It’s publication day! And we’ve got something for everyone: fast-paced, action-packed military SF, a lyrical modern fairy tale, a scarily prescient take on climate change, the epic conclusion to a long-running fantasy series and a new addition to the seminal SF Masterworks collection.
The Bastard Legion: Friendly Fire by Gavin Smith
A ‘Dirty Dozen’ or ‘Suicide Squad’ for lovers of ‘Aliens’, THE BASTARD LEGION series is a down and dirty military SF set in a world of mercenary actions and covert operations.
In FRIENDLY FIRE, the Bastard Legion are hired to pull off a daring power-armoured heist of propriety tech.
A crime-ridden colony world holds the secret to a potential alien contact, and various groups of mercenaries have been hired to discover it. None of the rest of them have little bombs implanted in their heads, though, so the Bastards have an advantage when it comes to motivation. And Miska, their commander and kidnapper both, is still on the hunt for the people who killed her father.
People who might still be among her convicts.
Getting the tech will be hard. Getting off the planet, deadly.
‘High octane SF adventure with Smith’s trademark twist’ Jamie Sawyer, author of The Lazarus War
‘a brutal kaleidoscope of imagination’ Hannu Rajaniemi, author of The Quantum Thief
The Bastard Legion: Friendly Fire is out now in ebook
A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M. Harris
A perfect autumn and Christmas read, this combines the harshness of nature with the spookiness of a ghost story and the comfort of a great folk tale, in one beautifully told novella which is stunningly illustrated by Bonnie Hawkins.
I am as brown as brown can be,
And my eyes as black as sloe;
I am as brisk as brisk can be,
And wild as forest doe.
(The Child Ballads, 295)
So begins a beautiful tale of love, loss and revenge. Following the seasons, A Pocketful of Crows balances youth and age, wisdom and passion and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl.
Only love could draw her into the world of named, tamed things. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape.
Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.
‘Dark, quirky, occasionally grim, often hilarious and gloriously bold’ Booktopia
‘A mixing of ancient myth with cracking modern story telling, alongside wonderful prose and pace’ Falcata Times
Austral by Paul McAuley
A dazzling new science fiction novel from the multiple award winning author of SOMETHING COMING THROUGH
The great geoengineering projects have failed.
The world is still warming, sea levels are still rising, and the Antarctic Peninsula is home to Earth’s newest nation, with life quickened by ecopoets spreading across valleys and fjords exposed by the retreat of the ice.
Austral Morales Ferrado, a child of the last generation of ecopoets, is a husky: an edited person adapted to the unforgiving climate of the far south, feared and despised by most of its population. She’s been a convict, a corrections officer in a labour camp, and consort to a criminal, and now, out of desperation, she has committed the kidnapping of the century. But before she can collect the ransom and make a new life elsewhere, she must find a place of safety amongst the peninsula’s forests and icy plateaus, and evade a criminal gang that has its own plans for the teenage girl she’s taken hostage.
Blending the story of Austral’s flight with the fractured history of her family and its role in the colonisation of Antarctica, Austral is a vivid portrayal of a treacherous new world created by climate change, and shaped by the betrayals and mistakes of the past.
‘Paul McAuley’s balanced grasp of science and literature, always a rare attribute in the writer of prose fiction, is combined with the equally rare ability to look at today’s problems and know which are really problems, and what can be done about them.’ William Gibson
‘The excitement of a new country appearing right here on Earth, a real possibility that is quite fascinating in itself, is doubled down here by way of a thrilling kidnap-and-rescue plot that ranges across this beautiful new landscape, showing how we will soon be not only terraforming Earth, but finding new ways to take care of each other. It’s a vivid example of science fiction at its best’ Kim Stanley Robinson
‘Bleakly beautiful, Austral is both a finely-honed character study and a powerful evocation of landscape and change, delivered with icy clarity. This is the kind of fiction we will need as the Anthropocene takes hold’ Alastair Reynolds
The Fall of Dragons by Miles Cameron
Forget George and the Dragon. Forget Sir Lancelot and tales of Knightly exploits. This is dirty, bloody work. This is violent, visceral action. This is a mercenary knight as you’ve never seen one before.
The Red Knight’s final battle lies ahead . . . but there’s a whole war still to fight first.
He began with a small company, fighting the dangerous semi-mythical creatures which threatened villages, nunneries and cities. But as his power – and his forces – grew, so the power of the enemy he stood against became ever more clear. Not the power of men . . . but that of gods, with thousands of mortal allies.
Never has strategy been more important, and this war will end where it started: at Lissen Carak. But to get there means not one battle, but many – to take out the seven armies which stand against them and force Ash, the huge black dragon, to finally take to the field himself . . .
The Embedding by Ian Watson
A cutting-edge novel about the nature of communication and what it means to be human.
Ian Watson’s brilliant debut novel was one of the most significant publications in British SF in the 1970s. Intellectually bracing and grippingly written, it is the story of three experiments in linguistics, and is driven by a searching analysis of the nature of communication.
Deep in the Brazilian jungle, an isolated tribe face eviction from their ancestral lands – and the psychedelic fungus that makes their religious language possible.
In a British laboratory, a brilliant linguist conducts cutting-edge experiments – but does his search for answers come at too high a cost?
‘Enthralling . . . It gave one the sense of being led very near to the brink of profundity, even revelation’ Martin Amis
‘The most spectacular thing in science fiction since the astounding Solaris’ Spectator
‘One of the most thought-provoking shudders of the year’ The Times
The Embedding is available now in mass market paperback