Book Review – Planetfall

planetfallThis book is amazing. I’m having trouble finding the words, so bear with me. I’m not even sure I’ve fully digested the book as I’m writing this. Let me begin with a very brief summary.

At some point in the future, humans have left Earth and established a colony on a new planet in a different galaxy. Something traumatic has happened in the colony’s past, but few people actually know the truth of it all, and the story becomes clouded by a newly established religion. There are secrets and betrayals and a deep look into mental illness that I’ve never seen in any other science fiction novel. And when a stranger arrives in the colony, the delicate balance struck by the colonists is shattered.

….

I hate spoilers. And there isn’t much I can say that isn’t going to spoil the book (at least, in my opinion), and I believe everyone should come to this book a blank slate. It should fill you up with wonder, and you should travel the path it takes you down completely uninfluenced. But I also realize that I can’t really write a review without touching on some of the events that transpire. So, go read the book and then come back so we can talk about it.

Ren, the protagonist, is infinitely human and easy to identify with. Her voice feels authentic, and her reactions to the relative isolation of being the only intelligent beings on an empty planet too far from Earth to ever go back resonate. The world building is as precise as I imagine the technology the colonies rely on to be. And so believable. The economy is heavily reliant on implanted chips, 3D printing, colony-wide networks, and recycling, and it feels completely drawn from current trends in technology we’re seeing right now. Everyone selected to be a part of this colony has a very specific skill he or she contributes to the society.

As cool as the tech is, for me, the most important part of this novel is the psychological insight we have on Ren. As we’re drawn deeper into the story, we’re also drawn further into the emotions of Ren and damaging effects certain events have had on her. We learn about her mind just as she’s learning about her mind. And in parallel of this is her exploration of the God city – a seemingly alive structure outside of the colony held in reverence by the colonists. And the end – wow. It will just leave you with so much to think about.

My only criticism is how rushed the end felt, but I read an early copy that I received from the editor back in July, so I’m hoping that gets smoothed out a bit before publication. But even so, this is a beautiful novel, and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t collect some award nominations.

December and January Titles from Tor/Forge

The holidays are coming soon, and the publishing industry in NYC slows down quite a bit, so I thought I’d go ahead and post the new titles for December and January before everyone goes on vacation. I also want to point everyone to Netgalley, where you can find our first in series books, stand-alone titles, and debut authors. Just make sure you have a legitimate blog address in your profile if you want someone to approve you for a title! All other review inquiries can be directed to torpublicity@tor.com.

Tor

9781466807723_FC 9781466810198_FC 9781429986427_FC 9781466800823_FC 9781466828445_FC 9781466847293_FC 9781429945691_FC (1) 9781466858442_FC

December 2 –
Sustenance by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Carbide Tipped Pens edited by Ben Bova and Eric Choi

January 13 –
The Whispering Swarm by Michael Moorcock
The Just City by Jo Walton
The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
Unbreakable by W. C. Bauers

January 27 –
Pacific Fire by Greg van Eekhout
Inside a Silver Box by Walter Mosley

Forge

9781466834347_FC 9781429922593_FC 9781429997232_FC 9781466869806_FC 9781466804258_FC

December 9 –
You Know Who Killed Me by Loren D. Estleman

January 6 –
Retribution by David Hagberg
The Body Snatchers Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini

January 13-
Moonlight Water by Win Blevins and Meredith Blevins

January 20 –
Mark of the Beast by Adolphus A. Anekwe

 

Thoughts: Relationships in SFF Publishing

image credit unknownSO – it turns out I completely suck at holding contests and then actually clicking the little button on Rafflecopter to draw a winner. Thanks for your patience! The winner is Meg Winikates!! Thanks for participating!

The main thing I wanted to talk about today is the ongoing conversation I’m seeing across Twitter, blogs, and podcasts about the relationship that reviewers have with various members of the publishing world – readers, authors, and other reviewers.

A recap:
SF Signal Mind Meld: The Evolution of the Author Fan Relationship
Rob Bedford and Justin Landon talk about it extensively on RocketTalk
Paul Weimer talks about why he can’t review every book on his personal blog

It was Paul’s blog post and a previous Mind Meld that ultimately inspired me to join this conversation. As a publicist, I typically stay out of the conversations that are going on in the SFF community unless I’m actively promoting my author or reaching out to reviewers and other media professionals, but this time I wanted to take a moment to portray my point of view on this as a publicist.

For those of you who aren’t all that familiar, the publicity department at a book publishing house attempts to get as much coverage of a book and/or author as possible. That means we’re writing press releases, reaching out to reviewers across all media platforms, establishing relationships with reviewers, coordinating travel and events, and just trying to do whatever we can to let people know that the book exists. This is different from marketing in that we are not purchasing any sort of advertising, we do not make promotional items (though we use them occasionally), and we don’t sponsor anything through publicity. We have a marketing department to handle all of that.

The most important part of our job is the relationship between publicist and reviewer. This is a process that takes place very much behind the scenes, and our efforts are meant to be invisible to the general public. I think that SFF publicity is vastly different from other kinds of book publicity because the community is more tight-knit, and there’s a lot of opportunity to interact with reviewers through social media. When I’m working on mystery/fiction titles, I don’t have nearly as much access to people reviewing my books as I do with the SFF peeps (I’m hoping to change that!). I also think that the genre community is vastly more enthusiastic about new titles as well. This is the thing I love the most about my job.

I love getting to know the reviewers and the authors. I love seeing all of the interaction on Twitter and through blogs. I also deeply appreciate that most of the reviewers I interact with are reviewing out of love for the genre and not for money. Most of them have full time jobs and full time families, but they always make the time to regularly interact with each other and with the readership to promote the books they love. I hope they never doubt their value to the community, and I’m excited to see more awards being given to these wonderful, dedicated people who make this community as unique and interesting as it is. Rob Bedford said that without publicists, you wouldn’t have much to talk about. I think that without reviewers, not very many people would learn about our books. It goes hand in hand, and I’m just really happy that I get to be a part of a vibrant community of like-minded people. I grew up always wanting to do something that helped people, and I can’t imagine doing anything other than getting to tell everyone about amazing books and encouraging more people to read. So, reviewers, thanks for all you do, and thanks for making my job such a great experience!

October Titles from Tor and Forge

Wow, the year is going by so quickly! I can’t believe it’s already time to put up the October titles! Also, coming up in some future posts – my NYCC schedule and some tour info for some of my authors. Stay tuned for that! In the meantime, let me know what October books you’re looking forward to!

Tor

9781429944823_FC 9781466842731_FC 9781466845404_FC 9781429952095_FC 9781429942881_FC

October 7 – Hawk by Steven Brust

October 7 – The Shotgun Arcana by R. S. Belcher

October 7 – Silverblind by Tina Connolly

October 14 – The Time Roads by Beth Bernobich

October 21 – Heart of Stone by Debra Mullins

Forge

9780765374936_FC 9781466851931_FC 9781466838888_FC 9781466855908_FC (1)

October 7 – Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan

October 14 – The Last Shootist by Miles Swarthout

October 21 – An Irish Doctor in Peace and at War by Patrick Taylor

October 28 – The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron

September 2014 Releases from Tor and Forge

Hi friends! Sorry this post is a bit belated! September has been a busy month so far for Team Tor/Forge now that we have some authors touring, and we’re gearing up for New York Comic Con. Check out the titles below and let me know what you’re excited about! Got requests? You know what to do.

Tor

9781466801820_FC 9780765377982_FC 9780765334251_FC 9781466863934_FC 9781466828483_FC

September 9 – Exo by Steven Gould

September 9 – The Bloodline Feud: A Merchant Princes Omnibus by Charles Stross

September 16 – Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon by David Barnett

September 16 – Last Plane to Heaven by Jay Lake

September 23 – The Seventh Sigil by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes (check out the awesome book trailer!)

 

Forge

9781466821064_FC 9780765338112_FC

September 9 – Sabotage by Matt Cook

September 30 – Strong Darkness by Jon Land

August 2014 Releases from Tor and Forge

It’s August 1st, and the summer season here at Tor is coming to a close. What are you looking forward to reading this month? Let me know on Twitter!

9780765377296_FC Assail_HC_3pass 9781429922746_FC 9781466824201_FC 9780765322715_FC 9781466829299_FC 9780765328021_FC 9781466849358_FC (1)

August 5 – Severed Souls by Terry Goodkind

August 5 – Assail by Ian C. Esslemont

August 5 – Alien Hunter: Underworld by Whitley Strieber

August 5 – The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

August 12 – Hellhole Inferno by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

August 12 – The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson

August 26 – Echopraxia by Peter Watts

August 26 – Lock In by John Scalzi

 

Interested in mysteries and thrillers? We have those under the Forge Imprint! Here’s what’s coming out in August:

9781466815254_FC 9781466858268_FC 9781466828919_FC 9781466828902_FC

August 5 – Deadout by Jon McGoran

August 5 – 24: Deadline by James Swallow

August 19 – Ark Storm by Linda Davies

August 26 – Assassin’s Game by Ward Larsen

Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Recently, I introduced myself to someone I met at a publishing event and mentioned that I am developing a blog about science fiction and fantasy culture. The first question this young man asked me is if it’s unusual for there to be women in the science fiction and fantasy world. He admitted he’s not familiar with the genre, but he says he always things of pasty, geeky dudes when he thinks of science fiction and fantasy.

As a female who has been deeply involved in this topic since before I can even remember, this came as a surprise to me. Maybe it’s because many of my female friends are also interested in the fantasy and science fiction genre. Also, think about all of the wonderful female authors, actresses, and crafts people who contribute significantly to this field! I plan to profile many of them in the posts to come, and I really hope to see some female participation within the pages of this blog as well.

So, dear readers, are women still a minority in the fan base for science fiction and fantasy? How do you view the contributions that women have made to this genre? Why do you think people not familiar with the genre think this topic is exclusively (or mainly) for men? Please comment and let me know what you think!