UK Books Recd by John Berlyne
( December 15, 2004 / ) - Editor Ern's given me a new format to work with, so this month will be a bit of an experiment. Igor, bring me another book, would you? And turn up the voltage on the spark generator while you're at it. Yes, well, where was I.. ah, experiments. Each of the titles below will now link to a record for the book in question, or in the case of this introduction, to my full essay, should I write one. This assures us that no reviews will get lost if we don't put their links in, and it lets Ern sleep later in the morning, which seems to be a priority for him.
Enough chit chat though, lets see what's come in the post this month...
Constable and Robinson
The Mammoth Book of Best New Science Fiction: No.17 by Gardner Dozois
(Constable and Robinson 25 November, 2004 / £9.99) - The UK edition of Dozois' annual short SF anthology. This year, as usual, it's chock full of superb work, displaying the very best writing out there. Fiction content aside, it's worth a look just to read Dozois' "Summation: 2003", a learned and shrewd appraisal of the state of the (SF) union by a man who certainly knows his onions! Horrible mixed metaphors, I know, but trust me!
Contains stories by Paul Di Filippo, Nancy Kress, Michael Swanwick, Robert Reed, Geoff Ryman, Charles Stross... &etc.
Dragon's Kin (The Dragons of Pern) by Anne & Todd McCaffrey
(Corgi Adult 01 November, 2004 / £6.99) - McCaffrey's son Todd joins her to pen this new Pern. Is this to be a dynasty like the Dune novels? I've not read this one, (nor indeed any of the Dune stuff either), but I am curious to know how far the apple drops from the tree, as my own pa would put it. Many a famous actors offspring can't act for toffee, so I wonder how it works with writers? We'll know more when Dragon's Blood, a Pern novel written entirely by McCaffrey junior comes out next year.
Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds
(Gollancz 25 November, 2004 / £14.9) - A major new novel from the brilliant Al Reynolds; a departure from his Revelation Space universe, Century Rain fuses time-travel, hard SF, alternate history, interstellar adventure and noir romance to create a novel of blistering powers and style. Incidentally, there are two quotes from my reviews of Al's works quoted on the rear cover of Century Rain - check out what I thought of both Chasm City and Diamond Dogs - and when you're done, why not read my exclusive interview with the author. (see review)
Stamping Butterflies by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
(Gollancz 18 November, 2004 / £12.9) -
Having moved from the sadly defunct Earthlight to Gollancz, John Courtenay Grimwood is being pushed as "One of the UK's most exciting, cutting-edge SF authors". His new novel Stamping Butterflies cements this auspicious description and is reviewed in this issue by our own Rafe Conn. (see review)
Blood Debt (Blood S.) by Tanya Huff
(Orbit 02 December, 2004 / £6.99) - Following on the heels of their authors Laurell K. Hamilton & Kelly Armstrong, Orbit continue their drive into this area of the market.Tanya Huff's Blood Pact sees strong female detective protagonist, Vickey Nelson, in more supernatural sleuthing on the streets of Toronto. The fifth title in this series.
Blood Pact (Blood S.) by Tanya Huff
(Orbit 02 December, 2004 / £6.99) - The fourth title in Huff's supernatural thriller series - described by LOCUS as "An entertaining blend of warmly idiosyncratic characters, cinematic pacing and sharp-fanged humour".
Chimaera (Well of Echoes S.) by Ian Irvine
(Orbit 02 December, 2004 / £12.9) - Chimaera brings to a close Ian Irvine's collosal Well of Echoes series. "A page turner of the highest order" -- SFX. And believe me, there are lots of pages to turn!
Moving Target (Vatta's War) by Elizabeth Moon
(Orbit 18 November, 2004 / £6.99) - I admire Elizabeth Moon hugely as an author having read her moving and personally inspired novel about autisim, Speed of Dark - a really superb peice of work. Military SF isn't really my thing, but I found Trading in Danger, the first in her Vatta's War series engaging enough. Orbit now release Moving Target, the second novel in the sequence.
New Spring: A Wheel of Time Prequel (Wheel of Time S.) by Robert Jordan
(Orbit 02 December, 2004 / £7.99) -
An unmissable prequel to the No. 1 bestselling Wheel of Time series reveals the origins of the epic quest for the Dragon Reborn.
Shadowmarch by Tad Williams
(Orbit 04 November, 2004 / £17.9) - Tad's back with another fat fantasy. Shadowmarch began life, I believe, as an online writing project, and is now published in a smart looking hardcover by Orbit. Following the (in my opinion, at least) the rather dissapointing War of the Flowers, this looks to be a more traditional and typical Williams effort. A whole new trilogy which the publisher states "... is destined to become a classic of modern fantasy." Time will tell!!
The Ethos Effect by L.E. Modesitt
(Orbit 02 December, 2004 / £7.99) - A powerful new SF novel from the author of the hugely popular Recluse and Spellsong series.
The High Lord: The Black Magician Trilogy Book Three by Trudi Canavan
(Orbit 04 November, 2004 / £7.99) - The third book in Australian author Trudi Canavan's The Black Magician trilogy. "In the city of Imardin, where those who wield magic wield power, a young street-girl, adopted by the Magician's Guild, finds herself at the centre of a terrible plot that may destroy the entire world.
Find out more about this author and her novels by visiting her official web site.There's also an excellent interview with the author on the publisher's web site here
The Well of Stars by Robert Reed
(Orbit 02 December, 2004 / £6.99) - Reed returns to the epic universe featured in Marrow (one fo the UK top ten best selling SF books of 2001)with this stunning new novel. Do check out my review of his previous release, Sister Alice.
Aliens: Why They Are Here by Brian Appleyard
(Scribner 07 March, 2005 / £15.9) - This one looks particularly interesting. Brian Appleyard, a respected British journalist offers this - brilliant, highly entertaining and thought-provoking cultural history of the alien phenomenon; who are they and why are they here? Appleyard expands the discussion of aliens to include all non-human intelligences, but he doesn't shy away from the classic questions about ET on Earth...what he does do is bring a thoughtful and non-judgmental perspective to the question, considering whether the answer lies in our stars or ourselves. (see review)
Simon & Schuster (Trade Division)
The Vesuvius Club: A Lucifer Box Novel by Mark Gatiss
(Simon & Schuster (Trade Division) 01 November, 2004 / £15.0) - The Vesuvius Club is great fun! Lucifer Box, a fantastically stylish and arrogant Edwardian sleuth, the invention of Mark Gatiss (League of Gentlemen), battles evil doers through the foggy street of London and the Neapolitan excavations of ancient Pompeii - and he manages to do quite a lot of shagging along the way! REVIEWED THIS ISSUE (see review)
Brass Man by Neal Asher
(Tor Books 15 April, 2005 / £7.99) - A proof of Neal Asher's forthcoming novel - and it looks to be a doozey! Asher returns to the Polity universe he first introduced us to in Gridlinked, and here takes all the best bits (and there were lots of them!), reshuffles the pack, and comes up with another tense and explosive piece of SF. Don't miss out on Asher's stuff. He's a fresh, fantastic and exciting author. Brass Man is due to be published in April 05 and my review will appear around then. Meantime, take the time to catch up on Asher's backlist - most of which has been reviewed here over the last year or two. (Here are links to Gridlinked, The Skinner & Cowl , plus our exclusive interview with the author.)
The Iron Tree by Cecilia Dart-Thornton
(Tor Books 19 November, 2004 / £17.9) - Great to see the start of a new series by Cecilia Dart-Thornton. The Iron Tree opens The Crowthistle Chronicles, and if it compares (as I'm sure it will) to just beautifully written Bitterbynde Trilogy, then we're all in for a treat!
Check out my impression of the debut novel in Dart-Thornton's previous series (by clicking here to read my review) and also my exclusive interview with the author.
The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases by Jeff Vandermeer
(Tor Books 19 November, 2004 / £12.9) - Learned medical journal or clever spoof? - well, the latter obviously, but this original and alarming collection, the brainchild of Jeff Vandermeer and Mark Roberts, has proved a big talking point, both within the genre and in the odd Doctor's waiting room!
And there are certainly plenty of odd doctors here!! The collection details strange conditions and ailments invented by the numerous contributors - which include Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, China Mieville, Liz Williams to name but a few. Already published to wide acclaimed as a limited edition by Nightshade Books , Tor UK have had the foresight to bring it to a wider audicence.
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