Just a quick note to let you know that the UK paperback of The House of Binding Thorns is now out! As a result, the ebook has also dropped in price.
Dragons, revolutions, betrayals in a Gothic devastated Paris where the Seine runs black with rubble, and where Houses fight a cold war of attrition amidst the ruins…
The official summary:
The multi-award winning author of The House of Shattered Wings continues her Dominion of the Fallen saga as Paris endures the aftermath of a devastating arcane war…
As the city rebuilds from the onslaught of sorcery that nearly destroyed it, the Great Houses of Paris, ruled by fallen angels, still contest one another for control over the capital.
House Silverspires was once the most powerful, but just as it sought to rise again, an ancient evil brought it low. Philippe, an immortal who escaped the carnage, has a singular goal—to resurrect someone he lost. But the cost of such magic may be more than he can bear.
In House Hawthorn, Madeleine the alchemist has had her addiction to angel essence savagely broken. Struggling to live on, she is forced on a perilous diplomatic mission to the underwater Dragon Kingdom—and finds herself in the midst of intrigues that have already caused one previous emissary to mysteriously disappear…
As the Houses seek a peace more devastating than war, those caught between new fears and old hatreds must find strength—or fall prey to a magic that seeks to bind all to its will.
It’s on the following best-of-2017 lists:
- Locus Recommended Reading List
- Tor.com Reviewers’ Choice
- Barnes and Noble Sci Fi & Fantasy blog
- The Guardian (Adam Roberts)
- The Verge (Andrew Liptak, Recommended Book)
- SciFiNow: 35 Books you should have read in 2017 (Jonathan Hatfull)
- Fantasy Cafe
Read Chapter One Online!
(this is book 2 in a series, but it’s standalone and can be read without book 1. Though you’ll see more familiar things and Easter Eggs if you read book 1 first, naturally)
Just a quick note that although the official release date for The Tea Master and the Detective (my “Sherlock Holmes if Holmes were an eccentric scholar and Watson a grumpy discharged war mindship” book) is March 31st, they’re in the Subterranean warehouse: if you order it from them directly they will ship them! (I have an author copy and it’s a gorgeous gorgeous book)
The North American ebook edition is also up at their website (a quick reminder that for ebooks outside of North America, we’re looking at options–stay tuned. You can subscribe to the newsletter if you want to be notified).
Meanwhile, reviews have been coming in and they’re… something °_°
What people are saying:
The Tea Master and the Detective is the Sherlock Holmes retelling I always wanted and now I have it. And I want so much more of it.
A terrific piece of writing, taking the sentient community of ships from Ian Bank’s Culture series, the glittering belt of space habitats from Alastair Reynolds’ Prefect novels, and adding in a compelling pair as the title characters.
Ernest Lilley, SFRevu
De Bodard constructs a convincingly gritty setting and a pair of unique characters with provocative histories and compelling motivations. The story works as well as both science fiction and murder mystery, exploring a future where pride, guilt, and mercy are not solely the province of humans.
Ingenious… As a classical blend of far-future SF and traditional murder mystery, The Tea Master and the Detective should satisfy readers unfamiliar with the Xuya universe, but at the same time it’s an intriguing introduction to that universe, much of which seems to lie just outside the borders of this entertaining tale.
Gary K Wolfe, Locus
It becomes clear early on that The Tea Master and the Detective is strongly influenced by, if not directly based upon, the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson stories of Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s measured, almost stately, up until the conclusion, where the tension explodes into high gear. It preserves the empathy and the intensity of the original Sherlockian stories, while being told in de Bodard’s cut-glass prose and inimitable modern style. This is a really satisfying story, deeply invested in choosing to do the right thing – and in the importance of kindness. I strongly recommend it.
It’s burrito month! In the latest episode of Cooking the Books, co-host Fran Wilde and I interview John Scalzi — and talk with him about writing during tough times, the importance of lawn care equipment, and burritos, bacon, and pie.
And we also have a giveaway of a SFWA cookbook and a copy of Robots vs Fairy, in which he has an story: enter below!
It’s all for Cooking the Books this month, both here and at the extension kitchen over at The Booksmugglers! (check out John’s Booksmugglers Bonus answers!).
This month’s Cooking the Books Podcast, #035: Schadenfreude Burrito – Cooking the Books with John Scalzi contains:
- A lot of bacon. Bacon is always there for you.
- A shout out to this excellent essay by Kayla Whaley (@punkinonwheels on twitter): “The Difference a Meal Makes: On Losing the Ability to Eat Solid Food”
- The true meaning of Schadenfreude Pie
- The many foodways of the JoCo Cruise
- That time Scalzi’s phone started playing “Rock You Like a Hurricane” all on its own.
- HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE OPINIONS ABOUT POTATOES
- And much more.
Visit additional Cooking the Books content over on the The Booksmugglers!
(thanks as always to our friend Paul Weimer, who helps out with the kitchen cleaning–this time it was lots of sugar sticking to everything!)
Podcast #035: Schadenfreude Burrito – Cooking the Books with John Scalzi /strong>
John has obligingly shared with us his recipe for Schadenfreude Pie, discussed during the podcast!
“Let’s face it, schadenfreude is a dark emotion. It deserves a dark pie. Here are your ingredients.”
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
3 large eggs (I used brown eggs in keeping with the spirit of things, but white eggs are fine)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 splash Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
1 graham cracker pie crust (9 or 10 inches). Choose regular or chocolate graham cracker crust according to taste.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (Fahrenheit). Melt butter in largish mixing bowl; add in corn syrup, molasses, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix well. Melt chocolate; fold into existing mixture. Add eggs and Kahlua; mix vigorously until mix has an even consistency. Pour into pie crust (depending on size of crust you may have a little filling mix left over).
Shove into oven, center of middle rack, and bake for about 45 minutes. At 45 minutes, poke pie with butter knife. If butter knife comes out clean, your pie is done; otherwise give it about another five minutes.
Once you take the pie out of the oven, let it set at least 20 minutes before you dig in. It’s really good when still warm, however.
Serving recommendations: small slices (this is an awesomely rich pie) and an ice cold glass of milk to go with it.
John Scalzi writes books, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. He’s best known for writing science fiction, including the New York Times bestseller “Redshirts,” which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to astronomy to film, was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. He enjoys pie, as should all right thinking people. You can get to his blog by typing the word “Whatever” into Google. No, seriously, try it. You can find him on twitter @scalzi, and elsewhere.
Cooking the Books is a mostly-monthly podcast hosted by Fran Wilde and Aliette de Bodard.
Check out our archives.
And a reminder you can read “Children of Thorns, Children of Water” for free at Uncanny Magazine!
Meanwhile, I’ll go back to the grind of working on this book °_°
Fran and I sat down with Brooke Bolander, the author of many fine and searing short stories, and the recently released The Only Harmless Great Thing (from Tor.com publishing), a book of radiation poisoning, elephants, Coney Island and two great injustices…
Yes it’s a new Cooking the Books episode! (check out the Booksmugglers exclusive content right here, with bonus answers from Brooke).
Visit additional Cooking the Books content over on the The Booksmugglers!
(thanks as always to our friend Paul Weimer, who helps out with the kitchen cleaning–this time it was lots of cocktail testing!)
Podcast #034: Of Mangoes and Radium – Cooking the Books with Brooke Bolander
And here’s Bo’s recipe:
COCKTAIL RECIPE: TOPSY’S ADIEU
- 1 1/2 oz gin
- 1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
- 3/4 oz Saler’s Apertif
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 teaspoon ginger-lime curd (recipe below)
- 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon simple syrup/rich syrup
Mix all the ingredients in a shaker and dry shake (without ice) vigorously until combined. Add ice and shake some more until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass and enjoy!
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup ginger juice
- 4 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a saucepan until combined. Add the lime juice and ginger juice and stir until they’re combined as well.
Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly (if you don’t, the eggs in the mixture will cook and you’ll have some super-funky dessert scramble) until the mixture thickens to a custardy consistency.
Trust me, it is way, way simpler than it sounds. Custard is the easiest thing in the world to make, so long as you don’t stop whisking.
Remove from heat and whisk in the butter.
Pass through a fine mesh strainer; you’re probably gonna have a bit of cooked egg white in there no matter what you do and this will take care of that.
Transfer to a jar and let cool before using in the cocktail or just eating by the spoonful; this is a no-judgment zone.
Even if you’re not a drinker, you’re probably gonna enjoy this stuff if you in any way dig tart sugary things.
Brooke Bolander writes weird things of indeterminate genre, most of them leaning rather heavily towards fantasy or general all-around weirdness. She attended the University of Leicester 2004-2007 studying History and Archaeology and is an alum of the 2011 Clarion Writers’ Workshop at UCSD. Her stories have been featured in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Nightmare, Uncanny, , and various other fine purveyors of the fantastic. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Hugo, Locus, Theodore Sturgeon, and World Fantasy awards, much to her unending bafflement. She can be reached at her website (brookebolander.com) or on Twitter @BBolander.
Belatedly posting this because it’s been a busy year, but here goes…
For your consideration
In 2017 I published a bunch of things, but here’s one I was particularly happy with: “Children of Thorns, Children of Water” is basically my homage to the Great Bake Off. With dragons in human form, a Gothic devastated Paris, and creepier magic than my main characters had originally bargained for…
It’s on the Locus 2017 Recommended Reading List, which means I’m not the only one thinking it’s decent 🙂
You can read it online at Uncanny Magazine (it’s listed as a reprint in the July 2017 issue, but the original publication date was April 2017, which makes it eligible for awards! The original publication was as a pre-order reward for my novel The House of Binding Thorns: it’s a standalone set in the universe, though you’ll get some Easter eggs if you’ve read the books.).
And now for the stories & things from other people I absolutely loved this year:
Fran Wilde’s “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand” is an amazing gut-punch of a read–about the people we see and the ones we don’t, and how quick we are to deny people their humanity.
Elaine Cuyegkeng’s “House that Creaks” is the sort of horror story that just sticks in the mind long after reading it–about a haunted house and how it became that way, and political dissidents, and the force of memory and sorrow and anger.
ETA: oops, this is from 2016!
I don’t always do poetry, but Brandon O’Brien’s “Birth, Place” is amazing–beautifully evocative, with an ending that lingered in my mind. I want to frame entire pieces of it on my wall, as a reminder for hard times.
Thrilled to announce I’ve sold “A Burning Sword for her Cradle” to Ellen Datlow for Echoes: the Saga Book of Ghost Stories, out Fall 2018.
It’s, er. A story about war, immigration, hauntings passed down the blood, and the cost of the future. Basically “Aliette does horror”, which means food, strong-willed aunties and families. Also creepy ghosts because obviously!
Bao Ngoc has set her appointment with the witch at dawn–because it would make her leave the house in the dark, at a time when neither her sister nor her brother-in-law would be awake.
Things, however, never work the way they’re supposed to.
She’s made her morning worship at her ancestral altar, leaving oranges and apples for her parents’ spirits, mouthing the familiar litany beseeching them for good fortune, gritting her teeth against the agony in her chest. Now she’s rummaging in the kitchen for coconut water, opening the cupboard in the darkness. In the background, the familiar buzz of the fridge, a warbling Bao Ngoc keeps–with effort, with pain–from turning into the angry remonstrances of ghosts.
I’ve been sitting on this forever but am super happy to report that my novella The Tea Master and the Detective will be coming out from Subterranean Press in March 2018, with lovely art by Maurizio Manzieri.
This is my “Xuya meets Sherlock Holmes” book: in a galactic empire infused by Vietnamese culture, a detective and a mindship must team up to solve a mystery. Very loosely inspired by A Study in Scarlet, if Holmes were an eccentric scholar, and Watson a grumpy decommissioned war mindship. I had lots of fun writing this: it’s full of digs and references to classic Sherlock Holmes, plus all the detective stories ever. It turns out that grumpy mindship is best mindship when it comes to writing! Also, gender swapping everyone made for rather fun situations (the ending had me tearing out my hair but I’m so happy it all worked out).
Many thanks to Fran Wilde, Genevieve Cogman, Tade Thompson, Liz Bourke, Lynn O’Connacht, Ava Jarvis, Stephanie Burgis, Seth Gorden, Samantha Henderson, Fran Wilde, Likhain, and Kate Elliott. As well as to John Berlyne, Yanni Kuznia, Geralyn Lance, and everyone involved with the book (I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone!).
And special thanks to Vida Cruz, Victor Fernando R Ocampo and Tade Thompson for helping me with cover copy!
Here’s the summary:
A new novella set in the award-winning, critically-acclaimed Xuya universe…
Welcome to the Scattered Pearls Belt, a collection of ring habitats and orbitals ruled by exiled human scholars and powerful families, and held together by living mindships who carry people and freight between the stars. In this fluid society, human and mindship avatars mingle in corridors and in function rooms, and physical and virtual realities overlap, the appareance of environments easily modified and adapted to interlocutors or current mood.
A transport ship discharged from military service after a traumatic injury, The Shadow’s Child now ekes out a precarious living as a brewer of mind-altering drugs for the comfort of space-travellers. Meanwhile, abrasive and eccentric scholar Long Chau wants to find a corpse for a scientific study. When Long Chau walks into her office, The Shadow’s Child expects an unpleasant but easy assignment. When the corpse turns out to have been murdered, Long Chau feels compelled to investigate, dragging The Shadow’s Child with her.
As they dig deep into the victim’s past, The Shadow’s Child realises that the investigation points to Long Chau’s own murky past–and, ultimately, to the dark and unbearable void that lies between the stars…
Available for pre-order now as a lovely signed hardbound edition, coming out March 2018: it’s a limited print run so I don’t know how long it’ll last (my last limited edition chapbook sold out rather fast!). You can hop on to the Subterranean website to check it out and get your very own copy!