Paul Cornell Returns to a Strange Supernatural English Suburb as The Lights Go Out in Lychford

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This November, Paul Cornell returns to the “suburban fantasy” of the Lychford series, one of the most delightful and delightfully dark locales in fantasy. The novellas are set in the small English town of Lychford, a spot where the barriers between the human world and the supernatural realm are thin, and a group of local witches (don’t call them a coven)—including Lizzie Blackmore, also incongruously the reverence of St. Martin’s Church, as well as an old woman and the propreitor of the local magic shop—work to keep the peace.

Below, we’re sharing the cover and official summary for The Lights Go Out in Lychfordthe fourth story in the series, which began with 2015’s The Witches of Lychford—as well as some thoughts from the author.

The book is available for preorder now, and will be released November 19, 2019.

Be careful what you wish for…

The continuing tale in the award-nominated Witches of Lychford series, described by Seanan McGuire as “Beautifully written, perfectly cruel and ultimately kind”.

The borders of Lychford are crumbling. Other realities threaten to seep into the otherwise quiet village, and the resident wise woman is struggling to remain wise. The local magic shop owner and the local priest are having troubles of their own.

And a mysterious stranger is on hand to offer a solution to everyone’s problems. No cost, no strings (she says).

But as everyone knows, free wishes from strangers rarely come without a price…

Cover design by FORT

From the author:

When last we left Lychford, that pleasant Cotswolds market town had been left defenseless,the occult barriers that secretly protect it from mystical other dimensions having been torn down. Besides that, Judith, the hedge witch who leads the amateur ‘coven’ of three very different women who stand guard over the town, is suffering from dementia, and can’t be sure of her own powers any more.

The Lights Go Out in Lychford is very much about my own Mum’s experience of dementia, of how frightening that was for her and those around her, as someone very practical found their thoughts becoming as fantastical as magic. (Our amazing cover, which I think is the best in the series, sums up exactly what the book is about.) But, as ever, there’s sadness and comedy and everyday life in the Lychford books, so this one is also about the joy and eccentricity of working on a local festival, as I myself do. Once again it’s the hugeness of magical battles combined with popping out to the Post Office.

As well as telling a complete story, as all the Lychford books do, The Lights Go Out brings the series to a point of high drama, and sets things up for the forthcoming final book, Last Stand in Lychford.

The Lights Go Out in Lychford will be released November 19.

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Announcing The New Voices of Science Fiction, an Essential Anthology of the Future

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

In 2017, Tachyon Publications and editors Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman released The New Voices of Fantasy, an anthology of some of the most exciting writers the gene has produced over the past decade—names like Sam J. Miller, Max Gladstone, Brooke Bolander, Alyssa Wong, and Amal El-Mohtar; names that had already grown familiar, provided you pay attention to who is out there winning awards for short fiction. And indeed, the anthology itself became an award-winner, picking up a 2018 World Fantasy Award.

With that kind of success in the rearview mirror, its only natural to try to replicate the experience on the other side of the genre divide. This fall, Jacob Weisman teams with award-winning author Hannu Rajaniemi (The Quantum Thief, Summerland, Invisible Planets) for the companion volume The New Voices of Science Fiction, which features a laudable mission—to highlight the most vibrant new creators of cutting-edge SFF—and a truly enviable list of contributors.

Check out the official summary and full cover (with art by Matt Dixon and design by Elizabeth Story) below. The book arrives November 11, 2019.

What would you do if your collective of tiny bots suddenly decide to mutiny? Would you find bioprinted steak delicious, even after it was signed by the artist? Is an 11 second attention-span long enough to bond with a cryogenically-revived tourist? Would you sell your native language to send your daughter to college?

The avant garde of science fiction has appeared, arriving via time machines and portals that may (or may not) work properly. In this space-age sequel to award-winning anthology, The New Voices of Fantasy, The New Voices of Science Fiction has launched the rising stars of the last five years of science fiction, including Rebecca Roanhorse, Amal El-Mohtar, Alice Sola Kim, Sam J. Miller, E. Lily Yu, Rich Larson, Vina Jie-Min Prasad, Sarah Pinsker, Darcie Little Badger, S. Qiouyi Lu, Kelly Robson, Suzanne Palmer, Nino Cipri, and more. Their wide-ranging tales were hand-selected by cutting-edge author Hannu Rajaniemi (The Quantum Thief) and genre expert Jacob Weisman (Invaders).

So go ahead, join the starship revolution. The new kids hotwired the AI.

World Fantasy Award-winner The New Voices of Fantasy is available now.

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Go Down the Rabbit Hole with Wonderland, an Anthology Inspired by Lewis Carroll

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Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been sequelized, reimagined, remixed, and riffed upon many times in the century and a half since it was first published.

This fall, some of today’s most well-known fantasy writers are getting into the act in Wonderland, a new anthology of Alice-inspired stories coming from editors Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane and publisher Titan Books.

Below, we reveal the cover (designed by Julia Lloyd) as well as the complete list of contributors to the anthology, which will be released in September.

From the greatest names in fantasy and horror comes an anthology of stories inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, including tales by bestselling authors M.R. Carey, Genevieve Cogman, Catriona Ward, Rio Youers and L.L. McKinney. Join Alice as she is thrown into the whirlwind of Wonderland, in works bending the traditional notions of Lewis Carroll’s classic novel, including ghosts, medieval quests, demons and cyborgs!

The complete list of contributors includes Alison Littlewood, Angela Slatter, Cat Rambo, Catriona Ward, Cavan Scott, Genevieve Cogman, George Mann, James Lovegrove, Jane Yolen, Jonathan Green, Juliet Marillier, L.L. McKinney, Laura Mauro, Lilith Saintcrow, M.R. Carey, Mark Chadbourn, Rio Youers, and Robert Shearman.

Preorder Wonderland, available September 17, 2019.

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Revealing The Name of All Things, the Next Verse of Jenn Lyons’ A Chorus of Dragons

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Last month saw the release of The Ruin of Kings, the debut novel from Jenn Lyons, and the first volume of an ambitious five-book fantasy series known as A Chorus of Dragons. With an inventive narrative structure and ample use of footnotes, it more than satisfied our expectations, built sky high by advance buzz that likened it to A Song of Ice and Fire and The Kingkiller Chronicle.

While Lynons’ series promises to be as epic as either of those lauded sagas, she is definitely doing her own thing—and the books differ in another way as well: Tor is committed to cranking then out on an accelerated schedule, one every nine months or so. Which means that volume two, The Name of All Things, lands before the end of the year—and today, were giving you your first taste of the sequel, via a cover reveal and excerpt.

Find both below the official summary. The Name of All Things arrives October 29.

You can have everything you want if you sacrifice everything you believe. 

Kihrin D’Mon is a wanted man.

Since he destroyed the Stone of Shackles and set demons free across Quur, he has been on the run from the wrath of an entire empire. His attempt to escape brings him into the path of Janel Theranon, a mysterious Joratese woman who claims to know Kihrin. 

Janel’s plea for help pits Kihrin against all manner of dangers: a secret rebellion, a dragon capable of destroying an entire city, and Kihrin’s old enemy, the wizard Relos Var.

Janel believes that Relos Var possesses one of the most powerful artifacts in the world—the Cornerstone called the Name of All Things. And if Janel is right, then there may be nothing in the world that can stop Relos Var from getting what he wants. 

And what he wants is Kihrin D’Mon.

Art by Lars Grant-West

An excerpt from The Name of All Things follows…

“Fine. You’ve gone through a lot of effort to find me.” He looked Janel in the eyes. “Why?”

She answered, “We need your help to slay a dragon.”

Kihrin blinked at her.

“A dragon? A dragon?

Janel blushed. “Please lower your voice.”

“A dragon,” Kihrin repeated a third time. “Do you have any clue—? No, wait. Look, I applaud your ambition or greed or whatever reason you have for thinking this is a good idea. Let me assure you—this is a terrible idea.”

“It matters not if it is or it isn’t—”

“No. I’m sorry. ‘Let’s go kill a dragon’ ranks among the worst of ideas. It’s right above invading the Manol in summer and right below freeing Vol Karoth ‘just for a little while.’ Do you know why parents don’t warn their children not to attack dragons? Because no parent wants to think their kids are that stupid. A dragon would annihilate me before I got close enough to hurt its feelings, let alone do any real damage to it.”

Janel raised an eyebrow at Kihrin. “Are you quite finished?”

“No,” Kihrin said. “I want to know who told you to enlist me into this ludicrous scheme, so I can find that person and shove my—”

“A quarter million people are currently in Atrine,” Janel interrupted. “And they have no idea they’re about to be attacked by the largest dragon ever known.”

That stopped him cold. He ignored the bartender—doing double duty as waitstaff—as she shoved another mug of cider onto the table. She followed that with a bowl of rice and vegetables covered in a thick paste. Without asking if anyone needed anything else, she retreated to the bar.

Kihrin pushed aside the food. “What?”

Musicians and storytellers in the Capital loved to talk about Atrine. What wasn’t to love? Atrine was a literally magical city, crafted of poetry and marble, built by Emperor Atrin Kandor in a single day. Ironically, Kihrin had never met anyone who’d actually been there; it was everyone’s favorite city from a distance.

“You heard me quite well,” Janel said, no longer smiling. “Now, as decided to recruit you for this plan, just what, pray tell, are you planning to shove, and where? Would you care to elaborate?”

Kihrin turned red. He exhaled and turned to the priest. “How are you involved in this?”

“Oh, I’m uh . . .” Qown floundered. “I used to be . . . that is to say . . .” He scowled, flustered. “It’s complicated,” he finished.

“As Qown mentioned earlier, he’s a votary of the Vishai Mysteries,” Janel said. “He’s also a qualified physicker and my best friend.”

Qown looked uncomfortable. Kihrin wondered what part of Janel’s description had upset the priest—his religion or his status as a Royal House licensed healer. Being called dearest friend hadn’t bothered him earlier.

“And you’re fine with this ‘Let’s go kill a dragon’ plan? Because you don’t strike me as the type to throw away your life.”

“With all respect,” Qown replied, “my approval or disapproval is irrelevant. Once Morios surfaces from underneath Lake Jorat, he’ll attack Atrine. Thousands will die. Normally, the Emperor would handle the problem, or the Eight Immortals themselves, but Emperor Sandus is dead, and the gods . . .” He held out his hands.

“The gods are busy battling demons,” Janel finished.

Preorder The Name of All Things, available October 29, 2019.

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Secrets of The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl Revealed

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In the wake of The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter and European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, Theodora Goss is two-for-two when it comes to delightful, darkly fantastical literary pastiches. (Thanks to the former, she’s also forever a best novel Nebula Award nominee.)

This Fall, she’s wrapping up the story of the crime-solving Athena Club—made up of the daughters of infamous characters from Victorian lit, from Dr. Frankenstein to Mr. Hyde—with The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl.

Below, we reveal the cover for the eagerly awaited concluding volume, with art and letting by Lisa Perrin (filling in for Kate Forrester, who designed the covers for the first two novels but was on maternity leave when the Athena Club came calling a third time). Check it out following the official summary, and then read on, as Theodora Goss herself joins us to deliver 5 tantalizing hints about what readers can expect from the final volume of this wonderfully meta fantasy series.

Mary Jekyll and the Athena Club race to save Alice—and foil a plot to unseat the Queen, in the electrifying conclusion to the trilogy that began with the Nebula Award finalist and Locus Award winner The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.

Life’s always an adventure for the Athena Club…especially when one of their own has been kidnapped! After their thrilling European escapades rescuing Lucina van Helsing, Mary Jekyll and her friends return home to discover that their friend and kitchen maid Alice has vanished— and so has their friend and employer Sherlock Holmes!

As they race to find Alice and bring her home safely, they discover that Alice and Sherlock’s kidnapping are only one small part of a plot that threatens Queen Victoria, and the very future of the British Empire. Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, Catherine, and Justine save their friends—and save the Empire? Find out in the final installment of the fantastic and memorable Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series.

For comparison’s sake, here are all three covers side by side. If you hadn’t just been told, you’d never be able to spot the odd artist out, would you?

And now, here’s Theodora Goss, more than ready to tease you about what’s in store when this novel arrives on shelves in October…

What can readers expect from The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl?

1. They can expect to find out why a dangerous gang would kidnap Alice, the kitchen maid of the Athena Club. What makes Alice important enough to kidnap? After all, she doesn’t have any special powers or abilities… she’s just Alice, or so she keeps telling her mistress Mary Jekyll. But Alice is more important than she believes. In this book, readers will find out who Alice really is, and what makes her the Mesmerizing Girl.

2. They can expect to visit places they might never have heard of before. In this book, the adventures of Mary and her friends take them to the town of Marazion, on the coast of Cornwall, and the castle of St. Michael’s mount, perched on an island that can be approached only over water or by a causeway visible when the tide goes down. I can’t tell you what will happen in that castle, but it will test Mary and the other Athena Club members as they have never been tested before.

3. They can expect to see more of our heroines: Mary, Catherine, Beatrice, Justine, and of course the irritating Diana, who can’t be left behind because you never know whether she’ll make a mess of things or save the day. In this book, they must not only find Alice and the missing Sherlock Holmes, but also save England from a grave and terrible threat. Can they do it? They are, as Holmes has told them, a group of resourceful young women…

4. They can expect to learn more about what it was like to live at the end of the nineteenth century for young women, monstrous or not. The members of the Athena Club don’t let the rules of propriety stop them from having adventures and investigating mysteries, whether that means carrying pistols or dressing as gentlemen. But Mrs. Poole is always there to tell them what is and is not proper, as well as to dispense tea and cakes.

5. They can expect to hear about the group of friends and allies the Athena Club has gathered around itself. How is Lucinda adjusting to life as a vampire? Will Irene and Mina join forces to battle the last of Van Helsing’s creations? What will Beatrice do to save Clarence from her poisonous self? And will the Athena Club ever see the mysterious Ayesha again? All these questions, and more, will be answered in the final thrilling installment of the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club (two shillings per volume, or five shillings for the set*, at all respectable booksellers).

*Prices in the U.S. may vary

Preorder The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl, available October 1, 2019. The first two books are available now.

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The Next Verse in the Earthsinger Chronicles: Revealing Whispers of Shadow & Flame by L. Penelope

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

Last year, L. Penelope’s debut novel Song of Blood & Stone became another self-publishing success story. Originally self-published by the author in 2016 to acclaim and awards—including the 2016 Self-Publishing eBook Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association—it went on to be acquired by a major publisher, St. Martin’s Press, and became one of the year’s buzziest “first novels,” earning a coveted starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and kudos from authors the likes of Ilona Andrews, Rebecca Roanhorse, and K. Arnesault Rivera.

Today, we’re pleased to share with you the cover of the next book in the Earthsinger Chronicles, Whispers of Shadow & Flame—featuring artwork by veteran SFF cover illustrator Jamie Jones, who also provided revised art for the cover of the forthcoming paperback edition of book one—as well as an exclusive excerpt. Find both below the official summary, and place your preorders now. The book arrives this fall.

The Mantle that separates the kingdoms of Elsira and Lagrimar is about to fall. And life will drastically change for both kingdoms.

Born with a deadly magic she cannot control, Kyara is forced to become an assassin. Known as the Poison Flame in the kingdom of Lagrimar, she is notorious and lethal, but secretly seeks freedom from both her untamed power and the blood spell that commands her. She is tasked with capturing the legendary rebel called the Shadowfox, but everything changes when she learns her target’s true identity.

Darvyn ol-Tahlyro may be the most powerful Earthsinger in generations, but guilt over those he couldn’t save tortures him daily. He isn’t sure he can trust the mysterious young woman who claims to need his help, but when he discovers Kyara can unlock the secrets of his past, he can’t stay away.

Kyara and Darvyn grapple with betrayal, old promises, and older prophecies—all while trying to stop a war. And when a new threat emerges, they must beat the odds to save both kingdoms.


“I-I’m sure we can come to some kind of understanding.”

The man before Kyara ul-Lagrimar scrambled backward, slamming his back against the wall, shaking the tapestry hanging next to him. The scent of his fear was rancid, filling the room. The stench overpowered the savory aroma of the freshly roasted goat laid out on the table behind her. His whimpers drowned out the weeping of the woman cowering across the room.

Kyara judged the distance between them and determined the wife was far enough away to remain safe but only if Kyara stood very close to her target. Close enough to feel his sour breath on her skin.

Her stomach clenched at the thought, however, she forced herself forward, erasing the few paces between them. The finely woven rug swallowed the sound of her boots. Now added to the room’s collection of odors: the scent of piss. The dark stain spreading across the front of his trousers proof enough that the fellow knew who she was and why she was here.

“W-we can negotiate. I’m sure there must be something you want.” Beads of sweat punctured his forehead, and the thick vein at his neck jumped with his rapid pulse. “I have money, enough grams to make you a wealthy woman. And jewels, trunks full of them. The finest s-silks.” He spread a shaking hand pointing to the wealth on display in his home.

Delicate crystal and china graced the polished table, ornate tapestries hung from the walls, and electric lamps brightened the space. Kyara had noticed it all in one sweep of the room when she’d first burst in the front door, brushing past the weary maid. The house: three levels of sandstone within view of the glass castle, spoke for itself. This man—a payroller most would call him—had been very useful to the True Father for some time. And had been paid well for his trouble. But now his usefulness, and his trouble, were at an end.

“I am not here to negotiate with you.” Kyara’s voice was paper thin.

“Whatever transgression His Majesty believes I’ve made, I will redress, threefold. I am but a simple man. A husband and father.” He waved a pudgy hand at the shaking woman in the corner. “I give tribute for all I collect, I pay on time and—” His pleas became a drone in her ears, mingling with those of a hundred other men who had begged for their lives over the years. Other men in other homes like this, flaunting their wealth while so many starved.

Rugs and tapestries and real glass in the windows. The enticing fragrance of meat, fresh vegetables, and butter tickled her nose. Some unidentifiable spice hung in the air. All this, while most of the city found ways to make their meager rations last far longer and feed more mouths than intended. And those in the Midcountry scraped by with even less.

Kyara’s mouth watered at the dinner she’d interrupted, but she never ate the food of the dead.

The heat in the room became oppressive. She wasn’t sure if it was the fear or the piss or the meal, but nausea overwhelmed her. If she didn’t end this quickly and get out, she would be sick, right here on this beautiful rug.

Her warped Song prowled inside her, restless. It wanted to launch itself into the maelstrom of source energy, to ride the brutal currents of the force like a kite in a violent wind. She shuddered and reined in her power. Instead of giving in to the despised urge, she opened her mind’s eye. The world fell away, leaving only a field of black. She spread her senses, shutting out the energies of the overcrowded city and focused on this home, this room. Moving arcs of white light burst across her vision, like the undulating waves of brightness produced by a fire dancer swinging a torch.

This was Nethersong. Her gift and her curse.


Just as all life carried energy—Earthsong—so did death. And while an Earthsinger may grow crops from seeds or feel the pulse of life moving in the plants and animals around them, Kyara did the opposite.

In her vision, the light of the man before her pulsed brightly. His death energy was a cyclone spinning out of control. Judging by the strength of Nethersong within him, he had not been kind to his body—a feat much easier when you were on the True Father’s payroll and could afford an abundance of rich food and drink. If the immortal king were a patient man, Kyara wouldn’t be needed at all. This payroller would die from his dissipation sooner rather than later.

In the corner of the room, the wife’s light was dimmer. She was younger and healthier than her husband. A barely there glow several paces away from the wife indicated a faint trace of Nethersong which surprised Kyara. There was a child hiding under the table. She had been careless not to notice.

“You two. Out.” She didn’t turn from the payroller, merely pointed behind her ignoring the shuffling and desperate whispering which ensued. There were others in the house as well, but all were far enough away to be safe.

The mangled skin on her chest began to ache. She must act soon or the pain would intensify. Her orders were clear, and she would have no peace until they were carried out.

She shuttered her extra sight, bringing the man’s jowly face back into focus. A silent apology cramped her heart. Yes, this payroller had sinned, had contributed to his people’s poverty and strife, but no judge or jury had convicted him. He had merely chosen to align himself with a mad, immortal king who was as capricious as he was powerful. And the payroller’s time had run out.

The executioner had been sent for him.

Preorder Whispers of Shadow & Flame, available October 1, 2019.

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Designing the Cover for The Rage of Dragons, the Next Great Epic Fantasy of 2019

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

Evan Winter’s debut novel, The Rage of Dragons, is another success story of the likes of Josiah Bancroft and Jonathan French. A year and change after his self-published his debut novel, it is coming out in print from a major publisher.  Orbit will release the hardcover edition in July, while the reedited ebook is available now. This story of a reluctant young fighter growing up in a cultural built on endless war, it has been called Game of Thrones meets Gladiator, or, as acquiring editor Brit Hvide put it on Twitter, “it’s got dragons and warrior training and a matriarchal society and all the characters are black because why not?”

Needly to say, we’re pretty excited to read it—and our excited wasn’t exactly tempered by Orbit’s recent reveal of the cover (see the full version below!). Evan recently spoke with artist Karla Ortiz, the cover illustrator, about the process of creating the cover, representation in pop culture, and artistic inspiration, and we’re happy to share that conversation with you today. 

Evan Winters: I think book covers are immensely important. They’re a book’s calling card. They’re its most consistent and prevalent marketing tool and most importantly, they’re a promise to readers. I want to thank you for creating a wonderful piece and for giving my story its promise. I’m curious, what was the creative brief and how did we come to the cover that we have today?

Karla Ortiz: The creative brief is interesting because whenever I get one of these briefs it’s almost like I’m a detective and I’m getting the file cases. We got a short brief little story of who you are as the author and what the story feels like. Not any specific story points, although there were some specifics like here’s some of our characters, here’s some of the feelings, some of the things they visually want to bring into the whole story.

Orbit’s art director, Lauren [Panepinto], is the best. We’ve been wanting to work together for a really long time. She actually hit me up. She said specifically, “Karla. I have a book and I really want you to work on it. I’d think you’d be perfect for it and here’s why.” She gave me a little bit of that brief and what you as the author were trying to bring to the story. I was just like, “Yeah, I would love to be a part of it.” She challenged me actually, because most of my illustration work is very heavily character-centric. If left to my own devices, I would have painted all the characters and I would have spoiled the story for readers. We went through a series of sketches and she had pointed at a painting that I did a long time ago in which I had a relief of figures in the wall. That’s always a subject that I’m in love with. I love relief sculptures and just how dynamic and magnificent they can be.

Are there parts of the final cover that point to specific scenes or characters in the book?

Evan: I feel as if the way the cover is, it’s actually better than if it pointed to a specific scene in the book because what you did speaks to the tone of the book. It speaks to the direction that the story goes and the direction it will be going. I think that that’s probably more important than a specific scene. Even though, as a reader, it’s always fun when you get to a point in the book and you go, “Oh that’s the cover.” It totally is fun. But I think that a cover often ends up needing to do a bit more than that. Because too often, individual scenes can’t really speak to the story or the greater idea that you’re trying to tell. I really loved the cover because I think what it does is it captures the tone of the story and the kind of idea that I’m going for, which is that there’s something larger than individual moments that’s happening. Something that has weight and almost a sense of history to it. Because that is part of the goal, I want the story to have the feel of almost a history being told.

Karla: I worked on Black Panther. For the cover of The Rage of Dragons, I used a lot of the process that I used for creating stuff for Black Panther, where you look at a lot of things from an area, you research the history of it and why they used certain things. I had one version where it was a shield and bunch of swords and weaponry. There was another version where it was just the background relief and the statues. Then there was another version that had little statues but there were fire embers all over. When Lauren came back to me, she’s like, “Okay, we love all of them so let’s put them all together.”

Evan: One of the things I really like about the way it’s all come together and how you used the relief but still have the figures within the relief is… Very often people talk about Africa as if it doesn’t have its own history. What you’ve done is you’ve almost created a feeling of that. We hear all the time about Roman and Greek history, and we often see things in reliefs on the buildings that they made and what you’ve done here is you’ve said, “Look, let’s take that idea of history and look, Africa has it, too.”

Karla: Where I’m from, Puerto Rico, the stories most people grow up with are the Spaniard stories, but the ones that are really, really interesting are those of our Indian heritage, the Taino. The stories of the gods that they have. Because we get hurricanes all the time, they named a specific god that comes over and then you go and run and hide in the mountains. There are great stories and great legends and things that you’re just like, this is just as cool as any kind of Roman mythology or Viking mythology. Every place has that. It’s one of the things I’m so excited to start seeing, especially in fantasy. I’ve been seeing a trend of authors being like, “Hey, you know what? We’ve told these stories. The Vikings and Romans, typical fantasy so long, what about the gods we don’t talk about? What about the mythology we don’t talk about?” That’s what I’ve been so fascinated with lately.

Evan: I completely, completely, completely agree with you. Civilizations everywhere have these stories and we have to start telling them. It’s important that we hear them, I think, and see the places where we have the commonalities and we need to value the differences.

Karla: Seeing Black Panther nominated for all those [awards] is so cool. There’s definitely changes happening in Hollywood. You’re in the forefront of that, too, with your book, as well. What kind of stories are being told? It’s now expanded to reflect our reality more, of how varied and how diverse we are. I think that’s so exciting.

Evan:It’s an extremely exciting time to be trying to create, I think. Especially because not very long ago, there weren’t very many opportunities for people like you and me, I think, to be able to create as easily, and with as much support from the places that can help you make a living doing that creation. Black Panther obviously is a big Marvel Studio movie, but it’s like a lot of this is coming out of people making their own stuff in their own way, because they’re going, “You know what, I can’t wait for somebody to let me make something. I have to make it now.”

Karla: That also creates a ripple that’s unforeseen. Like, how many young people see that and say, “Oh, I can be a hero. I’m not the lackey.” Like, for example for me, “Oh, I’m not a housekeeper,” ’cause that’s what everything in Hollywood would always tell me. You’re Hispanic, you’re just going to clean a house. Like, “Oh, I can actually be a superhero. I can have defining roles that are exciting. I can be heroic, I can be strong, I can have flaws, I can be everything.” Especially within the fantasy realm you can allow yourself to dream to that extent. That’s life-changing for people.

Evan: It’s always wonderful to hear it. You’re completely right, and it makes a difference. I took my son to go see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It was so amazing to watch. I went with my son and my wife. My wife is not particularly into comic book stuff. She was like, “Oh, we’re going for the little guy, so I’ll go.” She loved it. That’s not what she’s into, and she’s like, “That’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.”

Karla: Me and my boyfriend saw it three times. That’s how good it was. My favorite was going to a matinee or seeing little kids coming out and just being like, “I could have the mask, too.”

Evan: That’s the most important thing for me. I got to sit next to my son in that movie theater and he got to watch Miles Morales be Spider-Man. That’s what it’s all about. It’s about being able to see yourself in art, being represented, because helps us make sense of the real world, I think.

A lot of the time in the writing community you hear the idea of, “Oh, you have to really be in the mood or feeling it.” And then the other side says, “Well, it’s just butt in chair.” Personally, I outline, and try to put ‘butt in chair’ because then I know what I need to write and can’t get blocked. After that, if you put your butt in the chair and you know what you’re supposed to write, you just write. The other thing about simply doing the work without too much focus on ‘waiting for the muse’ is that, even on the days you’re not feeling it, if you just do the work, you’ll never let stuff happen on the page or the screen that’s below your level of craft. You just won’t. Just keep going and then, at the end, you can revise, revise, revise until it gets to at least the height of your craft. Maybe the height of your craft doesn’t end up being where you want it to be, but that’s what practice is for, right?

Karla: I teach a lot and I do a lot of workshops and that’s one of the things I often tell students. There’s also a lot of artists in my industry that are like, “Oh, I don’t paint unless I feel inspired.” But inspiration is so fleeting. And inspiration is just not reliable. I work in film right now. With film you can’t wait for it to inspire you. You’ve got to go. What I’ve found is that sometimes I don’t feel it at all but I tell myself I’m going to do just a couple little marks. That helps me inch myself into that mood and suddenly, before you know it, you are inspired.

Rather than waiting for that very specific moment when the new moon comes in and the stars align and you’re just like, “Oh, now I feel it.” And you better hope that you don’t get a phone call, ’cause then you’re screwed.

Evan: And then you’re done. And those moments happen where all the stars align and it’s beautiful.

Karla: Yeah, it’s gorgeous.

Evan: The funny thing is when I read my work back afterwards, I can’t tell when the stars align and I can’t tell when I was having an awful shitty day, the words are just there. You don’t even know the days you didn’t feel it because you just read the words and you’re like, “Okay, that works. That’s great.”

Karla: That’s perfect. After a while you look back at a painting and … I do remember some of my paintings where I remember not really enjoying it, but now that I look at with new eyes, it doesn’t matter. It’s fine. It’s not as big of a deal as I remember it to be.

Evan: It was an absolute pleasure to get the chance to speak to you. Thank you so much for an amazingly beautiful, beautiful cover and a cover that I’m very, very proud of. I’m extremely excited for the rest of the world to see it.

Karla: Me too. I’m excited for the book to hit. I’m excited for people to be just like, “Damn.” Thank you. It was just an honor. It was an honor to meet you, and thank you so much for your time and your vision.

More about The Rage of Dragons:

The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.

Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war.

Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance.

Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.

The Rage of Dragons launches a stunning and powerful debut epic fantasy series that readers are already calling “the best fantasy book in years.

The Rage of Dragons is available now as an ebook. The hardcover edition will be published on July 16, 2019. Preorder now.

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Building a Cover (with a Goat): Saad Z. Hossain’s The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

Hosting cover reveals is always a treat—but especially when we’re talking about books from Publishing. As a primarily digital-first imprint, they are a nimble, fast-moving young buck among the slow and stately elk of the publishing world. That is to say, they aren’t afraid to try new things with their covers, and we are here for it.

Today, we’re thrilled to give you a peek into the cover development process for one of their most eagerly awaited 2019 releases, Saad Z. Hossain’s The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday. This novella-length work from the author of the acclaimed novel Djinn City is part futuristic sci-fi, part mythological adventure, and part buddy comedy, and it sounds entirely awesome.

The book’s editor, Jonathan Strahan, certainly makes us eager to read it: “Unlimited sex, booze, and world-altering power! You’d think life would be great, but when the great djinn Melek Ahmar wakes after an uninterrupted nap of a few thousand years he finds things are far more difficult than he’d expected. A not-too-far future story of a climate-changed world set in a city where everyone seems to get exactly what they deserve, but told as a rollicking buddy adventure with an increasingly worried djinn and a flint-eyed and possibly crazy Gurkha? I was floored by it and I think you will be too. It’s funny, engaging, and filled with action and adventure. Above all though, it’s a team up for the ages.”

Assembling a cover that would encompass all this madness would prove to be a challenge. Publishing’s Associate Art Director (and hands-on designer) Christine Foltzer knew just who to turn to: artist Eric Nyquist, who created the iconic covers and endpapers for Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy.

When I was reading the manuscript for The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday I knew we needed to hire someone who could capture not only this incredible, unique world of this futuristic, hi-tech Kathmandu, but also the fun and playful tone of the story and its characters,” Foltzer said. 

Nyquist brought his talent for intricate line drawings to his proposed cover sketches for The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday, which offered a range of less and more complex and detailed designs—though as sketches, they only hint at what you’ll see in the final cover…

The team concluded that the second layout—the one with a goat in the bottom right corner—was the winner. With the basics of the layout locked down, Nyquist created the final version, filling in the details hinted at in the text annotations above, and handed them off to Christine Foltzer. We think you’ll agree that together, they created something truly special:

Dang. Right?

“Eric’s art, with its bright colors, intricate line drawing, and the way it interacts with the typography is perfect,” Foltzer said. “I feel like every time I look at it I find another detail I didn’t see before. He gave us so many sketches and options, we could only share a few of them here, and it was so hard to choose between them all.

The author was pleased, to say the least. “The cover is just brilliant,” Hossain said. “I pictured Kathmandu as a magical gem in the future, and that’s exactly what we got—a wonderland of towers and pagodas and gardens hanging in spheres, a portrait of endless detail. And of course, there’s the goat.”

“Ultimately we wanted a cover that is as fun to look at as the book is to read,” said Irene Gallo, publisher and art director of the imprint. “Eric and Christine nailed it. Saad’s story takes the ancient tradition of djinn stories and slams it head-on into a science fiction world, [and the cover reflects that]. Also, who doesn’t love a cover with a goat on it!? ”

Here’s a bit more about the book, in the form of the official summary:

When the djinn king Melek Ahmar wakes up after millennia of imprisoned slumber, he finds a world vastly different from what he remembers. Arrogant and bombastic, he comes down the mountain expecting an easy conquest: the wealthy, spectacular city state of Kathmandu, ruled by the all-knowing, all-seeing tyrant AI Karma. To his surprise, he finds that Kathmandu is a cut-price paradise, where citizens want for nothing and even the dregs of society are distinctly unwilling to revolt.

Everyone seems happy, except for the old Gurkha soldier Bhan Gurung. Knife saint, recidivist, and mass murderer, he is an exile from Kathmandu, pursuing a forty-year-old vendetta that leads to the very heart of Karma. Pushed and prodded by Gurung, Melek Ahmer finds himself in ever deeper conflicts, until they finally face off against Karma and her forces. In the upheaval that follows, old crimes will come to light and the city itself will be forced to change.

Preorder The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday, available August 13, 2019.

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After the Conspiracy: Alexandra Rowland’s A Choir of Lies Revealed

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

Last year, Alexandra Rowland’s debut novel A Conspiracy of Truths wowed us with an intricate story of political subterfuge and made us giggle with (and gasp at the sheer audacity of) its foul-mouthed, story-spinning protagonist Chant, who, from a prison cell, threatened to bring down a kingdom using only the power of his words. A fantasy for the era of fake news, the novel explores how much power we place in stories—the ones we tell each other, and the ones we’d like to believe about ourselves.

This fall, Rowland returns to this word-spun world in A Choir of Lies, picking up the tale three years later to examine the repercussions of Chant’s deeds through the eyes of his young apprentice.

Today, we’re pleased to reveal the cover for the sequel, every bit as gorgeous (and hiding just as many secrets) as that of the first volume. The center artwork is by Ryan Begley, with design by Nicholas Sciacca. Check it out below the official summary.

Three years ago, Ylfing watched his master-Chant tear a nation apart with nothing but the words on his tongue. Now he’s all alone somewhere new, broken-hearted and grieving but a Chant in his own right, employed as a translator to Sterre de Waeyer, a wealthy merchant of luxury goods, while he struggles to come to terms with what his master did, with the audiences he’s been alienated from, and with the stories he can no longer trust himself to tell.

That is, until Ylfing’s employer finds out what he is, what he does, and what he knows. At Sterre’s command, he begins telling stories once more, fanning the city into a mania for a few shipments of an exotic flower. The prices skyrocket, but when disaster looms – a disaster that only the two of them recognize – Ylfing has to face what he has done and decide who he wants to be: A man who walks away and lets the city shatter, as his master did? Or… something else?

A story can be powerful enough to bring a nation to its knees, certainly. But in the right hands, a story can rebuild a broken dam, keep the floodwaters back, and save a life – or ten thousand lives.

Art by Ryan Begley, design by Nicholas Sciacca

A Choir of Lies will be released in September 2019. A Conspiracy of Truths is available now.

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Myths Made Modern: Announcing The Mythic Dream, a New Anthology from the Creators of The Starlit Wood

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe are the genius editing minds behind two of the most acclaimed anthologies of recent years. The Starlit Wood, a collection of new and reimagined fairy tales, was winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, a finalist for numerous other honors, and the place of first publication for Amal El-Mohtar’s Hugo, Nebula, and Locus award-winning story “Seasons of Glass and Iron,” as well as “Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik, later expanded into the bestselling novel of the same name.  Six of the entries in last year’s Robots vs. Fairies (which is… pretty much what it sounds like: a volume of stories in which authors were asked to pick a side between the magical and the mechanical) are on the 2018 Locus recommended reading list (as is the anthology as a whole).

Naturally, we’ve been excited to see what the partnership of Wolfe & Parisien has in store for us next… and now we know.

Today we are pleased to announce the immanent arrival of The Mythic Dream, which, like The Starlit Wood, makes old stories new again. It is billed as an anthology of reimagined myths: 18 stories that are “bold reimaginings of the stories we tell about gods and kings, heroes who shaped nations.”

Below, we’ve provided a first look at the cover, with art by Serena Malyon and design by Michael McCartney, as well the complete lineup of contributing authors. But first, here’s the official summary…

These are dreams of classic myths, bold reimaginings of the stories we tell about gods and kings, heroes who shaped nations, the why and how of the world.

Journey with us to the fields of Elysium and the Midwest, through labyrinths and the space between stars. Witness the birth of computerized deities and beasts that own the night. Experience eternal life through curses and biochemistry.

Bringing together stories from the world over, eighteen critically acclaimed and award-winning authors reimagine myths of the past for the world of today, and tomorrow.

The collection will feature stories by the following all-star authors:

John Chu
Leah Cypess
Indrapramit Das
Amal El-Mohtar
Jeffrey Ford
Sarah Gailey
Carlos Hernandez
Kat Howard
Stephen Graham Jones
T. Kingfisher
Ann Leckie
Carmen Maria Machado
Arkady Martine
Seanan McGuire
Naomi Novik
Rebecca Roanhorse
JY Yang
Alyssa Wong

The Mythic Dream will be published August 27, 2019.

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