Curated by Steven Savile
It's Christmas time, and while I might not be about to give you my heart, or tell you there's no reason to be afraid, to whip up some eggnog and deck the halls, I am going to make you an offer you can't refuse, Corleone style.
I wanted to do something a bit different this time. We all know the concept now, good causes, great writing picked out by writers that Jason trusts to curate well balanced and interesting bundles to really offer you something great. So how do you take that one step beyond? I drew on one Christmas from my childhood as inspiration, then conned a bunch of great writers into agreeing with my fiendish scheme. When I was 12 my folks gave me Lord of the Rings buried among all of the fancy toys, the racing tracks and action figures and everything else. They knew I loved to read. Most of the time it was Agaton Sax and The Hardy Boys, but they figured I was old enough to try something special. It worked, but not in the way they expected. I didn't talk to anyone for 3 days straight until I'd finished the entire trilogy. It was the quietest Christmas our house ever saw. I think they were a bit miffed I didn't play with any of my toys, to be honest… anyway, that set me to thinking… how better to celebrate the festive season than by offering you whole new worlds to explore. Not just one book, either, but trilogies. So, where you see vast array images, they're not telling the whole story. You'll notice that some are omnibus editions. What you are really looking at THIRTY books. Let that sink in for a second. Thirty novels, complete trilogies in many cases, pay what you want. Like the old NPR lady said, good times… (at least I'm trusting Mike Doherty on that… I've never seen NPR but he says it during his Mountain Time skit on the live CD I have… so… there's that.)
Normally in the blog I'd offer a lot of personal stories about why I picked each book, but I'm just going to offer a couple this time. First, TM Wright, A Manhattan Ghost Story, The Waiting Room and Spider on my Tongue. Terry was one of the reasons I got into writing. I've been on the B&N blog a couple of years ago when he was taken into hospice care suffering from dementia to talk about the influence he had on me as a young writer. He was kind, insightful, generous and smart. He passed away a couple of weeks ago and I miss him. The money he would have earned from this bundle is going to his widow, Roxane. My greatest fear as a writer is that with death comes the inevitable slide out of the public eye until your works are forgotten. Terry was a unique writer. Stephen King described him as a rare and blazing talent. That says it all for me.
Another book I want to highlight is part of the Spectral Press showcase, Albion Fay, by Mark Morris. Mark won't remember this, but he was one of the first writers I ever met. I got to interview him when he was about 27 and I was maybe 22. The interview lasted six hours and I think I talked for about five of them. It took me two weeks to transcribe the tapes. During the interview I rather embarrassingly described the entire plot of the novel I was working on. I don't do many interviews now… wonder why? Ahem. Mark was incredibly generous with his time, and his encouragement for this new kid on the block, and that's been a long running story of our friendship. He was instrumental in saving my Sherlock Holmes novel when the original publisher who'd requested the pitch offered and then refused to sign the contract, making the introductions for me with my current editor at Titan, who went on to commission an original crime novel from me, which I just so happened to finish today… we've been head to head on a couple of awards, and I can't think of a better writer to be in that company with. I've been a fan since I read TOADY, a huge sprawling phantasmagoria of a novel akin to Clive Barker's Weaveworld in imagination and scope, but it wasn't until The Secret of Anatomy that he truly blew me away and made me a fan for life. With anything Mark writes you're going to have a good time.
There's Craig Shaw Gardner's Ebernezum books, which were pretty much there at the founding of the comic fantasy boom right as Terry Pratchett was changing the way us Brits saw the genre. I can remember my friend at the time, Stephen Morgan, had gone to Timeslip – which was this wonderful old portacabin in Newcastle that got the rarest of things, import books and comics from the US – and come home with the first book in the series. We sat on his bed and he read out passages from the book, having me and his brother Andrew in hysterics. Those, to quote Brian Adams and throw more songs into the mix, were some of the best days of my life.
Kevin J Anderson is like my big brother in this game, we've written together, actually won an award together, and there's no one I'd rather sit and talk books, films and most especially music with. He was my judge when I won Writers of the Future, which pretty much got this whole thing started, and actually set fire to my story (he claims to stay alive) … so the chance to offer up his and Rebecca's wonderful Crystal Doors trilogy, which has never been in a bundle despite Kevin's regular showing, was too good to pass up. Rebecca's a wonderful writer in her own right, and together, they produce something that I think neither would have done alone.
I've tried all the way through my selections to offer up a great balance of SF, F and H, almost like three bundles within the bigger bundle. There truly is something for everyone in here.
I love every book in this set, I've spent the last couple of weeks discovering just how good David Butler is—you're going to love Rock Band Fights Evil—and rediscovering Jody Lynn Nye's wonderful Mythology 101 series. Melissa Scott is one of those SF authors who is so good I find myself tongue-tied. And then there's Autumn Kalqvist, a new friend from this new world of independent publishing who is right up with the best of them forging new ways to reach readers and tell wondrous stories (okay, yes that was a YES reference) and of course, I had to break my own conceit and have three books from Spectral, one of the coolest boutique presses in the UK. With the book of horror you're getting Newspaper Heart among a lot of other great stories. Stephen Volk won the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story for that piece. You're also getting Leytonstone, a companion piece to his phenomenal Whitestable, which isn't just the best story I read last year but one of the best stories I've ever read. You might not be familiar with the name, but Steve's the genius behind the entire found footage phenomenon, having created a now legendary show for the BBC called Ghost Watch… where they appeared to kill one of the presenters live on tv. If you encounter a ghost called Pipes… be afraid… and last but not least there's Brad Beaulieu who is deservedly one of the hottest names in fantasy right now. We've got his entire first trilogy here. It seriously doesn't get better. – Steven Savile
So, there you have it… not ten great books, but more like ten great authors, and thirty great books.
The initial titles—all 12 of them!—in the New Worlds Bundle (minimum $7 to purchase) are:
If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you get all twelve of the regular titles, plus eighteen more:
The bundle is available for a very limited time only, via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!
It's also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.
Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.
StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.