Book Review: Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres

April 2nd, 2014 at 6:00 pm (Reviews)

I don’t usually review books here on the FableCroft site, but like to periodically do so when it’s a book by one of the authors we have published in the past.

PeacemakerI first encountered Peacemaker protagonist Virgin Jackson in de Pierres’ story “Gin Jackson: Neophyte Ranger” (first published in the Agog! Smashing Stories anthology in 2004, and I liked it so much I reprinted in FableCroft’s Australis Imaginarium in 2010). I was delighted to read Peacemaker in graphic version in 2011, and was a bit sad when that format was unable to continue, so it was with huge anticipation I started on the novel version! And I have not been disappointed.

Virgin Jackson is a senior ranger in a themed conservation park; odd things have started to happen to her, and not just finding herself saddled with a US Marshall who is himself just a little strange. When she first finds a dead body where it’s almost impossible for anyone to be, she is essentially accused of the murder, and then is attacked in her home. Not one to stand idly by and let things happen, Virgin starts to investigate for herself, with the help of friends in useful places, and the odd Marshall Sixkiller. What she finds is not at all what she expects…

There are several changes that have occurred from the original short story to the novel-length edition. Focus is by necessity shifted for the longer form, and while the book is still (in my eyes) very Australian, I can also see where some elements have been altered to give the story a more international tone, and that both works very well on a plot level as well as being a sensible move in terms of audience.

In another incarnation, de Pierres writes crime fiction, and her experience in both a science fictional setting and a mystery one offer a deftness of touch here. Peacemaker rollicks along at a cracking pace, and I found myself holding my breath in anticipation at times, which is always a good sign! The character of Virgin is vivid and wonderfully acerbic, and I found both she and the supporting cast so well realised they really bounced off the page. With that combination, I got to the end of the book and flipped the last page in disappointment, because while the story ended well (albeit definitely set up for the next volume), I simply didn’t want it to stop. Bring on the next instalment!

Thank you to the publisher for my review copy of the book. It is available in ebook from your favourite e-tailer or ask your bookstore about the paperback.

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New reviews!

March 22nd, 2014 at 8:06 pm (Reviews)

We’ve been fairly focused on Cranky Ladies for the past few weeks, but of course there is always more going on behind the scenes!

Firstly, we’re almost halfway through the first round of reading for Insert Title Here, and hopefully will have responded to all authors within the next fortnight.

Secondly, new reviews! We love seeing these appear around the ridges, so please let us know by email or Twitter if you write a review of a FableCroft book!

BoneChimeCoverDraftBlack Static #39 has a great round up of recent Australian short fiction anthologies and collections, and Joanne Anderton’s The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories is part of that. The reviewer calls Jo an author “who deftly blurs the lines between horror, fantasy and science fiction”, and looks at each story. Of particular interest, the two original stories have thoughtful comments, and the reviewer calls “Mah Song” rich in detail and says of “Fencelines”, a slowly burgeoning mood of unreality settling over the text as the narrative unfolds. Nice!

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Reviews and news roundup

February 24th, 2014 at 6:30 pm (Reviews)

1890436_10202652074879534_690952886_oA few bits and bobs for linking!

  • Cheryl Morgan congratulates FableCroft and Twelfth Planet Press on their Aurealis Awards shortlistings, and links to the books for sale in the Wizard’s Tower Books store.
  • Over at 13 O’Clock, Alan Baxter reviewed Path of Night, calling it, “excellently written and very well paced” – thanks Alan!
  • Speaking of reviews, Ink Black Magic by Tansy Rayner Roberts was reviewed in the February edition of Locus! Can’t link to it, unfortunately, but Carolyn Cushman said the book is, “a fun fantasy adventure with considerable satire…that brings to mind Terry Pratchett’s Discworld” – thanks Carolyn!
  • Tansy and other Aussies Alex Pierce and Gillian Polack, along with several other well know folks were mind-melded over at SF Signal, on the topic of “secondary characters who take center stage” – some interesting thoughts presented!
  • We’re looking forward to our big Book Party in Hobart on March 9 – who will be there to celebrate with us?
  • While we’re on the topic of parties, don’t forget that tickets to the Aurealis Awards ceremony (and the preceding Conflux Writers’ Day) are on sale! It’s going to be a blast!
  • And finally, submissions to Insert Title Here close on February 28 – have you got your story in?

 

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Book Review: The Other Tree by D.K. Mok

February 2nd, 2014 at 12:47 pm (Books, Reviews)

I don’t usually review books here on the FableCroft site, but like to periodically do so when it’s a book by one of the authors we have published in the past. D.K. Mok appeared in One Small Step in 2013 with the story “Morning Star”, a novelette length, far reaching, space-based science fiction story that is thoughtful and exciting by turns. The Other Tree is D.K.’s 2014 debut novel, from the publisher Spence City, and while I’ve seen it noted as urban fantasy, I’m not sure it quite fits that genre marker – it’s one of those books that is tricky to classify as anything but “put it on your to-read list”!

17314951If Seanan McGuire had written The Da Vinci Code, the outcome might have been a little like The Other Tree! Given I adore Seanan’s work and think The Da Vinci Code could have been quite fascinating in the hands of a different author, this is definitely a compliment.

I don’t know much about the heritage behind this story but the religious, scientific and geographic elements, whether real or invented, are believably written, and underpin an action packed yet inherently character driven story.

The book rollicks along very nicely, maintaining tension and gradually unpacking characters along the way. I absolutely loved cryptobotanist Chris and conflicted Luke, and their personal journeys are as important to the novel as the overarching plot. Even the secondary characters are multi-faceted and interesting, although I have to say if I have one nitpick, it was with the random head hopping of perspective in a couple of places. Otherwise though, an impressive debut for a very talented writer! Mok is most definitely on my “want more” list!

Thank you to the publisher for my review copy of the book. It is available in ebook from your favourite e-tailer or ask your bookstore about the paperback.

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Tsana’s peculiar best of list for 2013

January 4th, 2014 at 10:56 am (Books, One Small Step, Reviews, The Bone Chime Song)

BoneChimeCoverDraftWe are pretty chuffed to see some FableCroft books appear on Tsana’s Peculiar Best of List for 2013. At this time of year, Top 10 lists and Favourite Read lists abound, but Tsana makes hers somewhat unique with some very individualised entries!

Tsana includes The Bone Chime Song and other stories and One Small Step on her lists, alongside some other brilliant books I loved last year too! Check them out!

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Recent reviews and interviews

November 30th, 2013 at 7:12 am (Reviews)

Rowena Cory Daniells interviews Dirk Flinthart on the release of Path of Night.

Jamie over at MDPWeb reviews Path of Night, saying: “It’s raw and violent, sexual and powerful, chaotic and mesmerising. It’s also a hell of a lot of fun!” and also interviews Dirk at Spotlight Report.

Tsana examines Path of Night and notes: “The pacing in this novel is brilliant.” She gives it 4.5/5 stars!

Dirk Flinthart reviews Ink Black Magic by Tansy Rayner Roberts, and reckons it “is both an entertaining fantasy romp in the Pratchett mode, and an absolutely fascinating book for anyone who is interested in the art of writing and popular fiction.”

Let us know if you have reviewed any of our books – we love to hear about it!

If you are a book blogger interested in reviewing our novels or anthologies, please contact Tehani at fablecroft [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Lovely new reviews

October 6th, 2013 at 8:49 am (Books, One Small Step, Reviews, The Bone Chime Song, To Spin a Darker Stair)

OneSmallStepCoverdraftA couple of lovely new reviews around the ridges recently. 

Mieneke over at A Fantastical Librarian gave a comprehensive look at One Small Step, saying (among lots of other very nice things): “a very strong collection of stories showcasing the talents of eighteen very talented women.”

Tsana at Tsana Reads & Reviews took advantage of our super World Fantasy Awards discount on To Spin a Darker Stair (just $5 including postage anywhere in the world! Ends 31 October!) and very generously then reviewed the book, saying it “punches above its weight class.”

And although this is a little while ago, I wanted to point out Michelle E. Goldsmith’s glowing review of The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories at Vilutheril.Michelle is very definite about her recommendation: ”I urge anyone who loves dark, strange and beautifully written stories to read this collection.” Thanks Michelle!

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Cool stuff round up

May 13th, 2013 at 3:33 pm (Books, Reviews)

OneSmallStepCoverdraftWhile the publisher has been relocating (again – second move this year, but hopefully the last for a goodly long while!), there have been some cool things said about our books around the place. I’ve been putting links to reviews on our new FableCroft Books in Review page, and it’s been really exciting to see the books getting talked about in places like Locus Online, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, as well as by fantastic book bloggers and reviews website!

It was with great pleasure we published “Flower and Weed” by Margo Lanagan on Kindle a little while ago. This short story was first available in audio from Coeur de Lion, but this is the first time it’s seen “print”. It is set in Margo’s Sea Hearts (Brides of Rollrock Island) world, and gives you a taste of what was left out so the book could be classifed as YA! Just 99 cents from your Kindle store.

Another groovy thing that I saw last week was Rabia Gale and Joanne Anderton (writers of “Sand and Seawater” in One Small Step) blogging about collaboration – separately! If you’re interested in how they did it, their posts are worth a read (Rabia / Joanne). I wonder if Lisa Hannett and Angela Slatter would also like to blog about their OSS collaboration…

And while things have been delayed slightly by the intervention of the move, I promise the ebooks for One Small Step and The Bone Chime Song will both be available soon!

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Awards and Reviews!

March 27th, 2013 at 1:51 pm (Awards, Reviews)

Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 1.51.52 PMAs we look ahead to the launch of The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories and One Small Step with Publishers Weekly reviews of both, we also get to look back at the year that was, with a Awards ballots!

The Ditmars have been kind to FableCroft and our authors, and I’m also chuffed to be on the ballot for fan works too! If you were a member of last year’s Natcon in Melbourne, or this year’s in Canberra, you can (and SHOULD!) vote! Congratulations to everyone who is on the ballot – look forward to the announcements at Conflux!

The 2013 ballot is as follows:

Best Novel
————————————————————————
* Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin)
* Bitter Greens, Kate Forsyth (Random House Australia)
* Suited (The Veiled Worlds 2), Jo Anderton (Angry Robot)
* Salvage, Jason Nahrung (Twelfth Planet Press)
* Perfections, Kirstyn McDermott (Xoum)
* The Corpse-Rat King, Lee Battersby (Angry Robot)

Best Novella or Novelette
————————————————————————
* “Flight 404”, Simon Petrie, in Flight 404/The Hunt for Red Leicester (Peggy Bright Books)
* “Significant Dust”, Margo Lanagan, in Cracklescape (Twelfth Planet Press)
* “Sky”, Kaaron Warren, in Through Splintered Walls (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Short Story
————————————————————————
* “Sanaa’s Army”, Joanne Anderton, in Bloodstones (Ticonderoga Publications)
* “The Wisdom of Ants”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Clarkesworld 75
* “The Bone Chime Song”, Joanne Anderton, in Light Touch Paper Stand Clear (Peggy Bright Books)
* “Oracle’s Tower”, Faith Mudge, in To Spin a Darker Stair (FableCroft Publishing)

Best Collected Work
————————————————————————
* Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
* Epilogue, edited by Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)
* Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren, edited by Alisa Krasnostein (Twelfth Planet Press)
* Light Touch Paper Stand Clear, edited by Edwina Harvey and Simon Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)
* Midnight and Moonshine by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter, edited by Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications)
* The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011, edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)

Best Artwork
————————————————————————
* Cover art, Nick Stathopoulos, for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 56 (ASIM Collective)
* Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, for Midnight and Moonshine (Ticonderoga Publications)
* Illustrations, Adam Browne, for Pyrotechnicon (Coeur de Lion Publishing)
* Cover art and illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, for To Spin a Darker Stair (FableCroft Publishing)
* Cover art, Les Petersen, for Light Touch Paper Stand Clear (Peggy Bright Books)

Best Fan Writer
————————————————————————
* Alex Pierce, for body of work including reviews in Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus
* Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work including reviews in Not If You Were The Last Short Story On Earth
* Grant Watson, for body of work including the “Who50” series in The Angriest
* Sean Wright, for body of work including reviews in Adventures of a Bookonaut

Best Fan Artist
————————————————————————
* Kathleen Jennings, for body of work including “The Dalek Game” and “The Tamsyn Webb Sketchbook”

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium
————————————————————————
* The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
* Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Alex Pierce
* Antipodean SF, Ion Newcombe
* The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
* Snapshot 2012, Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ian Mond, Jason Nahrung et. al.  (et. al. would include me! And Alex Pierce and Sean Wright and Tansy Rayner Roberts)
* Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus, Alisa Krasnostein, Tehani Wessely, et. al.
* Galactic Chat, Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Sean Wright

Best New Talent
————————————————————————
* David McDonald
* Faith Mudge
* Steve Cameron
* Stacey Larner

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review
————————————————————————
* Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, and Tehani Wessely, for review of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh, in ASIF
* Tansy Rayner Roberts, for “Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy. Let’s Unpack That.”, in tor.com
* David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely, for the “New Who in Conversation” series
* Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, for “The Year in Review”, in The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011
* Rjurik Davidson, for “An Illusion in the Game for Survival”, a review of Reamde by Neal Stephenson, in The Age

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It’s Epilogue day!

January 14th, 2013 at 4:16 pm (Epilogue, Reviews)

Epilogue-CoverToday is a big day for Epilogue, it seems! It is now, at long last, available on the Kindle store, which is very exciting. And to follow that up, a review by Cat Sparks of the anthology just went live at Cosmos, which is very nice! Among other things, Cat says:

If, like me, you find something compelling in post-disaster scenarios, try Epilogue for an Australian-flavoured take on the end of the world. 

Stay tuned for more exciting FableCroft news over the next few days!

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