Welcome back to the British Genre Fiction Hitlist, a bi-weekly rundown of new releases from the United Kingdom’s thriving speculative fiction industry, brought to you by way of the British Genre Fiction Focus.
In this edition of the Hitlist, I have more than twenty new books for you all to look forward to, including standalone stories by Guy Haley, Susan Greenfield, F. R. Tallis and Peter Stenson, sequels to Saturn’s Children, Advent, and the immensely entertaining vN, alongside additions to several series, such as Magicals Anonymous, Blood and Feathers—yes!—The Seven Realms, and David Wingrove’s grand recasting of The Chung Kuo.
A few brand spanking new series are beginning in the next few weeks as well. The Raven’s Shadow comes from self-publishing success story Anthony Ryan; new author Nathan Hawke gives us Gallow; The Name of the Blade by Zoe Mariott; and finally, Django Wexler commences The Shadow Campaigns, which looks lovely.
In the near future, humanity has experienced a great schism. The larger part is ruled by instinct and pleasure: they are ageless, beautiful yet wholly dependent on technology designed by previous generations to sustain them. Having no social structure or self-consciousness to speak of, to the minority they are simply known as the Others.
But into this unmarked, timeless community walks Fred, the first visitor from a far-off land. His people are the N-Ps, governed by logic, revolted by the mindless, unfettered sollipsism of the Others. In all respects a model N-P, as Fred conducts his studies, he finds himself caught in an awkward relationship with his test subjects.
Fred begins to feel for the childlike members of the Dwelling he observes. Embracing their gaudy, hyperreal life of screens and implants, Fred begins to be changed himself, even as he begins to affect the minds of these Others in ways that may not be to their benefit.
Some zombies are raised. Others must be put down. Just ask Anita Blake.
Before now, she would have considered them merely off-putting, never dangerous. Before now, she had never heard of any of them causing human beings to perish in agony. But that’s all changed.
Micah’s estranged father lies dying, rotting away inside from some strange ailment that has his doctors whispering about zombie disease.
Anita makes her living off of zombies... but these aren’t the kind she knows so well. These creatures hunt in daylight, and are as fast and strong as vampires. If they bite you, you become just like them. And round and round it goes
Where will it stop? Even Anita Blake doesn’t know.
She was looking for her sister. She found Atlantis.
Krina Alizond is a metahuman in a universe where the last natural humans became extinct five thousand years ago. When her sister goes missing she embarks on a daring voyage across the star systems to find her, travelling to her last known location - the mysterious water-world of Shin-Tethys.
In a universe with no faster-than-light travel that’s a dangerous journey, made all the more perilous by the arrival of an assassin on Krina’s tail, by the privateers chasing her sister’s life insurance policy and by growing signs that the disappearance is linked to one of the biggest financial scams in the known universe.
When is a game not a game?
Tyler MacCandless can’t focus, even when he takes his medication. He can’t focus on school, on his future, on a book, on much of anything other than taking care of his older brother, Brandon, who’s in rehab for heroin abuse... again.
Tyler’s dad is dead and his mom has mentally checked out. The only person he can really count on is his Civilian Air Patrol Mentor, Rick. The one thing in life it seems he doesn’t suck at is playing video games and, well, that’s probably not going to get him into college.
Just when it seems like his future is on a collision course with a life sentence at McDonald’s, Rick asks him to test a video game. If his score’s high enough, it could earn him a place in flight school and win him the future he was certain that he could never have. And when he falls in love with the game’s designer, the legendary gamer Ani, Tyler thinks his life might finally be turning around.
That is, until Brandon goes MIA from rehab and Tyler and Ani discover that the game is more than it seems. Now Tyler will have to figure out what’s really going on in time to save his brother... and prevent his own future from going down in flames.
I am everything no longer forgotten. I banish forgetting. My seed has grown and become prophecy. Truth walks the world above. Magic is risen to the world once more.
In Cornwall, they have seen it rise: in an angel of death and endless, unseasonal snow.
Across the ocean, on a remote Canadian island, the blood and offerings and smoke of England seem nothing more than distant rumours of hysteria. Until the girl disappears. And the whale comes. And The Plague spreads.
And nothing is as it was before...
We have fought battles that left more than a hundred corpses on the ground, and not a word of it has ever been set down. The Order fights, but often it fights in shadow, without glory or reward. We have no banners.
Vaelin Al Sorna’s life changes forever the day his father abandons him at the gates of the Sixth Order, a secretive military arm of the Faith. Together with his fellow initiates, Vaelin undertakes a brutal training regime—where the price of failure is often death. Under the tutelage of the Order’s masters, he learns how to forge a blade, survive the wilds and kill a man quickly and quietly.
Now his new skills will be put to the test. War is coming. Vaelin is the Sixth Order’s deadliest weapon and the Realm’s only hope. He must draw upon the very essence of his strength and cunning if he is to survive the coming conflict. Yet as the world teeters on the edge of chaos, Vaelin will learn that the truth can cut deeper than any sword.
Dariusz is an engineer whose career ended years ago; now, a man he’s never met sits in a bar that doesn’t exist and offers him a fresh start... at a price.
Cassandra—Sand, to her friends—is a space pilot who itches to get her hands on the controls and actually fly a ship, rather than watch computers do it for her. The ’Pointers’—the elite 0.01% who control virtually all wealth have seen the limitations of a plundered Earth and set their eyes on the stars.
And now Dariusz and Sand, and a half-million ambitious men and women just like them, are sent out to extend the Pointers’ and the Market’s influence across the galaxy. But the colony fleet is sabotaged and the ESS Adam Mickiewicz crashes, on an alien planet where one hemisphere is seared by perpetual daylight and the other shrouded in eternal night. The castaways have the chance to create society from scratch... but the hostile planet—or their own leaders—may destroy them before they can even begin.
A thousand years ago, two young lovers were betrayed—Alger Waterlow to his death, and Hanalea, Queen of the Fells, to a life without love.
Now, once again, the Queendom of the Fells seems likely to shatter apart. For young queen Raisa ana’Marianna, maintaining peace even within her own castle walls is nearly impossible; tension between wizards and Clan has reached a fevered pitch. With surrounding kingdoms seeking to prey on the Fells’ inner turmoil, Raisa’s best hope is to unite her people against a common enemy. But that enemy might be the person with whom she’s falling in love.
Through a complicated web of lies and unholy alliances, former streetlord Han Alister has become a member of the Wizard Council of the Fells. Navigating the cut-throat world of blue blood politics has never been more dangerous, and Han seems to inspire hostility among Clan and wizards alike. His only ally is the queen, and despite the perils involved, Han finds it impossible to ignore his feelings for Raisa. Before long, Han finds himself in possession of a secret believed to be lost to history, a discovery powerful enough to unite the people of the Fells. But will the secret die with him before he can use it?
A simple, devastating truth concealed by a thousand-year-old lie at last comes to light in this stunning conclusion to the Seven Realms series.
When Chase sees a little girl in umbrella socks disemboweling a Rottweiler, he’s not too concerned. As someone who’s been smoking meth every day for as long as he can remember, he’s no stranger to such horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations…
But as he and his fellow junkies discover, the little girl is no illusion.
The end of the world really has arrived. And with Chase‘s life already destroyed beyond all hope of redemption, armageddon might actually be an opportunity—a last chance to hit restart’ and become the person he once dreamed of being. Soon Chase is fighting to reconnect with his lost love and dreaming of becoming her hero among the ruins. But is salvation just another pipe dream?
Propelled by a blistering first-person voice and featuring a powerfully compelling antihero, Fiend is at once a brilliant portrait of addiction, a pitch-black comedy, and the darkest, most twisted love story you‘ve ever read—not to mention one hell of a zombie novel.
Amy Peterson is a von Neumann machine—a self-replicating humanoid robot.
But Amy is a robot unlike any other: her failsafe has broken, meaning she is no longer sworn to protect humans. She and her equally synthetic partner Javier are holed up in their own robot paradise.
But the world that wanted so much to get hold of Amy—to imprison her, melt her down, or use her as a weapon—will not stay away much longer. Javier must run, to Mecha, the robot kingdom, in search of salvation... or death.
It is 2206: a year of restless peace, and secret war.
As Chung Kuo’s population continues to swell, the Seven—the ruling T’angs—are forced make further concessions; laws must be relaxed and the House at Weinmar reopened. Change is coming, whether the Seven like it or not.
The tides of unrest unleashed by earlier wars grow faster even than the population. DeVore secretly allies with newly appointed general, Hans Ebert. It seems that DeVore’s plans are coming to fruition. But Ebert has his own schemes and plots—he intends to depose the Seven and control the whole of Chung Kuo.
The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF, edited by Mike Ashley (July 4, Robinson)
This thought-provoking collection not only takes us into the past and the future, but also explores what might happen if we attempt to manipulate time to our own advantage.
These stories show what happen once you start to meddle with time and the paradoxes that might arise. It also raises questions about whether we understand time, and how we perceive it. Once we move outside the present day, can we ever return or do we move into an alternate world? What happens if our meddling with Nature leads to time flowing backwards, or slowing down or stopping all together? Or if we get trapped in a constant loop from which we can never escape. Is the past and future immutable or will we ever be able to escape the inevitable?
These are just some of the questions that are raised in these challenging, exciting and sometimes amusing stories by Kage Baker, Simon Clark, Fritz Leiber, Christopher Priest, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Robert Silverberg, Michael Swanwick, John Varley and many others.
After experiencing terrifying visions, Daire Santos goes to live with her grandmother in the dusty New Mexico town of Enchantment. There she discovers that she’s a Soul Seeker: a person who can navigate between the living and the dead.
Guided by her grandmother, Daire has learned how to harness her powers... just in time. Enchantment is controlled by the evil Richter family, who are determined to rule over the Lowerworld, Middleworld and Upperworld—upsetting the natural balance and causing chaos.
Daire is the only person who can stop the Richters, but there’s one problem: she’s in love with Dace, whose twin brother Cade is a shape-shifter, out to steal Daire’s powers. And both boys belong to the Richter clan. Can Daire fulfil her destiny without destroying her one true love?
The Night Itself (Name of the Blade #1), by Zoe Marriott (July 4, Walker)
Ancient Japanese gods and monsters are unleashed on modern-day London in this epic trilogy from an acclaimed fantasy writer. When Mio steals the family’s katana—a priceless ancestral sword—from her parents’ attic, she just wants to spice up a fancy-dress costume. But the katana is much more than some dusty antique and her actions unleash a terrible, ancient evil onto the streets of unsuspecting London.
Soon Shinobu, a fearless warrior boy, appears to protect Mio—and threatens to steal her heart. With the gods and monsters of Japanese myth stalking her and her friends, Mio realizes that if she cannot keep the sword safe, and learn to control its legendary powers, she will lose not only her own life... but the love of a lifetime.
You can’t tell by looking at me that my dad is Poseidon, God of the Sea.
It’s not easy being a half-blood these days. Even a simple game of dodgeball becomes a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants—and that was only the beginning.
Now Camp Half-Blood is under attack, and unless I can get my hands on the Golden Fleece, the whole camp will be invaded by monsters. Big ones...
Located far beyond the boundaries of explored space, the Goeg Domain is a political union of dozens of planets and races. When the U.S.S. Enterprise arrives in its territory to investigate an interstellar phenomenon, Commander Laspas of the Domain Defense Corps is at first guarded, then fascinated to discover the existence of an alliance of worlds much like his own, and finds a kindred spirit in Captain James T. Kirk.
When the Enterprise is attacked by the Domain’s enemies, crippling the starship’s warp capability and leaving its crew facing the prospect of a slow, months-long journey home, the Goeg leader volunteers the help of his own ship, offering to combine the resources of both vessels to bring the Enterprise to a nearby Domain facility to make the necessary repairs.
But what at first seems to be an act of peace and friendship soon turns out to be a devil’s bargain, as Kirk and the Enterprise crew learn that there are perhaps more differences than similarities between the Federation and the Domain. When the Goeg’s adversaries strike again, the Enterprise is drawn deeper and inexorably into the conflict, and Kirk begins to realize that they may have allied themselves with the wrong side...
When promising young psychiatrist James Richardson is offered the job opportunity of a lifetime by the charismatic Dr. Hugh Maitland, he is thrilled. Setting off to take up his post at Wyldehope Hall in deepest Suffolk, Richardson doesn’t look back. One of his tasks is to manage Maitland’s most controversial project - a pioneering therapy in which extremely disturbed patients are kept asleep for months. If this radical and potentially dangerous procedure is successful, it could mean professional glory for both doctors.
As Richardson settles into his new life, he begins to sense something uncanny about the sleeping patients—six women, forsaken by society. Why is Maitland unwilling to discuss their past lives? Why is the trainee nurse so on edge when she spends nights alone with them? And what can it mean when all the sleepers start dreaming at the same time? In this atmospheric reinvention of the ghost story, Richardson finds himself questioning everything he knows about the human mind, as he attempts to uncover the shocking secrets of the Sleep Room...
When the desert colony of Khandar erupts in rebellion, things go from bad to worse for the Vordan troops occupying the city garrison. With their Colonel dead and their senior Captain Marcus d’Ivoire left in command, they fall back to await re-enforcements, and hopefully evacuation. Instead, the King of Vordan sends Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich to restore order on a mission seemingly doomed to failure.
Winter Ihernglass, disguising her gender to join the army, is hoping only to avoid notice. When she’s promoted to command a company in Janus’ army, however, she finds responsibilities that she cannot simply run away from.
Janus, however, is looking for something more than just a victory over local rebels and glory on his return to Vordan. He wants the keys to magic—the archive known as The Thousand Names—and will stop at nothing to get it...
Now in his second year as a superhuman cadet-in-training, Tom’s been promoted to a mid-level member of the elite training corps known as Camelot Company, or CamCo. As training intensifies and the moment arrives to impress the multinational corporations who will make or break the cadets’ careers, Tom finds himself drawn into a power struggle that’s more dramatic—and with far higher stakes—than anything he ever imagined.
There are nefarious new enemies to outwit, old friendships that take on new faces, a romance that Tom is encouraged to betray, and an increasing desire on Tom’s behalf to demand nothing less than “justice for all”—even if he sabotages his own future in the process. But what will his idealism cost?
Filled with camaraderie, wit, action and intelligence, the second book in S. J. Kincaid’s futuristic trilogy continues to explore fascinating and timely questions about power, politics, technology, loyalty and friendship.
A seven-year-old girl puts a nail-gun to her grandmother’s neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious?
As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry. Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger’s Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioural patterns, and an outsider’s fascination with group dynamics.
Nothing obvious connects Hesketh’s Southeast Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behaviour of his beloved step-son, Freddy. But when Hesketh’s Taiwan contact dies shockingly and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, he is forced to acknowledge possibilities that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career and, most devastatingly of all, his role as a father.
Part psychological thriller, part dystopian nightmare, The Uninvited is a powerful and viscerally unsettling portrait of apocalypse in embryo from the acclaimed author of The Rapture.
Sharon Li: apprentice shaman and community support officer for the magically inclined.
It wasn’t the career Sharon had in mind, but she’s getting used to running Magicals Anonymous and learning how to Be One With The City.
When the Midnight Mayor goes missing, leaving only a suspiciously innocent-looking umbrella behind him, Sharon finds herself promoted. Her first task: find the Midnight Mayor. The only clues she has are a city dryad’s cryptic warning and several pairs of abandoned shoes...
Suddenly, Sharon’s job feels a whole lot harder.
The battle between the Fallen and the Angels has turned into open warfare, on the streets of London.
“This is a war. The war. There is no stopping; no getting out. You’re in this—just like the rest of us—to the end.”
Driven out of hell and with nothing to lose, the Fallen wage open warfare against the angels on the streets. And they’re winning. As the balance tips towards the darkness, Alice—barely recovered from her own ordeal in hell and struggling to start over—once again finds herself in the eye of the storm. But with the chaos spreading and the Archangel Michael determined to destroy Lucifer whatever the cost, is the price simply too high... and what sacrifices will Alice and the angels have to make in order to pay it?
The Fallen will rise. Trust will be betrayed. All hell is about to break loose...
The Crimson Shield (Gallow #1), by Nathan Hawke (July 11, Gollancz)
I have been Truesword to my friends, Griefbringer to my enemies. To most of you I am just another Northlander bastard here to take your women and drink your mead, but to those who know me, my name is Gallow. I fought for my king for seven long years. I have served lords and held my shield beside common men. I have fled in defeat and I have tasted victory and I will tell you which is sweeter. Despise me then, for I have slain more of your kin than I can count, though I remember every single face.
For my king I will travel to the end of the world. I will find the fabled Crimson Shield so that his legions may carry it to battle, and when Sword and Shield must finally clash, there you will find me. I will not make pacts with devils or bargains with demons for I do not believe in such things, and yet I will see them all around me, in men and in their deeds. Remember me then, for I will not suffer such monsters to live.
Even if they are the ones I serve.
A serial killer is loose on the streets of London, murdering apparently random members of the gentry with violent abandon. The corpses are each found with their chest cavities cracked open and their hearts removed. Charles Bainbridge, Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard, suspects an occult significance to the crimes and brings Newbury and Veronica in to investigate.
Niall Alexander is an erstwhile English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com, where he contributes a column concerned with news and new releases in the UK called the British Genre Fiction Focus, and co-curates the Short Fiction Spotlight. On occasion he’s been seen to tweet, twoo.