Spotlight & Deal: CHAGA by Ian McDonald

CHAGA, the first novel in the eponymous series by Ian McDonald is a Kindle Monthly Deal in the US! First published in 1995, it is now published by JAbberwocky. Here’s the synopsis…

On the trail of the mystery of Saturn’s disappearing moons, network journalist Gaby McAslan finds herself in Africa researching the Kilimanjaro Event: a meteor-strike in Kenya which caused the stunning African landscape to give way to something equally beautiful – and indescribably alien. Dubbed the ‘Chaga’, the alien flora destroys all man-made materials, and moulds human flesh, bone and spirit to its own designs. But when Gaby finds the first man to survive the Chaga’s changes, she realizes it has its own plans for humankind… Against the backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, McDonald weaves a staggering tale of keen human observation and speculation, as the Kilimanjaro Event changes the course of the human race by exposure to something beyond its imagination.

Here are some of the reviews the novel has received…

‘McDonald… consistently explores new territory with his breathtaking images and incisive language. Both form and substance blend fortuitously in a work that features strong characters, a suspenseful story, and a profound message of hope and transformation. A priority purchase for SF collections.’ — Library Journal

‘One of the finest writers of his generation, who chooses to write science fiction because that is how he can best illuminate the world.’ — New Statesman

‘Optimistic near-future alien-contact yarn… McDonald’s tale is also inventive and challenging… a dense, complex, rather weighty, often fascinating piece of speculation.’  Kirkus

The other two novels in the trilogy — and — are also published by JABberwocky.

All three of the novels are also available as audiobooks, published by Audible.

‘This is a huge and ambitious novel, the work of a supremely talented writer approaching the top of his game.’ — SFX on KIRINYA

‘So outstanding a writer that he deserves reading beyond the science-fantasy market … He has such marvellous talent, so vivid an imagination. His prose sings and zings – simultaneously.’ — The Times on KIRINYA

‘[An] excellent original novella… gazes boldly into the heart of darkness, and finds there a great and galvanising hope.’ — Infinity Plus on TENDELEO’S STORY

‘… the Chaga sequence [is] Ian McDonald’s marvellous panorama of Third World plights and possibilities.’ — SF Site on TENDELEO’S STORY

Ian’s latest series is Luna — which includes the prequel novella THE MENACE FROM FARSIDE (, and the novels NEW MOON, WOLF MOON, and MOON RISING (Tor Books).

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”

Author Spotlight: Maggie Furey

MaggieFurey-AuthorPicMaggie Furey is a British author of a number of beloved, long-in-print fantasy series. Born and raised in the North of England, she now lives in Ireland.

‘It’s clearly fate,’ she says. ‘Whatever I did in life, it always brought me back to books. Even when I was at school I was best in English, and my teacher always said I’d be a writer.’ Maggie’s prescient teacher’s prediction came true some years later when Maggie she found herself out of work, living in the North of England. ‘I always knew I’d write a book one day. Ideas had been simmering in my mind for years – and suddenly, the time had come. I knew I could do this – I had never been so certain about anything in my life.’ The end result was AURIAN, a fan-favourite epic fantasy novel, and the beginning of her Artefacts of Power series, published by Orbit Books in the UK and Spectra in the US, between 1994-1997. The late, great David Gemmell once described her work as ‘infinitely enchanting’. The series was praised by LOCUS magazine as ‘a true classic’, and SFX described it as ‘truly compelling’. The series has now sold in excess of 250,000 copies, and been published widely in translation (especially in Europe). Continue reading “Author Spotlight: Maggie Furey”

Author Spotlight: Lavie Tidhar

LavieTidhar-AuthorPic2013Lavie Tidhar‘s most recent novel is the critically-acclaimed THE VIOLENT CENTURY, which was published by Hodder Books late last year. A re-telling of the 21st Century if super-heroes existed, it blends a Watchman-like comics noir feel with a tense, intimate espionage tale akin to John le Carre. He is also the author of the World Fantasy Award-winning OSAMA (PS Publishing, Solaris), a daring, boundary-pushing alternative reality thriller featuring the eponymous character as a private detective.

‘The most interestingly adventurous writer of the year was Lavie Tidhar, who came into 2013 with a fresh World Fantasy Award for OSAMA and extended his gonzo explorations of history, textuality, and pop culture with the relatively little-seen MARTIAN SANDS and the more widely hyped super-hero fantasia THE VIOLENT CENTURY, each of which took decided risks with the question of how freely SF methods can appropriate sensitive historical material… Tidhar plots like a mad paintballer, sometimes missing the mark but always making a splash, but since his Bookman novels he’s perhaps done more than any recent author to liberate the interdisciplinary steampunk aesthetic form…’ — LOCUS Recommended Reading List 2013

Speaking of steampunk, we thought we’d draw your attention to Lavie’s debut trilogy – the steampunk Bookman Histories, published by Angry Robot Books – and also some of her novellas. Certain rights are available, so please inquire for details. Continue reading “Author Spotlight: Lavie Tidhar”

Author Spotlight: Justina Robson

‘A novelist of real vision.’ — Zadie Smith

At the end of last year, we had a detailed look at Justina Robson‘s most recent novel, a Transformers tie-in, THE COVENANT OF PRIMUS. Today, in the first of a new series of Author Spotlight features, we turn our attention to Justina’s backlist. Justina is a British Science Fiction author, whose novels have been lauded far and wide, and who has been nominated for major awards 17 times; including her debut, SILVER SCREEN, making the shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke award in 2000.


Continue reading “Author Spotlight: Justina Robson”