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Book Review

The Book of the New Sun: Shadow and Claw

by Gene Wolfe

The Book of the New Sun: Shadow and Claw by Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe is perhaps one of the most under-rated and criminally overlooked writers in genre fiction. The New Yorker recently called him Sci-Fi's Difficult Genius. Authors Michael Swanwick and Patrick O'Leary have gone so far as to say he is "the best writer alive today". Ursula K LeGuin is frequently quoted as saying "Wolfe is our Melville", a sentiment echoed by other influential authors and readers. Many have listed him as inspiration, and yet if you look on Amazon you will see many one an...

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reviewed by Ant on Monday 01 June 2015
Book Review

Dark Sun, Bright Moon

by Oliver Sparrow

Dark Sun, Bright Moon by Oliver Sparrow

A weighty tome that dramatises the historical events of the Huari Empire in the Andes, mixing in a fantasy plot, Dark Sun, Bright Moon is difficult to categorise. On one hand we have a meticulously researched historical context with pictures and appendices to explain terms and illustrate scenes, on the other we have a fantasy plot inserted into these contexts.

It is refreshing to see a work set into South American history and mythology, but it is difficult to categorise Dark Sun, Br...

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reviewed by Allen Stroud on Thursday 28 May 2015
Book Review

The Blood Red City

by Justin Richards

The Blood Red City by Justin Richards

The Blood Red City, the second novel in the Never War Series, following the dramatic alternative history novel Suicide Exhibition.

The story picks up not long after the events of the first novel and it's advisable you read this book before reading The Blood Red City. Where the first laid the ground rules of this 1940's alternative history, this book delves much deeper into the Vril / Nazi escapades and their plans for the world.

The secret organisation Station Z is trying ...

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reviewed by Ant on Monday 25 May 2015
Book Review

Guy Erma and the Son of Empire

by Sally Ann Melia

Guy Erma and the Son of Empire by Sally Ann Melia

Guy Erma and the Son of Empire is a young adult science fiction tale which, to my mind is wrapped in the packaging of a fantasy novel at first glance. Granted it’s on the fantastical side, but the deception remains. The writing also holds a few quirks, initially in its spaced layout, but beyond this is a well-pitched narrative that hits the younger market dead on.

The initial chapter throws us straight into the action with italics used for telepathic thought. This isn’t initially ex...

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reviewed by Allen Stroud on Sunday 24 May 2015
Book Review

Architects of Destiny

by Amy DuBoff

Architects of Destiny by Amy DuBoff

Young adult science fantasy is a story type that has existed in various forms since the 1950s. The writing quality can vary, but the intention – to convey a vision of a far flung future where humanity has become an interstellar society always fires the imagination of impressionable readers.

Architects of Destiny is a bold title for an escape into one such future. Our protagonist, Cris Sietinen is heir to a powerful lineage Tararia, but chafes under the constrictions of his place, li...

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reviewed by Allen Stroud on Saturday 23 May 2015
Book Review

Day Shift

by Charlaine Harris

Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

Day Shift is the second novel in Charlaine Harris's Midnight Texas series, following on from the quite excellent novel Midnight Crossroad we reviewed in May last year. It's a welcome return to the inhabitants of the strange small cross-road town that is Midnight. There doesn't seem to be more than a few inhabitants that are entirely human, even less who are human without an unusual power.

As with the previous book Manfred acts as principle protagonist although we get scenes from mos...

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reviewed by Ant on Friday 22 May 2015
Book Review

Gemini Gambit

by D Scott Johnson

Gemini Gambit by D Scott Johnson

A title that gives a hint as to what we might expect, but ruins no surprises at all, Gemini Gambit by D. Scott Johnson is an intriguing story of the near future, immerses us in a world a generation or two further on from our own.

Elite hacker ‘Angel Rage’ – whose real name is Kim Trann has retired, but when Mike Sellars tracks her down in the middle of the Warhawk FPS World Tournament, curiosity gets the better of her. Who was this strange guy who managed to spring all her defences ...

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reviewed by Allen Stroud on Wednesday 20 May 2015
Book Review

The Scarlet Gospels

by Clive Barker

The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker

It has to be said that even though I don't entertain much horror, Clive Barker is somewhat of a legend. Growing up in the 80's his name was often spoken in quiet awe by impressionable teenagers, not least due to his infamous Books of Blood collections.

For me though it was the character of Pinhead that managed to solidify his standing as a master of horror. Hellraiser brought with it a different kind of bad guy. This guy was much more coldly intelligent and collected than any I'd se...

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reviewed by Ant on Monday 18 May 2015
Book Review

Valhalla

by Ari Bach

Valhalla by Ari Bach

Award winning novelist and academic Gwyneth Jones asserts that ‘a typical science fiction novel has little space for deep and studied characterisation, not because writers lack the skill (though they may) but because in the final analysis the characters are not people, they are pieces of equipment.’

The initial premise of Valhalla speaks directly to this summary of the genre. Violet, a seventeen year old girl has come of age on the Isle of Skye and is wondering what to do with her l...

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reviewed by Allen Stroud on Sunday 17 May 2015
Book Review

The Suicide Exhibition

by Justin Richards

The Suicide Exhibition by Justin Richards

I must admit I have a fondness for alternative history novels, especially those that depict the second World War. Throw in secret Nazi plots that involve alien technology and that infamous Axis quest to create the Übermensch and you have a formula for a very interesting book indeed. Suicide Exhibition is the start of a series that follows such a plot — here the Übermensch are alien and the Germans will stop an nothing to gain technology to control such power. The aliens are known as the "Vril...

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reviewed by Ant on Friday 15 May 2015
Book Review

Saint Rebor

by Adam Roberts

Saint Rebor by Adam Roberts

Stories from Adam Roberts are always challenging as well as entertaining. Saint Rebor follows this trend, being a diverse collection joined together by the writer’s conceptual ideas in the prologue. Whilst you might expect a variety of story premises in a collection, in Saint Rebor, you have a much wider set of experimentation in modes of address and form. We have conventional first person, and third person then a set of archive documents outlining legal action in AD 2060, a poem, a dense nar...

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reviewed by Allen Stroud on Wednesday 13 May 2015
Article

Gollancz May 2015 Paperbacks

Gollancz Paperback of the month for May 2015 is Adam Roberts exceptional story of artificial Intelligence, Bête — which we reviewed last October. Roberts is a writer who seems to improve with each book he writes and Bête is quite simply stunning. It's set sometime in the near future and explores our relationship with the natural world and how that is changing with the steady march of technological progress. Witty and clever, it was one of my favourite books of 2014.

Gollancz is also...

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written by Ant on Tuesday 12 May 2015

Science fiction, fantasy & horror book reviews

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