ICYMI: Travis Baldree and Lavie Tidhar on Best of 2023 Lists!

Even though 2023 is now behind us, and most are looking forward to what 2024 will bring (especially all of the great books that are in the pipeline!), we just wanted to take a moment to recognize some appearances on Best of 2023 lists.

After a truly spectacular year, Travis Baldree‘s acclaimed and #1 best-selling second novel, BOOKSHOPS & BONEDUST not only ended 2023 back on the best-seller lists (at #9 in the US!), but was also selected by the Los Angeles Public Library as one of the best fiction books of the year! Published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, here’s the synopsis…

When an injury throws a young, battle-hungry orc off her chosen path, she may find that what we need isn’t always what we seek.

Set in the world of New York Times bestselling Legends & Lattes, Travis Baldree’s Bookshops & Bonedust takes us on a journey of high fantasy, first loves, and secondhand books.

Viv’s career with the notorious mercenary company Rackam’s Ravens isn’t going as planned.

Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she’s packed off against her will to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk—so far from the action that she worries she’ll never be able to return to it.

What’s a thwarted soldier of fortune to do?

Spending her hours at a beleaguered bookshop in the company of its foul-mouthed proprietor is the last thing Viv would have predicted, but it may be both exactly what she needs and the seed of changes she couldn’t possibly imagine.

Still, adventure isn’t all that far away. A suspicious traveler in gray, a gnome with a chip on her shoulder, a summer fling, and an improbable number of skeletons prove Murk to be more eventful than Viv could have ever expected.

Travis’s debut novel, LEGENDS & LATTES — also published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK — was also selected by Huffington Post as one of the best Books of 2023!

The LAPL also selected Lavie Tidhar‘s THE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE WORLD as one of their best fiction books of 2023! Here’s what they had to say about the novel…

‘This novel is an homage to the golden age of science fiction; the authors who provided the genesis of the genre; and the fans who turned their love of the literature into a sub-culture. The author weaves rational thought, a bit of fanaticism, madness and mysticism into a tapestry that will fascinate contemporary readers and would have made the writers who came before him proud.’

THE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE WORLD was also selected as a Publishers Weekly Best of 2023. The novel is published by Tachyon Publication. Here’s the synopsis…

Caught between realities, a mathematician, a book dealer, and a mobster desperately seek a notorious book that disappears upon being read. Only the author, a rakish sci-fi writer, knows whether his popular novel is truthful or a hoax. In a story that is cosmic, inventive, and sly, multi-award-winning author Lavie Tidhar (Central Station) travels from the emergence of life to the very ends of the universe.

Delia Welegtabit discovered two things during her childhood on a South Pacific island: her love for mathematics and a novel that isn’t supposed to exist. But the elusive book proves unexpectedly dangerous. Oskar Lens, a science fiction-obsessed mobster in the midst of an existential crisis, will stop at nothing to find the novel. After Delia’s husband Levi goes missing, she seeks help from Daniel Chase, a young, face-blind book dealer.

The infamous novel Lode Stars was written by the infamous Eugene Charles Hartley: legendary pulp science-fiction writer and founder of the Church of the All-Seeing Eyes. In Hartley’s novel, a doppelganger of Delia searches for her missing father in a strange star system. But is any of Lode Stars real? Was Hartley a cynical conman on a quest for wealth and immortality, creating a religion he did not believe in? Or was he a visionary who truly discovered the secrets of the universe?


Just a quick post, today, to draw your attention to two recent reviews of James P. Blaylock‘s latest novel, PENNIES FROM HEAVEN. The novel is published by PS Publishing in the UK (above, left), and JABberwocky (above, righ) in North America. Before the reviews, though, here’s the synopsis…

With a 100-year storm threatening the southern California coast, Jane Larkin is approached by a strange, audacious woman who wants to invest much-needed money in Jane’s Old Orange Co-op. Meanwhile Jane’s husband Jerry discovers an ancient excavation beneath the Larkin home. On that ominous morning in autumn, shadows descend over the deceptively quiet neighborhoods of Old Orange, ushering in a flood of chaos, terror, and murder.

Ian Hunter had this to say about the novel, for the British Fantasy Society (who also included a nice mention for Tim Powers, who we also represent in the UK and Commonwealth)…

‘I would urge you to check both Blaylock and [Tim] Powers out if you haven’t already, as what we get here is another fantastic treat… Blaylock delivers a tale that is fun, fast and as furious as the storm that is gathering, populated by a great cast of main and supporting characters, ingenious plotting, a well-rounded sense of place, punctuated by desperate measures, dastardly deeds and a seasoning of black humour, oh, and a cute dog, which all adds up to an entertaining read. If you haven’t read Blaylock before – and he has published novels regularly since the early 1980s – this might be the perfect place.’

And here’s Paul Di Filippo, for Locus Magazine

‘A new novel from Blaylock is a major occasion… With PENNIES, Blaylock is back in contemporary times, in the setting he loves so deeply and limns so well, small-town California… authentic pathos, romance, and comedy… The supernatural elements in the book are vital and well done (the eventual capture of the ghost is colorful and ingenious), but the spook stuff takes a backseat to the human dynamics, the caper aspect and the interpersonal hijinks. Blaylock has always had an affection for eccentrics, misfits and visionaries, and while Jane and Jerry are more “normal” and wholesome than his typical cast, they qualify as non-whitebread souls. As for Phibbs, Blaylock succeeds in creating a true monster. PENNIES is very cinematic… until Hollywood smartens up and drops bushels of money on Blaylock, you can run this great screwball caper as often as you want, in your own head!’

If you prefer your fiction delivered through your ears, PENNIES FROM HEAVEN is also available as an audiobook, published by W.F. Howes.

A busy NEOM End of Year…

Lavie Tidhar‘s excellent new novel NEOM has received a number of great reviews since its publication. The second novel in the CENTRAL STATION setting, it is published by Tachyon Publications. Here’s the synopsis…

The city known as Neom is many things to many beings, human or otherwise. It is a tech wonderland for the rich and beautiful, an urban sprawl along the Red Sea, and a port of call between Earth and the stars.

In the desert, young orphan Elias has joined a caravan, hoping to earn his passage off-world. But the desert is full of mechanical artefacts, some unexplained and some unexploded. Recently, a wry, unnamed robot has unearthed one of the region’s biggest mysteries: the vestiges of a golden man.

In Neom, childhood affection is rekindling between loyal shurta-officer Nasir and hardworking flower-seller Mariam. But Nasu, a deadly terrorartist, has come to the city with missing memories and unfinished business. Just one robot can change a city’s destiny with a single rose—especially when that robot is in search of lost love.

Lavie Tidhar’s (Unholy Land, The Escapement) newest lushly immersive novel, Neom, which includes a guide to the Central Station universe, is at turns gritty, comedic, transportive, and fascinatingly plausible.

If you haven’t yet read either CENTRAL STATION or NEOM, and are interested in giving the setting a try, the new short story THE SMELL OF ORANGE GROVES was published by Clarkesworld (way back in issue #62), and is available in text and audio.

For podcast enthusiasts, Lavie recently appeared as a guest on the Coode Street Podcast.

NEOM has also received another glowing review, this time from the Los Angeles Public Library:

NEOM is a thoughtful, beautifully written story about what we have, what we want, how we achieve our desires, and what, and whom, we are willing to risk for our own benefit.’

Here are just a few of the other reviews the novel has received so far…

‘World Fantasy Award winner Tidhar takes readers back to the fascinating far-future world of 2016’s CENTRAL STATION in this gentle narrative about self-fulfillment and one robot’s quest to reunite with a lost love… Tidhar offers a heartfelt exploration of artificially intelligent beings’ struggles to find existential meaning while being restrained by both coding and form. Fans of literary sci-fi are sure to be enchanted by the imaginative worldbuilding and tenderly wrought characters.’Publishers Weekly

‘Tidhar’s narrative takes on a gentle, ruminative air, and while that helps establish the atmosphere of a convincing, lived-in city, veteran SF readers will also find plenty of playful and affectionate Easter eggs… Neom easily joins the list of SF cities we’d like to visit.’Locus

‘[A] delight­ful jour­ney through a fan­ta­sy of out­er space and a future Mid­dle East. Tidhar’s world con­tains lik­able char­ac­ters who work togeth­er (some­times acci­den­tal­ly, some­times begrudg­ing­ly) to tell a sto­ry full of adven­ture, mys­tery, hope, and love… Tid­har writes sci­ence fic­tion with real-world par­al­lels and comedic tim­ing, if also a bit of a ten­den­cy toward hope­ful romanticism… NEOM is a won­der­ful read for any lover of sci­ence fic­tion. For some­one who has not yet vis­it­ed the world of CENTRAL STATION — Tidhar’s nov­el from 2016 — it is easy to catch on to the col­lo­qui­alisms and cus­toms of the sto­ry uni­verse. But after read­ing NEOM, new Tid­har fans will sure­ly want to go back for more.’Jewish Book Council

‘… hauntingly beautiful… Written in a straightforward but luminous style… NEOM is a treasure… a compelling chapter in this future history that reflects so much about who we are and the basic things we yearn for.’SciFi Mind

‘Lavie Tidhar’s NEOM is a stunning return to his world of CENTRAL STATION, twinning the fates of humans and robots alike at a futuristic city on the edge of the Red Sea.’Green Man Review

‘This was superb and I’m in awe of Tidhar’s vision. He’s conjured up a futuristic city that feels simultaneously ultramodern and also run down. The rich histories of the region and its cultures are seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of this fully-realized world.’Speculative Shelf

‘This is a book of hearts and of the heart, be it human or robot, and that is something that is universal, be it ourselves or in “the other”. The “other”, in Tidhar’s work, is us, and we are the other. We are all us, and in NEOM, we feel for that other, in the personage of the robots, in the human characters, and we take them, and their stories, into us.’File 770

Lavie’s other 2022 novel, in case you missed it, is MAROR, which has been selected as a best book of the year by The Guardian and The Economist. It is out now, published by Head of Zeus.

International Spotlight: Ian Tregillis’s MILKWEED TRIPTYCH

Today, we wanted to shine a spotlight on Ian Tregillis‘s highly-acclaimed debut trilogy, the Milkweed Triptych: BITTER SEEDS, THE COLDEST WAR, and NECESSARY EVIL.

The series was first published by Tor Books in North America, and Orbit Books in the UK. Here’s the English-language synopsis for the first novel…

The year is 1939. Raybould Marsh and other members of British Intelligence have gathered to watch a damaged reel of film in a darkened room. It appears to show German troops walking through walls, bursting into flames and hurling tanks into the air from afar.

If the British are to believe their eyes, a twisted Nazi scientist has been endowing German troops with unnatural, unstoppable powers. And Raybould will be forced to resort to dark methods to hold the impending invasion at bay.

But dealing with the occult exacts a price. And that price must be paid in blood.

The complete trilogy is published in Spain, by Debolsillo, as Tríptico de Asclepia: SEMILLAS AMARGAS, LA GUERRA MÁS FRÍA, and UN MAL NECESARIO

… and in Latvia by Prometejs, as the Asinszāles triptihs: RŪGTĀS SĒKLAS, VISAUKSTĀKAIS KARŠ, and NEPIECIEŠAMAIS ĻAUNUMS

Here are just a few of the great reviews the Milkweed Triptych has received…

‘Debut novelist Tregillis breathes new life into alternate military history with this fun take on WWII… exciting and intense, and the clash of magic and (mad) science meshes perfectly with the tumultuous setting.’ — Publishers Weekly on BITTER SEEDS

BITTER SEEDS is a book of questions and is far deeper than you might expect… Aside from the depth of characters and meanings, this book is filled with the kinds of exciting, intelligent and intense scenes that you’ll find in only the best page turners… another huge point regarding BITTER SEEDS and that is that it is just written so damned beautifully. The prose really is some of the most accessible yet academic that I have read in a while. Tregillis writes with authority while displaying a firm understanding of the subtler things that make us human… Whether you are looking for a cool alternate history that questions the core of humanity or just a damned brilliant story with twisted powers and great action, you should check this out and be wowed. It’s one hell of a ride.’ — Fantasy Faction

‘Tregillis has journeyed into that most overtilled field, World War II alternate history, and in the process he has created a unique, unsettling, and deeply atmospheric setting; populated it with a diversity of grimly fascinating characters; and turned up the heat with the sort of plot that requires those characters to keep shoveling frantically if they are ever to stay in advance of the needs of the firebox… These are the book’s strengths – its atmosphere, its setting, the vividly imagined consequences of immoral and desperate actions… All in all, this is an excellent first book, and I am eagerly awaiting number two.’ — Tor.Com (Elizabeth Bear) on BITTER SEEDS

‘Independently intelligible sequel to the dark fantasy BITTER SEEDS, something like a cross between the devious, character-driven spy fiction of early John le Carré and the mad science fantasy of the X-Men… Despite the jaw-dropping backdrop and oblique plotting, the narrative is driven by character and personal circumstance, the only possible drawback being certain important developments that annoyingly take place offstage. Grim indeed, yet eloquent and utterly compelling.’ — Kirkus (Starred Review, “Best of 2012”) on THE COLDEST WAR

‘The engrossing second book in Tregillis’s Milkweed Triptych… Tregillis ably mixes cold war paranoia with his mythology, also nicely expanding characters (particularly Gretel)… The monstrous, extra-dimensional Eidolons add a genuinely convincing menace that transcends the more banal evil motivations of the political game players, although Gretel’s more complicated motivations really drive the action. A few nice twists keep things interesting, and the cliffhanger ending sets up the concluding volume quite well…’ — Publishers Weekly on THE COLDEST WAR

‘With all the flair he showed in his debut novel, Tregillis continues the tale, bringing to it that same marvellous plotting, immersive sense of place, and above all, wonderful characters. One of the characters introduced in the first novel is a precognitive, and in this volume – which revolves around her long plots – we are shown that the power to see the future is the most corrupting power of them all. Tregillis’s oracle is one of the most chilling psychopath villains of literature, a delicious monster who drives the book forward. As with the earlier volume, I tore through this one in a day and a half. Tregillis is a major new talent in the field, and this is some of the best – and most exciting – alternate history I’ve read. Bravo.’ — BoingBoing on THE COLDEST WAR

THE COLDEST WAR builds brilliantly on BITTER SEEDS – it’s darker, tighter, and utterly engrossing. Easily a contender for best novel of 2012… just as action-packed, and the pacing is absolutely superb… if you enjoyed BITTER SEEDS, then I have no doubt that you’ll love THE COLDEST WAR just as much, if not more. Tregillis’s prose is tight, fluid and a pleasure to read. The story is superbly crafted, and the narrative and action will pull readers through. I was hooked from the first page… This novel is superb. I can’t recommend this highly enough. A must-read for 2012.’ — Civilian Reader

‘Tregillis’ conclusion of the Milkweed Triptych is the pièce de résistance of the series… a perfect marriage of science fiction, fantasy and alternate history. His narrative flows seamlessly, and his plot is fantastically convincing. Tregillis’ characters astound, the villains as well as the heroes, especially honorable, tormented yet heroic Raybould.’ — RT Book Reviews on NECESSARY EVIL

‘The historic backdrop of World War Two is intricately detailed, and captures the British wartime spirit well. A suitably epic end to the magnificent Milkweed Triptych (aka trilogy!), this draws you in and keeps you glued to the page until the very end.’ — British Fantasy Society on NECESSARY EVIL

‘Darkly fascinating… A thoroughly satisfying conclusion to an imaginative tour de force.’ — Kirkus on NECESSARY EVIL

‘With NECESSARY EVIL… Ian Tregillis triumphantly concludes his astonishing, brilliant, pulse-pounding debut trilogy, The Milkweed Triptych… This is a book that veers precipitously from unexpected and chilling ruminations on the inherent evil of precognition; to the questions of loyalty and betrayal so thorny that they need a time-travel loop to really be explored; to spy-thriller action sequences that will keep you up under the covers with a flashlight, turning pages and unable to sleep. This is a remarkable set of books, and with all three in hand, would make a fabulous spring read.’ — BoingBoing

Ian’s latest trilogy is the Alchemy Wars, which is also published by Orbit Books in the UK and in North America: THE MECHANICAL, THE RISING, and THE LIBERATION. (The series is also available in Italy, Poland, and China.)

Great Review for Charlie Human’s ANCESTRAL from Arts24!

A little while ago, we shared the cover and details for Charlie Human‘s latest ‘firecracker’ of a novel, ANCESTRAL. We wanted to take this opportunity to flag a great review the novel has received, from Arts24, who called it ‘his best work to date’

‘Right from the opening pages until an exhilarating, powerful conclusion, this is mightily efficient, thoroughly researched, cleverly conceived and well-executed genre fare… energetic, well-mounted action set pieces, cracking, witty dialogue, convincing, layered characterisation and ultimately very solid internal logic and narrative craft…

… whacks you with muscular, even lovely prose, thoughtful juxtaposition of beauty and bone-crunching violence, and has you cackling away knowingly at the now gentle, now brutal (satirical) gaze he employs.

ANCESTRAL might well be the work of a madman, but oh, the method!’

ANCESTRAL is out now, published in South Africa by Penguin. Here’s the synopsis…

Clementine Khoza is a hard person; hard to know, hard to love, hard to fight. When she was a little girl, her grandfather put a stick and a shield in her hands and taught her the ancient stick-fighting art of her Zulu ancestors. The hard way.

And right now she is in a hard place, searching for Drew, her young son – kidnapped and drawn into the heart of a vicious gang conflict. Ex-army and ex-cop, Clementine has tracked Drew’s phone to Welcome Shade – a sprawling retirement estate that has fallen into disrepair to become a gang-infested war-zone. With nothing but a talent for violence, a drone piloted by a skinny Afrikaans street kid as her eye-in-the-sky, and a huge dog with ptsd who tried to kill her and then, somehow, became her sidekick, she’ll wield stick and shield, machete and shotgun, and wade through a sea of bodies to find her son.

But the gangs are only part of the problem. Dark, twisted things stalk the estate: nightmare creatures, elite military snipers working as mercenaries and a sword-wielding man on a white horse who has made her and Drew part of his agenda. And then there are the memories and visions of her ancestors, and her own very special hallucination whom she nicknames ‘Glitch’.

It’s going to be a hard day.

Here’s what Charlie had to say about writing novel, in a message on Facebook

In preparation for this novel, I read elegant prose, pondered deeply on how to use sparse and minimalist text to exquisitely convey human emotion, and looked for a way to give this work a deep thematic weight that would speak to our deepest selves.

Then I put that all aside and wildly wrote about cults fighting gangs fighting dogs fighting monsters embedded in an African mythological alien context. What can I say? I am who I am.

Human is also the author of the Baxter Zevchenko novels, APOCALYPSE NOW NOW and KILL BAXTER, published in the UK by JABberwocky, and by Titan Books in North America.

Aliette de Bodard and Lavie Tidhar Feature among the Tor.com Reviewers’ Best of 2020!

Two of our clients’ books are featured in the Tor.com Reviewers’ Choice: Best of 2020! Specifically, SEVEN OF INFINITIES by Aliette de Bodard and BY FORCE ALONE by Lavie Tidhar. We personally feel that these are entirely justified selections to be among the Best of 2020! Congrats, Aliette and Lavie!

Aliette’s SEVEN OF INFINITIES is out now, published by Subterranean Press in limited edition and eBook. Here’s what Liz Bourke had to say about her selection of the book…

‘Drawing inspiration from Arsene Lupin and Raffles, it sees a poor scholar and a gentleperson thief — a mindship who’s been growing bored in retirement — faced with a mysterious death, a dangerous kind of treasure-hunt, and a growing mutual attraction. A dense, atmospheric, emotionally satisfying gem of a space opera.’

Here’s the synopsis…

Vân is a scholar from a poor background, eking out a living in the orbitals of the Scattered Pearls Belt as a tutor to a rich family, while hiding the illegal artificial mem-implant she manufactured as a student. 

Sunless Woods is a mindship — and not just any mindship, but a notorious thief and a master of disguise. She’s come to the Belt to retire, but is drawn to Vân’s resolute integrity.

When a mysterious corpse is found in the quarters of Vân’s student, Vân and Sunless Woods find themselves following a trail of greed and murder that will lead them from teahouses and ascetic havens to the wreck of a mindship — and to the devastating secrets they’ve kept from each other.

And here are some of the other reviews the book has received…

‘With this lush, immersive sci-fi tale, de Bodard (The House of Sundering Flames) delves into a world as gritty as it is ethereal… De Bodard hints at a vast, fully realized world… readers will be swept away by the vivid prose, intrigue, and romance of this intricate tale. This fascinating, unusual story is sure to entrance.’ — Publishers Weekly

‘A magnificent sf mystery, nuanced, intense, and romantic, with a complex, clever plot nested inside de Bodard’s rich, evocative, and vivid Xuya universe.’ — Kate Elliott

‘Aliette de Bodard is an author whose works I both like (in several cases, the word adore may be more appropriate) and admire… De Bodard’s work is marked by precision and delicacy of prose, by a concern with ethics and relationships, and by the presence of uncaring systems that violently resist critique from without – and even from within… SEVEN OF INFINITIES is a novella concerned with forgiveness, deserved or not, about cages, self-made or otherwise. It concerns itself with growth, with grace, with ruthlessness and its costs and consequences. It’s a tightly written jewel of a story, intense and full of feeling, and I recommend it highly.’ — Locus

Lavie’s BY FORCE ALONE is published by Tor Books in North America and Head of Zeus in the UK. Matt Keeley selected the novel…

‘Tidhar’s revisionist Arthurian fantasy By Force Alone was a great mix of high learning and low behavior. To my mind, the best Arthur novel since Thomas Berger’s Arthur Rex back in 1978.’

Here’s the synopsis…

Everyone thinks they know the story of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.

The fact is they don’t know sh*t.

Arthur? An over-promoted gangster.
Merlin? An eldritch parasite.
Excalibur? A shady deal with a watery arms dealer.
Britain? A clogged sewer that Rome abandoned just as soon as it could.

A savage and cutting epic fantasy, equally poetic and profane, By Force Alone is a magical adventure and a subversive masterwork.

Here are just a few of the great reviews the novel has received so far…

‘Tidhar saturates this epic adventure with profanity, dark humor, sword-sharp twists, and unexpected moments of pathos. Readers who hold King Arthur dear to their hearts will be gratified by Tidhar’s attention to detail amidst the innovation. This dark, imaginative take on a classic is sure to impress.’ — Publishers Weekly

‘Lavie Tidhar has built a career out of not playing it safe. Over the last decade he has written bold, provocative novels… with a flair for metafiction and inspired by the pulps (both hard-boiled and genre)… given the political nature of his work, it’s not entirely surprising that he would shift his focus to the question of nationalism and Brexit… with his latest novel, BY FORCE ALONE, Tidhar takes a mythology the English hold dear, the legend of King Arthur, and goes to town with it… For all its foul language and radical deconstruction, of which I’ve provided only a taste (you should see what Tidhar does with the Holy Grail), BY FORCE ALONE isn’t a desecration of the Arthurian romances. Instead, he pays homage to the writers and poets – Robert Wace, Chretien de Troyes, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and Thomas Mallory (just to name a few) – who took their turn in adapting and refining Monmouth’s text… BY FORCE ALONE is a jolt of pure entertainment, a brilliant, revisionist blend of magic, crime syndicates and Kung-fu knights.’ — Locus (Ian Mond)

‘Uther is a chancer and a shagger… [Arthur] is ruthless in pursuit of power… His Lancelot… is a ninja warrior, his Guinevere a killer — the writer is clearly having fun… Tidhar never lands direct political punches… but the very tone and shape of the book are a reminder that we need to treat national myths with caution… this is a novel that demands your attention and proves that sometimes when a writer has the audacity to revisit stories that others would avoid for fear of over-familiarity, they can steal the power of the oldest tales.’ — SFX (4.5*/5)

‘Lavie Tidhar’s BY FORCE ALONE gives us an Arthur for the Brexit era: A tyrant in lieu of a king, brute violence in lieu of gallant feats, undisguised venality in lieu of chivalric ideals. This is the Matter of Britain become the Matter with Britain… For all the bleakness and cynicism of his story, Tidhar’s profligate invention makes BY FORCE ALONE a joy… Lavie Tidhar’s joke on the Matter of Britain is a great one. And if the laughter catches in your throat, that just means you’ve been paying attention to the book, and to the world.’ — Tor.com

Lavie Tidhar’s CENTRAL STATION on Coode Street

Lavie Tidhar‘s latest critically-acclaimed novel, CENTRAL STATION, was the topic of discussion on the seventh episode of the Coode Street Roundtable podcast series!

CENTRAL STATION is published by Tachyon Publications. Here’s the synopsis…

A worldwide diaspora has left a quarter of a million people at the foot of a space station. Cultures collide in real life and virtual reality. The city is literally a weed, its growth left unchecked. Life is cheap, and data is cheaper.

When Boris Chong returns to Tel Aviv from Mars, much has changed. Boris’s ex-lover is raising a strangely familiar child who can tap into the datastream of a mind with the touch of a finger. His cousin is infatuated with a robotnik — a damaged cyborg soldier who might as well be begging for parts. His father is terminally-ill with a multigenerational mind-plague. And a hunted data-vampire has followed Boris to where she is forbidden to return.

Rising above them is Central Station, the interplanetary hub between all things: the constantly shifting Tel Aviv; a powerful virtual arena, and the space colonies where humanity has gone to escape the ravages of poverty and war. Everything is connected by the Others, powerful alien entities who, through the Conversation — a shifting, flowing stream of consciousness — are just the beginning of irrevocable change.

At Central Station, humans and machines continue to adapt, thrive… and even evolve.

Here are just a few examples of the great reviews the book has received…

‘Magnificently blends literary and speculative elements in this streetwise mosaic novel set under the towering titular spaceport… Tidhar gleefully mixes classic SF concepts with prose styles and concepts that recall the best of world literature… Characters wrestle with problems of identity forged under systems of oppression, much as displaced Easterners and Westerners do in the novels of Orhan Pamuk. And yet this is unmistakably SF. Readers of all persuasions will be entranced.’ — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

CENTRAL STATION is without question the best assemblage of short stories I’ve read in recent memory. Sublimely sensual, emotionally moreish, and composed with crystalline clarity irrespective of its incredible complexity.’ — Tor.com

‘It is just this side of a masterpiece — short, restrained, lush — and the truest joy of it is in the way Tidhar scatters brilliant ideas like pennies on the sidewalk.’ — NPR

‘The stories include some of Tidhar’s most beautiful prose, and his future Tel Aviv is among the most evocative settings in recent SF… Somehow, CENTRAL STATION combines a cultural sensibility too long invisible in SF with a sensibility which is nothing but classic SF, and the result is a rather elegant suite of tales.’ — Locus

CENTRAL STATION is a wondrous thought-provoking book, as you would expect from someone as highly credentialed as Lavie Tidhar.’ — Fantasy Book Review


Early Buzz for Aliette de Bodard’s HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS


Just a quick post to share some examples of the recent early buzz that is generating around Aliette de Bodard‘s highly-anticipated new novel, THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS. The book, first in a two-book sequence, is due to be published in August/September by Gollancz (UK) and Roc Books (US).

The novel has received a starred review from Publishers Weekly

‘A gripping tragedy of forlorn individuals caught up in an angelic version of the Cold War… The story holds up well as a standalone, with clear possibilities but no pressing need for a sequel. De Bodard aptly mixes moral conflicts and the desperate need to survive in a fantastical spy thriller that reads like a hybrid of le Carré and Milton, all tinged with the melancholy of golden ages lost.’

Speaking of Publishers Weekly, HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS was also selected as one of the magazine’s Top 10 Autumn SF/Fantasy/Horror picks:


The US cover also featured prominently at Penguin’s stand at San Diego ComicCon…


Here’s the synopsis…

A superb murder mystery, on an epic scale, set against the fall out – literally – of a war in heaven

Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation; or the architects of its last, irreversible fall…

THE DEVIL’S DETECTIVE is a Rising Star on Amazon UK!


Simon Kurt Unsworth‘s upcoming horror-fantasy THE DEVIL’S DETECTIVE has been selected by Amazon UK as a Rising Star for March 2015 — that is, a debut author to watch! We certainly agree. The first in a two-part series, THE DEVIL’S DETECTIVE is due to be published in the UK by Del Rey on March 12th. Here’s the synopsis…

Welcome to hell…

… where skinless demons patrol the lakes and the waves of Limbo wash against the outer walls, while the souls of the Damned float on their surface, waiting to be collected.

When an unidentified, brutalised body is discovered, the case is assigned to Thomas Fool, one of Hell’s detectives, known as ‘Information Men’. But how do you investigate a murder where death is commonplace and everyone is guilty of something?

THE DEVIL’S DETECTIVE is due to be published in North America by Doubleday, on March 3rd, 2015 (cover at end).

Speaking of THE DEVIL’S DETECTIVE, Mslexia has invited Simon’s wife, Rosie Seymour, to write about the experience of being married to a soon-to-be published author. Rosie’s first piece was published recently, and you can read it here. Here’s the crux of the series…

‘We are only at the beginning of this strange and exciting journey and I genuinely have no idea where it will lead. Mslexia have invited me to blog in the lead up to and just beyond the release date and I hope to share with you our ups and downs, any tips that might be useful and hopefully shine a light into the mysterious world of first-time publishing… I’ve been with him every step of the way and given that I am trying to find my own way through the world of writing and into the world of publishing it’s a pretty darn useful journey to be taking. I’m hoping you’ll join us too.’

And, in other news, the novel has just received a great review in Publishers Weekly‘Unsworth’s care in constructing an imaginary world enables him to make the most of his debut’s challenging concept: a hard-boiled detective novel set in Hell itself… Unsworth offers intriguing variations on traditional themes and some memorably hair-raising prose…’


Edward Cox’s THE RELIC GUILD Launch a Huge Success!


THE RELIC GUILD Editor Marcus Gipps (left) and Edward Cox

On September 18th, Gollancz published Edward Cox‘s superb debut fantasy novel, THE RELIC GUILD. To mark the occasion, the publisher and Goldsboro Books hosted Edward for a great book launch event.

CoxE-RelicGuildLaunch3-CropIn addition, Gollancz organised an extensive blog tour to mark the publication of the novel…

CoxE-RelicGuildBlogTourBanner15th September

Interview on Geek Planet Online

Guest Post: ‘Lies of the Father’ on Falcata Times‘how he smashed the ice when moving from a busy city to the country and how a lie can sometimes make a huge difference’

16th September

Interview on Book Plank

Guest Post: ‘A Deal’s Not a Deal Until the Deal is Done’ on Sci-Fi London‘I’ve been asked a few times about how I got signed by a major publisher. My answer always makes me sound flippant: I got an agent, and he got me a book deal. It’s a little more complicated than that, but it’s the truth. What’s also true is that it took me longer to convince my agent to represent my book than it took my agent to get the book signed by Gollancz.’

17th September

THE RELIC GUILD Audio Clip on The Cult Den

Guest Post: ‘The Feeling’ on Reader Dad‘The great question: why do I write? I’ve been asked this a number of times, and my answers have been varied. I’ve taken the pretentious route, proclaiming that no one chooses to be a writer, writing chooses you. I’ve tried to brush it off by saying that writing is the only thing I know how to do. The truth is, I definitely do know why I write, but it is difficult for me explain simply. It comes from an experience, a visceral reaction that I now call the Feeling.’

18th September

Guest Post: ‘Writing and Teaching’ on Wondrous Reads‘During the 2012-2013 academic year, I lectured in creating writing at the University of Bedfordshire. It was my privilege to spend many hours in the company of keen-minded individuals, each of whom was eager to get better at what they did. Their passion fuelled my passion. They inspired me as I tried to inspire them… I’m very proud of the work I did there. However, I’ve known a lot of people who don’t trust writing courses of any kind, and their misgivings are not without some justification.’

Interview with Alastair Stuart

19th September

Guest Post: ‘Known Things’ on Fantasy Book Critic‘A certain kind of vindication, a validation, comes with signing a book deal. Someone like Gollancz doesn’t buy your novel unless they believe it is good enough to publish. Knowing this will patch up the shaky confidence of any writer, at least for a time. However, writing a novel good enough for Gollancz is only the beginning, because when you’ve signed up for a trilogy, you sort of have to do it again…’

THE RELIC GUILD Audio Clip on Geek Native

20th September

Interview on Fantasy Book Review (and review)

Guest Post: ‘Writes & Wrongs’ on Civilian Reader – ‘I might have taken the longest route possible to getting an agent. I’m something of a blunderer by nature, and learning the hard way is the theme of my life. So much so that I sometimes wonder how I managed to get an agent at all…’

And, finally – THE RELIC GUILD, out now in Hardcover and Audiobook, is also available in eBook at just £1.99 until 25th September.

UK Publication Day: RESISTANCE by Samit Basu


Today, Titan Books publish RESISTANCE, the highly-anticipated follow-up to Samit Basu‘s TURBULENCE! The novel is yet another action-packed take on the super-hero genre, and one that offers a great new twist on the popular sub-genre. Here’s the synopsis…

Eleven years after the passengers of flight BA142 from London to Delhi developed extraordinary abilities corresponding to their innermost desires, the world is overrun with supers. Some use their powers for good, others for evil, and some just want to smash up iconic monuments and get on TV. But now someone is hunting down supers, killing heroes and villains both, and it’s up to the Unit to stop them…

In case that didn’t whet your appetite, you can read excerpts of chapters 1 (Tor.com) and 3 (SF Signal).

Samit has also been busy on the interview circuit, and you can find him on Tor.com, SciFiNow, SFF World, and Suvudu. Here is just a selection of the early reviews for RESISTANCE

‘Adept plotting keeps… globe-spanning threads spooling smoothly and meticulous blocking gives the dazzling action sequences a cinematic bravura.’ — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

‘Prepare to have your puny Earth brain blown out of the back of your head as Samit Basu takes the idea of superheroes and turns the dial up to 11.’ — Ben Aaronovitch (author of RIVERS OF LONDON)

‘Fresh, exciting heroics with a serious spine. What’s not to like?’Nick Harkaway (author of Angelmaker and Tigerman)

‘When I read TURBULENCE I thought the bar had been set too high for Basu to reach it again. I was wrong. This book is in fact better than TURBULENCE.’ — Cult Den

‘Speaking of action we were amazed by the description of Basu’s battle sequences which took on a new kind of life as we read them. They were deeply cinematic in scope… a multifaceted master stroke for the author… RESISTANCE is a great take on modern portrayals of super-powers.’Vada Magazine

‘What would it be like if normal humans were suddenly given superpowers? I feel both books deal with this issue in a way that isn’t just humorous, but also realistic. And that’s what makes both books a good read.’ — FanGirl Confessions on both TURBULENCE and RESISTANCE

‘If you have the guts to poke your head out of the comfortable and familiar and try a new, somewhat foreign flavor (“international” would be a better description), you will be richly rewarded. Only look out for falling buildings, animated statues, monsters with poisonous flatulence, and the possibility of at least a third book to come!’ — MuggleNet

Tomorrow: Matthew Hughes’s TO HELL AND BACK Trilogy is an Amazon Kindle Daily Deal…


Tomorrow, Amazon US and Canada will be offering Matthew Hughes‘s super-hero urban fantasy trilogy To Hell And Back as their Kindle Daily Deal! This is your heads-up to get ready! (We’ll remind you all via our Twitter feed, too.) Published by Angry Robot Books, the series includes THE DAMNED BUSTERS, COSTUME NOT INCLUDED and HELL TO PAY.

Here’s the synopsis for the first book in the series…

After accidentally summoning a demon while playing poker, the normally mild-mannered Chesney Anstruther refuses to sell his soul… which leads through various confusions to, well, Hell going on strike. Which means that nothing bad ever happens in the world – and that actually turns out to be a really bad thing.

There’s only one thing for it. Satan offers Chesney the ultimate deal – sign the damned contract, and he can have his heart’s desire. And thus the strangest superhero duo ever seen – in Hell or on Earth – is born!

And, in case you needed more convincing, here is just a small selection of praise that has been heaped on the series…

‘Hughes continues to carve out a unique place for himself in the fantasy-mystery realm. A droll narrative voice, dry humor and an alternative universe that’s accessible without exposition make this a winner.’Publishers Weekly

‘You’re missing out if you haven’t bought this book yet. Pure and simple.’Founding Fields

‘A witty superhero story that’s just plain fun.’SF Signal

‘Part mystery, part comic book, part religious treatise, and part crime drama, Hughes manages to work in entertaining twists and character confrontations on a regular basis without overloading his story.’ – Sacramento & San Francisco Book Review

‘The first book in the series was very good, the second was better. The events of those books were leading up to this final volume in the trilogy and it’s the best yet.’British Fantasy Society on HELL TO PAY

‘A highly enjoyable read, with some interesting philosophical underpinnings and surprising twists. The book makes for a satisfying ending to the To Hell & Back series, which gave us a quirky, off-beat story about an unlikely super hero, with unexpected depths.’Fantastical Librarian on HELL TO PAY


An earlier version of this post erroneously stated that Amazon UK was offering the series as a Kindle Daily Deal. It is, in fact, Amazon US and Canada. Apologies for the mistake.

Lavie Tidhar’s THE VIOLENT CENTURY Coming to the US!


We are very happy to report that Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press have acquired US publication rights for Lavie Tidhar‘s superb, critically-acclaimed latest novel, THE VIOLENT CENTURY. North American rights for the novel were acquired by Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher Peter Wolverton, from Hodder Books who acquired World Rights last year. The novel is due to be published in the US in hardcover, on February 24th, 2015. The new artwork is above.

In case you’ve somehow managed to miss this novel, here is the synopsis…

They’d never meant to be heroes.

For seventy years they guarded the British Empire. Oblivion and Fogg, inseparable friends, bound together by a shared fate. Until one night in Berlin, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and a secret that tore them apart.

But there must always be an account… and the past has a habit of catching up to the present.

Now, recalled to the Retirement Bureau from which no one can retire, Fogg and Oblivion must face up to a past of terrible war and unacknowledged heroism, – a life of dusty corridors and secret rooms, of furtive meetings and blood-stained fields – to answer one last, impossible question:

What makes a hero?

THE VIOLENT CENTURY has also been widely praised by critics and authors. Here’s just a small selection of those glowing reviews…

‘A brilliantly etched phantasmagoric reconfiguring of that most sizzling of eras – the twilight 20th…  This book has it all:  time travel, political intrigue, hellacious history…  You’ve got superheroes in the guise of regular humans, you’ve got World War II … THE VIOLENT CENTURY is a torrid tour de force!’ — James Ellroy

THE VIOLENT CENTURY… may be his best yet: a blistering alt-historical retelling of a 20th century lousy with superheroes.’ — The Guardian, Best SFF of 2013

‘Vintage Lavie, and also I think his most fully accomplished novel yet. Nobody rides that fast-rolling wave separating schlocky pulp and serious literary sensibilities so deftly as Tidhar. He manages to make serious points about the benighted twentieth-century and its obsession with ‘supermen’ without ever letting the narrative slacken or the adventure pale. If Nietzche had written an X-Men storyline whilst high on mescaline, it might have read something like THE VIOLENT CENTURY.’ — Adam Roberts, author of Jack Glass

‘[A] high stakes tale of friendship and what it ultimately means to truly be a hero… Tidhar has created a book that oozes excellence in both characterisation and storytelling.’ — Huffington Post

‘THE VIOLENT CENTURY is an amazing book and as my first introduction to Lavie Tidhar’s writing I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Although I was first hesitant about the stylistic literary affectation he’s chosen to write with, once it became familiar, it felt right and each element of the writing, world and characters complemented each other wonderfully. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone.’ — J For Jetpack

THE VIOLENT CENTURY is an excellent novel that demonstrates, once again, the impressive versatility of its author.’ — Interzone

Cover Reveal: BENEATH LONDON by James P. Blaylock


Above you will see the brilliant, eye-catching cover for James P. Blaylock‘s BENEATH LONDON! The novel, the fourth in the author’s Langdon St. Ives steampunk series, is due to be published by Titan Books in May 2015.

We don’t have a full synopsis for the novel just yet, but we’ll be sure to share it with you as soon as we do, and again closer to the book’s publication. In the mean time, here are just some of the things fellow authors and reviewers have said about the series…

‘… the fastest, funniest, and most colorful and grotesquely horrifying novel that could ever be written about Victorian London.’ — Tim Powers on HOMUNCULUS

‘Blaylock is a true one-of-a-kind original.’ — Neil Gaiman

‘St. Ives has to be one of the most fleshed out Victorian characters ever written, and I’m sincerely hoping that Blaylock isn’t finished with this scientist adventurer. THE AYLESFORD SKULL can easily stand alone without any knowledge of Blaylock’s previous steampunk stories, but you’ll want to hunt down additional St. Ives tales, I’m for certain.’ — Wired.com

‘This is steampunk at full power and it’s a heady, thrilling read as a result. Packed with high adventure, mad science and derring do, THE AYLESFORD SKULL is a perfect place to start the Langdon St Ives books and, with Titan re-releasing the other books in the series, there’s plenty to keep you and St Ives busy. Which is, I suspect, just how he likes it.’ — SFX.co.uk

‘Nerve-wrenching, deeply moving, and sparked with comic touches… brilliantly achieved.’ — Locus (1992) on LORD KELVIN’S MACHINE

‘St. Ives’s journey through time is very well handled, at once playful and thoughtful’  —  Publishers Weekly on LORD KELVIN’S MACHINE

We think you’ll agree that this will look fantastic on your bookshelves alongside the other Titan editions…


Series Spotlight: Michael Cobley’s SHADOWKINGS

cobley-headshotMichael Cobley is perhaps best known for his expansive space opera series, Humanity’s Fire, published in both the UK and US by Orbit Books. The fourth title set in the same universe, ANCESTRAL MACHINES, is due to be published later this year, also by Orbit.

However, before his science fiction series became such a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic, he was also a pioneer of Grimdark fantasy: his debut trilogy, Shadowkings, was first published between 2001-5, by Earthlight. Certainly, he was dabbling in the darker, grittier fantasy arena before it gained such prominence and popularity, and doing it very well, too – Jon Courtenay-Grimwood described the series, in his review for the Guardian, as ‘brutal, cruel and realistic in a way genre usually avoids.’ It was also described as unconventional high fantasy’, but this was before the rise of grimdark. Continue reading “Series Spotlight: Michael Cobley’s SHADOWKINGS”