Holly Black's young adult vampire novel The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is everything a vampire novel should be: scary, angry, exciting and darkly sexy. It's a book that will make parents uneasy and give kids dangerous ideas. It's the lineal descendant of groundbreaking vampire stories like Poppy Z Brite's explosive debut Lost Souls, a hymn to the glory of a screwed-up adolescence, self-destructiveness as a learning opportunity, and the ferocious, unbreakable bonds of true friendship. It strong espresso to the weak tea of books like Twilight. With a shot of whisky.
Read the rest
Emily Pohl-Weary's Not Your Ordinary Wolf-Girl is an absolutely fabulous new young adult novel about a painfully shy rock-star who gets bitten by a werewolf. Sam Lee is 18 years old and not entirely comfortable with the stellar trajectory of the Cream Puffs, the power-trio she founded in art school, only to be "discovered" by a manager who turned them into an overnight sensation. Although Sam writes the songs, she's happy to leave the spotlight to her two bandmates, and retreat to the shadows and nurse her crippling shyness.
But within a chapter, things have changed: Sam's been bitten by a "wild dog" while riding her bike home through Central Park after a gig, and everything is different. She's hot all the time, sweating, and her veganism goes by the wayside as she's filled with an unstoppable urge to gobble huge quantities of animal flesh. Rage begins to simmer just below the surface, and breaks through with alarming regularity.
That's the setup, and Pohl-Weary handles it beautifully. The story is fast and superbly told, and the characters are fantastically likable and believable. Wolf Girl is a YA werewolf novel that's not afraid to show us the sex and violence of the wolf-story, not afraid of ratcheting up the tension and the fear, but still firmly age-appropriate.
Though this is Pohl-Weary's first YA novel, it's not her writing debut. The granddaughter of Judith Merril and Frederick Pohl, Pohl-Weary has already won a Hugo award for the memoir she co-wrote with her grandmother, and also won acclaim for her debut novel as well as other books she's co-written or edited.
Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl
Hey, Londoners! A reminder: tonight is the launch for the UK edition of Homeland (the sequel to Little Brother) at the Forbidden Planet Megastore on Shaftesbury Ave, from 6PM-7PM. This edition includes the novella Lawful Interception, which continues the adventures of Marcus, Ange and friends (for out of towners, don't forget that Forbidden Planet will mail you a signed copy if you order online).
Hey, Londoners! I'm launching the UK edition of Homeland this Wednesday at the Forbidden Planet Megastore from 18h-19h. This is the sequel to Little Brother, and it includes the novella Lawful Interception, which follows on from the action in Homeland.
If you're not a Londoner, don't despair! Forbidden Planet has a great mail-order service and will ship signed copies anywhere.
How cool is this? My novel, Little Brother, is the San Francisco Public Library's "One City One Book pick for 2013, which means that it's the book for the annual "citywide book-club." The library is advertising the initiative with bus-shelter, bus- and coffee-sleeve-ads all over town, and the librarians just tweeted me this pic of the first ads going up in situ.
There's a whole ton of events, from screenings of movies like Sneakers, Source Code and Existenz to a "LED Robot Plushie Workshop + Little Brother Book Discussion" and Lego robotics workshops, and I'm doing a public event in conversation with Wickr/DEFCON's Nico Sell, at the Main Library's Koret Auditorium on Oct 2. I'm totally, utterly thrilled!
We are live around town!
In the tradition of August's book-review roundup, I've pulled together a collection of my favorite young adult reviews from the past decade. Hope you -- and the young adults in your life -- enjoy these as much as I did!
Planesrunner: Ian McDonald's YA debut is full of action-packed multidimensional cool, airships, electropunk and quantum physics: Planesrunner is the story of Everett Singh, a moderately unhappy schoolboy in London whose divorced, quantum physicist dad is kidnapped before his eyes one night. Everett embarks on an epic quest to find out what happened to his dad, a quest that is complicated by his mother's hostility to her ex-husband, a police cover-up, sinister visits from the head of the Imperial College physics department, and mysterious, threatening strangers who tail him through the streets of London.
Read the rest
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is a new graphic novel extending the adventures of Tony Cliff's beloved, swashbuckling webcomics heroine Delilah Dirk. Set in 1908, this volume opens with the hapless Lieutenant Erdemoglu Selim reporting to the sultan about the new prisoner he's just gotten through questioning: a woman adventurer who claims to be the daughter of a British diplomat, skilled in many of the world's swordfighting techniques, fearsome fighter and adventurer, and expert escapologist.
Read the rest
Monster and Chips is a compulsively readable, delightfully illustrated series of novels for young readers that are full of good-natured gross-out humor and suspenseful scenarios. Joe stumbles into Fuzzby Bixington's Monster Diner one day while running away from the school bully and is adopted as a general dogsbody and sous-chef. In volume one, Monster and Chips, Joe discovers all manner of monstrous culinary secrets that he and his friends -- Barry, a wisecracking, tentacled, four-eyed "cat"; and Twig, a young, sweet tree-monster -- use to help Fuzzby compete on Monsterchef, where he faces a villainous, cheating horror of a monster. In volume two, Night of the Living Bread, a series of short episodes culminate with Fuzzy, Joe and friends cooking the Pizza of Ultimate Darkness to feed the dread Night-Mayor at his secretive annual feast.
Read the rest
Tor.com has just published a preview of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, a wonderful, forthcoming graphic novel due at the end of August (I've got a review queued up for publication-day). It's a great, swashbuckling, girl-positive adventure comic that kids and grownups alike can enjoy, and the excerpt that went up today really gives you a feel for it.
Read the rest
My novel Little Brother is the "One City One Book" pick for the San Francisco Public Library this year; and in its honor, they've put together an amazing city-wide scavenger hunt called "Rogue Agent." It features fiendish puzzles and awesome clues, and kicks off on September 14. It's a team-sport, so start thinking about your teammates now; I'll be at the SFPL at the end of September to read from the book and talk about it.
Read the rest
I could not be happier to announce that my novel Pirate Cinema
has won the Libertarian Science Fiction Society's Prometheus Award
, along with Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon
. I won the Prometheus in 2008 for my novel Little Brother
, and it's among my proudest honors. My sincere thanks to the judges and the members of the society for this honor.
My novel Pirate Cinema
has been shortlisted for this year's Sunburst Award
, a juried prize for the best in Canadian science fiction. It's up in the Young Adult category, and is part of an exciting slate that is full of exciting books that deserve your attention.
) — Cory
Daniel Pinkwater, the writer who made me the weirdo I am today, has a fantastic podcast
wherein he reads his books in (all-too-short) weekly excerpts. This week, he wrapped up a read of Yobgorgle: Mystery Monster of Lake Ontario
, and kicked off a read of the remarkable The Last Guru
. Now's a great day to start listening, in other words. (MP3
I recently recorded an interview
with NPR's "Here and Now" about surveillance, kids, activism, and my novel Homeland
) — Cory
Templar is a beautifully executed historical thriller written by famed game designer Jordan Mechner (who created Prince of Persia) and drawn by Leuyen Pham and Alex Puvilland. As the title implies, the story is a conspiracy thriller about the treasure of the Knights Templar, an order of Crusaders who were persecuted by the King of France in the early 1300s; rounded up, tortured, accused of gross and sinful deeds, subjected to show-trials and put to death. The story of the Templars has been told many times, and there are umtpy-leven conspiracy theories about what became of the treasure the order looted during the Crusades. Mechner and co have created a smashing addition to the canon.
Templar is a fictional account of the lives of some of the (real) Templars who escaped the king's roundup; in this telling, they become badass ronins who wander the land, determined to clear the order's name and reclaim its treasure. What flows out of this is a classic caper story filled with glorious and horrible swordfights, skullduggery, torture, romance, banditry, piety, bravery and treachery. I came to this not knowing much about the Templars and caring about them even less, but found that once I picked the (massive) book up, I couldn't put it down. This is some great and exciting storytelling.
If this sounds familiar, it may be because you read the first third of it in 2010, published as Solomon's Thieves (Templar takes the story to some very good places that Solomon's Thieves can't get to). You also may be familiar with the team from the Prince of Persia graphic novel (I confess I didn't like that one very much -- but I love this).
Though this is thoroughly fictionalized, the team are careful to mark out the bits that are historically accurate (to the best of anyone's knowledge, anyway), and they include a sweet little biography suggesting further reading. This is a great comic for grownups, but it's also a great way to introduce younger readers to medieval history.