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New Feature: Handshake reviews Embassytown

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Check out our review of Embassytown, by first-time contributor Madison McClendon.

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China Miéville mines the brutalities of miscommunication in Embassytown

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In Embassytown, China Miéville embarks on his first foray into genre science fiction. But instead of battleships and laser arrays, he focuses on the periphery of an empire, on a planet wrapped in a cocoon of volatile interstitial “immer.”

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New feature: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

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Del Toro’s atypical creations do not have fangs – they have stingers, like frogs with scorpions for tongues. They are not beautiful and hypnotic – they are dirty, twisted, and vicious. They’re nasty pieces of work – inhuman monsters through and through. And they are terrifying.

— Read Sonya Bateman’s review of Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain here.

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Neil Gaiman: Leaving a trail of Internet destruction

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In addition to writing novels, comic books, kids’ fiction, TV scripts, film scripts, and most recently, editing a Year’s Best comic anthology, Neil Gaiman is perhaps one of the most technologically with-it authors today. While many old-school creative types admit a certain reluctance to embrace all things gadget-like, Gaiman has thrown himself into the brave new e-world with a certain reckless abandon – a characteristic that’s served him well in his immensely popular body of work.

Perhaps best known for The Sandman comic and Coraline, the book and film, Gaiman has worked successfully in just about everything, including collaborative fiction with another fantasy powerhouse, Terry Pratchett. Recently, New York Magazine’s culture blog,The Vulture coaxed a few more than 140 characters (the limit for Twitter comments, which Gaiman puts out voraciously for nearly 1.5 million followers) from the fantastic fantasist.

Here are some highlights from that interview. You can read all about it here.

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The great Malazan read and re-read

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Fans of epic fantasy are master’s of patience. They have to be. There’s something in the nature of the genre that forces its masters — Tolkein, of course, George RR Martin, and, for a long time, Robert Jordan — to create worlds and plot lines of jaw-dropping proportions. But I am not a master of patience and, to a certain extent, I resent the genre for its 20 year production cycles. That’s why, for the past ten years, I’ve been avoiding Steven Erikson, the latest and possibly greatest to enter the fray.

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