtieth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits the growth of any town’s population beyond one thousand people, or the number of buildings beyond two hundred per square mile. The cultural mores of the Amish and the Mennonites dominate America, and more violent anti-technology sects threaten death by stoning for anyone caught with illegal technology—“the terror brought the great boiling up of faith that birthed new sects and strengthened the old ones.”
Glenn Hough (gallyangel) is a nonpracticing futurist, an anime and manga otaku, and is almost obsessive about finishing several of the lists tracked on WWEnd. In this series on SF Manga Glenn will provide an overview of the medium and the place of science fiction within it.
The last four mangas I’ve blogged about, Twin Spica, Planetes, 7 Billion Needles and Chobits, all have a core slice-of-life normalcy to them that the SF elements wrap or entwine themselves around. It’s time to leave anything and everything of the mundane world totally behind and enter Killy’s world.
Tokyopop says this about Tsutomu Nihei’s Blame!:
In a future world rife with decay and destruction, Killy is a man of few words who packs one very powerful gun. He wanders an endless labyrinth of cyberdungeons filled with concrete and steel, fighting off cyborgs and other bizarre silicate creatures. Everyone is searching for the fabled Net Terminal Genes, but no one is quite certain what kind of power they contain. The answer may lie hidden among the scattered human settlements of this vast and desolate future world.
Guest Blogger, Allie McCarn (Allie), reviews science fiction and fantasy books on her blog Tethyan Books. She has contributed many great book reviews to WWEnd including several Grand Master reviews featured in our blog. Allie has just kicked off a new blog series for WWEnd called New Voices where she’ll be reviewing the debut novels of relatively new authors in the field.
The Book :
“In the future, mindplay is commonplace. Method actors build character personalities to run in their bodies for performances, celebrity personae are franchised and sold, and memories are manipulated for convenience and recreation. When one can purchase memories, persona overlays, and a variety of personality tweaks, at what point does the idea of an authentic ‘self’ lose its meaning?
Marceline is a “memory junkie” who gets high off of other peoples’ memories. One night, she becomes conscious at a franchiser party at an exclusive night club, with no idea how she could have arrived there. The last thing she remembers is killing someone, but the reasons behind that murder are opaque. Marceline is in deep trouble, the kind where she doesn’t even know what’s she’s been doing, or who she was while she was doing it…” ~Allie
Alex Hammel (ahmmel) is an MSc. student in botany at the University of British Columbia. He started reading Tolkien and Lewis as a young nerd, and became an avid reader of all kinds of speculative fiction as an undergraduate when he discovered that it was more fun than studying. He joined WWEnd to participate in the WoGF challenge, and can often be found in the vicinity of a good beer.
My (quite late) June WoGF review is of Diana Gabaldon‘s Outlander, a fantasy/historical fiction/romance novel about time travel, Scotland, sex, Scottish men, and sex with Scottish men in Scotland after traveling through time. (Yes, my wife recommended this to me. No, I am not Scottish.)
As I am sure the reader has gathered, there is quite a lot of sex in this book. Although romance novels are not my usual reading material, my feelings about the sex scenes are that they fulfill the same purpose as space battles in military SF, or regular battles in an adventure fantasy novel: it’s just for fun. Putting the focus on the ‘just for fun’ elements can result in either an entertaining light read or a dreary slog through yet another orbital skirmish/drawn-out siege/Scotsman. Gabaldon, mercifully, gives us the former.
It helps that the sex scenes are very well done, and surprisingly tasteful (to me, anyway). This is not, to borrow a phrase from Neil Gaiman, a ‘one-handed read’, although it’s hardly PG-rated either. Gabaldon has quite enough to say about 18th-century and 1940s attitudes towards marriage, abuse, consent, and rough sex to keep things interesting, and she is for the most part careful not to let the romance swamp the rest of the story. The sex is, I think, one of the smartest things about the book.
Wendy B. (nightxade): My brother introduced me to science fiction, fantasy and comics when I was barely out of diapers and LeVar Burton encouraged my love of reading throughout my youth. If my love of reading is the only legacy I can pass forward to my little geeklings, I would be a very happy mom. (If they pick up my love of gaming, writing and their dad’s love of cooking, too, then that would be even better!). Now I happily share my bibliophilia with my fellow bibliophiles at bibliosanctum.blogspot.com.
Every now and then, a book attacks me and holds on tight and when I finish with it, it refuses to let me go. That’s the case with The Raven Boys, the first book in the Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater, whom I declare to be my new favourite author. I came to this conclusion not far in, primarily because of her unique way of moulding her characters and settings, bringing everything literally to life. (Yes I know what “literally” means. I use it within the context of the story and the magic of Cabeswater.)
I’ve written off some authors because they obsess with describing everything with pretty metaphors that leave the plot behind. Here, the plot and characters are swept along in a river of descriptions that don’t so much use adjectives or comparisons, but exclusions – descriptions of what the character is not – or things they do or collect that define them. And most often, their actions, gestures and reactions. Because of this, her characters and places always give me a sense of movement, or in the case of Ronan, movement that could come at any moment. By far my favourite character, Ronan is a bundle of venom, poised like a sharp-clawed cat about to strike at any moment. Yet, Stiefvater also gives him the perfect amount of vulnerability and harsh truth to make him more than just the bitter character that should be detested or pitied.
Brett Ellis (Brett72): My interest in reading was spurred by my father reading to me before bed when I was a boy. I developed my reading skills because I wanted to know what happened next and the nightly sessions were too slow. My parents took me to see “Star Wars” when I was five and I’ve been hooked on sci-fi and fantasy ever since. Yes, I am part of that generation for whom “Star Wars” was a life-shaping experience. When not reading far too many “Warhammer” novels, I enjoy miniature wargaming and action flicks.
I love sword and sorcery. Robert E. Howard, Karl Edward Wagner, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock… well, you get the idea. Based on her debut novel, Courtney Schafer may very well belong in that esteemed pantheon. In other words, I heartily enjoyed The Whitefire Crossing.
The city of Ninavel lies atop a large magical confluence in the middle of a desert. In exchange for free reign to practice their craft as they please, including dark arts forbidden elsewhere, mages swear loyalty to Lord Sechaveh and use their powers to provide the city with water. The common people of Ninavel live in fear of the sorcerers, but dream of earning a share of the riches that flow to the city.
Dev is one of those people. He earns his legitimate living as an outrider on the merchant caravans that cross the Whitefire mountains to reach Ninavel. He makes his illegitimate living smuggling magical charms into the country of Alathia, where all magic not directly controlled by the government is forbidden.
When Beth Besse (Badseedgirl) is not preparing for the coming zombie apocalypse, or having long, and often bitter arguments with her sister over whether “Night of The Comet” is actually a zombie movie (well of course it is, it even says it in the movie description), she can be found curled up somewhere in her Tennessee home reading SF and Horror of questionable quality. Her guilty pleasure reading almost always involves urban fantasies or Southern Fried Vampires. Her Goal is to be able to someday boast that she has read every title in at least one WWEnd book list. (And finally convince her sister that “Night of the Comet” is a Zombie movie)
What happens to society after the apocalypse? Books, TV and movies are filled with examples of society breaking down into a depraved and brutal landscape and people. But what would happen if instead of society ending in a blaze of violence and brutality, it simply faded away? This is what Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer attempts to answer.
The novel is written in Journal format by a 16 year old typical American Teen girl named Miranda, living with her divorced mother and younger brother in rural Pennsylvania. On May 18th an asteroid collides with the moon. The asteroid was not a surprise. Everyone knew it was coming but it was not supposed to be anything to worry about. The impact occurred, but something was wrong, we ultimately find out that the asteroid was heavier, denser that calculated by astronomers, and it changed the orbit and distance the moon was from the planet.
What was most surprising to me was how very gentle this novel about the death of most of humanity is. I was expecting something in the vein of Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Violence, looting, rape, murder, you know, all the things that happen as society breaks down due to an world –wide natural disaster. There are plenty of natural disasters in this novel; tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and the resulting “Nuclear Winter” from the ash. It’s just that the people in the novel never completely collapse into the barbarism that post-apocalyptic novels tend to lean to.