Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim rides again! And picks up some new jackets along the way… (Voyager)

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Anyone who’s been reading CR for the past year will know that I’m a huge fan of Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series. I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed the first four, and I am impatient to get my hands on the fifth in the series, Kill City Blues, to be published in hardcover this August in the UK (artwork above), and July in the US (artwork below).

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In addition to book five, the first four are getting released in paperback in the UK as well. Voyager has commissioned some pretty cool, retro, quite ‘LA-punk’ covers for the books. The first two, Sandman Slim and Kill the Dead, will be published June 20th…

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These will be followed by Aloha From Hell and Devil Said Bang, on July 5th and July 18th, respectively…

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If you haven’t already tried this series, I highly recommend that you do. With the new editions, I can’t think of a better time, either. Even better, if you’re a UK Kindle owner, they’re currently discounted on Amazon

This is one of my favourite series, which has also managed to maintain its high quality (something that seems rather rare, these days…). Deliciously dark, original, well-crafted, and often surprising.

C.S. Friedman’s COLDFIRE TRILOGY finally available as eBooks in the UK!

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This is a series that people have been telling me to read for years! Sadly, it doesn’t seem readily available in the UK (and, when in the US, I could never find it in stores – even the massive Barnes & Noble in Union Square, New York, didn’t have any copies). So, now that it’s available in eBook format in the UK, I really have no excuse anymore! These will also be the first books I read by C.S. Friedman, which I’m a little ashamed about. Better late than never, though.

FriedmanCS-CF4-DominionAll three novels in the Coldfire Trilogy are available (they were apparently quietly made available at the beginning of May 2013): Black Sun Rising, When True Night Falls, and Crown of Shadows. In addition, the Coldfire short story, Dominion, is also available in the UK (and has been for a over a year, actually).

Here’s a synopsis for the first novel in the series…

Over a millennium ago, Erna, a seismically active yet beautiful world was settled by colonists from far-distant Earth. But the seemingly habitable planet was fraught with perils no one could have foretold, and the colonists found themselves caught in a desperate battle for survival against the fae, a terrifying natural force with the power to prey upon the human mind itself, drawing forth images from a person’s worst nightmare or most treasured dreams and indiscriminately giving them life.

Twelve centuries after fate first stranded the colonists on Erna, mankind has achieved an uneasy stalemate, and human sorcerers manipulate the fae for their own profit, little realising that demonic forces which feed upon such efforts are rapidly gaining in strength. Now, as the hordes of the dark fae multiply, four people – Priest, Adept, Apprentice and Sorcerer – are about to be drawn inexorably together for a mission which will force them to confront an evil beyond their imagining, in a conflict which will put not only their own lives but the very fate of humankind in jeopardy…

DC Comics Axes Four More Titles

So DC Comics has decided to cancel four more of its New 52 titles – two from the original 52, one slightly new and one very new… Legion of Super-Heroes (#23), Demon Knights (#23), Dial H (#15) and Threshold (#8) will all come to an end in August 2013.

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Apparently Legion and Dial H are as head-grabbingly-angsty about their cancellations…

iFanboy (a great site, FYI) had this to say about the cancellation: “It sucks that just about every book that DC tried to publish that was outside of the traditional superhero vein was met with abject indifference from the buying public.” Also, as Mark Waid pointed out, this is the first time in about 40 years that DC will not be publishing a Legion title. Having never read that series (New 52 or pre-52), I can’t say that it means anything to me…

Of these four series, I’ve read the first volume of Demon Knights (written by Paul Cornell, and which I rather enjoyed, but couldn’t afford to keep reading on a monthly basis), and some of Dial H (which I thought was rather weird, and continues to prove that just because China Miéville wrote it, doesn’t mean I’ll love it…). I had been waiting for the first volume of Threshold to be available on ComiXology before trying it (though was a little wary of the talking rabbit character, I must admit…). And I was never interested in Legion of Super-Heroes. I’m not sure why…

There are some new series on the horizon, too: Pandora, Superman Unchained (by the awesome Scott Snyder – #3 cover art, by Jim Lee and Scott Williams, below), Batman/Superman, Larfleeze, The Movement, and The Green Team

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Upcoming: “The Detainee” by Peter Liney (Jo Fletcher)

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MOAR upcoming Jo Fletcher Books titles?! Why yes. And it looks like a doozy. (No, I do not work for them, I just really like what they publish.) This time, it’s a sci-fi debut I only learned about today – not sure how it slipped by, actually, as it sounds really interesting – Peter Liney’s The Detainee. Here’s the synopsis…

When the fog comes down and the drums start to beat, the inhabitants of the island tremble: for the punishment satellites – which keep the tyrannical Wastelords at bay – are blind in the darkness, and the islanders become prey.

The inhabitants are the old, the sick, the poor: the detritus of Society, dumped on the island with the rest of Society’s waste. There is no point trying to escape, for the satellites – the invisible eyes of the law – mete out instant judgement from the sky.

The island is the end of all hope – until ‘Big Guy’ Clancy finds a blind woman living in a secret underground warren, and discovers a reason to fight.

Colour me intrigued. The Detainee will be published on July 4th 2013 in the UK by Jo Fletcher Books. Expect more about The Detainee and Peter Liney on the blog in the near future…

Upcoming: “The Tower Broken” by Mazarkis Williams (Jo Fletcher)

I just caught this over on BookSworn, and thought I’d share it on here as well. I’ve only read the first novel in Williams’ series, The Emperor’s Knife, and do intend to get to the second, Knife Sworn, as soon as time permits.

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Is it just me, or does the fellow on the cover have a bit of a cheeky smile on his face…?

The only synopsis I could find of the novel was this single-sentence from Rising Shadow:

“Cerana faces down its historical enemy while a greater threat creeps through the desert towards the capitol city of Nooria.”

And over at the above-linked BookSworn page, Mazarkis Williams had this to say about the plot:

“Govnan gets a point of view in this final book, and the Tower is the focus of the story. When faced with the prospect of its utter ruin and the destruction of Nooria, Govnan must make some tough choices.”

I’ll keep my eyes open for a proper synopsis, and update this post as-and-when something more concrete becomes available.

UPDATE! [May 10] Here is the publisher’s synopsis for the book:

Nooria is at breaking point. The nothing bleeds out the very essence of all, of stone, silk – and souls. Sarmin thought he had stopped it, but it is spreading towards Cerana – and he is powerless to halt the destruction.

Even as Cerana fills with refugees, the Yrkmen armies arrive, offering to spare Sarmin’s people if they will convert to the Mogyrk faith.

Time is running out for Sarmin and Mesema: the Mage’s Tower is cracked; the last mage, sent to find a mysterious pattern-worker in the desert, has vanished; and Sarmin believes his kidnapped brother Daveed still has a part to play.

The walls are crumbling around them…

The Tower Broken will be available in “Late 2013”, published by Jo Fletcher books in the UK on November 7th 2013. (US details still pending confirmation.)

Congratulations to CHRIS BECKETT, Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award!

Yesterday I attended the Clarke Award ceremony at the Royal Society in London. The event opened with a panel discussion on science in five years (in 2,001 days… Geddit?) – I was pleased to learn that there are people currently working on World Ships. That was cool.

Anyway, the reason most of us were there was to learn who won the prize (and, ahem, the drinks afterwards…). And so, big congratulations to…

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CHRIS BECKETT, for his novel DARK EDEN (Corvus)

The runners-up, all equally interesting and high-quality science-fiction novels, were…

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Adrian Barnes, Nod (Bluemoose)

Nick Harkaway, Angelmaker (William Heinemann)

Peter Heller, The Dog Stars (Headline)

Ken MacLeod, Intrusion (Orbit)

Kim Stanley Robinson, 2312 (Orbit)

After the event, I had the pleasure of meeting a great number of people who I have long respected and/or only known on the other end of an email conversation or through Twitter. It was wonderful to meet so many of you and chat about all things genre and much other things besides. A great evening.

Upcoming: “Apocalypse Now Now” by Charlie Human (Century)

Feast your eyes on this twisted, visual delight…

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This is, as I’m sure you can gather, the cover for South African author Charlie Human’s debut novel, Apocalypse Now Now. The cover was first unveiled on the always awesome Pornokitsch (whose post also has an interview with Charlie Joey Hi-Fi – go check it out).

I’ve been hearing about this book a lot recently (from one person in particular…), and he has done a sufficiently excellent job of making me ridiculously excited to get my grubby mitts on a copy.

Baxter Zevcenko is your average sixteen-year-old-boy — if by average you mean kingpin of a schoolyard porn syndicate and possible serial killer who suffers from surreal  nightmares. Which may very well be what counts as average these days. Baxter is the first to admit that he’s not a nice guy. After all, if the guy below you falls, dragging you down into an icy abyss you have to cut him loose — even in high school. That is until his girlfriend, Esmé, is kidnapped and Baxter is forced to confront a disturbing fact about himself — that he has a heart, and the damn thing is forcing him to abandon high-school politics and set out on a quest to find her. The clues point to supernatural forces at work and Baxter is must admit that he can’t do it alone. Enter Jackie Ronin, supernatural bounty hunter, Border War veteran, and all-round lunatic, who takes him on a chaotic tour of Cape Town’s sweaty, occult underbelly.

What do glowing men, transsexual African valkyries, and zombie-creating arachnids have to do with Esmé’s disappearance? That’s what Baxter really, really needs to find out.

The cover at the top, by Joey Hi-Fi, is the UK edition (to be published by Century in August 2013), but Apocalypse Now Now will also be graced with an equally sinister and moody cover (also by Joey Hi-Fi) in the author’s native South Africa:

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