books monthly christmas 2017 sf & fantasy

This month's latest SF & Fantasy titles...

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Gardner Dozois (Ed.): The Book of Swords

Published by Harper Voyager 19th October 2017

An epic collection of fantasy tales in the grand tradition, including a never-before-published A Song of Ice and Fire story by George R.R. Martin and an introduction by Gardner Dozois. Fantasy fiction has produced some of the most unforgettable heroes ever conjured onto the page: Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné, Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Classic characters like these made sword and sorcery a cornerstone of fantasy fiction, and an inspiration for a new generation of writers, spinning their own tales of magical adventure. Now, in The Book of Swords, acclaimed editor and bestselling author Gardner Dozois presents an anthology of sixteen original epic stories by a stellar cast of modern masters, including George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Garth Nix, Ken Liu, Daniel Abraham, Scott Lynch, Cecelia Holland, Ellen Kushner, and more on journeys into the outer realms of dark enchantment and intrepid adventure, featuring a stunning assortment of fearless swordsmen and warrior women who face down danger and death at every turn with courage, cunning, and cold steel.

 

Gardner's introduction to this superb anthology is simply breathtaking - as he reminisces about discovering the genre of sword and sorcery and how it waxed and waned over the years. The stories are quite spectacularly good - I particularly liked Robin Hobb and Cecelia Holland, but the common theme that binds the stories together is now a timeless one. The book itself is exquisitely handsome...

 

 

 

James A Corey: Persepolis Rising

Published by Orbit 7th December 2017

Persepolis Rising is the seventh novel in the New York Times bestselling Expanse series. In the thousand-sun network of humanity's expansion, new colony worlds are struggling to find their way. Every new planet lives on a knife-edge between collapse and wonder, and the crew of the aging gunship Rocinante have their hands more than full keeping the fragile peace. In the vast space between Earth and Jupiter, the inner planets and the Belt have formed a tentative and uncertain alliance still haunted by a history of wars and prejudices. On the lost colony world of Laconia, a hidden enemy has a new vision for all of humanity and the power to enforce it. New technologies clash with old as the history of human conflict returns to its ancient pattern of war and subjugation. But human nature is not the only enemy, and the forces being unleashed have their own price. A price that will change the shape of humanity - and of the Rocinante -unexpectedly and forever . . 

 

This amazing piece of traditional SF writing reminded me of Asimov's Foundation series, so vast is its remit. This is the seventh novel in the series of what is turning out to be one of the most important and influential of this century's science fiction. Faultless writing, faultless characters, faultless plot. Pure science fiction with all the bells and whistles, and a superb piece of cover art to complete the package.

Daniel A Cohen: Coldmaker

Published by Harper Voyager 2nd November 2017

During the day, as the Sun blazes over his head, Micah leads the life of any Jadan slave, running errands through the city of Paphos at the mercy of the petty Nobles and ruthless taskmasters. But after the evening bells have tolled and all other Jadans sleep, Micah escapes into the night in search of scraps and broken objects, which once back inside his barracks he tinkers into treasures. However, when a mysterious masked Jadan publicly threatens Noble authority, a wave of rebellion ripples through the city. With Paphos plunged into turmoil, Micah’s secret is at risk of being exposed. And another, which has been waiting hundreds of years to be found, is also on the verge of discovery… The secret of Cold.

 

This may well turn out to be what the world we live in is waiting for, someone with the ability to control the temperature and alleviate the effects of global warming... A super piece of fantasy/SF that will get you thinking...

 

Mark Lawrence: Road Brothers

Published by Harper Voyager 2nd November 2017

A volume of short stories by the bestselling author of THE BROKEN EMPIRE series, Mark Lawrence. This is a collection of fourteen stories of murder, mayhem, pathos, and philosophy, all set in the world of the Broken Empire. Within these pages, you will find tales of men such as Red Kent, Sir Makin, Rike, Burlow and the Nuban, telling of their origins and the events that forged them. There is Jorg himself, striding the page as a child of six, as a teenage wanderer and as a young king. And then there is a tale about Prince Jalan Kendeth – liar, cheat, womaniser and coward. To the new reader, welcome to a lawless world where wit and sword are the most useful weapons, and danger lurks as much in candle-lit palaces as in dark alleys and dense woodland. To those who have already journeyed with Jorg, we hope you will enjoy renewing old acquaintances with your favourite characters.

 

Shades of Robert E Howard - short stories in the fantasy genre are now few and far between, and this anthology from Mark Lawrence is most welcome.

 

 

 


 

The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its twentieth year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email and I'll let you know where to send it.