Friday, August 31, 2007

Who Knew?

Well I got bored and did this blogalyzer thing. It thinks I'm a clear, selfish intellectual focused on the present who writes like a girl. Interesting. Of course I doubt that their method is worth much, but I find it curious that I have a feminine writing style - I never would have thought that. Anyway, I consider it a compliment.

The Blogalyser reveals...

Your blog/web page text has an overall readability index of 16.
This suggests that your writing style is intellectual
(to communicate well you should aim for a figure between 10 and 20).
Your blog has 6 sentences per entry, which suggests your general message is distinguished by clarity
(writing for the web should be concise).


male malefemalefemale
self oneselfgroupworldworld
past pastpresentfuturefuture

Your text shows characteristics which are 17% male and 83% female
(for more information see the Gender Genie).
Looking at pronoun indicators, you write mainly about your social circle, then the world in general and finally yourself. Also, your writing focuses primarily on the present, next the future and lastly the past.

Find out what your blogging style is like!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

David Anthony Durham Answers Questions 5

David Anthony Durham is new to the speculative fiction world, but has authored historical fiction books such as Pride of Carthage, Gabriel’s Story, and Walk Through Darkness. His newest book is Acacia (my review), an epic fantasy that has quickly gained a lot attention.

I am pleased that David could take the time to participate and answer Questions 5.

Haggis or cow-skin soup? Why?

DAD: What a way to start and interview with a vegetarian! (Okay, I’m not a real vegetarian. I’m one of those fish-eating veggies. I haven’t eaten anything from a sheep or a cow in twenty years, though, and I won’t be going back soon.)

I have enjoyed veggie-haggis on occasion, but I wouldn’t go near the real thing. In case you don’t know, dear reader, Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish made from sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, some oatmeal and spices and then boiled in an animal’s stomach. Yum.

Cow-skin soup I’m not as clear on... I certainly ate my share of curried goat and pig’s feet when I was young in Trinidad. Been known to suck on chicken toes… But this was in my youth. No cow-skin soup as far as I remember.

I appreciate you opening with a question that draws on my Caribbean ancestry and my more recent sojourn in Scotland and marriage to a Shetland lassie. So, if I could offer alternatives…

How about Codfish Cakes (fishcakes made from dried cod, onions and chives and fried until golden brown) from Trinidad and Cullen Skink (a soup made from smoked Haddock and Onion cooked in milk) from Scotland? Yum.

Name one thing a pretentious literature professor will hate about Acacia.

DAD: Ah, only one?

Okay, how about this. Pride of Carthage has earned out its rather substantial advance. Acacia – part of the same book deal – looks set to do the same. It’ll take a while, and my publisher will hold out as long as possible and bookstores can return books whenever they want to… But the earn-out is gonna happen!

What’s that mean? It means I haven’t failed at writing the books I really want to, books full of plot and drama and substance, books that people seem to want to read. It may seem strange, but I can tell you from experience that success at things like that rubs some people the wrong way, especially (some) pretentious literature professors.

Please describe one reason Acacia would inspire a reader to strip naked and run screaming into the desert?

DAD: I’d suggest it should inspired readers to strip naked. Focus on the plural. This need not be a solo activity. The things that go down on the battlefields of Talay provide a great excuse to stage a mass nude event. Chances are, the scene I’m thinking of can’t quite make it into film (should that lucky hope become reality), so I think the only way fans might get to see that scene in living, breathing detail would be if they brought it to life themselves.

So somebody stage it; I might even come and participate, hang out, so to speak.

What other peculiar qualities of Acacia should readers be aware of?

DAD: Honestly, I think readers will find that Acacia offers all the things people love in epic fantasy and a bit more. I tried to take care of business in terms of crafting a grand adventure with engaging characters facing massive struggles, with quite a few twists and turns of fate along the way. I also brought to it all the tools I have as an experienced writer of literary and historical fiction. My first three novels were well received and each award-winning. I could have stuck to that material, but I saw fantasy a wonderful challenge, a genre so full of potential that I couldn’t resist it.

I also wanted to craft a large-scale fantasy suited for our new century. Like our globalized world, the Known World of Acacia is a complex stew of races and ethnicities, languages and beliefs, complicated politics, economic realities and compromised idealism. I just don’t think there’s anything quite like it out there right now.

Why should Acacia be the next book that everyone reads?

DAD: My kids need to go the dentist… No, wait, I take that back. Pity doesn’t have the selling power I’m after.

If all that stuff above sounds groovy I’m glad. If it sounds a bit too grand… Well, know that I’m also out to tell a great story that gets more exciting as it progresses. Acacia’s got mass battlefield nudity, tusked-beasts, a good bit of spilled viscera, pirates, a love story or two, wacked-out sorcerers that call giant worms from the sky, undead ancestors hungry to walk the earth again, a sword-wielding warrior princess, invading marauders from the other side of the world...

Hey, when I think about I kinda want to read it again myself. Of course, I’d rather you did.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Review: Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley

Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley is the fist entry in a new epic fantasy trilogy and the new Orbit US imprint’s debut novel. The second book of The Godless World, Bloodheir, is due out next year. Fans of epic fantasy should be pleased.

It’s a land long abandoned by the gods after humans and the elf-like Kyrinin joined forces to exterminate a vicious race of shape-shifters and the later inevitable war between humans and Kyrinin. The ‘bloods’ (read clans) of the north are allied in a kingship in all but name and hundreds of years ago a radical religious sect within the clans known as the Black Road was exiled at the tip of a bloody sword to the untamed lands of the far north. Now the Lannis-Blood guards the pass to the lands of the Black Road and the distant Thane of Thanes rules with an iron first and eye toward expansion in the rich southern kingdoms.

Political maneuvering occurs, the Black Road invades, and clans of the Kyrinin play varying roles in this standard medieval setting. Ruling Thanes and family are slaughtered leaving surviving bloods on the run and playing a central role are the few human-Kyrinin hybrids, despised by both races, with access to an internal power denied to humans and Kyrinin alike.

Winterbirth is a great example of what has become a common standard in epic fantasy – a dark world with an overall realistic feel in spite of the presence of other species and some form of magic with influence from northern European pre-industrial history. Perhaps that’s just the long way of saying that Winterbirth offers nothing new or even fresh. However, this does not mean that Winterbirth is bad or not worthwhile, serviceable is the word that immediately comes to mind. Or to put in another way, if you like this type of epic fantasy, then you should like Winterbirth. Alternatively, if you don’t care for this type of story, then Winterbirth is probably not for you.

The strongest historical inspiration present is Scottish, which is no surprise since Brian Ruckley is Scottish. While I’d not go as far to consider this approach new or fresh, it is an approach that I found to be interesting - perhaps due to my Scottish surname and roots or the Celtic-sheik that seems to pervade so much these days. Anyway, Ruckley skillfully brings this Scottish feeling forward and through to the book to the reader.

Told with a shifting limited third person narrative, the focus is on a few individuals. Characterization is rendered well rather than outstanding – it was enough to make me appropriately curious and anxious to know what will happen next, but not enough to make me truly feel for the characters. But a solid foundation has been built for some significant and interesting character growth as the series continues.

One aspect that I found lacking is presentation of the religious views of the Black Road. The deep-seated religious fundamentalism and desire for vengeance of the past are at the heart of these people, yet the basic beliefs as presented fall flat. This is the underlying motivation for some of the most significant actions taken in this novel and really should be developed more fully. The contrast with the Black Road’s relative fanaticism with the secularism of the Bloods to the south and the more natural feeling worship of death of the Kyrinin is one I hope to see more developed.

Winterbirth is another solid entry into the epic fantasy world. While it offers nothing new, it does provide a well-enough written and interesting story that fans of epic fantasy should enjoy. For me it was serviceable and not outstanding in either a good or bad way – 6.5-7/10.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Speculative Fiction has “Eyes Wide Open”

Gabriel Morgan has written this interesting column for the New Observer.

…unless you count yourself an admirer of fantasy, science fiction or horror, chances are you've glanced over at the "genre" section of your favorite bookstore and asked yourself, "My oh my -- what's going on over there?"

And I'm here to tell you:

Everything is going on over there…

Describe a subgenre of mimetic fiction, and there are speculative authors doing similar work. Do you prefer fiction that is heavily character-centered? Fiction that explores the human condition, that asks the big questions? Fiction that displays a sense of history, that draws connections between important things? How about fiction that explores what it means to be an American in the 21st century? Speculative authors are writing about all of these things. They, like Pablo Picasso, have every single one of the tools that a "naturalist" (read: mimeticist) has to work with; but they, like Picasso, also have the freedom to abandon the appearance of reality when it suits their vision.

Read the whole column, it’s equally as interesting – and the best part is that more is promised to come.

Via Lou Anders
EDIT: I should have waited another 20 minutes before posting this. Contrast the above with this article by Jonathan McCalmont. I think there are some good points to had, but my initial reaction was to count the number of ways I disagree.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Jay Lake Answers Questions 5

Jay Lake is a prolific short fiction writer and has written several novels including Trial of Flowers. His first wide-release novel, Mainspring (my review), was published by Tor in June. He was winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2004 and is a multiple Hugo and Nebula nominee.

I’m very pleased that he took time to answer
Questions Five.

It’s Hawaiian shirt day – does Mainspring come dressed for the occasion?

JL: Naturally. One has to present one's best, even when one is 9 inches tall and basically flat. Mainspring has its shirts tailored in Thailand, just as I do, but with more clockwork and airship themed fabrics. Frankly, the book has more taste than I do.

If Mainspring were a fortune cookie, what would its fortune be?

JL: "You will reach unexpected heights before you can finally unwind."

Or possibly...

"Reply hazy, try again later."

How would you interpret this fortune if were your own?

JL: Probably as a warning that I'm likely to drive the Genre car off a cliff or over a bridge railing. I don't aspire to being 9 inches tall and basically flat, personally.

What other peculiar qualities of Mainspring should readers be aware of?

JL: It likes long walks on the Wall, and refreshingly saltwater-and-chipotle gargles. It's also remarkably fond of old Flash Gordon reruns and 19th century Boy's Own adventures.

Why should Mainspring be the next book that everyone reads?

JL: Because of the incredibly cool cover with the airship and the feral angel! In fact, I think everyone should carry copies of the book with them at all times, faced outward so that we all might know one another by this sign.

Also, it would make my publisher happy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chris Roberson Answers Questions 5

Chris Roberson is the author of numerous novels including most recently Set the Seas on Fire (my review), Paragaea: A Planetary Romance, and Here, There & Everywhere. He has been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and twice for the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History Short Form (winning in 2004 with his story “O One.” He also runs the independent press MonkeyBrain Books with his wife.

His latest novel Set the Seas on Fire was released by Solaris in August and I’m happy that he took the time to answer Questions 5.

Chris, as a Texan, I can only assume that along side your expertise in cowboy boots, horseback riding and BBQ, that you can let the world know the proper way to prepare armadillo. How do you prefer your armadillo?

CR: As a matter of fact, I do own a pair of cowboy boots, I spent a bit of time as a kid riding horses (and have the belt buckle I won in a barrel-riding competition to prove it), and consume my weight in BBQ on a regular basis. And so I can tell you with some sense of authority that armadillo makes a pretty lousy entrée. See, the hairy little bastards carry leprosy, and no stringy roadkill is worth having your nerves go dead and bits of you falling off. That said, I’m sure that someone has developed a tofu-based substitute, “almostdillo” or some such, with all the great stringy taste and none of the leprosy, in which case the clear answer would be that teriyaki is the way to go.

While some out there can see the obvious connection between monkey brains and books, others could use a bit of direction – please enlighten us.

CR: I think it’s a kind of litmus test, actually. MonkeyBrain Books appeal to the kind of reader who instinctively gets why having a monkey’s exposed brain on the spine is perfectly fitting. But I suppose there might be a transitive property there, and if a reader who doesn’t get it buys and reads the books anyway, maybe they’ll come to understand, sooner or later.

How do you picture the ‘natural habitat’ of Set the Seas on Fire?

CR: In every home in the English-speaking world? Too broad? Then how about in the personal library of every reader who thinks that “Napoleonic era nautical adventure” and “love story” and “Polynesian zombies” are three phrases that fit together perfectly.

What peculiar qualities of Set the Seas on Fire should readers be aware of?

CR: So far as I’ve been able to determine (and the very excellent copy editor, Lawrence Osbourn, agreed), there’s not a word in the book that wasn’t in use by 1808, the period in which the story is set. And believe me, sitting in the 21st century and trying to figure out how to describe “bioluminescence” in as few words as possible using an early 19th century vocabulary was no fun at all.

Why should Set the Seas on Fire be the next book that everyone reads?

CR: Well, obviously, because sooner or later everyone will read it, and wouldn’t it be better to be ahead of the curve, and to be able to say that you read and enjoyed the book long before it became simply another status symbol?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

NPR Goes Beyond Sex and Tourism in Bangkok with John Burdett

NPR’s Morning Edition talks to author John Burdett in Bangkok, Thailand about his mystery/crime fiction books and the city he lives in and loves. It’s a great interview and it covers great books. I’ve read, enjoyed, and reviewed all three of these books and I highly recommend them.

Bangkok 8 (review), Bangkok Tattoo (review), and Bangkok Haunts (review at FBS) all follow Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep through the Bangkok underworld and sex trade with is brilliantly jaded commentary on everything in between.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Tobias Buckell Answers Questions Five

Tobias Buckell is the author of Crystal Rain (my review) and Ragamuffin (review) along with a bit short fiction.

Tobias S. Buckell is a Caribbean-born speculative fiction writer who grew up in Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has published stories in various magazines and anthologies. He is a Clarion graduate, Writers of The Future winner, and Campbell Award for Best New SF Writer Finalist.

His latest novel, Ragamuffin, was released by Tor in June and I’m very happy to have him as the inaugural author in my ‘Questions Five’ interview format. Enjoy.

If Ragamuffin were a fortune cookie, what would its fortune be?

TB: 'The power to change the destiny of humanity is within you.'

A bit deep, huh, but then, sometimes fortune cookies are, in their own self-reflexive way.

Of course, you then have to add (in bed) to the end so you get:

'The power to change the destiny of humanity is within you, in bed.'

That's a whole other book. I hear when they make the movie version of something adult directors sometimes make a porno version, so that's the fortune cookie fortune of the movie version of Ragamuffin done as a porno.

How would you interpret this fortune if were your own?

TB: Humanity's screwed if the power is within me. I just want to sit in my office and write more books. Seriously, I'm really boring like that. I grew up in the middle of the invasion of Grenada, my life has had enough adventure, I like my little home office.

How do you picture the ‘natural habitat’ of Ragamuffin?

TB: Hopefully, reader's shelves. At the very least, bookshelves of major chains, faced out by adoring minions so that awesomeness of the cover compels passersby to purchase it.

What peculiar qualities of Ragamuffin should readers be aware of?

TB: There's a black woman on the cover with a very big gun doing crazy SF-nal adventurous stuff in outer space that often have only previously been done by manly manly men with square jaws and galactic empires behind them. Apparently this doesn't sit well with some people. My advice is that they should take the cover off and buy the book anyway, but it's bad advice, because she's the main character and kicks ass all up and down the book. There's no escaping her. But at least they'll have the book, and I can forgive a lot for that!

Why should Ragamuffin be the next book that everyone reads?

TB: Dreadlocked space pirates and starships called Starfunk Ayatollah. Crazy aliens that want to destroy humanity and their quisling human enablers who can wipe your brain and turn you into mindless analog equation solvers. Caribbean planets. Giant battles in outer space. Mind-controlling aliens. Plucky young heroines. Good food. Big guns. Really big explosions. Why shouldn't it be the next book everyone reads?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Feature Coming Soon

Lately, I’ve been very busy at work with the task of writing up a large, not very strait-forward report. As is usually the case when this happens, I’ve been thinking a lot about other stuff. One result of this is that I’m going to have a periodic feature involving short author interviews. My tentative title is “____ Answers Questions Five” (you see it’s much more clever to change the order from five questions to questions five). As the most observant of you have figured out, the interviews involve only five questions (something rather similar to Jeff VanderMeer’s “Walk the Plank” interviews). The intent is for humorous and creative answers that aren’t stock responses to standard questions and a direct invitation to blatant self promotion. I suspect it could be fun.

Anyway, I’ve already got a couple of authors lined up, so look for these posts to start appearing sometime in the relatively near future.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Confessions of a Formerly Color Blind Reader

First, read this post by David Anthony Durham about the oft used argument of being a ‘color blind’ reader.

I’m a pretty standard example of an American upper-middle class upbringing and could serve as a great example of the term W.A.S.P. (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant). As such, I’m almost certain that I’ve at some point claimed to be ‘color blind’ regarding reading and some issue or another – and when I made the claims I considered this to be a positive example of a lack of racism.

Over the last several years I’ve noticed that I can’t really make that argument anymore. I actively seek out diversity of one kind or another in my reading. I want to read a book from a different perspective. I bought ___ because the author is from Columbia, and ___ because it’s originally a Russian work, and ____ because it’s from Japan, and ___ because her perspective sounds intriguing, and ____ because he’s African, and ____ because he’s homosexual, etc. Were these the only reasons – maybe? I don’t know, but they were reasons. And I certainly don’t do this for every book I get – I get a lot of books because they sound good (and I may not know anything about that author), and I of course get books specifically because I know of the author even if I don’t know of that particular book. But, I can say that I know longer buy books blindly, and my reading experience has been greatly enhanced as a result.

And in spite of the entire previous paragraph, a study of my bookshelf would reveal that a large majority of the books were written by white males. It sure makes me think.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Review: The New Space Opera edited by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan

“science fiction is for real, space opera is for fun”
-Brian Aldiss

The term ‘space opera’ dates to the early 1940s when it was coined by Tucker Wilson to describe “the hacky, grinding, stinking, outworn space-ship yarn”. Through time it has evolved past its derogatory roots to be a general descriptor of wide-ranging adventures in space, often lauding human conquest of the universe. In the 1970s, authors began to reinvent and reinvigorate this aging form and the ‘new space opera’ evolved in concert with cyberpunk, trending toward darker topics, stronger characterization, and the use of new technologigies and infusion of hard sci-fi elements and scientific rigour, while distancing itself from the triumph of mankind style of old. The New Space Opera collects original short stories and novellas by some of the most prolific writers of the new space opera tradition of the past 30 years. Authors include Gwyneth Jones, Ian McDonald, Robert Reed, Paul J. McAuley, Greg Egan, Kage Baker, Peter F. Hamilton, Ken MacLeod, Tony Daniel, James Patrick Kelly, Alastair Reynolds, Mary Rosenblum, Stephen Baxter, Robert Sivlerburg, Gregory Benford, Walter Jon Williams, Nancy Kress, and Dan Simmons.

I feel the need to provide some context for the rest of the review – space opera, new and old, is not a sub-genre that I have much experience with. This doesn’t come from any dislike, just the limits of time and scope on my reading for the past 20 years. Another area of limited exposure is shorter fiction – yes I’ve read and liked quite a bit of it, but the novel is the form I fell for and spend the most time with. I feel the need to provide this context because my over all impression of The New Space Opera sums up best with ‘meh’ and I believe that this is equally a result of my reading background as it is with the stories themselves.

As with most anthology collections, The New Space Opera has both winners and losers. Unremarkable and forgettable are the terms that jump into my mind regarding most of the contents – not one story kept me up thinking late into the night, and very few left any lasting impression. At the same time, I wouldn’t call any stories bad. It could be argued that space opera (new and old) is more often aimed at the entertainment/escapist side of fiction, but then the most entertaining stories can get my pulse racing and stick with me will into the night and beyond.

Another contributing factor is the editorial introduction to each story. In other anthologies these jewels are often as good (or better) than the stories that follow – not so with The New Space Opera. These introductions offer little more than an extended bibliography and leave the impression that the editors don’t have their fingers on the current pulse of the genre, but remain in somewhere in the past.

As I indicated above, there are a few entries that stand above, justifying the time spent reading this book – these are the stories I’ll highlight in more detail. Those stories not mentioned were lost in the mediocrity of the majority.

The first six offerings presented little of great interest to me. ”Maelstrom” by Kage Baker presents a fun look at an eccentric’s goal to bring the art of the theatre to a colonial Mars, but was too jumpy and uncertain in its execution to ultimately satisfy. This sets up the seventh story, “Blessed by an Angel” by Peter F. Hamilton, to shine as the most skilled presentation to this point. We see parallel story arcs where a young woman in a free and fun society has her personal rights violated by a pair of shadowy agents next to the story of an angel spreading his genes in an effort to help humanity evolve to a more enlightened place. The stories meet and the angelic life seems much less angelic, the shadowy agent a little less bad, and the reader is left to wonder if either side has it right.

Ken MacLeod’s “Who’s Afraid of Wolf359” and “Dividing the Sustain” by James Patrick Kelly weave heavy doses of dead-pan humor, with MacLeod shining a bit brighter with his banter between a long-lived human and a spaceship as they encounter an isolated human population. Gregory Benford’s “The Worm Turns” isn’t as successful at the witty banter between human and machine in his first contact story of wormhole wrestling. Though as far humor is concerned, “Send them Flowers” by Walter Jon Williams rules with its short-on-cash rogue-ish captain and his Don Juan companion as they aim to stay one leap ahead of slighted lovers in an inter-dimensional ruckus. This story could have been written by Joss Whedon – thinking of which, isn’t it a shame that Whedon doesn’t write short (or long) fiction?

Robert Silverberg reinvents Arabian Nights in “The Emperor and the Maula” with a fairy tale for the stars and a human race that has found nirvana, only to have it annexed and enslaved by an ever expanding galactic empire.

My favorite installments seem to be the stories that get a bit more ‘political’ and pointed in their aim. “Art of War” by Nancy Kress features the estranged son of a heroic military leader in a time of war between humans and an alien race. Through the recovery of looted art he discovers the key to their enemy’s war, an answer beyond the willingness of the general to accept. The inflexibility of those in power proves deadly in the end. “Minla’s Flowers” by Alastair Reynolds left the longest impression on me in a story of unintended consequences where a man called Merlin chooses compassion against better judgment and helps a primitive human society rapidly evolve to avoid the upcoming unavoidable destruction of their planet. Power corrupts and humanity never seems to change.

Though it wasn’t my favorite, the strongest story is the last –“Muse of Fire” by Dan Simmons. As with much of his writing, “Muse of Fire” is heavily peppered with literary reference and Shakespeare in particular. A troop of players travels part of the galaxy to entertain the long enslaved human race – an unprecedented opportunity to perform for their masters arises. What Shakespearean play will save humanity – King Lear, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet …?

For those that are fans of space opera, old and new, The New Space Opera is a collection you’ll enjoy, and for those that are seeking adventurous stories in fascinating settings afar, this is a collection you’ll enjoy. For me it is too much mediocrity surrounded by too few gems – but those gems just might be enough. 6/10

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cover Art at Sea

I haven’t blogged about cover art in a while, so I figure it’s time for another post. This installment covers a few newer and upcoming releases of cover art with scenes from the high seas – mostly sailing. Why? Well – why not I say.

First up is Red Seas Under Red Skies (author Scott Lynch) – the UK version (top) and the US version (bottom).

First, notice that this violates a very fundamental rule of cover art – that UK versions are better than their US counterparts. This is clearly not the case this time. The UK cover art with it red, white, and black isn’t really bad, but when put next to the US cover art (which is simply spectacular) it doesn’t compare. I like both – but the US version is some of the best cover art I’ve seen in a long time. I couldn’t find out who the artists for these are, so please comment if you know who the credit goes to – I’ll happily edit them in (edit - it appears the US version is by Steve Stone).

This is the cover for Set the Seas on Fire by Chris Roberson (again, I couldn’t track down the artist). This is also quite good, if a bit….old-fashioned looking. But, this is entirely appropriate for the book – it really is more a historical fiction/alternative history book than standard SFF, which makes this historical image very apt. Yet again, I applaud the cover art used here.

Here is the cover art for forthcoming Pirate Freedom by Gene Wolfe – the cover artist is David Grove. I haven’t yet gotten my hands on the book, but the focus on a single character at the helm of a (presumably) pirate vessel seems appropriate with Wolfe being known for strong characterization. I’m really looking forward to this book, and the cover art underscores this anticipation.

I included the covert below to put add some perspective to where SFF cover art related to the high seas has been in the past. These covers by Steven Youll of Robin Hobb’s Liveship Traders Trilogy definitely fall into a more traditional fantasy cover form. As I’ve said previously, this style doesn’t do much for me, but these covers really aren't too bad (they are certainly drawn very well). some are better than others, but overall I'll give thme a pass. Another plus is that they are rather true to the books.

Mad Ship cover

Ship of Destiny cover.

Ship of Magic cover


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