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by Andrew Bannister
I’m always guilty of making snap judgements of books and their covers. Sci-fi covers don’t tend to help. Andrew Bannister’s The Creation Machine is not going to draw you in with its generic spaceship framed by a generic planet, and the woefully reductive, sensationalist logline of ‘It helped create a galaxy, now it might destroy one.’
Such a good debut really deserves better.
The far future tale is one of redemption, of the futility of rebelling against the system, and the...
by Peter Newman
The Malice is the follow-up to one of my favourite fantasy reads last year, Peter Newmans The Vagrant. It's a story set in a post-apocalyptic future where forgotten technology intermingles with demonspawn and twisted lands full of twisted mutants.
It had the dark, haunted flavour of Stephen Kings Dark Tower series and shared the same confidence of voice. Impressive when you consider it was the authors debut novel.
Where The Vagrant followed the mute, enigmatic protagonist ...
by Joe Hill
Joe Hill is one of those authors who improves with each book and The Fireman is nothing short of spectacular.
A highly contagious spore has begun to spread across the World, a pandemic that see's people break out in beautiful gold and black marks before spontaneously self-combusting. Draco Incendia Trychophyton, more commonly known as Dragonscale infects millions in a short space of time with blazes breaking out everywhere. No one is safe, there is no antidote and seemingly no cure....
by Marc Turner
At the basic level, Marc Turner’s Dragon Hunters is about three things: huge water-dragons, awesome sword-fights, and Machiavellian politics. The second book in Turner’s Chronicles of the Exiles trilogy - although not strictly a sequel to the first When The Heavens Fall - also has a similarly complex set of disparate perspectives and political gambits that are eventually, inexorably, woven together.
Confusingly, very little of the book is about hunting dragons per se. Events take pl...
by Marc Turner
An epic fantasy story that begins The Chronicles of the Exile, there is a lot to like about Turner’s first book in this series.
The beginning requires some perseverance. We are introduced to Luker Essendar and his former associate Gill. What follows is a very long exposition as discussion between the two characters ostensibly to establish the current political situation across ‘The Lands of The Exile’. This feels somewhat unnecessary. Gill is the dispatcher, sending the unwilling L...
by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Thomas Olde Heuvelt won last years Hugo award for his novelette The Day the World Turned Upside Down. Reading Hex I can see why.
The idea is incredible — A woman named Katharine is killed as a witch in the 16th Century and then begins haunting the woods around the village of Black Spring where she lived and died. Eventually the army march the woods and find the vengeful spirit, restricting her powers by sewing up her eyes and mouth. All those present die. Centuries pass and the vill...
by Clifford Beal
The Guns of Ivrea is a seafaring fantasy adventure that immediately establishes its author, Clifford Beal as eminently knowledgeable in his chosen subject area and a strong storyteller to boot.
Our plot revolves around the fortunes of Nicolo Danamis, a pirate in the same vein as Sir Francis Drake, in that he is state sponsored in his actions.. He has achieved his position by being the son of a great pirating adventurer and when first meet him, the burden of this legacy weighs heavil...
by Randy Henderson
Phineas (Finn) Gramayare has an unusual occupation. He's a part-trained necromancer, returned to the mortal world after being exiled to the Fairy realm for 25 years for a crime he didn't commit. Finn has decided to use his connections to offer a match-making service for magical creatures as a side-business.
His time in the Fairy realm has made it's mark in a number of ways, not least with the fact he has a Fey Spirit called Alynon trapped in his head. Finn also feels like he's misse...
by Margaret Atwood
The Year of the Flood is the second novel in Margaret Atwood's post-apocalyptic series and follows the viewpoints of Toby and Ren, members of a religious cult. The book tells the story of some of the events leading up to the cataclysm mentioned in the previous novel Oryx and Crake and there is a good deal of crossover with Jimmy (Snowman) and Crake given some cameo roles. If you haven't read Oryx and Crake I would recommend reading that first — although it's not essential and the way Atwood s...
by Jadah McCoy
Artificial by Jadah McCoy is the authors debut and the first book in a planned series called The Kepler Chronicles. Set in 2256, the story unfolds on Earth’s first colony amongst the stars, the aforementioned Kepler.
As humanity traversed through the deep dark of space, they decided to entrust their well-being to artificial life they’d created to endure the vast loneliness of the journey, androids. Unfortunately, they didn’t take into consideration how their creations might feel abo...
by Tim Powers
Medusa’s Web by Tim Powers follows the story of siblings, Scott and Madeline, required to stay for a week in their aunt’s house by her recently amended will. Their cousins Claimayne and Ariel, who live in the house are less than pleased by this requirement.
The story has a creepy atmosphere, Scott and Madeline don’t know what is going to happen next or why they have been told to stay there, which keeps the reader guessing also. As the story unfolds it is hard to know who is aiming...
by Adrian Barnes
Like all the best novels, Nod develops from a simple premise. Imagine that the vast majority of people around the world suddenly stopped being able to sleep. No deep sleep, no cat-naps and no snoozing at all. It's only a matter of time before society collapses. How many times have we had a bad nights sleep and felt tired the following day, or even a series of poor nights (any parents will understand this).
The human body needs sleep, it needs to switch off from all the myraid sensua...
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The most valuable of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it has to be done, whether you like it or not.
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Nod by Adrian Barnes
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