The writer as a cook, update


The writer as a cook, update


The above is my lovely wok with its developing patina–I’ve been using it for a month or so and it’s fascinating to watch it slowly browning. I hope it gets all brown, but I understand that it can take years before that happens! Been cooking a bunch of greasy foods in it to help season (crab fritters, lardons), and using Grace Young’s method of dumping the rice water in it and soaking for 20 minutes to clean it (mostly because it does save a bit of water :) ). Really nice to have browned chicken and steaks again, I have to say. Maillard reactions in a non stick pan just don’t really happen…

Also have been trying to update my knife-wielding skills on Craftsy. I think I’ve got the low cut (for small veggies) worked out, but the high cut is still a problem (my arm and shoulder ache, which mean I’ve probably screwed up somewhere). Ah well. Onwards and upwards!

And not a cooking thing, but check out this: Those who Run with Wolves. I’ve set up a project focused on books that get elided one way or another–my hope is that you can read this and discover a book you missed out on, find an old favorite, or stumble across a new, exciting release. I’ve got wonderful people on board, and we hope to cover a mix of new releases and old classics.

On slates


Right, I thought I was done with the whole Hugo thing, but one last thought (with reference to this post by Elizabeth Bear). I’ve already posted it on twitter, but for the record, here goes…

My position on slates is pretty much the same as Bear’s:

I will never willingly participate in a slate. If I learn that I have been included on a slate, I will ask to be removed.
If you see my name on a slate, please assume that it’s being done by ruiners to punish me, and that whoever put it there has ignored my requests to remove it.

(Bear included some stuff about use of force: I’ve left it off because I will make reasonable attempts to get off a slate, but quite honestly I have close to zero energy currently and it’s likely to continue next year–*cough* motherhood *cough*–so I’m not going to hound people. If they fail to take me off after the first contact, I’d likely be side-eyeing them anyway).

Note that a slate isn’t a recommendations list. Those are fine, I’m very flattered and grateful to be on them (and obviously even more flattered to be on people’s ballots!). In fact, this year I’ve already started taking notes one eligible stuff I read, so that I can make sure to post my usual awards recommendation post at the beginning of the year. But slates are not fine (in case you’re wondering: by slate I mean “a list where the organiser/organisers start urging people to vote for it as a bloc”).

The House of Shattered Wings bonus art!


And to celebrate the US and UK release of The House of Shattered Wings, here is some art! Below, courtesy of Faithom, a sketch of head of Asmodeus, head of House Hawthorn, having an argument with Selene, head of House Silverspires (from chapter 10 if you’ve read the book!).


And below is the painting the amazing Tade Thompson very kindly did for the ebook In Morningstar’s Shadow (which you can still get if you send me a picture of you with the book, ebook or audiobook!). We had to darken it quite a bit for lettering, both to match the darkness of the UK cover, and because it was hard to set letters against the background of the Arc de Triomphe–so I thought I’d post the undarkened version, so you can see the detail (and the creepy eyes in the night!).

Read Chapter One!
Read excerpt from Chapter Three!
Read excerpt from Chapter Four!

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Worldcon, Hugos, etc.


So I was going to do a long blog post, but jet lag hit, and the snakelet is keeping me very busy. Nevertheless…

I’ve said a lot of what I wanted to say here. All I’m going to say in addition to that is: different stories speak to different people. A thing that I like might be one that turns you off, and vice-versa. To say that a thing that I like is not “proper science fiction”; that SFF fans need to reclaim the field against the kind of thing I write; that people like me having success and being nominated are a sure sign the field is headed downhill?

Uh. Read that thing I wrote again please.

I am very glad that Liu Cixin/Ken Liu and Thomas Olde Heuvelt showed us the Hugos aren’t necessarily the province of Western Anglophone works; that Worldcon is going to be in Helsinki in 2017; that we will continue to strive for greater diversity and inclusiveness in the field.

And I would also like to thank the 73 people who nominated “The Breath of War” for a Hugo Award for Best Short Story–I’m deeply touched and very appreciative.

Finally: this year saw a record number of Hugo voters and an amazing turnout. If you were one of them, remember that next year you can nominate the works you loved, so start keeping an eye out for the stuff you love this year (and for the love of God please, let’s not do counter-slates). I will, as usual, recommend stuff as the year goes on, and make a blog post closer to the deadline with a recap of what I loved. I encourage you to do the same.

PS: Worldcon was lovely! Except 9 hours of time difference, which turns out to be quite difficult to catch up on…

PPS: I debated over whether to leave the comments open. I reserve the right to borrow Scalzi’s Mallet of Loving Correction.

The House of Shattered Wings around the web


So you can now buy The House of Shattered Wings both in the US and the UK–I thought it was high time to round up a few of the things that have been going on with the novel, just in case you’re feeling indecisive (or if you want to know more!).

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A roundup of where I’ve been on the web so far (I think I’ve got most of them? Haven’t been keeping very good track…):
-The Forum at BBC World Service: Magic
My Favorite Bit at Mary Robinette Kowal’s website (Morningstar, in case you had doubts ^^)
Big Idea piece at John Scalzi’s blog
-I talk on the Coode Street Podcast with Jonathan Strahan and Gary K Wolfe about the novel: Jonathan Strahan calls it “powerful and engaging”.
An intimidation of Shrimp: Cooking the Books podcast with Fran Wilde and Zen Cho on weaponised food, and food and worldbuilding
Midnight in Karachi podcast with Mahvesh Murad
Six Books at Nerds of a Feather
-On the Gollancz blog: Eight inspirations for the Novel (CS Friedman’s Coldfire trilogy!)
-At Scifinow: Merging Fantasy and SF in a ruined Paris
-At Intellectus Speculativus: Diversity and Gender Roles in The House of Shattered Wings
-At Geekmom: my favourite manga and anime
-At how Les Miserables and The Count of Monte Cristo inspired the novel
Interview with Michelle Hebert
Commented excerpt at Reader Dad
Commented excerpt at Civilian Reader
Commented excerpt at Geek Syndicate

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A few reviews around the net (not exhaustive, sorry, I couldn’t keep track of everything!):
Publishers Weekly (starred review):

Gripping (…) De Bodard aptly mixes moral conflicts and the desperate need to survive in a fantastical spy thriller that reads like a hybrid of le Carré and Milton, all tinged with the melancholy of golden ages lost.

Jessie Potts at Romantic Times (RT Top Pick for August):

Will grab readers and force them to pay attention to the amazing writing and the phenomenal characters (…) It’s a whirlwind, it’s heartbreaking and it’s one of the best fantasy novels of 2015.

Library Journal (starred review):

A fascinating Paris of decay and cruelty. ­Phillippe is a marvel of a character, unreliable as a narrator but compelling in his flaws and his deep well of homesickness.

Gary K. Wolfe, Chicago Tribune:

Especially haunting(…) convey(s) a visceral sense of immediacy (…) a surprising but compelling murder mystery, which plays out according to the supernatural terms de Bodard has laid out so evocatively.

Paul Weimer at SF Signal:

A dark and wondrous fantasy (…) every setting and location is invoked in vivid detail, and a very dark world is brought to life.

NPR review by Tasha Robinson:

Grimly prosaic (…) wrapped up in intrigue and politics (…) comes closer to the blunt, grounded violence of Game Of Thrones than the high gothic fantasy it outwardly resembles (…) a grim story with high-flown conventions, but by finding so much ugliness even in supernatural beauty, de Bodard makes both seem more compelling, and more concrete.

Jonathan Hatfull at Scifinow:

Fascinating, moving and hugely readable.

Niall Alexander (originally at, reprinted on his blog):

The year’s best urban fantasy by far (…) takes a whole hoard of over-familiar fantasy tropes and turns them, evidently effortlessly, on their collective head (…) There’s an intelligence—and, yes, an elegance—to The House of Shattered Wings that is as rare and precious as angel essence.

D Franklin at Intellectus Speculativus:

Aliette de Bodard has written an absolute masterpiece whose sequel cannot come soon enough.

Dario Ciriello at his blog:

One of the most unusual and absorbing books I’ve read in years (…) a vivid sense of remembered splendour and grandeur (…) a powerful novel that sinks deep into the reader’s psyche, taking you into a world so rich and characters so compelling that they linger for months after turning the last page. Don’t miss it.

Bookshelf Butterfly:

Not for the faint hearted but is a literary feat of imagination that will astound readers.

R.A. Kennedy at his blog:

a novel that is not easy to put down (…) has has some incredible moments that will leave you wanting more (…) a thrilling, gripping read, that will leave you wanting another hit of angel essence.

Glen Mehn:

Haunting and sticks in the mind.

The book is also an Amazon Best Book of the Month in Science Fiction/Fantasy.

Still undecided? You can sample a bit before making up your mind.
Read Chapter One!
Read excerpt from Chapter Three!
Read excerpt from Chapter Four!

Buy Now

The House of Shattered Wings on BBC, and free ebook offer extension!


So… many many thanks to everyone who’s signal boosting The House of Shattered Wings: it’s pretty amazing to see the book in people’s hands!

I wanted to give people a heads-up that I recorded for the BBC World Service: it’s a roundtable on magic chaired by Tim Marlow and featuring Scott Penrose (head of the Magic Circle in the UK), Kevin O’Regan (experimental psychologist) and me as the fantasy novelist :). You can listen to it here, or it’ll be broadcast tomorrow at 8:00 GMT in the UK.

Also, because it’s been amazing, and because I put it late, I’m extending the preorder offer for another two weeks: get back to me with a picture of the book/your ebook reader with the book on it/the audiobook before September 8th, 23:59 GMT +1, and you can get a FREE copy of In Morningstar’s Shadow, an exclusive ebook of short vignettes that illuminates corners of the world and characters of the novel. For more info on the ebook see here.
ETA: this is for either the US or UK edition.

The caveat is that this is basically run solely by me and that I’m running a bit ragged: I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can–if I don’t, I beg for your patience.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Proof of purchase (photo or screen capture of receipt required, 2MB maximum)


(if you’re seeing this on LJ or DW, please go to the original post to send the form: the captcha isn’t working in crossposts).

Still undecided? You can sample a bit before making up your mind.
Read Chapter One!
Read excerpt from Chapter Three!
Read excerpt from Chapter Four!
Buy Now

Coming up this week: Worldcon, a roundup of stuff I’ve been doing on the web, and some bonus House of Shattered Wings art!



So… I’m on a plane so I can’t really do much except fret (and write book 2!), but in the meantime, today is the release day for The House of Shattered Wings in the US, from Roc Books. So happy book day to everyone who was kind enough to preorder it or who’s going to pick up a copy soon–hope you enjoy!

(and if you send a picture of you with the book or ebook, you can have a special ebook to go with it!)

And in case you’re hesitating: here’s Niall Alexander at

There’s an intelligence—and, yes, an elegance—to The House of Shattered Wings that is as rare and precious as angel essence.

It’s a wonder, in a word, and I for one want more.

(and yes, there’s more coming! The book is the first of a duology tentatively titled “Dominion of the Fallen”)

Buy Now



In case you missed it: my sasquan schedule.

Stealing the idea from Kate Elliott, but basically: I’m at these events to meet people (and geek over books and other stuff), so if you see me somewhere, don’t hesitate to say hi! (provided I’m not on my way to somewhere else in a hurry, of course). Also, I have pretty period postcards to hand out if you happen to want freebies–see below!

Pre-order special offer!


Pre-order special offer!

So… with apologies for the delay (I meant to do this earlier, and then I got a little, er, overwhelmed with stuff). I know this is a bit last minute, but still…

Pre-orders for books are a bit like release week for movies: they’re important for how a book performs and therefore pretty important for the author. On the other hand, I’m well aware of how much trust you put in me as a writer, when you order a book a long time before you actually get *anything* in your hands. Accordingly, I would like to offer a little incentive…

If you preordered or preorder The House of Shattered Wings in any form (ebook or physical), you’ll get a free, exclusive ebook: a series of vignettes set in the world of The House of Shattered Wings, hopefully to whet your appetite. They start during the Great Houses War in 1917, and go up to twenty years before the start of the book; a condensed prequel with a glimpse at characters beyond the scope of the book.

Here’s a little teaser of each section:

  1. The Face of Heaven (House Silverspires, Ile de la Cité 1917, during the Great Houses War)
    If one was dedicated, and silent, and watchful, one could learn to see angels again.
  2. Paid Debts (Houseless areas near Galeries Lafayette, 1925)
    Imadan wasn’t a fool, ordinarily. He knew the rules and the strictures of post-war Paris; he knew all the dangers that should be avoided.
  3. What has to be done (House Silverspires, Ile de la Cité, 1958)
    Emmanuelle woke up, still woozy with sleep; and then felt it.

(the actual ebook wouldn’t have come into fruition without Tade Thompson and Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein, who provided cover art and lettering for said cover art in record speed–I know everyone is very busy and am very thankful. Any issues with actual formatting, I’m afraid, are solely at my door…).

So… how do you get this?

It depends. In the UK/Commonwealth, Gollancz is very kindly running this: see below for details. If you preordered/preorder the UK ebook or the physical book (aka “the one with the multicoloured wings”), then follow the instructions there.
ETA: for accessibility reasons, the address is gollanczgeeks followed by the @, followed by “”.

If you ordered the US edition (US edition only please–the one with the burning feathers :p), then fill in the contact form below and I’ll email you EPUB/MOBI/PDF versions of the ebook. Because I’m at Worldcon anyway, I’m going to let this run on the same timescale as the Gollancz promotion (the deadline is 11:59pm GMT on August 19th), so you can actually order the US edition on release day or shortly after and you’ll still get the ebook.

ETA: if you have the actual book (which is either happening because you got an early UK edition at, say, Fantasy in the Court or Nine Worlds or some booksellers, or because it’s August 18th/19th in the US, or some other reason I’m not privy to :)), email me a picture of the book as your proof of purchase.

The caveat is that this last bit is basically run solely by me and that I’m running a bit ragged: I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can–if I don’t, I beg for your patience (also, I literally cobbled this form together this morning, so I hope it works).

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Proof of purchase (photo or screen capture of receipt required, 2MB maximum)


Still undecided? You can sample a bit before making up your mind.
Read Chapter One!
Read excerpt from Chapter Three!
Read excerpt from Chapter Four!
Buy Now

Shattered Wings Thursday: the Houseless


Welcome back to Shattered Wings Thursdays, the weekly feature of art related to The House of Shattered Wings. 5 days to release of the Roc hardcover edition (and 7 days to the Gollancz trade paperback). Eep. Almost there!

Maison du Premier Circle Catholique Ouvrier, Paris 1865

Today: last of the magical factions (well, at least those I have space for :p)

The Houseless are, strictly speaking, not a faction, because the term covers a lot of people. The Houses might like to think themselves the centre of the city, but the truth is that many people find a living outside them: they range from people unaffiliated to Houses who nevertheless serve them, to shopkeepers in the city, to the workers that work in what remains of the factories; down to the gangs who run in droves around the Grands Magasins, hunting anything and anyone to survive.

Notable Houseless characters: Aragon (doctor employed as freelancer by House Silverspires), Philippe (Annamite unaffiliated to a House), Ninon (member of the Red Mambas Gang), Jacques Rossigny (informant of House Silverspires).

Previous iterations of this:

1. Meet nuked Paris
2. The Fallen
3. The Houses
4. The Immortals
5. The Colonies
6. House Silverspires
7. House Hawthorn
8. House Lazarus

Read Chapter One!
Read excerpt from Chapter Three!
Read excerpt from Chapter Four!

Buy Now

Full Pinterest board:
Follow Aliette de Bodard’s board House of Shattered Wings on Pinterest.

(and there’s a map of the book’s key locations at the bottom of the novel’s page)