Shattered Pillars by Elizabeth Bear
Elizabeth easily crosses genre boundaries without using initials or pseudo names; she has done hard SF, historical fantasies of differing types and now a second world fantasy based on the Silk Road. The first novel in this series, Range of Ghosts, is one that has been on my ever growing must read list and that is based on how much I loved the series that started with the award winning Hammered.
You can go here to read and sample chapter and below is the cover copy about the book.
Set in a world drawn from our own great Asian Steppes, this saga of magic, politics and war sets Re-Temur, the exiled heir to the great Khagan and his friend Sarmarkar, a Wizard of Tsarepheth, against dark forces determined to conquer all the great Empires along the Celedon Road.
Elizabeth Bear is an astonishing writer, whose prose draws you into strange and wonderful worlds, and makes you care deeply about the people and the stories she tells. The world of The Eternal Sky is broadly and deeply created—her award-nominated novella, “Bone and Jewel Creatures” is also set there.
Curve of the Earth by Simon Morden
One of the series I had hoped to get into last year was the Metrozone trilogy starring the character Samuil Petrovitch and sadly it fell through the inevitable cracks between all the other great reads that came out. Orbit publishing has now collected that into one volume and will be adding to it next week. Here is the information about the original and a teaser about the new book Curve of the Earth.
Welcome to the Metrozone – post-apocalyptic London of the future. Whilst the rest of Britain has devolved to anarchy, the M25 cordon protects a decaying city filled with homeless refugees, street gangs, exiled yakuza, crooked cops and mad cults. And something else; something new and dangerous.
An action-packed new science fiction thriller set in the world of the Philip K. Dick Award-winning Samuil Petrovitch novels
Welcome to the Metrozone – the post-apocalyptic London of the future, complete with homeless refugees, vicious street gangs and mad cults. A dangerous city needs an equally dangerous saviour: step forward Samuil Petrovitch, a Russian émigré with a genius-level intellect, extensive cybernetic replacements, a built-in AI with god-like capabilities and a full armoury of Russian swear words. Brilliant, selfish and cocky, he’s dragged the city back from the brink more than once – and made a few enemies on the way.
So when his adopted daughter Lucy goes missing in Alaska, he has a good idea who’s responsible and why. It never occurs to him that there’s a chance he could be wrong, and looking for one woman on the dark, frozen slopes of the far north could tip the delicate balance of nuclear-armed nations.
This time it’s not a city of twenty-five million that needs rescuing: it’s the world . . .
Here is a link to the book with an extract for your reading pleasure.
Ghostland Past Dark by Chandler Klang Smith.
I don't know much about the author beyond the blurb for the book that I will post below. I like a bit of weird and horror to the fiction I read and ChiZine publishing is one of the smaller publishers that choose great stuff to put in print. Their books cover many sub genres but all have a touch of the twisted about them from the westerns of Gemma Files to the collections of genre bending short fiction. If you order the physical editions of the books directly from the most include an eBook for you while you wait for the real thing. Here is the blurb that attracted my attention to this novel.
A hostile stranger is hunting Dr. Show’s ramshackle travelling circus across 1960s America. His target: the ringmaster himself. Struggling to elude the menace, Dr. Show scraps his ambitious itinerary; ticket sales plummet, and nothing but disaster looms. The troupe’s unravelling hopes fall on their latest and most promising recruit, Webern Bell, a sixteen-year- old hunchbacked midget devoted obsessively to perfecting the surreal clown performances that come to him in his dreams. But as they travel through a landscape of abandoned amusement parks and rural ghost towns, Webern’s bizarre past starts to pursue him, as well.
Along the way, we meet Nepenthe, the seductive Lizard Girl; Brunhilde, a shell-shocked bearded lady; Marzipan, a world-weary chimp; a cabal of drunken, backstabbing clowns; Webern’s uncanny sisters, witchy dogcatchers who speak only in rhymes; and his childhood friend, Wags, who may or may not be imaginary, and whose motives are far more sinister than they seem.
Queen Victoria's Book of Spells edited by Elled Datlow and Terry Windling
I'm kind of a fool for short story collections and particularly ones that promise to be magical alternate history. This collections has the second element that draws my attention, a plethora of women writers including some my favorite short fiction authors; Catherynne M Valente, Theodra Goss, Delia Sherman and the author of another book on my wanted list Elizabeth Bear.
Tor.com has been covering the stories in this volume wetting my appetite to get a copy here is a link to one of those posts.
Next weeks dispatch looks to be quite long and one book may just get a full review this next week.....