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Blog Posts from January 2023 (8)

Books Received, January 21 — January 27

28 Jan, 2023


The Lost War by Justin Lee Anderson (May 2023)

Justin Lee Anderson’s sensational epic fantasy debut follows an emissary for the king as he gathers a group of strangers and embarks on a dangerous quest across a war-torn land. The war is over, but the beginnings of peace are delicate. Demons continue to burn farmlands, violent mercenaries roam the wilds, and a plague is spreading . The country of Eidyn is on its knees. In a society that fears and shuns him, Aranok is the first mage to be named King’s Envoy. And his latest task is to restore an exiled foreign queen to her throne. The band of allies he assembles each have their own unique skills. But they are strangers to each other, and at every step across the ravaged land, a new threat emerges, lies are revealed, and distrust threatens to destroy everything they are working for. Somehow, Aranok must bring his companions together and uncover the conspiracy that threatens the kingdom — before war returns to the realms again. 

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Books Received, January 14 — January 20

21 Jan, 2023


Tsalmoth by Steven Brust (April 2023

First comes love. Then comes marriage…

Vlad Taltos is in love. With a former assassin who may just be better than he is at the Game. Women like this don’t come along every day and no way is he passing up a sure bet. 

So a wedding is being planned. Along with a shady deal gone wrong and a dead man who owes Vlad money. Setting up the first and trying to deal with the second is bad enough. And then bigger powers decide that Vlad is the perfect patsy to shake the power structure of the kingdom. 

More’s the pity that his soul is sent walkabout to do it. 

How might Vlad get his soul back and have any shot at a happy ending? Well, there’s the tale… 

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Surviving Accolades

18 Jan, 2023


For reasons that are sufficient, tor dot com sometimes passes on my essays. Here is one such rejected work.

Award season is on us once more, and with it a looming need to manage one’s susceptibility to praise. Praise can be intoxicating (and lead to hubris); it can be overwhelming (and lead to anxiety and imposter syndrome). Creatives who find themselves faced with praise may have little preparation for this intoxicating draught. How are you to deal with the possibly horrific consequences of egoboo?

Here are … can you guess the number… five effective methods creatives can use to manage praise.

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Books Received, January 7 — January 13

14 Jan, 2023

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The Water Outlaws by S. L. Huang (June 2023)

Inspired by a classic of martial arts literature, S. L. Huang’s The Water Outlaws are bandits of devastating ruthlessness, unseemly femininity, dangerous philosophies, and ungovernable gender who are ready to make history — or tear it apart.

In the jianghu, you break the law to make it your own.

Lin Chong is an expert arms instructor, training the Emperor’s soldiers in sword and truncheon, battle axe and spear, lance and crossbow. Unlike bolder friends who flirt with challenging the unequal hierarchies and values of Imperial society, she believes in keeping her head down and doing her job. 

Until a powerful man with a vendetta rips that carefully-built life away. 

Disgraced, tattooed as a criminal, and on the run from an Imperial Marshall who will stop at nothing to see her dead, Lin Chong is recruited by the Bandits of Liangshan. Mountain outlaws on the margins of society, the Liangshan Bandits proclaim a belief in justice — for women, for the downtrodden, for progressive thinkers a corrupt Empire would imprison or destroy. They’re also murderers, thieves, smugglers, and cutthroats. 

Apart, they love like demons and fight like tigers. Together, they could bring down an empire. 

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Books Received, January 1 — January 6

7 Jan, 2023


Secondhand Daylight by Eugen Bacon & Andrew Hook (October 2023)

Something is happening to Green. He is an ordinary guy, time-jumping forward at a startling, uncontainable rate. He is grappling to understand his present; his relationship is wholly tattered; his ultimate destination is a colossal question mark. Zada is a scientist in the future. She is mindful of Green’s conundrum and seeks to unravel it by going backwards in time. Can she stop him from jumping to infinity? Their point of intersection is fleeting but memorable, each one’s travel impacting the other’s past or future. And one of them doesn’t even know it yet. Secondhand Daylight is a reverse story in alternate timelines between two protagonists whose lives must one day intersect. A titillating offering from World Fantasy Award-finalist Eugen Bacon, an Otherwise Fellowships honouree for doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction’. In collaboration with three-time British Fantasy Society Award-winner Andrew Hook.

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1 Jan, 2023


Onward into the future! And to start 2023 off on an up note, while I would be more than happy to be a finalist for almost every speculative fiction award this year, please don’t nominate me for a Hugo in 2023

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