Posts Tagged ‘Gollancz’

The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter

April 26, 2017 - 5:48 pm No Comments

THE MASSACRE OF MANKIND by Stephen Baxter
Gollancz / 464 pgs / £18.99 hardback / ISBN 1473205093
Reviewed by Carol Goodwin.


This novel is a sequel to H G Wells’ THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, and the new story revolves around the Martians return to Earth in the 1920’s. Whilst other authors have previously written sequels, this version is listed as “authorised by the H G Wells Estate” and I presume was timed to coincide with 2016 being the 150th anniversary of Wells’ birth. The author, Stephen Baxter has previously written another authorised H G Wells’ sequel, THE TIME SHIPS which was a follow-up to THE TIME MACHINE and marked the centenary of that book’s publication.
It is fourteen years since the Martians invaded England, and the world has changed considerably. Examination of wrecked and abandoned Martian machinery has led to significant advances in technology. History as we know it has changed as a consequence of the original invasion; most significantly, a recovering UK formed an alliance with Germany, and a “Schlieffen War” between Russia and Germany is still ongoing. The governments of Earth scan the skies, but as another close approach between Earth and Mars nears, they are confident that their progress and prior knowledge means that this time they are prepared for the Martians. But when another Martian fleet begins to land, it becomes obvious that the Martians have also learned lessons and adapted so that yet again mankind is in deadly peril.
Writing in another author’s world, especially one so well-known and iconic as this one, is always going to be a difficult task. What is done very well is the attention to the details of 1920’s geography, vocabulary and appropriate technology. It is clear that a considerable amount of research has gone into writing this novel, and I also enjoyed the little nods to other people or works connected to Mars, ranging from Schiaparelli through to Grover’s Mill.
The worldbuilding is excellent and like the original, there are some suitably gruesome accounts of the Martians’ treatment of captured humans. However, I found myself a little frustrated with the pacing. The first section of the book, which deals with the initial landing, consolidation and the flight of refugees is the most successful in my opinion. After that however, there is an interlude of a couple of years where the Martians in England spend a long time just consolidating this bridgehead, without any attempt to spread further, and I found the urgency and menace of the story evaporating in this section. Towards the later part of the book there are further landings around the world, and the pace picks up but it felt to me like there was then too little space left to give these invasions sufficient details and thus engage the reader.
Fans of Wells’ will appreciate that the narrative does link back and reference the original story. It also includes many of the characters from the Wells’ story, including the original narrator, Walter Jenkins and the artilleryman, although much of the tale is now told by Julie, the sister-in-law of Walter Jenkins. However, I felt that the major focus was on the plot and that thus the characters often seemed to lack depth and I often found it hard to care much about their struggles.
Finally, it was always going to be difficult to find an ending with equivalent impact to the original. Without giving away the conclusion, this story finishes with a resolution that feels a little too “easy” and hence unsatisfying, although there is a “epilogue” which leaves scope for future developments. To summarise, this is a “curate’s egg” of a book – there are some very good bits but other bits that didn’t work for me. CG
(ARC kindly donated at Gollancz SF Gateway anniversary party)

The Rogue Hunter

April 12, 2017 - 3:24 pm No Comments

The Rogue Hunter
(Argeneau Vampires book 10)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 361pp
Release date: 10th May 2012
Online: @Gollancz, @Lynsay_sands, @StevieFinegan
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rogue-Hunter-Argeneau-Vampire-Vampires-ebook/dp/B007ZT9PYG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492010640&sr=8-1&keywords=Rogue+Hunter+lynsay+Sands

 

Falling for a man is acceptable, expected even, but falling literally head over heels stumbling all over the place? Well, that’s taking it just a bit too far.
In the tenth instalment of the Argeneau Vampire series, we’ve entered a new story arc following Vampire Interrupted, and Bricker, Decker and Mortimer are on the hunt for a rogue vampire, himself hunting in a lakeside cottage area near Toronto.
Decker has had his cottage home in the area for years and thankfully, has managed to avoid any nosey neighbours. At least until the Willian sisters come to stay for a vacation.
Sam Willan is a workaholic lawyer, lately single from her high school sweetheart, but currently plagued by a recurring ear infection (suspected) that has her dizzy, losing her balance and toppling all over the place. She has reluctantly agreed to see a specialist on her return home, egged on by chef sister Alex and bar manager/university attendee sister Jo.
Of course she would start falling over in front of Mortimer, who’s staying with Bricker at Decker’s cottage, as they hunt for the rogue, who is bleeding humans dry. He at first suspects her falling about is drunkenness and isn’t suitably impressed, particularly as he can’t hear her thoughts, a sign she may be his true life mate. And she’s really not his type; too skinny, too pale. Needs a good meal.
His two Hunter friends watch as Mortimer begrudgingly finds himself feeling protective towards her as they use the trio of sisters to attend a popular lakeside night spot to find the rogue. Whilst on the hunt for the rogue, Mortimer finds himself falling heavily for Sam, whilst she is drawn to him, but harassed by her boss as the daughter of of one of their clients is missing and Sam is tasked with forcing the local sheriff into action.
It’s no surprise that the pair end up getting closer, but fate seems to get in their way in the most awkward of ways when it comes to getting intimate; cue insects, rashes, bumbling about and other disasters I won’t spoil for you.
It’s everything you expect from Sands; romance, action, great characters, witty humour and either a HEA or HFN.
In this case it’s HFN, but with the proviso that we will meet Sam and Mortimer again and see their story complete.
4/5

PC Grant Press Release – new novella

March 22, 2017 - 1:50 pm No Comments

A new adventure in Ben Aaronovitch’s bestselling PC Grant series, for September 2017
Gollancz is delighted to announce the acquisition of THE FURTHEST STATION, a brand new novella in the bestselling PC Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch, for publication in September 2017.

 

Publishing Director Gillian Redfearn acquired world rights (excluding the USA, France and Germany, which are represented by agent) from John Berlyne of the Zeno Literary Agency.

THE FURTHEST STATION is Ben Aaronovitch’s first PC Grant novella . . . and there’s something going bump on the Metropolitan line. And when commuters start reporting encounters with ghosts up and down the track – encounters which they forget entirely within minutes – Peter Grant gets a call to investigate. And the very first interview leads to a ghost-hunting expedition . . .

The unabridged audio edition – read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith – and ebook edition will be published simultaneously with the hardback.
Ben Aaronovitch said: ‘This is my first novella and I suddenly understood the appeal of the form to both writers and readers. Novellas allow you to tell a story in a very elegant, streamlined fashion. Something you can read quickly but without feeling cheated at the end. I may write more’

Gillian Redfearn said: ‘THE FURTHEST STATION is brilliant. Powered by a gripping mystery, brought to life by Ben Aaronovitch’s wit and wisdom, it’s a story of modern London and modern families – as well as a future bestseller’

John Berlyne said: ‘Readers far and wide have enjoyed Ben’s work thanks to Gollancz’s brilliant publishing. This wonderful novella will delight each and every one of them’

THE FURTHEST STATION | BEN AARONOVITCH | 21 SEPTEMBER 2017
£12.99 | B–Format HB | 9781473222427
Ben Aaronovitch grew up as part of a famously engaged and lively North London family. He has written for many TV series including Doctor Who, and worked as a bookseller for Waterstones. All six of his Peter Grant novels have been Sunday Times and Audible bestsellers, and are sold in twenty territories around the world, and he now writes full time in addition to being actively involved in charity work. He still lives in London, the city he likes to refer to as ‘the capital of the world’.
Gollancz is the oldest specialist SF & Fantasy publisher in the UK. Founded in 1927 and with a continuous SF publishing programme dating back to 1961, the imprint of the Orion Publishing Group is home to a galaxy of award-winning and bestselling authors. Through our long-running SF and Fantasy Masterworks programme, and major digital initiative the SF Gateway, Gollancz has one of the largest ranges of SF and Fantasy of any publisher in the world.

SLOW BULLETS by Alastair Reynolds.

March 10, 2017 - 9:02 pm No Comments

SLOW BULLETS by Alastair Reynolds.

Gollancz, London. 16th February 2016. £12.95 paperback, £6.99 e-book.

182 page. ISBN: 978-1-473-21842-0

Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.

 

There is almost a sub-genre of SF which deals exclusively with war scenarios. These might be between aliens and humans or between human colonies. As with all these adventures, various assumptions are made, one of which being a method of interstellar travel which gets ships from one place to another quickly. There is no point in sending out the troops when the enemy may have extinguished itself before the force arrives. Readers don’t worry about the technology involved; it is the action that counts, and the number of corpses that results. This is not normally the territory that Alastair Reynolds usually ventures into so it is refreshing to find that in this novelette, this is just the background against which the characters have been shaped.

As the story opens, a ceasefire has been declared. The factions are no longer officially at war. Always, though, there are renegades who will push the limits, feigning ignorance about the actual state of affairs, simply because they enjoy what they do and don’t see why they have to stop. Orvin likes hurting people. On the cusp of peace he has captured Scur, a soldier from the other side. He knows all about her because all soldiers are fitted with slow bullets. These devices are a futuristic version of dog tags. They contain all information about the person they are inside and it can easily be read. Normally, they move at a very slow speed through the body so that the tissues are barely disrupted. Orvin’s method of torture is to insert one going faster and causing excruciating pain during its passage. When Orvin has to leave in a hurry she has the opportunity to try and cut it out.

This is just a precursor to real action and an introduction to the device which is to play an essential part in the plot. Scur wakes up aboard a military prison shop. She and the other ‘passengers’ are being transported as cargo to Tottori in hibernation. What initially seems to be a simple problem with the ship becomes more serious as she and the remnants of crew discover that they have been drifting in orbit for hundreds of years, that all the surviving sleepers are being revived. Amongst them are war criminals from both sides, as well as civilians, and to them the reasons (basically very trivial) of the conflict are clear in their minds as well as the hatred for their perceived enemies. Among them is Orvin. Scur and her new colleagues have multiple problems to solve if they are to survive, the biggest one is to overcome the problem that the ships systems are slowly leaking information and they need to find ways of preserving it. To do that a compromise needs to be found so that the different factions are able to work together.

In this book, Reynolds wraps a number of themes in a relatively few pages. Some of them will feel like familiar tropes from the SF catalogue but it is the way that he deals with them that is original. For those who do not want to face one of Reynolds’ huge tomes as an introduction to his work, this a good place to start to get an idea of his style and ingenuity before embarking on such as Revelation Space series. Then get stuck in to the rest of his oeuvre.

Originally published in 2015 as a chap-book by Tachyon Press, it has already accumulated a number of well-deserved awards and nominations.

Allegiance of Honour Psy-Changeling 15

February 1, 2017 - 1:49 pm No Comments

Allegiance of Honour
Psy-Changeling Book 15
Author: Nalini Singh
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: Hardback ARC 478pp
Release date: 16th June 2016
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

www.nalinisingh.com

www.gollancz.co.uk

@nalinisingh

I’ve been reading Singh’s Psy-Changeling series now for quite a few years, and have been engaged with it from the start, but if you’re picking this up for the first time, as a starting point, you will manage, but this brief pointer will help.
It’s the future; 2080s, and there are three races on earth; changelings (or humans who shift into various types of animals such as wolf, tiger, panther).
Psy (pretty much short for psychic, this race also has sub-strands (E – Empaths) for example and Tks, who have telekinetic power. And humans.
Back in the good old 1970s, some of the Psy were prone to madness and there were Psy serial killers. To control the insanity the Psy-Net was established- creating Silence. A cold existence in which Psy are punished for having or demonstrating any kind of emotions. They can be reconditioned for such a crime.
So, that’s the stage set for the adventures to come over the first twelve to thirteen books. But Silence was never foolproof and by book 13 it has fallen, and Psy are trying to cope living with emotion. This would be impossible if not for the mating bonds already created between Psy, Changelings and humans, which started with panther Lucas Hunter of the DarkRiver pack and Psy Sascha Duncan in book one. And the ‘Honeycomb’ a new Psy-net link maintained by the E designations (Empaths) linking Es to various psy and changelings to prevent psychic collapse.
In book fourteen, society is somewhat unstable following the fall of Silence, but the Ruling Coalition are attempting to work with the Psy-force – The Arrows, to police the world. At the end of book 14 Shards of Hope, Arrow leader Aden, recently bonded to Zaira Neve, now, they are trying to start a new life of ‘family’ not just for themselves but for the entire Arrow race; play and school and family units for children, relationships for the adults, bonds, socialising. What was once anathema to them and previous pseudo-ruler Ming LeBon. Aden is the real power behind the Arrows. He is also intent on building strong relationships across the races, so with his instigation, The Trinity Accord is born; humans, Psy Inc Arrow, and changeling working together for a better future.
There are issues along the way; someone or something, an entity known as The Consortium ruled by a hidden identity is causing trouble, kidnapping BlackSea pack members and attempting to kidnap Lucas’ and Sascha’s young toddler Naya. Terrorist attacks are commonplace with the Architect who is part of the Consortium but the Trinity Accord are determined to work together and defeat them.
This sprawling novel brings an end to an era, and the start to another linked series, the first of which novel comes out June 2017. And I for one cannot wait and see what it brings. This novel ends on hope, optimism and at the same time trepidation, with a clan gathering that will ferment the future. And throughout the book we have been reacquainted with characters old and new; Zach and Annie from a novella, seen in both ‘Magical Christmas Cats I believe) and Wild Invitation. Mercy and Riley, Judd and Brenna, Hawke and Sienna (who were mated in my favourite book of the series ‘Kiss of Snow’)
This is a real, satisfying trip down memory lane, which also combines long awaited events that will satisfy long term fans and new readers alike.
A brilliant, riveting, emotional rollercoaster of a ride that ends with a brand new family.
5/5