Booktopia SF & Fantasy Buzz
February 2014 | Edition 13
Welcome to the February Science Fiction and Fantasy Buzz
Because I am totally geeking out over Peter F. Hamilton at the moment, I am very happy to share with you (read jumping up and down on the spot) that he has a new novel set in the Commonwealth Universe due September or October this year. I'll be sure to tell you more closer to release date.

If you have yet to see it, HBO has released the trailer of the trailer (no that's not a typo) for Season 4 of Game of Thrones. Watch it here. I can't wait for it to start!

Speaking of A Game of Thrones, those of you waiting for The Winds of Winter will have to be patient a while longer. At this stage it looks like book six will be a late 2015 release (at the earliest).

However, the amazing Mark Lawrence of Prince of Thorns fame will be releasing the first book in a new trilogy set in the same world, titled Prince of Fools . This is currently set to hit the shelves in June. Lawrence is an author I rate highly and I am looking forward to this one.

And now, on with the Buzz!

Kind regards

Mark Timmony
Booktopia Science Fiction + Fantasy Buzz

Follow me on Twitter: @MarkTimmony

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Book of the Month
Click here for more details or to buy DREAMWALKER
by C.S. Friedman

C.S. Friedman is one of my favourite authors. A vivid world-builder, she has the knack for reaching into the dark heart of humanity, pushing past the thin layer of the mundane and exposing the fantastic beneath. And making those things that raise the hairs on the back of your neck seem very real.

This is Friedman's first urban fantasy, she has written both epic fantasy and science fiction previously, and it is utterly compelling. It stands with one foot in our world and the other in one totally different. But that's one of the joys of speculative fiction right? It is also her first foray into that ever shifting plane that is 'Young Adult'.

But don't let that put you off, if indeed it does. Dreamwalker is still very much a Friedman book with all the intricate plotting and precise pacing, well-developed characters, and the fantastic prose. And naturally, as it's Friedman novel it's more mature, more serious, and a bit darker than many YA novels you are going to come across.

It is also amazing and going in my 'keepers' bookshelf alongside all her other work. 

All her life Jessica Drake has dreamed of other worlds, some of them similar to her own, others disturbingly alien.

She never shares the details with anyone, save her younger brother Tommy, a compulsive gamer who incorporates some aspects of Jessica's dreams into his games. But now someone is asking about those dreams...and about her. A strange woman has been watching her house. A visitor to her school attempts to take possession of her dream-inspired artwork.


As she begins to search for answers it becomes clear that whoever is watching her does not want her to learn the truth. One night her house catches on fire, and when the smoke clears she discovers that her brother has been kidnapped. She must figure out what is going on, and quickly, if she and her family are to be safe.

Following clues left behind on Tommy's computer, determined to find her brother and bring him home safely, Jessica and two of her friends are about to embark on a journey that will test their spirits and their courage to the breaking point, as they must leave their own world behind and confront the source of Earth's darkest legends ? as well as the terrifying truth of their own secret heritage.

Click here to order Dreamwalker
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The bestsellers list this month has Aussies Traci Harding and KJ Taylor taking out the top two spots, followed closely by the SF masters Gregory Benford and Larry Niven in their first collaboration, and Michelle Sagara's Touch, sequel to Silence, bursts into the list in it's first month of release.

And don't forget, the rest of the bestsellers are listed in the sidebar to the right - just click on the link at the top of the email if you can't see them.
By Traci Harding

By KJ Taylor
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Dreaming of Zhou Gong is a beautiful story of Hudan, one of the mysterious Wu who lives on the sacred mountain of Li Shan. The Wu have been living in isolation for decades while the Shang Emperor and his enchantress have ruled the land. It has been a terrible time for the common people and the noble Ji brothers are keen to bring the emperor's arrogant bloodthirsty reign to an end. They believe an ancient prophecy has predicted the more...

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Dreaming of Zhou Gong

Australian author
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In the aftermath of civil war, Queen Laela must do whatever it takes to maintain control of her kingdom. With Arenadd gone and her own griffin partner Oeka lost to magic, Laela joins forces with the dark griffin Skandar to secure her hold on the throne and attempt peace between the North and South. But Saeddryn's son Caedmon is still determined to claim the throne himself - and this time more...

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The Shadow's Heart

Australian author
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By Gregory Benford & Larry Niven

By Michelle Sagara
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In Bowl of Heaven the limits of wonder are redrawn once again as a human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowlshaped structure half-englobing a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths more...
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Nathan died in the summer before his final year in high school, leaving behind a mother who was devoted to him and a girlfriend he loved. His mother and his girlfriend, Emma, are still alive; Nathan is not. But he wakes in his room-or in the shrine his mother's made of his room-confused, cold, and more...

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What I've Been Reading: Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton . Yeah, told you I would. Wow. This is less a sequel and more the second act of an immense story that bursts from the page like a movie off an Imax screen. This is full-throttle space opera for grown ups. I am already lining up the next book in his back catalogue.

What I'm Currently Reading:  Black Sun Light My Way by the amazing Jo Spurrier . What took me so long to pick up book two in this trilogy you ask? Well, I honestly do not know. Book three is due shortly and seeing that on the horizon jolted me a little to get my act together, and I am very glad I did. Jo is one of those talents that blazes brightly and you should all go and buy her brilliant work immediately. You can find book one, Winter Be My Shield here.

What I'm Reading Next:  Though many books are vying for my attention, I am beside myself to get my hands on Brandon Sanderson's Words of Radiance, the eagerly awaited second book in his Stormlight Archives series. This isn't due until March - I am not sure how I will be able to wait that long.

Click here for more details or to buy THE COPPER PROMISE
By Jen Williams

A sword and sorcery dungeon crawler that has even garnered a comparison to Fritz Leiber's Gray Mouser stories. Originally a 4 part series of novellas (published as ebooks), Jen has been gaining a lot of attention. And rightfully so.

The Copper Promise is a fast-moving and dramatic swash-buckler chock full of secrets, swords, lies and terror. But William's secret weapons are her characters. I dare you not to be engaged by the adventurers whose derring-do we follow.

Jen Williams is one to watch.

There are some far-fetched rumours about the caverns beneath the Citadel...

Some say the mages left their most dangerous secrets hidden there; others, that great riches are hidden there; even that gods have been imprisoned in its darkest depths.

For Lord Frith, the caverns hold the key to his vengeance. Against all the odds, he has survived torture and lived to see his home and his family taken from him ... and now someone is going to pay. For Wydrin of Crosshaven and her faithful companion, Sir Sebastian Caverson, a quest to the Citadel looks like just another job. There's the promise of gold and adventure. Who knows, they might even have a decent tale or two once they're done.

But sometimes there is truth in rumour.

Soon this reckless trio will be the last line of defence against a hungry, restless terror that wants to tear the world apart. And they're not even getting paid.

Click here to order The Copper Promise
Retail Price: $29.99
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Click here for more details or to buy THE ETERNITY GATE
By Traci Harding

One of Australia's most prolific fantasy authors, Harding has been wowing her fans for years with her trademark brand of hybrid sci-fi/fantasy and mysticism. Her tales are epic imaginings with a huge cast of energetic characters and criss-crossing storylines that jump across multiple times, worlds and dimensions, creating plots that resemble a celtic knot yet flow effortlessly.

Full of adventure, betrayal and passion, The Eternity Gate is the eagerly awaited sequel to Dreaming of Zhou Gong (number one in the bestsellers chart). If you enjoy larger than life stories then Hardings work might be just the thing for you. 

One step could undo everything the Timekeepers hope to accomplish...

Earth's ancient past, the future of the planet Kila, the Timekeepers universe of origin, the primordial era when the Nefilim first ruled the galaxy and a timeless universe of utter darkness, are all periods vital to advancing human consciousness.

After surviving Ancient Zhou, the Timekeeper's efforts turn to rescuing the planet Kila from its ill-fated future. But a mishap in the remote mountains of Tibet before departure provides a nemesis with the perfect opportunity to launch a time-hopping vendetta against them.

There is no where in this universe to hide.

The discovery of a gate thought to lead to several universes provides more than just the means to undermine their stalker; it offers the chance to remember their lives as the Grigori, who once dwelt with the fallen Elohim, in the dark universe beyond the Eternity Gate.

Click here to order The Eternity Gate
Australian author
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Click here for more details or to buy WALL OF SPEARS
By Duncan Lay

Wall of Spears, the dramatic conclusion of the Empire of Bones trilogy is a fast paced adventure that leads from the heart. Lay has been a regular on the bestseller lists since his debut The Wounded Guardian back in 2009, and it is little wonder, as he consistently produces gripping, hard-to-put-down tales of epic adventure and bloody battles that will leave you breathless.

In Wall of Spears , Lay expertly weaves the various threads of the preceding books, creating a wave of tension that forces you to find that precarious balance between reading every word and racing through the story to get to the end!

It is time to decide who will rule the lands and control the magic.

Will it be Forland, with its lust for bloody conquest? Will it be Dokuzen, with its dreams of a slave empire, or will it be Vales, armed only with Rhiannon and her magic - and the truth about why the rulers of Dokuzen claim to be elves?

Into this mix comes Sendatsu. Rejected by his true love, hated by his father, hunted by his former best friend, he now burns with the desire to build a better world for his children.

Betrayal follows lies which follows more betrayal as the true power behind the vicious struggle is revealed. The fate of all the lands rests on a sword's edge ...

Click here to order Wall of Spears
Australian author
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Click here for more details or to buy ANNIHILATION
By Jeff VanderMeer

For those of you want something different to the 'norm' of space opera or military SF, give Jeff VanderMeer a go. While his work is not for everyone, set as it is in the subgenre known as 'the Weird', that sandpit of gothic horror and political science fiction that China Mieville also plays in, his work is rarely considered anything short of brilliant.

VanderMeer's tales regularly explore the themes of perception, transmutation, and revelation. He has a strong interest in the way nature can get strange - and how it can pervert the human form, and he writes his stories to match.

The pacing in Annihilation will make your heart pound through much of the book. VanderMeer breathes life into every word and an overwhelming sense of wonder permeates the pages. Annihilation is less a book you read and more one you experience. And one that will set you shivering.

In this novel VanderMeer has crafted a major work of speculative fiction, the film option rights have already been sold to Paramount Pictures and Scott Rudin Productions. I urge you to get ahead of the curve and try it out now.

For thirty years, Area X has remained mysterious, remote, and concealed by the government as an environmental disaster zone even though it is to all appearances pristine wilderness.

For thirty years, too, the secret agency known as the Southern Reach has monitored Area X and sent in expeditions to try to discover the truth. Some expeditions have suffered terrible consequences. Others have reported nothing out of the ordinary.
Now, as Area X seems to be changing and perhaps expanding, the next expedition will attempt to succeed where all others have failed.

But they soon find out that the information given to them about Area X is incomplete or inaccurate, and that they are being manipulated by forces both strange and all too familiar.

The old abandoned lighthouse on the coast is more than it seems. A moaning in the distance at dusk appears to have no natural cause. A tunnel plunging into the ground isn't on any map.

In Area X, they will all find out what it truly means to face the unknown. Adapt or die.

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Click here for more details or to buy THE HEART OF VALOUR
By Tanya Huff

I told you Huff's UK publisher was getting these gems out. This month sees the local release of the third title in Huff's Confederation series.

Huff is one of a handful of female authors to make headway into the often testosterone heavy military SF scene. And she did so simply by being an amazing writer. Huff paces her work with military precision, giving as much attention to action scenes as to plot and character development. At this book she also turns her hand to ramping up mystery and suspense to add a nice pinch of tense.

The Confederation series presents a strong, believable female protagonist, great science fiction world/universe building, and best of all Huff rounds everything out in such a way that even newcomers to science fiction will find themselves immersed in the story and not lost amongst alien worlds. I recommend spending some time reading Tanya Huff. She's worth it.

Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr's goal is to keep both her superior officers and her troops alive as they face missions throughout the galaxy.

But she's been sidelined with endless briefings and debriefings for a while, so she jumps at the chance to go to Crucible - the Marine Corps training planet - as temporary aide to Major Svensson. The major was reduced to little more than a brain and spinal cord in his last combat, and now he and his doctor are eager to field test his new body.

It's supposed to be an easy assignment - after all, Crucible was set up to simulate battle situations so recruits could be trained safely. But Torin's barely on-planet when someone starts blasting the training scenarios to smithereens...

Click here to order The Heart of Valour
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Click here for more details or to buy METRO 2034
By Dmitry Glukhovsky

The much anticipated sequel to the international bestselling Metro 2033 is finally here.

Metro 2034 continues the story of a post-apocalyptic world, set in Moscow, where radiation and genetically engineered chimeras have made the surface of the earth completely uninhabitable. 

On Glukhovsky's earth, humans are forced to survive in the Moscow metro, which was constructed to withstand a nuclear blast and radiation. On the day the bombs fell any humans lucky enough to be in proximity of the Metro swiftly took shelter within it and now fight for survival.

Featuring blistering action, vivid and tough characters, claustrophobic tension and dark satire, the Metro books have a growing legion of fans and spawned two very popular compter games, putting Dmitry Glukhovsky in the vanguard of Russian speculative fiction alongside Sergei Lukyanenko.

A year after the events of Metro 2033, the last few survivors of the apocalypse, surrounded by mutants and monsters, face a terrifying new danger as they hang on for survival in the tunnels of the Moscow Metro.

Click here to order Metro 2034
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In This Issue

Book of the Month


What I've Been Reading

Epic Fantasy 

Science Fiction

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