Table of contents – “Ecopunk! – speculative tales of radical futures” edited by Liz Grzyb & Cat Sparks

The world is constantly changing and everything shifts accordingly to its movement. But, sadly, some of the steps taken forward come with a heavy price, the climate and nature we are living in being among the most unfortunate on the receiving side of this progress. The extensive cut of the forests, the disappearance of thousands of animal and plant species, the global warming and the melting of Arctic icebergs are part of an irreversible chain of events leading toward an uncertain future, to say the least. Today’s climate change doesn’t leave me many reasons to feel optimistic, most of the articles regarding the impact we have on the world around us are making me sad and discouraged about the future humanity faces. Ticonderoga Publications is attempting to shake this pessimistic feeling with a new anthology, “Ecopunk! – speculative tales of radical futures”, a collection of 19 short stories edited by Liz Grzyb and Cat Sparks that challenges the glooming perspective of what Earth would become with brighter, more promising images of our future. I must admit, not many of the authors featured on the line-up ring a bell, I am more familiar with the editors of “Ecopunk!”, Liz Grzyb, who is behind the ongoing “The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror” series and anthologies such as “Dreaming of Djinn” or “Hear Me Roar” and Cat Sparks, the author of “The Bride Price” collection of short stories and the recently released “Lotus Blue” novel. However, I don’t see this as any kind of impediment, the anthology’s concept and the chance of discovering new, talented writers are main points of attraction for me, without mentioning that feeling a little better about Earth’s future, even though it’s for a short while and with the help of science fiction stories, is always welcomed. “Ecopunk!” will be released sometimes this year.

“The Radiolarian Violin” by Adam Browne
“Future Perfect” by Matthew Chrulew
“From the Dark” by Emilie Collyer
“Milk and Honey” by Jason Fischer
“The Mangrove Maker” by Tom Guerney
“Mr. Mycelium” by Claire McKenna
“The City Sunk, the City Risen” by R. Jean Mathieu
“The Wandering Library” by D.K. Mok
“The Today Home” by Jason Nahrung
“First Flight” by Ian Nichols
“Island Green” by Shauna O’Meara
“Trivalent” by Rivqa Rafael
“The Right Side of History” by Jane Rawson
“The Scent of Betrayal” by Jane Routley
“The Butterfly Whisperer” by Andrew Sullivan
“Monkey Business” by Janeen Webb
“Happy Hunting Ground” by Corey White
“Broad Church” by Tess Williams
“Pink Footed” by Marian Womack

Book offer – “Sharp Shooter” by Marianne Delacourt

Sharp-ShooterFrontMarianne de Pierres, the award winning Australian author of the Peacemaker books, the Parrish Plessis, the Night Creatures and the Sentients of Orion series, has been writing a series of crime novels (with a tint of paranormal since the main protagonist can read people’s auras) under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt. Twelfth Planet Press started to publish new editions of Marianne Delacourt’s Tara Sharp series last year and to celebrate the release of the third novel, “Too Sharp”, they offer us a chance to read for free the first volume of the series, “Sharp Shooter”, winner of the 2010 Davitt Award. You can find a copy of Marianne Delacourt’s “Sharp Shooter” at Amazon (depending on your location, of course) or Smashwords (for the epub format).

Tara Sharp should be just another unemployable, twenty-something, ex-private schoolgirl … but she has the gift—or curse as she sees it—of reading people’s auras. The trouble is, auras sometimes tell you things about people they don’t want you to know.

When a family friend recommends Mr Hara’s Paralanguage School, Tara decides to give it a whirl – and graduates with flying colours. So when Mr Hara picks up passes on a job for a hot-shot lawyer she jumps at the chance despite some of his less-than-salubrious clients.

Tara should know better than to get involved when she learns the job involves mob boss Johnny Vogue. But she’s broke and the magic words ‘retainer’ and ‘bonus’ have been mentioned. Soon Tara finds herself sucked into an underworld ‘situation’ that has her running for her life.

Sharp Shooter is a hilarious, action-packed novel and Tara Sharp is Triple F: Funny. Fast. Feisty.

Cover art – “Godsgrave” by Jay Kristoff

godsgrave-jay-kristoffJay Kristoff’s “Nevernight”, the first novel of “The Nevernight Chronicles” fantasy series, benefited not from one very attractive cover, but from two. Both the US and UK editions of Jay Kristoff’s novel hold tempting invitations up front, so much so that I was hard pressed when the time came to chose which copy of “Nevernight” to purchase for myself. To make things better though, once I stepped through the gates of the beautiful cover on the common ground of both editions, I discovered two gorgeous maps made by Virginia Allyn and a mesmerizing story which delighted me greatly. Later this year the second novel of “The Nevernight Chronicles”, “Godsgrave”, will be published and we can already admire the cover art of the US edition, due to be released by St. Martin’s Press. And I’ll have to admit, the cover made by Jason Chan and featuring typography realized by Meg Morely, makes me shiver with anticipation (not that the first volume hasn’t done that already). Elements of the first cover can be seen here too, Mia Corvere taking central stage and the shadows playing an important part, as they should. But I am also seeing a more determined Mia Corvere, considering the change in attire and weaponry from the previous cover, a small glimpse of Godsgrave behind her, since the city (Godsgrave) and the world of “The Nevernight Chronicles” resemble Rome and the Roman Empire to a point I find this representation very interesting, and the three suns of Iterya, a key element of the entire setting. All in all, it’s a wonderful companion for the US edition’s cover of the first novel. Now, it is up to Harper Voyager, the UK publisher, to reveal its cover for Jay Kristoff’s “Godsgrave”, but I guess we don’t have too long to wait for that to happen.

Since we are here, if you head over to Jay Kristoff’s website the author runs a competition there until March 31st, opened internationally, related to this cover in which you can win a signed copy of “Nevernight” (with the cover of your choice, but like I’ve said, that didn’t come easy for me) along with a signed audiobook of “Illuminae” and “Gemina”. You can find the full details in this post.

A ruthless young assassin continues her journey for revenge in this new epic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

Short film – “Who is Arvid Pekon?”

Since I mentioned Karin Tidbeck’s forthcoming novel the other day, here is an excellent short movie based on her surreal, Kafkaesque story “Who is Arvid Pekon?”, which is part of the “Jagannath” collection. The short film is written and directed by Patrik Eriksson, stars Andrzej Mastalerz as Arvid Pekon, Anna Moskal as the Supervisor and Anna Seniuk as Subject 3426 and is produced by the Polish National Film School and NUR Foundation.

Title spotlight – “Amatka” by Karin Tidbeck


Back in 2012 Karin Tidbeck made her English debut with the short story collection, “Jagganath”, published by Cheeky Frawg Books. Spinning Scandinavian folklore and mythology, spanning over a plentitude of speculative fiction sub-genres, but leaning more towards weird fiction, “Jagganath” received its share of recognition, the collection won the Crawford Award, was nominated for the World Fantasy Award and appeared on the honor list of the Tiptree Award, while one of the stories, “Augusta Prima”, won the Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Award. Since then Karin Tidbeck’s fiction has appeared on venues such as, Shadows & Tall Trees, Uncanny Magazine or Lightspeed Magazine and in anthologies such as “The Starlit Wood”, “Fearsome Magics” or “The Starry Wisdom Library”, but this year sees the publication of Karin Tidbeck’s debut novel, “Amatka”. The English version of “Amatka”, originally published in Swedish in 2012, is due to be released on June 27th by Vintage Books and considering the already mentioned short story collection and the synopsis of the novel I am very curious to see what “Amatka” holds in store. I mean, a wintry location always fascinates me (I love winter, although I am not sure I would like it so much if I lived in a place where this season rules most of the year) and a story involving language, which apparently can’t be taken for granted here, artistic creation, an investigation and what looks like a totalitarian regime are elements that intrigue me greatly.

A surreal debut novel set in a world shaped by language in the tradition of Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. Le Guin. 

Vanja, an information assistant, is sent from her home city of Essre to the austere, wintry colony of Amatka with an assignment to collect intelligence for the government. Immediately she feels that something strange is going on: people act oddly in Amatka, and citizens are monitored for signs of subversion.

Intending to stay just a short while, Vanja falls in love with her housemate, Nina, and prolongs her visit. But when she stumbles on evidence of a growing threat to the colony, and a cover-up by its administration, she embarks on an investigation that puts her at tremendous risk.

In Karin Tidbeck’s world, everyone is suspect, no one is safe, and nothing—not even language, nor the very fabric of reality—can be taken for granted. Amatka is a beguiling and wholly original novel about freedom, love, and artistic creation by a captivating new voice.

Back in business

Looking upon the year that passed I have to say 2016 was not very kind to me. For the most part the events gravitating around me were not something I wish to remember and for days in the row I was left without much energy, motivation and inspiration because of them. Fortunately, 2016 was not entirely bad, there were things that lifted my spirit and helped me look more closely to the brighter side.

After a while I’ve started to miss engaging with my passions, these became casualties for the better part of the last year, and slowly I managed to put them back on their feet. Reading was again as pleasant as it used to be (I dragged over a couple of books last year, but that’s no fault of them) and in consequence engaging in conversations about books and movies followed up shortly, while my fingers started itching for writing about them. Therefore I feel ready now to revive my blog, with a slight change though. Taking into consideration some aspects, I’ve decided to move house for my blog. First, I believe the old title was a bit restrictive; true, fantasy remains on top of my reading lists, but I do love speculative fiction in general and I feel the old title didn’t show that entirely. Also, there are my occasional ventures outside the genre to be considered as well. Second, there is some filler content on the old address that didn’t satisfy me as much as the other entries so I wish to eliminate those entirely. After all, if I am not happy how I did some things what is the point in keep doing the same? Last, a change of host, since the previous one was not as fun to handle as it was in the beginning and I would like to see what this one has to offer (I hope I can wrap my head around it).

With certainty I don’t see this small change as a new beginning (the former address will remain linked here too), only as an adjustment, a continuation of my project, hopefully with a little improvement on the side as well. So, without further ado, I welcome you to Dark Wolf’s Paraphernalia.