In 2019, I will be launching a new military science fiction series!
Behold the e-book cover for I, Synthorg, the first instalment in the Synthorg marines series!
Genres: military science fiction, galactic empire, space opera, cyberpunk
After two years of absence, I am back! And I’ve got great news for all my fans who love space SF. I’m launching a new book series!
Here’s the cover for the first book set in this fictional universe: Vega Blues, to be released on September 28, 2018.
Planet: Vega Tres. Population: 13 billion. Governments: None.
Detective Roy Deneb is a troubled soul. Loner, cynic, adrenaline junkie, and he’s damn good at his job. His specialty—undead cyborgs.
Zombies, wraiths, vampires—the colonists of Vega Tres gave old names to radically new and deadly types of beings. But in the urban jungle of Twilight City, Roy is the apex predator.
When a mysterious woman offers him an apparently simple job, he’s far from imagining that his life is about to change forever. He will have to assemble a team of outlaws to take on the greatest challenge of his life: defeat the CEO of an all-powerful corporation.
On the dangerous, lawless world that is Vega Tres, Roy discovers that there is more to life than mere survival—and that there’s a cause worth fighting for.
I’m so excited to share the new book cover for my novella Mirror Souls, A Prelude! I hope you like it as much as I do!
The MCM London Comic Con that took place on 23-25 October 2015 was a huge success with more than 130,000 people attending. Although the place was overcrowded, I much enjoyed the event. I met interesting people, learned a few things, and cosplay was fabulous!
Steampunk is increasingly popular with cosplayers.
The steampunk tent was strategically located near one of the entrances and drew thousands of visitors.
Fantasy was not forgotten: both the light and the dark sides of fantasy were represented.
Last but not least, Halloween celebrations were in full swing. Fun and spooky!
Whether you enjoy books, comic books, movies or TV series, you can’t escape this—“darkness” is everywhere. “Dark”, “darkness”, the words that evoked fear in our ancestors are used nowadays as marketing tools. But what do we mean by “dark” when referring to a work of fiction?
Historically, it was the 18th-century Gothic novel that transformed negative emotions such as fear or melancholy into a source of pleasure (see the Gothic Novel and The Gothic: 250 Years of Success). However, the success of this initial wave of terrifying stories was short-lived, and in the 1820s this genre gave way to a more sophisticated kind of aesthetics—the Romantic movement was on the rise.
During the 19th and the 20th centuries—roughly until the 1970s—horror fiction was little more than an underground culture, although some horror books and movies managed to achieve long-lasting popularity. For example, classic adaptations of Frankenstein by James Whale and Dracula by Tod Browning were successful in the 1930s and remain influential to the present day.
The situation changed dramatically toward the end of the 1970s, when a tsunami of darkness swept away the naïve enthusiasm of the post-war period. This impressive attack of the “dark side” operated on several fronts. In 1974 appeared the first novel by Stephen King, Carrie, and two years later Anne Rice published the first book of her famous Vampire Chronicles (Interview with the Vampire, 1976). In the 80s and the 90s, Stephen King’s popularity was nothing less than phenomenal, and some other authors writing horror fiction enjoyed considerable success.
Darkness does not necessarily equal horror, however. Science fiction and fantasy also grew darker in the 70s and the 80s. Those ugly and often ridiculous monsters who terrorized beautiful girls on the covers of pulp magazines were history—a new breed of monstrosities was about to transform science fiction. In Alien (1979), Ridley Scott created a shocking, futuristic aesthetic of fear. Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982) blended science fiction with film noir, and challenged our perception of human condition in the process. The Terminator (James Cameron, 1984) and Predator (John McTiernan, 1987) introduced us to new, disturbingly realistic sorts of killing machines.
Fantasy also grew darker during that period. Far from innocent fairytales for kids, fantasy drew inspiration from its roots: myths, medieval ballads, and history itself. And God knows human history is a bloody business. Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné, for example, is not your average sword & sorcery hero. He is a sorcerer and a necromancer capable of both heroism and cruelty. Knights in shining armor are no longer fashionable. Readers crave for a different kind of protagonists: anti-heroes (Stephan R. Donaldson’s Lord Foul’s Bane, 1977), torturers (Gene Wolfe’s The Shadow of the Torturer, 1980), assassins (Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice, 1995), and others.
Fantasy grew gritty, brutal, sometimes bleak and pessimistic. No need to insist on the influence of the Game of Thrones (this book had enough publicity already). Let’s mention a few noteworthy authors such as Steven Erikson (Malazan Book of the Fallen), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn series), Joe Abercrombie (The First Law Trilogy), Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle), and Mark Lawrence (The Broken Empire trilogy).
Urban fantasy was not immune to the overwhelming rise of darkness neither. Although the very first urban fantasy stories were relatively light in tone (War for the Oaks by Emma Bull, Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint), horror quickly found its way into this subgenre, starting with Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton, and followed by The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Those stories are teaming with vampires, ghouls, zombies, necromancers, and the nastiest sorts of black magic.
In your opinion, why are we craving for this sort of terrifying stories? What makes them so appealing to science fiction and fantasy readers?
New York Times Best Seller List
THE WATER KNIFE, by Paolo Bacigalupi (Knopf) (science fiction)
The author of The Windup Girl delivers a near-future thriller that casts new light on how we live today—and what may be in store for us tomorrow. This book made a brief appearance in 15th position on the NYT best seller list.
DEAD ICE, by Laurell K. Hamilton (Berkley) (fantasy)
The vampire hunter Anita Blake helps the F.B.I. investigate zombie porn.
WICKED CHARMS, by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton (Bantam) (fantasy)
Lizzy Tucker and her partner, Diesel, join a hunt for buried treasure.
B&N Bookseller’s Picks for June 2015
The Fold, by Peter Clines (Crown)
A science-fiction thriller about the dangers of teleportation devices.
Briar Queen: A Night and Nothing Novel, by Katherine Harbour (Harper Voyager)
In this installment of The Night and Nothing series, Finn Sullivan discovers that her town, Fair Hollow, borders a dangerous otherworld.
A comment, if I may. I had a bit of fun listing the adjectives and other qualifiers used in the blurb for this book: “dark, moody, mystical, bewitching, intriguing, dangerous, painful, bohemian, terrifying, placid, picture-perfect, eerie, supernatural, wealthy, beautiful, terrifying (again!), striking, mysterious, powerful, brave, malevolent, diabolical, comfortable, magical, shocking, lush, gorgeously written, star-crossed, bestselling.” Whoever wrote this blurb should be nominated for the Purple Prose Award.
Book blurbs are becoming little more than a collection of clichés loaded with empty qualifiers (well, the same can often be said about the books themselves). That makes me sad, unhappy, depressed, downcast, miserable, downhearted, despondent, despairing, disconsolate, dispirited, wretched, broody, glum, gloomy, doleful, dismal, blue, melancholic, low-spirited, woeful, woebegone, forlorn, unsatisfied, and so on.
From a High Tower, by Mercedes Lackey (DAW)
The newest adventure in Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series, featuring a retelling of Rapunzel’s not-so-happily-ever-after ending.
Nemesis Games, by James S.A. Corey (Orbit)
The fifth novel in James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series—now being produced for television by the SyFy Channel.
Nova, by Margaret Fortune (DAW)
Young adult space opera novel about a genetically engineered human bomb.
The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth, by S.M. Stirling (Roc)
In this anthology, S. M. Stirling invites more than a dozen other writers to join him in expanding his rich Emberverse canvas. The Emberverse is a long-running series of novels set in a post-apocalyptic world where technology failed and magic re-emerged.
The Darkling Child: The Defenders of Shannara, by Terry Brooks (Del Rey)
A stand-alone novel set in the legendary Shannara universe by the NYT bestselling author Terry Brooks.
The Shadow Revolution: Crown & Key, by Clay & Susan Griffith (Del Rey)
A new Victorian-era urban fantasy novel about werewolf hunters.
Trailer Park Fae, by Lilith Saintcrow (Orbit)
Lilith Saintcrow returns to dark urban fantasy with a new series where the faery world inhabits diners, dive bars and trailer parks.
Virtues of War, by Bennett R. Coles (Titan Books)
A military space opera novel praised by Steven Erikson as “top-notch military SF.”
Note: this is a selection, not the complete list.
New York Times Best Seller List
In May, one science fiction, one fantasy, and one horror book made it to the New York Times best seller list (adult fiction, hardcover):
DAY SHIFT by Charlaine Harris (Ace) (paranormal/urban fantasy)
A psychic mired in scandal turns to a mysterious woman for help.
SEVENEVES by Neal Stephenson (Morrow/HarperCollins) (science fiction)
Five thousand years after a small number of survivors of the moon’s explosion took refuge on an international space station, their descendants contemplate a return to Earth.
THE SCARLET GOSPELS by Clive Barker (St. Martin’s) (horror)
Harry D’Amour, the detective of the supernatural from Barker’s Books of Blood, faces off against Pinhead, the sadistic Cenobite from the Hellraiser series.
B&N Bookseller’s Picks for May 2015
Blood Sisters: Vampire Stories by Women, edited by Paula Guran (Night Shade Books)
A tantalizing selection of stories from some of the best female authors who’ve helped define the modern vampire.
Straits of Hell (Destroyermen Series #10) by Taylor Anderson (Roc)
Taylor Anderson’s alternate history Destroyermen series continues as a game-changing conspiracy throws the hope of honor, trust, and survival into chaos.
The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor (DAW)
The Book of Phoenix is a work of magical futurism, a prequel to the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Who Fears Death.
Leviathan (Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier Series #5) by Jack Campbell (Ace, Penguin)
Jack Campbell’s latest action-packed military space opera novel.
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi (Knopf Doubleday)
The author of The Windup Girl delivers a near-future thriller that casts new light on how we live today—and what may be in store for us tomorrow.
Trial of Intentions by Peter Orullian (Tor)
The gods who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy, however, they chained the rogue god—and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortalkind—in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey, Random House)
The author of the Temeraire novels introduces a bold new world rooted in folk stories and legends.
Note: this is a selection, not the complete list.