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February 2003
© 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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February 2003 UK Releases by John Berlyne
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February already! I can hardly believe it! Given the grim realities served up already this year, and the promise of perhaps even grimmer ones to come, the opportunity for an escape into fictional worlds is as welcome as ever as far as I'm concerned.

We'll kick off this month's column with news of the releases from Gollancz who deliver a nicely balanced mixed bag of titles. One of their most important releases is the new novel from British SF writer Roger Levy. Dark Heavens is a follow on from Levy's debut novel Reckless Sleep which was published almost three years ago to some notable acclaim. The long awaited sequel is finally here and is published in both hard cover (priced at £17.99) and trade paperback (£10.99). Word is that this one is well worth the wait! The rest of the Gollancz February titles are all reprints in some form or another.  Greg Egan's Schild's Ladder is released in mass market paperback priced at £6.99, as is John Marco's fat fantasy The Eyes of God (£7.99). The Fantasy Masterworks series presents its 35th title in the form of Lyonesse II by Jack Vance - this comprises The Green Pearl and Madouc and is a trade paperback priced at  £8.99. Finally Gollancz release the fifth title in their Binary series - these are the mass market editions of some of the novelettes previously published by Peter Crowther's impressive PS Publishing outfit in smart limited editions. This new release has Ken Macleod's The Human Front published back to back with A Writer's Life by Eric brown. If you missed the limited release of either of these, you'd be well advised to pick up this new edition - a snip at only £5.99.

PS Publishing continue their high quality output this month with the release of two original works. White Bizango is a brand new short novel by Stephen Gallagher. In his introduction, Joe R. Lansdale notes that it "...gave me the kind of sensation I used to have when I was kid, watching some monster movie late at night, rainy and windy outside, sitting on the couch or in front of it, tenting a blanket over me, feeling wonderfully and pleasantly terrified." Well! If it terrified Lansdale it must be pretty damn terrifying! White Bizango is released in two states - trade paperback, signed by Gallagher (£8.00) and hard cover, signed by Gallagher and Lansdale (£25.00.) Also released this month is The Tain by China Miéville This is a great story by one of the brightest stars of the British SF scene. With an intro by M. John Harrison, The Tain is also available in two states, priced as above. For collectors, here's a tip - buy the hard cover!!! Only 500 copies have been released and the whole run is already sold out. More info as always is available from

On to Orbit who this month publish The Iron Chain by Steve Cockayne. This is the sequel to Wanderers and Islanders, Cockayne's wonderful debut novel which I reviewed (SFRevu Feb 02)and considerably enjoyed, last year. Published in trade paperback, The Iron Chain is priced at £10.99. Look out also for some great fantasy titles from Orbit in mass market paperback - L.E. Modesitt Jr's Shadowsinger is published at £7.99, as is the third novel in James Clemens' Banned and the Banished series - Wit'ch War (already released in the US to great reviews). The final orbit title looks very interesting indeed - Prince of Ayodhya  : Book One of the Ramayana by Bombay based writer Ashok K. Banker is "Full of action, intrigue and magic... a page turning adventure based on one of the world's oldest epics." A mass market paperback, this is priced at £6.99.

Orbit's sister imprint Time Warner Books publishes Bitten by Kelly Armstrong. This looks to be one for the Anita Blake fan demographic - the story of Elena, a 21st century girl, "self-assured, keenly intelligent, fighting fit... and the only female werewolf in the world!" The press release for Bitten goes on to say that film rights have already been snapped up by Warner Bros. with Angelina Jolie set top play the lead role. Is it hype? Judge for yourself! Bitten is a paperback original priced at £6.99.

Another sister imprint to Orbit, Little & Brown publish a noteworthy genre related title this month. The Druid King is Norman Spinrad's first go at a historical piece and covers Julius Caesar's invasion of Gaul. A trade paperback, The Druid King is priced at £10.99.

Macmillan's sole February release is a wonderful fantasy set in an alternative Venice. The Reliquary Ring is the new novel from Cherith Baldry who has previously published work in both the realms of children's fiction and short stories. Published as a large format trade paperback, The Reliquary Ring is priced at £10.99.

One title too from HarperCollins Voyager - The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold is released as a mass market paperback priced at £6.99. Voyagers parent imprint HarperCollins offers the mass market edition of Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt (at £7.99) - a title being mentioned in the short lists for most of the upcoming industry awards.

The final title of the month is one I enjoyed very much and highly recommend - the new novel by British writer Patrick Thompson, Execution Plan, is a paperback original published by HarperCollins priced at £6.99. This is a snappy and wry cross genre piece from a writer I'll be watching closely from now on. Very much a cross between Iain Banks and Jonathan Carroll, with a dash of Michael Marshall Smith thrown in, Execution Plan is off the wall, punchy, full of energy, and has just the right level of weird. In short - a damn good read and one not to be missed.

More in March.

John Berlyne - UK Associate Editor - -

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