Prepare for Neil Gaiman’s ‘Annotated Sandman’

by Joseph McCabe at Fear Net
Neil Gaiman’s multi-volume masterwork The Sandman is one of the most popular and critically praised comic books of the last twenty-five years. But if you think you’ve fully experienced the saga in its numerous paperback., hardcover and Absolute slipcased editions, think again. Leslie Klinger, the fellow behind The Annotated Sherlock Holmes and The Annotated Dracula, is applying his lierary detective skills once again to what should be the definitive annotated version of the DC/Vertigo series. Hit the jump to learn what Klinger told me about the project.

“Over the years, [Neil’s] been coming to me with suggestions like, ‘Les, why don’t you do the annotated…’ Suggestions like this and like that. We talked seriously about some of those ideas, and I’ve always joked around with him about wanting to do The Annotated Sandman.  He always said, ‘Well, let’s wait until I’m dead.’  Then about almost a year ago, maybe more, he called me up out of the blue and said, ‘I’ve realized that I’ve started to forget why I wrote some of the things that I wrote. We should do this. I’m calling DC.’ And I said, ‘Well, okay!’  So he pitched it to DC and Karen Berger, in particular, and they said ‘Great,’ so here we are.”

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Ex-cop Paul Finch’s new novel sees druids summon zombie army

By David Bentley at Coventry Telegraph
IN an interesting new twist on the zombie genre, Paul Finch brings us Tomes of the Dead: Stronghold, published on August 19.

The book, Finch’s first for Abaddon, sees a knight caught up in a zombie siege after druids raise a supernatural army.

Ranulf, a young English knight sent to recapture Grogen Castle from Welsh rebels, comes into conflict with his leaders over their brutal methods.

Unbeknown to any of them, the native druids are planning a devastating counterattack, using an ancient artefact to summon an army that even the castle’s superstitious medieval defenders could never have imagined.

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The Vampire’s Kiss by Vivi Anna

via Bitten by Books
Book five in Vivi Anna’s Valorian Chronicles is another fantastic paranormal read that captivated my interest from the first page until the end. The National Bank of Nouveau Monde has had a major robbery; the puzzling fact, though, is there was nothing stolen…just a big explosion in the safety deposit room. But that fact alone brings it to the attention of the Otherworlders CSI unit as well as the attention of a rogue Interpol inspector. Joining forces to work on the case might not be what the lead agents wanted, but only together will they find the answers needed to solve the case and possibly find something else between them along the way.

Olena Petrovich, a-300-year-old vampire, had a body made for sin; she had perfected that trait over the years since she had dallied in Marie Antoinette’s court. Walking into the crime scene still sent a flare of excitement as her boss had finally given her the lead investigator position on the case…

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Harlan Ellison is selling his rare books (and he wants you to buy them)

By Cyriaque Lamar at io9
The venerable Harlan Ellison is cleaning out his archives and holding his third “Great Book Purge.” Over the next three days, Ellison will be selling tons of rare books and screenplays, including his first edition script for I, Robot.

From July 6-8, Harlan’s wife Susan will be taking orders over the phone. Lines will be open two hours each day (9 AM – 10 AM and 4 PM – 5 PM, both PST). During the ordering process, Susan advises callers to “have patience, scream, and use finger puppets.” Should you make it through, here are but some of the 200+ goodies you can order.

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Five Short Stories with Useless Time Travel

Jo Walton at Tor
I want to consider a selection of short stories on the theme of useless time travel. In SF, often a lot of the best work has always been at short lengths.

What I mean by useless time travel is time travel that doesn’t change anything—either where somebody goes back in time and stays there without making any difference, or time travel that changes itself out of existence, or time travel that is in some other way futile. I don’t just mean changing time. In books like Butler’s Kindred where the protagonist saves the lives of her ancestors but doesn’t otherwise affect the world, time travel still serves a useful purpose.

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Timeline of a Trend

Carrie Vaughn at Tor
If ten people are talking about urban fantasy, they’ll actually be talking 
about six different things.  When I first started paying attention to things 
like sub-genre definitions (early 1990’s), the term urban fantasy usually 
labeled stories in a contemporary setting with traditionally fantastical 
elements—the modern folktale works of Charles de Lint, Emma Bull’s punk 
elf stories, the Bordertown series, and so on…But the term is older than 
that, and I’ve also heard it used to describe traditional other-world 
fantasy set in a city, such as Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar stories.

Lately I’ve been wondering—when did “urban fantasy” come to be used 
almost exclusively to describe anything remotely following in the footsteps 
of Buffy and Anita?  Stories with a main character who kicks ass, and with 
supernatural beings, usually but not exclusively vampires and werewolves 
(with liberal sprinklings of zombies, angels, djinn, ghosts, merfolk, and so 
on) who are sometimes bad guys but often good guys.  Those ubiquitous covers 
of leather-clad women with lots of tattoos.

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Reading Books Faster Than Tablets, Study Says

via Design Taxi
Print is better for reading, according to a survey conducted by product development consultancy Nielsen Normal Group.

The study released 2 July found that reading speeds declined by 6.2% and 10.7% on Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle, respectively, compared to a print book.

However, Nielsen said the difference between the two devices is not “statistically significant”, and that the study did not confirm which allows for faster reading.

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I love seeing an author’s insight into their books, so an annotated Sandman is exciting. And the Druids/Knights/Zombie story sound interesting too, so I may have to check that out. I’ve never really gotten into Urban Fantasy, but it still amazes me how many sub genres of Fantasy or Science Fiction there are.

Do you read urban fantasy? Do you have an e-reader? Do you prefer paper books or e-books?