53 episodes

Interviews with fantasy and adventure authors about their new books.

New Books in Fantasy Marshall Poe

    • Books
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Interviews with fantasy and adventure authors about their new books.

    Menna Van Praag, "The Sisters Grimm" (Harper Voyager, 2020)

    Menna Van Praag, "The Sisters Grimm" (Harper Voyager, 2020)

    Today I talked to Menna Van Praag about her new book The Sisters Grimm (Harper Voyager, 2020)...
    In a set up reminiscent of the show Orphan Black, four feisty young women struggle to make their way in the world, unaware that they are related. Rather than having genetically identical material from a cloned person in common, these women all have the same father, a demon called Wilhelm Grimm. They differ from each other not only in their culture of origin, and their appearance, but in their element affiliation. Each sister is magically aligned with one of the four elements, though not all of them are aware of their powers.
    Like many a villain, the incestuous Wilhelm wants only the strongest to survive and become his lovers and fellow fighters, so he will test his daughters, before inviting them to join the dark side. Unbeknownst to them, assassins wearing the forms of appealing young men are drawing closer, to study their victims and assess their weaknesses, in preparation for combat on their eighteenth birthdays. The sisters met as children in a strange otherworld named Everwhere, but when they reached thirteen, they forgot their time there. Now they must remember, so they can find and support each other before it becomes too late. Some of the sisters have had childhoods marred by sexual abuse or the mental illness of a mother. Will they all choose the light, or will Wilhelm Grimm find himself a new favorite daughter who will turn against the others? Assuming any of them survive their assassins…
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    • 28 min
    Premee Mohamed, "Beneath The Rising" (Solaris, 2020)

    Premee Mohamed, "Beneath The Rising" (Solaris, 2020)

    Premee Mohamed's Beneath the Rising (Solaris, 2020) is simultaneously a far-flung horror story and an exploration of an intimate relationship. At the heart of this novel, full of threatening monsters and ancient terrors, is the accommodation one makes with the exploitation of others, when it serves a higher goal.
    Scientist and child prodigy, Joanna (Johnnie) Chambers, embarks on a quest to save the world with her loyal best friend Nick. The story is told through Nick’s perspective—he is at totally devoted to Johnnie and yet, resentful of her. Nick yearns for Johnnie, not just romantically, but also because she is a symbol of privilege. He is angry that he, as an economically struggling Indo-Caribbean, is not granted the same respect that wealthy, white Johnnie gets. Her life of privilege, like her love, seem unattainable for someone like Nick.
    However, when all hell breaks loose after one of Johnnie’s experiments unleashes horror on this world, Nick finds himself on a long strange journey with Johnnie to save the world. That’s when he finds out that Johnnie, the golden child he’s always envied, has her burdens too.
    Gabrielle Mathieu is the author of the YA fantasy, Girl of Fire, the first in the Berona’s Quest series, and the historical fantasy Falcon series.  You can follow her on Twitter to get updates about new podcasts and more @GabrielleAuthor, or visit her website at gabriellemathieu.com.
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    • 27 min
    Laura Ruby, "Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All" (Balzer and Bray, 2019)

    Laura Ruby, "Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All" (Balzer and Bray, 2019)

    Francesca and Toni are brought to the orphanage when their mother suffers a breakdown and dies, and their father gets involved with a new woman. Their story, set in Chicago of the 1940s, unfolds during the course of the novel. There’s another girl too though, whose voice intersperses herself into the everyday happenings. This is the ghost, Pearl, who would much rather observe other people’s stories then think about her own unhappy one. It takes the friendship and confrontational questions of another traumatized ghost, for her to come to terms with the painful memories of her strict mother and hateful brothers.
    In meantime, Frankie goes through her teen years and experiences her first love—and loss. Pearl, witnessing Fran’s emotions, is brought closer to her own lost life.
    The setting of the orphanage is well researched—more about that in the interview with Laura Ruby—and Pearl’s afterlife is original and poignant. The ghost girl reads the Hobbit over the shoulders of a library visitor, goes to a bar where she drinks not-bourbon served by a ghost barkeeper, and keeps revisiting a certain blue house, to watch a young woman and her lover inside.
    The themes of forbidden love, racism, and dispossession will draw in many young readers. Listen in as I speak with Laura about Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All (Balzer and Bray, 2019)
    Gabrielle Mathieu is the author of the YA fantasy, Girl of Fire, the first in the Berona’s Quest series, and the historical fantasy Falcon series.  You can follow her on Twitter to get updates about new podcasts and more @GabrielleAuthor, or visit her website at gabriellemathieu.com.
     
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    • 34 min
    Emily B. Martin, "Sunshield: A Novel" (Harper Voyager, 2020)

    Emily B. Martin, "Sunshield: A Novel" (Harper Voyager, 2020)

    A frustrated prince out to make a name for himself, a mysterious young woman who goes by the name of the Sunshield Bandit, and a prisoner named Tamsin — Emily B. Martin's Sunshield: A Novel (Harper Voyager, 2020) lets us get to know each character in alternating POVs, while still keeping the eventual connections hidden. Martin makes you empathize with her characters, creating the rare plot-driven book where you still feel like you’re following the travails of people who could be your friends.
    The Sunshield bandit is fiercely protective of her cobbled-together family, a group of escaped bond servants and slaves like herself. Along with her loyal coydog, Rat, and her friends, she subsists in the harsh desert from the gleanings of her stagecoach robberies. Since she’s constantly rescuing more enslaved children, some of them sick, her supplies don’t go far. She’s often hungry, feels guilty about not being able to help more, and has a huge chip on her shoulder.
    Tamsin’s problem is obvious. She’s been thrown into a stone cell, had her tongue mutilated and her hair shorn, and is looking for a way to let rescuers know where she is. It turns out Tamsin is very dear to someone in a high-placed position.
    Veran, the Prince of the Silverwood Mountains, seems to have fewer challenges than the other two. On duty as a translator for the ambassador of a neighboring country, Veran has come to the nation of Moquoia as part of the Eastern countries’ effort to stop indentured servitude. At first, his biggest problem is the blisters the shoes of Moquoian court leave on his feet. Soon though, Veran and his companions from the East, the Ambassador and his daughter, encounter suspicion in the Moquoian court, and become the target of serious accusations. When the Ambassador’s daughter gets sick with a mosquito-borne disease, it looks like their diplomatic mission might be over.
    Unless Veran takes a big chance and reaches out to the Sunshield bandit for help with the one thing that might convince the Moquoian prince to cooperate.
    Emily B. Martin is a park ranger during the summer and an author/illustrator the rest of the year. An avid hiker and explorer, her experiences as a ranger help inform the characters and worlds of The Outlaw Road duology and the Creatures of Light trilogy.
    Gabrielle Mathieu is the author of the YA fantasy, Girl of Fire, the first in the Berona’s Quest series, and the historical fantasy Falcon series. You can follow her on Twitter to get updates about new podcasts and more @GabrielleAuthor, or visit her website at gabriellemathieu.com.
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    • 36 min
    Kathleen Jennings, "Flyaway" (Tor.com, 2020)

    Kathleen Jennings, "Flyaway" (Tor.com, 2020)

    Flyaway (Tor.com) is a rich and simmering stew of vivid images, psychological tension, and dashes of horror which conspire to create an original and startling tale. The convoluted and intertwining stories of several families will demand your full attention, as they spiral together closer and closer to the resolution.
    Our unreliable narrator lives cloistered in the house with her adoring mother, in a small town in the wilds of the Australian outback. Tina, also called Tink, seems to have a calm and settled home life now that the wild males in the family vanished.
    As the story evolves, we also learn that she calls her former best friends by their last names and generally sounds oddly stilted—as if she lived in the fifties, instead of present times. She seems unaware of pertinent facts, such as the possible murder of her father.
    We’re kept guessing as to what suppressed memory has damaged Tina, and why her siblings and father, as well as other residents, have disappeared. Dark secrets lurk at the edge of narrative, to be inferred by her blind spots.
    The history of three small towns, deep in the Australian outback, suggest that the wilderness of the land is inextricably woven into the lives of those who live there. In the midst of so much space, ironically, there is almost no escaping your family’s fate.
    Kathleen Jennings is a writer and illustrator in Brisbane, Australia.
    Gabrielle Mathieu is the author of the YA fantasy, Girl of Fire, the first in the Berona’s Quest series, and the historical fantasy Falcon series. You can follow her on Twitter to get updates about new podcasts and more @GabrielleAuthor, or visit her website at gabriellemathieu.com.
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    • 38 min
    Brian Greene, "Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe" (Random House, 2020)

    Brian Greene, "Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe" (Random House, 2020)

    Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He is well known for his TV mini-series about string theory and the nature of reality, including the Elegant Universe, which tied in with his best-selling 2000 book of the same name. In this episode, we talk about his latest popular book Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Random House, 2020)
    Until the End of Time gives the reader a theory of everything, both in the sense of a “state of the academic union”, covering cosmology and evolution, consciousness and computation, and art and religion, and in the sense of showing us a way to apprehend the often existentially challenging subject matter. Greene uses evocative autobiographical vignettes in the book to personalize his famously lucid and accessible explanations, and we discuss these episodes further in the interview. Greene also reiterates his arguments for embedding a form of spiritual reverie within the multiple naturalistic descriptions of reality that different areas of human knowledge have so far produced.
    John Weston is a University Teacher of English in the Language Centre at Aalto University, Finland. His research focuses on academic communication. He can be reached at john.weston@aalto.fi and @johnwphd.
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    • 2 hrs

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