Author Interview, Giveaway, Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2016: Author Interview with Daniel Godfrey + Giveaway

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This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2016, a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by myself and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or with the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

At the beginning of 2015, you may have seen me obsessing over a book called New Pompeii, by Daniel Godfrey, which sounded like a Jurassic Park-inspired novel focused around Pompeii – basically my dream novel. With career ambitions focused around archaeology, I cannot get enough of anything set around the ancient world – especially if there’s a clever sci-fi spin to it.

Cut to one year later, and New Pompeii turned up on my doorstep, thanks to the excellent Titan Books. And then when I announced that Sci-Fi Month was returning for 2016, I soon noticed that a certain Daniel Godfrey had signed up for the event. It must be fate, right? Daniel was kind enough to let me interview him, so without further ado…

What gave you the inspiration for New Pompeii?

Daniel: New Pompeii came out of basically trying to do too many things at once: I was playing around with a few short stories that I’d written some years before – all relating to paradox and multiple timelines – whilst at the same time reading about ancient Rome. I’ve always been interested in Rome – it crops up in a lot of science fiction – and the two things came together because…

Why did you choose Pompeii in particular to bring through time?

Daniel: … of an interesting anomaly. One of the most deeply unsettling things about Pompeii are the plaster casts of its victims. In the best (or worst!) of these, you can see the expression of terror on the person’s face at the moment of their death. And yet there aren’t many of these casts: most of the remains simply haven’t been found – even though we know there were few, if any, survivors. Of course, they could have run but we know a lot of Pompeii was still very much active right up to the point of its destruction. Commercial ovens were found full of baking bread, for example. Painters and decorators were also out fixing things. So it just sort of worked: the plaster casts, the volcano, the missing people…

New Pompeii

If you had the chance to visit any place in history, where would you go and why?

Daniel: I’d have loved to have witnessed some of the space race in the 1960s. For all the excitement of the last couple of years in terms of visiting Pluto and Rosetta/Philae, I don’t think it comes close to the competition between the USSR and USA which culminated in Apollo.

Do you see any similarities between yourself and any of your characters?

Daniel: A-ha! No, bu I’ve heard a few writers at conventions say every character harbours a part of them. And when I had lunch with my editor in the summer, I made a comment which she said sounded just like [CHARACTER]. But I’m not going to say who!

What are your top science fiction novels and films?

Daniel: I’m a child of the 1980s, so in terms of films it would be The Empire Strikes Back, and Back to the Future. A lot of people say that Luke staring at the twin suns of Tatooine is the key shot of Star Wars – for me though it’s the arrival in the carbon freezing chamber aboard Cloud City: Vader already waiting and silhouetted in orange light. “You are not a Jedi yet…”

vader

More recently, I’ve enjoyed things like Minority Report and Edge of Tomorrow. In terms of novels, I really like Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy. Now completely superseded by the prequels and Episode VII of course, but still a lot of fun, and I think it’s interesting Disney are bringing Thrawn back to the TV shows but in a different era. Whether he’ll work in another context…? I hope so!

Who would be your dream dinner party guests, dead, alive or fictional (!), related to science fiction?

Daniel: Given what I’ve just put above… can I have Grand Admiral Thrawn?

If so, then the party would be Thrawn, Dana Sculley, Captain Picard, The Doctor and Amy Pond, and Ellen Ripley!

Thank you so much to Daniel for letting me interview him! He has also kindly provided a signed copy of New Pompeii for one lucky reader.

Please note that this giveaway is limited to the UK only. Apologies to my readers outside the UK!

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Daniel Godfrey is the author of New Pompeii, which was published by Titan Books in June 2016. He is also currently working on a sequel to New Pompeii. Daniel can be reached through the following links:

Giveaway, Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2016: Titan Books Giveaway

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This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2016, a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by myself and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or with the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

The excellent SFF publisher, Titan Books has provided some amazing prizes for this year’s Sci-Fi Month! There are two sets of prizes to be won. Unfortunately, these are limited to UK only – however I will be having an international giveaway at the end of the month, so please keep an eye out for that if you’re based outside of the UK!

The first contains the following titles: New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey and Escapology by Ren Warom.

New Pompeii escapology

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The second contains the first two books in the Vicious Circuit series by Robert Brockway: The Unnoticeables and The Empty Ones.

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Thank you to Titan Books for the prizes! 🙂

Review, Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2016: Review of New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey

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This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2016, a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by myself and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or with the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

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4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

I can actually remember when I first heard about New Pompeii. I’d just finished reading A Darker Shade of Magic, and flicked to the back of the book to read about upcoming titles from Titan Books – and there it was. A Jurassic Park style element involving ancient Romans? Err, yes please and thank you. I felt my little archaeologist heart drop a little when I saw the words ‘Expected publication 2016’. It felt so far away!

Fast forward to a year later, and what turned up on my doorstep, courtesy of Titan? My very own shiny copy of New Pompeii. Obviously when you’ve been waiting for something for so long, your expectations are pretty high, and I was actually worried that after all this time that it might not live up to my own hype – but as it turns out, there was no need to worry.

There have been a lot of stories of people undertaking foolish activities and studies, where you know things are going to go wrong – Jurassic Park is obviously the big one. But there’s something quite terrifying about that scientific project that could potentially go catastrophically wrong being human beings. The main error that NovusPart make is that they don’t seem to see the citizens of New Pompeii as actual people; they’re from the past so naturally they’re less intelligent, less developed, less civilised (ha!). These were the people who were responsible for so many human advances, so many things we’d be so stuck without now, and the people of NovusPart saw them almost like cavemen. New Pompeii raised some really interesting questions relating to this – what rights do these people have? But also, most terrifyingly – what effect will their presence have on the future?

As for the writing itself, the book was really accessible and did not resort to overly complicated terminology or anything like that to explain exactly how the process worked. It was simplified, and maybe not fully explained – but it’s science fiction. We’re already believing that people can be brought back through time, we don’t then have to criticise the how. And to be honest, I was much more interested in the clash of modern and ancient cultures and the idea of Nick trying to fit in with these people to learn from them, than the sciencey mumbo jumbo behind how they got there.

Overall, maybe New Pompeii didn’t feel quite as fleshed out as I was expecting. But it was a really good, fun novel, with plenty of action-packed scenes, I absolutely LOVED the concept and wouldn’t hesitate to read a sequel. What I would give to walk through those streets and interact with genuine ancient Pompeiians… A very strong four stars from me – or should I say IV stars? 😉

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2016: My Top SF Novels of 2016

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This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2016, a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by myself and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or with the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

With what has become something of a tradition amongst my Sci-Fi Month posts, here are my top science fiction novels of the year, in no particular order! This includes novels read this year, regardless of year published.

Revenger Calamity Vicious by Victoria Schwab

I received a copy of Revenger by Alastair Reynolds for review at the end of September, and had read it within a few weeks. I just absolutely love the whole premise of following a spaceship crew, and Revenger tells the story through the eyes of one of the new recruits, plus it has space scavengers, robots and space battles. Calamity (Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson is the final book in the series, and was an excellent conclusion. The whole trilogy has just been hugely fun from the very beginning, and I honestly have never not enjoyed a Sanderson book. A previous book group read, Vicious by V.E. Schwab was one that I devoured in a couple of days. I loved reading a villain origin story!

The Lives of Tao Long Way Morningstar

The Lives of Tao (Tao #1) by Wesley Chu was a book I picked up by chance from the library, and I’m so glad I did. It is so clever and unique, and confirmed my belief that Chu is an excellent writer, after reading another of his books last year. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers was, quite honestly, one of my absolute favourite books this year in ANY genre. It felt like it was written just for me, and was exactly what I needed to read. Like I mentioned above, I love stories that follow spaceship crews, and this does nothing but. It’s more about the relationships between the characters and their backstories than any action. In fact, I almost want to re-read it again this year. Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown was the conclusion I sorely needed for the entire Red Rising trilogy. I fell in love with the first two books the instant I read them (almost back to back) and waiting for the final book to come out was utter agony. Another series I want to re-read already!

Unwind The Forever War New Pompeii

I thought a little while about adding Unwind (Unwind Dystology #1) by Neal Shusterman to this list, and then decided I would. I was expecting it to be a rather typical dystopian YA, with a horrendous cover that quite honestly reminds me of The Human Centipede, but actually… well, it was terrifying. And really very disturbing. I wasn’t expecting it to affect me in the way that it did, which is why I ended up giving it a higher rating. I’m not normally a fan of military science fiction, but The Forever War (The Forever War #1) by Joe Haldeman was an excellent book. It’s less about the military action, and more about the impact. If these soldiers have to travel through time and space to fight their wars, what happens when they finally return home and hundreds of years have passed back on Earth? How do they adjust to life without families and friends, and in an unfamiliar world? I immediately bought the next two books after reading this. New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey was a book I first saw mentioned in the back of A Darker Shade of Magic, and one that I just KNEW I had to read, as it sounded a bit like Jurassic Park meets the Roman Empire. It’s such a clever story, and that cover is genius!

What were the best science fiction books you read in 2016? Have you read any of the ones on my list?

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: August 2016

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

Voyager The Aeronaut's Windlass Blood of Elves The Forever War Nevernight A Little Princess New Pompeii You're Never Weird on the Internet An Astronaut's Guide How to Build a Girl

Last month I read a total of ten books: Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon, The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1) by Jim Butcher, Blood of Elves (The Witcher #3) by Andrzej Sapkowski, The Forever War (The Forever War #1) by Joe Haldeman, Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey,
You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day,
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield and How to Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran.

August was a month of pretty good reads! I started with Voyager, which I could not WAIT to read – I absolutely love the Outlander series and everything about Claire and Jamie. Both The Aeronaut’s Windlass and Blood of Elves were read as part of my book group, Dragons & Jetpacks, and both were sadly disappointing – especially considering how good the Witcher games are. However, The Forever War was a nice surprise that I enjoyed quite a lot more that expected – it’s not so much military sci-fi as a bit of cerebral, to be honest. How do those who have been into space and come back centuries later, when it has only been a couple of years for them, feel? How do they adjust to this new planet, and a life without family and friends? Nevernight was a really fun, dark fantasy that definitely caught me off guard toom and all my other reads for the month were highly enjoyable – especially Felicia Day’s You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost), which was so relatable.

 

Challenge progress:

  • I don’t remember how many books I read towards the DC vs Marvel Challenge, but I do know I defeated the villain! September’s villain is Deadshot, who is proving to be very tricky to beat with my current Novel Experiment – so I may have to make a few exceptions.
  • I have currently read 85 books towards my Goodreads goal – 17 books ahead of schedule!

 

Currently reading:

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

How was August for you?

Top Lists

Anticipated Releases 2016

2016 looks to be another fabulous year of new releases, and will definitely see plenty of books added to the ‘to read’ pile. Here are some of my most anticipated releases for 2016. Let me know if you’re looking forward to any of these, or if there are others you just can’t wait for!

The Drowning Eyes Ghost Talkers Time Siege

A truly gorgeous looking short story, The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster will be published by Tor this month. I was drawn in by the cover initially, but the description of this fantasy novella sounds amazing. Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal will also be published by Tor, but not until the summer of 2016. An alternate history of World War I, where armies make use of mediums, it sounds enthralling. If you can recall, I shared my review of Time Salvager by Wesley Chu last July, and I absolutely loved it. You can bet I’ll be looking out for the sequel, Time Siege, due in July.

Morningstar A Gathering of Shadows New Pompeii

February still seems far, far too distant: it’s when the conclusion to Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, Morning Star, will be released. I NEED IT NOW, as does pretty much everyone who read the first two books. And just to torment us further, there have been no ARCs! A Gathering of Shadows is the sequel to V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, which I read, reviewed and loved back in April 2015. I discovered New Pompeii early in 2015, as the blurb was featured in the back of another book. By this point it seemed so far off – in fact it wasn’t even on Goodreads, and I had to add it myself. Now it has a cover and a set publication date of August 2016. It sounds so exciting, and perfect for lovers of history and science fiction.

Truthwitch Age of Myth Dark Run

Okay, so technically Truthwitch by Susan Dennard has already been released, but only just. I’m always on the look out for wonderful sounding new fantasy series, and as I’ve had some good luck with Young Adult ones, this sounds right up my alley. I’ve not read anything by Michael J. Sullivan yet, although I am meaning to get round to it. He even did a question and answer session for my Goodreads book group after we picked one of his books for our monthly fantasy read. If you’re a long time follower of the blog, you’ll be aware of my passion for mythology, so his newest work Age of Myth sounds perfect for me. Dark Run by Mike Brooks was something I discovered during Sci-Fi Month, and I absolutely fell in love with the cover. And because I really DO judge books by their covers, I decided I wanted to read it before I even knew what it was about.

What are your anticipated releases for 2016?