Upcoming: THE FUTURE IS YOURS by Dan Frey (Del Rey)

FreyD-TheFutureIsYoursUSTechnology, prediction and friendship collide in Dan Frey‘s upcoming The Future is Yours. I spotted this today on Edelweiss, and think it has a really intriguing premise. The author has described it as “like The Social Network with a time-travel twist, told as a digital epistolary.” Here’s the official synopsis:

Two best friends create a computer that can see one year into the future. But what they can’t predict is how it will tear their friendship — and society — apart.

Ben Boyce and Teddy Chaudry are outsiders struggling to find their place in Silicon Valley. But when Ben reads Teddy’s graduate dissertation about an obscure application for quantum computing, he has a vision of a revolutionary new technology: a computer that can see forward through time by communicating with its future self.

The two friends quit their jobs and team up to form a business, building a company that will deliver their groundbreaking device to consumers around the world. Rival tech giants try to steal their innovation, while government agencies attempt to bury it — but Ben and Teddy are helped by their own cutting-edge technology, staying a step ahead of the competition and responding to challenges before they arise.

As the tension mounts, Ben and Teddy’s friendship begins to fracture under the weight of ambition, jealousy, and greed. Most frightening of all, they discover the dark side of the machine they’ve created — the ways in which viewing the future sets them on a path toward unavoidable disaster of epic, apocalyptic proportions. Unless they can disrupt the technological system they’ve created, there won’t be any future at all.

Told through emails, texts, transcripts, and blog posts, this bleeding-edge tech thriller chronicles the social costs of innovation and asks how far you’d be willing to go to protect the ones you love — even from themselves.

Dan Frey’s The Future is Yours is due to be published by Del Rey in North America and in the UK, in February 2021.

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Upcoming: PROJECT HAIL MARY by Andy Weir (Del Rey)

WeirA-ProjectHailMaryUSThe Martian was hugely successful when it was released and the movie adaptation announced. The movie is one of my favourites from the past few years, but for some reason I have not, yet, read any of Andy Weir‘s novels (despite owning The Martian and Artemis). I did enjoy the author’s short story Randomize, though. Anyway, that’s a bit of a long-winded way to get to the point: Weir’s next novel, Project Hail Mary, has been announced! With that snazzy cover to the right, I think it sounds quite good — and sure to appeal to fans of The Martian. Here’s the synopsis:

A lone astronaut must save the earth from disaster in this incredible new science-based thriller…

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission — and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian — while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.

Really looking forward to this. Project Hail Mary is due to be published by Del Rey in North America and in the UK, in May 2021.

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Review: SATURNINE by Dan Abnett (Black Library)

AbnettD-HHSoT4-SaturnineA superb novel: action-packed, revelatory, both grand and intimate in scale.

As the traitors tighten their grip on Terra, Rogal Dorn must marshal the Imperial hosts to weather the storm. But not all of the defenders will survive the onslaught…

The Traitor Host of Horus Lupercal tightens its iron grip on the Palace of Terra, and one by one the walls and bastions begin to crumple and collapse. Rogal Dorn, Praetorian of Terra, redoubles his efforts to keep the relentless enemy at bay, but his forces are vastly outnumbered and hopelessly outgunned. Dorn simply cannot defend everything. Any chance of survival now requires sacrifice, but what battles dare he lose so that others can be won? Is there one tactical stroke, one crucial combat, that could turn the tide forever and win the war outright?

The Loyalists have their backs against the wall. Resources are fast depleting, and nobody knows the status of potential reinforcements. The Traitors are throwing everything they have — corporeal and never born — at breaking open the Imperial Palace’s walls. Primarchs Dorn and Perturabo are locked in a deadly game, trying to find chinks in the other master tactician’s plans. When one appears, both sides rush to exploit it. This is a superb novel: it packs quite a punch, drops revelations all over the place, advances the overall meta-story, and is utterly gripping. Continue reading

Annotated Excerpt: DRIFTWOOD by Marie Brennan (Tachyon)

BrennanM-D1-DriftwoodDriftwood might be the oddest novel I’ve written, and I say that as somebody whose previous novel is composed of diary entries, letters, newspaper clippings, and the footnoted translation of an ancient mythological epic.

Part of the reason for that oddness is the setting, which is composed of the still-decaying fragments of mostly-destroyed worlds. But part is that it didn’t start life as a novel: it’s what’s known as a “fix-up,” composed of short stories joined together to make a larger whole. (If you find yourself thinking, “huh, so the form of the book reflects the form of the setting,” give yourself a cookie: that’s why I decided to create a fix-up rather than writing a more conventional novel.) For this excerpt, I’ve decided to give you the opening two scenes of the first story in the book, which is also the first one I wrote.

Continue reading

Quick Review: MANFLAYER by Josh Reynolds (Black Library)

ReynoldsJ-FB3-ManflayerThe conclusion to the Fabius Bile trilogy

As his Homo Novus project comes to fruition, Fabius Bile faces a new threat – the dreaded haemonculi of the Thirteen Scars. Can he marshal his forces to protect his creations, or are the New Men doomed to death?

In the centuries since his return from Commorragh, Fabius Bile has distanced himself from the affairs of friend and foe, content only to oversee the cruel evolution of his New Men. But when his creations are threatened by the monstrous haemonculi of the Thirteen Scars, the Manflayer is forced to seek out new allies and old enemies alike in an effort to preserve all that he has built. Homo Novus must survive… even if Fabius Bile must die to ensure it.

Josh Reynolds brings his Fabius Bile trilogy to a dramatic close. Bile is one of the most intriguing WH40k characters, one of multiple contradictions and eccentricities. The author once again brings him to life on the page, displaying in full his narcissism, mania, and insatiable thirst for knowledge. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE MANY LIVES OF HELOISE STARCHILD by John Ironmonger (W&N)

IronmongerJ-ManyLivesOfHeloiseStarchildUKI only just heard about John Ironmonger‘s upcoming novel, The Many Lives of Heloise Starchild, but it immediately caught my attention: not only does it have a striking cover, but the premise (see below) sounds great. It’s a little strange that I hadn’t heard about the novel sooner, actually, not sure how I missed it… Anyway, due to be published in the UK on August 6th, by W&N, here’s the synopsis:

REMEMBER ME WHEN THE COMET COMES…

On the day the comet came, a girl named Heloise was born. She would live a fine life, and inherit a fortune, but would meet a cruel, untimely death.

Years later, strange dreams plague Katya Nemcová, a teenager burdened with a rare and curious gift. Memories come to Katya in her dreams – images and stories from a past that isn’t her own. Are these ghosts real? And what of the memory she seems to have of Heloise’s treasures, two centuries old?

A novel that spans the history of Europe – from revolutionary France to the world wars, the Prague Spring, post Brexit Britain, and beyond – this is the irresistible, adventurous and affectionate story of a quite extraordinary woman, her exceptionally talented ancestors and the curious memories they share.

Looking forward to reading this. At the time of writing, I wasn’t able to find any information about a North American publisher, but this might change (the W&N edition is listed on Amazon US, though).

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Interview with TIM MAJOR

MajorT-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Tim Major?

I’m an SF/horror writer. I live in York in the UK with my wife and two sons, and I’m a freelance editor by day and a writer… well, also by day, actually – I need as much sleep as I can get, with two young kids in the house. I’ve published four novels, a short story collection, and a non-fiction film book about the 1915 silent film Les Vampires, as wells as lots of stories in various places.

Your latest novel, Hope Island, was published recently by Titan Books. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

Different readers have described it in quite different ways. I’d say it’s about a mother trying to reconnect with her daughter on a remote Maine island, who encounters a bunch of strange things: creepy island children, a strange artistic commune that has a mysterious archaeological find on its property… and lots of dead bodies. But there’s a lot about sound and silence, which some readers have really responded to – I suppose the book’s a bit unusual in that respect. A lot of the horror elements revolve around sound. Continue reading

Interview with WAYNE SANTOS

SantosW-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Wayne Santos?

The simplest, one-line answer is “Canadian-Filipino Gen-X Geek.” That sums up everything in a nutshell. I’m a second-generation Filipino that grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, which some refer to as “Texas North.” I’m a child of the 80s, so I was there when Neuromancer made its debut, everyone was flipping out over Blade Runner, and I did watch The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in the theatre. I also did time rolling four, six, ten, and 20-sided dice in Dungeons & Dragons and other tabletop role-playing games, and, yes, we did it in the basement.

But I also graduated out of university and then spent the next 13 years or so living and working in Southeast Asia, specifically Singapore. That was an eye-opener, since I looked Southeast Asian, but had a North American accent, and sensibility, so it was confusing for everybody. It was a weird feeling to grow up looking like a minority, but not feeling like one, because I shared the same culture as everyone else. Then move to another country and switch to not looking like a minority, but feeling like one, because I culturally did not belong in this world, but no one knew it as long as I kept my mouth shut. Continue reading

Interview with NICHOLAS BOWLING

BowlingN-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Nicholas Bowling?

Nicholas Bowling is a 35-year-old man who writes books and plays music and sometimes teaches Latin. He is quite tall and his eyesight is very poor. He’s got two children’s novels out with Chicken House, and another one coming from Titan that is categorically not for children.

Titan Books are about to publish your new novel, Alpha Omega. It sounds really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s a mixture of a few things: part sci-fi, part horror, part satire. Part email chain. It’s about a school in the near future where the kids start getting suddenly, inexplicably, violently ill. In the background is the garish, surreal world of Alpha Omega, an online VR role-playing game that no one – teacher or student – ever wants to leave; the discovery of trepanned skull on the school playing fields, which may or may not be cursed; and a privatized, corporatized academy seeking to micromanage every aspect of the kids’ lives. All told, it’s scary and sad and funny and quite odd. Hopefully it’ll make you think a bit, and laugh a bit. Some people have likened it to Black Mirror, which is a lovely thing, but I think it’s a bit wonkier and weirder than that. It’s not a series – just a one-shot. Continue reading

Upcoming: PERSEPHONE STATION by Stina Leicht (Saga Press)

LeichtS-PersephoneStationUSOn January 5th, 2021, Saga Press are due to publish the latest novel by Stina Leicht. Pitched as a space opera “for fans of The Mandalorian and Cowboy Bebop“, Persephone Station sounds like it’ll be great fun. Check out the synopsis:

Persephone Station, a seemingly backwater planet that has largely been ignored by the United Republic of Worlds becomes the focus for the Serrao-Orlov Corporation as the planet has a few secrets the corporation tenaciously wants to exploit.

Rosie—owner of Monk’s Bar, in the corporate town of West Brynner, caters to wannabe criminals and rich Earther tourists, of a sort, at the front bar. However, exactly two types of people drank at Monk’s back bar: members of a rather exclusive criminal class and those who sought to employ them.

Angel—ex-marine and head of a semi-organized band of beneficent criminals, wayward assassins, and washed up mercenaries with a penchant for doing the honorable thing is asked to perform a job for Rosie. What this job reveals will effect Persephone and put Angel and her squad up against an army. Despite the odds, they are rearing for a fight with the Serrao-Orlov Corporation. For Angel, she knows that once honor is lost, there is no regaining it. That doesn’t mean she can’t damned well try.

Stina Leicht’s Persephone Station is due to be published by Saga Press on January 5th, 2021, in North America (at the time of writing, I’m not sure about a UK release). If you can’t wait that long, I’d recommend you also check out the author’s Malorum Gates duology — Cold Iron and Blackthorne — published by Saga Press in North America and in the UK.

Also on CR: Interview with Stina Leicht (2012)

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