Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Gerald Brandt

Gerald Brandt is an international bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. He is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. His latest book is The Operative – A San Angles Novel. Brandt's first novel, The Courier, also in the San Angeles series, was listed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as one of the 10 Canadian science fiction books you need to read.

Recently I asked Brandt about what he was reading. His reply:
Reading has been such a precious commodity lately. I manage to get a few minutes in before bedtime most days, but a long block of time is rare.

Of the few books that I've managed to read this year, Jason Hough's Zero World is one of the ones that got a good chunk of time. Published by Del Rey in 2015, this novel is a fast paced science fiction thriller that grabs on to you right at the beginning and drags you along for a hell of a ride. To me, it felt like John Wick meets Jason Bourne meets alternate world.

The main character is an assassin who works for a corporation. He basically does what he's told when he's told to do it. The twist is that he has an implant that gets activated just before he takes on an assignment. When he's done the job, his memory is rewound to the point in time the implant was activated, essentially letting him forget all the nasty things he's done. Throw in the fact that he has a conscience and and you get a great lead character. Then couple him with a kick ass female lead that isn't just a story device, and you have something I want to read.

I'm hoping this is a series, and I get to have another adventure with these two.

Another favorite that I read this year is The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. I wouldn't have picked this book up at all, except for a solid recommendation from a bookstore in Toronto called Bakka Phoenix Books. I'd just finished a reading there and was wandering the shelves when the manager pulled it out for me. I have to admit I'm behind the gate on this one: it came out in 2014 from Tor.

The story follows a half-goblin who is the exiled youngest son of the Emperor. When the entire royal lineage is wiped out, the exiled son is brought in to rule the kingdom. I found some of the character's names hard to follow at first, but it quickly didn't matter. The world building in the novel is exquisite. There is nothing in the book that hits you over the head as world building, instead it's all woven into the fabric of the story itself. All the details of the society and people that inhabit the world are detailed, yet subtle. Very well done.

The last book I want to bring up is another old one: Black Bottle Man by Craig Russell. I first read this one in 2010 when it came out from Great Plains Publications, a small press from my home province of Manitoba. When I heard Mr. Russell was coming out with another novel this year, I went back and reread this one. For someone that doesn't get much reading time, that says a lot.

I read this one at the beginning of the year, and what I remember most about it is the tone. The author has a grasp of the English language that I can only dream of. To me, this one was like listening to music. The nuances this author has in word choice and sentence structure is a beautiful thing. And to top it off, it's an excellent story. His next novel, Fragment from Thistledown Press, is on the top of me to-be-read pile.
Visit Gerald Brandt's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Operative.

--Marshal Zeringue