Let me just put this out there straight up: I would knock down my own Grandmother if she stood between me and a new Jasper Fforde novel. There are few authors I idolise as much as Jasper Fforde, the man who brought us, Jurisfiction, the Chronoguard, full body-contact croquet and the ingenious Footnoterphone! Imagine, then, my hand-trembling excitement as I explored a world utterly different from that of the Thursday Next series, a vision of the future I guarantee you’ve never even dreamt about before, and yet still so unmistakeably Ffordeian.
Kim Stanley Robinson’s name is synonymous with the term “future history”, which is used to describe those highly detailed sagas that tend to damage the social lives of hard SF junkies such as yours truly. Galileo’s Dream certainly has elements of future history within it (and I will get to them soon) but first and foremost, it is a sensitively fictionalised biography of one of the pillars of modern science.
Simply one of the most impressive novels of the year, in any genre.
Le Guin is the undisputed queen of science fiction and fantasy. Her early works (notably the Hainish Cycle and the Earthsea novels) helped establish science fiction and fantasy as a true literary mode, capable of exploring deeper human truths and sociological trends. She cleared a path for female authors in traditionally male dominated genres and did it all with graceful, meaningful and eminently readable storytelling.
One never knows exactly what you are going to get when you pick up a new novel from the genre-breaking China Miéville. His surreal urban stories have defied easy categorisation into straight SF or Fantasy, spawning the entirely distinct sub-genre of “new weird” in his ongoing rebellion against Tolkien-style fantasy. But more than this, Miéville is always looking to experiment with other literary genres and The City & The City is his homage to the classic police procedural.
Cloud & Ashes is an incredible achievement, a work rich with word play and potent symbolism. Whether you delight in unravelling multi-layered meanings in a text or if you simply enjoy the floating sensation of allowing richly figurative language to wash over you and carry you along, Cloud & Ashes is a book you will turn back to again and again.
Expectations for this book are extremely high but Patrick Ness has succeeded in producing a thrilling yet extremely subtle dystopian novel that is, if possible, even more relentless on the reader. Where Book 1 focussed very much on the various implications and reactions to a world where men’s thoughts are not their own, The Ask & The Answer delves deeper into the gender divisions created by the fact that women are immune to the language germ. This means that women’s thoughts are private, breeding distrust and unease among the men. As all out war descends the Noise provides complicated layers of honesty and dishonesty that makes it hard to distinguish truth from propaganda. The love story between Todd and Viola is beautifully pure but heartbreakingly precarious under the extreme pressure of their situation.
I got my hands on the finished edition of The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet the other day and fell in love with it all over again. The production standards were simply fantastic – it’s an incredible book and I think I’m going to get multiple copies from around the world for my collection. There… Read More ›
The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet – Reif Larson So, the first thing you are going to ask when you read the title is “Who on Earth is TS Spivet? Should I have heard of him?” Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet is a reclusive mapmaker from Montana with an incredible cartographic ability to draw everything from geography… Read More ›
Siddon Rock is the debut novel from Blue Mountains author Glenda Guest. I had the great luck to be shown some sample chapters of this book while it was being shown around to publishers and I have kept up to date with its progress through what can sometimes seem the industrial process of modern publishing process. I was impressed from the very first line and hooked after the first chapter and now that the book has finally made it all the way to the bookshop shelves I am very glad to see that the sparkle of those early drafts has survived and prospered.
The Lizard Cage is a beautiful, lyrical novel about a savage dictatorship and those who continue to stand against it. It is the work of a serious young talent and a deserved winner of the Orange Broadband Prize for New Writers in 2007.