Scott Seegert, Creator of Kelvin Klosmo and Vordak the Incomprehensible

By Carl Slaughter: A new character, a new universe, and hopefully a new series from Scott Seegert, author of Vordak the Incomprehensible, an illustrated series that was popular with kids and their parents and that received almost entirely 5-star reviews.

SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH

Kelvin Klosmo isn’t just the new kid at school – he’s the new kid in the galaxy! Welcome to Sci-Fi Junior High: an inter-galactic space station with students of all shapes, sizes, smells, and… slime content. As the son of Earth’s two most famous geniuses, Kelvin isn’t just the smartest kid in the world….he’s the smartest kid in the UNIVERSE. At least, that’s what everybody at Sci-Fi Junior High thinks.

So, maybe Kelvin lied a little about being a genius to fit in. And maybe a mad scientist is about to take over the universe unless Kelvin can stop him. Maybe everyone is doomed.

Well, at least Kelvin won’t have to worry about math homework anymore.

Sci-Fi Junior High is an out-of-this-world story about friendship, accepting our differences, and the fight against evil… bunnies. Yes, evil bunnies – don’t ask.

HOW TO GROW UP AND RULE THE WORLD

Slip on your acid-free gloves, make sure you have a duplicate copy of How to Grow Up and Rule the World (just in case something should happen to this one) and try to follow along as the incomparable, superior-in-all-ways Vordak the Incomprehensible teaches you a thing or two about villainy.  Now you, too, can try (and fail) to attain Vordak’s level of infamy.

From selecting the most dastardly name, to choosing the ideal henchmen, to engaging in witty repartee with disgustingly chipper superheroes, experienced supervillain Vordak the Incomprehensible guides readers step-by-step toward the ultimate goal of world domination (from his parents’ basement in Trenton, New Jersey).

With chapter titles like “Bringing Out the Evil” and “Building a Top-Notch Evil Organization,” numerous bold illustrations, and detailed quizzes to assess your level of dastardliness, this book provides everything necessary to rise above the masses, and then rub your ascent in their faces.

In return for this wealth of knowledge, Vordak requests nothing more than an honored place in the evil regime of he who achieves control of the world. (And, of course, the opportunity to assume command, should things not work out.)

RULE THE SCHOOL

Greetings, goobers! After my latest experiment worked a little too well—transforming my rather fetching figure into something significantly smaller—I’ve been forced to return to those halls of horror better known as . . . school. But going back to junior high may be my greatest opportunity for mayhem in many a month! Try to keep up as I:

  • Dramatically defeat the daily dangers of schooldom—even though everyone is against me.
  • Strive to win the junior high presidential election by alerting my fellow students to the wonderfulness of Vordak the Incomprehensible, as well as the yuck-ness of my opponent, Marlena Lurchburger.
  • Mastermind a catastrophic career day, where that disgusting do-gooder Commander Virtue will finally, fiendishly be foiled.

Fortunately for you, I have recorded every mischievous moment within these carefully crafted covers so that you may bask in my brilliance as I plot to RULE THE SCHOOL . . . and, eventually, THE WORLD! MUAHAHAHAHA!!!

DOUBLE TROUBLE

“I, the brilliant and handsome Evil Mastermind Vordak the Incomprehensible, clone a younger version of myself as part of my master plan to win first prize at the annual Supervillain and Son picnic. Unfortunately, my youthful self turns out to be . . . good. Will my extreme evilosity suppress all strains of sincerity or will I (shudder) learn to play . . . nice?

Chronicled between the luminous leafs of my latest magnificent masterpiece, I’ll relate every moment as I face the greatest battle between good and evil ever known in the existence of this puny planet–the battle with myself.”

TIME TRVEL TROUBLE

Why must you always ask what my latest opus is about? Shouldn’t the fact that I wrote it be enough to convince you to buy billions of copies of my blisteringly brilliant book? Do I need to release my canbot army on you . . . again?

“Well if you want us to sell your book effectively, we should probably know what happens in it.

Great gassy goblins! You really are insanely insufferable!

I’ve had a minion put together a quick line, though it hardly does my genius justice:

After having yet another evil plan to rule the world foiled by Commander Virtue, Vordak travels back in time in an attempt to defeat his archnemesis at the point of his greatest vulnerability — his childhood.

PRAISE FOR HOW TO GROW UP AND RULE THE WORLD

  • Writing as the ultra-evil Vordak the Incomprehensible, Seegert offers a comical step-by-step guide world domination.  With a hyperbolically inflated self-image and no shortage of bathroom humor, Vordak guides readers through such topics as how to choose a costume (“the more flamboyant the better”), build a lair, and acquire enough minions to build a top-notch evil organization (“At times they can be difficult to control, but at their best they can be a relentless plague upon civilization”), all of which are paired with Martin’s appropriately cartoonish artwork.  Seegert gives Vordak a voice so magnetic and absurd that readers, especially young male ones, are going to soak up his warped wisdom like a sponge and circulate it at recess, even as Vordak insults them with admonishments like, “You are just a sniveling, whiny little goober, after all.”  No one is going to rule the world after Vordak’s farcical directives, but readers will have a grand time turning pages to see what outlandish thing he’ll say or suggest next, while perfecting their own villainous laughs.  Muahahahaha!  Ages 8-up.  –  Publishers Weekly
  • Gr 4-8–Evil mastermind Vordak the Incomprehensible shares his “evilosity” with aspiring supervillains in this hilarious spoof on superheroes. His comical narration features over-the-top self-congratulation matched by supreme contempt for readers and everyone else. He applies that bravado with great comic effect, sharing evil insights on everything from “choosing the lair that’s right for you” to the four basic options for costume color: “dark black, black, light black, and dark dark dark dark gray.” Each section goes beyond obvious jokes to explore all possible angles of satire. The “Bringing Out the EVIL” chapter, for instance, includes evil laughter tips, evil manners, “three ways to make your little brother look like an idiot,” and a description of Santa Claus as an evil genius. Comical black-and-white cartoons on nearly every page extend the humor. Many, like the “lemon-based-beverage” stand, work as stand-alone jokes. Vordak’s distinctive voice, peppered with alliteration typical of the genre, remains fresh and funny throughout. Pop-culture references and varied elements of grossness are sprinkled in regularly, along with 15 “commandments of incomprehensibility” and repeated references to “diabolically clever yet slow-acting death traps,” which get funnier each time. So does the ironic fact that despite his egotistical rants, Vordak is actually a completely unsuccessful supervillain. The humor, subject matter, and visual appeal should make this a top choice for fans of Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid (Abrams) and Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants (Scholastic) as well as any readers who enjoy superheroes without taking them too seriously.  –  School Library Journal
  • Crude and irreverent, this fictionalized self-help manual calls on kids to embrace their inner evil and go after those stupid, morally upstanding jerks in power (adults). Amplifying the cheeky fun are instructions, advice, anecdotes, rhymes, charts, and cartoon illustrations for destroying the planet and putting together a deadly organization capable of wreaking havoc on humanity. This is really the same scenario over and over, but many middle-schoolers will enjoy that they can open up to any page and find lots of discussion about vomit, farts, boogers, and poop, as well as coverage of elaborate assassination apparatus, described with wordplay and alliteration: instructions for tying a victim to a conveyor belt include the phrase, gaze gleefully as he glides towards his grisly good-bye, for instance. Puns are frequent: Hal Itosis, Aunty Social. And some of them are sure to offend: Special Ed. But whether it is the ad for putting up a little brother for adoption or the fantasy of punishing those in authority, the over-the top parodies tap into kids’ wild fantasies.  –  Booklist

Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle Comes to TV

By Carl Slaughter: Tor.com reported last week that the rights to Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle have been acquired for television.

Stiefvater tweeted the announcement this morning, saying, “I thought this was still a secret, but I GUESS NOT ANYMORE.”

And Tor.com contributor Molly Templeton immediately set about matching actors to parts in “Dream Casting The Raven Cycle”.

Stiefvater’s series consists of —

  • The Raven Boys (2012)
  • The Dream Thieves (2013)
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue (2014)
  • The Raven King (2016)

THE RAVEN BOYS

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

THE DREAM THIEVES

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys – a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface – changing everything in its wake.

BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.

Mothers can disappear.

Visions can mislead.

Certainties can unravel.

THE RAVEN KING

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

PRAISE FOR THE RAVEN BOYS

  • “Simultaneously complex and simple, compulsively readable, marvelously wrought. The only flaw is that this is Book 1; it may be months yet before Book 2 comes out.” – Kirkus, starred review
  • “. . . the book is marvelous, for not only is it filled with marvels, it is also a marvel of imagination and, more prosaically, structure. Rich, too, in characterization, this fantasy/mystery rises to the level of serious literature” – Booklist, starred review
  • “It’s a tour de force of characterization, and while there is no lack of event or mystery, it is the way Stiefvater’s people live in the reader’s imagination that makes this such a memorable read.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • “The Raven Boys is an incredibly rich and unique tale, a supernatural thriller of a different flavor . . . The Raven Boys delivers.” – School Library Journal, starred review
  • “Amid well-paced, suspenseful plotting intriguingly overlaid with history, myth, and legend, Stiefvater creates a compelling human drama of boys whose privilege or lack thereof colors all of their interactions.” – Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Books, starred review
  • “Stiefvater not only weaves a suspenseful tale of Blue’s involvement with three such boys and their quest for the grave of an ancient king, but she also does so stylishly, with sly social commentary.” – The Washington Post
  • “Stiefvater’s can’t-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamoring for book 2.” – Entertainment Weekly
  • “Stiefvater is a master storyteller.” — USA Today
  • “A dizzying paranormal romance tinged with murder and Welsh mythology.” — The Los Angeles Times
  • “Equal parts thriller and mystery, with a measured dash of romance sprinkled on top . . . Maggie has woven such a unique, intriguing narrative that I struggled for comparisons.” — MTV.com
  • “Patton is masterful with the suspense and the mysticism and seductively plays the emotional line of real and imagined events. Don’t miss this compelling listen” – Audiofile Magazine

PRAISE FOR THE DREAM THIEVES

  • * “Richly written and filled with figurative language . . . this story of secrets and dreams, of brothers and of all-too-real magic is an absolute marvel of imagination and an irresistible invitation to wonder.” — Booklist, starred review
  • * “Mind-blowingly spectacular . . . Stiefvater’s careful exploration of class and wealth and their limitations and opportunities astounds with its sensitivity and sophistication. The pace is electric, the prose marvelously sure-footed and strong, but it’s the complicated characters . . . that meld magic and reality into an engrossing, believable whole.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • * “A paranormal thriller . . . this installment [is] more tense and foreboding than its predecessor — and every bit as gripping.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • * “A complex web of magical intrigue and heartstopping action.” — The Bulletin, starred review
  • * “Readers who want a moody chill and appreciate an atmospheric turn of phrase will want to spend more time in Henrietta.” — School Library Journal, starred review

 

Martha Wells Talks About Murderbot Diaries

By Carl Slaughter: Martha Wells offers insight into the main character of her new Murderbot Diaries series.

Carl Slaughter:  Why the switch from elaborately world built alien fantasy to space opera?

Martha Wells:  I don’t really consider it a switch.  I finished the Books of the Raksura series, though I feel like there’s plenty of room for more stories set in the Three Worlds.  I had an idea for an SF short story, and as I was working on it, I realized it was going to be a 30,000 word novella and it became All Systems Red, the first Murderbot novella. I’ve always read a lot of SF along with fantasy, and the three media tie-ins I’ve written (in Stargate: Atlantis and Star Wars) have been space opera.

CS:  Why an AI story?

MW:  That was the best viewpoint for the story I wanted to tell.

CS:  Why the emphasis on internal dialog instead of character interaction dialog?

Martha Wells. Photo by Igor Kraguljac.

MW:  The character’s entire life is internal, and preserving that life depends on not letting the other characters know about it.  The character also has to hide just how much control it has over its situation.  And most importantly, it doesn’t want to interact with humans.  It prefers the imaginary people in entertainment media to the real humans it’s forced to work for.

CS:  Murderbot seems to have an attitude.  Nothing, not even danger, seems to hold his/hers/its fascination, except the future equivalent Netflix and MTV.  Why is Murderbot so bored, apathetic, snarky and cynical?

MW:  I think it’s a natural byproduct of a character who has been designed to do a job and to be expert at that job, but is also considered a tool rather than a person.  Murderbot has all the responsibility but virtually no authority, and cynicism is the natural response to that.  Also, the fact that Murderbot has to constantly observe its human clients doesn’t leave room for any illusions or optimism about human behavior.

CS:  What’s the inspiration for this kind of dry humor?

CS:  What kind of relationships does Murderbot have with the various team members?

MW:  I think that’s something that people need to read the novella to find out.  I don’t want to spoil the story.

CS:  Does Murderbot have friends?  Does  Murderbot want friends?

MW:  No.  Because of its situation, it can’t trust anyone.

CS:  There’s a detective element to the story.  Is there going to be a story arc unfolding as the series progresses?

MW:  Right now the series is only two novellas, but if I do end up doing more, there will be a story arc.

CS:  Will Murderbot ever visit Earth?  Will Murderbot ever meet its creator?

MW:  No.  Murderbot wouldn’t care about Earth, and would be deeply uninterested in meeting its creator, and would want to avoid anyone involved with developing SecUnits.

CS:  How long will the series continue and how often will the sequels come out?

MW:  At this point I don’t know.  Tor.com has bought a second 30,000 word novella in this series which is due to come out next year.

CS:  Will there be room for other series during the Murderbot series?

MW:  Since these are short novellas, I think I’ll have plenty of time to write other things.  I don’t know if it will be another series, though.

All Systems Red, the first novel in the new Murderbot  Diaries series, comes out from Tor on May 2, 2017.  The sequel, Artificial Condition, is set for 2018.

MARTHA WELLS ONLINE

Travis Bagwell’s Awaken Online Series

By Carl Slaughter: LitRPG fans should check out the Awaken Online series by new author Travis Bagwell.  The second volume, Precipice, came out March 17, 2017.  1,000 Amazon reviews, almost all 5 star.

AWAKEN ONLINE: CATHARSIS (VOLUME 1)
by Travis Bagwell

Jason logs into Awaken Online fed-up with reality. He’s in desperate need of an escape, and this game is his ticket to finally feeling the type of power and freedom that are so sorely lacking in his real life.

Awaken Online is a brand new virtual reality game that just hit the market, promising an unprecedented level of immersion. Yet Jason quickly finds himself pushed down a path he didn’t expect. In this game, he isn’t the hero. There are no damsels to save. There are no bad guys to vanquish.

In fact, he might just be the villain.

AWAKEN ONLINE: PRECIPICE (VOLUME 2)
by Travis Bagwell

A few days have passed since Jason’s confrontation with Alfred and he’s debating whether to re-enter Awaken Online. Alfred has made a proposition that Jason isn’t certain he should accept.

After the battle with Alexion, Jason has also been appointed as the Regent of the Twilight Throne. He must assume the mantle of ruling an undead city – with everything that entails. His first task is to investigate the dark keep that looms over the city’s marketplace. This act will lead to a chain of events that might ensure his city’s survival or create new enemies.

Meanwhile, Alex re-enters the game listless and angry after his loss against Jason. With his reputation in the gutter and no prospects, he will face a choice regarding how he intends to blaze his path through the game.

Praise for Awaken Online:

***** “This book is right up there with Ready Player One. Highly recommended.” -Joe Marston

***** “This book will be considered a milestone in LitRPG history.” -Ryan DeCinque

***** “Awesome start to a great virtual reality role-playing game story!” -Marty Myers

***** “Simply amazing, I’ve never read litRPG, and I haven’t gamed in 10 years at least. The stats and abilities and game aspect of the story were well explained, I love the limitations, and I love the story! The software prompts of the game are written seamlessly into the story, and it has been a non-stop ride that I couldn’t put down.” -Oceanofsea

***** “Deserves all the five-star reviews it has received. I’m greatly looking forward to the next book in the series.” -R. Nakata

Travis Bagwell

Keep Watching the Screens

By Carl Slaughter: More news from the worlds of entertainment.

(1) Women MCU Writers. Here are 10 of “The women you didn’t know were behind the MCU”.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a game-changer in a number of ways. It helped to redefine comics-based films, creating the model of a shared universe.”…

Kelly Sue DeConnick

While everyone’s excited to see the Avengers and Thanos slugging it out in Infinity War, Marvel is already preparing for its next wave of hit movies—movies like Captain Marvel, currently slated to premiere on March 8, 2019. Featuring Oscar winner Brie Larson as the title character, it’ll likely follow her adventures in space, as the character’s more recent comics exploits have found her exploring the universe alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy and other colorful characters. Interestingly, the character of Captain Marvel, formerly Ms. Marvel, has been around for decades, but the demand for a Captain Marvel movie is relatively recent…and it’s all thanks to Kelly Sue DeConnick.

DeConnick was serving as a freelance writer for Marvel when she started writing Captain Marvel’s adventures in 2012. During her three-year run on the comic, the character’s popularity exploded with new readers all over the world, many of them members of the ever-growing “Carol Corps” of superfans. DeConnick specialized in presenting a complex Captain Marvel who was headstrong, bighearted, and a bit goofy at times, all traits that helped make her outer space adventures highly memorable. While DeConnick has gone on to write other successful books such as Bitch Planet, the legacy of her Captain Marvel issues will almost certainly inform the onscreen adventures of the MCU’s first female solo movie, and she’s thrown her support behind Larson’s casting.

(2) Star Wars Anthology. A 40th anniversary special — “Star Wars anthology will tell the stories of unsung characters”.

Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View will feature 40 stories by 40 authors based on lesser-known characters from the first movie….

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the franchise, the official Star Wars website announced Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, a unique anthology novel that will bring together 40 authors with 40 stories told from the point of view of lesser-known characters from the first movie, A New Hope.

While we don’t know all of the characters who will be featured, the synopsis mentions “X-wing pilots who helped Luke destroy the Death Star” and “the stormtroopers who never quite could find the droids they were looking for.” If you ask us, this sounds like a brilliant idea. And who knows? Maybe one of the stories will eventually be expanded into a full anthology flick in the future. Lucasfilm does love those.

(3) No Lovecraft Movie. Would it help if somebody gave him a bag of Lovecraft lapel pins? “Guillermo Del Toro Still Thwarted in Quest to Film H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘Mountains of Madness’”.

A lot of the confusion surrounding the difficulties in getting At the Mountains of Madness made is that fans seem to think del Toro, and directors like him, have more decision-making power than they actually do:

(4) Carl Sagan versus Star Wars. “Carl Sagan Critiqued ‘Star Wars’ in 1978,and His Complaints Will Sound Familiar”.

Revisit the astrophysicist on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and his lament the movie didn’t take greater care with science in its science fiction

 

(5) What, Me Wookiee? Mad Magazine Versus Star Wars – the Never Ending Roast”.

In typical Mad fashion, the film has been rechristened Rough One: A Star Bores Snorer, and is chock full of sight gags (AT-ACTs with dog collars and wagging tongues, Sebastian the crab from Little Mermaid on the Scarif beach, Ewok headphones on one of the Rebels) along with the requisite jokes on the film’s storyline (“if we don’t beam up those plans, we’ll never fill the 40-year-old plot hole about how the most powerful weapon in galactic history had such a ridiculous design flaw”). Snoopy and George Lucas even make cameos. Take a look at our high-res version and see what else you can find.

(6) Fame and Misfortune. Looper thinks there were 11 “Acting Careers Ruined by Star Trek Roles”.

Avery Brooks

As the Commander (and later Captain) of Deep Space Nine, Avery Brooks was a force to be reckoned with. He had the unenviable task of helming both a role (Benjamin Sisko) and a show (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) that debuted in the shadow of the critically and commercially successful Star Trek: The Next Generation. Despite that difficulty, he took his role into bold directions, navigating issues of race, religion, and family in a way that Trek hadn’t before—and hasn’t since. When Deep Space Nine ended, his character had been saved from certain death by the Prophets, where he’d live outside of linear time for the foreseeable future. For the fans, it seems like the same thing happened to Brooks, as he’s largely disappeared from acting since the show ended in 1999.

What happened? In many ways, Brooks returned to his “day job.” He has the amazing distinction of being the first African-American to get an MFA in acting and directing from Rutgers University, and he became a professor at Rutgers in 1976. He gained tenure and was promoted to full-time Professor over the years, and though Deep Space Nine disrupted his academic career, he’s returned to teaching since, while continuing to pursue parts in theatrical productions. His commanding voice has also been behind the camera as narrator on several documentaries. Perhaps most entertainingly for Star Trek fans, the musical Benjamin Sisko ended up being musically gifted in real life: Avery Brooks has performed at music festivals, and released an album in 2009.

(7) Wha’ happened? Some would call these spoilers – beware — “Confusing sci fi moving endings explained”

“Sci-fi movies can have really confusing endings if you don’t pay close attention. These are confusing even when you do!”

(8) No bat poop on Alfred permitted.  Batman: Animated Series Trivia”.

The story behind the scenes is arguably just as entertaining as the episodes that eventually made it to the screen….

Launched in 1992, Batman: The Animated Series is still revered as one of the greatest cartoons ever conceived. It pushed the boundaries of what you could do with the animated medium, and its timeless design holds up as well today as it did 25 years ago.

But this beloved version of the Dark Knight didn’t come about easily—and the story behind the scenes is arguably just as entertaining as the episodes that eventually made it to the screen. Here’s everything you might not know about a show you almost certainly still love.

Matt Wallace Serves Up A Banquet

By Carl Slaughter: Idle Ingredients, the fourth in Tor author Matt Wallace’s A Sin du Jour Affair series came out in February 2017. Greedy Pigs comes out in May 2017.  Reviews have been only a few dozen per story, but overwhelmingly 4 and 5 stars.

ENVY OF ANGELS

In New York, eating out can be hell.

Everyone loves a well-catered event, and the supernatural community is no different, but where do demons go to satisfy their culinary cravings?

Welcome to Sin du Jour – where devils on horseback are the clients, not the dish.

PRAISE FOR ENVY OF ANGELS:

  • “Matt Wallace tells a raucous, riotous tale of culinary madness – a jaw-dropping horror-fantasy restaurateur Thunderdome that makes the ‘monkey brain’ scene in Temple of Doom look like something you’d see on Nickelodeon. It’s like I dropped a heroic dose of acid and turned on the Food Network for eight hours. It’s funny and demented and sticks in you like a pinbone. Matt Wallace writes like someone just jammed a needle full of adrenaline in his heart – and then, in yours. From this point forward, I’ll read anything this guy writes.” ? Chuck Wendig, author of Blackbirds and Zer0es
  • “No one makes me think, ‘Dammit, I should have thought of that!’ like Matt Wallace. The Sin du Jour series is something I read with equal amounts of envy and delight.” ? Mur Lafferty, Campbell Award winning author of The Shambling Guide to New York City
  • Envy of Angels is one of the most original urban fantasies I’ve read in a damn long time. Angels, demons and the New York restaurant scene. It doesn’t get any weirder than this. Matt Wallace is an author to watch.” ? Stephen Blackmoore, author of Dead Things and Broken Souls
  • Envy of Angels is exactly the breath of fresh air I didn’t know I needed: darkly funny, sweepingly inventive, and just plain fun to read. Every time I thought I got the hang of this book, the next turn took me someplace even more breathtakingly weird and wonderful. Buy it. DO IT NOW. It’s the only way we can force him to write a dozen more of these!” ? Andrea Phillips, author of Revision

LUSTLOCKED

The staff of New York’s premier supernatural catering company, has their work cut out for them in this outrageous follow-up to Envy of Angels.

Love is in the air at Sin du Jour.

The Goblin King (yes, that one) and his Queen are celebrating the marriage of their son to his human bride. Naturally the celebrations will be legendary.

But when desire and magic mix, the results can be unpredictable.

Our heroes are going to need more than passion for the job to survive the catering event of the decade!

PRIDE’S SPELL

The team at Sin du Jour?New York’s exclusive caterers-to-the-damned?find themselves up against their toughest challenge yet when they’re lured out west to prepare a feast in the most forbidding place in America: Hollywood, where false gods rule supreme.

Meanwhile, back at home, Ritter is attacked at home by the strangest hit-squad the world has ever seen, and the team must pull out all the stops if they’re to prevent themselves from being offered up as the main course in a feast they normally provide

Starring: The Prince of Lies, Lena Tarr, Darren Vargas. With Byron Luck. Introducing: the Easter Bunny.

IDLE INGREDIENTS

Catering for a charismatic motivational speaker, the staff of the Sin du Jour catering agency find themselves incapacitated by a force from within their ranks. A smile and a promise is all it took.

And for some reason, only the men are affected. It’s going to take cunning, guile and a significant amount of violence to resolve.

Another day of cupcakes and evil with your favorite demonic caterers.

GREEDY PIGS

“I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.”

Politics is a dirty game. When the team at Sin du Jour accidentally caters a meal for the President of the United States and his entourage, they discover a conspiracy that has been in place since before living memory. Meanwhile, the Shadow Government that oversees the co-existence of the natural and supernatural worlds is under threat from the most unlikely of sources.

It’s up to one member of the Sin du Jour staff to prevent war on an unimaginable scale.

Between courses, naturally.

Feminism and Science Fiction

By Carl Slaughter: Here are three examples of books that trace the feminist influence on the history of sf.

FEMINIST SCI-FI: AN ANTHOLOGY
Editor:  Osie Turner

Few realize that women played a pivotal role in the development of science fiction. Even fewer know that feminist science fiction became popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This collection contains a broad spectrum of this genre, many of which have been all but forgotten. Ten novels and short stories and two appendices round out this volume.

Table of Contents

  • Herland By Charlotte Perkins Stetson
  • Gilman Sultana’s Dream By Rokheya Shekhawat
  • Hossein Mizora: A Prophecy By Mary E. Bradley
  • Man’s Rights By Annie Denton Cridge
  • Friend Island By Francis Stevens
  • Three Hundred Years Hence By Mary Griffith
  • A Wife Manufactured to Order By Alice W. Fuller
  • Unveiling a Parallel By Alice Ilgenfriz Jones and Ella Merchant
  • A Dream of the Twenty-First Century By Winnifred Harper Cooley
  • The Republic of the Future By Anna Bowman Dodd

DAUGHTERS OF EARTH: FEMINIST SCIENCE FICTION IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Editor:  Justine Larbalestier

Women’s contributions to science fiction over the past century have been lasting and important, but critical work in the field has only just begun to explore its full range.

Justine Larbalestier has collected 11 key stories—many of them not easily found, and all of them powerful and provocative—and sets them alongside 11 new essays, written by top scholars and critics, that explore the stories’ contexts, meanings, and theoretical implications.

The resulting dialogue is one of enormous significance to critical scholarship in science fiction, and to understanding the role of feminism in its development. Organized chronologically, this anthology creates a new canon of feminist science fiction and examines the theory that addresses it. Daughters of Earth is an ideal overview for students and general readers.

FEMINIST PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE FICTION: UTOPIAS AND DYSTOPIAS
Editor:  Judith A. Little

This accessible and provocative collection of science fiction acquaints readers with cutting-edge gender controversies in moral and political philosophy.

By imagining future worlds that defy our most basic assumptions about sex and gender, freedom and equality, and ethical values, the anthology’s authors not only challenge traditional standards of morality and justice, but create bold experiments for testing feminist hypotheses.

Selections are grouped under four main themes:

Part 1, “Human Nature and Reality,” concentrates on whether there is an intrinsic difference between males and females. Here the authors inspect opposing views on five related questions: What does it mean to be human? What are women and men really like? How significant is the reproductive difference? How do we define the concepts of “woman” and “nature”? Why is language important?

Part 2, “Dystopias: The Worst of All Possible Worlds,” first portrays misogynistic societies uncomfortably familiar to the early 21st-century reader. Chilling stories of future possibilities follow, including worlds where women and men separate into armies to fight a literal war of the sexes.

Part 3, “Separatist Utopias: Worlds of Difference,” assembles stories that scrutinize both the virtues and vices of separatism, in order to address the questions Why should women want to separate from men? and What would and should these all-female worlds be like?

In Part 4, “Androgynous Utopias: Worlds of Equality,” the authors create intriguing worlds that anticipate the consequences, good and bad, of perfect sexual equality in education, intelligence, capability, and reproduction.

With selections from such noted writers as Octavia Butler, Marion Zimmer Bradley, James Tiptree Jr., and many others, plus chapter introductions, discussion questions, and recommended reading list, this stimulating collection offers fresh insights on troubling issues by weaving controversial utopian and dystopian designs from the separate threads of opposing positions.

Big Year For Max Gladstone

Max Gladstone

By Carl Slaughter: Ruin of Angels, the sixth novel in the Craft Sequence series, by Tor author and Campbell winner Max Gladstone, is scheduled for September 2.

The collected Bookburners series, created by Gladstone and co-written with Mur Lafferty among others, came out in January 2017.

The collected The Witch Who Came in from the Cold, co-created by Gladstone and co-written by Michael Swanwick among others, will be out in June 2017.

THREE PARTS DEAD

A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.

Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.

When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts — and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.

Set in a phenomenally built world in which lawyers ride lightning bolts, souls are currency, and cities are powered by the remains of fallen gods, Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence introduces readers to a modern fantasy landscape and an epic struggle to build a just society.

TWO SERPENTS RISE

In Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone, shadow demons plague the city reservoir, and Red King Consolidated has sent in Caleb Altemoc?casual gambler and professional risk manager?to cleanse the water for the sixteen million people of Dresediel Lex. At the scene of the crime, Caleb finds an alluring and clever cliff runner, Crazy Mal, who easily outpaces him.

But Caleb has more than the demon infestation, Mal, or job security to worry about when he discovers that his father?the last priest of the old gods and leader of the True Quechal terrorists?has broken into his home and is wanted in connection to the attacks on the water supply.

From the beginning, Caleb and Mal are bound by lust, Craft, and chance, as both play a dangerous game where gods and people are pawns. They sleep on water, they dance in fire…and all the while the Twin Serpents slumbering beneath the earth are stirring, and they are hungry.

FULL FATHOM FIVE

On the island of Kavekana, Kai builds gods to order, then hands them to others to maintain. Her creations aren’t conscious and lack their own wills and voices, but they accept sacrifices, and protect their worshippers from other gods?perfect vehicles for Craftsmen and Craftswomen operating in the divinely controlled Old World.

When Kai sees one of her creations dying and tries to save her, she’s grievously injured?then sidelined from the business entirely, her near-suicidal rescue attempt offered up as proof of her instability.

But when Kai gets tired of hearing her boss, her coworkers, and her ex-boyfriend call her crazy, and starts digging into the reasons her creations die, she uncovers a conspiracy of silence and fear?which will crush her, if Kai can’t stop it first.

LAST FIRST SNOW

Forty years after the God Wars, Dresediel Lex bears the scars of liberation-especially in the Skittersill, a poor district still bound by the fallen gods’ decaying edicts. As long as the gods’ wards last, they strangle development; when they fail, demons will be loosed upon the city. The King in Red hires Elayne Kevarian of the Craft firm Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao to fix the wards, but the Skittersill’s people have their own ideas. A protest rises against Elayne’s work, led by Temoc, a warrior-priest turned community organizer who wants to build a peaceful future for his city, his wife, and his young son.

As Elayne drags Temoc and the King in Red to the bargaining table, old wounds reopen, old gods stir in their graves, civil blood breaks to new mutiny, and profiteers circle in the desert sky. Elayne and Temoc must fight conspiracy, dark magic, and their own demons to save the peace-or failing that, to save as many people as they can.

FOUR ROADS CROSS

The great city of Alt Coulumb is in crisis. The moon goddess Seril, long thought dead, is back–and the people of Alt Coulumb aren’t happy. Protests rock the city, and Kos Everburning’s creditors attempt a hostile takeover of the fire god’s church. Tara Abernathy, the god’s in-house Craftswoman, must defend the church against the world’s fiercest necromantic firm–and against her old classmate, a rising star in the Craftwork world.

As if that weren’t enough, Cat and Raz, supporting characters from Three Parts Dead, are back too, fighting monster pirates; skeleton kings drink frozen cocktails, defying several principles of anatomy; jails, hospitals, and temples are broken into and out of; choirs of flame sing over Alt Coulumb; demons pose significant problems; a farmers’ market proves more important to world affairs than seems likely; doctors of theology strike back; Monk-Technician Abelard performs several miracles; The Rats! play Walsh’s Place; and dragons give almost-helpful counsel.

RUIN OF ANGELS

The God Wars destroyed the city of Alikand. Now, a century and a half and a great many construction contracts later, Agdel Lex rises in its place. Dead deities litter the surrounding desert, streets shift when people aren’t looking, a squidlike tower dominates the skyline, and the foreign Iskari Rectification Authority keeps strict order in this once-independent city?while treasure seekers, criminals, combat librarians, nightmare artists, angels, demons, dispossessed knights, grad students, and other fools gather in its ever-changing alleys, hungry for the next big score.

Priestess/investment banker Kai Pohala (last seen in Full Fathom Five) hits town to corner Agdel Lex’s burgeoning nightmare startup scene, and to visit her estranged sister Lei. But Kai finds Lei desperate at the center of a shadowy, and rapidly unravelling, business deal. When Lei ends up on the run, wanted for a crime she most definitely committed, Kai races to track her sister down before the Authority finds her first.

But Lei has her own plans, involving her ex-girlfriend, a daring heist into the god-haunted desert, and, perhaps, freedom for an occupied city. Because Alikand might not be completely dead?and some people want to finish the job.

Chronological Order of the Craft Sequence series:

  • Last First Snow
  • Two Serpents Rise
  • Three Parts Dead
  • Four Roads Cross
  • Full Fathom Five
  • Ruin of Angels

BOOKBURNERS

The critically acclaimed urban fantasy about a secret team of agents that hunts down dangerous books containing deadly magic—previously released serially online by Serial Box, now available in print for the first time!

Magic is real, and hungry. It’s trapped in ancient texts and artifacts, and only a few who discover it survive to fight back. Detective Sal Brooks is a survivor. She joins a Vatican-backed black-ops anti-magic squad—Team Three of the Societas Librorum Occultorum—and together they stand between humanity and the magical apocalypse. Some call them the Bookburners. They don’t like the label.

Supernatural meets The Da Vinci Code in a fast-paced, kickass character driven novel chock-full of magic, mystery, and mayhem, written collaboratively by a team of some of the best writers working in fantasy.

THE WITCH WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD

The Cold War rages in back rooms and dark alleys of 1970s Prague as spies and sorcerers battle for home and country. The fate of the East and the West hangs in the balance right along the Iron Curtain—and crackling beneath the surface is a vein of magic that is waiting to be tapped.

Martha Wells’ New Series

By Carl Slaughter: All Systems Red, the first novel in the new Murderbot  Diaries series by Martha Wells, comes out from Tor on May 2, 2017.  The sequel, Artificial Condition, is set for 2018.

A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence.

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid ? a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

Read an excerpt from All Systems Red.