Saturday 30 May 2009

COMPETITION: Suzanne McLeod


Friend of the blog Suzanne McLeod has asked us let people know about her current competition where you can win some pretty nifty prizes, a signed copy of the forthcoming "Cold Kiss of Death" (by suzanne) along with a copy of one of Carrie Vaughns Kitty series. That is one seriously cool prize. What do you have to do to enter? Tell her about your fav werewolf film. So visit her blog, here and let her know what you think.


Friday 29 May 2009

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: The Centauri Device - M John Harrison


BOOK BLURB:

John Truck was to outward appearances just another lowlife spaceship captain. But he was also the last of the Centaurans, or at least half of him was, which meant that he was the only person who could operate the Centauri Device, a sentient bomb which might hold the key to settling a vicious space war. M. John Harrison's classic novel turns the conventions of space opera on their head, and is written with the precision and brilliance for which is famed.


REVIEW:

Reissued for a new generation, this offering by M John Harrison, whilst dated to a certain degree does contain a suitable amount of irony to keep the modern reader entertained. Its cunningly crafted, its ironic in its look at the genre as a whole but also brings the elements that will keep the modern reader happy with epic space battles along with a realistically dark and dirty universe.

Whilst this isn’t perhaps Harrison’s best work, it is something that proves why he became a name of note and why his earlier titles are being reissued.

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C Clarke


BOOK BLURB:

In the year 2130, a mysterious and apparently untenanted alien spaceship, Rama, enters our solar system. The first product of an alien civilisation to be encountered by man, it reveals a world of technological marvels and an unparalleled artificial ecology. But what is its purpose in 2131? Who is inside it? And why?


REVIEW:

Personally I’m not a devotee to Clarke as I find his writing rather dated for my taste. That said however you really have to hand it to the guy who was one of the forefathers of the sci-fi genre. The book gives you a futuristic adventure as mankind meets an alien civilisation in the far future, its science for the time it was written is probable, the concept behind the tale amazing, however one of the other things that tends to niggle me about Clarke is the lack of character development or even generating a believable protagonist. The book is well written and if you can get past these flaws it’s a tale by a true master.

NEWS: New Dr Who Companion Announced

The BBC announced around a couple of hours ago that Karen Gillan (pictured above) will become Matt Smith's (The new Doctor) companion who originally appeared as a soothsayer in "The Fires of Pompeii."
Currently nothing is known about the character (name included in that.)


"I am absolutely over the moon at being chosen to play the Doctor's new companion," Gillan said. "The show is such a massive phenomenon that I can't quite believe I am going to be a part of it."

The show starts filming in the summer for release in Spring 2010, however don't be downhearted Doctor Fans, David Tennant will be appearing in three more Doctor Who specials that will be on between Autumn and years end along with appearing in two episodes of the childrens spin off The Sarah Jane Adventures. So get those fingers set to record, prepare to hitch a ride, the Doctor is in.


Thursday 28 May 2009

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: The Accord - Keith Brooke


BOOK BLURB:

The Accord, a virtual utopia where the soul lives on after death and your perceptions are bound only by your imagination. This is the setting for a tale of love, murder and revenge that crosses the boundaries between the real world and this virtual reality. When Noah and Priscilla escape into the Accord to flee Priscilla’s murderous husband, he plots to destroy the whole Accord and them with it. In revenge they arrange to have him assassinated but their success comes at the price of giving him the keys to the virtual kingdom. How can they hope to escape their stalker when he can become anything or anyone he desires and where does the pursuit of revenge stop for immortals in an eternal world?


REVIEW:

An absolute corker of a tale that really does get the reader to think and a tale that takes Sci-Fi into a slightly new direction. Brookes “The Accord” is in basis a modern digital retelling of Matheson’s “What Dream’s May Come” and whilst it contains a number of similarities, the author really does make this a tale of their own. Its quirky, it has wonderful characterisation and above all it’s a tale where love is the ultimate goal even if it is digitally and only an imprint of the human psyche. Definitely a tale to savour and whilst the past and the present collide within the context of the tale and the odd character feels a little bit 2 dimensional, it’s the strength of the principle protagonists beliefs as well as desires that will have you routing for the guy who should get the object of his desire.

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Eon - Greg Bear


BOOK BLURB:

Above our planet hangs a hollow Stone, vast as the imagination of Man. The inner dimensions are at odds with the outer: there are different chambers to be breached, some even containing deserted cities. The furthest chamber contains the greatest mystery ever to confront the Stones scientists. But tombstone or milestone, the Stone is not an alien structure: it comes from the future of our humanity. And the war that breaks out on Earth seems to bear witness to the Stone's prowess as oracle . . .


REVIEW:

This is another of Gollancz’s classic reissues and whilst it perhaps doesn’t get the attention of a lot of his other work its definitely one that has set the standards for others to follow in his path. Originally written in 1985 a lot of the historical background make this, in light of circumstances, an alternate history. Well written, classic hard scientific principles and with fully rounded characters you’ll be hard pressed to find books written in the genre that don’t owe a tip of the hat to Bears work. Add to the mix an enigmatic, strong female protagonist and you’ve classic Bear in a nutshell.

Wednesday 27 May 2009

NEWS: Fellow Book Bloggers

Well this might seem a bit of a strange post but theres a number of us bloggers who get together and try to solve the mysteries of the book universe. In fact forget the philosphers stone, we're the philosphers book. LOL

Well every so often we answer questions posed by John Ottinger from Grasp the Wind with the results appearing here. The recent questions was:


Q: There are many well-known authors in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres, usually known because they hit the NYT Bestseller list, or through good marketing. But who are the less well-known authors you have enjoyed that that we should be looking to read, and why?

Have fun checking it out and if theres any questions you'd like us to tackle let me know.

YOUNG ADULT REVIEW: The Ever After & Among the Stars - Jodi Lynn Anderson


BOOK BLURB:

The Ever After
Most people aren't very comfortable hanging around dark forests, but the woods of Briery Swamp suit May Bird down to the ground. There she is safe from school and the taunts of children who don't understand her. Hidden in the trees, May is a warrior princess and her cat, Somber Kitty, is her brave guardian. Then May falls into the lake. When she crawls out, she finds herself in a world few living people have ever seen. Here, towns glow blue beneath zipping stars and the people walk through walls. Here, The Book of The Dead holds the answers to everything in the universe. And here, if May is discovered, the horrifyingly evil Bo Cleevil will turn her into nothing. May Bird must get out. Fast.

Among the Stars
A fearful and fantastic realm located among the stars, the Ever After is a land populated by ghosts and poltergeists, ghouls and goblins. And May Bird is trapped there. If she is ever to find her way out again, she must reach the mysterious lady of North Farm. With her courageous kitty and a ragtag group of spectral friends, May determines to get home. But with danger around every corner, there's no guarantee they'll all make it...


REVIEW:

This is a very strange couple of books but a series that made us think quite deeply about the messages hidden within the books architecture as it promotes loyalty, love and above all a single mindedness to achieve the goal of the principle protagonista. She’s feisty and with the addition of a certain feline the weaknesses of both bring a greater good for all as Jodi proves that a book doesn’t have to be combat driven to achieve a cracking tale. Definitely a series we’ll follow as the quirky heroine is a person to much admire as she gives aid and makes friends as she goes along.

YOUNG ADULT REVIEW: Predators - Lucio Meera Santoro


BOOK BLURB:

Get up close and personal with some of the world's most terrifying and dangerous predators! Amazing 3-D pop-ups swing off the page, bringing to life spiders, polar bears, crocodiles, and more! Filled with interesting facts and vibrant artwork, Predators! takes readers on an interactive and imaginative journey into the wild!

This paper-over-board book has innovative, swinging pop-ups. Packaged in a resealable polybag with sell sheet. Foil-stamping on cover.


REVIEW:

I originally got tuned into this authors work with the wonderful rendition of Peter Pan released last year. When I came across this offering it became a book that I just had to pick up. Whilst only a few pages in all, its art is wonderfully colourful and when you add the popup option available it becomes something quite special and a must for all young wild life fans. Whilst dealing with the harsher side of nature I wouldn’t be surprised if in years to come its nominated as a book that inspired either the next Steve Irwin or David Attenborough. A great offering and one that’s definitely worth its money.

Tuesday 26 May 2009

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: May Contain Traces of Magic - Tom Holt


BOOK BLURB:

There are all kinds of products. The good ones. The bad ones. The ones that stay in the garage mouldering for years until your garden gnome makes a home out of them. Most are harmless if handled properly, even if they do contain traces of peanuts. But some are not. Not the ones that contain traces of magic. Chris Popham wasn't paying enough attention when he talked to his SatNav. Sure, she gave him directions, never backtalked him, and always led him to his next spot on the map with perfect accuracy. She was the best thing in his life. So was it really his fault that he didn't start paying attention when she talked to him? In his defence, that was her job. But when 'Take the next right' turned into 'Excuse me,' that was when the real trouble started. Because sometimes a SatNav isn't a SatNav. Sometimes it's an imprisoned soul trapped inside a metal box that will do anything it can to get free. And some products you just can't return.


REVIEW:

The latest novel from Tom Holt sees a new branch of JWW in this offering that really does keep on ticking the boxes for the reader. Whilst occasionally his writing loses it a bit on subsequent novels featuring the same characters each crisp new adventure really will tick the readers boxes. You want levity? Yep. You want a twisted plot? Yep. You want a believable character who’s about as clued in as you and I? Yep. Definitely a lot of fun and continues the success of others in the series. If you haven’t read The Portable Door then make that your must purchase for next week. You’ll laugh, you’ll route for the hero and above all you’ll become a fan of Tom’s work.

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: The Better Mousetrap - Tom Holt


BOOK BLURB:

It touches all our lives; our triumphs and tragedies, our proudest achievements, our most traumatic disasters. Alloyed of love and fear, death and fire and the inscrutable acts of the gods, insurance is indeed the force that binds the universe together. Hardly surprising, therefore, that Frank Carpenter, one of the foremost magical practitioners of our age, felt himself irresistibly drawn to it. Until, that is, he met Jane, a high-flying corporate heroine with an annoying habit of falling out of trees and getting killed. Repeatedly. It's not long before Frank and Jane find themselves face to face with the greatest enigma of our times: When is a door not a door? When it's a mousetrap.


REVIEW:

If there’s a guy in the market who has done for the Urban fantasy what Terry Prachett has for Fantasy then its Tom Holt, his writing is not only humerous but also full of great characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. Each has their own quirks and goals along with a vulnerability that really does appeal to the reader. Its good fun, its an adventure on its own and Tom is always top of my reading pile when he lands as the pure escapism within just keeps you glued to the last page.

Monday 25 May 2009

NEWS: Rainbow Stars Speak out in No Hold Barred Book

Not many have heard but we thought that we'd best bring this to you now:

The Stars of Rainbow are about to come clean and tell their story to Tim Randall.


For over twenty years Zippy, George and Bungle were the biggest stars on children's television, inspiring a whole generation of adoring fans. But behind the smiles and the brightly coloured fur, all was not what it seemed in the Rainbow house. Having spent the last seventeen years refusing approaches from publishers to tell their story, the squabbling stars have agreed -- thanks to some serious financial inducements and a clause insisting they don't have to spend more than three hours in the same room together -- to talk to journalist Tim Randall about the highs and lows and the heartbreaks they have endured. From their humble beginnings to international stardom, via the wilderness years, this is Zippy, George and Bungle's fascinating autobiography. Here, for the very first time, is the inside story of what really happened at the beginning, middle and end of their Rainbow.

This book will be arriving in the shops in October 09 from Headline Publishing.

ART BOOK REVIEW: Creature Features: Randy Martinez


BOOK BLURB:

This work allows you to enjoy creating monsters, aliens and supernatural beings from start to finish - including body parts and details. It is loaded with step-by-step demos, tips, techniques and great art from a professional in the entertainment field. In this work, readers are shown how to draw over 35 creatures with final images in colour, including specific attributes such as faces, hands, eyes and other body parts; as well as various types of costumes and accessories.


REVIEW:

If there’s one thing that’s as iconic as the film industry to a young mind it’s the sight of a good monster. Whether it’s the creatures from the 1950’s B Movies such as your first look at Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolfman or Dracula from behind the sofa or whether it’s the mischievous Gremlins from the 1984 film of the same name or from the Bill Shatner Twilight Zone (Season 5, Episode 123, Nightmare at 20,000 feet originally aired in October 1963.)

Every child’s book and imagination is fired by these creatures that we love to fear, so its with an interested look that we arrived at this book by Randy Martinez on how to create the creatures for the graphic novel market. He doesn’t talk down to the reader, he keeps it on an easily understood level and has practical advice backed up with demonstrations that will soon have your own little monster (or perhaps your inner monster) scribbling away adding fuel to the imagination with the wide variety of creatures out there. Its fun, it’s practical and has tips for artists of all ages. Above all it’s a book that will become your reference guide whether it’s for the creation of creature feature monsters or just for general tips on every day artistic creations such as fur. It will soon have you giggling like a mad scientist and paraphrasing Victor Frankenstein… “ITS ALIVE!”

ART BOOK REVIEW: Fairy Art: David Adams


BOOK BLURB:

Paint fairies in acrylic with this instructive book on every aspect of these magical creatures and their worlds. This comprehensive guide covers the basic supplies needed, colour theory, anatomy details, wings, poses, flowers, trees, butterflies, water and more. With over 25 step-by-step demonstrations, readers will learn how to paint everything from the smallest detail of the fairy to complete scenes.


REVIEW:

If theres one thing that’s guaranteed to come up within the fantasy artists world, its having to create mystical winged humanoids, or to put it another way, a fairy. Figuring out the logistics for many is a nightmare leaving many intrepid artists either quaking in their boots at how to accomplish the beings or scratching their heads and trying to figure it out from what’s come before.

Within this book, the magical world of the fae steps from the pages within, accompanied by a reference guide for the artist in general that gives not only sound advice that have been learned after many years trials and errors by a master but also helps to bolster the novice’s confidence as they tackle these creatures. Add to the mix colour palettes tips, a guide to basic colour principles along with picture composition and depth perception and it’s a very nice book all round as well as giving advice for tackling other artistic projects.

Whilst in more modern times a number of artists have gone the raunchier route for these mischievous sprites, its was with relief that David Adams presented them in practical and beautifully composed scenes (such as flowered landscapes or settling in a bramble bush with a bird looking on.) Which allowed the viewer the chance to believe that there really are fairy’s awaiting our discovery in a Spiderwick environment

INTERVIEW: Joseph D'Lacey

Deciding to become an author in his twenties it took Joseph sometime to find his niche and then to make his mark upon it. Renowned currently for his bloody and shock style of horror storytelling (although at times perhaps best described as avant-garde horror) its now that he's begun to carve his own niche.

With his first novel, Meat being published in four other languages and having just undergone the movie scriptwriting process we thought that it was probably high time that we chatted to this mysterious author who shun's from camera's. (Pic kindly provided by representative of Horror Reanimated who are currently MIA. In unrelated news Joseph seems to be having a few barbeques these days invited all and sundry round for his burgers.)


FALCATA TIMES: Writing is said to be something that people are afflicted with rather than gifted and that it's something you have to do rather than want. What is your opinion of this statement and how true is it to you?

JOSEPH D'LACEY: I see it as a gift, something I was made to do. Sure, at times it’s hard and there are days when you hate everything on the page but the satisfaction far outweighs the frustration. It’s a lot like love – it hurts at the same time as feeling good.


FT: When did you realise that you wanted to be a writer?

JD'L: I was always a writer, always had that interest and ability, always loved books. However, the decision to try and make it my life’s work came about in my late twenties. It feels like a vocation now.


FT: It is often said that if you can write a short story you can write anything. How true do you think this is and what have you written that either proves or disproves this POV?

JD'L: That’s a toughie. I’d agree the discipline and craft required for short fiction are invaluable tools for writing full-length work. But there are short story writers who can’t write novels and others who may not even want to.

My experience was a progression from poetry to short stories to novels. It was all about allowing myself to grow naturally into longer forms. When you start out, a novel is a daunting prospect but once you’ve completed some short works and maybe a novella or two, the confidence to take on and finish a novel has grown.

I placed the very first short story I wrote. And yet it was my sixth novel that was first to be published. So there’s the proof and the anti-proof all wrapped up together!


FT: If someone were to enter a bookshop, how would you persuade them to try your novel over someone else's and how would you define it?

JD'L: When people come into a bookshop where I’m signing, I don’t sit behind the table. I wander around grabbing customers in the Fantasy, Sci-fi and Horror section and chatting to them about what they like. When I know what they like, I tell them the ways in which my book is similar. You’d be surprised how often this leads to a sale when you offer the added incentive of a personalised dedication!

In the case of MEAT and Garbage Man, I tell them it’s horror with a conscience – entertainment with social relevance. People are calling it Eco-Horror.


FT: How would you "sell" your book in 20 words or less?

JD'L: It’s the tale of an apocalypse, triggered by our abuse of the land. It’s got zombies in it.


FT: Who is a must have on your bookshelf and whose latest release will find you on the bookshops doorstep waiting for it to open?

JD'L: I don’t have the time to read in that way. I try to read as far and as widely as I can in as many genres as possible – always looking for what gives the deepest satisfaction. Yes, I do like bizarre or skewed themes. Authors I’ve particularly enjoyed in the last few years have been Margaret Atwood, Cormac McCarthy, DBC Pierre and David Mitchell. For a horror writer, I don’t read anything like enough horror.


FT: When you sit down and write do you know how the story will end or do you just let the pen take you? ie Do you develop character profiles and outlines for your novels before writing them or do you let your idea's develop as you write?

JD'L: I write novels the way a blind man in a field looks for the coin he dropped. Research, yes – if require
d – but planning is very low on my list of priorities. At the top is turning up and writing something.


FT: What do you do to relax and what have you read recently?

JD'L: I like to walk or be outside. I like to drink many kinds of beer. I find cooking very satisfying. Very occasionally, I smoke a fat Cuban cigar. Yoga and meditation prevent me from going insane, as does playing with our ten-month-old daughter.


FT: What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?

JD'L: Afternoon naps. Well, naps at any time of the day, really!


FT: Lots of writers tend to have pets. What do you have and what are their key traits (and do they appear in your novel in certain character attributes?)

JD'L: I love animals and domestic pets. There have been animals around me all my life but we don’t have any at the moment. I sometimes write cats into stories of the supernatural – they belong there, don’t they? I plan to keep chickens and goats. Possibly a pig or two. Rabbits, ducks and doves would be
nice and a couple of dogs and cats. First we need a place where they can all roam around…


FT: Which character within your latest book was the most fun to write and why?

JD'L: The most fun was probably Ray Wade – a total pot-head who loves playing video games. I wrote part of his story inside his favourite console game (the fictional Revenant Apocalypse) in the first person because the game is a first-person action/adventure.


FT: How similar to your principle protagonist are you?

JD'L: Mason Brand is my insane twin brother. Too weirdly broad-minded for his own good, just like me.


FT: What hobbies do you have and how do they influence your work?

JD'L: Well there’s the outdoors and spending time in nature which is obvious in Garbage Man. Meditation and martial arts appeared in MEAT and I’d love to do some kind of fantasy martial arts quest novel at some point – just for fun. Some of my villains smoke cigars…


FT: Where do you get your idea's from?

JD'L: I buy them from www.billion_dollar_ideas.com – Short story ideas; a pound a go. Novel ideas; a tenner each. What a bargain. And it saves me being assailed by inspiration at all hours of the day and night…


FT: Do you ever encounter writers block and if so how do you overcome it?

JD'L: Yes. All the time. I usually try to write something I wasn’t expecting to write about and once I’ve tricked myself into starting, it’s too late to stop!


FT: Certain authors are renowned for writing at what many would call uncivilised times. When do you write and how do the others in your household feel about it?

JD'L: I write in the morning usually – it’s my best and most alert time. Occasionally, I am struck by an idea at 3am and if I can’t get back to sleep for thinking about it I’ll get up and write it out. No one complains. We’re up at all hours with the baby anyway and my wife is always happy to know I’m working on something.


FT: Sometimes pieces of music seem to influence certain scenes within novels, do you have a soundtrack for your tale or is it a case of writing in silence with perhaps the odd musical break in-between scenes?

JD'L: I haven’t tried writing to music but I know many writers who do. I suppose I need the silence in order to begin – at least, I think I do. That said, I’d love to come up with a soundtrack to the film adaptations when the time comes


FT: What misconceptions, if any, did you have about the writing and publishing field when you were first getting started?

JD'L: I was a huge, walking misconception and, in many ways, I still am. However, a great deal of people in the business, who think they know how it works, don’t. I rarely ask or take advice and hardly ever listen to ‘the experts’. Everything I’ve achieved has been against the accepted wisdom available to new writers and I did far better without an agent than I did with one. That said, there have been a very few sagely old hands who have given me essential help along the way. The important thing is to always come back to the knowledge that you love what you do. The business side will follow if it’s meant to.


FT: If music be the food of love, what do you think writing is and please explain your answer?

JD'L: Writing is the pus in the wound. Let it out and you will be healed.


FT: What can you tell us about the next novel?

JD'L: The Kill Crew (August 10th from Stone Garden Publishing) is a survival horror tale set post-apocalypse. It follows a couple hundred survivors barricaded into a single city block. Each night a lottery chooses the seven members of an extermination squad who leave the safety of the barricades and wipe out the ‘changed’ inhabitants of the city. It’s unusual in that it is a female lead written in the first person.


FT: What are the last five internet sites that you've visited?

JD'L: Horror Mall’s The Haunt, Horror Reanimated, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Masters of Horror.


FT: Did you ever take any writing classes or specific instructions to learn the craft? If so please let us know which ones.

JD'L: I’ve read books, attended evening classes, done correspondence courses, joined online writing communities and tried every exercise or technique I came across. There are way too many to mention them all but I’d always cite Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ as one of the most inspiring how-to books yet written.


FT: How did you get p
ast the initial barriers of criticism and rejection?

JD'L: I haven’t! I still feel bruised after a bad review and if editorial criticism is too damning I find it difficult to deal with. I’m learning to sift the wisdom from the nonsense and act accordingly on good advice. It’s a long, slow process!


FT: In your opinion, what are the best and worst aspects of writing for a living?

JD'L: The best is writing whatever I want in any way I want and discovering people actually enjoy reading it. The worst is not knowing if I’ll ever make any kind of living at it.



Falcata Times review of Garbage Man will be appearing shortly.

Friday 22 May 2009

FANTASY REVIEW: Felix and Gotrek Day - William King and Nathan Long



BOOK BLURB:
Gotrek and Felix Omnibus 1
Trollslayer
After fleeing the authorities in the Imperial city of Altdorf, writer Felix Jaeger swears a drunken oath to the dwarf Gotrek Gurnisson to record his death saga. In the cold light of day, Felix’s worst fears are confirmed as he learns that Gotrek is a Trollslayer. Their travels throw them into a string of extraordinary adventures as Felix tries to survive his companion’s destiny.


REVIEW:
Well if your a fan of the Black Library Warhammer world then the odds are you pretty much know the two principle protagonists either through their epic death quest (or rather Gotrek's Epic Death Quest, Felix is hoping to live through it) or from thier table top excursions from the Warhammer Fantasy Battle game. Here is the first book that features the two in a series of short stories that was to become thier humble beginnings. Definitely worth a read and with the short tales an easy to digest way to get into the series. Cracking stuff and great fun.

Skavenslayer
Set deep in the tunnels beneath the great city of Nuln, a dark evil has been unveiled. The foul skaven ratmen
will stop at nothing to bring chaos to the world above and fulfill the prophecies of their dark god. Having enlisted as sewer–jacks in the vain hope of keeping a low profile, Gotrek and Felix find themselves thrust into the thick of the action as they battle to foil the skaven’s dark schemes.

REVIEW:

Another series of short stories featuring the double team of Felix Jaeger and Gotrek Gurnisson as they take on the might of the underempire of the Ratmen, who lead by their Grey Seer Thanquol (soon to have his own epic tale or Tail perhaps) seek the demise of the duo in any which way they can. Its fun, its got politics, it double deals and theres a great deal of the arterial stuff flowing as the slayers axe continues in its unquenchable thirst. Great stuff.

Daemonslayer
Gotrek & Felix join an expedition northwards to search for the long–lost dwarf hall of Karag Dum. Brand new edition with a stunning new cover.

REVIEW:
The Third tale in the escapades of the duo and for the first time a complete story in one rather than a series of individual tales. It a
lso brings a host of unforgetable characters such as Malakai Makaisson and Snori Nosebiter (both Slayers themselves) as they journey to the Chaos Wastes to obtain fabulous Dwarven treasures from the hold of Karag Dum. What follows is a tale where the Skaven, chaos beasts and the slayers colide in an epic battle that more than one will come to regret and makes this the first full novel that really made the fans sit up and pay attention to the duo.

Gotrek and Felix Omnibus 2
Dragonslayer
Gotrek & Felix
are back aboard an arcane dwarf airship in search of a horde of gold – and its deadly guardian. Brand new edition with a stunning new cover.

REVIEW:

Fresh from the Chaos wastes the duo seek to aid in the slaying of the might dragon Skjalandir who has awoken from his long slumber. Adding against the odds include the Orc's lead by Ugrek Manflayer and also Thanquol who continues to plot the duo's downfall. Add to the mix a touch of gold greed, doubting alternate heroes and a lovestory all into the mix and you've got a tale that will enthuse as well as take the reader on a journey of adventure worthy of the Slayer and his poet.

Beastslayer
Storm clouds gather over the icy city of Praag as Gotrek & Felix stand against the raveging hordes of Chaos.

REVIEW:
The chaos horde awaits the epic duo this time along with the Ice Queen, Katarina. An epic struggle ensues not just within the battle sequences but for the heart of the fair Ulrika between Felix and Max Schreiber the mighty battle wizard. Add to the mix a touch of the luckless Grey Seer Thanquol who has now been turned upon by his minion Lurk (who's built up his own army) and you have a story where worlds are set to collide and each character must fight for thier very soul.

Vampireslayer
Gotrek & Felix batt
le an ancient evil in darkest Sylvania. Failure could mean a new age of darkness throughout the Old World.

REVIEW:
After dealing with the chaos horde and dark times are upon the city of Praag, the duo now have to face the undead as corpses drained of blood begin to appear on the city streets. Its touch and go as the duo set off to di
scover the cause which becomes an epic personal quest for Felix after the kidnapping of his love Ulrika by the very fiend that theyre seeking. A worthy tale and one that conjured up great enjoyment as the duo really do, what they do best.


Gotrek and Felix Omnibus 3
Giantslayer
As the darkness gathers over the isle of Albion, foul creatures stalk the lands and the omens tell of a coming powerful enemy. Gotrek and Felix are compelled to fight the evil that terrorises the people before it can grow to threaten the whole world. With the aid of the high elf mage, Teclis, they must decipher and use the secrets of the Old Ones. Only then can they hope to vanquish the dark master.

REVIEW:
Things have gone awry in the Warhammer world with each good race of the old world noticing that things have gone a bit pear shaped. Investigating the Chaos Sorcerers who last appeared in Beastslayer, Gotrek and Felix find themselves drawn into an epic struggle far beyond thier heads as another of the Warhammer worlds most famous wizards makes an ap
pearance, that of Teclis. United by a common bond and fighting the ancient hatred that flows through thier veins Gotrek and Teclis seek to put right what went wrong as an ancient evil is awoken by the chaos sorcerers seeking to undo what the ancients put in place. An epic worthy of investing in as the tale really will appeal to fans of Warhammer the world over.

Orcslayer

Gotrek & Felix arrive back to the southern coast of the Old World to discover that the orcs are running rampant. With the Empire’s armies desperately fighting off a major Chaos invasion further inland, the lands are laid bare. To honour an ancient pledge, Gotrek agrees to help a dwarf prince reclaim his hold from the savage greenskin invaders who have overrun it, but the intrepid heroes find more than they bargain for in the cold depths of the mountains.

REVIEW:

Back in the old world after their last excursion into the mist enshrouded world of Albion, Gotrek and Felix are back where a Dwarf loves to be, fighting the Greenskins in a battle set to light the world as an oath made long ago, returns to haunt the slayer. What makes this tale really enchanting is the way that the reader gets some backstory on Gotrek which makes him all the more mysterious and thus more of an enigma. Cracking stuff.

Manslayer
More rollicking adventure featuring the Black Library’s favourite fantasy duo.

Now back in t
he Empire following their sojourn overseas, Gotrek and Felix head north, to aid the men of the Empire in their fight against the invading Chaos hordes. Stopping off in Nuln, they meet up with dwarf engineer Malakai Makaisson, who is helping the Imperial war effort by transporting cannons to the frontline on his airship, the Spirit of Grugni. After a series of nasty accidents, it becomes clear that saboteurs are at work – can our heroes find the villains in time to save the day?

Nathan Long follows the huge success of Orcslayer with another action–packed instalment!

“Stand back, manling. This one’s mine…”

REVIEW:
The continuing saga of the Warhammer worlds most prolific characters, the Slayer Gotrek Gurnisson and his "Rememberer" Felix Jager. Highly inventive and the fact that Nathan has taken over from Bill King really doesn't show in the writing style. The characters have remained the same, their speech always flowing well and the epic adventure contained within each novel will keep the reader glued to the very last page. The fact that their major adversary is still running (or should that be skittering) along really does aid and keep the reader more than happy a
llowing us all to see that the world to which these characters inhabit is not only deadly but that theres no such thing as a guaranteed outcome.


Unomnibussed
Elfslayer
Dwarf Trollslayer Gotrek and his human companion Felix Jaeger, Warhammer’s most famous pair of heroes, head off to a new adventure in the latest novel of this best–selling fantasy series.

Gotrek and Felix reluctantly travel to Marienburg to fulfil a last request from Felix’s dying Father, however a chance meeting with their old acquaintance Max Schreiber sends them in a different direction entirely and right into the heart of danger. The Imperial wizard has been sent north to investigate some disturbing magical phenomena off the northern coast of the Empire. Pretty soon, the heroic duo and their companions find themselves caught up in a new adventure, fighting for their lives against the dark elves!

REVIEW:

There aren't many fans of the Warhammer world that don't know of the exploits of Felix and Gotrek that's been thrilling fans since its original release in 1999 (although the tales that appear in Trollslayer were released in the 80's). If you haven't heard of the duo then Gotrek is the biggest failure as a Slayer known to the dwarves (basically because he's still breathing) who has battled everything from Trolls to Daemons, the Greenskins to Undead along with Dark Elves and Dragonkind. Here in their latest adventure (written by Nathan Long) they fight the Dark Elves who seek to retrieve one of the lost treasures of the elves and bring about the fall of the world. Wonderfully written with cracking dialogue it shows that whilst Nathan is relatively new to the characters, he has a made them his own bringing them to a new generation. As usual with Nathan's writing, its bolshy, its combat packed and above all it's a gripping ride to the last page.


SNEAKY PEAK:
And now a chance to glimpse at the next novel in the series, that of Shamanslayer, so heres the book p0rn to assail your senses with. Astute readers will also know that there is an audio novel for the series entitled Slayer of the Storm God. Since thats not part of the written series it has currently been ignored from this series of reviews.

Thursday 21 May 2009

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: The Stranger - Max Frei


BOOK BLURB:

The millions-selling fantasy epic of the new Russian literary icon-a freeloading freebooter who finds a new home in a magical world

"You never know when you'll luck out."

Max Frei's novels have been a literary sensation in Russia since their debut in 1996, and have swept the fantasy world over. Presented here in English for the first time, The Stranger will strike a chord with readers of all stripes. Part fantasy, part horror, part philosophy, part dark comedy, the writing is united by a sharp wit and a web of clues that will open up the imagination of every reader.

Max Frei was a twenty-something loser-a big sleeper (that is, during the day; at night he can't sleep a wink), a hardened smoker, and an uncomplicated glutton and loafer. But then he got lucky. He contacts a parallel world in his dreams, where magic is a daily practice. Once a social outcast, he's now known in his new world as the "unequalled Sir Max." He's a member of the Department of Absolute Order, formed by a species of enchanted secret agents; his job is to solve cases more extravagant and unreal than one could imagine-a journey that will take Max down the winding paths of this strange and unhinged universe.


REVIEW:

To be honest I found this to be a bit of a strange book, part Alice through the Looking Glass, part pulp noir yet add to the mix a healthy touch of the fantastical and you’ve got a novel that will take more than one reread to pick up on all the nuances within.

Part of the problem with certain texts is that the language doesn’t translate too well from its original, yet here, in this lovingly put together English edition the novel is really fascinating, the protagonist guiding the reader through this strange world by the hand as he tries to find his own place within. Its fun, its quirky and it clearly has a lot of world building added. Definitely an author to watch and with other books in the series to come (already released in Russia) I get the feeling that the underlying arc is going to present something spectacular by the series end.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

FANTASY REVIEW: Necroscope: Harry and the Pirates - Brian Lumley


BOOK BLURB:

Harry Keogh makes his long-awaited return as the Necroscope in these two novella length stories. Set during the fan-favourite Lost Years era of Keogh's career, these tales see the Necropscope do battle with horrors both real and imagined, eternal and ethereal. In For The Dead Travel Slowly, Harry Keogh's encounter with an old school friend leads to a fight for his very soul against an ancient evil lurking in the woods. Harry and the Pirates finds the Necroscope hearing the confession of a long-dead pirate but is all as it seems or is Harry being taken for a fool?


REVIEW:

If you’ve followed Harry through all his struggles this might be a little bit of a disappointment as three of the six stories presented within this novel have previously been published. That said however, I hadn’t read them before so I was lucky with this release landing at a time when I’d only really just gotten round to searching for other tales by Brian on a recommendation of a friend. Its good fun, the character a full rounded identifiable person and above all doing what’s right regardless of the cost. Add to the mix pyrrhic victories, cracking adventure and above all an author who can please his audience and you really have something that will please the fan’s.

FANTASY REVIEW: The Born Queen - Greg Keyes


BOOK BLURB:

War is coming. With the usurper Robert Dare having fled, Princess Anne has finally ascended to the throne to the Kingdom of Crotheny, but it may already be too late to stop the approaching destruction. Dark monstrosities prowl the countryside, and as the holter Asper soon discovers, the Sedos power that granted humanity its freedom may now be responsible for the corruption that will eventually destroy it. As the combined forces of Hansa and the Holy Church mass against the Queen they claim to be an unnatural shinecrafter, Anne's mother Muriele sets out on an embassy of peace to Hansa, accompanied by the knight Sir Neil MeqVren.But, there is more to Muriele's mission than first appears, a fact that puts both of them at the mercy of Hansa's unstable king, and the unkillable Robert Dare. The world has been poisoned, and only the one who gains control of the legendary Sedos Throne can heal it. Anne knows that it must be her, but as she embraces her powers, and the violent impulses they bring, she finds herself changing. Only she can stand against the forces that threaten Crotheny, but the cost of her victory may be too great for the world to bear...


REVIEW:

If I'm going to be blunt here I do feel that the last part in Greg's series was a let down. After building up the series over the past three books, this final instalment was not only rushed but seemed to try and tie itself up with a nice big bow and as such it really didn't work for me. I'd have rather heard that the series was going to carry on for another couple of instalments and had the tale eek itself out a bit further to allow for character growth along with allowing the plot to develop further rather than the rushed version we seem to have here. It's a great shame as to be honest it's a series I've enjoyed but to lose it all after such careful painstaking world left me feeling that either the author had grown bored with the world or was just hurrying to fulfil his contract.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Shadow of the Scorpion - Neal Asher


BOOK BLURB:

Raised to adulthood during the end of the war between the human Polity and the vicious arthropoid race, the Prador, Ian Cormac is haunted by childhood memories of a sinister scorpion-shaped war drone and the burden of losses he doesn't remember. In the years following the war, he signs up with Earth Central Security, and is sent out to help either restore or simply maintain order on worlds devastated by Prador bombardment. There he discovers that though the old enemy remains as murderous as ever, it is not anywhere near as perfidious or dangerous as some of his fellow humans, some of them closer to him than he would like. Amidst the ruins left by wartime genocides, he discovers in himself a cold capacity for violence, learns some horrible truths about his own past and, set upon a course of vengeance, tries merely to stay alive.


REVIEW:

Whilst a huge fan of Neal’s work usually, I always have a niggle when an author writes a prequel. Why? Basically its because you know that the central character is in no danger as s/he, has to be alright for the rest of the series to continue. It really does niggle me as it takes a lot of the drama out of the tale. Don’t get me wrong, its what you’d come to expect from Neal’s work, epic battles, snappy writing, all wrapped up in a neat package but without the suspense about the characters survivability it lacks a lot in the telling for me. Still solid reading and perhaps a book to give to the uninitiated for his writing as an introduction to what is to come.

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Line War - Neal Asher


BOOK BLURB:

The Polity is under attack from a 'melded' AI entity with control of the lethal Jain technology, yet the attack seems to have no coherence. When one of Erebus' worm ships kills millions on the world of Klurhammon, a high-tech agricultural world of no real tactical significance, agent Ian Cormac is sent to investigate, though he is secretly struggling to control a new ability no human being should possess...and beginning to question the motives of his AI masters.Further attacks and seemingly indiscriminate slaughter ensue, but only serve to bring some of the most dangerous individuals in the Polity into the war. Mr Crane, the indefatigable brass killing machine sets out for vengeance, while Orlandine, a vastly-augmented haiman who herself controls Jain technology, seeks a weapon of appalling power and finds allies from an ancient war. Meanwhile Mika, scientist and Dragon expert, is again kidnapped by that unfathomable alien entity and dragged into the heart of things: to wake the makers of Jain technology from their five-million-year slumber. But Erebus' attacks are not so indiscriminate, after all, and could very well herald the end of the Polity itself...


REVIEW:

As regular readers know I’ve been a big fan of Neal’s work for quite some time. Its gripping, its action packed and above all you get value for money as it’s a guaranteed quality. The writing is crisp, the characters are solid with continual development as an added bonus. Part of the fun with Neal’s writing is the fact that you know that his characters really aren’t that predictable, they do things that they want to do when they want to do it and of course, how they decide to tackle it. It’s a real guessing game from page to page as to the events. Add to the mix epic space battles and you really have a book that should tick all the boxes for a lot of Sci-Fi readers.

Monday 18 May 2009

YOUNG ADULT REVIEW: Dragon Orb: Longfang - Mark Robson


BOOK BLURB:

Dragons in Areth each have a single predestined rider and life mission, given to them by the Oracle. Kira and her dusk dragon, Longfang, must find the third orb to save the Oracle, leader of all dragonkind. Following a path beset with dangers and traps, the four dragonriders must reach the twilight world of the Castle of Shadows. Kira knows enough to be anxious. What twisted sacrifice will this orb demand?


REVIEW:

If you have been following the exploits of this intrepid crew of Dragon Riders as they seek to fulfil their life mission then you will of course by now have eagerly devoured this novel. As with the others its got cracking character portrayal with the dragons intellect and ability complimenting their riders in a beautiful symbiotic relationship.

Lovingly crafted, this third book in the series sets up the forth and final part for an epic conclusion as the characters question the goals of their mission due to the evils of the orbs requested by the oracle. Will the young questor’s succeed or will their enemy, the overlord of the night dragon conclave succeed in foiling this quest as he has done with others? How will this series end?

We don’t know but one thing we do is that when that final part lands it won’t be on the TBR pile, it’ll be started within the hour as to you really can’t beat this series for the thrills, the spills and above all the way that the author has woven the tale with cunning traps along with puzzles.

If you want a series to introduce a young reader to the wonder world of fantasy, then this is the one for you, however don’t make the mistake of jumping into this series at this point, get the whole lot from book one and you’ll see your young reader grow and devour these books with relish.

YOUNG ADULT REVIEW: Monster Blood 2: Lamplighter - DM Cornish


BOOK BLURB:

Rossamund Bookchild has successfully negotiated the treacherous route to High Vesting. But even within the sturdy walls of the great city, he is far from safe. For the path to becoming a Lamplighter is fraught with dangers - and not just from the dread monsters who lurk in the wilds. Rossamund will need all his wits to survive his training. And he must watch his back too, for enemies from his past are never far behind. Stunning in scope and rich in detail, alive with memorable heroes and villains and brimming with new and original science and magics, D.M. Cornish's tale of scolds, scourges, smugglers and shrewds will thrill and captivate, and leave the reader desperate for more.


REVIEW:

Originally, when this tale landed, the first thing I noted was that this was a second book in the series. Generally, I’m quite loathed to start a tale part way through as you generally have missed a lot of the world building along with the opportunity to get to know the principle protagonist in the way that other readers have. So at a bit of a loss as to what to do I promised myself that I’d read the first 50 pages and see where it took me. If I didn’t like it, I’d put it down and leave it until I obtained the first book (if there was promise) or forever condemn it to purgatory on my own Hell Shelf (jokingly called so as the lowest levels are reserved for books that should never see the light of day again) if I really didn’t rate it.

What unfurled really demonstrated that I have to now get the original. Not that you can’t read this tale without having enjoyed the first instalment, you can, but because the world building, along with the protagonist and the myriad of other cast members is so beautifully sculpted you just can’t help to fall in love with all of them. Special note here to Mr Numps who’s a firm personal favourite whilst the stories villains also deserve note, in this case the Master of Clerks whose personal goals are well performed chess moves worthy of any true villain. It’s wonderfully constructed. It’s a cracking story but above all it’s world building at its best demonstrating a quality that makes this an absolute must read. It might appear a bit thick for the normal YA out there but at the end of the day you really don’t notice it especially with all the additional goodies contained in the appendices.

Sunday 17 May 2009

COMPETITION AND AUTHOR PALOOZA: Tim Lebbon

Well, your probably wondering whats happening but we're part of the Tim Lebbon Blog tour, yep, the author equivalent of a cyber tour so that readers and fans can chase around the web to find out whats what about one of their fav authors along with a chance for new people to give him a go.

So here, as part of his tour, we're including not only some exclusive content but also make sure that you get the full short story by letting you know where else he's appearing.


Stop One: My Favourite Books
Stop Two: Allison and Busby (his UK Publisher)
Stop Three: Highlanders Book Blog
Stop Four: Our Linky
Stop Five: Speculative Horizons (This is Tim's Last part of his exclusive Blog story that will be appearing on May 20th.)

Other stops on the tour that don't include the short story are:
Stop Six: Fantasy Book Spot (23rd May)
Stop Seven: Graemes Fantasy Book Review (25th May)
Stop Eight: Mystery Blog as yet Unknown (27th May)
Stop Nine: SFX Blog (1st June)

READ THIS WHOLE PARAGRAPH BEFORE CLICKING ON THE LINKY CONTAINED WITHIN...
And last but by no means least, your chance to get a signed copy of Tim's brand spanking new novel, The Island. What you'll need to do is follow the link and include our secret password. What is it? Shhhh be vewy, vewy quiet we don't want everyone hearing this, its: RHIANA. Also if you go to the other links, they'll also have a password for you to enter so you might be able to get some additional entries for this beautiful prize, we covets it already.

INTERVIEW: Tim Lebbon

As a young lad, Tim has always wanted to be a write and when at the age of 9 he finished his first story he knew then that it was going to be his ideal career. After a few teenage years of starting and stopping numerous tales it wasn't until he was 20 that he finished his first horror story "Black Heart", that according to rumour is getting up the energy to manifest itself from within its hidden draw. Yet publishing was to call (Psychotrope (an independent UK Magazine) with his first published novel in 1997 by Tanjen (Mesmer.)

Now, after thirty books published in the UK and US, we thought that we'd best have a word with him to see what makes him tick, what influences his work and above all how a Brit survives abroad whilst a relatively unknown in his homeland...

Falcata Times: Writing is said to be something that people are afflicted with rather than gifted and that it's something you have to do rather than want. What is your opinion of this statement and how true is it to you?

Tim Lebbon: There are people I know who have to write every single day. I'm not one of those writers who goes insane if I can't get to the keyboard for a day or two ... but writing is definitely an important part of my life. If I'm not actually sitting down working, things are always still ticking over in my head. It can sometimes be distracting – I'll be reading, or watching a movie, and suddenly a plot point in one of my latest projects will resolve itself and I'll have to take notes (I'm notoriously forgetful – the amount of times I've woken up and thought, Damn, what was that fantastic, earth-shattering idea I had just when I was falling asleep last night?). So yes, I'm compelled to write because it's a part of who I am, but I certainly don't see it as an affliction, any more than having to breathe or eat.


FT: When did you realise that you wanted to be a writer?

TL: I've been writing stories pretty much since I could pick up a pencil, and I was drawing them before I could write. The idea of perhaps becoming a writer for a living hit me in my early twenties, but I've always written. I don't know what it is in me that makes me need to tell stories, and neither do I try to analyse that too much. I was born with my hat on that way, that's all.


FT: It is often said that if you can write a short story you can write anything. How true do you think this is and what have you written that either proves or disproves this POV?

TL: Short stories are a different discipline from novels, or screenplays, or poetry. Being good at one doesn't always mean you'll be proficient at another. Shorts stories are great for honing your language and craft, but they won't teach you the large scale plotting that you need in a novel. There are plenty of novelists who write very few short stories, and also writers who produce many shorts but who don’t often explore novel writing. Everyone's different. I’ve dabbled in both, as well as some screenwriting. I love trying different things.


FT: If someone were to enter a bookshop, how would you persuade them to try your novel over someone else's and how would you define it?

TL: I'd tell them I have fifteen kids at home that need feeding. I don't, I have two. But they eat for fifteen. I'd tell them, 'FALLEN is a thrilling adventure story set in a fantasy world, with danger, betrayals and staggering revelations'. As for defining my own novel, that’s quite hard – I’d call it a dark fantasy, I guess.


FT: How would you "sell" your book in 20 words or less?

TL: Please buy my book, I have fifteen kids to feed.


FT: Who is a must have on your bookshelf and whose latest release will find you on the bookshops doorstep waiting for it to open?

TL: Iain Banks (in both his incarnations), Ramsey Campbell, Michael Marshall Smith (and all his pseudonyms), John Connolly, Stephen King, and many many more. I don't keep as up to date with new books as I'd like, because there are still so many older books I'm trying to catch up on.


FT: When you sit
down and write do you know how the story will end or do you just let the pen take you? ie Do you develop character profiles and outlines for your novels before writing them or do you let your idea's develop as you write?

TL: I'll have an outline and vague ideas, but the book and characters definitely come to life while I'm writing. It's an exciting process for me, almost like reading a book ... when I'm writing I'm always keen to know what will happen to the characters, and what will happen at the end. While I'm working, I'll be taking detailed notes of the next few scenes or chapters, so there is some forward planning going on ... but it's always done in a very organic way, as opposed to following a strict synopsis (due to publisher requirements I often sell a novel on the basis of a synopsis, but once I start writing I hardly ever even refer to it again ... er ... but don't tell my publishers that, will you?)


FT: What do you do to relax and what have you read recently?

TL: To relax I read, walk in the countryside with my family, go running & cycling (perhaps not as much as I'd like to), drink good real ale and wine (maybe more than I should), watch movies and TV (current favourite is THE SHIELD, my wife and I are working through the box sets ... stunning). I'm reading Iain M Banks' new Culture novel MATTER right now, a fantastic imagination, though I don't think it's his best (still a few hundred pages to go though). Just read Tom Piccirilli's THE COLD SPOT, and before that Neil Gaiman's THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, both of which were wonderful.


FT: What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?

TL: None. I'm very boring (and besides, that would be telling).


FT: Lots of writers tend to have pets. What do you have and what are their key traits (and do they appear in your novel in certain character attributes?)

TL: We've got a dog called Blu, a Weimaraner/Vizsla cross. He's only a year old, but the size of a moose and completely mad. He hasn't yet appeared in any book but he will at some point.


FT: Which character within your latest book was the most fun to write and why?

TL: I'll talk about both new books here, if I may ...
The two main characters in FALLEN were equally interesting to write. Ramus and Nomi are explorers – called Voyagers in the book – who have a very complex relationship: competitors, friends, betrayers, maybe even lovers. When the book came together in my head it was the relationship between these two that brought it alive, not the world or the plot or the landscape. It was a great process charting the history of these two, the destruction of their relationship, and its morphing into something else.
As for THE ISLAND, my favourite character was Kel Boon, the main guy, who's fled his old life as a soldier working for The Core (a secretive outfit hunting and killing intruders from beyond the land of Noreela... while much of Noreela still believes itself alone). But of course, there will be no happy retirement, otherwise it would be a pretty boring book. So Kel is trying to handle all this scary stuff while still trying to maintain this new life he's made for himself, which also includes a new love (the previous love of his life having been killed in an accident he had a large part in). He's a complex character, and what he goes through in the book is pretty dramatic. I like characters who change, and have to experience chan
ge around them, because I love seeing what shape they'll be in on the other side. This is what we writers do ... make characters we like, and then put them through hell.


FT: How similar to your principle protagonist are you?

TL: Not at all. I'm painfully boring. No one would want to read about me.


FT: What hobbies do you have and how do they influence your work?

TL: Reading ... er .... that's about it. I exercise, when deadlines aren't tying me to the desk. Do a lot with my family, especially as we now have the dog – we're out walking a lot, which is fabulous. I love the countryside and
nature, and I think that shines through in a lot of my work. I also like real ale. It's lovely. Bring me more.


FT: Where do you get your idea's from?

TL: No idea.


FT: Do you ever encounter writers block and if so how do you overcome it?

TL: There are days when the words don't come easily, but it's all part of the process (today is one of those days …). I'll do something else for a few hours – interviews, editing, proposals, go for a run – and then get back to it. It's never affected me hugely. I've never had a prolonged period when I couldn't write ... a day at most. And as for having ideas, mine usually suffer a painful birth, but I think they're usually the best ones. It's quite rare that I have a complete 'eureka' moment ... usually I think of a great idea, then struggle to figure out how the hell it fits into a story. This is as close to a 'block' as I get, I suppose.


FT: Certain authors are renowned for writing at what many woudl call uncivilised times. When do you write and how do the others in your household feel about it?

TL: Because we've got two young kids, my writing runs pretty much as a standard job – my wife and kids
leave for work and school, I write all day, then they come home & we have dinner and do family stuff. I often work in the evenings, but that's usually promotional stuff, emailing, and chatting with agents or writers I'm collaborating with (currently four and counting, on novels, screenplays and a TV series ... I love collaborating). I'd work 15 hours per day if I could, but it's nice to have the cut-off point there.


FT: sometimes pieces of music seem to influence certain scenes within novels, do you have a soundtrack for your tale or is it a case of writing in silence with perhaps the odd musical break in-between scenes?

TL: I don't have specific soundtracks. Writing both FALLEN and THE ISLAND I listened to a lot of classical music because of the lack of lyrics. Other times I'll listen to music and work well enough, though it's always by bands that I know very well – I can't listen to a new band while I'm writing. Music is a big part of my life. It makes the world go round. That, and real ale.


FT: What misconceptions, if any, did you have about the writing and publsihing field when you were first getting started?


TL: Not sure I had many misconceptions, though of course I'm still learning as I go along. I suppose if anything it was the thought that if I did ‘make it’, I'd get published in the UK because I'm a British writer. It turned out that I spent six or seven years published successfully in the mass market in the USA before I got my first deal here with the staggeringly wonderful Allison & Busby. I think that's pretty unusual.


FT: If music be the food of love, what do you think writing is and please explain your answer?

TL: Writing is the great escape. Reading is as well, to an extent, but when I write I not only visit whole new worlds, I create them.


FT: What can you tell us about the next novels?

TL: THE ISLAND is out in JUNE in the UK (hardback from Allison & Busby) and USA (trade paperback from Bantam). It's a standalone novel set in my fantasy world of Noreela, dealing with the threat of invasion from beyond, and the main character's dilemma when he's faced with trying to disrupt the potential invasion.
FALLEN is out in paperback in the USA (Bantam) and the UK (Allison & Busby). It's another standalone novel set in Noreela, the story of two competing explorers both seeking the last great discovery to be made in Noreela's fou
nding times. But there's something waiting for them there.
I'm thrilled that both of these novels received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, and I think they're two of the best novels I've written. Seeing them on the shelves in the UK is fabulous.


FT: What are the last five internet sites that you've visited?

TL: Play.com, BBC News, Shocklines, Last Exit to Nowhere, Allison & Busby


FT: Did you ever take any writing classes or specific instructions to learn the craft? If so please let us know which ones.

TL: Nope, it never occurred to me, though I think there is some value in writing classes (and in fact I’ve
taught a few myself).


FT: How did you get
past the initial barriers of criticism and rejection?

TL: Not past them yet – I still get rejected, and with the amount of books I write and publishers I work with, there are still bad reviews. I'm glad to say that the good ones usually outweigh them. It's not a case of getting past these things, really – it's just dealing with them. A friend of mine always says there's no such thing as a bad review, and there's a lot to be said for that. My first fantasy novel DUSK seemed to polarise opinion – some said I'd reinvigorated the genre, others said it was cliched and contrived. It sold really well, won a British Fantasy Award, and is still in print and selling now.



FT: In your opinion, what are the best and worst aspects of writing for a living?

TL: Worst – occasional money worries.
Best – everything else. How long have you got ...? It's the best job in the world, no doubt. I make up stuff and people want to read it, and it still shocks me to the core when I really think about that. So I don't. Another day, another chapter, and though I still find writing very hard work – always have, and probably always will - I consider myself very lucky indeed. Seeing gorgeous looking books like FALLEN and THE ISLAND on the shelves in bookshops, and remembering everything that went into writing them, is extremely satisfying.

FANTASY REVIEW: Fallen - Tim Lebbon


BOOK BLURB:

The people of Noreela are just beginning an era of expansion, with explorers going constantly further into unknown territory for profit and glory. Blocking the voyagers' southward journeys, however, is the Great Divide, a cliff that reaches into the clouds. Ramus Rheel, an aging explorer battling cancer, and Nomi Hyden, whose wealth has not diminished her craving for adventure, are 'friendly enemies' who set out to scale the Divide and earn recognition as the greatest voyagers of all. When they find the lair of one of the ancient Sleeping Gods, they get considerably more excitement - and terror - than they bargained for.


REVIEW:

A prequel to Tim’s earlier works (“Dusk” (2006) and “Dawn” (2007) this novel continues exploring the world of Noreela in much the same sort of way. Add to the mix an Indiana Jones type of tale where a team is put together only to fall out and race each other to their objective. An objective that they discover was something perhaps best left where it was.

It’s a quirky tale, it move’s at its own pace (and lets face it when you’re talking about a 700 mile journey it can only go so quickly.) Nether the less it’s a tale of fascination, of discovery and above all about what each characters emotional journey when their “grail” ends up not so much the imagined cup, but something else entirely. Definitely a book if you’re looking for something a little different in the fantasy field and definitely a bit of fun. Highly recommended although the book back really doesn’t seem to do the tale justice as I only really decided to read the tale after it had been nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Awards.