June  2004
© 2004 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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UK Releases by John Berlyne
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It’s fast approaching the time of year when the blockbuster movie releases come out, those titles that are hyped up to the eyeballs and we stream out to the movie theatres in droves. In the book world a similar (if less well attended) thing tends to happen, with publishers releasing their major titles, hoping that the book buying public will chose their big name novel or highly publicised release as their one book a year that gets read on holiday. So, over the next few months, look out for new books by Stephen King, China Mieville, Stephen Donaldson, George R.R. Martin and goodness knows who else. It certainly looks like 2004 will be a real quality year for genre. 

Here in the UK, this last month saw the Arthur C. Clarke award go to Neal Stephenson for his novel Quicksilver (see my review ). I’m particularly smug about Stephenson winning – given the shortlist was not the strongest this year, there was always a danger that Quicksilver, which was easily the best novel of the six, would be sidelined as being not SF enough. But it is certainly the title I felt deserved the award and I’m very pleased that the judges went for it. 

The last month has also seen some great releases over here and so, in no particular order, here is the pick of what is now out there, waiting to satisfy your hungry reading appetites.

From HarperCollins/Voyager comes a new novel by Amanda Hemmingway aka Jan Siegel. The Greenstone Grail (see my review in elsewhere in this month’s issue) is a great story and one well worth your time. A large format trade paperback, it is priced at £12.99. Also in trade paperback comes Camelot’s Shadow, an Arthurian Romance by Sarah Zettel, author of the excellent Isavalta Trilogy – this release is also priced at £12.99. In time for the release of Troy comes the slightly less hyped hardcover publication of The War at Troy, a dramatic retelling of the epic without the aid of Brad Pitt. Lindsay Clarke’s novel is released at £17.99. For fans of a more traditional fantasy there are big name releases in the form of  trade paperback editions of Raymond E. Feist’s King of Foxes and Conqueror’s Moon by Julian May (£11.99 and £12.99 respectively) and also Lois McMaster Bujold’s Paladin of Souls (recommended in SFRevu's Mar'03 review) which is issued in mass market paperback priced £6.99. The final Voyager title is Van Helsing: The Novel by Kevin Ryan  - a paperback original priced at £6.99. A slim volume this, indicating that it may take as long to read as to watch the actual movie!

Straying ever so slightly into the mainstream are two genre authors, Greg Bear and Michael Marshall (Smith) who both have books released by HarperCollins UK this month. The Lonely Dead (which I reviewed in last month’s issue) is Marshall’s superb follow up to The Straw Men (also reviewed previously) and it is released in hardcover at the staggeringly reasonable price of £10.00. Also released in hardcover, is Greg Bear’s spooky techno/ghost thriller Dead Lines (reviewed in this month’s issue) – this is priced at £17.99.

Reverting back to the summer blockbuster thread, Gollancz issue the movie tie-in novelisation of The Day After Tomorrow by Whitely Strieber – this is priced at £6.99. And still staying with the movie theme, do check out The Matrix Derided apparently by The Robertski Brothers (but really by the talented and prolific Adam Roberts), the latest in a series of small format hard cover parodies priced at £6.99. In paperback you can now purchase Absolution Gap, the fourth title in Alastair Reynolds’ excellent Revelation Space series (£6.99) and also Kate Jacoby’s Trial of Fire, the final volume in her epic Elita saga (£6.99). There is also a new Deathstalker novel by the very popular (particularly in the US) Simon R. Green – Deathstalker Return is a smart hardcover release priced at £10.99 and it is accompanied by the mass market release of the previous book in this series, Deathstalker Legacy – this one is priced at £6.99. Issued in both hardcover (£16.99) and trade paperback (£10.99) is Chris Wooding’s superb follow up to The Weavers of Saramyr. This latest book, Skein of Lament was reviewed in last month’s issue and my review of The Weavers of Saramyr can he found by following this link. Finally from Gollancz comes a wonderful omnibus edition – Five Great Novels by Philip K. Dick – for the bargain price of only £12.99, readers get Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Martian Time Slip, Ubik, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch  and A Scanner Darkly – and that seems like a pretty good deal to me!


Macmillan’s Tor imprint have two May trade paperback releases – the debut novel from British author Jon George is an odd one. Faces of Mist and Flame (£10.99) combines Greek myths, time travel technology, the assault on World War II Guam and a love story that spans decades. From the seasoned pen of Tanith Lee comes a new fantasy series, The Lionwolf Trilogy, the first title of which, Cast a Bright Shadow is released priced at £10.99.

Orbit have a limited but excellent choice for May lead by Club Dead, the latest Sookie Stackhouse vampire mystery and this is released as a paperback original priced at £6.99. Already a best seller in Australia, Jennifer Fallon’s debut series, The Demon Child Trilogy, kicks off with its UK release. Medalon is a paperback original and is reviewed in this issue by Antony Wagman  – note the very atypical cover for a fantasy novel! It is priced at £7.99. The final Orbit release is also a fantasy – the third and final instalment in Kim Hunter’s Red Pavillions series is released in mass market paperback (£6.99). I gave up on this series after book two, but, hey! that’s just me, okay!! Check out my reviews of Knight’s Dawn (review) and Wizard’s Funeral (review)  to find out why I never got round to reviewing Scabbard’s Song.

A single May release from Transworld Bantam – Prisoner of Ironsea Tower is the second novel in Sarah Ash’s Tears of Artomon series. This trade paperback release is priced at £10.99 and follows on from the first book, Lord of Snow and Shadows which was favourably reviewed by our own Iain Emsley back in our August 2003 issue.

 Simon & Schuster issue the mass market paperback edition of Felaheen, the final title in John Courtenay Grimwood’s SF/Crime Ashraf Bey Mysteries and winner of the BSFA award for best novel. This one is priced at £6.99 and do be sure to check out our reviews of the first two titles in the series, Pashazade (review) and Effendi (review). Held over from their April schedule, S&S also issue the paperback edition of Harry Turtledove’s Jaws of Darkness – this is the fifth title in this series and is released at £6.99.

Next month I’ll be covering the June genre releases here in the UK. See you then!

© 2004 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu