Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cover Reveal: The Best Horror of the Year Volume Nine

Behold the absolutely creeptastic cover for The Best Horror of the Year Volume Nine edited by Ellen Datlow.

edited by Ellen Datlow

ISBN: 9781510716667
Release date: 20 June 2017
Pre-order a copy

With each passing year, science, technology, and the march of time shine light into the craggy corners of the universe, making the fears of an earlier generation seem quaint. But this light creates its own shadows. The Best Horror of the Year chronicles these shifting shadows. It is a catalog of terror, fear, and unpleasantness as articulated by today’s most challenging and exciting writers.

Table of contents:
  • Nesters - Siobhan Carroll
  • The Oestridae - Robert Levy
  • The Process is a Process All its Own - Peter Straub
  • The Bad Hour - Christopher Golden
  • Red Rabbit - Steve Rasnic Tem
  • It’s All the Same Road in the End - Brian Hodge
  • Fury - DB Waters
  • Grave Goods - Gemma Files
  • Between Dry Ribs - Gregory Norman Bossert
  • The Days of Our Lives - Adam LG Nevill
  • House of Wonders - C.E Ward
  • The Numbers - Christopher Burns
  • Bright Crown of Joy - Livia Llewellyn
  • The Beautiful Thing We Will Become - Kristi DeMeester
  • Wish You Were Here - Nadia Bulkin
  • Ragman Rebecca - Lloyd
  • What’s Out There? - Gary McMahon
  • No Matter Which Way We Turned - Brian Evenson
  • The Castellmarch Man - Ray Cluley
  • The Ice Beneath Us - Steve Duffy
  • On These Blackened Shores of Time -  Brian Hodge

Friday, February 24, 2017

New Arrivals: More glorious books!

This past week has definitely been a week for the books in more ways than one. It has been a tough week at work. Each time I felt at my lowest, as if by magic, I would receive these parcels laden with books. We all know that it's impossible to be sad when there are new books to be read.

The first two parcels to arrive contained two orders I had placed at some local online stores.


I was also fortunate enough to receive not one, but two parcels filled with review copies.

First up from Pan Macmillan SA I received a copy of The Bear and the Serpent by Adrian Tchaikovsky and Fierce Gods by Col Buchanan. Since these are later books in a series I first need to track down the rest before I will be able to review them.

And the amazing folks at Jonathan Ball Publishers ended my week off with this glorious collection of books. I walked around the entire day with a huge grin on my face.

The titles included are Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson, The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington, The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks and Chaos Mage by Stephen Aryan.

Now one question remains - what do I read first?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: Bazaar of Bad Dreams

Title: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Author: Stephen King
Pages: 507
ISBN: 9780141042374
Publisher: Hodder
Published: 3 November 2015
Genre: Short Stories / Horror
Source: Purchased

Buy it from:
The Book Depository

Stephen King delivers a collection of thrilling stories, introducing each one with a fascinating piece on when, where or how he came to write it. There is a treasure here for every reader: a man who keeps reliving exactly the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again; a columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries; a poignant tale about the end of the human race and a firework competition between neighbours which reaches an explosive climax. And, exclusive to this paperback edition (and the eBook from 6 September), a brand new story 'Cookie Jar'. 'I made them especially for you,' says King. 'Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.'

Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King is a great collection of short stories by a master of the craft. The stories range from creepy, poignant, to the unsettling and bizarre, but always with a twist or unexpected turn along the way. I loved how engaging and utterly vibrant the characters in each story were. King has the ability to bring his characters to life in just a couple of sentences, to make you care for them before their inevitable fate takes its toll. What sets this collection apart is the fact that each story is accompanied by commentary sharing the inspiration behind the story; an interesting, intimate look behind the curtain to see how our nightmares are made.

I loved all the stories in the collection. The standout stories for me were Mile 81, Bad Little Kid, Morality, Ur, Herman Woulk is Still Alive, The Little Green God of Agony and Obits. My undisputed favourite was the story that rounds out the collection, Summer Thunder, a story chronicling the last days after a nuclear holocaust. Considering recent world events it hits far too close to home and might be a terrifying prophetic glimpse into our future if things continue to deteriorate.

If you are new to Stephen King's work this would be a perfect starting point. Constant Readers might have come across most of the previously published works before, but they are all well worth revisiting. The 21 stories collected in Bazaar of Bad Dreams are terrific, haunting delights that will stay with you long after you turn that last page.

It's been two weeks since I finished reading Bazaar of Bad Dreams and I still find myself thinking about the somewhat strangely titled Herman Woulk is Still Alive. I think this might be due to the brilliant juxtaposition used in the heartbreaking story - the two aged poets enjoying the twilight years of their life versus the sharp contrast of the young mothers left hopeless, trapped by their circumstance and falling into a pit of despair so deep that it ultimately leads to devastating tragedy. I guess that earns it the runner-up spot for favourite story in the collection.

The Verdict:
The stories collected in Bazaar of Bad Dreams are terrific, haunting delights that will stay with you long after you turn that last page. This is a perfect read for those dark nights where you come to realise that the monster might be the one hiding under the covers... Highly recommended!

The Rating: 8 (Great!)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cover Reveal: Infinity Engine

I've been holding on to these since last year when they were first unveiled, but with the release date now only a month away it's finally time to showcase them again.  I'm a huge fan of Neal Asher's work and the covers for his novels are always something special.

The covers for Infinity Engine,  the conclusion to the Transformation trilogy, is no exception. This time round the folks at Night Shade Books have pulled out all the stops for the US edition that simply blows their UK counterpart out of the water.  The artwork by Adam Burn is absolutely stunning. I think he might have just dethroned Jon Sullivan as my favourite cover artist.

US edition. Cover art by Adam Burn.

UK edition. Cover art by Steve Stone.

ISBN US edition: 9781597808897
ISBN UK edition: 9780230750753
Release date: 21 March 2017 (US) / 23 March 2017 (UK)

In the outskirts of space, and the far corners of the Polity, complex dealings are in play.

Several forces continue to pursue the deadly and enigmatic Penny Royal, none more dangerous than the Brockle, a psychopathic forensics AI and criminal who has escaped the Polity’s confinements and is upgrading itself in anticipation of a deadly showdown, becoming ever more powerful and intelligent.

Aboard Factory Station Room 101, the behemoth war factory that birthed Penny Royal, groups of humans, alien prador, and AI war drones grapple for control. The stability of the ship is complicated by the arrival of a gabbleduck known as the Weaver, the last living member of the ancient and powerful Atheter alien race.

What would an Atheter want with the complicated dealings of Penny Royal? Are the Polity and prador forces playing right into the dark AI’s hand, or is it the other way around? Set pieces align in the final book of Neal Asher’s action-packed Transformation trilogy, pointing to a showdown on the cusp of the Layden’s Sink black hole, inside of which lies a powerful secret, one that could destroy the entire Polity.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Cover Reveal: Forgotten Worlds

I absolutely loved Forsaken Skies the first novel in the Silence series by D. Nolan Clark (which reminds me that I actually still need to write that long overdue review). Orbit has revealed the cover for the second novel in the series, Forgotten Worlds and it looks great. I can't wait to get my hands on this one!

Release date: 20 April 2017
ISBN: 9780356507507

The battle is over. But the war has only just begun.

Aleister Lanoe has won a stunning victory against the alien armada that threatened Niraya, but it's not enough to satisfy his desire for vengeance. He won't rest until he's located the armada's homeworld and reduced it to ashes.

Yet his personal vendetta will have to wait. Lanoe now faces a desperate race against time, and the merciless Centrocor corporation, if he's to secure the Earth's future - and discover the truth he seeks.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

BBC Radio 4's Adaptation of Isaac Asimov's I, Robot

BBC Radio 4 has some truly brilliant adaptations of Isaac Asimov's I, Robot. The five dramatised stories chronicle the rise of robotics in the 21st century, told through the eyes of the enigmatic lawyer Stevie Byerley.

The episodes are:
Robbie - As a child, Stevie Byerley is raised by Robbie, a robotic childminder, because her parents are too busy working. The powerful bond she forms with the robot is unbreakable. Their relationship will change the course of Stevie's life.
Reason - After two years recovering from a devastating car crash, Stevie returns to work as a Legal Psychologist. Her first case is to try and reason with a robot that has developed religious delusions and a Messiah complex
Little Lost Robot - The Three Laws of Robotics are sacred because they define the limits of artificial intelligence, tamper with them at your peril. But Stevie finds that's exactly what's happened on a space station where a rogue robot has been reprogrammed and is now AWOL.
Liar - Stevie is urgently summoned to an advanced research lab in Siberia, where a robot has developed the ability to read human minds.
The Evitable Conflict - Stevie enjoys a meteoric rise to political power. Then in a final showdown with her oldest friend Quinn, she reveals the secret that has shaped her life and changed the course of civilisation forever.

They manage to bring the world of Asimov's short stories to vibrant life and at 15 minutes each, they fit into even the busiest schedule. The episodes are available for a limited time, so be sure to listen to them while you can. Trust me you definitely don't want to miss this!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

New Arrivals: The Bulk Edition

Over the last month I've purchased loads of books. Buying books has become like comfort eating, only with glorious bookish packages arriving every other day.  I live for that excitement, which is perhaps not the best thing especially for someone who has already run out of shelf space...

Behold. Books, glorious books!

Now to find the time to read them all...

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Cover Reveal: All Systems Red & Killing Gravity

I recently stumbled across the covers for two Tor.com novellas coming out in May and they immediately caught my eye. These are definitely going to be titles worth checking out.

ALL SYSTEMS RED by Martha Wells
Release date: 2 May 2017
ISBN: ISBN: 9780765397522

A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that blends HBO's Westworld with Iain M. Banks' Culture books

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

Release date: 9 May 2017
ISBN: ISBN: 9780765395085

Mars Xi can kill you with her mind, but she'll need more than psychic powers to save her in Killing Gravity, the thrilling science fiction space adventure debut by Corey J. White.

Before she escaped in a bloody coup, MEPHISTO transformed Mariam Xi into a deadly voidwitch. Their training left her with terrifying capabilities, a fierce sense of independence, a deficit of trust, and an experimental pet named Seven. She’s spent her life on the run, but the boogeymen from her past are catching up with her. An encounter with a bounty hunter has left her hanging helpless in a dying spaceship, dependent on the mercy of strangers.

Penned in on all sides, Mariam chases rumors to find the one who sold her out. To discover the truth and defeat her pursuers, she’ll have to stare into the abyss and find the secrets of her past, her future, and her terrifying potential.