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Brothers Keeper by Donald E Westlake
The world of crime is riddled with the worst vices known to man; murder, kidnapping, estate acquisition. It is also full of the most ruthless people; bank robbers, killers, monks. You may have noticed that a couple of elements snuck in there that are not always synonymous with crime fiction, but you may just find that a book all about a religious brotherhood trying to save their monastery is one of the warmest crime books you have read in a long while.
Even in the world of religious o...
Golden State by Ben Winters
In the wake of the 2016 US presidential election, a meme boiled up to the surface of our cultural dialogue about us having entered an age of “post-truth.” As the election showed us, we have arrived into a societal configuration, in which two major ideological groups do not just vote for different parties, but also interpret the world in completely different ways. Hence, the term “post-truth.” On the surface, it seems to members of one side that the other is ignoring &l...
Star Trek Prometheus: In the Heart of Chaos by Bernd Perplies
The original USS Enterprise was sent out on a five year mission to explore Space, but even the biggest Star Trek fan would not want to know about every single detail that happened on the voyage. We can forgo the times that they slept or went to the loo. Perhaps even skip a few lengthy sessions between colleagues spouting technobabble. The Star Trek Prometheus trilogy feels differently and sometimes put every extraneous detail was on the page, but now book three is in sight, things are startin...
City of the Iron Fish by Simon Ings
By the end of the eighteenth century, our world had become fully charted, catalogued, mapped and explored. No longer could it be imagined that beyond some distant horizon there lay a land of extraordinary wonders—a hidden utopia, for example, nestled away somewhere safe from the corrupting influence of our imperfect, real-world societies. Or perhaps a fountain whose waters granted perpetual youth.
Science fiction, of course, finds ways around this, the most obvious tropes being ...
Iron Gold by Pierce Brown
Being an author there are hard decisions to be made. Do you stick with the same characters or try to be someone who writes about different times and places in each book? After the original Red Rising trilogy, author Pierce Brown had the option to stop writing about Darrow’s rise and instead concentrate elsewhere. However, as most people know, once you are at the top there is only one direction to go. Iron Gold is the start of a new trilogy that may jus...
Batman: The Court of Owls by Greg Cox
Batman stalks the villains of Gotham and for many he is their worst nightmare. Bats may be inherently scary to some, but in nature they are not the top of the food chain and several animals like to eat them for a snack. One such animal is the Owl, a natural enemy of the Bat. This being Gotham dressing up as an Owl and harassing Batman is not beyond the realms of possibility, but with the Court of the Owls this is more than just a masked menace. For centuries a cabal of the richest Gotham deni...
The Time Machine and The Island of Doctor Moreau by HG Wells
Illustration ©Grahame Baker-Smith from The Folio Society edition of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The work of H. G. Wells is both seminal and formative to our current interest in Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy. The collection of these two novellas in one volume is a common publication format. However, The Folio Society has descended upon these texts with its customary panache and produced a gorgeously illustrated edition. This edition does tend to focus on The Time Machine,...
Star Trek Prometheus: The Root of all Rage by Bernd Perplies
What makes a great trilogy? Three stories that combine to make one, but are themselves also valid. Each book should have a start, middle and end that combine together to make a longer narrative. There are not many things worse for a fantasy or science fiction reader than getting their hands on a ‘filler’ second book. That awkward book in the middle that just continues the story and adds little. We already know who the characters are from book one and look forward to the conclusion...
Our Child of the Stars by Stephen Cox
I read a lot of science fiction and one element I am not duly bothered about is feelings. I prefer the imagery of cold steel roaring through space over the relationship between two characters, but without emotions what is the point of a story at all? Our Child of the Stars by Stephen Cox is a departure from my normal reading as it takes the concept of adopting an alien and makes the entire book feel very human.
When a meteorite hits the sleepy town of Amber Grove it brings with it mor...
No matter what else happens, 2019 sounds like it's going to be a good year for books. While we haven't heard whether George RR Martin or Patrick Rothfuss will actually release their eagerly, long awaited novels, there are plenty of other books to get our teeth into. Some from established legends of the genre such as Alastair Reynolds, Tim Powers, Gregory Benford, Tad Williams, Guy Gavriel Kay, Pat Cadigan, Margaret Atwood (with her long awaited sequel to a Handmaids Tale) Ian McDonald and eve...
Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly by Adrian McKinty
There are times in history that don’t seem very funny and if you lived through them you would find it hard to laugh. The 1970/80s in Northern Ireland may just be one such era as sectarian violence means that you are always wary of your surroundings. This is exemplified for Detective Inspector Sean Duffy, a Catholic Police Officer who has a permanent bounty on his head by the IRA. He should be a sombre chap, but instead he tackles his problems with a sardonic grace. That is until he find...
Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds
I've been reading Reynolds books since he began writing them and have seen him grow over the years from a seriously talented writer to one of the best in his field. Revenger was one of his finest works to date, Shadow Captain eclipses it easily. It's the second in a planned trilogy but manages to avoid any "second book" syndrome.
Revenger follows the sisters Adrana and (Arafura) Fura Ness as they sign onto the good ship Monetta’s Mourn under the captain Rackamore,...
Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft
Arm of the Sphinx is the second in the Books of Babel series by Josiah Bancroft and follows on from the events of Senlin Ascends.
Tom - who is now going by the name of Captain Mudd, continues his search for Marya. He has help, with the airship The Stone Cloud and it's motley crew. Since the events of the previous book, the crew of The Stone Cloud have become adept and moderately successful pirates, using guile and intelligence to overcome more powerful airships. His success as a ...
Star Trek Prometheus: Fire with Fire by Bernd Perplies
It is feels increasingly complex to be a Star Trek fan. Things started off being about Kirk and co, then Picard, then Sisko etc. By now there are various TV shows that have been and gone, but also films that are set in parallel universes and I have no idea what is happening in Discovery half the time. Even if you are on top of the TV and Film versions of Trek, you may not know what is happening in the books. Star Trek Prometheus: Fire with Fire by Bernd ...
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Book of the month
Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds
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