As has been seen in various fine establishments around the Internet, Tor Books are launching a new website devoted to Science Fiction, Science Fiction Fandom, and Thynges of Interest to Science Fiction Fans. Which, of course, consists of Nearly Everything.
There will be a very decent helping of free non-DRM’d content, and in fact they’re emailing out links to free SF&F ebooks every week already. So for your convenience and entertainment, reviews.
- Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson. Sanderson is the designated successor who’ll be finishing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series – when I first read about that, I thought ‘who?’, but he’s a pretty readable writer. It’s a shame, really, that I can’t say more than that to his credit. He writes Very Thick Fantasy books, safe and fluffy, that won’t challenge readers or present potentially unwelcome new ideas – the characters are all made of pure, noble, upstanding cardboard, and the themes are in the fine spot-the-inspiration tradition of Big Fantasy. The principal point of both Mistborn and Elantris seemed to be for both the main character and the reader to work out how the magic system worked. Nevertheless, despite all that, and despite his almost complete lack of technical ability as a writer, he still managed to keep me interested and more than happy to read to the end and pick up the next one. The closest similar writer, and I didn’t think I’d ever say this about a fantasy author, is Jilly Cooper. Sanderson : Eddings :: Eddings : Tolkien.
- Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi. Modern classic SF, military but not militaristic, extremely good. It’s very much written in an SF sensibility, so I don’t know whether it’d make a good starting point for people without the SF reading protocol hardwired into their brains.
- Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson. Good solid SF – reminds me a bit of Alistair Reynolds’ Century Rain and a bit of John Barnes. Some interesting messing with time, but mostly it’s about people.
- The Outstretched Shadow, by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. Very readable fluff fantasy with elves in it, book 1 of a trilogy.
Next week’s is Farthing by Jo Walton, which I’m very much looking forward to.
Anyway, yes, obligatory visual arts content – Tor are also offering desktop wallpaper versions of SF&F covers. My current background is John Jude Palencar’s cover for Charles de Lint’s Someplace to be Flying, trimmed to present the girl and the crows without the text. (No link to the Tor version, since it’s temporary – two new ones each week.)