Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cassandra Rose Clarke: My Favorite Novel… (Guest Post)

AtwoodM-BlindAssassinI know that Margaret Atwood has an unsavory reputation in a lot of genre circles, but that hasn’t stopped me from reading her 2000 novel The Blind Assassin several times since the first time I read it in high school. And I rarely reread novels. Along with One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Blind Assassin is easily one of my favorite books of all time.

The Blind Assassin is a tricky book to pin down. It won the Man Booker Prize and was included on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest English-language novels since 1923. It also contains a science fiction story (of the “talking squids in space variety,” even). The book is not science fiction in and of itself, but you’d have to be pretty determined not to read it, at least in part, as a love letter to the pulp SF novels of the ’30s and ’40s.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Deathstroke, Vol.1 – “Legacy” (DC)

Deathstroke-Vol.01An assassin’s brutal quest to regain his reputation as the Baddest of the Bad

Writer: Kyle Higgins | Artist: Joe Bennet | Inks: Art Thibert & Vicente Cifuentes | Colours: Jason Wright

Slade Wilson once ranked as the world’s greatest mercenary. But when his reputation starts to slip, and when a mysterious briefcase enters the equation, the man known as Deathstroke decides to carve a bloody, gory swatch across the DCU in a quest to show the world what exactly makes him the best.

Collects: Deathstroke #1-7

I first read a couple of Deathstroke issues when they were first published in the initial months of DC’s New 52 re-boot, and I found it… not bad. I couldn’t get too excited about the series, despite thinking it had potential. Given the cost of each issue, I had to drop it in favour of other titles. But, when I found a discounted copy of this book, I decided it was a good time to give it another try. I’m glad I did, but this doesn’t rank among my favourite of the New 52.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The 1,000th…


This is my 1,000th post on Civilian Reader. Which is pretty cool. I’d never expected to keep the blog going this long – nor did I ever expect it to become even remotely as popular as the stats suggest. I started it as a way to write about the books I was reading, more in order to keep my hand in at writing during long, empty stretches of my PhD (months of reading, followed by couple-of-week-blitzes was my normal approach to each chapter).

I’m not sure what I actually intended to do with this post. Perhaps ramble on at length about Lessons Learned, Milestones, and other self-indulgent topics. But the more I thought about it, the less interesting I thought that post would be.

Instead, I thought I’d offer just a quick few thoughts on some books that marked important milestones in my reading history before I started the blog, and have therefore not featured (or at least, not since people actually, you know, started reading it…). They are not always the best examples of any given genre that I’m fond of (a couple of them certainly aren’t), but they each hold a very special place on my shelves, and always will.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mark Waid’s “Daredevil” Vol.3 (Marvel)

Daredevil-Vol.3The third act of Waid’s highly acclaimed run

Writers: Mark Waid (Avenging Spider-Man #6, Daredevil #11-15), Greg Rucka (ASM#6, The Punisher #10) | Artists: Marco Checchetto (ASM#6, TP#10, Dd#11), Chris Samnee (Dd#12,14,15) & Khoi Pham (Dd#13) | Inks: Tom Palmer (Dd#13) | Colours: Matt Hollingsworth (ASM#6, TP#10, Dd#11), Javier Rodriquez (Dd#12-15)

It’s the meanest team-up you ever saw as Daredevil, Spider-Man and the Punisher find themselves caught up in an epic chase across Manhattan for the Omega Drive – a powerful and dangerous information source that could change the course of all their lives!

Plus: It’s lawyers in love as Matt Murdock finally makes some time for Assistant District Attorney Kirsten McDuffie. But when Megacrime strikes back at Daredevil, the sightless super hero finds himself imprisoned in Latveria for crimes against the state! And as the law firm of Nelson & Murdock undergoes a drastic change, Matt’s “happy go lucky” veneer at last begins to peel back, revealing darker truths that may just end his heroic career.

That’s probably the busiest credits list I’ve ever seen for a single graphic novel collection… Nevertheless, this is a pretty solid book, and one that continues Mark Waid’s excellent run on telling the story of the Man Without Fear. “The Omega Effect” story, which forms the first three chapters (and reviewed first here & here), is a great opening mini-arc for the book, as it is the culmination of a lot of Daredevil’s shenanigans. I did, however, prefer the Daredevil-specific storyline that followed. This is a very good book, and I highly recommend it for fans of the series and Waid’s work in general; and also the series for people who want to read just great comics.

Collects: Avenging Spider-Man #6, The Punisher #10, Daredevil #11-15

“The Punisher” Volume 2 (Marvel)

Punisher-Vol.02-ArtFrank Castle’s Continued Crusade against Megacrime

Writers: Greg Rucka & Mark Waid | Artist: Matthew Clark, Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano, Matthew South-worth, Marco Checchetto, Mirko Colak | Colours: Matt Hollingsworth

A fallen Frank Castle learns the hidden truths of the Exchange and how it’s connected to some of the Marvel Universe’s darkest secrets! Then, when ex-Hydra and AIM agents team up to bring down the Punisher, Frank finds himself up against a soldier who’s more like him than either of them realize. And when the Exchange targets the Punisher with some unique technology, things get loud.

Finally, Punisher clashes with Spider-Man and Daredevil in an epic chase across Manhattan for a mysterious treasure that could change all their lives! Forced to work with two Avengers, the Punisher makes a promise: “Trust no one hurt everyone.” The three heroes set their sights on a blitzkrieg takedown of New York crime, but who says they’re all working together?

I really enjoyed the first volume of Rucka’s Punisher series – it had everything many Marvel comics lack: darkness, grit, and a definitely adult storyline that made no attempt to appeal to all ages. It was brutal and arresting from the very first page. This second collection continues the story in fine style, but at the same time it didn’t feel quite as focused, for some reason. Nevertheless, if you’re a fan of the series, Rucka’s writing and Checchetto’s artwork, then this would be a worthy addition to your collection.

Collects: The Punisher #6-10, Daredevil #11 & Avenging Spider-Man #6

Thursday, October 25, 2012

An Interview with TIM LEBBON


Tim Lebbon is a busy author, and one who dabbles in the darker corners of fantasy. Lebbon’s work has always been on my to-watch list, but I have sadly never had the chance to really devote much time to his fiction. This is going to change, however, as London Eye is my next read (see below). This year, in particular, he seems extra busy, with a number of fantasy, sci-fi and YA titles either already available or on their way. What better time to get in touch and give him a grilling about all his novels?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

“Before Watchmen” Third Month (DC)


Reviewed by Abhinav Jain

The second month of Before Watchmen releases was 50/50 for me, as you can read here. Len Wein’s Ozymandias #1 disappointed me as much as Brian Azzarello’s Comedian #2 did, while Darwyn Cooke’s Minutemen #2 was great, as was as his co-authored Silk Spectre #2 with Amanda Conner. In August, the new round of Watchmen comics got their first 5-issue month in which we were also introduced to Brian Azzarello’s and J. Michael Straczynski’s second titles, Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan, respectively. So let’s see how the month went...

Reviewed: Night Owl #2, Rorschach #1, Dr. Manhattan #1, Minutemen #3

“Judge Dredd: Year One - City Fathers” by Matthew Smith (Abaddon)

Smith-JudgeDredd-YearOne-CityFathersAn eNovella Introduction to Mega City’s finest

The Making of the Lawman...

Mega-City One, 2080. It is Joe Dredd’s first year as a full-eagle Judge – he may have been created from the genes of Eustace Fargo, the ‘Father of Justice’, and thus part of an illustrious lineage, but right now Dredd is not long graduated from the Academy, and yet to establish himself as the metropolis’s toughest, greatest cop. His reputation will be moulded in the years ahead, but at the moment he’s a young lawman, fresh on the streets.

The brutal murder of a Justice Department-sanctioned spy sparks an investigation that will see Dredd trawl the criminal underworld in the hunt for the killer – and he will discover that all is not what it seems in the sector's murky black market. Something new has entered the system, and unless Dredd can stop it, chaos will be unleashed...

This novella, which was released just before the new Dredd movie hit cinemas, is a great story of Mega City’s most bad-ass of cops. Set in his first year, it serves as both introduction and refresher course, for new readers and lapsed enthusiasts (the latter including yours truly). I really enjoyed this story, and I hope there are more on the way. City Fathers is a great dystopian sci-fi crime thriller.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pegleg Pirate Pug!

Uh, this is an awesome cover…


This made me chuckle as soon as I saw it. Mike Norton is the man behind Battlepug, too (cover below). Here’s some info for The Curse, which is out now from Oni Press:

In 2009, cartoonist extraordinaire and internet sensation Mike Norton (BATTLEPUG, DOUBLE FEATURE COMICS: THE ANSWER) took the “24-Hour Comic” Challenge and created the pug-tastic comic THE CURSE over the course of a single day! He returned with sequels spawned during “24-Hour Comic” events in 2010 and 2011. Now all three tales of pirates and pugs are available in print in this new softcover collection!

And here’s the artwork for Battlepug:


Wednesday, October 17, 2012



An author who looks like she’s going to have a very good year – with a well-received YA novel already out (The Assassin’s Curse) and an upcoming adult novel (The Mad Scientist’s Daughter) that has also caught bloggers’ notice, Clarke’s work is generating a lot of interest and discussion online. It was, therefore, a perfect time to get in touch, and ask her about her novels, writing, genre-blending, and more.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Artwork: Brian McClellan’s “Promise of Blood” (Orbit)

A little while back, Brian McClellan wrote a guest post for me. Ever since then – in fact, a little while before then – I’ve been dying to read his debut novel. My anticipation for the novel was only ratcheted up higher today, when Orbit released the fantastic artwork:


This is fantastic. Can. Not. Wait.

Promise of Blood will be published by Orbit Books in April 2013. Here’s the synopsis:

Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and greedy scrambling for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces. Stretched to his limit Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But, the thing is, they should.

Ian Tregillis Jacketed for the UK

Orbit UK today revealed the new book covers for Ian Tregillis’s second and third novels, The Coldest War and Necessary Evil. Some of you will no doubt have caught my reviews of the Bitter Seeds, the first in the Milkweed Triptych, and also The Coldest War (which is already available in the US). To say I am excited about book three is a complete understatement. This series is incredible, and both Orbit UK and Tor US have done great jobs putting together striking cover artwork for Tregillis’s dark, supernatural war stories.

Here are the two new UK covers:



For more, check out Tregillis’s guest post for the blog, and also his website, where you can find plenty of information on his writing.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pegg & Frost at “The World’s End”

Hurrah! The totally excellent Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have a new movie coming out (relatively) soon! Here’s the synopsis for The World’s End, from IMdB:

20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hell bent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by mate Gary King, a 40-year old man trapped at the cigarette end of his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their home town and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub, The World’s End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind's. Reaching The World’s End is the least of their worries.

The movie will be directed by Edgar Wright, and stars Pegg, Frost, Rosamund Pike, Martin Freeman, and Paddy Considine. So far – I assume there will be more people in it… And here’s the rather apocalyptic poster:


Digital Spy has an interview with Simon Pegg, with more information about the movie and his other projects, which can be found here. I’ve liked all of Pegg and Frost’s movies so far, and I can not wait to see this one as well. The World’s End is currently slated for an August 2013 UK release.

Voodoo, Vol.1 - “What Lies Beneath” (DC)

Voodoo-Vol-01The first collection of the controversial New 52 title

Writer: Ron Marz & Joshua Williamson | Artist: Sami Basri & Hendry Prasetya | Colours: Jessica Kholinne

Priscilla Kitaen is Voodoo, a mysterious beauty whose origins and motivations are unknown, seemingly even to her. Regardless of whether she is a hero or villain (or both), Voodoo is on the run, trying to stay one step ahead of her pursuers, using all of her considerable skills to complete a mission that will put the entire Earth in danger. Will even her shape-shifting powers be enough to keep her pursuers, including Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, at bay? Learn the truth about Priscilla Kitaen as she leaves a trail of violence across America.

Collects: Issues #1-6

This series created quite a shit-storm when it was first published. This was largely due to the fact that the first time we meet Priscilla, she’s working as a stripper. This rather robbed her of much potential appeal as a strong female lead in an otherwise male-dominated New 52 line-up (leaving only Batgirl and Batwoman in the original roll-out’s roster of strong female leads).

Naturally, the fracas surrounding this title piqued my interest. Given the sheer number of New 52 titles I was interested in, however, my interest was only piqued enough to put Voodoo on the “wait for the collection” list. What I found was a mixed comic – one that deserved a lot more good attention than it received and one that was harmed by the creative line-up change.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

DC New 52 Second Wave Cull. Make way for the Third Wave!


So, in these final months of 2012, DC Comics has decided another shake-up of the New 52 line-up is needed. In order to keep things nice and tidy, and limited at 52 titles, four more series have been axed: Captain Atom, Justice League InternationalResurrection Man and Voodoo. They join Blackhawks, Hawk & Dove, Men Of War, Mister Terrific, O.M.A.C. and Static Shock in the New 52 dustbin…

Mark Waid’s “Daredevil” Vol.2 (Marvel)

Daredevil-Vol.02Writer: Mark Waid | Artist: Paolo Rivera (#7,9,10), Emma Rios (Amazing Spider-Man #677), Kano (#8), Khoi Pham (#10.1) | Inks: Joe Rivera (#7,9,10) | Colours: Javier Rodriguez

Following a shocking discovery about the Marvel Universe, Daredevil has a weighty decision to make, the results of which will affect his friends and enemies both! Meanwhile, the Nelson and Murdock law offices struggle to celebrate the holidays as insurmountable problems descend upon them! Then, Spider-Man and Daredevil team up when Black Cat is arrested, and Murdock is the only lawyer who will touch her (her case, we mean). The next great love triangle of the Marvel U begins.

I blitzed through this. The series has been showered with praise across seemingly the whole spectrum of comics establishment and fans alike. As a fan of Waid’s Irredeemable and Incorruptible, there was little doubt that I would check out what he’s done with Daredevil. I really enjoyed the first book, and so there was no doubt I would pick this one up. And luckily, it does the trick – it builds on the setting and characters, and weaves in more of New York’s super-hero community (Spider-Man and, in Volume 3, Punisher). I thoroughly enjoyed this – the writing, artwork, everything.

Collects: Daredevil #7, Amazing Spider-Man #677, Daredevil #8-10.1

“Halloween Eve” One-Shot (Image)


A seasonal one-shot comic that is fun but also flawed

Writer: Brandon Montclare | Artist: Amy Reeder

Eve has an imagination that’s more than active – it can be downright dangerous! Working late at the costume super-store Halloween Land, she gets lost in her own thoughts until something goes bump in the night. The rubber masks and plastic novelties are coming to life, and Eve must face ghosts, goblins, and gorilla suits made real.

I’m a fan of Reeder’s artwork, so I was quite looking forward to this story when I first heard about it. While it has many strengths, it is also riddled with flaws – not least the premise, which is not exactly original (though there’s a nice twist of originality here-and-there to make it stand out).

The artwork is lavish and vivid, as can be expected, but the writing was a little bit sophomoric – especially Eve’s outbursts at the beginning, which felt unnatural and just made her look like a spoiled hipster, rather than someone who we should relate to and have sympathy for.

It’s a fun read, though, for the most part. I also think it would have worked better as a multi-part story. As it is now, it feels very rushed, when the story and the world the creators have created has a ton of potential to be further explored and expanded. This could have worked as a month-long title, perhaps with one issue released each week? A four-parter, perhaps, which would have given us time to get to know the character and, well, give a shit.

I was reminded of some of the wackier stuff from Alice in Wonderland and a less-adult version of a few Zenescope titles. The ending was predictable and just a bit sappy. It’s not a bad comic, necessarily, I just think it could have been a lot better.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Catching up with SAM SYKES


I think Sam Sykes is one of the most interesting young authors currently writing in the fantasy genre. (I think, actually, he’s younger than me, which should give me license to refer to him as a “Scamp”…). His Aeons’ Gate series (which I always punctuate wrong – see the first question, below) has been a blast to read. It’s weird, dark, funny, terrifying, brutal, and populated with flawed, realistic characters. With the third book in the trilogy now available (through Pyr in the US, Gollancz in the UK), I thought it would be a great time to get in touch with him and ask him a few catch-up, post-game-style questions.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Next BATMAN “Epic” Event (DC Comics)


Following less than a year after the (admittedly successful) Night of the Owls Batman series event, DC Comics is unrolling yet another – and this one’s even bigger. It is, however, the return of the Joker, so it will undoubtedly be pretty epic (especially considering what happened to the psycho at the start of the New 52). Here’s what Scott Snyder told LA Times’ Hero Complex, when asked about the Joker’s relevance to the series:

“To me, he’s the greatest villain of all time, because what he does is he forces us more than any other villain in comics, and any villain I can think of in really any medium, to look at our own worst fears about ourselves. So that’s the power he has over his enemies, is that he looks at you with these very cold eyes, and he sees the things you’re most afraid of in yourself, the things you’re most afraid are true about yourself, and then he gleefully brings those things to life and makes a case as to why those things are the total of who you are, and why you’re no good. You know, we’re only as good as our villains.”

I’m not sure that all fans will be particularly happy with the extent of the series, and there will be inevitable moaning about “having to buy so many extra/more issues/comics”. Well, that’s true, if you must have all the issues. I’m sure (at least, I hope) the overall story will be written in such a way that it won’t be absolutely necessary to read every single one of the issues. I’ve included the publishing schedule below – although, the cover images available and included below may contain minor spoilers.

(Images of the Joker leaked months ago, much to the chagrin of Snyder and Capullo, so I figured because they were already out there – and also on DC’s website – it wouldn’t be a problem to include them in this post.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Interview with LEE COLLINS


I talk to debut Angry Robot Books author Lee Collins about his new series, his love of European metal, the strangely unexplored genre of weird West, his writing and hopes for the next twelve months.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Justice League International, Vol.1: “Signal Masters” (DC Comics)

JusticeLeagueInternational-Vol-01The first collected book of issues from the New 52 series

Writer: Dan Jurgens | Artist: Aaron Lopresti & Marco Castiello | Inks: Matt Ryan & Vincenzo Acunzo | Colours: Hi-Fi

The UN brings together Batman, Booster Gold, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, August General in Iron, Fire, Ice, Vixen and Rocket Red – a new group of global heroes, called: Justice League International.

With the growing presence of super beings around the world, the JLI are charged with promoting unity and trust. Their first mission is to discover the mystery behind the giant alien Signalmen who are appearing all over the globe. But can they reach that goal without killing each other first…?

This series, I think, is a little bit more on the extravagant sci-fi side of the comics spectrum than I usually like from my super-hero comics. It’s big and it’s insane, and it’s all about Saving The World from Impossible Odds. Together! As a new and naturally dysfunctional disparate team of heroes! So yeah. It’s a little trope-heavy. But, that’s not to say it’s not fun or devoid of good moments.

[Warning. This was the fourth review I wrote in one evening, in quick succession. So I’m a little more sarcastic than usual…]

Monday, October 08, 2012

“Reparation” by Andy Smillie (Black Library)

Smillie-ReparationDark Eldar, Space Marines, Gladiatorial Combat, and a Mystery

Trapped in the fighting pits of the dread city of Commorragh and forced to battle for their alien captors’ amusement, two Space Marines form an alliance to escape their tormentors – but are they who they seem to be?

This is yet another excellent short story from Andy Smillie. It’s a visceral, intense and action-packed tale of two Astartes from different Legions trapped and forced to fight in the gladiatorial fighting pits of the depraved Dark Eldar. This is a great short story.

“Eclipse of Hope” by David Annandale (Black Library)

Annandale-EclipseOfHopeA Blood Angels Short Story

When Mephiston and the Blood Angels discover a world slain in a massacre that defies reason, they must unearth the cause of this mass killing but risk their own sanity to do it.

I am of two minds about this story. First, it features the Blood Angels and their Chief Librarian, Mephiston (psyker, in case that needs clearing up for anyone), who also happens to be my favourite of the Legion heroes – at least, what I remember of him from years ago. Secondly, and this was a pity, I thought the prose-style Annandale chose was a little strange. I think I know what he was aiming to do, and it’s certainly a different voice to his previous fiction that I’ve read (a sign of a gifted author who’s willing to challenge himself). It’s a good story, but I’m not really sure what people will make of it.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

DC Comics New 52 #0s… (3rd Batch)


One final selection, I think. Dark Knight because I quite liked it to begin with (before it lost its way). But with a high-profile new writer, Gregg Hurwitz, I thought I’d give it a try. Green Lantern New Guardians because it was recommended by a friend (it was not what I was hoping for, though). And Teen Titans because the premise of the issue was interesting and far more Batman-related than the main series. And I’m a sucker for a good Batman story.

“Kryptos” by Graham McNeill (Black Library)

McNeill-KryptosA Horus Heresy Short Story

Bloodied but unbowed, the Raven Guard and the Iron Hands fight on. In the wake of the Dropsite Massacre, the shattered Legions are still prepared to bring the fight to Warmaster Horus and his traitorous allies. On the doomed forge world of Cavor Sarta, two veteran warriors of the Imperium strike deep into the heart of the Dark Mechanicum’s territory. With bolter and blade ready to cut down any who cross their path, they will seek out the enemy’s most valued asset: the mysterious ‘Kryptos’...

This is the story of a two-Astartes infiltration-and-capture mission. It’s a short story, but one that packs quite a punch and perfectly shows off McNeill’s skill in writing shorter fiction – you get everything you need, and are dropped right in without any difficulty. I really enjoyed this. That being said, I’m sad it’s only a short story, as a longer format would would have allowed the author to really explore some of the themes he touches on in greater detail.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

DC Comics New 52 #0s… (2nd Batch)


One more selection of DC New 52’s #0 issues, which I read on a bit of a whim. A broader mix, I think, with a couple more thus-far not read series. There were a couple of surprises and a couple of very promising issues that have managed to change my mind. As a result, there are now some more series I will be checking out.


Review: Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern Corps, Red Lanterns, Superman, Talon

Friday, October 05, 2012

“The Emperor’s Soul” by Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon)

Sanderson-EmperorsSoulA novel set in the Elantris world. Sort of…

The tale of a heretic thief who is the only hope for the survival of an empire.

Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Though condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Despite the fact that her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead from the attack of assassins.

Delving deeply into his life, she discovers Emperor Ashravan’s truest nature — and the opportunity to exploit it. Her only possible ally is one who is truly loyal to the emperor, but councilor Gaotona must overcome his prejudices to understand that her forgery is as much artistry as it is deception.

Skillfully deducing the machinations of her captors, Shai needs a perfect plan to escape. The fate of the kingdom lies in one impossible task. Is it possible to create a forgery of a soul so convincing that it is better than the soul itself?

As an introduction to Sanderson’s writing, this is a pretty good place to start. I’d never read anything by the author before this (despite picking up all of his novels over the course of a couple years). The novella is supposedly set in the same world as his Elantris novel, although Peter Ahlstrom (Mr. Sanderson’s assistant) assured me that it was only marginally connected. I enjoyed reading the story, and it’s an interesting introduction to and examination of the magic system the author’s created – the stamps and Forging are fascinating, and this was an enjoyable read.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

O.M.A.C. Vol.1 – “Omactivate!” (DC Comics)

OMAC-Vol-01-OmactivateWriter: Dan Didio, Keith Giffen & Jeff Lemire (co-writer #5) | Artist: Keith Giffen & Scott Kolins (#6 assists) | Inks: Scott Koblish | Colours: Hi-Fi

Kevin Kho has become an unwilling participant in a war between Checkmate and Brother Eye as he is transformed into the One Machine Army Corp known only as O.M.A.C.!

This is just a quick review of this book. I originally picked this up because I remember Ranting Dragon reviewing a few of the issues favourably, so when I saw that O.M.A.C. would be appearing in Justice League International (another series I’m about to try), and found the collection at the Strand for a very nice price, I thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did, but I’m also sad to say that the series didn’t really do it for me like I’d hoped it would.

Collects: Issues #1-8 (Complete Series)

UK Edition: “Planesrunner” by Ian McDonald (Jo Fletcher)

In March 2013, Jo Fletcher Books will release the UK edition of Ian McDonald’s Planersrunner – book one in the author’s Everness series. The book is already available in the US, with the sequel also published this month (Be My Enemy). The reason I’m writing about it here is to share the quite striking UK artwork for the book:


I really like that cover. Here’s the synopsis:

There is not just one you, there are many yous. We’re part of a multiplicity of universes in parallel dimensions – and Tejendra Singh has found a way in.

But he’s been kidnapped, and now it is as though Tejendra never existed. Yet there is one clue for his son, Everett, to follow: a mysterious app, the Infundibulum.

The app is a map, not just to the Ten Known Worlds, but to the entire multiverse – and there are those who want to get their hands on it very badly. If Everett’s going to keep it safe and rescue his father, he’s going to need friends: like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter, Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness.


Planesrunner and Be My Enemy are published by Pyr Books in the United States.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012



Catherynne Valente has been writing genre fiction for quite some time now – even in my early return to fantasy et al, I would hear her name mentioned as someone I had to try (given that her novels are, sadly, not as widely available in the UK as they should be, this proved difficult). Nevertheless, I’ve been intrigued by her novels, and with the upcoming release of Deathless, I thought it would be a perfect time to interview Cat, and grill her about her writing practices, Russian folklore, and even her love of cheesy sports movies (an interest I share, as it happens)…

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Guest Post: My Favourite Novel by David Annandale

This is the second in a new feature I’d like to become a mainstay on Civilian Reader, in which I ask authors and other bloggers to write a short piece about their favourite novels. Here, David Annandale tells us about a descent into the Pit that sparked his imagination and kept him coming back for more…

Inferno by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

(Star Books/Orb, 1977)

NivenPournelle-InfernoAs I thought about this question, I was struck by the fact that if I had been asked simply what my favourite book was, I would have unhesitatingly said Denis Gifford’s A Pictorial History of Horror Movies. That book’s impact on my 10-year-old self was such that it pretty much determined the course the rest of my life would follow, particularly in matters creative and academic. But my favourite novel? That question gave me a lot more pause. Then I asked myself whether there had been a novel that wound up influencing me in ways not unlike the Gifford book did. There was: Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s Inferno (1977).

Monday, October 01, 2012

“Buried Prey” by John Sandford (Berkley/Simon & Schuster)


A case from Lucas’s past comes back to haunt him

A house demolition provides an unpleasant surprise for Minneapolis-the bodies of two girls, wrapped in plastic. It looks like they’ve been there a long time. Lucas Davenport knows exactly how long.

In 1985, Davenport was a young cop with a reputation for recklessness, and the girls’ disappearance was a big deal. His bosses ultimately declared the case closed, but he never agreed with that. Now that he has a chance to investigate it all over again, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: It wasn’t just the bodies that were buried. It was the truth.

Some secrets just can’t stay buried.

In Buried Prey, the 21st thriller featuring Minnesota detective Lucas Davenport, we finally get to see the detective as he was at the start of his career, as the first case he worked as a detective rears its head once again. Overruled at the time, Lucas sees this as an opportunity to finally discover the truth of what happened to the two girls, which leads him to recall the earlier case, in the form of an extended flash-back. This novel is yet another great addition to the series, adding more detail to Lucas’s back-story. I am continually impressed by Sandford’s ability to keep the series fresh and his characters so interesting and well-developed. This is a great thriller.

Upcoming: “EPIC” ed. John Joseph Adams (Tachyon)


I almost gave this post a rather grand title along the lines of “The Most Important Introduction to Fantasy?” I decided to let my British reserve win out, but I think Epic could well be the best thing to happen to Fantasy newbies for a long time. It’s an anthology that, quite obviously, takes Epic Fantasy as its premise, and editor Joseph John Adams has drawn together a quite spectacular roster of new and established authors.