Publisher: Prometheus Books

SFN: Book Review | “Nebula Awards Showcase 2015” (edited by) Greg Bear #RRSciFiMonth

Posted Tuesday, 29 November, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary copy of “Nebula Awards 2015” direct from the publisher PYR (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

How I came to learn about ‘Nebula Awards 2015’:

I’ve heard about the Nebula Awards but I honestly haven’t followed them; although this might sound strange coming from someone who loves Science Fiction as much as I do! The truth is I have always picked up Science Fiction quite randomly until I became a blogger – I lean towards finding more Sci-Fi to read now as I blog than I had in previous years – except for the years I was invested into the SFBC (Science Fiction Book Club) which was a mail-order catalogue of the genre by which you could order hardback editions of classic and contemporary Science Fiction & Fantasy authors. I vaguely remember reading about the Nebula Awards in those catalogues as they used to write articles to go with the book selections – you could learn a heap just by browsing and this is how I started to navigate the genre as a whole.

I also gathered quite a heap of books – by various authors – including the Acorna series and a lot of Heinlein whilst focusing on Tolkien and Kate Elliott as well. I never read them save for Kate Elliott’s Crown of Stars series as I was gathering books to read rather than reading all the books I was gathering. I would classify that point in my reading life as a ‘discovery period’ where I was seeking out certain styles of narrative and certain authors of whom I felt were writing the kinds of stories I wanted to read. I did read the odd book every so many shipments – however, I have this lovely little cache of Science Fiction I one day want to re-open and see what I’ll find inside! I do not remember all the books I collected as it was more of the art of the hunt back then than the devourment of the spoils – I wonder if anyone else has gone through a collecting book stage rather than a reading stage!?

Around the time I discovered Prometheus Books and their imprints of Seventh Street Books and Pyr, I found this curious collection: the Nebula Awards Showcase 2015. I had intended to read it closer to when it arrived but the timing was not right for me until now. What I appreciated about this showcase is how eclectic it was and how varied the stories were inside – as much as it was a wicked good overall of the current offerings of a genre I truly love dearly! Science Fiction holds a special place in my heart – it was the original genre of choice when I first started to write my own stories and to this day, it’s the genre I love to return to read.

I will be following this reading with the 2016 Nebula Awards Showcase lateron this week – as I was blessed to receive both years. Next year, the editor is Julie E. Czerneda of whom I featured earlier this month whilst she disclosed the inside bits on her Web Shifters series!

I would be interested to know if my readers follow the Nebula Awards and if they have picked up any of the Nebula Award Showcases? If this is your first meeting of the showcases (as it is for me), I welcome your feedback as well. I love anthologies – normally reserved for short stories, but in this instance, I love how you get an inside glimpse into a variety of writers and their chosen styles of creative expression whilst honing in on what makes the Nebula Awards such an amazing group of creatives who write about a futuristic world not too far from our own.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

SFN: Book Review | “Nebula Awards Showcase 2015” (edited by) Greg Bear #RRSciFiMonthNebula Awards Showcase: 2015
Subtitle: Stories, Excerpts and Essays
Source: Direct from Publisher

The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories of the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

The editor of this year’s volume, selected by SFWA’s anthology Committee (chaired by Mike Resnick), is American science fiction and fantasy writer Greg Bear, author of over thirty novels, including the Nebula Award-winning Darwin’s Radio and Moving Mars.

This anthology includes the winners of the Andre Norton, Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master, Rhysling, and Dwarf Stars Awards, as well as the Nebula Award winners, and features Ann Leckie, Nalo Hopkinson, Rachel Swirsky, Aliette de Bodard, and Vylar Kaftan, with additional articles and poems by authors such as Robin Wayne Bailey, Samuel R. Delany, Terry A. Garey, Deborah P Kolodji, and Andrew Robert Sutton.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633880900

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Science Fiction


Published by Pyr

on 8th December, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 320

Published By: Pyr (@Pyr_Books)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Read more about Nebula Awards 2015 via the SFF Blog of B&N (Barnes & Noble)

(edited by) Greg Bear ( Site | @RealGregBear )

Converse via: #NebulaAwards + #GregBear

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #FuellYourSciFi
  • SFN Bingo 2016
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Posted Tuesday, 29 November, 2016 by jorielov in Asteroid Science, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Climate Change, Ecology, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Hard Science Fiction, Horticulture, Prometheus Books, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction

#PubDay Book Review | “Congress of Secrets” by Stephanie Burgis by the author who wrote “Masks and Shadows”!

Posted Tuesday, 1 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary copy of “Congress of Secrets” direct from the publisher PYR (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

How I came to learn about ‘Congress of Secrets’:

In April, I posted a #PubDay review for this author’s first novel with PYR which was “Masks and Shadows” – not your typical historical, as it held within it elements of Cosy Horror, Alternative History and Historical Fantasy; truly the niche in which the story fit was a work of it’s own, as I lamented the following on behalf of reading it:

One grace Burgis granted her new readers (such as I) is a framework of foundation rooted inside our known historical past! She’s taken bits and bobbles of real historical artifact and knitted it up inside an alternative historical setting to where you can juxtaposition the real and the fictional in seamless fashion! I loved this style of her word craft because it gave a dimensional of awareness of where we’re entreating inside as far as timescape and setting are concerned but also, a knowing level of ‘place’ as it’s a familiar side of Europe during the late 18th Century! How she found the beautiful balance between what is known and what can be imagined is truly remarkable!

I liked how she paced the narrative to the rhythm of a play – it was quite keenly illuminating all the dialogue and action, but to such a clever intuitive nodding of each of the characters in turn taking their cues and then exiting the scenes as necessary!

I was not at all surprised there were Cosy Horror elements underlining the narrative arc as this historical approach to telling a fantastical story reminded me of my readings of Silver Tongue by AshleyRose Sullivan (review) or even The Haunting of Springett Hall by E.B. Wheeler (review) as they mirror Masks and Shadows for bridging genre and bending it to the will of the author’s pen.

-quoted from my review of Masks and Shadows

Shortly after I posted my review, the publicist I work with at Prometheus mentioned Burgis’s next release and from that first glimpse of the premise, I became interested. I had a feeling there might be the same mixture of old world elements, magical intrigue with thrilling suspense and a historical backdrop (this time set in Vienna) I would appreciate drinking in as I moved through her story-line. She has such a unique voice in Historical Fiction, I simply wanted to read what she was going to create next!

I wasn’t surprised that in theory Congress of Secrets follows suit out of Masks and Shadows as you could see the leeway of how the scope of the first novel could be carried forward. Both are marked as one-offs, even though Congress of Secrets is only a scant 35 years later! I’ve learnt a lot about how series can be joined together through theme, setting or genre – and I believe this is one of those series where the characters switch-out but there are elements of connection knitting the series of stories together. They are not continuously sequenced by setting either but rather the way in which the story is told.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Notation on Cover Art Design: I was quite surprised when I saw the photographs on the cover were stock images because in this particular instance the collage effect of having them all together gave me the impression they were specifically created for this cover! I love how the fusion of each photograph blends well with the synopsis and grants you a visual clue about where your heading once you open the novel itself. It is such a beautiful cover design – from the colours and the layout of it directly feeling like the niche Burgis has created.

#PubDay Book Review | “Congress of Secrets” by Stephanie Burgis by the author who wrote “Masks and Shadows”!Congress of Secrets
by Stephanie Burgis
Source: Direct from Publisher

In 1814, the Congress of Vienna has just begun. Diplomats battle over a new map of Europe, actors vie for a chance at glory, and aristocrats and royals from across the continent come together to celebrate the downfall of Napoleon…among them Lady Caroline Wyndham, a wealthy English widow. But Caroline has a secret: she was born Karolina Vogl, daughter of a radical Viennese printer. When her father was arrested by the secret police, Caroline’s childhood was stolen from her by dark alchemy.

Under a new name and nationality, she returns to Vienna determined to save her father even if she has to resort to the same alchemy that nearly broke her before. But she isn’t expecting to meet her father’s old apprentice, Michael Steinhüller, now a charming con man in the middle of his riskiest scheme ever.

The sinister forces that shattered Caroline’s childhood still rule Vienna behind a glittering façade of balls and salons, Michael’s plan is fraught with danger, and both of their disguises are more fragile than they realize. What price will they pay to the darkness if either of them is to survive?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633881990

Also by this author: Masks and Shadows

Genres: Alternative History, Cosy Horror, Historical Fiction, Historical-Fantasy


Published by Pyr

on 1st November, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 347

Published By: Pyr (@Pyr_Books)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Read the author’s blog about Congress of Secrets!

Converse via: #CongressOfSecrets

About Stephanie Burgis

Stephanie Burgis Photo Credit: Patrick Saphire

Stephanie Burgis was born in Michigan, but now lives in Wales with her husband, writer Patrick Samphire, and their children. Before becoming a fulltime writer, she studied music history as a Fulbright Scholar in Vienna, Austria, and worked as a website editor for a British opera company.

She has published over thirty short stories for adults. Kat, Incorrigible (US)/A Most Improper Magick (UK) won the Waverton Good Read Children’s Award in 2011 for Best Début Children’s Novel by a British writer. It was followed by Renegade Magic/A Tangle of Magicks and Stolen Magic/A Reckless Magick.

Photo Credit: Patrick Saphire

On alchemy and dark arts:

As soon as I saw Caroline being affected by the dark alchemy I recognised having been used in Masks and Shadows, I knew this new extension of the plot would thicken quite differently. It took so long to understand the darker elements which were undermining and crippling the characters in the last story – as the heart of the narrative had been a thrilling suspense, where you were meant to be kept in the dark for as long as possible in order to peel back the layers of the novel. In this instance, what was so interesting to me, is how early-on the disclosure is given that something quite alarmingly potent is being used against the will of the people. Setting the stage for a curious new perspective on how to overturn a foe who has sorted out the best advantage against everyone he or she wishes to overtake; not just mind control but a complete reduction in consciousness!

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 1 November, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, Alternative History, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Indie Author, Prometheus Books, Vulgarity in Literature

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