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Ken Scholes

Ken Scholes(1968- )
Ken Scholes‘ short fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies including Realms of Fantasy, Polyphony 6, Weird Tales and his first collection, Long Walks, Last Flights and Other Journeys (Fairwood Press). Ken Scholes also has a degree in history and was a winner of the Writers of the Future contest.
Read or listen to some of his short stories at Ken Scholes’ website.


The Whymer Maze from Lamentation to Hymn

Today we welcome Ken Scholes, author of the PSALMS OF ISAAK series, which began with Lamentation and concludes this month with the fifth volume, Hymn. I have enjoyed this series, especially its internal mythology and interesting characters.

One randomly chosen commenter will win a copy of Hymn!

The Whymer Maze from Lamentation to Hymn

I think sometime around Canticle or Antiphon, pe... Read More

Lamentation: A rich story, beautifully told

Lamentation by Ken Scholes

Lamentation is a promising start to a new fantasy (or at least semi-fantasy) series, which is a bit ironic as its own start is a bit bumpy. The story begins with a bang — literally. We're witness to the utter destruction of an entire city — screams, flames, toppling buildings, searing winds, etc. Many novels would end with the scene, but Ken Scholes chooses to make it the starting point of the plot, an original beginning which I liked a lot.

Unfortunately, Scholes seemed to like it a lot as well and so he gave us the same basic scene — the city's destruction — from one viewpoint, then another, then another, then another. Not the details themselves, but the immediate aftermath. At first, I thought it a nice touch — a relatively innovative way to introduce more than a single main character. But the repetition grew a bit annoying. Even worse were the overly-quick-cuts fro... Read More

Canticle: Rising intensity

Canticle by Ken Scholes

Canticle, the follow-up to Ken ScholesLamentation, shares some of the same flaws and strengths as the first novel, including a rough start, but like its predecessor overcomes its flaws to turn into an engrossing, if not action-packed, novel.

Canticle picks up a few months after the events of Lamentation. It’s Scholes’ concerted effort to recap those events that makes the opening somewhat flawed, as much of the exposition feels forced and awkwardly inserted. I think he would have been better served with a simple prologue recap, rather than filtering the events through the conveniently-placed reminiscences of his characters. Luckily, the clumsiness only lasts for a few dozen pages before Scholes deems us sufficiently caught up and lets us move into the new plot.

And t... Read More

Antiphon: Even better than its predecessors

Antiphon by Ken Scholes

PLOT SUMMARY: The ancient past is not dead. The hand of the Wizard Kings still reaches out to challenge the Androfrancine Order, to control the magick and technology that they sought to understand and claim for their own.

Nebios, the boy who watched the destruction of the city of Windwir, now runs the vast deserts of the world, far from his beloved Marsh Queen. He is being hunted by strange women warriors, while his dreams are invaded by warnings from his dead father.

Jin Li Tam, queen of the Ninefold Forest, guards her son as best she can against both murderous threats, and the usurper queen and her evangelists. They bring a message: Jakob is the child of promise of their Gospel, and the Crimson Empress is on her way.

And in hidden places, the remnants of the Androfrancine order formulate their response to the song pouring out of a silver crescent that was found in the wastes.... Read More

Requiem: Moves the story along but in weaker fashion

Requiem by Ken Scholes

Requiem is the fourth book in Ken Scholes PSALMS OF ISAAK series, which while having a few minor issues throughout has mostly been a fresh mix of fantasy and science fiction, filled with intriguing characters and exploring complex issues involving the intersection of religion, technology, and society. Requiem continues that exploration, though in weaker fashion than the prior three novels.

By now, the plot has grown extremely complicated, so I’m not going to offer up much of a plot recap, which should probably clue you in that this is a series that requires reading the books in order. While earlier books had many of the main characters together or at least paired up, in Requiem, Scholes has chosen to separate them, sending several all the way to the moon (and separating even the ones there).

The Gypsy King, Rudolpho, helplessly outnumbered and outplanned... Read More

Hymn: Wraps up the series in solid fashion

Hymn by Ken Scholes

Ken Scholes brings his PSALMS OF ISAAK series to a close with Hymn (2017), a novel that satisfactorily ends the series, even if the novel is perhaps a bit weaker in comparison to its predecessors.

One of the series’ strengths has always been Scholes’ vibrant imagination, and Hymn retains that quality here, building on earlier concepts and adding new ones, which I won’t detail here so as to avoid spoilers. Another positive quality of the series has been its, well, positive quality. By that I mean that while some horrific things happen in this series (and this book) there always remains a sense of optimism and warmth arising from either plot or the characters. Rather than an unremitting catalog of the ills of human nature, Scholes balances pain with joy... Read More

FanLit Asks… About Style (Part 2)

Here's another installment of FanLit Asks. Instead of asking one author several questions, we’ve asked several authors just one question. Please leave a comment or suggest a question for us to ask in the future. We’ll choose one commenter to win a copy of Jack Vance's The Eyes of the Overworld (one of my favorites!) on audio CDs (or, if you've got bad taste, something else from our stacks).

Question: Which speculative fiction writer has had the greatest influence on your own writing style and what, specifically, do you find most inspirational about that writer’s style?

Alex Bell: Definitely Terry Pratchett. His Read More