The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017 The Best American Series Paperback | Kindle
Edited By Charles Yu and John Joseph Adams
Publisher: Mariner Books
Release Date: October 3, 2017
If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times: I love anthologies for the sheer fact that I get to preview a plethora of authors, some new and some not so much. Where else but in a compilation like this will you find so much talent in one spot without literally hanging out in a bookstore all day (I’m looking at you old Waldenbooks customers, folks)? That is precisely what The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017 will give you. So anyway, I’m going to drop a few names, talk about a few stories, and make you want to run out and grab a copy of this. All in one little review. Are you ready? Okay, here we go!
The first book in Mitchell Hogan‘s Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, A Crucible Of Souls, is already a winner, having snagged the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel back when it was a self-published novel. Now, the Australian author has signed on with Harper Voyager for a revised reprint of the series, and after having read this first installment, I can see why the publisher would want to take a chance on it. It’s a well-written coming-of-age tale told in a high fantasy setting complete with magic, spells, secrets, and mysteries.
A Crucible Of Souls centers on Caldan, an orphan who was raised and educated by monks who took him in at a young age after his parents died. Since the other students at the remote monastery come from rich, prestigious families, Caldan has always known his place — keep his head down, learn as much as he can, and appreciate the life he was given because there are others like him who are not as fortunate. While he grew up without the love and support of a family, he does have one friend he’s close to, Jemma, a fellow student with the potential to become more than friends with him one day. In the meantime, the young man is preparing for his future, with the hopes of leaving his island habitat to move to the city to work once he’s completed his studies, as he’s shown great skill for the magical talent of crafting. But after an altercation with another student, the monks expedite Caldan’s original plans, sending him off to the city with nothing but a few family heirlooms and a new piece of information about his parents and the possible dangers he now faces.
Book Of Eli screenwriter Gary Whitta makes the jump from big-screen storytelling to the printed page with his debut novel Abomination, a mix of historical fiction, fantasy, and horror set in the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire, a period that saw a significant drop in written recordings of events. It’s that gap in history that lends itself to much speculation, which Whitta takes full advantage of in his story, claiming that those who witnessed its inconceivable horrors, purposely concealed the truth from future generations.
Whitta’s tale begins in 888 A.D. and uses the real-life background of King Alfred of England for its set-up. Alfred had spent his reign defending his kingdom of Wessex from the marauding Norse barbarians from across the sea, and it was his success in brokering peace with the Vikings that earned the young ruler his moniker of King Alfred the Great. But now, the Danish King Guthrum is rumored to be ill, and his death would likely trigger the end of the truce. Although eager for continued peace, Alfred must ready himself once more for war, but this time around, Aethelred, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has a secret weapon for his King to use against his foes. Unfortunately, Alfred soon finds out that this weapon does not come without dire repercussions.
It’s effective even in cases of long standing — oh, wait, that’s a different letter. Today’s letter is M…for MINIATURES!
In my previous article, I introduced you to the wonderful world of painting miniatures. I gave you a quick overview of the kind of things this column will be covering, and let you know what kind of tools you would need in order to paint your first miniature. Before you get started, though, you’re going to need to prepare your miniature to be painted. Below is a quick list of the things you’ll need for this. Several were explained in the previous article, but the rest were oversights on my part — sorry “˜bout that!