Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

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 Abraham's web site is sorely outdated, the last bits of news having been posted in May of 2007.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.

Tor Free E-Book: Starfish by Peter Watts

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This week's Tor Free E-Books Giveaway is "Starfish", by Peter Watts.

"Starfish" is the first book in the Rifters Trilogy. Amazon reviewers give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5. You can find out more about Peter Watts at Rifters or on his wikipedia page.

A synopsis (from Amazon):

Set in the early 21st century, Watts's debut describes a future when the search for energy leads to the tapping of geothermal sources deep in the ocean, as in the Pacific's Juan de Fuca Rift, near Canada's Northwest coast. The maintenance workers of the dangerous underwater power plants are selected for their psychotic tendencies, which enable them to forget their previous lives on dry land, and are then surgically altered to survive the intense pressure of the sea's abyssal depths.

Of course, it sounds as if things don't go so well for our maintenance workers, though I also didn't get a vibe that this was another Abyss. The use of technology is "superb", and the workers are as much a part of the salvation as they are the destruction of the people who live at the surface.

It sounds like a worthy read.

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