Friday, May 25, 2007


It has been reported in various Web spots (Jonathan Strahan, SF Scope, Andrew Wheeler [see May 22 & 23 entries], Publishers Weekly, Locus [see May 24th news entry]) that the US Science Fiction Book Club is undergoing major changes.

One of which is the early retirement of Ellen Asher, who recently became the editor with the longest tenure of any genre editor. (Bittersweet congratulations, I suppose.)

Editor Andrew Wheeler has stated he will still have a job, but rumors are flowing. Jonathan Strahan's above-linked post encapsulates why this is troublesome to both the genre and publishing in general.

Certainly, losing highly respected and knowledgeable editors like Asher and Wheeler has got to be a bad thing for the industry, and any contraction of the SFBC, which has a history of providing access to economical editions of new science fiction and fantasy direct to readers that stretches back to 1953, would be enormously disappointing. (Strahan)
The only caveat I will add to the excerpted quote is this: The SFBC has been offering economical (and convenient to obtain) editions of classics of the genre(s) for as long as I can remember in addition to the new stuff.

I've been a member on and off for about ten years and thought they offered some wonderful things to members and would be annoyed if things with the club would change for the worse. Most recently, I’ve received some of their books to review for Their omnibus volumes alone are what kept me coming back – at the time I bought it, there was no easier way to get The Compleat Dying Earth by Jack Vance. Quite frankly, the cover art by Brom was great, too and the SFBC version was around a couple of years before Tor did their Orb omnibus. I also discovered Sean Russel’s work through the nice River into Darkness duology-omnibus. Thanks to the SFBC, I was able to read all of the (then 5) books of Orson Scott Card’s Alvin Maker series.

In addition to those omnibus editions, they started creating original books too. One of which was the fantastic Black Seas of Infinity collection of Lovecraft stories compiled by Andrew Wheeler. Their recent original anthologies, like the World Fantasy Award winning The Fair Folk and the Best Short Novels series edited by the aforementioned Jonathan Strahan were also fantastic books, ones initially ONLY available through the club. Sure, online retailers such as, and countless others no offer readers the ability to find books they want. But that takes a little bit of work, which can be fun but ultimately more time consuming and frustrating than anything else.

However, the SFBC, especially under the guidance of Ellen Asher and Andrew Wheeler (while I was a member) had the wonderful convenience offering new and classic books and wonderful prices – the 5 for $.01 promotion to join pays for itself in spades.

It isn’t clear what exactly will be happening to the SFBC in the coming days, weeks and year(s). One thing; however, is abundantly clear: the club as it has been known and loved is an important institution to the genre and where MANY fans and professionals had their first major exposure to the genre. Just read the comments at Jonathan Strahan’s blog post here.

I joined at one point and got my (then future) brother-in-law to join so I could get some books as part of the “refer-a-friend” deal and he could enjoy the benefits of membership. A couple of years passed and my membership lapsed. It wasn’t long before I joined again through my brother-in-law so I could sort of repay him. My brother-in-law and I are ten years apart so I thought this was really cool way for us to connect.

Speaking as a person who was laid of by a publisher as part of “corporate restructuring” I can sympathize with the plain fact that it sucks – because all that passion and dedication to the job seem to be forgotten. Regardless of what happens, I wish both Ellen and Andrew the best in whatever the foreseeable future brings them.

It should also be pointed out that the SFBC Blog Andrew Wheeler has been managing has become THE place for virtuall ALL the daily goings-on in the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy: book happenings, movie happenings, news, reviews, interviews. Basically if it was happening in or tangentially related to SF, it was there. The fact that it hasn't been updated since Tuesday May 22nd is not a hopeful sign.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Win a copy of Peter David's "Darkness of the Light "

SFFWorld is pleased to offer one lucky winner the chance to take a look at Peter David's forthcoming novel, Darkness of the Light

Peter David, writer of stuff, including the Sir Apropos of Nothing series, the Knight Life series of books, numerous Star Trek novels, as well as virtually every major comic book character from Spider-Man to Wolverine to The Incredible Hulk to Superman to Aquaman will soon see the release his latest epic, Darkness of the Light.

Darkness of the Light is the opening novel of The Hidden Earth trilogy. From the Publisher's Web site:

The Damned World is home to twelve races, each of which has fought the others for survival for generations. What none of them knows is that they are all creatures of Earth, a world of legend. On Earth eleven of the twelve races were creatures of human myth or folklore.

All live in awe of the all-powerful Overseer, whose authority none dare challenge. A new spirit has arisen among those sick of war and tired of living in fear. Some believe that it is possible for the races to become allies instead of adversaries. With this new spirit has come a time of possibility, of change.

Jepp, a human woman and Karsen, a Bottom Feeder, have broken with tradition and cast their lots together. They seek the Orb of Light, with which they believe they can gain the power and release the Damned World from its chains of violence and ignorance. But they’re not alone, for everyone who knows about the Orb would kill to get it. If someone gets the Orb, things will change. These are, as the proverb warns, interesting times.

Click Here ( to enter!

I just finished reading the book today and really enjoyed it very much.

Good luck to all entrants!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Jury is in

Tomorrow I will be serving my third stint of jury duty. This will be the third New Jersey County I've been called to serve. It should be interesting, I hope. I'll be bringing Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson to help me through the day, finally diving back into his Malazan epic.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Colonies and Vampires, oh my!

As my sidebar indicates, I posted my review of John Scalzi's The Last Colony. I've read all four of the books Scalzi has published through Tor and I've enjoyed each one of them. His SF has a great balance of tension, humor, sf-nal trappings and just damned entertaining storytelling. You could do much worse than pick up any of his books.

The same can be said of E.E. Knight's Vampire Earth sequence. I just finished the most recent, Valentine's Exile, yesterday and enjoyed it just as much as the other books in the series. He threw a nice little curveball at the end giving a not-quite-cliffhanger feel to the story. This was Knight's first hardcover release and I think it is pretty well deserved. I'm a big fan of the apocalyptic setting and these books have that feel in spades. I interviewed him a couple of years ago and reviewed the first, second, third, and fourth books in the series.

Last and certainly not least, this Friday I will be seeing one of my favorite bands for the fourth time: Godsmack.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Slow blogging, what can I say. I recently passed the one-year mark at the "new job," I guess it isn't so new anymore. In the year I've been there, a decent amount of change has occurred, much of it working in my favor. The work has been more challenging than past jobs, but I am realizing just how much I can accomplish.

I posted my review of Justina Robson’s Keeping it Real yesterday. A very fun book that managed to throw many fantasy AND science fiction clichés together in an original manner. Hobbit reviewed it about a year ago and my review is based on the recently published Pyr version of the book. A lot of the books I’ve been reading lately are review books for SFFWorld, so I should be posting a spate of reviews over the next few weeks.

It seems like the rains are finally over, thankfully. I was able to cut down the jungle of grass in my yard and will soon be getting the pool ready for the warm weather. And with the warmer weather comes one of the beer highlights of the year for me – Sam Adams Summer Ale.

The Devils got ousted rather unceremoniously. I don’t know what happened, they’ve had Ottawa’s number in the playoffs in the past, but not this year. They looked great against Tampa Bay but like last year, fell apart in the 2nd round. Until next year I guess in the new arena. My biggest complaint about the team the past few years has been actually going to and from the game in the Meadowlands.

The worst news, and something I was dreading as a Yankee fan, has come to pass. Roger Clemens is a Yankee, again. I never cared for him all that much, and after coming out of retirement following the most over-hyped retirement tour to play for the Astros a couple of years ago, I liked him even less. Now, with the Yankees pitching rotation in shambles he gets to come in like the returning hero and look like the savior. It has always been about him and not the team, this only proves it more.