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Today’s guest is Tiara from The BiblioSanctum! She, Mogsy, and Wendy run an excellent blog—The BiblioSanctum is a great place for speculative fiction and graphic novel fans with lots of reviews, interviews, and discussions. It’s one of my favorite book blog discoveries of the last year or two due to the fantastic work these three are doing. Besides writing for The BiblioSanctum, Tiara also blogs at DigitalTempest.net.

The BiblioSanctum

Before beginning, I’d like to say that this post is equal parts a love letter to science fiction and a review of the book The Feminine Future: Early Science Fiction by Women Writers edited by Mike Ashley, which the publisher provided me in exchange for an honest review.

Science fiction has always been a huge part of my life. From grand stories about future civilizations with technology I could only imagine to your every day comics about mutants and superbeings who police their cities, these stories are rooted firmly in my heart.

While other little girls wanted to be princesses and frolic in medieval castles (not that there’s anything at all wrong with that either), I wanted to be some space pirate raiding unknown galaxies or maybe an intergalactic bioengineer creating the latest organic technovirus or maybe I wanted to be one of the first humans to make contact with a new alien race or maybe I just wanted powers like my favorite member of the X-Men (Storm). Science fiction opened up a world of endless possibilities for me. From a very early age, science fiction stories showed me there was nothing I couldn’t achieve and there was nothing I couldn’t be.

Science fiction isn’t just about radical stories set in the future with aliens and a lot of hard science talk that’s hard to follow. Science fiction can be as simple as writing about how a flu pandemic has devastated the earth as in Emily St. John Mandel’s beautifully tragic science fiction novel, Station Eleven, or something as bold as Lois McMaster Bujold’s Falling Free, part of Bujold’s space opera the Vorkosigan Saga, which follows a human space engineer as he navigates life and morality with a group of humanoids coldly classified as “post fetal experimental tissue cultures.”

I always cite my favorite Ray Bradbury quote when discussing science fiction and what it means to me:

“Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself… Science fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Science fiction is what inspired me to pursue tech related activities, hobbies, and studies, and there’s no end to my love of science and technology as we advance further and further. This love is something I’ve passed on to my own daughter as she gets starry-eyed about the world of Mass Effect‘s Commander Shepard or begs me to read Sanity & Tallulah: Plucky Teen Girl Space Detectives just one more time.

Diversity in the various medias I consume, from books to video games, is important to me, and as a mother of a young girl, it’s become doubly important to me that she sees representation of herself in these things, especially in areas considered “male dominated” as science fiction. I want her to see that women have always been involved in helping to shape the world of science fiction as a genre. I want her to know there have always been women who have gotten lost in the world of science fiction and that women will always have a growing impact on the genre in years to come, including her.

There seems to be some debate that women have only started writing science fiction in recent years discounting the effort of such women as Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein in 1818 or Jane Loudon who penned The Mummy!: A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century in 1827. While there may be fewer female writers in science fiction, there have still been considerable contributions made by women that are a foothold to modern writers, and they shouldn’t be ignored or forgotten for what they’ve contributed. That’s why it’s so important that we have books such as The Feminine Future that are dedicated to bringing women pioneers in the genre to the forefront.

The Feminine Future: Early Science Fiction by Women Writers

The Feminine Future is a collection of short stories by women writers mostly pre-1920. Each story gives a brief history of its author’s life, if she went on to write more science fiction (or just more works in general), and a brief glimpse of what the story is about. Many of these women, I hadn’t heard about before (like Mabel Ernestine Abbott) or I know them from other literary works (like Edith Nesbit who wrote many children’s books). These stories range from lighthearted future visions to stories that question the reliability, if not the sanity, of its character.

This book presented a wide range of themes and ideas. Along with the science fiction, you find many other literary elements weaved into these stories such as horror and the supernatural. There are stories that explore life happening in reverse with a deeply human explanation, predating F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Benjamin Button.” You have stories with the burgeonings of hard science stories such as Harriet Prescott Spofford’s “The Ray of Displacement” that toys with atomic theory. There are stories about experimental drugs creating superhumans (“The Third Drug” by Edith Nesbit), stories that explore Utopian feminist societies (“A Divided Republic” by Lillie Devereaux Blake), stories about suspended animation and telepathy (“The Painter of Dead Women” by Edna W. Underwood), stories about cyborgs (“The Artificial Man” by Clare Winger Harris), and even humorous stories about “Automatic-Electric Machine Servants” (“Ely’s Automatic Housemaid” by Elizabeth W. Bellamy).

My personal favorite in the bunch was a story called “The Automaton Ear” by Florence McLandburgh. This was a dark, lyrical story that asked, “What if sound is never lost?” The protagonist of this story believes that sound is diffused to a point where it is no longer able to be heard by the normal ear. Subsequently, he ignores the visual beauty of the world as he tries to regain these sounds. This story was an unsettling, psychological romp that left the readers to decide if the protagonist was brilliant or mad.

Despite how readers feel about the stories, there’s no denying that in this book you see hints of the modern stories that we’ve read, and it’s a shame that many of these writers’ offerings have been lost to time. Many of these women were considered bold and imaginative for the subjects they tackled in these stories, as many of these concepts were rarely explored or new. Any argument that women are not interested in reading or writing about science fiction is debunked a multitude of times by our historical sisters in this book. As with any anthology, the stories can be hit or miss, but I appreciate the effort made to bring these women, some very obscure, to the attention of science fiction fans.

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Today’s guest is fantasy, science fiction, and horror author A. C. Wise! She’s written numerous short stories, some of which have appeared in a variety of “Best of the Year” collections. Her story “The Double Bind” will be included in the upcoming anthology The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, and her first short fiction collection,  The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again, will be released later this year. She also writes the wonderful monthly column Women to Read: Where to Start on SF Signal.

The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 4 The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk

Women in SF&F Month: Debut Authors

Women write speculative fiction. It shouldn’t be news to anyone anymore; yet on a slow news day, or any day, really, the topic is still dragged into the spotlight and women are once again asked to prove themselves. Lists are trotted out, and they are fantastic lists, but frequently they feature the same few names over and over again – Ursula K. Le Guin, Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree, Jr., Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson, and so on. Of course they are all worthy of your time and attention, but they’re well-established names, too. They should already be in your canon. There are so many exciting works being written today, it’s time to update our lists. More and more often, when asked to name authors who inspire me, I turn to contemporary authors publishing works today. In that spirit, I want to focus on a few debut authors whose first novels were released within the past few years, or will be released this year.

Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Rings of Anubis by E. Catherine Tobler

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s debut novel Signal to Noise was released by Solaris in February 2015. Her short fiction made me a fan, so I couldn’t wait to pick up a copy of her first novel, focused on magic and music in Mexico City in the 1980s. At novel length, Silvia Moreno-Garcia kicks the power and emotional relationships found in her short fiction up a notch. Signal to Noise is fearless and brilliant in that it rests almost entirely on the charm of an “unlikeable” character – surly, prickly, sometimes emotionally distant – but one you can’t help but root for and want to follow on her journey. The magic spells cast through vinyl records serve as delicious frosting to the rich cake at this novel’s heart – the humanity of its characters.

E. Catherine Tobler’s Rings of Anubis debuted as a collected paperback in 2014 from Masque Books, after originally being released as a two-volume e-book series in 2013. If you’re a fan of pulpy adventure in the vein of Indiana Jones and The Mummy, this is the book for you. Egypt, archeology, steampunk – you name it, it’s here. The whole novel is soaked in the same level of rich, sensory detail permeating Tobler’s short stories. As a reader, you live alongside Folley and Mallory, the main characters, as they journey through Egypt and Paris, feeling the grit of desert sand and tasting the food. At the same time, it’s a highly visual work, giving the reader a sense of watching a movie based on the text even as they read.

Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer Updraft by Fran Wilde

Jaime Lee Moyer’s debut novel, Delia’s Shadow, released in 2013 from Tor, kicked off a trilogy with the third book due out later this year. The novels are set in San Francisco in the early 1900s, and like E. Catherine Tobler’s Rings of Anubis, they transport the reader to a particular time and place. Delia’s Shadow is set during the San Francisco International Exposition of 1915, and the author’s research makes every detail come alive. The novel also focuses on female friendship, a thread that continues throughout the series, which is something not seen often enough in either print or visual media, even today. The author gives us a world of strong characters, historical details, and throws ghosts into the mix – what’s not to love?

Fran Wilde’s debut novel, Updraft, will be published by Tor in September 2015. A city made of bone grows above the clouds, and the citizens of this world soar from tier to tier on wings engineered from silk. The novel blurs the line between YA and Adult fiction, proving that the divide is largely arbitrary to begin with, as there’s something here to appeal to everyone. The worldbuilding the author engages in here is incredible – detailed, rich, and deep. There’s intrigue and danger, and stakes high enough to shake the entire foundation of the world the characters are living in. Updraft is another highly-visual world, just begging to be made into a movie.

These are just a few of the incredible authors who have recently (or will shortly) make their novel debuts. All of these authors started their careers as short fiction writers, and are stretching into new dimensions now with longer works. Everything they’ve published – both short and long – is worth your time to read. And given that these works are all debut novels, we can expect great things from them in the future. This is the next generation of inspirational women writing speculative fiction. You will see their names on future lists. Hopefully, one day, those lists will not be the ones trotted out as women are forced to prove themselves and justify their place in the genre. Hopefully these women will be future canon for must-read lists that have nothing to do with gender, or even genre. We will read them and praise them because their work is worthy of praise. Period. They have nothing to prove.

A.C. Wise is the author of numerous short stories appearing in places like Clarkesworld, Apex, the Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, and Year’s Best Weird Fiction. Her first collection will be published by Lethe Press in 2015. In addition to her fiction, she co-edits Unlikely Story, and contributes a monthly Women to Read: Where to Start column to SF Signal. You can find her online at www.acwise.net and on twitter as @ac_wise.

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Today’s guest is Mieneke from A Fantastical Librarian! This site is an excellent resource for speculative fiction fans, and clearly many others find it valuable as well: A Fantastical Librarian was nominated for a 2014 World Fantasy Award in the Non-professional Special Award category. It’s easy to see why given the great number of fantasy and science fiction book reviews and interviews with authors, bloggers, and editors. I especially enjoy the Blogger Query interview series in which Mieneke has conducted some fantastic interviews with book bloggers.

A Fantastical Librarian

“I am…?” : Representation of Mature Women in Fantasy

In the past few years I’ve read a lot about the importance of representation in fiction. From gender, to race, to sexuality, to disability, and any and all elements included under the umbrella of diversity. And while I very much believed in the importance of representation and that everyone should be able to find themselves in literature, I’d never felt myself very underrepresented. This may partially be because of what I read and because as a white, straight, cis woman, I am represented. And I know it was partially due to ignorance; I simply didn’t know it was a thing.

So while theoretically the need for representation made sense to me, what made it fully real to me was something I noticed in my children. I have two girls, aged 3 and 5, and in the past year or so I’ve noticed that the eldest always picks someone to be when watching TV. For example, they’ll be watching Frozen and she’ll say: “I’m Elsa.” Or when watching Princess Sofia: “I’m Sofia.” And then she will tell her sister she is Anna or Amber, depending on what they are watching. At first I thought this was just a natural kid thing, identifying with the hero of the film or show. But when I started paying attention, I began noticing something else. She always picks a female character for her and her sister to ‘be’ and if there is only one female character, well then they both have to be the same one. For example, watching Jake and the Never Land Pirates, she’ll always ‘be’ Izzy. Funnily enough, her little sister will happily pick Jake, because she doesn’t want to be the same character as her sister and Jake is the hero. Yet, they’ll fight over who will get to be Dora, when watching that show. And it’s not just my eldest, when her best friend comes over, she’ll do exactly the same. When I realised what was happening it was as if a light bulb went on in my head: this is the need for representation in action. If my girls have to double up on who they can ‘be’ in TV shows specifically aimed at little girls, how much harder will it be when they grow up and in other situations?

Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey Arrow's Flight by Mercedes Lackey

This made me think about my own feelings of identification with fictional characters over the years. While there have been several, the one that I connected the strongest to over the years and who has grown with me, was Mercedes Lackey’s Talia, the main character in the Heralds of Valdemar trilogy and an important character in the books that follow on from that series chronologically. When I first met Talia, I was a bullied, fat 14 year old, who loved horses and was living in an unsettled home. Talia was pretty much me, although she was pretty and slim, and her situation was a whole lot worse than mine. Most importantly though, Talia was saved from her situation by a magical horse and in her new home she was praised for exactly those characteristics I shared: being a good and conscientious student, skilled at handling small children, and being caring of others. While I realised that there wasn’t going to be a Companion clomping up to my front door to whisk me away, Talia’s story did make me realise that things would improve and that I shouldn’t let the bullies win.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself still identifying with Talia, but on a whole new level. In Arrows Flight Talia goes out on her internship in the field and discovers that her grip on her Gift is tenuous at best and slipping from her control. This sends her spiralling into self-doubt and finally a deep depression. In my twenties, I went through a long period of deep depression as well and when I finally got help it was hard and painful work to work through my issues. And once more, here was Talia lighting the way, showing me that doing the work was worth it, and that I should hang in there. And things got better.

Talia remained a character to identify with as we both grew older. Like Talia, I became a mum, and while her love for her children was very recognisable, Talia also disappeared to the background of the Valdemar books, a figure of authority and beloved certainly, but not so much in the spotlight anymore. This leaves me without my go-to figure of representation in literature for the first time in 20 years. Because off the top of my head I can’t come up with a mother with an active role in a fantasy novel. And by an active role I mean, not one limited to being someone’s mum, but being someone’s mum and being the hero of their own story as well.

King's Dragon by Kate Elliott Miserere by Teresa Frohock

Because mature and older women? They are not so well represented in fantasy. There are some; Kate Elliott makes a point of including them in her books and stories, Rosvita and Mother Anne are just two of those included in the Crown of Stars series, and more recently I loved Anna, the protagonist of Elliott’s short story “Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine.” I know Teresa Frohock has wonderful mature characters in her book Miserere, which I confess is still languishing on my To Be Read pile. Robin Hobb has the brilliant Kettle in her Farseer books and Trudy Canavan’s Sonea returns as an adult in her later books, but those are the only ones I can think off when I glance at my shelves, without actually picking up any of the books.

So where are the older women in fantasy? Mature women who are the hero of their own story? In a bid to find them, I turn to you, dear reader. What are your reading recommendations for stories with mature women as the hero?

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The first full week of guest posts opens with science fiction and fantasy author Brenda Cooper! Her most recent novel is Edge of Dark, the first book in a new science fiction series. She is also the author of the Ruby’s Song duology beginning with The Creative Fire, the books in The Silver Ship series starting with the Endeavour Award-winning novel The Silver Ship and the Sea, Mayan December, Building Harlequin’s Moon (co-written with Larry Niven), and several short stories (many of which have been included in Year’s Best anthologies).

Edge of Dark by Brenda Cooper The Creative Fire by Brenda Cooper

Women Kick Science Fictional Ass

Recently, I was sitting at dinner with a friend who was planning a science fiction event with a famous male writer. He had learned that a female writer had been invited to join. This dismayed him. After some poking and prodding, it turned out that he had never read any of her work (and I’m referring to a multiple award-winning writer). To me, they were both equally famous, both excellent writers, and both had won similar awards. But to my friend, only one of them even really seemed to exist. And this is a good friend, a man I’ve known and enjoyed lunches with for over twenty years. He isn’t ill-intentioned.

There have been recent challenges asking people not to read white male science fiction writers for a year. I won’t do that. If both of the writers mentioned above had a novel come out this year, I would read both novels. Some of my favorite writers are white males. Others are other genders and come from a variety of backgrounds.

But for the sake of the people who may have been reading exclusively white male writers, I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about some of my favorite women science fiction writers. I’m only going to have room to talk about a few in depth, but I’ll end with a long list, and even that list won’t be complete. There’s actually a LOT of women writing science fiction right now.

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

Let’s start with a recent discovery of mine (and of many other people): Ann Leckie. The first book in her Imperial Radch series, Ancillary Justice, pretty much swept the awards last year. Her ideas are good solid far-future sense of wonder SF, and while I was reading Ancillary Justice I experienced that same awe that books like Rendezvous with Rama engendered. The morning I finished her book, I sat down with a cup of coffee in my left hand, and I turned the pages on my Kindle with my right hand. When I finished, I had a full cup of ice-cold coffee leftover. I wanted to mention Ann even though I don’t know her, since anyone who hasn’t heard of her hasn’t been paying attention.

I picked the next three writers because I love their work, and I also value their significant contributions to the genre and/or the larger social conversation.

vN by Madeline Ashby Company Town by Madeline Ashby

Madeline Ashby’s Vn series about sentient robots is fabulous; and I’m quite looking forward to her novel Company Town. In addition to being an excellent fiction writer, Madeline is a working (and excellent) futurist. In fact, I caught my first sight of her online when I was looking for women futurists rather then writers. That led me to her books, which I have enjoyed very much. We shared a table of contents recently, in Kathryn Cramer and Ed Finn’s anthology Hieroglyph. Her story, “By the Time We Get to Arizona,” is a fabulous take on a future pathway for immigration.

Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress Yesterday's Kin by Nancy Kress

I discovered multiple Hugo and Nebula winning writer Nancy Kress through her bestselling novel Beggars in Spain. I used to haunt Elliot Bay Books (way back when it was in Pioneer Square in Seattle) looking for new Nancy Kress books. This was before I had published a single story. Now she and I are both physical and Facebook friends, and have dinner together and see movies from time to time. My early fascination with Nancy’s work was because she writes about genetics and about the affects of technologies on real people. I keep enjoying her work because her characters are real and her worlds are plausible. She’s a fabulous short story writer, and a writer of excellent books about writing. She has a novella, Yesterday’s Kin, on this year’s Nebula ballot.

Diving into the Wreck by Kristine Kathryn Rusch City of Ruins by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Kristine Kathryn Rusch once edited Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is still a publisher and editor working with her husband Dean Wesley Smith on the original anthology series “Fiction River.” I’ve studied with them in the past. Kris is one of the best writing craft teachers I’ve ever worked with. I love her novels (the Diving series is my favorite) and her short work is absolutely fabulous. I always look forward to new stories from her, and they often appear in Asimov’s. Kris also writes thoughtful non-fiction blogs and books about the writing business. She pretty much understands this business in more depth than anyone else I know.

Other female writers with science fiction stories and novels that I’ve read and enjoyed (in no particular order) include Ursula Le Guin, Octavia Butler, Aliette de Bodard, Mary Robinette Kowal, Lois McMaster Bujold, Cat Rambo, Margaret Atwood, Kate Wilhelm, Mary A. Turzillo, Mary Rosenblum, Nisi Shawl, Louise Marley, Kay Kenyon, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Laura Anne Gilman, Kij Johnson, Jennifer Linnaea, Linda Nagata, Fran Van Cleave, Tananarive Due, Brenda Carr, Jennifer Brozek, Eleanor Arneson, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Nicola Griffith, Rachel Swirsky, Sarah A. Hoyt, Kelley Eskridge, Connie Willis, Eileen Gunn, Catherine Asaro, Melissa Shaw, Sandra McDonald, Elizabeth Bear, C. J. Cherryh, Anne McCaffrey, Charlie Jane Anders, Vandana Singh….I could go on. I’ll think of more. And the list I haven’t read yet might be twice as long. There is a whole universe of fabulous science fiction writing by women. With any luck, my good friend from above will see this story and pick up at least one writer he hasn’t read. And so will others…

Brenda Cooper writes science fiction, fantasy, poetry, and non-fiction. Her most recent novel is Edge of Dark, from Pyr books. To learn more about Brenda, visit her at www.brenda-cooper.com.

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The month is off to a great start, thanks to the guests for the first half-week! In case you missed it, here’s what happened in the first few days:

Links

Over the past week, I saw a couple of links I thought others may be interested in. Before I announce this coming week’s guests, here they are:

  • The 2014 James Tiptree, Jr. Awards were announced! The winners are The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne and My Real Children by Jo Walton. There is also an Honor List and another list of notable works exploring gender in science fiction or fantasy.
  • Kari Sperring wrote a wonderful article on Strange Horizons, “Matrilines: The Woman Who Made Fantasy: Katherine Kurtz.”

Upcoming Guests: April 6 – 10

And now—time to announce the guests for the next week! They are:

Women in SF&F Month 2015 Week 2 Guests

April 6: Brenda Cooper (Edge of Dark, The Creative Fire, The Silver Ship series)
April 7: Mieneke (A Fantastical Librarian)
April 8: A. C. Wise (The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again)
April 9: Tiara (The BiblioSanctum and DigitalTempest.net)
April 10: Nicole Peeler (Jinn and Juice, the Jane True series)

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For this giveaway, I came up with a list of nine books I’d love to see more people read, and the winner can choose one of these books as the prize. I’m hoping there is enough variety on this list that everyone can find at least one book that sounds appealing!

Anyone who lives in a country eligible for free shipping from The Book Depository can enter. All these books are currently available on The Book Depository, and as long as the book of choice is still available on the site when the contest ends in two weeks, I’ll order the book of the winner’s choice and have it sent to them. If the first choice book isn’t available at that time for some reason, the winner can choose another from the list that can still be ordered from The Book Depository.

Here is the list of books to choose from (in no particular order with covers linking to Goodreads):

 

The Silvered by Tanya Huff
The Silvered by Tanya Huff

The Empire has declared war on the small, were-ruled kingdom of Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the were Pack-leader. With the Pack off defending the border, it falls to Mirian Maylin and Tomas Hagen—she a low-level mage, he younger brother to the Pack-leader—to save them. Together the two set out on the kidnappers’ trail, racing into the heart of enemy territory. With every step the odds against them surviving and succeeding soar….

A Taste of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington
A Taste of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington

1918. A First World War battlefield becomes the cosmic battleground for two vampires, as Karl von Wultendorf struggles to free himself from his domineering maker, Kristian.

1923. Charlotte Neville watches as her father, a Cambridge professor, fills Parkland Hall with guests for her sister Madeleine’s 18th birthday party. Among them is his handsome new research assistant Karl – the man Madeleine has instantly decided will be her husband. Charlotte, shy and retiring, is happy to devote her life to her father and her dull fiance Henry – until she sees Karl …

For Charlotte, it is the beginning of a deadly obsession that sunders her from her sisters, her father and even her dearest friend.  As their feverish passion grows, Karl faces the dilemma he fears the most.  Only by deserting Charlotte can his passion for her blood be conquered. Only by betraying her can he protect her from the terrifying attentions of Kristian – for Kristian has decided to teach Karl a lesson in power, by devouring Charlotte.

Wicked Gentelmen by Ginn Hale
Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale

Belimai Sykes is many things: a Prodigal, the descendant of ancient demons, a creature of dark temptations and rare powers. He is also a man with a brutal past and a dangerous addiction.

And Belimai Sykes is the only man Captain William Harper can turn to when faced with a series of grisly murders.

But Mr. Sykes does not work for free and the price of Belimai’s company will cost Captain Harper far more than his reputation.

From the ornate mansions of noblemen, where vivisection and sorcery are hidden beneath a veneer of gold, to the steaming slums of Hells Below, Captain Harper must fight for justice and for his life.

His enemies are many and his only ally is a devil he knows too well. Such are the dangers of dealing with the wicked.

Warchild by Karin Lowachee
Warchild by Karin Lowachee

When Jos’ parents are killed in an attack on their trading ship, the boy is kidnapped by the attackers and then escapes – only to fall into the alien hands of humanity’s greatest enemies. He is soon coerced into becoming a spy against the human race.

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers’ souls:

Goblin Fruit
In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today’s savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses
A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Hatchling
Six days before Esme’s fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?

My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due
My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

When Jessica marries David, he is everything she wants in a family man: brilliant, attentive, ever youthful. Yet she still feels something about him is just out of reach. Soon, as people close to Jessica begin to meet violent, mysterious deaths, David makes an unimaginable confession: More than 400 years ago, he and other members of an Ethiopian sect traded their humanity so they would never die, a secret he must protect at any cost. Now, his immortal brethren have decided David must return and leave his family in Miami. Instead, David vows to invoke a forbidden ritual to keep Jessica and his daughter with him forever. Harrowing, engrossing and skillfully rendered, My Soul to Keep traps Jessica between the desperation of immortals who want to rob her of her life and a husband who wants to rob her of her soul. With deft plotting and an unforgettable climax, this tour de force reminiscent of early Anne Rice will win Due a new legion of fans.

Wraeththu by Storm Constantine
Wraeththu by Storm Constantine

In this powerful and elegant story set in a future Earth very different from our own, a new kind of human has evolved to challenge the dominion of Homo sapiens. This new breed is stronger, smarter, and far more beautiful than their parent race, and are endowed with psychic as well as physical gifts. They are destined to supplant humanity as we know it, but humanity won’t die without a struggle.

Here at last in a single volume are all three of Constantine’s Wraeththu trilogy: The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, and The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire.

Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro
Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro

The Skolian Empire rules a third of the civilized galaxy through its mastery of faster-than-light communication. But war with the rival empire of the Traders seems imminent, a war that can only lead to slavery for the Skolians or the destruction of both sides. Destructive skirmishes have already occurred. A desperate attempt must be made to avert total disaster.

Generation V by M. L. Brennan
Generation V by M. L. Brennan

Fortitude Scott’s life is a mess. A degree in film theory has left him with zero marketable skills, his job revolves around pouring coffee, his roommate hasn’t paid rent in four months, and he’s also a vampire. Well, sort of. He’s still mostly human.

But when a new vampire comes into his family’s territory and young girls start going missing, Fort can’t ignore his heritage anymore. His mother and his older, stronger siblings think he’s crazy for wanting to get involved. So it’s up to Fort to take action, with the assistance of Suzume Hollis, a dangerous and sexy shape-shifter. Fort is determined to find a way to outsmart the deadly vamp, even if he isn’t quite sure how.

But without having matured into full vampirehood and with Suzume ready to split if things get too risky, Fort’s rescue mission might just kill him.…

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 “Winner’s Choice Giveaway.” One entry per household and one winner will be randomly selected. Those from a country that is on the list of those with free shipping from The Book Depository are eligible to win this giveaway. The giveaway will be open until the end of the day on Saturday, April 18. 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 the book of their choice and a mailing address).

In the event that the book of the winner’s choice can no longer be ordered from The Book Depository once the giveaway ends, they can choose another book from the list that can still be purchased through the site.

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.