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LAVINIA – Ursula Le Guin

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August 18, 2009

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.

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CLOUD & ASHES: THREE WINTER TALES Greer Gilman

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.

The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

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.

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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 ›

My Book of the Month – May 2009

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 – Glenda Guest

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 – Karen Connelly

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.

About Richard

Richard Bilkey has been selling, marketing and distributing books for over ten years, managing independent bookshops, a major online retailer and, most recently, one of Australia's largest Independent Book Distributors, Brumby Books.

Contact Richard directly at richard@fictionetal.com.au