Frankenstein Dreams by Michael Simms
Release Date:  Early Oct
We’ve got a few books edited by Michael Simms in the store, his collection of Victorian-era vampire  stories Dracula’s Guest and Other Stories and The Dead Witness, a collection of Victorian-era detective stories are particularly popular. This month we get to add another to the list with Frankenstein Dreams which presents sixteen science fiction stories from the nineteenth century. The book features some authors you would expect, like H G Wells, Jules Verne and Mary Shelley but there are some surprises too. Louisa M Alcott, Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Hardy and Rudyard Kipling have some of their forays into science fiction here too, which are fascinating reads. It’s important to note that the style of popular writing has changed quite a lot since these were written, so in addition to the subject matter of the stories readers are also getting a look at how stories were told then, which is interesting in its own right. If you’re a fan of early science fiction and would like read some really early works then this one to add to your library. 
Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson
Release Date:  Mid Oct
Brandon Sanderson is one of the most popular and prolific of the current crop of fantasy writers. His Cosmere milieu is made up for more than a dozen books spread across four different but connected settings. He’s also written a successful super-hero inspired series as well as several novellas, one of which The Emperor’s Soul won the 2013 Hugo Award. This month sees the release of the paperback version of Arcanum Unbounded. Inside, in addition the award-winning novella mentioned, fans will find short stories from a variety of his created worlds that offer insights into old mysteries or even create new ones. Also included are excerpts from graphic novels he’s worked on as well as essays about his work and worlds and even some illustrations. Some of the contents of this book have been offered before, either in print or as e-book or in limited collectors editions, but if you’re not the sort to hunt down all the meta stuff that many modern writers produce, then here it is all together with some new stuff never seen before. If you’re a fan of one of Sanderson’s series then you’re on your way to becoming a fan of all of them. In any event you’ll want a copy of this. 
Origin by Dan Brown
Release Date:  Early Oct
This one has a national in store date of the 3rd of October, which means that based on my usual newsletter delivery dates that it will already be in the shop by the time you folks get this. I’m sure it’ll be all over the media everywhere, but since crime and thriller are genres that we sell I really have to mention it. If only briefly. It’s set in Spain this time and another Robert Langdon story. Once again he is invited to view a new and revolutionary discovery, only to have it stolen/ destroyed and the person inviting him killed. In this case it’s a former student and now technology magnate who had claimed to have made a scientific breakthrough that will change the way humanity thinks of itself. Now Langdon is on another desperate race through exotic locations, pursued by a ruthless killer, trying to unlock the clues that will reveal an earth shaking truth. Because of an international embargo, there have been no review copies of the book, so I can’t tell you if Dan Brown is on form with this on or not. Generally his work has been fairly consistent, so if you liked those you’ll like this one. 


Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Release Date:  Late Oct
Adrian Tchaikovsky seems to be jumping all over the place with his books in recent years. Initially known for his epic ten-volume Shadows of the Apt series where all the varied human races or Kinden each had a connection to a type of insect and certain characteristics associated with it. Children of Time, which won the Arthur C Clarke Award was about inter-planetary colonisation and terraforming going horrifyingly wrong. His current fantasy series The Echoes of the Fall features tribes of lycanthropes, so it seems he’s moved away from insects to animals. Which is a segue of sorts to this new book. The protagonist of Dogs of War, is in fact a dog. Not an ordinary dog though, Rex is special. He’s a bio-engineered weapon on a future battlefield. He’s seven feet tall and bulletproof and fitted with heavy weaponry. His bark is overlain with subsonics and harmonics designed to instil fear. But he’s a Good Dog. He fights the bad things and loves his pack and his master. But now there’s trouble and people who say that his master is bad and a war criminal and that Rex and the others are Bad Dogs just because they exist. Now Rex has to decide who to kill and who to obey. Rex wants to be a Good Dog, but for the first time in his life he’s going to have to figure out what that means for himself. 
Invisible Planets by Ken Liu
Release Date:  Late Oct
Since Cixin Liu’s 2015 Hugo Award win for The Three Body Problem there has been a tremendous interest in Chinese science fiction. Unfortunately, outside of smaller specialty press, and stories in mixed anthologies there has not been as much work available as readers would like. The release of Invisible Planets last year in trade paperback did go some way to changing that, but the thirty-odd dollar price tag for an anthology seemed to be a bit of an inhibiting factor. This month a much more impulse friendly $19.99 paperback is available, which I hope will encourage people to have a look at it.
Inside are thirteen Chinese science fiction stories, translated by multi award winner Ken Liu, many from the current crop of ‘new’ writers. In addition, the collection closes with three essays, the first is by Cixin Liu and gives an overview of the history of science fiction in China. The second by Chen Quifan offers the position of the younger generation of writers and the effect that recent social and political transformations in the country have had on them and their work. Finally Xia Jia, who holds the first Ph.D ever given for the study of Chinese science fiction asks the question what makes Chinese science fiction Chinese? 
2023 by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu
Release Date:  Early Oct
When I stumbled across this one in the catalogue I did a quick double take. Was this the same Justified Ancients of Mu Mu who also went by the name KLF and produced strange pop and conspiracy inspired sample heavy hits in the nineteen eighties? Yes it is, and the intervening years have made them even stranger. According to the cover this is a trilogy, with all three parts together in this book. Whether they’ve been seen in the wild separately is another matter and after a brief peruse of this book I already know to take nothing for granted. As to what the book is about, that’s a harder question. It starts with plans to build a pyramid with bricks that contain the ashes of dead criminals, then things start to get weird. It’s really about the end of the word, a story handed down through the generations. As to how it’s told, that’s a bit tricky. In the style that all of their work is famous for, it’s a stitching together of art, music and cultural references mixed with flights of fancy and deep thoughts. It’s funny and strange and will send you to Google regularly to see if the snippets of history quoted are true. It you like your books odd, unconventional and very clever then this one is probably for you. 


Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend
Release Date:  Mid Oct
This is one that I probably don’t have to mention at all, since the publishers are touting it as ‘the next Harry Potter‘ and throwing a huge publicity machine behind it so there will probably be stuff everywhere. And that’s why I decided to include it. Basically I don’t want to be left out, particularly since I’ve read the first third of my preview copy and so far it’s pretty good. It starts with Morrigan Crow who had the misfortune to be born on an unlucky day. As a result she’s cursed and causes misfortune to all around her. At least that’s what the townsfolk say, though Morrigan is convinced that most of their problems are of their own making and that she is a convenient scapegoat. She won’t be for much longer if the stories are true because cursed children die at midnight on Eventide, which is at most a year away. When the peculiar Jupiter North appears and tells her he has a way for her to escape she jumps quite literally at the chance. Whisked away to the magical city of Nevermoor she is offered a chance to join the magical Wundrous society and stay, if she can pass the tests. Now she must compete against hundreds of other applicants, each with their own remarkable talent to secure her place in the Wundrous Society. The problem is that Morrigan doesn’t appear to have any remarkable abilities at all and if she fails she won’t just not get to join the Wundrous Society, she’ll have to leave Nevermoor and go home and a certain doom. 
The Book of Swords by George R R Martin & Gardner Dozois
Release Date:  Late Oct
Fans of George R R Martin will be aware that he has quite a body of work as an editor as well as an author, and that he’s been involved in several publications where a group of well known fantasy writers each contributed a new story set in the same world as their novels. Books like Legends, Warriors, Rogues and Dangerous Women. This month we’ll be getting another one in the form of The Book of Swords which he co-edited with legendary anthologist Gardner Dozois. As with previous books, the stories are supposed to reflect the title to some degree so this time we’ve got swordsmen and swordswomen, heirs to Elric, Conan, Paksenarrion and Alanna as devised by Robin Hobb, Garth Nix, Ken Liu, Scott Lynch, Daniel Abraham and more. For many fans the most important story in the collection will be the one by George Martin himself and while I don’t know what it’s about I can tell you that it’s set in Westeros and previously unpublished. There are fifteen other stories too, and even without George it’s a ‘who’s cool’ of modern fantasy. If you’re not a fan of everyone in here to begin with there’s a good chance that you’ll come away with a few new authors to put on your to-read list. 
Waking Hell by Al Robertson
Release Date:  Mid Oct
I must admit that hearing about this book was a bit of a surprise. Al Robertson’s first book Crashing Heaven was a terrific science fiction / cyberpunk mash-up, but it had a pretty conclusive ending and there was nothing to suggest that it needed or was going to have a sequel. I did really like the setting though, with a space residing humanity in orbit over a dead earth and a society that is like the bastard child of William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Facebook. This book is a return to that world, but features a new protagonist. Crashing Heaven was about the war with the AI’s, but this one is about the stations themselves and the lives of the people in them. It’s also about what death means in a culture where memories, and what appears to be consciousness itself, can be downloaded into virtual space. The ghost-like entities that result from this are called ‘fetches’ and frequently creep into shared virtual spaces to ‘haunt’ the living. It’s this grey area where the living and the dead co-exist that Leila Fennech is searching for the Fetch of her dead brother, Dieter. There is something deeply suspicious about his death and she’s hoping that he can help her find the answer. She knows he’s uploaded, but she can’t find him anywhere. She’s also dogged at every step by other, dangerous looking people who want to talk to Dieter too. What kind of thing was he mixed up in anyway? Did it get him killed? Leila’s got more questions than answers, but when it comes to fetches she knows what she’s doing. After all, she’s one. 


Two of Swords (Volume 1) by K J Parker
Release Date:  Late Oct
For quite a few years and totally unbeknownst to me two of my favourite writers were in fact the same person. When it was revealed a few years ago that the mysterious K.J.Parker was humour and historical fiction writer Tom Holt, I was as surprised as anyone. I’d read his work under both names and never even suspected. Perhaps that’s because the styles of the books are so different. His humour books are light, clever and funny and his fantasy is complex, confronting and bleak. In my opinion his Fencer trilogy, which began in 1998 is one of the great, though sadly not very well known, grimdark fantasy series. Two of Swords is his latest fantasy work and was originally nineteen e-book novellas uploaded between 2015 and 2017. The print version will be in three volumes, the first this month with the other two released in November and December. It’s set in a once glorious empire, with a Roman or Greek aesthetic, now ravaged by civil war. At the head of each army is a military genius. Two masterful generals. Two brothers who find themselves on opposite sides. Two men so closely matched that the war has become a relentlessly bloody stalemate. The story of the war and those behind it is told in a series of vignettes. From peasants and farmers to soldiers and those who walk the halls of power, everyone is touched by the war and has an insight to share. This is an uniquely structured dark fantasy from an writer you should definitely acquaint yourself with. 
Akira 35th Anniversary Boxed Set by Katsuhiro Otomo
Release Date:  Late Oct
As regular visitors to the store will know, we don’t really carry much in the way of comic or manga material and to be honest I’m not going to have many of this one either, but we’ll get to that later. The reason I will have some of these is that I think it has a special place in comic and film history. The anime adaptation also directed by Katsuhiro Otomo was released in Australia in1990, wowed audiences and fostered a new wave of readers for his complex cyberpunk manga. This year is the thirty fifth anniversary of the release of the first episode of Akira in Young Magazine in December 1982 in Japan. Akira would run for nearly eight years and conclude in June 1990. To celebrate this, Kodansha has published a wholly remastered release of the complete manga series. It’s a boxed set of six hard covers, a hard cover art book and a patch with the now iconic ‘pill’ symbol. According to the publishers, as well as reproducing from the original drawings, this edition will have an entirely new translation of the text, taking advantage of the thirty years of experience that just wasn’t around the first time. I said earlier I wouldn’t be getting many of these and this is why. It’s a six volume (seven with the art book) hard cover boxed set and has a price tag of $299.99. That’s actually not outrageous for what it is, but it’ll still keep me from getting a lot of them. I don’t imagine that this is going to be a big print run either, so it’s hard to say how many suppliers will get or how long they’ll have them. So if you really want one, you should probably get in touch with us. 
star warsS
tar Wars: From a Certain Point of View
Release Date:  Early Oct
For many people the release of Star Wars and their subsequent viewing of it was a transformative experience, it certainly was for me. The movie was a shade over two hours long, but managed to give the audience an experience that felt much bigger. This book takes that feeling and makes it real. It’s a collection of forty stories from forty authors, all of which happen during the film. These are the stories out of our line of sight or perhaps the parts that happened before we arrived, sometimes told by characters we barely noticed. But all of them tie to the Star Wars we know while delivering something new. A bartender shouts at a pair of droids entering his cantina, and a moment later sees something that reminds him of a day from his youth. A day of battledroids and fear and swords of light. What happened to the Stormtroopers that couldn’t find the droids they were looking for? What did that tiny squeeking droid on the Deathstar actually do? What was the thing in the garbage disposal? They all have stories to tell, as do Grand Moff Tarkin, Captain Antilles and others you’ll know though you don’t know their names. Authors like Ken Liu, Chuck Wendig, Christie Golden, Nnedi Okorofor, Pierce Brown, Mur Lafferty and more than thirty others, have each taken a tiny moment of Star Wars and made it bigger. The stories themselves are quite short, but still great fun and I dare any serious Star Wars fan not be completely drawn into this book.