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Shorter Reads

Want to read a story with all the depth, questions and quality of a novel, written by highly skilled writers in about 5% of the space? Short stories can be heartbreaking, mysterious and incredibly detailed; for a perfectly formed, bite-sized smorgasbord of stories, browse our Short Story recommendations here.

Astray

Astray

Author: Emma Donoghue Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/10/2012

Counterfeiter. Dishwasher. Prostitute. Attorney. Sculptor. Mercenary. Elephant. Corpse. The fascinating characters that roam across the pages of Emma Donoghue's latest fact-inspired fictions have all gone astray: they are emigrants, runaways, drifters. They cross other borders, too: those of race, law, sex and sanity. They travel for love or money, incognito or under duress. Donoghue describes the brutal plot hatched by a slave in conjunction with his master's wife to set them both free; she draws out the difficulties of gold mining in the Yukon, even in the supposedly plentiful early days, and she takes us to an early Puritan community in Massachusetts unsettled by an invented sex scandal. Astray also includes 'The Hunt', a shocking confession of one soldier's violent betrayal during the American Revolution, which has been shortlisted for the 2012 Sunday Times Short Story Award. Astray is a sequence of fourteen stories by the prize-winning author of Room and The Sealed Letter. These strange, true tales light up four centuries of wanderings, offering a past made up of deviations, and a surprising and moving history for restless times.

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In Other Worlds SF and the Human Imagination

In Other Worlds SF and the Human Imagination

Author: Margaret Atwood Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/10/2012

IN OTHER WORLDS: SF AND THE HUMAN IMAGINATION is Margaret Atwood's account of her relationship with the literary form we have come to know as 'science fiction'. This relationship has been lifelong, stretching from her days as a child reader in the 1940s, through her time as a graduate student at Harvard, where she worked on the Victorian ancestors of the form, and continuing as a writer and reviewer. This book brings together her three Ellman Lectures on 2010 - 'Flying Rabbits', which begins with Atwood's early rabbit superhero creations, and goes on to speculate about masks, capes, weakling alter egos, and Things with Wings; 'Burning Bushes', which follows her into Victorian otherlands and beyond; and 'Dire Cartographies', which investigates Ustopias -Utopia/Dystopia - including her own ventures into those constructions. IN OTHER WORLDS also reprints some of Atwood's key reviews and speculations about the form, or forms - for she also elucidates the differences - as she sees them - between 'science fiction' proper, and 'speculative fiction', not to mention 'sword and sorcery/fantasy' and 'slipstream fiction'.

ebook of the month
Octopussy & The Living Daylights James Bond 007

Octopussy & The Living Daylights James Bond 007

Author: Ian Fleming Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/09/2012

This title comes with a new introduction by Sam Leith Octopussy. The Property of a Lady. The Living Daylights. 007 in New York. 'This was going to be bad news, dirty work. This was to be murder'.

Manhattan in Reverse

Manhattan in Reverse

Author: Peter F. Hamilton Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/05/2012

In 1998 Peter F. Hamilton, the master of space opera and top ten bestselling author, published his first collection of short stories in A Second Chance at Eden. Thirteen years later he returns to short fiction with a new collection. This includes 'Manhattan in Reverse,' an original story featuring Hamilton's popular detective Paula Myo, from his bestselling Commonwealth series. From 'Watching Trees Grow' and a murder mystery set in an alternative Oxford in the 1800s, to 'The Forever Kitten' and the questions of eternal youth and the sacrifice required to pursue this, these stories deal with intricate themes and sociological issues. They take an intriguing look at what it is it that makes us enduringly human. With all his usual wonderfully imagined futuristic technology, complex characters and brilliantly conceived storytelling, Peter F. Hamilton shows yet again what makes him Britain's number one science fiction writer.

ebook of the month

There is a real skill in being able to conjure a whole life in just a few pages, to be able to leave a reader with an enduring feeling in just a short time. Here you will find lasting stories about life the universe and everything, from authors you already know as novelists and some that will be knew and welcome friends. We love a good short story, not just because they provide great reading in bite-size chunks - perfect for the trip to work, or a moment when you just want a small piece of brilliance in your life – but also because they are (if they are good) a perfect piece of art, capturing the human condition in a snapshot that stays with the reader for much longer than it took to write. As Graham Greene put it; “a novel can seldom have the sense of perfection which you find in Chekhov’s story, The Lady with the Dog.” From Chekhov to Julian Barnes via a whole host of other perfectionists, we have hand-picked the very best of short story collections for readers of all tastes.