New Colson Whitehead UK Editions

Thanks to the runaway success of Colson Whitehead‘s Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novel The Underground Railroad, his previous books The Intuitionist, Colossus of New York and Apex Hides the Hurt are getting new UK editions, published by Fleet.

WhiteheadC-IntuitionistUKLet’s take them in publication order. First up is The Intuitionist, which is out now:

Verticality, architectural and social, is at the heart of Colson Whitehead’s first novel that takes place in an unnamed high-rise city that combines twenty-first-century engineering feats with nineteenth-century pork-barrel politics. Elevators are the technological expression of the vertical ideal, and Lila Mae Watson, the city’s first black female elevator inspector, is its embattled token of upward mobility.When Number Eleven of the newly completed Fanny Briggs Memorial Building goes into deadly free-fall just hours after Lila Mae has signed off on it, using the controversial “Intuitionist” method of ascertaining elevator safety, both Intuitionists and Empiricists recognize the set-up, but may be willing to let Lila Mae take the fall in an election year.

As Lila Mae strives to exonerate herself in this urgent adventure full of government spies, underworld hit men, and seductive double agents, behind the action, always, is the Idea. Lila Mae’s quest is mysteriously entwined with existence of heretofore lost writings by James Fulton, father of Intuitionism, a giant of vertical thought. If she is able to find and reveal his plan for the perfect, next-generation elevator, the city as it now exists may instantly become obsolescent.

WhiteheadC-ColossusOfNewYorkUKNext up we have The Colossus of New York, which was published yesterday. Here’s the synopsis:

Here is a literary love song that will entrance anyone who has lived in — or spent time — in the greatest of American cities.

A masterful evocation of the city that never sleeps, The Colossus of New York captures the city’s inner and outer landscapes in a series of vignettes, meditations, and personal memories. Colson Whitehead conveys with almost uncanny immediacy the feelings and thoughts of longtime residents and of newcomers who dream of making it their home; of those who have conquered its challenges; and of those who struggle against its cruelties.

Whitehead’s style is as multilayered and multifarious as New York itself: Switching from third person, to first person, to second person, he weaves individual voices into a jazzy musical composition that perfectly reflects the way we experience the city. There is a funny, knowing riff on what it feels like to arrive in New York for the first time; a lyrical meditation on how the city is transformed by an unexpected rain shower; and a wry look at the ferocious battle that is commuting. The plaintive notes of the lonely and dispossessed resound in one passage, while another captures those magical moments when the city seems to be talking directly to you, inviting you to become one with its rhythms.

The Colossus of New York is a remarkable portrait of life in the big city. Ambitious in scope, gemlike in its details, it is at once an unparalleled tribute to New York and the ideal introduction to one of the most exciting writers working today.

WhiteheadC-ApexHidesTheHurtUKAnd finally, due out at the beginning of next month, the novel Apex Hides the Hurt:

A brisk, comic tour de force about identity, history, and the adhesive bandage industry.

The town of Winthrop has decided it needs a new name. The resident software millionaire wants to call it New Prospera; the mayor wants to return to the original choice of the founding black settlers; and the town’s aristocracy sees no reason to change the name at all. What they need, they realize, is a nomenclature consultant.

And, it turns out, the consultant needs them. But in a culture overwhelmed by marketing, the name is everything and our hero’s efforts may result in not just a new name for the town but a new and subtler truth about it as well.

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Quick(ish) Review: RUINSTORM by David Annandale (Black Library)

AnnandaleD-HH-RuinstormThree Legions attempt the journey back to Terra…

Imperium Secundus lies revealed as a heretical folly. Terra has not fallen, though it remains inaccessible. Sanguinius, Guilliman and the Lion El’Johnson, the primarchs of the Triumvirate, must reach Terra at all costs. They seek to defend the Emperor, and to atone for their sins. But the Ruinstorm, a galaxy-wide maelstrom of chaos, hides the Throneworld from the primarchs. Now the fleets of three Legions depart Macragge, and the primarchs will stop at nothing to overcome the Ruinstorm. Yet an insidious enemy watches their every move, and plots against the weaknesses of the errant sons of the Emperor. Each has his own inner storm, and each marches towards his own ruin.

In this, the 46th novel in the Horus Heresy series, the three Legions stranded at Ultramar have sallied forth, attempting to break through the Ruinstorm and make their way back to Terra, to be by the Emperor’s side when Horus launches his final attack on the Imperial throne world. Annandale brings his A-game, and from the get-go we’re thrown right into the story. It’s Chaotic, interesting, and moves the story forward nicely. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

Review: AGE OF ASSASSINS by RJ Barker (Orbit)

BarkerRJ-AgeOfAssassinsUSAn interesting new debut fantasy series

It’s a game of assassin versus assassin

Girton Club-foot has no family, a crippled leg, and is apprenticed to the best assassin in the land.

He’s learning the art of taking lives, but his latest mission tasks him with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life. Someone is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince’s murder — and his own.

This is the first new fantasy series that I’ve read in quite some time. In fact, it’s only the second this year (the other was Ed McDonald’s Blackwing). Long-time readers of CR may have noticed that I’ve been struggling with the genre for a while, but Age of Assassins really worked for me. This is the start of an interesting, engaging and entertaining new fantasy series. I’m really looking forward to the sequel. Continue reading

Interview with KEN SCHOLES

ScholesK-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Ken Scholes?

He’s just this guy. Sorry. Douglas Adams reference. I’m Ken Scholes. I’m a dad to a couple of wonderful twin girls. I am a civil servant and sometimes consultant who plays music in the gaps. And I write stuff.

My short stories have been showing up in print since 2000, and have been collected in three volumes published by Fairwood Press. In 2005, I won the Writers of the Future award and tackled my first novel. A year later, Tor picked it up along with the other four (unwritten) books in the series a decade ago this month. Lamentation came out in 2009, and the others have gradually followed.

Your next novel, Hymn, will be published in December by Tor Books. The final book in your Psalms of Isaak series, how would you introduce the series to a new reader?

The world’s most important city is destroyed on the first page of the first book and a mixed group of people impacted by that desolation set out to play their role in history as they try to solve who destroyed the city of Windwir and why. It is a distant future post-apocalyptic saga about human resilience and human nature. I reckon I would point them toward the first novel to give it a try. I am told that the books get progressively better after the first one. Of course, I am too close to it all to see it clearly. Continue reading

Interview with CHRIS BROOKMYRE

BrookmyreC-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Chris Brookmyre?

I am a writer from Glasgow, Scotland, author of twenty-one novels, eighteen of them crime thrillers. My novel Black Widow won the 2016 McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and in 2017 was named Theakstons Old Peculier British Crime Novel of the Year. As well as writing books, I collaborated with videogame developers RedBedlam to adapt my 2013 novel Bedlam into a first-person shooter that was released in 2015 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Your latest novel, Places in the Darkness, has recently been published by Orbit. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

It is a thriller in the tradition of the great Shane Black movies like Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, about two mismatched investigators forced to work together, but with two major differences. One is that the buddy cop duo are both women, and the second is that the whole thing takes place aboard the Ciudad de Cielo (City in the Sky), a space station where 300,000 people live and work developing what would be the Earth’s first interstellar craft. It is a place where ambitious scientists and engineers go to work on cutting edge technology, but also where many people go to escape the things that went wrong in their lives back on Earth. The city’s private police force boasts that there has never been a murder aboard (though they do have a liberal interpretation of what constitutes an accidental death), but that changes when a dismembered body is found floating in zero-gravity. Continue reading


GardnerJA-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is James Alan Gardner?

I’m a Canadian writer and editor who’s written nine novels and numerous short stories. I’ve won the Asimov’s Readers Choice award (twice) and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, as well as being a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula. I have two degrees in Math, half a degree in Geology, and a second-degree black sash in kung fu.

Your new novel, the fantastically-titled All those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault, will be published by Tor Books. It looks rather fun: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s Book 1 of a series that takes place in modern times on an alternate version of Earth. In this world, vampires, were-beasts and demons came out of the closet in 1982; they offered to make anyone a Darkling like themselves in exchange for 10 million dollars. Within a few decades, most of the world’s rich and powerful had become Darklings.

Then superheroes showed up. They’re everyday people, members of the 99% who serve as a counterbalance to the supernatural power of the affluent 1%. The action of the book follows four university students who gain superpowers in a laboratory accident and find themselves entangled in Darkling shenanigans. Continue reading

Excerpt: THE DYING GAME by Åsa Avdic (Windmill/Penguin)

AvdicA-DyingGameUKToday, we have an excerpt from a novel I’m really looking forward to reading: Åsa Avdic‘s The Dying Game. Published in the UK by Windmill Books, here’s the synopsis:

‘Oh, it’s really quite simple. I want you to play dead.’

On the remote island of Isola, seven people have been selected to compete in a 48-hour test for a top-secret intelligence position. One of them is Anna Francis, a workaholic with a nine-year-old daughter she rarely sees, and a secret that haunts her. Her assignment is to stage her own death and then observe, from her hiding place inside the walls of the house, how the other candidates react to the news that a murderer is among them. Who will take control? Who will crack under pressure?

But as soon as Anna steps on to the island she realises something isn’t quite right. And then a storm rolls in, the power goes out, and the real game begins…

The Dying Game is out now, published in the UK by Windmill Books, and in North America by Penguin. Now, on with the excerpt!

Continue reading