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Justin Allen

Justin Allen fantasy authorJustin Allen was born in 1974 in Boise, Idaho. He grad­u­ated from Boise State Uni­ver­sity with a degree in phi­los­o­phy, and from Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity with an MFA in fic­tion. Besides writing fiction, Justin is also an active dancer, hav­ing per­formed with such com­pa­nies as Dances Patrelle, Eidolon Bal­let, and Idaho Dance The­atre. In 2009, his work in writ­ing and dance came together in the form of a new bal­let, “Mur­der at the Masque: The Case­book of Edgar Allan Poe,” with chore­og­ra­phy by Fran­cis Patrelle, music by Patrick Soluri, and all based upon an orig­i­nal story by Justin Allen. For 2010 he has been com­mis­sioned to pro­duce a sec­ond story for bal­let, this time for Eidolon Bal­let, to be called “The Beat­i­tudes,” which will be chore­o­graphed by Melanie Cortier. Justin’s wife is a social worker. Learn more at Justin Allen’s website.


Slaves of the Shinar: A good historical fiction

Slaves of the Shinar by Justin Allen

This is the debut novel for Justin Allen, and its whole title is Slaves of the Shinar: An Epic Fantasy of the Ancient World. The title is misleading, because I am of the solid opinion that this book is not fantasy, but is rather historical fiction, and pretty good historical fiction at that. Perhaps it is classed as fantasy by the publisher because of the creative manner in which Allen sets his story in very early (I assume pre-Hammurabi) Mesopotamia, at the pre-dawn of civilization.

It is an interesting story of people uniting against a common foe, but by being set in an ancient, bronze age (probably copper age, actually) era, it is very different from what most fantasy fare offers.
I usually read the typical medieval fantasy, and this was a really nice change. However, I believe it should be marketed as an historical novel, not a fantasy. The only fantastic e... Read More

Year of the Horse: Humorous mix of historical western and fantasy

Year of the Horse by Justin Allen

Justin Allen’s Year of the Horse is one of the more original fantasy amalgamations I’ve come across — a mix of fantasy, historical western, and coming-of-age boys’ adventure tale peppered with some Devil and Daniel Webster / Washington Irving / Mark Twain / Zane Grey, and topped off by a heaping of multi-culturalism. Does it all work? Not in all places, but certainly often enough to keep the reader enjoyably engaged.

The story is told from the perspective of Yen-Tzu-lu (mostly known as Lu), a young Chinese boy living in his Grandfather K’Ung’s store in Chinatown St. Frances with his mother and alchemist grandfather. Into the store walks the famous and mysterious gunslinger Jack Straw, who shockingly seems to know Lu’s grandfather. Next thing he knows, Lu is the “explosives expert” of a team led by Jack and including Chino (a pistol-toting Californian/Me... Read More