July-August UK Releases by John Berlyne       check out these titles at:  Amazon UK
The summer (thus far) has been a healthy mix of big name releases, classic reprints and impressive ( and not so impressive!) debuts.

Top of the list are releases by two of the biggest names in dark fantasy. Neil Gaiman's superb American Gods had been out a few weeks already in the US before it's July issue by Hodder Headline. (HC, 17.99, ISBN 0-7472-7423-1) What a fantastic novel this is! It deserves all the praise that has been heaped upon so far and should be recommended reading for all genre fans. Almost as if in answer, HarperCollins have released the new Clive Barker novel, Coldheart Canyon. Conversely, this UK release precedes its appearance in the US. When it does come out over there, readers are in for a serious treat as this one too is a fantastic book, full of Barker's trademark dark imaginings but at the same time breaking new ground and re-confirming the author as a master of his craft. Coldheart Canyon is released early August in hard cover priced 16.99, ISBN 0002558645.

The HarperCollins Voyager imprint pulls out some big names too. Origin concludes Stephen Baxter's epic Manifold series and is released on the 6th August in hard cover (16.99, ISBN 0-00-225770-X). If you missed the previous title in the series, Space is given its mass market paperback outing the same day, priced at  5.99, ISBN 0-00-651183-X. Janny Wurts gives her numerous fans the third book in the Alliance of Light series. Entitled Peril's Gate, this is a nearly seven hundred page hard cover  (17.99, ISBN 0-00-710106-6). Other fantasy releases include Guardians of the Lost by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (HC, 16.99, ISBN 0-00-22478-8), The Bone Doll's Twin by US writer Lynn Fleweling (TPB, 9.99, ISBN 0-00-711307-2), Dawn of the Dark Age by Jane Welch (PBO, 6.99, ISBN 0-00-711249-1), the start of a new Riftwar saga entitled Legends of the Riftwar by Raymond E. Feist and William Forstchen (HC, 17.99, ISBN 0-00-224718-6). Finally, still fantasy but worthy of a special mention comes a huge new novel from David Zindell. The word on The Lightstone is that this is something very special and certainly Voyager have been giving it really hard profile push. An 800 or so page tome, this ought to appeal to all those who worship at the Tolkein alter and though I have not yet had the chance to read it yet myself, it is a book I will be making time for - if only to see whether it lives up to the hype. I rather suspect it will! The Lightstone is released in hard cover priced at 17.99, ISBN 0-00-224756-9.

A brand new science fiction reference work has been published over here by Constable and Robinson. Written by the highly knowledgeable George Mann (who runs Outland, the science fiction website attached to the UK's Ottakar's books store <http://www.ottakars.co.uk/static_pages/sf_fantasy/news.htm>), The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is a useful resource for genre readers and movie goers that does not (thankfully) read like an academic thesis. Rather this is a friendly and comprehensive guide to all things "sciffy" and is ideal for experts and novices alike. The book is published in paperback, priced 9.99, ISBN 1-84119-177-9.

The Eyre Affair is the debut novel by Jasper Fforde (that's right! Two "F's"!!) that has been out only two weeks and it is already causing something of a sensation. There is a fantastic review of this novel by Jonathan Strahan in the August LOCUS and the buzz all round is that this one is one to watch. Welsh resident Fforde comes from a film background and has written a clever and amusing cross genre detective story that has every chance of remaining in print for years. Already, proofs of this novel are changing hands on eBay for around 150.00 and the scarce hard covers (only 1000 copies printed) are being gathered and hoarded by dealers and collectors in the hope they'll have another Harry Potter investment on their hands. The hard cover is not generally available to the public though and so we must be content with the paperback version released by the New English Library at 6.99, ISBN 0-340-84184-2.

A little plug now for a new voice in UK SF, British writer Ray Anthony. His new book Empress has just been published by his own company Ace - NOT to be confused in any way with the rather larger US concern! Hitherto Ace have been publishing Ray's other work, a book on fatherhood and some black fiction, but this is the author's first foray in genre writing. I'll confess - I haven't got round to reading the book yet so I'll leave opinions on the work up to you. All the same, given that SF, certainly here in the UK ,has all too few visibly active black writers, I am happy to give Ray some press here. Check out www.acebooksonline.com for more info on Empress and Ray's other works. Empress is a paperback original, priced at 6.99, ISBN 0-9526287-1-6.

Orbit's summer output is mostly reprints of stuff that has already been seen over here in years past or in the US in recent months. The only new title from them in July and August is Children of the Shaman, a debit novel from a British writer Jessica Rydill (see my review this issue). This is a paperback original priced at 7.99, ISBN 1-84149-063-6. The various reprints include Benford's Artifact, Sten 5 and Sten 6 by Chris Bunch and Allan Cole, Robert Reed's Marrow and the paperback version of Iain M. Bank's latest Culture novel, Look To Windward.

Gollancz bring us the new novel by British writer Adam Roberts. Roberts's first novel, Salt was nominated for the Arthur C. Clark award and was widely praised. On looks to be a worthy follow up and confirms Roberts as a writer to watch. Touted as "An immensely confident novel that quite literally turns your world on its side", On is published in both hard cover (17.99, ISBN 0575071761) and trade paperback(10.99, ISBN 0-575-07177-X). Look out also for the mass market edition of Salt which is released at the same time. (6.99,ISBN 1-85798-787-X). James Barclay has entertained me hugely with his wonderful Chronicles of The Raven and the third book in that excellent series, Nightchild, is released in July. This is fantasy for those who like it rip-roaring and bloody and choc full of the things you pretend to do when you're playing RPGs. Look out for this large format trade paperback priced at 9.99, ISBN 0-575-07215-6. Barclay's previous novel, Noonshade receives its mass market outing simultaneously (6.99, ISBN 1857987861). Bold As Love is the new novel from Gwyneth Jones. Described by Jonathan Strahan in his  LOCUS review (July 2001) as "...an intriguing new fantasy novel... which sees a beautiful, damaged teenage rockerbee become the sane, balanced voice of reason in a summer of political turmoil." It is published in both hard cover (17.99, ISBN 0-575-07030-7) and trade paperback (9.99, ISBN 0-575-07031-5.).

The rest of the Gollancz output leans, like Orbit's, mostly towards reprints of previously seen stuff. There are though some classic reprints leading with Philip K. Dick's Valis which in July joins the SF Masterworks series. This, as the with the others, is a paperback edition, (6.99, ISBN 1857983394). The August title is Jack Finney's Time and Again which carries the same price, (ISBN 0575073608). The Fantasy Masterworks series has the July offering of Patricia A.Mckillip's Riddle Master. This is priced at 8.99, ISBN 1857987969 and August sees Le Guin's novel, The Lathe of Heaven (6.99, ISBN 1857989511).

Earthlight follow Anselm Audley's Heresy (which received loads of attention because its author is only nineteen years old) with another debut fantasy. Shadowkings by British fantasy writer Michael Cobley is a smart trade paperback priced at 10.00, ISBN 0-7432-0717-3. Other Earthlight offerings include reprints of two Guy Gavriel Kay novels, The Lions of Al Rassan and  A song for Arbonne.

More next month!

John Berlyne