The Secret Project of Doom: REVEALED

For the past year or so, I’ve been hinting about a Secret Project I was working on. Said project came with a nondisclosure agreement, which meant I couldn’t share the details, but it was a great deal of fun, something different than I’d done before, but still very much a match for my style as a writer.

Well, a few days ago, said project showed up on Amazon and other online retailers, and then today my publisher gave me official permission to talk about it.

For the gamers out there, have you heard of the Fable video games from Lionhead Studios?

Fable LegendsPerhaps you’ve heard of the newest installment in the series, Fable Legends, which is coming out later this year?

Well, I’m happy to say there’s a tie-in novel to go with said game, an original story set in the ancient days of Albion, involving the heroes and creatures from Fable Legends:

Fable: Blood of Heroes, by Jim C. Hines

This has been a really fun book to write. Both my editors at Random House/Del Rey and the folks at Lionhead were wonderful to work with, helping me stay within the bounds of the gaming world while also giving me a lot of room to tell my own story.

According to Amazon, Blood of Heroes comes out on August 4, 2015 in electronic and trade paperback format. I haven’t seen cover art yet. (The image here is from the video game.)

There’s no official summary of the book yet, but I can tell you that we meet some of the characters from the game, and there’s plenty of action and chaos. And also chickens. Because it’s Fable.

I was a little nervous about doing my first tie-in novel, but this has been a wonderful experience, and I’d love to do it again in the future. And not just because there were a few weeks where I got to sit around the house playing video games, while legitimately telling my kids, “Daddy’s working!”

Pre-order Links

While I can’t talk about a lot of the details yet, there will be more information coming relatively soon, including cover reveals, character info, and more. In the meantime, I’m just excited and thrilled and proud to be able to announce this one. If you’re a fan of Fable and/or my work, I think you’re really going to enjoy it.

 

Do You Wanna Do a Remake?

“Do You Want to Do a Remake?”
With apologies to Frozen

Do you wanna do a remake?
Rewrite an eighties hit?
We could do an all new Ghostbusters,
Swap “his” for “hers”
And watch dudes lose their sh*t!

We’ll ruin all their childhoods
Our evil scheme
Will make all the dudebros cry!

Do you wanna do a remake?
It doesn’t have to be a remake…

(“But why should they all be women?”)
(Major side-eye)

Do you wanna do a remake?
Women tearing down the walls.
In truth these changes are long overdue.
It’s not some female plot to
Shrivel up your balls!

(“Oh, my. Maybe the cold does bother you, huh?”)

It gets a little boring
All these male-led films
With just one token female. Why?
(“Save me!” “Tame me!” “Help me!” “Kiss me!”)

“Will there be a female Slimer?”
“Will Ecto-one be painted pink?”
“You feminists will ruin everything!”
“Hollywood’s too left wing!”
“It’s gonna stink!”

The proton packs are ours now.
So just back off, man.
’Cause women can bust ghosts too!

So we’re gonna do a remake.

The Final Chippening…

Welcome to the Final Chippening!

Here’s your backstory:

This has been a lot of fun. At least for me. Hopefully you’ve been amused as well.

So, now that this is over, should I start planning what to do when I get to twenty thousand Twitter followers? :-)

#

5-1

5-2

5-3

 Sean Williams Maurice Broaddus Wesley Chu Stephen Leigh Deborah Blake Ferrett Steinmetz Kelly McCullough John Levitt Harry Connolly Elizabeth Bear

5-4

5-5

5-6

5-7

#

Well, that was fun! My thanks to guest Chipmunks Sean Williams, Maurice Broaddus, Wesley Chu, Stephen Leigh, Deborah Blake, Ferrett Steinmetz, Kelly McCullough, John Levitt, Harry Connolly, and Elizabeth Bear.

Book Reviews: Stross, Valente, and Snyder

Jennifer Morgue CoverI’ve fallen behind in my book reviewing again, so this is my attempt to catch back up, starting with The Jennifer Morgue [Amazon | B&N | Indiebound], by Charles Stross.

This is part of Stross’ Laundry Files, about magic and computers and government employees. In this one, “Bob Howard, geekish demonology hacker for The Laundry, must stop a ruthless billionaire from unleashing an eldritch horror, codenamed ‘Jennifer Morgue’ from the ocean’s depths for the purpose of ruling the world…”

This was another fun read, similar in tone to The Atrocity Archives (which I enjoyed, and reviewed here). Only there’s an added twist. Without getting into details, Stross has found a clever way to write a tribute/parody of a certain other subgenre, one which fits perfectly with the rules of the world he’s created. It felt a little forced in one or two places, but for the most part, I enjoyed watching Stross play with the tropes and structures of those other books, while occasionally smiling and thinking, I see what you did there.

The character of Ramona was fascinating, and representative of the real darkness Stross gets into with these books, beneath the humorous surface. People have talked to me about feeling uncomfortable with Lena Greenwood’s character, with her nature and the way I chose to write her. Ramona created similar discomfort as I read–she’s possessed by a succubus, meaning she has a physical need for sex, as well as using sex as a weapon of assassination. While I’m not sure Stross handles this perfectly, neither do I, and I give him credit for not ignoring the problematic aspects of Ramona’s character.

Overall, if you enjoyed the first book, you’ll almost certainly like this one as well. They’re smart, different, and bring enough humor and darkness and action to keep things moving.

#

Fairyland CoverNext up is Catherynne Valente’s award-winning YA book The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making [Amazon | B&N | Indiebound], about a 12-year-old girl named September who leaves Omaha during WWI to travel with the Green Wind to Fairyland, where she befriends a wyvern who’s part library (only A through L), meets witches, rustles wild bicycles, confronts a queen, and so much more.

Valente’s imagination shines through from every page, presented in lush language by a narrator who offers their own commentary throughout the book. It felt like I was reading an old-fashioned tale of young, fantastic adventure, with shades of Wonderland and Narnia and more. I enjoyed it, but I could also see reading this one to my 9-year-old. I suspect he’d get a kick out of it.

My guess is that a lot will depend on whether or not you like Valente’s style in this book. I’d definitely recommend checking out the excerpt on the publisher’s website.

#

Finally, there’s Lucy A. Snyder’s Installing Linux on a Dead Badger (and Other Oddities) [Amazon | B&N | Indiebound], a collection of “12 humor stories about computers and the forces of evil.” I received a review copy of this one in audio book format, as read by Mary Bertke, and listened to it while driving to and from ConFusion earlier this month.

The collection starts with step-by-step instructions for installing Linux on a dead badger, but this is only the start. From there, the stories begin to explore the implications of a world where you can reanimate the dead with the right hardware and operating system. Many of the stories take the form of news reports, exploring everything from the implications of zombie call centers to the special Kung Fu mode you can activate in your dead badger.

The first story went on a little long for my taste, but I liked the larger picture Snyder created as the collection progressed in its satirical exploration of a world — particularly the corporate world — that’s gotten its hands on magic. As someone who’s worked both in tech support and in the land of cubicle bureaucracy, many of Snyder’s ideas felt just familiar and plausible enough to be funny. (And also depressing, now that I think about it … how many of us could be replaced with zombies at our day jobs?)

Three of the stories are available on Strange Horizons:

Writer’s Ink: Myke Cole

Myke Cole is the author of the Shadow Ops series, which he’s described not as military fantasy, but more as fantasy with the military experience. It’s experience that draws on his own life, including three tours in Iraq, and serving in the U. S. Coast Guard. His next book, Gemini Cell [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound], comes out on January 27.

WI-Cole

Here’s Myke talking about his tattoo:

This is the progress of my quarter-sleeve thus far. I thought about tattoos for many years, making sure the idea is fixed firmly in my mind before finally getting it inked on. My second requirement for a tattoo is that it mark an event in my life I will want to remember forever, no matter how its character may change.

The Eagle & Anchor is the symbol of an officer in the United States Coast Guard. The device appears in a few places, on badges, on our hat-bands, and in many plaques and decorations. After six years in uniform, I finally decided that, even if I should be turned out of the guard tomorrow in disgrace (don’t worry, that isn’t happening), my attainment of an officer’s commission is one of the watershed events in my life. It is one of the things I am most proud of, a thing I will cherish forever.

The text across the top is from General Douglas MacArthur’s famous 1962 speech to the cadets of West Point as he accepted the Sylvanus Thayer award. The speech is incredibly stirring.

I was particularly struck by this passage: Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government; whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing, indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as thorough and complete as they should be. These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a ten-fold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.

There are many ways to interpret these words, but mine is this: That as a military officer, it is my duty to act on the will of the civilian government, to carry out and not set policy. In the end, professional violence must serve the will of civilian masters, else we have military dictatorships like the one presently governing Thailand. That must never be the case in the United States, and these words are my reminder that my first obligation is to the American people.

The tattoo isn’t done. Hopefully in the next year or two, I will be adding a life-ring on the opposite side of that arm. Behind the life-ring will be a crossed boathook and oar. Printed on the life-ring will be the words: SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN. Because being an officer is only one point of pride in my military service. Another is that I am a Search-and-Rescueman. Where members all military branches must put their lives on the line to slay others, I have the distinct honor of putting mine on the line to save them.”