The Lampworks Lamplighter
SF & Fantasy News & Reviews
In this issue
- A couple of secondary characters give their perspective on our books
- Reviews of books by Steven Brust, Faith Hunter, K.J. Parker, and Neil Gaiman.
- Some featured promotions to help you find new authors to follow
But first, let’s start out with a short bit of humor. A while back, I was looking for a key for a door. There was of course an entire drawer full of keys to sort through. I got to thinking about how you could never bring yourself to throw out a key once you forgot what it fit. What if the lock turned up again? It seemed such a poignant vigil that it deserved a few words.
There is a drawer, every house has one,
where the old keys gather.
They huddle in their camps,
telling of the lost door, valise, or drawer
that they can open, if only they can find it again.
Some are seconds, or thirds, copies of copies,
but still they remember in their teeth
that there is a lock for them out there.
Some lucky few have tags,
but even then no one remembers
the provenance of “Back Door.”
Was it this house, or one or two ago,
or perhaps the summer cabin?
They whisper ghost stories
of the lock that was changed,
and the keys left to linger in a half-life
in the shadows of the drawer.
At intervals some are taken away
to be introduced to all the locks in the house
in the hopes of remembering their purpose.
Most are returned.
The few that don’t are spoken of in hushed tones.
Maybe, they say, the lucky key has found its lock
and together they have returned to the Locksmith.
I asked Trefoil to describe the book for our readers. He has a… unique perspective.
He Who Buys Whitefish is having a hard time of it. I had to call for the Tessalurgeon after his encounter with the lord of the castle. Now he has a dead body on his hands and he doesn’t know whom to trust. He seems to trust me, but I’m not sure why. In general, you should never trust a cat.
The Priest is a crooked one; reminds me of a rat hiding in his maze. The Clockmaker smells off somehow; why did he come looking for the Astromancer that day of all days? And the lady from the newspaper must be good. She likes cats, right?
The sky ship drew a sword across the night, as blue as chance.
Chance is a complex skinword. The shape of a cloud on the horizon, striated and lit from below. Shaded towards red, it means a threat. Towards yellow it means a difficulty to be surmounted. In that clear blue, it means the unknown and uncontrolled, that which might break in your favor or against it. It could also be translated into human language as opportunity.
Now the passenger from the sky ship sits at my table at the Inn, telling me he doesn’t need my protection to reach Misthaven. He is a magnet for trouble, this I can foretell. Chance and opportunity take the form of a lost archaeologist today. Ah, Polnedra protect us, he has already attracted a Morghaest…
What we’re reading
— Steven Brust
The Palace is falling apart; the King and his three brothers are at odds what to do with it. The youngest brother journeys to Faery to seek his path, and finds an enigmatic talking horse as a guide. The Palace is an allegory: the house divided against itself, the old that stands in the way of the new, the death that must occur for new life to begin. The writing is haunting, and the little folk tales are gems throughout. Highly recommended.
— Faith Hunter
In the ruins of America after WWIII, there is a scrapyard, guarded over by the woman formerly known as Shining Smith. She’s more than she seems, as are most things in the scrapyard, including the cats. Mess with them at your peril, as a biker gang finds out.
Sixteen Ways to Defend A Walled City
— K. J. Parker
The army and the navy are away from the city when the invasion force shows up. Standing between them and the ruin of the city: an engineer, a liar, a crook, and a forger. These all happen to be the same man. Orhan, a milkface who cannot be a citizen in this land, rallies his corps of engineers to the defense. A fascinating look at a siege from the engineers who make all the defenses and the siege weapons, as well as wicked social satire.
— Neil Gaiman
The year is 1602. Steven Strange is physician to the Queen of England; Sir Nicholas Fury is her master of spies. But her hold on the realm is tenuous, and King James of Scotland is poised to take it from her. Gaiman brings together his favorite Marvel ensemble from the comics of his childhood in this paean to the Silver Age. And since this is Gaiman, the plot is engaging and the dialog is as sharp as a tack. See how many Marvel heroes you recognize in 17th century clothes. I’ll wager you miss a few.
You may also enjoy…
— Dayne Edmondson
Aliens have invaded the Milky Way.
Captain Martin and his fleet at the opposite end of our galaxy is all that stands between the emerging ancient aliens and certain destruction of humanity. Even with the help of powerful magic, the alien menace may be too much to overcome.
The Indivisible and the Void
— D. M. Wozniak
Democryos leaves the comfort of his home at the citadel to search for his missing wife in the war-torn countryside… and what he finds may be the key to understanding a much larger mystery. A “beautiful” medieval fantasy with a “propulsive finale” (Kirkus Reviews).
A Change of Rules
— L. L. Thomsen
In a realm on the brink of chaos, one guard must walk a dark path to protect her royal friend from a deadly foe…
Life-shield Solancei considers her and Princess Iambre’s friendship worth dying for, and she is ready. Except for what comes next! Because when danger strikes, it’s from a most unexpected direction.
Betrayal, treason, love, and duty, here begins an unusual epic story with deep character perspectives, immersive world-building, and a lyrical feel – perfect if you are looking for something with a unique twist and prefer long, layered fantasy reads.
(The links to the promotions in our previous newsletter were incorrect. Here are the correct ones.)