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Gollancz July 2015 Paperbacks

Gollancz Paperback of the Month for July 2015 is the impressive novel The Relic Guild by Edward Cox, reviewed by our good man Allen Stroud back in September last year. Allen seemed impressed:

Sometimes a book comes along that reminds you of the pleasure of being a reader and/or a writer, a book that you start at the right time and cannot fail to admire...
...an exciting debut from a writer who plainly loves what he has made and I’m looking forward to the sequel already

The Relic Guild is a blend of Steampunk, horror and adventure, a tale ten years in the making and one that shouldn't be missed.

Elsewhere Gollancz is re-publishing the classic Philip K Dick tragicomedy that is Humpty Dumpty in Oakland. The book follows the elderly Garage owner Jim Fergesson who is selling up to retire and Al Miller, a carsalesman who sublets the Garage forecourt. Chris Harman, owner of a slightly dodgy sounding record company relies on Fergesson to maintain his cars and after Harman tips Jim off to a "cast-iron" business investment, Al becomes convinced Harman is up to no good.

Humpty Dumpty in Oakland wasn't published until after PKD had passed away, rejected by his publisher when he originally wrote the story in 1960.

Although grouped with the authors other works, the novel isn't actually science fiction, being a realist work of dark comedy. Other than the lack of genre the novel has all the hallmarks of PKD's work, the interesting characters, subtle humour and gritty reality combined with a low-key story and sedate pace. Expect a review soon.

 

War Dogs is a military scifi novel by the New York Times bestselling and award winning author Greg Bear. It's the first installment in a planned trilogy and tells the tale of humanity fighting an alien menace (Antags) along with some alien allies (An alliance which among other things prevents humans from swearing). The battleground is Mars and the story follows lone marine "Master Sergeant Venn" after his drop goes pear-shaped.

 


Fantasy readers are in for a treat with two additions to the Fantasy Masterworks collection. First up is Thomas The Rhymer by Ellen Kushner which is based on the folkore ballad Thomas the Rhymer and the Queen of Elfland. The novel won both the World Fantasy award and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in 1991 and much later the Tähtifantasia Award for "best foreign fantasy book" in 2009.

This edition has an introduction by Lisa Tuttle and the novel has been described by Neil Gaiman as:

Elegant and beautiful… a magical tour de force shot through with strange melodies. I loved it.

 

The second addition is Grendel by John Gardner, a retelling of the old English epic poem Beowulf, retold from the perspective of the antagonist. This edition features an Introduction by the eloquent author Adam Roberts. Writing in SFX magazine, Jon Courtenay Grimwood gave the praise:

Few writers ever reach this level of greatness, It doesn't matter whether you think Grendel's about Anglo-Saxon warriors battling monsters or the collapse of superstition and the rise of capitalism, or both at once, this is mythic writing in every sense of those words.