“The Water Wars” by Cameron Stracher (Sourcebooks, 2011)

Water Wars
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Cameron Stracher takes on a growing genre with Water Wars, in a dystopian future young adult novel, but this is a doomed future we can all understand and possibly sympathize with as an eventuality that may one day come to fruition.  Water Wars will make you think again the next time you buy a bottle of water or take a water-wasteful bath.

It is some point in the future when one of our most important resources has become the scarcest.  In this world water is a rare commodity, and when you can get a drop of it, you need to make it last.  The United States has now been divided up into six republics that are at war with each other.  The ice caps have melted and the lakes have dried up.  The world is a different place after what became known as the “Great Panic.”  Our main characters are Vera and her older brother, Will, who do their best to help their impoverished family with an overworked father and a sick, bedridden mother.  Then Vera meets Kai, a cute boy who’s a member of a rich family that is able to acquire water with no problem.  Kai also has a special ability: he can divine the location of water.  Kai tells Vera of a secret giant well that he knows the location of.  The next time they go to see Kai they find the fancy mansion abandoned, with signs of a struggle.  It looks like Kai and his father may have been kidnapped for what they know.  And thus begins the adventure, as Vera and Will make the decision to track down Kai and find out what happened to him; the journey will take them across the borders and into the hands of water pirates and some other very interesting people you wouldn’t want to get caught with in a dark alley.

Water Wars is one of those books you enjoy for the interesting characters, the fun and compelling story, and then at the end starts you thinking about the longer ramifications of the story at hand that at first seemed simple, but the more you think about, the more is resonates with you, so that the next time your pour yourself a glass of water, you sip it slowly, deliciously, savoring each sweet, clean, hydrating drop.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on March 5, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

“Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens” by Brandon Sanderson (Scholastic, 2010)

Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens
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Hey.  Hey you!  Come here.  Are you alone?  No librarians nearby, right?  Yes, librarians.  You heard me right.  Okay, good.  Yes, librarians are evil.  They’re an unstoppable cult that has pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes for a long time.  Everything you think you know isn’t the way it is.  Don’t believe me?  Then be sure to check out the first three volumes of Alcatraz Smedry’s incredible biography – Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones, and Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia – written under the secret name of bestselling author Brandon Sanderson.  Sounds familiar now, right?  Well, keep this quiet, but Alcatraz is back with his next installment, and it’s a doozy!

Alcatraz and his friends and family are preparing for war against the Evil Librarians.  Except, of course, for his mother who is an evil librarian herself (we don’t know the complete story on this yet) and his dad, who has just gone off to who knows where.  The council is still trying to decide how best to handle this when the Evil Librarians lay siege to the city of Mokia.  The council refuses to help at the moment, while the Knights of Crystallia are just hanging about, making sure all the Smedrys are okay.  Alcatraz hatches a stoopid plan; in fact it’s his stoopidest plan yet!  He will travel to Mokia and sneak into the city without getting caught, then he’ll let the Knights of Crystallia know where he is and they’ll have to come save him.  Everything sort of goes according to plan until he comes face to face with the giant robots.

This has got to be Alcatraz’s most gripping adventure yet, where it really seems like he could easily get killed, but then he’s telling his story – pretending to be Brandon Sanderson – so he must make it in the end.  He gets up to his usual stoopid stuff, I mean stupid: like using his and his family’s weird and seemingly useless talents, messing things up with Bastille – even though he really likes her — oh yeah, and not spellings words correctly.  If you’ve read Alcatraz’s early adventures, you won’t want to miss this one!

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on April 10, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

You might also like . . .

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians    Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones    Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia

NIAA Progress Report #2

It’s been quite some time since the last progress report on Nothing is an Accident, which is the whole reason for this particular update and why I’m changing things around a little.  In my writing goals for this year I’d planned to complete a penultimate and final edit of the manuscript by the end of the year.  At this current rate, I was going to be lucky if I got half way through the penultimate edit when December rolled around.   I just wasn’t getting the work done week to week, as the other projects kept getting in the way.  Then when I switched to just working on White Horse, things should’ve gotten easier, but they didn’t.  I was doing plenty of writing but not enough editing.

I’ve now decided to go back to a similar schedule from earlier with working on one project one week and another project another.  Basically one week I’ll be working on writing White Horse, and on another I’ll be working on editing NIAA.  That way it will get done, which is the key.  My goal, just as it is with 500 words a day, Monday through Friday, with regards to writing, will be to edit at least three pages a day Monday through Friday on the particular week I’m working on NIAA.

And we’ll see how that goes.  And they’ll be the counter at the bottom of these updates (as well as on the site) to keep me encouraged and hopeful!

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“Serpent’s Storm” by Amber Benson (Ace, 2011)

Serpent's Storm
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In the third installment about the daughter of Death from Amber Benson Calliope Reaper-Jones is really put through the ringer.  Readers not familiar with the earlier books will feel lost in Serpent’s Storm, as it is severely lacking in structure and logical direction, but for those who look forward to seeing what Callie is up to next, they’ll enjoy this next adventure.

Things certainly heat up right from the start as the book opens with a pretty graphic sex scene between Callie and her hunk she can’t get enough of, Daniel.  But after that brief moment of happiness, a silly argument ensues, and things quickly go downhill as she learns of some very troubling news that, if true, will completely change her life.  Not knowing where to really go next, Calli finds herself going from bad to worse real fast, as those she thought she could trust and love turn against her.  Plus her sister who she thought safely behind unbreakable bars is now somehow free.

Serpent’s Storm lacks a coherent plot, jumping from place to place without apparent reason, as the reader continues to wonder what exactly is going on and why; Calliope Reaper-Jones’s eccentricities become unbearable at times.  This may have something to with the series originally planned as a trilogy and then getting extended with more books; nevertheless, readers will see a development in Callie from her early days in Death’s Daughter, as Benson looks to kick everything up a notch.  At the end of Serpent’s Storm, readers will be left wondering where Callie will be going next.

Originally written on April 10, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

04/26 On the Bookshelf . . “Chronoliths” & “I Don’t Want to Kill You”

Chronoliths  I Don't Want to Kill You

A new reissued paperback from an older book by Robert Charles Wilson, Chronoliths.  But since I can’t seem to get enough of this guy after enjoying Mysterium and Julian Comstock, as well as working my way through the incredibly mind-blowing Spin, I’m certainly looking forward to this one.  We also have the third and perhaps last in the serial killer series from Dan Wells, I Don’t Want to Kill You.

2011 Hugo Award Nominees

We’re now well in to 2011 and as we begin passing through the days, weeks and months, we’re also counting down to Renovation in August with the 69th World Science Fiction Convention in Nevada. On August 20th, at the convention, the winners of the 2011 Hugo Awards will be announced. And the nominees are now out and listed below. A number of the books listed have been reviewed on BookBanter, as well as a number of the authors interviewed, and are linked below, simply click on the name of the book or author to read the review or read/listen to the interview.

Best Novel
Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)
Feed by Mira Grant (Orbit) [You also might want to check out this post and this one.  And you can find the interview with Seanan McGuire here.]
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

Best Novella
“The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window” by Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Magazine, Summer 2010)
The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
“The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon” by Elizabeth Hand (Stories: All New Tales, William Morrow)
“The Sultan of the Clouds” by Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s, September 2010)
“Troika” by Alastair Reynolds (Godlike Machines, Science Fiction Book Club)

Best Novelette
“Eight Miles” by Sean McMullen (Analog, September 2010)
“The Emperor of Mars” by Allen M. Steele (Asimov’s, June 2010)
“The Jaguar House, in Shadow” by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s, July 2010)
“Plus or Minus” by James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s, December 2010)
“That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” by Eric James Stone (Analog, September 2010)

Best Short Story
“Amaryllis” by Carrie Vaughn (Lightspeed, June 2010)
“For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s, September 2010)
“Ponies” by Kij Johnson (Tor.com, November 17, 2010)
“The Things” by Peter Watts (Clarkesworld, January 2010)

Best Related Work
Bearings: Reviews 1997-2001, by Gary K. Wolfe (Beccon)
The Business of Science Fiction: Two Insiders Discuss Writing and Publishing, by Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg (McFarland)
Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea (Mad Norwegian)
Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Volume 1: (1907–1948): Learning Curve, by William H. Patterson, Jr. (Tor)
Writing Excuses, Season 4, by Brandon Sanderson, Jordan Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells

Best Graphic Story
Fables: Witches, written by Bill Willingham; illustrated by Mark Buckingham (Vertigo)
Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
Grandville Mon Amour, by Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse)
Schlock Mercenary: Massively Parallel, written and illustrated by Howard Tayler; colors by Howard Tayler and Travis Walton (Hypernode)
The Unwritten, Volume 2: Inside Man, written by Mike Carey; illustrated by Peter Gross (Vertigo)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, screenplay by Steve Kloves; directed by David Yates (Warner)
How to Train Your Dragon, screenplay by William Davies, Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders; directed by Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders (DreamWorks)
Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Warner)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, screenplay by Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright; directed by Edgar Wright (Universal)
Toy Story 3, screenplay by Michael Arndt; story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich; directed by Lee Unkrich (Pixar/Disney)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
Doctor Who: “A Christmas Carol,” written by Steven Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes (BBC Wales)
Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang,” written by Steven Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes (BBC Wales)
Doctor Who: “Vincent and the Doctor,” written by Richard Curtis; directed by Jonny Campbell (BBC Wales)
Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury, written by Rachel Bloom; directed by Paul Briganti
The Lost Thing, written by Shaun Tan; directed by Andrew Ruhemann and Shaun Tan (Passion Pictures)

Best Editor, Short Form
John Joseph Adams [interview coming later this year on BookBanter]
Stanley Schmidt
Jonathan Strahan
Gordon Van Gelder
Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form
Lou Anders
Ginjer Buchanan
Moshe Feder
Liz Gorinsky
Nick Mamatas
Beth Meacham
Juliet Ulman

Best Professional Artist
Daniel Dos Santos
Bob Eggleton
Stephan Martiniere
John Picacio
Shaun Tan

Best Semiprozine
Clarkesworld, edited by Neil Clarke, Cheryl Morgan, Sean Wallace; podcast directed by Kate Baker
Interzone, edited by Andy Cox
Lightspeed, edited by John Joseph Adams
Locus, edited by Liza Groen Trombi and Kirsten Gong-Wong
Weird Tales, edited by Ann VanderMeer and Stephen H. Segal

Best Fanzine
Banana Wings, edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
Challenger, edited by Guy H. Lillian III
The Drink Tank, edited by Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon
File 770, edited by Mike Glyer
StarShipSofa, edited by Tony C. Smith

Best Fan Writer
James Bacon
Claire Brialey
Christopher J Garcia
James Nicoll
Steven H Silver

Best Fan Artist
Brad W. Foster
Randall Munroe
Maurine Starkey
Steve Stiles
Taral Wayne

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2009 or 2010, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).
Saladin Ahmed
Lauren Beukes
Larry Correia
Lev Grossman
Dan Wells

“The Secret Journeys of Jack London, Book One: The Wild” by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon (HarperCollins, 2011)

Jack London The Wild
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We all know of the incredible writings of Jack London, who brought the wild world of nature to life with such unforgettable books as White Fang and Call of the Wild.  He was a man who embraced nature and respected everything it had to offer, but how did he become this man?

The dynamic writing duo of Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon – who have brought us the entertaining “Hidden Cities” series with The Map of Moments and Mind the Gap – seek to answer this question now with a new series: The Secret Journeys of Jack London.  How did Jack London become the great writer he was?  Through unforgettable experiences, but these stories are the ones he could never quite explain; the ones he could never write about.

In the first book, The Wild, Jack London is a seventeen year-old boy traveling to the frozen wilds of Canada via Alaska, venturing into the dangerous Yukon Territory to play a part in the gold rush.  London quickly makes some new friends who struggle to travel along a wild river with raging rapids and the onset of an early winter, spend their time starving in an isolated cabin, and discover the existence of a gold-planning slave trade.  Then things take a turn for the supernatural and London finds himself on a number of occasions face to face with the fearful Wendigo.

Golden and Lebbon start out a little slow, keeping things normal and adventurous, but then things take a turn for the outright fantastic, with uses folklore and myth.  Readers of any age will be able to identify with this fun-loving, adventurous character who – fantasy elements aside – could well be telling true tales of his possible life.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on April 10, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.