New Books (August)

NewBooks-20200906

Featuring: Joe Abercrombie, Luke Arnold, Hari Conner, Alan Davies, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, Guy Haley, Clive Hamilton, Kristin Hannah, Essa Hansen, James Hibberd, Darius Hinks, Iris Johansen, Laura Lam, John Lanchester, Jessica J. Lee, Katie Lowe, Elizabeth May, Elizabeth McCracken, Claire North, Mareike Ohlberg, Kim Stanley Robinson, Simon Stephenson, Christina Sweeney-Baird, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Vendela Vida, K.S. Villoso, Dawnie Walton, Aliya Whiteley (x2)

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Upcoming: IN THE QUICK by Kate Hope Day (Random House)

DayKH-InTheQuickUSPitched as a novel ‘in the tradition of Station Eleven and The Martian‘ (both novels I really enjoyed), Kate Hope Day‘s upcoming novel In the Quick caught my attention. Not only does it have a striking cover (not sure I’ve seen many astronauts with a pink background), but the synopsis also makes it sound really interesting:

A young, ambitious female astronaut’s life is upended by a fiery love affair that threatens the rescue of a lost crew…

June is a brilliant but difficult girl with a gift for mechanical invention, who leaves home to begin a grueling astronaut training program. Six years later, she has gained a coveted post as an engineer on a space station, but is haunted by the mystery of Inquiry, a revolutionary spacecraft powered by her beloved late uncle’s fuel cells. The spacecraft went missing when June was twelve years old, and while the rest of the world has forgotten them, June alone has evidence that makes her believe the crew is still alive.

She seeks out James, her uncle’s former protégée, also brilliant, also difficult, who has been trying to discover why Inquiry’s fuel cells failed. James and June forge an intense intellectual bond that becomes an electric attraction. But the love that develops between them as they work to solve the fuel cell’s fatal flaw threatens to destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to create — and any chance of bringing the Inquiry crew home alive.

Equal parts gripping narrative of scientific discovery and charged love story, In the Quick is an exploration of the strengths and limits of human ability in the face of hardship and the costs of human ingenuity. At its beating heart are June and James, whose love for each other is eclipsed only by their drive to conquer the challenges of space travel.

In the Quick is due to be published by Random House in North America, on March 2nd, 2021. (At the time of writing, I couldn’t find any UK-specific release information.) In the meantime, if you’re interested in reading more by the author, check out her debut, If, Then.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with ALICE JAMES

JamesA-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Alice James?

Well, it’s not a pseudonym, though I was meant to be called Ruth. Apparently after 52 hours of labour, when I finally deigned to pop out, my mother decided I looked like an Alice. Very kind of her because at that point I would have come up with something less flattering.

But I’m digressing, my all-time favourite hobby after touching my face. I’m a maths graduate who trained as a COBOL programmer who threw it all away to become a writer and editor. I somehow got stuck in finance and worked for Bloomberg, The Sunday Times, the FT, investment magazines, banks, fund managers… you name it. I don’t know quite how that happened, but I met some interesting people on the way. I began writing novels just recently and can’t see me stopping. Continue reading

Quick Review: LOVE AND THEFT by Stan Parish (Faber/Doubleday)

ParishS-LoveAndTheftUKA chance encounter, a new chance for a real life, forced into one last job…

What price would you put on a second chance?

When Alex Cassidy and Diane Alison meet by chance at a party in Princeton, New Jersey, there are instant sparks. Both are single parents living in wealthy suburbia, independent, highly competent and seemingly settled in their lives. She runs a successful catering business. He’s part of a crew that robs banks, casinos and jewellery stores around the world. Neither realises initially that their lives have overlapped before, or that their shared history and burgeoning relationship will come to threaten everything they love. As Alex prepares for one final, daunting job, he discovers that he’s not the only one with secrets — and that both of them are playing for the highest stakes imaginable.

Love and Theft is a very good crime novel. Complete with exciting heists and elaborate operations, it is populated by interesting and well-rounded characters. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

Quick Review: BLACKTOP WASTELAND by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)

CosbySA-BlacktopWastelandUSA superb crime debut

A husband, a father, a son, a business owner…And the best getaway driver east of the Mississippi.

Beauregard “Bug” Montage is an honest mechanic, a loving husband, and a hard-working dad. Bug knows there’s no future in the man he used to be: known from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida as the best wheelman on the East Coast.

He thought he’d left all that behind him, but as his carefully built new life begins to crumble, he finds himself drawn inexorably back into a world of blood and bullets. When a smooth-talking former associate comes calling with a can’t-miss jewelry store heist, Bug feels he has no choice but to get back in the driver’s seat. And Bug is at his best where the scent of gasoline mixes with the smell of fear.

Haunted by the ghost of who he used to be and the father who disappeared when he needed him most, Bug must find a way to navigate this blacktop wasteland… or die trying.

Cosby’s debut, Blacktop Wasteland has been getting a lot of positive attention since it was published. A perfect blend of heist story and character study, I’m very happy to report that this buzz is entirely justified. This is an excellent novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Continue reading

Interview with JANE YOLEN

133576271Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Jane Yolen?

I have been in the book making business since my first book (non-fiction) came out in 1963. But I had been in publishing before that as an editor, magazine writer, and poet.

Tachyon are due to publish your latest story collection, The Midnight Circus, in October. How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

Who knew Jane Yolen, the fairy-tale writer, author of the Commander Toad in Space books, and the How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight series, wrote dark fantasy and dark science fiction. Yet she had stories in World’s Best Horror several times over her long short story writing career. Not dark slasher fiction, but the frisson of terror, the haunt of oppression, the creak of a door where no door exists, kind of darkness. Continue reading

Quick Review: GOLDEN by Marcus Thompson (Atria)

ThompsonM-GoldenStephCurryAn interesting biography of an unexpected basketball talent

The inside story of Steph Curry, the greatest shooter basketball has ever seen.

Golden is the first book to provide an all-access look at Steph Curry and the team that has fueled Dub Nation — by longtime Warriors beat reporter and Bay Area News Group sports columnist Marcus Thompson, the go-to expert on all things Golden State.

A lifelong Warriors fan turned insider Thompson is uniquely qualified to tell the definitive story of a singular talent, pulling back the curtain on the crazy work ethic and on-court intensity that make Curry great — and the emphasis on family and faith that keeps him grounded.

Combining the competitive grit and fun-loving spirit of his mother with the mild demeanor, easy charm, and sharp shooting of his father, former NBA player Dell Curry, Steph Curry derives support and strength from his close-knit kin and his commitment to Christianity. This hard-working, wholesome image however is both a blessing and curse in a League of big personalities. Thompson unravels the complicated underpinnings of the Steph Curry hate with a nuanced analysis of how class and complexion come into play when a child with an NBA pedigree becomes the face of a sport traditionally honed on inner-city black top and dominated by the less privileged.

With unprecedented access, Thompson draws from exclusive interviews with Steph Curry, his family, his teammates, Coach Steve Kerr, and the Warriors owners to bring readers inside the locker room and courtside with this remarkable athlete and man.

With the NBA season back and in full swing, I found myself in the mood to read about some of the various basketball books I’ve picked up over the years. Steph Curry and the Warriors were a juggernaut in recent years, which naturally led to the publication of a few books about the team and its stars. Originally published in 2017, I decided it was well-passed time for me to read Golden. It’s an interesting book, let down only by its subject.
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Interview with CARRIE VAUGHN

VaughnC-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Carrie Vaughn?

Person, author, collector of hobbies, usually a traveler but that’s on hold for the moment.

Your new story collection, Kitty’s Mix Tape, is due to be published by Tachyon in October. It’s the final instalment in your Kitty Norville series: how would you introduce the series to a potential reader, and what can fans of the series expect from this book?

The series is about a werewolf named Kitty who hosts a talk radio advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. She has lots of adventures along the way. Kitty’s Mix Tape collects most of the short stories related to the series I wrote after about 2010 — plus four brand-new, never before seen stories. As usual with the Kitty-related short stories, they often feature the supporting cast, revealing their secret back stories, and including lots of other fun snippets and easter eggs that fans will enjoy. Continue reading

Upcoming: BEAR HEAD and ONE DAY ALL THIS WILL BE YOURS by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Ad Astra/Solaris)

TchaikovskyA-DoW2-BearHeadUKIt’s always great news when you learn about a new book from Adrian Tchaikovsky. But in 2021, we’re going to get (at least) two new books! Long-time readers of CR will know how much I enjoy Tchaikovsky’s work, so let’s get straight to the details!

First up, there’s Bear Head, which is the second novel in the author’s Dogs of War series. Due to be published by Ad Astra/Head of Zeus on January 7th, 2021, here’s the synopsis:

Mars. The red planet. A new frontier for humanity, a civilization where humans can live in peace, lord and master of all they survey.

But this isn’t Space City from those old science-fiction books. We live in Hell City, built into and from a huge subcontinent-sized crater. There’s a big silk canopy over it, feeding out atmosphere as we generate it, little by little, until we can breathe the air.

It’s a perfect place to live, if you actually want to live on Mars. I guess at some point I had actually wanted to live on Mars, because here I am. The money was supposed to be good, and how else was a working Joe like me supposed to get off-planet exactly? But I remember the videos they showed us – guys, not even in suits, watching robots and bees and Bioforms doing all the work – and they didn’t quite get it right…

Tchaikovsky-OneDayAllThisWillBeYoursThen, in early March, Solaris are due to publish a new novella: One Day All This Will Be Yours. It looks quite different to Bear Head, but that’s something we should expect from Tchaikovsky by this point (he dabbles in seemingly every SFF sub-genre):

A smart, funny tale of time-travel and paradox

Welcome to the end of time. It’s a perfect day.

Nobody remembers how the Causality War started. Really, there’s no-one to remember, and nothing for them to remember if there were; that’s sort of the point. We were time warriors, and we broke time.

I was the one who ended it. Ended the fighting, tidied up the damage as much as I could.

Then I came here, to the end of it all, and gave myself a mission: to never let it happen again.

I’m really looking forward to both of these books. If you can’t wait, and need something else by the author to tide you over for a little while, then be sure to check out The Doors of Eden, which is out now in the UK (Tor) and due to be published in North America next month (Orbit — although, the eBook is available already).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Quick Review: REALITY, AND OTHER STORIES by John Lanchester (Faber)

LanchesterJ-RealityAndOtherStoriesUKAn intriguing collection of speculative, creepy stories

Household gizmos with a mind of their own.

Constant cold calls from unknown numbers.

And the creeping suspicion that none of this is real.

Reality, and Other Stories is a gathering of deliciously chilling entertainments – stories to be read as the evenings draw in and the days are haunted by all the ghastly schlock, uncanny technologies and absurd horrors of modern life.

I’ve always wanted to read more of John Lanchester’s work. I’ve been slowly acquiring many of his novels — for example, Fragrant Harbour and The Wall — but keep forgetting that I have them on my Kindle. I was lucky enough to get a DRC of this short story collection, and decided to dive right in. Initially, I’d intended to read a story every so often, between novels, but I ended up reading all of them in just a couple of sittings. I really enjoyed this collection. Continue reading