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Best of 2013 Part 2a: Books

Since 2013 is now over, its time to do my second “Best of the Best” list, for the second half of the year from July-December. There were some really good reads in this period, and as always, picking the best has been a chore. I always try to keep these lists as diverse as I can and hopefully you agree.

You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then! Read the rest of this entry

12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #12

The twelfth and final pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013″ list is the cover for author Erin M. Evans’ latest Forgotten Realms novel from Wizards of the Coast, The Adversary. This novel is the third in her Brimstone Angels series that features a pair of twin Tiefling teenage sisters, one a spellcaster and the other a warrior, and is also the third novel to be set in The Sundering, the current big event of the Forgotten Realms setting. I started reading Brimstone Angels last year and all the three novels in the series have been quite good. They’ve maintained my interest in the Forgotten Realms setting and have provided a great counterpoint to all the other novels I’ve read in the setting.

The twelfth and final comic cover that I pick is Matteo Scalera and Dean White’s brilliant cover for Black Science #2 from Image Comics. Written by Rick Remender and drawn by Scalera, this series debuted last month and has been one of my best monthly reads for both November and now December. A (weird) pulp SF adventure that also involves dimensional travel and alternate history, the series has some great characters and some truly fantastic art. It is, for sure, one of the best new comic series of 2013.

Without further ado, hit the break to see both the covers in all their glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.

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Publishing and Marketing 03: Women in SFF Part 1

One question that is being asked by many in the wake of the recent SFWA controversy, and all the commentary it has spawned in various places about misogyny and sexism within the publishing industry is: “If I want to read more books by female authors, where do I start?”

Often times, I think it is rather disheartening to hear such a question. Women have been writing books for a long, long time. And for people to not even be aware of that, or for that matter, be able to perform a basic google search about who are the big names right now? Doesn’t speak so well for us as a community. Speaking of the industry in the broadest sense, we are all very close-ranked, and to break out of the apparent restrictions is not easy. Sure its “easy” to get published as a woman, but to receive recognition? That’s an uphill battle.

It all comes down to respect. And when it comes to respect within the publishing industry (or even just in general in daily life), never ever use the word “political correctness”. That’s a dirty word to use, and it betrays a lack of ability to engage, and wilful dismissal of a very serious and ongoing issue that affects us all. Just look at the entire entertainment industry as a whole, whether its novels or comics or movies or even news.

In such a state, it is absolutely essential that we willingly look to broaden our horizons. We should take chances and read outside of our comfort zones, because otherwise we don’t challenge ourselves and we just propagate the “like begets like” scenario and we cannot grow as an individual.

Which is what this editorial, the third in my Publishing and Marketing series, is about: stepping out of your comfort zone. If you’ve never read a book by a female author before, then my suggestions herein are an excellent place to start.

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NANP: Other People’s Names

Today is a special bonus post on Names: A New Perspective as I take part in Erin M. Evans’ blog tour for the promotion of her latest novel, Brimstone Angels: Lesser Evils, released last week from Wizards of the Coast. Having read Brimstone Angels (Review), I can honestly say that Lesser Evils is going to be spectacular. The Tieflings are my new favourite fantasy race, with Havilar and Farideh taking top spot (for the moment) on my favourite female fantasy characters list. Here’s what Erin had to say about her naming process.

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