The Library Fantastic

Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser Strike Again

Via Sci-Fi Wire, it’s been announced that Dark Horse Comics has acquired the rights to Fritz Leiber’s stories of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser (collected in a number of volumes, such as The First Book of Lankhmar and The Second Book of Lankhmar). Dark Horse plans to republish the stories, as well as reprinting a comic adaption by Mike Mignola and Howard Chaykin.

Most exciting of all, Dark Horse will launch a new original series, which will adapt stories into comic form as well as produce original comic stories (much like Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord have done, to popular and critical success, with Conan). Hopefully the team on the original comic series will be as high-caliber as Busiek-Nord and Mignola-Chaykin.

Dabel Brothers Goodness

Dabel Brothers Productions have provided us with some advanced reading copies of their current series for review, and we gave them a try. All in all, the three series we read look pretty good, with the licensed properties in particular earning some special distinction. DB Pro says they’re going to provide science fiction and fantasy comics “done right”, and we think with these comics (and, of course The Hedge Knight) they’re on their way to doing this. Commentary on the three series we’ve read (Marshal, Magician: Apprentice, and Red Prophet) below the fold.

Mark Smylie Interview

Comics renaissance man Mark Smylie—award-winning writer-artist-creator of the brilliant fantasy epic comic Artesia, founder of Archaia Studio Press, and sole creator of the award-nominated Artesia: Adventures in the Known World RPG (PDF available through Drive Thru RPG)—responds with interesting answers to an interview at Broken Frontier.

Artesia is a terrific work (we’ve recently mentioned a ten-page preview of the upcoming Artesia Besieged series, for those who want a taste), and is something that any self-respecting fan of epic fantasy (especially in the style of George R. R. Martin, as politics play a major role in these stories) and/or comics should check out. Word is that a hardcover release of the first collection is in the offing for an August release.

Scott Lynch Interview

Scott Lynch, author of the forhcoming fantasy novel The Lies of Locke Lamora which has generated a great deal of buzz (and a purchase of movie rights by Warner Brothers even before the publication of the book), is interviewd at The Bookseller. Therein, he discusses how he came to find a publisher, his penchant for killing his cast of characters (which he blames on George R.R. Martin who, perhaps not coincidentally, has been quite vocal in his praise for the novel), and more.

This is one to keep an eye on.

Artesia Besieged Preview

A ten page preview of the continuation of Mark Smylie’s fantastic Artesia, Artesia Besieged, has been posted on Newsarama. The Artesia series is very probably the best fantasy work being published today in the American market, and Mark Smylie has proven himself to be a man of many talents, what with the Artesia RPG that he single-handedly created pulling in a great deal of popular and critical praise (and an Origins Awards nomination for Best Role Playing Game).

If you’re a fan of epic or heroic fantasy, expansive world-building, gritty medieval politics, and big set-piece battles, this is a series you must check out.

GGK on Readers

Guy Gavriel Kay has made an interesting post on his forum, discussing how readers bring themselves into the reading experience, and why reactions to a scene, character, or novel can vary so widely from one reader to another. To some degree it’s elementary, but it’s a good thing to remind people of from time to time when they get into discussing their reactions to a work of literature.

Esslemont Lands Bantam Deal

Via Emerald City, we learn that Ian Cameron Esslemont, Steven Erikson’s collaborator on the Malazan Empire setting and author of the small-press-published Night of Knives (which tells the tale of Dassem Ultor around the time of the deaths of Emperor Kellanved and Dancer), will now be published through Bantam UK. They will be republishing Night of Knives in hardcover, and then will be releasing Esslemont’s next Malazan book, The Return of the Crimson Guard, something Malazan fans will definitely be looking forward to.

Press release below the cut.

Kushiel’s Scion Excerpt

As part of her April update (and no, its not a joke), Jacqueline Carey has put up the first chapter from Kushiel’s Scion on her website, providing a tasty sampling of the book that is due out in June.

The Blood Returns

Anne Bishop has posted to her sff.net newsgroup and two Yahoo Groups discussion lists dedicated to her books that her next project (following Belladonna, the conclusion of the Ephemera duology that started with Sebastian) will feature Surreal, Daemon, Lucivar and Jaenelle. In other words, we get to return to the Realms of the Blood, for a story that will take place after the stories found in the Dreams Made Flesh collection. This one will not be a collection, however, but a full-sized novel. As a bonus, the book will also contain a reprint of the Surreal short-story "By the Time the Witchblood Blooms".

Best Novel Campaign Ramps Up

As Patrick Nielsen Hayden recently suggested at Crooked Timber, it looks like a couple of Tor’s novel nominees—John Scalzi and Robert Charles Wilson—are joining Charles Stross in making their nominated novels available as e-texts. Unlike Stross’s Accelerando, these texts will be available only to members of this year’s Worldcon in Los Angeles.

Instructions can be found at Whatever, Mr. Scalzi’s blog.

Age of Bronze on the Web

Via Publisher’s Weekly, we’ve learned that Eric Shanower—writer-artist on the multiple award-winning Age of Bronze, a fantastic retelling of Homer’s Iliad—is considering serializing new issues of the comic on the web due to poor sales of the single issues (the trade collections are both doing well). Linda and I both enthusiastically recommend the comic—Shanower is a rare talent.

Donaldson Finishes Draft of Next Book

We only discovered this today, but on the 24th of February Stephen R. Donaldson’s official site was updated with the news that he has finished the first draft of Fatal Revenant, the second book in the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. However, he expects that it will take about a year more of rewriting and editing before the final draft is delivered and a release date is set by the publisher.

Stanislaw Lem Dead

Stanislaw Lem, the influential Polish science fiction of author of such works as Solaris and The Cyberiad, has been reported to have passed away today at the age of 84.

Robert Jordan Seriously Ill

We are saddened to report that all those foolish rumors of the past have now come to pass, as Robert Jordan himself writes to Locus magazine to report that he has been diagnosed with a rare, likely-terminal blood disease. All the details can be found in the linked letter.

Our thoughts are with Mr. Jordan, his wife, and his family. We hope he gets the 30 years he wants so as to be able to write all the stories he wishes to write.

A Pseudo-Celtic Fantasy

Like Linda, I picked up a book or two at SF Bokhandeln‘s sale. Among them was Jo Walton’s The Prize in the Game, a book (and, indeed, a setting) that I had long written-off, despite the subject matter being interesting; the only reason I picked it up now was that it was a hardcover and it was selling for 10 crowns (that’s a little over a dollar), and I supposed that if I didn’t like it I could chuck it or perhaps get a good price for it as a used bookstore. I can’t quite recall the reasons for why I wrote it off, now, but I can only say after reading it that I was being an idiot.