Thursday, December 31, 2009

Author Laura Bynum

I recently finished reading a debut novel, Veracity, by Laura Bynum. Classified as science fiction, or dystopian, it was disturbing in its portrayal of a future where government takes total advantage of society's every little abdication to wholly consume it. The government's new version of society revolves around complete, around-the-clock control of entire citizenry. The most alarming aspect of Bynum's story is that, regardless of your political affiliation, anyone could see how easily freedom could fall.

I was glad to get the opportunity to review Laura Bynum, but I was unprepared for how compelling her personal story and thought process is. It was a great interview, I only wish I could claim any relevant amount of responsibility for it.

PW: Will you please give a summary of your journey from hopeful writer to the publication of Veracity?

Bynum: I knew as a kid that I wanted to write but I put it off until I was well-entrenched in a corporate life I didn’t want, and until my creative self had nearly starved to death. Why?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Spotlight, on a Tuesday?! The Interviewer is interviewed.

Well, lookey what we got here. An interview of Harry Markov. In all fairness, this should've been posted on Sunday night, but an observational error on my part got us delayed. I wanted this in 2009, so here it is.

You have, in all likelihood, read Harry's various interviews over the past year or so. Harry does an excellent job in bringing us views into many of the personalities around sf&f, be they bloggers, authors or what have you. As a result, I've wondered from time to time, "Who is Harry Markov?" You're about to find out.

Harry and I have actually had plenty of decent, if brief, conversations when time permits. Recently, I asked him for an interview and he graciously agreed. Ladies and gentlemen, I present Harry Markov.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Veracity Review

Veracity (HC)
by Laura Bynum
Pocket Books, 2010
Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4391-2334-8

Summary: The protagonist, Harper Adams, is a citizen controlled like all the rest. Unlike the rest, she has precognitive abilities. These abilities, like all else of value, are exploited by the State. Harper is used by the highly centralized government as a 'monitor' to analyze potential traitors to the State. After watching numerous horrific episodes of citizen seizure and what passes for law enforcement/punishment, Harper decides to run.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Get out the Vote

The polls have opened and let the voting begin! I'm talking about the David Gemmell Legend Award. The Morningstar Award will be given, for the first time, this year. It is for the "Best Newcomer." There will also be a Ravenheart Award (not open for voting yet), which will be awarded to "the best fantasy jacket artist."

These are great awards for two reasons. First, it is a set of awards where fantasy no longer has to play little step-brother to science fiction. Second, these awards are granted at the mercy of the fans. The "powers that be" can slap each other on the back and say what they will, but these awards come from the people who actually pay money for books (i.e. make the entire industry an industry).

Follow the link below for the list of nominees in each category.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Arrivals

Thanks to publicist Sarah Reidy at Simon & Schuster, I've just received a book and an ARC.

The book in question is Veracity by Laura Bynum. The dustcover displays testimonials from Greg Bear, Elizabeth Moon, Jeff Carlson and Larry Beinhart.

The ARC is Liane Merciel's The River Kings' Road: A Novel of Ithelas. On its front cover, the ARC bares a testimonial from L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

What is he doing?!

I completed Michael A. Stackpole's Talion: Revenant this morning. What is Stackpole doing? Granted, I've never read anything by him before, but this particular world and story was entertaining enough to have been, long since, revisited. I looked around on sf&f sites and wikipedia and found...nothing. Surprising, because it was quite fun.

Talion: Revenant (mmpb)
Michael A. Stackpole
Bantam Spectra, 1997
ISBN: 0-553-57656-9

Book Blurb: Justices - the select of the Talion, endowed with fearsome magick and lethal martial skills - roam the Shattered Empire, crushing the lawless and championing the oppressed. Their word is law and their judgement binding on the highborn and low.

Nolan is a Justice born in what once was the free nation of Sinjaria. Orphaned in the war of conquest with the nation of Hamis, he traveled to far Talianna and secured the right to become a Justice. Now, years later, the Master of all Talions has a dangerous assignment for Nolan: he is to guard the life of the king who destroyed Sinjaria and slaughtered his family. Alone, Nolan ventures into the political maelstrom that is the court of Hamis to stop an assassin even his Masters think cannot be slain...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tripping the light fantastic

Well, it appears creatures of a fantastic nature are beginning to invade our everyday world. In the American south, evidence of a leprechaun presence has been chronicled. The following news story comes from Mobile, Alabama. All I can really say about the matter is that the amateur sketch of the leprechaun is, now, an all-time, top-ten favorite.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

'Tis the Season

Seak's Stamp of Approval, Ubiquitous Absence, and State of Review are proud to announce their first book giveaway.

We all feel that some of our holiday gifts were not quite what we hoped to receive. So, we are offering one novel from the list below to one lucky winner. You have three chances to win by emailing each of our blogsite emails. This contest will begin December 15, 2009 and the winner will be announced on January 10, 2010. Sorry, but this is limited to those in the U.S. only.

First, send an email to each of the blog emails (replace with regular at and dot symbols) -

seaklos (AT) gmail (DOT) com
PeterWilliam (AT) gmx (DOT) com
stateofreview (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Second, your email must contain your full mailing address (that's snail mail) otherwise your message will be deleted.

Lastly, multiple entries (to individual blog addresses) will disqualify whoever sends them. Please include your screen name and the message boards you are frequently using.

Good luck and happy holidays from us at Ubiquitous Absence, Seak's Stamp of Approval and State of Review.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Emotional Evisceration

Yikes! I watched the finale to season 4 of Dexter last night. I will, of course, avoid announcing spoilers here, but the final scene was an absolute nightmare. This is clearly the best, if also the most disturbing, television programming known to me. John Lithgow's portrayal of the Trinity Killer is certainly award worthy, but Michael C. Hall's role of Dexter is still compelling, after four seasons. I watched only the portion of the Hall/Lithgow interview played after the finale episode, but the whole thing is available over on Showtime's site. I regularly follow the Wertzone and was stunned when Adam once told me that he hadn't watched the Dexter series yet. Adam is, generally speaking, one of the world's best locations to discover great entertainment, be it books, games, film or television. I would strongly recommend watching each season on DVD, however. Waiting for each successive episode is a torture unto itself.

Meanwhile, I'm still reading Wolfe and Stackpole, but progress is slow. Part of the delay is that I've been working on compiling an outline for a novel length work of fiction, based on some advise given by Elizabeth Moon who has been posting regularly over at SFFWorld lately. I'm also working on exercising writing skills by participating in a monthly flash fiction contest. With the holidays coming and going, let's hope normal posting activity resumes in a couple of weeks.