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Category: Reviews

The Great Debatable Space Debate

Philip PalmerPhilip Palmer (who is not as malevolent in person as this photo suggests) stopped in at the Book Swede’s blog to talk about Arthur C. Clarke’s famed observation on magic and technology.

Philip’s debut novel just got a great review at Science Fiction Weekly, which observed:

Debatable Space is clearly one of the best first novels to appear in the science-fiction field in recent years, and it marks Philip Palmer as a writer to watch for SF readers seeking innovative, cutting-edge space opera…”

You may have noticed the color difference between the US and UK editions. Is it because American readers respond well to orange? Is it because UK readers like their type to match the glow of their spaceship engines? Honestly, we’re not sure – but the inside is excellent whichever version you get.

Debatable Space UK Debatable Space US

Early Reviews for Matter

Matter by Iain M Banks

We’ve been getting some great advance reviews for Iain M. Banks’ Matter. In this weekend’s Scotland on Sunday, Stuart Kelly says:

If I said this novel was a searing inquiry into justified warfare and the dangers of imposing your ideas of civilisation, told at a rattling pace with breathtaking set pieces and oodles of wit and charm, I’d hope that you’d continue reading and decide, in a few hundred words’ time, to buy the book…

…It’s exhilarating to see what he can do when he goes full-throttle into the form: to my mind, he’s simply the finest and most consistently challenging writer in that genre.

And over at SFFWorld, Mark Yon is saying:

As with any of Iain’s books to date, in Matter he deals with the material with wit and intelligence, as well as his trademark complexity and violence. It does manage to mix genres with aplomb, and there are some pleasingly jarring cultural moments when aliens intermix…I suspect that, despite its release early in the year, this one will be high on many best-of lists by the end of 2008.

We couldn’t agree more! You can read an excerpt of Matter here.

Debatable Space launches this month!

Debatable Space by Philip Palmer

Debatable Space, by debut author Philip Palmer, is available this month from Orbit UK and US and it’s already getting some fantastic praise. SFRevu says:

Seldom have I read anything so relentlessly energetic, inventive and shamelessly ambitious – all highly laudable qualities…This is one of those rare books that holds your focus on every page, and feeds your imagination as it does so…Palmer is a new, fresh, entirely original voice in British science fiction, and one that looks like he will be around, like Lena, for some considerable time.

And Fantasy Book Critic calls it:

One heck of a trip. It’s ambitious, original, a self-contained story, laugh-out-loud funny, gleefully violent, and wildly unpredictable…much more than a typical science fiction novel and I think readers would be making a huge mistake in overlooking Philip Palmer’s excellent debut.

Interested in checking out one of the most exciting new SF novels of 2008? You can check out an extract here or pick up a copy at a bookstore near you later this month!

Calling all MMORGS

Halting State by Charles Stross
Welcome back! As we ring in 2008 it seems a good time to look to the (not-so-far) future with Halting State, Charles Stross’s near-future techno thriller, which is getting some great reviews.

Starbust is calling it a ‘highly effective thanks to some great twists and an entirely convincing paranoid overtone’ and this month’s DeathRay describing it as ‘a surprisingly buoyant thriller about the meat puppets: you and me…his writing is muscled and lively’.

Over in the blogosphere, The Book Swede, who reviewed it earlier last year, says ‘the story and characterisation is typical Stross, that is to say, brilliant’ and SF Reviews.net says:

‘Fans of Stross’s earlier technothrillers — this book reads in many ways like one of his Laundry stories played straight — will go nuts over Halting State. The zeitgeist-savvy incorporation of the gaming world as a central narrative motif is handled to perfection.’

Halting State will be hitting bookshelves later this month. Until then, be sure to check out The Jennifer Morgue, out now, which DeathRay calls ‘a wonderfully entertaining read.’

The Escapement Arrives

International Covers for The Escapement

K.J. Parker’s Engineer Trilogy continues to wow the critics. In the Locus review of Evil for Evil (US, UK) and The Escapement (US, UK) Faren Miller says of the trilogy:

“The whole thing is brilliant – disturbingly so, since these fantasies (without a whit of magic) explore the human condition and reveal it all, brain, heart, guts and bowels, with a startling precision.”

And over at Strange Horizons, Farah Mendlesohn has a fascinating review of the trilogy that gets at the heart of what makes these books so compelling:

“The trilogy format of Parker’s work is deceptive: it both does, and doesn’t conform to recognisable fantasy trajectories. Yes, in almost all of the books there is at least one person who rises to power or moves towards the centre of the action; there is always big landscape; there are wars and many nameless people die. But the stories which form the plot are interlocked through future, present and past. Parker writes stories in which individuals become enmeshed in the machine, and in which economics is the god on which all the principals are sacrificed. ”

Read the whole review here.

You can find the first chapter of Devices and Desires here. Book three, The Escapement, is out this month.

Vampires, Snowmen, Vampire Snowmen?

Over at SF World Mark Yon (clearly skeptical about any urban fantasy starring a Vampire) finds a lot to like in Jennifer Rardin’s Once Bitten, Twice Shy:

“This is one that should be read: one for me that stands with my current faves Jim Butcher and Mike Carey.”

Another One Bites the Dust

At Scifichick.com Angela has a review of the next book in the Jaz Parks series, Another One Bites the Dust,

“With more action and tougher bad guys, this sequel doesn’t disappoint.”

And for a chance to win a copy of the first two books in the series (plus what looks like a very tasty chocolate snowman) visit Urbanfantasy.blogspot.com

Review Round-Up

Another One Bites the DustAnother great review for Jennifer Rardin, as LoveVampires is calling Another One Bites the Dust:

Fast-paced, exciting and entertaining . . . recommended reading. It has mystery, spies, mad villains, romance, humour and vampires. Really, what’s not to like?

In other kick-ass vampire news, check out the interview they did with Charlie Huston, whose latest novel, No Dominion, is described by The Gravel Pit as:

[A] blast. It offers the same gritty noir-style with the brutal pace as did Already Dead . . . Bring on the third Joe Pitt!

And over at The Book Swede, there’s a wonderful review of Daniel Abraham’s The Long Price:

The ideas on which Abraham has built this series are original and thought-provoking . . . he is surely one of the brightest stars to come into the genre for quite a while.

Finally, Gav’s Blog gives Dead Men’s Boots an impressive five stars, saying:

Carey is a master plotter. His plots are focused and well planned though with enough clues that you mentally kick yourself when you start to see the connections . . . It’s a great read. You can’t help yourself from wanting to know how deep in shit Castor can go before he drowns.

Pushing the Boundaries

The Long PriceThere are some great reviews coming in for Daniel Abraham’s The Long Price. Starburst says of it:

In this enjoyable, intelligent, original fantasy series, plot springs with tragic inevitability from character and there are no heroes and villains but only often flawed but eminently understandable human beings

SFX go further in their review:

Far from being a bog-standard tale of swords and sorcery, Daniel Abraham has served up a compelling, emotionally brutal and edgy fantasy that’s genuinely worthy of comparison with genre heavyweights like George R.R. Martin . . . [pushes] way beyond the genre’s comfortable boundaries, into bold and unsettling new territory.

Raves for Rardin

Once Bitten, Twice Shy is getting great reviews! The The New York Post featured it in their “Required Reading” column, and over at Katie’s Reading, Katie says:

“Before I started reading Once Bitten, Twice Shy I had read several reviews that claimed that this was a good book, a great book even. But in no way was I prepared for how truly wonderful Once Bitten, Twice Shy turned out to be. I loved it, plain and simple as that.”

Curious? Get to know Jaz with this excerpt, and then stop by Jennifer’s blog to meet the author.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy Banner

Something to Crow About

Spindrift by Allen SteeleSFCrowsnest has just added some fantastic reviews of classic and new Orbit books. Now’s your chance to check out some great SF & Fantasy you might have missed:

Of Spindrift, the latest book in Allen Steele’s critically acclaimed Coyote series, they say:

Steele’s clean, crisp writing and careful scientific invention reminds me of Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama. There’s a definite feel of classic Science Fiction storyline brought up-to-date with technology and science. That’s no bad thing and the easy pace and good characterisation make it a pleasure to read.

Of Moving Target, Elizabeth Moon’s military SF thriller, they say:

The last eighty pages are complete page-turners . . . If you like space opera then this is a series I think you would enjoy.

The Atrocity Archives by Charles StrossAdding to the praise for Charles Stross’ The Atrocity Archives, SF Crowsnest says:

Stross mixes the weird monsters of a Lovecraft novel with the gadgets and clever action of a techno-thriller. . .an enjoyable romp through a crazy mix of genres.

And for the fantasy readers out there, here’s what they say about Ian Irvine’s The Fate of the Fallen:

[Irvine] delights in creating sweeping sagas and great journeys for the characters. There are some wonderful colourful passages of people and landscapes. What he really likes is to bring his characters right down into the core of themselves as they face great challenges.

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