Bank Holiday book binge

Folks in the UK have a long weekend looming – the perfect opportunity to grab some quality time with your favourite author. Or maybe experiment with new writers, different characters and strange situations. Here’s some suggestions from the MMM TBR shelf: crime-thrillers, murder-mysteries, Nordic noir, cosy crime, sci-fi, fantasy and crossover titles from well-known and…

Exiles: An Outsider Anthology

This collection of 26 stories is a little different to the average anthology. It weaves between fact and fiction, exploring those remote and lonely places on the periphery of human society. Each of the contributions is a substantial piece of writing – not one of them feels like a filler – and the combined effect…

Tears In Rain: intriguing ideas, flawed execution

The idea of developing one of the core themes from Blade Runner – artificial humans with a limited life span, created to do the dirty jobs that futuristic people would rather avoid – is an intriguing one. Bruna, the central character in ‘Tears In Rain’ is such a replicant. She’s a combat model, built and…

Of Stars and Science: tales of the multiverse

Varied and imaginative, these short stories each examines a very different future for humanity. The collection is accurately titled. In the grand tradition of inventive extrapolation, they’re more sci-fi than fantasy; more science-led than space opera; the exploration of ideas. The seven authors each approach a possible future from alternative angles and I enjoyed them…

The Rhymer: outstanding. Original. Odd

Satirical and surreal, The Rhymer is going to perplex an awful lot of people. It IS a story, one with a definite beginning, middle and end, but it’s a story artfully told in a tumbling, tangled stream of consciousness which bamboozles and bewilders with its dazzling feats of editor-defying stunt-writing so that the reader spends…

Ha’penny: intrigue and espionage on an alternate earth

The Small Change series is definitely my discovery of the year. Ha’penny, the second in the trilogy, offers us the ultimate moral dilemma: if you had the opportunity to kill Hitler then would you do it? At great personal cost? And would it make any difference?   Author Jo Walton then wraps that concept in…

Fires of Man: psionic super-soldiers on an alternate earth

This is an ambitious series-opener which blends aspects of militaristic sci-fi with a well-constructed alternative reality, and multiple overlapping and interwoven plotlines. The time is now, the earth is different, and a covert cold war is being fought between psionic soldiers and their spies…   It’s a cracking concept which has been adroitly executed. Fires…

Justice, Inc: savvy, somewhat savage short stabs

This caustic collection of ten satirical stories certainly sticks the knife into some of the less appealing characteristics of modern-day American (and European) social behaviour. Author Dale Bridges deftly employs the time-honoured device of isolating a single theme or talking point, and exaggerating it to extremes in a near-future alternate reality. He’s created a collection…