Showing posts sorted by relevance for query science fiction elements. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query science fiction elements. Sort by date Show all posts

After the Crown Continues the Saga of a Heroine Who’s the Princess Leia/Han Solo Mashup of Your Dreams

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After the Crown Continues the Saga of a Heroine Who’s the Princess Leia/Han Solo Mashup of Your Dreams -

gunrunnerWhen last we left Her Imperial Highness Hailimi Mercedes Jaya Bristol, the hero of K.B. Wagers’ Behind the Throne, the one-time gunrunner, scoundrel, as well as rogue was perched upon the highest seat of the Indranan Empire. A royal daughter as well as heir who had long ago abandoned her duties in favor of a life of freedom was forced to claim the throne following a devastating coup which left her alone with the pedigree as well as power to lead an empire as well as bring stability inside wake of chaos.

Wagers’ followup, After the Crown, picks up very shortly after, inside aftermath of the deadly plot as well as Hail’s ascension. She is usually confronted by threats coming from within as well as without, as well as court followers with varying agendas. She’s forced to put her grief as well as doubt aside when a diplomatic mission is usually revealed as a murderous trap, as well as the Empress has to fight for her crown against a plot which unites factions among her own people, as well as her longtime enemies the Saxon Empire, against her.

The Indranan Empire is usually a fascinating, lived-in world, nevertheless we never get much of a ground-level look at the idea. The worldbuilding is usually almost entirely in service to the Empress, as well as which’s better than OK. In Behind the Throne, we got to know the Empire coming from her perspective as a prodigal daughter coming home to fulfill her duty under the most extreme form of duress. Here, we’re privy to the political machinations which will be familiar to George R.R. Martin fans. Hail is usually absolute ruler in name, nevertheless, inside style of most absolute monarchies throughout history, she’s limited by precedent, tradition, political expediency as well as the shifting will of the people.

Though Indranan culture is usually based on an Indian product, the monarchy feels very Tudor in style, as though Queen Elizabeth I had ruled coming from Agra or Kabul rather than Westminster. which cultural influence is usually hugely significant: science fiction is usually growing in popularity on the subcontinent, nevertheless there’s been precious little sci-fi or fantasy which suggests a future by way of one of the most populous as well as fastest growing nations inside earth, as well as even less which makes the idea to print inside United States (Ian McDonald’s River of Gods as well as Cyberabad Days come to mind). One can argue which representation is usually important for its own sake, nevertheless you can also make the case which variety is usually the spice of fantasy as well as science fiction. The history of SFF is usually full of stories with white, western-centric cultures projected into the future, seemingly to the exclusion of anyone else. the idea’s refreshing which we’re beginning to imagine futures which are less exclusively white.

Of course, Hail is usually also a woman—a middle-aged woman, at which, ruling a matriarchal society. Though the idea’s generally taken for granted inside way which a male-dominated monarchy might be in any number of fictional (as well as real life) political systems, Wagers has some fun with the idea of men pleading for equal rights as well as equal representation to women who find the idea slightly ridiculous. Men, after all, have their places…as well as if they hold few leadership positions in government or inside military, isn’t which just the way things are supposed to be?

Star Wars feels like a strong influence on the series, given the well-worn universe the idea is usually set in as well as the assortment of charming rogues who make up much of the cast. The Empress herself fits which description: we all know Princess Leia has the best resume, nevertheless Han Solo gets most of the action as well as the best lines. Those qualities combine in Hail; though becoming Empress seems to have mellowed her a bit inside early going, her many years as a gunrunner as well as smuggler come in handy once the plot comes into focus as well as the action ramps up. The well-meaning cadre of advisors, frequently men, who have been prodding as well as encouraging her all along are entirely out of their element once the structure of the imperial court are no longer to be relied upon, which means which Hail is usually back in her element: using guns, her many shady underworld connections, as well as her wit as well as instincts to fight to reclaim her throne.

The princess isn’t just a princess, she’s a queen, one who sees most of the action as well as gets the best lines. The prospect of a loss of her empire, as well as the consequences to her people, force Hail to come to terms with her brand new life. There’s no time for mourning, nor for self-doubt. With the odds stacked against her, she regains the determination as well as clarity of purpose which she’ll need, which means we get to spend more time than we did even inside first book among the underworld elements of Hail’s past.

The first part of the book favors behind-the-scenes political intrigue as well as an exploration of Hail’s grief as well as doubt, as she relies on advisors to steer her decisions, many of whom have their own doubts about her qualifications. Once she’s forced back into the game, the tone shifts, as well as Hail is usually Once more the hero the Empire (as well as we readers) needs.

After the Crown is usually available right now.

The Best Horror Books of 2016

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The Best Horror Books of 2016 -

besthorror2016This specific year was an interesting one for horror. Not only did genre fans see fresh books through established heavy hitters, they welcomed a grandmaster’s novel back into print after 52 years, encountered incredible debuts, rafts of fresh as well as also disturbing short stories, as well as also at least one satire that will frightens just as easily as its source material. If there were room to list every horror book released This specific year, we could easily just do that will. The competition was tough, as well as also many late nights were spent pondering the list as well as also debating where the line lays between horror as well as also dark fantasy. Finally, final selection of contenders emerged through the chaos. Submitted for your approval, here are the 15 best horror books of 2016.

Mongrels, by Stephen Graham Jones
Told through the point of view of a 10-year-old half-human boy, Mongrels follows a family of werewolves as they move through place to place within the American south, always one step ahead of the hunters as well as also police who are after them for a variety of crimes as well as also misdeeds. While Jones features a gift for the grisly imagery as well as also body horror werewolf mythology requires (that will section about pantyhose haunts me to This specific day), the real heart of the novel is actually the way he builds on werewolf tropes as a metaphor for those who live as outsiders, as well as also explores the dynamic of a displaced people chafing under a set of rules as well as also expectations that will are not their own.

Hex, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Blending equal measures of morality tale, gothic horror story, as well as also dystopian surveillance-state nightmare, Heuvelt’s twisted slice of suburban darkness is actually a standout of This specific year. The story follows the town of Black Spring, home to an undead witch who wanders through the town chained, her eyes as well as also mouth sewn up against some unknown calamity. Before long, a few of the town’s rebellious teenagers decide to “experiment” on the witch as well as also post the results to the internet, setting off a chain of events that will spiral into grisly violence as well as also Dark Ages-style retribution. Heuvelt instills Hex with atmosphere as well as also a creeping sense of dread that will, when paired which has a gift for creating lasting as well as also horrifying images, make for uncomfortable as well as also electrifying reading.

The Brotherhood of the Wheelby R.S. Belcher
With his dark horror-fantasy, Belcher takes the secret history of America as well as also its roadways, adds numerous urban legends, conspiracy theories, as well as also even some of the darker bits of American history, points the item towards the reader, as well as also opens the throttle. Within This specific hard-hitting, hard-driving tale of knight errant truckers as well as also bikers facing off against a shadowy eldritch abomination, there lies a rich setting that will’s easy to get lost in, as well as also exciting action sequences galore. While that will could be enough on its own, Belcher threads the item together with interesting characters as well as also high narrative stakes that will up the ante page after page, daring readers to follow the item to the end of the road.

Nightmares, edited by Ellen Datlow
Culled through a decade’s worth of dark as well as also disquieting fiction, Ellen Datlow’s followup to her essential collection Darkness offers another helping of terrifying short reads, spanning black comedy, Lynchian fever dreams, absurdism, gothic fiction, as well as also more besides. Datlow assembles a host of horror’s heaviest hitters for Nightmares, as well as also the collection finds them at their best, spinning tales of outsider art, murderous writers, vengeful fairies, as well as also deadly urban legends. The result is actually a perfect roadmap for where to start getting into dark fiction, with entries to suit just about any taste.
Standout Stories: “Ambitious Boys Like You” by Richard Kadrey, “Spectral Evidence” by Gemma Files, “Dead Sea Fruit” by Kaaron Warren

Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, by Paul Tremblay
Switching to horror after spending his timeon incredibly imaginative crime fiction, Paul Tremblay’s newest Discharge fulfills all the promise of A Head Full of Ghosts, delivering another disquieting psychological thriller, This specific time about a town dealing with the loss of a teenager. There isn’t a clear answer whether or not the ghostly visitations in Disappearance are actually supernatural, as well as also the item’s better for the item—the focus isn’t necessarily the ghostly visitations or the disquieting legends or the weird messages through a long-dead son, nevertheless the psychological effect a loss has on friends as well as also family. Having said that will, Tremblay’s subtle disturbances definitely help the book, heightening the unnerving atmosphere already present.

The Last Days of Jack Sparksby Jason Arnopp
Arnopp’s novel, as the title could suggest, follows the final days of journalist Jack Sparks as he investigates an unusual YouTube video as well as also its ties to the supernatural. The novel works as an excellent character study of Sparks, a music journalist-turned experiential writer whose last book finds him biting off a bit more than he can chew. Sparks is actually a frustrating as well as also compelling character, as well as also while the item’s fairly obvious he’ll meet his end, Arnopp gives his anti-hero a distinct voice as well as also slowly adds layers of complexity. To make the item all more believable, the book presents itself as a “found document” through Sparks, drawing the reader into its world.

The Fireman, by Joe Hill
Joe Hill turns his practiced eye towards post-apocalyptic horror with the tale of a spontaneous combustion plague known as “Dragonscale” as well as also the attempts of infected pregnant nurse to find a safe haven for her unborn child. Hill’s book brims with interesting characters as well as also terrifying situations, through the terminal patient who does her best to help sufferers of the disease, to the zealous Marlboro Man, a sadist who takes a particular pleasure in murdering the infected. The result is actually a dense epic with terror as well as also wonder in equal measure, as well among the most unusual as well as also imaginative fictional diseases in recent history.

The Suicide Motor Club, by Christopher Buehlman
A group of vampires in sleek classic cars prowl the roadways for fun in Buehlman’s tale of revenge as well as also trauma. The Suicide Motor Club creeps across the highways as well as also byways looking for prey as well as also others to join in their twisted game of high-speed bumper cars. nevertheless when their chance encounter with Judith’s family that will leaves her seriously injured, her husband dead, as well as also her son kidnapped, the Club as well as also Judith are set on a collision course that will neither party may survive. Buehlman’s depiction of the roadways within the mid-to-late ’60s is actually treacherous enough (much like some actual roadways of the era), nevertheless the Club, a roving band of hedonistic bloodsuckers, pushes things through treacherous to outright life-threatening.

I Am Providence, by Nick Mamatas
Beginning with the murder of an unlikeable as well as also pretentious author at the Summer Tentacular Lovecraft convention, Mamatas’ latest blends the weird with hints of conspiracy as well as also a deranged narrator spinning navel-gazing monologues through some vague afterlife. The author seems to delight the grotesque touches he applies to his heroes, villains, as well as also monsters in equal measure, creating a vivid as well as also unsettling world even before the plot kicks into gear. While the novel places one foot in Lovecraft’s oeuvre, Mamatas revels within the unfurling tentacles of his narrative, which is actually a many-toothed, many-eyed beast all its own.

Lovecraft Country, by Matt Ruff
Ruff’s existential horror riff directly engages with the racist as well as also problematic elements of H.P. Lovecraft’s dark as well as also dread-filled stories by recasting ol’ Howard’s terrified white heroes with resourceful as well as also witty black heroes as well as also heroines. The result is actually a triptych of stories that will are one part pastiche, one part social commentary, as well as also one part  biting satire of an embarrassing science fiction as well as also fantasy institution. Ruff’s prose as well as also colorful cast move beyond the simple elevator pitch of “race-bent Lovecraft stories,” creating an unforgettable world that will both interrogates as well as also celebrates the material at its heart.

The Fisherman, by John Langan
Any year where we get fresh work through John Langan is actually a not bad one, nevertheless This specific year’s offering through the master of disquieting is actually a standout even then. Langan’s story of two men who deal with loss as well as also grief by fishing in upstate fresh York only to run afoul of a terrifying local legend, begins which has a series of allusions to the terrifying events later within the book, as well as also proceeds to deliver on every skin-crawling promise. The nods to the future also work in with the general narrative tone, which features a lot to do with loss as well as also regret. The result is actually the kind of quiet, emotional, character-driven horror that will explodes into supernatural terror, an American gothic horror novel like no additional.

The Late Breakfasters as well as also additional Strange Stories, by Robert Aickman
Aickman, a writer of “strange stories” as well as also one of the godfathers of modern weird fiction, first wrote This specific novel within the 1960s. The dark comedy of manners only made its way to the United States This specific year, as well as also while the item may be cheating to put the item on a roundup of 2016’s best horror, well, the item deserves as much attention as anything else listed. Aickman is actually known for a subtle attention to detail as well as also a method of story construction that will draws the reader in even as the item builds towards the idea that will something is actually off, all of which is actually well on display here. Something is actually happening on almost every page, as well as also Aickman’s warped sense of humor is actually a a welcome delight.

Mr. Splitfoot, by Samantha Hunt
By currently, those who follow the horror articles here have heard of This specific book at least three times. If that will’s not a recommendation enough, consider This specific a last appeal. A lyrical, dark, as well as also haunting work, Mr. Splitfoot travels the darker sections of Appalachian fresh York, mixing fundamentalist cults, foreboding woods, ghost stories, as well as also psychic phenomena fraudulent as well as also otherwise to tell the story of two women bound by family as well as also an event within the past. If  that will doesn’t sell the item for you, then understand we’re not alone in our adulation: the book has drawn comparisons to Kelly Link as well as also Aimee Bender, not bad company to be in if your aim is actually lyrical horror with strong elements of the weird.

The Empty Ones, by Robert Brockway
The screaming sequel to The Unnoticeables begins which has a self-proclaimed god replacing someone’s eyes as well as also hands with gaping, toothy maws. that will sets the tone for a novel loaded with disturbing visuals as well as also black humor in equal measure, featuring a reality TV star who talks cheerfully as well as also placidly about the atrocities he’d visit upon sapient creatures, a mysterious cult within the desert that will wants to “solve” human beings for some nefarious purpose, as well as also the jabbering balls of light everyone calls “angels” that will have their own alien as well as also unnerving plans for humanity. Brockway refuses to slow down for an instant, as well as also the result is actually a wild ride through start to finish.

The Hidden People, by Alison Littlewood
Drawing through the same atmospheric well as classics like The Wicker Man as well as also The WitchThe Hidden People is actually the story of Albie, a young man who receives word that will his odd cousin through the country, Lizzie, has died at the hands of her shoemaker husband. When he talks to the husband about the item, he finds that will the man believes his wife was taken as well as also replaced by one of the fair folk. Stranger still, no one within the town seems to think he acted within the wrong. The novel features a strange as well as also dreamlike quality to the item, almost as if a fog is actually hanging over the town, as well as also when combined with the bizarre townsfolk as well as also the disturbing mystery at its center, the item makes for a book that will disturbs the reader as fresh dimensions unfold piece by piece.

Did your scariest picks make the list?