Booktopia SF & Fantasy Buzz
April 2014 | Edition 15
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Welcome to the April Science Fiction and Fantasy Buzz
Hands-up if you are looking forward to 'The Abyss Beyond Dreams'. The US have just released the cover art for this one, the first in a new duology set in Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth universe. To say I am excited would be an understatement.

Another book due Octoberish is 'The World of Ice and Fire'. A coffee table book that will contain over two hundred illustrations and new material by George R. R. Martin, this is a must have for fans of the series, or just fans of (in GRRM's own words) made-up history. Sounds perfect to me.

For fans of J.V. Jones, it looks like the wait for the final book in the Sword of Shadows series is getting closer - her US publishers have announced that they are expecting to add Endlords to the schedule for 2015. Which give us plenty of time to do a re-read of A Cavern of Black Ice et al to get back up-to-speed.

And below, Aussie-great Glenda Larke answers our Ten Terrifying Questions. Be sure to check them out and get yourself a preorder of the first book in her new trilogy The Lascar's Dagger - it's brilliant!

Kind regards

Mark Timmony
Editor
Booktopia Science Fiction + Fantasy Buzz


Follow me on Twitter: @MarkTimmony

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BOOK OF THE MONTH
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A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros
by Matthew Reinhart
 

An immersive guide to the wonderous world of Westeros, the setting for George R.R. Martin's bestselling Game of Thrones, this is a treat for enthusiasts of all ages.

Here we have a pop-up book that transforms into a 3-D  map of Westeros that could barely fit on your dinning table -well, depending on how big that dining table is I guess. Fans prepare thy wallet, you are going to want this one in your collection.

Inspired by the Emmy Award-winning title sequence that opens each episode of the hit HBO series, Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros is guaranteed to thrill the show's legions of fans.

Featuring stunning pop-up recreations of several key locations from the series, including the formidable castle of Winterfell, the lavish capital city King's Landing, and the Wall's stark majesty, this book takes readers into the world of the series like never before.

Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros features five stunning spreads that fold out to create a remarkable pop-up map of Westeros, as well as numerous mini-pops that bring to life iconic elements of the show, such as direwolves, White Walkers, giants, and dragons.

All the pops are accompanied by insightful text that relays the rich history of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond, forming a dynamic reference guide to the world of Game of Thrones.

Visually spectacular and enthrallingly interactive, Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros sets a new standard for pop-up books and perfectly captures the epic scope and imagination of the series.

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BESTSELLERS
The brilliant Anne Bishop jumps into the number one spot this month with Murder of Crows, the sequel to last year's bestseller Written in Red. Self-publishing phenomenon Anthony Ryan's debut Blood Song, the book that saw him signed to a mainstream publisher, has come out in paperback and has scaled the list to number two. Aussie Traci Harding continues her streak of appearances in the bestsellers list, this month the omnibus of her debut trilogy The Ancient Future moves in to position number three followed closely by Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation at number four.

MURDER OF CROWS
By Anne Bishop

BLOOD SONG
By Anthony Ryan
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After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.



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Vaelin Al Sorna is the Sixth Order's newest recruit. Under their brutal training regime, he learns how to forge a blade, survive the wilds and kill a man quickly and quietly - all in the name of protecting the Realm and the Faith.

Now his skills will be put to the test. War is coming.
 
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THE ANCIENT FUTURE TRILOGY
By Traci Harding

ANNIHILATION
By Jeff VanderMeer
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Late one evening, an accident near a ring of stones throws Tory Alexander across the vortex of time and space to the Dark Ages. There she meets Prince Maelgwn of Gwynedd and his band of warriors, who initially brand her as a witch and are frightened by her strange appearance more

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Australian author
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Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilisation. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire more
 
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WHAT I'VE BEEN READING
What I've Been Reading: The Evolutionary Void. Wow. On one hand I am bummed I never read these when they came out. On the other I thrilled to have discovered them now. Hamilton is a master story-teller.

What I am Reading Now: Would it shock you to know I am reading more than one book? I have in my hands (at last) Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, and I have started Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton (I couldn't help it!).

What I am Reading Next: I am currently looking at Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence. Set in the same world as his 'Broken Empire'. A reading copy of this one as yet eludes me, so I am just going to settle back and finally read Elfhome by Wen Spencer. Because she is amazing!

FANTASY
Click here for more details or to buy SHARDS OF TIME
By Lynn Flewelling


Lynn Flewelling has been publishing novels since 1996 to great acclaim. I wish I could say I have been following her work all that time but I only had the pleasure of discovering her brilliant novels a few years ago. Luckily for me that meant I have a solid body of her work to make my way through. She is the author of the Tamir Trilogy and critically acclaimed Nightrunner series, of which The Shards of Time is book seven.

Unfortunately it is also - for now - the end of an era, as she wraps up the story of fan-favorite spies Alec and Seregil in a novel that contains all the action, intrigue, political skullduggery and magic that have made the books such an enduring part of the genre.



The governor of the sacred island of Korous and his mistress have been killed inside a locked and guarded room.


The sole witnesses to the crime-guards who broke down the doors, hearing the screams from within-have gone mad with terror, babbling about ghosts . . . and things worse than ghosts.
 
Dispatched to Korous by the queen, master spies Alec and Seregil find all the excitement and danger they could want-and more. For an ancient evil has been awakened there, a great power that will not rest until it has escaped its otherworldly prison and taken revenge on all that lives. And only those like Alec-who have died and returned to life-can step between the worlds and confront the killer . . . even if it means a second and all too permanent death.
 
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Click here for more details or to order REIGN OF ASH
By Gail Z. Martin


Following Ice Forged comes the second novel in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga - a tale of war, heroism and sorcery.

Martin writes a thrilling tale of action and adventure against a foil of the struggle between freewill and a predetermined destiny.

Blaine McFadden survived six years in the brutal Velant prison colony, exiled for murder.

When war devastates his homeland of Donderath, it also destroys the intentional magic on which Donderath and its fellow kingdoms rely. Blaine and a small group of fellow exiles return to a lawless wasteland where unrestrained magic storms appear and disappear unpredictably, and monsters roam the ruins.

Yet rumours persist that the seeds of a new magic rest with a dangerous, ancient ritual and a handful of survivors who have disappeared. McFadden resolves to find these survivors and work the ritual, despite the danger, to restore the magic and end the chaos. He rallies a small and desperate army for a last stand, knowing that if they fail, the civilisation of the Ascendant Kingdoms dies with them.

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SCIENCE FICTION
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By James Lovegrove


A team of godlike super-powered beings based on the ten avatars of Vishnu from Hindu mythology is assembled, but are they in fact a harbinger of apocalypse?

The Age of Shiva is the latest standalone novel in the bestselling Pantheon series and one that has been eagerly awaited.

Zachary Bramwell, better known as the comics artist Zak Zap, is pushing forty and wondering why his life isn't as exciting as the lives of the superheroes he draws.

Then he's shanghaied by black-suited goons and flown to Mount Meru, a vast complex built atop an island in the Maldives. There, Zak meets a trio of billionaire businessmen who put him to work designing costumes for a team of godlike super-powered beings based on the ten avatars of Vishnu from Hindu mythology.

The Ten Avatars battle demons and aliens and seem to be the saviours of a world teetering on collapse. But their presence is itself a harbinger of apocalypse.
The Vedic fourth age of civilisation, Kali Yuga, is coming to an end, and Zak has a ringside seat for the final, all-out war that threatens the destruction of Earth.

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Click here for more details or to order CAULDRON OF GHOSTS
By David Weber & Eric Flint


Sequel to national bestsellers Torch of Freedom and Crown of Slaves, Book Three in the Crown of Slaves, - Honor Harrington universe. Secret agent Anton Zilwicki and Victor Cachat return in this classic tie-in series set in David Weber's Honorverse.

The Republic of Haven and the Star Empire of Manticore have made peace. Now they are facing a combined threat from the Solarian Union, and the secretive Mesan Alignment, underhanded manipulators bent on galactic domination and masterminds of the interstellar slave trade. Also in the mix is the youthful star nation of Torch, inhabited by freed slaves, which has been at war with Mesa since its founding.

This is one that fans of Weber's Honor Harrington will not want to miss!

TOIL AND TROUBLE IN THE CAULDRON OF GHOSTS

The Mesan Alignment: a centuries-old cabal that seeks to impose its vision of a society dominated by genetic rank onto the human race. Now the conspiracy stands exposed by spies Anton Zilwicki and Victor Cachat-one an agent of Honor Harrington's Star Kingdom of Manticore, the other a Havenite operative. The outing of the Alignment has turned the galaxy's political framework topsy-turvy. Old coalitions have disintegrated. New alliances have been born.

For starters, the long and hard-fought war between the Republic of Haven and the Star Empire of Manticore is not only over, but these bitter enemies have formed a new pact. Their common foe: the Mesan Alignment itself.

But more information is needed to bring the Alignment out of the shadows. Now, defying the odds and relying on genetic wizardry themselves for a disguise, Zilwicki and Cachat return to Mesa-only to discover that even they have underestimated the Alignment's ruthlessness and savagery.

Soon they are on the run in Mesa's underworld, not only hunted by the Alignment but threatened by the exploding conflict on the planet between Mesa's overlords and the brutalized slaves and descendants of slaves who have suffered under their rule for so long. But if Zilwicki and Cachat succeed in rooting out the ancient conspiracy, a great evil may be finally removed from the galaxy-and on a long-oppressed planet, freedom may finally dawn.


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Click here for more details or to order HEAVEN'S QUEEN
By Rachel Bach


Rachel Bach, the science-fiction pseudonym for Rachel Aaron, the author of the humourous and highly recommended The Legend of Eli Monpress fantasy series - which started with The Spirit Thief - is back with the third book in the Paradox series.

Following Fortune's Pawn and Honour's Knight, the space adventure continues in this action-packed military science fiction novel featuring mercenary Deviana Morris.

From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell's doomed ship, Devi Morris's life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood and an incurable virus that's eating her alive. Now, with the captain missing and everyone - even her own government - determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible.

The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi's never been one to shy from a fight, and she's getting mighty sick of running. It's time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.

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Click here for more details or to order OPERATION SHIELD
By Joel Shepherd


Part military SF, part cyberpunk, part grand-scale space opera, and part techno-psychological thriller, the Cassandra Kresnov novels are a blend of Robert Ludlum meets Elizabeth Moon. A heart racing novel of cunning political machinations that twist together in a gripping, serpentine labyrinth of plotting that sparks explosive action. Operation Shield is a blockbuster from an Australian author who is cermenting his place as a star of science fiction.

In 23 Years on Fire, Cassandra discovered that the technology that created her has been misused in her former home and now threatens all humanity with catastrophe.

Returning home to Callay, she finds that Federation member worlds, exhausted by the previous thirty-year-war against the League, are unwilling to risk the confrontation that a solution may require. Some of these forces will go to any lengths to avoid a new conflict, including taking a sledgehammer to the Federation Constitution and threatening the removal by force of Cassandra's own branch of the Federal Security Agency.

More frighteningly for Sandy, she has brought back to Callay three young children, whom she met on the mean streets of Droze, discovering maternal feelings she had not known she possessed. Can she reconcile her duty as a soldier, including what she must do as a tactician, with the dangers that those decisions will place upon her family--the one thing that has come to mean more to her than any cause she now believes in?

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GLENDA LARKE ANSWERS TEN TERRIFYING QUESTIONS
Glenda Larke 1. To begin with why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself - where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Western Australia at the foot of the Darling Ranges. For the first 11 years of my life I was a feral tomboy living on a farm, entertaining myself, largely unsupervised by very busy parents. School was a converted house with prefab classroom hot-boxes in the schoolyard to accommodate the post-war baby boom. Then we moved to the suburbs and I learned it wasn't cool to go barefoot all the time and never to wear anything that had a skirt. Fortunately, my reading remained uncensored.


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

At twelve I wanted to be a author. Why? I've no idea. I was certainly already a writer.

At eighteen I wanted to be an author one day, but mostly I just wanted to get my history degree at the University of Western Australia. Because I liked history and I had no idea how to go from being a writer to being an author.

At thirty I was living in Malaysia. I wanted to be a novelist, but mostly I just wanted the darned baby to sleep the whole night through, just for once... Because I was tired.


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

I was religious. A temporary aberration.


4. 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?

Probably it was the Billabong books that made me want to be a writer. Or maybe Enid Blyton's books.

Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" made me want to write fantasy. Click here for more details or to order

"The Well of Loneliness " by Radclyffe Hall (which I read and cried over when I was about twelve or thirteen)  told me that there was a ton of stuff out there I just had to read to broaden my horizons (although I doubt I articulated it that way then!)


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

Well, I never liked dancing, was too shy to be an actress, had a lousy sense of rhythm for music, and although I like drawing and painting, I was never good enough to be an artist. But writing was something I could do. I used to write stories and read them to my friends when I was about nine...I was hooked right then when they wanted to know 'what happened next?'.


6. Please tell us about your latest novel 'The Lascar's Dagger'

The big picture of the whole trilogy: it's about a clash of cultures and magic, set in a world where the west is expanding into the east and finding it's not quite how they'd thought it would be.

The Lascar's Dagger is the first book, and it's the story of a priest who's also a spy for his faith; a penniless woman on the run after committing a murder; a lascar seaman with a tragic past and a dagger imbued with magic; and a princess about to marry for dynastic reasons.

Click here for more details or to orderThere's also a privateer, a lawyer and ...
...and summing up a fantasy epic is about the hardest part of my job!


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

First and foremost, I hope they spent a couple of hours enjoying the story. I hope it lifted them out of their worries and took them somewhere else for a time.

Secondly, I hope it made them think ... about something. Relationships, perhaps. Or moral issues. Or drought prevention. Or the colonial legacy. Or whatever the story happened to touch on. For me, that would be a bonus, rather than a given, let alone a necessity. A story is a story, and it should entertain before anything else.


8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Shakespeare . Look what he produced! And then remember this: he did it with a quill and ink and no spellcheck.


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

To finish the next book on time. And believe me, that's an ambitious goal.


10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read very widely, across genres. Grow a thick skin. Seek help and advice. Enjoy what you do. And keep your initial goal a small one: "I am going to finish writing this book I have started."

A later goal for the aspiring should probably be: "So what, they didn't like it? Well, just you wait, I'll show 'em!"
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In This Issue

Book of the Month

Bestsellers

What I've Been Reading

Fantasy

Science Fiction

Ten Terrifying Questions

BESTSELLERS
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EBOOK BESTSELLERS
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AUDIO BESTSELLERS
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FANTASY

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SCIENCE FICTION
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SF MASTERWORKS

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WARHAMMER 40K
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