Archive for March, 2016

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Malcolm Cross wrote a brilliant and unique take on the post-apocalypse with his story Orbital Decay. He has now published a novel that has been released today on Amazon Kindle. Check out the blurb below..

A crowdfunded civil war is Azerbaijan’s only hope against its murderous dictatorship. The war is Edane Estian’s only chance to find out if he’s more than what he was designed to be.

He’s a clone soldier, gengineered from a dog’s DNA and hardened by a brutal training regime. He’d be perfect for the job if an outraged society hadn’t intervened, freed him at age seven, and placed him in an adopted family.

Is he Edane? Cathy and Beth’s son, Janine’s boyfriend, valued member of his MilSim sports team? Or is he still White-Six, serial number CNR5-4853-W6, the untroubled killing machine?

By joining a war to protect the powerless, he hopes to become more than the sum of his parts.

Without White-Six, he’ll never survive this war. If that’s all he can be, he’ll never leave it.

The premise has me intrigued and I’ve already got Dog Country lined up in the teetering to-be-read pile.

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Great press release to share regarding the brilliant sci-fi author Iain M Banks:

Gollancz will be publishing an SF Masterworks edition of Iain M. Banks’ BSFA Award-winning Feersum Endjinn.

The SF Masterworks list is over 100 books strong and contains many of the finest voices in British and world science fiction. The list was founded by the Chairman of Gollancz, Malcolm Edwards, with the help of leading SF writers and editors and the goal of bringing important books back into print. The list was described by Iain M. Banks himself as ‘amazing’ and ‘genuinely the best novels from sixty years of SF’.

The Masterworks edition of Feersum Endjinn will be published in hardback on April 14 2016, and will include a new introduction by Ken MacLeod. The hardback licence was agreed with Gollancz’s sister imprint, Orbit, the SF imprint of the Little, Brown Book Group, who will continue to publish Feersum Endjinn in paperback.

Malcolm Edwards said, ‘Iain was immensely supportive when we launched the SF Masterworks, giving us an enthusiastic endorsement which appeared prominently on all the books, so it’s a particular pleasure to see him join the list.’

Following on from my recent revelations via actually reading my emails, I’ve also come across a netgalley haul of awesome titles that I’ve been approved to read – that includes the new short story collection from Joe Abercrombie (fist pump for gritty fantasy).. There’s also some very cool sounding novels from a few writers I’ve not encountered before that I’m eager to read. So, blurbs and covers below and reviews will be forthcoming..

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In this gritty and innovative science-fiction thriller in the vein of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, turmoil on one of Saturn’s moons rattles Earth’s most powerful citizens—and draws one planet-hopping rogue into a fight he never saw coming.

Malcolm Graves lives by two rules: finish the job, and get paid. After thirty years as a collector, chasing bounties and extinguishing rebellions throughout the solar system, Malcolm does what he’s told, takes what he’s earned, and leaves the questions to someone else—especially when it comes to the affairs of offworlders.

But his latest mission doesn’t afford him that luxury. After a high-profile bombing on Earth, the men who sign Malcolm’s paychecks are clamoring for answers. Before he can object, the corporation teams him up with a strange new partner who’s more interested in statistics than instinct and ships them both off to Titan, the disputed moon where humans have been living for centuries. Their assignment is to hunt down a group of extremists: Titanborn dissidents who will go to any length to free their home from the tyranny of Earth.

Heading into hostile territory, Malcolm will have to use everything he’s learned to stay alive. But he soon realizes that the situation on the ground is much more complex than he anticipated . . . and much more personal.

Amoral protagonist? Off-world terrorism? Fight for survival? Check – I’m in.

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A worldwide diaspora has left a quarter of a million people at the foot of a space station. Cultures collide in real life and virtual reality. The city is literally a weed, its growth left unchecked. Life is cheap, and data is cheaper.

When Boris Chong returns to Tel Aviv from Mars, much has changed. Boris’s ex-lover is raising a strangely familiar child who can tap into the datastream of a mind with the touch of a finger. His cousin is infatuated with a robotnik—a damaged cyborg soldier who might as well be begging for parts. His father is terminally-ill with a multigenerational mind-plague. And a hunted data-vampire has followed Boris to where she is forbidden to return.

Rising above them is Central Station, the interplanetary hub between all things: the constantly shifting Tel Aviv; a powerful virtual arena, and the space colonies where humanity has gone to escape the ravages of poverty and war. Everything is connected by the Others, powerful alien entities who, through the Conversation—a shifting, flowing stream of consciousness—are just the beginning of irrevocable change.

Post-human virtuality written by Lavie Tidhar – sounds good to me.

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In this dark and gripping sci-fi noir, an exiled police detective arrives at a lunar penal colony just as a psychotic android begins a murderous odyssey across the far side of the moon.

Purgatory is the lawless moon colony of eccentric billionaire, Fletcher Brass: a mecca for war criminals, murderers, sex fiends, and adventurous tourists. You can’t find better drugs, cheaper plastic surgery, or a more ominous travel advisory anywhere in the universe. But trouble is brewing in Brass’s black-market heaven. When an exiled cop arrives in this wild new frontier, he immediately finds himself investigating a string of ruthless assassinations in which Brass himself—and his equally ambitious daughter—are the chief suspects.

Meanwhile, two-thousand kilometers away, an amnesiac android, Leonardo Black, rampages across the lunar surface. Programmed with only the notorious “Brass Code”—a compendium of corporate laws that would make Ayn Rand blush—Black has only one goal in mind: to find Purgatory and conquer it.

Hard sci-fi, crime noir, action thriller…another firm yes.

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The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one who thinks he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.
Curnden Craw and his dozen are out to recover a mysterious item from beyond the Crinna. Only one small problem: no one seems to know what the item is.

Shevedieh, the self-styled best thief in Styria, lurches from disaster to catastrophe alongside her best friend and greatest enemy, Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp.

And after years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There’s only one obstacle left – his own lunatic champion, the most feared man in the North: the Bloody-Nine . . .

Not much to say other than, I can’t wait to read more First Law world stories..

Due to recent life getting in the way of hobby type stuff, I’ve not been keeping up to date with all my emails and news (though I am reading a bonkers book; more on that in another post). However, this weekend has brought about some exciting revelations.

Joe Abercrombie has a collection of short stories featuring characters from his fantasy series, The First Law, due to be published soon. From the press release: “The short stories will be a mix of original and reissued short stories collected together for the first time, eight of which are award-winning and previously published, and six brand new. The brand-new shorts will feature some of the most popular characters from the First Law world, including Glokta, Jezal, Logen Ninefingers, Bethod and Monza Murcatto.

If that isn’t awesome enough, then his announced tour in April should be. Check the banner below for more info..

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In the second book of his series, Randy Henderson has once again produced an 80’s tinged, barn burner of a novel. His debut, reviewed here, was one of my favourite reads last year. Bigfoot Loose and Finn Fancy Free builds on everything of that first book and continues the momentum like Kevin Bacon punch-dancing his way through a forest of stonewash denim.

Though the pop culture references to the 80’s add a certain coolness (especially for those of us who remember that decade), they really serve as an anchor-point for the eponymous hero, Finn; having been exiled to the Other Realm for 25 years as a teenager, his whole point of contact with socio-cultural norms stops at the 1980s. It’s the greater story at large that is the real attention grabber and, with the feel of a Goonies type tale of fantasy and adventure, it rocks along at a serious pace with excellent results. Set a mere three months after Finn’s first adventures, Bigfoot Loose and Finn Fancy Free delves a little deeper into the world Henderson has created whilst setting his protagonist on another quest of solving problems because he’s at the wrong place at the wrong time trying to do the right thing.

With Henderson, it is definitely the journey and not the destination that is the most fun. The scrapes and trouble that Finn seems to attract are all enjoyable to read and though the villain behind it all isn’t surprising, the path to the concluding chapters is. There’s so many brilliant little details peppering this book (my favourite being the gnomes) and a lot more than just a magical fantasy plot at its heart. The emphasis on Finn’s relationship with Dawn is thoughtfully and poetically drawn whilst his family dynamics are exceptionally handled, from the witty banter to the heartfelt emotions at play.

Bigfoot Loose and Finn Fancy Free shows off Henderson’s comic talent but also his ability to go that little deeper and to touch on subjects a little tougher to take. Like it’s awesome cover, the book is fun and super enjoyable to read but in it’s heart it’s touching and clever. I can’t wait for more.

Review copy
Published by Titan Books