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Take a trip across time and space with the latest Sci-Fi titles; head to another universe with the latest and greatest Fantasy novels and get your heart pumping with a brilliant selection of Horror.
Chock-a-block with chills, this supernatural thriller also beautifully evokes teenage feelings of uncertainty and how they travel with us into adulthood. Theatre usher Chloe witnesses the iconic musical Dust returning to the stage after 20 years, the very stage said to be haunted by the leading actress who was murdered in her dressing room. It feels as though this book, which crosses genres so successfully, could only have been written by Louise Beech. Her ability to delve into the deepest of emotions and describe them so they land with acute precision in your own thoughts, is handfasted with her knowledge of the theatre. The past collides with the present and boy does the tension increase with each time switch. I felt as though I was a teenager again, and with all the buckets full of feelings that Chloe has to manage, I could have gathered her into the hugest hug. While this is spooky as heck, it is also hugely considerate of emotional heartache and distress. Compelling, original, and unmistakably Louise Beech, I Am Dust glides onto my Liz Robinson picks of the month.
Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend's rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It's miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe. But when Lisa meets some of the locals, and hears some disturbing rumours about the house, she realises it might not be the sanctuary she thought. What secret has Rowan Isle House - and her friend - kept hidden all these years? And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her own past finally catches up with her?
A WORLD HALF IN DARKNESS. A SECRET SHE MUST BRING TO LIGHT. 2059. The world has stopped turning. One half suffers an endless frozen night; the other, nothing but burning sun. Only in a slim twilit region between them can life survive. In an isolationist Britain, scientist Ellen Hopper receives a letter from a dying man. It contains a powerful and dangerous secret. One that those in power will kill to conceal…
'Downtime Shift' is an intriguing, complex and chilling work of science fiction by Robert Holding. Set in the twenty-first and twenty-ninth centuries, it paints a frightening picture of a future in which mankind is totally controlled by artificial intelligence. Evelyn, the main character, is a 'Shifty', that is someone who has been trained to survive and carry out tasks for the 'EYE' when travelling 800 years into the planet's past to alter its future for the better. Questioning these tasks, Evelyn returns to her own time to find that many of the remaining population want to take back control of their lives but that the 'EYE' also has more forces under her control than had been reckoned with. This is a very challenging read on many levels and so plausible in general that it is truly terrifying. The characters are well-defined and the plot fast-paced. The author does leave us with a light at the end of a horrendously turbulent tunnel. I would certainly recommend this book, especially to anyone feeling disillusioned with the way modern life seems to be heading. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
The fairy tale you thought you knew… The story of the Sea Witch, the villainess from Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale The Little Mermaid, told from the viewpoint of the Sea Witch when she was a twelve-year-old girl… Evie has been wracked with guilt ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned. So when a girl appears on shore with an uncanny resemblance to Anna, Evie befriends her in an effort to make amends. And as the two girls catch the eyes – and hearts – of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at happy ever after. But is Evie’s new friend really who she says she is? Or will Evie discover, too late, the truth of her bargain? A gripping story of friendship, betrayal and the power of hope…Because ‘though magic can shape life and death… love is the one thing it cannot control
Part hard SF thriller, part interstellar adventure, part noirromance, CENTURY RAIN is the new bestseller from Al ReynoldsComparison: Philip K Dick, Kim Stanley Robinson. Similar this month: None.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. THE BEAUTY OF MURDER, the debut novel by Hastings-based performer Alexandra Benedict, was a memorable cross-time Oxford-set crime thriller with strong supernatural overtones and her follow-up contemporary thriller is equally evocative and colourful and confirms her voice as quite unique: florid, wide-screened, and masterful in the way she builds up wonderful, truly original characters and the most unsettling of protagonists. A once-blind researcher who despite a successful operation insists on still not seeing is the target of a sinister serial killer and troubled London cop Jonathan Dark, who has the power to see ghosts, is caught in the web of murder and intrigue that surrounds them like an evil fog. Add revengeful ghosts helping and hindering the living, loving evocations of London's river and dark side, conspiracies by the handful and characters quite unlike those encountered in your average modern British crime novel and you have a potent cocktail that will linger in your mind and nightmares for ages.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. This first in a planned ‘LA Trilogy’, this is a romp and a half. Set anachronistically in the 1960s in the California city of angels, it features a Raymond Chandler avatar of a robot who always has the right quip on the tip of his tongue as he navigates the muddy waters of some untold conspiracy. Ray is the perfect detective –tireless, logical and efficient- but he’s also the last robot on the planet and finds that no one actually likes him very much. Add Ada, his office gal and supercomputer and you have the classic detective noir setting for a crazy plot which begins, naturally, with a Cleopatra lookalike knocking at his door, asking him to find a missing person and offering to pay in gold, the only currency Ray accepts. The investigation will take him into the heart of an alternate version of Hollywood which is much more fun than the real one. Laughs and fights and chases. What more could you ask for? ~ Maxim Jakubowski
The night watchman of an upmarket London block is drawn to an apartment that’s seemingly been empty for over 50 years but in which he hears curious noises. In parallel a young American woman inherits a property in the same building. Chaos is soon unleashed and efforts to avert it are literally breathless. An impeccable slice of modern horror with a traditional sense of dread and unerring ‘keep the light on’ suspense. A new British horror star is forcefully born!
Shortlisted for the Best Horror Novel at the British Fantasy Awards 2016. A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Post apocalypse worlds are very much in vogue and in danger of engulfing the bookshelves, but Neville's approach is innovative and seriously scary, which comes as no surprise as he is fast establishing himself as one the horror field's rising talents with a bang. In a crumbling post-pandemic world, anarchy reigns and a grieving father goes in search of the four-year old daughter who was snatched from his garden. In a world of terrible floods, marauding gangs and unpredictable hurricanes, what remains of the police doesn't care and the father plunges into a panorama of madness on his frenzied quest. With an assured narrative flow and a background sometimes reminiscent of Stephen King in his talent for mapping desolation, Nevill confirms he is one scary, serious dude to watch out for. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. After years in the galleys of erotica editing and pseudonymous writing, Nevill has now firmly put himself in the driving seat of contemporary horror and is spearheading its revival and scooping the genre's awards. His fith novel is a creepy tale involving seemingly haunted houses, macabre puppets, stuffed animals and eerie dolls. Individually all the elements on display have been seen before in countless Hammer movies but Nevill knits his ingredients together with forensic skill and brings the shadowy world of fear to life with uncanny effect and almost sadistic detachment and glee. Read this one under the covers and with the lights on.
Nevill is a young British author who, following a decade or so in the editorial publishing ranks, is now writing full-time. In the tradition of M.R. James' ghost stories and the tradition of the British weird tale he writes about the contemporary world and the insidious way in which fear and dread can infiltrate it. His breakthrough was last year's APARTMENT 16 and his new novel takes a group of university friends into the Arctic wilderness where they stumble upon an old habitation. Enter the horror.
Darkness lives within ...Cash-strapped, working for agencies and living in shared accommodation, Stephanie Booth feels she can fall no further. So when she takes a new room at the right price, she believes her luck has finally turned. But 82 Edgware Road is not what it appears to be. It's not only the eerie atmosphere of the vast, neglected house, or the disturbing attitude of her new landlord, Knacker McGuire, that makes her uneasy - it's the whispers behind the fireplace, the scratching beneath floors, the footsteps in the dark, and the young women weeping in neighbouring rooms. And when Knacker's cousin Fergal arrives, the danger goes vertical. But this is merely a beginning, a gateway to horrors beyond Stephanie's worst nightmares. And in a house where no one listens to the screams, will she ever get out alive?
It begins like a modern version of John Carpenter's sinister SF horror movie THE THING when two research scientists isolated in an Antarctic station stumble across unholy matters hitherto unknown to man and the ensuing catastrophe sees one fall into the clutches of lasting madness and illumination while the other is badly maimed both in body and soul. Decades later, the latter now a drunk and an abject failure is coopted by a mysterious institute to work for them and contact his former colleague now locked away in an asylum to revisit the theories that led to the polar mayhem, and his nightmare begins all over again. Involving PETA, a curious artificial intelligence, the Fermi paradox positing the existence of extraterrestrial life and the convoluted philosophical works of Kant, this complex novel of ideas fires wildly in all directions, with glances towards, of all people, James Joyce and Thomas de Quincey, in a serious attempt to elucidate the nature of reality. Mind-bending, ambitious but always a swift read, an important work of science fiction that will have you guessing all the way.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. It begins like a modern version of John Carpenter's sinister SF horror movie THE THING when two research scientists isolated in an Antarctic station stumble across unholy matters hitherto unknown to man and the ensuing catastrophe sees one fall into the clutches of lasting madness and illumination while the other is badly maimed both in body and soul. Decades later, the latter now a drunk and an abject failure is coopted by a mysterious institute to work for them and contact his former colleague now locked away in an asylum to revisit the theories that led to the polar mayhem, and his nightmare begins all over again. Involving PETA, a curious artificial intelligence, the Fermi paradox positing the existence of extraterrestrial life and the convoluted philosophical works of Kant, this complex novel of ideas fires wildly in all directions, with glances towards, of all people, James Joyce and Thomas de Quincey, in a serious attempt to elucidate the nature of reality. Mind-bending, ambitious but always a swift read, an important work of science fiction that will have you guessing all the way.
A parody was inevitable and so in six chapters all six of the Star War films are chewed up, ridiculed, digested and spat out. All very inventive.Comparison: The others in the series: The Soddit, The McAtrix Derided, The Sellamillion.Similar this month: None.
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. In a world where we have been genetically engineered so that we can photosynthesise sunlight with our hair hunger is a thing of the past, food an indulgence. The poor grow their hair, the rich affect baldness and flaunt their wealth by still eating. But other hungers remain ...The young daughter of an affluent New York family is kidnapped. The ransom demands are refused. A year later a young women arrives at the family home claiming to be their long lost daughter. She has changed so much, she has lived on light, can anyone be sure that she has come home?
Whether you want to join Jonathan Strange on the magic-haunted streets of London or Jon Snow and the rest of the Night’s Watch on the wall Fantasy is the genre for you. Authors from Joe Abercrombie to Zen Cho have turned the modern fantasy genre into one of the most exciting and imaginative genres around. They’ve brought magic and wonder, heroes, heroines and people like you and me, together in stories that will delight, scare and mystify you. Whether you want the romance and deceit of court, the shadows of a great city’s alleyways, the clear air of a mountain range, the terrors of a bloody field let fantasy take you to new realities.
There are characters for everyone; Scott Lynch’s charming conmen, Liz William’s artful magicians. Fantasy has worlds for all; Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea, George RR Martin’s brutal Westeros, Ben Aaronovitch’s contemporary London, Naomi Novik’s dragon haunted version of our 19th century. And the genre has a style for each and every reader; whether the playful literary trickery of Angela Carter or the imaginative epic adventures of Peter Brett. Somewhere here there is a story for everyone, so follow us and let your imagination run wild.
Established names like Stephen King and new stars like Lauren Beukes alike have taken horror into the mainstream. And it’s no surprise why – we can’t help ourselves we love a good scare from the safety of our armchairs. But there are any number of authors out there ready and willing to confront you with your darkest fears and, if you’re lucky, take you through them and out into the light again.
There’s always a fresh take on whatever has scared us down through the years. Whether the dark thrills of the demons that haunt the paranormal romances of Cassandra Clare or the hunger of the vengeful ghosts and vampires of Joe Hill. Or the high concept terrors of Sarah Lotz’s work, the insidious chills of Adam Nevill’s urban horrors. Horror can be stealthy like the classic chills of Susan Hills’ ghost stories or screaming in your face like Max Brooks’ terrifying zombies. So step this way and let us put the frighteners on you; scares that are subtle and literary or full-on ‘slap the book shut and turn on all the lights’. Or scares of the best sort – where you don’t know WHAT to expect.
If you’ve ever dreamed about the world our grandchildren will live in, thought about how life could be different, looked at a star and wondered if there’s someone or something there looking at our sun you’ve been wondering about the same things as the great writers of Sci-Fi. Or perhaps you’ve simply wanted to share the excitement and danger of life on an alien world or in the harsh expanses of space? Maybe you’re so busy you wish you had a clone of yourself to do the work while you had the fun of exploring new places and experiences – how would that feel? For both of you?
Sci-Fi is all about these questions and thoughts. And it’s about things we can never experience, perhaps not even thought about yet. It’s about putting you at the centre of wonder and excitement. Whether the wide-screen excitements from the likes of Peter Hamilton and Suzanne Collins, or the noir thrills of cyberpunk by authors such as Pat Cadigan and William Gibson or the intricate speculations of authors like Ian McDonald and Nnedi Okorafor Sci-Fi really does have something for everyone and you’ll find the very best of it here.