What It Is: A collection of novellas across speculative genres, published by Panverse Publishing and edited by Dario Ciriello. (Who included my novella Fork You in Panverse One.)
Why It Is Awesome: Well, for one thing, it has a killer editor at the helm. But aside from that, Panverse collections offer such a wide range of storytelling that really set them apart from other collections I've read. Each author has a distinct voice, each story is unique providing a reader with so many avenues to dream in it is hard to come back to the World As It Is.
Alan Smale offers a vision of what might have happened had the Roman Empire discovered the Americas before Columbus in A Clash of Eagles. This piece won the 2010 Sidewise Award for Alternate History and he recently signed a deal for the novel based in this world.
Amy Sterling Casil gives us an apocalyptic story from the point of view of an ego driven character who defines himself by his internet fan base and has to relearn how to live when that is gone in To Love the Difficult.
Snow Comes to Hawk's Folly by J. Kathleen Cheney spins a tale of fae, family, adventure and redemption wherein a child is lost and then recovered by an unlikely hero.
Michael D. Winkle accomplished amazing things with The Curious Adventure of the Jersey Devil. There's the adventure of the chase, to be certain, a touch of horror, a touch of fantasy, and some revised history here as well, regarding the newspaper business. It doesn't sound like it should work, but it does.
J. Michael Shell entertains with tales of glamorous fairies and blood driven monsters in dangerous creatures that provides an interesting take on the problems of love among immortals.
David Farland's Nightingale
What It Is: Contemporary Young Adult fantasy featuring the teenaged Bron James, a boy abandoned in childhood and who has been punted from one bad foster home to another until a wise teacher named Olivia takes him on. She recognizes him as one of her own kind, a masaak. He has no idea what he is until he connects with Olivia.
Just as things like home and school seem to go better for Bron, the discovery of his true nature and his dark gifts as a masaak emerge to complicate things.
Why It Is Awesome: So, this story pretty much hooked me from the first page and did not let up. I think I read for every free moment for two days, which left me cranky and tired, except, of course when I was reading. After I finished the book the very first thing I thought of was something Kelly Link said on a panel that I watched on youtube at some point. The gist of it was that you can do anything you want in YA, you just can't be boring.
I think this is why so many adults read YA (or New Adult? *sidenote anyone superfamiliar with the new genre new adult who can point out an important work in that new genre, please do. This girl would like to educate herself.) Farland's Nightingale is anything but boring. To sum it up; pacey, adventurous, scary and fun. Plus new-to-me monsters are always awesome.
Paul Shapera's Dieselpunk Opera
What It Is: The second in a trilogy of rock operas set in the fictional world of New Albion. We've talked about this before on the Spotty Blog. In fact, you can check out an interview with Paul several posts back. I kind of think he's best at explaining his vision over at his blog.
Why It Is Awesome: Okay, so there are so many reasons this is awesome. I kinda know Paul, and a little bit about his journey through musical transitions. (Just a little.) In the Dieselpunk Opera, I can HEAR all of that coming together, so that makes it kind of killer for me personally. You can hear him blend his prog-rock influences with the technical knowledge and aesthetics of his ambient work and the phrasing of Sondheim for the lyrical melodies. The professional music appreciater of my beforetimes self completely thrills at this. Hence all the squeepants wearing about it all over other social media platforms...
But I digress. Just listen to it. And for the love of squeepants somebody make a full production of this and the Steampunk Opera happen. Preferably somewhere in the Northeastern US so that I can actually go see it.
Seriously. Listen to it, here.