January 2004
© 2004 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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January  2004 UK Releases by John Berlyne
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January kicks off quietly with a flurry of mass market releases. Don’t be deceived though – looking down the publisher’s schedules, 2004 looks to be a very exciting year indeed. The genre market over here continues to produce some truly superb work and this has been reflected in the awards shortlists in 2003. I was particularly delighted to see Graham Joyce’s excellent novel The Facts of Life (reviewed here in the Jan 03 edition) pick up a World Fantasy Award. The trend will no doubt continue when shortlist time comes round again and I look forward to seeing a number of titles we’ve covered last year feature prominently.

Orbit start the year with a weighty Terry Brooks release. A huge trade paperback, over a thousand pages, The Sword of Shannara Trilogy will introduce a new generation of readers to Brooks’ seminal fantasies, and priced at only £14.99 I’d say that at only five pounds per novel it’s a bargain! In hard cover comes New Spring, the first of three prequels written by Robert Jordan as precursors to his fantastically popular Wheel of Time saga. This release is priced at £16.99. The US edition is reviewed this month by Bruce Wallace. If tight leather-clad, ultra-cool heroines are your thing, then look no further than Nylon Angel, a brand new futuristic debut from Australian writer Marianne de Pierres. This slick and stylish novel is published as a paperback original priced at £6.99 and looks set to be the first in a series featuring protagonist Parrish Plessis. Be sure to take a look at what our newest UK reviewer, Antony Wagman thought of it by following this link . Finally from Orbit comes the mass market paperback release of The Iron Chain, the second book in Steve Cockayne’s Legends of the Land series (we covered book one, the excellent Wanderers and Islanders back in Feb'02 -see review). Cockayne has really made his mark amongst those writers now generally referred to (mainly by themselves it has to be said!) as The New Weird. I’m not at all sure what the significance of this might be, but nonetheless do check out Cockayne’s work. The Iron Chain is priced at £6.99.
 

HarperCollins Voyager offer the final title in Sarah Zettlel’s Isavalta Trilogy. The Firebird’s Vengeance is a trade paperback issued at £12.99. Additionally, the second title in the sequence, The Usurper’s Crown is released in mass market paperback priced at £7.99. I did manage to catch the first of these Isavalta novels back in April '02 and enjoyed it thoroughly. If these two follow-up books are as good, then this is a series well worth checking out. There is further fantasy from Voyager too, in the shape of the trade paperback release of David and Leigh Eddings’ The Elder Gods (see here for Iain Emsley’s review of the hard cover release). This trade edition is priced at £12.99. Voyager’s final new year’s gift to us is the mass market paperback edition of Katherine Kerr’s latest science fiction offering, Snare (£7.99) – see here for Victoria McManus’ review of the US edition of this title back in our May 2003 issue. 
 

Hodder’s paperback imprint, NEL issue the very excellent Jasper Fforde’s latest, The Well of Lost Plots in mass market paperback, priced at £6.99. This was certainly one of my personal favourites of 2003 and you can read why by checking out my review here. Meanwhile Hodder Children’s Books have a fun fantasy out this month in the form of David Lee Stone’s The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, the first in what I hope will be the long running Illmoor Chronicles. I’ve reviewed this title in this very issue and recommend it highly (see review) . This release is a paperback priced at £5.99. 

Macmillan’s Tor UK imprint, launched early last year has gone from strength to strength and looks to further establish itself with some superb releases in the coming months. The first of these is the UK first edition of K.J.Bishop’s The Etched City. This title has been highly praised by critics following its publication in the US by Prime Books, and it certainly deserves a wider audience. Compared to the works of China Mieville, Jeff Vandermeer and Jeffrey Ford, Bishop’s debut novel is certainly one to look out for. Published in trade paperback and priced at £10.99, you can find out what I thought of The Etched City elsewhere in this issue (see review).
 

Gollancz release Steve Aylett’s latest Accomplice novel, the fourth in this series. Karloff’s Circus is a trade paperback priced at £9.99. You can also pick up the mass market release of Accomplice 3, Dummyland, which is issued in mass market paperback priced at £6.99. James Lovegrove’s excellent novel, Untied Kingdom, reviewed by me in our April 03 issue (see review)  is given its mass market release and is worth every penny of the £6.99 asking price. Pratchett junkies will enjoy The New Discworld Companion by Pratchett and Stephen Briggs which is released this month as a paperback priced at £6.99 and for fans of the work of Ursula K. Le Guin there are two offerings; The Birthday of the World and Other Stories, a collection of short fiction is released in mass market paperback at £6.99 and Changing Planes, a hard cover edition (£8.99) which is described as a “… satirical, at times hilarious spoof on air travel by one of the world's most elegant writers”.

Finally, from Transworld Bantam comes the mass market paperback release of Sarah Ash’s Lord of Snow and Shadows (£6.99), a title reviewed here previously by our own Iain Emsley.
(see review)
 

That’s all for now. More next month.

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© 2004 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu