The State of SFF – September 2020

Hey, everybody, and welcome to a different State of SFF. This time, I’ll take a look at what occurred in August, new and outdated awards, a September readathon, TV adaptation information, and naturally new releases for the month of September. I hope you’re all protected and wholesome!

The inaugural IGNYTE Awards

FIYAHCon is internet hosting its inaugural IGNYTE Awards and I’m so excited! Have a look at that poll.

I’m so completely happy that each Pet and Warfare Ladies made it onto the YA shortlist and I hope that The Deep by Rivers Solomon wins Greatest Novella. I’m additionally glad that Fonda Lee’s superb Jade Warfare is getting some well-deserved recognition. Plus, you understand, all the opposite superb finalists.

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You may nonetheless vote till September eleventh, so go to the hyperlink above and observe the voting course of. Give your favorites a vote after which let’s all be excited collectively for the announcement of the winners.

The Dragon Awards Shortlist

I, like many others, was very shocked to see this 12 months’s Dragon Award finalists. I haven’t been following these awards very carefully in the previous couple of years as a result of the finalists weren’t the kind of books I get pleasure from. The morose child canines had determined that the Dragons have been their awards the place their form of fiction might shine and that’s completely okay. I’m following sufficient SFF awards as it’s and I’ve no downside with sure awards going to works that don’t personally enchantment to me.

Besides this 12 months’s poll appears to be like lots like different SFF awards ballots. It has works that confirmed up on Better of the Yr lists or have been usually buzzed about lots and that’s fairly a departure from earlier Dragon Awards.

dragon award novel finalists - The State of SFF – September 2020

Though The Ten Thousand Doorways of January is wrongly labeled as science fiction (it’s a portal fantasy… there’s actually not a lot wiggle room there), this checklist appears to be like fairly superior! I’m particularly completely happy to see Fonda Lee and Leigh Bardugo on this poll in addition to Tade Thompson, though I haven’t but learn the third entry in his Wormwood Trilogy.

It does make me surprise, nevertheless, what prompted this improvement. As we don’t know the way many individuals nominate or vote within the Dragon Awards, we will solely make assumptions and educated guesses. Technically, anybody with an e-mail handle can take part within the voting course of and the Puppies have praised the Dragons for being the One True Fan Award the place the good plenty give prizes to really beloved works of fiction. I assume the plenty have actually good style.

readathon – SOS: House opera September

Thomas from SFF180 is internet hosting this month-long readathon that’s all about House Operas. The definition is used very loosely and I feel so long as your guide is about (predominantly) in area or entails an area ship, you’re good to go. There’s additionally a Goodreads group for the readathon in case you’re searching for suggestions or discussions.

SFF180 Readathon 🚀 SPACE OPERA SEPTEMBER - YouTube

There are just a few challenges to satisfy which make it easier to accumulate factors in the direction of your intergalactic profession. You begin out as a House Cadet and might then go on to develop into a House Admiral or, in case you select the insurgent observe, a House Pirate. That feels like a lot enjoyable and I’d like to take part, however for me, September will probably be all about 2020 releases. Perhaps I’ll handle a few books for this readathon, although…

I additionally need to advocate Thomas’ Youtube channel basically. His opinions are all the time insightful and in-depth and regardless that we don’t agree on all the pieces, I admire his opinion on SFF books.

Adaptation Information

Jade Metropolis by Fonda Lee is coming to TV! Sure, this month’s State of SFF is crammed with nice Fonda Lee information. In case you haven’t but learn the sensible Jade Metropolis and its follow-up Jade Warfare, I can solely envy you for nonetheless having that story forward of you. In case you like mafia films and magic, advanced characters and household dynamics, nice struggle scenes and political intrigue, then these books are for you.

I can’t wait to see how the Greenbone Saga will translate to TV however I’m anticipating epic battles and nice character actors. I don’t know if I may even entry Peacock, the streaming service that’s producing the collection, however I actually hope that I should purchase the primary season as soon as it’s out.

Creator occasion received Zoom-bombed

Behold What Has Arrived. 'Raybearer' by Jordan Ifueko Is Now Available! –  Nerds and Beyond

In completely miserable information, a digital writer occasion with Black writers Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles) and debut writer Jordan Ifueko (Raybearer) was zoom-bombed by racist scum. The 2 writers have been known as the n-word repeatedly and Salsa music was performed within the background, making it unimaginable for the authors to be heard.

All I can say to that’s, please, in case you’re internet hosting a web based assembly or occasion of any sort, be certain that the contributors are protected from assaults! You don’t even need to be notably tech-savvy to determine find out how to shield your on-line occasion and particularly your visitors from hurt.

In moments like these, I all the time take into consideration what I personally can do to assist these authors. It is probably not a lot however I purchased the audiobook model of Raybearer and am completely loving it! So contemplate Jordan Ifueko’s guide a advice and perhaps exit and purchase your personal copy. My overview will probably be up soon-ish however I can already inform you there will probably be some gushing.

Thrilling September Publications


It’s a uncommon guide that may maintain me not solely however utterly riveted for over 1000 pages. Susanna Clarke wrote such a guide – Jonathan Unusual & Mr. Norrell. Though this isn’t a sequel, it’s her follow-up novel and possibly my most anticipated launch for the second half of 2020.

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Piranesi’s home isn’t any strange constructing: its rooms are infinite, its corridors limitless, its partitions are lined with 1000’s upon 1000’s of statues, every one totally different from all of the others. Inside the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded straight away. However Piranesi will not be afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the sample of the labyrinth itself. He lives to discover the home.

There’s one different particular person within the house-a man known as The Different, who visits Piranesi twice every week and asks for assist with analysis into A Nice and Secret Information. However as Piranesi explores, proof emerges of one other particular person, and a horrible reality begins to unravel, revealing a world past the one Piranesi has all the time identified.

For readers of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean on the Finish of the Lane and followers of Madeline Miller’s Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, filled with startling photographs and surreal magnificence, haunted by the tides and the clouds.


I’m this guide with combined emotions. The early opinions have been so overwhelmingly constructive that they make me just a little suspicious. The premise sounds sensible and I’m certain if it’s executed properly I’ll love the story. However pre-publication hype makes issues only a bit tougher for me. Expectations are unusually excessive, so if the guide is simply good, I’m certain to be disillusioned. Which received’t maintain me from selecting it up, in fact.

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In an empire managed by bone shard magic, Lin, the previous inheritor to the emperor will struggle to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a serious new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor’s reign has lasted for many years, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that keep legislation and order. However now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping throughout the Empire’s many islands.
Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doorways and darkish secrets and techniques. When her father refuses to recognise her as inheritor to the throne, she vows to show her price by mastering the forbidden artwork of bone shard magic.
But such energy carries an important price, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin should resolve how far she is keen to go to assert her birthright – and save her folks.


I feel we will all agree that an up to date, grownup model of the Magic Faculty trope is so as. That somebody of Naomi Novik’s talent has taken it on simply makes issues extra thrilling. I can’t wait to find this faculty the place you both graduate or die. Give it to me, now!

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Lesson One of many Scholomance
Studying has by no means been this lethal

A Lethal Training is about at Scholomance, a faculty for the magically gifted the place failure means sure dying (for actual) — till one lady, El, begins to unlock its many secrets and techniques. There aren’t any lecturers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is extra vital than any letter grade, for the varsity received’t permit its college students to go away till they graduate… or die! The foundations are deceptively easy: Don’t stroll the halls alone. And watch out for the monsters who lurk in every single place. El is uniquely ready for the varsity’s risks. She could also be with out allies, however she possesses a darkish energy robust sufficient to degree mountains and wipe out thousands and thousands. It could be straightforward sufficient for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the varsity. The issue? Her highly effective darkish magic may also kill all the opposite college students.


Right here’s my unpopular opinion: I feel Schwab is totally overhyped. I like her concepts and a few of her books properly sufficient however I don’t consider she is the literary famous person that others see in her. However her latest novel sounds so good that I received’t give you the option to withstand. And there’s all the time the prospect that she has grown as an writer and can sweep me off my toes with this guide.


A Life No One Will Bear in mind. A Story You Will By no means Neglect.

France, 1714: in a second of desperation, a younger girl makes a Faustian discount to dwell ceaselessly and is cursed to be forgotten by everybody she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary lifetime of Addie LaRue, and a stunning journey that may play out throughout centuries and continents, throughout historical past and artwork, as a younger girl learns how far she is going to go to go away her mark on the world.
However all the pieces modifications when, after practically 300 years, Addie stumbles throughout a younger man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her identify.


“As The Final I Could Know” simply received a deserved Hugo Award for Greatest Quick Story and Huang additionally ripped my coronary heart out as soon as earlier than together with her fairy story retelling of The Little Mermaid. So in fact, I sit up for turning right into a sobbing ball of feelings once more.

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A stunning fairy story of affection and household, of demons and misplaced gods, for followers of Zen Cho and JY Yang.

When Rosa (aka Pink Using Hood) and Hou Yi the Archer be a part of forces to cease the lethal sunbirds from ravaging the countryside, their quest will take the 2 girls, now blessed and burdened with the hindsight of center age, right into a reckoning of sacrifices made and errors mourned, of selections and household and the search for immortality.
Burning Roses, a beautiful fairy story of affection and household, of demons and misplaced gods, arrives in 2020.


For the Center Grade readers amongst you, right here’s a deal with. The ultimate instalment of the Nevermoor Trilogy is popping out and I for one can’t wait to see the place Morrigan Crow’s story goes subsequent. These books are beautiful, heartwarming, quirky, and creative, and so they’re simply what I would like after I’m feeling just a little down.

53152954. sx318 sy475 Unusual issues are taking place in Nevermoor…

Morrigan Crow faces her most harmful problem but in her newest Wundrous journey. The extremely anticipated third guide within the award-winning Nevermoor collection from considered one of Australia’s bestselling and most liked authors.

Morrigan Crow and her mates have survived their first 12 months as proud students of the elite Wundrous Society, helped carry down the nefarious Ghastly Market, and confirmed themselves loyal to Unit 919. Now Morrigan faces a brand new, thrilling problem: to grasp the mysterious Wretched Arts of the Achieved Wundersmith, and management the facility that threatens to eat her.

However a wierd and scary sickness has taken maintain of Nevermoor, turning contaminated Wunimals into senseless, vicious unnimals on the hunt. As victims of the Hollowpox multiply, panic spreads. And with the town she loves in a state of concern, Morrigan shortly realises it’s as much as her to discover a treatment for the Hollowpox, even when it’ll put her – and everybody in Nevermoor – in additional hazard than she ever imagined.


I don’t know something about this writer however this sounds tremendous intriguing. Comparisons to The Left Hand of Darkness are most likely exaggerated however I’m keen to offer it a strive.

51600161Wind: To match one’s physique with one’s coronary heart
Sand: To take the bearer the place they need
Tune: In reward of the goddess Hen
Bone: To maneuver unheard within the night time

The Surun’ don’t converse of the grasp weaver, Benesret, who creates the material of bone for assassins within the Nice Burri Desert. However Uiziya now seeks her aunt Benesret with the intention to study the ultimate weave, though the worth for information could also be far too expensive to pay.
Among the many Khana, girls journey in caravans to commerce, whereas males stay within the inside quarter as students. A anonymous man struggles to embody Khana masculinity, after a few years of performing the lifetime of a girl, dealer, spouse, and grandmother.
Because the previous catches as much as the anonymous man, he should select between the life he dreamed of and Uiziya, and Uiziya should uncover find out how to problem a tyrant, and weave from deaths that matter.

Set in R. B. Lemberg’s beloved Birdverse, The 4 Profound Weaves hearkens to Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. On this breathtaking debut, Lemberg gives a timeless chronicle of claiming one’s id in a hostile world.


A woman known as Nothing and a Sorceress Who Eats Ladies is actually all I must know to need this guide. Tessa Gratton impressed me with The Queens of Innis Lear and whereas I actually don’t like the quilt for her new guide, I’ll positively test it out.

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Within the huge palace of the empress lives an orphan lady known as Nothing. She slips throughout the shadows of the Courtroom, unseen besides by the Nice Demon of the palace and her true buddy, Prince Kirin, inheritor to the throne. When Kirin is kidnapped, solely Nothing and the prince’s bodyguard suspect that Kirin could have been taken by the Sorceress Who Eats Ladies, a robust girl who has plagued the land for many years. The sorceress has by no means bothered with boys earlier than, however Nothing has uncovered many secrets and techniques in her sixteen years within the palace, together with just a few in regards to the prince.

Because the empress’s military searches fruitlessly, Nothing

and the bodyguard set out on a rescue mission, via demon-filled rain forests and previous crossroads guarded by spirits. Their journey takes them to the gates of the Fifth Mountain, the place the sorceress wields her energy. There, Nothing will uncover that each one magic is a discount, and he or she could also be extra highly effective than she ever imagined. However the value the Sorceress calls for for Kirin could very properly price Nothing her coronary heart

And that’s it for this month’s State of SFF. Be sure to vote within the IGNYTE Awards in case you’ve learn the nominated works and need to push your favorites. Add all of the fascinating sounding books to your wishlists and, most vital of all, keep sort and keep protected.

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.