The Hike: a new novel by the author of The Postmortal

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Drew Magary's The Postmortal, a dystopian novel about what happens to the world when someone discovers the cure for aging and almost everyone takes it, was one of my favorite books of 2011 and I still think about it. Here's my review, and here's my podcast interview with Magary.

Magary has a new novel coming out called The Hike. The publisher gave us an exclusive on the cover reveal, and it's a beaut. The illustration is by Will Sweeney, and design and art direction is by Paul Buckley

The Hike is coming out in August.

I asked Drew to share a few words about the book and here's what he said:

Okay, here’s the deal: It’s been five years since the publication of my first novel, The Postmortal. I started a couple of other novels only to have them stall in the middle, which is deeply annoying. And then, about a year ago, I went to give this speech in East Stroudsburg, PA, in the Poconos. I decided to go out for a hike before the speech, and that little hike, along with my affinity for old King’s Quest PC games and folk tale collections from Ruth Manning-Sanders is what ended up inspiring this novel and the bitchin’ cover you see here. I can’t tell you any more than that right now, or it’ll kill me.

Here's the publisher's description:

When Ben, a suburban family man, takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania, he decides to spend the afternoon before his dinner meeting on a short hike.

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5 books that bust the myths of drug writing

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In November of 2014, my crime thriller Cracked was published by Titan Books. Its protagonist is a crack-addicted former fighter and personal trainer, Danielle “Danny” Cleary.

Soon after I signed the publishing contract for this series – it will be a trilogy – I realized with a kind of sinking, sickening clarity, that I might be asked about the drug use in the book. While Cracked isn’t about, uh, crack per se, I knew that having an addict for a heroine was going to raise some eyebrows. The drug use, like some of the violence in the book, is precise and detailed. Barbra Leslie's Cracked is available from Amazon.

Now, I’ve never been a fighter (although I do like to punch things). But the drug use? Yeah, I didn’t have to make that part up. Ten years ago, after a painful split from my then-husband, I tossed my middle-class, respectable life out the window and dove head-first into a world of dive bars, cocaine and finally, after falling for a guy whose addiction beat mine by many years and orders of magnitude, crack. (This was very out of character for me: I’m one of those people who can’t smoke weed without feeling nauseous, and never had a second’s interest in any hallucinogen or opiate, though à chacun son goût, and all that.) I was able to stop. I’ve been drug-free for about seven years now.

Despite all this – and my bookworm English degree, and a life filled with reading nearly everything I could get my hands on – I was never attracted to books about drugs, or written by addicts. Read the rest

Free Kindle e-book: "Imhotep" by Jerry Dubs

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Imhotep, by Jerry Dubs, is free for a limited time as a Kindle e-book. It has 4.3/5 stars with over 500 reviews. It sounds like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court but this time the Hank Morgan character winds up in ancient Egypt. Read the rest

The ten best adventure novels of 1966

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My friend Josh Glenn compiles terrific lists of genre novels from the mid-20th century. His latest is a list of the ten best adventure novels of 1966. Josh also includes the cover art of early editions of the books, which are always much better than the art on newer editions. I want to read every book in this list!

Thomas Pynchon’s postmodernist, apophenic* adventure The Crying of Lot 49. Has discontented California housewife Oedipa Maas uncovered a centuries-old conflict between two mail distribution companies? Or is she perhaps merely detecting signals where there is only noise? “The ordered swirl of houses and streets, from this high angle, sprang at her now with the same unexpected, astonishing clarity as the circuit card had. Though she knew even less about radios than about Southern Californians, there were to both outward patterns a hieroglyphic sense of concealed meaning, of an intent to communicate.” Fun fact: Pynchon’s fictional aerospace engineering company, Yoyodyne, is referenced in the movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai.

1966 was a good year for other media besides books. Here's my review of a book called 1966! A Personal view of the Coolest Year in Pop Culture History.

*Thanks for teaching me a new word, Josh! (apophenia: The perception of or belief in connectedness among unrelated phenomena.) Read the rest

Poster shows locations of 42 Great American Novels

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One Flew Over the Cuckooo's Nest by Ken Kesey took place in Salem, Oregon. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair was based in Chicago. The Shining by Stephen King took place in Estes, Colorado. These novels, and 39 others, are on this Great American Novel Map ($30) published by Hog Island Press.

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Excerpt from The Biographies of Ordinary People, by Nicole Dieker

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Summer 1989

Natalie wore a red-and-white checked dress with strawberry buttons, and she could feel the ends of her hair brush her chin. She held on to Mommy’s purse with one hand as Mommy pushed the stroller and Meredith walked a few steps ahead, in her dress that was blue.

Yesterday Mommy had given them afternoon baths and then asked them to go out on the front porch and sit still while she cut their wet hair. She asked them not to put their feet near the broken part of the step because Daddy hadn’t fixed it yet. Then Mommy put one knee on each side of Natalie to hold her in place as she cut and combed and cut again, and pulled Natalie’s hair straight with her fingers to make sure it was even.

They all had just-alike hair now, all new-school just-alike hair and different colored barrettes that had come from the same package. Natalie’s barrettes were red, and Meredith’s was blue, and Jackie’s was yellow. Mommy had let them toss the old hair in the yard, for the birds. Meredith had not been happy.

Now they were going to school for Orientation. They were close enough that Natalie could see the tent. She had never seen a school with a tent before. When they lived in Portland, she had gone to preschool.

They stopped at the crosswalk and looked up and down the empty street for cars, because Rosemary knew you had to do it every time or one of her girls would forget, when they were older. Read the rest

The Martian and Station Eleven are both $1.99 as Kindle ebooks today

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Two novels I enjoyed very much are on sale right now on Amazon for $1.99 each: The Martian by Andy Weir, and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Both novels are thrilling survival stories about people who do their best to overcome desperate conditions. Read the rest

Anne Rice: political correctness is new form of censorship in the book biz

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Anne Rice, of The Vampire Chronicles fame, posted on Facebook her concern that novelists "are facing a new era of censorship, in the name of political correctness." Read the rest

The brilliant ideas and radiant visions of reclusive SF author Greg Egan

There are no pictures of Greg Egan online, and his website has a disclaimer that while some of his more dedicated fans claimed to have tracked down a picture of the author, it’s not him.

Meet the man who remade Middle‑earth

Ethan Gilsdorf interviews John Howe, Tolkien Illustrator and Conceptual Designer of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogies

The Dune in our Heads

A problem crops up when filmmakers try to adapt epic fantasy worlds to the big screen—particularly beloved, richly-imagined literary ones. Sacrifices must be made. Characters are cut, and plotlines are re-routed. Scenes and places don’t match what readers have pictured with their minds. Fans of the original book cry foul.

In the case of director Alejandro Jodorowsky, his vision for Frank Herbert’s masterwork Dune was so over the top, so surreal (and, at times, so absurd), it probably would have blown the minds of critics before they had a chance to grumble.

That is, if Jodorowsky’s translation and transmogrification of Dune had ever been made. It never was.

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast 128: Masters of Sex

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW.

With an episode yet between our live podcast and beginning Martin’s “The Princess and the Queen” in George R.R. Martin’s Dangerous Women anthology, Ivan and Red continue to direct Game of Thrones fans desperate for entertainment towards worthy replacements with our “What You Should Be Watching” series! This week it’s Showtime’s Masters of Sex, featuring the fascinating and truly terrifying sexual lives of the 1950s. Ivan and Red are joined by Caitlin Gill, member of the San Francisco comedy mafia “The Business”, who has appeared in 7x7 Magazine, on NPR’s Snap Judgement, and on this very podcast. Get into it, Daddy! Your browser does not support the audio element.

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The Wrong Quarry, by Max Allan Collins: exclusive excerpt

After an absence of more than two years, New York Times-bestselling author Max Allan Collins brings of his most popular characters, the ruthless professional killer known only as “Quarry,” in The Wrong Quarry. Since his debut in 1976, Quarry has appeared in 10 novels and inspired a feature film, The Last Lullaby, starring Tom Sizemore and Sasha Alexander. The new novel sees Quarry going up against an amateur killer operating on his turf. But does the hitman’s hitman have the wrong quarry in his sights?

Quarry doesn't kill just anybody these days. He restricts himself to targeting other hitmen, availing his marked-for-death clients of two services: eliminating the killers sent after them, and finding out who hired them…and then removing that problem as well.

So far he's rid of the world of nobody who would be missed. But this time he finds himself zeroing in on the grieving family of a missing cheerleader. Does the hitman's hitman have the wrong quarry in his sights?

Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast 127: Black Mirror

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW.

Having finished all of Book 3 of George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords, and with a couple weeks before they start covering Martin’s “The Princess and the Queen,” part of the Dangerous Women anthology, Ivan and Red bring you their greatest “What You Should Be Watching” yet, Channel 4’s Black Mirror. If this is a show you have not heard about, you are in for some of the darkest humor imaginable, perfect for anyone deep in the Throes of “Thrones” withdrawal! We talk about the first episode of the first season of Black Mirror, but we leave out the ending because it’s something Bannermen should experience for themselves.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast: Coldhands, My Canadian Girlfriend

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW.

In this episode, Red and Ivan discuss the Davos V & Bran IV chapters of George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Catch up on past podcast episodes here to listen to previous chapter breakdowns). They also talk about Railroad speaking directly to listeners, Stannis’s Bannermen vs. Ivan’s twitter followers, the Nightfort, prince stew, Railroad writing Hodor high, and a TALKING TREE.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast: The Red Wedding AKA Truly, God is a Cruel Buscemi

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW. - Mark

In this episode, Red and Ivan discuss the Catelyn VII & Arya XI chapters of George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Catch up on past podcast episodes here to listen to previous chapter breakdowns). It’s Edmure and Roslin’s wedding day! What could go wrong! Nothing! Ivan and Red discuss Attack The Block, wedding food, stone to lb conversion, unspoken threats, spoken threats, and actual murder.

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Boars, Gore, and Swords podcast: The Red Dress Rehearsal

Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things. NSFW. - Mark

In this episode, Red and Ivan discuss the Catelyn VI & Arya X chapters of George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Catch up on past podcast episodes here to listen to previous chapter breakdowns). Kelly Anneken joins Ivan and Red as they discuss the Happy Mutants podcast, social media snafus, racist animals, Goorin Brothers hats, Lord Walder Frey as a tiny baby, Jinglebell jingling his bells, and Lord Walder’s Beringer White Zinfandel.

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