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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.
Stunningly gorgeous short stories and wonderful illustrations make for an absolute treasure trove of a book. I have quite simply fallen in love with Foxfire, Wolfskin, it makes my heart sing. Discover 13 short stories about shapeshifting women, the shortest story being three and a half pages long. All are “either reimaginings of older tales, or contain characters, beings and motifs which appear in older tales”. On opening the book, I felt as though I was walking into an age old story, the descriptions are startling, vivid, touchable. I began with Wolfskin, which is sharp and edgy, it hurts, it feels… right. After finishing Wolfskin, I immediately read it again, this time out loud. I fell headlong in once more, and at the extraordinary end, emotional goosebumps skitter-scattered down my arms. All of these stories have a unique strength to them and I disappeared into each one. Just a note on the accompanying illustrations by Helen Nicholson. They are fresh, original, and yet have that same age old feel of the stories. At the very end you will find notes on each tale, the inspiration behind them and where the idea appears in folklore. Foxfire, Wolfskin is full of beautiful stories that take hold, bite, leave their mark and I adored it so much I had to add it as one of my picks of the month!
A stark, fierce, and fascinating start to what promises to be a rewarding trilogy. The Swords of Silence is set in Japan during 1626 as the Shogun slams shut the door to outside influences. If Father Joaquim Martinez and the village he tends, fail to renounce their religion, they face a hideous death. It took a little time for me to settle into the names, the time, the land, however I was soon gripped by the story on offer. The dedication at the beginning states that between 1614 and 1643 the Shogun executed almost 5,000 Christians. Shaun Curry writes with a simplicity that to be quite honest, feels necessary in the bloodshed that follows. He doesn’t revel in the gore, instead quite matter-of-factly describes incidents that somehow feel all the more real. I have to say that I have rather fallen for Master Watanabe and do hope that he makes a reappearance in the trilogy! Exploring a time and place from long ago, The Swords of Silence took me with picture sharp clarity into a compelling story.
Most definitely sitting on the quirky side of life (and Mars), this is an amusing and mind-bending read. The robots who look down on humanity are determined to end the human rebellion that started on Earth. This is Battlestar Suburbia: Volume Two, if you’ve not read the first in the series you might want to start at the beginning. However, I joined here and felt perfectly comfortable with the Dolestars council estates circling earth and Pam the sentient bread-maker. This is an absolutely fascinating premise from Chris McCrudden, the machines aren’t quite as you may have imagined them. There is no Terminator style human robot on offer (unless you count the human who was pinched for use as a cyborg), instead lamps, photocopiers, and a particularly evil smartphone lead the machine charge. In today’s climate, the utter disdain felt by some of the machines for humanity all feels rather relevant. Battle Beyond the Dolestars is different, a little geeky, and lots of fun, oh, just as a note of warning, you may never look at your lamp in the same way again!
A stunningly beautiful, courageous read, one that crosses through time to 1612, when witchcraft allegations went hand in hand with fear, power and corruption. This is a work of fiction based on real people, local residents, Pendle witches and all. Let me tell you about the cover of this book, which really is very gorgeous indeed. The green leaves sooth, with fiery bursts of orange-red and gold, I then noticed the fox, the ring, pendant, feather… and last of all, the noose, which of course once I had seen, reached out and became all I could see. I tell you this, because the cover reminds me of how I felt about the book, mysterious, yet almost gentle, I let the words take me, I felt myself floating, and then bites of uncertainty and disquiet started gnaw at my awareness. The persecution of the women hammered home while an otherworldly existence lodged itself in my thoughts, and remains there. Deceptively powerful, moving and provocative, Stacey Hall writes with an eloquent pen. Opening a window into a vivid feast of a read, as a debut novel The Familiars stands out from the crowd.
It is time to celebrate a new and truly fabulous Stephen King novel. Children with special gifts such as telepathy and telekinesis are being abducted from across the USA, then they are tested, exploited, and kept prisoner. Is there any hope left for the kids incarcerated in the Institute? I opened the first page, settled in, and just read… isn’t it wonderful when you can do that? When you so implicitly trust the author, trust that they are going to take you on amazing journey? Stephen King has written the most readable and electrifying tale here, I didn’t doubt for one second that any of this wasn’t true, wasn’t possible, wasn’t happening right now. I just inhaled the words, fully immersed myself in the story, and squirmed on the edge of my seat as the ending hurtled towards me. The Institute knocked my socks off, it is a thrilling, chilling ride, and sits not only as a Liz Robinson pick of the month, but one of our LoveReading Star Books too.
And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light. When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood's sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. 'Dear Readers: Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we've been living in.' Margaret Atwood.
The Lost Girls is a dark and twisty supernatural thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. Edinburgh student Rose MacLeod has been losing time for as long as she can remember. Days and weeks disappear, leaving terrifying gaps in her memory. Now she is seeing horrifying visions - waking nightmares of violence and death. Around the world young women like her are being killed, and Rose has a ringside seat. Mal Fergusson was raised to hunt demons across Scotland. With his father dead and his brother in a coma, he no longer believes in the grand battle between good and evil. Instead, he scrapes a living as an investigator and hit man for the supernatural Mafia of Edinburgh. Tensions are rising in Scotland's capital, and Mal must capture Rose to keep his demonic boss sweet - but is he really willing to harm an innocent to do so?
An all-female high-seas YA fantasy adventure of survival and revenge, with a diverse cast and filmic feel, perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo.
This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In 'The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate', a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary 'Exhalation', an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people but for all of reality. And in 'The Lifecycle of Software Objects', a woman cares for an artificial intelligence over 20 years, elevating a faddish digital pet into what might be a true living being. Also included are two brand-new stories: 'Omphalos' and 'Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom'. In Exhalation, Ted Chiang wrestles with the oldest questions on earth - what is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human? - and ones that no one else has even imagined. And, each in its own way, the stories prove that complex and thoughtful science fiction can rise to new heights of beauty, meaning and compassion.
One Step Beyond is based on a time period and sub-culture that I am unfamiliar with (80's Skinhead culture - although no date is specifically mentioned). The book uses the tried and tested body swap plot, this book explores social discord and conflict that feels all too common at the moment. I found the concept of Mal and Ashraf's swap allows the other person to “walk a mile in the other person’s shoes” really intrigued me. I found this book a simple but enjoyable read and I thought that it had good attention to detail. I took an instant disliking to Mal, as we’re supposed to, but having the synopsis in mind, I wanted to persevere and see him change. As the book progressed my frustrations changed direction and I found Ash quite reedy. These are a sign to me of good character construction. I think I preferred Phil and Kate out of all of the characters and occasionally had to pay a bit more attention to make sure I had the right characters in mind -Arf, Ash, Travis and Trevor are quite similar names used in the book and I had to double-check I had read the name right once or twice. Overall, I enjoyed the book and finished it in one day, and I would recommend it to others.
This is a story of searching for the truth, brings up more questions and answers and leaves the reader doing the same. It is a complex novel - I read whilst on holiday. It is the story of Tres who is reborn as a boy called Aaron- he has a gift by the way of recalling people who lived before. It was an unusual book which needs time to read not for the skimmer. The writing is well written and it is so worth reading to the end to discover. A book of friendship. This is written by an author I am not familiar with and will seek him out now. Jane Brown, A LoveReading Ambassador
A well-crafted story, beautiful language, a mystery and a wild cat with a sense of humour. What's not to like about this book? It grabs the reader's attention from the start and holds on to it throughout the story. I also love the information about Wild Cat conservation which appears before the story starts: hopefully this will encourage readers of all ages to take an interest in the conservation of this beautiful animal. I normally clear my downloads after reviewing a book, but I will be keeping this one to reread and I can't wait to read about Catastrophe's next adventure Pauline Braisher, A LoveReading Ambassador
A Maxim Jakubowski Best Science Fiction selection. A second novel by the fast rising South African author (pronounced Beukes like mucus, she tells us...), recently shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. A frantic urban fantasy in which ex-drug addict Zinzi December, whose job is to find people, is tasked to retrieve missing pop starlet Songweza. But, in a broken city peopled by crime lords, magicians, beast masters and symbiotic animals, nothing is ever straightforward, nothing is as easy as it appears. Cue a sassy and cynical heroine with a gleeful touch of mischief, twists and turns on every corner. A page turner and a pleaser. In November 2011 South African film producer Helena Spring won film rights to Zoo City. Lauren Beukes said: "Every novelist dreams of a movie deal—but you actually want more than that. You want to find a producer of great vision and integrity and experience who fundamentally gets the book . . . I'm thrilled that it's being produced in South Africa—for an international audience."
Zombies and supernatural beings are all the rage at the moment and although this is another story about a Zombie plague sweeping across the world this is told in an original and thoroughly entertaining way and by collection of some of the best modern authors around. Told through various letters, emails, blogs, TV reports etc the story unfolds at a rapid and gut wrenching speed and sweeps the reader along as fast as the zombies are taking over the planet. A great addition to the genre.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Peter Caswell is a killer without a conscience as after every mission his mind is wiped and his guilt is expunged. When he is ordered into space at short notice and against protocol to investigate a missing spaceship that disappeared ages ago, all the safeties he had in his system are thrown by the side as he has to embark on a killing spree that will lead him to another, Earth-like, planet which sits at the other end of a wormhole. Here, in a medieval world centuries behind Earth’s technology he has to track down and kill a fugitive who could change the fate of not just the two planets but the whole universe. Saddled with an involuntary companion, Melni, a spy for one of the other world’s warring factions, he slowly begins to unravel a truth many would rather be kept silent. Non-stop action powers the plot along like a runaway train. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Former hit singer Hollis is down on her luck after the Crash and can't turn down the offer of a job again from mysterious global ad agency, Blue Ant. Stanley Milgrim, ex-addict freshly out of an expensive rehab paid for by Blue Ant-founder Hubertus Bigend, is also on the payroll. Bigend wants them to do some discreet research on an a secret, obscurely fashionable denim. It may not matter that they know nothing about fashion - but it does matter, at least to them, when bullets start to fly and they realize that Bigend's business obsession is leading them down a dangerous path.
YA Sci-Fi featuring an all-girl spaceship crew taking control and showing the boy's how it's done, with romance, tragedy and ray-guns. Lovereading Review to follow.
In the wake of World War Z, the 28 Days movies and TV series The Walking Dead, we've been deluged by a surfeit of zombie trash, but The Walkin' Trilogy by Towsey succeeds in infusing the sub-genre with both empathy and a strong sense of the human (or should that be non human?) dilemma the state of being dead presents. Following a near apocalyptic event, soldier Thomas returns from the bloody front as a zombie. Part road trip and part small-town family drama, the initial volume, Your Brother's Blood, set the scene. Here, seven years later, Thomas and family have left their village on a quest for some form of truth, which will keep on eluding them. An elegiac western mood dominates the book and already makes us hanker after the final volume in the series where many questions will have to be answered. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
In the wake of World War Z, the 28 Days movies and TV series The Walking Dead, we've been deluged by a surfeit of zombie trash, but The Walkin' Trilogy by Towsey succeeds in infusing the sub-genre with both empathy and a strong sense of the human (or should that be non human?) dilemma the state of being dead presents. Following a near apocalyptic event, soldier Thomas returns from the bloody front as a zombie. Part road trip and part small-town family drama, the initial volume, Your Brother's Blood, set the scene. Here, seven years later, Thomas and family have left their village on a quest for some form of truth, which will keep on eluding them. An elegiac western mood dominates the book and already makes us hanker after the final volume in the series where many questions will have to be answered.
Maxim Jakubowski's November 2014 Book of the Month. The final volume in THE LAST POLICEMAN trilogy reaches a melancholy and moving end. A subtle combination of police thriller and science fiction, this trilogy has turned out to be a major achievement. A comet is hurtling towards Earth and the planet's days are counted. Against this apocalyptic background and the ensuing breakdown in society a young, naively idealistic policeman insists on continuing to do his job and solve crimes that are no longer of interest to anyone else. He is clumsy, unerringly honest and as obstinate as a mule, and in this third instalment of the deliberately downbeat but most endearing series is now seeking out his sister whose disappearance might be linked to survivalist theories that might prolong the planet's existence. A quiet determination, touching encounters with the lost and the living, poetry spun about the small epiphanies of life, all emotions that are rare in crime or SF fiction. A gem of a book.
In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world. When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken. Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans, where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go. Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?
Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies. To live, you must follow the rules. But some don't. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple and deadly. They are allowed outside. Jules is one of these people. She may well be the last.
This is an omnibus volume of three short but quite spectacular SF thrillers. I would also guarantee that they are quite unlike anything else you have read before. Striding along the shadowy border between SF and Fantasy, Peter Higgins has imagined something that feels a little like China Mieville writing a John le Carre novel. With a dash of Gorky’s paranoia and Martin Cruz Smith’s edge-of-your-seat plotting. Set in a world that feels like an alternate Russia (but isn’t) the trilogy compresses a sense of Sovietesque history between 1939 and 1969 into a few short months as it follows downtrodden and rumpled provincial police inspector Visassrion Lom, into a plot at the centre of the dark dictatorship that is the Vlast. But there is a lot else going on beyond the cruelties of politics. An alien visitation, the spirit of the land, the press of other realities. As I say quite unlike anything else and sometimes you do feel like you’re running to keep up with its twists and new directions. But stay on board. With engaging characters and sometimes effortlessly beautiful and poetic prose (Higgins has an amazing way with describing nature) all nailed to a steam train of a plot this is the sort of book where you can afford to forget asking what sort of novel it is and just glory in the ride. With rights acquired for TV this is a trilogy you’ll want to be reading before it hit the screens. If you like David Mitchell this could be a dream for you. ~ Simon Spanton
A thousand miles east of Mirgorod, the great capital city of the Vlast, deep in the ancient forest, lies the most recent fallen angel, its vast stone form half-buried and fused into the rock by the violence of impact. As its dark energy leeches into the crash site, so a circle of death expands around it, slowly - inexorably - killing everything it touches. Alone in the wilderness, it reaches out with its mind. The endless forest and its antique folk lore are no concern to Inspector Vissarion Lom, summoned to the capital in order to catch a terrorist - and ordered to report directly to the head of the secret police. A totalitarian state, worn down by an endless war, must be seen to crush home-grown terrorism with an iron fist. But Lom discovers Mirgorod to be more corrupted than he imagined: a murky world of secret police and revolutionaries, cabaret clubs and doomed artists. Lom has been chosen because he is an outsider, not involved in the struggle for power within the party. And because of the sliver of angel stone implanted in his head at the children's home. Lom's investigation reveals a conspiracy that extends to the top echelons of the party. When he exposes who - or rather what - is the controlling intelligence behind this, it is time for the detective to change sides. Pursued by rogue police agents and their man-crushing mudjhik, Lom must protect Kantor's step-daughter Maroussia, who has discovered what is hidden beneath police headquarters: a secret so ancient that only the forest remembers. As they try to escape the capital and flee down river, elemental forces are gathering. The earth itself is on the move.
This is high action, ideas driven, noir science fiction but I believe lovers of action adventures could enjoy it too.Comparison: Michael Marshall Smith, Neal Asher, Nick Sagan.Similar this month: None.
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.