All About Werewolves and the Power of Woman

Source: The Chicago Tribune

Young women may be flocking to the “Twilight” books and films, but the publishing world’s gain is feminism’s loss. The series offers bland, inert role models for young women. The gals of “Twilight” mainly sit around and sigh, waiting for the male characters to do daring deeds.

Now, though, there’s “Nightshade” (Philomel) by Andrea Cremer, the first volume of a trilogy for young adult readers featuring dueling packs of teen werewolves in the Colorado wilderness. The chief female character, Calla Tor, is brave, fit and headstrong, and sports an appealingly nasty set of choppers. She decks somebody in the first chapter — and subsequently struggles to control her own destiny, even while falling in love with the wrong guy. Call it the anti-“Twilight”

Granted, the book hits all the hot spots for the YA fantasy genre — there’s romance and an origin myth and more cliches than you can shake a stick at — but its depiction of strong, energetic young women who embrace daunting challenges is refreshing. Cremer, a native of Wisconsin who teaches history at Macalester College in St. Paul, says she wrote the novel while recovering from an injury sustained in a horseback-riding accident.

Read More HERE

Felix Gilman’s Wild West is the Cure for your Genre Blahs

Via: io9

Sick of predictable books that fill your subgenre bingo card with the same subgenre elements over and over? With The Half-Made World, Felix Gilman has blended elements from alternate history, Steampunk, Westerns, and epic fantasy to create something truly original.

Spoilers ahead…

The jacket description of The Half-Made World is cryptic, to say the least. There’s mention of an old General locked in an asylum and the Doctor of Psychology come to cure him. That would be Dr. Liv Alverhuysen, lately come from the civilized East. She’s a widow and a doctor of psychology and she’s tired of sitting through these interminable faculty meetings. Upon receiving an offer to join the staff of the House Dolorous, an insane asylum far to the West, she promptly packs her bags and sets out.

What she doesn’t know is the House is home to a forgotten hero: General Enver, once the leader of the democratic Red Republic and now a madman unable to remember anything but the snatches of nursery rhymes. Years ago, he believed he had the power to stop the relentless, destructive war between the Line and the Gun, the two great powers trying to shape the West in their own image. The soulless, mechanistic Line wants to bring the land to heel, while the Gun seems to relish anarchy. And each have dispatched men to capture the General. The Guns send one of their Agents, the disreputable and dangerous John Creedmoor, while Sub-Invigilator (Third) Lowery represents the will of the Engines. Liv knows nothing of the General’s past, but she wants to cure him; Creedmoor and Lowery want to capture him. And so the novel’s three point-of-view characters are set at cross-purposes.


FaerieCon Giveaway!

Brought to you by: Aine’s Realm

Okay, so some of you may have seen my tweets or previous years blog posts on FaerieCon. What is FaerieCon you ask (music will play when you click the link). It’s a convention all about faeries. There are things I love more about this than Faerie Fest, and things I love about Faerie Fest more. But since this is my really big festival/convention that I go to every year, I’m doing a huge giveaway in honor of it.
There will be six books up for grabs. Four of which are already signed, and one more that I hope to get signed next weekend. Which means one will go unsigned. Which books? Just keep reading.
FRAGILE ETERNITY (paperback with “Stopping Time”) signed by Melissa Marr
See the Rest HERE

Next ‘Pirates’ Movie Based on Book by CSUF Alumnus

Via: Daily Titan

While Johnny Depp is expected to return as Captain Jack Sparrow for a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Titans may be interested to know that the roots of it stem back to Cal State Fullerton.

The inebriated, swashbuckling Sparrow will embark on a voyage seeking the Fountain of Youth that will feature the legendary Blackbeard and perhaps “varied and substantial dangers along the way, including but not limited to zombies, cutthroats, mermaids and the vicious and vivacious Penelope Cruz,” Depp said in a teaser trailer for the upcoming film, shown at San Diego Comic-Con this past summer. Not counting Cruz, all of these aspects come from the novel On Stranger Tides written by CSUF alumnus Tim Powers.

Powers, as well as friends James Blaylock and K.W. Jeter, attended CSUF in the ‘70s where they befriended science-fiction author Philip K. Dick and launched into becoming published writers themselves with all three fathering the science fiction sub-genre steampunk.

Dick was doing a convention in Vancouver but decided not to return home when it was over. Prior to the convention, Dick’s home was broken into and looted, his wife had left him for a Black Panther and several of his acquaintances were involved in paramilitary groups in the hills, Powers said.

The Rest Can Be Found HERE

Military Couples In Love Rock My Universe

If there’s one kind of romance in a science fiction romance that’s an automatic read for me, it’s the type involving a couple with a military rank differential. That’s a high falutin’ way of saying I lurv me a romance where one of the protagonists is a military officer who outranks his/her lover.

I adore this set up. I’ve loved it for years, although there aren’t tons of stories that really focus on the dynamic in a significant way. Usually I’ve found it’s a subplot of the overall romance. Not that I’m complaining or anything!

The reasons military couples are among my favorites are many, but I’ll list three here:

One, it’s almost always a forbidden love scenario given the inevitable restrictions against fraternization.

Two, the difference in rank creates a power imbalance, and there are all sorts of ways authors/filmmakers can exploit it for conflict. I love watching a mini rebellion unfold as the lower ranking half of the couple chafes against the (perceived) restrictive orders of his/her superior.

Read More HERE

Dark Elf Turns Adventure Fantasy into Literary Manna for the Soul

Source: Barnes and Noble Book Club

Whenever anyone ever mocks me for being a science fiction/fantasy book reviewer – and they do! – or criticizes adventure fantasy specifically for being mindless literary fast food, I always ask them if they’ve ever read any of R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt Do’Urden novels. That shuts them up every time.

Although this saga is breakneck paced, nonstop action and adventure, Salvatore’s Drizzt saga is essentially an intense, and oftentimes lyrical, exploration into what it means to be human – and Salvatore’s signature character, the scimitar wielding dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden, is arguably the most complex and deeply contemplative fantasy character ever created.

Here’s a perfect example. In the novel Sea of Swords, Drizzt – a rogue drow who, when necessary, is a virtually unstoppable killing machine – states: “Hindsight, I think, is a useless tool. We, each of us, are at a place in our lives because of innumerable circumstances, and we, each of us, have a responsibility (if we do not like where we are) to move along life’s road, to find a better path if this one does not suit, or to walk happily along this one if it is indeed our life’s way. Changing even the bad things that have gone before would fundamentally change who we are, and whether or not that would be a good thing, I believe, it is impossible to predict. So I take my past experiences… and try to regret nothing.”

Salvatore’s narrative is profound existential and spiritual enlightenment wrapped in literary escapism. Here’s one of my favorite excerpts from his latest, Gauntlgrym, the first installment of his Neverwinter trilogy.

Read The Rest Right HERE

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