books monthly october 2017 sf & fantasy

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

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Arthur Conan Doyle: The Lost World

Published by Ala Evergreens 27th July 2017

When the reporter Edward Malone is sent to interview the formidable Professor Challenger about his accounts of strange prehistoric beasts on a remote plateau in South America, he expects to be given short shrift by the researcher, notorious for man handling nosy enquirers. But Challenger, impressed by the young journalist s thirst for adventure, invites Malone along on his next expedition, plunging him into a mysterious and dangerous world populated by dinosaurs and murderous ape men. Having already written seminal works of detective fiction, Arthur Conan Doyle became a pioneer of early science fiction with The Lost World. This classic novel helped establish the genre and has inspired, since its first publication in 1912, countless stories, novels and films.

 

Superlative new edition from Alma Evergreens of the fantasy-adventure novel that inspired so many authors to venture into a genre that didn't yet exist. This would undlubtedly have been required reading for Edgar Rice Burroughs as he prepared to amaze the world with his Great Apes and Ape-man, and the various lost worlds he went on the create in similar vein to Conan Doyle's pathfinder novel. Refreshingly Victorian. A super new version of the timeless classic.

 

 

 

Stephen King & Owen King: Sleeping Beauties

Published by Hodder & Stoughton 26th September 2017

In this spectacular father/son collaboration, Stephen King and Owen King tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men?

All around the world, something is happening to women when they fall asleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed, the women become feral and spectacularly violent... In the small town of Dooling, West Virginia, the virus is spreading through a women's prison, affecting all the inmates except one. Soon, word spreads about the mysterious Evie, who seems able to sleep - and wake. Is she a medical anomaly or a demon to be slain? The abandoned men, left to their increasingly primal devices, are fighting each other, while Dooling's Sheriff, Lila Norcross, is just fighting to stay awake. And the sleeping women are about to open their eyes to a new world altogether....

 

This highly original mystery spearheads Hodder's celebrations to mark Stephen King's 70th birthday - I have to say that I have always been wary of books that purport to have been written by two people. And having said that, I'm afraid that the joint authorship of Sleeping Beauties places it firmly in the second tier of King's amazing achievements., with IT, The Stand, The Dark Tower series, Under The Dome, Insomnia, Bag of Bones, Doctor Sleep, Salem's Lot, The Shining and 11:22:63 in the top tier. Sleeping Beauties reminds me of Cell, and to a certain extent, Under The Dome, but I think the complication of joint authorship prevents it from reaching the heady heights of being amongst his finest works. All the elements are there, but there's something that holds it back from being among the very best. This has been a bumper year for King fans, with Gwendy's Button Box and Charlie the Choo Choo (not by King, but it might just as well have been) and now Sleeping Beauties. And, of course, the motion pictures The Dark Tower and the new version of IT, which seems to be a smash hit. Sleeping Beauties didn't keep me awake - I'm far too old and prone to snoozing just about anywhere, any time at my age, but I loved the small town characters and Evie is an amazing character. There were times when I wasn't sure if this phenomenon was worldwide or confined to Dooling, like the events in IT, and I still think it would have benefitted from just the one author. Watch out for huge celebrations of King's birthday, with promotional material such as stylish postcards and brilliant bookmarks in all the major bookshops...

Delilah S Dawson: Star Wars Phasma - Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Published by Century 1st September 2017

Discover Captain Phasma’s mysterious history in the official prequel to The Last Jedi, the highly anticipated blockbuster film directed by Rian Johnson, hitting cinemas in December 2017.

One of the most cunning and merciless officers of the First Order, Captain Phasma commands the favor of her superiors, the respect of her peers, and the terror of her enemies. But for all her renown, Phasma remains as virtually unknown as the impassive expression on her gleaming chrome helmet. Now, an adversary is bent on unearthing her mysterious origins―and exposing a secret she guards as zealously and ruthlessly as she serves her masters.

Deep inside the Battlecruiser Absolution, a captured Resistance spy endures brutal interrogation at the hands of a crimson-armored stormtrooper―Cardinal. But the information he desires has nothing to do with the Resistance or its covert operations against the First Order.

What the mysterious stormtrooper wants is Phasma’s past―and with it whatever long-buried scandal, treachery, or private demons he can wield against the hated rival who threatens his own power and privilege in the ranks of the First Order. His prisoner has what Cardinal so desperately seeks, but she won’t surrender it easily. As she wages a painstaking war of wills with her captor, bargaining for her life in exchange for every precious revelation, the spellbinding chronicle of the inscrutable Phasma unfolds. But this knowledge may prove more than just dangerous once Cardinal possesses it―and once his adversary unleashes the full measure of her fury.

 

Top notch Sar Wars adventure from Delilah Dawson - and by the way, this brilliant novel provides a spectacular run up to The Last Jedi, which is due to hit cinemas around Christmas time this year. Superb science fiction in the most popular SF franchise of all time.

Ann Leckie: Provenance

Published by Orbit 28th September 2017

Following her record-breaking debut trilogy, Ann Leckie, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke and Locus Awards, returns with a thrilling new story of power, theft, privilege and birthright. A power-driven young woman has just one chance to secure the status she craves and regain priceless lost artefacts prized by her people. She must free their thief from a prison planet from which no one has ever returned.
Ingray and her charge will return to their home world to find their planet in political turmoil, at the heart of an escalating interstellar conflict. Together, they must make a new plan to salvage Ingray's future, her family, and her world, before they are lost to her for good.

 

This brilliant SF adventure confirms Ann's place as one of the very best writers in the simplest, purest science fiction genre as evinced by the great Arthur C Clarke. No nonsense, no frills adventure in a universe where interplanetary travel is commonplace and natural, this is as good as modern SF gets.

Sarah J Maas: Tower Of Dawn

Published by Bloomsbury 5th September 2017

Follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire in this next instalment of the Throne of Glass series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas. Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since Aelin shattered the glass castle, since Chaol's men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken. Now he and Nesryn sail for Antica - the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire and of the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme. It's Chaol's one shot at recovery, and with war looming back home, Dorian and Aelin's survival could depend on Chaol and Nesryn convincing Antica's rulers to ally with them. But what they discover there will change them both - and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

 

Sarah J Maas continues to make significant inroads into the heady world of the finest female-written fantasy. Having started out as a YA fantasist, Sarah is now at the top of her game with Tower of Dawn.

 

 


 

The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its sixteenth 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.