Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Links of the Week

It’s Friday! Time to share my favorite links I found this week in the realm of science fiction and fantasy and then some. Enjoy!

  • First off, let’s have the baddest of the bad: A life-sized Darth Malgus. Yep, all 7 feet of him, complete with a glowing red lightsaber. However, at a price of $5,999.99, I’m afraid I’ll have to save my money for a while before this guy makes an appearance at my house. (Yeah, like hubby’s gonna go for that one! I can just hear the conversation now. “Hey, hon! I found the most awesome decoration for the corner of the front room…” Uh, huh.)
  • Are you a horror fan? Named for the inimitable author of Dracula, the winners of the 2011 Bram Stoker Awards were announced this week. If this is your cup of tea, maybe you’ll find new reading material here.
  • Percy Jackson news: The sequel to Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief movie, set to be released next year (2013), is based on Rick Riordan‘s second book in his Percy Jackson series. You can find more info here.
  • Free Wheel of Time wallpaper for your desktop is being released by Tor, featuring the ebook artwork for the series. The latest is for The Fires of Heaven. I saw this beautiful picture by Dan Dos Santos a while back and it’s always intrigued me.
  • Giveaway: Jill Williamson has posted an entry form to win a copy of Robert Liparulo‘s new supernatural suspense book, The 13th Tribe. I believe the deadline is April 9, 2012 at 8 p.m. (PST).

Here is an amazing bit of video shot from the Solid Rocket Booster of the Space Shuttle, complete with enhanced sound mixing by the people over at Skywalker Sound. This is actually an excerpt from the upcoming Special Edition Ascent: Commemorating Space Shuttle.

YouTube Preview Image

Now for the jokes. With it being April Fool’s this week, there were lots of fun links to be had. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Now for one last trick. On April 1st, George Takei had an amazing announcement on his Facebook page, as shown below:

  

Have a great weekend, all!

Jill Williamson Podcasting “Blood of Kings” for Free

One of the best Christian fantasy series to come out in the last few years is Jill Williamson’s Blood of Kings trilogy. (I posted a short blurb on book 2 here, where I also touched briefly on book 1.) And here’s a deal for you: on author Jill Williamson’s website you can listen to or download free podcast episodes of book 1 and now she is in the process of releasing episodes for book 2. Here’s the link.

If you’d like to know more about the books, here are summaries for you:

By Darkness Hid (Book 1)
Winner of the 2010 Christy Award for the Visionary category

Achan has been a slave all his life. Worse than a slave — a stray. He is consigned to the kitchen of a lord and forced to swallow a foul potion every day. When an enigmatic knight offers to train Achan for the Kingsguard, he readily accepts. But his new skills with the sword do not prepare him for the battle raging between the voices in his head.

Vrell Sparrow is not who she seems. She masquerades as a boy to avoid capture by the powerful forces that seek to exploit her. But Vrell feels called to help a young squire who recently discovered his bloodvoicing gift, even if doing so requires her to work with those who could destroy her.

While Achan learns to use his new ability, Vrell struggles to shut hers down. All the voices strive to learn Achan and Vrell’s true identities — and a different kind of voice is calling them both. Toward a destination that is by darkness hid.

To Darkness Fled (Book 2)

They have no choice. Chased by an evil prince, Achan, Vrell, and the Kingsguard knights flee into Darkness. They head north, for Tsaftown and Ice Island, where they must free an army that can help them fight for Er’Rets.

Darkness sickens Vrell. How long can she keep her secret without being caught? Achan already suspects her of lying. If she is not careful, he will suspect her treason as well. She hopes he will let his suspicions go until they reach her home.

Achan wanted freedom, but this new journey has bound him more than ever. Sir Gavin’s claims are so far fetched. First, that there might only be one God, and second, that this God chose Achan to push back Darkness, the magnificent curse of Er’Rets. Him. Achan. Barely a man himself. 

Each setback Darkness brings seems minor compared to the one choice only Achan can make. What will he choose?

From Darkness Won (Book 3)

Achan steps into his role as Crown Prince and prepares for war. But war against whom? Could Esek still be alive? Has Lord Nathak taken Esek’s place? Or is the mysterious Hadad the true enemy Achan must confront?

Vrell has her own agenda of serving Prince Oren as a healer, but when she is stormed and lost to the Veil, Achan does all he can to bring her back. His conversations with her are strange, though, as if she has no memory of who he is.

In a land consumed by Darkness, the fate of Er’Rets hangs in the balance as Achan endeavors to take the throne and end the reign of Darkness.

• • •

You can purchase the Blood of Kings trilogy from the publisher (Marcher Lord Press) or any major book retailers in paperback or ebook formats. Here are links for Amazon (Book 1, Book 2, Book 3).

Human Cloning Explored in Jill Williamson’s “Replication”

Martyr stared at the equation on the whiteboard and set his pencil down. He didn’t feel like practicing math today. What did math matter when his expiration date was so near?

His wrist still throbbed from Fido’s teeth. Martyr touched the strip of fabric he’d ripped from his bedsheet and tied around his wrist to stop the bleeding. He hoped the wound would heal before a doctor noticed it. A trip upstairs to mend it would be unpleasant, as the doctor would likely use the opportunity to perform tests. Martyr shuddered.

So begins Jill Williamson’s Replication, a novel that explores the ethics of human cloning and God’s purpose for our lives. Couched in the pages of a suspenseful story, Replication follows the struggles of J:3:3, a human clone nicknamed Martyr because of his dedication to protecting the deformed Brokens from cruel clones who also live at the secret underground Jason Farms facility. Innocent, intelligent and curious, Martyr’s greatest desire is to see the sky before he expires on his eighteenth birthday.

Next we meet Abby Goyer, who comes home from school to find her apartment empty, all furniture, pictures and even her cat gone, the apartment stripped down to carpet and bare walls. She calls her dad, who tells her that they are leaving Washington DC and moving to Alaska — the plane leaves in three hours. Already rocked by her mother’s death from cancer, Abby reaches her new home and tries to navigate her way through the uncertainties of a small-town high school. The first person she meets, an arrogant jock named JD Kane, seems to show up everywhere she goes, much to her chagrin. Despite his good looks, his obnoxious and sometimes scary behavior causes Abby to avoid him at all costs.

The story takes a turn when Abby meets Martyr, a boy who eerily looks just like JD. Then things get really strange when Martyr tells her there are fifty-five boys living at Jason Farms and that he has less than one month to live before he expires. Abby tells him about the Creator of the Universe and how he has a plan for Martyr. But she falls into danger when she tries to uncover the truth; Martyr is torn between finding his intended purpose, caring for the Brokens, and wanting to be with Abby, the one he is convinced he was meant to have.

Replication, an inspirational YA novel, is set to reach stores in January 2012. The book is Jill’s fourth published book, following on the heels of her award-winning Blood of Kings fantasy trilogy. You can find her online at: http://jillwilliamson.com/

For more information regarding Replication, here are my affiliate links for Barnes & Noble and Amazon. In addition, you can watch two trailers for the book here, one from Abby’s point of view and one from Jason’s.

Check Out Marcher Lord Press’s New List!

I’m getting this post up a couple of days later than I wanted to, but this is too important to omit. Marcher Lord Press (MLP) is getting ready to release its 2011 list and it looks like a good one.

First off, Kathy Tyers’ Firebird trilogy is being re-released by MLP after a long hiatus of being off the market. I have the old omnibus, but am seriously considering trying to get my hands on the new annotated volume. That’s right, kiddies! The new version is completely annotated by Kathy Tyers herself. The sci-fi geek in me is trembling in excitement. :) Check out the cover. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Second on the list is From Darkness Won, the final book in Jill Williamson’s “Blood of Kings” trilogy. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this one too. I thoroughly enjoyed Book 1 (By Darkness Hid) and Book 2 (To Darkness Fled).

The third MLP book being released this year is Mitchell Bonds’ Hero in Hiding, which is the sequel to Hero, Second Class, a charming, tongue-in-cheek fantasy. As I stated in my review way back in October 2009, Hero, Second Class reminded me of a cross between The Princess Bride and a Monty Python skit. Corny puns galore!

Ok, there. I’ve said it. Just gotta spread a little love around for one of my favorite publishers of Christian speculative, fantasy and sci-fi fiction. If you want more info, here’s a link to the web site:

Marcher Lord Press: http://marcherlordpress.com

Release date for these three new MLP books is slated for sometime in April.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

To Darkness Fled, by Jill Williamson (CSFF Blog Tour)

This month’s Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour is different from any of the others I have participated in as we bloggers have been given the opportunity to write posts on our favorite inspirational sci-fi/fantasy books. For me that is a difficult assignment. I don’t really have a favorite book in this category but there are a few that I have enjoyed very much. As such, I have been wanting to post on a wonderful book I recently read so I’ll do it in honor of CSFF.

To Darkness Fled, Book 2 in the “Blood of Kings” trilogy by Jill Williamson, is a masterfully written inspirational, adult fantasy novel. I don’t say that lightly. After reading Book 1 (By Darkness Hid), I eagerly looked forward to reading the sequel. Life being what it is, it took a while to get to it, but once I met my other commitments, I grabbed the book and happily settled in for a good read. I wasn’t disappointed.

The book picks up right where Book 1 left off, however, it continues the story primarily from another character’s point of view. In this book we get to explore the mind and experiences of Lady Averella, known to her current companions as Vrell Sparrow. In Book 1, we see Vrell flee the wicked prince in the guise of a young lad, who is then sucked into the world of men for the adventure of her life.

Once again, author Jill Williamson had done a great job of creating a believable character and placed her in certain situations that kept me turning page after page. Here’s the official blurb:

Enter Darkness…

They had no choice. Chased by an evil prince, Achan, Vrell, and the Kingsguard knights flee into Darkness. They head north, for Tsaftown and Ice Island, where they must free an army that can help them fight for Er’Rets.

Darkness sickens Vrell. How long can she keep her secret without being caught? Achan already suspects her of lying. If she is not careful, he will suspect her of treason, as well. She hopes he will let his suspicions go until they reach her home. Though he would not be very wise if he did.

Achan wanted freedom, but this new journey has bound him more than ever. Sir Gavin’s claim is so far fetched. First, that there might only be one god, and second, that this God chose Achan to push back Darkness, the magnificent curse of Er’Rets. Him. Achan. Barely a man himself.

Each setback Darkness brings seems minor compared to the one choice only Achan can make. What will he choose?

To read sample chapters of To Darkness Fled on Scribed.com, click here.

To Darkness Fled is appropriate for readers 13 and older, but will likely appeal to most adult readers interested in Christian fantasy. I highly recommend the book.

Author Jill Williamson can be found all over the web, including: www.jillwilliamson.com,  Facebook,  MySpace,  Shoutlife,  Shelfari,  GoodReads,  Twitter,  Amazon (author page)

To Darkness Fled, by Jill Williamson
Publisher: Marcher Lord Press
Publication Date: April 1, 2010
696 pages

To read the recommendations of the other CSFF bloggers, see the sidebar.