“The Hunger Games” vs. “Twilight”


Is Katniss Everdeen the antidote to Bella Swan? That’s a question guaranteed to irk fans of “The Hunger Games,” Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of dystopian young-adult novels, the latest of which, “Mockingjay,” has currently captured the No. 1 spot on the nation’s bestseller lists. “Hunger Games” fans don’t appreciate seeing Collins’ far more sober and ambitious books likened to “Twilight,” Stephenie Meyer’s swoony vampire romances. Too bad, because so much about “The Hunger Games,” from its crossover success with adults to the crowds who packed bookstores when “Mockingjay” went on sale at midnight on Aug. 24 to its teenage narrator with her tangled love life, prompts the comparison.

As for Katniss, she is in many respects an improvement on the passive, besotted Bella. For the uninitiated, “The Hunger Games” takes place at some point in the distant future. A decadent central authority, the Capitol, rules over 12 utterly subjugated districts. Rather gratuitously, the Capitol flaunts its power by forcing each district to send two of its children as “tributes” to an annual reality-TV competition, the Hunger Games, in which all 24 contestants must fight to the death in a vast outdoor arena. When Katniss’ little sister gets picked as one of the tributes for District 12, Katniss volunteers to go instead. Having spent much of her youth sneaking into the wilderness outside District 12’s borders to hunt for game to feed her family, Katniss is far better suited to survive the games.


Book Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices, Book 1)


Following the untimely death of her aunt, twice-over orphaned Tessa Gray sets out from New York to London to live with her older brother. Virtually penniless, having spent every last cent to pay for the funeral services, Tessa makes the trip across the Atlantic with her hopes high, for at least she and Nate will be reunited again.

Upon reaching England, however, she is greeted not by her older brother but by two crones that introduce themselves as Mrs. Dark and Mrs. Black, bearing a letter written in Nate’s hand. Though Tessa is reluctant to leave with the “Dark Sisters” (as Nate refers to them in his letter), she trusts in her brother’s wishes, only to find herself trapped in a nightmare. The Dark Sisters, in fact warlocks, claim to have abducted Nate and threaten to kill him unless Tessa complies with their strange demands. Soon, Tessa learns that she is no ordinary human, but possesses the power to transform herself into another person—dead or alive. Even more unique, however, is Tessa’s ability to touch the minds of those whose forms she assumes—recalling a dead girl’s last thoughts and a vampiress’s secrets, amongst others. The Dark Sisters, finally deeming Tessa “ready,” have plans to marry her off to their master, the mysterious “Magister” of the Pandemonium Club, and all hope seems lost for young Tessa…


Top 10 horror books


Charlie Higson is a comedian and author.

For the Guardian, he named a top ten list of horror books.

One novel on the list:

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson

There has been a lot of fuss recently about the film of this book. But the book – which is every bit as extreme and upsetting as the film – has been around since as long ago as 1952. Amazing how you can get away with so much more in books without people really noticing. “Oh, it’s a book, it must be good for you.” Well, this book is certainly not good for you. I remember reading it and thinking – should I be reading this, should anyone read this?


Excerpt: The Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton


Please enjoy this excerpt from Pan Macmillan’s recent release, The Evolutionary Void, by Peter F. Hamilton. Read another extract here along with an interview with the author at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist.
Justine: Three Year Reset

Exoimage medical icons leapt out of the darkness to surround Justine Burnelli’s consciousness. She’d seen that exact same set of read-outs once before.

“Oh man,” she grunted in shock and delight. “It worked.” She tried to laugh, but her body was resolutely refusing to cooperate, insisting it had just spent three years in suspension rather than . . . Well, actually she wasn’t sure how long it had taken to reset the Void back to this moment in time.

The medical chamber lid peeled back, and she looked round the Silverbird’s cabin again. Really, again. She sat up and wiped the tears from her cheeks. “Status?” she asked the smartcore. A new batch of exoimage icons and displays sprang up. They confirmed the Silverbird had been under way for three years, and was now decelerating hard. Something was approaching.


Question: Are We Living In a New Golden Age for Fantasy?


Not long ago SFSignal asked a bunch of writers this question: what fantasy novel published in the last 10 years will stand the test of time?

I was one of the writers they asked. I said things. Things like this:

The past decade has been freakishly productive of fantasy masterpieces. I could pick half a dozen books, literally, which I think is actually pretty unusual in the history of the genre, or of any genre really. It’s a cluster. A classic cluster.

I wrote that in the heat of the moment. But even now, in the coolth of this later moment, it still seems true to me. Think about it: you’re living in a time when fresh books by (among others, and in no particular order) Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, Susanna Clarke, Catherynne Valente and George R.R. Martin can appear on bookstore shelves at any moment.


Interview with China Miéville, author of 2010 Hugo Award-winner “The City & The City”


Talk about genre-busting: When a classy, classic detective novel with heavy Eastern European noir overtones is set in a pair of overlapping city states whose citizens – for political reasons – must learn to “unsee” one other, what label would you apply? Fantasy? Crime? Sci-fi? Poli sci? Pick one and/or mix and match?

The judges behind the prestigious Hugo Awards for the year’s best best science fiction or fantasy work were obviously eager to claim The City & The City by British writer China Miéville as one of their own. Earlier this week they named “The City & The City” (in a tie with Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Windup Girl”) as recipient of the 2010 Hugo award for best novel. Miéville talked with Monitor book editor Marjorie Kehe about “The City & The City.”


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