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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.
A multi-perspective narrative following Aiyanna and a number of other characters. This book also spans time, jumping from Aiyanna in the modern-day and back through history. This book seems to be part sci-fi, part literary fiction. Aiyanna is seeking treatment for a deep depression when she discovers a secret about herself which leads her deep into her family history. Each character we encounter throughout the book teaches us about family, love, understanding and the human condition. These lessons are also imparted on Aiyanna, an insight I’m sure anyone who believes in reincarnation would love, to be able to look into their past lives and experiences to impact the decisions or mistakes they make. The book is separated well, with the name of the character in focus at the top of each chapter. This is an interesting story about time, belief in reincarnation and in some cases the butterfly effect, the idea that one small action or decision can have a knock-on effect, sometimes throughout history.
The second part of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic adventure THE LORD OF THE RINGS The company of the Ring is torn asunder. Frodo and Sam continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin - alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go. This continues the classic tale begun in The Fellowship of the Ring, which reaches its awesome climax in The Return of the King.
Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a real monster. Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her ambitious husband is too busy to give her a goodbye kiss in the morning, her kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on thank-you notes and her endless list of chores. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime and paperback fiction. At these meetings they’re as likely to talk about the Manson family as they are marriage, motherhood, and neighborhood gossip. This predictable pattern is upended when Patricia meets James Harris, a handsome stranger who moves into the neighborhood to take care of his elderly aunt and ends up joining the book club. James is sensitive and well-read, and he makes Patricia feel things she hasn’t felt in twenty years. But there’s something off about him. He doesn’t have a bank account, he doesn’t like going out during the day, and Patricia’s mother-in-law insists that she knew him when she was a girl—an impossibility. When local children go missing, Patricia and the book club members start to suspect James is more of a Bundy than a Beatnik—but no one outside of the book club believes them. Have they read too many true crime books, or have they invited a real monster into their homes?
Ryan’s futuristic, Independence Day-esque battle to save his family and the planet. Ryan Ellis is an innovator at US Tech, a company that seemingly oversees advancement in a variety of sectors from construction to security and DNA databasing to Space travel. Ryan seems to be progressing well in his career but things at home aren’t running so smoothly, the loss of his first and only child has had an impact on his marriage and he is plagued by terrifying nightmares of his wife being ripped away from him. When the strange events he experiences get stranger, can he hold it together long enough to find the truth and save everyone? This is an easy to follow science-fiction thriller set in a future that isn’t too dissimilar to the world we live in now. Everything is presented to us from Ryan’s perspective, so we follow along as he tries to work out what’s happening. There’re plenty of opportunities to guess the outcome and plenty of times revelations take you by surprise. The author has done well to come up with innovative and futuristic designs such as the Space Lift and the White Giant, and depicts life in a way that seems believable. It’s 300+ pages but it didn’t take me long to get through it.
A Thousand Years takes on the whole idea of soul mates and finding your other half to a whole new level with an interesting sci-fi twist. He-Soul and She-Soul are sent to be Level Fours souls. Their job is to spend a thousand years on earth hopefully finding each other through multiple lifetimes and helping to spread love and benefit the human race. But in their final life, a glitch in the system means She soul can communicate with Kate. Will the souls reunite in their final life? And will Kate, a romance writer that isn’t looking for love herself, find someone who will change her mind. This is an innovative twist on a relationship story and I happily flicked through the pages. The relationship central to the book is sweet if a little fast-moving to be wholly “believable”, although you are left satisfied with the ending. I enjoyed this book, I thought it was written well and it was easy to read. The main and side characters were well developed and amusing. I enjoyed that you had a glimpse into Kate’s friends’ paths as Kate traverses her own. I would have liked to have found out what the different levels mean for the souls but I think A Thousand Years is a light read that can be enjoyed easily.
This book is an exquisite rarity: a faerie book that is at the same time marvellously visual and imaginative, but works equally well as a study of human trauma; a love story (of sorts); a family drama; a wholly engaging mystery. I found it in my to-read pile (which this year has been sadly neglected) and started it with no great expectation, although by the end of the third page I was not only hooked, but beginning to think that this might be the best book I'd read all year. Anyone who knows me knows how often I find myself disappointed by the payoff of a novel. This one maintained the tension right till the end - another rarity -never veering into over-exposition or self-indulgence. And the faeries are both nicely original and authentically folkloric: creepy, pagan, detailed, entrancing. I loved it, and I sense that I'll be following this author's future work with excitement and admiration. She's been places. She knows things. Follow her; you'll know them, too. Selected by our December Guest Editor, Joanne Harris
Five, successful but seemingly unconnected people around the world die suddenly. Although all are ruled as natural deaths an intelligence analyst and his journalist girlfriend think something else is happening and strive to uncover the truth. Fatal longevity is an interesting concept. The idea that the search for a long life could end with an early demise is an entertaining dichotomy. A crime mystery with a medical almost sci-fi twist set in a range of locations around the world. An interesting plot with a lot of thought behind it and at 277 pages, it’s a relatively quick, entertaining read with an intriguing plot.
No matter how far you run . . . He's never far behind 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 a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren't as safe as she thought. What secrets have Rowan Isle House - and her friend - kept hidden all these years? And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?
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…
This high-octane, smart, whip-sharp novel is one heck of a reality and fantasy clash. It perhaps shouldn’t work, but it does, it really really does and has popped itself on my list of favourite reads. Meet Vern, he is currently hiding out in a Louisiana swamp, he doesn’t trust anyone, loves his vodka, has a thing for Flashdance, oh, and he’s a dragon. Having lived a few thousand years he really doesn’t need the escalating feud between Squib Moreau and crooked Officer Hooke to spoil his peace and quiet. This is the first novel for adults from the bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series, Eoin Colfer. I feel as though Highfire has been waiting for me, to welcome it to my bookshelves. The balance between the different genres is beautifully done. Different emotions skittered through me as I read, there’s violence aplenty, and some wicked smirks waiting to be found too. Highly entertaining and exciting, Highfire is my kind of book, in fact if you could marry books, I’d be Mrs Highfire in no time!
If you prefer your worlds dystopian, check out our Dystopian Fiction category too!
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.