Viola Carr’s Electric Empire Series

By Carl Slaughter: In April 2017, Viola Carr offered the third in her Electric Empire series.

Is it reimagined classic horror? Is it electro-punk? Is it traditional fantasy? Is it literary salute, historical mystery, international spy thriller, formula detective, romantic irony?

It’s as much a monster mashup as it is a genre mashup.

THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE

Forensic science, magic, mystery, and romance mix in this edgy steampunk fantasy–a retelling of the horror classic, in which Dr. Eliza Jekyll, daughter of the infamous Dr. Henry Jekyll–pursues a dangerous murderer in an alternate Victorian London.

In an electrified Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with newfangled technological gadgets. She will need every advantage available to catch a terrifying new psychopath splattering London with blood. Hidden in the grimy shadows, the fiendish murderer preys on beautiful women, drugging them before slicing off their limbs. Finding the “Slicer” can make Eliza’s career . . . or unmask her darkest secret. Like her father, she has a hidden second self that emerges when she drinks his forbidden magical elixir. Just a few sips, and a seductive and impulsive Lizzie Hyde is unleashed.

The members of the Royal Society do not trust Eliza, and they send their enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she’s a dangerous sorceress. The careful doctor knows that one wrong step can make her prey to the clever Lafayette, a man who harbors an evil curse of his own. No matter how much she craves the elixir, she must resist.

But as the Slicer case draws her into London’s luminous magical underworld, Eliza will need the potion’s power to help her . . . even if it might attract the attentions of Lafayette. .

Even if it means setting the wild Lizzie free. . . .

PRAISE FOR THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE

  • “A fearlessly imaginative world of magic, mystery and literary allusion that is delightfully immersive and dangerously seductive. …[Carr’s] heroine’s journey is full of sensual intrigue and heady danger that will leave readers breathless.”RT Book Reviews (4.5 stars))
  • “Carr’s steampunk debut is electrifying, memorable, and razor sharp.”(Publishers Weekly)
  • “This debut steampunk, gender-swapped take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story of the uncontrolled id … [has] energy and over-the-top adventure. Don’t think about it too hard, just enjoy the ride.”(Library Journal)
  • “…Ms. Carr takes us into an almost-familiar world, drawing us further into the dark just a bit at a time. If you thought steampunk was played out, here is an utterly convincing revivification.”(Wall Street Journal)
  • “This debut electropunk monster mashup gives you exactly what you never knew you wanted: The classic story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with a genderbent twist.”(barnesandnoble.com)
  • “I was utterly hooked and happily stayed that way for the next four-hundred-some pages. …It’s dark, intense, and sometimes disturbing, and man is it awesome.”(Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger)
  • The Diabolical Miss Hyde is a big, juicy steampunk/fantasy/romance/mystery package of fun, and I highly recommend it. Grade: A.”(Smart Bitches)
  • “There’s plenty of twists and turns, with a dash of magic and a wink at the classic literature.”(Parkersburg News & Sentinel)

THE DEVIOUS DR. JEKYLL

Solving the infamous Chopper case has helped crime scene physician Dr. Eliza Jekyll establish her fledgling career in the chauvinistic world of Victorian law enforcement. But the scrutiny that comes with her newfound fame is unwelcome for a woman with a diabolical secret. And there is the mercurial Royal Society agent and wolf man Remy Lafayette. Does he want to marry her, eat her, or burn her at the stake? Though Eliza is uncertain about Remy, her dark and jealous shadow self, Lizzie, wants to steal the magnetic and persistent agent, and usurp Eliza’s life.

It’s impossible to push Remy away when he tempts her with the one thing she can’t resist: a bizarre crime. The search for a bloodthirsty ritual torturer dubbed the Pentacle Killer draws them into a terrifying world of spies, art thieves, and evil alchemy, where the price of immortality is madness–or damnation–and only Lizzie’s dark ingenuity can help Eliza survive.

As Eliza and Remy race to thwart a foul conspiracy involving the sorcerous French, they must also overcome a sinister enemy who is all too close: the vengeful Lizzie, determined to dispose of Eliza for good.

THE DASTARDLY MISS LIZZIE

Dr. Eliza Jekyll must turn to her dark side, Miss Lizzie Hyde, to stop a madman who’s targeting London’s most important scientists and sorcerers, terrorizing the city with dark magic, in this third Electric Empire novel–a dazzlingly original steampunk fantasy set in the gritty world of alternate Victorian London, with echoes of H. G. Wells’s classic, The Time Machine.

Being two people in one body isn’t easy. Metropolitan Police crime scene physician Eliza Jekyll is trying to maintain a semblance of control, even as her rebellious second self, Lizzie, grows increasingly wild–threatening the respectable Eliza’s reputation and her marriage to Remy Lafayette, the Royal Society investigator and occasional lycanthrope. With England on the brink of war, Remy’s away in sorcery-riddled Paris on a secretive mission that grows ever more sinister. Has he been an enemy agent all along? Or is coping with her secret divided self finally driving Eliza mad?

Eliza needs her mind clear and sharp if she’s to catch an evil genius who is killing eminent scientists. The chase uncovers a murky world of forbidden books, secret laboratories, and a cabal of fanatical inventors whose work could change the world–or destroy it–and who may hold answers to Eliza’s mysterious past.

As sorcery-wielding terrorists attack London, Eliza discovers her own enemies are closing in, driving her to desperate measures–enlisting the aid of the wily, resourceful, mercurial Lizzie–to thwart the killer. But Lizzie’s got her own life now, and true to her nature, will resort to the devious and diabolical to keep it. Even if it means throwing Eliza to the wolves, and letting the world burn.

Viola Carr

Anne Charnock Flips The Script

By Carl Slaughter: In the Philip K. Dick-nominated A Calculated Life, Anne Charnock took on genetics. In Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind, she took on gender. In April 2017’s Dreams Before the Start of Time, she explores fertility. In her February 2017 novella, The Enclave, set in the same fictional universe as A Calculated Life, she explores the dystopian side of society, whereas A Calculated Life explored the utopia side.

A CALCULATED LIFE

Big business is booming and state institutions are thriving thanks to advances in genetic engineering, which have produced a compliant population free from addictions. Violent crime is now a rarity. Mayhew McCline, a major corporation that analyzes global trends, has hired a genius: Jayna.

A brilliant mathematical modeler, she has the ability to produce accurate predictions that are both good for the world and good for the bottom line. Her latest coup: finding a link between northeasterly winds and violent crime. When a string of events contradicts her forecasts – including a multiple homicide on the wrong day – Jayna suspects she needs more data and better intuition. She needs to understand what it means to be “normal,” so she disrupts her strict daily routine and, unknowingly, sets herself on a path that leads to new encounters, new experiences, and – perhaps most dangerous – new emotions.

SLEEPING EMBERS OF AN ORDINARY MIND

History is story telling. But some stories remain untold.

In fifteenth-century Italy, Paolo Uccello recognizes the artistic talent of his young daughter, Antonia, and teaches her how to create a masterpiece. The girl composes a painting of her mother and inadvertently sparks an enduring mystery.

In the present day, a copyist painter receives a commission from a wealthy Chinese businessman to duplicate a Paolo Uccello painting. Together, the painter and his teenage daughter visit China, and in doing so they begin their escape from a tragic family past.

In the twenty-second century, a painting is discovered that’s rumored to be the work of Paolo Uccello’s daughter. This reawakens an art historian’s dream of elevating Antonia Uccello, an artist ignored by history because of her gender.

Stories untold. Secrets uncovered. But maybe some mysteries should remain shrouded.

A brilliant mathematical modeler, she has the ability to produce accurate predictions that are both good for the world and good for the bottom line. Her latest coup: finding a link between northeasterly winds and violent crime. When a string of events contradicts her forecasts – including a multiple homicide on the wrong day – Jayna suspects she needs more data and better intuition. She needs to understand what it means to be “normal,” so she disrupts her strict daily routine and, unknowingly, sets herself on a path that leads to new encounters, new experiences, and – perhaps most dangerous – new emotions.

DREAMS BEFORE THE START OF TIME

In a near-future London, Millie Dack places her hand on her belly to feel her baby kick, resolute in her decision to be a single parent. Across town, her closest friend – a hungover Toni Munroe – steps into the shower and places her hand on a medic console. The diagnosis is devastating.

In this stunning, bittersweet family saga, Millie and Toni experience the aftershocks of human progress as their children and grandchildren embrace new ways of making babies. When infertility is a thing of the past, a man can create a child without a woman, a woman can create a child without a man, and artificial wombs eliminate the struggles of pregnancy. But what does it mean to be a parent? A child? A family?

Through a series of interconnected vignettes that spans five generations and three continents, this emotionally taut story explores the anxieties that arise when the science of fertility claims to deliver all the answers.

THE ENCLAVE

Set in the world of Anne Charnock’s novel A Calculated Life, The Enclave reveals the harsh reality of life at the bottom of the heap in late twenty-first century Britain.

Advances in genetic engineering have created a population free of addictive behaviour. Violent crime is rare. But out in the enclaves it’s survival of the fittest for Lexie — embroiled in a recycling clan and judged unfit for cognitive implants — and Caleb, a young climate migrant working as an illegal, who is eager to prosper and one day find his father.

It’s Myers & Miller Time at the KGB Bar

By Mark L. Blackman: On the summerlike spring evening of Wednesday, May 17th, the monthly Fantastic Fiction Readings Series presented authors E.C. Myers and Sam J. Miller at its longtime venue, the dimly-lit and aptly-named Red Room of the second-floor KGB Bar in Manhattan’s East Village. I arrived later than usual, and the crowd seemed at more than capacity.

Series co-host Matthew Kressel greeted the crowd, and reported on their current fundraiser on Kickstarter to cover the Series’ expenses. While the readings are always free and there’s no cover charge, it costs about $120/month (or $1,500/year) to run. He recited a partial list of “rewards”for donors (a fuller list may be found here), among them: signed copies of John Crowley books; from John Joseph Adams, trade paperbacks of Queers Destroy Science Fiction; from Ellen Datlow, “lots of books,”including Alien Sex; and from Neil Gaiman, four rare signed copies of his books. Additionally, Nancy Kress and Jeffrey Ford are offering Tuckerizations (that is, a character with the donor’s name in their books); John Langan to create a monster; and N.K. Jemisin and others critiques. The money, he assured, will be used for small stipends for the authors and to treat them to dinner after their readings. (Earlier Myers had kidded that there are no tote bags and the readers would not be interrupted mid-reading for a fundraising appeal.) He concluded by introducing the event’s first reader.

E.C. Myers. Photo by Mark Blackman.

E.C. Myers (the “E” is for Eugene) describes himself as “assembled in the U.S. from Korean and German parts, and raised by a single mother and a public library in Yonkers, New York. ”He has published four novels, the first of which, Fair Coin, won the 2012 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult SF and Fantasy, and the subsequent The Silence of Six was selected by YALSA as one of its “Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers”in 2016. His next book will be DoubleThink, (he’s on a 1984 kick — the book very much fits the current zeitgeist), a collection of stories related to The Silence of Six. (He also writes for ReMade, a YA science fiction series from Serial Box Publishing, from which I heard Matthew Cody read earlier this month at the most recent NYRSF Readings event.)

His offering was from “Big Brother,”a story in Feral Youth, a multiauthor collected which he characterized as “Canterbury Tales as YA,”with each telling a story. The starting point is a 17-minute viral video of a 13-year-old girl sleeping and, by appearance, erotically dreaming (in “full-on When Harry Met Sally“mode) recorded by her teen older brother who has dreams of being a filmmaker. A glimpsed hovering presence, he and his friends deduce, is likely an incubus. The creepy aspects of the story were only somewhat relieved by their humorous comments.

After an intermission, co-host Ellen Datlow assumed the podium and exhorted us to thank the Bar by buying drinks (it was definitely a night calling for hydration), and announced upcoming readings:

  • June 21 — Catherynne M. Valente and Sunny Moraine
  • July 19K. Jemisin and Karen Heuler

She then introduced the second reader of the evening.

Sam J. Miller

Sam J. Miller’s short stories have appeared in multiple “year’s best” anthologies and been finalists for multiple Nebula Awards as well as for World Fantasy and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards. His short story “57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides”(from which he read at the KGB last year) won the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award. His debut novel The Art of Starving, which will be out in July, was called “Funny, haunting, beautiful, relentless and powerful … a classic in the making” by Book Riot. His second novel, The Breaks, will be published in 2018.

Like Myers, his selection was from a YA work, the forthcoming The Art of Starving; he read from the very beginning and the end. The protagonist, it seems, is not actually starving or even hungry, but simply “chooses not to eat.”He suffers from an eating disorder — though he emphatically rejects the label — in which he sees himself as “an enormous, fat, greasy, disgusting creature”while the rest of the world somehow sees him as “a scrawny bag of bones”and urges him to eat, thereby earning his undying hatred. Ultimately, he releases hundreds of pigs from a slaughterhouse and leads the “squealing army”to defile and destroy the homes of his perceived enemies.

At the back of the room, copies of Myers’ The Silence of Six and its sequel Against All Silence were for sale by the Word Bookstores of Greenpoint, Brooklyn (and Jersey City). Also available were free copies of “pamphlet”editions of the novellas “S.O.S.: A Prequel to The Silence of Six“and “DoubleThink,”a stand-alone in the SOS (or SØS) Series that bridges The Silence of Six and Against All Silence. Miller’s novel is, of course, not out yet, but he had stickers to sign and go into the book.

Prior to the reading, Datlow, as usual, circulated, taking pictures. Her photos of the event may be seen on her Flickr page, linked to the Series’ website.

Amy Murphy’s Allies and Enemies Series

By Carl Slaughter: Amy Murphy was a 2016 finalist for the Dragon Award in the military science fiction category. The third novel in her Enemies and Allies trilogy, Exiles, came out in March 2017. The box set, plus the box set exclusive Lexicon, came out in April 2017. Catch up with Amy at Dragon Con in September 2017 in Atlanta.


ALLIES AND ENEMIES

Sela Tyron, a simple soldier, born to serve the Regime with unwavering loyalty, finds her world upended when her worshiped captain and member of the elite, Jonvenlish Veradis, is arrested for treason. Her impulsive decision sees them both hunted by their former allies. Things go from bad to worse with the seemingly miraculous return of Veradis’s sister, Erelah, from the dead and the arrival of a new and dangerous enemy in ruthless pursuit of the dark secret she holds.


FALLEN

Purpose-bred soldier of the Regime, Commander Sela Tyron is as subtle as a hammer. To hammers, any problem can look like a nail, but the solutions aren’t always that easy. Abandoned on a planet of hostiles, for Sela, things are only starting to get complicated. After a daring rescue by her captain, Jon Veradin, Sela sacrifices everything to save him from charges of treason and execution. Hunted, their new careers as fugitives complicate further with the arrival of Jon’s sister, Erelah. Once brilliant, now seemingly driven mad, she warns of a monster who will stop at nothing to reclaim her.

READ AN EXCERPT FROM FALLEN


ROGUES

For renegade soldier Sela Tyron and her former captain, Jon Veradin, the Reaches were a chance at a fresh start and freedom from the Regime. But what should be easy is never easy. In this savage, hardscrabble region, ruled by the ruthless Guilds, the pair quickly find themselves in the crosshairs of scheming gangsters and their muscle-bound henchmen. Meanwhile, Jon’s sister Erelah Veradin was supposed to be dead. That was her plan, anyway, when she sought to destroy the relentless Tristic. Miraculously alive, she’s now a captive of Zenti pirates led by the enigmatic Asher Korbyn—a man with his own secret agenda. Unsure of whom to trust, Erelah must face a new host of dangers on her quest to reunite with her brother as an even greater threat looms on the horizon and an old, familiar evil gathers strength in the darkness.


EXILES

Ironvale. Splitdawn. Poisoncry. Three bloodthirsty guilds that control the decaying corner of space known as the Reaches. Their precarious balance of power exists at a tipping point. One nudge and chaos reigns. Renegade soldier, Sela Tyron, is willing to supply that nudge to help her partner, Jon Veradin, rescue his nuisance sister, Erelah. Even if it means trusting the traitorous Asher Corsair. Or turning herself into an assassin.


AMY J. MURPHY’S STORY

Amy J. Murphy

“The Allies and Enemies Trilogy represents about 15 years of dedicated indecision and lack of self-confidence. Science fiction was my first love with all its glory of plastic weapons, poorly constructed sets and formulaic magic plot “reset” buttons. Where TV and movies could only supply me with an occasional fix of geekdom, I started to mainline books and Marvel comics. These inspired me to write my own stories that no one was allowed to read. Like ever. Until now.

“This story started with the character of Sela Tyron (a name I love and the heroine I wish I could be, BTW) as the driving force. I wanted to tell her story and, without her realizing it, have her fall in love. Allies and Enemies introduces you, gentle reader, to a world that’s been kicking around in my head for more than a decade. It is only through the magical graces of eBook self-publishing, that will be able to experience this story (and hopefully the ones to follow).”

AMY J. MURPHY ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Fantastic Fiction at KGB Opens Kickstarter Appeal

KGB Bar

By Carl Slaughter: Fantastic Fiction at KGB needs your help. By June 14th, 2017, Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel want to raise a minimum of $4,500 to host the famous, longstanding, monthly reading in New York for 3 more years — and they’ve launched a Kickstarter to do it.

The reading series features luminaries and up-and-comers in speculative fiction. Admission is always free. The series brings together the greater New York community of writers, editors publishers, agents and fans into one location each month. We also publish a monthly podcast audio of the readings so people who cannot attend the physical event can still enjoy the readings. Fantastic Fiction is a great place to hear and meet talented new and veteran authors, as well as make valuable connections and meet new friends. Many lasting friendships and professional connections have been made through the Fantastic Fiction reading series.

Past readers: Joyce Carol Oates, Lucius Shepard, Jeffrey Ford, N.K. Jemisin, Scott Westerfeld, Kelly Link, Paul Tremblay, Laird Barron, China Miéville, Nancy Kress, Peter Straub, James Patrick Kelly, Victor LaValle, Joe Hill, Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene, Samuel Delany, Holly Black, Michael Swanwick, Kit Reed, Andy Duncan, Richard Bowes, Catherynne M. Valente, Jeff VanderMeer, Naomi Novik, Elizabeth Bear, Lev Grossman, and a host of other talented authors. Click the link for the full list.

Quick history: Terry Bisson and Alice K. Turner started the KGB Fantastic Fiction reading series in the late 1990s, attempting to bring together mainstream writers with writers of speculative fiction in order to show, in Alice Turner’s words, “that at a certain level they were plowing exactly the same field.” In the spring of 2000 editor Ellen Datlow took over for Alice K. Turner and in August 2002 Gavin J. Grant, publisher of Small Beer Press, stepped in for Bisson when he moved to California. Author Matthew Kressel stepped in for Gavin in April of 2008.

Matthew Kressel and Ellen Datlow.

Ellen Datlow answers a few questions.

Carl Slaughter: Where does the money go?

Ellen Datlow: Each month we give the authors a small stipend, we tip the bartenders (who always give the authors free drinks), and we take the authors out for dinner after the reading. Since it typically costs us around $120 per month, we need $1500 per year to maintain the series.

CS: What’s the criteria for inviting an author to read?

ED: We try to pick two readers whose work might complement each other-also at least one better-known writer with a relative unknown. We try to make sure we have at least one reader who will bring in more of an audience than our regulars.

CS: Is there a cost for getting into the bar or listening to the readings?

ED: No -we get the use of the bar for free for two hours a month. The bar in turn hopes that attendees will buy drinks (soft or hard) during that period of time.

CS: Is there a charge for accessing the podcast?

ED: No-it’s free on the website

CS: Have you ever thought about charging to ease the financial burden?

ED: No – even if we wanted to, we could not without a different deal with the bar.

CS: What about selling an audio?

ED: No – we haven’t really though about it, although if we did, we’d have to contact all the readers and ask their permission.

CS: Do you pay travel expenses for out of town authors?

ED: No we don’t.

CS: What books are on display?

ED: Word Bookstore supplies books for the readers if they are available through a wholesaler. If not, the readers can sell copies of their own books before the reading, during intermission, or afterward.

CS: Suppose an author who hardly ever visits New York will be in town on a reading night? Or just wants a memorable experience and is willing to pay their own way?

ED: They’re welcome to join the audience. We’re scheduled several months in advance, so anyone coming to town needs to query us wayyyy in advance.

CS: Who’s on the horizon?

ED: Sunny Moraine, Catherynne M. Valente, Karen Heuler, N.K. Jemisin, Rajan Khanna, Chris Sharp, Katherine Vaz, Kai Ashanti Wilson, James Patrick Kelly, Grady Hendrix, David Rice.

CS: Is there a CD or website with an archive of readings?

ED: The audio files are our archives: http://www.kgbfantasticfiction.org/.

War for the Planet of the Apes Final Trailer

Coming to theaters July 14:

In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.

 

Mary Jane Watson Variant Covers Coming in June

Marvel’s beloved Mary Jane Watson takes center stage next month. Fans already received a glimpse of her in the Free Comic Book Day issue of Marvel’s upcoming series, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1.

“Both the Gwen Stacy Variant Program and this month’s Venomized Variant Program were such runaway successes, we couldn’t help but try to top ourselves,” says Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel. “And with Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert’s new Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man book on the horizon, the timing couldn’t have been better to put the spotlight on fan-favorite Mary Jane Watson.”

Today, Marvel revealed many of the variant covers that will be in comic shops this June:

  1. ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #3 by Kris Anka
  2. ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #21 by David Lopez
  3. AVENGERS #8 by Mike Allred
  4. BLACK BOLT #2 by Ryan Stegman
  5. CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 by Paolo Rivera
  6. CHAMPIONS #9 by Helen Chen
  7. DAREDEVIL #21 by Humberto Ramos
  8. DEADPOOL #32 by Elizabeth Torque
  9. DOCTOR STRANGE #22 by Francisco Herrera
  10. GWENPOOL, THE UNBELIEVABLE #17 by David Nakayama
  11. HULK #7 by Rahzzah
  12. I AM GROOT #2 by Julian Totino Tedesco
  13. INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #8 by Marco Checchetto
  14. IRON FIST #4 by Stephanie Hans
  15. MIGHTY THOR #20 by Patrick Brown
  16. SECRET WARRIORS #3 by Javier Rodriguez
  17. SPIDER-GWEN #21 by Kevin Wada
  18. THE MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL #6 by Chris Samnee
  19. THE PUNISHER #13 by Dave Williams
  20. VENOM #151 by Francesco Mattina
  21. X-MEN BLUE #5 by TBD
  22. X-MEN GOLD #5 by Anthony Piper