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June 2010

Spectacular Character Deaths

Tombstone-clipart  Just a few short weeks ago, our gaming group was wiped out by some skeleton archers and a particular potent high priest of Orcus.

Before the last of us collapsed into a bloody heap, we squeezed out a Pyrrhic victory by closing the Portal to Apocalyptic Evil. So it wasn't all bad. Plus, the DM gave us cake.

What's your best story about losing a character? Tabletop, LARP, computer game... If you're anything like us, you've gotten a few killed.

(Consider it a memorial prize, but we've got some goodie bags to hand out to those with the best stories).

Cold Warriors Launch Party @ Phoenix Artist Club, 19 May

COLD WARRIORS[Update: a photographic tour of the event is up on the Abaddon site - thanks guys! And even more pictures over on Jonathan Green's blog!]

I'll do a proper write-up once the hangover goes away (next Tuesday?), but a huge thank you to everyone that turned up for the launch of Rebecca Levene's Cold Warriors. We packed out the room, sold out of books and (judging by my headache) drank the venue dry. 

We've got a few goodies to give away  - including the last few "Hermetic Division" pins. These were one-offs created for the party and seem to have turned into collectibles. 

A huge thanks to the Abaddon team, the venue, Magnus (who did a brilliant reading), cover artist Simon Parr, everyone that attended, and, most of all, the author.

Cold Warriors is out now from your local bookstore (or Amazon). The sequel, Ghost Dance, is done, dusted, and following shortly, so get reading!

What's up with Night Shade?

ShowLargePhoto1() Night Shade are doing odd things. The last time their name had popped up, it was in a rant by (now former) Night Shade author, Liz Williams, who was damning some of the publisher's ambiguous moves. (Check out the comments to watch her fans pile on - "I never got the books I ordered!" "I always hated them!"") I probably wasn't the only one that assumed this meant that the press was coming to a close...

Night Shade are actually doing the reverse, announcing the launch of a new imprint, Pugilist Press - focusing on "contemporary literary fiction with an edge." Launching in late 2011, they aim to publish 14 to 16 books year in trade paperback. New editor Juliet Ulman says they are looking for "tough literary fiction with a certain honesty and texture to it."

Also worth noting that Night Shade author Paolo Bacigalupi just picked up a Nebula for The Windup Girl. I'd love to see their books (financially speaking), but this doesn't feel like a publisher closing its doors.

"I will admit openly that I am myself an elitist, but of a very specific sort. There is, in short, good elitism and bad elitism. Good elitism embodies an unremitting quest for excellence and an intolerance for mediocrity; bad elitism, while seeming to seek excellence, declare a priori that certain realms cannot possibly produce excellent and therefore maintains that these realms are aesthetically off-limits before even examining them in any detail." -- S.T. Joshi, Junk Fiction

New Releases x Abaddon

Cold Warriors Out now (finally!): Children's Crusade by Scott Andrews and Cold Warriors by Rebecca Levene. 

The former is the third book in the wonderfully post-apocalyptic St Marks series, probably my favorite corner of Abaddon's grim and gory Afterblight world. 

The latter is something brand new and (here's a spoiler) wonderful. Cold Warriors is the first book in a series of Cold War espionage occultist - if Tom Clancy met Mike Carey, you'd wind up with a book like this.

Scott Andrews and Rebecca Levene were the first two authors to give us interviews, but don't hold that against them.

New Releases: Play Dead by Ryan Brown

Play DeadPlay Dead is what happens happens when trends go unchecked. Ryan Brown's debut novel taps into the zombie zeitgeist and combines it with high school football. The result is a goofy, mercifully-quick read.

Bad boy (but good-hearted) Cole Logan is the star quarterback of his small town's football team. His teen delinquency days are behind him, as he tries to earn a ticket out of Texas with a scholarship. Their local rivals (from the right side of the tracks) are out to punch his ticket in a completely different sense. After a brutal prank goes awry, all of Cole's teammates are killed in a bus crash. Fortunately, a local fan (and practicing witch) brings them back...

The zombie trend is becoming a slow-moving, stupid, brain-eating, shambling monstrosity and need to be removed with the proverbial editorial shotgun. 

Continue reading "New Releases: Play Dead by Ryan Brown" »

Where the Naked Time Encounters the City on the Edge of Farpoint

3495258593_67fa08d361 I'm really digging Zack Handlen's recaps of Star Trek: The Next Generation over at the AV ClubHandlen's powering through the series in chronological order, three episodes per week, with thoughtful, loving reviews, but without pulling his punches.  Much as I love the original series, TNG is the series I grew up with, and it's been a lot of fun to revisit episodes I haven't seen in, oh, twenty-two years.  Plus, you know, Picard.  Sexiest little bald man ever.

Underground Reading: The Snow by Adam Roberts

The Snow - Adam RobertsThe Snow (2004) is an apocalyptic sci-fi novel by the ever-philosophical Adam Roberts.

Much to everyone's delight, snow starts falling all over the world. But as it piles up, the charm quickly wears off. And by the time the Earth is covered in three miles of packed snow, everyone is too dead to complain. 

Roberts follows the snowfall from start to finish - the early days of panic, the boredom and the pain of captivity and then the fledgling society that emerges on the other side. With only 150,000 survivors around the world, the human race is a very different entity (and a very cold one). The attempts to rebuild society are awkward - people must choose between looking forwards or finding someone to blame.

The Snow is an awkward fusion of two very different books. 

Continue reading "Underground Reading: The Snow by Adam Roberts" »

Dalek Frank x Followers

Dalek-xmas Dalek Frank isn't so good with dates and thinks its Christmas. 

Still he's got all the normal Dalek urges and he's keen to build an army of minions. He's also got a stack of presents to give away: proofs, signed comics, first editions and whatever else he can find.

At every 100 follower milestone on Facebook or Twitter, we'll choose a lucky winner to get cool stuff

Dalek Frank is awesome like that.