Looking for a good book to give this Christmas? Well OBS Book news today will give you several options where to choose from! 🙂

Holiday Gift Guide: Science Fiction books
The Lovers by John Connolly (Atria; 344 pages; $26): Stripped of his license, Connolly’s haunted detective, Charlie Parker, investigates one of the lingering mysteries of his life, his father’s inexplicable shooting of two unarmed young lovers and his subsequent suicide. Parker’s investigation sets him on a collision course with another mysterious couple who leave a trail of death and misery in their wake. Connolly has a keen sense of how to blend scenes of supernatural horror into a detective story, without rendering the entire enterprise preposterous.

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman (Viking; 402 pages; $26.95): Grossman reveals the dark side of cozy fantasy worlds as would-be sorcerer Quentin Coldwater graduates from Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy and gains access to the fabled land of Fillory, the storybook kingdom he loved as a child. Although it borrows tropes from the Harry Potter series, T.H. White’s “The Once and Future King” and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books, “The Magicians” is a thoroughly adult entertainment, a wry and original examination of what happens when you achieve your heart’s desire.

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A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin
When a man is tired of London he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford – Samuel Johnson In fact, Dr Johnson was only half right. There is in London much more than life – there is power. It ebbs and flows with the rhythms of the city, makes runes from the alignments of ancient streets and hums with the rattle of trains and buses; it waxes and wanes with the patterns of the business day. It is a new kind of magic: urban magic. Enter a London where magicians ride the Last Train, implore favours of The Beggar King and interpret the insane wisdom of The Bag Lady. Enter a London where beings of power soar with the pigeons and scrabble with the rats, and seek insight in the half-whispered madness of the blue electric angels. Enter the London of Matthew Swift, where rival sorcerers, hidden in plain sight, do battle for the very soul of the city …

Ooops…. I bought this book by mistake! Hey, at least I am honest! I read the synopsis on Amazon and assumed that it was a YA novel. It was only as I started reading the first chapter that I realised that it was definitely written for the adult urban fantasy market. A little research revealed that Kate Griffin is the name that the brilliant Carnegie Medal-nominated author, Catherine Webb, uses when writing fantasy novels for adults. Being a big fan of Ms Webb’s Horatio Lyle series, and already being intrigued by the style of her prose in the opening chapters of the book, I decided to read on…. and I definitely wasn’t disappointed

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The Shifter (The Healing Wars Books 1), by Janice Hardy
The Shifter, by Janice Hardy (Balzer and Bray, HarperCollins, 2009, upper middle grade and beyond, 370 pp) is one of those books that just goes to show that fascinating ideas are still out there, waiting to be written about. That is to say that, I, at least, have never before encountered the magical idea at the center of this book.

In Nya’s world, a place of conflict and conquest, Healers can shift pain, sickness, and injuries into a magical type of metal called pynvium. But there is a dark side to this seemingly benign process. Nya’s city was conquered by a foreign people when she and her sister were young, in a war that killed her parents, and more war seems close at hand. And in this world pain can be used as weapon. Literally.

Nya’s twelve-year old sister was accepted by the Healing Guild, and is safely housed in their headquarters. Fifteen-year old Nya, on the other hand, lives a hand to mouth life on the streets, scrounging for odd jobs, kicked at by the foreigners who are now in charge. Because although Nya can heal too, taking other people’s injuries into herself, she can’t transfer the pain into pynvium. But she can, however, push it into other people.

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Beyond ‘Twilight,’ ‘Harry Potter’… Fantasy Has a New Princess!
Who will be the first buyer of author D.R. Whitney’s new epic fantasy, The Last Princess and the Cup of Immortality? The building flurry between critics and the public alike makes no mistake in signaling fantasy’s new would-be blockbuster franchise has arrived. According to Google, Whitney’s The Last Princess is currently generating a hit count of 176,000… and still climbing! Not too far behind, if not a further indicator of the heat, is the current activity on of the author’s original edition book – already selling $200-plus collector copies, and escalating fast, in anticipation of the title’s widespread explosion. What insiders are calling only the beginning of a Hollywood-scale extravaganza, of Twilight, Harry Potter proportions, Whitney’s new heroic epic has clearly etched its rightful place in fantasy’s most competitive market – with audiences today ranking well over twenty million strong.

“It gives me grest pride in knowing my book is touching people across all walks of life and that new fans and eager readers of The Last Princess have sparked this exciting new fantasy movement,” states Whitney.

A new realm in fantasy, The Last Princess is a magical story that turns into an action-packed race for survival in a world transformed by magic, war, secrets, and mysteries behind the veil. Whitney has created a passionate mystery in a breathless chase through time and space to a magical world filled with memorable characters, intriguing plots and powerful action.

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The Trouble With Steampunk, Or: Why SF Matters Now More Than Ever I first encountered steampunk through Bryan Talbot’s seminal comic series The Adventures of Luther Arkwright. It appeals to me in the same way as the adventures of Indiana Jones, or the Biggles books I read as a child: it’s all good clean, escapist fun. But is it science fiction, or is it a retreat from the future? Is it symptomatic of a general loss of nerve among science fiction writers, as they turn away from a difficult and challenging future?

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that concerns itself with tales set in real or imagined worlds where steam remains the dominant power, as opposed to oil or nuclear power. Many of the tales take place in swashbuckling alternative versions of the Victorian era. There are certain tropes associated with the genre, such as steam-powered zeppelins, Victorian fashions, valves, cogs, and characters wearing brass goggles; and this steampunk aesthetic has crossed over from the pages of books and magazines into Neo-Victorian fashion, role-playing, film, and music.

In my recent post on The Role of Science Fiction, I argued that science fiction was an essential tool for helping us to understand the future:

“This is my job as a science fiction writer: to speculate and imagine, and tell stories. The future is truly an undiscovered country. Futurology and philosophy can give us a map of the terrain. But if we want to know what it’s going to feel like to live and work and love there, one of the best tools we have is science fiction.”

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What Are The Greatest Fantasy Novels of All Time?
If you could put together the perfect list of great fantasy novels, what would they be? Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians, put together his list and posted about it over on The Week.

Grossman’s list is non-ordered, so these are all ranked as equally awesome:

— The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
— The Once and Future King by T.H. White
— Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories
— The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
— Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
— Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link

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Stephen King Says He’s Working on a Sequel to The Shining
Horrormeister Stephen King has been talking about writing a sequel to The Shining, which he says might be called Doctor Sleep.

Here’s how the Filmofilia Web site reported it:

The second novel would center on Danny Torrance, the young boy from the original story with the gift of being able to communicate clairvoyantly with ghosts, and who is now an appropriately aged 40-year-old. All these years after being tormented by the spiritual inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel and his father’s alcoholism/homicidal rage, Danny is now working at a hospice using his supernatural powers for palliative purposes. King even offered a tentative title: “Doctor Sleep.”

King talked about the possible book at a Toronto appearance to promote his new book, Under the Dome.

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Wow, The Last Princess sounds so interesting and the graphics look amazing. Definitely a book that should be read 🙂

What do you think of todays news?