A superb cornucopia of Scandi Noir, cosy crime and other mystery gems in this month’ s mystery fiction showcase

Everything you do leaves traces, doesn’t it. The life you’ve lived is written all over you, for those who can read.”
― Jo Nesbø, Flaggermusmannen

The ever popular crime genre of Scandi Noir is well represented in this month’s recently acquired mystery fiction showcase with newly acquired books by Scandi Noir luminaries Anne Holt and Jo Nesbo. There are also some new delicious Cosy crime novels by Rebecca Tope and Susan Wittig Albert. And to round up this month’s acquisitions we also have the remarkable critically lauded masterpiece of modern writing Drive your plow over the bones of the dead by Man Booker Prize winning Polish author Olga Tokarczuk. Enjoy


Knife / Nesbø, Jo
” KNIFE sees Harry Hole waking up with a ferocious hangover, his hands and clothes covered in blood. Not only is Harry about to come face to face with an old, deadly foe, but with his darkest personal challenge yet. The twelfth instalment in Jo Nesbo?s internationally bestselling crime fiction series.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive coverA grave for two / Holt, Anne
“Selma Falck’s personal life and career as a lawyer have hit rock bottom. That is until Hege Chin Morell – Norway’s best female skier – approaches her desperate to overturn a doping charge. With two months to the Winter Olympics, Selma faces the seemingly almost impossible task of clearing Morell’s name. However, when a male skier is found dead after a training accident, it becomes clear to Selma that there is something more serious at risk.  As Selma’s race against time begins, she realizes that more lives are at stake.” (Adapted from Catalogue)Also available as an eBook.

Syndetics book coverSecrets in the Cotswolds / Rebecca Tope.
“Thea Slocombe is struggling to entertain her stepchildren through the long summer holiday while her husband Drew works, so she keenly accepts a new job house-sitting in Barnsley. However, her commission proves to be far from relaxing when she stumbles across a woman hiding among some bushes. The woman’s story is thin and incoherent, but Thea agrees to offer her sanctuary for the night.When her guest is found dead the next morning Thea turns to the police for help. As she digs deeper into the deceased’s background, she discovers a tangled web of lies, secrets and at least three very likely suspects …” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A plain vanilla murder / Albert, Susan Wittig
“​China and Ruby Wilcox are presenting their annual “Not Just Plain Vanilla Workshop,” always a huge hit with customers at Thyme & Seasons Herb Shop. But someone involved with the workshop is driven by a deadly motive, and China soon finds herself teaming up with the very pregnant Pecan Springs police chief Sheila Dawson to solve a vanilla-flavored murder. There’s no shortage of other suspects: a betrayed lover, a disgruntled graduate student, jealous colleagues, and a gang of orchid smugglers. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Drive your plow over the bones of the dead / Tokarczuk, Olga
” Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead takes place in a remote Polish village, where Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, she becomes involved in the investigation. Duszejko is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she’s unconventional, believing in the stars, and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake, from whose work the title of the book is taken. ” (Catalogue)  Also available as an eBook.

Syndetics book coverThe shameless / Ace Atkins.The Shameless
” Twenty years ago, teenager Brandon Taylor walked into the Big Woods north of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, and never returned. For former Army Ranger-turned-sheriff Quinn Colson, the Taylor case has particular meaning. As a ten-year-old, Colson had been lost in those same woods, and came back from them alive and a local legend. Years later, bones of a child are found in the woods, confirming for many the end to the Taylor story.  Quinn’s search for answers will upset the corruption that’s plagued his home since before he came back from Afghanistan. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Love and death among the cheetahs / Bowen, Rhys
“Georgie is excited when Darcy announces out of the blue that they are flying to Kenya for their extended honeymoon. It is only after they arrive that she suspects he has actually been sent there on an assignment. Shocked at the completely decadent lifestyle that involves wild parties and rampant infidelity. One of the leading lights in the community, Lord Cheriton, is found dead along a lonely stretch of road.  It seems the Happy Valley community wants to close the case, but as Georgie and Darcy investigate, almost everyone has a motive to want Lord Cheriton dead.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Palm Beach, Finland / Tuomainen, Antti
“Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village–the “hottest beach in Finland.” The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Afrofuturism – the future won’t write itself

There are many definitions of Afrofuturism; the one I gravitate towards refers to media that explores futures for black individuals and the black community. This is where it intersects with science fiction and fantasy—writers and artists often use technology and the fantastical as elements in these explorations.

(From Book Riot)

Afrofuturism has expression in other mediums – a small nod here to musical artists ranging from Sun Ra to Janelle Monae and Missy Elliott, not just for their musical talents, but for their visual representation of Afrofuturism, using music videos or personal style to tell of celebrated identity reaching beyond the present. This year the Hugo awards has Monae’s Dirty Computer in the lineup for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. The movie Black Panther pulled in accolades and attention beyond the usual Marvel film viewers. Nnedi Okorafor of Binti fame is the voice behind the Blank Panther Shuri series.

Our selection below showcases a few key library titles in a variety of formats (print, eBooks etc.).  Enjoy!


The Rosewater insurrection / Thompson, Tade
“All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret.
The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. But Aminat is stymied by the machinations of the Mayor of Rosewater and the emergence of an old enemy of Wormwood.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover The City Born Great, N. K. Jemisin (eBook)
“In this standalone short story by N. K. Jemisin, author of The Fifth Season, the winner of this year’s Hugo Award for Best Novel, New York City is about to go through a few changes. Like all great metropolises before it, when a city gets big enough, old enough, it must be born; but there are ancient enemies who cannot tolerate new life. Thus New York will live or die by the efforts of a reluctant midwife…and how well he can learn to sing the city’s mighty song.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Prey of Gods, Nicky Drayden (eAudiobook)
“A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country. An emerging AI uprising. And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat of every human she encounters. It’s up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there’s a future left to worry about.” (Overdrive description)

BTTM FDRS / Daniels, Ezra Claytan
“Once a thriving working-class Chicago neighbourhood, the ‘Bottomyards’ is now the definition of urban blight. When an aspiring fashion designer named Darla and her image-obsessed friend, Cynthia, descend upon the neighbourhood in search of cheap rent, they soon discover something far more seductive and sinister lurking behind the walls of their new home. At turns funny, scary, and thought provoking, BTTM FDRS unflinchingly confronts the monsters – both metaphorical and real – that are displacing cultures in urban neighbourhoods today.” (Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe rage of dragons / Evan Winter.
“The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable war for almost two hundred years. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine. Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. Only, he doesn’t get the chance.” (Syndetics summary)

Overdrive cover An Unkindness of Ghosts, Rivers Solomon (ebook), (eAudiobook)
“Welcome to the Tarlands aboard the space vessel HSS Matilda. The Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human. When the autopsy of Matilda‘s sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother’s suicide some quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother’s footsteps.” (Overdrive description)

Do you dream of Terra-Two? / Oh, Temi (print) (eBook)
“A century ago, scientists theorised that a habitable planet existed in a nearby solar system. Today, ten astronauts will leave a dying Earth to find it. It will take the team 23 years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years spent in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong.” (Catalogue)

Home / Okorafor, Nnedi
“It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she found friendship in the unlikeliest of places. And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders. But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace. After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?” (Catalogue)

Parable of the sower / Butler, Octavia E
“The time is 2025. The place is California, where small walled communities must protect themselves from hordes of desperate scavengers and roaming bands of people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape, and murder. When one small community is overrun, Lauren Olamina, an 18 year old black woman with the hereditary train of “hyperempathy” which causes her to feel others’ pain as her own–sets off on foot along the dangerous coastal highways, moving north into the unknown.” (Catalogue)

Wellington City Libraries’ Alternative Booker Longlist!

I do not share the pessimism of the age about the novel. They are one of our greatest spiritual, aesthetic and intellectual inventions.”

— Richard Flanagan, Man Booker acceptance speech

It’s arrived: the longlist for the literary world’s most prestigious prize! But did the judges get it right? Were the best books really selected? Well, in a slightly mischievous vein we’ve examined the best titles of recent months and selected the ones that, in our opinion, should have, could have, might have been on the 2019 Booker longlist.

To start off with we’ve got our very own This Mortal Boy from Fiona Kidman, as well as the fabulous Tina Makereti’s The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke. Then of course there’s Ali Smith’s Spring and Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me. Books from a clutch of less famous authors also thoroughly impressed us, including Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and The Chain by Adrian McKinty. So, for your consideration, here is Wellington City Libraries’ alternative Booker longlist!

Is there anything we missed out? Is there a novel you think should have made the cut? Then please, let us know.

This mortal boy / Kidman, Fiona  (print) (eBook)
“Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only 20 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 catalogue)

The imaginary lives of James Pōneke / Makereti, Tina (print) (eBook)
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. 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.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The porpoise / Haddon, Mark
“A newborn baby is the sole survivor of a terrifying plane crash. She is raised in wealthy isolation by an overprotective father. She knows nothing of the rumours about a beautiful young woman, hidden from the world. When a suitor visits, he understands far more than he should. Forced to run for his life, he escapes aboard The Porpoise, an assassin on his tail… So begins a wild adventure of a novel, damp with salt spray, blood and tears.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Machines like me and people like you / McEwan, Ian
“Britain has lost the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding. Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions–what makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart?” (Adapted from catalogue)

Spring : a novel / Smith, Ali (print) (eBook)
“From the Man Booker-short-listed author of Autumn and Winter comes the highly anticipated third novel in the acclaimed Seasonal Quartet. On the heels of Autumn and Winter comes Spring, the continuation of Ali Smith’s celebrated Seasonal Quartet, a series of stand-alone novels, separate but interconnected (as the seasons are), wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The chain / McKinty, Adrian
“You just dropped off your child at the bus stop. A panicked stranger calls your phone. Your child has been kidnapped. The stranger then explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger. The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child–within 24 hours. Your child will be released only when the next victim’s parents kidnap yet another child. And most importantly, if you don’t kidnap a child, your child will be murdered. You are now part of The Chain.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Big sky / Atkinson, Kate
“Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village in North Yorkshire, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son Nathan and ageing Labrador Dido. It’s a picturesque setting, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes. Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, seems straightforward, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network–and back into the path of his old friend Reggie.” (Adapted from catalogue)

On earth we’re briefly gorgeous : a novel / Vuong, Ocean
“A young man named Little Dog writes a letter to his mother, who cannot read, investigating a family history begun in Vietnam. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The old drift : a novel / Serpell, Namwali (print) (eBook)
“Namwali Serpell’s ground-shaking debut novel is an epic story of three generations of three Zambian families–one black, one brown and one white. Unfolding over 200 years, but set mainly in the twentieth century, one family begins in Italy, another in England and the third in Zambia. The three families’ lives become entwined as each is plagued by a curse passed on down the generations.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Booker Longlist is Here!

Booklists–who doesn’t love a booklist? Especially when it’s the just-released Booker longlist! This year’s selection includes The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to her celebrated 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale. With The Testaments not due for publication until September, it’s being kept thoroughly under wraps by the Booker judges, so the rest of us will have to wait to draw our own conclusions. Deborah Levy’s The Man Who Saw Everything is also yet to be released, and will be her third entry in the Booker listings. September will also bring us the menace and banter of Kevin Barry’s Night Boat to Tangier.

Check out the full ‘Booker’s dozen’ below!

Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments (Vintage, Chatto & Windus)
Kevin Barry (Ireland), Night Boat to Tangier (Canongate Books)
Oyinkan Braithwaite (UK/Nigeria), My Sister, The Serial Killer (Atlantic Books)
Lucy Ellmann (USA/UK), Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar Press)
Bernardine Evaristo (UK), Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton)
John Lanchester (UK), The Wall (Faber & Faber)
Deborah Levy (UK), The Man Who Saw Everything (Hamish Hamilton)
Valeria Luiselli (Mexico/Italy), Lost Children Archive (4th Estate)
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), An Orchestra of Minorities (Little Brown)
Max Porter (UK), Lanny (Faber & Faber)
Salman Rushdie (UK/India), Quichotte (Jonathan Cape)
Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey), 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking)
Jeanette Winterson (UK), Frankissstein (Jonathan Cape)

The Testaments / Atwood, Margaret
“In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the question that has tantalized readers for decades: what happens to Offred? When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her–freedom, prison or death. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story fifteen years later, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

 My sister, the serial killer : a novel / Braithwaite, Oyinkan  (print) (eBook)
“Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works is the bright spot in her life. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Girl, woman, other / Evaristo, Bernardine
“Teeming with life and crackling with energy – a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.” (Catalogue)

The wall / Lanchester, John (print) (eBook)
“Kavanagh begins his life patrolling the Wall. If he’s lucky, he only has two years of this, 729 more nights. The best thing that can happen is that he survives and gets off the Wall and never has to spend another day of his life anywhere near it. He longs for this to be over; longs to be somewhere else. He will soon find out what Defenders do and who the Others are. But somewhere, in the dark cave of his mind, he thinks: wouldn’t it be interesting if something did happen, if they came, if you had to fight for your life?” (Adapted from the catalogue)

The man who saw everything / Levy, Deborah
“It is 1988 and Saul Adler, a narcissistic young historian, has been invited to Communist East Berlin to do research. As a gift for his translator’s sister, a Beatles fanatic who will be his host, Saul’s girlfriend will shoot a photograph of him standing in the crosswalk on Abbey Road. As he waits for her to arrive, he is grazed by an oncoming car, which changes the trajectory of his life . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Syndetics book coverLost children archive / Valeria Luiselli (print) (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“A family in New York packs the car and sets out on a road trip. They head south west, to the Apacheria, the regions of the US which used to be Mexico. Meanwhile, thousands of children are journeying north, travelling to the US border from Central America and Mexico. They have been met by a coyote: a man who speaks to them roughly. They cross a river on rubber tubing and walk for days. Then they climb to the top of a train and travel precariously in the open container on top.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

An orchestra of minorities : a novel / Obioma, Chigozie
“Umuahia, Nigeria. Chinonso, a young poultry farmer, sees a woman attempting to jump to her death. Horrified, Chinonso 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. Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family, and when they officially object to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells his possessions to attend a college in Cyprus. But once there, he discovers that all is not what it seems.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Syndetics book coverLanny / Max Porter (print) (eBook)
“Not far from London, there is a village. This village belongs to the people who live in it and to those who lived in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England’s mysterious past and its confounding present. It belongs to Mad Pete, the grizzled artist. To ancient Peggy, gossiping at her gate. To families dead for generations, and to those who have only recently moved here. But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort who has woken from his slumber in the woods. Dead Papa Toothwort, who is listening to them all.” (Syndetics summary)

Quichotte / Rushdie, Salman
“Quichotte, an ageing travelling salesman obsessed with TV, is on a quest for love. Unfortunately, his daily diet of reality TV, sitcoms, films, soaps, comedies and dramas has distorted his ability to separate fantasy from reality. He wishes an imaginary son, Sancho, into existence, while obsessively writing love letters to a celebrity he knows only through his screen. Together the two innocents set off across America in Quichotte’s trusty Chevy Cruze to find her and convince her of his love.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Frankissstein : a love story / Winterson, Jeanette
“Funny and furious, bold and clear-sighted, Frankissstein sees Jeanette Winterson take on identity, technology and sexuality to breathe new life into Mary Shelley’s classic story. Told in part through Shelley’s eyes as she dreams up her monstrous creation, Winterson launches us into a modern-day nightmare where consumerism and politics are set to bring humanity to breaking point. Spanning three centuries and multiple narratives, Frankisssteinis at once a moving love story and a feminist rallying cry for our times.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Neil Gaiman, Author

The fabulous, ubiquitous, library-loving Neil Gaiman has just announced that his beloved Sandman series of graphic novels has been green-lit as an eleven-part Netflix series.

Described by Warner Brothers as a massive deal, Sandman will be one of the most expensive TV series ever made. Fans will be mega-excited by the news and desperate to see the final product–alas, still a long way off. Several previous attempts to film Sandman have fallen by the wayside with one potential director describing the series as “unfilmable”.

Neil Gaiman is of course no stranger to film and TV adaptations of his work or indeed writing directly for either medium. Just a brief overview of his writing credits brings such notable films and programmes as Good Omens, American Gods, Coraline, Stardust and Mirrormask as well as several Doctor Who episodes and one episode of Babylon 5!

Sandman was originally–and famously–pitched as a Wild Cards story to George R. R. Martin, but was turned down due to Neil Gaiman’s relatively unknown status at the time. Undeterred, Gaiman went on to write the graphic novels that would become the legends that they are. Here for your delight and entertainment is just a small sample of the numerous, wonderful Neil Gaiman titles we have for you in our libraries. Enjoy!


Syndetics book coverThe Sandman. Vol. 1, Preludes & nocturnes / Neil Gaiman, writer; Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, artists.
Also available as an Ebook “In Preludes and Nocturnes, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverAmerican gods [1]: shadows / story and words by Neil Gaiman; script and layouts by P. Craig Russell; art by Scott Hampton.
“This supernatural American road trip fantasy tells the story of a war between the ancient and modern gods. Shadow Moon gets out of jail only to discover his wife is dead. Defeated and broke, he meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who employs him to serve as his bodyguard–thrusting Shadow into a deadly world where a god war is imminent.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Also available: American Gods the television series. Click here for availability of Season One.

Syndetics book coverStardust / Neil Gaiman; original frontispiece and chapter-opening art by Charles Vess.
Also available as an eAudiobookAmong the wondrous, beautiful, and strange literary offspring conceived by Neil Gaiman is his magical 1997 fantasy novel, Stardust, remains a top favorite. An enchanting adult fairy tale about a young man who travels beyond the boundaries of his small village to find a fallen star and win the heart of the woman he loves–the basis for the hit motion picture.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Also available: Stardust the film. Click here for availability.

Syndetics book coverGood omens / Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
Also available as an eAudiobook “There is a hint of Armageddon in the air. According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not particularly looking forward to the coming Rapture. So if they going to stop it from happening, they’ve got to find and kill the AntiChrist. There’s just one glitch: someone seems to have misplaced him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverCoraline / Neil Gaiman; illustrated by Chris Riddell.
Also available as an eBook “There is something strange about Coraline’s new home. It’s not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It’s the other house – the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Also available: Coraline the film. Click here for availability.

Syndetics book coverFragile things: short fictions and wonders / Neil Gaiman.
“Fragile Things is a sterling collection of exceptional tales from Neil Gaiman, multiple award-winning author. A uniquely imaginative creator of wonders whose unique storytelling genius has been acclaimed by a host of literary luminaries from Norman Mailer to Stephen King, Gaiman’s astonishing powers are on glorious displays in Fragile Things. Enter and be amazed!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverNorse mythology / Neil Gaiman.
Also available as an eAudiobook “Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

“To a new World of Gods and Monsters”. Our latest science fiction and fantasy showcase


To a new World of Gods and Monsters. Ha, ha. The creation of life is enthralling, distinctly enthralling, is it not?”
Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

In this month’s science fiction and fantasy showcase we have a fantastically varied selection of newly acquired titles, including New Zealander David Hair’s third book in his epic fantasy series The Sunsurge Quartet called Hearts of Ice; Alastair Reynolds’ Permafrost; Neil Asher’s latest called The Warship; Anne Bishop’s Wild Country and Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Ruin.  Amongst these literary riches we have another in a long line of books inspired by Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus first published in 1818 by the nineteen year old Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The latest literary luminary to be inspired by the work is Jeanette Winterson whose Frankissstein: A Love Story takes a  look specifically at gender fluidity, the meaning of love and desire, transformation and artificial intelligence in the light of this legend.

Syndetics book coverFrankissstein : a love story / Jeanette Winterson.
“In Brexit Britain, a young transgender doctor called Ry is falling in love  – with Victor Stein, a celebrated professor leading the public debate around AI. Across the Atlantic, in Phoenix, Arizona, a cryonics facility houses dozens of bodies of men and women who are medically and legally dead… but waiting to return to life. But the scene is set in 1816, when nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley writes a story about creating a non-biological life-form. What will happen when homo sapiens is no longer the smartest being on the planet?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHearts of ice / David Hair.
“Summer is gone, and the world is turning to ice.  The Rondian Empress Lyra has lost her husband, her army is defeated and the deadly Masked Cabal have seized the Holy City. Lyra and her fellow dwymancers must master their deadly magic, whatever the cost. Even those who believe themselves to be fighting for good must grasp the reins of power with cold-hearted determination, and use even the most terrible weapon, if they are to stop the world from falling apart… for ever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPermafrost / Alastair Reynolds. (print) (ebook)
“Fix the past. Save the present. Stop the future. 2080: at a remote site on the edge of the Arctic Circle, a group of scientists, engineers and physicians gather to gamble humanity’s future on one last-ditch experiment. Their goal: to make a tiny alteration to the past, averting a global catastrophe while at the same time leaving recorded history intact. To make the experiment work, they just need one last recruit: an ageing schoolteacher whose late mother was the foremost expert on the mathematics of paradox.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChildren of ruin / Adrian Tchaikovsky. (print) (ebook)
“Earth’s terraforming program took to the stars. On the world they called Nod, scientists discovered alien life – but it was their mission to overwrite it with the memory of Earth. Then humanity’s great empire fell, and the program’s decisions were lost to time. Aeons later, humanity and its new spider allies detected fragmentary radio signals between the stars. They dispatched an exploration vessel, hoping to find cousins from old Earth. But those ancient terraformers woke something on Nod better left undisturbed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe warship / Neal Asher. (print) (ebook)
“Their nemesis lies in wait . . . Orlandine has destroyed the alien Jain super-soldier by deploying an actual black hole. And now that same weapon hoovers up clouds of lethal Jain technology, swarming within the deadly accretion disc’s event horizon. Yet behind her back, forces incite rebellion on her home world, planning her assassination. Earth Central, humanity’s ruling intelligence, knows Orlandine was tricked into releasing her weapon, and fears the Jain are behind it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWild country / Anne Bishop. (print) (ebook)
“There are ghost towns in the world – places where humans were annihilated in retaliation for the slaughter of the Others. One of those places is Bennett, a town surrounded by wild country. Now efforts are being made to resettle Bennett as a community where humans and Others live together. A young female police officer has been hired as the deputy to a Wolfgard sheriff. A deadly type of Other wants to run a human-style saloon. And a couple with four foster children – one of whom is a blood prophet – hope to find acceptance.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Overdrive coverExhalation / Ted Chiang. (print) (ebook)
“This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In ‘The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,’ a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary ‘Exhalation,’ an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality. In Exhalation, Ted Chiang wrestles with the oldest questions on earth – What is the nature of the universe? What does it mean to be human?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA brightness long ago / Guy Gavriel Kay.
“In a chamber overlooking the nighttime waterways of a maritime city, a man looks back on his youth and the people who shaped his life. Danio Cerra’s intelligence won him entry to a renowned school, though he was only the son of a tailor. He took service at the court of a ruling count – and soon learned why that man was known as The Beast. Danio’s fate changed the moment he recognized Adria Ripoli as she entered the count’s chambers one night – intending to kill. Born to power, Adria had chosen a life of danger – and freedom – instead.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The end of the world as we know it: the best post-apocalyptic fiction!

The trouble with you people is that you’ve been here for thirty million years and your perspectives are all wrong. You miss so much of the transitory beauty of life.”

― J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World

Civilisation as we know it has ended. Some sort of disaster–natural or man-made–has brought it to a shuddering stop. So now what happens? We have a fascination with destruction and catastrophe, and some of our finest writers and most famous novels explore worlds where the normal functioning of society has come to an end. This is our small selection of the best disaster novels from authors including Kurt Vonnegut, P.D. James, Cormac McCarthy and more. Enjoy!

The children of men / James, P. D.
“The year is 2021. No child has been born for twenty-five years. The human race faces extinction. Under the despotic rule of Xan Lyppiat, the Warden of England, the old are despairing and the young cruel. Theo Faren, a cousin of the Warden, lives a solitary life in this ominous atmosphere. That is, until a chance encounter with a young woman leads him into contact with a group of dissenters. Suddenly his life is changed irrevocably.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

For the DVD availability of The Children of Men click here.

The road / McCarthy, Cormac
“A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against lawless bands, the clothes they are wearing–and each other.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Syndetics book coverPlanet of the Apes: the devil’s pawn / [writer, Daryl Gregory; artist, Carlos Magno]
“A brand new story in classic movie continuity! The ferociousness of the apes’ plans against humans is revealed. As humans face oppressive tactics not seen in centuries, they choose to fight with newfound viciousness, leading them to commit an act of revolution so severe it will have reverberations for years to come.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

For the DVD availability of Planet of the Apes click here.

Overdrive cover The Day of the Triffids / John Wyndham (ebook)
“Triffids are odd, interesting little plants. What seems to be a spectacular meteor shower turns into a bizarre, green inferno that blinds everyone and renders humankind helpless. What follows is even stranger: spores from the inferno cause the triffids to take on a life of their own. William Masen somehow managed to escape being blinded in the inferno, and now after leaving the hospital, he may be the only one who can save his species from chaos and eventual extinction.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

For the DVD availability of The Day of the Triffids click here.

Overdrive cover Station Eleven / Emily St John Mandel (ebook)
“DAY ONE: The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the earth like a neutron bomb. WEEK TWO: Civilization has crumbled. YEAR TWENTY: A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe. But now a new danger looms, and he threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Cat’s Cradle / Kurt Vonnegut (ebook)
“Written contemporaneously with the Cuban missile crisis and countenancing a version of a world in the grasp of magnified human stupidity, the novel is centered on Felix Hoenikker, a chemical scientist reminiscent of Robert Oppenheimer… except that Oppenheimer was destroyed by his conscience and Hoenikker, delighting in the disastrous chemicals he has invented, has no conscience at all.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Syndetics book coverDrowned worlds: tales from the Anthropocene and beyond / edited by Jonathan Strahan
“A new anthology, featuring stories set in futures wracked by the deluge, from some the best writers in SF, including Kim Stanley Robinson, Ken Liu, Paul McAuley, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Charlie Jane Anders, Lavie Tidhar and James Morrow. We stand at the beginning of one of the greatest ecological disasters in the time of Man. The world is warming and seas are rising. We may deny it, but we can’t hide when the water comes.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe girl with all the gifts / M. R. Carey
“Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh. Melanie is a very special girl.” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)
For the DVD availability of The Girl with All the Gifts click here.

Syndetics book coverI am legend / Richard Matheson
“Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth … but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are hungry for Neville’s blood. By day he is the hunter, stalking the undead through the ruins of civilisation. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn. How long can one man survive like this?” (Adapted from the Syndetics summary)

The Expanse: the best sci-fi around?!

Leviathan Wakes cover

Stars are better off without us.”
― James S.A. Corey, Leviathan Wakes

Written by James S. A. Corey (the pen name used by collaborators Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), the Expanse series has gained wide-ranging critical and popular success. The Expanse is set in the near future where humankind has colonized the solar system. One of the core themes is the vastness of the universe and the difficulties humans have in relating to its scale and alienness.

The eighth book in the series, Tiamat’s Wrath, was released last month, while the fourth series of the television adaptation is due to air later this year. With a total of four Hugo and three Saturn Award nominations between them, both the books and television series are definitely worth getting your teeth into. Enjoy!


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.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
For The Expanse Season One DVD availability click here.

Syndetics book coverCaliban’s war / James S.A. Corey.
“For someone who didn’t intend to wreck the solar system’s balance of power, Jim Holden did a pretty good job of it. While Earth and Mars have stopped shooting each other, the core alliance is shattered. Then, on one of Jupiter’s moons, a single super-soldier attacks, slaughtering soldiers indiscriminately. The race is on to discover whether this is the vanguard of an alien army, or if the danger lies closer to home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Also available as an eAudiobook. For The Expanse Season Two DVD availability click here.

Syndetics book coverAbaddon’s Gate / James S. A. Corey.
“For generations, the solar system was humanity’s great frontier. Until now. The alien artefact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has emerged to build a massive structure: a gate that leads into a starless dark. Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of ships going out to examine the artefact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding. The greatest danger is the one they brought with them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTiamat’s wrath / James S.A. Corey.
“Thirteen hundred gates have opened to solar systems around the galaxy. But as humanity builds its interstellar empire in the alien ruins, the mysteries and threats grow deeper. Elvi Okoye begins a desperate search to discover the nature of a genocide that happened before the first human beings existed, and to find weapons to fight a war against forces at the edge of the imaginable.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

What to read now Game of Thrones has ended!

Broken Kingdoms cover

Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Are you one of the hordes of people suffering from Game of Thrones withdrawal symptoms? Are you missing the dragons? The action? The intrigue? Are you wondering where to go for fantastic new fantasy–or perhaps you even want a story that explores different concepts and ideas?

Then fear not, help is at hand! We’ve selected a sample of the best fantasy epics around–and all of them are available from your friendly neighbourhood library branch or as part of our eLibrary. Enjoy!

(For our more extensive Overdrive list of recommendations click here.)


Syndetics book coverThe broken kingdoms / N.K. Jemisin.
“In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a strange homeless man on an impulse. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. And Oree’s guest is at the heart of it. . . ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFool’s assassin / Robin Hobb.
“FitzChivalry–royal bastard and former king’s assassin–has left his life of intrigue behind. As far as the rest of the world knows, FitzChivalry Farseer is dead and buried. Masquerading as Tom Badgerlock, Fitz is now married to his childhood sweetheart and leading the quiet life of a country squire. At least he is, until the appearance of menacing, pale-skinned strangers. Now, to protect his new life, the former assassin must once again take up his old one . . .” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Also available as an eBook.

Syndetics book coverThe sorcerer’s daughter: the defenders of Shannara / Terry Brooks.
“The mysterious, magic-wielding Druid order has existed for long ages, battling any evil that threatens the Four Lands–and struggling to be understood and accepted by outsiders. But their hopes of building goodwill are dashed when a demon’s murderous rampage at a peace summit leaves their political opponents dead–casting new suspicions upon the Druids and forcing them to flee from enemies both mortal and monstrous.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Also available: The Shannara Chronicles television series. Click here for availability of Season One and here for availability of Season Two.

Syndetics book coverLeague of dragons / Naomi Novik.
“Napoleon’s invasion of Russia has been roundly thwarted. But even as Capt. William Laurence and the dragon Temeraire pursue the retreating enemy through an unforgiving winter, Napoleon is raising a new force, and he’ll soon have enough men and dragons to resume the offensive. While the emperor regroups, the allies have an opportunity to strike first and defeat him once and for all–if internal struggles and petty squabbles don’t tear them apart.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Also available as an eBook.

Syndetics book coverHeir to Sevenwaters / Juliet Marillier.
“Lady Aisling of Sevenwaters has given birth to another child–a new heir. But the family’s joy turns to despair when the baby is taken from his room and something unnatural is left in his place. Clodagh must enter the showy Otherworld and confront the powerful prince who rules there.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVoyager: Outlander Book 3 / Diana Gabaldon.
“Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had travelled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her–and her body still cries out for him in her dreams. Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived . . .” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Also available: the Outlander television series. Click here for availability.

Overdrive cover “Savage Sword of Conan, Volume 1, Roy Thomas (ebook)
In the mid 1970s following the colossal success of Conan the Barbarian, Roy Thomas helped expand the universe of Conan to showcase further stories and the talents of some of the comics industry’s best with the equally popular Savage Sword of Conan magazine. Now, for the first time in over thirty years, these primal tales, featuring Robert E. Howard’s most popular character, are available, collecting all Savage Sword Conan stories beginning with issue one.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Pawn of Prophecy / David Eddings (ebook)
Myths tell of the ancient wars of Gods and men, and a powerful object–the Orb–that ended the bloodshed. As long as it was held by the line of Riva, it would assure the peace. But a dark force has stolen the Orb, and the prophecies tell of war. Young farm boy Garion knows nothing of myth or fate. But then the mysterious Old Storyteller visits his aunt, and they embark on a sudden journey.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Syndetics book coverThe priory of the orange tree / Samantha Shannon.
“The House of Berethnet has ruled for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction–but assassins are getting closer. Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, protecting her with forbidden magic. Across the dark sea, Tane is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Also available as an eBook.

Different ways of telling stories: New Graphic Novels

This month’s selection of newly acquired Graphic Novels is a deliciously rich cornucopia of voices, graphic styles and different ways of telling stories. From the wonderfully poignant, funny and  compassionate story that is Ross Murray’s Rufus Marigold about a primate suffering from anxiety to legendary graphic novelists Frank Millers latest outing called Xerxes: the fall of the House of Darius and the rise of Alexander, from Max de Radigues unique mother and son take on the Bonnie and Clyde story to the second much anticipated Kabul disco instalment by Nicolas Wild. The rich variety of the graphic novel World is show cased to its fullest extent. Enjoy.

Syndetics book coverA fire story / Brian Fies.
“Early morning on Monday, October 9, 2017, wildfires burned through Northern California, resulting in 44 fatalities. In addition, 6,200 homes and 8,900 structures were destroyed. Author Brian Fies’s first hand account of this tragic event is an honest, unflinching depiction of his personal experiences, including losing his house and every possession he and his wife had that didn’t fit into the back of their car. In the days that followed, as the fires continued to burn through the area, Brian hastily pulled together A Fire Story and posted it online–it immediately went viral.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe weatherman. Vol. 1 / writer, Jody LeHeup ; artist, Nathan Fox.
“Local weatherman and fun-loving amnesiac Nathan Bright was just a normal guy living the good life on terraformed Mars. But the past Nathan didn’t know he had comes back to murder him when he’s accused of carrying out the worst terrorist attack in human history–an event that wiped out nearly the entire population of Earth. Collecting The Weatherman#1-6” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Xerxes : the fall of the House of Darius and the rise of Alexander / Miller, Frank
The ongoing Greek rebellion against Persian tyranny reaches a turning point after the destruction of the city of Sardis and the later battle of Marathon: on a military campaign to vanquish the city of Athens and silence the Greeks once and for all, Xerxes, Persian Prince, watches as his father, King Darius, falls in battle.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rufus Marigold / Murray, Ross
“Rufus Marigold is a primate with a problem. He suffers acutely from anxiety and every social encounter is a harrowing ordeal. A budding artist, Rufus spends his days working in an office. As life become increasingly more of a struggle, Rufus yearns to be defined as something other than an a complete nervous wreck. This volume collects and significantly expands upon the original web comic, resulting in a darkly hilarious yet moving account of living with anxiety.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ice Cream Man. Volume two, Strange Neapolitan / Prince, W. Maxwell
“This critically acclaimed series of not-so-sweet singular stories continues with four more tales of woe, redemption, and unlimited toppings. Collects ICE CREAM MAN #5-8
” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bastard / Radiguès, Max de
“A mother and son “Bonnie & Clyde” star in this internationally acclaimed graphic novel thriller! After taking part in a historic heist — 52 simultaneous robberies at the same time, in the same city — May and Eugene, a young mother and her preteen son, are on the run not only from the law and double-crossed former accomplices, but also their violent past. They crisscross the United States, encountering mysterious truckers, ambitious bandits, and senior citizens living off the grid — while flashbacks show the reader how they got into this deadly situation. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Kabul disco. Book 2, How I managed not to get addicted to opium in Afghanistan / Wild, Nicolas
“It’s 2005. Nicolas Wild is a French cartoonist. He’s broke and about to be homeless. He’s a man without a plan. That is until destiny shows up in his email box: a paid job . . . In Afghanistan In his graphic Travelogue series, Nicolas Wild brilliantly explores the differences between the Afghan cultures around him and his own, as he and his fellow expat friends crash Asura celebrations, avoid the afterlife and muse on the differences between Christian Easter egg hunts and Islamic penance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Polar. Came from the cold / Santos, Victor
“Ripped out of retirement by an assassination attempt, the world’s most deadly spy–the former agent known as Black Kaiser–is a wanted man that’s wanted . . . dead On a collision course with his former employer, the Damocles Agency, Black Kaiser goes head to head with a stab-happy, psychotic torture expert and a seductive but deadly redhead. His mission only ends if he dies or kills everyone out to get him, and he’s not in the habit of dying. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)