UK Books by John Berlyne
( January 1, 2005 / ) - It seems to me that 2004 was not the most auspicious year I can remember for SF & Fantasy. There were some super highlights and some books I really enjoyed, but there were also some disappointments in terms of stuff simply not living up to the hype.
It's possible that my view is coloured somewhat by changes I've had to make in my reading habits. A new job has taken up much of my time this last year and I've found myself unable to devour books at the rate I'm used to. It is interesting then to note that with such limited time to devote to my reading of late, certain books have taken me weeks to plough through. My criteria for judging the best books of 2004 therefore mainly relates to how quickly I managed to read them - and this can be interpreted simply in terms of how much a title grabbed me and held my attention. So, my top book of 2004 was without doubt Susannah Clarke's wonderful Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - yes, it's a massive and heavy tome, but its a swift and pleasurable read and a welcome and wonderful piece of escapism.
2005 promises some great reading, some of which I've already had the privilege of looking at in uncorrected proof. Look forward to Neal Asher?s superb Brass Man due in April; Ian R. MacLeod brings us The House of Storms a sequel to his extraordinary (and disgracefully overlooked) novel The Light Ages; and there will be new fiction from James Barclay, Peter F. Hamilton, Rob Grant, Richard Morgan, Graham Joyce, Steph Swainston, Chris Wooding and may more besides.
So don't touch that dial as I look forward to bringing you news and reviews of the very best of British genre writing in the months to come.
Happy new year and happy reading!
Prisoner of Ironsea Tower by Sarah Ash
(Bantam 03 January, 2005 / £6.99) - The second novel in Ash's Tears of Artamon sequence. The first installment was twice reviewed by us - by EJ McClure and Iain Emsley. You can read each review by following the links.
Resolution by John Meaney
(Bantam Press 03 January, 2005 / £18.9) - It seems like we've been waiting for ever for this new novel by John Meaney - his sequel to Context and Paradox. I reviewed the latter of these two previous titles quite some time ago on Sfsite and found it a little impenetrable. This new release is a lovely looking hard cover with artwork by Jim Burns.
Market Forces (Gollancz SF S.) by Richard Morgan
(Gollancz 07 January, 2005 / £6.99) - Morgan's tyre-screeching, coporate future thriller is now out in mass market paperback. Don't miss this one! Check out my review from the Feb 04 issue.
The Hyperion Omnibus: by Dan Simmons
(Gollancz 02 December, 2004 / £12.9) - A large trade paperback edition featuring the first two titles in Simmons' seminal Hyerion cantos - a series of novels that had a profound effect in shaping my own reading tastes. This is what SF is all about!! If you've not yet had a look at these novels, then here's your chance to catch up - you'll be glad you did.
The Last Hero (Gollancz SF S.) by Terry Pratchett
(Gollancz 20 December, 2004 / £12.9) - The 27th installment of the Discworld juggernaut is issued by Gollancz in this large format trade paperback edition. Beautifully illustrated throughout by Paul Kidby, this is a gorgeous production and a must-have for Pratchett fans.
The Limits of Enchantment: A Novel (Gollancz SF S.) by Graham Joyce
(Gollancz 20 January, 2005 / £12.9) - The Limits of Enchantment is another stunningly crafted novel from best selling author Graham Joyce, one of the jewels in the UK genre writing crown. (see review)
Woken Furies (Gollancz SF S.) by Richard Morgan
(Gollancz 17 March, 2005 / £9.99) - After a book away, Morgan brings back Takeshi Kovacs, the hero of Altered Carbon and Broken Angels for some much welcomed further adventures. Woken Furies explores Morgan's superbly imagined "re-sleeving" concept once more and we can all get set for some explosive action. Look out for my review in the March 05 edition.
Hodder & Stoughton Paperbacks
Settling Accounts: Return Engagement by Harry Turtledove
(Hodder & Stoughton Paperbacks 03 January, 2005 / £7.99) - A new book in a new series from the master of alternate histories. "On June 22, 1941 Jake Featherstone, the charismatic director of the resurgent Confederate Staes of America, sends his bombers of the USA, he sets of a holocaust of violence that will engulf the continent."
Dhampir by Barb Hendee
(Orbit 20 January, 2005 / £6.99) - Female vampire hunters are all the rage nowadays - or so it would seem. Orbit already publish Laurel K. Hamilton over here and last year saw Robin Mackinley's Sunshine. Now meet Dhampir, part human, part vampire...perfect hunter.
In Your Dreams by Tom Holt
(Orbit 30 January, 2005 / £6.99) - The trade paperback release of Holt's recent novel, in which "we once again enter the world of Paul ? the sad loser who is training to become a Magician at J W Wells", as reviewed by Antony Wagman in our July 04 issue.
Newton's Wake by Ken MacLeod
(Orbit 06 January, 2005 / £6.99) - The mass market release of Ken Macleod's latest. This is a stand alone novel from a writer who has been hailed as the modern day George Orwell. Reviewed back in March 04 by Iain Emsley.
Shadow Road (Swans' War S.) by Sean Russell
(Orbit 20 January, 2005 / £17.9) - The Swans' War draws to a close with the release of this third title in Sean Russell's highly acclaimed epic.
Treason Keep (Demon Child Trilogy) by Jennifer Fallon
(Orbit 20 January, 2005 / £7.99) - The second title in Jennifer Fallon's Demon Child trilogy. "R'shiel is dying, her destony unfulfilled. To save her, the renegade Harshini Brak reluctantly makes a terrible bargain, as survival of the hidden Harshini race hangs in the balance." Excellent Australian fantasy. Check our our two reviews of Medalon, the first book in the this series - here and here.
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
(Tor Books 21 January, 2005 / £6.99) - If you can read only on single author short story collection this year, this would be one to consider. Ted Chiang has made a terrific impression on the genre in a very short time and has scooped three Nebulas and a Hugo for work contained in this superb collection.
The Roses of Roazon by Cherith Baldry
(Tor Books 21 January, 2005 / £6.99) - The mass market release of Balrdry's second novel for Tor UK. This is an elegant historic fantasy with a wealth of sympathic and colourful characters.
The Elder Gods by David Eddings
(Voyager 03 January, 2005 / £7.99) - "They are called the Dreamers. They look like sleeping children. They are, in fact, Gods." David and Leigh Edding's fantasy is finally issued in mass market paperback. See Iain Emsley's review in our July 03 issue.
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