Booktopia SF & Fantasy Buzz
September 2014 | Edition 20
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Welcome to the September Science Fiction and Fantasy Buzz
Well, some good news this month for the long suffering fans of Melanie Rawn (I stand amongst you), she has confirmed she plans to write The Captal's Tower - the third and final book in the bestselling Exiles Trilogy - once she has completed the forthcoming fifth book of her Glass Thorns sequence. It's been seventeen odd years since the last book in the Exiles Trilogy was released. I'm going to need a re-read.

Babylon 5 fans rejoice! J. Michael Straczynski, creator of the 1990's SF show has announced he is planning a big-screen reboot of the franchise. The only date we have at the moment is that production is aiming to begin in 2016. Good thing we have books to keep us occupied in the meantime!

And now, on with the Buzz!

Kind regards

Mark Timmony
Editor
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 order EXTINCTION GAME
by Gary Gibson


Mark says: Could you survive the end of your world?

Jerry Beche has been alone for years after a pandemic wiped out the rest of humanity, his grip on reality is slightly off and both his sense of paranoia and survival instincts are tightly strung. So, one day when he finds a set of footprints on the ground that are not his own, he runs. When he is eventually subdued he is offered an opportunity to join a group searching a multitude of alternative realities and researching extinction events on different Earths.

This book is kind of terrifying with all the different scenarios Gibson presents, anyone with an active imagination (Oh, me! Hello!) will quite probably never look at the stars in the sky, or experience an earthquake, the same way again. And don't get me started on scientists and their various fields of "research"!

Extinction Game is different to Gibson's usual fare of high-tech, far future space opera. It is a post-apocalyptic, reality jumping, techno-thriller, shotgun of a novel that throws you into the action from page one, and presents layer after layer of secrets and hidden agenda. It's great!

Blurb: When your life is based on lies, how do you hunt down the truth?

Jerry Beche should be dead. Instead, he's rescued from a desolate Earth where he was the last man alive. He's then trained for the toughest more...

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WHAT I'VE BEEN READING
What I've Just read: Cast in Flame by Michelle Sagara. This series is so good! If you are a long time fan you cannot miss this one.

What I am Reading: At All Costs by David Weber. I have finally picked up this massive tome in the Honor Harrington saga and am spending way too much time reading when I should be doing other things (not that I am complaining).

What I am Reading Next: So many books to choose from but I am eyeing the forthcoming Peter F. Hamilton (The Abyss Beyond Dreams) with much eagerness.

BESTSELLERS
Mr Abercrombie and his new tale of Viking-like warfare and political machinations takes the top spot this month, followed closely by Anthony Ryan with the second instalment in his debut trilogy. Grand Master Terry Brooks also has a new offering in the world of Shannara and the downsize in format of Scott Lynch's long awaited third book in the Gentleman Bastard series continues to make its presence felt in the charts pushing its way into the number four position.

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.

HALF A KING
by Joe Abercrombie

TOWER LORD
by Anthony Ryan
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Born with a crippled hand, he can never live up to his father's expectations of what a real man should be and his destiny is not the throne but the Ministry, not the sword and shield but the book and the soft word spoken. But when his father and brother are killed, Yarvi is propelled to more...

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Vaelin Al Sorna is tired of war. He's fought countless battles in service to the Realm and Faith. His reward was the loss of his love, the death of his friends and a betrayal by his king. After five years in an Alpiran dungeon, he just wants more...

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THE HIGH DRUID'S BLADE
by Terry Brooks

THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES
by Scott Lynch
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Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once waged war with magical weapons. But those heroes are long gone now, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxon's fireplace. Paxon leads a quiet life - until extraordinary circumstances overturn his more...

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The High Durid's Blade

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After their adventures on the high seas, Locke and Jean are brought back to earth with a thump. Jean is mourning the loss of his lover and Locke must live with the fallout of crossing the all-powerful magical assassins, the Bonds Magi. It is a fallout that will pit both men against more...

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The Republic of Thieves

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FANTASY
Click here for more details or to order THE RELIC GUILD
by Edward Cox


Mark says: The labyrinth is a place which, legend has it, was once a city at the heart of a seemingly endless maze.  The Relic Guild is a solid and enjoyable tale set in a grim, dark, dystopian setting that brings to mind Peake's Gormenghast - kind of.

Encompassing two timelines, it weaves its story backwards and forwards, yet retains a balance that pushes the momentum forward with a host of memorable characters, vampirism and zombies in a setting that is different to the norm - and an intriguing character unto itself. 

Blurb: Magic caused the war. Magic is forbidden. Magic will save us.

It was said the Labyrinth had once been the great meeting place, a sprawling city at the heart of an endless maze where a million humans hosted the Houses of the Aelfir. The Aelfir who had brought trade and riches, and a more...
 
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Click here for more details or to order AGE OF IRON
by Angus Watson

Mark says: Age of Iron blends historical fiction with fantasy in a note-worthy romp of a debut set in Britain before the Roman invasion. It's an action-packed fantasy filled with strong female leads, battle hardened, axe-wielding warriors and bloodthirsty druids.  

If you like your fantasy brutal in warfare, subtle in magic, driven by the tension of intrigue and betrayal, with a strong thread of humour throughout, then this is the book for you. And for any fan of Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence and even Kevin Hearne.

Blurb: LEGENDS AREN'T BORN. THEY'RE FORGED.

Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary travelling south to join up with King Zadar's army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people.

First, Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar's most fearsome warriors, who's vowed revenge on more...

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Click here for more details or to order HIDDEN
by Benedict Jacka


NEVER LOOK BACK

Alex Verus is a diviner who can see probable futures - a talent that's gotten him and his friends out of many a tough scrape. But what happens when someone doesn't want Alex's help?

Alex's friend, the life mage Anne, distanced herself from him when she found out about his past as a Dark apprentice. Now she's in serious trouble, but wants nothing to do with him. Alex has to start wondering if Anne's problem is really with him - or if there's a secret she's trying to hide.

On top of that, rumours are swirling around London that Alex's former master may be back in town. Alex has no idea what his agenda may be, or who it involves . . .

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Click here for more details or to order SLEEPING LATE ON JUDGEMENT DAY
BOBBY DOLLAR SERIES: BOOK 3
by Tad Williams


Bobby Dollar thinks he's seen it all - after all, he's been to Hell and back again. Literally.But he has another think coming.

Sleeping Late on Judgement Day will find Bobby back in his adopted hometown of San Judas, California, trying to stay out of trouble... and failing. His love life is still a mess, there are one too many people who have it out for him, and drowning his sorrows in a nice glass of whisky won't keep the demons at bay forever. Bobby's going to have to pull himself together and make a few tough decisions before time runs out.

The problem is, time could run out at any moment.

In the final Bobby Dollar novel in Tad Williams' groundbreaking epic fantasy trilogy, fallen angel Bobby Dollar will finally be force to confront the one problem he can't talk his way out of: his own.

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SPOTLIGHT ON GARTH NIX
Click here for more details or to order Old Kingdom fans, the wait is almost over! Next month sees Garth Nix return to world of the Abhorsen with Clariel.

Set six hundred years before the trilogy that made him a household name, Clariel is the story of a goldsmith's daughter who also happens to be the grandaughter of The Abhorsen. Caught up against her will in the internal politics of the Kingdom, she finds herself drawn to forbidden magics...

In anticipation of the release Allen & Unwin have repackaged the classic trilogy with brand new covers. So if you haven't crossed the Wall to the land of the Charter Marks and the risen dead, now is the perfect time to start!

Check out the first three books below.
SABRIEL
by Garth Nix
  LIRAEL
by Garth Nix
  ABHORSEN
by Garth Nix
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SCIENCE FICTION
Click here for more details or to order THE HITCH HIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
by Douglas Adams

Mark says: This is one of the funniest and best known science fiction books written and a must read for those who want to thumb a lift out of the rut of our everyday life. It is a spoof and a satire and perfect for lovers of humour, humanity, science fiction and the absurd.

Blurb: Introduced by Richard Dawkins and Nick Harkaway

First a legendary radio series, then a bestselling book, and most recently a blockbuster movie, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of the greatest fictional enterprises of the twentieth century. Reissued in time for the first novel's thirty-fifth anniversary, this hardback omnibus edition includes all by more...

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Click here for more details or to order ENERGIZED
by Edward M. Lerner


Mark says: In his latest novel Lerner presents us with some big ideas - mining asteroids for raw material, truly harnessing the power of the sun and breaking our dependence on oil - mixed in with a timely themed plot involving environmental science, political tensions and personal relationships.

Energized is a perfect example of how science fiction can bounce off technical extrapolations and theories and present exciting ideas for the future. In some ways similar to Bova's Asteroid Wars (but much closer to home) it is a book about what could be- especially given the direction some of Google's (and other companies) current research is headed - melded with a high stakes thriller with a message.

Blurb: No one expected the oil to last forever. How right they were ....

A geopolitical miscalculation tainted the world's major oil fields with radioactivity and plunged the Middle East into chaos. Any oil that remains usable is more...

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Click here for more details or to order COMPANY TOWN
by Madeline Ashby


Mark says: Madeline Ashby brought us artificial consciousness and self-replicating machines in vN and iD. Now she's written a novel exploring the event of artificial intelligence surpassing our own and how everything changes.

Ashby says: "I wrote this book to decide how I felt about humanity. Really, that's no different from what all other writers or artists do, but science fiction writers get asked about it more."

You want Skynet for the 21st century? You've got it here.

Blurb: They call it Company Town - a Family-owned city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes.

Meet Hwa. One of the few in her community to forego bio-engineered more...

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GARY GIBSON ANSWERS TEN TERRIFYING QUESTIONS
 Gary Gibson1. To begin with why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself - where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Born in Glasgow, Scotland. Raised in Glasgow, Scotland. Schooled in Glasgow, Scotland. Well, mostly, apart from a few years living in Ayrshire. Or, as I like to think of it, north of the Ice Wall amongst the Wildlings.

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

At twelve, I pretty much wanted to be Arthur C. Clarke . Actually, I also wanted to shave my head and wear white robes like the Talosian in the original Star Trek. That's when I started thinking about writing since I was already sucking up science fiction books like a Roomba in a universe of dust-bunnies.

By eighteen, I'd decided I wanted to be Jimmy Page (guitarist in Led Zeppelin) because I'd just moved back to Glasgow from darkest Ayrshire and discovered rock music. The writing took a back seat for a while. But in my mid-twenties, I'd had a kind of Damascene moment and started writing again. By the time I was thirty I'd had a couple of short stories published in pro SF and Fantasy magazines.

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

That logic and reason will always win any argument. It took a lot of bumps to work out logic and reason are the last things a lot of people ever want to hear.

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?

There's no three things. It's everything, all at once, poured into a single Gary Gibson-shaped mould. But if you kidnapped my dog - that is, if I had a dog - and showed me a live stream of it held over a bucket of piranhas and demanded I answer, I'd pick: Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vinge, Roadside Picnic by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, and the Gaia trilogy by John Varley. If I've got any influences, it's those three. Probably.

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

It's a falsity to say there are 'innumerable' artistic avenues open to anyone. Well, there are, but whether you're actually any good at them is another matter. I "chose" to write a novel because it turns out that's what I'm good at it, it's fun, and there's pretty much nothing else I can think of I might possibly want to do with my life.

Click here for more details or to order6. Please tell us about your latest book EXTINCTION GAME

My latest is Extinction Game . I couldn't just sit down and write a straight post-apocalyptic book, because it's been done so many times. I needed something extra. A classic post-apocalyptic trope is the Last Man on Earth story, so since I'd been reading up on theories regarding the idea we live in a multiverse of infinite parallel realities, it made sense that there must also be an infinite number of universes in which different people are the last man or woman on Earth.

From there it didn't take much more than a hop or skip to figure out an interesting story lay in bringing those people together through some technology that allows travel from one alternate reality to another. Why write a book about one world-destroying apocalypse, when you can write a book that by definition includes every single possible apocalypse?

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

An immediate desire to send me the entire contents of their bank accounts and the deeds to their homes. I'm not saying I planted any post-hypnotic suggestions in my books or anything, but...

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

Anyone who writes what they choose to write, regardless of what others think.

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

To produce a book a year; to always improve; to maintain a healthy level of self-criticism that allows me to grow as a writer; to be ambitious, in the sense of never resting on my laurels; to surprise, entertain and delight; to be raised to Godhood and worshipped by milli...ok, maybe not that last one.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

To understand that what appears to be failure is instead an opportunity to define and build on your true strengths. 

Gary, thank you for playing.
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BESTSELLERS
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FANTASY


SCIENCE FICTION
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