Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Tor Free E-book: Orphans of Chaos by John Wright

Orphans of Chaos

Orphans of Chaos

by John C. Wright is this week’s Tor Free E-book Giveaway.

Here we have yet another author which I am hereto unfamiliar with. I don’t know if this is a sign that I’m not as well-read as I would like to think I am, or if it simply speaks to the sheer volume of fantasy and science fiction out there. It’s probably a little bit of both. However, what better way to become familiar with a new author than by receiving a free copy of their work?

A little background on the author…

Mr. Wright spent prior years as a lawyer and newspaper man before turning to writing. His debut novel, The Golden Age, marked the author as the “equivalent to William Gibson and Gene Wolfe in potential importance”. Orphans of Chaos was a Nebula award finalist and is the first of the three volume The Chaos Chronicles.

Mr Wright maintains a blog. More info about his other books can be found at his sff.net page.

The book itself is about five orphans who attend a boarding school in England and who routinely have to deal with the oppressive nature of their instructors. There’s more to it than that, of course: the instructors are really gods and the children, as the title of the book suggests, are the children of Chaos.

Sounds like a good read, plus if you like it there’s two more books after it in the series.

For a running list of all of Tor's free e-books, go here.

Call for advanced readers: Seeds of Change

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John Joseph Adams is looking for advanced readers for his upcoming anthology Seeds of Change. Follow the link for sign-up information. I commented in the blog post that I’d be interested and John shot me over an e-copy within an hour.

The copy reads:

Imagine the moment when the present ends, and the future begins–when the world we knew is no more and a brave new world is thrust upon us. Gathering stories by nine of today’s most incisive minds, Seeds of Change confronts the pivotal issues facing our society today: racism, global warming, peak oil, technological advancement, and political revolution. Many serve as a call to action. How will you change with the future?

It boasts a very nice list of authors:

  • N-Words by Ted Kosmatka
  • The Future by Degrees by Jay Lake
  • Drinking Problem by K. D. Wentworth
  • Endosymbiont by Blake Charlton
  • A Dance Called Armageddon by Ken MacLeod
  • Arties Aren’t Stupid by Jeremiah Tolbert
  • Faceless in Gethsemane by Mark Budz
  • Spider the Artist by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
  • Resistance by Tobias S. Buckell

I’m especially interested in the last story by Tobias Buckell as it’s a Pepper story, a character I just got familiar with through Sly Mongoose.

If you’re interested in getting a free copy for posting a review, check out John’s post and make it so.

Tor Free E-book: A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham

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I flipped through A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham, which just so happens to be this week's Tor Free E-book Giveaway, and was immediately taken with the author's dedication:

To Fred Saberhagen,
the first of my many teachers

The name Fred Saberhagen sure brings back some memories. I absolutely devoured his Swords books when I was younger. The fact that Mr. Abraham so notes his own appreciation of Saberhagen has me stoked to see what A Shadow in Summer is all about.

I snagged this synopsis fragment from Bookmarks Magazine:

Debut novelist Daniel Abraham bolts out of the gate with an enthusiastic recommendation from SF guru George R. R. Martin. The critics agree with Martin's appraisal, and reviewers welcome Abraham's rich characterization, deft plotting, and the particularly ambitious central conceit that ideas can be made flesh—and controlled by poets, no less.

This, too:

The Empire hangs on, literally, by a thread; the cloth industry depends on the ability of andat Seedless to magically remove seeds from cotton plants to keep commerce flowing and the barbarians in check.

Sounds intriguing. Anytime you find a real economic system put into a fantasy setting you have some great potential for realism and world-building.

I did a little digging on the author: Mr. Abraham's web site is sorely outdated, the last bits of news having been posted in May of 2007. He does, however, have a blog which at least shows some activity as recently as last month. He has an impressive list of short fiction and a handful of novels, A Shadow in Summer being his first. It is, in fact, the first book of the "Long Price Quartet", so if you like this first installment you have some more of his writing to experience in the same world.

I also noticed as I was searching around that you can view the entire book on Google Book Search. Or, of course, sign up for Tor.com's newsletter and get it as a free download.

For a running list of all of Tor's free e-books, go here.

Free Tor E-book: Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp

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Tor is giving away Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp this week. It's a "paranormal romance". Ugh. I don't like romances.

This one has vampires in it. Werewolves, too. Sounds like Underworld. But without Kate Beckinsale and her guns.

From the synopsis:

Eschewing recent trends, the vampires in this series are not sexy or funny, and this form of vampirism is spread by a parasite in saliva causing those bitten to become part of the herd, or "Thrall," a hive entity led by queens.

Now it's got me thinking of the Borg meets I Am Legend.

To be fair, I'll put aside my preconceived notions and completely misplaced dislike of romances since I've never actually read one and dig a little deeper.

Turns out 'vampires' here are not of the undead variety. Neither are werewolves. Vampires are actually host bodies taken over by a Thrall, a parasitic life-form that hatches within the host then latches onto the host's brain and takes control (think Goa'uld). That sounds kinda cool.

Alright, I'm intrigued and, given that the book is free, I have nothing to lose by reading the first fifty pages to see if I'll like it.

For a running list of all of Tor's free e-books, go here.

ARC: Sly Mongoose

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Thanks to Tobias Buckell for providing me an advanced copy of his upcoming science fiction novel, Sly Mongoose. I hope to have finished reading the novel within a month (yeah, I'm slow) at which time I'll make a follow-up post to include my review.

I'll admit I've never read anything by Buckell (pronounced 'Buck Ell' not 'Buckle'; from the author's web site), but I've seen his other works around town, namely Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin.

As for Sly Mongoose, this excerpt I pilfered from the author's site had me hooked from the start:

Welcome to Chilo, a planet with corrosive rain, crushing pressure, and deadly heat. Fortunately, fourteen-year-old Timas lives in one of the domed cities that float 100,000 feet above the surface, circling near the edge of a monstrous perpetual storm.

Oh, the possibilities stemming from that are virtually unlimited, so I'm eager to see where Buckell takes it.

One last comment: My intentions are not completely unselfish here. The current novel I'm slaving away on also features a roughly fourteen year old protagonist, so I'm curious to see what life Buckell breathes into young Timas for purposes of comparison if nothing else.