by Sandy Auden
This month: Karen Marie Moning's free podcast of Darkfever; Simon Clark on Stone Cold Calling;
Doctor Who audio stories; debut novel from Thomas Nevins; and French Fantasy
is translated into English with The Cardinal's Blades.
Bantam Dell have launched the audiobook podcast of bestselling author Karen Marie Moning's Darkfever.
The first in a series of Irish urban fantasies, Darkfever follows MacKayla Lane, a perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks… until something extraordinary happens. When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death -- a cryptic message on Mac's cell phone -- Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister's killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed -- a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….
This the very first joint effort between Bantam Dell and one of its authors to release the full version
of a book for free as a podcast. The book will be presented in its entirety, with four episodes per week available for download.
Simon Clark on new novel Stone Cold Calling
Simon Clark's Stone Cold Calling will be released by Tasmaniac Publications on September 25th 2008 in limited edition hard and softback formats.
The synopsis given with the book is intriguing:
It beats but has no heartWith an elusive description like that, we asked Simon Clark for more information about the story and the people in it…
"The main characters are driven by either need or greed," he said. "For one reason or another they all want to make money quickly. They happen to meet a mysterious guy by the name of Stoner. By chance he's found the fall-site of a meteorite that will be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. He can't recover it himself so he enlists the help of four young people.
"Gloria and Warren desperately need money to fund a lavish wedding. Ben is struggling to pay off his student loan, while Mylene needs money to pay for her college education. They're so keen to get their hands on fast cash that they're prepared to take risks. One of which is that the valley where the meteor fell is privately owned."
Not wanting to make it too easy for his characters, Clark has thrown a few obstacles in their way making a tense story. "There are many different ways to build that tension," the author said. "Whether it be the pace and rhythm of the prose or using a count-down technique where the characters have to achieve their goal before a deadline.
"In Stone Cold Calling I thought: what if the meteor has fallen into abandoned farm land? The downside is that a dam has been built and the valley is filling with water. The characters search for the fall-site but hour by hour the water is creeping higher and higher, engulfing houses, drowning fields. If they don't find the meteor within 72 hours it will be submerged under water and forever unreachable."
And searching for meteors is a special, rather personal, subject for Clark: "A big inspiration for the story was being fascinated by meteors from an early age. I've always had a huge buzz when I see a shooting-star. It's a reminder that there's a whole universe out there ... and sometimes part of it crashes into the Earth in a blaze of glory.
"From time to time I even dream that meteors fall in the park across the road from my house and I run across eager to see the rock smoking and glowing there in its crater. It only had to be a matter of time before I wrote a story about one of these cosmic chunks of debris."
To make this story even more special, the letter edition will be leather-bound, slip-cased and will come with their own piece of meteorite (along with a letter of authenticity).
Saturday August 30th 2008 saw a special re-issue by Big Finish of four classic Doctor Who adventures featuring the Eighth Doctor and his companion Charley.
Doctor Who -- the Eighth Doctor Collection comes on nine CD's with a twelve page booklet and stars Paul McGann with Mark Gatiss, Jessica Hynes, Simon Pegg, Gareth Thomas and India Fisher.
The stories are as follows:
Storm Warning by Alan Barnes
Sword of Orion by Nicholas Briggs
The Stones of Venice by Paul Magrs
Invaders from Mars by Mark Gatiss
The collection also includes a Bonus Documentary which takes a look at the making of the four adventures; and actors, writers, producers and directors -- including Paul McGann, Gary Russell and Nicholas Briggs -- reveal behind-the-scenes secrets, discuss production problems and recount all the fun and frolics.
Ballantine books have got an interesting debut out now from Thomas Nevins called The Age of the Conglomerates.
According to the publisher, the plot goes something like this:
"Forty years in the future, in a world where Big Brother runs amok, a powerful political party known as the Conglomerates has emerged, vowing to enforce economic martial law at any cost. Dr. Christine Salter, director of genetic development at a New York medical center, is in charge of "genetic contouring," the much-in-demand science of producing the ideal child. But Christine is increasingly troubled by odd events, including the strange disappearance of Gabriel Cruz, a co-worker for whom she has a developing affection, and the fact that her latest assignment-making the Conglomerate chairman more youthful through genetic engineering-is an especially dangerous task.
"As mandated by the Family Relief Act, Christine's grandparents are relocated to a government-designed community in the American Southwest, along with other Coots (the official term given to the elderly), who are considered an economic and social burden to family and society. But even in this cold, cruel age, the Conglomerates can only control so much."
French fantasy publishers Bragelonne and the UK's Gollancz imprint have announced one of the first adult French fantasy novels to be translated into English: Pierre Pevel's fantasy The Cardinal's Blades (Les Lames du Cardinal).
The new novel is a swashbuckling story set in a vividly realised seventeenth century Paris where intrigue, duels, spies and adventure are rife and Cardinal Richelieu's men may be prevailed upon to risk life and limb in the name of France at a moments notice. And the defence of France has never been more pressing. A threat is growing in the south -- a threat which will see a huge dragon-shaped shadow cast over France, quite unlike the little pet dragonets which roam the cities like stray cats, or the tame wyverns men can ride like horses high above the Parisian rooftops. These dragons and their descendents are ancient, powerful, terrible . . . and their influence is spreading. It's up to Captain La Fargue and his elite group of men, the Cardinal's Blades, to stop them -- or to die in the attempt.
For such a landmark moment in French and UK fantasy publishing, we had to talk to everyone involved…
First up, Gillian Redfearn, editor at Gollancz publishers:
How did you come to read the book?
What attracted you to the book?
What process will this book go through compared to one submitted in English?
That (expensive and time-consuming process) done, we line edit as we would in English to smooth out the language, exactly as we would with a 'normal' book, and from then on the processes are the same.
Over in France, Stéphane Marsan, Editorial Director at Bragelonne publishers was also happy to talk about the new book:
What cultural/story differences are there between English/American fantasy and French fantasy?
But when you talk to authors like Raymond Feist, Terry Brooks or George R. R. Martin -- or more recently Patrick Rothfuss -- about their main influences, they name French historical novels! It seems that the French don't spontaneously produce, and accept, a combination of imagination and fun, and we had forgotten a part of our own culture and history which these US and UK writers were happy to recognise and follow.
As a result, most of this 1990's wave of French fantasy writers remained inside the Tolkienesque influence as far as their storylines and characters were concerned, although there's clearly a different angle taken on the genre: it's darker, there's a more intimate atmosphere and approach to characterisation, more original magic, and historical and literary references. Look at movies by Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet or Guillermo del Toro and you'll get an idea of how French, and more generally European, fantasy has added to the genre. Only the very best of these young writers have managed to weave these distinctive traits into fast-paced, easy to read and efficient stories. Pierre Pevel is one of them.
What attracted you to the book?
And so to the author. Pierre Pevel is one of the foremost writers of French fantasy today. The author of seven novels, he was awarded the Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire in 2002 and the Prix Imaginales in 2005, both for best novel.
How much influence did The Three Musketeers have on The Cardinal's Blades?
Why did you choose dragons as your main fantasy creature?
Are there any other fantasy creatures in the story?
Les Lames du Cardinal will be published October 2007 in France by Bragelonne.
The Cardinal's Blades will be published May 2009 in the UK by Gollancz.
Sandy Auden is currently working as an enthusiastic interviewer/reviewer for SFX magazine; a tireless news hound for Starburst magazine; and a diligent interviewer/reviewer for Interzone magazine and SF Site. She spends her spare time lying down with a cold flannel on her forehead. For background information, visit www.sandyauden.co.uk.
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