Today I have a complete trilogy to give away: Wide Open, Deep Down, and Strange Country by Deborah Coates! Wide Open was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel in 2012, and the series sounds wonderful!

Wide Open by Deborah Coates Deep Down by Deborah Coates Strange Country by Deborah Coates

About the First Book in the Trilogy, Wide Open:

Wide Open by Deborah Coates is the first book in a series of “startlingly original” (Booklist) contemporary fantasy novels set against the sweeping prairies and desolate byways of the American Midwest, creating “a rural backwater where the normal and paranormal seamlessly merge.” (Publishers Weekly)

When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan on ten days’ compassionate leave, her sister Dell’s ghost is waiting at the airport to greet her.

The sheriff says that Dell’s death was suicide, but Hallie doesn’t believe it. Something happened or Dell’s ghost wouldn’t still be hanging around. Friends and family, mourning Dell’s loss, think Hallie’s letting her grief interfere with her judgment.

The one person who seems willing to listen is the deputy sheriff, Boyd Davies, who shows up everywhere and helps when he doesn’t have to.

As Hallie asks more questions, she attracts new ghosts, women who disappeared without a trace.  Soon, someone’s trying to beat her up, burn down her father’s ranch, and stop her investigation.

Hallie’s going to need Boyd, her friends, and all the ghosts she can find to defeat an enemy who has an unimaginable ancient power at his command.

Wide Open has been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, appeared on Locus Magazine’s Recommended Reading List for first novels, and was chosen as a Tor.com Reviewer’s Choice Pick for Favorite Book of the year. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction claimed that it is “one of the best first novels I’ve read in a long time” and Library Journal agrees that “fans of urban fantasies should enjoy the kick-ass [heroine].”

Wide Open Excerpt | Deep Down Excerpt | Strange Country Excerpt

Courtesy of Tor Books, I have a set containing the complete trilogy by Deborah Coates to give away! This giveaway is open to those with a mailing address in the US or Canada, and it includes Wide Open, Deep Down, and Strange Country.

Giveaway Rules: To be entered in the giveaway, fill out the form below OR send an email to kristen AT fantasybookcafe DOT com with the subject “Wide Open Giveaway.” One entry per person and one winner will be randomly selected. Those from the US or Canada are eligible to win this giveaway. The giveaway will be open until the end of the day on Friday, June 6. The winner has 24 hours to respond once contacted via email, and if I don’t hear from them by then a new winner will be chosen (who will also have 24 hours to respond until someone gets back to me with a place to send the books).

Please note email addresses will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner. Once the giveaway is over all the emails will be deleted.

Good luck!

Edit: Now that the giveaway is over, the form has been removed.

Aurora in Four Voices by Catherine Asaro

One of my favorite science fiction authors, Catherine Asaro, has a Kickstarter campaign right now to raise money for producing an audiobook of Aurora in Four Voices narrated by Sylvia Roldán Dohi. This anthology contains both novellas and short stories, including the first story in the Saga of the Skolian Empire, “Light and Shadow,” and the Nebula Award-winning story “The Spacetime Pool.” The Kickstarter ends on June 7 and there are some amazing rewards, such as ebooks, a signed hardcover copy of Aurora in Four Voices, a digital copy of the audiobook, a Skype book club visit by Catherine Asaro, an in-person book club visit by Catherine Asaro, and the chance to be a character in a future book or story! If the stretch goal of $9,000 is met, Catherine Asaro will write a brand new Ruby Dynasty novella and backers who pledged at least $12 will receive an early digital copy of this story!

Generation V by M. L. Brennan Iron Night by M.L. Brennan Tainted Blood by M. L. Brennan

I was very impressed with the first two Fortitude Scott books by M. L. Brennan, Generation V and Iron Night—in fact, I thought these two books were the best start to an urban fantasy series I’ve read (even better than the first two books in my three favorite ongoing UF series). I’m very excited about the third installment coming in November, Tainted Blood, and I was thrilled to read M. L. Brennan’s recent announcement that there will be a fourth book in the series in 2015! Now I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be even more books because I would love to read more.

The Whitefire Crossing by Courtney Schafer The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer

Since I enjoyed The Whitefire Crossing and LOVED The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer, I’ve been eagerly awaiting news of the final book in the trilogy, The Labyrinth of Flame. Courtney Schafer recently announced that she will be self-publishing the final book for a variety of reasons, such as the ability to release it faster. She will be doing a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of the book (including an editor, copy editor, and a cover that matches the first two, which makes me deliriously happy). The Kickstarter will probably be sometime this fall, and she is hoping to have the book completed this winter.

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration. Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

This week brought four finished copies of books and one ARC. I have already discussed one of the finished copies here before, but here is the link to read more about it in case you missed it:

The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

The Girl With All the Gifts, written by Mike Carey (author of the Felix Castor novels and graphic novels including Lucifer and some volumes of X-Men and Fantastic Four), will be released on June 10 (hardcover, ebook). The first ten chapters can be read on the publisher’s website.

 

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her ‘our little genius’. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favourite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The Science of Discworld by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, and Jack Cohen

The Science of Discworld by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, and Jack Cohen

This new edition of The Science of Discworld will be available on June 3 (trade paperback, ebook). The Globe: The Science of Discworld II will be following in December 2014 and the next two volumes in June and December 2015.

 

Not just another science book and not just another Discworld novella, The Science of Discworld is a creative, mind-bending mash-up of fiction and fact, that offers a wizard’s-eye view of our world that will forever change how you look at the universe.

Can Unseen University’s eccentric wizards and orangutan Librarian possibly shed any useful light on hard, rational Earthly science?

In the course of an exciting experiment, the wizards of Discworld have accidentally created a new universe. Within this universe is a planet that they name Roundworld. Roundworld is, of course, Earth, and the universe is our own. As the wizards watch their creation grow, Terry Pratchett and acclaimed science writers Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen use Discworld to examine science from the outside. Interwoven with the Pratchett’s original story are entertaining, enlightening chapters which explain key scientific principles such as the Big Bang theory and the evolution of life on earth, as well as great moments in the history of science.

Strange Country by Deborah Coates

Strange Country (Wide Open #3) by Deborah Coates

Strange Country will be released on May 27 (hardcover, ebook). It’s the conclusion to a trilogy and the first two books are as follows:

  1. Wide Open (Read Excerpt)
  2. Deep Down (Read Excerpt)

An excerpt from Strange Country is available on Tor.com.

 

After facing Death himself and banishing a reaper bent on the destruction of Sheriff’s deputy Boyd Davies, Hallie Michaels had hoped things would finally settle down; that she and Boyd would find more time to spend together, and that the ghosts she attracts would stay in the cemeteries where they belong.

But on a wintry night in mid-December, a woman is murdered with a high-powered rifle. Not long after, another of West Prairie City’s citizens is killed in exactly the same way, drawing the attention of state investigators. But the connection between the victims is not easily uncovered.

Meanwhile, Hallie finds a note tied to post outside her home. “What do you fear most?” it asks, accompanied by a set of map coordinates. Over the next few days she receives an anonymous phone call, and a letter left for Hallie at the local ag supply. All pose the same question and offer the same set of coordinates. The mystery deepens, and Hallie must solve it before the body count rises again, in Strange Country by Deborah Coates.

The Boost by Stephen Baker

The Boost by Stephen Baker

The Boost was released on May 20 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). An excerpt is available on Tor.com.

 

Ralf is a software prodigy. He works in the US government office that updates the software in the population’s boosts—networked supercomputers contained in a chip implanted within the brains of 99 percent of the world’s population. Invented by Chinese researchers in 2032, the boost is credited with leading humanity to its most significant cognitive leap since the discovery of fire.

Days before a national upgrade, Ralf notices that the update includes an open surveillance gate—meaning that Americans, who had negotiated high levels of privacy with the Chinese manufacturers, will now be subjected to the invasive Chinese standard. Ralf attempts to hack the boost, but is caught by agents working for Washington’s preeminent lobbyist. His boost is ripped from his head, and Ralf barely escapes with his life.

Pursued by the lobbyist’s mercenary cadre, Ralf flees to the US–Mexico border, where there are others like him—“wild” humans on the fringes of society, unenhanced by technology. It’s a frightening and backward world controlled by powerful drug lords. Ralf’s only hope is to somehow work with these wild bosses of the analog world—in hopes of winning back freedom in the digital one.

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration. Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

It’s been awhile, but now that April is over and the cold I got about 2 days after the last Women in SF&F post went up seems to finally be at least mostly gone, this feature is back! This week brought an ARC, a review copy, and one belated birthday gift that took much longer to ship than it was supposed to.

The Maerlande Chronicles by Elisabeth Vonarburg

The Maerlande Chronicles by Elisabeth Vonarburg

This science fiction book was the belated birthday gift of a book from my wish list. I didn’t realize it was a sequel, but it sounds like it does stand alone quite well. An excerpt from The Maerlande Chronicles is available on the author’s website.

 

A future society, where women far outnumber men, has abandoned the models of patriarchy and matriarchy and established new gender roles. But Lisbei, a young thinker whose gift is exploring the past, confronts the new establishment in order to force changes of her own. The Maerlande Chronicles is a sequel to the critically-acclaimed novel The Silent City.

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker Saga #1) by Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley’s upcoming novel is one of my most anticipated releases of this year. I love her blog posts, and although I haven’t read it yet, I’ve heard her science fiction series beginning with God’s War is amazing. The Mirror Empire is scheduled for release in the US and Canada (trade paperback/ebook) on August 26 and in the UK (B-format paperback) on September 4.

 

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin.

As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.

In the end, one world will rise – and many will perish.

The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell

The Severed Streets (James Quill #2) by Paul Cornell

The Severed Streets, the second book in a series following London Falling, will be released on May 20 in the United States (hardcover, ebook) and May 22 in the UK (hardcover, ebook). An excerpt from this novel is available on Tor.com.

 

Desperate to find a case to justify the team’s existence, with budget cuts and a police strike on the horizon, Quill thinks he’s struck gold when a cabinet minister is murdered by an assailant who wasn’t seen getting in or out of his limo. A second murder, that of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, presents a crime scene with a message… identical to that left by the original Jack the Ripper.

The new Ripper seems to have changed the MO of the old completely: he’s only killing rich white men. The inquiry into just what this supernatural menace is takes Quill and his team into the corridors of power at Whitehall, to meetings with MI5, or ‘the funny people’ as the Met call them, and into the London occult underworld. They go undercover to a pub with a regular evening that caters to that clientele, and to an auction of objects of power at the Tate Modern.

Meanwhile, the Ripper keeps on killing and finally the pattern of those killings gives Quill’s team clues towards who’s really doing this…

Today I have a guest post by Bascomb James, editor of Far Orbit: Speculative Space Adventures, to share with you! He’s here to discuss the appeal and breadth of Grand Tradition Science Fiction, the common element binding the stories in Far Orbit together. This anthology, released a couple of weeks ago, contains a letter to science fiction by Elizabeth Bear and stories written by Gregory Benford, Tracy Canfield, Eric Choi, Barbara Davies, Jakob Drud, Julie Frost, David Wesley Hill, K. G. Jewell, Sam Kepfield, Kat Otis, Jonathan Shipley, Wendy Sparrow, and Peter Wood.

Far Orbit edited by Bascomb James

Grand Tradition Science Fiction

Over at World Weaver Press, we have been beating the drums about our new anthology, Far Orbit, Speculative Space Adventures. The anthology features modern stories crafted in the Grand Tradition of Science Fiction. So what is Grand Tradition SF and why are we making happy noises about stories written in a vintage style?

Much of what I call Grand Tradition SF was published in the late 1930s through 1960. Grand Tradition SF has its literary roots in the pulp fiction era but it was heavily pruned and shaped by editor Hugo Gernsback’s “Super Science” era that focused on the gizmo and by editor John W. Campbell’s desire for more scientific achievement and realism. Despite these significant influences, Grand Tradition stories never really fit within the Gernsback or the Campbell model.

The hallmark of the Grand Tradition story was that it was fun to read. Grand Tradition stories were pure entertainment; they were adventure stories that were found nowhere else. Grand Tradition stories were written in every SF motif (horror, noir, pulp fiction, first contact, spaceship, alien invaders/visitors, political intrigue, hard science fiction, etc.) and they embraced all of the familiar SF tropes. Grand Tradition stories often included social/political commentaries and they opened windows on worlds we could not otherwise see, but these elements were part of the subtext. The foreground story was the adventure, the wonder, the delightful romp through a strange and wondrous universe.

Somewhere along the way, a derisive public wrote off Grand Tradition SF as mere escapism – as if escapism was something unsavory. Fun stories – stories written for entertainment – became childish indulgences in an increasingly tight-sphinctered world. In her open letter to SF, Elizabeth Bear asks why “[SF seems] to think that nothing fun can have value.” I agree with her completely. Mind you, I am not advocating a return to the days of schlocky pulp fiction, but even the most serious and dedicated science fiction fan wants to have a little fun now and then.

The author response to our call for submissions demonstrates that modern authors still write Grand Tradition stories and we are proud to include 13 wonderful examples of Grand Tradition SF in the Far Orbit anthology. The anthology showcases the breadth of Grand Tradition SF and includes 1940s-style pulp fiction, realistic hard SF, noir fiction, horror SF, spaceship fiction, alien uplift, and action-adventure motifs. This diversity makes it easy for every SF fan to find a favorite.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s science fiction novel The Lathe of Heaven was released as an ebook for the first time last month, and today I have an excerpt from chapter one to share with you as well as a chance to win the ebook! Like many of Ursula Le Guin’s novels, The Lathe of Heaven is an award winner: it won the Locus Award for Best Novel in 1972, and it also had the distinction of being nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards. I hope you enjoy reading a sample from this acclaimed novel, and if you want to read more, there is more information about the giveaway after the excerpt.

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

About The Lathe of Heaven:

For the first time as an eBook, a science fiction classic by one of the greatest writers in any genre.

Winner of the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, and one of the most acclaimed writers in science fiction, Ursula Le Guin’s classic novel The Lathe of Heaven imagines a world in which one man’s dreams can change all of our realities.

In a world beset by climate instability and overpopulation, George Orr discovers that his dreams have the power to alter reality. Upon waking, the world he knew has become a strange, barely recognizable place, where only George has the clear memory of how it was before. He seeks counseling from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately understands how powerful a weapon George wields. Soon, George is a pawn in Haber’s dangerous game, where the fate of humanity grows more imperiled with every waking hour.

As relevant to our current world as it was when it won the Locus Award, Ursula Le Guin’s novel is a true classic, at once eerie and prescient, wildly entertaining and ferociously intelligent.

1

Confucius and you are both dreams, and I who say you are dreams am a dream myself. This is a paradox. Tomorrow a wise man may explain it; that tomorrow will not be for ten thousand generations.

— CHUiANG TSE: II

Current-borne, wave-flung, tugged hugely by the whole might of ocean, the jellyfish drifts in the tidal abyss. The light shines through it, and the dark enters it. Borne, flung, tugged from anywhere to anywhere, for in the deep sea there is no compass but nearer and farther, higher and lower, the jellyfish hangs and sways; pulses move slight and quick within it, as the vast diurnal pulses beat in the moon-driven sea. Hanging, swaying, pulsing, the most vulnerable and insubstantial creature, it has for its defense the violence and power of the whole ocean, to which it has entrusted its being, its going, and its will.

But here rise the stubborn continents. The shelves of gravel and the cliffs of rock break from water baldly into air, that dry, terrible outerspace of radiance and instability, where there is no support for life. And now, now the currents mislead and the waves betray, breaking their endless circle, to leap up in loud foam against rock and air, breaking…

What will the creature made all of seadrift do on the dry sand of daylight; what will the mind do, each morning, waking?

 

His eyelids had been burned away, so that he could not close his eyes, and the light entered into his brain, searing. He could not turn his head, for blocks of fallen concrete pinned him down and the steel rods projecting from their cores held his head in a vise. When these were gone he could move again; he sat up. He was on the cement steps; a dandelion flowered by his hand, growing from a little cracked place in the steps. After a while he stood up, but as soon as he was on his feet he felt deathly sick, and knew it was the radiation sickness. The door was only two feet from him, for the balloonbed when inflated half filled his room. He got to the door and opened it and went through it. There stretched the endless linoleum corridor, heaving slightly up and down for miles, and far down it, very far, the men’s room. He started out toward it, trying to hold on to the wall, but there was nothing to hold on to, and the wall turned into the floor.

“Easy now. Easy there.”

The elevator guard’s face was hanging above him like a paper lantern, pallid, fringed with graying hair.

“It’s the radiation,” he said, but Mannie didn’t seem to understand, saying only, “Take it easy.”

He was back on his bed in his room.

“You drunk?”

“No.”

“High on something?”

“Sick.”

“What you been taking?”

“Couldn’t find the fit,” he said, meaning that he had been trying to lock the door through which the dreams came, but none of the keys had fit the lock.

“Medic’s coming up from the fifteenth floor,” Mannie said faintly through the roar of breaking seas.

He was floundering and trying to breathe. A stranger was sitting on his bed holding a hypodermic and looking at him.

“That did it,” the stranger said. “He’s coming round. Feel like hell? Take it easy. You ought to feel like hell. Take all this at once?” He displayed seven of the little plastifoil envelopes from the autodrug dispensary. “Lousy, mixture, barbiturates and Dexedrine. What were you trying to do to yourself?”

It was hard to breathe, but the sickness was gone, leaving only an awful weakness.

“They’re all dated this week,” the medic went on, a young man with a brown ponytail and bad teeth. “Which means they’re not all off your own Pharmacy Card, so I’ve got to report you for borrowing. I don’t like to, but I got called in and I haven’t any choice, see. But don’t worry, with these drugs it’s not a felony, you’ll just get a notice to report to the police station and they’ll send you up to the Med School or the Area Clinic for examination, and you’ll be referred to an M.D. or a shrink for VTT—Voluntary Therapeutic Treatment. I filled out the form on you already, used your ID; all I need to know is how long you been using these drugs in more than your personal allotment?”

“Couple months.”

The medic scribbled on a paper on his knee.

“And who’d you borrow Pharm Cards from?”

“Friends.”

“Got to have the names.”

After a while the medic said, “One name, anyhow. Just a formality. It won’t get ’em in trouble. See, they’ll just get a reprimand from the police, and HEW Control will keep a check on their Pharm Cards for a year. Just a formality. One name.”

“I can’t. They were trying to help me.”

“Look, if you won’t give the names, you’re resisting, and you’ll either go to jail or get stuck into Obligatory Therapy, in an institution. Anyway they can trace the cards through the autodrug records if they want to, this just saves ’em time. Come on, just give me one of the names.”

He covered his face with his arms to keep out the unendurable light and said, “I can’t. I can’t do it. I need help.”

“He borrowed my card,” the elevator guard said. “Yeah. Mannie Ahrens, 247-602-6023.” The medic’s pen went scribble scribble.

“I never used your card.”

“So confuse ’em a little. They won’t check. People use people’s Pharm Cards all the time, they can’t check. I loan mine, use another cat’s, all the time. Got a whole collection of those reprimand things. They don’t know. I taken things HEW never even heard of. You ain’t been on the hook before. Take it easy, George.”

“I can’t,” he said, meaning that he could not let Mannie lie for him, could not stop him from lying for him, could not take it easy, could not go on.

“You’ll feel better in two, three hours,” the medic said. “But stay in today. Anyhow downtown’s all tied up, the GPRT drivers are trying another strike and the National Guard’s trying to run the subway trains and the news says it’s one hell of a mess. Stay put. I got to go, I walk to work, damn it, ten minutes from here, that State Housing Complex down on Macadam.” The bed jounced as he stood up. “You know there’s two hundred sixty kids in that one complex suffering from kwashiorkor? All low-income or Basic Support families, and they aren’t getting protein. And what the hell am I supposed to do about it? I’ve put in five different reqs for Minimal Protein Ration for those kids and they don’t come, it’s all red tape and excuses. People on Basic Support can afford to buy sufficient food, they keep telling me. Sure, but what if the food isn’t there to buy? Ah, the hell with it. I go give ’em Vitamin C shots and try to pretend that starvation is just scurvy…”

The door shut. The bed jounced when Mannie sat down on it where the medic had been sitting. There was a faint smell, sweetish, like newly cut grass. Out of the darkness of closed eyes, the mist rising all round, Mannie’s voice said remotely, “Ain’t it great to be alive?”

Courtesy of Diversion Books, I have one ebook edition of The Lathe of Heaven to give away! This giveaway is open internationally, and the winner has a choice between ePub and Mobi formats.

Giveaway Rules: To be entered in the giveaway, fill out the form below OR send an email including the format of your choice (ePub or Mobi) to kristen AT fantasybookcafe DOT com with the subject “The Lathe of Heaven Giveaway.” One entry per person and one winner will be randomly selected. Those from any country in the world are eligible to win this giveaway. The giveaway will be open until the end of the day on Monday, May 19.

Please note email addresses will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner. Once the giveaway is over all the emails will be deleted.

Good luck!

Update: Now that the giveaway is over, the form has been removed.