Sunday, March 15, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz - Author Top Ten

Hello! Today, we're really excited to be hosting Ferrett Steinmetz, author of Flex, out now from Angry Robot. Ferrett is here to tell us what his Top Ten Fantasy Worlds are, and we love all of his choices.

But before we get to the Top Ten, how about a little more about the book and Ferrett?

About the Book

Title: Flex
Author: Ferrett Steinmetz
Publication Date: March 3, 2015

Synopsis: FLEX: Distilled magic in crystal form. The most dangerous drug in the world. Snort it, and you can create incredible coincidences to live the life of your dreams.

FLUX: The backlash from snorting Flex. The universe hates magic and tries to rebalance the odds; maybe you survive the horrendous accidents the Flex inflicts, maybe you don’t.

PAUL TSABO: The obsessed bureaucromancer who’s turned paperwork into a magical Beast that can rewrite rental agreements, conjure rented cars from nowhere, track down anyone who’s ever filled out a form.

But when all of his formulaic magic can’t save his burned daughter, Paul must enter the dangerous world of Flex dealers to heal her. Except he’s never done this before – and the punishment for brewing Flex is army conscription and a total brain-wipe.

About the Author

Ferrett Steinmetz is a graduate of both the Clarion Writers’ Workshop and Viable Paradise, and has been nominated for the Nebula Award, for which he remains stoked.

Ferrett has a moderately popular blog, The Watchtower of Destruction, wherein he talks about bad puns, relationships, politics, videogames, and more bad puns. He’s written four computer books, including the still-popular-after-two-years Wicked Cool PHP.

He lives in Cleveland with his wife, who he couldn’t imagine living without.

Find Ferrett online at or follow him@ferretthimself on Twitter.

Ferrett's Top 10 Fantasy Worlds

I always have a problem choosing the top fantasy worlds, because I always wonder whether they’d be nice places to live in. Sure, Star Wars is wonderful if you’re a Jedi, but for most of the people everywhere else, it’s a crapsack world to the extreme. So when I think, “What are my Top Ten Worlds?” I fantasize well beyond the book and think about how it’d be moving into this strange and mystical new land.

So what would be the most awesome Fantasy Worlds to Inhabit?

The world of The Belgariad.
Ah, The Belgariad – David Eddings’ starter drug for thousands of fantasy fans everywhere. The world is simple, of course, where every nation has its own distinct personality and everyone living in those nations is kind enough to hew to this national temperament. But it’s a strangely fair land to live in, where anyone can become a magician if they work hard enough at it, and everyone seems to get on well enough with each other so long as the Dark Prophecies aren’t fighting again. It’s a hardscrabble life, where I’d probably be a farmer, but then again nobody worth their salt looks down on farmers here.

Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon.
Is Callahan’s fantasy, when it features a robot from an invading interstellar army trying to drink himself senseless at the bar? Well, it also has an alcoholic semi-leprechaun who siphons the bar clean of spirits, so I’ll say it counts. But what matters most about Callahan’s is that it’s held together by love: the people in have hard and unfair things happen to them, but when life knocks them about, everyone at the bar pitches in to help strangers back up. It’s a lovely place, so delightful that mentioning you’re a fan of Callahan’s is like a secret handshake.

New Crobuzon.
I’m under no illusions that I’d do well in China Mieville’s fantastic city. Nobody does well in New Crobuzon, where all sorts of fantasy races trickle into the messy steampunk industry of technomagical advancements. But it would be exciting, a New York City times a thousand, and if I got knifed in a coffeehouse over some angry political discussion or merely starved to death in an apartment because I couldn’t find work, I’d go with a grin on my face. Because New Crobuzon is the most electrifying city in fiction, and I’d love to see it with my own eyes.

The world of The Dagger and the Coin.
Okay, by the time we get there, the dragons may or may not be coming back to life, and the spider queen may or may not be taking over the land. But in truth, the dragons did a pretty nice job setting up the twelve races before they warred with each other and faded into irrelevance, leaving a nice fallow ground for sentient creatures of all kinds to thrive for many millennia. And sure, maybe a man possessed by spiders in his blood is raising his own magically-charismatic army of cultists, but I’m sure after all that gets hashed out things will settle down quite nicely.

Jo Walton’s The Just City.
This one’s only weeks old, but I can’t stop thinking about it. I like someplace where the Greek Gods are alive, and in fact the primary motivating force of the cosmos. And I like a place where the Gods decide “Hey, Plato had this great thought experiment – why don’t we scoop people out of various locales throughout time and space and see if we can make The Republic work?” Everyone in the Just City is competent and motivated, even if recreating Plato’s ideas turns out to be a little more complex than they thought, especially when the problems with the robots begin. YES, I SAID ROBOTS.

Wink, New Mexico.
Wink is a town that’s 1950s-nice: trimmed lawns, the malt shop, a nice little barber. And in Robert Jackson Bennett’s American Elsewhere, monsters grow in quiet soil. But unlike most horror-towns, where the monsters only invade, in Wink, the monsters long to be like us. They don’t do very well at it. But I hope one day they might learn.

Heaven, from What Dreams May Come.
Richard Matheson is a master of beautiful plotting, and What Dreams May Come offers a compelling idea of the afterlife: a neat little place where our dreams forge our reality, and we are encouraged to blossom in the most beautiful ways. It’s wonderful for those of us who went to Heaven because we had no other choice. Sad for the protagonist because his wife committed suicide, so that’s kinda hellish for her, but… nice for most other people.

The Warrens on Watership Down.
You wouldn’t think that rabbits would make great companions – but when Richard Adams writes them, they are courageous and cunning and so very clever despite not quite understanding the world of man. I could live among the sons and daughters of Hazel quite happily, even though I would have to brave the dangers of a thousand enemies.

It’s an obvious choice. And a popular one. But Terry Pratchett’s world is so large that people have subspecialities of fandom: the Watch. The Witches. Moist von Lipwig. But for me, it’s always DEATH: a being who cares deeply about doing his job right. And it’s one of those all-time great moments in literature when Death stares down the void and asks: "Oh lord, what can the harvest hope for if not for the care of the Reaper Man?"

The truth is, maybe we do live in the world of Narnia, and simply aren’t faithful enough. Certainly Susan hits the skids. But I still have a glimmer of hope every time I open a strange closet door, there will be no back wall, and a heap of snow, and a lamppost quietly gleaming.

So, what fantasy world would YOU want to inhabit? Let us know in the comments!

A huge thanks to Ferrett for stopping by!

--Ashley & Paul

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