Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thongor returns

I’ve known Adrian Cole since the 1970s and have enjoyed his irreverent take on heroic fantasy. For a while he vanished from the scene but I’m glad to report that he is back. First, his Voidal stories have been (re)published by Wildside Press. Then there was the pastiche pulp novel Night of the Heroes; and now he and Robert M Price have posthumously teamed up with Lin Carter to produce Young Thongor (also Wildside Press).

“Lin Carter's greatest creation, the barbarian swordsman Thongor of Lemuria, returns in his first new book in more than 40 years! Young Thongor collects Carter's short stories about Thongor's earliest adventures. Drawing on Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian and Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars, Lin Carter has created an enduring new character sure to please all who treasure sword & sorcery in the classic vein.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Supernatural fantasy has a new antihero, the eponymous Sandman Slim, the star of a new series by Richard Kadrey (out next month on Harper Voyager £9.99).

“Life sucks and then you die. Or, if you’re James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles. Now Stark’s ready for revenge. But when his first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than you’d expect, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future.”

The sequel, Kill the Dead, is also scheduled for 2012.

Triggers by Robert J Sawyer

From Robert J Sawyer, author of Flashforward, comes a new thriller about the power of the mind: Triggers is published in June by Gollancz (£14.99):

“The president of the United States is shot in the head by a would-be assassin. Rushed to hospital and barely saved from death, he discovers that he has new memories - memories that are not his own. A scientific experiment has gone awry, and a small group of people now remember each other's lives. And when one of those people's lives involved access to the most secret and dangerous information in the world, everything will change.”

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Science of Avatar by Stephen Baxter

The Science of Avatar by Stephen Baxter (out this month from Gollancz at £18.99) looks at the science behind the movie and was written with the support of director James Cameron.

“From journeys into deep space to anti-gravity unobtanium, from Pandora's extraordinary flora and fauna to transferring consciousness, Baxter and Cameron reveal that we are often closer to world of Avatar than we might imagine. Baxter is the master of `what-if?' science fiction. In The Science of Avatar he's written a book that will appeal to fans of both science-fiction and popular science.”

Nebula Awards

The 2011 Nebula Awards were presented on 19 May 19, 2012 at the Nebula Awards Weekend, Arlington, Virginia, USA. 

The Novel Award went to Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor)

For further awards and runners’ up check out Locus online

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nightmare by Stephen Leather

Nightmare by Stephen Leather (Hodder £6.99), the third book in the Jack Nightingale supernatural thriller series, is published in June.

“What goes around, comes around. Jack Nightingale learned that as a cop and discovered that it was just as true in the world of the supernatural. His life changed forever on the day he failed to stop a young girl throwing herself to her death. Ever since, he's been haunted by thoughts that he could have done more to save her. Now her cries for help are louder than ever. Is she trapped in eternal torment?”

Half-Sick of Shadows by David Logan

There were two joint winners of the Terry Pratchett “Anywhere but Here, Anywhen but Now Prize”: Apocalypse Cow and by Michael Logan and Half-Sick of Shadows by David Logan (they are not related, we are assured).

Half-Sick of Shadows is now available from Doubleday (£14.99). The author, David Logan, comes from Ireland, has a BA in English Literature and Language, and has run his own magazine.

“On the eve of Granny Hazel’s burial in the back garden, a stranger in his time machine – one that bears an uncanny resemblance to a Morris Minor – visits five year-old Edward with a strange request… Time waits for no man, and yet it came back for Edward.”

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller is published by Headline in August (£14.99):

The Road – but with hope. Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's just about surviving, so long as he only takes his beloved plane for short journeys, and saves his remaining fuel. But he picks up a message from another pilot, and the temptation to find out who else is still alive becomes irresistible. So he takes his plane over the horizon, knowing that he won't have enough fuel to get back. What follows is scarier and more life-affirming than he could have imagined.”

The Last Man Standing by Davide Longo

The MacLehose Press, an imprint of Quercus, deals with the translation of fiction into English (and to the publication of “a very few outstanding writers in English”). The imprint was founded by Christopher MacLehose.

The Last Man Standing by Davide Longo (was born in 1971 in the Province of Torino) and translated by Silvester Mazzarella is published in July (£12.99):

“Italy is on the brink of collapse. Borders are closed, banks withhold money, the postal service stalls. Armed gangs of drug-fuelled youths roam the countryside.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Coming in June is Chime by Franny Billingsley (Bloomsbury £6.99), which was shortlisted for the National Book Award in 2011. This is a “gothic romance with an undercurrent of fairytale and darkness”:

“Briony knows she is a witch. She knows that she is guilty of hurting her beloved stepmother. She also knows that, now her stepmother is dead, she must look after her beautiful but complicated twin sister, Rose. Then the energetic, electric, golden-haired Eldric arrives in her home town of Swampsea, and everything that Briony thinks she knows about herself and her life is turned magically, dizzyingly, upside down.”

Railsea by China Mieville

China Mieville’s latest is Railsea (Macmillan £17.99). It’s “an epic journey for readers of all ages”:

“On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt … but Sham can't shake the sense that there is more to life. When they come across a wrecked train, at first it's a welcome distraction. But the impossible salvage Sham finds in the derelict leads to considerably more than he'd bargained for. Soon he's hunted on all sides: by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters and salvage-scrabblers. And it might not be just Sham's life that's about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea.”

Mieville is  the three-time recipient of the Arthur C Clarke Award, as well as winner of the BSFA, BFS, Hugo and World Fantasy awards

Doctor Who re-released

BBC Books has re-released a number of Doctor Who books in slim paperback editions (at £4.99 each), and all featuring brand new introductions:

The Tenth Planet by Gerry Davis – based on the TV programme first shown in October 1966, and the first time the Cybermen appeared; introduction by Tom MacRae

The Three Doctors by Terrance Dicks – based on the Doctor Who story first broadcast in December 1972/ January 1973; introduction by Alastair Reynolds

The Day of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks – based on the story first broadcast in January 1972; introduction by Gary Russell

The Loch Ness Monster by Terrance Dicks – based on the story originally shown in August to September 1975, and features Sarah Jane Smith, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and UNIT; introduction by Michael Moorcock

The Ice Warriors by Brian Hayles – based on the programme first shown in November/ December 1967; introduction by Mark Gatiss

The Ark in Space by Ian Marter – based on the story first broadcast in January/ February 1975; introduction by Steven Moffat

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Satyr's Head edited by David Sutton. Review

The Satyr’s Head: Tales of Terror edited by David A Sutton. Shadow Publishing £5.99

Reviewed by Peter Coleborn

In 1975 a slim paperback boasting a fabulous cover by Patrick Woodroffe and bearing the title The Satyr’s Head and Other Tales of Terror was published by Corgi. And now, 37 years later the editor David Sutton has reissued the anthology on his own Shadow Publishing imprint, but with the subtly altered title to The Satyr’s Head: Tales of Terror. This time the equally striking cover comes from Steve Upham.

The Satyr’s Head includes ten stories by Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley, Joseph Payne Brennan, David Riley (who wrote the “title” story) and others. I don’t know if the editor deliberately chose stories on a theme, but the prevailing one is of angst, of guilt. And of people receiving their just, or unjust, reward from something supernatural and/or evil (but fortunately steering away from the worse excesses of some of the stories in the Pan Book of Horror Stories). As such, reading all these tales in one go may come across as somewhat downbeat and depressing. As with many other anthologies you may do best by dipping into it now and again.

I read this book in the early 1980s, a few years after initial publication when it was already difficult to buy. Therefore Sutton’s reprinting of it is very welcome. But my tastes have moved on and I didn’t get the same frisson on re-reading these tales now. The story that worked best for me this time round was Lumley’s Aunt Hester, which felt as fresh as it did then (even though poor Aunt Hester’s fate doesn’t come as much of a surprise). The stories are obviously of their era. Having said that, this anthology is a must; it should be bought and read by all fans of horror tales, particularly the younger ones who missed out on The Satyr’s Head and its contemporaries when they first appeared.

A few years before Satyr’s Head, David Sutton edited two volumes of New Writings in Horror and the Supernatural. I’d like to see these reprinted (unless they have been and I missed them). Sutton’s Shadow Publishing has a number of titles lined up, including The Female of the Species and Other Terror Tales by Richard Davis. Let’s hope the imprint grows from strength to strength.

Review first published on Shiny Shorts.

Greyglass by Tanith Lee. Review

Greyglass by Tanith Lee. Immanion Press £10.99

Reviewed by Peter Coleborn

This is a strange little book (just 190 pages). It begins with a visit to Susan’s creepy Grandmother’s creepy house – the vegetable house because it seems to grow rooms, and is surrounded by a mass of verdant plant life. Ergo, it’s going to be a supernatural story – oh, good! But as one reads the book, and as Susan grows from child to young woman to adult, it seems to abandon the paranormal…

Susan’s mother, Anne, meets a man called Wizz, runs off to the USA with him, and then rarely sees her daughter – just a few flying visits back to the UK. When we first meet Wizz he comes across as a dodgy character. A bit of a wide boy.

As Susan grows she goes to college, meets men, has sex, moves home several times, and eventually ends up living in a flat next to Crissie, a prostitute. With each change in her life it seems as if the story veers off at an unexpected angle. And just when I thought, despite the subtle hints Tanith Lee drops into the narrative, the supernatural element was just wistful thinking … Ms Lee ties up most of the loose ends just about perfectly. (Most, because this book does leave tantalising elements dangling – characters disappearing from Susan’s life; resolving her mother’s problems…)

I have to say, Greyglass is a quirky read. It’s as if Tanith Lee plays with syntax, repeating phrases, leaving half-finished thoughts. I am sure this is all deliberate, to mirror Susan’s disjointed life. Once you get into the swing, it’s a fast and enjoyable read (yes, okay, with a nice supernatural dénouement). Recommended. 

Visit the Immanion website for further details.

This review was first published on the BFS website.

Killing Violets by Tanith Lee

Tanith Lee’s Killing Violets is now available from Immanion Press (£10.99). But according to the title page, this is actually Killing Violets (Gods’ Dogs). I doubt that this will matter much.

“Who has never loved has never lived. Or died.”

It is 1934: “Starving to death somewhere in Europe, Anna meets Raoul. He takes her to England [to] the dubious mansion of his arrogant and unsavoury relatives, the Basultes. It seems Anna is also to ‘enjoy’ the godly Basulte life. But she is becoming aware that the family is playing with her a macabre and silly game.”

Tanith Lee is one of our finest writers in the field and this new short novel is to be savoured. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

British Fantasy Awards

Peter Atkins' Rumours of the Marvellous (published by The Alchemy Press) has been short-listed in the Best Collection category of the British Fantasy Awards. The winner will be announced at FantasyCon 2012 in September. All short-listed items can be found here. Well done to all nominees -- best of luck to you all.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Horror Express Publications

Horror Express Publications is after stories and artwork. If you're an artist send a link to your website/page. They want submissions for the ongoing Horror Express Anthologies and also for a Birmingham-themed anthology where ALL stories must be based in Birmingham or the Midlands.

“We are looking for original horror, dark mystery and suspense short stories or novellas (1,000 to maximum of 30,000 words). Please query for longer pieces. We want tales that are powerful and emotional, but that are also creepy, chilling and disturbing. Dark suspense, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery and crime fiction, supernatural and psychological tales are welcome. We are not after just blood and gore. Submissions which promote prejudice or which include violence/abuse towards children will not be considered.”

Submissions from the UK Midlands area are particularly welcome. Email submissions only. Send as an attached file RTF to horrorexpress[@]hotmail.co.uk using a 12pt font. Put the word SUBMISSION in the title. Authors details and email address must be included in the submission as well as a short bio. They state “All submissions that do not follow the submission format will not be considered.”

No information on payment or the format of the publication was provided by HorrorExpress. Email them for details. 

Win Dirk Danger Loves Life

Chris Rothe wants to give away some eBook copies of his “silly little novel Dirk Danger Loves Life … There is a catch of course – I want you to make me laugh.”

To win the eBook send him a tweet, email, Goodreads post, etc. Deadline is May 15th. Check his website to discover how to enter – and make him smile.

The Other Log of Phileas Fogg

Philip Jose Farmer is one of the greatest science-fiction writers of the 20th century. And now Titan Books presents brand-new editions of Farmer's classic Wold Newton and Grandmaster series.

Beginning with The Other Log of Phileas Fogg (published this month) from Farmer's Wold Newton series, each edition will contain bonus material from well-known Farmer experts, as well as new covers, introductions and annotations.

“When a powerful teleportation device falls into enemy hands, secret agent Fogg must embark on a daring global dash to save his once-immortal race from certain annihilation. Fogg encounters his deadly rival, the infamous Captain Nemo, also known as James Moriarty. “

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Maginot Line

The Maginot Line, edited by Rob Redman, is the third volume in the acclaimed series of short story anthologies published by the Fiction Desk.

The anthology contains nine new short stories, from debut authors and returning contributors, including:

Benjamin Johncock, Andrew Jury, Harvey Marcus, Ian Sales and the title story “The Maginot Line” by Matt Plass.

The book costs £9.99 or you can pay around £37 for a four-issue sub.