Upcoming: WE ARE THE DEAD by Mike Shackle (Gollancz)

ShackleM-LW1-WeAreTheDeadUKI spotted this cover last night on AmazonWe Are The Dead, the debut novel by Mike Shackle! The novel was announced a little while ago, and I’ve been eagerly looking forward to it ever since.

Due to be published on June 13th by Gollancz in the UK, here’s the synopsis for the first book in the Last War Trilogy:

The war is over. The enemy’s won. Now it’s time to fight back.

For generations, the people of Jia — a land where magic has long since faded from the world, clinging on in only a few rare individuals — have been protected from the northern Egril hordes by their warrior caste, but their enemy has not been idle. They have rediscovered magic and use it to launch an overwhelming surprise attack. An invasion has begun.

And in moments, the war is over. Resistance is quashed. Kings and city leaders are barricaded in their homes awaiting banishment and execution, the warriors are massacred, and a helpless people submit to the brutality of Egril rule.

Jia’s heroes have failed it. They are all gone. And yet… there is still hope. Soon the fate of the kingdom will fall into the hands of a schoolboy terrorist, a crippled Shulka warrior and his wheelchair bound son, a single mother desperate enough to do anything she can to protect her baby… and Tinnstra, disgraced daughter of the Shulka’s greatest leader, who now lies dead by Egril hands.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: SHADOWS OF THE SHORT DAY by Alexander Dan Vilhjámsson (Gollancz)

VilhjalmssonAD-ShadowsOfTheShortDaysUKI first learned about this novel this morning, when I spotted some Tweets from various Gollancz peeps announcing that ARCs had come in. I’m not sure how I managed to miss it entirely before today, but it sounds fantastic. Alexander Dan Vilhjámsson‘s Shadows of the Short Day is set in “a strangely familiar alternate Reykjavik where wild and industrialised magic meet”, and is pitched as “perfect for fans of… Lev Grossman’s The Magicians or China Miéville’s The City & The City“. Colour me most definitely intrigued.

The novel is due to be published in July 2019 by Gollancz, in the UK. Here’s the synopsis:

On frost-covered streets beneath the northern lights, an outcast guerrilla artist and a rebellious, drug-addicted sorcerer will start a revolution.

Sæmundur the Mad, addict and sorcerer, has been expelled from the magical university, Svartiskóli, and can no longer study galdur, an esoteric source of magic. Obsessed with proving his peers wrong, he will stop at nothing to gain absolute power and knowledge, especially of that which is long forbidden.

Garún is an outcast: half-human, half-huldufólk, her very existence is a violation of dimensional boundaries, the ultimate taboo. A militant revolutionary and graffiti artist, recklessly dismissive of the status quo, she will do anything to achieve a just society, including spark a revolution. Even if she has to do it alone.

This is a tale of revolution set in a twisted version of Reykjavik fuelled by industrialised magic and populated by humans, interdimensional exiles, otherworldly creatures, psychoactive graffiti and demonic familiars.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Interview with JUSTIN CALL

CallJ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Justin Call?

Justin Call – creator, storyteller, teacher, and analyst.

Actually, I’m not an analyst, but I spend more time analyzing things in a typical day than most analysts probably do in a week. I can’t help it. I analyze people, places, stories, games, social situations, and anything else that strikes my fancy. As a professional, I also write books, design and publish board games, and teach English to kids in China. I’m also a stay-at-home dad, and juggling the aforementioned jobs while watching my kiddos can be difficult (but rewarding).

Your debut novel, Master of Sorrows, is due to be published by Gollancz in February 2019. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It is interesting. Master of Sorrows is the first book in a tetralogy called The Silent Gods. The premise of the series is best phrased in the form of a rhetorical question (which, incidentally, is how I usually pitch the book to folks): ‘What if the prophesied hero were actually the reincarnation of an evil god? Would he save the world… or destroy it?’ If readers think long enough about that question, they’ll discover a lot of interesting themes that keep reappearing in the series such as ‘the nature of evil’ and the concept of the ‘monstrous other.’ Continue reading

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

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.

*

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).

*

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).

*

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.

***

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