Upcoming: SEVEN BLADES IN BLACK by Sam Sykes (Orbit/Gollancz)

SykesS-SevenBladesInBlackUSI’m a big fan of Sam Sykes‘s work. I first stumbled across his debut, Tome of the Undergates in a bookstore in Durham, and flicked through the first few pages. It was funny, violent, and very well-written. (Also, the novel turned out to start with possibly the longest battle scene ever…) “Funny, violent and well-written” is a great way to describe all of his work — each of his novels so far has had a dark humour running through it that sets it apart from many of his contemporaries. (Black Halo, the second in his Aeons Gate trilogy, has one of my favourite sequences in any series — it involves a fight with an imaginary monkey, and a conversation with a companion about it later.) I’ve also been following him on Twitter for years (highly recommended, even if you’re not a fan of his books). Next year, in May, his new novel Seven Blades in Black is due to be published by Orbit (North America) and Gollancz (UK). It’s not clear if this is the start of a new series or a stand-alone, but it certainly sounds really interesting:

Among humans, none have power like mages. And among mages, none have will like Sal the Cacophony. Once revered, now vagrant, she walks a wasteland scarred by generations of magical warfare.

The Scar, a land torn between powerful empires, is where rogue mages go to disappear, disgraced soldiers go to die and Sal went with a blade, a gun and a list of names she intended to use both on.

But vengeance is a flame swift extinguished. Betrayed by those she trusted most, her magic torn from her and awaiting execution, Sal the Cacophony has one last tale to tell before they take her head.

All she has left is her name, her story and the weapon she used to carved both.

Vengeance is its own reward.

Seven Blades in Black is definitely among my most-anticipated novels of 2019. In addition to the Aeons Gate novels, you can also pick up the follow-up trilogy, Bring Down Heaven (also published by Orbit and Gollancz).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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Interview with KRISTEN CICCARELLI

CiccarelliK-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Kristen Ciccarelli?

Kristen Ciccarelli is a shy Canadian who lives in the far North. You can often find her baking bread, wandering the shores of the North Atlantic, or hiking with her dog in the headlands near her house. She loves to write and read and daydream (usually in front of her wood stove).

Your latest novel, The Caged Queen, is due out this month via Gollancz. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

The Caged Queen is both a sequel and a companion novel in that it follows sequentially after the first book (The Last Namsara) but it also stands alone, meaning you can read the series out of order if you want to. The protagonist of The Last Namsara is a dragon-slayer named Asha, while the protagonist of The Caged Queen is a young outlander queen named Roa, and both girls show up in each other’s books. Continue reading

Upcoming: REJOICE by Steven Erikson (Gollancz)

EriksonS-RejoiceUKSteven Erikson is one of SFF’s modern luminaries — he is, after all, the author of the beloved Malazan series (which began in the late-1990s). I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I’ve read nothing of his… This oversight looks like it’ll be remedied this year, however. His next novel is Rejoice, which sounds really interesting:

A story of mankind’s first contact and a warning about our future.

An alien AI has been sent to the solar system as representative of three advanced species. Its mission is to save the Earth’s ecosystem — and the biggest threat to that is humanity. But we are also part of the system, so the AI must make a choice. Should it save mankind or wipe it out? Are we worth it?

The AI is all-powerful, and might as well be a god. So it sets up some conditions. Violence is now impossible. Large-scale destruction of natural resources is impossible. Food and water will be provided for those who really, truly need them. You can’t even bully someone on the internet any more. The old way of doing things is gone. But a certain thin-skinned US president, among others, is still wedded to late-stage capitalism. Can we adapt? Can we prove ourselves worthy? And are we prepared to give up free will for a world without violence?

And above it all, on a hidden spaceship, one woman watches. A science fiction writer, she was abducted from the middle of the street in broad daylight. She is the only person the AI will talk to. And she must make a decision.

Rejoice is due to be published by Gollancz on October 18th, 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: Golden Age Masterworks Editions (Gollancz)

Just spotted these today, while looking for something else on the Orion Books website: four new Golden Age Masterworks editions. Gollancz has been publishing Masterworks editions for some time, now, and this looks like an interesting (not to mention attractive) new series of classics. I’m not sure if there are going to be more novels in the collection, but so far I’ve found these four, all of which are due to be published on January 10th, 2019: E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith’s Galactic Patrol (1937), Henry Kuttner’s Fury (1947), Arthur C. Clarke’s The Sands of Mars (1951), and C.L. Moore’s Doomsday Morning (1957).

As a testament to how useful this type of publishing programme is, I’d not heard of any of these novels, so I’m glad they’re being brought back into circulation. (Also, I really like the covers…)

SmithEED-GalacticPatrolUKGAMGALACTIC PATROL by E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith

The space-pirates of Boskone raided at will, menacing the whole structure of interstellar civilization. Master-minded by a super-scientist, their conquering fleets outgunned even the mighty space cruisers of the Galactic Patrol.

When Lensman Kim Kinnison of the Patrol discovered the secret Boskonian base, it was invulnerable to outside attack. But where a battle-fleet would meet insuperable resistance, a single infiltrator might penetrate the Boskonian defenses — if he had the guts to take on million-to-one odds. Kinnison had guts enough to take on the odds — even with the future of the civilized Universe riding on his shoulders…

Galactic Patrol is the third self-contained novel in E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith’s epic Lensman series, one of the all-time classics of adventurous, galaxy-spanning science fiction.

A quick search on Amazon suggests that Smith’s Grey Lensman, Second-Stage Lensman and Children of the Lens are also due to be issued as part of this collection.

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KuttnerH-FuryUKGAMFURY by Henry Kuttner

The Earth is long dead, blasted apart, and the human survivors who settled on Venus live in huge citadels beneath the Venusian seas in an atrophying, class-ridden society ruled by the Immortals — genetic mutations who live a thousand years or more. Sam Reed was born an immortal, born to rule those with a normal life-span, but his deranged father had him mutilated as a baby so that he wouldn’t know of his heritage. And Sam grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and the law, thinking of the Immortals as his enemies. Then he reached the age of eighty, understood what had happened to him and went looking for revenge — and changed his decaying world forever.

Fury is a powerful, dark and compelling novel that explores the sensual, bloody and urgent nature of humankind’s striving.

I think this might be the only one of Kuttner’s books to be included in this new masterworks collection (this may change).

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ClarkeAC-SandsOfMarsUKGAMTHE SANDS OF MARS by Arthur C. Clarke

It is the twenty-first century. On Mars a dedicated group of pioneers — among them some of Earth’s finest brains — struggle to change the face of the planet…

Science fiction writer Martin Gibson finally gets a chance to visit the research colony on the Red Planet. It’s a dream come true — until he discovers the difficulties and perils of survival on another world… and the very real terror it holds.

This is Clarke’s first published novel. Not sure if any of Clarke’s other novels are going to be released as part of this collection (I couldn’t find any information on Amazon or Orion’s website, anyway).

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MooreCL-DoomsdayMorningUKGAMDOOMSDAY MORNING by C.L. Moore

Comus, the communications network/police force, has spread its web of power all across an America paralyzed by the after-effects of limited nuclear war. But in California, resistance is building against the dictatorship of Comus and Andrew Raleigh, president for life. For now Raleigh is dying and the powers of Comus are fading. It’s the perfect time for the Californian revolutionaries to activate the secret weapon that alone can destroy America’s totalitarian system and re-establish democracy.

Yet Comus too has powers at its disposal, chief among them Howard Rohan. A washed-up actor until Comus offers him a second chance, Rohan will head a troupe of players touring in the heart of rebel territory.

Howard Rohan, double agent, caught between the orders of Comus and rebels demands. Which side will he choose? Who will he play false — himself, or the entire country?

According to Amazon UK, it looks like Moore’s Judgement Night, North West of Earth, and Jirel of Joiry are also going to be re-issued as part of this collection.

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Anyone read any of these classics? Any other titles you’d like to see released as part of this collection?

Interview with TOM TONER

TonerT-AuthorPic2Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Tom Toner?

Hello again! Thanks for having me. Tom Toner is the author of the Amaranthine Spectrum, an epic space opera/science fantasy series set 12,500 years in the future.

Your next novel, The Tropic of Eternity, will be published in July. It’s the third novel in your Amaranthine Spectrum series. How would you introduce the series to a potential reader, and what can fans of the first books expect from this instalment?

Time to remember the old elevator pitch… The Amaranthine Spectrum — beginning with 2015’s The Promise of the Child — sets its tale in the 147th century Mediterranean, following the misadventures of Lycaste, a shy, giant species of evolved human and his journey into the Amaranthine Firmament, the 23 surrounding stars controlled by the last remnants of immortal humanity. In between we get to see all sorts of odd beasties and MacGuffins, from singing sea monsters to paper fortresses and tin spaceships. Continue reading

Upcoming: DRAGON HEART by Peter Higgins (Gollancz)

HigginsP-DragonHeartUKI haven’t read as much of Peter Higgins‘s work as I would like. I really enjoyed his debut, Wolfhound Century, though, and have always meant to read more of his work (so many books, so little time…). Gollancz recently unveiled the cover for the author’s next novel: Dragon Heart. A novel “[f]or readers of Cormac McCarthy and Justin Cronin”, it is pitched as “the story of one family’s battle for survival in a world where evil has already won”. Here’s the synopsis:

As they fight their way across a dying land, Shay and Cass will do anything to keep their daughter, Hope, alive. The family faces unimaginable dangers as they try to stay together, and stay alive, long enough to reach safety. But when the heart of a dragon starts to beat in Hope’s chest, they fear they’ll lose her to a battle they can’t possibly help her win…

Dragon Heart is due to be published by Gollancz in early January 2019.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

Interview with GAVIN G. SMITH

SmithGG-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Gavin Smith?

Just some guy. (He’s a science fiction and fantasy writer with a track record for action oriented stories.)

Your third Bastard Legion novel, War Criminals, is due to be published in July. How would you introduce the series to a potential reader? And what can fans of the series expect from this instalment?

So the high concept pitch for Bastard Legion is the Dirty Dozen/Suicide Squad (depending on your age) meets Aliens. It’s about a mercenary penal legion recruited from the 6,000-strong convict population the Hangman’s Daughter (an interstellar prison barge). They are led by the cheerful, if possibly psychopathic, ex-black ops soldier Miska Corbin and the VR ghost of her dead dad.

War Criminals will see the Legion engaged in a full scale war for the first time! (Previously it’s been smaller-scale black ops.) Continue reading