Seventh Son

Seventh Son was reasonably entertaining, the effects were good, and Jeff Bridges was funny, but ultimately it fell kind of flat for me. I grew increasingly annoyed with Bridges "accent," which sounded exactly like his mouthful of marbles thing from R.I.P.D. The affectation seemed to fit his character, but none of the accents in the film were consistent. To my ear, it sounded like a bunch of people from all over the world were dropped into one medieval fantasy setting, and nobody bothered to bring in a voice coach. It's a bit of a nit-pick, I know, but if it hadn't been for Bridges, I wouldn't have noticed. In short, the seasoned actor broke the movie.

Seventh Son played pretty heavily to the medieval fantasy tropes, though I can't speak to the books from which the film was adapted, not having read them. We get the usual Hero's Journey stuff, piles of cliched dialog, and a painful-to-watch young romance.

Still, "reasonably entertaining." As February releases go, this one meets expectations pretty squarely.

(cross-posted from

February's Projects

I've got a full plate this month. Aside from wrapping up the climactic bits of Schlock Mercenary: Delegates and Delegation (the current story online) I need to tackle the bonus story, the cover, and the marginalia for Force Multiplication so that we can send it to print.

Then there's the substantial task list for the upcoming Schlock Mercenary role-playing game, designed by Alan Bahr, with lots of input from me. The core game stuff is done, and once we've got some art to show off we'll start building a Kickstarter page. That campaign will likely go live sometime in mid-March, and will support the production of a very nice, fully-illustrated rule book, and some odds and ends that will make some of our peculiar (maybe even unique) game mechanics fast, intuitive, and hilarious.

I say "we" with regard to the art. I'll be doing a few, goofy comic-type things in the book, but most of the artwork will be the sort of thing that you'd expect to see in a wonder-invoking, far-future, science-fiction RPG book. Full-color, fully rendered characters, weapons that look like they'd actually work, and vehicles that are more interesting than the things I dash off with a straight-edge and a circle template.  Think of it this way: Schlock Mercenary, the comic strip, is the canonical story, but the comic's artwork is mere caricature. The RPG book will show you that universe more clearly, and give you and your players much better starting points for your flights of fanciful shared storytelling.

Back to the task list: I'm also featured pretty heavily in the programming of LTUE, the SF&F symposium here in Utah on February 12th, 13th, and 14th (Thurs-Sat.) and at the end of February I'm flying to Chicago to record more Writing Excuses Master Class sessions.

You might get a movie review or two this month. I've seen Strange Magic and Into The Woods, and I'll be seeing Jupiter Ascending, but the real time sink is actually writing them up.

And speaking of writing, I've got a bunch of prose fiction on my plate as well, so I should finish writing this, and start in on some actual work.

(cross-posted from

The Autumn Republic, by Brian McClellan

The Autumn Republic, by Brian McClellan, hits the streets on February 10th. I expect it to leave a mark. 

In a good way.

I read a late draft last summer, and The Autumn Republic ties up the Powder Mage trilogy with the surprising inevitability I've come to crave in the genre fiction I read. It was exciting, heart-breaking, and eminently satisfying.

I'm so sold on this series I accepted the offer to host the fifth one-chapter excerpt his publisher is providing. Here is Chapter 5 of The Autumn Republic, but I recommend reading chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4 first, if you haven't already.)

The Autumn Republic is available for pre-order from Books a MillionBarnes & Noble, iBooks, and Powell's, and I've been led to understand that you can get a signed copy directly from Brian McClellan himself.

It's also available from Amazon, finally. 

Register for WorldCon! The Deadline Looms!

If you want to nominate things for the Hugo Awards ballot, you need to be a registered member of the World Science Fiction Convention by January 31st, 2015. Register at, then grab the voter PIN stuff here

If you're wondering which of my works might be eligible for your nomination slots, there's a list over here on my blog


Gemini Cell, by Myke Cole

Myke Cole burst into my reading queue when I met him at Lunacon in 2012. I devoured his debut novel, then waited patiently for the follow-ups, which I consumed with aplomb.

Gemini Cell is Myke's fourth foray into the 21st century's "Great Reawakening," a setting in which magic has come back into our world, and the military's best and brightest have blended it with modern warfare to create squads, platoons, companies, and entire battalions of trained, disciplined, and sorcerous soldiers. Which is good, because their enemies are every bit as well equipped. It's a compelling setting, but this time around we're seeing it differently.

In Gemini Cell we get to see the beginning of it all. Our protagonist is a SEAL at the top of his game, but it's a completely non-magical game, and he has no idea that his current operation will cross paths with a magical supply line.

The story is a powerful one, and to my eye it takes some oft-maligned tropes of military adventure fiction and shows us how those things are supposed to be done, especially the "prequel" trope. That might technically be what Gemini Cell is, but it stands quite well on its own, inviting an immediate sequel or two while leaving plenty of room for the extant Shadow Ops series.

Gemini Cell releases on Tuesday, January 27th, 2015.

(cross-posted from

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