Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rest in peace Diana Wynne Jones

Posted by Simcha 3:18 PM, under | 4 comments

I was saddened to hear that Diana Wynne Jones has passed away, at the age of 76, after a two-year battle with cancer.

The news has been spreading through Twitter where Neil Gaiman, who had a special relationship with Jones, posted:

Rest in Peace, Diana Wynne Jones. You shone like a star. The funniest, wisest, writer & the finest friend. I miss you.


Many of her readers have gone on to express their own condolences, sharing some of their favorite Jones titles.


I've been a fan of Diana Wynne Jones since I was twelves years old and a friend lent me her copy of
The Lives of Christopher Chant. I was immediately hooked (and not just by the appealingly mysterious Chrestomanci who I developed an abiding crush on) and went on to read everything else of hers that I could get a hold of.

I still continue to enjoy Jones's books and look forward to sharing them with my own kids when they are a bit older.


Rest in peace Diana Wynne Jones. You will be sorely missed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Interview with Guy Hasson

Posted by Simcha 6:27 AM, under | 7 comments

Guy Hasson is an Israeli author, playwright and filmmaker, and his new science fiction novel, Secret Thoughts, was just released this week. I'm pleased to have Guy here today at SFF Chat.

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Welcome Guy! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview.

Can you start off by telling me about your new book, Secret Thoughts?

Secret Thoughts is a book that tries to explore great landscapes of unknown inside our own minds. To explore our minds in a way that hasn ’ t been done, I use telepaths. The book is made out of three novellas that take place in the same telepath world.

In "The Perfect Girl", the first novella, as part of her studies our heroine has to read the mind of a recently dead woman her age. You can ’ t read the thoughts of a dead person, but you can coast through roads already taken, at least for a few days. Our heroine explores the mind of the dead woman going deeper and deeper and deeper. On the way, she develops an unhealthy attachment.

In "The Linguist", the second novella, a telepath must read the mind of an alien being. The alien has not communicated with anyone, and so telepathy is the only option. However, you don ’ t know what will happen when a human tries to read the mind of an intelligent being that did not evolve on Earth. Expect strange results.

In "Most Beautiful Intimacy", the third novella, a telepath becomes pregnant. Telepaths have never survived pregnancy. Since telepathy is based on touch ( in my world ) , a mother can ’ t ever disconnect from her fetus. All telepaths that have become pregnant, have gone insane and died well before the baby could be saved. In this story, our heroine decides to go through all nine months, and we follow her progress as she sees the baby ’ s first half-thought, first spark of emotion, first reasoning, first sight, first hearing, and so on.

This is what I mean when I say there are great unknown landscapes inside our own minds.

Is this the first book that you have had published in English?

A long, long time ago, back when e-books were just starting out, I had two books published in electronic format: Hope for Utopia and God’s Shadow.

God’s Shadow was an exploration into past lives. Ryan, the hero, was a graduate student doing experimentation into hypnosis and suggestibility. He ‘takes people back ’ to their past lives, gives them his own scenario, and lets them tell him what happened then. However, two of his subjects give him the same response, additional detail for additional detail, of something that he had planted inside their minds. Once he establishes they ’ re not cheating, he begins to take on a path that leads him into their real past lives.

He goes back a hundred years, two hundred years, a thousand years, two thousand years, and he keeps on going. He discovers the truth behind souls and where they come from, behind events detailed in the Bible and the New Testament. And on top of that, he discovers an ancient conspiracy, thousands of years old, that is about to close in on humanity …

Hope for Utopia is a hundred year saga of man ’ s first serious colony outside his own solar system. The planet is called Hope for Utopia, and as its name implies, it begins with great idealism. However, as the hundred years progress, idealism gives way to corruption, and the political nature of human nature prevails. In addition, the planet itself, seemingly lacking intelligent life, carries evidence of a highly advanced civilization. Where are all the aliens ? Where have they gone ? The solution to those mysteries may put the future of mankind in peril.

Hope for Utopia was available in Fictionwise and Amazon up till a few weeks ago, when I had it pulled.

In your recent article on The Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf you offer tips for writing original content. Did you follow these guidelines in writing Secret Thoughts ?

Of course. That article gives three major guidelines to help a writer write a story or a novel that is completely original. The most important one seems to me to be the second one.

I’ll try to explain it. The joy of reading SF and fantasy is that sometimes everything may be possible. However, writing a story in which everything happens creates a story which is not at all believable.

I’ve found that if you write a believable premise in which everything suddenly becomes possible, you can write about everything and it will be fine. Not only will the readers buy it, but your story will be completely original.

Look at the three novellas in Secret Thoughts: a ) You’ve got a telepath reading the mind of a dead woman. What will she find ? Anything can happen ! b ) You ’ ve got a telepath reading the mind of an alien. What will she find ? What will the process look like ? Anything can happen ! c ) You ’ ve got a telepath reading the mind of a developing fetus. What does a brain of a fetus feel and think when it ’ s in the womb ? Anything can happen !

See? It’s fun.

Was there anything in particular that inspired your idea for the book?

In the first novella (reading the mind of a dead woman) , I wanted to write a mystery in which the solution was an emotion. The story doesn ’ t read like a mystery, but it is one.

In the second novella (reading the mind of an alien) , I can ’ t tell you the inspiration. It would spoil the story. I ’ ll just say that whatever happens when a telepath reads the mind of the alien – well, once she figures out what happened and why, when she comes back to touch the alien again – that’s what I wanted to explore.

In the third novella (reading the mind of a developing fetus), I was intrigued at the questions posed: What would the first thought be ? What does half an emotion look like ? What does half a thought look like ? And so on.

Do you think that Israeli speculative fiction readers differ in their reading preferences from SFF fans in English speaking countries?

I wrote an article once for the World SF blog about the difference in writing stories for Americans and writing stories for ‘foreigners’ (Israelis in this case) that ruffled a few feathers. Different cultures look differently at the race of the characters, the sexual taboos, have different attitudes towards life, and even look at the future differently. But putting that aside, I think the new generation of Israeli speculative readers wants as much American SF as they can get, because they want to be just like Americans.

How do you take into consideration those culture differences when you are writing ? Do you write differently for your Israeli readers than for your American ones?

I found a way to walk between the drops and tailor my stories to both cultures simultaneously. Apparently, it works for other cultures. My stories have appeared in Greek, German, Italian, and Spanish – and the response is always the same, regardless of the differences in culture.

In addition to being an author, you are also a playwright and film maker. How is the process of writing a play or script different from that of writing a book?

There is a huge difference in writing prose, a play, or a film. The stories are told through different means. The plot of a book is written with words. The plot of a play is written with actions ; the words are only shadows of the action. The plot of a film is written in an alternating combination of actions and pictures.

In prose, what you write is all there is. You have full control of the end result. In drama and film, what you write is the guidelines for the piece, written in actorese and directorese in such a way that best points the actors and directors in the direction you want. Actors are human words with which you write on a stage or screen. Without the human element, it ’ s not yet a finished piece of art. With different humans, it ’ s a different piece of art every time.

But you asked me about the process. Writing is writing. The tools are different, but for me the process is the same.

Are you currently working on any other projects ?

I just finished writing a huge fantasy epic. Hopefully it’s like nothing you’ve seen before ( Remember? The guidelines to being truly original. I try to stick to them) . I did my best to create an explosion of intense, raw imagination that lasts for six hundred pages. In addition, for the first time in my writing, I tried to explore beauty, what makes a story beautiful. Now I ’ m renewing my batteries a bit while searching for a home for my new manuscript.

That sounds really interesting. Will this book be written in English as well?

I write everything in English. Even though I live in Israel now, all my books and stories have been translated into Hebrew. So, yes, my fantasy novel is already written in English and actively searching for a home …

All the Israeli authors that I’m familiar with seem to gleefully follow the motto “the stranger, the better," in their writings. Do you also share this penchant for the weird?

Not at all. Strangeness, I suppose, is their way of trying to be original. I think you can be original and completely out of the box without going to things that do not really connect to the reader and his or her life. But there is also a way to connect something strange the author feels is important to a reader for whom this experience would be utterly strange. There ’ s a way to make the strange more normal and easier to swallow for the readers. Most writers don ’ t take the trouble to do that. That leads to the fact that utterly strange SF and fantasy are read only by a small readership that doesn’t have a chance of ever growing.

Have you lived in Israel all your life?

I was born in Israel and spent my childhood there. I spent my teenage years in the US, then came back. I feel close to both cultures, and yet always felt like an outsider in both.

How did you get turned on to science fiction?

Being a bookworm as a kid, I devoured our entire library. I loved adventure, science fiction, and science. Science fiction was perfect for a kid like me.

Was SF popular in Israel when you were a kid?

SF was never popular in Israel. However, it had a brief literary golden age just as I was growing up, with many translations of all the best American SF of the previous decades. And right when I finished reading them all, I moved to the US, where I could read even more.

Are you currently involved in the SFF scene in Israel?

I used to be. Now I’m concentrating on getting my books and stories to an international audience.


I'm always interested in hearing about the books other people are reading so can you tell me which book you are currently reading?

I only recently discovered H. Rider Haggard’s Allan Quatermain, and it blew me away. His stories (in this and his other works ) are clearly the basis for almost all SF books and stories up till the Seventies. Not only that, but his writing is better. So right now I’m reading as much of his writing as I can find.

Who are some of your favorite contemporary speculative fiction authors?

I like Greg Egan, Charles Stross’s Accelerando, Susanna Clark’s Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell, and Connie Willis. But SF readers ( and certainly authors ) should widen their horizons with a lot more than SF. I think Anne Tyler is amazing, Dickens is better at writing than any author before or since, and the list here is really too long. Gay Talese’s non-fiction teaches us about ourselves. And then there ’ s children ’ s fiction ( most of it is SF ) , most of which is a great way of connecting with the thing that made us write SF in the first place.

I agree. Most of my favorite books are not genre books at all. And I think it's interesting that so many people that shudder at the idea of reading a SF or fantasy book, actually grew up reading just such books, because most children's books include elements of SF and fantasy.

Is there any author or book that has particularly influenced your writing?

The thing about being a writer is that you are influenced by almost everything you see and hear and read. Everything adds a story or a line, a character or a thought, something you now know you hate or something you now know you love.


Thanks again Guy for taking the time to answer all of my questions.

To find out more about Guy Hasson visit his webpage and read more about his new book, Secret Thoughts, at Apex Publications.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummon

Posted by Simcha 6:17 AM, under | 5 comments

I think I might have already admitted here that I do enjoy the occasional romance novel (and if not, then I guess I’ve outed myself) though it’s the true-life romantic stories that I really love reading about. When I heard about Ree Drummon’s new memoir, The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, I couldn’t wait to read it. It sounded like just the kind of the story that I would enjoy.

In
The Pioneer Woman Ree recounts the events that led to her, a staunch city-girl, to unexpectedly fall head over-heels in love with a cowboy, marry him and begin life as a rancher's wife.

After spending several years in LA, soaking in the Big-City culture, Ree Drummon was back at home in Oklahoma for a short while, trying to decide what to do next. Ree quickly determined that Chicago would be a good place to settle down and pursue a professional career, and so that’s where she was headed when her plans took an unexpected turn. While hanging out with some friends at the local bar, Ree caught sight of a handsome cowboy and she went over to say hello. The two of them ended up chatting for hours, and when the cowboy took his leave, Ree was certain that she would be hearing from him soon.


But when several weeks passed with no word from the cowboy, Ree determined to put him out of her mind and go ahead with her plans of moving to Chicago. She had all of her boxes packed up, and an apartment in Chicago rented, when the call came. It was Ree’s cowboy (who she refers to as Marlboro Man) and he wanted to take her out. Despite the impracticality of the situation, Ree couldn’t resist the deep, gravelly voice on the line, and she agreed. One date led to another and before she knew it Ree was in-love.

But Ree was not yet ready to give up on her big-city plans, and her parent’s sudden announcement that they were getting divorced only reinforced Ree’s doubts about her own romantic relationship.


While it’s no secret that Ree did end up with her happily-ever-after ending, as her popular blog, The Pioneer Woman, can attest to, in her book she tells us about how she got there. Ree had actually begun writing her story on her blog, and seeing how much interest it generated, she decided to turn it into a book.

The problem is that successful blog posts do not necessarily work as well when transfered to the pages of a book. From reviews that I have read about The Pioneer Woman it seems that the first 3/4 of the book is exactly the same content as the blog posts, leaving many of her blog followers that purchased it disappointed at not being offered anything new.
Since I was not a previous reader of The Pioneer Woman blog this wasn’t an issue for me but my trouble with the book is simply that it was not written very well. No - actually, it was that the book wasn’t edited very well. The prose were fine but the content was very repetitive and there was a lot here that should have been cut out, either because it was already stated or because it was irrelevant.

It wasn’t necessary to keep telling us about Ree’s ex-boyfriend and his faults or about the fact that she used to be a vegetation and now ate meat. Ree would also have done well to tone down the frequent whining about her parent's divorce and the unhappiness it was causing her because it was irritating and made her seem like a spoiled, self-absorbed child. If I were Ree’s editor I probably would have also left out the scene where she kills the family dog and then runs off to prepare for her date, or all the times she turns down her disabled brother’s requests for rides to the mall.


And if I were Ree’s editor, after cutting out all of these bits, I would have encouraged Ree to talk a bit more about her friends and her family, who are pretty much left in the shadows. If it wasn’t for Ree’s insistence that she is a very friendly and sociable person I would assume that she is a loner since she never seems to speak to, or spend time with, anyone other than The Marlboro Man (who, to my frustration, is never referred to by name).

I kept wondering where her parents were, as Ree was moving back home, packing for Chicago and falling-in-love. What did they think about the new man in Ree’s life? Did Ree talk to them about him at all? It’s not until Ree’s parents announce their divorce that they are allowed onto the stage, and from then on we only get to know them as the “troubled married couple" casting shadows over their daughter’s happiness, which seemed rather unfair to them.

When I went to check out Ree’s blog, after finishing her book, I was surprised to discover that she is actually quite close to her parents and siblings, which I never would have guess from her memoir, and is very devoted to the family dog (whose photograph appears frequently on her site). She is also funny, smart and very personable and I was confused why this doesn't really comes across in her book.


One sentiment that does shine through, in both her blog and her book, is Ree’s unabashed love and adoration for her cowboy, The Marlboro Man. And this is what makes the book worth reading; getting a taste of what real romance is like. Yes, Ree does go on a little too much about how wonderful her man is and how well muscled his biceps are, and it’s not necessary to include so many date scenes of the two of them cuddling on the couch, but it was still really sweet.

I actually ended up skimming through a large portion of the The Pioneer Woman, until I got to the last section, where the book suddenly and vastly improves. Here Ree humorously recounts for us the details of her disastrous honeymoon, which was cut short, and the start of her new life on the Ranch. I really enjoyed this section of the book and regretted that the rest of it hadn’t been written in the same way. I also really regretted that the book ends right after the birth of Ree’s first child since I would have loved to read more about her adjustments to motherhood and Ranch life. If I were her editor there would have been plenty of room for this additional material.


So what can I say? The romantic in me loves Ree’s story and is willing to forgive the mistakes she made in writing it. I’m even eager to read her next one (and I’m sure there will be a next one) after seeing how much the book improves towards the end. Though at the same time I would probably recommend anyone who wants to read The Pioneer Woman to get it out of the library, rather than purchasing it, because you might end up skimming through a lot of it, as I did.

And Ree, if you are looking for some assistance in editing your next book, I’m always available.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Scifi & Fantasy Releases: Week of March 20

Posted by Simcha 2:54 PM, under | 4 comments

There are some really interesting-looking new releases this week which I have added to the top of my wishlist, including The Enigmatic Pilot by Kris Saknussemm, The Enterprise of Death by Jesse Bullington and The Nameless Dead by Paul McEuen. Each of these books sounds completely different from anything that I've read recently and I'm really eager to give them a try.

Another new release that I'm excited about is Secret Thoughts, by Israeli author, Guy Hasson. I believe that this is the first book Hasson has published in English and it sounds really intriguing, with its three interlocking stories about telepathy.

So what about you? Do you plan on adding any of these new releases to your bookshelf?

Hope you have a great reading week!



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The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man
Mark Hodder
Genre: Fantasy/ Steampunk
Publisher: Pyr
Release Date: March 22

It is 1862, though not the 1862 it should be...

Time has been altered, and Sir Richard Francis Burton, the king's agent, is one of the few people who know that the world is now careening along a very different course from that which Destiny intended.

When a clockwork-powered man of brass is found abandoned in Trafalgar Square, Burton and his assistant, the wayward poet Algernon Swinburne, find themselves on the trail of the stolen Garnier Collection—black diamonds rumored to be fragments of the Lemurian Eye of Naga, a meteorite that fell to Earth in prehistoric times.

His investigation leads to involvement with the media sensation of the age: the Tichborne Claimant, a man who insists that he's the long lost heir to the cursed Tichborne estate. Monstrous, bloated, and monosyllabic, he's not the aristocratic Sir Roger Tichborne known to everyone, yet the working classes come out in force to support him. They are soon rioting through the streets of London, as mysterious steam wraiths incite all-out class warfare.

From a haunted mansion to the Bedlam madhouse, from South America to Australia, from séances to a secret labyrinth, Burton struggles with shadowy opponents and his own inner demons, meeting along the way the philosopher Herbert Spencer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Florence Nightingale, and Charles Doyle (father of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

Can the king's agent expose a plot that threatens to rip the British Empire apart, leading to an international conflict the like of which the world has never seen? And what part does the clockwork man have to play?

Burton and Swinburne's second adventure—The Clockwork Man Of Trafalgar Square—is filled with eccentric steam-driven technology, grotesque characters, and a deepening mystery that pushes forward the three-volume story arc begun in The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack.

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The Dark and Hollow Places (The Forest of Hands and Teeth #3)
Carrie Ryan
Genre: YA Dystopia
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 22

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.
Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

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The Enigmatic Pilot: A Tall Tale
Kris Saknussemm
Genre:
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: March 22

In 1844, in a still-young America, the first intimations of civil war are stirring throughout the land. In Zanesville, Ohio, the Sitturd family—Hephaestus, a clubfooted inventor; his wife, Rapture, a Creole from the Sea Islands; and their prodigiously gifted six-year-old son, Lloyd, whose libido is as precocious as his intellect—are forced to flee the only home they have ever known for an uncertain future in Texas, whence Hephaestus’s half-brother, Micah, has sent them a mysterious invitation, promising riches and wonders too amazing to be entrusted to paper.

Thus begins one of the most incredible American journeys since Huck Finn and Jim first pushed their raft into the Mississippi. Along the way, Lloyd will learn the intricacies of poker and murder, solve the problem of manned flight, find—and lose—true love, and become swept up in an ancient struggle between two secret societies whose arcane dispute has shaped the world’s past and threatens to reshape its future. Each side wants to use Lloyd against the other, but Lloyd has his own ideas—and access to an occult technology as powerful as his imagination.

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The Enterprise of Death
Jesse Bullington
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: March 24

As the witch-pyres of the Spanish Inquisition blanket Renaissance Europe in a moral haze, a young African slave finds herself the unwilling apprentice of an ancient necromancer. Unfortunately, quitting his company proves even more hazardous than remaining his pupil when she is afflicted with a terrible curse. Yet salvation may lie in a mysterious tome her tutor has hidden somewhere on the war-torn continent. She sets out on a seemingly impossible journey to find the book, never suspecting her fate is tied to three strangers: the artist Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, the alchemist Dr. Paracelsus, and a gun-slinging Dutch mercenary. As Manuel paints her macabre story on canvas, plank, and church wall, the apprentice becomes increasingly aware of the great dangers that surround her. She realizes she must revisit the fell necromancy of her childhood – or death will be the least of her concerns.

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Hidden Cities
Daniel Fox
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: March 24

The mythic beasts and glorious legends of feudal China illuminate a world at war in this, the conclusion to Daniel Fox’s critically acclaimed series.

Whatever they thought, this was always where they were going: to the belly of the dragon, or the belly of the sea.

More by chance than good judgment, the young emperor has won his first battle. The rebels have retreated from the coastal city of Santung—but they’ll be back. Distracted by his pregnant concubine, the emperor sends a distrusted aide, Ping Wen, to govern Santung in his place. There, the treacherous general will discover the healer Tien, who is obsessed with a library of sacred mage texts and the secrets concealed within—secrets upon which, Ping Wen quickly realizes, the fate of the whole war may turn.
As all sides of this seething conflict prepare for more butchery, a miner of magical jade, himself invulnerable, desperately tries to save his beautiful and yet brutally scarred clan cousin; a priestess loses her children, who are taken as pawns in a contest beyond her comprehension; and a fierce and powerful woman commits an act of violence that will entwine her, body and soul, with the spirit of jade itself. Amid a horde of soldiers, torturers, and runaways, these people will test both their human and mystical powers against a violent world. But one force trumps all: the huge, hungry, wrathful dragon.

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Invincible (Chronicles of Nick #2)
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: St. Martins
Release Date: March 22

Just when he thought things couldn’t get any worse...

Nick Gautier’s day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul.

His new principal thinks he’s even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to things he can’t even mention and the girl he’s not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him.

But more than that, he’s being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn’t learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them...

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The Nameless Dead
Paul McEuen
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Mira
Release Date: March 24

Crime writer Matt Wells hasn't had much time for a career of late—he's been too busy fighting for his life. And now he can't trust anyone, not even himself.
His thoughts are not his own—his subconscious has been infiltrated and a single word can trigger hidden orders buried deep within Matt's memory, turning him into a killing machine.
The FBI aims him at the man responsible for his conditioning: an architect of Nazi revival and devotee of the Antichurch of Lucifer Triumphant. This man took Matt's life away and must pay.
Even in a nation rife with antigovernment paranoia and conspiracy theories, nobody could believe the things Matt has seen. In a nation infected with trained assassins and ritual murderers, only he can piece together the truth and save the U.S. from impending disaster.

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The Neon Court
Kate Griffin
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: March 24

War is coming to London. A daimyo of the Neon Court is dead and all fingers point towards their ancient enemy – The Tribe. And when magicians go to war, everyone loses.
But Matthew Swift has his own concerns. He has been summoned abruptly, body and soul, to a burning tower and to the dead body of Oda, warrior of The Order and known associate of Swift. There’s a hole in her heart and the symbol of the Midnight Mayor drawn in her own blood. Except, she is still walking and talking and has a nasty habit of saying ‘we’ when she means ‘I.’Now, Swift faces the longest night of his life. Lady Neon herself is coming to London and the Tribe is ready to fight. At the heart of it all is a rumor of a ‘chosen one,’ a monster that burns out the eyes of all who look at it, and a walking dead woman. Swift must stop a war, protect his city, and save his friend – if she’ll stop trying to kill him long enough for him to try.

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The Poison Eaters: And Other Stories
Holly Black
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: McElderry
Release Date: March 22

A collection of fantasy stories from bestselling author Holly Black.



Scorpia Rising: An Alex Rider Misson
Anthony Horowitz
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Philome
Release Date: March 22

Scorpia has dogged Alex Rider for most of his life. They killed his parents, they did their best to con Alex into turning traitor, and they just keep coming back with more power. Now the world's most dangerous terrorist organization is playing with fire in the world's most combustible land: the Middle East. No one knows Scorpia like Alex. And no one knows how best to get to Alex like Scorpia. Until now.

The chases have never been more intense, the fights more treacherous, or the risks so perilous to mankind. And this time, Alex won't get away.

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Spiral
Paul McEuen
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: The Dial Press
Release Date: March 22

In this riveting debut thriller by one of the leading researchers in nanoscience, the race is on to stop the devastating proliferation of the ultimate bioweapon.
When Nobel laureate Liam Connor is found dead at the bottom of one of Ithaca, New York’s famous gorges, his research collaborator, Cornell professor of nanoscience Jake Sterling, refuses to believe it was suicide. Why would one of the world’s most eminent biologists, a eighty-six-year old man in good health who survived some of the darkest days of the Second World War, have chosen to throw himself off a bridge? And who was the mysterious woman caught on camera at the scene? Soon it becomes clear that a cache of supersophisticated nanorobots—each the size of a spider—has disappeared from the dead man’s laboratory.
Stunned by grief, Jake, Liam’s granddaughter, Maggie, and Maggie’s nine-year-old son, Dylan, try to put the pieces together. They uncover ingeniously coded messages Liam left behind pointing toward a devastating secret he gleaned off the shores of war-ravaged Japan and carried for more than sixty years.
What begins as a quest for answers soon leads to a horrifying series of revelations at the crossroads of biological warfare and nanoscience. At this dangerous intersection, a skilled and sadistic assassin, an infamous Japanese war criminal, and a ruthless U.S. government official are all players in a harrowing game of power, treachery, and intrigue—a game whose winner will hold the world’s fate literally in the palm of his hand.

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Secret Thoughts
Guy Hasson
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Apex Book Company
Release Date: March 22

Secret Thoughts is a startling examination of sexuality, motherhood, and society told in three novellas by Geffen Award-winning author Guy Hasson.

In “The Perfect Girl”, Alexandra Watson is a newcomer to Indianapolis Academy of Telepathic Studies. By touch alone, she can delve into your memories, desires, insecurities… everything that makes a person. When she bonds with Professor Parks, her world grows complicated. Soon, she’s reading the residual memories of a recently dead and tracking down the mystery of her demise.

“The Linguist” continues the story of telepathic-enabled women, except now the author has moved us several years in the future. The US government has determined that people like Rachel Akerman are a threat to the nation and orders countrywide extermination of those with telepathic powers. When a G-man uncovers Rachel and offers her a chance to help her country in exchange for her life, what choice is she left with? Rachel finds herself attempting to communicate with a frightened and imprisoned alien life form for the military.

Finally, in “Most Beautiful Intimacy”, Guy Hasson posits “What if a woman were psychically attached to an embryo growing within her uterus?” Set years after the previous novella, Susan DiOrio and her husband hide in a remote region of Montana. Cut off from the world, all they have is each other, and that is threatened when Susan becomes pregnant. A telepath has never successfully given birth to a child. Poignant and urgent, Hasson effectively explores the fear and wide-eyed amazement associated with having a baby.

These three novellas will open your eyes, raise uncomfortable questions, and make you fall in love with the protagonists three times over.

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The Vampire Voss
Colleen Gleason
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Mira
Release Date: March 22

Regency London – a dizzying whirl of balls and young ladies pursued by charming men.

But the Woodmore sisters are hunted by a more sinister breed: Lucifer's own.

Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member the Dracule – a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls – the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral ... until Angelica.

Angelica Woodmore possess the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule. Her very scent envelops Voss in a scarlet fog of hunger – for her body and her blood. But he is utterly unprepared for the new desire that overcomes him – to protect her.

Now Voss must battle his very nature to be with Angelica ... but this vampire never backs down from a fight.

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Wither
Lauren DeStefano
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release Date: March 22

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After
Steve Hockensmith
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: March 22

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its prequel, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, were both New York Times best sellers, with a combined 1.3 million copies in print. Now the PPZ trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After.

The story opens with our newly married protagonists, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, defending their village from an army of flesh-eating “unmentionables.” But the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the proper course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote under development in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love—and for everyone to live happily ever after.

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