Tag Archives: new book

It’s Like That

Okay, so I’m way late getting in on the dystopia discussions. I’m also late to pick up the Hunger Games series, being only at the start of Book 1 while everyone else seems to be polishing off Book 3. (My excuse is that I’m only on Book 4 of Suzanne Collins’s Underland Chronicles and as a longtime Collins fan I really wanted to finish that first before starting anything newer.)

However, I can be the first to mention another trilogy set in a post-apocalyptic engineered dystopia revolving around life-or-death games: Battle Circle by Piers Anthony. In fact, I first mentioned Battle Circle in a comment over a year and a half ago. So who’s the trendsetter now, hmm?

Battle Circle was made up of Sos the Rope (1968), Var the Stick (1972), and Neq the Sword (1975). The series was my first introduction to the genre of engineered dystopias and therefore the yardstick I’ve subconsciously used ever since. I’ll be interested to see the parallels and differences between this Cold War inspired series and Suzanne Collins’s more modern futuristic drama.

I also want to recommend a new dystopic trilogy that’s just started in Mark Peter Hughes’s A Crack in the Sky. I had a chance to critique an early manuscript and this is a very cool book. It has a modern environmentalist and media culture mentality but also reminded me, at times, of Logan’s Run, another late 1960s book.

Which got me thinking “It’s Like That” would be a great topic for a blog post. There’s nothing new under the sun, and only 3, 7, or 36 different story plots, depending on how you count them, so maybe it would be fun to talk about some other new books, the classics they remind us of, and why. Suggestions, anyone?

—Greg, who also thought of that Shirley Jackson short story, The Lottery, when reading the Hunger Games opening. Dude, that was published in 1948!

Greg R. Fishbone

Greg R. Fishbone

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The Magical History Tour

I know many Rick Riordan fans were waiting with great anticipation for The Kane Chronicles #1: The Red Pyramid, which was released on May 4. No doubt some young readers have devoured the book multiple times by now. You can see my complete review for The New York Journal of Books.

You can also read an interview with Rick Riordan on Shelf Awareness, where he discusses the teaching elements of a book that draws on ancient Egyptian history and culture.

The Kane Chronicles premise — young people find out they have an important, mysterious lineage and magical powers — is far from original. Harry Potter, the Charlie Bone series, The Children of the Lamp series (about children who learn that they are genies), and Riordan’s own Percy Jackson series are just some of the Kane Chronicles predecessors. But it’s a formula that works, for who wouldn’t love to discover that they are secretly someone important, with magic powers? The Kane Chronicles doubles its kid appeal with the ancient Egyptian angle. There is something about ancient Egypt that speaks to kids (and many adults) all these thousands of years later.

Magic and history, history and magic… hmmm….

If you could have magic powers, what would they be?

If you could travel to an ancient culture, which one would be your first choice?

If you could take on the powers of a magician from an ancient culture, what culture would you choose? Does that change your answer to do the first two questions?

Chris Eboch with Haunted books

Chris Eboch with her Haunted books

Chris Eboch grew up in Saudi Arabia, which may be why she hankers for a magic genie lamp.


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Let Ye Be Warned!

We here at the Spectacle thought it would be fun to read a spec fic book as a group and have a discussion about the content as it relates to craft.
This Wednesday and Thursday, we’ll be talking about Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
Obviously, there will be spoilers mentioned, so if you haven’t read the book, you might want to bookmark those entries for future reading. If you’ve already read Catching Fire, you’re welcome to add your own comments to the discussion.
Reminders about potential spoilers will be posted in the headers of Wednesday and Thursday’s discussions.
Hope to hear from you!


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Right Now in Speculative Fiction

The Hugo Award nominations have been announced and include some young adult novels: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. Also, Shaun Tan was nominated for best professional illustrator. Tor.com did a cool series of posts hi-lighting all of the nominated illustrators, including Tan.

YALSA seems enamored with a new site called Hunch, which predicts your future and tells you what to do. Well, actually, it helps you make decisions based on how you answer questions. The questions are user-generated, so the site gives teens a chance to explore the issue of decision-making. eternal

Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Eternal has just debuted. And it sounds awesome. It’s about a girl who becomes a “glamorous royal fiend” (what does that mean?? I don’t know, but it sounds cool) and gets a “reckless and adoring guardian angel” to watch over her.

And for those hungry for some YA hard science fiction after our recent conversation about it, check out this new book:  The Comet’s Curse by Dom Testa. It’s about teens who flee earth after a comet spewing toxic chemicals kills off adults. It’s supposed to be “one part Lord of the Flies and one part TV reality show.” That’s exactly how I describe my local swimming pool, by the way.

Agent Nathan Bransford (wow that makes him sound like an FBI guy) is giving you the change to Be An Agent For a Day. He will post 50 (!) queries on his blog on Monday, April 13th. You then get to do what every writer has always dreamed of: write rejection letters. You also can “request” up to five manuscripts that you deem publishable. Those who correctly identify the manuscripts that have actually gone on to be published have a chance at winning a prize.

Finally, this baby snuggie does look like “some sort of alien contraption.” And it frightens me.

cherylicon Parker Peevyhouse has always been wary of alien contraptions.


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The Quest begins…

With atmospheric cover art by Antonio Caparo

With atmospheric cover art by Antonio Caparo

Today’s the release day for my new book, THE FARWALKER’S QUEST— yay! To celebrate its first official day in the world, here are a few other firsts that go with it:

First line: Zeke’s tree wouldn’t speak to him.

First inspiration: In 2004, while training for a marathon, I was thinking how much I had loved LeGuin’s Earthsea books and wanted to work on a project in a world that I’d enjoy being in as much as I’d enjoyed Earthsea, because I needed somewhere else to send my thoughts during the crappy weather and hard miles. (I don’t think there are any Earthsea parallels in the story, but that longing got me started.)

First teen reader: Matt, the son of a friend. He was 13 at the time and thought the MC, Ariel, “should have more weapons.” (Sorry, Matt. IMO, it didn’t fit her character.)

First review: From Kirkus, which called the book an “absorbing fantasy” with “crisp dialogue, and exciting plot, and strong secondary characters.” No mention of weapons either way.

It’s also my first publication with Bloomsbury, my first book sold through an agent, and my first opportunity to do a sequel (which I just sold to Bloomsbury for 2010). I hope it won’t be the last!

We haven’t had a thread on quest stories, but I’ll start one in a few days, because before my original title, Farwalker, was modified for publication, it never occurred to me that this was a quest story. Hmm…


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