A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man’s journey to find his destiny.
Aren has lived by the rules all his life. He’s never questioned it; that’s just the way things are. But then his father is executed for treason, and he and his best friend Cade are thrown into a prison mine, doomed to work until they drop. Unless they can somehow break free...
But what lies beyond the prison walls is more terrifying still. Rescued by a man who hates him yet is oath-bound to protect him, pursued by inhuman forces, Aren slowly accepts that everything he knew about his world was a lie. The rules are not there to protect him, or his people, but to enslave them. A revolution is brewing, and Aren is being drawn into it, whether he likes it or not.
The key to the revolution is the Ember Blade. The sword of kings, the Excalibur of his people. Only with the Ember Blade in hand can their people be inspired to rise up... but it’s locked in an impenetrable vault in the most heavily guarded fortress in the land. All they have to do now is steal it...
Designed to return to classic fantasy adventures and values, from a modern perspective, this is a fast-moving coming-of-age trilogy featuring a strong cast of diverse characters, brilliant set-pieces and a powerful character and plot driven story.
Helen Lowe is a poet and a new fantasy writer, whose debut book, Thornspell, was published in 2008. She lives in New Zealand. She's currently writing a fantasy series called The Wall of Night (the first book of this series will be published soon).
Thornspell won the Sir Julius Vogel Award 2009 for Best Novel (Young Adult) and was a Storylines Childrens' Literature Trust Notable Book 2009.
Helen Lowe's official website can be found here.
The official Thornspell website can be found here.
A REVIEW OF HELEN LOWE'S THORNSPELL
The World Fantasy Awards ballot for works in 2009 has been announced. The awards will be presented in Columbus OH, October 28-31, 2010. Nominees are:
Brendan Connell's Unpleasant Tales was published in April 2010 by Eibonvale Press, which is a small press run by a writer, artist and reader who loves books. Eibonvale Press publishes horror, magic realism, slipstream and surreal fiction.
Here's Risingshadow.net's review of Brendan's Connell's Unpleasant Tales.
A REVIEW OF BRENDAN CONNELL'S UNPLEASANT TALES
Chimaera Publications, publishers of Aurealis magazine and SpecFaction NSW are delighted to announce that the 2010 Aurealis Awards are now open to entries.
The Aurealis Awards, Australia's premier awards for Speculative Fiction, are for works of speculative fiction written by an Australian citizen, or permanent resident, and published for the first time between 1 November 2009 and 31 December 2010. This is an extension to the previous cut off to allow more time for entries.
The Awards’ founder, Dirk Strasser says, “With twelve categories ranging from Best Horror Short Story to Best Fantasy Novel, Young Adult Fiction and Children’s Picture Book, these awards truly cover the variety of literary works within the Speculative Fiction genre.”
“This is the first time the awards have been hosted by Sydney and we are confident that SpecFaction NSW Inc will maintain the high standard of excellence the Speculative Fiction community have come to expect,” Dirk added.
Entries close on Friday 31 December 2010. Finalists will be announced in late March 2011 and winners announced at a special presentation evening in Sydney in late April or early May 2011. For more information on the awards and to register your entry, go to the Aurealis Awards website at www.aurealisawards.com.
Jay Lake's The Baby Killers will be published by PS Publishing in August 2010.
Here's the description of The Baby Killers from the publisher's website:
"Within our tale, gentle reader, you will see writ before you a palimpsest of low living and high misdemeanor, and the curious redresses that are visited as a result thereof..."
In The Baby Killers, Jay Lake restages mankind's Fall from Grace as an alternate-history steampunk fable. Written in a style of rambunctious Victoriana-that-never-was, this novella is set in Philadelphia in 1907, when that city serves as the seat of the British Dominion of the Americas, and as a Pandora's Box of sin and vice. The Governor-General has a taste for violating innocents, while the good Dr. Scholes uses them to fashion his mechanized agents of Justice. The Gollinoster, a feminine incarnation of angry retribution, wanders beneath the city streets – and an undying creature of ancient destruction is rushing to meet her. Villains and heroes (categories that overlap significantly) battle in a story of debauchery, degradation, radical experimentation, mad metaphysics... and a farting Frenchman.
Both popular culture and actual history are mined here to create a tale in which the use of idealized technology meets our darkest desires... and the result is positively electric.
A REVIEW OF JAY LAKE'S THE BABY KILLERS