Android Dreamer is Evolving.

As of May 1st, Android Dreamer will be Hardcover Wonderland, and will be located conveniently at hardcoverwonderland.com.

Why the change? Well, we realized that this name tied us down pretty firmly to talking about science fiction and fantasy, and we have been anxious for some time to find a way to branch out of a bit more. With the new name comes a larger umbrella, as all sorts of fiction will be covered, including the kind with pictures.

Over the first few months, otherwise inactive days will be filled with re-posting some of our Android Dreamer material that we think is worth preserving. If your novel was recently reviewed here on Android Dreamer, rest assured that the review will be finding a new home on Hardcover Wonderland.

Thanks for continuing to read the site, and we hope to see your smiling avatars at hardcoverwonderland.com on May 1st.

Happy reading!

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New Paolo Bacigalupi Novel Available for Pre-Order

Paolo Bacigalupi Zombiie Baseball Beatdown

Image of ARC courtesy of Paolo Bacigalupi himself.

Paolo Bacigalupi, the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Michael L. Printz Award winning author of The Windup Girl, Ship Breaker, and The Drowned Cities has a new young adult novel coming out. Entitled Zombie Baseball Beatdown, it is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and presumably, other online retailers. The attached description of the book:

In this inventive, fast-paced novel, New York Times bestselling and Printz Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi takes on hard-hitting themes–from food safety to racism and immigration–and creates a zany, grand-slam adventure that will get kids thinking about where their food comes from.

The zombie apocalypse begins on the day Rabi, Miguel, and Joe are practicing baseball near their town’s local meatpacking plant and nearly get knocked out by a really big stink. Little do they know the plant’s toxic cattle feed is turning cows into flesh-craving monsters! The boys decide to launch a stealth investigation into the plant’s dangerous practices, unknowingly discovering a greedy corporation’s plot to look the other way as tainted meat is sold to thousands all over the country. With no grownups left they can trust, Rabi and his friends will have to grab their bats to protect themselves (and a few of their enemies) if they want to stay alive…and maybe even save the world.

The novel is due for release on September 10th of this year. Needless to say, you’ll see a review on Android Dreamer within the first week. In the meantime, check out our previous review of The Drowned Cities, which was hands down the best sci-fi novel of 2012.

2013 Hugo Award Nominees Announced

2013 Hugo Awards

The nominees for this year’s Hugo Awards were announced today via the Hugo Award website and a small handful of science fiction conventions throughout the world. The Hugo Awards website also announced that they broke their previous record of nomination ballots by a substantial amount, with 1,343 ballots compared to last year’s 1,101. It is worth pointing out the differences between these Hugo Award nominees and the recent Nebula Award nomination announcement. Among the Best Novel nominees, only Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312 and Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon were nominated by both the Hugos and the Nebulas.

Best Novel

2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
Blackout, Mira Grant (Orbit)
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas, John Scalzi (Tor)
Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW)

Best Novella

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
The Emperor’s Soul, Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)
On a Red Station, Drifting, Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, Mira Grant (Orbit)
“The Stars Do Not Lie”, Jay Lake (Asimov’s, Oct-Nov 2012)

Best Novelette

“The Boy Who Cast No Shadow”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Postscripts: Unfit For Eden, PS Publications)
“Fade To White”, Catherynne M. Valente ( Clarkesworld, August 2012)
“The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi”, Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity, Solaris)
“In Sea-Salt Tears”, Seanan McGuire (Self-published)
“Rat-Catcher”, Seanan McGuire ( A Fantasy Medley 2, Subterranean)

Best Short Story (662 nominating ballots cast)

“Immersion”, Aliette de Bodard ( Clarkesworld, June 2012)
“Mantis Wives”, Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
“Mono no Aware”, Ken Liu (The Future is Japanese, VIZ Media LLC)

Once again, Paolo Bacigalupi’s wonderful The Drowned Cities was snubbed by voters, but John Scalzi’s amusing but underwhelming Redshirts received a nomination. If you’re interested in seeing the nominations in other categories, head over to the Hugo Awards website. Be sure to comment and let us know what you think of the nominees, and which works you believe were unfortunately overlooked.

Charles Stross – Saturn’s Children (2008) | Book Review

Charles Stross Saturn's ChildrenCharles Stross is a name in science fiction that is relatively well-known. It doesn’t have quite the recognition of writers like China Mieville or Neil Gaiman, but it is fair to say that the vast majority of readers whose favorite literary genre is science fiction have at least heard of Stross, even if they haven’t actually read one of his works. Saturn’s Children is our first exposure to Charles Stross’ novels.

The easiest way to describe the impression given by Saturn’s Children is to compare it to a movie. It’s like seeing a wonderful, perfectly edited trailer that makes the film seem like something that absolutely must be experienced, only to find upon going to see the film it is disappointingly clunky and borderline uncomfortable to watch. The idea of a sex bot whose creators are long gone and thus she has to find a new career choice is interesting and amusing, but the novel is so awkward that it is a very unrewarding experience.

It doesn’t help that the main character is forced into strange sexual situations that come across as slightly misogynistic. Early on in the novel, she travels to Mercury aboard a strange travel device that actually has sex with her to keep her calm during the trip. It gives the impression that Stross is trying really hard to write a comedic novel, something like a slightly more eccentric Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but misses the mark by a whole lot. The writing itself is fine, but the novel on the whole feels like a total mess.

Being that Saturn’s Children was actually nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2009, it’s surprising to find the work to be so utterly disappointing. Apparently, the novel is intended as something of a tribute to the work of science fiction legend Robert Heinlein, whose work seems pretty overrated based on what we’ve read of his. Maybe Stross is similarly overpraised, or maybe Saturn’s Children just isn’t his finest hour. Either way, it will be a while before we read anything else of his.

Rating: 1.5 stars (of 5)

2012 Nebula Award Nominees Announced

Nebula Awards 2012

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America have announced the nominees from 2012 Nebula Awards, the winners of which will be announced as a part of the Nebula Awards weekend, May 16th thru 19th. Unlike the Hugo Awards, which are voted on by any supporting member of that year’s World Science Fiction Convention, the Nebula Awards are voted on solely by full members of the SFWA. Becoming a member requires getting either a novel or three short stories published in the traditional manner, so it is only the true peers of the nominees that are voting. Here are some of the nominated categories and this year’s nominees:

Novel

Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz ’13)
Ironskin, Tina Connolly (Tor)
The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Drowning Girl, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

Novella

On a Red Station, Drifting, Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)
“The Stars Do Not Lie,” Jay Lake (Asimov’s 10-11/12)
“All the Flavors,” Ken Liu (GigaNotoSaurus 2/1/12)
“Katabasis,” Robert Reed (F&SF 11-12/12)
“Barry’s Tale,” Lawrence M. Schoen (Buffalito Buffet)

Novelette

“The Pyre of New Day,” Catherine Asaro (The Mammoth Book of SF Wars)
“Close Encounters,” Andy Duncan (The Pottawatomie Giant & Other Stories)
“The Waves,” Ken Liu (Asimov’s 12/12)
“The Finite Canvas,” Brit Mandelo (Tor.com 12/5/12)
“Swift, Brutal Retaliation,” Meghan McCarron (Tor.com 1/4/12)
“Portrait of Lisane da Patagnia,” Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com 8/22/12)
“Fade to White,” Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld 8/12)

Short Story

“Robot,” Helena Bell (Clarkesworld 9/12)
“Immersion,” Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 6/12)
“Fragmentation, or Ten Thousand Goodbyes,” Tom Crosshill (Clarkesworld 4/12)
“Nanny’s Day,” Leah Cypess (Asimov’s 3/12)
“Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream,” Maria Dahvana Headley (Lightspeed 7/12)
“The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species,” Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/12)
“Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain,” Cat Rambo (Near + Far)

It seems like a pretty huge snub that Paolo Bacigalupi‘s The Drowned Cities and Ian TregillisThe Coldest War weren’t nominated in the novel category, though this isn’t meant to disparage those who did receive nominations. Whether either of these will make it to the Hugo Award ballot remains to be seen, as those nominations will be announced on March 30th via the Hugo Awards website.

R.M. Prioleau – Firebrand (2012) | Book Review

R.M. Prioleau FirebrandEver since the whole Harry Potter multimedia empire began, stories about young wizards and various other magic-tinged fantasy novels have become a dime a dozen. Whereas previously just about every work of fantasy had been trying really hard to be the next Lord of the Rings, the trend in fantasy now is to try to be the next Harry Potter.

Firebrand, the first in a planned trilogy by R.M. Prioleau, fits comfortably into the mold of these young-boy-becomes-wizard stories. The keyword here is “comfortably,” for better or worse. The story follows a young man and his little brother, who are sent away by their completely unlikable parents to be part of a magic school, where they are trained from a young age by essentially a very angry, bitter Dumbledore/Gandalf-type wizard.

The storyline itself follows typical progression. There is some early struggle, but Kaijin, the protagonist, gets a hang of the power and becomes an above average wizard. Very few stories are told of the wizard whose abilities are just “meh.” Naturally, evil is a foot and there is much fire and undead creatures and general ne’er do-welling.

Although the picture painted so far doesn’t scream excellence, there is still some merit in Firebrand. R.M. Prioleau’s prose is above average, and aside from a few moments that felt a bit cliched, the dialogue is pretty good too. Unlikely so many self-published works, there aren’t any times in Firebrand when the writing ability of the author, or lack thereof, gets in the way of a reader’s ability to enjoy the story.

Firebrand may be highly derivative, but it is certainly readable and will probably appeal more to young readers who don’t mind revisiting territory that has already been revisited too many times before. The target audience isn’t grown-ups, and it isn’t the kind of young adult read that will cross over to readers of all ages, but it’s certainly the kind of thing that younger readers will eat up. It’s well-written despite its “been there, done that” feel, and it very well may become more interesting as the trilogy goes on. Fantasy aficionados with a taste for young adult literature will find something to enjoy in Firebrand.

Rating: 3 stars (of 5)

Firebrand is available in eBook form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords, and in paperback form from Amazon. Check out R.M. Prioleau’s website, and follow her on Twitter.