I am sure Miss Mead's novel is an excellent example of its type and one cannot blame publishers for cashing in on this highly popular and lucrative slice of the market, but I fear that soon enough, this column will consist entirely of kick-ass-sassy-tough-chick-vampire-porn - at which point I will retire!
The Quiet War (Gollancz S.F.) by Paul McAuley
(Gollancz 16 October 2008 / £12.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy : Paul McAuley returns to his hard SF roots with a brand new novel, The Quiet War is due out this coming October from Gollancz.
"This exotic, fast-paced space opera turns on a single question: who decides what it means to be human?"
The Sweet Scent of Blood: spellcrackers.com Book 1 (Spellcrackers) by Suzanne McLeod
(Gollancz 04 September 2008 / £6.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: A début paranormal romance. Susanne McLeod's The Sweet Scent of Blood is a new British challenge to this massive marketplace so dominated by American writers. Agent John Jarrold reports that this is the first of three books sold to Gollancz in this Spellcrackers.com series and that two books have seen sold (via Orion) to German publisher Goldmann for "a significant advance"... watch this space! Perfect for fans of Charlaine Harris, Kelly Armstrong and Laurell K. Hamilton.
Now and Forever by Ray Bradbury
(HarperVoyager 04 August 2008 / £7.99) - The first of two Ray Bradbury reissues released this month by HarperCollins Voyager.
Now and Forever collects two novella length stories, Somewhere a Band is Playing and Leviathan '99. Prior to their initial appearance last year in the US, both these tales had gone unpublished for decades - a little 'googling' brings up this article with more background.
The Illustrated Man (Flamingo Modern Classics) by Ray Bradbury
(HarperVoyager 4 August 2008 / £7.99) - And to accompany and compliment the above, HarperCollins Voyager reissue Bradbury's classic 1952 collection The Illustrated Man - this link to Wikipedia offers a far more comprehensive insight than I can provide.
The Last Theorem by Arthur C. Clarke
(HarperVoyager 04 August 2008 / £18.99) - The final work from the brightest star in science fiction's galaxy. Arthur C Clarke, who predicted the advent of communication satellites and author of 2001: A Space Odyssey completes a lifetime career in science fiction with a masterwork. 30 light years away, a race known simply as the One Point Fives are plotting a dangerous invasion plan, one that will wipe humankind off the face of the Earth...Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, a young astronomy student, Ranjit Subramanian, becomes obsessed with a three-hundred-year-old theorem that promises to unlock the secrets of the universe. While Ranjit studies the problem, tensions grow between the nations of the world and a UN taskforce headed up by China, America and Russia code-named Silent Thunder begins bombing volatile regimes into submission. On the eve of the invasion of Earth a space elevator is completed, helped in part by Ranjit, which will herald a new type of Olympics to be held on the Moon. But when alien forces arrive Ranjit is forced to question his own actions, in a bid to save the lives of not just his own family but of all of humankind.Co-written with fellow grand master Frederik Pohl, The Last Theorem not only provides a fitting end to the career one of the most famous names in science fiction but also sets a new benchmark in contemporary prescient science fiction.
Hodder & Stoughton
All the Colours of Darkness by Peter Robinson
(Hodder & Stoughton 07 August 2008 / £16.99) - A top crime release has crept into the review copies received this month and definitely deserves a mention here. Peter Robinson is an English born, Canadian-based crime writer and the best selling creator of the DCI Alan Banks series, a sequence of novels that has been running for twenty one years and is now into its eighteenth release with All The Colours of Darkness.
" A beautiful June day in the Yorkshire Dales, and a group of children are spending the last of their half-term freedom swimming in the river near Hindswell Woods. But the idyll is shattered by their discovery of a mans body, hanging from a tree. DI Annie Cabott soon discovers he is Mark Hardcastle, the well-liked and successful set designer for the Eastvale Theatres current production of Othello. Everything points to suicide, and Annie is mystified. Why would such a man want to take his own life? Then Annies investigation leads to another shattering discovery, and DCI Alan Banks is called back from the idyllic weekend he had planned with his new girlfriend. Banks soon finds himself plunged into a shadow-world where nothing is what it seems, where secrets and deceit are the norm, and where murder is seen as the solution to a problem. The deeper he digs the more he discovers that the monster he has awakened will extend its deadly reach to his friends and family. Nobody is safe. "
Just After Sunset by Stephen King
(Hodder & Stoughton 12 November 2008 / £18.99) - Uncorrected Sampler : A tantalising glimpse of the forthcoming Stephen King short story collection, bringing together some of King's most recent short fiction output. Due in in November, Just After Sunset will be a hard cover from Hodder and Stoughton.
"The stories in this volume include tales of obsession, redemption and dark comedy; unexpected events that turn humdrum lives upside down, and the random acts of kindness that can pull a person back from the brink of disaster. These are stories about people - in the summer, autumn or freezing winter of their lives - and their relationships, and they are as usual, born of King's own passions, fears, beliefs and wonderings."
On a side note, one of the stories featured in Just After Sunset, entitled "N." is being presented as an animated episodic film, available on the internet. I've previewed the first instalment and it looks pretty amazing. Follow the link to www.nishere.com for more info.
Golden Dawn (Angels Cry Too) by Mark Garrett
(Matador 06 June 2008 / £8.49) - Paul Sayers' ordinary life has been turned upside down since his life was saved by his guardian angel, Rebecca. They embark on a unique relationship but it's not plain sailing. The evil Storn still seeks the downfall of the Guardian realm and his followers are only too willing to do all that they can to bring his ambitions to fruition. As they provide victims to be ritually sacrificed to feed Storn's need to exist in the world of mortals, they also plan to ensnare Paul and in turn take Rebecca too. As Paul discovers more about his previous life on the North Norfolk coast, he is framed for the rape and murder of his secretary. Once arrested, Paul has to face both the police investigation and Storn's followers without any allies.With Rebecca's help, Paul eventually escapes from Police custody before Storn's followers can enact their plan to snatch him. He travels to the Lake District and again teams up with Rebecca to make a one man assault on Storn's heavily guarded holding facility in a remote Lakeland valley. Despite the odds, with Rebecca's help they rescue the boy being held there who's destined to become the next sacrifice to Storn.
Pursued by Storn's followers, they flee across the fells faced with further violent encounters and dangers. Can life ever be normal for a mortal man and the guardian angel he's in love with?
Debatable Space by Philip Palmer
(Orbit 07 August 2008 / £7.99) - I was extremely impressed by Debatable Space when it first came out in January and to mark the mass market edition of Philip Palmer's energetic and punchy début, we're rerunning my review in this issue. Recommended. (see review)
Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson) by Patricia Briggs
(Orbit 07 August 2008 / £6.99) - It wasn't hard to follow the scent of blood to the living room where the fae had been killed. It had been a violent death, perfect for creating ghosts. Mercy Thompson enjoys life as a mechanic, but life is never simple given her increasing closeness to the local werewolf pack, and her ability to change into coyote form at will. And when a member of the fae community calls in a favour, needing her skills for a covert murder investigation, she jumps into the hunt. But the dangers multiply and she clashes with shadowed creatures of great power. When her old boss Zee is charged with a brutal assassination, Mercy find herself fighting alone. There are those who love her, who would keep her safe, but she is wary and holds her freedom precious. Until, that is, she has nothing left to lose but her life ...
Kushiel's Scion (Teason's Heir) by Jacqueline Carey
(Orbit 07 August 2008 / £7.99) - I've read a couple of Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel novels and found them to be beautifully written and extremely impressive in spite of my clearly not being the target demographic, this being Goth inspired fantasy with erotic, fetishistic leanings! Having previously been published here by Tor UK, I am delighted to see that Orbit have picked up this fourth title in the series. Kushiel's Scion which is the start of a second trilogy is a trade paperback release.
Orphanage by Robert Buettner
(Orbit 07 August 2008 / £6.99) - The first in Robert Buettner's Orphan trilogy of military SF novels. Now published in the UK as Orbit paperback originals.
"Mankind's first alien contact tears into Earth: projectiles launched from Jupiter's moon, Ganymede, vaporize whole cities. Under siege, humanity gambles on one desperate counterstrike. In a spacecraft scavenged from scraps and armed with twentieth-century weapons, foot soldiers like eighteen-year-old Jason Wander - orphan;s that no one will miss - must dare to embark on man's first interplanetary voyage and invade Ganymede.
They will have one chance to attack, one ship to attack with. Their failure will be our extinction."
[Editor's Note: Check out Ernest Lilley's review from our November 2004 issue.]
Path of Revenge (Broken Man) by Russell Kirkpatrick
(Orbit 07 August 2008 / £7.99) - A novel that opens with eight pages of maps may not be to every reader's taste, but it's grist for the mill where most fantasy readers are concerned. Russell Kirkpatrick is fast becoming a force to be reckon with in the antipodean fantasy community. His Fire of Heaven trilogy went down well with readers in both hemispheres and Path of Revenge, the first novel in his new Husk trilogy beat off seven competing novels to win the Sir Julius Vogel Award, the premier genre prize awarded by New Zealand fans.
This award winner is now published here in the UK this month as an Orbit trade paperback. Find out more at the authors web site.
The Night Sessions: A Novel by Ken MacLeod
(Orbit 07 August 2008 / £18.99) - Over the last dozen or so years, Ken Macleod has become one of our most prominent and politically acute writers of science fiction, so much so that a new novel from him is a major big deal. This month sees the hard cover publication from Orbit of The Night Sessions...
"A bishop is dead. As Detective Inspector Adam Ferguson picks through the rubble of the tiny church, he discovers that it was deliberately bombed. That it's a terrorist act is soon beyond doubt. It's been a long time since anyone saw anything like this. Terrorism is history ...After the Middle East wars and the rising sea levels - after Armageddon and the Flood - came the Great Rejection. The first Enlightenment separated church from state. The Second Enlightenment has separated religion from politics. In this enlightened age there's no persecution, but the millions who still believe and worship are a marginal and mistrusted minority. Now someone is killing them. At first, suspicion falls on atheists more militant than the secular authorities. But when the target list expands to include the godless, it becomes evident that something very old has risen from the ashes. Old and very, very dangerous ..."
Warrior (Wolfblade Trilogy) by Jennifer Fallon
(Orbit 07 August 2008 / £7.99) - With a cover that is a million times cooler than than Tor's rather limp-wristed 2006 packaging, Orbit publish the second title in Aussie fantasy author Jennifer Fallon's WolfBlade series. Warrior is "...a fast paced fantasy saga, featuring a cast of dynamic characters against a background of high intrigue and political drama."
Dan Dare: Voyage to Venus (Part 1) (CD): Voyage to Venus Pt. 1 by Frank Hampson
(Orion 19 June 2008 / £12.99) - From the pages of the seminal British boys' adventure comic, The Eagle, comes the legendary Dan Dare - Pilot of the Future, created by Frank Hampson. For the first time on audio CD this thrilling debut volume comes to life with a talented cast and full sound effects. Dan Dare - Pilot of the Future was incarnated in the 1950s and was truly original in the world of comics. Nothing like it had ever been seen before. It was distinguished by its long complex story lines, snappy dialogue and outstanding artwork. Remember The Mekon, Digby, Sir Hubert, Prof. Peabody, Hank, Pierre, Sondar and Volstar? Here they all are jetting off on a thrilling journey that would be told for decades to come.
The Companion by Susan Squires
(Pan Books 01 August 2008 / £6.99) - A prolific New York Times best selling author, Susan Squire's The Companion, the first in a series of "searingly sexy Regency vampire" stories, is published in the UK for the first time, as Pan Macmillan make their pitch at grabbing some of the lucrative paranormal romance market.
"Darkly erotic and sinister in tone, this richly detailed book isn't for the faint of heart; but readers who crave the shadowy worlds of Christine Feehan's Carpathians, Laurell K. Hamilton's vampires, or Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters will find that Squires' book is just the thing to sink their teeth into." -- Booklist
Multireal: Jump 225 Trilogy v. 2 (Jump 225 Trilogy) by David Louis Edelman
(Prometheus Books 08 July 2008 / £9.99) - Pyr publish the second of David Louis Edelman's Jump 225 books - described rather tantalisingly as a "hybrid of Neuromancer and Wall Street".
The first book in the sequence, Infoquake is due for publication here in the UK imminantly, released by Solaris Books, who are doing a fine job of acquiring some excellent US imports. Impatient readers will be able to get hold of this US release of this second volume, Multireal, around the same time.
Simon & Schuster Ltd
The Ashes of Worlds (Saga of Seven Suns 7) by Kevin J. Anderson
(Simon & Schuster Ltd 04 August 2008 / £12.99) - The tireless Kevin J. Anderson brings his enormous epic space opera The Saga of the Seven Suns to a close with the release of this seventh and final volume, The Ashes of the World released this month in trade paperback by Simon & Schuster.
A huge, ambitious project this final book "...brings a thrilling conclusion to the myriad storylines of galactic warfare and personal betrayals, starlost romances and titanic alien conflicts that have become synonymous with this epic series."
Extraordinary Engines: The Definitive Steampunk Anthology by
(Solaris 06 October 2008 / £7.99) - The much anticipated anthology of all new steampunk stories published as a paperback original by Solaris. Editor Nick Gevers has put together a truly stellar collection of shiny new brass Victoriana and the result is one of the highlights of the year for sure.
Extraordinary Engines contains original works by James Morrow, James Lovegrove, Jeffrey Ford, Jeff Vandermeer, Margo Lanagan, Jay Lake, Kage Baker, Keith Brooke, Adam Roberts, Robert Reed, Ian R. Macleod and Marly Youmans. My lord, what a line up!!!!
It's not out until October (thanks for this early copy, Mark!) but get your pre-order in folks! This is what it's all about!!
Necropath by Eric Brown
(Solaris 06 October 2008 / £7.99) - The new Eric Brown novel, Necropath, is described by Solaris as the author's "triumphant return to hard SF". I'm delighted that Solaris are championing Brown's work for I've long felt he is a writer deserving of far greater attention.
"Bengal Station: an exotic spaceport that dominates the ocean between India and Burma. Jaded telepath, Jeff Vaughan, is employed by the spaceport authorities to monitor incoming craft from the stars. There, he discovers a sinister cult that worships a mysterious alien god. The Church of the Adoration of the Chosen One uses drugs to commune with the Ultimate, and will murder to silence those who oppose their beliefs. The story follows Vaughan as his mistrust of his fellow humans is overturned by his love for the Thai street-girl Sukura, while he attempts to solve the murders and save himself from the psychopath out to kill him."
Sideways in Crime by
(Solaris 02 June 2008 / £10.99) - Another fine anthology of original stories published by Solaris. Sideways in Crime, edited by Pyr's Lou Anders brings together a superb collection of 'alternate history mystery' stories by some of the best names in the business... Kage Baker, Stephen Baxter, Tobias Buckell, Pat Cadigan, Paul Di Filippo, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Theodore Judson, Jack McDevitt, John Meaney, Paul Park, Mike Resnick & Eric Flint, Mary Rosenblum, Chris Roberson, Justina Robson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and SM Stirling.
The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney
(Solaris 01 September 2008 / £7.99) - Solaris have signed up Northern Irish fantasy author Paul Kearney and are soon to publish his new novel The Ten Thousand, the cover of which is deliberately reminiscent of Frank Miller's The 300. How closely the stories resemble each other, I cannot yet say, but the blurb below offers some tantalising clues and you'll find a sample chapter available for free at the Solaris web site...
"The world of Kuf is a brash jewel swarming with all manners of races and peoples. The Assurian Empire is dominant, prestigious and thought to be invincible. However, this ancient colossus is about to be shaken to its very foundations. Ten thousand elite mercenaries of a legendary race known as the Macht are hired by an Empire exile to take the throne by force. But when their employer is killed, and they are surrounded by Empire armies, the Ten Thousand find themselves abandoned.
This is the story of their fight for freedom.
Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers
(Tachyon Publications 01 August 2008 / £10.99) - Uncorrected Proof Copy : It's hard to believe that this Tim Powers classic has been out of print for so long. An extraordinary secret history of the Romantic poets and their hidden muse, it is a vampire tale second to none. Hats off to Tachyon Publications who are reissuing The Stress of Her Regard in trade paperback.
"A terrified young doctor allies himself with the great Romantic poets to battle a malignant apparition seeking her ultimate pleasure in their ravaged bodies and imperilled souls. When Michael Crawford discovers his bride brutally murdered in their wedding bed, he is forced to flee not only to prove his innocence, but to avoid the deadly embrace of a vampire who has claimed him as her true bridegroom. Joining forces with Byron, Keats, and Shelley in a desperate journey that criss-crosses Europe, Crawford desperately seeks his freedom from this vengeful lover who haunts his dreams and will not rest until she destroys all that he cherishes. Told in the guise of a secret history, this dramatic, shocking novel of passion and terror skilfully recasts the tragic lives of the Romantic poets into a uniquely terrifying tale.
Back in print for the first time since 1994, this long-awaited new edition of The Stress of Her Regard will thrill loyal Tim Powers fans as well as newcomers to this gripping Gothic tour de force. "
No Flame But Mine (Lionwolf Trilogy 3) by Tanith Lee
(Tor 01 August 2008 / £6.99) - The mass market edition of this third title in Tanith Lee's Lionwolf trilogy. No Flame But Mine is published by Tor UK.
"Searching for the beautiful witch Jemhara, the magician Thryfe at last finds her in the reinvented town of Kandexa, where a strange and passionate wooing begins. From this union a son is born - golden-skinned, red-haired, blue-eyed - and thus the Lionwolf returns to the world of men. Unaware of this birth, his original mother, the goddess Saftri has begun her own search for her lost love Athluan...while elsewhere the black and shining ones, the Children of Chillel, seek to establish claims on the ice-locked planet. Beyond, over, under all, the evil god, Zzth rages and plans the ruin of these separate and immortal lives. Strafed by the tumult of such conflicting powers, the be-wintered realm of mortals can only wait to learn its destiny."
The Hidden Family by Charles Stross
(Tor 01 August 2008 / £7.99) - Genre golden boy Charles Stross has the second if his Saga of The Merchant Princes finally published in the UK, three years after it's initial US appearance. The Hidden Family is released as a paperback original from Tor UK. The third in the sequence, The Clan Corporate is due for release here in November.
Viking Children's Books
Iron Jaw and Hummingbird by Chris Roberson
(Viking Children's Books 02 October 2008 / £9.66) - Uncorrected Proof Copy: The supremely talented Chris Roberson adds another feather to his cap of versatility with the publication of this YA book. Iron Jaw and Hummingbird is set in his Celestial Empire (see my review of The Dragon's Nine Sons, set in the same universe, but very much for grown ups) and will be available in hard cover from Viking in October.
"Mars is controlled by the Chinese, who call their civilization the Celestial Empire. But for teenagers Gamine and Huang, it is anything but heavenly. Gamine was taken off the street by an aristocrat, schooled as a fine young lady—then abandoned at her patron's whim and forced to make her living as a grifter. Huang's army career is cut short by a bandit ambush. When the two meet, Gamine —"Iron Jaw"—is the leader of a sham religious movement, and Huang, or "Hummingbird," is the bandits' chief tactician. They join forces to bring down the corrupt government that has determined their lives. Iron Jaw and Hummingbird offers a planet's worth of adventure!"
Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti
(Virgin Books 10 July 2008 / £7.99) - Praise seems to stick to Thomas Ligotti like duct tape - the plaudits and tributes on the opening page of his Teatro Grottesco, published in the UK for the first time by Virgin's new horror imprint make for seriously impressive reading (Ramsey Campbell suggests that Ligotti is an absolute master of supernatural horror and weird fiction) - the stories that follow are equally compelling.
"The stories collected in Teatro Grottesco feature tormented individuals who play out their doom in various odd little towns for which Ligotti is noted as well as in dark sectors frequented by sinister and often blackly comical eccentrics. The cycle of narratives that includes the title work of this collection, for instance, introduces readers to a freakish community of artists who encounter demonic perils that ultimately engulf their lives."
The Perils and Dangers of This Night by Stephen Gregory
(Virgin Books 07 August 2008 / £7.99) - More tip-top, spine-tingling horror from Virgin's brand new horror imprint - check out their web site here.
Stephen Gregory's The Perils and Danger of this Night is a classic chiller telling of a young boy abandoned by his parents to endure Christmas at his boarding school... "as the snow falls heavily on the house and the surrounding woods, a story of revenge and retribution unfolds. A web of half-truths and innuendos weaves into a bizarre game of hide-and-seek through the corridors and dormitories of the school, and a series of shocking revelations soon leads inexorably, horrifically to a bloody climax on a crisp, lovely Christmas morning." Brrrr!
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