Booktopia SF & Fantasy Buzz
September 2013 | Edition 8
Welcome to the September Science Fiction and Fantasy Buzz

This Hugo Award winners for 2013 will be awarded on the 1st of September, a little too late for us to tell you how things went in this edition of the SFF Buzz. They are all wonderful authors who have done much to contribute to and grow the genre that we all hold so dear.

There are too many nominees to list here but the picks for Best Novel are:
  • 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson
Booktopia wishes the best of luck to all the nominees.

September also sees the release of book three in Elspeth Cooper's brilliant series The Wild Hunt. Be sure to check out her answers to Booktopia's Ten Terrifying Questions below.

And now, on to the Buzz!

Kind regards

Mark Timmony
Supreme Overlord of Science Fiction and Fantasy


Follow me on Twitter: @MarkTimmony

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Click here for more details or to buy THE RAVEN'S SHADOW
by Elspeth Cooper

Elspeth Cooper is a voice to watch.

The Raven's Shadow is the third instalment of The Wild Hunt, storylines begin to merge and the epic battle of old powers returned from exile approaches. Picking up from the cliff-hanger ending of Trinity Rising , Cooper puts her characters through their paces on a relentless march forward that had me bursting  at the seams to find out what happened next!

Her debut series, The Wild Hunt, is not magnificently new or original in the realms of fantasy. Yet her style and grace, her world building and characterisation - not to mention fast paced, tension filled action scenes - make her stand out on shelves of carbon copies.

Cooper's way with words and her ability to take a familiar tale and dress it up to make it uniquely her own is magic. Her writing is crisp and clean, it engages the reader and paints a vivid picture. She is definitely an author who is on my 'must read' list.

Blurb: The Wild Hunt is coming - and it will only take one tear in the veil for them to succeed. . .

Sometimes those with the greatest potential must withstand the hardest blows.

Fate, it seems, has nothing kind in store for Gair. First his lover and now his mentor have been killed - the first by the dangerous, ambitious Savin, the second in a revolutionary uprising. Alone, and with even his magical abilities betraying him, he has only one goal left: revenge.

Far to the north, if Teia has one goal it is survival. Attempting to cross a high mountain pass in the teeth of winter is an act of desperation, but the message she carries cannot wait for spring. An invasion force is gathering behind her, and only an ancient order of knights can hold them back.

The danger is real, there are enemies in the shadows, and time is running out... 

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Click here for more details or to buy THE BEATING OF HIS WINGS
By Paul Hoffman

Paul Hoffman, the screenwriter turned author of post-apocalyptic fantasy, hits the top spot in the bestsellers chart this month with the concluding volume of his epic 'Left Hand of God' series.

Thomas Cale has been running from the truth. Since discovering that his brutal military training has been for one purpose - to destroy God's greatest mistake, mankind itself - Cale has been hunted by the very man who made him into the Angel of Death: Pope Redeemer Bosco.

Cale is a paradox: arrogant and innocent, generous and pitiless. Feared and revered by those who created him, he has already used his breathtaking talent for violence and destruction to bring down the most powerful civilisation in the world.

But Thomas Cale is weak. His soul is dying. As his body is wracked with convulsions he knows that the final judgment will not wait for a sick boy.

As the day of reckoning draws close, Cale's sense of vengeance leads him back to the heart of darkness - the Sanctuary - and to confront the person he hates most in the world. Finally Cale must recognise that he is the incarnation of God's rage and decide if he will stand against the Sanctuary of the Redeemers and use his unique skill of laying waste to all things.

The fate of mankind rests on Cale's decision.

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Click here for more details or to buy BROKEN HOMES
By Ben Aaronovitch

A unique blend of police procedural, loving detail about the greatest character of all, London, and a dash of the supernatural. The fourth book in Ben Aaronovitch's urban fantasy series, Broken Homes has been setting records on bestsellers lists over in the UK and the series (starting with Rivers of London) has been picked up for TV adaption.

Grab this series now and get in on the ground floor!

In the new novel PC Peter Grant must head south of the river to the alien environs of Elephant and Castle. There's a murderer abroad and, as always when Grant's department are reluctantly called in by CID, there is more than a whiff of the supernatural in the darkness.

Full of warmth, sly humour and a rich cornucopia of things you never knew about London, Aaronovitch's series has swiftly added Grant's magical London to Rebus' Edinburgh and Morse's Oxford as a destination of choice for those who love their crime with something a little extra.  

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Click here for more details or to buy THE TRAITOR QUEEN
By Trudi Canavan

Australia's Queen of Fantasy, Trudi Canavan, jumps into the third place this month with the triumphant conclusion to the Traitor Spy trilogy, which began with The Ambassador's Mission and continued with The Rogue.

Events are building to a climax in Sachaka as Lorkin returns from his exile with the Traitor rebels.

The Traitor Queen has given Lorkin the huge task of brokering an alliance between his people and the Traitors. Lorkin has also had to become a feared black magician in order to harness the power of an entirely new kind of gemstone magic. This knowledge could transform the Guild of Magicians - or make Lorkin an outcast forever.

Click here to order THE TRAITOR QUEEN

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What I've just read: The Garden of Stones, the debut by aussie author Mark Barnes is amazing. You know that feeling when you a finish a really good book and you don't want to leave the world it's set in? That any book you pick up after just isn't right because it's not the book you were just reading? That's just happened to me reading this one.

What I'm reading: Agh! I am still waiting for Michelle Sagara's Cast in Sorrow - and it's the perfect time for me to be reading it as I know it will be amazing and the perfect thing to pick up after The Gardens of Stone. In the meantime I will complete my reading of Elantris by Brandon Sanderson.

What I can't wait for: The Obsidian Heart, due in October is the sequel to The Gardens of Stone - I. Can't. Wait!
Click here for more details or to buy CHOSEN
By Benedict Jacka

Jacka's character Alexus Verus is the Harry Dresden of the UK. And I mean that in the best possible way. I love Jacka's work - I have done since Fated crossed my desk in May/June of 2012. He doesn't rip Butcher off, in fact Butcher is quoted as being a fan, he blazes his own trail in the realm of Urban Fantasy and he does it very well. Jacka's work is dark and humorous, has a lot of heart, a fast pace and chock full of adventure.

I don't publicly advertise that I'm a mage, but I don't exactly hide it either, and one of the odd things I've learnt over the years is just how much you can get away with if you're blatant enough. Hide something behind smoke and mirrors and make people work to find it, and they'll tear the place down looking for what's there.

Alex Verus is a diviner who can see probable futures, a talent that's gotten him out of many a tough scrape. But this time, he may be in over his head. Alex was once apprenticed to a Dark mage, and in his service he did a lot of things he isn't proud of.

As rumors swirl that his old master is coming back, Alex comes face to face with his misdeeds in the form of a young adept whose only goal is to get revenge. Alex has changed his life for the better, but he's afraid of what his friends,including his apprentice, Luna?will think of his past. But if they're going to put themselves at risk, they need to know exactly what kind of man they're fighting for?

Click here to order CHOSEN
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Click here for more details or to buy KINSLAYER
By Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff's debut novel Stormdancer, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy, burst into the world 12 months ago to rave reviews and right off the shelves into the hands of equally excited readers. This month the sequel arrives in our warehouse and there is already a... buzz... in the air.

Building on the events of the first book of the Lotus War, Kinslayer ramps up the tension veiwing multiple storylines over 400 + pages. Kinslayer is a thrilling story from a major new Aussie talent.


Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation's broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.


Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father's death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts. Along with Buruu, Yukiko's anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo's clutches.


Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun's palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat. The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

Click here to order KINSLAYER
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Click here for more details or to buy JUSTICE
By Ian Irvine

At last! Book three of Aussie fantasy legend Ian Irvine's Tainted Realm trilogy is here! Not that it was late, but it's the final book and if you have been hanging out for this title like I have then.. well.. at last!

The once beautiful land of Hightspall is being carved up by warring armies led by figures from out of legend.

One army is headed by the charismatic brute, Axil Grandys, and the other by Lyf, resurrected sorcerer-king and Axil s ancient nemesis.

Only the escaped slave Tali and her unreliable magic stand in their way but Tali s gift grows more painful every time she uses it.

As the armies converge on the fateful peak of Touchstone, Tali and her ally Rix must find a way to overcome Lyf and prevent Axil from using the Three Spells that will destroy Hightspall forever.

Click here to order JUSTICE
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Click here for more details or to buy ELVES WAR FIGHTING MANUAL
by Den Patrick

Because what could be cooler?

It's a manual. A manual complete with illustrations, that looks at the Elvish race and the way they fight war.

Den Patrick, author of the equally cool Orcs War Fighting Manual, offers an amazing history of the race, an assessment on how they, as immortals, face death, and accounts of famous engagements!

This is the perfect companion for any fantasy wargamer or roleplayer, as well as being a door into a wonderful and original fantasy world! 

Retail Price: $22.99
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Click here for more details or to buy 23 YEARS ON FIRE
By Joel Shepherd

After a few years wait (not quite the 23 of the book's title) Aussie author Joel Shepherd is back with a new Cassandra Kresnov novel that is sure to excite many fans. Cassandra Kresnov - a highly advanced hunter-killer android - returns to Australia's favourite bookstore to face down a rogue government's plot to eliminate free will!

Commander Cassandra Kresnov has her hands full. She must lead an assault against the Federation world of Pyeongwha, where a terrible sociological phenomenon has unleashed hell against the civilian population. Then she faces the threat from a portion of League space known as New Torah, in which a ruthless regime of surviving corporations are building new synthetic soldiers but taking the technology in alarming directions.

On the Torahn world of Pantala, Sandy encounters betrayal, crisis, and conspiracy on a scale previously unimaginable. Most challenging of all, she also meets three young street kids who stir emotions in her she didn't think she was capable of. Can the Federation's most lethal killer afford unexpected sentiment? What will be the cost if she is forced to choose between them and her mission, not only to her cause, but to her soul?

Click here to order 23 YEARS ON FIRE
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Click here for more details or to buy CAPTAIN VORPATRIL'S ALLIANCE
By Lois McMaster Bujold

The latest book from Bujold in the Vorkosigan Saga is down in format this month and ready to be order by you legions of of fans. But be warned, while the majority of these tales are from Miles' PoV, Bujold has decided to tell the story here of another character who is just as loved. That of Ivan Vorpatril. After years of requests for this story Bujold has finally delivered.

Not only is it a great story, it is a great place for those new to Bujold's work to have a look at the world of the Vorkosigan Saga as no past reading is required for this one. Bujold has a masterful way with words and it's easy to see why she is a 2013 HUGO Award Nominee.

Captain Ivan Vorpatril sometimes thinks that if not for his family, he might have no troubles at all. But he has the dubious fortune of the hyperactive Miles Vorkosigan as a cousin, which has too-often led to his getting dragged into one of Miles' schemes, with risk to life and limb-and military career-that Ivan doesn't consider entirely fair. Although much practice has made Ivan more adept at fending off his mother's less-than-subtle reminders that he should be getting married and continuing the Vorpatril lineage.

Fortunately, his current duty is on the planet Komarr as staff officer to Admiral Desplains, far from both his cousin and his mother back on their homeworld of Barrayar. It's an easy assignment and nobody is shooting at him. What could go wrong?

Plenty, it turns out, when Byerly Vorrutyer, an undercover agent for Imperial Security, read more...

Click here to order CAPTAIN VORPATRIL'S

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Click here for more details or to buy ON THE STEEL BREEZE
By Alastair Reynolds

The follow up to Reynolds engrossing Blue Remembered Earth is here! Hailed a master of the SF genre Reynolds tells a gripped tale of 'what if' about Earth and humanity in the mid 2100's, tackling society, economy and space exploration, this series is unrivalled in the present market and a story you will be thinking about long after you have put the book down.

We have found a distant planet. It carries sign of an alien civilisation.

And on a fleet of holoships, vast asteroids hollowed out and turned into miniature worlds, millions of us are heading there. With engines designed to exploit a physics we barely understand we are on a one way journey, travelling at one sixth the speed of light, to a new home. And an encounter with the unknown.

And we take with us hopes and lies, secrets and betrayals. And another, quite alien intelligence.

The Akinya family have not finished with space. Their destiny still lies with the stars, however they get there, whichever of them make it.

And the Mechanism has not finished with the Akinyas...

Click here to order ON THE STEEL BREEZE
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Click here for more details or to buy CRYSTAL VENOM
By Steve Wheeler

The second book in the Fury of Aces series and sequel to the action-packed Burnt Ice. While on the outside this looks like your regular space opera ... humans and hybrids and strange new creatures fighting for survival on Earth and across the galaxies ... it is not quite as straight forward or as traditional in it's telling, more akin to episodic entries much like a TV series.

It's a superb space adventure from a fresh new voice.

In the future the Administration rules the Sphere of Humankind, the Games Board sanctions and funds wars and conflicts, and the Haulers' Collective roams the space routes like the caravanners of old. Political factions and galactic media moguls vie for power ... and money.  

Click here to order CRYSTAL VENOM
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Click here for more details or to buy THE ACE OF SKULLS
by Chris Wooding

Wooding's Ketty Jay series, a steampunk/sci-fi hybrid, has been favourably compared by many readers and reviewers to Joss Whedon's Firefly series with its fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants storytelling, outrageous action and daring-do.

If you haven't jumped on board yet now you can, secure in the knowledge that the last book in this swash-buckling sci-fi romp is about to be released and you won't have to wait to long to get your hands on it. Although I dare you not to want more when you get to 'the end'!

All good things come to an end. And this is it: the last stand of the Ketty Jay and her intrepid crew.

They've been shot down, set up, double-crossed and ripped off. They've stolen priceless treasures, destroyed a ten-thousand-year-old Azryx city and sort-of-accidentally blew up the son of the Archduke. Now they've gone and started a civil war.

This time, they're really in trouble.

As Vardia descends into chaos, Captain Frey is doing his best to keep his crew out of it. He's got his mind on other things, not least the fate of Trinica Dracken.

But wars have a way of dragging people in, and sooner or later they're going to have to pick a side. It's a choice they'll be staking their lives on.

Cities fall and daemons rise. Old secrets are uncovered and new threats revealed. When the smoke clears, who will be left standing? 

Click here to order THE ACE OF SKULLS
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Click here for more details 1. To begin with why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself - where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born and raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the north east of England. I spent 21 years working in IT for a small local firm, before ill-health forced me to quit - coincidentally around the same time my first novel was picked up for publication, so now I write full time. I still live in the same area, just a bit further out into the countryside now. It's home.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve, a writer. The bug had already bitten me hard by then.

At eighteen, in my heart I still wanted to be a writer, but mostly I wanted to be out of the education system because I'd had enough already. It was the time of the teachers' strikes and I was frustrated and beyond bored with the whole thing.

At thirty I was working in IT support but I still deep down wanted to be a writer. All kinds of messy personal stuff was going down that year and I threw myself in my writing as a kind of therapy, and had actually started on what would become my first novel, Songs of the Earth.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That's a tricky one, and I don't know how to answer it. I can't think of any strongly-held beliefs that I haven't always had, or that changed so long ago I've forgotten I ever believed differently. I stopped believing in Santa when I was six and woke up to see my parents sneaking a full stocking into my bedroom. I've never believed in God, though I love churches, temples and holy places of all kinds. I still believe in the healing powers of chocolate, that the glass is half full, and despite numerous disappointments, that people are basically decent.

978144241253828134. What were three works of art - book or painting or piece of music, etc - you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Hmm. My parents read me Ivanhoe as a bedtime story, and that hooked me on adventure and the power of what happens next. They also introduced me to classical music, which painted pictures in my head; my creative process is now inextricably tied to music. Lots of books have helped to shape me as a writer, bit by bit over the years, like works by Alan Garner and Robert Holdstock, but I think the one that gave me a profound seismic shift was Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence , because of the age at which I read it. This is what happens when you take a ten year old with an adult reading age and turn her loose in a public library!

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

It was more a case of I couldn't choose not to write. I've always been a storyteller, right from when I was small, when my "What I Did On My Holidays" homework was five or six times longer than anyone else's. I struggle to recount a trip to the shops without making some kind of fun adventure out of it, and if someone tells me an anecdote I want all the details so I can experience it for myself, as if I was there. This is why fantasy appeals so much to me: it's so immersive. Besides, I can't sing, dance, act, draw or paint worth a damn.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel 'The Raven's Shadow'

97805750961650108It's the third in The Wild Hunt series, a secondary-world epic fantasy following the adventures of a novice Church Knight with the ability to hear and tap into the songs of the earth, in a time when such a gift is punishable by death. It's been described as a 'traditional' fantasy but I think that rather depends on your definition of tradition. There's no Dark Lord, no elves, no merry band of adventurers off on a quest to find some ancient relic. The protagonist, Gair, is no long-lost scion nor an ancient hero reborn, and he definitely doesn't get to be king at the end.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

A feeling that they enjoyed the ride.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
Guy Gavriel Kay . His novels are absorbing, beautifully textured, and he makes me feel every word. I read the Fionavar Tapestry books when I was a teenager, and he was the first author about whom I said "I want to write like him when I grow up".

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

Just to keep writing the kind of stories that I like to read. If other people want to buy them, that's a bonus. I will write as long as the ideas keep coming, whether there's a market for it or not.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I try to avoid giving generalised writing advice, because we all write in our own way, and we all have different stories to tell, so there is no One True Way to do it. There's just the way that works for you. What I will say, though, is that all writing advice should be treated more as guidelines or suggestions, rather than a list of instructions that must be followed or else you and your story will be cast into the nethermost hell of publishing, never to be seen again.

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In This Issue

Book of the Month


What I've Been Reading

Epic Fantasy

The Door to Another World

Space Opera

Tales of the Ketty Jay

Ten Terrifying Questions

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