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Chris Willrich

Chris WillrichChris Willrich (Mountain View, CA) is a science fiction and fantasy writer best known for his sword-and-sorcery tales of Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone. Until recently he was a children’s librarian for the Santa Clara County Library System, in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work has appeared in Asimov’s, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Black Gate, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Flashing Swords, The Mythic Circle, and Strange Horizons.

Marion talks to Chris Willrich

Chris Willrich is a novel and short story writer. His most recent book, The Chart of Tomorrows, completes the GAUNT AND BONE fantasy trilogy (here are my reviews). Recently, Chris took time to talk to me about writing, poetry, and being a librarian.

I've got a copy of The Chart of Tomorrows to send to one commenter with a U.S. address.

Marion Deeds: The GAUNT AND BONE series started, with The Scroll of Years, in a land very much like our China. In The Silk Map you introduced a nomadic people similar to the Mongols, who use hot-air balloons. In The Chart of Tomorrows, we have magic based on Scandinavian folklore… and even a bit of Celtic influence, I think. Do you just love folklore? I guess the more seri... Read More

The Scroll of Years: A lovely gift to give yourself

The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich

In The Scroll of Years, Chris Willrich’s short story characters, Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone make the jump to their first novel. Gaunt, who comes from one of the city of Palmary’s “better” families, is a rebellious poet, and Bone is a thief. They are lovers, and as the book opens they are expecting their first child. In their time together, Bone has taught Gaunt quite a bit about fighting, fleeing and breaking and entering; Gaunt has help Bone develop his gift for language.

These two will need all their skills to escape their current predicament. The Night Auditors, supernatural assassins, are pursuing them, sent by the kleptomancers of Palmary. Gaunt and Bone flee to the continent of Qiangguo. Before the adventure ends, they will face dragons, thieves, soldiers, magical scrolls and a pair of fighters who would be right at home in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
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The Silk Map: Vivid world-building and pretty decent poetry

The Silk Map by Chris Willrich

The Silk Map is Chris Willrich’s second adventure in the GAUNT AND BONE series. The poet and the thief, along with their bandit friend Snow Pine, are searching for their lost children, and this book takes them on a quest along an ancient trade route where they confront wonders, demons and their own fears.

Willrich has created a world based on ancient China, and the Spice Braid route that Gaunt and Bone follow is patterned on the Silk Road. Along this road, poet Persimmon Gaunt and her thief husband Imago Bone encounter enemy soldiers, greedy gate-keepers, undead Charwalkers, dragon horses, a mad monk and an incarnation of the Monkey God.

All the things that I loved about the first book The Scroll of Years show up again in The Silk Map. I love the world Willrich has invented. The dialogue an... Read More

The Chart of Tomorrows: Willrich expands his fantasy world

The Chart of Tomorrows by Chris Willrich

The Chart of Tomorrows is the third book in Chris Willrich’s GAUNT AND BONE series. Book One, The Scroll of Years, began with Persimmon Gaunt, a rebellious poet, and Imago Bone, her thief husband, leaving a place that looked a little bit like the cities of classical European antiquity, and having adventures in a land like China. In the second book, Willrich expanded his mythology further, including a people of the steppes, the Karvaks, modeled on the Mongols. Along the way, Willrich mixes conventional folklore with his own magical systems. In The Chart of Tomorrows, he’s turned to the north, introducing northern European folklore, in a story filled with trolls, cow-maidens, battle-axes and runes.
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Magazine Monday: Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2012

The best story in the May/June issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction is the novella, “”Maze of Shadows” by Fred Chappell. And isn’t it lovely that a man who has won numerous literary prizes, is known for his poetry and essays, and was the poet laureate of North Carolina, is writing fantasy? And writing it beautifully, as well. The novella is one of his series about Falco, who is training to become a shadow master under the tutelage of Maestro Astolfo. A shadow master is one who works with shadows belonging to people and animals to create traps for the eyes, to harm and to help. The commission at issue in this story is one received from a baron, who wishes to have a chateau booby-trapped to protect his most precious possession. Falco does not know what this treasure is, but he creates a masterpiece of misdirection, one certain to lead any thief to his certain death. But a blind man easily defeats the maze, returning with Astolfo’s te... Read More

Magazine Monday: Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November/December 2012

The November/December 2012 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction is a mixed bag. Some of the fiction is excellent; some is not.

The best story in this issue is Naomi Kritzer’s “High Stakes,” a novelette that is a sequel to “Liberty’s Daughter” from the May/June 2012 issue (about which I said that I hoped there would be sequels). The setting for the story is a fictional, near future group of platforms and decommissioned cruise ships and other floating flat places in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that serve as home for several groups who found existing governments distasteful. The narrator, Rebecca, is a high-schooler whose father has a position of importance, though we never learn exactly what it is. We do know that he is highly invested in keeping things as they are on the seasteads, and that includes bonded labor — indenture... Read More