UK October Book Releases by John Berlyne
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The tail end of last month saw London host the 30th anniversary "bash" of the British Fantasy Society. This all day event was preceded by a raucous evening at the Princess Louise pub in Holborn (a favorite UK "sciffy" haunt) and a very generous raffle in which virtually everyone present went home with some sort of prize. Only the bravest were able to get up bright and early the next morning for the start of the day-long session, but nevertheless it was well attended by both fans and pros alike. The event culminated in the presentation of the BFS awards. No surprises on the announcement of best novel. China Miéville's extraordinary Perdido Street Station continues to bulldoze its way through virtually every short list it appears on. All eyes will be on the World Fantasy Awards next month where it is up against stronger competition than perhaps it has met so far, but there is no doubting that it is a worthy nominee and a worthy winner of the British awards it has picked up - so far.

The list of winners was as follows.

PERDIDO STREET STATION by China Miéville (MacMillan)

HIDEOUS PROGENY, edited by Brian Willis (Razorblade Press)

WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED by Kim Newman (Alchemy Press/Airgedlámh Publications)

NAMING OF PARTS by Tim Lebbon (PS Publishing)




October looks to be an extremely good month for exciting releases here in the UK. There are a number of big name bringing new novels out. At the top of the list must come the latest from best-selling author Peter F. Hamilton. Fallen Dragon is published in hard cover by Macmillan on October 12th, priced £17.99 and will very probably be on a number of the short lists for next year's various awards. Hamilton is perhaps best known for his Night's Dawn Trilogy, huge hard sf tomes that are now worth a great deal in first edition on the collector's market. Fallen Dragon follows similar lines in terms of size (though for this author, 630 pages is almost modest!) and themes and will no doubt become just as collectable. It is a very impressive and compulsively readable story though, in spite of its daunting size and we'll certainly be hearing much about this release in the next few weeks. The mass market version of Hamilton's The Confederation Handbook, an essential guide to his aforementioned Night's Dawn Trilogy, is simultaneously issued in paperback this month by Pan.

Macmillan also release the new novel by the highly acclaimed young British writer Justina Robson. Mappa Mundi (see my review in this issue) is issued in trade paperback, priced at £9.99 and be sure also to keep your eyes open for the Pan mass market paperback release of Dervish is Digital, the latest novel from Pat Cadigan.

My other featured review this month is of Graham Joyce's Smoking Poppy. I have given it a well deserved rave - it really is a wonderful achievement by one of the UK's best writers - and I was glad to see my opinions backed up by Jonathan Strahan in the latest edition of LOCUS. "While novels like Requiem and Indigo have helped establish Graham Joyce's reputation as one of the finest writers working in the field, Smoking Poppy shows that, like Jonathan Carroll before him, he has transcended genre considerations and delivered the finest novel of his career." Nice one Graham! Smoking Poppy is released in hard cover by Gollancz, priced £12.99.

Gollancz has a lot on offer this October, much of it classic reprints, but oh what classics! There are hard cover editions of Bester's The Stars My Destination, Philip K. Dicks The Man in the High Castle, Frank Herbert's Dune, John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids, Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness, Miller's A Canticle for Leiberwitz, Larry Niven's Ringworld and Clarke's Childhood's End. The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke is released in paperback, as is Joe Haldeman's wonderful Hugo winner The Forever War and Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat Joins the Circus.

As if that wasn't enough to keep us going, also from Gollancz this month comes the mass market paperback edition of Dark Terror's 5, the latest installment in the wonderful and truly scary anthologies put together by Stephen Jones and David Sutton. There are some superb stories in this current collection including original works by such big hitters as Michael Marshall Smith, Kim Newman, Peter Straub, Ramsey Campbell, Graham Masterson and many others. Miss it at your peril!

The final batch from Gollancz this month includes the UK release of another Ursula Le Guin title, The Telling (available in both hc and tpb,) Gloriana, or the Unfulfill'd Queen by Michael Moorcock (tpb), a John Sladek omnibus, The Complete Roderick (tpb) and the mass market release of Simon R. Green's Shadows Fall. All this is crowned by the release of a brand new Terry Pratchett work. The Last Hero is a 40,000 word Discworld novella and is released in a lavish coffee table edition beautifully illustrated by Paul Kidby.

HarperCollins/Voyager have a less voluminous output this month, but the release of a new novel by one of their big name authors makes it no less significant. Fool's Errand - The Tawny Man: Book One marks the beginning of a new fantasy saga by Robin Hobb. A handsome hardcover priced at £17.99, this one looks set to be one of the year's most important fantasies and is not due for release in the US until January of next year. Alongside this, Voyager have slipped out the third book in The Stone Trilogy by Graham Edwards. Stone and Sun is paperback original priced at £5.99.

The smart blue jacketed Voyager Classic imprint issues three further titles this month. This is HarperCollins's answer to the successful Gollancz Masterworks series and it certainly has some titles that challenge that impressive list. October sees the release of Kim Stanley Robinson's Blue Mars, Shadowland by Peter Straub and a C.S.Lewis double bill, Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra. All three books are trade paperbacks priced at £7.99.

Orbit's output this month is quite modest, even by their standards. Sten 8: Empire's End by Chris Bunch and Allan Cole continues the UK mass market paperback run of this successful sf series and there is also The Warrior's Bond, the fourth book in The Tales of Einarinn by Juliet McKenna. The mass market edition of Orson Scott Card's Shadow of the Hegemon is released, as is David Feintuch's Children of Hope.

The final mention this month goes to Transworld/Bantam UK who bring Laurel K. Hamilton's A Kiss of Shadows to these shores. The Anita Blake stories published by Orbit have been a big hit over here (my girlfriend absolutely loves them!) and this new novel marks the start of a brand new series of stories featuring Californian P.I. Meredith Gentry -a faerie princess in hiding who specializes in supernatural crime. It looks to be the start of something big!

More next month!

John Berlyne
UK Correspondent