Friday, December 31, 2010

Writers of the Future Update

The third quarter winners for this year's Writers of the Future contest have been announced.

Huge congratulations to Australian Richard Johnson and Seattleites Geir Lanesskog and Keffy R.M. Kehrli!

I'm looking forward to meeting the three of them at the WOTF workshop and award ceremony in the spring. Incidentally, Keffy Kehrli received a coveted Story Recommendation of the Week at this blog about a year ago for his excellent story Advertising at the End of the World, so can I pick up-and-coming authors or what?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review Teaser :: The Devil Inside by Jenna Black

cover of The Devil InsideNew on Fantastic Reviews is Amy's review of The Devil Inside by Jenna Black.

From Amy's book review of The Devil Inside :
"The Devil Inside by Jenna Black is book one of the Morgan Kingsley urban fantasy series. There are four more books in this series -- The Devil You Know, The Devil's Due, Speak of the Devil, and The Devil's Playground."

"I thought The Devil Inside would be about a female exorcist battling the Devil. But it isn't, even though it features demons. The Devil Inside is mainly about a heroine running from one bad situation to another while having a titillating sex life."

"The book's first-person protagonist, Morgan Kingsley, is a Philadelphia exorcist, although she only performs two exorcisms in this book. Morgan likes to dress daringly and she has a tattoo, which seems to be the norm for an urban fantasy heroine. Months earlier, bad guys drugged Morgan and got a demon inside her. Slowly she realizes that she is possessed, which is her worst nightmare. But her demon can't do anything initially, because Morgan is so strong...."

To read the entire review -> The Devil Inside

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Aaron's Story Recommendation of the Week :: As Below, So Above by Ferrett Steinmetz

Beneath Ceaseless Skies Nov2010The story recommendation of the week is for As Below, So Above by Ferrett Steinmetz, published November 18, 2010 at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

If I blurt out the story concept of "As Below, So Above," it will sound silly. And the story would have been silly if not handled so adeptly, right from the opening lines:
Up at the shimmering edge of the sky, where the water met the air, Son spread his tentacles out beneath the terrible shadow of his father. They were waiting for the ships. Son felt the approaching heart-thrum bouncing off the coral-crusted hulls below as the ships crested the painwall.
You don't really know what's going on yet, but you know it's pretty darn strange. Some of the strangeness is misdirection —— water is meeting air in the sky simply because the narrator lives underwater, so to him the surface of the sea is the "edge of the sky" —— but it helps put you in the right frame of mind to take in the real strangeness: our narrator is a giant kraken, who with his father guards the mysterious island home of their scientist creator.

More accurately, the scientist created the father and his late wife, and they in turn created the son. This layer of separation from their creator makes all the difference in enabling the son to begin to evaluate the krakens' place in the world dispassionately, just as the greatest assault yet on their master's hideout begins.

The proof of how well Steinmetz gets you into the skin, er . . . scales, er . . . I just don't fucking know, of his characters is that you really start to care about what happens to the giant-squid father, and about the narrator's potential moral dilemma when he meets the mad-scientist creator. Good stuff!

In the past two years, Ferrett Steinmetz has published about a dozen pieces of short fiction, including two pieces in Asimov's and a story forthcoming in Shimmer. Another name to add to the watch list.