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Book Review

The Vagrant

by Peter Newman

The Vagrant by Peter Newman

The Vagrant was an unexpected delight, showing up totally out of the blue with a mature, confident writing style and a deliciously dark and twisted world. The flawed protagonist known only as "The Vagrant" is a masterstroke — here we have a figure who doesn't give much away. He doesn't speak, but he passes through the post-apocalyptic, savaged land with knowledge, confidence and a hard heart. And yet he clearly cares and is single-minded in his protection of his unusual ward.

Its th...

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reviewed by Ant on Friday 01 May 2015
Book Review

Tell No Lies

by John Grant

Tell No Lies by John Grant

This is a story collection that stays in your mind long after you’ve finished reading, John Grant’s selection of writings vary widely across subjects, but return to the theme of duplicity. In many of these stories, the fantasy or science fiction element remains minimal and acts in a constrained role allowing the dilemma to be puzzled through, acting as a twist, or initiating the story theme, a little like the film Sliding Doors, certainly in the case of the opening story, All the Little Gods ...

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reviewed by Allen Stroud on Wednesday 29 April 2015
Book Review

Wastelands 2

by John Joseph Adams

Wastelands 2 by John Joseph Adams

The first Wastelands anthology, released back in 2008 was widely regarded as not only a fine collection of apocalyptic tales but one of the finest anthologies full stop. Big shoes to fill then. The Editor John Joseph Adams is clearly up to the task though and has managed to get together some of the most talented authors to pen tales concerning worldwide disaster.

Included in Wastelands two is thirty of the finest post-apocalyptic shorts from authors Lauren Beukes, Paolo Bacigalupi, ...

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reviewed by Ant on Tuesday 28 April 2015
Book Review

Sleeps with Angels

by Dave Hutchinson

Sleeps with Angels by Dave Hutchinson

A collection of six short works all with author commentary as to their origins. As a writer I would characterise David Hutchinson as a storyteller first and foremost. Each of the pieces in this collection tick forwards continually without straying too far. The exposition is neatly added and delivered in slivers so as not to distract from the main points of the plot.

Each tale draws its fantasy and/or science fiction from different sources and never stoops into the obvious. We have ...

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reviewed by Allen Stroud on Sunday 26 April 2015
Book Review

Exit Eleonora

by Richard R Allan

Exit Eleonora by Richard R Allan

One of the reasons I review books is to find stories that impress me and writers I can learn from and certainly there’s a lot of learning to be had in Exit Eleonora – Richard Allan’s debut novel.

The story is first person and set in AD 2047. Earth is re-organising itself after a devastating plague that wiped out ninety percent of the world’s population. The new society is a drastic change, but seemingly positive in its pursuit of a meritocratic hierarchy and an even distribution of ...

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reviewed by Allen Stroud on Friday 24 April 2015
Book Review

Give Me These Moments Back

by Michael Chinn

Give Me These Moments Back by Michael Chinn

This is a substantive collection of short stories from Alchemy Press, varying in setting, premise and idea but all focusing around the concept of a moment in time as mentioned in the title. These moments are all pivotal and memorable, life defining and changing in each case.

The stories themselves range from Science Fiction, to Fiction, to Horror and Fantasy, the writer electing to choose from a wide set of tools and techniques on his work bench, including a little adult content. Th...

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reviewed by Allen Stroud on Wednesday 22 April 2015
Book Review

Dead Beat

by Jim Butcher

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

The Word of Kemmler, a book of potentially catastrophic power should it fall into the wrong hands. Mortiferous forces have gathered in Chicago and it would seem the windy city may be the resting place of the ancient tome.

Of course that means it's up to Harry to prevent the book falling into the wrong hands and all levels of hell descending upon the world (again). This time help is given from unlikely (and sometimes unwanted) sources.

Since the last novel began a momentum ...

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reviewed by Ant on Monday 20 April 2015
Book Review

Pelquin's Comet

by Ian Whates

Pelquin's Comet by Ian Whates

There is always much to like about Ian Whates’ stories. He writes accessible science fiction with a thought provoking edge. In this case, the thought provoking is toned down a bit in a venture into space opera. Pelquin’s Comet is an adventure story with an appealing and varied cast. We have a ship, a crew and a hunt for ancient artefacts, quickly complicated by greed, addiction, botched repairs and bullets.

After an initial set piece to establish the competence of one of our protago...

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reviewed by Allen Stroud on Sunday 19 April 2015
Book Review

Kane of Old Mars

by Michael Moorcock

Kane of Old Mars by Michael Moorcock

If you missed out on Michael Moorcock the first time around, the collated paperback editions of his work from Gollancz are an excellent way to discover his stories. Kane of Old Mars collects three Kane books, Warriors of Mars, Blades of Mars and Barbarians of Mars. All of Moorcock’s adventures are ultimately connected through the premise of the Eternal Champion.

Readers of the collated Nomad of Time trilogy, which follows the adventures of Oswald Bastable will quickly recognise the ...

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reviewed by Allen Stroud on Thursday 16 April 2015
Book Review

Sword of the North

by Luke Scull

Sword of the North by Luke Scull

The first novel in The Grim Company was a singular example of the traditional fantasy novel for the 21st century. I stand by my comment of it being one of best fantasy novels of 2013. Sword of the North is the direct sequel to this debut and follows the spectacular events at the end of the first book.

Ir begins however 36 years before, with some suitably grim backstory which describes the path of Brodar Kayne and how he eventually becomes the swordsman he is and friend the legendary...

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reviewed by Ant on Monday 13 April 2015
Book Review

Dead Water and Other Weird Tales

by David A Sutton

Dead Water and Other Weird Tales by David A Sutton

David Sutton’s fascination with horror stories has led him to a considerable career immersed in the macabre and terrifying. Looking back over his work it is surprising to me that I’m only just discovering him as a writer, although I am indebted to his editorial skills on Dark Horizons, a British Fantasy Society journal collection I read many years ago.

Dead Water and Other Weird Tales is a wide ranging mix of work, drawing inspiration from a multitude of different sources. Though th...

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reviewed by Allen Stroud on Saturday 11 April 2015
Book Review

The Boy who wept blood

by Den Patrick

The Boy who wept blood by Den Patrick

The Boy who wept blood is the sequel to Den Patrick's impressive novel, The Boy with the Porcelain Blade. Set some time after the events of the first book, the Queen Anea now rules Demense. A fairer society is being built on the ashes of the old regime however many of the old players are reluctant to give up their power.

It falls to Dino to find out whats going on and hopefully put a stop to it and prevent this fledgling republic falling before its begun.

It's an interesti...

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reviewed by Ant on Friday 10 April 2015

Science fiction, fantasy & horror book reviews

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