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Indulge into The Guardian’s top one hundred list of the very best factual writing, organised by category.
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For nearly two decades, Jim Killen has served as the science fiction and fantasy book buyer for Barnes & Noble. Sullivan returns to Elan with a standalone prequel set 3,000 years before the events of The Riyria Chronicles, and offers up an irresistible premise: when Raithe and Herkimer of the Dureyan clan venture across the Bern River into the forbidden land of the gods, they are almost immediately detected and confronted.
Sykes’ popular Aeon’s Gate trilogy is collected here in a single, truly massive volume, reminding fantasy fans that the author’s way with dialogue and his approach to exploring and deconstructing epic fantasy tropes are a hell of a lot of fun, without sacrificing the sense of magical awe or the tense battle scenes the genre calls for.
The second installment of Hearn’s Tale of Shikanoko picks up precisely where the first book, Emperor of the Eight Islands, left off, with Shika now a broken, guilt-ridden man, slinking back to the sorcerer who trained him.
Anderson returns with the 11th book in his Destroyermen series, which takes the concept of alternate history to and exciting extreme, imagining World War II-era American and Japanese ships transported mid-battle to an alternate Earth where humans never evolved, where two dominant races—one descended from Lemurs, with whom the humans ally; and one resembling Velicoraptors, known as the Grik—wage a war of endless animosity. At the start of the eleventh book in Drake’s RCN series, Captain Daniel Leary and his friend, master spy and information specialist Adele Mundy, are hoping to find some peace and quiet—Leary with his new wife, and Mundy in her library. Black’s Descendant series gets the omnibus treatment, collecting three novels (Dark Descendant, Deadly Descendant, and Rogue Descendant) along with a previously digital-only novella (Pros and Cons) that bridges the story between the second and third books. Skovron’s first foray into adult fiction is an unexpected ride into a richly-imagined fictional world. Valentine continues to explore the politics of the fascinating near-future world first introduced in Persona, once again following Suyana Sapaki, the “Face” of the United Amazonia Rainforest Confederation. Older’s debut novel imagines a world where the entire population is divided into groups of 100,000, known as centenals.
The ninth and final installment of Novik’s Temeraire series opens with Napoleon’s ignominious retreat from his disastrous invasion of Russia, harried by Captain Laurence and the dragon Temeraire.
Keeping up with the sheer volume of SFF short fiction published every year can be daunting, so collections like this one are therefore essential to if you want to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in genre. Sandman Slim is back, and once again embroiled in a supernatural plot that holds dark implications, not just for James Stark and his band of demons and freaks, but for every single soul on the planet. For those who loved the character of Jonmarc Vahanian in Martin’s Chronicles of the Necromancer series, this spinoff volume is a must-read, collecting a host of short stories that fill in the gaps in Vahanian’s life and adventures, exploring the motivations and background of one of a complex and charismatic character. Shepherd returns to his Kris Longknife universe with a third installment of the adventures of Vicky Peterwald—Imperial Duchess, spoiled brat, libidinous expert in court politics, and now, fully-fledged rebel against her stepmother the Empress.
The third and concluding book of Saintcrow’s Gallow and Ragged series, set in a world where the Fae inhabit greasy spoons, junkyards, and dive bars, opens on a world in chaos, as the events of the prior two books have set a calamity into motion. Tags: a study in sable, age of myth, alastair reynolds, an affinity for steel, autumn princess dragon child, blood in the water, bookseller's picks, david drake, death's bright day, descendant, gail z. Featuring over 300 pages of restored strips and serials, the book opens with the first series the creators ever worked on together: Blue Bolt.
Moving past that, into the 1950s, Simon and Kirby transitioned into more traditional science fiction with comics focused on spacemen, giant robots and strange civilizations. As the 60s roll around, we see Simon and Kirby go their separate ways (Kirby to DC Comics and Simon to Harvey Comics) which leaves the final chapter of this book spotlighting a variety of other creators like writers Archie Goodwin and Wally Wood as well as artists like Reed Crandall and Al Williamson. RondalRondal is the Editor-in-Chief of Strange Kids Club and a creative instigator who tackles each day with Red Bull-induced enthusiasm and a mind for adventure. Disclaimer The views expressed by individual writers are not necessarily those of the site owner or the entire Strange Kids Club staff.
FIND your favourite for the summer vacation in our selection of the best new fiction novels. PHVinegar Girl by Anne Tyler Hogarth, £16.99 Who better to write about a dysfunctional family than Anne Tyler, author of The Accidental Tourist and A Spool Of Blue Thread?
Orbit (May, 2012), Cover by Kirk Benshoff   Science fiction was always a large part of my ‘golden age’ of reading as Michael Dirda once put it, and I find it’s remained a large part of my adult life, too.
From Nebula and Hugo Award–nominated Carolyn Ives Gilman comes Dark Orbit, a compelling novel featuring alien contact, mystery, and murder. Reports of a strange, new habitable planet have reached the Twenty Planets of human civilization.
What happens when a billionaire develops a method of preserving bodies until they can be re-animated at a future date? A spiritual sequel to The Man In The High Castle, focusing on the New Japanese Empire, from an acclaimed author and essayist. A new science fiction epic that includes wormholes, rebel armies, and even character named Jack the Ripper!
Get the skinny each month on what new fantasy books are AWESOME and get exclusive access to giveaways for FREE books, Amazon Kindles, and more! All these pages are connected with each other, which means your book and it's cover will show up on dozens of places on the internet. Readers will need to do some research to figure out the fairytale connection in this one, as Sarah assists an opera singer with a ghost problem, and logical Holmes’ investigations keep Nan, Sarah, and readers on their toes.
In the ensuing conflict, Raithe kills a Fhrey—which should be impossible, as the Fhrey are thought to be immortal gods. Lenk and his fellow adventurers have little to offer aside from their blades, fighting skill, and willingness to do anything for money—which is good, because demons are rising throughout the land, and need swift dispatching. Hearn brings her mythical feudal Japan to life with lush poeticism as the story grows, weaving multiple threads into an increasingly complex and beautiful tapestry. After so much time and so many battles, the destroyer USS Walker, commanded by Matt Reddy, is in desperate need of repairs, but there’s little respite to be found as the Grik plan a massive counterattack and an insane adversary from Reddy’s past promises to finally break the Grand Alliance the humans rely on to survive.

As might be expected, neither gets their wish, as another threat of war between the Republic of Cinnabar and the Alliance of Free Stars sees them assigned to visit a distant star system, where a political conflict threatens to erupt into a hot war. In a world where all the ancient gods are real—and, more importantly, all of their children, variously immortal and super-powered (and, to say the least, maladjusted)—Nikki Glass is a descendant of Artemis the Huntress working as a private investigator. On an island realm ruled by amoral and self-interested Biomancers—men and women skilled in a powerful combination of magic and science—two children from vastly different backgrounds come of age.
In an age where politics operates with the flash and spectacle of reality TV, Faces are the celebrity representative of a country—attractive, charismatic people who simply deliver the decisions made those who hold the real power.
Each centenal can vote for the government they wish to belong to—governments ranging from corporate-dominated PhilipMorris, to policy-based groups with names like Liberty. Napoleon’s near-miraculous escape from this disaster is as demoralizing as it was in our timeline, but even worse is what happens next: the French dictator makes an offer of humane treatment and autonomous lands to any dragon that will serve him, a rich offer for the often-mistreated flying beasts.
What has always set Grant’s zombie universe apart is her focus on the way society bends and snaps under the pressure, but people still fall in love, still need to live their lives, still need to attend sci-fi conventions—even if it means occasionally having to shoot an old friend or loved one in the head. Clarkesworld publisher Neil Clarke brings his reputation and impeccable taste to this anthology of the best short fiction of 2015, including stories by David Brin, Ken Liu, Alastair Reynolds, Seanan McGuire, and many others. Clarke’s award-winning 1971 novella A Meeting with Medusa casts a long shadow, and continuing the story of Howard Falcon, whose body was rebuilt using cybernetics and prosthetics after he was injured exploring Jupiter, is a task best left to experts. Called in by the Sub Rosa Council to investigate a missing child case, Slim acquires a vile of mysterious black liquid with which a friend is inadvertently poisoned. Offering a deeper dive into a Chronicles fan favorite, this collection is ideal book for longtime readers and an excellent introduction to those who aren’t yet familiar with Martin’s popular fantasy series. The Vicky books offer a fascinating new perspective on the Longknife universe, but new readers can also appreciate this brisk, sexy tale of court intrigue, military exploits, and satisfying space opera shenanigans, as Vicky consolidates her support against the Empress and survives any number of tense action scenes on her way to securing her destiny. Jeremiah Gallow finds himself simultaneously hated and needed by the Unseelie King, who puts his grudge against Gallow aside long enough to assign him a desperate, impossible mission—the success of which doesn’t just mean the continued existence of the sidhe, but the survival of the mysterious Robin Ragged as well.
As one might expect from the duo that created Marvel’s Captain America, Blue Bolt is very much a superhero for the sci-fi age. It’s during this period when the majority of their work becomes largely unremarkable in terms of the impact they had on modern comics. Rondal has written for other sites including Rue Morgue, Fuel Your Illustration and Bloodsprayer. This time, Strange and his pals are transported across the universe (and reality) to help their Saturday morning hero, Bronarr: Space Barbarian fight the evil forces of Lord Gammax! Here she has taken on The Taming Of The Shrew in which a father is desperate to marry off his mean daughter so that his younger, prettier daughter can be wed. When a team of scientists is assembled to investigate this world, exoethnologist Sara Callicot is recruited to keep an eye on an unstable crewmate.
This sets in motion an epic chain of events, as the foundations of society are shaken by the revelation; after all, if your gods can be killed, why would you worship them if you could make war on them? Lenk’s band of mercenary adventurers is made up of well-shaded characters readers will love spending time with both in and out of battle, making this a three-in-one volume a bargain for anyone looking for a game-changing modern epic. This series offers a refreshing change of pace for anyone who loves fantasy but is looking to break out from the traditionally Western tropes of sword and sorcery.
Leary and Mundy once again make for a fantastic pair of characters, different as can be, and yet totally reliant on one another—which is good, because they quickly come to suspect that not only were they set up to fail in their mission, they might have been set up to die trying. In Glass, Black has created a well-rounded character who rises above cliche and reacts in believable ways to incredible events, making it a series worth devouring in one go. Bleak Hope survives the destruction of her village by a biomancer and is trained by a group of warrior priests for revenge. After surviving the deadly events of the last book, Suyana and her official paparazzi Daniel Park get involved with the Face of America as Suyana rises to giddy heights of fame—until unpredictable events result in worse than a simple assassination attempt: public disapproval.
A global organization called Information seeks to police elections and ensure that the many governments keep their promises and play by the rules—and when a researcher for a government called Policy1st stumbles onto a conspiracy to rig elections, he’s teamed with an agent of Information as they struggle to find out the truth, expose the plot—and, naturally enough, stay alive.
Meanwhile, Temeraire’s egg and mate are stolen and transported to China, where his old enemy the Celestial Dragon Lien lies in wait.
Best of all, in addition to the eight published Newflesh stories, there are two never-before-published novellas, making this collection an absolute must-have for fans. It’s an incredible collection of work from some of today’s most celebrated writers, assembled under the direction of one of our most respected editors. The Library is an organization that traverses space and time to collect unique books from alternate realities and catalog them for posterity.
Luckily, we have the combined minds of Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds, who return to the story 45 years later, crafting a sequel overfull with cutting edge SF-nal ideas. The only place to secure an antidote is, of course, Hell itself, and Slim and Candy head there determined to save the day.
Saintcrow combines a smart sense of humor with impeccable instincts for pacing and action, delivering an explosive and emotionally satisfying end to an imaginative not-so-urban fantasy series.
The title borrows heavily from its predecessors (namely Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon), but also clearly sets in place many of the elements that would later be used in Captain America. His obsession with horror movies, 80s animation and action figures is considered unhealthy by medical professionals.
His prospective son-in-law Petruchio ill-treats the feisty Katharina who, thoroughly tamed, ends the play by lecturing her sister on wifely duty. Sullivan brings his masterful world-building and agile imagination to bear on a host of interesting characters and a story that feels new and vibrant.
True, there are swords and sorcery aplenty, and political maneuverings, betrayals, and impassioned love, but the setting and lyrical style will be a thrill to both longtime fans and newcomers seeking something exotic.

Red is the son of drug addicts and prostitutes, trained to be the greatest thief the world has ever known. Valentine deepens and broadens one of the best-conceived futures in recent sci-fi, and adds in plenty of tension and twists to keep the pot boiling. Older’s fierce imagination and eye for detail make her future world seem entirely plausible, and her characters believably flawed.
Novik bids farewell to her magnum opus with a book that packs incredible detail, deep knowledge of history, and a simple, gleeful love of dragons into a remarkably satisfying conclusion to a remarkable series. Into that fascinating premise is thrust Irene, a spy for the Library tasked with flitting into alternate realities—say, a vampire-infested London—in order to acquire invaluable books for the collection. Falcon’s storied journey to Jupiter has inspired Earth to stretch out beyond the planet’s boundaries, but the technology developed and refined by humanity begins to assert its own autonomy and intelligence.
Along the way, they discover evidence that Wormwood’s undead servants have made a deal with rebel Angels seeking to block humanity from Heaven—and the consequences might be worse than anything Sandman Slim has ever encountered before. A tricky scenario for the 21st century but Tyler, with her customary wry humour and subtlety, makes it work.
That their fates are intertwined is a given, but Skovron’s briskly-paced story doesn’t skimp on the world-building—and thank goodness, because it’s quite a world.
With trainee Kai in tow, Irene’s latest quest goes awry and she has to delve into London’s underworld to set things right, battling not only bloodsuckers, but werewolves and Fair Folk as well. Preserving the tone and feel of Clarke’s original, Reynolds and Baxter expand the scope of the story in thrilling ways, making this a must-read for any fan of the Golden Age master. She must rely on more than her fighting skills if she wants to make it out with the books and her body intact.
Sharp-tongued and mildly depressed, she haphazardly keeps house for her eccentric academic father Louis and her much younger, prettier and livelier sister Bunny.
Neither girl really remembers their mother, who spent Kate’s childhood in mental hospitals then died when Bunny was born. Louis, on the verge of a scientific breakthrough, needs Kate to marry his assistant Pyotr Cherbakov whose work visa is about to expire. But what marriage teaches her is that much unhappiness is caused by emotional inarticulacy and she begins to understand the problem at the heart of her parents’ relationship.
Evie has little sense of herself and is ripe pickings for a dangerous, drug-fuelled cult that seems to offer the recognition and endorsement that she has failed to find at home or at school.
It is California in 1969 and the ranch-based cult is led by Russell Hadrick, a manipulative Charles Manson-like figure. Evie believes she has come home, particularly in the company of the raven-haired Suzanne, semi-leader of the cult, by whom Evie is bewitched. The action switches between past and present as the older Evie tries to come to terms with her involvement with the cult. Emma Cline is just 27 and her debut novel is one of the most eagerly anticipated books of the year, with rights sold in 35 countries.
With a hefty 714 pages, it spans more than 300 years from the late 1600s to almost the present day. Life is relentlessly tough for the men as they fight to survive in the unforgiving landscape. The lives and often violent deaths of their descendants are charted throughout the rest of the novel. The Duquets become the successful Dukes while the Sels struggle to survive the displacement of the Mi’kmaq people and the devastation of their forest habitat. It took Proulx, author or The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain, 10 years to research and write this epic and complex novel. But on the evidence of this richly atmospheric and engrossing follow-up, it gifted Burton a greater sense of confidence and ambition. It opens in London in 1967 as Odelle Bastien, who has moved to London from the West Indies, starts a new job as a typist at the Skelton Institute Of Art. This mystery is intercut with the story of art dealer Harold Schloss, his depressed wife Sarah and his artist daughter Olive, living in remote southern Spain in 1936. When local siblings Isaac and Tessa come to work for them, Olive falls madly in love with Isaac.
As the Spanish Civil War exerts its brutal grip, Olive’s passion will have disastrous consequences. It is set in 1889 at Saint-Paul de Mausole in rural Provence, a sanatorium for the mentally ill where Charles Trabuc, a veteran of the Crimean War, works as the warden. His wife Jeanne is an uneducated 55-year-old housewife bridling against the confines of an unhappy marriage after her three grown-up sons have left home. Both Jeanne and her husband are based on real-life subjects of Van Gogh and Fletcher’s novel is a creative reconstruction of the last year of his life.
Fletcher has painted a portrait of a woman in a different age whose concerns are recognisable today.

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