New Science Fiction and Fantasy titles

The Blue Salt Road book cover

“Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Our final Science Fiction showcase of 2018 has titles in it that think the unthinkable, do the undoable, and grapples with the ineffable from Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch, to the future noir of Richard Morgan’s Thin Air. Terry Brooks science fiction outing, Street Freaks to Joanne M Harris’s The Blue Salt Road and the wonderful Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri. From tales legendary to those full of trickery and wisdom this selection ranges far in the geography of imagination. These new Science fiction and Fantasy titles hold something special for all tastes.


Syndetics book coverLies sleeping / Ben Aaronovitch.
“Martin Chorley, aka the Faceless Man, wanted for multiple counts of murder, fraud and crimes against humanity, has been unmasked and is on the run. Peter Grant, Detective Constable and apprentice wizard, now plays a key role in an unprecedented joint operation to bring Chorley to justice. But even as the unwieldly might of the Metropolitan Police bears down on its foe, Peter uncovers clues that Chorley, far from being finished, is executing the final stages of a long term plan. To save his beloved city, he might have to come to terms with the malevolent supernatural killer and agent of chaos known as Mr Punch.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStreet freaks / Terry Brooks.Street Freaks: Limited Edition
“Go into the Red Zone. Go to Street Freaks.” his father directs Ashton Collins before the vid feed goes suddenly silent. The Red Zone is the dangerous heart of mega-city Los Angeles; it is a world Ash is forbidden from and one he knows little about. As Ash is hunted, he must unravel the mystery left behind by his father and discover his role in this new world.
Brooks has long been the grandmaster of fantasy. Now he turns his hand to science fiction filled with what his readers love best: complex characters, extraordinary settings, exciting action, and a page-turning story. Through it, Brooks reimagines his bestselling career yet again.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe blue salt road / Joanne M. Harris ; illustrated by Bonnie Hawkins.
“The Blue Salt Road balances passion and loss, love and violence and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless, wild young man. Passion drew him to a new world, and trickery has kept him there – without his memories, separated from his own people. But as he finds his way in this dangerous new way of life, so he learns that his notions of home, and your people, might not be as fixed as he believed.
Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHannah Green and her unfeasibly mundane existence / Michael Marshall Smith.
“An unpredictable, poignant, and captivating tale for readers of all ages, by the critically acclaimed author of Only Forward. There are a million stories in the world. Most are perfectly ordinary. This one… isn’t. Hannah Green actually thinks her story is more mundane than most. But she’s about to discover that the shadows in her life have been hiding a world where nothing is as it seems: that there’s an ancient and secret machine that converts evil deeds into energy, that some mushrooms can talk and that her grandfather has been friends with the Devil for over a hundred and fifty years, and now they need her help.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFire & blood / George R. R. Martin ; illustrations by Doug Wheatley.
“Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire & Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.
With all the scope and grandeur of Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Fire & Blood is the the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens, giving readers a whole new appreciation for the dynamic, often bloody, and always fascinating history of Westeros.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThin air / Richard Morgan.
“An ex-corporate enforcer, Hakan Veil, is forced to bodyguard Madison Madekwe, part of a colonial audit team investigating a disappeared lottery winner on Mars. When Madekwe is abducted, and Hakan nearly killed, the investigation takes him farther than he had ever expected. Soon Hakan discovers the heavy price he may have to pay to learn the truth.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmpire of sand / Tasha Suri.
“The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited. When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda. Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance.” (Syndetics summary)

The strange flowers of romance: our alternative Valentine’s day reads

You want to play? Come find me angel boy.”

― Nalini Singh, Angels’ Blood.

In our very alternative Valentine’s Day fiction showcase we are looking at the rich, diverse and wonderful world of urban fantasy. From hot passionate vampire love affairs to smouldering liaisons with Werewolves or other beings of the night. These tales are out to quicken the blood and set your pulses racing. And to tempt you here are just a few of the authors in fantastic showcase. Enjoy

Syndetics book coverOn the edge/ Illona Andrews.On the Edge
“The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale–and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…Rose Drayton thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out the way she’d planned, and now she works an off-the-books job in the Broken just to survive. .” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPersonal demon / Kelley Armstrong.Personal Demon
“Kelly Armstrong follows No Humans Involved with a sexy, action-packed Women of the Otherworld novel featuring a wickedly beautiful, supernaturally gifted heroine who may love danger a bit too much.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFlirt / Laurell K. Hamilton.
“When Anita Blake meets with prospective client Tony Bennington, who is desperate to have her reanimate his recently deceased wife, she is full of sympathy for his loss. Anita knows something about love, and she knows everything there is to know about loss. But what she also knows, though Tony Bennington seems unwilling to be convinced, is that the thing she can do as a necromancer isn’t the miracle he thinks he needs.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBad moon rising / Sherrilyn Kenyon.
“Fang Kattalakis isn’t just a wolf. He is the brother of two of the most powerful members of the Omegrion: the ruling council that enforces the laws of the Were-Hunters. And when war erupts among the lycanthropes, sides must be chosen. Enemies are forced into shaky alliances. When Aimee, the woman Fang loves, is accused of betraying her people, her only hope is that Fang believes in her. Yet in order to save her, Fang must break the law of his people and the faith of his brothers. That breech could very well spell the end of both their races and change their world forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDaylight / Elizabeth Knox.Daylight
“Brian “Bad” Phelan, New Zealander and bomb disposal expert. While on vacation on the French/Italian border in 2001, he helps to bring a body out of a rocky cove. The dead woman bears striking similarities to a young woman he met years ago, under mysterious circumstances, shortly before she disappeared in a flooded French cave. Bad is compelled to investigate. Jesuit Father Daniel Octave is making his own investigation, into the truth behind the story of the life of the Blessed Martine Raimondi, but it turns out that they are looking for the same thing and a secret vampire family is the common thread.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLove bites / Lynsay Sands.Love Bites
“In the world of the sexy and seductive Argeneau family of vampires, true love is good from the first bite to the last. Love Bites is a classic from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lynsay Sands, the second volume in her much beloved Argeneau series–the story of an achingly hot three hundred year-old bachelor immortal and the beautiful coroner he chooses as his lifemate. Paranormal romance just doesn’t get any tastier than this! “(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPlaying with fire / Gena Showalter.Playing with Fire
“Twenty-four-year-old barista Belle Jamison dreams of a better job and a decent love life. Until a crazy scientist spikes her mocha latte! Suddenly Belle can wield the four elements–earth, wind, fire and water–with only a thought. Coffee too hot? No problem. Hair in need of a blow-dry? Done. Gorgeous government agent Rome Masters has been sent to neutralize Belle. But he’s not the only one after her. Together they must outrun the rogue agents on their trail and find a way to control her powers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArchangel’s blade / Nalini Singh.
“Trying to discover the identity of a murder victim brings together the vampire Dmitri and a hunter for the Guild, Honor. And as the gruesome murders continue, a lethal sensuality explodes between them.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrave / J.R. Ward.Crave
“The battle between good and evil has left the future of humanity in the hands of a reluctant saviour and his band of fallen angels. Seven deadly sins that must be righted. Seven souls that must be saved. Fallen Angel Jim Heron has completed his first task: helping Vin Di Pietro to redeem his soul. Now he must identify and battle a demon that can take any form. Worse still, his old boss Matthias wants him to assassinate Isaac, a member of The Firm who’s gone AWOL – and Jim’s pretty sure he’s supposed to save him. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

 

 

Talent filled graphic novels

The graphic novels collection has some great new and classic reprints appearing on the shelves. The complete collection of the cyberpunk manga classic Battle Angel Alita contrasts the gritty Japanese world of Tado Tsuge in Slum WolfYoung warriors also feature in Wood and Chater’s Sword daughter, where brutality brings a father and daughter to gritty resolve.  

More translated work features the talented French graphic novelist Edmond Baudoin’s childhood, in his visually eclectic memoir named for his brother, Piero. Also translated from French is Watersnakes by Tony Sandoval. This beautifully illustrated tale is a dark fantasy of female warriors magically residing in the teeth of a beautiful ghost who bewitches a young bored holiday maker, it gets weirder, with dream battles with skeletal wolves and an ancient octopus king. But beautiful! So beautiful!

A twist on Fables, the emotional journey in Wolf, and all the back story you could wish for in the first installation of Dirk Gently’s the Salmon of doubt round off this selection of our new adult comics.

Slum wolf / Tsuge, Tadao
“A gritty collection of graphic short stories by a Japanese manga master depicting life on the streets among punks, gangsters, and vagrants. Though virtually unknown in the United States, Tadao Tsuge is one of the original masters of alternative manga, and one of the world’s great artists of the down-and-out. Never before available in English, this new selection of his stories from the late sixties and the seventies depicts the lives of punks, vagrants, gangsters, and other lost souls with gritty lyricism. It is a raucous, exhilarating vision of street brawls and dive bars, shantytowns and brothels, and an unsettling portrait of postwar Japan” (Catalogue)

Sword Daughter. Volume 1, She brightly burns / Wood, Brian
“A father and daughter seek revenge against the ruthless Vikings that destroyed their lives, discovering that their fierce purpose can mend the bonds of family. One thousand years ago, a murderous clan known as the Forty Swords burned a village to the ground, leaving just two people alive: a shattered father and his teenage daughter. Setting off on a revenge quest that will span the width of Viking Age Europe, they find the key to repairing their damaged relationship lies in the swords they carry. Sword Daughter is a visually stunning, emotionally poignant story of parental guilt and acceptance of loss.” (Catalogue)

Piero / Baudoin, Edmond
“This English translation of Edmond Baudoin’s most intimate and inviting book, his graphic memoir of growing up with his beloved brother, Piero.  They confront Martians, battle octopuses, stage epic battles between medieval castles, and fly high over the earth. Inevitably, they begin to grow apart, and their shared artistic life is replaced by schoolwork, romance, dances, motorcycles, and the struggle to decide what sort of people they want to be.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Battle Angel Alita. Deluxe edition, volume 1 / Kishiro, Yukito
In a dump in the lawless settlement of Scrapyard, far beneath the mysterious space city of Zalem, disgraced cyber-doctor Daisuke Ido makes a strange find: the detached head of a cyborg woman who has lost all her memories. He names her Alita and equips her with a powerful new body, the Berserker. While Alita remembers no details of her former life, a moment of desperation reawakens in her nerves the legendary school of martial arts known as Panzer Kunst. (Adapted from Amazon.com)

Fables [13] : the great Fables crossover / Willingham, Bill
The Great Fables Crossover features appearances from Fables favorites such as Snow White, Bigby Wolf, Rose Red, Jack Frost, Beauty and The Beast. All nine issues of the long awaited crossover between Vertigo’s two popular series Fables and Jack of Fables are collected here.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Watersnakes / Sandoval, Tony
Three-time Eisner Award-nominated writer/artist Tony Sandoval presents a wondrous world of secret places and dreamlike magic hidden in the everyday corners of our sleeping imagination. Mila is a solitary teenager ready to put another boring summer vacation behind her until she meets Agnes, an adventurous girl who turns out to be a ghost. And not just a regular ghost, but one carrying the essence of an ancient fallen king and a mouth full of teeth that used to be his guardian warriors.” (Catalogue)

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency : the salmon of doubt. Volume 1 / David, Arvind Ethan
“Dirk Gently, created by Douglas Adams and currently the star of his own television series from BBC America returns to comics in The Salmon of Doubt, brought to you by executive producers of the show Arvind Ethan David and Max Landis with artist Ilias Kyriazis. Plagued by nightmares about a childhood he never had, Dirk returns to Cambridge University to seek the advice of his former tutor, the time-traveling Professor Reg Chronotis. There he discovers that an holistic detective can have more than one past, and his adventures have only just begun!” (Catalogue)

Wolf / Ball, Rachael
“Hugo, the youngest child of three, is walking with his father in the woods. There, he comes face-to-face with a wolf–and from that moment on, his life will never be the same again. Soon after, a tragic accident leaves Hugo desolate and disoriented. The family, now grieving and incomplete, moves to a new home. Among Hugo’s new neighbors is the Wolf Man, a dangerous recluse, according to the boy next door. Spellbound by the movie The Time Machine and desperate to return to the days before the accident, Hugo draws up plans to build a contraption that will turn back time. But only the Wolf Man has the parts Hugo needs to complete his machine, and that will mean entering his sinister neighbor’s house. Beautifully illustrated in pencil, Wolf is a captivating and poignant graphic novel about confronting childhood grief and overcoming the loss of a loved one.” (Catalogue)

Fiction showcase: general novels for 2019

Stories are like children. They grow in their own way.”

― Madeleine L’Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

With the new year firmly established and its feet firmly under the tables, new titles are already beginning to arrive in droves. January’s newly acquired titles include a new work from thriller maestro James Lee Burke called The New Iberia blues, a superb new book from Chigozie Obioma, which is already hotly tipped to be on the Booker prize selectors minds, and a light hearted nod towards Chinese New Year with Lillian Li’s Number one Chinese Restaurant. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverEvening in paradise : more stories / Lucia Berlin.
“Evening in Paradise is a careful selection from the remaining Berlin stories – a jewel box follow-up to A Manual for Cleaning Women for Lucia Berlin’s hungry fans. ‘Lucia Berlin’s collection of short stories, , deserves all of the posthumous praise its author has received Her work is being compared to Raymond Carver, for her similar oblique, colloquial style; her mordant humour; the recurrence of alcoholics; and her interest in the lives of working-class or marginalised people.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn Orchestra Of Minorities [paperback]
“Umuahia, Nigeria. Chinonso, a young poultry farmer, sees a woman attempting to jump to her death from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his most prized chickens into the water below to demonstrate the severity of the fall. The woman, Ndali, is moved by his sacrifice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe New Iberia blues / James Lee Burke.The New Iberia Blues
“Detective Dave Robicheaux’s world isn’t filled with too many happy stories, but Desmond Cormier’s rags-to-riches tale is certainly one of them. Robicheaux first met Cormier on the streets of New Orleans, when the young, undersized boy had foolish dreams of becoming a Hollywood director. Twenty-five years later, when Robicheaux knocks on Cormier’s door, it isn’t to congratulate him on his Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. Robicheaux has discovered the body of a young woman who’s been crucified, wearing only a small chain on her ankle. She disappeared near Cormier’s Cyrpemort Point estate, and Robicheaux, along with young deputy, Sean McClain, are looking for answers.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe boy / Tami Hoag.
” In the sleepy Lousiana town of Bayou Breaux, the police arrive to find Genevieve Gauthier cradling her seven-year-old son in her arms as he bleeds to death. The scene is chaotic, but as Detective Nick Fourcade moves through the house, he sees no evidence of a robbery. Detective Annie Broussard sits with Genevieve, trying to make sense of her story. A mother herself, Annie understands the emotional devastation this woman is going through, but as a detective she’s troubled by parts of Gauthier’s story that make no sense. The next day, thirteen-year-old Nora Florette is reported missing.  ”   (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNumber one Chinese restaurant : a novel / Lillian Li.
“The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland, is not only a beloved go-to setting for hunger pangs and celebrations; it is its own world, inhabited by waiters and kitchen staff who have been fighting, loving, and aging within its walls for decades. When disaster strikes, this working family’s controlled chaos is set loose, forcing each character to confront the conflicts that fast-paced restaurant life has kept at bay.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYou know you want this : Cat person and other stories / Kristen Roupenian.
You Know You Want This brilliantly explores the ways in which women are horrifying as much as it captures the horrors that are done to them. Among its pages are a couple who becomes obsessed with their friend hearing them have sex, then seeing them have sex…until they can’t have sex without him; a ten-year-old whose birthday party takes a sinister turn when she wishes for “something mean”; a woman who finds a book of spells half hidden at the library and summons her heart’s desire: a nameless, naked man; and a self-proclaimed “biter” who dreams of sneaking up behind and sinking her teeth into a green-eyed, long-haired, pink-cheeked coworker. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTrick / Domenico Starnone ; translated from the Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri.
“The same blood runs through their veins. One, Daniele Mallarico, is a successful illustrator at the peak of his career. The other, Mario, is his four-year-old grandson who has barely learned to talk but has a few tricks up his loose-fitting sleeves all the same. The older combatant has lived for years in almost complete solitude. The younger one has been dumped with a grandfather he barely knows for 72 hours.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSo many islands : stories from the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian and Pacific Oceans / edited by Nicholas Laughlin with Nailah Folami Imoja.
“So Many Islands brings together stories from the distant shores of the island communities in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Pacific. Giving voice to their 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.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlist

The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards longlist has just been announced and what a fabulous, rich and diverse list it is. Ranging from The Man Who Would Not See by Rajorshi Chakraborti to Caroline’s Bikini by Kirsty Gunn, from The New Ships by Kate Duignan to All This by Chance by Vincent O’Sullivan, the judges are going to have a hard time selecting an overall winner. It’s great to see how healthy and flourishing the New Zealand fiction world is. May the best book win!

The 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for fiction (Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize) longlisted titles are:

Syndetics book coverThe man who would not see / Rajorshi Chakraborti.
“As children in Calcutta, Ashim and Abhay made a small mistake that split their family forever. Thirty years later, Ashim has re-entered his brother’s life, with blame and retribution on his mind. It seems nothing short of smashing Abhay’s happy home will make good the damage from the past. At least, this is what Abhay and his wife Lena are certain is happening. A brother has travelled all the way from small-town India to New Zealand bearing ancient – and false – grudges, and with the implacable objective of blowing up every part of his younger brother’s life. Reconciliation was just a Trojan horse. But is Ashim really the villain he appears to be, or is there a method to his havoc?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe new ships / Kate Duignan.
“Peter Collie is adrift in the wake of his wife’s death. His attempts to understand the turn his life has taken lead him back to the past, to dismaying events on an Amsterdam houseboat in the seventies, returning to New Zealand and meeting Moira, an amateur painter who carried secrets of her own, and to a trip to Europe years later with his family. An unexpected revelation forces Peter to navigate anew his roles as a husband, father and son. Set in Wellington after the fall of the Twin Towers, and traversing London, Europe, the Indian subcontinent.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMazarine / Charlotte Grimshaw.
“When her daughter vanishes during a heatwave in Europe, writer Frances Sinclair embarks on a hunt that takes her across continents and into her own past. What clues can Frances find in her own history, and who is the mysterious Mazarine? Following the narrative thread left by her daughter, she travels through cities touched by terrorism and surveillance, where ways of relating are subtly changed, and a startling new fiction seems to be constructing itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCaroline’s bikini : an arrangement of a novel with an introduction and some further materials / Kirsty Gunn.
“Art needs a sense of lack to bring about its own effects; where there is no feeling of need to make up a shortfall, there will be no work. Alright’ I said, ‘I’ll try…’ This is how Emily Stuart opens the intricately involved account of a classic love affair that becomes Caroline’s Bikini: a tale of hope, passion, and the power of the imagination. For they say, the story of love – or, rather, falling in love – is timeless, and that unrequited love is the most passionate of all. It’s certainly a narrative that is, in its own curious and enticing way, as old as Western literature itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cage / Lloyd Jones.
“Two mysterious strangers appear at a hotel in a small country town.
Where have they come from? Who are they? What catastrophe are they fleeing?
The townspeople want answers, but the strangers are unable to speak of their trauma. And before long, wary hospitality shifts to suspicion and fear, and the care of the men slides into appalling cruelty.
Lloyd Jones’s fable-like novel The Cage is a profound and unsettling novel about humanity and dignity and the ease with which we’re able to justify brutality.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Ice Shelf / Anne Kennedy.
“On the eve of flying to Antarctica to take up an arts fellowship, thirty-something Janice, recently separated, has a long night of remembrance, regret and realisation as she goes about the city looking for a friend to take care of her fridge while she’s away. En route she discards section after section of her novel in the spirit of editing until there is nothing left to edit. The Ice Shelf, a novel written as Acknowledgements, is an allegory for the dangers of wasting love and other non-renewable resources.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThis mortal boy / Fiona Kidman.This Mortal Boy
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe imaginary lives of James Pōneke / Tina Makereti.
“The tale of James Poneke- orphaned son of a chief; ardent student of English; wide-eyed survivor. All the world’s a stage, especially when you’re a living exhibit. But anything can happen to a young New Zealander on the savage streets of Victorian London. When James meets the man with laughing dark eyes and the woman who dresses as a man, he begins to discover who people really are beneath their many guises. Although London is everything James most desires, this new world is more dark and dazzling than he could have imagined.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAll this by chance / Vincent O’Sullivan.
“If we don’t have the past in mind, it is merely history. If we do, it is still part of the present. Esther’s grandparents first meet at a church dance in London in 1947. Stephen, a shy young Kiwi, has left to practice pharmacy on the other side of the world. Eva has grown up English, with no memory of the Jewish family who sent their little girl to safety. When the couple emigrate, the peace they seek in New Zealand cannot overcome the past they have left behind. Following the lives of Eva, her daughter Lisa and her granddaughter Esther, All This by Chance is a moving multi generational family saga about the legacy of the Holocaust and the burden of secrets never shared, by one of New Zealand’s finest writers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Due in the library shortly and already highly regarded is Majella Cullinane’s The Life of De’Ath set in Otago and the battlefields of France during World War I. It’s a searing read about deserters during the War I, and a young man struggles to find himself and break free of the social and family pressures to conform. 

 

 

Focus on Maori writers for Waitangi day

Kōrero paki Aotearoa, New Zealand fiction has a flavour like no other. The place and the people have a unique creative influence.

Jacquie (J C Sturm) at the Wellington Central Library

We have a selection of Māori novelists based around Wellington, Apirana Taylor, Tina Makereti, Hinemoana Baker and Patricia Grace. Including the remarkable J C Sturm, who began writing in 1940’s, working for many years at Wellington Public Library where we knew her as Jacquie Baxter. The house of the talking cat, her collection of short stories was crafted in the 1960’s finding a publisher in the 1980’s to much success and acclaim.

 

These writers have turned their hand to myth and contemporary fiction, bringing characters to life in situations from history to current times, using personal relationships, family interactions and events that have swept through people’s lives leaving marked changes on potential futures and a mysterious past to be unveiled. Our selection also includes the piercing writing of Alice Tawhai (pen name) and Paula Morris’s excellently drawn characters.

Short story compilations are a great way of discovering new authors. Huia Short stories : Contemporary Māori fiction showcases a variety of winners from the Pikihuia awards. This recent collection features a diverse range of voices including Genesis Te Kuru White, Olivia Aroha Giles and Iraia Bailey, writing in English and te reo.  Explore the journey to becoming a writer with Te Papa Tupu where Te Waka Taki Kōrero / The Māori Literature Trust support emerging writers.

There is more to discover on our New Zealand Fiction page, just scroll down to Māori writer/Māori life.

Syndetics book coverHuia short stories 12 : contemporary Māori fiction.
“Here are the best short stories and novel extracts from the Pikihuia Awards for Maori writers 2017 as judged by Whiti Hereaka, Paula Morris, Poia Rewi and Rawinia Higgins. The book contains the stories from the finalists for Best Short Story written in English, Best Short Story written in te reo Maori 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 Maori writers and their work. The awards and the collection of finalists fiction celebrate Maori writing and bring new writers to light.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlack marks on the white page / edited by Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti.
“Here are the glorious, painful, sharp and funny 21st century stories of Maori and Pasifika writers from all over the world. Vibrant, provocative and aesthetically exciting, these stories expand our sense of what is possible in Indigenous Oceanic writing. Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti present the very best new and uncollected stories and novel excerpts, creating a talanoa, a conversation, where the stories do the talking. Join us as we deconstruct old theoretical maps and allow these fresh Black Marks on the White Page to expand our perception of the Pacific world.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe imaginary lives of James Pōneke / Tina Makereti.
“While exhibited as a curiosity, a Maori boy turns his gaze on Victorian London. ‘The hour is late. The candle is low. Tomorrow I will see whether it is my friends or a ship homewards I meet. But first I must finish my story for you. My future, my descendant, my mokopuna. Listen.’ So begins the tale of James Poneke- orphaned son of a chief; ardent student of English; wide-eyed survivor. When James meets the man with laughing dark eyes and the woman who dresses as a man, he begins to discover who people really are beneath their many guises. Although London is everything James most desires, this new world is more dark and dazzling than he could have imagined.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFive strings / Apirana Taylor.
“Mack is a larger-than-life street philosopher and Puti¿s a former gang member looking for something more. Together, they¿re at the bottom of the heap. They live out their lives in a haze of smoke and alcohol, accompanied by a host of other characters scraping by on the fringes of society. Will any of them be redeemed? A poignant and humorous love story.” (Syndetics summary)

 

Syndetics book coverChappy / Patricia Grace
“Uprooted from his privileged European life and sent to New Zealand to sort himself out, twenty-one-year-old Daniel pieces together the history of his Maori family. As his relatives revisit their past, Daniel learns of a remarkable love story between his Maori grandmother Oriwia and his Japanese grandfather Chappy. The more Daniel hears about his deceased grandfather, the more intriguing – and elusive – Chappy becomes.
In this touching portrayal of family life, acclaimed writer Patricia Grace explores racial intolerance, cross-cultural conflicts and the universal desire to belong. Spanning several decades and several continents and set against the backdrop of a changing New Zealand, Chappy is a compelling story of enduring love.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLuminous / Alice Tawhai.
“Tawhai’s tales combine characters and occurrences that are at once cripplingly dark and yet also tinged with a quiet beauty and optimism and she deftly covers subjects such as identity, addiction, devotion and abandonment.” (Syndetics summary)

 

 

Syndetics book coverFalse river : stories, essays, secret histories / Paula Morris.
“Riffing on truth, lies and secrets, this collection uses fiction to explore fact, and fact to explore fiction. These pieces range the world – from America, to Antwerp to Aotearoa – and talk about writers and writing, famous figures, family members, witch-burning in Denmark, cyclones and numerous pertinent and stimulating topics. All brilliantly written, each will leave you thinking and desperate to jump back in for more.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

“Just the facts, ma’am” — Dragnet. Our crime showcase selection for our January’s newly acquired books

There are over five thousand men in this city who know that being a policeman is an endless, glamorless, thankless job that’s gotta be done. I know it, too. And I’m damned glad to be one of them.” Dragnet 1967

Whether your taste in crime novels is for procedural crime, classic whodunit, lone amateur detective or Hard-boiled crime, this months Crime fiction showcase has something for everyone . From Philippe Georget’s Crimes of winter to Jonathan Lethem’s The feral detective from new works from hugely popular established writers like James Patterson’s Liar Liar to perhaps lesser well known authors like Anja de Jager and her critically acclaimed A death in Rembrandt Square her latest novel featuring her Amsterdam detective Lotte Meerman. Enjoy.

Syndetics book coverThe secrets of Gaslight Lane / M.R.C. Kasasian.
“London, 1883. All is quiet at 125 Gower Street. Private detective Sidney Grice is studying up on the anatomical structure of human hair whilst his ward, March Middleton, sneaks upstairs for her eighth secret cigarette of the day. The household is, perhaps, too quiet.So, when a beautiful young woman turns up at the door, imploring London’s foremost private detective to solve the mystery of her father’s murder, Grice can barely disguise his glee.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe feral detective / Jonathan Lethem.
“Phoebe Siegler, travels to the Mojave Desert in search of Arabella, a friend’s missing daughter and an 18-year-old dropout of Reed College. She hires hirsute Charles Heist, the “feral detective,” who lives with three dogs and an opossum. Quickly falling for his woodsy charms, Phoebe travels with Heist to the far reaches of the desert, where the mostly female Rabbit group is engaged in a long standoff with the male Bear group. To save Arabella, Heist will have to do battle with the charismatic Bear leader, called Solitary Love, as Phoebe learns to question her assumptions here on “the far side of the Neoliberal Dream.” ( Catalogue.)

Syndetics book coverBye bye baby / Fiona McIntosh.
“A spate of seemingly unconnected murders in southern England prompt a high-profile taskforce to be formed and led by DCI Jack Hawksworth, one of the Force?s new rising stars who combines modern methods with old-school instincts. The victims appear as disparate as their style of death; the only link that Hawk and his team can pull together is that the murdered are all men of an identical age. The taskforce has nothing but cold cases of decades past to comb through in the hope that they might find a clue to who is behind the savagery.A heart-stopping tale of brutal revenge with a chilling twist by a powerhouse Australian author.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLiar liar / James Patterson and Candice Fox.
“Detective Harriet Blue is clear about two things. Regan Banks deserves to die. And she’ll be the one to pull the trigger. But Regan – the vicious serial killer responsible for destroying her brother?s life – has gone to ground. Suddenly, her phone rings. It’s him. Harriet needs to find this killing machine fast, even if the cost is her own life. So she follows him down the Australian south coast with only one thing on her mind. Revenge is coming, and her name is Harriet Blue.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVerses for the Dead
“After an overhaul of leadership at the FBI’s New York field office, A. X. L. Pendergast is abruptly forced to accept an unthinkable condition of continued employment: the famously rogue agent must now work with a partner.
Pendergast and his new colleague, junior agent Coldmoon, are assigned to investigate a rash of killings in Miami Beach, where a bloodthirsty psychopath is cutting out the hearts of his victims and leaving them with cryptic handwritten letters at local gravestones. As he digs deeper, he realizes the brutal new crimes may be just the tip of the iceberg: a conspiracy of death that reaches back decades.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPoints of danger / Edward Marston.
“1861, East Anglia. Alone in a first-class carriage, the Swarbricks are robbed at gunpoint, but when the universally-admired Swarbrick fights back, the train robber takes more than money and jewellery, killing the man working to unify East Anglia’s tangle of railway networks. Inspector Colbeck is brought in from London, as the only detective in Britain with enough expertise for the job. Is the Railway Detective following the right track or will he need to switch points to bring the murderer to justice?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrimes of winter : variations on adultery and venial sins / Philippe Georget ; translated from the French by Steven Rendall.
“This winter is going to be a rough one for Inspector Gilles Sebag, for he has discovered Claire has been cheating on him. Bouncing between depression, whisky, and insomnia, he buries himself in work. But his investigations lead him inexorably to bigger tragedies – a woman murdered in a hotel, a depressed man who throws himself from a roof, another who threatens to blow up the neighbourhood – all of them involving betrayals of some sort.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA death in Rembrandt Square / Anja de Jager.
As the podcast reveals hidden facts about the arrest of Ruud Klaver, the one thing Lotte is still convinced of is that it was Ruud who was guilty of the murder of a student near Rembrandt Square ten years earlier. However, when Ruud Klaver then dies in suspicious circumstances, only hours after the final podcast proving his innocence is broadcast, Lotte has to accept that maybe she was wrong. As Lotte digs deeper and involves colleagues from her past, it starts to look like the murder in Rembrandt Square was part of an even bigger deception .” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLucifer Falls / Colin Falconer.
“When a priest is found crucified in a derelict North London chapel, it makes a dramatic change for DI Charlie George and his squad at Essex Road. The brutal murder could not be further from their routine of domestic violence and stabbings on the estates. And that’s only the beginning … On Christmas Eve, a police officer goes missing and his colleagues can’t help but anticipate the worst. It turns out they’re right to when eventually the body is found and they discover he’s been stoned to death. As tensions rise, it’s up to Charlie and his team to venture into the city’s cold underbelly to try and find an answer to the madness … before anyone else dies a martyr’s death.” (Catalogue)

Lovecraftian Horror: our own special H.P. Lovecraft Graphic Novel Showcase


“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.” –  H. P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft struggled to get his work published and died in poverty,  a virtually unknown author. Since his death in 1937 his influence and reputation as one of the greatest writers of horror and strange tales of unspeakable terror has only grown and grown.  In this  graphic novel showcase we are looking at the rich, strange, frightening and wonderful worlds that H.P. Lovecraft created and how they have  inspired authors and artists from the graphic novel community. Enjoy

Syndetics book coverProvidence. Act 1 / story, Alan Moore ; art, Jacen Burrows.
“Alan Moore’s quintessential horror series has set the standard for a terrifying examination of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. It is being universally hailed as one of Moore’s most realized works in which the master scribe has controlled every iota of the story, art, and presentation. The result has been a masterpiece like no other, unparalleled in tone and content, and a true must have addition to his essential works in the field.”  ( Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNeonomicon / Alan Moore, story & script ; Jacen Burrows, art. The courtyard / Alan Moore, story ; Jacen Burrows, art.
“Brears and Lamper, two young and cocky FBI agents, investigate a fresh series of ritual murders somehow tied to the final undercover assignment of Aldo Sax -the once golden boy of the Bureau, now a convicted killer and inmate of a maximum security prison. From their interrogation of Sax (where he spoke exclusively in inhuman tongues) to a related drug raid on a seedy rock club rife with arcane symbols and otherworldly lyrics, they suspect that they are on the trail of something awful… ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWeird detective / script by Fred Van Lente ; art by Guiu Villanova.
“The streets of New York have been plagued by a pattern of crimes too weird and bizarre for the average detective. Lurking in the evidence are shadows of loathsome horrors from beyond space and time, seeking to usher in the unimaginable evil of the Old Ones. And the only man capable of fighting against the unspeakable terrors isn’t a man at all. Detective Sebastian Green is one of them it takes a monster to catch a monster.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wake / Scott Snyder, writer ; Sean Murphy, artist ; Matt Hollingsworth, colorist.
“When Marine Biologist Lee Archer is approached by the Department of Homeland Security for help with a new threat, she declines, but quickly realizes they won’t take no for an answer. Soon she is plunging to the depths of the Arctic Circle to a secret, underwater oilrig filled with roughnecks and scientists on the brink of an incredible discovery. But when things go horribly wrong, this scientific safe haven will turn into a house of horrors at the bottom of the ocean!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHellboy : strange places / Mike Mignola.
“This 416-page volume covers Hellboy’s adventures from 1998 to 2005, reprinting Conqueror Worm , Strange Places , Into the Silent Sea , and “The Right Hand of Doom, “Box Full of Evil,” and “Being Human” from The Right Hand of Doom and B.P.R.D. Being Human .Hellboy loses faith in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense when they strap a bomb to one of his fellow not-quite-human agents. He gets answers about his destiny, like it or not, in over 300 pages of comics mostly drawn by Mignola, featuring award-winning guests Gary Gianni and Richard Corben.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverB.P.R.D. : Hell on Earth [2] : gods and monsters / story by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi ; art, Tyler Crook, Guy Davis.
“Between tracking down the followers of a prescient teen pursued by crab-like, subterranean beasts, and dealing with a redneck priest who preaches by way of human mutilation to fanatical hillbillies, the B.P.R.D. certainly have their hands full. Can a fractured B.P.R.D. wage a winnable war or are they fighting a battle of attrition?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAbe Sapien [1] : the drowning / story by Mike Mignola ; art by Jason Shawn Alexander.
“A century ago, paranormal investigator Edward Gray fought and destroyed a powerful warlock off the coast of the island of Saint-Sbastien. In the early 1980s, the B.P.R.D.’s newest agent was sent to retrieve the warlock’s remains. But Abe Sapien is ill prepared for the dark forces that block his way. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSaga of the Swamp Thing. Book one / written by Alan Moore ; art by Stephen Bissette…[et al.]
” Writer Alan Moore’s seminal horror series is now published in hardcover for the very first time . Created by a freak accident, Swamp Thing believed he was once scientist Alec Holland – but when he discoveres his true nature, it shatters his universe and sends him on a path of discovery and adventure. Featuring the art of Stephen Bissette and John Totleben, this groundbreaking work features mind-blowing, genre-defying stories starring the rich, complex character that Neil Gaiman called “The No. 1 New Classic Monster.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)


New forays into Science Fiction and Fantasy

A Cathedral of Myth and Bone book cover

Ready to explore new viewpoints, worlds and inventions of the imagination? Recent titles for Science fiction and Fantasy delve into long running series and uncover new writing territory.

Syndetics book coverBikes not rockets : intersectional feminist bicycle science fiction stories / edited by Elly Blue.
“As you ride down the intergalactic bike path, you come to a crossroads. Which path will you take? Your choice could determine your future, or the future of all humanity, forever. These twelve stories explore a variety of intersections set in distant, outlandish, or disturbingly realistic futures and dimensions–all involving bicycles and the breaking of gender stereotypes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow Long ’til Black Future Month?: Stories / N K Jemisin
“In these stories, Jemisin sharply examines modern society, infusing magic into the mundane, and drawing deft parallels in the fantasy realms of her imagination. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story The City Born Great, a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis’s soul.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTexas hold’em / edited by George R.R. Martin ; assisted by Melinda M. Snodgrass ; written by David Anthony Durham, Max Gladstone, Victor Milán, Diana Rowland, Walton Simons, Caroline Spector, William F. Wu.
“San Antonio, home of the Alamo, is also host to the nation’s top high school jazz competition, and the musicians at Xavier Desmond High are excited to outplay their rivals. They are also jokers, kids with strange abilities and even stranger looks. On top of that, well, they are teenagers, apt for mischief, mishaps, and romantic misunderstandings.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe lies of Locke Lamora : book one of the gentleman bastard sequence / Scott Lynch.
“They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he’s part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA cathedral of myth and bone / stories by Kat Howard.
“In these sixteen exquisite stories, Kat Howard deftly weaves in and out the countries of myth and hagiography to write the lives of women untold and unexplored.”  (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSplintered Suns (Humanity’s Fire, 5) / Michael Cobley
“For Pyke and his crew it should have been just another heist. Travel to a backwater desert planet, break into a museum, steal a tracking device then use it to find a ship buried in the planet’s vast and trackless sandy wastes. Except that the museum vault is a bio-engineered chamber, and the tracking device is sought after by another gang of treasure hunters led by an old adversary of Pyke’s, the devious Raven Kaligara.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe labyrinth index / Charles Stross.
“Since she was promoted to the head of the Lords Select Committee on Sanguinary Affairs, every workday for Mhari Murphy has been a nightmare. It doesn’t help that her boss, the new Prime Minister of Britain, is a manipulative and deceptive pain in the butt. Mhari’s most recent assignment takes her across the pond into the depths of North America. The United States president has gone missing.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

Our hard boiled detective authors crime showcase

The subject was as easy to spot as a kangaroo in a dinner jacket”
― Raymond Chandler, Playback

Hard-boiled fiction is defined by Encyclopaedia Britannica as

“A tough, unsentimental style of American crime writing that brought a new tone of earthy realism or naturalism to the field of detective fiction. Hard-boiled fiction used graphic sex and violence, vivid but often sordid urban backgrounds, and fast-paced, slangy dialogue.”

Of course the style has now been used from authors around the world and it remains one of the most popular crime genre styles to this day. For this months mysteries showcase we have created a collection of of some of the authors we love who use its style or conventions. To open your appetite, below is just a very small selection of the sub genres most famous proponents.  Enjoy.

Syndetics book coverThe postman always rings twice / James M. Cain.The Postman Always Rings Twice
“First published in 1934, The Postman Always Rings Twice caused a scandal with its explosive mix of violence and sex, and immediately became a bestseller. The torrid story of Frank Chambers, the amoral drifter, Cora, the sullen and brooding wife, and Nick Papadakis, the amiable but inconvenient husband, has become a classic of its kind, and established Cain as a major novelist with a spare and vital prose style and a bleak vision of America.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe knife slipped / by Erle Stanley Gardner writing under the name A.A. Fair.
“Lost for more than 75 years, The Knife Slipped was shelved when Gardner’s publisher objected to (among other things) Bertha Cool’s tendency to “talk tough, swear, smoke cigarettes, and try to gyp people.” But this tale of adultery and corruption, of double-crosses and triple identities–however shocking for 1939–shines today as a glorious present from the past. Donald Lam has never been cooler- Bertha Cool has never been tougher. And Erle Stanley Gardner has never been better.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe blonde on the street corner / David Goodis.
“‘She took a final drag at the cigarette, flipped it away, and said, I don’t get this line of talk. It’s way over my head… Maybe you’re waiting for some dream girl to come along in a coach drawn by six white horses, and she’ll pick you up and haul you away to the clouds, where it’s all milk and honey and springtime all year around. Maybe that’s what you’re waiting for. That dream girl.’ Written in 1954, The Blonde on the Street Corner is full of the passions and desires that are the hallmarks of a David Goodis novel.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Maltese falcon ; The thin man ; Red harvest / Dashiell Hammett ; with an introduction by Robert Polito.The Maltese Falcon
“As an operative for Pinkertons Detective Agency Dashiell Hammett knew about sleuthing from the inside, but his career was cut short by the ruin of his health in World War I. These three celebrated novels are therefore the products of a hard real life, not a literary education. Despite or because of that, Hammett had an enormous effect on mainstream writers between the wars. Like his readers, they were attracted by the combination of laconic style, sharp convincing dialogue, vivid settings and, above all, the low-life, hard-boiled characters who populate the streets of his stories.”   (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCotton comes to Harlem / Chester Himes.
“A classic entry in Chester Himes’s trailblazing Harlem Detectives series, Cotton Comes to Harlem is one of his hardest-hitting and most entertaining thrillers.
Flim-flam man Deke O’Hara is no sooner out of Atlanta’s state penitentiary than he’s back on the streets working the scam of a lifetime. As sponsor of the Back-to-Africa movement, he’s counting on a big Harlem rally to produce a massive collection–for his own private charity. But the take is hijacked by white gunmen and hidden in a bale of cotton that suddenly everyone wants to get his hands on.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAlways outnumbered, always outgunned / by Walter Mosley.Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned
“Socrates Fortlow, a tough, brooding ex-convict determined to challenge and understand the violence and anarchy in his world — and in himself. Three decades ago, the young Socrates had, in a burst of drunken rage, murdered a man and a woman with his huge rock-breaking hands. In each of the stories that comprise this richly brooding novel, Socrates Fortlow, like his namesake, explores philosophical questions of morality in a world beset with crime, poverty, and racism. He is an unforgettable presence and his perceptions cast a glow of somber lyricism upon an often harsh world. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Mike Hammer omnibus. Vol. 2 / Mickey Spillane.
“Collected here for the first time are three of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels that really deliver the goods, one shade blacker than noir – stories that begin in the gutter and go down from there. Here is a world where the only crime is getting caught, where justice can be bought for the price of a beer, and where corruption lies around every corner. This is Mike Hammer’s world. Welcome to it…and watch out.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe lady in the lake ; The little sister ; The long goodbye ; Playback / Raymond Chandler ; with an introduction by Tom Hiney.
“An omnibus comprising Raymond Chandler’s three Philip Marlowe novels, The Lady in the Lake, The High Widow and The Little Sister.” (Syndetics summary)

 

Contemporary graphic novel genius at your library

Drawn to Berlin book cover

There is such a range of titles in the newly acquired comic collection.  The story writers, artists, pencillers and inkers that toil away on their own creations or contributions to others have produced a myriad of styles, stories and content. The latest batch includes material from diverse sources, refugee shelters in Europe through to the Lovecraftian Cthulhu mythos referencing Sherlock Holmes in Neil Gaiman’s,  A study in emerald. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverCollecting sticks / Joe Decie.
“Observer Graphic Novel of the Month Collecting Sticks is a graphic novel about a family glamping trip. (It’s like camping, but much more expensive). Loosely based on actual events, but sometimes veering unexpectedly into fantasy, the story plays with the challenges nature presents to city folk as they forage for berries, get stuck up a tree, make perilous encounters with stinging wildlife, compete to build the best fire and discover the importance of finding good sticks. Also, it rains. It’s about the human desire to get back to nature. Or to return to childhood and hit things with sticks. Funny, moving, beautifully drawn, Collecting Sticks can stand beside Joff Winterhart’s classic graphic novel of family life, Days of the Bagnold Summer.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEverything is flammable / Gabrielle Bell.
“In Gabrielle Bell’s much anticipated graphic memoir, she returns from New York to her childhood town in rural Northern California after her mother’s home is destroyed by a fire. Acknowledging her issues with anxiety, financial hardships, memories of a semi-feral childhood, and a tenuous relationship with her mother, Bell helps her mother put together a new home on top of the ashes. A powerful, sometimes uncomfortable, examination of a mother-daughter relationship and one’s connection to place and sense of self. Spanning a single year, Everything is Flammable unfolds with humor and brutal honesty. Bell’s sharp, digressive style is inimitable.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDrawn to Berlin : comic workshops in refugee shelters and other stories from a new Europe / Ali Fitzgerald.
“Ali Fitzgerald, an American cartoonist living and working in Berlin, began teaching comics-making to refugees in an emergency shelter. People who are fleeing their homes, now war-zones, arrive at a shelter and draw images of tragic violence and careful optimism. Now in a stunning graphic memoir, compassionate and unflinchingly intimate, Fitzgerald recounts her incredible experience, of the highs of the creatively hopeful, along with the deep depression of the disillusioned, entwining her story with complex themes of political and personal displacement.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA study in emerald / story and words, Neil Gaiman ; art and adaptation script, Rafael Albuquerque ; adaptation script, Rafael Scavone.
“This supernatural mystery set in the world of Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos features a brilliant detective and his partner as they try to solve a horrific murder.The complex investigation takes the Baker Street investigators from the slums of Whitechapel all the way to the Queen’s Palace as they attempt to find the answers to this bizarre murder of cosmic horror!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverManifest destiny. Volume 6, Fortis & invisibilia / Chris Dingess, writer ; Matthew Roberts, penciller & inker ; Tony Akins, inker.
“Meriwether Lewis has slayed monsters in the pursuit of taming the wilds of America. Now, if he ever hopes to reach the Pacific coast, he must learn an important lesson: Don’t listen to the voices in your head.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGirl town / Carolyn Nowak.
Bold, infatuated, wounded, or lost, Nowak’s girls shine with life and longing. Their stories — depicted with remarkable charm and insight — capture the spirit of our time. Diana got hurt a lot, and she’s decided to deal with this fact by purchasing a life-sized robot boyfriend. Mary and La-La host a podcast about a movie no one’s ever seen. Kelly has dragged her friend Beth out of her comfort zone and into a day at the fantasy market that neither of them will forget. Carolyn Nowak’s Girl Town collects the Ignatz Award-winning stories Radishes and Diana’s Electric Tongue together with several other tales of young adulthood and the search for connection.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBizarre romance / stories by Audrey Niffenegger ; illustrated by Eddie Campbell.
“Internationally bestselling author Audrey Niffenegger and her husband, graphic artist Eddie Campbell, collaborate on this quirky, irreverent collection that celebrates and satirises love of all kinds. With thirteen different vignettes about love, loss, fairies, misbehaviour, regret, wanton wrongheadedness, cats, supernatural exterminators, spies, ghosts, more cats, more fairies, and a handful of ex-boyfriends, Bizarre Romance runs the gamut when it comes to relationships.” (Syndetics summary)