Apr 2

Congratulations to the 2013 Hugo Award nominees!

Over the Easter weekend, the 2013 ballot for the Hugo Awards was announced. The award ceremony will be hosted by LoneStarCon 3.

* Congratulations to Saladin Ahmed for Throne of the Crescent Moon in the novel category!

* Congratulations to Jay Lake for “The Stars Do Not Lie” (Asimov’s, Oct-Nov 2012) in the novella category!

* Congratulations to Mary Robinette Kowal as part of the Writing Excuses team for Writing Excuses Season Seven in the Best Related Work category!

* Congratulations to Jason Heller as part of the editorial team for Clarkesworld in the Best Semiprozine category!

More details here. Congratulations to all the finalists.

Apr 1

PW review of new fantasy from Mary Robinette Kowal

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal

In Kowal’s charming third Austen-influenced magical Regency novel (after Glamour in Glass), spouses Lady Jane and Sir David Vincent, who create magical artwork called “glamour,” accept a commission in London that leads to political turmoil and romantic complications. Coldmongers, who can magically affect temperature, are being blamed for the volcano-caused wintery spring, coinciding with unrest from the antitechnology Luddites. The Vincents observe mysterious potentially treasonous interactions involving their client’s son, Irish Catholic Alastar O’Brien; the Luddites; and the Worshipful Company of Coldmongers. Matters are further complicated by Vincent’s strained relations with his family and Jane’s efforts to find a spouse for her younger sister, Melody, who accompanies them for the season. Readers will appreciate the realistically warm and loving romance between Jane and Vincent all the more for their flaws and foibles, as their relationship is tested by internal and external forces. –Publishers Weekly

Mar 25

RT Book Reviews on new Kowal fantasy

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal

The third in Kowal’s stellar fantasy series, Without a Summer is, without a doubt, the best yet of the Glamourist Histories. Setting her tale in the notoriously cold summer of 1816, Kowal imaginatively blends historical fact with her own elaborate metaphysics of glamour. Add to that a well-developed hero and heroine who have become more flawed and yet more likable; the welcome reappearance of the charming Melody; and an emotionally involving story that culminates in a genuinely thrilling climax. With each entry, Kowal’s worldbuilding has only gotten more confident and the series better and better. — Romantic Times, 4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick!

Mar 22

Library Journal on new Kowal fantasy novel

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal

Late in the spring of 1816, Sir David and Lady Jane Vincent have recovered from their war experiences and are spending time with Jane’s parents in the English countryside. Accepting a glamural commission in London, the Vincents invite Melody, Jane’s younger sister, to join them, hoping to brighten her mood and provide better opportunities for making a good match. But the couple must also fend off demands from Vincent’s estranged family, protect misunderstood coldmongers, determine the truth from lies told, and still work their artistry. VERDICT Kowal’s third historical fantasy title (after Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass) will delight series fans as they reconnect with favorite characters in new situations. The underlying fantastical nature of this Regency England continues to flourish, making a unique backdrop for discussing complex topics of social inequality, superstition obscuring scientific fact, and political corruption. Even as the intricate natural and social elements engage readers, it is the sweet, strong emotional connections that draw them back for more. –Library Journal

Mar 11

Kirkus reviews 3rd in Kowal’s Glamourist series

Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal

Lady Jane and Sir David Vincent, a husband and wife team of glamourists, accept a commission in London and take Jane’s sister with them, in hopes of broadening her prospects for marriage; in the process, they become embroiled in treasonous conspiracies and familial tribulations that threaten far more than their marital content.

England in 1816 is cold and dreary, and staying with her family for an extended visit is a pleasure wearing thin for Jane and her husband. When they are invited to London to create a glamural (a mural created by magic, or “glamour”) in the ballroom of a baron, the couple accepts. Melody, Jane’s younger, unmarried sister, has few prospects in their rural neighborhood, so they take her with them. Melody meets Mr. O’Brien, son and heir to their client, and they are mutually interested. Jane learns the family is Irish Catholic, however, and discourages a match. More disturbing, Jane meets Vincent’s father, an earl who cast his son off when he pursued the art of glamour. Despite the couple’s success, including commissions from the Prince Regent himself, the Earl of Verbury maintains a cool attitude with them, which moves toward malice as the plot unfolds. Events in England are tumultuous. It is the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, which affects society in unexpected ways, and the unseemly weather (based on actual historic events related to the eruption of Mt. Tambora) creates even more unrest and uncertainty, which place Jane, Vincent and Mr. O’Brien in dangerous territory.

Kowal has penned a wonderful Regency romance/fantasy crossover with fascinating tidbits of and nods to history. The characters are unique and authentic, whether they are heroes or villains, and include a surprising degree of human foible. At the heart of the successful story are an intriguing world built around a clever concept of everyday magic and a sweet, unconventional marriage of two oddly yet perfectly matched partners. A creative, elegantly crafted novel that combines magical elements, historical intrigue, and both a broad and an intimate canvas of human weakness and virtue. –Kirkus Reviews

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