Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Books: Hard Magic: Book I of the Grimnoir Chronicles

Ed here: I read this in two sittings and had a ball. This is crossover fiction at its best. If you're looking for a good time, this is it. Larry Correia really keeps you turning the pages.

Hard Magic: Book I of the Grimnoir Chronicles

Jake Sullivan is a war hero, a private eye-and an ex-con. He's free because he has a magical talent, being able to alter the force of gravity in himself and objects in his vicinity, and the Bureau of Investigation calls on him when they need his help in apprehending criminals with their own magical talents. But the last operation he was sent along to help with went completely wrong, and Delilah Jones, the woman the G-men were after, who just happened to be an old friend of Jake's in happier times, had a lot of magical muscle with her, too much muscle for the cops to handle, even with Jake's help.

It got worse. Jake found out that the Feds had lied to him about Delilah being a murderer as well as a bank robber, and they had lied about this being his last job for them-he was too valuable for them to let him go. And things were even worse than Jake imagined. There was a secret war being waged by opposing forces of magic-users, and Jake had no idea that he had just attracted the attention of one side, whose ruthless leaders were of the opinion that Jake was far too dangerous to be permitted to live...

From Larry Correia:

The Grimnoir Chronicles started out of spite. I know that sounds like an odd
motivator to write a book, but I was a panelist at Life, The Universe, &
Everything. Which is a speculative fiction convention at BYU. I was on a panel
with three other authors that are well known names in fantasy. At the time I
was having a lot of success with my first novel, Monster Hunter International,
which is a sort of urban fantasy, X-Files meets the Expendables, homage to all
B-movies. At one point a student had a writing question. I thought I had a good
answer, but when I started to respond he cut me off. “You’re just a contemporary
fantasy author. I want to hear what the epic fantasy authors have to say.” And
he said it like contemporary was a slur. So I got kind of indignant, and said to
myself, Nobody tells Larry Correia what genre he’s in!”

So on a lark, I set out to write something that fit the tropes of epic fantasy.
Big world, lots of complex world building, complicated magic system, tons of
characters, that kind of thing. But I didn’t want to do just another elves and
orcs, swords and magic dragons, type thing. I wanted to do something different…
During a brain storming session I noticed that my son was reading an issue of
Noir Spiderman, and that got me remembering all of the pulp novels I grew up on
(I read a lot of Raymond Chandler as a kid). There’s just something neat about
that whole, gritty, hard-boiled, type world that is fun to read about. So I
decided to write an epic fantasy, set in a world based on the 1920s-30s.

So the epic fantasy turned into an alternative history. Sort of. Then I made a
list of all of the things that I thought would be fun to write about in that
setting. (I’ve got a reputation as an action writer, so there was going to be
plenty of that) I brushed up on my history of 1900-1940 and had fun with the
What Ifs. (I am a huge history geek) I came up with a magic system that was
detailed, complex, and had some pretty firm rules. Which worked out to feeling a
bit like super heroes upon execution, so now it was a hard boiled/epic
fantasy/adventure/alternative history/super hero novel. Yeah, try pitching that
to your editor.

The Grimnoir world diverged from ours in the 1850s,when magical abilities began
to randomly appear amongst the populace. Fast forward to the 1930s, and about
one in a hundred people have some sort of ability, with one in a thousand having
access to some pretty impressive powers. The story of Hard Magic is about the
members of a secret society of magic users (led by Blackjack Pershing) trying to
keep a Tesla super weapon from falling into the hands of Imperial Japan.
It came out really good. I’ll be honest, I’m very proud of this one.

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