UK April Releases by John Berlyne
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This Easter weekend sees one of the major conventions in the UK science fiction calender. Paragon (aka Eastercon 2001) this year takes place in Hinkley, bang in the heart of the English midlands. Assuming attendees will not be deterred by the foot and mouth problems currently rife over here (it isn't as bad as the media is making out - honest!) there promises to be a roll call of some of the best talent currently writing in the British Isles. Amongst those expected to attend over the four days are Michael Scott Rohan and  Stephen Baxter - both guests of honour, - authors Jon Courtenay Grimwood, China Mieville, Neal Asher, Graham Joyce, Ben Jeapes,  John Clute, John Meaney, Justina Robson and newcomer Millar Lau - editors Simon Spanton, Peter Levery, Jo Fletcher and John Jarrold and the noted critic/author and all-round sci-fi sage David Langford. Oh - I'll be there too! I hope to bring you some gossip and photos from the con in next month's column.

Onto the April releases. There is a nice mix of stuff this month with some notable title hitting the shelves. I've reviewed Jon Courtenay Grimwood's new book Pashazade which isn't officially out from Earthlight until May. However browsing London's Forbidden Planet store [71 New Oxford Street, WC1] this afternoon I saw some signed copies on their shelves that have clearly been released early, so I guess it's fair to mention it here. A hard cover priced at 12.99, ISBN 0-7432-0284-8. Earthlight also release two Harry Turtledove reprints - Darkness Descending, a mass market paperback sequel to the best-selling Into the Darkness - priced at 5.99, ISBN 0-671-033-050 and Through the Darkness a further title in this series, this time released as a trade paperback priced at 9.99, ISBN 0-684-860-07. Eugene Byrne, a writer fast gathering quite a reputation has a new paperback from Earthlight this month. Things Unborn is an alternate history/future novel taking place in a world where Russia and the US went nuclear with each other over Cuba in the 60's and where in a Britain of 2008, protestants and catholics are locked in a struggle for power. Priced at 6.99 with an ISBN 0-743-409-116, this looks to be one to watch. The final Earthlight release this April is a debut fantasy novel by Scottish author Millar Lau. Hailed as "A startlingly good fantasy ..."  & "... a stunning debut novel" by none other than David Gemmel, Talisker is Book One of The Last Clansman. A Paperback at 6.99, ISBN 0-7434-0893-4.

My other review this month is of a hugely enjoyable pirate yarn released by Orbit. Corsair by Chris Bunch is published in trade paperback at 10.99, ISBN 1-84149-034-2. Bunch made a rare trip to the UK at the beginning of the month and did the rounds - signed copies of Corsair are currently available in Foyle's on London's Charing Cross Road and in various branches of Waterstones. Orbit put a smile on my face this month with the hardback release of some indigenous hard science fiction. The noted editor, essayist, academic, commentator, critic and general expert on all things skiffy, John Clute has finally thrown his hat into the ring. His debut novel Appleseed described as"...a novel at the cutting-edge of contemporary literature..." looks to be an important and controversial release and is destined to be one of those novels that will be discussed by reader's groups for years to come. A smart looking black-jacketed hard cover, it is priced at 14.99, ISBN 1-85723-758-7.

Though mentioned in last month's column, the new Tad William's novel Otherland IV - The Silver Sea of Light was delayed a little and nows sees it's release this month. This is a big book that is bound to satisfy fans of this fantastic series. Williams is set to be in the UK for the April 19th release and will be signing at the following venues :-
  • Thursday 19th April - 5-6pm Forbidden Planet, London.
  • Friday 20th April - 7pm, Waterstones, 91 Deansgate, Manchester.
  • Tuesday 24th April - 1-2pm, Waterstones, 153 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow.
  • Same day - 6pm - Waterstones, 128 Princess St, Edinburgh.
Finally from Orbit this month comes Heartfire, Book Five of The Tales of Alvin Maker by the ever popular Orson Scott Card. A mass market paperback priced at 6.99, ISBN 1-84149-032-6.

HarperCollins/Voyager have only three titles listed for release this month. Julian May's Sagittarius Whorl gets it's UK hardcover outing, this is the third book in The Rampart Worlds series. Priced  at 16.99, ISBN 0-00-224625-2. Voyager's second release is also fantasy and also part of an ongoing series. Guardians of the Lost, the second title in the Sovereign Stone trilogy is published in both hard cover and trade paperback formats. This is by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, the authors of the best selling Dragonlance books. 16.99/10.99 respectively - ISBN 0-00-224748-8/0-00-224749-6. The final April title from this house is the wonderfully titled Mr Landen Has No Brain by Stephen Walker. I don't know anything about this other than it is a paperback original priced at 5.99, ISBN 0-00-648381-X, but I want to read it for the catchy title alone!! I haven't seen any of the Voyager releases this month so I'm hoping the info listed here is accurate.

Onto Gollancz who have an impressive and wonderfully diverse array of titles hitting the shelves this month. One of the most notable is sure to be Futures -  a collection of original novellas from four of the UK's (and indeed the genre worldwide) biggest name authors. Originally published as limited editions from the UK small press PS Publishing, Futures features works by Stephen Baxter, Peter F. Hamilton, Ian McDonald and Paul McAuley and will be a real treat for genre fans. A smart hard cover edition, Futures is priced at a very respectable 12.99, ISBN 0-575-07023-4.

Gollancz gives us more Stephen Baxter in the form of Icebones. This is the final novel in his extraordinary Mammoth series and is released as both a hard cover and trade paperback. 16.99/9.99, ISBN 0-575-07210-5/0-575-07241-7. Acclaimed US fantasy author John Marco sees the mass market edition of his novel The Grand Design hits the British shelves this month. Priced at 6.99, ISBN 1-85798-781-0. The second book in his critically acclaimed dark epic fantasy series Tyrants and Kings, this coincides with the publication of the third volume, The Saint of The Sword, which sees it's release in both hard cover and large format trade paperback. 17.99/12.99, ISBN 0-575-07159-1/0-575-07160-5.  Cyberpunk guru Bruce Sterling has his short story collection A Good Old Fashioned Future published here on April 12th. A paperback original, it will be priced at 6.99, ISBN 1-85798-710-1.

Gollancz have an exciting collection of reprints too this April, some classic, others the mass market printings of more recent works. Continuing in the wonderful SF Masterworks series, book #40 is Greg Bear's Hugo and Nebula nominated Blood Music.  This 1985 work actually won both awards as a novelette which Bear subsequently expanded. This edition is a paperback priced at 6.99, ISBN 1-85798-762-4. In the Fantasy Masterworks series this month comes Robert E. Howard's The Conan Chronicles, Vol 2 - The Hour of the Dragon. This is a paperback priced at 7.99, ISBN 1-85798-747-0. Heinlein's Orphans of the Sky is this month's Science Fiction Collector's Library title. Continuing this series of  classic reprints in distinctive yellow jackets, it is priced at 9.99, ISBN 0-575-07237-7.

Other Gollancz reprints this April are Micky Zucker Reichert's Flightless Falcon - 6.99, ISBN 0-85798-784-5 and homegrown novelist Eric Brown's New York Nights - Volume 1 of the Virex Trilogy. This fusion of detective fiction and SF made a lasting impression on the critics when it appeared last year. It receives it's mass market outing as a paperback priced at 6.99, ISBN 1-85798-782-9. Look out for the sequel entitled New York Blues, due out in September.

More in May.

John Berlyne

2001 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu