Monthly Archives: July 2013

NANP: Name A Thousand Children

The final guest for Names: A New Perspective (July) is debut author and video game designer Jay Posey. His first novel Three, from Angry Robot, comes out tomorrow, and it is a novel I’ve been looking forward to ever since it was announced earlier this year. My desire to read the novel stems in a large part from the amazing cover by Steven Meyer-Rassow, which evokes a very strong Assassin’s Creed vibe for me. I’ve written a bit more about the cover on The Founding Fields, which you can read here. I’ll be reading the book hopefully soon, so expect a review in the not too distant future. In the meantime, here’s Jay talking about names and their importance and relevance.

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Reviewer’s Etiquette: Making An Apology

Being withing the publishing-related blogosphere, etiquette is becoming ever more important day by day. Week on week there is some instance where etiquette breaks down and some kind of meltdown happens. Last year was especially notorious in that regard with several controversies stemming from reviews over at Goodreads where authors and their posse attacked reviewers for negative comments or even vice versa where reviewers (Goodreads reviewers to be specific) engaged in deliberate author baiting.

It was so bad for a while, in my opinion, that it was as if Goodreads was just going to implode and gain a certain notoriety to such an extent that authors would just give up on the site altogether. Fortunately, that never happened.

In recent times, it has all been replaced by a beast of another kind: reviewers baiting each other or authors engaging in some really despicable bigoted thinking that is absolutely vile (no, I’m not referring to a certain “master” SF author here). The latest example of the reviewer baiting happened a few days ago over at Fantasy Faction. And the culprit happened to be none other than “Overlord” Marc Aplin, who runs the site and is its chief editor.

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NANP: Nature of Names

This edition of Names: A New Perspective is going to be coming to an end quite soon and the first guest for these closing stages is this year’s debut author Laura Lam. Published by Angry Robot’s Young Adult imprint Strange Chemistry, Laura’s Pantomime (review) was one of my top favourite reads this year and I even put it on my Top Debuts of 2012 list [Yes, I know the publication date is 2013 but I read it last year, so yeah]. Pantomime was a really wonderful book, very much a fairy tale, and I enjoyed it a lot. Definitely looking forward to the sequel Shadowplay, which comes out next year in January. In the meantime, this is what Laura has to say on the topic of names.

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Assassin’s Creed: Brahman (Graphic Novel)

I remember seeing the first trailers and gameplay footage of Assassin’s Creed back in 2007, in my Video Game Production class back in college. It was a rather surreal moment and the game had my complete attention. I’ve never been a “get the game at release!” kind of gamer and so I didn’t get a chance to play Assassin’s Creed until much later. And I was hooked. Its been ages now and I remember little of the game, but what I do remember is how much fun it was to explore the cities and carry out all the assassin-related hijinks with Altair.

I’ve largely fallen off the gaming scene in recent years, preferring to focus instead on my fiction writing and reviewing, so I’m not current on much of what is happening in the industry.

But then I heard about a new Assassin’s Creed graphic novel, and suddenly I wanted to play the game once more.

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NANP: Naming Verisimilitude

Joining me today on Names: A New Perspective is one of this year’s most promising authors, Django Wexler. The first book in his Shadow Campaigns series, called The Thousand Names interesting enough, was released earlier this month and has generated quite a big buzz both before and after its release. I’m definitely interested in picking it up because I like both editions of its cover and because I like the premise of it. I’m buried under ARCs at the moment and am behind my reading as well so I won’t get around to the book anytime soon, but I’m definitely reading it this year. Till then, there’s Django talking about names in fiction.

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The Cover Art Mega-Post

I haven’t done something like this before, but I was thinking of doing this for a while. Thing is, there are so, so many books coming out later this year or just about to be released actually, that I really, really want to read, and doing individual posts for all of them on The Founding Fields would be a bit of chore. So I’m just doing a general bumper post collecting all these covers and details on the books.

Hope you enjoy!

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NANP: Names, I Love ’em

Today’s guest on Names: A New Perspective is Andrez Bergen who, going by the back-of-the-book blurbs of his novels, writes some really genre-mixing stuff that is as unconventional as you can get. Andrez got in touch with a while back about participating in a possible blog tour a while back and the great bit in his email was that he’s been a long-time reader of all the bloggery stuff I’ve been doing for almost a year now. Always great to meet a fan! I haven’t been able to read his latest (and upcoming) novel Who Killed The Great Capes of Heropa, but it sounds fantastic so I’ll be sure to check it out at some point. In the meantime, here’s what Andrez thinks of names in fiction.

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When Choice Is The Problem: On OSC and Ender’s Game

Being able to make a choice is what our societies and cultures are about in this day and age. It is a basic right, to have the choice between two (or more) options. To be miserly or generous. To watch a movie or not watch a movie. To buy a novel instead of going out to a restaurant. To eat a burger instead of a pizza. To wake up early on the weekend or sleep in till late. To have a grand affair wedding or something simple and personal. To have a job we like or one we hate. And so on.

Choice is what we are about. Without choice, there really is nothing.

We go through life making choice after choice.

Choice is what often gets us into trouble, small, medium or large. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own choices and every now and then there a comes a time when we have to qualify and defend that choice. We make particular choices for particular reasons and being able to defend that choice, whether justified or not, is part of our life.

Orson Scott Card, a world-renowned author with several bestselling books to his name, made a choice long-ago that he was going to promote and support anti-gay speech and anti-gay activism.

He made his choice.

I’m making mine: to not watch the movie adaptation of Ender’s Game when it comes out, despite the fact that the film stars one of my favourite actors (Harrison Ford), and that I really liked the trailer.

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NANP: Names On A Train

Joining me today on Names: A New Perspective is Black Library’s most recent debut author, Joe Parrino, who has been putting out a lot of short fiction from them of late. I haven’t had a chance to read anything by him as yet, but I’m certainly looking forward to it. Joe has some great insights on the Warhammer 40,000 setting and seeing his insights within the context of his stories should be fun indeed. While you and I wait for Joe to put out a full-length novel, here are some of his thoughts about names in fiction.

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NANP: The Entonomicon

Today’s guest on Names: A New Perspective, after the recent 4th of July day-off, is Adrian Tchaikovsky, the author of the Shadows of the Apt fantasy series from Tor. I recently got to read the first book, Empire In Black and Gold, and one of the high points of the book was how the world was presented as one where insects are dominant, and are all divided into different “tribes” known as kinden, with their own regional variations on each. The idea of these insect-kinden as characters (presented as pseudo-humans of sorts) was quite interesting, and so was Adrian’s naming convention, which is what he talks about here. While not my favourite book of the month, Empire In Black and Gold is definitely among the better ones I’ve read this year and I’m definitely on to read the sequel. Fingers crossed! In the meanwhile, here’s Adrian on names in Shadows of the Apt.

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Man of Steel: What Makes A Superhero?

So, the latest Superman flick Man of Steel has been out for a while, and it has been causing a few waves here and there. One of the most highly anticipated films of the year, right alongside G.I.Joe: Retaliation (god-awful terrible), Iron Man 3 (big, big disappointment), and Star Trek: Into Darkness (not too bad a sequel). Of all the films to come out this year from Hollywood, I was looking forward to the latest adventures of Superman the most, because he’s one of my favourite DC characters and because I’ve been a fan of the Christopher Reeves films (yes, even the terrible ones) and I loved the Tom Welling-starrer Smallville live-action series which did much to update the character for a more modern audience.

Like I said, Man of Steel has been causing a few waves. It has the highest June opening of any Hollywood film ever and it grossed over $200 million in its opening weekend alone. It has also set a few records in overseas territories and as of yesterday, the film has officially crossed the $500 million mark in global box office revenues, standing firmly at just a little over $520 million.

And in recent memory, no superhero movie has proven to be as divisive among critics and fans as Man of Steel has. From everything on my social media feeds, I’d say that the split between the yays and the nays is at 40/60 respectively, which means that most of the people on my social feeds didn’t like the movie.

So, as an amateur critic, what do I say to all this? As a fan of Superman fiction in all its forms, what do I say to all this?

Be warned however, there very well might be spoilers here.

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Best of 2013 Part 1

I did two “Best of the…” lists last year, one for the half-year from January to June, and the other for the half-year from July to December. The lists proved to be quite popular, and I was recently asked if I was going to be doing any more. To which I said yes. I like putting together lists like this. It gives me a chance to reflect a bit on all the good stuff I’ve been reading in novels and comics, or listening to in terms of audiobooks, audio dramas and so on.

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!

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