Constable and Robinson
The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 20 by Gardner Dozois
(Constable and Robinson 13 September 2007 / £9.99) - The annual Dozois anthology has become a cornerstone of the the genre, with this renowned editor gathering together the very best of science fiction's short form work in a given year. With our field as fertile as it is, Dozois has a tough job, as is evidenced by eleven pages of honourable mentions of stories that didn't make it into the book.
The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 20 contains a starry array of quality work from both established names and talented newcomers. At £9.99, it is without exception the best value for money of this month's picks. A paperback original anthology published by Robinson.
Making Money by Terry Pratchett
(Doubleday 24 September 2007 / £18.99) - The brand new Discworld novel from the prolific and endlessly inventive Terry Pratchett.
"Following on from the hugely successful Discworld novel Going Postal, join a familiar cast of characters in a drama to transform the Royal Mint and the bank next door. Making Money contains all the essential Discworld ingredients to make it an instant classic."
The US edition of Making Money was reviewed in last month's issue.
The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld by Terry Pratchett
(Doubleday 24 September 2007 / £14.99) - Two definitive factors cause me to wonder why this neat and compact hard cover is not a huge coffee table book - the first is the sheer number of novels that the prolific Terry Pratchett has produced in his market dominating Discworld sequence, and the second is the comparable depth of wit and wisdom that he has consistently channelled into his work.
I have said before - though I'm not necessarily a habitual Pratchett reader - that I believe he is one of the genre's sharpest satirists, and his social comment is often (and probably rightly so) overshadowed by his comic flare. Stephen Briggs brings together this collection of "...the wittiest, pithiest and wisest quotations from this extraordinary universe" and I do not envy Briggs his editorial task in trying to cherry-pick from the Pratchett canon.
Cowboy Angels (Gollancz S.F.) by Paul J. McAuley
(Gollancz 20 September 2007 / £12.99) - Paul McAuley returns with a new novel and a new publisher. Gollancz publish Cowboy Angels, the latest in a fascinating series of highly original, SFnal near-future thriller from McAuley that I feel should have him easily rivalling the popularity of Michael Crichton. Alas, the book-buying world is fickle - but McAuley's work is anything but.
"Cowboy Angels combines the high-octane action and convoluted plots of the TV series 24 in a satirical, multi-layered alternate reality thriller."
Grave Surprise (Gollancz S.F.) by Charlaine Harris
(Gollancz 27 September 2007 / £9.99) - More from the relatively new, but certainly flourishing Gollancz Romancz imprint. Charlaine Harris - award winning writer of more than twenty fantasy, mystery and crime novels offers up her Grave Surprise, a second novel featuring her heroine Harper Connelly.A hard cover release.
"A bolt of lightning struck Harper Connelly when she was 15, leaving her with a strange spider web of red on her torso and right leg, episodes of weakness, shakes and headaches - and an ability to find dead people."
LU-TSE'S YEARBOOK OF ENLIGHTENMENT 2008 (Gollancz S.F.) by Terry Pratchett
(Gollancz 30 August 2007 / £12.99) - The annual treat for all Pratchett fans: the fully-functioning Discworld Diary, written by the master himself.
"Lu-Tze is a senior History Monk, also known as Sweeper. Although thought to be 800 years old, there are some who claim he is older yet ...5,200 years older, in fact, because for the History Monks, time is a resource to manipulate, and they do ...Lu-Tze, a bald, yellow-toothed little man with a wispy beard, has a faintly amiable grin, as if constantly waiting for something amusing to happen, and a handy epithet for every occasion. In his life, Lu-Tze has done everything, and his past deeds are legend amongst the History Monks. He is a follower of The Way of Mrs Marietta Cosmopilite. He also grows Bonsai mountains. LU-TZE'S YEARBOOK OF ENLIGHTMENT (including The Way of Mrs Cosmopilite) is the ideal companion for those seeking truth and harmony and, well, the meaning to life - though he doesn't guarantee it will be the right meaning ..."
Schild's Ladder (Gollancz S.F.) by Greg Egan
(Gollancz 02 August 2007 / £7.99) - A latecomer to the party, this new edition of Egan's 2001 novel Schild's Ladder is part of the series of imaginatively and lavishly jacketed trade paperbacks reissued under the umbrella of Future Classics, the bulk of which were published in August by Gollancz. Quite why this one turned up in the mail so late is anyone's guess, but like the others in this series (see last month's UK column) it looks wonderful. Whether this particular novel of Egan's - notable in that it was not a winner, or in some cases even a nominee, of any of the major genre award - should be placed alongside some of the other impressive titles in the series, is a matter of some debate I think. Nevertheless, a quite beautiful set of releases.
Terry Pratchett's Discworld Collectors' Edition Calendar 2008 (Gollancz S.F.) by Terry Pratchett
(Gollancz 03 September 2007 / £12.99) - The annual visual treat for all discworld fans: a lavish full-colour wall calendar with all your favourite characters!
"The annual full-colour "Discworld Calendar" features scenes from the Discworld novels by award-winning artists. This year's fantastic illustrators include Pratchett favourites Paul Kidby (the "Discworld Diaries", "The Last Hero", "The Art Of Discworld" and numerous book covers), David Wyatt ("Discworld Stamps", book covers) and Stephen Player ("The Illustrated Wee Free Men", conceptual art for Sky One's blockbuster two-parter "The Hogfather"). Other superstars in the fantasy art firmament featured in the 2008 calendar are Les Edwards, Edward Miller, Jackie Morris, Sandy Nightingale, Jon Sullivan, David Frankland, Mel Grant and Dominic Harman.
The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett
(Gollancz 13 September 2007 / £8.99) - First published back in 2001 as a large format and lavishly produced hard cover available in two states, Terry Pratchett's Discworld novella, The Last Hero is now released as a smaller format mass market paperback and it looses none of it's gorgeous design flourishes in the miniaturisation process. In fact this is a very, very beautifully produced book, both in terms of design and execution, and Paul Kidby's illustrations are joy to behold. Great value, and highly recommended for Pratchett fans and bibliophiles alike.
Headline Book Publishing
Contract by Simon Spurrier
(Headline Book Publishing 04 October 2007 / £7.99) - Comics writer Simon Spurrier's début novel is quickly into mass market following the limited hard cover run and accompanying on-line give-away that occurred in May. This innovative promotional approach helped create a buzz for the novel, Contract, and gathered a host of enthusiastic reviews in the process.
""Spurrier is very, very good ... the effect is to drag you bodily into an exceptionally vivid, if sordid world. If you're itching for an unflinching, inventive, (disturbingly) well-researched stab at British crime fiction with a horrific twist, Contract will most certainly satisfy your faintly unnatural lusts" --- SFX
Micah and Strange Candy (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter) by Laurell K. Hamilton
(Orbit 04 October 2007 / £7.99) - More Anita Black : Vampire Hunter adventures from the hugely popular Laurel K. Hamilton. This new omnibus edition, a mass market paperback from Orbit, features Micah a short Anita Blake novel, and Strange Candy, a selection of Hamilton's short fiction gathered together for the first time in a single volume.
The Awakened Mage (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker) by Karen Miller
(Orbit 04 October 2007 / £7.99) - Karen Miller's début novel The Innocent Mage was very well received here when it was released by Orbit back in April. In fact the reception was so good that Orbit chose the book as one of their launch titles of their US imprint, and Orbit boss Tim Holman reports in his blog that the book raced up the fantasy best-seller lists to number #4.
The Awakened Mage is the second and concluding part to Miller's Kingmaker, Kingbreaker sequence and is now released in the UK and will be issued simultaneously in the US - so that American fans of that first book won't have to wait for their fix.
"Top-notch fantasy... a masterclass writer" -- SFFWorld
The Electric Church by Jeff Somers
(Orbit 20 September 2007 / £9.99) - Jeff Somers' début novel, The Electric Church is a lot of fun, in an explosive and profane kind of way. Orbit have chosen it as one of their launch titles in the launch of the Orbit US imprint, and the book is simultaneously released here in the UK. It's a loud and fast moving future crime caper and I enjoyed it very much indeed. Be sure to check out rather nifty official web site for the book. (see review)
The Last Legion (Last Legion 1) by Chris Bunch
(Orbit 04 October 2007 / £6.99) - Orbit present the first of the four titles in the late Chris Bunch's Last Legion sequence. The Last Legion opens the series, Firemask, Stormforce and Homefall will be issued sequentially between now and the end of the year. All are paperback original editions.
"In the turbulent age of the human Confederation empire, a forgotten branch of the Army patrols the farthest reaches of civilisation. And as the volatile Confederation begins to implode, they become humanity's hope for the future - the men and women of the Last Legion"
The Long Price (Shadow and Betrayal) by Daniel Abraham
(Orbit 04 October 2007 / £12.99) - The UK release of David Abraham's debut fantasy novel The Long Price, a large format trade paperback released by Orbit. Released in the US earlier this year by Tor, this novel, subtitled Shadow and Betrayal is this first in series by Abraham, and has been lauded by critics and peers alike.
Abraham is also co-author, along with George R.R.Martin and Gardner Dozois of Hunter's Run, released last month here by HarperCollins.
Powers (Annals of the Western Shore) by Ursula Le Guin
(Orion Childrens 20 September 2007 / £10.99) - The final part in the story that started with Gifts, and the tale of Gry Barre of Roddmant and Orrec Caspro of Caspromant, two children with extraordinary powers.
They play a part in Voices too, the sequel to Gifts, in which Memer, a girl who has grown up in a captured city, is part of the people's fight for freedom.
And now, in Powers, we have the conclusion to Ursula Le Guin's beautifully written, powerful and moving story of the Western Isles, a tale that will leave every reader begging for more.
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
(PS Publishing December 2007 / £25.00) - Uncorrected Proof: Now pay attention everyone, because this is special... really special! PS Publishing are reissuing Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine in this quite extraordinary 50th anniversary edition. With an introduction by Stephen King, this release may well have genre fans wetting their pants! Here's what PS say about it...
"With a brand new introduction by Stephen King, this 50th Anniversary production of Dandelion Wine boasts three states and includes all the original illustrations that accompanied the individual stories when they first saw print in the magazines of the 1940s and '50s: an unsigned trade edition; an edition signed by Mr. Bradbury; and a special slipcased edition signed by both Mr. Bradbury and Mr. King that includes a second book, Summer Morning, Summer Night, featuring all the other Greentown, Illinois stories... some of which are previously unpublished."
Oh ... my... GOD!! Surely the must have release of the year! If you're interested in acquiring this extraordinary release, it might just be advisable to place your pre-order RIGHT NOW!!!! The next click of your mouse should take you to the PS Publishing web site.
Postscripts Magazine, issue 11 by
(PS Publishing 08 September 2007 / £6.00) - The latest edition of PS Publishing's Postscripts magazine has a guest editorial by Paul Di Filippo and features a real feast of excellent short fiction, with works from Christopher Harman, Steve Aylett, David Barnett, Richard Paul Russo, Kealan Patrick Burke and others.
This is issue eleven of Postscripts and the magazine has consistently outshone many of its rival publications, on either side of the Atlantic. I wholeheartedly recommend readers consider a subscription - visit the PS Publishing web site for further information.
Stealing Light by Gary Gibson
(Tor 5th October 2007 / £16.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: Gary Gibson's third hard SF novel sees Tor UK publish him in hardcover for the first time - which is, I always think, a show of faith and confidence in an author. Following the fine critical reaction to Gibson's previous works, Angel Stations and Against Gravity, we now have Stealing Light published this month and reviewed this issue.
"In the 25th century, only the Shoal possess the secret of faster-than-light travel, giving them absolute control over all trade and exploration throughout the galaxy.
Former military pilot Dakota Merrick has witnessed the atrocities for which this alien race is responsible. Now she is piloting a civilian cargo ship on an exploration to a star system containing a derelict ship, from which her passengers hope to salvage a faster-than-light travel drive of mysteriously non-Shoal origin. But the Shoal are not yet ready to relinquish their monopoly over a technology they acquired through ancient genocide." (see review)
Into a Dark Realm (Darkwar) by Raymond E. Feist
(Voyager 01 October 2007 / £6.99) - Voyager releases the mass market paperback edition of the latest in Raymond E. Feist's Darkwar sequence.
"Chaos threatens to overwhelm two worlds as the most dangerous force ever encountered threatens to invade Midkemia, while the most treacherous magician in history -- the madman Leso Varen -- begins to wreak havoc on the world of Kelewan."
The First Humdrumming Book of Horror Stories: Selected by Ian Alexander Martin by Mark Morris
(WhiteNoise 21 September 2007 / £6.99) - Here's a nice, neat little book I was comped up in the dealer room at Fantasycon last month. Humdrumming are one of the new wave of smart, savvy small presses who seem to be - if the dealer room at the convention was anything to go by - popping up left, right and centre these days. Humdrumming have an edge on much of the competition, because clearly they know what they're doing! They have a quirky and engagingly eccentric web site and the quality of their output (they have three imprints!) is very impressive indeed.
The First Humdrumming Book of Horror Stories is, I hope, the forerunner of many subsequent volumes. It's a slim book, but inside there some chilling and disturbing tales from some excellent authors who are really beginning to make names for themselves.
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