The legacy of Philip K. Dick

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them.” – Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick, the visionary, prophetic science fiction writer, would have been 90 on the 16th of December this year. His ability to foresee the trends, themes, technologies and politics that would go on to shape our world was truly uncanny. His works inspired hordes of writers, artists, film-makers and even scientists. And of course his creations didn’t exist in a vacuum–he was in turn influenced by writers such as Raymond Chandler, Franz Kafka and John Sladek.

To commemorate his remarkable life and work we have created our own showcase of books, graphic novels and DVDs from our science fiction, graphic novel and audio visual departments.

Below is a very small selection of the authors who have been inspired by Philip K. Dick’s works, or who were of inspiration to him. To see more of our picks just pop into the library or check out our special Overdrive selections!

Syndetics book coverFinches of Mars / Brian Aldiss.
“Set on the Red Planet, this book follows the stories of a group of colonists and the problems they have in setting up a new society. Life can be sustained by technology but new life will not prosper – the woman on the planet only ever give birth to stillborn children.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOryx and Crake / Margaret Atwood.
“The narrator is Snowman (a man once known as Jimmy), self-named though not self-created. As the story begins, he’s sleeping in a tree, wearing a dirty old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beautiful and beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. Earlier, Snowman’s life was one of comparative privilege. Crake and Jimmy live with all the other smart, rich people in the Compounds – gated company towns owned by biotech corporations. (Ordinary folks are kept outside the gates in the chaotic ‘pleeblands’.) Meanwhile, beautiful Oryx, raised as a child prostitute in Southeast Asia, finds her way to the West and meets Crake and Jimmy, setting up an inevitable love triangle.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe drowned world / J.G. Ballard ; introduction by Martin Amis.
The Drowned World imagines a terrifying world in which global warming has melted the ice caps and primordial jungles have overrun a tropical London. Set during the year 2145, this novel follows biologist Dr. Robert Kearns and his team of scientists as they confront a cityscape in which nature is on the rampage and giant lizards, dragonflies, and insects fiercely compete for domination.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBest short stories = Die schönsten Erzählungen / Franz Kafka ; edited and translated by Stanley Appelbaum.
“Franz Kafka (1883-1924). Considered one of the greatest modern writers, Kafka’s work brilliantly explores the anxiety, futility and complexity of modern life. The stories in this volume are The Metamorphosis (thought by many critics to be Kafka’s most perfect work), The Judgment, In the Penal Colony, A Country Doctor and A Report to an Academy.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAltered carbon / Richard K. Morgan.
“In the 25th century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself–a person’s consciousness can be easily downloaded into a new body, making death nearly obsolete. Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly brutal. Resleeved into a new body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco), Kovacs is thrown into a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that buys and sells human existence.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCat’s cradle / Kurt Vonnegut
“A young writer decides to interview the children of a scientist primarily responsible for the creation of the atomic bomb. This is an apocalyptic tale of the planet’s ultimate fate, featuring a cast of unlikely heroes. A satirical commentary on modern man and his madness.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Festive fiction: The twelve authors of Christmas

The Christmas Surprise book cover

Whether you love the sound of sleigh bells and the taste of falling snow slowly melting on your tongue, or if you are more a bah, humbug type about Christmas, it is good to have a festive read over the festive season. And in this special ‘who writes like…’ promotion we have selected authors that will fit in with both sides of the Christmas season. So sit back, break open the mince pies, throw another yuletide log on the fire and luxuriate into a fantastic book.

Syndetics book coverRivers of London / Ben Aaronovitch
“My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit – we do paperwork so real coppers don’t have to – and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Ben Aaronovitch? Douglas Adams, Jim Butcher, Benedict Jacka, Richard Kadrey, Seanan McGuire.

Syndetics book coverThe fallen / David Baldacci.
“Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks. Cryptic clues left at the scenes–obscure bible verses, odd symbols–have the police stumped. Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are in Baronville visiting Alex’s sister and her family. Decker has only been there a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene. Decker, with his singular talents, may be the only one who can crack this bizarre case.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like David Baldacci? Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, Brad Meltzer, James Patterson, Stuart Woods.

Syndetics book coverLook to windward / Iain M. Banks.
“It was one of the less glorious incidents of the Idiran wars that led to the destruction of two suns and the billions of lives they supported. Now, eight hundred years later, the light from the first of those ancient deaths has reached the Culture’s Masaq’ Orbital. For the Hub Mind, overseer of the massive bracelet world, its arrival is particularly poignant. But it may still be eclipsed by events from the Culture’s more recent past.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Iain M. Banks? Neal Asher, Peter F. Hamilton, Richard K. Morgan, Alastair Reynolds, Vernor Vinge.

Syndetics book coverDeath of a dreamer: a Hamish McBeth mystery / M.C. Beaton.
“Occasionally, the rugged landscape of Scotland attracts dreamers who move north, wrapped in fantasies of enjoying the simple life. They usually don’t last, defeated by the climate or by inhospitable locals. But it looks as if Effie Garrand has come to stay. When local constable Hamish Macbeth calls on her, he is amazed to find the small woman still in residence after a particularly hideous winter. Unfortunately, Effie is also quite delusional, having convinced herself and everyone else that local artist Jock Fleming is in love with her, and that they are engaged. After a huge fight with Jock, Effie is found in the mountains, poisoned by hemlock. Now it’s up to Hamish Macbeth to find the dreamers killer before any more nightmares unfold.” (Syndetics summary)

Who writes like M.C. Beaton? Lilian Jackson Braun, Chris Cavender, Mary Daheim, Carole Nelson Douglas, Monica Ferris.

Syndetics book coverHeir to the shadows / Anne Bishop.
“The Blood have waited centuries for the coming of Witch, the living embodiment of magic. But Jaenelle, the young girl singled out by prophecy, is haunted by the cruel battles fought over her–for not all the Blood await her as their Savior. Some dismiss her as a myth. Some refuse to believe. And still others look forward to using her, making her a pawn to their shadowy devices. Nothing, however, can deflect her from her destiny–and the day of reckoning looms near. When her memories return. When her magic matures. When she is forced to accept her fate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Anne Bishop? Jacqueline Carey, Gail Carriger, Kate Forsyth, Laurell K. Hamilton, J.R. Ward.

Syndetics book coverThe Christmas surprise / Jenny Colgan.
“Includes mouth-watering recipes Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little sweetshop she owns and runs. But when fate strikes Rosie and her boyfriend, Stephen, a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear, it’s going to take all their strength and the support of their families and their Lipton friends to hold them together. After all, don’t they say it takes a village to raise a child?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Jenny Colgan? Abby Clements, Debbie Macomber, Milly Johnson, Susan Mallery, Anne Perry.

Syndetics book coverThe woman in the window / A.J. Finn.
“It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening… Anna Fox lives alone — a recluse in her New York City home, drinking too much wine, watching old movies… and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move next door: a father, a mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble — and its shocking secrets are laid bare.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like A.J. Finn? Megan Abbott, Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn.

Syndetics book coverDaughter of the forest / Juliet Marillier.
“Lord Colum of Sevenwaters is blessed with six sons: Liam, a natural leader; Diarmid, with his passion for adventure; twins Cormack and Conor, each with a different calling; rebellious Finbar, grown old before his time by his gift of the Sight; and the young, compassionate Padriac. But it is Sorcha, the seventh child and only daughter, who alone is destined to defend her family and protect her land from the Britons and the clan known as Northwoods. For her father has been bewitched, and her brothers bound by a spell that only Sorcha can lift. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Juliet Marillier? Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robin Hobb, Russell Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth Knox, Helen Lowe.

Syndetics book coverThe Denniston rose / Jenny Pattrick.
“The bleak coal-mining of Denniston, isolated high on a plateau above the West Coast, is a place that makes or breaks those who live there. Into this chaotic community come five-year-old Rose and her mother. Set in the 1880s, this is the story of a spirited child who remains a survivor.” (Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Jenny Pattrick? Catherine Cookson, Rosamunde Pilcher, Adriana Trigiani, Mary Wesley, Winston Graham.

Syndetics book coverJitterbug perfume / Tom Robbins.
“This story begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn’t conclude until nine o’clock tonight (Paris time). It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing bottle.The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god. If the liquid in the bottle actually is the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon because it is leaking and there is only a drop or two left.” (Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Tom Robbins? Paul Auster, Kurt Vonnegut, Jonathan Letham, David Sedaris, Haruki Murakami.

Syndetics book coverShelter in place / Nora Roberts.
It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. Then the shooters arrived.The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Nora Roberts? Susan Mallery, Julie Garwood, Sandra Brown, Lisa Kleypas, Elizabeth Lowell.

Syndetics book coverA spool of blue thread: a novel / Anne Tyler.
“‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’ This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of special-ness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. A Spool of Blue Thread tells a poignant yet unsentimental story in praise of family in all its emotional complexity. It is a novel to cherish.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Who writes like Anne Tyler? Annie Proulx, Sally Rooney, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Donna Tartt. 

Stuff your eyes with wonder: Our Science Fiction showcase picks

Foundryside book cover

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953).
This month’s science fiction showcase picks are full of worlds of wonder and feasts of treats, including sumptuous, gorgeous, beautifully-illustrated new editions of both Ursula K. Le Guin’s seminal Wizard of Earthsea series and Frank Herbert’s Dune Trilogy, as well as a new work by one of the science fiction world’s most beloved writers Mercedes Lackey called The Bartered Brides!

Syndetics book coverThe books of Earthsea / Ursula K. Le Guin ; illustrated by Charles Vess.
“Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels are some of the most acclaimed and awarded works in literature–they have received prestigious accolades such as the National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, the Nebula Award, and many more honors, commemorating their enduring place in the hearts and minds of readers and the literary world alike. Now for the first time ever, they’re all together in one volume–including the early short stories, Le Guin’s Earthsea Revisioned Oxford lecture, and a new Earthsea story, never before printed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe bartered brides / Mercedes Lackey.
“The threat of Moriarty is gone – but so is Sherlock Holmes. Even as they mourn the loss of their friend and colleague, psychic Nan Killian, medium Sarah Lyon-White, and Elemental Masters John and Mary Watson must be vigilant, for members of Moriarty’s network are still at large. And their troubles are far from over: in a matter of weeks, two headless bodies of young brides wash up in major waterways. A couple who fears for their own recently-wedded daughter hire the group to investigate, but with each new body, the mystery only deepens.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe great Dune trilogy / Frank Herbert.
“Herbert’s evocative, epic tales are set on the desert planet Arrakis, the focus for a complex political and military struggle with galaxy-wide repercussions. Arrakis is the source of spice, a mind-enhancing drug which makes interstellar travel possible; it is the most valuable substance in the galaxy. When Duke Atreides and his family take up court there, they fall into a trap set by the Duke’s bitter rival, Baron Harkonnen. The Duke is poisoned, but his wife and her son Paul escape to the vast and arid deserts of Arrakis, which have given the planet its nickname of Dune.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe consuming fire / John Scalzi.
The Interdependency–humanity’s interstellar empire–is on the verge of collapse. The extra-dimensional conduit that makes travel between the stars possible is disappearing, leaving entire systems and human civilizations stranded. Emperox Grayland II of the Interdependency is ready to take desperate measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But arrayed before her are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth–or at the very least an opportunity to an ascension to power. The Emperox and her allies are smart and resourceful, as are her enemies. Nothing about this will be easy… and all of humanity will be caught in its consuming fire.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMagefall / Stephen Aryan.
“When magic is feared, the mages must learn to fight for themselves in this powerful sequel to the standout epic fantasy Mageborn by Stephen Aryan.
The land is in turmoil. Mages are hunted by men and gods alike. Even their own kind betray each other in the name of safety and protection.
With their last refuge fallen, two young mages must conspire against a god to show the world that their abilities aren’t a curse; they are the only way to ensure lasting peace.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFoundryside : a novel / Robert Jackson Bennett.Foundryside: A Novel
“In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself. Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle. But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. To have a chance at surviving–and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way–Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe little shop of found things / Paula Brackston.
“Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past. When she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more. It is while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century where it has its origins. And there she discovers there is an injustice in its history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

“Okay Marlowe,” I said to myself, ‘You’re a tough guy.” – Our choice of December’s mystery showcase books.

“Okay Marlowe,” I said to myself, ‘You’re a tough guy. You’ve been sapped twice, choked, beaten silly with a gun, shot in the arm until you’re crazy as a couple of waltzing mice. Now let’s see you do something really tough—like putting your pants on.” Philip Marlowe in Murder My Sweet (1944).

Whether your taste in mystery novels is for the grimy rain-washed streets of downtown American cities or the more genteel settings of rose-covered cottages in the idyllic British countryside, there’s murder afoot in this month’s mysteries showcase. There’s a new book by Janet Evanovich called Look Alive Twenty-Five as well as other gems including the latest V.I. Warshawski novel from Sara Paretsky called Shell Game. So why not settle into a comfortable Chesterfield chair (or its equivalent) and indulge yourself in a fine mystery read!

Syndetics book coverAgatha Raisin and the dead ringer / M. C. Beaton.
The team of bells at St. Ethelred church is the pride and glory of the idyllic Cotswolds village of Thirk Magna, together with the most dedicated bell ringers in the whole of England: the twins Mavis and Millicent Dupin. As the village gets ready for the Bishop’s visit, the twins get overly-excited at the prospect of ringing the special peal of bells created for the occasion and start bullying the other bell ringers, forcing them to rehearse and rehearse . When the twins’ home is broken into one night and Millicent is found dead, struck from a hammer blow, suspicion falls onto the lawyer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Snapshot of Murder (Kate Shackleton Mysterie) [paperback]
“Yorkshire, 1928. Indomitable sleuth Kate Shackleton is taking a well-deserved break from her detective work and indulging in her other passion: photography. When her local Photographic Society proposes an outing, Kate jumps at the chance to visit Haworth and Stanbury, in the heart of Brontë country, the setting for Wuthering Heights. But when an obnoxious member of their party is murdered, the group is thrown into disarray. Is the murderer amongst them, or did the loud-mouthed Tobias have more enemies than they might have imagined?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDark sacred night / Michael Connelly.
“Detective Renée Ballard is working the night beat and returns to Hollywood Station in the early hours to find a stranger rifling through old file cabinets. The intruder is retired detective Harry Bosch, working a cold case that has gotten under his skin. Ballard can’t let him go through department records, but when he leaves, she looks into the case herself and feels a deep tug of empathy and anger. She has never been the kind of cop who leaves the job behind at the end of her shift — and she wants in. The murder, unsolved, was of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton, a runaway on the streets of Hollywood who was brutally killed, her body left in a dumpster like so much trash. Now Ballard joins forces with Bosch to find out what happened to Daisy, and to finally bring her killer to justice. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLook alive twenty-five / Janet Evanovich.
“There’s nothing like a good deli, and the Red River Deli in Trenton is one of the best. World-famous for its pastrami, cole slaw, and for its disappearing managers. Over the last month, three have vanished from the face of the earth, and the only clue in each case is one shoe that’s been left behind. The police are baffled. Lula is convinced that it’s a case of alien abduction. Whatever it is, they’d better figure out what’s going on before they lose their new manager, Ms. Stephanie Plum.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sentence is death / Anthony Horowitz.
“‘You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late…’ These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer Richard Pryce , found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine – a 1982 Chateau Lafite, to be precise. Odd, considering he didn’t drink. And why those words? And, most importantly, which of the mans many, many enemies did the deed? Baffled, the police are forced to bring in Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, the author Anthony.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Katharina code / Jørn Lier Horst ; translated by Anne Bruce.
“Twenty-four years ago Katharina Haugen went missing. All she left behind was her husband Martin and a mysterious string of numbers scribbled on a piece of paper. Every year on October 9th Chief Inspector William Wisting takes out the files to the case he was never able to solve. But now Martin Haugen is missing too. As Wisting prepares to investigate another missing persons case he’s visited by a detective from Oslo. Adrian Stiller is convinced Martin’s involved in another disappearance of a young woman and asks Wisting to close the net around Martin. But is Wisting playing cat and mouse with a dangerous killer or a grief-stricken husband who cannot lay the past to rest?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA missed murder / Michael Jecks.
“London, 1555. Queen Mary is newly married to Philip II of Spain – and not everyone is happy about the alliance. The kingdom is divided between those loyal to Catholic Mary and those who support her half-sister, Lady Elizabeth. Former cutpurse turned paid assassin Jack Blackjack has more immediate matters to worry about. Having been ordered to kill a man, he determines to save him instead. But Jack defies his spymaster at his peril.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShell game : a V.I. Warshawski novel / Sara Paretsky.
When V. I Warshawski gets word that her closest friend and mentor Lotty Herschel’s nephew has become a suspect in a murder, the legendary detective will do everything she can to save him. The cops found Felix Herschel’s name and phone number on the unknown victim’s remains, but Felix insists he doesn’t know why. As Vic digs deeper, she discovers that the dead man was obsessed with Middle Eastern archeology. The first clue in a bewildering case that leads to a stolen artifact and a shadowy network of international criminals.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Christmas revelation : a novel / Anne Perry.
Christmas is coming and the streets of London are full of festive cheer. As young Worm returns to his home at the Portpool Lane clinic, he encounters the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and, spellbound, he follows her until she is dragged away by two evil-looking men. Convinced that she is in grave danger, Worm begs Squeaky Robinson to help him track her down. But Elouise is embroiled with dangerous criminals who want information that only she can tell. They will stop at nothing to get what they want and, with Christmas day fast approaching, Worm and Squeaky must conjure up a daring plan to help Elouise before it is too late.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMaigret and the Saturday caller / Georges Simenon ; translated by Siân Reynolds.
“When Maigret returns home at the end of a long day, he is surprised to find a tense man named Léonard Planchon waiting on his doorstep with an unusual problem. Planchon wants to kill his wife, or perhaps his wife and her lover, who for two years have been making him sleep on a cot in the dining room. He has even worked out a plan to hide their bodies in concrete. Uneasy and hoping to stop the man before he goes too far, Maigret must investigate a murder that has not yet been committed and uncover the truth behind this peculiar ménage à trois.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A feast of fiction awaits you in our monthly fiction showcase!

A Keeper book cover

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – J.R.R. Tolkien.

There’s an abundance of treasures and rich pickings in our December fiction showcase. These include Huia Short Stories 12, a fabulous edition of the Māori fiction collection of short stories now in its twelfth outing, From the Ashes, a tale of friendship and family set in fifties Auckland from Deborah Challinor, TV celebrity Graham Norton’s witty A Keeper and another scintillating Tudor tome from C.J. Sansom called Tombland. So why not enjoy the feast and indulge yourself in a great read!

Syndetics book coverFrom the ashes / Deborah Challinor.
“A captivating story of family and friendship through one decade of incredible change. In 1950s Auckland things are changing – and fast. Women are joining the workforce in numbers, whitegoods are readily available and the age of rock’n’ roll has arrived. Allie Manaia works the Elizabeth Arden counter at Smith and Caughey’s. It’s been two years since the Dunbar and Jones fire, where some of her friends perished, but she still has nightmares. From the Ashes follows the fortunes of the women of three families through one decade of incredible change.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn island Christmas / Jenny Colgan.
“Christmas on the remote Scottish island of Mure is bleak, stark – and incredibly beautiful. It’s a time for hunkering down, getting cosy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram with the people you love – unless, of course, you’re accidentally pregnant to your ex-boss, and don’t know how to tell him. In what should be the season of peace and goodwill on earth, will Joel think Flora is a bearer of glad tidings? Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world and join the welcoming community of Mure for an unforgettable Christmas.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wych elm / Tana French.
“For me it all goes back to that night, the dark corroded hinge between before and after, the slipped-in sheet of trick glass that tints everything on one side in its own murky colours and leaves everything on the other luminous and untouchable. One night changes everything for Toby. A brutal attack leaves him traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at the family’s ancestral home, the Ivy House, filled with cherished memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins.But not long after Toby’s arrival, a discovery is made. A skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden. As detectives begin to close in, Toby is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about his family, his past, and himself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRed birds / Mohammed Hanif.
“An American pilot crash lands in the desert and takes refuge in the very camp he was supposed to bomb. Hallucinating palm trees and worrying about dehydrating to death isn’t what Major Ellie expected from this mission. Still, it’s an improvement on the constant squabbles with his wife back home. In the camp, teenager Momo’s money-making schemes are failing. His brother left for his first day at work and never returned, his parents are at each other’s throats, his dog is having a very bad day, and an aid worker has shown up wanting to research him for her book on the Teenage Muslim Mind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHuia short stories 12 : contemporary Māori fiction.Server ErrorYour request could not be completed.
“Here are the best short stories and novel extracts from the Pikihuia Awards for Māori writers 2017 as judged by Whiti Hereaka, Paula Morris, Poia Rewi amd Rawinia Higgins. The book contains the stories from the finalists for Best Short Story written in English, Best Short Story written in te reo Māori and Best Novel Extract categories. This writing competition, held every two years, is organised by the Maori Literature Trust and Huia Publishers as a way to promote Māori writers and their work. The awards and the collection of finalists’ fiction celebrate Māori writing and bring new writers to light.” — Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book coverBerta Isla / Javier Marías ; translated by Margaret Jull Costa.
Berta Isla and Tomás Nevinson meet in Madrid. Young and in love, they quickly decide to spend their lives together – never suspecting that they will grow to be total strangers, both living under the shadow of disappearances.Tomás, half-Spanish and half-English, has an extraordinary gift for languages and accents. Leaving Berta to study at Oxford, he catches the interest of a certain government agency, and its mysterious agent, Bertram Tupra. Tomás is determined to evade the agent’s attentions but his fate is sealed by a series of escalating events that will affect the rest of his life – and that of his beloved Berta. Finishing his time at Oxford, he returns to Madrid to marry her, already knowing that the life they planned has been lost forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA keeper / Graham Norton.
“Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, intent only on wrapping up that dismal part of her life. There is nothing here for her; she wonders if there ever was. The house of her childhood is stuffed full of useless things, her mother’s presence already fading. And perhaps, had she not found the small stash of letters, the truth would never have come to light. 40 years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet but for the tireless wind that circles her as she hurries further into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMelmoth / Sarah Perry.
“Twenty years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for, and she has spent every day since barricading herself against its memory. But the sheltered life she has crafted for herself is about to change. A strange manuscript has come into her possession, and its contents have the power to unravel every strand of her fragile safety net. It is filled with testimonies from the darkest chapters of human history, which all record sightings of a tall, silent woman in black, with unblinking eyes and bleeding feet: Melmoth, the loneliest being in the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTombland / C.J. Sansom.Tombland
“Summer, 1549.Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos . . . The nominal king, Edward VI, is eleven years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by radical Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the Protector’s prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArchangel’s Prophecy / Singh, Nalini.Archangel’s Prophecy
“Midnight and dawn, Elena’s wings are unique among angelkind . . . and now they’re failing. The first mortal to be turned into an immortal in angelic memory, she’s regressing. Becoming more and more human. Easier to hurt. Easier to kill. Elena and Raphael must unearth the reason for the regression before it’s too late, and Elena falls out of the sky. Yet even as they fight a furious battle for Elena’s very survival, violent forces are gathering in New York and across the world. This time, survival may not be possible . . . not even for the consort of an archangel.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

Getting to know the ‘How to Get Published’ Event Panel: Odessa Owens

Join us on Saturday 1 December, 1.30 pm at the Central Library for a public talk and Q&A session on “How to get published”. There is a great panel for this exciting event made up of top industry experts from New Zealand’s publishing industry.

As a precursor to our “How To Get Published” event, we are going to do a weekly feature blog on each member of the panel and their specialist areas of interest in the publishing world.

This week’s featured panelist: Odessa Owens!

Odessa Owens has worked in publishing for over a decade, making award-winning books for Te Papa Press until 2015, when she began to run the Whitireia Publishing Programme. In 2016 she was the convening judge of the PANZ Book Design Awards.

Getting to know the ‘How to Get Published’ Event Panel: Fergus Barrowman

Join us on Saturday, 1 December at 1.30 pm at the Central Library for a public talk and Q&A session on “How to get published”. There is a great panel for this exciting event made up of top industry experts from New Zealand’s publishing industry.

As a precursor to our “How To Get Published” event, we are going to do a weekly feature blog on each member of the panel and their specialist areas of interest in the publishing world.

This week’s featured panelist: Fergus Barrowman!

Fergus Barrowman has been the Publisher of Victoria University Press since 1985. In 1988 he founded the literary magazine Sport, which he continues to edit and publish. He was awarded an MNZM in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours. Throughout his publishing career, Fergus has contributed to the teaching and assessment of New Zealand’s leading creative writing programme, Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters.

Getting to know the ‘How to Get Published’ Event Panel: Catherine Robertson

Join us on Saturday 1 December, 1.30 pm at the Central Library for a public talk and Q&A session on “How to get published”. There is a great panel for this exciting event made up of experts from New Zealand’s publishing industry.

As a precursor to our “How To Get Published” event, we are going to do a weekly feature blog on each member of the panel and their specialist areas of interest in the publishing world.

This week’s featured panelist: Catherine Robertson!

Catherine Robertson’s five novels have all been number one New Zealand bestsellers. Her fourth novel, The Hiding Places, won the 2015 Nelson Libraries Award for NZ Fiction. She grew up in Wellington and has spent time in both San Francisco and the United Kingdom before returning home to New Zealand. In 2015 she completed the MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University. Catherine reviews contemporary fiction for The New Zealand Listener, is a regular guest on RNZ’s The Panel as well as a book critic with Jesse Mulligan. She’s chaired and appeared at numerous writers’ festivals and is on the board of LitCrawl and the Book Awards Trust. Catherine’s latest novel is Gabriel’s Bay (Black Swan) and its sequel What You Wish For is out next January.

‘How To Get Published’ event: Getting to know the panel

XYZ of Happiness book cover

How To Get Published

Join us on Saturday December 1st, 1:30pm at the Central Library for a public talk and Q&A session on “How to get published”. There is a great panel for this exciting event made up of top industry experts from New Zealand’s publishing industry.

Getting to know the panel

As a precursor to our “How To Get Published” event, we are going to do a weekly feature blog on the members of the panel and their specialist areas of interest in the publishing world.

Get to know this weeks featured panelist: Mary McCallum.

Mary McCallum is the publishing director of two Wellington presses – established Mākaro Press and new The Cuba Press. The two presses cover fiction, poetry, non-fiction, memoir and children’s books through a variety of imprints, but she has a particular passion for publishing and editing NZ literary fiction and poetry as she is a novelist and poet herself.

Syndetics book coverThe blue / Mary McCallum.
“Lilian lives in an isolated island community at the mouth of Tory Channel trying to make the best of a life that has at its core a secret grief. It is 1938 and for three months of every year the men take to the sea to hunt whales with fast boats and explosive harpoons. This year, the whales aren’t the only ones returning – Lilian’s troubled son Micky has come home too. In this rugged, unsettled world, things are not always what they seem.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

XYZ of happiness / McCallum, Mary
“Poems of happiness… as it comes, when it’s missing and when it is hoped for.”  (Catalogue)

 

 

 

Iconic legend of the comic book world, Stan Lee, has died

Stan Lee, co-creator of some of the most famous super heroes ever: including Spider-man, The Hulk, The X-men, The Fantastic Four, Thor and the Black Panther died yesterday (12th November 2018). It is no exaggeration to say that the comic creations he helped bring to life changed the global entertainment world profoundly. Some of those characters have permeated just about every aspect of world culture. His larger than life public persona often appeared as cameos in Marvel Universe films.

He will be greatly missed but there is no doubt those creations he helped to form will go on.

R.I.P. Stan Lee.

Syndetics book coverAmazing fantastic incredible : a marvelous memoir / Stan Lee and Peter David and Colleen Doran.
“In this gorgeously illustrated, full-color graphic memoir, Stan Lee–comic book legend and cocreator of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Incredible Hulk, and a legion of other Marvel superheroes–shares his iconic legacy and the story of how modern comics came to be.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpider-Man 2099 [6] : Apocalypse soon / Peter David, writer ; Will Sliney, artist.
“Spider-Man 2099 has learned the location of the headquarters of the Fist – the extremist anti-government offshoot of the Hand that put his fianc’e in a coma – and he’s ready to mount his attack! But it turns out that he’s not the only one investigating the radical group. Elektra Natchios, Marvel’s most deadly assassin, has her own reasons for hunting these terrorists. Can Miguel trust this mysterious newcomer, or is she yet another obstacle in his quest for vengeance?  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStan Lee’s How to draw comics : from the legendary creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Iron Man / Stan Lee.
Contents of this book include: A brief history of comic books . . . by a guy who lived them! — Tools of the trade — Form, perspective & foreshortening — The human head — Amazing anatomy, action & acting — Characters & costumes — Bring on the backgrounds — The life behind the layouts — Peerless penciling — Imaginative inking — Lively lettering — Crafting the color — Commanding covers — and Creating the comic book.