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Greg Van-Eekhout

Greg Van EekhoutGreg van Eekhout wrote approximately 2 dozen science fiction and fantasy short stories before publishing his first novel, Norse Code. Mr van Eekhout lives in San Diego. Here’s his website.


Greg van Eekhout visits Copperfield’s Books

Greg van Eekhout’s California Bones generated a lot of excitement when it came out last year. Now that the sequel, Pacific Fire, is out, Van Eekhout is doing a “mini book tour.” He stopped in Petaluma, California, at Copperfield’s Books, to talk with horror editor Ross E. Lockhart about the trilogy, writing for adults versus middle graders, his love of the band Rush and his opinion about the need for a Black Widow movie. I was in the audience and made a few notes from their dialogue. I also picked up a couple of signed books to give away to one of our readers. Comment on this post to be entered to win a signed copy of both California Bones and Pacific Fire.

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Greg Van Eekhout talks about OSTEOMANCY

Greg Van Eekhout has written middle grade novels like Kid vs Squid, adult SF (The Norse Code) and his well-known OSTEOMANCY trilogy, set in a magical California, where sorcerers absorb the magic of mythical creatures by eating their bones. Against this backdrop, Daniel Blackland struggles to survive, and maintain his created family. The final book in the trilogy, Dragon Coast, is out now. Greg chatted with me about magic, families, tacos and the awesome power of the avocado. One commenter with a USA or Canadian address will win a copy of Dragon Coast.

Marion Deeds: What are... Read More

Four Quick Questions for Greg Van Eekhout

Greg Van Eekhout

Greg Van Eekhout is known here on the site mostly for his DANIEL BLACKLAND series, beginning with California Bones (here are our reviews), but he also writes middle-grade fantasy/science fiction, and adult urban fantasy. Greg lives in Southern California. He’s a very busy guy, but in between all his tasks and attending the Phoenix ComiCon he set aside some time for a few quick questions from us.  Thanks, Greg!

One random commenter in the USA will win a copy of California Bones.

Marion Deeds: You have been working on a comic set in the California Bones universe. Please tell us everything you think is... Read More

Norse Code: Greg van Eekhout’s debut is impressive!

Norse Code by Greg van Eekhout

Stop. Look closely. Look beyond the typically stylish urban fantasy cover (the one with the nicely built young woman holding her weapon of choice with an air of defiant competence). Look beyond the title that's both serious and punny. Inside, through pages inked with the shadows of ravens, you'll watch the long-foretold cataclysm of Ragnarok as it rolls in a relentless wave from the dry, gray plains of Hel to... the dry, black asphalt of a California parking lot. And if you're partial to Norse mythology or urban tales driven by fascinating characters and laser-crisp writing, you'll enjoy it. Verily, by Thor's hammer!

The product description/back cover summary nicely provides the premise for this novel, the debut of the gifted Greg van Eekhout. Not only has he forged ancient myth and modern culture into a cool, sleek alloy, he's done so with drama, conspiracy, humor, and (I ne... Read More

Kid vs. Squid: Solid children’s fantasy

Kid vs. Squid by Greg van Eekhout

Kid vs. Squid, by Greg van Eekhout, is definitely a children’s fantasy. It comes in at a slim sub-200 pages (with pretty good-sized print) and doesn’t take much time with detailed description, rich character development, or intricate plotting. That isn’t a complaint; it’s just to say that Kid vs. Squid knows who its audience is, and while it won’t dumb things down or talk down to its readers, it also won’t stretch them. Keeping to relatively humble standards of that sort, it succeeds pretty solidly.

Middle-school age Thatcher has been sent to his Uncle Griswald’s in Las Huesas, California for the summer. The beach town is oddly empty of beach-goers and Uncle Griswald lives in a tiny “museum” filled with shrunken heads, ships in bottles, strangely shaped bodies, and a “What-is-it” box he isn’t supposed to l... Read More

The Boy at the End of the World: Fast, simple, engaging

The Boy at the End of the World by Greg van Eekhout

The Boy at the End of the World is a new children's fantasy by Greg van Eekhout, author of Kid vs. Squid. Like his first children's book, The Boy at the End of the World is aimed squarely at the 9-12 age group. In that vein, it speeds quickly along a pretty straightforward plotline, with few twists or diversions into details of setting or character. Its likable, if a bit pallid, main character is enlivened by his more interesting (and funny) companions, making it a mostly engaging if somewhat simplistic read.

The book opens with a bang, literally, as the boy — Fisher — awakens in the pod he’s been grown in. The pod is inside an Ark, built to hold the last humans as well as other species, until the Earth has healed enough from its mostly-human-caused deprivations to support life ag... Read More

California Bones: A fun fantasy caper with inventive magic

California Bones by Greg van Eekhout

Daniel Blackland has been raised to be a magician from at least the time he was six years old and found a kraken spine on Santa Monica Beach. He inherited his propensity to osteomancy — bone magic — from his father, a powerful magician who has made his share of enemies. More than that, he was trained, shaped and molded by his father, who wants to make him strong enough to withstand the schemes of his enemies, regardless of how that hill hurt him, physically and emotionally. But his father never had the time to train Daniel properly. In his adulthood, therefore, Daniel has turned into a petty thief — an accomplished, uncannily talented petty thief, but a thief nonetheless. He has stuck to small crimes out of choice, not because he is incapable of grand heists. Unfortunately, his crime boss Uncle Otis isn’t content to see Daniel allow his magic to go to waste. He has demanded that Daniel carry out a se... Read More

Pacific Fire: A strand of moral ambiguity makes this sequel stand out

Pacific Fire by Greg van Eekhout

(Our reviews may contain spoilers for the previous novel, California Bones.)

Pacific Fire is the second book in Greg van Eekhout’s OSTEOMANCY series. The first one, California Bones, was the story of Daniel Blackland, son of a powerful osteomancer in a magical southern California. If California Bones charted the fate of Daniel, Pacific Fire belongs almost entirely to Sam, Daniel’s foster son.

At the end of California Bones, Daniel met Sam, who was then about six years old. Ten years have passed, and Daniel and Sam have led an on-the-run existence. Meanwhile, in the magic Kingdom of Los Angeles, (Yes, I did write “magic kingdom” on purpose), ace bureaucrat and wat... Read More

Dragon Coast: Family, friendships and conflicts converge in a satisfying conclusion

Dragon Coast by Greg Van Eekhout

Daniel Blackland, the most powerful osteomancer in the Southern Kingdom, will go to any length to rescue his adopted son, Sam. Sam’s essence is inhabiting a huge dragon, a Pacific firedrake that is wreaking fiery devastation on huge swathes of Los Angeles. To extract Sam’s essence, Daniel needs an artifact, and he and his friend Moth will attempt a high-risk impersonation in the warlike Northern Kingdom next door.

Gabriel Argent is the Water Mage of the Southern Kingdom. He, along with his human “hound” Max, reluctantly agree to help Daniel. Gabriel is methodical, a bureaucrat at heart, and he has a different plan for the firedrake, one based on the calculus of the greatest good for the greatest number... by Gabriel’s reckoning, anyway.

Sam, trapped inside a ravening dragon, tries to control it, to steer it from an imaginary “cockpit” made of bone, but he’s only parti... Read More

Voyage of the Dogs: A book for dog lovers of all ages

Voyage of the Dogs by Greg van Eekhout

Voyage of the Dogs (2018) by Greg van Eekhout is a middle-grade science fiction book. Young readers will certainly enjoy this action-packed book with dog main characters. Adult dog lovers can enjoy it too.

Lopside is part of a team of “Barkonauts,” specially trained uplifted dogs who are part of the first interstellar space voyage. The Laika is aimed at a planet nicknamed Stepping Stone. Along with the human crew, embryos of cattle and sheep, and fertilized chicken eggs, four dogs comprise the manifest of the ship. As he fulfills his other duties, Lopside searches the starship every day for rats, because he is part terrier. He never finds any, but he is diligent. Lopside feels a little uncomfortable among the other three dogs, all of whom are purebreds. Bug is a c... Read More

Cog: Many elements gave me pause

Cog by Greg Van Eekhout

Cog (2019), a nominee for the Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction, is the story of a robot who was built to learn. Mentally and, by all appearances, the titular character (Cog) is a 12-year-old boy whose function is to be a learning artificial intelligence. When he discovers that the best way to learn is to make mistakes, he resolves to make lots of mistakes — a decision which kicks off the narrative arc of the story.

Cog has an underdog main character, key themes of friendship and found family, and a quick pace. These middle grade/young adult mainstay themes make the more experimental parts of the narrative stand out, but not in a good way. The first plot point that gave me pause occurred early in the story, when Cog was taken to a grocery store for the first time and he has what is essentially an anxiety or panic attack. ... Read More

Magazine Monday: Clarkesworld, February 2015

The February 2015 issue of Clarkesworld Magazine opens with “The Last Surviving Gondola Widow” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. The first person narrator of the story is a woman living in Chicago who works as a Pinkerton (that is, a detective employed by the Pinkerton Agency, established in 1850 as one of the first such agencies) who was on Michigan Avenue the day the Gondolas came in from the South to rain hell down on the city. Now it appears that the widow of one of the Gondolas — for that’s how the engineers who piloted them were named, as the Gondolas would respond to the voice and touch of their own engineer like living beings — is not only still living in Illinois, but holds a position of prominence. The story is a steampunk adventure that includes a sort of engineering magic combined with a feminist sensibility. I found th... Read More

Paper Cities: Diverse anthology

Paper Cities by Ekaterina Sedia

Bring up urban fantasy nowadays and most readers will probably assume that you’re talking about such authors as Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, Sherrilyn Kenyon and so on, but in this new anthology from Senses Five Press, which is edited by Ekaterina Sedia, Paper Cities reveals that Urba... Read More