Upcoming: CAGE OF SOULS, WALKING TO ALDEBARAN and CHILDREN OF RUIN by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Head of Zeus, Solaris & Tor/Orbit)

Tchaikovsky-CageOfSoulsUKNext year, Adrian Tchaikovsky has (at least) two new novels on the way! First up, Cage of Souls, which is due to be published by Head of Zeus in April:

Humanity clings to life on a dying Earth. Epic, far-future SF from an award-winning author.

The Sun is bloated, diseased, dying perhaps. Beneath its baneful light, Shadrapur, last of all cities, harbours fewer than 100,000 human souls. Built on the ruins of countless civilizations, Shadrapur is a museum, a midden, an asylum, a prison on a world that is ever more alien to humanity.

Bearing witness to the desperate struggle for existence between life old and new is Stefan Advani: rebel, outlaw, prisoner, survivor. This is his testament, an account of the journey that took him into the blazing desolation of the western deserts; that transported him east down the river and imprisoned him in the verdant hell of the jungle’s darkest heart; that led him deep into the labyrinths and caverns of the underworld. He will meet with monsters, madmen and mutants.The question is, which one of them will inherit this Earth?

Tchaikovsky-WalkingToAldebaranUKIn May, we will get to read a new short novel that I hadn’t heard about before: Walking to Aldebaran. This one is due to be published by Solaris. Here’s the synopsis:

Chilling story of a lost astronaut on an alien artefact, struggling to find his way home even as the world around him transforms his body and mind.

My name is Gary Rendell. I’m an astronaut. When they asked me as a kid what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “astronaut, please!” I dreamed astronaut, I worked astronaut, I studied astronaut.

I got lucky; when a probe sent out to explore the Oort Cloud found a strange alien rock and an international team of scientists was put together to go and look at it, I made the draw.

I got even luckier. When disaster hit and our team was split up, scattered through the endless cold tunnels, I somehow survived.

Now I’m lost, and alone, and scared, and there’s something horrible in here.

​Lucky me.

Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Tchaikovsky-C2-ChildrenOfRuinUKAnd last, but by no means least (I only spotted this cover while writing this post), we have Children of Ruin, the highly-anticipated follow-up to the superb, Arthur C. Clarke Award-Winning Children of Time. Due to be published by Tor Books (UK) and Orbit (US), also in May. Here’s the synopsis:

IT HAS BEEN WAITING THOUGH THE AGES

NOW IT’S TIME…

Thousands of years ago, Earth’s terraforming program took to the stars. On the world they called Nod, scientists discovered alien life – but it was their mission to overwrite it with the memory of Earth. Then humanity’s great empire fell, and the program’s decisions were lost to time.

Aeons later, humanity and its new spider allies detected fragmentary radio signals between the stars. They dispatched an exploration vessel, hoping to find cousins from old Earth.

But those ancient terraformers woke something on Nod better left undisturbed.

And it’s been waiting for them.

It looks like 2019 is going to be a great year for sci-fi! And that’s when you only take into consideration Mr. Tchaikovsky’s novels. (There are so many others to anticipate, too.)

Also on CR: Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky (2012); Guest Posts on “Nine Books, Six Years, One Stenwold Maker”, “The Art of Gunsmithing — Writing Guns of the Dawn, “Looking for God in Melnibone Places — Fantasy and Religion”, and “Eye of the Spider”; Excerpt from Guns of the Dawn; Reviews of Empire in Black & GoldGuns of the DawnSpiderlight

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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Upcoming: CHILDREN OF TIME and CHILDREN OF RUIN by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Orbit/Tor)

Tchaikovsky-CoT1-ChildrenOfTimeUSWait, what? Didn’t Adrian Tchaikovsky‘s Children of Time come out back in 2015? Why yes, yes it did… in the UK, published by Tor Books. This December, though, Orbit Books are due to publish a North American edition! Great news for sci-fi fans who maybe haven’t had the chance to read this spectacular novel! I read it a couple of years ago and, inexplicably, never reviewed it… (I am convinced that I did write a review, however, which means I managed to lose the review.) It was one of my favourite novels of the year, and I was hooked from very early on. Tchaikovsky’s prose is superb, and his world-building was exceptional, brilliantly realized on the page, and both fascinating and original. It is no surprise to me that it won the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Here’s the synopsis, in case you haven’t clocked it yet:

The epic story of humanity’s battle for survival on a terraformed planet.

Who will inherit this new Earth?

The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age – a world terraformed and prepared for human life.

But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare.

Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?

Also on the way is Children of Ruin, the eagerly-anticipated sequel! Due to be published by Orbit in North America (May 2019) and Tor in the UK (May 2019), there’s no cover just yet, but here’s the synopsis:

Long ago, Earth’s terraforming program sent ships out to build new homes for humanity among the stars and made an unexpected discovery: a planet with life. But the scientists were unaware that the alien ecosystem was more developed than the primitive life forms originally discovered.

Now, thousands of years later, the Portiids and their humans have sent an exploration vessel following fragmentary radio signals. They discover a system in crisis, warring factions trying to recover from an apocalyptic catastrophe arising from what the early terraformers awoke all those years before.

One of my favourite authors of SFF, Tchaikovsky has so many other excellent books to read while you wait for Children of Ruin. His backlist includes: the excellent Shadows of the Apt 10-novel fantasy epic (Tor UK); the Echoes of the Fall fantasy trilogy (Tor UK); the superb stand-alone novels Guns of the Dawn (Tor UK), Spiderlight (Tor.com), and Dogs of War (Head of Zeus); the novella Ironclads (Solaris) and The Expert System’s Brother (Tor.com); and the first novel in the After the War series, Redemption’s Blade (Solaris).

Also on CR: Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky (2012); Guest Posts on “Nine Books, Six Years, One Stenwold Maker”, “The Art of Gunsmithing”, “Looking for God in Melnibone Places” and “Eye of the Spider”; Excerpt from Guns of the Dawn; Reviews of Empire in Black & Gold, Guns of the Dawn, Spiderlight, and Ironclads

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: SALVATION by Peter F. Hamilton (Tor/Del Rey)

HamiltonPF-S1-SalvationUKThis September, Tor (UK) and Del Rey (US) are due to publish the first novel in Peter F. Hamilton‘s new Salvation Sequence. One of the most acclaimed and successful British sci-fi authors writing today, it sounds like a pretty interesting series.

Here’s the synopsis for Salvation:

Know your enemy – or be defeated

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An alien shipwreck is discovered on a planet at the very limits of human expansion – so Security Director Feriton Kayne selects a team to investigate. The ship’s sinister cargo not only raises bewildering questions, but could also foreshadow humanity’s extinction. It will be up to the team to bring back answers, and the consequences of this voyage will change everything.

Back on Earth, we can now make deserts bloom and extend lifespans indefinitely, so humanity seems invulnerable. We therefore welcomed the Olyix to Earth when they contacted us. They needed fuel for their pilgrimage across the galaxy — and in exchange they helped us advance our technology. But were the Olyix a blessing or a curse?

THE FAR FUTURE

Many lightyears from Earth, Dellian and his clan of genetically engineered soldiers are raised with one goal. They must confront and destroy their ancient adversary. The enemy caused mankind to flee across the galaxy and they hunt us still. If they aren’t stopped, we will be wiped out — and we’re running out of time.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

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Excerpt: THE ETERNAL KINGDOM by Ben Peek (Tor)

PeekB-3-EternalKingdomUKThe Eternal Kingdom, the final novel in Ben Peek‘s well-received Children trilogy is now available in the UK. Published by Tor, it concludes the story started in The Godless and Leviathan’s Blood, as well as the prequel novella Saboteurs. To celebrate the release, the publisher has given CR an excerpt to share. But first, the novel’s synopsis:

A nation in fragments

On the shores of Yeflam, Ayae struggles to keep her people together. She acts as liaison between the camp leaders and the immortals who could save them. Zaifyr’s immortal siblings have arrived — but they have their own unfathomable agendas and Ayae is caught in their power games.

An army on the march

Heast has returned to his role as Captain of Refuge, a mercenary unit that answers the call of lost causes. With help from an unexpected source, Heast and his band of mercenaries could turn the tide of war — if they live long enough.

A world in danger

Bueralan Le is trapped in the company of the new god child. Though he fights to prevent her from unleashing her forces on the world, he is bound by blood to her darkest creation. The future of the world may depend on his choices.

And now, on with the Prologue… Continue reading

Excerpt: SKULLSWORN by Brian Staveley (Tor Books)

StaveleyB-SkullswornUSIn the first of today’s posts celebrating the release of Brian Staveley‘s stand-alone Skullsworn, we have an excerpt. First, though, here’s the synopsis:

For one apprentice assassin, the clock is ticking…

Pyrre Lakatur doesn’t like the description skullsworn. It doesn’t capture the beauty of her devotion to Ananshael, God of Death. And she’s not an assassin, but a priestess. Or she will be, if she can pass her final trial. The problem isn’t killing, as Pyrre has spent her life training for this. The problem is love. To pass the trial, she will have fourteen days to kill seven people detailed in an ancient song, including one true love, ‘who will not come again’. However, Pyrre has never been in love, time is short, and if she fails she’ll be given to her god.

Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to fail. So a month before the trial begins, she returns to the violent city of her birth, where she once offered an abusive father to the god. Here Pyrre hopes to find love – and end it with the edge of her knife.

Skullsworn is set in the same world as Staveley’s excellent, best-selling and critically-acclaimed Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy. On with the excerpt!

Continue reading

Guest Post: “Building the Polity” by Neal Asher

Building the Polity was a gradual process for me that started back in the 80s when, searching for somewhere, anywhere to get something published, I discovered the small presses. These were mostly A5 chapbooks (though some were larger) published from someone’s home and with a readership of no more than a couple of hundred. My interest was SFF so I ordered anything related and read it. I discovered that most of the stories were science fiction whereas before I’d been working on a fantasy trilogy, which now still resides in my files.

So science fiction… Even the fantasy I was working on leaned more in that direction anyway – I was more inclined towards the logical consistency you find in SF while the supposed fantasy elements were technological – super-science. I started off with a story about a man whose cryogenically frozen brain tissue was used to run the body of a cyborg player in a game similar to American football. He was then used as a disposable asset to kill off some revolutionaries. The story was called “Another England” and was published in a magazine called Back Brain Recluse in 1989. However there was very little of the Polity there. Continue reading

Review: THE LAST MORTAL BOND by Brian Staveley (Tor)

StaveleyB-CUT3-LastMortalBondUSThe highly-anticipated conclusion to the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy

DEATH IS NEAR, ARMIES ARE GATHERED, AND THE FUTURE RESTS ON A KNIFE-EDGE 

The Annurian Empire is losing a war on two fronts — and it’s unclear who’s in command. Adare is stationed in the thick of battle, calling herself Emperor. However, she can’t hold back the nomadic Urghul forces forever. She needs her brilliant general, Ran il Tornja, but will he betray her again?

Adare’s brother Kaden is the true heir, yet he’ll accept a republic to save his divided people. And he faces something more terrible than war. He’s unmasked Ran il Tornja as a remnant of an ancient race, one that attempted to destroy mankind. The general now plans to finish what they started. Kaden has also discovered that capricious gods walk the earth in human guise — and their agendas may seal the fates of all.

In early 2014, I finally got around to reading Brian Staveley’s first two novelsThe Emperor’s Blades and The Providence of Fire. I was blown away — I read them back-to-back, which is something I haven’t done with a fantasy series since Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies, and Peter V. Brett’s The Desert Spear and The Daylight War. Staveley’s writing, his characters, and the fantastically composed and paced narrative just pulled me through. I was hooked. I still think the two novels are a fantastic example of what modern fantasy can be. (Seriously, go read them.) I had a rather different reaction to The Last Mortal BondContinue reading