Monday, January 30, 2012

Interview, trailers and freebies

I'm a huge Minister of Chance fan as you already know if you're a regular reader. In case you're new to Science Fiction and Other ODDysseys, I'm including my review from March 2011 again here so you know what I'm talking about, why I love it so and why you'll want to watch the interview below.

The Minister of Chance
Radiophonic Serial
Writer, Producer, Director: Dan Freeman
Starring: Julian Wadham, Jenny Agutter, Lauren Crace (as Kitty), Paul Darrow, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann.

Radio shows rock! You don't think so? You haven't heard The Minister of Chance. It's not just visual sound effects that have come a long way. I got totally lost in the story like I was there. The Minister of Chance is a new British science fiction audio series which is sort of like Nazi Germany taking over a backward planet instead of France. But these invaders will politely send you to the dungeon or to the labor camp and wonder why you're not honored to do it. The invaders believe in magic, not science. Their leader is the Witch Prime and their standard salutation is "Happy Spells".

While smuggling food to a scientist who is part of the resistance, Kitty encounters the Minister of Chance. The atmosphere and humor will whisk you away to a world you've never imagined. You'll laugh at Kitty's protestations as she follows the Minister of Chance through a door that wasn't there a second ago and across the frost bridge into another realm. A far cry from slinging ales at the pub where she worked. The Cockney does get a bit thick at times for those unaccustomed to it, but it's so worth it for the flavor that it adds.

The witty, sarcastic dialog and the acting are flawless. I should know. I've listened four times. :) It's space opera at its best. Right up there with Dr. Who. Jonathon Barnes recently interviewed Julian Wadham, who plays The Minister of Chance, over at his Pantisocracy blog.

Here's an interview with Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred. Doctor Who fans should especially enjoy this interview.


Phoenix Pick’s free ebook for February is Stephen Leigh’s The Shape of Silence. The coupon code is 9991463 and will be good from February 2 through February 29. Download link at

Short Description of the Book:

"Replete with adventure, mystery, and sociological conflict."—Publishers Weekly

First contact was never supposed to be like this.

A sudden rift appears in near-earth space, causing electronic components to permanently fail and cause total chaos. As Earth's fragile technological society disintegrates, no one can answer the obvious question: What is the rift, and who or what has created it?

A new generation comes to age attempting to answer these questions, and Taria Spears, an anthropologist, is selected as part of the crew on the exploratory ship Lightbringer. Lightbringer's mission is to investigate the worm-hole-like Rift and, if possible, to pass through it to find out what lies on the other side, and to seek some answers.

But what if all they find is an alien culture where sound, not sight is the primary sense?

In addition,

Arc Manor/Phoenix Pick is sponsoring a writer’s workshop with some outstanding talent. Participants include Toni Weisskopf (Head of Baen Publishing), Eleanor Wood (Spectrum Literary Agency, representing Bujold, Heinlein estate, etc.), Mike Resnick (GOH this year’s Worldcon), Kevin J. Anderson, Nancy Kress and a few others (full details at

Interested? Leave a comment to get a coupon for $75 off your registration.

Advanced ticket sales through and for The Hunger Games begin on Feb. 22. To get email or text alerts to remind you when the tickets go on sale, go to The Hunger Games facebook page.

Look out for Lockout!

Here's a teaser for a new Indie Web series still in development.

The Silent City - Teaser from Silent City on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Writer's of the Future XXVI - Marvelous new ideas from new writers

Writers of the Future Volume XXVI
Edited by K.D. Wentworth
Galaxy Press (2010)

Reviewed by Clare Deming

Each new volume of L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future series of anthologies collects the winning stories from that year's contest. Started in 1983, it has gone on to become one of the most well-known contests for science fiction and fantasy stories. Entries from amateur or unpublished writers are accepted quarterly, with several levels of awards given. The first, second, and third place winners for each quarter earn publication in the anthology and a workshop with professionals in the field. Out of the four first place stories, one is granted the Gold Award, which comes with extra prestige and payment. A companion contest for illustrators is held concurrently, and the winners each illustrate one of the stories in the anthology.

This is the first of these anthologies that I have had the chance to read, and they may certainly vary from year to year. I found that this volume was weighted toward science fiction, with fewer fantasy selections. The stories are interspersed with short essays about the field from well-known authors and artists. Overall, I enjoyed this book and I thought that it was a solid collection of fiction. I'll highlight some of my favorite stories below.

"Living Rooms", by Laurie Tom, was the first story in the collection, and the Gold Award winner. Rill returns home after several years among ladies at court. Her father has died, but the animated personas of each room in his house have remained. Rill must confront the threat of a neighboring wizard while unraveling the secrets that her father left behind. This was a well-rounded story and a solid opening to the collection. While this was fantasy, with wizards and magic, the focus was different from many such tales.

In a unique look at androids, Alex Black brings us "Lisa With Child". Once manufactured as a bodyguard for one of the Agency's Clandestine Service members, Lisa manages to subvert her systems to become pregnant. However, the Agency will not likely allow a self-replicating weapon to exist, no matter what the reason.

"Exanastasis" by Brad R. Torgersen explores a world in which Earth's population has been eliminated to allow its ecosystems to recover. Atreus, caretaker for the project, is re-animated in a cloned body by his humanoid constructions built to resurrect the population from stored data. When his wife is also cloned, he has to decide what distinguishes a human from a monster.

When Izzy left Earth to work on the solar station, she found challenges amid the native Offworlders. Brent Knowles examines the differences of this environment in "Digital Rights". A ghost is lurking in the digital systems, and the exchange of knowledge carries a price.

In "Coward's Steel" by K.C. Ball, Tate struggles to survive in a difficult world. Armed with only a pistol and her long-lost mentor's collection of rules, she stumbles upon a village that seems a bit too inviting. What will be the cost of her visit?

Told from the point-of-view of a sentient tree-like species, "Written in Light" by Jeff Young was quite an engaging tale. Zoi'ahmets (the tree) finds a human girl, stranded in the wilderness of the planet's Dispute Zone. When the youngster's life becomes threatened, Zoi'ahmets must figure out how to save her without endangering the political situation or her own work.

My favorite illustrations were those by R. M. Winch and Jingxuan Hu. Many books don't offer any visual art other than the cover, so I enjoyed seeing these with each story. I think that one of the strengths of this collection is that there are always going to be fresh ideas and voices. I look forward to picking up another volume. More information about the contest can be found at:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cinder - a delightful mix of familiar and new

Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles
Marissa Meyer
Audiobook read by Rebecca Soler
Macmillan (January 2012)

Review by Lyda Morehouse

Cinder is a retelling of the classic fairy tale of Cinderella set in a future China (which, of course, is a nice homage as the story supposedly originated there.) Our heroine, Cinder Lin, has been recast as a cyborg scraping out a living as a mechanic in the markets of New Beijing. A plague ravages the Commonwealth and war with the Lunar Queen brews on the horizon. The world is rich with such science fictional details as those while still remaining true to the pastoral, fairy tale feel of the original. As you might expect, all the players are there: the evil stepmother, the charming prince, the fairy godmother, the pumpkin-colored chariot…. There are, of course, many new events and surprises, which is the fun of stories like these. Will Cinder lose a shoe at the ball or a cybernetic foot?

I enjoyed the story immensely. Even though, at times, foreknowledge of the fairy tale caused me to yell out, “Get to the ball, already!” There were still plenty of new plot/character twists to keep me guessing. The ending, in fact, is not at all what I would have expected.

The audio addition came with a few technical difficulties. The files I received were labeled like this: 1-01 CD 1a.mp3, 1-02 CD 1b.mp3, etc., which meant that, thanks to that extra space (not marked with a _), my mp3 player organized all the files by the last designation, so I had a jumble of 1a, 2a, 3a, etc. I ended up having to jump around a lot to get the story in order. This was made more complicated by the fact that my mp3 player just wanted to continue on to the next one, so I’d have to guess when a section was over. I’m not sure that would be a problem with all players, however.

Regardless, I found the story worth the hassle. Rebecca Soler does an excellent job reading. I was never thrown out of the story, even though she attempts several accents, including Australian and British, and lowers her voice when reading male lines.

As someone who is a slow reader, I tend to really enjoy the occasional audio book or story podcast. I would definitely recommend this Young Adult novel on audio for those who still enjoy the pleasure of being read to, as is, perhaps, fitting with a fairy tale like this one.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Unpossible and Other Stories - deliciously dark and surprising

Unpossible and Other Stories
Daryl Gregory
Fairwood Press (November 2011)

Reviewed by Ann Wilkes

Daryl Gregory is an exceptional storyteller. I enjoyed every story in Unpossible and Other Stories. The title story left me with warm fuzzies long afterward. All of the stories in this collection had a speculative element, though in some it was slight. However, his characters, voice and storytelling made it a non-issue for me.

His clever turns of phrase also left me smiling. Here are some examples:

From "Second Person, Present Tense":
She regards me with that standard-issue look of concern that doctors pick up with their diplomas.

From "The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm":
Only after her parents failed to come home did she realize that the note was a kind of battlefield promotion to adulthood: impossible to refuse because there was no one left to accept her refusal.

From "Petit Mal #2: Digital"
He was bald except for a gray ponytail, as if his hair had given up on general coverage and decided to specialize.

The other thing that really struck me about these stories is that they were not the usual, soon-forgotten fare that we have seen too much of. Gregory's stories have truly unique situations, and he isn't predictable.

In "Second Person, Present Tense", a girl is changed by a drug into a different person, detached from that girl she used to be. Her parents bring her home after she's had extensive therapy, still hoping to get their little girl back. She tries to humor them at times. Tolerate them. After all, she's still walking around in their daughter's body. It must be tough.

In the title story, mid-life crisis men seek to return to their childhood. In this tale, it is a physical place that they are no longer able to enter. I found it sad, poignant and deliciously tragic.

In "Damascus" Gregory introduces elements of religion, pseudo-vampirism, epedemic and feminism into one dark and tragic tale of questing and redemption.

I especially enjoyed "The Illustrated Biography of Lord Grimm". It's a sort of steampunk, superhero alternate history with half-mechanical men and castles. And the Americans send their superheros on air-raids over the impoverished, communist island state of Trovenia. I could read that one several times. My favorite line is below.
He claimed to have suffered the injury fighting the U-Men, though others said he'd lost the tusk in combat with vodka and gravity: The Battle of the Pub Stairs.

In "Gardening at Night" I was delighted by the twist on an old premise. The usual is that robots unexpectedly exceed their programming and rise up to declare independence. I don't want to say too much because I hope you will all read it for yourself, but his pulling in of the temptation in the Garden of Eden and the line of logic that followed: Superb!

I loved this exchange in "What We Take When We Take What We Need":
"That's not love, Paxton. That's addiction."

"Explain the difference."

This is a creepy tale of dysfunction, addiction and family curses.

I couldn't get enough of the superhero banter and the blob called Plex in "Message from the Bubblegum Factory" although I scratched my head a bit at the ending. This was the only ending that baffled me in the whole collection. I don't like being baffled, but the journey was worth the head-scratching.

"Dead Horse Point" was about loyalty and care taking. The spec element in this was thin, but the story was extremely engaging and the ending surprising.

In "Petit Mal #3: Persistence", I admired Gregory's treatment of the subjects of loss and memory, his unique premise and thoughtful ending.

I highly recommend this collection to anyone who craves something different from the tired tropes and wants to be pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The fabulous, funny Phoebe Wray

Interview by Ann Wilkes

I met the fabulous Phoebe Wray through Broad Universe - well, virtually anyway. We'll meet sometime soon at a convention, I'm sure. We also share a TOC in Defending the Future IV: No Man's Land, a military sci-fi anthology put out by Dark Quest Books a year ago.

Phoebe has been writing all her life. She started out as a journalist, but instead, became a stand-up comic, eventually writing material for others as well. Then it was off to the Theatre as an actress, appearing in off-off-Broadway and regional plays for many years. She continued to write: plays, theatre reviews, travel brochures, promotional material, educational material, scholarly essays, etc.

AW: When did you start writing SF?

PW: I started in 2000. It seemed the perfect year.

AW: What prompted you to choose SF?

PW: I READ sci-fi and love it . . . ergo . . . .

AW: Are there particular themes that run strongly throughout most of your fiction?

PW: Feminism. I have a real burr under my saddle about unfairness in all its forms. Political stuff, how we govern ourselves, or not. People standing up for what they know is right and not backing down.

AW: I've been mentioning Broad Universe every chance I get here. You were the President for quite a while. Were you a founding member?

PW: Yes. I attended the WisCon panel "World Domination 101" in 2000, where the idea of a "club" of serious writers to demand equal space, equal thought started. A couple of years later, Amy Hanson asked me to be on the Advisory Board. And then, I stepped in as President when she stepped down.

AW: How many members were there in the beginning?

PW: I think maybe 50-70 members. Most of them women who attended WisCon. We had some very lean years, with dwindling memberships, until we figured out just how and what we could do. It's been growing ever since.

AW: Would you say there are some differences between the way men and women write?

PW: Yes, I think so. There is a gender difference in what is immediately important in a given situation. And we plan differently. At least that's true among my many friends over the years. I've read a lot of excellent books by men, and believe we analyze things differently. There's incoming!!! Do you run? Protect the people next to you? Reach for a gun? Cover your head and get under the desk? Curse the universe? What is your take on a dark doorway in unfamiliar surroundings? Not that women can't do anything a man can do (read the obvious exceptions). We still will very likely do it differently. I saw that reading the wonderful stories in [Defending the Future IV:] No Man's Land.

AW: I try to keep romance to a bare minimum. You know, the Chick Flick effect. Guys might enjoy a chick flick now and then, but they'll never go to one without one - a chick. What's your take on romance in sci-fi?

PW: My characters have all definitely had someone to love. J2, the novel that's about the come out -- the sequel to Jemma7729 -- doesn't have a romance element, although it has a pretty specific, I hope, rather charming sex scene.

AW: What are you working on now?

PW: Promotion! Jemma7729 is coming out in ebook and J2 in print and ebook, both before March, so I'm gearing up for that. AND there is a third and last in this series. I have lots of notes and about 20 pages written on Jemma: The Legacy. Then, I hope on to another something . . . I really like dystopias.

AW: Yes, those have been quite popular since the economy tanked.

PW: I liked them before the economy tanked. Something about over-coming. The nasty something that is really beyond one's control but you fight it anyway . . . Lost causes, maybe? I don't know.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The best way to ask for a book review

I've been going through my book review requests. I haven't done that since the end of November. Did you know that many of the same rules apply for reviewers that apply to editors? Tell us about your book in November or January, but don't expect much in December. We have busy Decembers same as you.

The first book review request email I looked at bowled me over in its complete lack of meaningful description. The next self-published author didn't even bother to try to describe his work other than to promise me that it really is different from all the others. So, I decided that I had some things to say on the subject. It's that or explode.

First off, you have to sell us on your book, same as you do for an agent or a publisher. I get a ton of requests. Again, you have to make it stand out in my slush pile the same as you did (or maybe didn't if you're self-published) for the publisher or agent. About once a month I send out the requests to my reviewers. They choose what interests them. Of course, that's after I have first dibs. ;)

So, INTEREST us. Your fantasy novel is different, you say? Tell us why. What is it about? We only need a paragraph. And please, whether you're the author, a publicist or just a friend helping to promote the work, use grown-up adjectives.

One of the requests I received contained only the following adjectives: Great (x2), new, (really) exciting, terrific. This sci-fi novel is also full of surprises and well-drawn characters. We still have no idea what the book is about!

You say you're a fan of my blog? You tell me how great it is. Or that you found me on Twitter. Super! I'm glad. But flattery doesn't really count for much, I'm afraid. And if you claim to read my blog and still don't follow the posted guidelines, you lose points. I'm pretty flexible, but flattery is no substitute for following the guidelines. Would you ignore a magazine's guidelines when you submit a story?

Someone I know from conventions wondered if I had a chance to review his book. The one he never told me about or sent to me. I don't get ALL books from ALL publishers. And I don't read minds. And then I still need you to do the drill, even if we're friends. In a way, especially if we're friends, because I won't review books for friends. It's a conflict of interest. So, again, you get one shot to interest my reviewers. Make it count.

The other thing is, the process takes as long as it takes. Nagging won't help you. Honestly.

And unlike a story submitted for consideration to a magazine, we won't email you to tell you we're not interested in reviewing your book. We just won't request it. Did I mention we get a LOT of review requests?

For those who are self-published, you're competing against the publishers who send me books for review that have already been vetted. We will review an occasional self-published book, but your pitch has to really grab one of us enough to take a chance on you.

One more note. We do not currently do negative reviews. If we don't like the book, we won't finish it and won't review it. By requesting a book, we are not promising a review. On the other hand, if we really like it, we might request to interview the author.

Don't forget to check out my list of other review sites. Many of the entries include guideline links. And here's a primer on requesting book reviews in general at eHow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Daemon Prism - an excellent series' touching, satisfying end

The Daemon Prism: a novel of the Collegia Magica
Carol Berg
Ace Roc 2012

Reviewed by guest reviewer, fantasy/sf author, S. A. Bolich

The Collegia Magica series, of which The Daemon Prism is the third and final book, is one of the best fantasies I have encountered in years. The first book was also my initial exposure to Carol Berg’s work, after I got the chance to hear her read from it at a science fiction convention a couple of years ago. Intrigued by the characters in the snippet she read, I bought the book and discovered a gem of an author, a grand master of characterization. Berg takes chances with her characters in ways that have, frankly, inspired me as a writer, and that leave them imprinted indelibly on your memory and your heart.

The Collegia Magica, set in a Renaissance world with vaguely French and Latin underpinnings, is about a struggle to unravel the deadly mystery surrounding an attempt on the king’s life, and then to stop the unscrupulous sorcerers who want to turn the world—and the afterlife—literally inside out. To stop them, each character must also unravel the mystery of themselves, for each is not really who he or she believes.

The narrator of The Spirit Lens, Portier, is a young, physically unprepossessing librarian with an extraordinary knack for surviving what would kill anyone else. His fellow agentes confide, the fop Ilario and the intemperate, bitter mage Dante, have precious little use for each other and harbor explosive secrets. Anne de Vernase, narrator of The Soul Mirror, is heir to a stunning heritage of magic and loathes all of it. The series traces their struggle to understand how they fit into both the problem and the solution as they race to save both their world and the souls of their beloved dead from feeding unspeakable magic.

Accepting what they find is an obstacle for each of them, from the leap of faith surrounding Portier to the realities of Anne’s dangerous heritage to the real explanation for Dante’s unusual magical abilities and uncontrollable temper. These struggles are, in a way, even more fun than the larger mystery, and all enlivened by Ilario, whose humor is matched by his loyalty. Since I refuse to give spoilers in reviews, I will say no more except that each of these four characters is so well drawn you will wish this series carried on and on instead of stopping at three books.

The Daemon Prism picks up the story two years after the titanic magical struggle that concluded The Soul Mirror. Our heroes are widely scattered, recovering from those events, and a fair bit of the action involves characters traveling to the one place they can stop the plot, a city so old that even its rightful name is nearly forgotten.

Once again we have a new perspective on the action. Berg always writes in the first person, and unlike many series, she changes the point of view character from book to book. The first two books maintain a single POV; The Daemon Prism switches several times, a necessity considering that the action is far-flung and the characters scattered. This is fine, but it does contribute to a couple of noticeable structural weaknesses. It was fairly obvious in the middle section that the author needed to stretch out the time frame in order for all the players to unravel the mystery and come together. It also contributed to one wishful instance for me, in that I would rather the climactic scene had been written from Portier’s POV instead of Anne’s.

The Daemon Prism is both more and less satisfying than the first two books. Less, because the characters are geographically separated for much of the book and therefore the interaction we love to see among them is largely missing. More, because the climax is both so poignant and so inevitable that you won’t soon forget it. Each previous book was complete and satisfying in itself.

As with all great fantasy, there is sacrifice and loss and the realization that even heroes don’t always get what they want or deserve.

This book was wonderful, but there were a few things that caught my attention: the somewhat saggy middle stretch, the slightly one-sided villains, the abrupt disappearance of Dante as narrator, and the fact that I would far rather have had Portier as the POV character for the climax. He was the endearing narrator of the first book, and we got to spend far too little time with him in this one. He is also the catalyst for the conclusion, which felt a little rushed, and it would have been nice to see his reaction to it all from the inside.

Dante’s absence is both necessary and predictable due to the way Berg constructed his choices for battling his enemies, but it would have been nice to dip into his head at least once in the final section of the book to see his struggle from the inside. I also felt one major plot thread ended somewhat serendipitously with the fearsome tetrarch who has pursued Dante with grim zealotry throughout the book defanged rather conveniently toward the end. I know from talking to Berg that her publisher was concerned with word count and she was forced to shave scenes that might have mitigated this feeling of sudden endings. Sometimes the author doesn’t get to present the book he or she would like to.

The Collegia Magica is for readers who want more than a recycled version of the current hot trend in the genre. Berg is a gifted writer who builds believable worlds and truly memorable characters; an author I am so glad to have discovered. I highly recommend the Collegia Magica, and The Daemon Prism does not disappoint as a touching and satisfying conclusion to an excellent series.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Finally Friday sf/f film fun

In case you haven't seen them yet...

Here are more sci-fi odds and ends to kick off your possibly geeky weekend. ;)

Geekscape: The Best Doctor Who Moments of 2011

Phoenix Pick’s free ebook for January 2012 is Charles Sheffield’s collection “Georgia on my Mind.” Use coupon code 9991325 through Jan 31 at

Please note that a novelette with the same title has been offered as a
free download before. However this time the complete collection will be
available for a free download (including the Hugo and Nebula winning
novelette, “Georgia on my Mind.”

A collection of some of the finest short stories penned by a master of
hard science fiction, this anthology includes Charles Sheffield’s highly
acclaimed novelette, Georgia On My Mind.

Georgia On My Mind won both the Hugo and Nebula when originally published
in 1993. The accompanying stories were written by the author between 1987
and 1994.

Cemetery Dance just released a 25th Anniversary edition of Stephen King's IT. Learn more at Cemetery Dance.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Left Hand of God - a compelling, but grim tale

The Left Hand of God
By Paul Hoffman
New American Library (2010)

Review by Clare Deming

The Left Hand of God, by Paul Hoffman, blends aspects of our own world into a fantasy setting for a dark tale of deprivation, violence, and revenge. This is distinct from urban fantasy, because although the components of this world are not terribly exotic, it is not our world at all. Technology is at a medieval level and nobility rules the land, but there is neither magic nor monsters here.

The story follows Cale - an adolescent boy who has been raised at the Sanctuary of the Redeemers. The Order of the Redeemers and their strict religious dogma resembles Catholicism, but taken to a brutal and authoritarian extreme. At the Sanctuary, boys are trained for war against the Antagonist, but many do not survive this schooling. Those who do have lived a harsh life, abused and indoctrinated, and know little of the outside world.

Singled out by the Lord Militant, Redeemer Bosco, and trained in strategy and combat, Cale discovers a forbidden section of the Sanctuary. He is accompanied by Kleist and Vague Henri, the closest things he has to friends. When Cale is sent to the Lord of Discipline, he fears that his transgression has been discovered.

However, he surprises the Lord in the midst of a terrible act of torture and violence that is beyond what even the Redeemers sanction. Cale is left no choice but violence. He slays the Lord of Discipline, but must leave the Sanctuary, along with his friends and Riba - a girl that they discovered in the forbidden wing. She is the first woman that any of the boys has ever seen.

The book tells of their journey into the rest of the world, the great city of Memphis, and the politics that they find there. For the rest of the world is aware of the Redeemers, and fears the expansion of their war campaign.

Despite all the bleak facets of the plot, there is also a love story. However, I found this to be the least convincing part of the tale.

This book drew me in and I found it to be quite compelling and well-written. The mistreatment Cale endures at the hands of the Redeemers creates instant sympathy for him and his friends. Even though he is violent and sometimes savage, he is never truly cruel. By the end of the book, Cale learns to think about the implications of his actions as he discovers that the world is different than the Redeemers had portrayed.

The last criticism I'll mention (and it was only a minor annoyance) is that many of the place names are those of real places. We have the Appalachian Mountains, Memphis, York, and others, which made me search for symbolism or a hidden association. Yet as far as I can tell, there was no such significance to the names. Additionally, the map at the beginning of the book did not correlate well to the descriptions of the world in the text and I would have been better off to avoid referencing it.

The Left Hand of God is the first book in a planned trilogy. The second book, The Last Four Things is available now in hardcover and e-book editions.