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This Book is Full of Spiders by David Wong
Spiders seem to tap into a primeval fear inside humans. Perhaps in the days of cavemen there were 20 foot spiders that ate those that travelled at night? What I do know is that the average domestic spider in the UK is unlikely to spring off the wall and eat through your skull. This set of events is not true of an undisclosed town in America were the spiders will not only drill into your brain, but they are invisible so you cannot even see them noshing your noggin.
Dave and John are ...
Hearts of Granite by James Barclay
How do you shake up the familiar “war that never ends” trope? James Barclay has one answer; add alien DNA with lizards to create genetically modified dragons; then fly those dragons into the battlefield burning your enemies to a smoking crisp. If that wasn’t enough, he also adds a variety of fun and interesting characters to boot.
Set over the burning South African desert, a 30-legged behemoth slowly marches through the sand; this is the Heart of Granite; a living, breathing...
The Folio Book of Horror Stories by Ramsey Campbell
The Folio Book of Horror Stories is a new anthology, collecting some of the finest stories of the macabre written over the last two hundred years or so. The collection is edited and introduced by the award winning, legendary author and critic Ramsey Campbell, who has thoughtfully provided an insight into the process of editing the anthology over at the Folio Society blog. His introduction in this book is just as insightful:
A horror story may convey supernatural fear or psycholog...
Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
The sassy, media loving AI ‘Murderbot’ returns in Exit Strategy, the final novella in The Murderbot Diaries. Murderbot first burst on to the scene in 2017’s All Systems Red. In that first installment, Murderbot was hired as a security unit (SecUnit) to protect a team of scientists lead by a Dr. Mensah from the mysterious GrayCris Corporation. Dr. Mensah ultimately became the first human to treat Murderbot like a person. Having secretly hacked its governor module, Murderbot ...
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin
The Left Hand of Darkness was first published almost 50 years ago, receiving critical acclaim and firmly establishing Le Guin as a serious, talented author. It's known as one of the first examples of feminist science fiction and retrospectively won the Hugo and Nebula awards. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that it stands amongst the most important works of science fiction, helping to raise perception of the genre in the eyes of those who don't usually read it. T...
Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
Murderbot, the gruff yet lovable, media obsessed Security AI is back in Rogue Protocol, the latest tale in Martha Wells’ The Murderbot Diaries, a Tor.com series of novellas. In the first story, the Nebula Award winning All Systems Red, Murderbot, a self-nicknamed security robot, secretly hacks into its governor module and gains its freedom from its human contracts. Other than enjoying entertainment media, its goal is to recall a lapse in its memory regarding the ni...
The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French
The clue to what makes the Fantasy genre so great is staring you straight in the face; it is fantastical. It gives author the chance to transport their readers to a different time and place. Lands full of wonder, populated by creatures only seen in your dreams. So, it is sometimes a little sad to see how serious and dark Fantasy has become in recent years. This no doubt reflects our own uncertain times, but do we really need to dwell on the basest things when we could be reading about dragons...
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
I missed reviewing Sleeping Giants when it first came out. I've finally got round to picking up a copy to find out it's now been out long enough that there are two further novels in the series: Waking Gods and Only Human. Back in 2016 It was one of those break-out novels such as The Martian and Wool, where the author self-published and found an audience there before it was picked up by a major publisher. It was also optioned for a film, although there is little news on that front (Go...
Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson
We are told to live in the moment; don’t worry about the past or the future, it is now that you should care about, but how many of us really do? We spend endless hours checking our phones or having meaningless arguments online. If someone walked in on you right now and said that you are not actually real, but a snapshot of yourself who will be deleted tonight, what would you do? Laugh? Cry? Commit murder?
Detectives Davis and Chaz are specialists who help solve crimes in the Snaps...
Daughters of the Forgotten Light by Sean Grigsby
Daughters of the Forgotten Light is set in a deep space penal colony called Oubliette. Floating in space, it's home to the most savage criminals and other members of the population Earth no longer wants.
To survive on Oubiette you need to join a gang and Lena "Horror" Horowitz leads the Daughters of Forgotten Light, one of the three gangs fighting for survival. They've held a fragile truce with the canabalistic Amazons and the all-black Onyx Coalition for some time. That...
Before Mars by Emma Newman
Before Mars is the third book set within the authors Planetfall Universe. As the name suggests it's actually set before the events of Planetfall and After Atlas.
After months of travel, Anna Kubrin finally arrives on the Red Planet to begin her job as geologist and in-residence artist. She already misses her husband and child - with a whole year ahead before any chance of going home.
Her arrival has clearly been anticipated and it isn't long before she finds a no...
Ball Lightning by Liu Cixin
Cixin Lui writes incredibly imaginative fiction, exploring vast ideas and bringing them down to a human level. His Remembrance of Earth's Past series has won awards and brought much deserved recognition, with the first in the series The Three Body Problem even becoming a favourite of Barack Obama.
Ball Lightning is a new story that as the name suggests, deals with that uncommon natural phenomenon. It's been translated by Joel Martinson, who also worked on the sequel to Th...
The Ember Blade by Chris Wooding
The Ember Blade is a legendary sword, the sword of kings, and the spark needed to ignite the fires of revolution.
Aren has lived by the rules all his young life, without question. Then his father is executed for treason and his whole world is shattered. Thrown into a prison-mine with his friend Cade, they are doomed to work until they die of exhuastion. That is unless somehow they can break free. But what lies beyond the prison could be even worse, the land long occupied by harsh r...
Raft by Stephen Baxter
Raft was originally a short story published in Interzone back in 1989. Baxter admitted struggling to contain the story to such a short space however and eventually Raft became the authors first published novel. It's also the first book in the authors Xeelee sequence (although no Xeelee make an appearance). It was nominated for both the Arthur C Clarke and Locus First Novel awards in 1992. The SF Masterworks edition includes a warm, personable introduction by Alastair Reynolds....
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When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.
Book of the month
Ball Lightning by Liu Cixin
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