The Boo! Necessities: Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” (2008)
Jul03

The Boo! Necessities: Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” (2008)

“I’m nobody. Who are you? Are you nobody, too?”–Emily Dickinson Nobody Owens, Bod for short, is a young boy whose parents and foster parents are dead. The difference between these two sets of figures are that the latter continue to raise him in the graveyard where they have resided since their demise hundreds of years ago, whereas the former, who have only recently stepped into the light (or, rather, were gruesomely forced into it),...

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“He’s Only Mostly Dead”: Lee Battersby’s “The Corpse-Rat King” (2012)
Jul02

“He’s Only Mostly Dead”: Lee Battersby’s “The Corpse-Rat King” (2012)

Lee Battersby’s debut novel, coming out in October from Angry Robot Books, had me at its title: The Corpse-Rat King. Its deliciously macabre story of Marius, a corpse-rat, or a man who makes his money as a battlefield scavenger, looting from dead soldiers after the fighting has ceased, is set into motion one seemingly ordinary day when Marius discovers a fallen king lying on the ground and decides to pocket his crown. Moments...

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This Quintessence of Dust: Walter Jon Williams’ “Implied Spaces” (2008)
Jun19

This Quintessence of Dust: Walter Jon Williams’ “Implied Spaces” (2008)

There is more to Walter Jon Williams’ Implied Spaces: A Novel of the Singularity (published by Night Shade Books) than meets the eye. Described by the author as “Swords and Singularity,” the novel at first seems to be one of those stories like Tad Williams’ Otherland and Christopher Stasheff’s The Warlock In Spite of Himself series that present fantasy universes within external science-fiction frameworks. In other words, people from...

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Prophecy Girl: China Miéville’s “Un Lun Dun” (2007)
Jun12

Prophecy Girl: China Miéville’s “Un Lun Dun” (2007)

At first, China Miéville’s young adult fantasy novel, Un Lun Dun seems to be part of a long tradition of children’s stories wherein otherwise seemingly ordinary children travel to a magical world and end up either being revealed as a Chosen One of prophecy, doing extraordinary things, being crowned as royalty, fulfilling a quest, or some permutation of the above. Often, wordplay and other forms of carefully crafted nonsense are...

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“Pax Britannia”: Al Ewing’s “El Sombra” Adventures
Jun07

“Pax Britannia”: Al Ewing’s “El Sombra” Adventures

I opened Al Ewing’s El Sombra trilogy, expecting pulp–given that it was from Abaddon Books, I was expecting extremely well-written, layered pulp, but pulp nonetheless. What I wasn’t prepared for was how ingenious it is. I hate throwing around an elitist term like “literature” to describe a particularly brilliant sci-fi book, because I feel it’s a term that snobs often use to justify reading...

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“Pax Britannia”: Jonathan Green’s “Ulysses Quicksilver” Adventures
Jun01

“Pax Britannia”: Jonathan Green’s “Ulysses Quicksilver” Adventures

Pardon me if I have a bit of trouble containing my excitement, but I spent the past week devouring one of the most deliriously fun series I’ve read in a very long time, and reserved praise is not an option. How best to describe Jonathan Green’s Pax Britannia series, from Abaddon Books? Imagine if you entered every single awesome element of steampunk, Victoriana, pulp sci-fi, spy-fy, mystery, and horror, comic books, and...

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