Author Archives: M. L. Brennan
Eight days until the 1-month anniversary of DARK ASCENSION! Whoa, that went fast!
To celebrate, I’m going to do a question-answering post! Do you have questions about the series, or questions about Dark Ascension in particular? Wonder why I did that particular thing there, or why that other thing happened, or what I have against bichon frises? ASK! Post questions here, on my Facebook, or toss them to me on Twitter (as spoilery as you want! the book has been out a month — GO CRAZY), and I’ll answer them in a week!
My brother sent me an email today! In it, he poses a thoughtful philosophical question, one that I believe many of the greatest minds of our generation have struggled with:
Good advice on Star Trek Enterprise… that’s turning out to be pretty entertaining background stuff during my model painting. I’m somewhere in season 2 right now.
I’m also watching Star Trek Voyager. UGHHH. These episodes are tough to make it through (exception for species 4572 episode was awesome). I realized pretty early on that I don’t find any of the characters compelling (possible exception for Janeway herself), and several of the characters (Paris, Neelix, Kess) are actually really annoying. But I figured, hey no problem, at least the ship battles will be cool with one technologically superior starship against hordes of Kazon and whatnot.
Except, no, the ship battles are NOT awesome, because Janeway always lets herself get shot at for 10 minutes and does nothing except get thrown around the bridge while shouting “Evasive maneuvers!” and “Damage reports!” And then when she finally remembers they have phasers on that ship, poor whiny Tom Paris informs her that all the phasers are burnt out and engines are offline, and they’re about to be boarded by aliens who can’t go faster than warp 4 and don’t even have transporters or shield technology! AAAGH!
So here’s the thing. I’m in the middle of season 4, probably near where I stopped watching when I left for college. Does this thing get any better?
Gentle readers, thoughts?
Today is a very big day! First, it’s been one week since Dark Ascension hit the bookstands — but more importantly, today I’m doing an AMA at Reddit where you can ask me any question you want, PLUS the winners of my huge giveaway on Reddit will be announced tonight at 9pm! Mere HOURS remain in that contest, but remember that you can still enter! Prizes on that range from a complete signed set of the four Generation V books to signed copies of Dark Ascension — and those will be shipped ANYWHERE!
To select the winners of the giveaway, I’ve chosen….. my friends! (no nepotism here, nosiree…) Basic information is below, and I’ll be updating this page after 9pm tonight to announce the giveaway winners!
Okay, here are the giveaway basics: There are going to be three sets of winners — The Big Kahuna wins a signed set of the complete series; The Four Lesser Kahunas each get a signed copy of Dark Ascension; and (on the urging of Judge Lish McBride), there will also be a few runner-up prizes for Kahunas-In-Training who will each win a signed copy of Iron Night.
Lish McBride was raised by wolves in the Pacific Northwest. It rains a lot there, but she likes it anyway. She spent three years away while she got her MFA in fiction from the University of New Orleans, and she liked that too, although the hurricane did leave much of her stuff underwater. She enjoys reading, having geek-laden conversations about movies, comics, and zombies with her friends, and of course trying to wear pajamas as much as humanly possible. Currently, Lish lives happily in Seattle where the weather never actually tries to kill you, with her family, two cats, and one very put-upon Chihuahua. She is slowly building her garden gnome army.
You may contact her on here (she tries to check it on a semi-regular basis) or at LishMcBride@gmail.com.
Lish’s Winner Selection:
I’m picking sekhmet4 because Saga is rad. That’s right, rad. It’s a beautifully done, vivid, gory, amazing story about two people from warring planets that essentially fall in love over a romance novel. And because Lying Cat.
My most recent SF/F laugh out loud moments are all from the comic series Saga. From the very first pages of the first issue where Alana is giving birth to her daughter, I laughed fairly regularly. The dialogue especially between the two main characters combined with the magic of Fiona Staples’s art was thoroughly entertaining. -sekhmet4
The two people talking up Scott Lynch should get some sort of honorable mention–I almost picked them because they both convinced me to actually read Scott Lynch. I’ve heard good things, but no one told me those books had some funny in them.
I share all my fantasy books with my younger cousins so that we can bond over good literature. I recently gave one of them The Lies of Locke Lamora while I was reading Red Seas Under Red Skies. Both books at points had us simultaneously laughing hysterically.
I’d love to snag copies of your books so that I could share them with the next generation. 🙂 – jachreja
The four of our favorite characters from Lies Of Locke Lamora. I remember I was drinking watermelon juice when I read the below lines
“… It’s perfect! Locke would appreciate it.”
“Bug,” Calo said, “Locke is our brother and our love for him knows no bounds. But the four most fatal words in the Therin language are ‘Locke would appreciate it.'”
“Rivalled only by ‘Locke taught me a new trick,'” added Galo.
“The only person who gets away with Locke Lamora games …”
“… is Locke …”
“… because we think the gods are saving him up for a really big death. Something with knives and hot irons …”
“… and fifty thousand cheering spectators.”
just spit out red watermelon juice all over the book. Stained and now the book looks like a spectator in a gruesome vampire showdown. – arzvi
Max Gladstone is a two-time finalist for the John W Campbell Best New Writer Award, and a one-time finalist for the XYZZY Award. In July 2015 Tor Books will publish his next novel, LAST FIRST SNOW, a tale of zoning politics, human sacrifice, and parenthood. LAST FIRST SNOW is the fourth Craft Sequence novel, preceded by THREE PARTS DEAD, TWO SERPENTS RISE, and FULL FATHOM FIVE.
Max studied Chan poetry and late Ming dynasty fantasy at Yale; he lived and taught for two years in rural Anhui province, and has traveled throughout Asia and Europe. He speaks Chinese, can embarrass himself reading Latin, and is a martial artist, fencer, and fiddler. He’s also worked as a researcher for the Berkman Center for Internet and Policy Law, a tour guide for the Swiss Embassy, a go-between for a suspicious Chinese auto magazine, a translator for visiting Chinese schoolteachers, a Chinese philosophy TA, a tech industry analyst, and an editor. He has wrecked a bicycle in Angkor Wat, sung at Carnegie Hall, and been thrown from a horse in Mongolia.
Max’s Winner Selection:
Quote: “There. There,” said the marquis de Carabas, awkwardly, patting her shoulder. And he added, for good measure, “There.” He did not comfort well.
Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere
It wasn’t a very funny moment in the book but I laughed because that’s literally what I do when someone cries in front of me. –7el-3ane
Stephen Blackmoore is a pulp writer of little to no renown who once thought lighting things on fire was one of the best things a kid could do with his time. Until he discovered that eyebrows don’t grow back very quickly.
His first novel, a dark urban fantasy titled CITY OF THE LOST is out through DAW Books and is available at all the fashionable bookstores. Hopefully some of the seedier ones, too. He would, after all, like to buy a copy.
His short stories and poetry have appeared in magazines like Plots With Guns, Needle, Spinetingler, and Thrilling Detective, as well as the anthologies UNCAGE ME and DEADLY TREATS.
Despite evidence to the contrary, he does not have rabies.
Stephen’s Winner Selection:
Nah, fuck ’em.
I’m going with pitaenigma. Because 8-Bit Theater was awesome and because they clearly went through the whole thing to get the 4 White Mages joke. That’s commitment.
I’m gonna cheat and use a webcomic. Eight Bit Theater. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and read it. If you have, I would like to mention the greatest brick joke in webcomic history. In the beginning of the comic strip, Black mage is running away from a giant. He consults a gaming magazine on the way and rejects one solution because it requires four White Mages to work. At the end, the Big Bad of the series reveals himself and is about to destroy the anti heroes and the world when he explodes. When the dust settles, what do we see? Four White mages. From set up to punchline it was nine years and about two thousand pages worth of comics.
Also I would like to mention another great joke but this one I won’t spoil. The identity of Sarda, the demented all powerful mage who has been toying with the party from the moment they met him.
Edit – In case you don’t accept webcomics (in which case shame on you) I have another one. In Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora we get the fantastic line ‘There’s a few things I’m going to ask him. Philosophical questions, like ‘How does it feel to be dangled out a window by a rope tied to your balls motherfucker?” You can’t deny the powerful imagery in the words of Scott Lynch. – pitaenigma
Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research. Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books. When not planning Shadow Campaigns, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts.
Django’s Winner Selection:
I hope this counts as technically it’s a graphic novel, but hey”
“There is no talking Back Here/ There is no unspoken Agreement to leave you with a scrap of dignity/ There is, in fact, no guarantee you’ll be able to walk out of here/ LISTEN TO THE CHAIR LEG OF TRUTH! IT DOES NOT LIE/ What does it say?/ It’s saying “Shut up Fred”!/ Can you hear it?”
Transmetropolitan #50 – Warren Ellis and art by Darick Robertson
I fell out of my chair laughing at this page. I love the idea that there is nothing more honest than a chair leg to the face. There is no ambiguity there. – 22cthulu
Though kudos to Imperial_Affectation for playing to the judges!
I was actually going to say Marcus d’Ivoire’s endless struggle to maintain era-appropriate views on gender roles in the face of ever-increasing evidence of how utterly inappropriate those views are in Wexler’s world, but then you went and named him as one of the corrupt judges. While I’m all for attempting to exploit the corruption inherent in your corrupt judicial panel, that might be a little much. >.>
Instead, I think I’m going to go with James S. A. Corey’s Leviathan Wakes. Corey is actually two authors (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) and in the first entry of their series they each write one of the two POV characters. Miller and Holden are diametrically opposed on just about everything. Miller wants to control the spread of information; Holden wants to broadcast it for all humanity to hear. Miller is perfectly happy using violence to solve problems; Holden feels compelled to be diplomatic. Miller’s chapters get progressively more depressing and obsessive; Holden’s chapters get progressively more manic. Miller pushes those closest to him away; Holden has a sort of innate magnetism that attracts all sorts of people (and not always for the best, as one of the later novels highlights).
The characters themselves don’t make terribly many jokes (though Miller makes an awful pun at one point and revels in it, since apparently he subscribes to /r/dadjokes), but the book itself is riddled with situational humor. Sometimes the two characters will have chapters that overlap a bit and you’ll see two completely different perspectives on the same exact events. Sometimes the non-POV character will say something to the POV character and all the POV character’s biases come into play and make the non-POV character sound like an idiot. And since the second half of the novel has lots of horror elements, the moments of humor tend to stand out a lot more than they would otherwise.
Plus there’s one point where Holden says something to the effect of, “this is literally the first time I’ve gotten off a ship without it blowing up.” It made me chuckle at the time. And then things got worse, which made it funnier. – Imperial_Affectation
T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction.She is the author of Miserere: An Autumn Tale, a dark fantasy, and has written several short stories. Her newest series, Los Nefilim, is coming from Harper Voyager Impulse and debuts in June 2015 with the novella, In Midnight’s Silence.
T. lives in North Carolina where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.
T’s Winner Selection (This is the BIG KAHUNA Prize!):
Nostalgia wins. I vote for mirrordog, simply because that Douglas Adams line is not only funny, but it’s also true. That, and his books made me laugh and laugh (Adams, not mirrordog). Right out loud. And we know how grim I am.
“The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”
― Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe – mirrordog
I’m also picking sekhmet4 for my runner up, because Saga is perfect. It’s book about a book that changes two people and not only causes them to fall in love with one another, but also gives them the mettle to try and change the world(s) around them. Because that what good stories do. And it’s funny and entertaining … like ML, so it has ALL THE THINGS.
I’m going to go with Stardust. The Star has fallen from the heavens in a blaze of light and sound, and then:
And there was a voice, a high clear, female voice, which said “Ow”, and then, very quietly, it said “Fuck”, and then it said “Ow”, once more.
Reddit’s formatting doesn’t quite do it, but the “fuck” is printed in a very small font. It’s just such a human way to react that I had to laugh. – MikeOfThePalace
I’m currently listening to the books in Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series. There are so many sassy, humorous moments but the most recent one is the very title of a chapter: In Which The Meringues Are Annihilated. I just remember doing a double take when I heard it and couldn’t wait to hear what happens. All I’m going to say is– they did indeed get annihilated. – alter-EGG-o
BEHIND THE JUDGING CURTAIN EXCLUSIVE:
This is the email I sent after Lish and T sent in their winner info… and Max, Stephen, and Django had not.
Dudes? Did you notice how the ladies both made their selections in a timely and complete fashion?
And here’s the email Stephen sent back:
You’re saying you want the guys to be faster? Look, we’re not 17 anymore.
With just under a week left for the big giveaway at Reddit, I have an announcement that makes this giveaway even better!
What could possibly be better than me giving away 4 signed copies of Dark Ascension and 1 Big Kahuna prize of a complete signed set of the Generation V books and shipping all of that anywhere on Earth, you ask?
Sure, I could pull winners out of a hat. But what fun is that? None. None at all.
So to help out, I have assembled a lineup of amazing authors who all know their way around mixing funny stuff with the serious stuff. Remember, you still have eight days left to enter, and the winners will be announced during my AMA on August 11!
Judging team, assemble!
Stephen Blackmoore is the author of the Eric Carter series of LA noir necromantic urban fantasy, and he and I are such an unholy combination on Twitter that the Oatmeal Raisin Conspiracy recently featured us as a duo on their podcast. Will he find your entry sponge-worthy?
T. Frohock is known for her dark fantasy novel Miserere: An Autumn Tale (and for making everyone have to remember how to spell Miserere) and for her brand-new series of novellas from Harper Voyager Impulse! And if you’re not following her on Twitter, why on earth not? This tough critic of the hilarious will be awarding the Big Kahuna prize, so you’d better impress her!
Max Gladstone writes the Craft sequence of books, which is so acclaimed that he was featured on NPR’s book blog! This is a guy who knows his way around a good skeleton-drinking-coffee joke, so can you impress him with your entry?
Lish McBride writes the awesome Necromancer series, and her protagonist, Sam, would absolutely be besties with Fort Scott. With an MFA in hilarity and a penchant for kelpies in cardigans, can your entry catch her honed eye?
Django Wexler splits his time between flintlock fantasy where a rugged army commander fails to realize that half of his fighting force consists of cross-dressing women and middle-grade fiction that features sarcastic and delightful talking cats. With such a wide range, can your entry sight in on his target?
Wow, that release date just gets closer and closer, doesn’t it? Weird. Just one more week now!
Some fun stuff to keep everyone entertained until then:
Another advance review in, this time Mogsy from The Bibliosanctum:
I’m practically bursting with questions and anticipation for the next book. I know I’ve said it before but I’ll happily say it again and again: M.L. Brennan’s Generation V series is simply wonderful, featuring a unique world filled the most incredible and unique paranormal beings you’ll ever meet. Without a doubt, this is one of the most fun, refreshing and addictive urban fantasy series you can find on the shelves right now, with each book bringing a new adventure and plenty of surprises. If you haven’t started yet, run—don’t walk—to your nearest bookstore and pick up the first book. I really can’t wait to see what Fort and Suze will be up to next.
Also, I did a podcast on Sunday with the Oatmeal Raisin Conspiracy — basically they brought me and Stephen Blackmoore on, then just sat back and watched the stream-of-consciousness-insanity fly. The whole thing is two hours, and we do each talk about our own series and approaches to writing a bit, but of course we also discuss the really important stuff, which gave the episode its name: “Botanist Erotica.” Good times!
We’re in the single-digit countdown now, dear readers, so if you can, please do pre-order your copies of Dark Ascension wherever you prefer to purchase your books! Or, if you can’t afford to buy it, please pester your local library to get a copy! Thanks so much!
A VERY exciting start to the day — two advance reviews of Dark Ascension were posted today, and both give the book 5 out of 5 stars!
Check it out!
Melliane at Between Dreams and Reality writes:
…Fort will also have to face the effects of his vampire change, increasingly present and that will change him more than he could think. This is really not easy to manage. Yet it was fascinating to see him evolving and changing during the course of history, to accept his fate and to try to move ahead.
And Ria at Bibliotropic writes:
What it comes down to is this: the status quo of both the in-book world and the books themselves was established, and Dark Ascension breaks it and takes things in a couple of unexpected directions. It’s got so many beloved aspects that the series has become known for, as well as some new insights that take things to a different level. It’s a great book, a worthy addition to the series, and from the ending, the ride isn’t over yet!
Pretty exciting stuff! Twelve days left until the release date, so if you want to get your hands on a copy, here’s what you can do:
Enter to win one signed copy of Dark Ascension or a complete signed set of the Generation V series over at Reddit.
Enter to win one of five signed copies of Dark Ascension at Goodreads.
It’s only two more weeks until the Dark Ascension release! EVERYONE PANIC!!!!
A bit of business — if you want a signed copy of Dark Ascension, then there are three ways that you can get them.
1. Win one in my Reddit giveaway! (1 full set of the series + 4 signed copies of Dark Ascension will be given away — contest ends August 11)
2. Win one in my Goodreads giveaway! (5 signed copies will be given away — contest ends August 3)
3. Check out the Signed Copies portion of this website and order a copy through an independent bookstore.
Is it still only two weeks until the book comes out? Yes? I HOPE EVERYONE IS STILL PANICING, BECAUSE I SURE AM!
In the first three months of the year (January – March), I read 26 books and had 14 that I loved. From April to June I read 22 more books, bringing my total for the first half of the year to 48. It was a big mix – I read some books that absolutely blew my mind, some that were just so-so, and a few others that I really couldn’t stand. I also read a number of books for research, but I’ll save those for a special section at the end of the year. (“Wow, M. L. Brennan’s list of research texts! I can’t wait!” said no one ever)
Anyway, here are the amazing ones, in the order that I read them:
1. The Broken Crown by Michelle West
The Dominion, once divided by savage clan wars, has kept an uneasy peace within its border since that long-ago time when the clan Leonne was gifted with the magic of the Sun Sword and was raised up to reign over the five noble clans. But now treachery strikes at the very heart of the Dominion as two never meant to rule–one a highly skilled General, the other a master of the magical arts–seek to seize the crown by slaughtering all of clan Leonne blood.
2. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.
3. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip G. Zimbardo
What makes good people do bad things? Renowned social psychologist Philip Zimbardo has an answer, and in the Lucifer Effect he explains how-and why- we are all susceptible to the lure of the “the dark side.” Drawing on examples from history as well as his own trailblazing research, Zimbardo, the creator of the Standford Prison Experiment, details how situational forces and group dynamics can work in concert to make monsters out of decent men and women. By illuminating the causes behind this disturbing metamorphosis, and by highlighting the ways in which individuals can resist the temptation to give in to evil, Zimbardo enables us to better understand a variety of phenomena, from corporate malfeasance to the prisoner abuse and torture in Abu Ghraib to organized genocide. This is a book that forces us to reexamine what we are capable of doing, individually, and collectively.
4. All Joy And No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting by Jennifer Senior
The instant New York Times bestseller that the Christian Science Monitor declared “an important book, much the way The Feminine Mystique was, because it offers parents a common language, an understanding that they’re not alone”
Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. But almost none have thought to ask: What are the effects of children on their parents?
In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior analyzes the many ways children reshape their parents’ lives, whether it’s their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self. She argues that changes in the last half century have radically altered the roles of today’s mothers and fathers, making their mandates at once more complex and far less clear. Recruiting from a wide variety of sources—in history, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology—she dissects both the timeless strains of parenting and the ones that are brand new, and then brings her research to life in the homes of ordinary parents around the country. The result is an unforgettable series of family portraits, starting with parents of young children and progressing in later chapters to parents of teens. Through lively and accessible storytelling, Senior follows these mothers and fathers as they wrestle with some of parenthood’s deepest vexations—and luxuriate in some of its finest rewards.
Meticulously researched yet imbued with emotional intelligence, All Joy and No Fun makes us reconsider some of our culture’s most basic beliefs about parenthood, all while illuminating the profound ways children deepen and add purpose to our lives. By focusing on parenthood, rather than parenting, the book is original and essential reading for mothers and fathers of today—and tomorrow.
5. The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes
The most powerful man in the republic framed her, threw her in prison, and stole a priceless elven manuscript from her family.
With the help of a crack team that includes an illusionist, a unicorn, a death priestess, a talking warhammer, and a lad with a prophetic birthmark, Loch must find a way into the floating fortress of Heaven’s Spire–and get past the magic-hunting golems and infernal sorcerers standing between her and the vault that holds her family’s treasure.
It’d be tricky enough without the military coup and unfolding of an ancient evil prophecy–but now the determined and honourable Justicar Pyvic has been assigned to take her in.
But hey, every plan has a few hitches.
6. The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan
Devoted readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoirs, A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents, may believe themselves already acquainted with the particulars of her historic voyage aboard the Royal Survey Ship Basilisk, but the true story of that illuminating, harrowing, and scandalous journey has never been revealed—until now. Six years after her perilous exploits in Eriga, Isabella embarks on her most ambitious expedition yet: a two-year trip around the world to study all manner of dragons in every place they might be found. From feathered serpents sunning themselves in the ruins of a fallen civilization to the mighty sea serpents of the tropics, these creatures are a source of both endless fascination and frequent peril. Accompanying her is not only her young son, Jake, but a chivalrous foreign archaeologist whose interests converge with Isabella’s in ways both professional and personal.
Science is, of course, the primary objective of the voyage, but Isabella’s life is rarely so simple. She must cope with storms, shipwrecks, intrigue, and warfare, even as she makes a discovery that offers a revolutionary new insight into the ancient history of dragons.
7. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
In his highly acclaimed debut, Scott Lynch took us on an adrenaline-fueled adventure with a band of daring thieves led by con artist extraordinaire Locke Lamora. Now Lynch brings back his outrageous hero for a caper so death-defying, nothing short of a miracle will pull it off.
After a brutal battle with the underworld, Locke and his sidekick, Jean, fled to the exotic shores of Tal Verrar to nurse their wounds. But they are soon back to what they do best–stealing from the rich and pocketing the proceeds. Now, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the world’s most exclusive, most heavily guarded gambling house. But there is one cardinal rule: it is death to cheat at any game.
Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way straight to the Sunspire’s teeming vault. But someone knows the duo’s secret–and has every intention of making them pay for their sins.
Very exciting! I did an interview with the very talented (and former fellow panelist & all-around fun guy) Anton Strout for his wonderful podcast The Once and Future Podcast. We had a lot of fun discussion, but it’s a great moment when in the descriptor and in the beginning of the show the host feels it necessary to warn the audience that “this is a long one, folks.” HAH!
This is a fun conversation about writing, nerdery, vampires, panels, and literary fiction. Give it a listen!