grant drowning
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
Release Date:  Early Dec
Mira Grant is no stranger to the nasty end of genre fiction. She’s written a ten-book urban fantasy series and a few novellas under the name Seanan McGuire as well as two apocalypse style series as Mira Grant (one zombies, one aliens). This new book is nevertheless a bit of a change from her usual style and moves into classic horror territory. It begins with an expedition into the deepest and mostly unexplored part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench. Those on board are investigating the disappearance seven years ago of a mockumentary team who were ‘investigating’ legends of sea monsters. Some believe that the whole thing was a hoax and that the group faked their own disappearance. Others believe that they suffered a mishap and died and that if their ship can be found they will understand what happened. Both assumptions are wrong, but the truth is something that no sane person would think of, but by the time the searchers come to realise this it’ll be too late. This has the feel of old school pulp horror, but the characters and what they encounter are developed more. It’s a standalone book, and if you like something creepy with a twist this would make a great holiday read.
Persepolis Rising by James S A Corey
Release Date:  Early Dec
This is the seventh of the projected nine books in the series and takes up the story thirty years after the events of the sixth book Babylon’s Ashes. The solar system and the hundreds of colony worlds on the other sides of the alien ring gates are in a state of much needed though tentative peace. Free from the prospect of war, the colonies can focus on survival. Many of them are only one missed supply ship away from collapse, so the real power in the galaxy is not in the hands of politicians, but of those who control trade. Which is why Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are now basically law enforcement for the Transport Union. It’s not the retirement they were hoping for and unfortunately it’s about to get worse. On the colony world of Laconia, so thoroughly ignored for the last thirty years that everyone has forgotten about it, something is stirring. Something with a plan and a purpose that involves all of humanity as well as the power to carry it out. There are questions that remain from the earlier books about the aliens that created the protomolecule and what happened to them. With this book we move closer to the answer but end up exchanging one set of questions for another. 
Become the Force by Daniel M Jones
Release Date:  Early Dec`
When I first read about this one, I wasn’t sure if it was a parody or not. Further research revealed that it’s not, so I got  few for curiosity’s sake. Daniel M Jones founded the Church of Jedismin 2007 and it purportedly has over half a million members all over the world. At the core of it is a worldview and philosophy inspired by the concept of the Jedi from George Lucas’ Star Wars films. Jedism as presented by Jones encourages calm introspection, education and self improvement. As fans will no doubt be aware, there’s not really a lot of detail in the Star Wars movies about Jedi practice or what underpins the aphorisms and statements the make. As a result, Jones has had to backfill quite a lot and he’d done so with a mix of ancient philosophy as well as some contemporary spirituality and a bit of the quasi-mystic quantum-ish stuff that is so popular. Overall Become the Force is a repackaging of a bunch of ideas that have been around for decades, but that’s not a bad thing. While The Jedi may not be real, the type of person they represent is a strong cultural and aspirational archetype. Wanting to live a more calm, kind and happy life is a good thing and if the idea of a Jedi helps you make sense of that I don’t see the harm. The lightsaber thing might be a bridge too far, but that’s not really a problem till someone actually figures out how to make one. Overall this is a fun and interesting book, if a little derivative. 


Clockwork City by Paul Crilley
Release Date:  Mid Dec
If you’re an urban fantasy fan, and you were anywhere near the store about August last year then you’ll remember Paul Crilley‘s book Poison City. Sarah and I were raving about it on the shop floor and in short order so were most of the folks we recommended it to. This month we get to do it all over again with the second Gideon Tau book, Clockwork City. In Poison City, Gideon finally learned the identity of the man who killed his daughter only to have the knowledge erased from his mind. Not one to give up, he has begun all over again. Assisted by his foul-mouthed, alcoholic dog-familiar-sidekick and the reanimated corpse of his former boss he’s found a trail that leads from Durban, all the way to London.  Once there, and with the help of a cheap PI / conspiracy nut, Gideon intends to sidestep Fae gang wars and break into the most secure bank in Faerie. This is assuming that an incredibly powerful ancient god doesn’t suddenly appear and destroy the city. A situation that appears all too likely.  
Perfect Shadow by Brent Weeks
Release Date:  Early Dec
This was actually a mid November release that ended up a late November release, so it’s in store now. It’s a small hardcover novella of about 130 pages. The contents have appeared online, but I think that this is the first time in print. As the title suggests, it’s connected to the Night Angel trilogy and is what could be called Durzo Blint’s origin story. Since it’s a quite short piece I’m not even going to hint about any of the story details, you can find those out for yourself. In addition to the title story, this edition also comes with a bonus short story I Night Angel. In other Brent Weeks related news the fifth book of the Lightbringer series The Burning White has been given a projected release date of August 2018. More news on that one closer to release. 
The Physics of Star Wars by Patrick Johnson
Release Date:  Early Dec
It seems like every few years a book about the physics of a popular science fiction franchise. Under other circumstances that would be a problem, but with the way modern science is going you can write the same book every few years because there will be a whole range of new developments to include. This time it’s Star Wars, so among other things the book looks at current views of faster-than-light travel, how much energy it takes to blow up a planet and the theory behind making lightsabers real. These sorts of books are always more theoretical than practical, but there is an aspect of science fiction technology that seems to inspire people to try and make it real. While they may not succeed there are discoveries to be made along the way and that makes for very interesting reading. 


Space is Cool as Fuck by Kate Howells
Release Date:  Early Dec
Okay, I admit it. I pretty much only ordered some of these because of the title. Once they arrived I realised how good a decision that was. This is a big coffee table book about space. It’s got amazing pictures and all sorts of information about stars, planets, gravity, black holes and stuff. There are also some sections of speculation about faster than light travel, humans living in space and even the idea of life elsewhere. What is doesn’t have is an overuse of jargon. This book presents the wonders of the universe in conversation of ordinary people, or more accurately, very sweary ordinary people. This is science communication that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but still gets across all sorts of fascinating facts and tidbits. In the section on people associated with space, and in keeping with the tone of the book, there’s the story of the famous astronomer with false nose who for a bizarre reason after a binge drinking session. If the head of NASA or some other space science group was an old school working class man, at the pub with friends telling them what’s what and sharing the knowledge he’s gathered over a lifetime in the relaxed and profanity-as-punctuation style that is traditional for such men, then this book is what he would sound like.
Year One by Nora Roberts
Release Date:  Early Dec
Nora Roberts is one of the most prolific writers in genre fiction. As Nora Roberts and her other pseudonym, J D Robb, she has written a truly frightening number of books. Her work is primarily romance and crime, though she does mix things up with touches of fantasy, science fiction and magical realism. This month however there will be new book from her that takes all of that even further. It’s a global plague apocalyptic / return of magic / urban fantasy novel. This looks to be one for fans of The Girl With All the Gifts or The Passage but with a metahuman /magic twist. It begins with a pandemic as these things so often do, which then spreads globally killing billions. Some of those infected do not die but are instead changed, finding themselves with strange new abilities. The remnants of the uninfected view these empowered survivors with fear and such authorities as remain seek to round up and confine them. The Uncannies, as they are called have no choice but to flee, searching for a safe place but the fear and mistrust of other people is not their only concern. They are the proof that something strange and new has entered the world, and with it has come something terrifying and dangerous. The old world has ended and a new one has begun. 
Murders of Molly Southborne by Tade Thompson
Release Date:  Early Dec
This is one of those occasions where I read the premise of a book and decided that I just have to get some. It sounds like it might hit the same sweet spot as Claire North, which is enough for me to be keen but fair warning, I have no idea if the author does good job or not or if their writing style is one I’ll like. I haven’t seen a copy or even read a review. I’ve just seen a few lines about the book but that’s been enough to fascinate me. Molly Southborne lives by one rule. Don’t Bleed. When she bleeds, she dies. Not her exactly, but a Molly Southborne dies. Has to die actually, because every time Molly bleeds another Molly is born, identical to her in every way and driven to kill her. But Molly has been trained since childhood for this and is accomplished in the art of Molly killing and disposal. It is of course only a matter of time.  Eventually one of the Mollys will get her. Eventually she will make a mistake or be too slow. Before this happens she needs to find out why she’s this way and how, or even if, she can stop it.