Blog Archives

NANP: On Choosing Names

Joining me today on the blog for Names: A New Perspective is one of 2013’s biggest debut authors, Jason M. Hough. Published by Del Rey Books/Random House, his Dire Earth Cycle trilogy is about a post-apocalyptic world brought on by the advent of an alien space elevator in Darwin, Australia in the near future. I’ve only read the first two books so far, The Darwin Elevator (review) and The Exodus Towers (review), but I have been impressed by both, and The Darwin Elevator even made my “Best Debuts of 2013” list. Both books are really good explorations of a human society that is struggling to survive in the face of a Resident Evil style viral epidemic and dwindling resources while at the same time also riven by the base natures of individuals who care only about power. I would recommend both books highly and will say that whatever Jason puts out next, I’ll definitely be reading it. In the meanwhile, while I figure out when to read the concluding novel in the trilogy, The Plague Forge, here’s what Jason has to say on the topic of names.

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Best Debuts of 2013

In a lot of ways, 2013 has been a fairly good year for debut novels, as much as 2012 was. There have been some really fantastic releases, and they have all continued an unofficial tradition of doing something different with the genres that they have been set in. I can say for certain that of all the debut novels I read this year, none of them have been quite what I expected. Some of these novels have been really, really good while a small handful have been disappointing.

I put together a list at the end of last year in which I ran through my top picks of all the debuts I’d read, and I found the experience to be quite rewarding, and a great help in figuring out just why these novels were so good beyond just writing up the reviews.

All in all, of the 20 debut novels I wanted to read this year as per my list (link), I read 18 of them. Here are the 8 books I consider to be the best of the bunch.

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NANP: The Sense of A Name

Stopping by on the blog today for Names: A New Perspective is blogger and (2013 debut) author Ros Jackson with her novella The Secret Eater. Ros is the friend who made me aware of my biases in reading/reviewing, where I paid attention to and promoted male authors far, far more than I did female authors. More than any other person since I’ve started reviewing, she has had the most impact on me because of that one simple fact, and to see her make strides as an author in her own right is something I welcome with open arms. I haven’t had a chance to read The Secret Eater as yet, but its definitely on the radar for the near future, so hopefully I’ll have it read soon. In the meantime, here’s what Ros has to say on the subject of names.

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NANP: Method To Madness

On Thanksgiving Day I bring to you Kenny Soward, the author of the GnomeSaga series and a regular short fiction writer, for the latest on Names: A New Perspective. I haven’t had a chance to read his work yet, the first GnomeSaga novel Rough Magic still awaits me on my iPad, but he’s certainly one of the more interesting authors I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Kenny is also a fellow contributor to the Manifesto: UF, which saw the publication of my short story Dharmayoddha and his story Gold Dust Woman was a stand-out story. Hopefully after reading this post you’ll be interested in his work as well. I certainly encourage you to check it out at least.

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NANP: The Sound of Names

Today I welcome debut author Laure Eve and her novel Fearsome Dreamer to Names: A New Perspective and ask her to share her thoughts on the importance of names in (her) fiction. A fellow cake and Haagen Dasz fanatic, she launched Fearsome Dreamer through Hot Key Books last month and even as all the praise rolls in, she is already hard at work on the sequel, coming next year. As a recent convert to urban fantasy, Fearsome Dreamer promises to be a really fun read and in anticipation of reading the book, I invited Laure to the blog and hope you enjoy her guest post as much as I did. Definitely one of the more fun guest posts I’ve had the pleasure of featuring here.

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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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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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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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NANP: Names As Traits

Today’s guest for Names: A New Perspective is Amy McCulloch, a 2013 debut with her first novel The Oathbreaker’s Shadow released just recently through Doubleday in Canada. Based on the buzz I’ve been seeing about the novel (here and here), I’ve put it on my reading list for this year. Have to say that I’m really excited for it, especially after reading that it is inspired in part from our travels all over the world, and also draws on Mongolian culture. Very, very exciting. And she is also a commissioning editor at Harper Voyager! So, triple the excitement, yeah? Here’s what Amy has to say on the topic of names.

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NANP: Names, Beasts, Roses

The final guest on Names: A New Perspective for May is Francis Knight, the debut author of Fade To Black from Orbit (my review). The sequel, Before The Fall, is due quite soon as well. The highlight of Francis’ debut was the wonderful world she had created and the moral ambiguities that could be found therein. Fade To Black was a novel that stretched over several genres and was unique in its own way. I expect Before The Fall to offer a similar experience. In the meantime while the novel nears its release date, here’s what Francis has to say on the topic of names.

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NANP: Great Names For The Great Families

I love interacting with debut authors. Often, they are much more excited about their books, and they are much more open to talking with bloggers. It’s a bit of a random observation, but it’s what I’ve seen over the past year and 2 months. Names: A New Perspective was created so I could talk with debut authors in a more… professional capacity, and continuing with the trend of having some really great debut authors from the past 2-3 years stop by the blog, today’s guest is Emma Newman, the latest debut from Angry Robot, who are currently my top favourite publisher in the industry. I’ve recently read Emma’s first book, Between Two Thorns (review soon!), and it is one awesome title start to finish. Today is also the launch of the book in the UK (details here), so if you are anywhere near Bristol, UK, be sure to stop by at Forbidden Plant this evening and say hi! In the meantime, here is Emma’s great post on the topic of names. Oh and also, Happy Book Birthday to Emma!

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