Upcoming: BY THE PRICKING OF HER THUMB by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)

RobertsA-ByThePrickingOfHerThumbUKLater this year, Adam Roberts is returning to the setting of his recent novel The Real-Town Murders! I must admit that it was the cover that first caught my eye, but the synopsis certainly did a lot to increase my interest in the novel. By the Pricking of Her Thumb is due to be published by Gollancz on August 23rd, 2018. Here’s what it’s about:

One of the four richest people in the world may be dead. But which one? A Kubrickian thriller from one of the world’s leading authors of SF.

Private Investigator Alma is caught up in another impossible murder. One of the world’s four richest people may be dead — but nobody is sure which one. Hired to discover the truth behind the increasingly bizarre behaviour of the ultra-rich, Alma must juggle treating her terminally ill lover with a case which may not have a victim.

Inspired by the films of Kubrick, this stand-alone novel returns to the near-future of THE REAL-TOWN MURDERS, and puts Alma on a path to a world she can barely understand. Witty, moving and with a mystery deep at its heart, this novel again shows Adam Roberts’ mastery of the form.

Luckily, I have The Real-Town Murders already, so I should be able to get that read before I get my hands on By the Pricking of Her Thumb. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to reading them both!

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Review: MURDERBOT DIARIES #1-3 by Martha Wells (Tor.com)

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An amusing, thoughtful series of novellas

These are a lot of fun. In the first three books in Martha Wells’s Murderbot Diaries — All Systems RedArtificial Condition and Rogue Protocol — we follow the adventures of a SecUnit who has hacked its governor module and, therefore, mostly autonomous. It’s a wonderful guide to this setting, and in each of these books we are given a little more detail on how the universe is set up and runs. All the while, the SecUnit (who does get a couple of personalized names in the books) struggles with its distaste and dislike of humans, and a stubborn urge to protect them. (They’re just so soft and feckless, after all…) Continue reading

Upcoming: THIN AIR and THIRTEEN by Richard Morgan (Gollancz/Del Rey)

MorganR-ThinAirUKRichard Morgan’s Altered Carbon was the first ‘proper’ sci-fi novel I read and loved. Its mix of science fiction, action and detective story was perfect for me, and I became a faithful (if uneven) follower of Morgan’s work. I bought and read the second Takeshi Kovacs novel, Broken Angels, as soon as it came out. Morgan’s grimdark fantasy series, A Land Fit for Heroes unfortunately didn’t work for me as well as his sci-fi, and I kind of wandered away from his work for a while. This past year, however, Netflix’s adaptation of Altered Carbon has re-ignited my interest in his work, so I was very happy to learn that Gollancz (UK) and Del Rey (North America) are due to release Thin Air in October. The author’s first sci-fi novel in eight years, here’s the brief synopsis:

An atmospheric tale of corruption and abduction set on Mars.

An ex-corporate enforcer, Hakan Veil, is forced to bodyguard Madison Madekwe, part of a colonial audit team investigating a disappeared lottery winner on Mars. But when Madekwe is abducted, and Hakan nearly killed, the investigation takes him farther and deeper than he had ever expected. And soon Hakan discovers the heavy price he may have to pay to learn the truth.

MorganR-ThirteenUKGollancz is also due to re-release Morgan’s fourth novel, Thirteen, with a new cover and title (it was original called Black Man) in September, in the UK. Here’s the synopsis:

One hundred years from now, and against all the odds, Earth has found a new stability; the political order has reached some sort of balance, and the new colony on Mars is growing. But the fraught years of the 21st century have left an uneasy legacy…

Genetically engineered alpha males, designed to fight the century’s wars have no wars to fight and are surplus to requirements. And a man bred and designed to fight is a dangerous man to have around in peacetime. Many of them have left for Mars but now one has come back and killed everyone else on the shuttle he returned in.

Only one man, a genengineered ex-soldier himself, can hunt him down and so begins a frenetic man-hunt and a battle survival. And a search for the truth about what was really done with the world’s last soldiers.

BLACK MAN is an unstoppable SF thriller but it is also a novel about predjudice, about the ramifications of playing with our genetic blue-print. It is about our capacity for violence but more worrying, our capacity for deceit and corruption.

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Upcoming: ALICE ISN’T DEAD by Joseph Fink (Harper Perennial)

FinkJ-AliceIsntDeadUSI must be one of the few fans of SFFH who hasn’t fallen down the Nightvale rabbit hole. I just haven’t had the time to check out the podcast properly (although I know many people who love it, and have enjoyed the snippets I’ve caught). Anyway, I spotted a listing for this novel on Edelweiss and it caught my attention. Joseph Fink‘s Alice Isn’t Dead is due to be published by Harper Perennial on October 30th, 2018. Here’s the synopsis:

“This is not a story. It’s a road trip.”

Keisha Lewis lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.

Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job with a trucking company, Bay and Creek Transportation, and begins searching for Alice. She eventually stumbles on an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system — uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.

Why did Alice disappear? What does she have to do with this secret war between inhuman killers? Why did the chicken cross the road? These questions, and many more will be answered in Alice Isn’t Dead.

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Upcoming: THE BLACK GOD’S DRUMS by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com)

ClarkPD-BlackGodsDrumsThe cover for P. Djèlí Clark‘s The Black God’s Drums started doing the rounds online a little while ago. (I’ve also seen that reviewers are starting to receive ARCs, so reviews should start appearing soon, too.) Due to be published by Tor.com in August 2018. I haven’t read any of Clark’s previous work, but I have high hopes for this, given how interesting it sounds:

In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air – in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie’s trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.

But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations.

Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God’s Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans.

The novella “brings an alternate New Orleans of orisha, airships, and adventure to life”, and has been described by Scott Westerfeld as “A sinewy mosaic of Haitian sky pirates, wily street urchins, and orisha magic. Beguiling and bombastic!” That’s a pretty great endorsement. Looking forward to giving it a try. The Black God’s Drums will be published on August 21st, by Tor.com in North America and in the UK.

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Upcoming: New BINTI hardcovers! (Tor.com)

OkoraforN-BintiTrilogyHC

Earlier this week, Tor.com announced that they were going to be re-releasing Nnedi Okorafor’s Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Binti novel(la)s in hardcover: Binti, Home and The Night Masquerade. The three new covers are above, and the books will arrive in stores on July 24th. Here’s the synopsis for the first book:

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself — but first she has to make it there, alive.

The first book will also have a new introduction, written by N.K. Jemisin. The series is currently available in paperback and eBook, in North America and the UK.

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Upcoming: OUR TOWNS by James & Deborah Fallows (Pantheon)

Fallows-OurTownsUSI have long been a fan of James Fallows‘s journalism — I first read his work in The Atlantic, back in 2007 when he was still living in China (some of his articles from that time have been collected in the excellent Postcards From Tomorrow Square, which I’m reading at the moment). This year, Pantheon will publish Fallows’s latest book, co-written with his wife, Deborah FallowsOur Towns. Here’s the synopsis:

A vivid, surprising portrait of the civic and economic reinvention taking place in America, town by town and generally out of view of the national media. A realistically positive and provocative view of the country between its coasts.

For the last five years, James and Deborah Fallows have been traveling across America in a single-engine prop airplane. Visiting dozens of towns, they have met hundreds of civic leaders, workers, immigrants, educators, environmentalists, artists, public servants, librarians, business people, city planners, students, and entrepreneurs to take the pulse and understand the prospects of places that usually draw notice only after a disaster or during a political campaign.

The America they saw is acutely conscious of its problems — from economic dislocation to the opioid scourge — but itis also crafting solutions, with a practical-minded determination at dramatic odds with the bitter paralysis of national politics. At times of dysfunction on a national level, reform possibilities have often arisen from the local level. The Fallowses describe America in the middle of one of these creative waves. Their view of the country is as complex and contradictory as America itself, but it also reflects the energy, the generosity and compassion, the dreams, and the determination of many who are in the midst of making things better. Our Towns is the story of their journey — and an account of a country busy remaking itself.

I received an ARC of this book recently, and I’m really looking forward to reading it. (I’ll probably start it either after finishing Postcards…, or after my next non-fiction read.)

Follow the Authors: Goodreads — James/Deborah; Twitter — James/Deborah