“Genghis Khan bathed in sherbet ice cream”: New science fiction and fantasy

It extols death with the luminescent brilliance of a dying star. It is Genghis Khan bathed in sherbet ice cream. The mantis shrimp is the harbinger of blood-soaked rainbows.

The Oatmeal

Welcome to our latest selection of newly acquired fantasy and science fiction titles. Every month we endeavour to highlight new books that aren’t necessarily the highest profile releases or even a reflection of the bestseller lists (although we do sometimes include titles that are on both); instead, we like to select books that have some unusual aspect that catches our attention, that maybe fall off the beaten track, but that we think you might enjoy. From that selection, we then like to go even further and turn the spotlight on one particular title.

For this month’s spotlight book, the book that literally caught our eye (pun intended) was Red side story by Jasper Fforde — a book in which people’s standing in society depends on their ability to perceive colour.

Vision in general is a fascinating subject. In the animal world, the creature with the best vision is commonly acknowledged to be the mantis shrimp. The mantis shrimp has between 12 and 16 types of photoreceptor cells (for comparison we mere humans have three). This enhanced vision means they can see colours and wavelengths way beyond what we can see. Their eyes are also on mobile stalks (see above) and can be rotated in all three dimensions without any loss of perception. And if that weren’t enough, they can actually adjust the colours and wavelengths they see to suit their local environment.

Our other selected titles this month display a rich abundance of scintillating stories and gripping tales and can be all viewed and borrowed below:

Red side story / Fforde, Jasper
“It’s the UK, but not as we know it: civilisation has rebuilt after an unspoken ‘Something that Happened’ five hundred years before. Society is now colour-based, the strict levels of hierarchy dictated by the colours you can see, and the economy, health service and citizen’s aspirations all dominated by visual colour, run by the shadowy National Colour in far-off Emerald City. Out on the fringes of Red Sector West, Eddie Russett and Jane Grey have discovered that all is neither fair nor truthful within their cosy environment…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The tainted cup / Bennett, Robert Jackson
“In Daretana’s most opulent mansion, a high Imperial officer lies dead — killed, to all appearances, when a tree spontaneously erupted from his body. Even in this canton at the borders of the Empire, where contagions abound and the blood of the Leviathans works strange magical changes, it’s a death at once terrifying and impossible. Called in to investigate this mystery is Ana Dolabra, an investigator whose reputation for brilliance is matched only by her eccentricities. At her side is her new assistant, Dinios Kol. Din is an engraver, magically altered to possess a perfect memory. His job is to observe and report, and act as his superior’s eyes and ears…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The book of doors : a novel / Brown, Gareth
“Cassie Andrews works in a New York City bookshop, shelving books, making coffee for customers, and living an unassuming, ordinary life. Until the day one of her favorite customers — a lonely yet charming old man — dies right in front of her. Cassie is devastated. She always loved his stories, and now she has nothing to remember him by. Nothing but the last book he was reading. But this is no ordinary book… It is the Book of Doors. Inscribed with enigmatic words and mysterious drawings, it promises Cassie that any door is every door. You just need to know how to open them…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fathomfolk / Chan, Eliza
“Welcome to Tiankawi – shining pearl of human civilisation and a safe haven for those fleeing civil unrest. Or at least, that’s how it first appears. But in the semi-flooded city, humans are, quite literally, on top: peering down from shining towers and aerial walkways on the fathomfolk – sirens, seawitches, kelpies and kappas – who live in the polluted waters below. For half-siren Mira, promotion to captain of the border guard means an opportunity to help her downtrodden people. But if earning the trust and respect of her human colleagues wasn’t hard enough, everything Mira has worked towards is put in jeopardy when Nami – a know-it-all water dragon and fathomfolk princess – is exiled to the city, under Mira’s watch…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

When the moon hatched / Parker, Sarah A.
“The Creators did not expect their beloved dragons to sail skyward upon their end. To curl into balls just beyond gravity’s grip, littering the sky with tombstones. With moons. They certainly did not expect them to fall. As a valued Elding Blade of the rebellion group Fíur du Ath, Raeve’s job is to kill. To complete orders and never get caught. When a renowned bounty hunter is employed by The Crown to capture a member of the Ath, Raeve’s world is turned upside down. Blood spills, hearts break, and Raeve finds herself at the mercy of the Guild of Nobles-a group of dual-beaded elementals who intend to turn her into a political statement…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The siege of burning grass / Mohamed, Premee
“Alefret, the founder of Varkal’s pacifist resistance, was bombed and maimed by his own government, locked up in a secret prison and tortured by a ‘visionary’ scientist. But now they’re offering him a chance of freedom. Ordered to infiltrate one of Med’ariz’s flying cities, obeying the bloodthirsty zealot Qhudur, he must find fellow anti-war activists in the enemy’s population and provoke them into an uprising against their rulers. He should refuse to serve the warmongers, but what if he could end this pointless war once and for all? Is that worth compromising his own morals and the principles of his fellow resistance members?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook – The siege of burning grass

The great undoing / Allsopp, Sharlene
“In a near future all identity information is encoded in digital language. Nations know where everyone is, all the time. Not everyone agrees with this constant surveillance, and when the system is hijacked and shut down, all global borders are closed. The world is no longer connected, and there is no back-up plan to establish belonging, ownership or trade. Scarlet Friday, whose job is to correct historical record, is stranded on the wrong side of the globe. Befriended by a stranger, she grabs an old, faded history book and writes her own version over the top — a record of the Great Undoing on the run…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Welcome to forever / Tavares, Nathan
“Fox is a memory editor, gifted in the art of creating real life in the digital world. When he wakes up in the Field of Reeds Center for Memory Recovery, the therapists tell him he was victim of a terrorist bombing by Khadija Banks, the pioneer of memory editing turned revolutionary. A bombing which shredded the memory archives of all its victims, including his husband Gabe. Thrust into fragments of memories that survived the blast, Fox struggles to rebuild himself and grieve for a man he can’t remember.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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