“Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void” New Science Fiction and Fantasy showcase titles

Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would’ve hidden from it in terror.”  The Emperor Ming the merciless Flash Gordon Film 1980.

Hurling into the vast void of the outer space and facing unknown cosmic dangers is just one of the threads of the Science Fiction and Fantasy worlds explored in this month’s showcase. Others threads in this month’s rich tapestry include a magical retelling of Beauty and the Beast in Wray Delaney’s The beauty of the wolf, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s much anticipated Children of time the first installment of an epic survival series set among the stars and the conclusion of Mark Lawrence’s fantasy trilogy Holy Sister about a young girl trained into adulthood to be the fiercest of warriors. Enjoy.

Syndetics book coverThe light brigade / Kameron Hurley.The Light Brigade
The Light Brigade: it’s what soldiers fighting the war against Mars call the ones who come back…different. Grunts in the corporate corps get busted down into light to travel to and from interplanetary battlefronts. Everyone is changed by what the corps must do in order to break them down into light. Those who survive learn to stick to the mission brief–no matter what actually happens during combat. Dietz, a fresh recruit in the infantry, begins to experience combat drops that don’t sync up with the platoon’s. And Dietz’s bad drops tell a story of the war that’s not at all what the corporate brass want the soldiers to think is going on.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe beauty of the wolf / Wray Delaney.Server ErrorYour request could not be completed. 
“In the age of the Faerie Queene, Elizabeth I, Lord Francis Rodermere starts to lay waste to a forest. Furious, the sorceress who dwells there scrawls a curse into the bark of the first oak he fells: A faerie boy will be born to you whose beauty will be your death. Ten years later, Lord Rodermere’s son, Beau is born – and all who encounter him are struck by his great beauty. Meanwhile, many miles away in a London alchemist’s cellar lives Randa – a beast deemed too monstrous to see the light of day. And so begins a timeless tale of love, tragedy and revenge.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Also available on ebook. 

Syndetics book coverThe Lord of Stariel / A.J. Lancaster.
“The Lord of Stariel is dead. Long live the Lord of Stariel. Whoever that is. Everyone knows who the magical estate will choose for its next ruler. Or do they? Will it be the lord’s eldest son, who he despised? His favourite nephew, with the strongest magical land-sense? His scandalous daughter, who ran away from home years ago to study illusion? Hetta knows it won’t be her, and she’s glad of it. Returning home for her father’s funeral, all Hetta has to do is survive the family drama and avoid entanglements with irritatingly attractive local men until the Choosing. Then she can leave. But whoever Stariel chooses will have bigger problems than eccentric relatives to deal with. Winged, beautifully deadly problems. For the first time in centuries, the fae are returning to the Mortal Realm, and only the Lord of Stariel can keep the estate safe. In theory.”–Provided by publisher.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHoly sister / Mark Lawrence.Holy Sister
“The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat. Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep. Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Also available on ebook. 

Syndetics book coverA memory called empire / Arkady Martine.
” Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident–or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court. Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion–all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret–one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life–or rescue it from annihilation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNo way / S.J. Morden.
” Frank Kittridge is alone on Mars. But XO, the corporate architects of the first Mars base, made a costly mistake when they left him there: they left him alive. Using his skills and his wits, he’s going to find a way back home even if it kills him.But there are dangers on Mars even Frank isn’t prepared for, and a mystery he has to solve in order to survive. If there’s anything in Frank’s favour, it’s this: he’s always been prepared to go to the extremes to get the job done. That’s how he ended up on Mars in the first place. It just might be his ticket back.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChildren of time / Adrian Tchaikovsky.
” The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age – a world terraformed and prepared for human life.But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare.Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Also available on ebook. 

Syndetics book coverThe bird king / G. Willow Wilson.
” Hassan has a secret–he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat toChristian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls? As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

Nominated Hugo graphic novels

This week, we’re looking at CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention, which is being held right here in Wellington next year. The annual event, known more generally as WorldCon, is one of the world’s most prestigious science fiction conventions, and is also home to the legendary Hugo Awards. Run entirely by fans, Worldcons offer an exciting experience with a unique mix of fans and professionals from all walks of life and all corners of the Earth.

Next year’s CoNZealand has already confirmed two Author Guests of Honour, Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon, along with a New Zealand Guest of Honour, local author and illustrator Greg Broadmore, and a Fan Guest of Honour, Rose Mitchell from Australia. Their Toastmaster is none other than George RR Martin, author of the hugely popular Game of Thrones novels now turned into a TV series. To hear more about CoNZealand and how you can be a part of it check them out at conzealand.nz.

Speaking of Hugo Awards, the 2019 finalists have just been announced, including best Graphic Story of the year. Check out the stunning selection of finalists below. All of these graphic story titles are available to borrow free from our branches . Enjoy.

This years Hugo nominees for Best Graphic Story

Abbott / Ahmed, Saladin
“While investigating police brutality and corruption in 1970s Detroit, journalist Elena Abbott uncovers supernatural forces being controlled by a secret society of the city’s elite. In the uncertain social and political climate of 1972 Detroit, hard-nosed, chain-smoking tabloid reporter Elena Abbott investigates a series of grisly crimes that the police have ignored. Crimes she knows to be the work of dark occult forces. Forces that took her husband from her. Forces she has sworn to destroy.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Black Panther : long live the king / Okorafor, Nnedi
“As the Black Panther and an Avenger, T’Challa has had to save the world time and again – but those duties pale in comparison to his responsibilities as king of Wakanda.” (Catalogue)

Monstress. Volume three, Haven / Liu, Marjorie M
“Maika has spent most of her life learning how to fight, but how will she fare when the only way to save her life…is to make friends? Collects issues 13-18 of the Hugo Award and British Fantasy Award series.” (Catalogue)

On a sunbeam / Walden, Tillie
” On a Sunbeam is an epic graphic novel about a girl who travels to the ends of the universe to find a long lost love, from acclaimed author Tillie Walden. Two timelines. Second chances. One love. A ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together. Two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love–only to learn the pain of loss. With interwoven timelines and stunning art, award-winning graphic novelist Tillie Walden creates an inventive world, breathtaking romance, and an epic quest for love.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Paper girls. 4 / Vaughan, Brian K
“The continuing story of newspaper deliverers Erin, Mac, KJ and Tiffany, as they time travel from prehistoric times to the year 2000.” (Catalogue)

Saga. Volume nine / Vaughan, Brian K
“After the traumatic events of the War for Phang, Hazel, her parents, and their surviving companions embark on a life-changing adventure at the westernmost edge of the universe.”–Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Watching the Detectives!

Some of the most iconic television detectives started life on the printed page. So for our latest showcase we’ve decided to not only highlight our favourite sleuths, but also link them to their respective TV shows! So many fabulous mysteries to read, so many great programmes to watch—a perfect way to spend those darkening nights. Enjoy!

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: the interconnectedness of all kings / Ryall, Chris
“Dirk Gently: a detective with a belief in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, a unique relationship with the laws of probability and physics, and a love of cats and pizza. In his first-ever comic series, Dirk has been forced to leave his beloved England behind, coming to the too-sunny, too-cheery, and altogether too-bizarre-even-for-Dirk city of San Diego, California.” (Adapted from Catalogue.) For DVD availability click HERE. 

Poirot’s early cases / Christie, Agatha
“Captain Hastings recounts 18 of Poirot’s early cases from the days before he was famous… Hercule Poirot delighted in telling people that he was probably the best detective in the world. So turning back the clock to trace eighteen of the cases which helped establish his professional reputation was always going to be a fascinating experience. With his career still in its formative years, the panache with which Hercule Poirot could solve even the most puzzling mystery is obvious.” (Adapted from Catalogue.) For DVD availability click HERE.

Wild fire / Cleeves, Ann
“Shetland: Welcoming. Wild. Remote. Drawn in by the reputation of the islands, an English family move to the area, eager to give their autistic son a better life. But when a young nanny’s body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread.With suspicion raining down on the family, DI Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate, knowing that it will mean the return to the islands of his on-off lover and boss Willow Reeves.” (Adapted from Catalogue.) For DVD availability click HERE.

The remorseful day / Dexter, Colin
“How will Morse bid his final farewell? The murder of Yvonne Harrison at her home in the Cotswold village of Lower Swinstead had left Thames Valley CID baffled. A year after the dreadful crime they are still no nearer to making an arrest. But one man has yet to tackle the case–and it is just the sort of puzzle at which Chief Inspector Morse excels.” “So why is he adamant that he will not lead the re-investigation, despite dark hints of some new evidence?” (Adapted from Catalogue.) For DVD availability click HERE.

Overdrive cover The Hound of the Baskervilles / Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (ebook)
“The most famous of the Sherlock Holmes stories, The Hound of the Baskervilles features the phantom dog of Dartmoor, which, according to an ancient legend, has haunted the Baskervilles for generations. When Sir Charles Baskerville dies suddenly of a heart attack on the grounds of the family’s estate, the locals are convinced that the spectral hound is responsible, and Holmes is called in.” (Adapted from Catalogue.) For DVD availability click HERE.

Overdrive cover A Touch of Frost / R D Wingfield (ebook)
“Denton has never known anything like the crime wave which now threatens to submerge it. A robbery occurs at the town’s strip joint, the pampered son of a local MP is suspected of a hit-and-run and, to top it all, a multiple rapist is on the loose. Frost is reeling under the strain and now, more than ever, his colleagues would love to see him sacked. But Frost manages to assure his superior that all is under control. Now he has only to convince himself…” (Adapted from Overdrive description.) For DVD availability click HERE.

Overdrive cover A Rare Benedictine / Ellis Peters (ebook)
“Set in the Year of Our Lord 1120, three tales of intrigue and treachery, featuring the chain of events that led one-time crusader Cadfael into the Benedictine Order.” (Adapted from Overdrive description.) For DVD availability click HERE.

The troubled man / Mankell, Henning
“The final Kurt Wallander Mystery–and the first new Wallander novel for a decade. The Troubled Man confirms Henning Mankell’s position as the king of crime writing.” (Catalogue.) For DVD availability click HERE.

I Desired Dragons with a Profound Desire: a Selection of the Finest Fantasy!

I desired dragons with a profound desire. Of course, I in my timid body did not wish to have them in the neighborhood. But the world that contained even the imagination of Fáfnir was richer and more beautiful, at whatever the cost of peril. — J. R. R. Tolkien

For this month’s showcase we are pointing our spotlight at one of the most popular and enduring genres of them all: fantasy! It’s a huge genre, with crossover works and sub-genres such as comic fantasy, contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy, fairytale fantasy, fantasy of manners, heroic fantasy, high fantasy, historical fantasy, low fantasy, magical realism, mythic fiction fantasy, romantic fantasy, superhero fantasy, sword and sorcery, urban fantasy and weird fantasy, so by necessity this showcase only features a few of our favourite authors and novels.

Even into the 21st century, fantasy as a genre has not only endured but thrived, creating some of the century’s most beloved works in literature, film and art. Some of the world’s most popular authors and titles are also encompassed by this genre, including J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin and C.S.Lewis. Enjoy!

Overdrive cover The Princess Bride, William Goldman (ebook) (print)
Anyone who lived through the 1980s may find it impossible—inconceivable, even—to equate The Princess Bride with anything other than the sweet, celluloid romance of Westley and Buttercup, but the film is only a fraction of the ingenious storytelling you’ll find in these pages. Rich in character and satire, the novel is set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an “abridged” retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin that’s home to “Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin (ebook) (print)
A Game of Thrones is the first volume in the series. Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien (ebook) (print)
Continuing the story begun in The Hobbit, this is the first part of Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, featuring the definitive text and a detailed map of Middle-earth. J.R.R. Tolkien’s great work of imaginative fiction has been labelled both a heroic romance and a classic fantasy fiction. By turns comic and homely, epic and diabolic, the narrative moves through countless changes of scene and character in an imaginary world which is totally convincing in its detail. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey (ebook)
The men who rode the dragons were a breed apart. Chosen when the dragons were first hatched, they became soulmates for life with the huge, magnificent beasts they controlled – the green, blue, brown and bronzes – beautiful – terrible – the only creatures who could defend the planet Pern from the blood-red star. But without the Queen, the dragons would become extinct. Only the gigantic, golden Queen could breed the new flights. And the Queen was fading . . . dying. Dragonflight is the first book in Anne McCaffrey’s world-famous Chronicles of Pern and has been in print since its first publication in hardcover 30 years ago. (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang (ebook)
When Rin aced the Keju – the test to find the most talented students in the Empire – it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who had hoped to get rich by marrying her off; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free from a life of servitude. That she got into Sinegard – the most elite military school in Nikan – was even more surprising. But surprises aren’t always good. Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett (ebook)
Somhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it’s carried though space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). It plays by different rules. But then, some things are the same everywhere. The Disc’s very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world’s first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard.

The gunslinger / King, Stephen
In a desolate reality, on that mirrors our own in frightening ways, a lone and haunting figure known only as Roland makes his way across the endless sands in pursuit of a sinister, dark-robed mystery of a man. Roland is the last of his kind, a “gunslinger” charged with protecting whatever goodness and light remains in his world–a world that “moved on” as they say…and the only way he can possibly hope to save everything is to first outwit and confront this man in black, then make him divulge his many arcane secrets. For despite the countless miles he’s already traversed, Roland knows these will merely be his initial steps on his spellbinding and soul-shattering quest to locate the mystical nexus of all worlds, all universes: the Dark Tower….” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Assassin’s Apprentice, Robin Hobb (ebook)
The kingdom of the Six Duchies is on the brink of civil war when news breaks that the crown prince has fathered a bastard son and is shamed into abdication. The child’s name is Fitz, and his is despised. Raised in the castle stables, only the company of the king’s fool, the ragged children of the lower city and his unusual affinity with animals provide Fitz with any comfort. To be useful to the crown, Fitz is trained as an assassin; and to use the traditional magic of the Farseer family. But his tutor, allied to another political faction, is determined to discredit, even kill him. Fitz must survive: for he may be destined to save the kingdom.

An April Mystery Showcase!

Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand”
Neil Armstrong

This month we have a mystery spree, spreading our net to cover a wide variety of novels that feature a mystery somewhere in the plot. We are going to feature books from across the board, from classic novels to New Zealand titles, award-winners to massively popular bestsellers. As long as they have a mystery at their heart then they have a chance to get in this showcase. Enjoy!

Overdrive cover The Dance of the Seagull, Andrea Camilleri (ebook) (print)
“Inspector Montalbano is awake at dawn, sitting on his porch, when his attention is caught by a seagull which falls from the sky, performing a strange dance, before lying down to die. Montalbano is perplexed by what he has witnessed and the scene hangs over him like an omen. Montalbano’s dear colleague Fazio is discovered missing – and it transpires that the policeman has been involved in his own secret investigations – Montalbano launches a desperate search for his lost friend, as time begins to run out.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Tess / McDougall, Kirsten
“Tess is on the run when she’s picked up from the side of the road by lonely middle-aged father Lewis Rose. With reluctance, she’s drawn into his family troubles and comes to know a life she never had. Set in Masterton at the turn of the millennium, Tess is a gothic love story about the ties that bind and tear a family apart.” (Catalogue)

 

Overdrive cover The Fifth Witness, Michael Connelly (ebook) (print)
“In tough times, crime is one of the few things that still pays, but even criminals are having to make cut-backs. So for defence lawyer Mickey Haller, most of his new business is not about keeping people out of jail; it’s about keeping a roof over their heads as the foreclosure business is booming. Lisa Trammel has been a client of Mickey’s for eight months, and so far he’s stopped the bank from taking her house. But now the bank’s CEO has been found beaten to death – and Lisa is about to be indicted for murder.” (Overdrive description)

All our secrets / Lane, Jennifer
“A girl called Gracie. A small town called Coongahoola with the dark Bagooli River running through it. The Bleeders – hundreds of ‘Believers’ who set up on the banks of the river, who start to buy up the town and win souls. The River Children – born in the aftermath of the infamous River Picnic. They begin to go missing, one after another. Gracie Barrett is the naively savvy spokesperson for her chaotic family (promiscuous dad, angry mum, twins Lucky and Grub, Elijah the River Child and fervent, prayerful Grandma Bett), for the kids who are taken, for the lurking fear that locks down the town and puts everyone under suspicion. Gracie is funny and kind, bullied and anguished, and her life spirals out of control when she discovers she knows what no one else does: who is responsible for the missing children. Coongahoola is where hope and fear collide, where tender adolescence is confronted by death, where kindness is a glimmer of light in the dark.” — Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover The Complete Ripley Radio Mysteries, Patricia Highsmith (Audiobook)
“In these dramatisations, BBC Radio 4 brings all Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novels together in one thrilling series. In The Talented Mr Ripley, Tom makes a bid for another man’s inheritance and succeeds, but has he really got away with it? Ripley Under Ground is set a few years later, when Tom is living in luxury in a French chateau with his beautiful wife Heloise—but the clever art forgery which funds Tom’s expensive tastes is about to be uncovered. In Ripley’s Game, Tom sets up a man he dislikes to carry out two perfect murders, while in The Boy Who Followed Ripley, a rich young stalker arrives at Belle Ombre and he and Tom end up fighting for their lives. Finally, in Ripley Under Water, strange new neighbours show an overdeveloped interest in Ripley’s past. Will Tom’s shady dealings be exposed?” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Strangler’s Honeymoon, Håkan Nesser (ebook) (print)
“Could this be Van Veeteren’s darkest case yet? Desperately lonely, sixteen-year-old Monica Kammerle has little idea of what she is getting herself into when she begins an affair with her mother’s latest partner; the sophisticated Benjamin Kerran… Months later, when a woman’s strangled body is found decomposing in her flat, the Maardam police must discover who has committed this terrible crime. It isn’t long before they realise the perpetrator may have killed before – and is likely to do so again.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Strange Shores, Arnaldur Indridason (ebook) (print)
A young woman walks into the frozen fjords of Iceland, never to be seen again. But Matthildur leaves in her wake rumours of lies, betrayal and revenge.
Decades later, somewhere in the same wilderness, Detective Erlendur is on the hunt. He is looking for Matthildur but also for a long-lost brother, whose disappearance in a snow-storm when they were children has coloured his entire life. He is looking for answers. Slowly, the past begins to surrender its secrets. But as Erlendur uncovers a story about the limits of human endurance, he realises that many people would prefer their crimes to stay buried.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The infinite air / Kidman, Fiona
“The rise and fall of ‘the Garbo of the skies’, as told by one of New Zealand’s finest novelists. A superbly written novel offering an intriguing interpretation of one of the world’s greatest aviators, the glamorous and mysterious Jean Batten. Jean Batten became an international icon in the 1930s. A brave, beautiful woman, she made a number of heroic solo flights across the world. The newspapers couldn’t get enough of her; and yet she suddenly slipped out of view, disappearing to the Caribbean with her mother and dying in obscurity in Majorca, buried in a pauper’s grave. Fiona Kidman’s enthralling novel delves into the life of this enigmatic woman, exploring mysteries and crafting a fascinating exploration of early flying, of mothers and daughters, and of fame and secrecy.” (Catalogue)

Science Fiction and Fantasy showcase or recently acquired books

It was rumoured she held grudges till they died of old age, then had them stuffed and mounted.”

― David Weber, Field of Dishonour

Some of the biggest names in the Science Fiction and Fantasy writing community have released books recently including David Weber, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Gregory Benford.  And as an icing to this very rich cake there  is also a wealth of other titles of great interest including the third entry in Josiah Bancrof’s Books of Babel series The Hod King and Endgames by L.E. Modesitt Jr. So there’s lots of fantastic new titles on offer to be read. Enjoy.

The Hod king / Bancroft, Josiah
“The third novel in the highly acclaimed Books of Babel series, set in a labyrinthine world of menace and wonder. On the orders of the mysterious Sphinx, Thomas Senlin and his crew are dragged ever further into the Tower’s conspiracies. Meanwhile, the hods climb the Black Trail in darkness and whisper of their king. ” (Catalogue)

 

The winter of the witch / Arden, Katherine
“One girl can make a difference…Moscow is in flames, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to blame. Vasilisa, a girl with extraordinary gifts, must flee for her life, pursued by those who blame their misfortune on her magic.Then a vengeful demon returns, stronger than ever. Determined to engulf the world in chaos, he finds allies among men and spirits. Mankind and magical creatures alike find their fates resting on Vasya’s shoulders. But she may not be able to save them all.” (Catalogue)

 

Rewrite : loops in the timespace / Benford, Gregory
“In this thematic sequel to Gregory Benford’s award-winning bestseller Timescape, a history professor finds that he is able travel back to 1968, the year he was sixteen–here, he finds a slew of mentors with the same ability, including Robert Heinlein, Albert Einstein, and Philip K. Dick. ” (Catalogue)

 

Vigilance / Bennett, Robert Jackson
“Robert Jackson Bennett’s Vigilance is a dark science fiction action parable from an America that has permanently surrendered to gun violence. The United States. 2030. John McDean executive produces “Vigilance,” a reality game show designed to make sure American citizens stay alert to foreign and domestic threats. Shooters are introduced into a “game environment,” and the survivors get a cash prize. The TV audience is not the only one that’s watching though, and McDean soon finds out what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera.” (Catalogue)

The prisoner of Limnos : a fantasy novella in the world of the five gods / Bujold, Lois McMaster
“Penric and Nikys receive a letter from a friend warning them that Nikys’s mother has been taken hostage, and the pair set out to rescue her — adapted from publisher description.” (Catalogue)

 

 

The kingdom of copper / Chakraborty, S. A.
“Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad–and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there. Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend.” (Catalogue)

Here and now and then / Chen, Mike
To save his daughter, he’ll go anywhere – and any-when… Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in IT, trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142. Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives – eighteen years too late.” (Catalogue)

Endgames / Modesitt, L. E.
“Solidar is in chaos. Charyn, the young and untested ruler of Solidar, has survived assassination, and he struggles to gain control of a realm in the grip of social upheaval, war, and rioting. Solidar cannot be allowed to slide into social and political turmoil that will leave the High Holders with their ancient power and privilege, and the common people with nothing. But the stakes are even higher than he realizes. ” (Catalogue)

 

Shadow captain / Reynolds, Alastair
“Adrana and Fura Ness have finally been reunited, but both have changed beyond recognition. Once desperate for adventure, now Adrana is haunted by her enslavement on the feared pirate Bosa Sennen’s ship. And rumors of Bosa Sennen’s hidden cache of treasure have ensnared her sister, Fura, into single-minded obsession. Neither is safe; because the galaxy wants Bosa Sennen dead and they don’t care if she’s already been killed. They’ll happily take whoever is flying her ship.” (Catalogue)

Through fiery trials / Weber, David
“The unholy war between the small but mighty island realm of Charis and the radical, luddite Church of God’s Awaiting has finally come to an end. Those on the side of progressing humanity through advanced technology have finally triumphed over their oppressors. However, even though a provisional veil of peace has fallen over human colonies, many secrets of Safehold’s past still remain unearthed. With new alliances forged and old regimes fractured, Merlin–the cybernetic avatar of Earth’s last survivor and immortal beacon to humanity–and the colonies of Safehold have many adventures ahead.” (Catalogue)

Comics to Television – Graphic Novel showcase.

Television has long looked to other sources for creative inspiration for its programmes, the world of classic novels has been regularly plundered.  And there has also been a long standing tradition of adapting comic books. As far back as the 1950’s and 60’s the small screen created series featuring many famous comic creations such as Superman,  the archly camp Adam West’s  Batman and in the 1970’s Linda Carter made the role of Wonder woman her own . More recently there has been a whole raft of graphic novels that have been given the green light for small screen adaptation. And to celebrate both past and present we have created a graphic novel showcase to celebrate the rich and diverse contribution graphic works that are either showing, regarded as classics or are in development for the small screen . Below is just a small taster of this fabulous Graphic novel showcase to whet your appetite. Enjoy.

Now showing.

The Umbrella Academy. Volume 1, Apocalypse suite / Way, Gerard
“Way, of the East Coast rock band My Chemical Romance, makes his comics writing debut in this outrageous superhero epic that Grant Morrison calls “an ultraviolet psychedelic sherbet bomb of wit and ideas.” (Catalogue)

Doom Patrol. Vol. 1, Brick by brick / Way, Gerard
“Casey Brinke is a young EMT, working the graveyard shift and dealing with a past so bizarre, she’s not sure what’s real and what’s make-believe. With her partner, Sam Reynolds, she’s about to blaze a path through the darkest alleys and blackest hours of the city. The people she finds there–Robotman, Crazy Jane, Negative Man, and Flex Mentallo– will blow your mind. Together, these incredible beings have redefined what it means to be a superhero. Now their power rests in eager new hands.” (Catalogue)

Happy! / Morrison, Grant
Meet Nick Sax, a corrupt, intoxicated ex-cop turned hit-man, adrift in a stinking twilight world of casual murder, soulless sex, eczema, and betrayal. With a hit gone wrong, a bullet in his side, the cops and the mob on his tail, and a monstrous child killer in a Santa suit on the loose, Nick and his world will be changed forever this Christmas — by a tiny blue horse called Happy Collects issues #1-4 of the mini-series.” (Catalogue)

Coming soon.

Watchmen / Moore, Alan
“Exceptional graphic artwork brings to life the story of the Watchmen as they race against time to find a killer, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.” (Catalogue)

Y : the last man [1] : unmanned / Vaughan, Brian K
“This is the saga of Yorick Brown—the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he’s the last man on earth.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Invincible : ultimate collection, Volume 1 / Kirkman, Robert
“Mark Grayson is just like most everyone else his age. He’s a senior at a normal American high school. He has a crappy part time job after school and on weekends. He likes girls quite a bit but quite doesn’t understand them. He enjoys hanging out with his friends and sleeping late on Saturdays (at least until the good cartoons come on). The only difference between Mark and everyone else his age is that his father is the most powerful superhero on the planet, and as of late, he seems to be inheriting his father’s powers. But that’s only the beginning of Mark’s problems (Catalogue)

Classics. 

Batman ’66. Vol. 1 / Parker, Jeff
“Put on your go-go boots and get ready to “Batusi” back to the Swingin’ 60s as DC Comics reimagines the classic Batman TV series in comics form for the first time These all-new stories portray The Caped Crusader, The Boy Wonder and their fiendish rogues gallery just the way viewers remember them.” (Catalogue)

Astro Boy. Volume 6 / Tezuka, Osamu
“In the wake of the critical acclaim of the incredible Metropolis animated feature, interest in the work of Osamu Tezuka, creator of Metropolis and the godfather of Japanese comics and animation, has never been greater, and Astro Boy is the flame that ignited the modern manga and anime industries. Perhaps the most endearing, and enduring, character to emerge from Tezuka’s volcanic imagination, Astro Boy thrills, amuses, and warms the hearts of readers of all ages. ” (Catalogue)

Ghost in the shell : stand alone complex. Episode 1, Section 9 / Kinutani, Yū
“Stand Alone Complex takes place in the year 2030, in the fictional Japanese city of New Port. When a high-ranking government official is kidnapped, the Prime Minister must call in his top crime fighting force known as Section 9. Lead by the beautiful (and deadly) Major Kusanagi, the cybernetically enhanced squad must use all their skill to take down the kidnappers and rescue the hostages. But that’s only half of the mission; can Kusanagi and company find out who’s behind the kidnapping, and, more importantly, just what they’re after?” (adapted from Catalogue)

Big shiny spaceships and cool robots: our Hard Science Fiction showcase

Levathian Wakes book cover

“The History Of The Universe In Three Words.
CHAPTER ONE
Bang!
CHAPTER TWO
Sssss
CHAPTER THREE
Crunch
THE END.”
― Iain M. Banks

Sophisticated artificial intelligence, gleaming robots, vast intergalactic space ships and enviable technology rooted in scientifically feasible ideas: these are just some of the trademark characteristics of the genre known as Hard Science Fiction! This month we’ve dedicated our science fiction showcase to these very works, so if you like your spacecraft big and shiny and your space suit mega-practical and hi-tech, then this showcase is very much for you. Enjoy!

Below is just a tiny selection of our favourite titles that fit into this genre.

Syndetics book coverExcession / Iain M. Banks.
Two and a half millennia ago, the artefact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year-old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black-body sphere, and it did nothing. Then it disappeared. Now it is back.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe complete robot / Isaac Asimov.
“Isaac Asimov’s Robot series – from the iconic collection I, Robot to four classic novels – contains some of the most influential works in the history of science fiction. Establishing and testing the three laws of robotics, they continue to shape the understanding and design of artificial intelligence to this day. Could a robot ever show true creativity? Is it wise to trust self-driving cars? Will robotic body parts transform human beings into machines? Will organic technology allow robots to become human? The Complete Robot combines the stories in I, Robot and The Rest of the Robots.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLeviathan wakes / James S.A. Corey.
“Two hundred years after migrating into space, mankind is in turmoil. When a reluctant ship’s captain and washed-up detective find themselves involved in the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings our solar system to the brink of civil war, and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history. Leviathan Wakes is the breakneck science fiction adventure that launched the epic bestselling Expanse series.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe naked god / Peter F. Hamilton.
“Quinn Dexter is loose on Earth, destroying the giant arcologies one at a time. As Louise Kavanagh tries to track him down, she manages to acquire some strange and powerful allies whose goal doesn’t quite match her own. The campaign to liberate Mortonridge from the possessed degenerates into a horrendous land battle, the kind which hasn’t been seen by humankind for six hundred years; then some of the protagonists escape in a very unexpected direction. Joshua Calvert and Syrinx fly their starships on a mission to find the Sleeping God — which an alien race believes holds the key to overthrowing the possessed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNinefox gambit / Yoon Ha Lee.
“To win an impossible war Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general. Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAltered carbon / Richard K. Morgan.Altered Carbon
“In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChasm City / Alastair Reynolds.Chasm City
“The once-utopian Chasm City–a domed human settlement on an otherwise inhospitable planet–has been overrun by a virus known as the Melding Plague, capable of infecting any body, organic or computerized. Now, with the entire city corrupted–from the people to the very buildings they inhabit–only the most wretched sort of existence remains. For security operative Tanner Mirabel, it is the landscape of nightmare through which he searches for a low-life post-mortal killer. But the stakes are raised when his search brings him face to face with a centuries-old atrocity that history would rather forget.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRed Mars / Kim Stanley Robinson.Red Mars
From the first pioneers who looked back at Earth and saw a small blue star, to the first colonists – hand-picked scientists with the skills necessary to create life from cold desert – Red Mars is the story of a new genesis. It is also the story of how Man must struggle against his own self-destructive mechanisms to achieve his dreams: before he even sets foot on the red planet, factions are forming, tensions are rising and violence is brewing… for civilization can be very uncivilized.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Procedural Crime Writers: Our latest crime fiction showcase.

“He was pushing fifty, with a face life had chewed on, and long wisps of graying hair parted low on one side and combed over his balding pate.”

Patricia Cornwell, Postmortem

Police procedural crime novels place the emphasis on investigative procedure. The investigative procedure often carried out by a police officer, a forensic scientist or someone closely associated with a police department- rather than the more traditional private investigator. Sometimes unlike traditional ‘whodunnits,’ the identity of the criminal is revealed at the start of the book, inverting the traditional narrative structure turning the readers’ interest in the book into a ‘how to catch em’. These novels attempt to correctly depict police activities, and procedure, and to accurately portray police-related topics such as interrogation, autopsies, gathering evidence and acting within existing real legal constraints.

Below is just a small sample of the books featured in this showcase.  Enjoy.

Syndetics book coverCreole belle / James Lee Burke.Creole Belle
Creole Belle finds Dave Robicheaux languishing in a New Orleans recovery unit since surviving a bayou shoot-out. The detective’s body is healing; it’s his morphine-addled mind that conjures spectral visions of Tee Jolie Melton, a young woman who in reality has gone missing. An iPod with an old blues song left by his bedside turns Robicheaux into a man obsessed… And as oil companies assign blame after an epic disaster threatens the Gulf’s very existence, Robicheaux unearths connections between tragedies both global and personal–and faces down forces that can corrupt and destroy the best of men.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath at sea: Montalbano’s early cases / Andrea Camilleri; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“A collection of mysteries, from the title story, Death at Sea, in which the alleged manslaughter of an engineer upon a fishing trawler leads Inspector Montalbano to uncover an even more sinister crime, Andrea Camilleri takes his readers through eight cunning cases from the Vigàtan police files. Starting with an arson attack on a hotel that leaves the distraught owner as the chief suspect; to the mysterious case of a woman who goes missing in an underpass with a million lira in her handbag; to a threat on Montalbano’s own life, as an anonymous motorcyclist takes a shot at the detective.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cleaner / Paul Cleave.The Cleaner
“Three-letter word for omniscient being, middle letter O. Joe. After all, Joe is in control of everything in his simple life, including both his day job at the police department and his ‘night work’. Nor is he bothered by the daily news reports of the Christchurch Carver, who, they say, murdered seven women. But Joe knows the Carver only killed six. He knows that for a fact. And Joe is going to find that copy-cat killer, he’s going to punish him for the one, then frame him for the other six. It’s a perfect plan because he already knows he can outwit the police.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverScarpetta / Patricia Cornwell.
“Leaving behind her forensic pathology practice in South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta takes up an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured patient in a psychiatric ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, has specifically asked for her, and when she literally has her gloved hands on him, he begins to talk – and the story he has to tell turns out to be one of the most bizarre she has ever heard. He says his injuries were sustained in the course of a murder, that he did not commit. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLast bus to Woodstock / Colin Dexter.
“The death of Sylvia Kaye figured dramatically in Thursday afternoon’s edition of the Oxford Mail. By Friday evening, Inspector Morse had informed the nation that the police were looking for a dangerous man – facing charges of wilful murder, sexual assault and rape. But as the obvious leads fade into twilight and darkness, Morse becomes more and more convinced that passion holds the key.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Black Dahlia / James Ellroy.
“Los Angeles, 1st January 1947- a beautiful young woman walked into the night and met her horrific destiny. Five days later, her tortured body was found drained of blood and cut in half. The newspapers called her ‘The Black Dahlia’. Two cops are caught up in the investigation and embark on a hellish journey that takes them to the core of the dead girl’s twisted life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fire engine that disappeared / Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö.
“A dingy Stockholm apartment house under police surveillance blows up in an explosion that kills at least three people. Martin Beck doesn’t suspect arson or murder until he discovers a peculiar link with suicide that same day.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBound / Vanda Symon.
“A brutal home invasion shocks the nation. A man is murdered, his wife bound, gagged and left to watch. But when Detective Sam Shephard scratches the surface, the victim, a successful businessman, is not all he seems to be. And when the evidence points to two of Dunedin’s most hated criminals, the case seems cut and dried… until the body count starts to rise. Meanwhile, Sam is in big trouble again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The 2019 Nebula long list has been announced

The long list for the 2018 Nebula best novel award has just been announced. The Nebula’s are one of the most prestigious awards in the Science Fiction and Fantasy community and are awarded annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. They aim to recognise the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in America the previous year. They were first awarded in 1966 and now feature six categories the most recent category addition was in 2018 when a Best Game writing category was added. The latest list of nominees is incredibly varied and shows just how strong and vibrant the Science Fiction genre is.

The full fiction finalists list:

The poppy war / Kuang, R. F.
“A powerful epic fantasy novel with roots in the 20th-century history of China. Opium runs through the heart of the Nikara Empire, a constant reminder of the war with the Federation of Mugen that brought it to the empire’s shores. A war that only ended thanks to three heroes – the Vipress, the Dragon Emperor and the Gatekeeper – known as the Trifecta. They were legendary figures, each bestowed with god-like powers, who united the warlords of the Empire against the Federation. Decades have passed. The Trifecta is shattered; the Dragon Emperor is dead, the Gatekeeper is missing, and the Vipress alone sits on the throne at Sinegard. Peace reigns, yet the poppy remains.” (Catalogue)

The calculating stars / Kowal, Mary Robinette
“On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process. Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Blackfish City / Miller, Sam J
“After the climate wars, a floating city was constructed in the Arctic Circle. Once a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, it has started to crumble under the weight of its own decay – crime and corruption have set in, a terrible new disease is coursing untreated through the population, and the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside deepest poverty are spawning unrest. Into this turmoil comes a strange new visitor – a woman accompanied by an orca and a chained polar bear. She disappears into the crowds looking for someone she lost thirty years ago, followed by whispers of a vanished people who could bond with animals. Her arrival draws together four people and sparks a chain of events that will lead to unprecedented acts of resistance.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverSpinning silver / Naomi Novik
Spinning Silver is a new take on the classic fairytale Rumpelstiltskin. Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father is not a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has left his family on the edge of poverty – until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what is owed, and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. But when an ill-advised boast brings her to the attention of the cold creatures who haunt the wood, nothing will be the same again.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Already highly regarded is the stunning Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. It is an urban fantasy adventure novel written from a Native American viewpoint set in a future climate changed ravaged Earth,  its a powerful, unique and gripping read.

Currently available on our eBook Overdrive service:

Overdrive coverWitchmark, C. L. Polk (ebook)
“In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.” (adapted from Overdrive description)