So once upon a time I needed a fun break, and I wrote a story about how Asmodeus and Samariel first met and flirted with each other (if you’re asking how, the answer is “smouldering mode on”). Because apparently I cannot do fun even if I try, this is a story of what happens when Samariel, a low-ranked bodyguard in House Hawthorn, hires Asmodeus when the child he considers his own gets kidnapped, and how the two of them handle a Gothic, devastated Paris rife with intrigue to get said child back (“how does it go?” you ask. If you already know Asmodeus, the answer is “about as well as you can imagine”).
Anyway, I’m pleased to announce I’ve sold the story to Scott Andrews at Beneath Ceaseless Skies for their ten-year-anniversary issue, and that it’ll appear in late September online.
(although set in the existing universe of Dominion of the Fallen, it should be completely standalone–as evidenced by the fact that Scott, who’d read neither of the novels, liked it enough to buy :))
I read and *loved* Chelsea Polk‘s glorious debut novel, Witchmark, from Tor.com Publishing and Tor Books (I blurbed it, in fact!). Set in an alternate post-War world, it’s got magic, family, politics, the sweetest gay romance, and bicycle chases! Still time to preorder, by the way: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Macmillan.
It’s also filled with food — apples in particular, but other foods as well.
Fran Wilde and I sat down (metaphorically) with Chelsea to talk about the book and more. She also answered questions for our partners in crime The Booksmugglers!
Chelsea will be at 4th Street Fantasy in June, and celebrating the launch of Witchmark soon after, but you can hear her here first!
(thanks as always to our friend Paul Weimer, who helps out with the kitchen cleaning–this time it was thick trail mix!)
Podcast #037: How to Feed Magic – Cooking the Books with Chelsea Polk
Chelsea’s Recipe: Trail Mix Oatmeal Cookies
I love oatmeal cookies. I’ll even eat them with raisins. but I greatly prefer the version I developed a few years ago, with dried cranberries, chocolate chips, and pecan pieces. this recipe is a relatively small batch of cookies, by my gluttonous standards – I make a dozen, and freeze the other half to make more later.
To make these cookies, you need:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
125g (about 2/3 cup) brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cardamom (cinnamon is a fine substitute)
1/2 tsp salt
95g (about 2/3 cup) all-purpose flour
120g (about 2/3 cup) rolled oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecan pieces
Order of Operations:
In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together, adding egg, vanilla, baking soda, cardamom, and salt. Stir in flour; mix in rolled oats in gradual doses, and then add cranberries, chocolate chips, and pecan pieces. mix well.
Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, maximum 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350. Drop 1.5″ balls of dough on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes; leave on the sheet to continue cooking for 5 minutes.
Store in an airtight container to preserve the chewy texture. They will probably last in the refrigerator for several days, but I don’t have that kind of willpower.
C.L. Polk writes fiction and spots butterflies in Southern Alberta. She has an unreasonable fondness for knitting, single estate coffee, and the history of fashion. Her debut series beginning with the novel Witchmark is available from Tor.com Publishing.
Very quick announcement as I’m hard at work on a novel (book 3 of Dominion of the Fallen, about which I hope to have cool news soon!). Here’s a re-release of an old, hard-to-find story I wrote with Gareth L Powell when I was still a baby writer (feels so far away lol!). I still remember googling all the Paris locations because I needed clear visuals, and I may have visited them all but my visual memory isn’t that strong! Anyway, this is a story about two of my loves: Paris, and artificial intelligences and the future. You can get it at Amazon (for the moment it’s not available at other vendors. We’ll keep you updated if that changes).
Aliette de Bodard, winner of the Nebula, Locus and BSFA Awards, teams up with BSFA Award-winner Gareth L. Powell to present an uplifting short story of machines and humans, of intense emotions and cutting-age technology culled from tomorrow’s headlines.
Installing a network for the Church of Accelerated Redemption is just another crappy job in a series of crappy jobs for Lisa, an American engineer stuck doing menial work in Paris. That the Church uses artificial intelligences to power its never-ending prayer machines doesn’t interest her at all: they’re paying, and she needs enough money to survive in an increasingly crumbling world. Until a demonstration outside the Church’s headquarters, and the appearance of Stéphane, an enigmatic man Lisa finds herself powerfully drawn to. What lies beneath his headscarf, why is he so interested in the Church–and how far will she be willing to go in order to earn his trust?
“Full of character and wit” – Zone SF
“Wonderful and full of promise.” – SF Revu
So last week I couldn’t sleep—I was exhausted after 2.5 days of solo childcare (I assure you the 0.5 matters immensely), but apparently my body decided to be a jerk and I woke up at 4am. While waiting for tea to brew I idly checked my email, and found a thing marked “Confidential” in my mailbox.
I opened it and stared at it. The kettle switched itself off after boiling the water but I kept staring at the screen because it was 4am and surely it was a trick of super tired brain.
Spoilers: it was not.
Writers often get to sit on awesome things for a long long time, and this waiting was actually relatively short! It gives me great joy to say that “Children of Thorns, Children of Water”, the novelette I wrote as a preorder reward for The House of Binding Thorns, is up for a Hugo Award for Best Novelette (in a, er, very competitive category–will you look at that ballot and everyone who’s on it °_°)
To everyone who read and considered my story of Bake Off in Gothic devastated Paris: thank you so much! This is by no means the detailed speech (still have to write that hahaha) but also thanks to everyone who weighed in on Facebook when I was brainstorming what kind of competition a magical faction would run for recruiting people, to Kate Elliott, Stephanie Burgis and Fran Wilde for believing in it (and especially to Steph and Fran for support with cover art and publicizing it); to Megan Crewe for super lovely super fast cover art; to Michelle Sagara for formatting the ebooks for me; to Gillian Redfearn, Genn McMenemy, Stevie Finegan and everyone at Gollancz for running the original giveaway; to Uncanny Magazine for its second life as a reprint, and to everyone who read and signal boosted it.
I’m over the moon.
And congrats and best of luck to my fellow nominees, and a special mention to Likhain whose art is awesome and to Fran Wilde whose short story is heartbreaking.
(also spoilers: it was super hard to go back to sleep in a timely fashion after the email hahaha!)
PPS: click here to read the story! And click here if you want to read more about the book in the same universe.
Thrilled to reveal the cover of the ebook edition of the Tea Master and the Detective outside North America. Isn’t it gorgeous? Also yesss I got an áo dài on a cover!!! (the áo dài is a traditional Vietnamese female dress). Art and design is by Dirk Berger , with many many thanks to John Berlyne for his help, as well as Likhain, Kate Elliott, Vida Cruz, Sebb, Stephanie Burgis and Patrick Samphire.
The book will be out April 2nd from JABberwocky, but you can preorder it right now on Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks!
If you’re in North America, Subterranean is now shipping both the book and the ebook: it will become available at major retailers March 31st, 2018.
Here’s the summary:
Once, the mindship known as The Shadow’s Child was a military transport. Once, she leapt effortlessly between stars and planets, carrying troops and crew for a war that tore the Empire apart. Until an ambush killed her crew and left her wounded and broken.
Now the war is over, and The Shadow’s Child, surviving against all odds, has run away. Discharged and struggling to make a living, she has no plans to go back into space. Until the abrasive and arrogant scholar Long Chau comes to see her. Long Chau wants to retrieve a corpse for her scientific studies: a simple enough, well-paid assignment.
But when the corpse they find turns out to have been murdered, the simple assignment becomes a vast and tangled investigation, inexorably leading back to the past–and, once again, to that unbearable void where The Shadow’s Child almost lost both sanity and life…
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.
“This slim volume packs a visceral punch. Absorbing prose takes the reader in the dark, frigid space between the stars, where ships can fail, physically and emotionally, as well as people. (…) an imaginative read.
Library Journal (starred review)
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.
This book shows sharp, intelligent dialogue with wildly peculiar worlds and spaces. The elegant weaving of narrative is what we’ve come to expect from de Bodard’s unique style. This is the opposite of a closed-room mystery, an open-space mystery which pushes the boundaries of A.I-as-person and genius-as-misanthropic-detective. Deeply affecting and always entertaining, The Tea Master and the Detective should be your next read.