Stories Below Sea Level: Climate Authors in Aotearoa

men say that one day
that lagoon will devour you”

dear matafele peinam, by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

Up until surprisingly recently, climate change was a neglected topic in the world of fiction. Environmentalist Bill McKibben addressed this in his 2006 essay What the Warming World Needs Now is Art, Sweet Art, pointing out the lack of impact climate change had had on fiction and art compared to previous societal challenges.

However over the last few years things have changed: books focussing on the climate emergency are being published faster than ever, including in New Zealand. Authors have taken up McKibben’s challenge to use fiction to examine the changing world around us, to spur us into action. This undertaking has extended to organisations such as Track Zero and Verb Wellington, both of which have promoted the transformational power of literature.

Yet despite climate change’s more prominent role in local fiction, another question stands out: exactly whose climate stories are being published–and whose aren’t? As Lani Wendt Young recently pointed out, in 2015 only one percent of fiction published in New Zealand was written by Pasifika writers, and only four percent by Māori. And yet Māori and Pasifika communities are disproportionately affected by climate change.

Over the next few weeks Wellington City Libraries will be releasing a series of interviews with publishers, editors and authors whose work has addressed the climate emergency in Aotearoa and the Pacific. Their work spans different genres, languages and formats, but all of them tackle climate change and its complexities. To get things started we’ve got a booklist of local climate fiction and non-fiction for you to browse–and if there’s an author or work you’d like to see included, please let us know!


Where we land / Jones, Tim
“A New Zealand Navy frigate torpedoes a boat full of refugees fleeing a drowning country and Nasimul Rahman is one of the few survivors. First he has to reach the shore alive and then he has to avoid the trigger-happy Shore Patrol, on alert to stop climate change refugees entering the country. Donna is new to the Patrol. When word comes through that the Navy has sunk a ship full of infiltrators and survivors might be making their way ashore, it sounds like she might be put to the test.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Melt / Murray, Jeff
“This novel is an urgent, crushing observation of adaptation and exclusion amidst preparation to settle Antarctica as climate destruction starts to bite. New Zealand in 2048, gateway to the melting continent, is thrust into the centre of the climate crises. Vai Shuster, the Advocate of a tiny, broken island, must find a place for her community in a world that’s not sure it needs the poor.” (Catalogue)

So many islands : stories from the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian and Pacific Oceans
“Giving voice to challenges and triumphs, these writers paint a vibrant portrait of what it is like to live, love and lose the things most precious to them on the small islands they call home. Voicing global issues such as climate change and nuclear testing in the Pacific – a fight close to the heart of these precariously poised islands – to petty politics and the gaps between generations, readers will find universal connections with these worlds and words.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

High water
“Eleven of New Zealand’s best cartoonists take a speculative stab at the looming threat of climate change in this thoughtful, provoking and sometimes hilarious collection. With tales ranging from washed-up celebrity polar bears, to giant post-apocalyptic crabs, High Water takes the reader on a thrilling romp through one of the most important issues of our time. Contributors include Dylan Horrocks, Sarah Laing, Chris Slane and many others.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sea change : climate politics and New Zealand / Hayward, Bronwyn
“The scientific consensus is clear: our climate is changing and action is needed urgently. Yet at the same time, it can seem that the solutions needed are too large and the problem too insurmountable. Bronwyn Hayward is an international expert on sustainability, youth politics and democracy. In Sea Change: Climate Politics and New Zealand she lays out what New Zealand and New Zealanders could do to keep the average global temperature rise under 1.5 degrees.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ruby and the blue sky / Dewar, Katherine
“Grammy night: Ruby wins ‘Best Song’ and makes an impulsive acceptance speech that excites nature lovers across the world. While Ruby and her band celebrate, an extreme evangelical sect, funded by covert paymasters, dispatches a disciple on a ruthless mission to England. As the band plays its sold-out tour, Ruby is pursued by eco-groupies insisting she use her new fame to fight climate change. Back home, Ruby must confront a challenge not even tea, beer or her mum’s veggie lasagne will make go away…” (Catalogue)

Star sailors / McNaughton, James
“In the not too distant future, the effects of climate change devastate the world and New Zealand becomes a haven for elites. When a young couple from the wrong side of the tracks gain entry into Wellington’s most exclusive gated community, it appears their troubles are over. But they find themselves divided over the identity of Sam Starsailor, an alien prophet who has washed up on a beach near New Hokitika and is said to bring warnings from another planet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Towards a warmer world : what climate change will mean for New Zealand’s future / Meduna, Veronika
“The year 2014 was the hottest on record since we’ve begun collecting global temperature measurements in 1880. As new thresholds are breached, acclaimed RNZ science writer Veronika Meduna explores our future in a warmer world. Beginning with lessons from our ancient geological past, this BWB Text draws on current observations and increasingly sophisticated climate models to describe possible end-of-century scenarios for New Zealand.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mistory : a novel / Temple, Philip
“Following Annie’s strange death, her partner is forced to think about what he has allowed to happen to his life, his community and his country. His diary, kept during the year of The Change, reveals how the example Annie left him, and the mission of his young sister Sophie, drive him to escape the life of a bureaucratic cipher and work with the Movement in its fight to bring back a free and fair way of life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” – Stephen King – our latest fiction showcase

This month’s fiction showcase shows a broad and diverse range and depth of writing styles and topics. However the darker dystopian trends in our society today and in the recent past seem to be a recurring theme with both The Divers’ Game by Jesse Ball and Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s Human Matter which stare deeply into our collective dark heart. Carrying on the dark theme is Stephen King’s acclaimed return with The Institute. Once again King uses a group of children as his main protagonists but this time the horror has its roots in modern American society. We also have international bestselling author Tracy Chevalier’s moving account of a woman crafting and creating her own life anew at the dawn of the Second World War, along with new works by Emma Donoghue and Ruth Ware. Enjoy!


The divers’ game : a novel / Ball, Jesse
“The old-fashioned struggle for fairness has finally been abandoned. It was a misguided endeavor. The world is divided into two groups, pats and quads. The pats may kill the quads as they like, and do. The quads have no recourse but to continue with their lives. The Divers’ Game is a thinly veiled description of our society, an extreme case that demonstrates a truth: we must change or our world will collapse.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Night boat to Tangier : a novel / Barry, Kevin
“In the dark waiting room of the ferry terminal in the sketchy Spanish port of Algeciras, two aging Irishmen — Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond, longtime partners in the lucrative and dangerous enterprise of smuggling drugs — sit at night, none too patiently. It is October 23, 2018, and they are expecting Maurice’s estranged daughter (or is she?), Dilly, to either arrive on a boat coming from Tangier or depart on one heading there. This nocturnal vigil will initiate an extraordinary journey back in time to excavate their shared history of violence.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

A single thread / Chevalier, Tracy
“It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt. Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiancé and her brother and regarded by society as a ‘surplus woman’ unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone. A new life awaits her in Winchester. Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity…” (Catalogue)  Also available as an eBook.

Akin : a novel / Donoghue, Emma
“Noah Selvaggio is days away from his first visit back to Nice since he was a child, bringing with him a handful of puzzling photos he’s discovered from his mother’s wartime years. But he receives a call from social services: Noah is the closest available relative of an eleven-year-old great-nephew he’s never met, who urgently needs someone to look after him.  The unlikely duo, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, bicker about everything from steak frites to screen time. Both come to grasp the risks people in all eras have run for their loved ones, and find they are more akin than they knew.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A single source / Hanington, Peter
“Veteran BBC reporter William Carver is in Cairo, bang in the middle of the Arab Spring. ‘The only story in the world’ according to his editor. But it isn’t. There’s another story, more significant and potentially more dangerous, and if no one else is willing to tell it, then Carver will – whatever the consequences. A Single Source tells two stories, which over a few tumultuous months come together to prove inextricably linked.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The institute : a novel / King, Stephen
“In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window.  In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Human matter : a fiction / Rey Rosa, Rodrigo
“More than a decade ago, novelist Rodrigo Rey Rosa made his first visit to the Historical Archive of the Guatemala National Police, where millions of previously hidden records were being cataloged, scanned, and eventually published online. Bringing to light detailed evidence of crimes against humanity, the Archive Recovery Project inspired Rey Rosa to craft a meta-novel that weaves the language of arrest records and surveillance reports with the contemporary journal entries of a novelist (named Rodrigo) who is attempting to synthesize the stories of political activists, indigenous people, and other women and men who became ensnared in a deadly web of state-sponsored terrorism.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe turn of the key / Ruth Ware.
“When Rowan stumbles across the advert, it seems like too good an opportunity to miss – a live-in nanny position, with a very generous salary. And when she arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten by the luxurious ‘smart’ home fitted out with all modern conveniences by a picture-perfect family. What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare – one that will end with a child dead and her in a cell awaiting trial for murder. She knows she’s made mistakes. But she’s not guilty – at least not of murder. Which means someone else is…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A Halloween graphic novel for every type of horror fan

“I am a horror maniac who prefers to stay at home.”
― Junji Ito, writer of Uzumaki

If you’re a discerning horror fanatic, you know it can be difficult to find a story that scratches your particular genre itch; after all, those that scare easily don’t always scare equally. That’s why we’ve put together this list of recent horror graphic novels to help you feed your particular horror obsession (or maybe help you start a new one).

Are you into monsters? Then check out the new Swamp Thing collection Roots of Horror featuring the best of DC’s writers and artists, or The Immortal Hulk, featuring a new undead twist on Marvel’s Green Goliath.

Do your interests lean more toward folk horror? Try webcomic artist Emily Carroll’s collection of Brothers Grimm-style horror tales Through the Woods, or Hellboy: The Wild Hunt, which inspired the 2019 Hellboy film.

Like your horror incomprehensible and weird? Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s ultimate haunted-house-in-space comic Nameless, or Uzumaki from horror manga artist Junji Ito — where singular obsessions lead a small town to ruin — might have what you’re after.

Swamp Thing : roots of terror : the deluxe edition / King, Tom
“On Halloween, the barrier between world’s grows thin–and only the Swamp Thing is strong enough to face the monsters that come from the other side. In addition, this book also features the final Swamp Thing story from the monster’s co-creator, Len Wein. Originally intended as the start of a new series, presented here with art by Kelley Jones. Collects Swamp Thing: Winter Special #1 and stories from Swamp Thing: Halloween Giant, Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1, and Young Monsters in Love #1″ (Catalogue)

Uzumaki : spiral into horror / Itō, Junji
“Kurôzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world. It manifests itself in everything from seashells and whirlpools in water to the spiral marks on people’s bodies. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurôzu-cho are pulled ever deeper into a whirlpool from which there is no return!” (Catalogue)

The immortal Hulk. Vol. 1, Or is he both? / Ewing, Al
“You know Bruce Banner. He’s quiet, calm, never complains. He’s a man who believes he can use the darkest elements of his personality to do good in the world. If someone were to shoot him in the head… All he’d do is die. But the horror lives deeper. A horror that refuses to die. When night falls something other than the man gets up again. The horror is the Immortal Hulk.” (Catalogue)

Hellboy : the wild hunt / Mignola, Michael
“The inspiration for the new film from director Neil Marshall and starring Strangers Things’s David Harbour. Hellboy is called to England to take part in an ancient ritual of hunting giants, but quickly faces a much more dangerous enemy: Nimue, the Queen of Blood, who has risen with plans to create a monstrous army.”  (Adapted from catalogue

Through the woods / Carroll, Emily
“A collection of five spine-tingling short stories”– Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there. A fantastically dark and timeless graphic debut, for fans of ‘Grimm Tales’, ‘The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy’ and the works of Neil Gaiman.” (Catalogue)

Nameless / Morrison, Grant
“With the asteroid Xibalba on a collision course with Earth, a group of billionaire futurists recruits the occult hustler Nameless for a mission to save the world.” (Catalogue)

Our latest selection of New Zealand fiction titles

Books can be the people we never get to meet, ancestors or far neighbours.”
― Elizabeth Knox, The Vintner’s Luck

Throughout the year in a series of occasional blogs we in Wellington City Libraries aim to cover as many home grown New Zealand books as possible. And in this blog we have an absolutely bumper crop of new Aotearoa fiction. One of the many highlights in this latest selection of books is Elizabeth Knox’s The Absolute book in which we find Elizabeth Knox’s in scintillating masterful form dealing with huge issues within the context of Fantasy. This book lingers long in the mind and we would be surprised if it doesn’t feature heavily in many people’s best books of 2019 lists.

Amongst the many other books of note are Jeff Murray’s climate change narrative Melt, one of 2019’s many novels dealing with environmental collapse. Expect to see more era defining books on this topic released over the next few months too. Enjoy!

The absolute book / Knox, Elizabeth
“Taryn Cornick believes that the past is behind her – her sister’s death by violence, and her own ill-concieved revenge. She has chosen to live a life more professional than personal. She has written a book about the things that threaten libraries – insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness and uncaring. The book is a success, but not all of the attention it brings her is good. There are questions about a fire in the library at Princes Gate, her grandparents’ house, and about an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Gone to Pegasus / Redgrave, Tess
“Its Dunedin 1892, and the women’s suffrage movement is gaining momentum. Left to fend herself when her husband’s commited to the Seacliff Lunatic Asylum, 23-years old Eva meets Grace, an outspoken suffragette wiht an exotic and mysterious past. As the friendship between the two women grows through shared love of music, Eva begins questioning the meaning of her marriage and her role as a woman. But Grace has a bullying husband and secrets she’s been keeping from Eva, which could threaten the freedom both woman find themselves fighting for.” (Catalogue)

Moonlight sonata / Merriman, Eileen
“It’s the annual New Year family get-together. Molly is dreading having to spend time with her mother, but she is pleased her son will see his cousins and is looking forward to catching up with her brothers . . . Joe in particular. Under the summer sun, family tensions intensify, relationships become heightened and Molly and Joe will not be the only ones with secrets that must be kept hidden.
‘No one must ever know.’” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Melt / Murray, Jeff
“This novel is an urgent, crushing observation of adaptation and exclusion amidst preparation to settle Antarctica as climate destruction starts to bite. New Zealand in 2048, gateway to the melting continent, is thrust into the centre of the climate crises. Vai Shuster, the Advocate of a tiny, broken island, must find a place for her community in a world that’s not sure it needs the poor.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Julian calendar / Henry, William
“A bright young photojournalist returns to London with the aim of releasing himself from a profound love affair that has stalled without explanation. Instead, he is derailed by memories of the secretive nurse who broke his heart, and rejuvenated by a man whose unexpected and intense friendship challenges the fundamental notion of love itself. The Julian Calendar is Simon’s debut novel under the pseudonym William Henry.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe Rigel affair / L M Hedrick.
“Based on a true story. Charlie and Mattie meet after the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack. She’s the girl of his dreams. But when he embarks for the Pacific war zones his letters are sporadic. Mattie is tormented by doubts. Did he truly love her, or was it only a dream?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverNailing down the saint / Craig Cliff.
“Duncan Blake is a Kiwi filmmaker whose move to LA has not gone to plan. After a series of setbacks, he’s working at a chain restaurant, his marriage is on shaky ground after a porn-related faux pas and his son won’t stop watching Aladdin .When Duncan gets the chance to scout locations for a fated director’s biopic of Saint Joseph of Copertino, it’s the lifeline he’s been searching for. But in Italy, in the footsteps of the seventeenth-century levitator, he must confront miracles, madness and the realities of modern movie making. A novel about the pursuit of dreams, the moral calculus this entails, and the possibility that the rational, materialist worldview isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Touching the universe / Romeo, Tom
“Ten years after his father’s disappearance, Gordo Jenkins is on the brink of turning his life around. He’s about to finish university and pursue his filmmaking dream, and he’s fallen in love with Eleanor after a chance encounter in a Manhattan clinic. But then he’s confronted with news of his father’s whereabouts and must decide if he wants to put his life on hold again to see him. A few days later, Gordo and Eleanor begin a cross-country drive to Mexico to unravel the mystery of his father’s disappearance – and confront the mystery of their own lives along the way”–cover.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

A Feast of Fantastic Non-Fiction! Baillie Gifford Prize Shortlist Announced

The Baillie Gifford Prize (formerly known as the Samuel Johnson Prize) is the UK’s premier non-fiction book award. It covers all non-fiction in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography, and the arts. Books that make its long list are always fascinating and the winners are consistently readable, compelling, and thought provoking.

Past winners include Serhii Plokhy’s Chernobyl (2018),  How to Survive a Plague by David France (2017), East West Street by Philippe Sands (2016), and Steve Silberman’s Neurotribes (2015).

The short list for 2019’s award was announced on October 22nd and includes rich pickings on an eclectic range of topics including murder, Maoism, biography, and family mysteries. It is also noteworthy that five of the six authors to make the short list are women, a conspicuous milestone for a prize whose long  lists and winners in the past have been predominantly male.

Here are the six fabulous finalists:

Furious hours: murder, fraud, and the last trial of Harper Lee/Cep, Casey N.
Willie Maxwell was a preacher accused of murdering his first wife in 1970. Over the next few years, other family members suspiciously died, each with life insurance policies taken out by Maxwell. With the help of a clever lawyer Maxwell escaped justice for years. Cep brings this gripping story to life along with a vivid account of Harper Lee’s quest to write another book after To Kill a Mockingbird, and her struggle with fame,and the mysteries of artistic creativity.

On chapel sands: my mother and other missing persons / Cumming, Laura
This is a book of mystery and memoir as prize-winning author Laura Cumming takes a close look at her family story. Two narratives run through it – her mother’s childhood tale (as a child she was kidnapped) and Cumming’s own pursuit of the truth. Above all, Cumming discovers how to look more closely at the family album finding crucial answers, captured in plain sight at the click of a shutter. (Adapted from our catalogue)

The Lives of Lucian Freud : The Restless Years, 1922-1968 / Feaver, William
Lucian Freud was one of the most influential figurative painters of the 20th century. He had ferocious energy, worked day and night and his social circle was broad including royals, drag queens, fashion models, and gangsters like the Kray twins. Rebellious, charismatic, extremely guarded about his life, he was witty and a womanizer. This is an intimate, lively and rich book, full of gossip and stories about people, encounters, and work. (Adapted from our catalogue)

Maoism : a global history / Lovell, Julia
It may seem that China has long abandoned the utopian turmoil of Maoism in favour of authoritarian capitalism, but Mao and his ideas remain central to the People’ Republic and the legitimacy of its communist government. The need to understand the political legacy of Mao remains vital. In this new history, acclaimed historian Julia Lovell revaluates Maoism, analysing both China’s engagement with the movement and its legacy on a global canvas. This is the definitive history of global Maoism. (Adapted from our catalogue)

The five : the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper / Rubenhold, Hallie
Debates have long raged about Jack the Ripper’s identity, but what about the identity of his victims? Hallie Rubenhold reveals that they were not prostitutes, as we’ve always been told, but women going about their business – one ran a coffeehouse, another worked at a printing press, yet another lived on a country estate – who sadly crossed paths with a killer. As Rubenhold sets the record straight, she reveals a world  of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. (Adapted from our catalogue)

Guest House for Young Widows / Moaveni, Azadeh Azadeh Moaveni’s book is a sensitive account of 13 women who left their homes in different countries to join Isis. It explores the backgrounds of the women and the consequences of their choice to become Isis wives. Each woman ends up in devastating situations and Moaveni, a past Pulitzer Prize finalist, skillfully treads the fine line between exploring empathy for the women and the thorny subject of their culpability in wider terrorism. The women include former FBI agent Daniela Greene who married the IS member she was investigating and Shamima Begum the teenager who was villified by the UK press and was eventually stripped of her UK citizenship. This is a powerful book that uses the small stories of several women to explore the bigger picture of ISIS and it’s impact on the world. (WCL does not currently have a copy of this book)

Bromance : fiction gotcha back bro

via GIPHY

The support and connection that comes from your best mate is a special kind of relationship, one celebrated and explored in a variety of fiction genres. This selection features legendary rugby pairings, bonds formed in the fires of conflict and trust built over years of friendship. These titles have some great pairings, and group dynamics to explore.

Machete and the Ghost is fiction, but these tales are steeped in admiration and complete bafflement as to the exploits of this authentic duo on and off the rugby pitch. At every twist and turn in their careers their friendship saw them through. The unlikely pairing of Joe Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard show that when the chemistry is right two people can just click.  This swamp noir twosome is facing some partnership issues in their latest adventure, The elephant of surpriseThe bromance book club offers support to Gavin Scott’s ailing relationship, the elegant solution of using fiction as way to solve real life conundrums is one we can all empathise with. Enjoy!

Machete and the Ghost / Griffin, James
“Machete and The Ghost is the book that charts the careers of the two greatest All Blacks who never existed. It chronicles their mythical on-field achievements; tells invented stories about the behind-the-scenes goings on of professional rugby; and also makes up their troubles and triumphs off the field, in their tabloid-worthy private lives. This is the book that takes all the tropes you’ve read in every other rugby biography and twists and turns them for shameless comedic benefit. Machete and The Ghost — totally made up, but by people who know and love the game of rugby enough to make all the bullshit sound entirely plausible.” (Catalogue)

The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, 1) [paperback] / Adams, Lyssa Kay
“Welcome to the Bromance Book Club. Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.” (Catalogue)

The elephant of surprise / Lansdale, Joe R.
“Hap and Leonard are an unlikely pair–Hap, a self-proclaimed white trash rebel, and Leonard–a tough-as-nails Black, gay, Vietnam vet and Republican–but they’re the closest friend either of them has in the world.
On a chase that blows even the East Texas swampgrass back, Hap and Leonard must save the girl, and vanquish her foes, before the foes get them first. With a new case to solve, and a brand-new challenge to their relationship, will Hap and Leonard’s friendship survive? Will Hap and Leonard survive?” (Catalogue)

Hope never dies : a novel / Shaffer, Andrew
Part noir thriller and part bromance novel, Hope Never Dies is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fiction–and a cathartic read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.” (Catalogue)

The grace of kings / Liu, Ken
“A wily, charismatic bandit, and the vengeance-sworn son of a deposed duke cross paths as they each lead their own rebellion against the Emperor’s brutal regime. Their unlikely friendship will drastically change the balance of power in Dara… but at what price? Emperor Mapidere was the first to unite the island kingdoms of Dara under a single banner. But now the emperor is on his deathbed, his people are exhausted by his vast, conscriptive engineering projects and his counsellors conspire only for their own gain. Even the gods themselves are restless.” (Catalogue)

Bodies of men / Featherstone, Nigel
“Egypt, 1941. Only hours after disembarking in Alexandria, William Marsh, an Australian corporal at twenty-one, is face down in the sand, caught in a stoush with the Italian enemy. He is saved by James Kelly, a childhood friend from Sydney and the last person he expected to see. But where William escapes unharmed, not all are so fortunate. When the two are reunited, James is recovering from an accident, hidden away in the home of an unusual family – a family with secrets. Together they will risk it all to find answers. Soon William and James are thrust headlong into territory more dangerous than either could have imagined.” (Catalogue)

Chances are… / Russo, Richard
One beautiful September day, three sixty-seven-year old men convene on Martha’s Vineyard, friends ever since meeting in college circa the sixties. They couldn’t have been more different then, or even today–Lincoln’s a commercial real estate broker, Teddy a tiny-press publisher, and Mickey a musician beyond his rockin’ age. But each man holds his own secrets, in addition to the monumental mystery that none of them has ever stopped puzzling over since a Memorial Day weekend right here on the Vineyard in 1971. Now, forty-five years later, as this new long weekend unfolds, the distant past confounds the present like a relentless squall of surprise and discovery.” (Catalogue)

Restless souls / Sheehan, Dan
“After three years embedded in the Siege of Sarajevo, war correspondent Tom returns to Dublin a haunted shell of his former self. His childhood friends Karl and Baz know they’re laughably unqualified to help him, but are determined to see him through the darkness. Together, they embark on a journey for an unlikely cure, to an experimental Californian clinic called Restless Souls. But as they try to save Tom from his memories, they must confront their own. And in doing so, they must ask how their raucously funny teenage souls became weighed down – and why life got so damn complicated and sad.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverBreath / Tim Winton.
“When paramedic Bruce Pike is called out to deal with another teenage adventure gone wrong, he knows better than his colleague, better than the kid’s parents, what happened and how. Thirty years before, that dead boy could have been him.
A relentlessly gripping and deeply moving novel about the damage you do to yourself when you’re young and think you’re immortal.” (Syndetics summary)

Children’s comics that aren’t your usual

Have you traversed though all of Tintin? Been through the footnotes of Asterix? Are you just looking for something new to read? Then try one of these comics, as recommended by our librarians!

Want a superhero story with a fun twist? Try Sparks, the hero who’s actually two cats in a robot dog suit!

Do you want a comic with an interactive element? Then read Hocus Pocus, a pick-a-path adventure comic where YOU decide where the story goes!

Passionate about dinosaurs? Then check out Dinosaur Empire, an adventure through the three periods of the Age of Dinosaurs!

You can find all these books (and more!) in the Children’s Comic section of our library branches.

Sparks! / Boothby, Ian
“Sparks is a hero and man’s best friend, but nobody suspects he’s two cats! August is a brilliant inventor who is afraid of the outside. Charlie is a crack pilot who isn’t afraid of anything. Together these pals save lives every day as they pilot a powerful, mechanical dog suit!” (Adapted from catalogue)

Zeus : king of the gods / O’Connor, George
“O’Connor’s vibrant, kinetic art brings ancient tales to undeniable life, in a perfect fusion of super-hero aesthetics and ancient Greek mythology. Volume 1 of OLYMPIANS, ZEUS: King OF THE GODS, introduces readers to the ruler of the Olympian Pantheon, telling his story from his boyhood to his ascendance to supreme power.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Hocus & Pocus [1] : the legend of Grimm’s woods / Manuro
“Enter a world inspired by favorite fairy tales, complete with gingerbread houses, a girl dressed in red, and seven brothers lost in the woods. Readers can play as Hocus (a girl) or Pocus (a boy), choose a magic animal companion, and enter a colorful forest of brain-teasing riddles, magical objects, and unusual characters. Succeed or fail, it all depends on you” (Adapted from catalogue)

Dinosaur empire! : a graphic novel / Howard, Abby
“This book takes readers on a journey back in time to experience the Mesozoic Era firsthand through a riveting combination of art and factual information. This first in a three-book, middle-grade, graphic novel series centering around scientific investigations throughout time helps readers learn about the creatures of the Mesozoic Era.” (Catalogue)

Akissi : tales of mischief / Abouet, Marguerite
“Collects the adventures of Akissi, a young West African girl who is always getting into trouble.” (Catalogue)

Cucumber quest. 1, The doughnut kingdom / Gigi D. G.
“A delightfully pun-filled middle grade graphic novel, adapted from the popular web comic series, about bunny siblings on a heroic journey to save their world from an evil queen.” (Catalogue)

October’s Science Fiction and Fantasy showcase

I like the truth, even when it does trouble me.
― Juliet Marillier, Wildwood Dancing

Our latest crop of newly acquired science fiction and fantasy books  feature a wide variety of novels that can loosely be described as epic space operas, fantasy novels with vast sweeping kingdoms steeped in ancient magic, steam punk and urban fantasy. And also feature a child Empress and an exciting fantasy fiction debut “The tigers daughter” .  And to top it all we have bestselling New Zealand author Juliet Marillier’s latest highly anticipated historical fantasy outing The harp of kings.  In which a young woman warrior bard goes on a for dangerous mission to recover a missing ancient harp. Enjoy!

The harp of kings / Marillier, Juliet
“Eighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart, and is a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan’s burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. She and her brother train there to compete for places, and find themselves joining a mission while still candidates. Their unusual blend of skills makes them ideal for this particular job, which requires going undercover as traveling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies. Their mission: to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship, which has gone missing. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The cruel stars / Birmingham, John
” The galaxy was once terrorized by the Sturm, a group of “species purists” intent on destroying any human with genetic or cybernetic enhancements. Fashioning themselves as the one true “Human Republic,” the Sturm cut a bloody swath across the stars, killing billions before finally being defeated and driven into the far reaches of Dark Space. Centuries of peace bred complacency. Everyone believed the Sturm had died out in the Dark. They were wrong. The enemy has returned and five flawed, reluctant heroes must band together to prevail against a relentless enemy and near-impossible odds.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Reticence / Carriger, Gail
” Percival Tunstell loves that his sister and her best friend are building themselves a family of misfits aboard their airship, the Spotted Custard. Of course, he’d never admit that he belongs among them. He’s always been on the outside – dispassionate, aloof, and hatless. But accidental spies, a trip to Japan, and one smart and beautiful doctor may have him renegotiating his whole philosophy on life. Except hats. He’s done with hats. Thank you very much.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The first girl child / Harmon, Amy
”  Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok. Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk. Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The ten thousand doors of January / Harrow, Alix E
“In the early 1900s, a young woman searches for her place in the world and the mystery behind a magical door in this captivating debut. In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place. Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe sword saint / C. F. Iggulden.
“Cities have been broken before. Empires have fallen. But this is the end of an age.
The city of Darien’s power has grown, but not without a price. Victory has drawn the gaze of a fierce enemy from the North. The Feal Empire is determined to claim Darien’s magic and use it to take the throne. With nowhere else to turn, the twelve families enlist the help of the Sword Saint. Alongside five outcasts – a gambler, a hunter, a young thief, a sorceress and a battle-scarred warrior – the sword saint must travel into the very heart of the invading army. Darien was once the Empire of Salt’s greatest stronghold – now it will be the final battleground. And the Sword Saint their last hope.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Phoenix Empress / Rivera, K. Arsenault
“Since she was a child, the divine empress O Shizuka has believed she was an untouchable god. When her uncle, ruler of the Hokkaran Empire, sends her on a suicide mission as a leader of the Imperial Army, the horrors of war cause her to question everything she knows. Thousands of miles away, the exiled and cursed warrior Barsalyya Shefali undergoes trials the most superstitious would not believe in order to return to Hokkaran court and claim her rightful place next to O Shizuka.  As the distance between disgraced empress and blighted warrior narrows, a familiar demonic force grows closer to the heart of the empire. Will the two fallen warriors be able to protect their home?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The tiger’s daughter / Rivera, K. Arsenault
“The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach–but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests. Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Finales and first issues – new comics

After 25 years of Hellboy, The B.P.R.D. finale has arrived. Mike Mignola crafts an image rich apocalypse, a pivotal point in the mythos of this world this issue reveals massive twists in what we have come to understand as B.P.R.D. lore. Recently reprised in the Hellboy movie, with Stranger things’ David Harbour this issue, Ragna rok, is definitely worth catching.

George Takei teams up with Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for his graphic memoir, They called us enemy. Forced from their home into an uncertain future, Takei and his entire family were incarcerated in American concentration camps. The futuristic designs of Eileen Gray are detailed in a graphic novel bearing her name, a statement in it’s self coming from an era where the work of women architects was often eclipsed by their male counterparts. And a new series, Prodigy, from the creator of the Walking Dead has polymath Edison Crane fixing global problems.

Eclectic styles and commentaries on the fantastic to the historic and how they impact our lives today these comics are bursting with tales to tell. Enjoy!

They called us enemy / Takei, George
“In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to “relocation centers”. A stunning graphic memoir, They called us enemy, is George Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future. What is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do?” (Adapted from catalogue)

B.P.R.D. : the devil you know [3] : Ragna rok / Mignola, Michael (print ), (eBook)
“The finale to B.P.R.D., Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and the rest of the bureau face off against one of their oldest enemies in the last battle to save the world. One enemy leads to another as the B.P.R.D. finds themselves up against something–and someone–even more sinister than they believed, and Christopher Mitten draws the origin story of one of the B.P.R.D.’s most mysterious foes.
Collects B.P.R.D.- The Devil You Know #11-15.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Eileen Gray : a house under the sun / Malterre-Barthes, Charlotte
“Meet Eileen Gray, the queer, Irish architect behind the world-renowned E-1027 house and a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture. In 1924. Nearly a century later, this structure is a design milestone. Dzierżawska’s exquisite visuals illuminate the previously overlooked struggles and triumphs of a young queer Irish designer whose work and life came to bloom during the ‘Ann es Folles’ of early 20th century Paris.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Prodigy : the evil earth / Millar, Mark
“Edison Crane’s not content being the world’s smartest man and most successful businessman — his brilliant mind needs constantly challenged. He’s a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, genius composer, Olympic athlete and an expert in the occult, and now international governments are calling on him to fix problems they just can’t handle. Collects Prodigy 1-6.” (Adapted from catalogue)

House of whispers. Volume one, The power divided / Gaiman, Neil
“One of four books expanding Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed Sandman Universe. Welcome to the House of Dahomey, the houseboat of Erzulie Fréda, where the souls of Voodoo followers go when they sleep but even the fearsome Erzulie is powerless when her dream river turns sour, tossing her house from one realm and into another.. the Dreaming! Collects House of Whispers #1-6 and Sandman Universe Special #1″ (Adapted from catalogue)

Stay / Trondheim, Lewis
A moving and mesmerizing look at life, death, written by celebrated author Lewis Trondheim and illustrated by Hubert Chevillard. Roland has the perfect vacation planned for Fabienne, with the entire itinerary recorded in a notebook. But, Roland is decapitated in a freak accident. And Fabienne, stunned and alone, has no idea how to process it. Ghost-like, she wanders the tourist-filled streets, a passive spectator. Along the way she meets Paco a local vendor with some eccentric views on life and death...” (Catalogue)

Die!Die!Die! [1] / Kirkman, Robert
“We don’t like to admit it, but this is an evil world where evil people do evil stuff all the time. Thankfully, there is a secret cabal with the United States government that works outside our normal system to influence world matters through targeted assassination. The world around us is manipulated right under our noses. So if you’re hurting people, somehow making the world worse than it already is,  someone could right now be giving the order for you to… DIE DIE DIE. Collects DIE DIE DIE #1-8.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Woman world / Dhaliwal, Aminder
“When a birth defect wipes out the planet’s entire population of men, Woman World rises out of society’s ashes. Dhaliwal’s infectiously funny instagram comic follows the rebuilding process, tracking a group of women who have rallied together under the flag of “Beyonce’s Thighs.” Only Grandma remembers the distant past, a civilization of segway-riding mall cops and “That’s What She Said” jokes. For the most part, Woman World‘s residents are focused on their struggles with unrequited love and anxiety, not to mention that whole “survival of humanity” thing.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Death to the tsar / Nury, Fabien
“Moscow. September 17th. 1904. In front of the palace of the Governor General of Moscow, the assembled masses protest against widespread poverty. Governor Sergei Alexandrovich is stood on the balcony when he drops his hankerchief – inadvertently giving the signal for the soldiers to open fire… The repercussions of his deadly mistake resound throughout the whole of Russia… and the assassins close in. Told in two parts, this is the true story of the assassination of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and a nation on the brink of revolution.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Halloween horror a librarians’ fiction selection

For the spooky readers out there, or those willing to dip their toes in the genre for Halloween, we bring a librarians’ selection of hair raising, blood curdling, page turning reads.  From the mysterious brain of Edgar Allen Poe to the unnerving skills of Stephen King here are some of the best tales, classic and contemporary that our library collection has to offer.

We have eerie novels for a full immersion experience and collections of short stories for those who like their samples of mystery and fright in measured doses. Whether a remote location or an overpopulated mind, these authors have distilled the mysterious responses people have to places and things to startle our senses. So if you are prepared for the creeping dread of an unexpected draft or the pulse raising effect of a far off noise, turn the page dear reader…

Little star : a novel / Ajvide Lindqvist, John
A man finds a baby in the woods, left for dead. He brings the baby home, and he and his wife raise the girl in their basement. When a shocking and catastrophic incident occurs, the couple’s son Jerry whisks the girl away to Stockholm to start a new life. There, he enters her in a nationwide singing competition. Another young girl who’s never fit in sees the performance on TV, and a spark is struck that will ignite the most terrifying duo in modern fiction. Chilling, unnerving, and petrifying, “Little Star “is Lindqvist’s most disturbing book to date.” (Catalogue)

I am legend / Matheson, Richard (print), (eAudiobook)
“In Matheson’s vampire classic I Am Legend, a plague has decimated the world, and transformed the unfortunate survivors into bloodthirsty creatures of the night. Robert Neville is the last living man on earth. Every other man, woman, and child has become a vampire, hungry for Neville’s blood. By day, he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive in a world of vampires?” (Catalogue)

The shining / King, Stephen
“One of the true classics of horror fiction, The shining is regarded as one of Stephen King’s masterpieces. This tale of a troubled man hired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter, his loyal wife, and their uniquely gifted son is a a searing study of a family torn apart. As the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote… and more sinister. Secrets from the Overlook Hotel’s past are revealed, and the hotel itself attempts to claim the very souls of the Torrance family…” (Catalogue)

Inspection : a novel / Malerman, Josh
“J is a student at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics. But J is beginning to suspect that there is something out there, beyond the pines, that the founder does not want him to see, and he’s beginning to ask questions.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, in a school very much like J’s, a girl named K is asking the same questions. J has never seen a girl, and K has never seen a boy. As K and J work to investigate the secrets of their two strange schools, they come to discover something even more mysterious: each other.” (Catalogue)

Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of leaves / Danielewski, Mark Z
“A blind old man, a young apprentice working in a tattoo shop, and a mad woman haunting an Ohio institute narrate this story of a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.” (Catalogue)

The raven and other short stories / Poe, Edgar Allan
“Celebrated American author Edgar Allan Poe’s most cherished works are re-presented in this handsome volume from IDW Publishing. Featuring “The Raven,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Masque of the Red Death” as well as additional poems and short stories from the author’s library, all accompanied by the haunting art of Ben Templesmith.” (Catalogue)

 

The murders of Molly Southbourne / Thompson, Tade (print), (eBook)
The rule is simple: don’t bleed. For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she’s been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction. Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she’ll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?” (Catalogue)

The doll-master and other tales of terror / Oates, Joyce Carol (print), (eBook)
Six terrifying tales to chill the blood from the unique imagination of Joyce Carol Oates. A young boy plays with dolls instead of action figures. But as he grows older, his passion takes on a darker edge… A teenage girl is thrilled when her favorite teacher asks her to house-sit, even on short notice. But when an intruder forces his way into the house while the girl is there, the fate of more than one life is changed forever… A nervous woman tries to escape her husband. He says he loves her, but she’s convinced he wants to kill her… These quietly lethal stories reveal the horrors that dwell within us all.” (Catalogue)

The haunting of Hill House / Jackson, Shirley (print), (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“Four seekers have arrived at the rambling old pile known as Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of psychic phenomena; Theodora, his lovely assistant; Luke, the future inheritor of the estate; and Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman with a dark past. As they begin to cope with horrifying occurrences beyond their control or understanding, they cannot possibly know what lies ahead. For Hill House is gathering its powers – and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.” (Catalogue)

Night music : Nocturnes ; / Connolly, John
“‘Spookier than mere pastiche, meatier than pure pulp, Nocturnes hits exactly the right note in reinventing the golden age of ghost stories.’ From stories of the monstrous for dark winter nights to fables of fantastic libraries and haunted books, from a tender narrative of love after death to a frank, personal and revealing account of the author’s affection for myths of ghosts and demons, this is a collection that will surprise, delight – and terrify.  Night music: Nocturnes 2 is a masterly collection to be read with the lights on – menace has never been so seductive.” (Catalogue)