Posts Tagged ‘Lilley Press’

Lilley Press has now officially closed it doors. None of the links I provided to purchase the books I reviewed work anymore.

I will be removing them. However, I intend to read The Still Life of Hannah Morgan by Lora Deeprose and review it.

Hopefully, all the authors find another publisher.


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Reviewers always seem to be the last to know.

It is with great sadness that I tell you that Lilley Press, the publisher of Steel Traveler of Urth and Beyond the Wizard’s Threshold, is closing its doors.  I had wondered  what was going on at Lilley Press, when I had heard that  Foresight by Sherry D. Ficklin was no longer being published.

The announcement was made Nov 21 2009 on their blog.

I wish everyone who worked and wrote for Lilley Press all the best. May every author and editor find a publisher. It was a joy for this reviewer to find a small publisher that focused on my favourite genres.

Lilley Press, you will be missed.

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Steel Traveler of Urth
Lilley Press
August 2009
Saul Al. Roberts

Steel Traveler of Urth follows post-apocalyptic archaeologist, Jason Father, on a dangerous expedition to the treacherous and brutal Wastes to collect a rare piece of forgotten technology. I assure you, my darling readers, this is not your stereotypical pith helmet and boring old archaeologist.* Jason Father is your silent, Lara Croft ass kicking, sexy, tomb raiding kind of archaeologist. Yes, sexy. Saul Al. Roberts does not disappoint, but delivers an action packed adventure and a steamy made-me-blush sex scene. On his journey, Jason is eventually accompanied by Reggie, a down to earth renegade anthropomorphous spider and Leane, a feisty mutant sex slave with a tail.

The wastes are desolate and at constant threat of a travelling persistent and deadly taint, a remnant of the old world. Even the most innocent appearing plants and creatures are corrupt and seeded with madness. In Urth, the hierarchy of power has dramatically shifted from humans to insects. Humans are victims of slavery, they work to get out of the wastes and into Urthian dream of owning a small farm and no longer being owned. Humans and mutants (and the odd insect) a like, are subjected to cruel punishments and technological experiments at the hands of their insect owners, resulting in their complete transformation into re-programmed cyborg creatures or unintentional magical monsters at the mercy of their owner.

Despite my love of science fiction movies and televisions shows, I’ve had a strong aversion to sci-fi literature. Bad experiences with poorly written sci-fi had left me thinking that sci-fi must include a monumental glossary of invented terms and irrelevant and tedious technological detail. Steel Traveler of Urth revolutionized my world for sci-fi novels. It was an incredible surprise to this disgruntled sci-fi fan that I could once again curl up with a good sci-fi novel. Roberts quickly sucked me into his world and I did not put the novel down until I reached the very end. There are no narrative lulls, nary a superfluous or tedious detail, only an riveting adventure.

Roberts picks his battles for creative invention. Roberts avoids strenuous and tedious details, but at the same time manages to create a world that is technologically and visually different from our world. Roberts’ new terms for races and measures of time are intuitive and easily remembered. My favourite inventions are the proverbs for the different insect races such as “Never believe an opponent dead until you’ve severed his head!” I was pleased that Roberts did not try to overly humanize the insect characters, each still prescribing to their insect culture and mating habits.

Steel Traveler of Urth is what I want a good paperback to be; adventurous, daring, occasionally humourous, a touch of romance and well scripted action. The cover is, admittedly, off putting. However, like the old bipedal proverb says: ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’

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Hello Hello,

Sadly my day job and putting the finishing touches on my MA thesis have been keeping me from updating my blog.

This situation will be remedied, because I miss having a place to write that is not an overly academic setting.

A couple of  things on the blog will be changing.  The New Age section has been renamed Skepticism. Despite all of my Occult knowledge, I always seem to write articles to debunk or simply clear up misconceptions about the Occult.  Other sections might be merged to help simplify the structure of the blog.

I finished reading Steel Traveler of Urth by Saul Al. Roberts, published by Lilley press. A review will be coming within the next couple of days. Honestly, I was really and pleasantly surprised by this sci-fi novel.  I literally gobbled it up and look forward to telling you why. I was surprised by Steel Traveler of Urth, since I find that a lot of sci-fi can be dry and bogged down in overly technological description rather than good storytelling.  I’ll argue my case as to why we should read Steel Traveler of Urth more eloquently in my review.

Also, a long over due review of Aganetha Dyck’s exhibition at the Michael Gibson Gallery will be up shortly.

As well as a review of Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, her long awaited second novel. I’m curious to see if she still has that bad habit of building up idea and then completely forgetting about them. Like the car crash in The Time Traveler’s Wife, a lot of time was spent describing Henry’s obsession with it and then that idea simply vanished. A bit like an essay, in that sense.  I did very much enjoy The Time Traveler’s Wife and suggested it to a lot people, but I found the dead ends or dead sub-narratives to be rather odd.

I am looking forward to getting back to reading the stack of fiction beside my bed and visiting galleries.

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threshold-titledLucky’s World: Beyond the Wizard’s Threshold

by Loretta Sylvestre

Lilley Press


Reviewed by Diana Poulsen

Beyond the Wizard’s Threshold is a contemporary-fantasy novel set in Sylvestre’s version of Earth and the fictional world of Ertha.  The novel gradually gains momentum and accelerates to break-neck speed as the book draws to a conclusion. Beyond the Wizard’s Threshold centres around the wizard Thurlock, his servant Han, and the young amnesiac Lucky.  When Lucky was eleven years old he awoke in a strange ravine, remembering only his first name and nothing of where he came or his identity.  Now fourteen years old Lucky finds himself scraping by,  when he is approached by old man named Thurlock and his servant Han who are not from Earth. Lucky, Thurlock and Han are in a race against time to help Lucky recover his memories and discover who he truly is meant to become. The three are  always under the constant threat of a looming evil and the rash decisions of a homeless teen.

Sylvestre writes in exceptional detail making much of the action in the novel vivid, as though it was a fully blocked and storyboarded film script.  Her writing style is so detailed you know how these characters would sound if they were to talk aloud. She leaves enough to the imagination to allow for the reader to imagine their own variation of the characters, but the reader will have a powerful awareness of how the characters and monsters act. As well as an ethereal description of the powerful and at times eerily cold magic. Sylvestre’s writing also combines unusual ideas such as wizards using public transit or driving a Ford Crown Victoria. This mix of magic and technology is blended seamlessly within the chaotic battle scenes and the normalcy of breakfast.

Sylvestre makes references to Harry Potter and Star Wars, however I think as the series progresses many of these references will be shed into background. In her defence, it’s a difficult feat to write a story with a powerful young boy and an old wizard as main characters and not automatically remind the reader of Harry Potter and Dumbledore.  Also, Thurlock’s temporary use of an umbrella as a magical apparatus does not help shake the initial similarities.  However, the umbrella  is where the similarities end.  Lucky and Thurlock are not  the typical boy and wizard duo. Lucky is at times very resistant to his destiny and Thurlock tends to be more of scholar rather than a loving grandfather figure. Lucky, unlike other fictional magical boys, is sceptical of the other characters’ intentions toward him and forces the other characters work to earn his trust. Lucky chooses to run away in sheer disbelief and denial of his importance. Many readers may be initially annoyed with Lucky’s inability to trust. Conversely, to me, there’s nothing more annoying than a character who accepts everything and questions nothing. I found Lucky’s sceptical nature made him believable, since he reacts and acts like a fourteen year old on the run.

Beyond the Wizard’s Threshold is the beginning of a larger story that I hope will be developed in further books. Sylvestre introduces a variety of  quirky and dynamic secondary characters, L’Aria and Lemon Martinez come to mind, that I hope will be elaborated upon.  Slowly as Lucky’s past is revealed many details and mysteries are introduced, but few are fully resolved and other larger looming questions remain.  Sylvestre on the last page, at the very last sentence leaves us with a cliff hanger, enticing us to patiently await the next book.

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Starting today I have become a book reviewer for London Ontario’s Lilley Press.

Lilley Press is a small press devoted to: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy (Magic Realism, Cyberpunk, Urban Fantasy etc.), Science Fiction, Horror, Mainstream (Contemporary)Fiction, Historical Fiction  and Young Adult.

I am very excited about this opportunity.

I will have a review posted of Lucky’s WorldsBeyond the Wizard’s Threshold by Loretta Sylvestre in the next few days.

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