“Fables Volume 19: Snow White” by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (Vertigo, 2013)

Fables Volume 19 Snow White

Things are heating up in the various worlds of the fables, and this is what keeps the award-winning comic book series so popular and fun to read: multiple storylines going on in different worlds at the same time; at some point the reader knows they’re probably going to cross paths, but for now he or she is just enjoying the ride.

With two cubs still missing, Bigby and Snow are worried beyond their wits and so it’s up to Bigby to head on out in Rose Red’s blood-fueled sports car along with the help of Stinky. He will not rest until he finds his children safe and sound. Meanwhile, as Snow tries not to panic and lose it, a surprising old friend comes into town, one who is supposedly her husband and begins taking control, imprisoning Snow against her will and looking to sets things back to the way they used to be. And in the distant land of fables, Bufkin and Lily also get up to adventures.

With the beautiful artwork of Mark Buckingham, volume 19 presents another enjoyable chapter in the Fables saga told with skill and designed in that unique Fables way with the ornate borders clueing in the reader to the storyline being dealt with, and whisking them away to the land of the imaginary.

Originally written on February 17, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Fables Volume 19: Snow White from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

You might also like . . .

Fables Werewolves of the Heartland  Fables Cubs in Toyland  Fables Inherit the Wind  Fables Super Team
Rose Red  Fables Witches

“Fables, Volume 18: Cubs in Toyland” by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (Vertigo, 2013)

Fables: Cubs in Toyland

The Fables are back again in a new collected volume and up to plenty of antics.  Willingham is still putting the pieces together for the next big saga of Fables and the blossoming full story isn’t clear yet, but readers are having a lot of fun along the way with the different subplots.  Snow White and Bigby wolf have always known that one of their cubs was destined for a great role, and its seems like it’s been filled when Winter begins training for the role of the North Wind, but each cub has a prophecy and some are fulfilled in this 18th volume, Cubs in Toyland.

Therese is an easily confused child, and when she finds herself a toy boat that talks to her, she is more than gullible.  The cub is led on a journey to a river, where the toy boat enlarges to a real-sized one.  She hops on and is taken across a great ocean through storm and sea until she reaches an island of broken and discarded toys, the misfits of toy society who all have voices and personalities.  They want little in life but to have a new queen to love them.  Therese thinks she might be this person, but soon discovers there is no food on the island, and begins to starve, while the incessant toys turn her into a dark and twisted person as time passes.

Darien is the leader of the pack and has always known he is the hero and must do everything he can, no matter what he takes.  He follows the clues about his missing sister and crosses the great ocean to find this distant land of mutated toys and knows what he must do to save his sister.

Cubs in Toyland is a great stand-alone story of the Fables universe, exploring some of the roles that the cubs of Snow and Bigby are destined to fulfill, pushing and pulling on the emotions of the reader, as they are ultimately just children, even if they are fables.  Included in the collection is the story of Bufkin in the Land of Oz, illustrated by Shaw McManus.

Originally written on February 11, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Fables: Cubs in Toyland from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland” by Bill Willingham, Craig Hamilton and Jim Fern (Vertigo, 2012)

Fables Werewolves of the Heartland

Fables is back once again with its next installment, this time with a standalone graphic novel that has been rumored about for some time, in Werewolves of the Heartland.  Taking a little break from the goings on of Fabletown, The Farm, and the other worlds, we focus on Bigby traveling through America’s heartland.

Bigby Wolf is on a big new mission: to find a new town, a new place to house all the fables in the mundy world, because after everything that’s happened with Fabletown, they can’t stay there much longer.  Traveling through the great state of Iowa, he finds a small quaint place called Story City, what better name for a potential future home for all the fables?  But Bigby detects strange scents on the air, some that are familiar, and others that just don’t seem right.  Cautiously, he ventures into Story City.

The first thing Bigby notices about this town is that all of its inhabitants are werewolves, and what’s more they all seem to know who he is, as well as about his great legacy.  But then he is suddenly imprisoned, and begins to learn that not all are fans of him; some want his hide; some want him dead so that they can gain his powers.  What none of them seem to realize is that Bigby is also the seventh son of the North Wind, and possesses powers they can only imagine.

Werewolves of the Heartland shows Willingham at his best, as he draws you in with interest, and then blows the plot wide open with back story that goes deep into the past when Bigby was fighting in World War II and revealing his forced part in a terrifying Nazi experiment that has now led to the werewolves of Story City.  Readers and fans will not be disappointed.

Originally written on January 7, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Fables, Volume 17: Inherit the Wind” by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham (Vertigo, 2012)

Fables Inherit the Windstarstarstarstar

A new storyline continues in the unique world of Fables, as we focus on our main story at hand: that of Bigby and his family.  The great North Wind was the one to finally slay the seemingly indestructible Mr. Dark, but has paid the ultimate penalty in losing his life.  Now a successor must be chosen to take the throne, and Bigby has renounced all intentions of this, so it will be up to one of his and Snow’s cubs to take the mantle.  The question is which one?  The parents get to watch as their children are subjected to a series of trials and tests by the North Wind’s servants, while the East, West and South winds hungrily watch, looking to seize this power vacuum.

Meanwhile, things continue along in the rest of the world, as Rose Red continues cleaning up and making sure everything is right on the Farm; the monkey Bufkin continues his attack against the new ruler of the Pan Ozian Empire; and deep in the shadows of Castle Dark, Nurse Spratt prepares herself for revenge, awaiting her first victim.

Inherit the Wind continues a number of Fables storylines, keeping readers riveted as to what is happening with some of their favorite characters.  Along with some secondary storylines, it makes for another great collection of entertaining plot and beautiful artwork.

Originally written on October 24, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Fables: Inherit the Wind from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

You might also like . . .

Fables Dark Ages  Fables Crossover  Fables Witches  Fables Rose Red  Fables Superteam

“Fables Volume 15: Rose Red” by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham (Vertigo, 2011)

Rose Red

With the war done and over, the next chapter in the incredible saga of Fables kicks it into high gear under the skilled pen of Bill Willingham and artistic pencil and color of Mark Buckingham as Mr. Dark is finally confronted and a character that has been hiding from the world for some time returns.

Rose Red has shut herself away from everything since Boy Blue died, unable to face her job and role as the one in charge of The Farm.  But now things are going downhill fast, and dissension is growing and getting out control at The Farm, as the natives are getting restless and plots are being hatched and it seems like a coup may be in the works.  With continued visits and visitations from the decapitated pig, Rose Red also receives a visit from her mother and is finally pulled out of whatever dark place that she’s been in, pulls herself together, cleans herself up and addresses everything that’s going on at the farm.  At the same time, readers get to see the story of Rose Red’s and Snow White’s childhood, the good times and bad together, and of course those infamous seven dwarfs.

Meanwhile back at Fabletown, Mr. Dark has his minions and is becoming scarily powerful.  The Fables mount their first attack with magic and witchery from Totenkinder, destroying his zombie followers and finally stopping this creature of nightmare and fear.  Celebrations over this defeat are short lived however, as Mr. Dark breaks free of his supposedly unbreakable bonds and seems little the worse for wear.

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

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

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

“Fables Volume 14 Witches” by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (Vertigo, 2010)

Fables Witches

In the fourteenth volume of the award-winning Fables comic book series, writer Bill Willingham reveals his true intentions with the next important story arc after the great war between the good fables from our world and the evil ones of the Homelands.  What’s left of Fabletown is a destroyed ruin, while its new king and owner, the mysterious and terrifying Mister Dark – the substance of all your nightmares and more – is building his own lair, plotting and planning.  Meanwhile the disowned fables are hanging out at the Farm in Upstate New York, working out what they can possibly do against the powerful and seemingly unstoppable Mister Dark.  The powerful witches of the former 13th Floor are plotting together to stop him, while Frau Totenkinder has an idea up her sleeve and disappears into an unknown place in the Homelands.  And on another story, the now disconnected and lost business office, the giant home to all things fantastic and fable has managed to free the evil witch Baba Yaga, who employees the great genii to help her; it will be up to Bufkin, a flying monkey, to save the day.

Witches pushes this growing story a little further along, adding some new characters and building on some familiar ones, as small, insignificant fables become mighty heroes, while others seem stumped in their current predicament.  Willingham and Buckingham do what they do best, keeping this series fresh and addicting for readers who will be left impatiently awaiting the next collected volume.

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

Originally written on December 22, 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

“Fables Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love” by Chris Roberson and Shawn McManus (Vertigo, 2010)

Fables: Cinderella: From Fabletown with Lovestarstarstar

Chris Roberson, after writing for Jack of Fables in the Fables universe, takes on the enigmatic character of Cinderella in From Fabletown with Love.  Pretty much everyone has an idea in their minds of what Cinderella is really like, how she fell in love with Prince Charming, her Fairy Godmother, amazing dresses and the ball, and living happily ever after.  But for anyone who’s picked up one of the Fables books, you’ll know that the stories of the fairytales and magical creatures we’ve all known about since childhood are quite different, and the supposed “happily ever after” with each story isn’t so much the case.

Turns out once Cinderella got to really know Prince Charming, she discovered he wasn’t such a great guy, and doesn’t seem to care much for Cinderella’s personality.  So these days she spends some of her time working at her store – The Glass Slipper – selling shoes to the fables.  But this is not her real job; Cinderella is in fact an undercover agent, a covert spy.  In From Fabletown with Love, readers get to see the spectrum of Cinderella’s abilities, and it has very little to do with her looks.  Her new case is to find out who’s smuggling fable artifacts out of Fabletown and selling them to mundies (normal people) in the real world.  The mission will take her around our world and into the fable lands, keeping the reader hooked, wanting to know what happens next, and how Cinderella will make it out alive.

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

Originally written on September 29 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

“Peter and Max: A Fables Novel” by Bill Willingham, illustrated by Steve Leialoha (Vertigo, 2009)

Peter & Maxstarstarstarstar

Peter & Max is the first of what will hopefully be a number of spin-off novels from the award-winning comic book series, Fables, created and written by Bill Willingham.  Fables is the incredible story told in pictures and words of the lives of the fables who have been forced out of their home world by the Adversary, as well as a number of monsters and beasts, and now live in our world.  They’ve resided in the grand state of New York for a number of centuries now.  The human-looking, ordinary fables, as well as those who can transform into humans (such as the Big Bad Wolf, Bigby), live in a square block of New York City known as Fabletown.  Protected by wards and spells that keep ordinary humans away, these fables enjoy an average everyday life in this busy city.  For all the animal fables that would cause the average person to run screaming for the hills when said fable started talking to them, they live at the Farm, a large piece of land located in upstate New York.

A lot has happened in the pages of Fables, many battles and wars, and catastrophic events; new fables have been born, while others have died.  But as much as skillful writer Bill Willingham has already told, there is much back story and history that the author has barely hinted at.  Enter Peter & Max, the riveting, fascinating story of Peter Piper and his older brother Max.  The story begins with the discovery that Max is now loose in our world, and it is up to Peter to stop him.  The reader is taken back in time, going through Peter’s and Max’s lives, as Peter becomes close to Little Bo Peep, his future wife, and his skill at playing the pipe.  At a relatively young age they are separated, and while Peter grows to become a skilled and intelligent person, Max is taken under the claws of a wicked witch and taught evil things and evil ways.  In a big showdown, Peter is barely able to best Max who flees to other lands, while Bo Peep is left horribly handicapped.  And now Max is back, in our world, wreaking havoc, and this time Peter will have to end him once and for all.

While Peter & Max isn’t written in quite the same colorful, moving style as the comic book series, Bill Willingham continues to show that he sure knows how to tell a story, keeping the reader hooked from start ‘til finish.  The words are accompanied by some wonderful ink-black illustrations by Steve Leialoha, whether they are single or full double-page spreads, or small depictions on the corner of the page, that continue the mood of a fairytale that you never want to end.  Peter & Max is a necessary addition for any Fables fan looking for something new and different for the series, as well as anyone wanting to discover the series for the first time; the book is a perfect introduction.

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

Originally written on May 3 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

“Fables Volume 13: The Great Fables Crossover” by Bill Willingham, et. al. (Vertigo, 2010)

Great Fables Crossoverstarstarstar

After reading the thirteenth volume in the award winning Fables series, I’m still not that bothered that I haven’t got around to reading the spin-off Jack of Fables series yet, as I still don’t like the guy.

In this new collection, Jack is back and as usual he’s got a problem that he needs someone to help him fix, or more like he needs someone to fix it for him.  Except this problem could unravel the world and reality in the blink of an eye.  New characters like Sam, Gary the Pathetic Fallacy, and the Page Sisters are introduced, as Willingham plays around with writing and stories.

Kevin Thorne is someone with a lot of power: with his quill he can rewrite history and the world to be whatever he wants it to be, except he doesn’t know what to write.  A destroyed, insensible from of himself is always close by – writer’s block: his greatest fear.  Whatever he writes comes true, whether it changes something into something else, or adds something completely new.  Bigby finds this out the hard way, as he finds himself getting turned into a number of different forms.  The question is whether the Fables will be able to get to Kevin Thorne and stop him before the world is completely changed.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on April 14 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.