For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my second pick is the Princess Atiana Radieva Vostroma from Bradley P. Beaulieu’s Lays of Anuskaya trilogy, of which I’ve read the first two books so far, The Winds of Khalakovo (review) and The Straits of Galahesh (review). These books are fantasy novels through and through, with a really great Russian twist to them, as you can no doubt tell from the character’s name.
Hit the break to see why I picked this character.
The eighth book cover that I pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013″ list is Halo lead concept artist Sparth’s gorgeous illustration for Michael Martinez’s debut novel The Daedalus Incident, released this year by the Night Shade imprint of Skyhorse Publishing. The Daedalus Incident is a story that meshes in solar system space opera with alchemical fantasy and creates a really fun and unique setting all of its own. It also so happens that one of the protagonists is an Indian woman by the name of Shaila Jain and that she is a written as a strong character completely independent of any romance subplots. What more can you ask for?
The eighth comic cover that I pick is from Jeff Lemire’s first issue of Trillium, a series that he both draws and writes. I held a rather passing interest in the title until I picked up this issue and after reading it I was a total fan. It is weird SF pulp adventure space opera (basically a really fun mish-mash of SF subgenres) and I love the series. Jeff Lemire has done some really great things in this series and while I haven’t read the latest issue as yet, like many of the series I’ve featured on this list, Trillium is one of my most highly anticipated monthly comics.
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.
Bradley’s Lays of Anuskaya series was on my radar this year thanks to all my Night Shade Books reading last year and it ended up going on my “25 Series To Read In 2013” challenge. When I read the first book earlier this year in February, I was quite struck with the scope of the world-building and with the characters. Not to mention the fact that I loved the (inspired-by) Russian setting, despite sometimes getting lost with the names and the familiar names. The Winds of Khalakovo is definitely one of my favourite books of the year and Bradley one of my favourite authors.
The second novel, set some time after the events of the first novel, goes further with the world-building and deals in concepts and cultures and locales that we did not see in the first book. That gets some automatic points from me, for sure, because I love that aspect in a second or third novel. Fleshing out the setting created and introduced in the first book is one of the most important things in a sequel that I look for, and Straits of Galahesh is enjoyable for that fact. But, some of the characterisation and the pacing did suffer this time around, so it wasn’t as smooth sailing as the first book.
So this is the third such post I have done for the blog. I took a 2-month break in between posts so that I could have some more material to showcase here, and it certainly has helped. There were a lot more books I wanted to cover, but I chose to stick withe magic number 17, the number of books I’ve covered previously.
A lot of the books on this list are next year’s releases, and just as before, they all sound great, even some of the ones that are second or third (or else) in their respective series. I’m not sure if I can put aside the time to catch up to them any time soon but I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get around to some of them at least. We’ll see how that works out.
In the meantime, enjoy all these great covers and these books! Hope you liked the previous posts and that you’ll like this one as well.
About a month ago, I posted my first Publishing & Marketing column on the blog, titled “Publisher Communication“. In it, I talked at length about the marketing approaches of various SFF publishers in the English-speaking markets. The post got a fair amount of attention in social media and over email, and I’m really pleased with how things turned out.
I initially intended for the second installment of this semi-regular column to get into more of the above topic, but then I decided against it, since something else happened around roughly the same time. It was announced in various places that Night Shade Books was a hair’s breadth away from declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy and that they were considering an asset (author contacts to be specific) sell-off to meet their debts and make sure that their authors, editors, cover artists, etc all got paid their respective dues. This is where Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing were stepping in as the potential buyers. But, things weren’t as promising as they seemed at first. The terms being offered by Skyhorse/Start meant that while everybody would be paid, they would not be paid anywhere near the full amount, especially not the authors.
Smarter and more publishing-savvy people than me have already talked at length about the details, so I’m not going to touch on any of that. There was even enough backlash from a LOT of people involved, the fan community and the SFF community that is, that Skyhorse/Start eventually were willing to offer better terms, although there were still some big concerns. Just do a google search and you’ll get a plethora of links and discussions about it.
The purpose of this column is to talk about my experiences with Night Shade’s publications, and why I think its rather tragic that they are going under and what it means for the SFF community as a whole.