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The Best of British Fantasy 2018 by Jared Shurin
An exciting collection of short stories, for many different tastes. I enjoyed them all. They vary from what looks like a traditional sword and sorcery tale (but is a lot else besides), to modern myths exploring identity and the impact of childhood neglect on the adult. The characters of these stories are sometimes ghostly, often magical, isolated, side-lined, or of dubious sanity. But the stories have great twists that challenge our preconceptions of reality, mental health, power and powerles...
Green Valley by Louis Greenberg
The average person seems to put a lot of trust in their Government. No way they are spying on me online and even if they are, what am I doing that they would care about? This attitude has shown that ignorance is not bliss, they may just sell your data to the highest bidder and before you know it they are able to predict who you will vote for or where you will shop with unerring accuracy. What are we to do? Put a tin foil hat on and watch out for phone masts? In the world of Green Valley peopl...
A Wanted Man by Lee Child
A good thriller should grab you from the very first page. In the past decades Lee Child has become a master of this and the majority of his Jack Reacher books open at a canter. What would you do if when hitchhiking you got into a car with wrong people? Keep your head down and try to find a way out or get stuck in? This being a Reacher book, our man will not only get stuck in, but also apply some meaty justice.
Reacher is once again traveling the US with only the clothes on his back an...
All My Colors by David Quantick
There is no such thing as déjà vu, it is just your mind failing to process things properly. Even so, one day I was reading a book and was struck with a fearful sense of déjà vu. I could almost see what was going to happen next, it was unsettling. Was this a supernatural event? Had I gained super powers? Nope, turns out I had read the book ten years previously and forgotten. This is not a problem for Todd Milstead who has an eidetic memory so the book he is remember...
Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear
Haimey is the engineer aboard the Singer, an interstellar salvage vessel named after its shipboard Intelligence. Haimey is genetically modified for zero-G, and she has brain-enhancing implants that connect her to the rest of the crew and chemically manage her emotional state. Haimey, Singer, and their pilot, Connla, discover an enormous wreck on the edge of inhabited space. The Derelict ship contains evidence of atrocities against one of the member races of the Synarche, the republic that gov...
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
A Memory called Empire is the debut of Arkady Martine, although reading the book you'd be forgiven for thinking she's been writing best-sellers for years.
The vast, interstellar Empire of the Teixcalaanli have appointed Mahit Dzmare as new Ambassador to the capital. When she arrives she realises that her predecessor was murdered, but no-one wants to admit it wasn't an accidental death. Mahit is from a small colony, a fiercely independent mining station that is due to be annexed b...
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Illustration ©2019 Tim McDonagh from The Folio Society edition of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes
The bright yellow cover of this Folio Society edition of Bradbury’s classic fantasy novel is inset with a cartoon-like carnival poster, clearly telegraphing what the reader might expect when they open the book and delve into the story of Jim and Will, whose lives are changed when, a week before Halloween, the carnival comes to town.
Thanos: Death Sentence by Stuart Moore
To anyone who has seen the latest Avengers movies you will know that Thanos is not a nice chap. He single handily (infinitely glovely) creates an intergalactic genocide. Despite this, the films try to give him some sympathetic elements; he only wipes out so many to save the whole. The Thanos of Stuart Moore’s Thanos: Death Sentence is not the Thanos of the films, but that of the comic books. This is an alien who has no interest in saving the galaxy for the long term, but wants to sit be...
Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky
The sequel to the 2016 Clarke Award winner, Children of Time, the story of the far future human and spider civilisations picks up several generations after the events at the end of the previous novel.
A terraforming team, led by Dirsa Senkovi and Yusuf Baltiel discover alien life on a far distant planet that they had been sent to make habitable for humans. Baltiel decides to preserve this life and Senkovi agrees to redirect their work to an ice planet on the edge of the viable zone. S...
Broken Branches by Ben Ellis
In the not too distant future, your social standing is based on the "purity" of your genes and the ability to trace your family through the "national family tree" genetic database. All men are sterile and fertility drugs are only given to state-sponsored couples whose genetic match are approved. Those who can't trace their lineage are known as "Broken Branches" and considered outcasts, shunned by society.
Grace and Charlie are twins and Broken Branches, but Grace is given a chance at ...
From Divergent Suns by Sam Peters
Science fiction is a minefield for any author. So many others genres are available that have a set of rules that you can follow. Crime has it, even most fantasy books follow a pattern, but science fiction can be almost anything. It can be set in an alternative today with only a tiny tweak to our way of life or it could be set many years into the future on a distant planet. Whatever the author chooses they need to produce a book that will sometimes have to take complex ideas and make them cohe...
A Time of Blood by John Gwynne
Following the events of A Time of Dread, this book raises the stakes even further. Drem and friends flee the horrors at Starstone Lake. They must warn the Order of the Bright Star that a Demon has risen, but Fritha, the Demon's high Priestess has other ideas and is hot on their heels. Meanwhile, concealed in a forest Riv tries to come to terms with her half-breed heritage.
As the Demons forces multiply, they send a host to destroy the Angels stronghold. Drem and the Bright Stars ...
The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp
Post-Katrina New Orleans is haunted by history and destruction. Similar burdens are shouldered by the Street Magician Jude Dubuisson. He's got a gift of finding things people have lost - inherited from an unknown father. His gift has become an almost overwhelming curse following the storm, with so many things becoming lost his powers grow out of control. Then the New Orleans god of fortune is murdered and Jude is drawn back into a world he's been so desperate to leave. This is a hidden w...
The Crying Machine by Greg Chivers
Science documentary producer Greg Chivers’ first novel is a delightful combination of sci-fi, politics, and the three strange characters ensconced within them.
Chivers’ future Jerusalem is a city all but ignored as irrelevant by the world’s leaders, and in its anonymity the Holy City has become a haven for smugglers, exiles and extremists. While flying under the radar of the globe’s superpowers, the Middle Eastern metropolis teems with dubious characters, black...
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Book of the month
The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp
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