Latest Entries »

Retro SF

Professor Bernard Quatermass was created by Nigel Kneale for the BBC and appeared in television,radio serials, newspaper serials, radio shows, novels, theater and film between 1953 and 2005. Quatermass is a Professor and works for the British Experimental Rocket Group and in charge of planting the Union Jack in space. He is usually portrayed as a dour, serious man who has little time for fools and is totally driven by his thirst for scientific knowledge and the advancement of humans into space. His demeanor means he comes across as arrogant and down right ignorant, a totally unlikable character but despite this he has been one of the most enduring science fiction characters ever. There have been many times parallels between him and Doctor Who have been drawn, and the types of stories from the early years show a heavy Quatermass influence, but Kneale himself despised the association and and the show. He commented in an interview in 1986 that Doctor Who “sounded like a terrible idea and I still think it was”.  Despite many attempts the BBC tried to get Kneale to write for the show but he always refused.

There is little revealed of Quatermass’s early life, he was at one time married because in the second TV serial his daughter Paula is introduced and in the final serial he is the legal guardian of his teenage granddaughter. The character first name was in honour of Bernard Lovell the founder of Jodrell Bank, the name Quatermass was picked from the London phone directory.

The main TV serials are The Quatermass Experiment (6 x 30 minute episodes 18th July – 22nd August 1953), Quatermass II (6 x 30 minute episodes 22nd October – 26th November 1955) and Quatermass and the Pit (6 x 35 minute episodes 22nd December 1958 – 26th January 1959).

The Quatermass Experiment – Quatermass and his team are waiting for the return to Earth of the first men to travel into space. The craft carrying a three-man crew  is overdue and thought lost but then reappears on radar and crash lands in Wimbledon. There is only one survivor, there is no trace of the other two just their empty space suits. Soon after he is rescued the survivor is kidnapped by foreign agents eager to learn what secrets he has brought back from space but he begins to mutate into an alien/plant hybrid that if it spores will destroy all human life on Earth. Quatermass learns that the surviving crewman has absorbed the other two men and he and his team track the creature to a final confrontation at Westminster Abbey where the professor appeals to the absorbed crewmen to fight back and eventually the creature is destroyed.

Quatermass II – Meteors are falling all over norther England and after a farmer finds one Quatermass is called in to investigate. He learns the meteors are hollow and contain a mix of gasses and also an alien life form. Anyone that is exposed to the gas comes under the power of the aliens and all have a strange mark on them. Quatermass learns the aliens have been coming to Earth for a while and have possessed members of the military and high ranking members of the government in preparation for a full invasion. Quatermass’s daughter learns there is an asteroid in orbit around the Earth that is launching the alien carrying meteors every 14 hours and must be destroyed before humanity is overwhelmed. After travelling to a secret base Quatermass discovers the individual aliens are actually part of one giant organism and that the gasses are keeping it alive, he manages to destroy the base but the asteroid is still sending more aliens down to Earth so Quatermass uses the nuclear engine of one of his rockets to destroy the asteroid.

Quatermass and the Pit – Workmen digging in a London street unearth a pre-human skull, after a reconstruction it is found the skull comes from a small dwarf-like humanoid with a large brain capacity. Further digging unearths a rocket craft that the military believe to be a WWII bomb, Quatermass is called in and discovers the craft is in fact a crashed alien craft and that the nightmares and spectral visions that have been rife in the area for centuries is due to latent psychic forces emanating from the craft. Investigating those forces Quatermass learns the craft came from Mars and the dying race there was trying to advance the proto-humans they found on Earth so they had the same psychic abilities the Martians had, he also learns the Martians nearly wiped themselves out with a violent purge and that the emanations from the craft were causing the same violence to happen in the people living nearby. After full scale rioting erupts Quatermass manages to  the stop emanations and return calm.

Around the time Quatermass II was being broadcast Hammer Film Productions released their own version of the first serial in the form of a feature film called The Quatermass Xperiment. Nigel Kneale was not happy about the version, partly because several changes were made to the story, and the ending changed so the absorbed crewmen’s humanity wasn’t part of the reason the creature was defeated. But his displeasure was mainly directed at an American being cast as the very British Professor Quatermass. Despite the displeasure of the characters creator though this film was Hammer’s highest grossing film up to that time. Because of the success Hammer went on to release their own versions of the other TV serials titled Quatermass 2 and eventually Quatermass and the Pit (Five Million Years To Earth in the US). 

The last outing for the character came in 1972 when Sir John Mills played the now retired Professor in Quatermass (also known as The Quatermass Conclusion or Quatermass IV), where he travels to London in search of his missing granddaughter. Society has nearly collapsed and urban areas abandoned to roaming gangs, appearing on a TV show Quatermass witnesses the destruction of a US and Russian joint mission by a mysterious force from space. Later he learns the force is linked to a series of mysterious mass vanishings around the globe where members of a new-wave hippy type group called Planet People gather to be transported to a better world. Quatermass believes his granddaughter has joined this group and so travels to one of the gatherings and witnesses one of the “ascension events” but learns instead of being transported the people are vapourised. All the vanishings happen at megalithic sites and Quatermass learns these sites act as beacons for this alien force and it is attracted to large gatherings. Planning a trap by setting up a fake mass gathering and having a nuclear bomb placed there to cause some destructive feedback along the course of the beam sent to Earth. As the moment arrives a group of Planet People arrive, among them is Quatermass’s granddaughter, in the struggle the follows he suffers a heart attack but with his granddaughters help manages to detonate the bomb.

In 2005 BBC4 broadcast a live and updated for the modern era version of The Quatermass Experiment. The original TV serials were live and this was done as a homage to the early days of TV.

 

Watched the first episode of the Capaldi era and have a few thoughts. 

 

What I Liked

Capaldi after he got over his regeneration sickness was THE DOCTOR. Brilliant manic, wild and with a dangerous undertone.

New TARDIS interior, like how the central column doesn’t seem to move up and down but the TARDIS spins around it (least thats the effect I got from the window lights spinning round.

The Doctor the killer, hints this will be a darker Dr and I like that. 

 

What I didn’t Like

The theme tune, seriously, what the fuck?

The T-Rex, how big to the writers think a T-Rex is? No-way would a police box get stuck in its throat, it probably wouldn’t be able to even get its mouth around it. It was like the Rex’s you used to see in the old old dinosaur films when people didn’t really know how big they were.

Madam Vestra standing in a group of Londoners looking up at the Rex and no-one seems bothered by A) the T-Rex and B) there was a Silurian in their midst.

The “battle” with the metalmen. Strax had a fricking laser and the metalmen were all slow moving and he only hit a couple. Come on!

 

Theories

“Missy” I first thought perhaps it might be a somehow regenerated River Song, but after a comment on Twitter I’m thinking maybe its the Master (Missy…Misstress?)

The Promised Land, is it Utopia (another link to Missy maybe being the Master)

If the Promised Land is Utopia does that them (possibly) make the metalmen Toclafane (a further link to Missy being the Master)

 

All in all the middle part was fun, the beginning and end not so. The Matt Smith cameo wasn’t needed.

Next week Daleks, not looking forward to them because being honest I find them boring and about time they were well and truely rested. 

Publication – Update & Link

As a follow-up to my post this morning, now I have confirmation my book is live on Kindle and here’s the link.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-In-The-Fastlane-Brave-ebook/dp/B00KL9CL7A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1401204618&sr=1-1&keywords=life+in+the+fastlane

Please have a look and leave a review.

 

 

Final cover for websiteThe day has finally arrived, after a couple of false starts due to moving house, then having no internet for nearly a month, finally I’ve hit the PUBLISH button on Kindle Direct Publishing. My novella Brave New World which is the first part of the Life In The Fastlane series should be available later today (UK) and tomorrow (rest of the world).

Brave New World is set in the late 1940s and is an alternate history tale centered around the declining British Empire, a fractured United States locked in a decades old war between east and west, and the efforts of Professor Horatio Sykes to improve on his fathers invention in the hope of shortening the distance between countries and so bring them closer together.

Sykes is a dreamer, and idealist, and unfortunately for him whilst he dreams of a world where his fathers improved invention heals the wounds between nations, there are others who see his upgrades as just another tool to be used to impose their will on others.

Priced at £1.99 this novella is short and fast paced taking you from one side of the Atlantic to the other as the action alternates between the characters.

Hoping to have some reviews soon, but please take a look and if you feel the inspiration to write a few words about it then please do.

The end of April races ever closer and the final edit of my novella Life In The Fastlane: Brave New World is nearing its end. Initially tallying in at just over 16,500 ish words this final edit – due in part to Beta guidance from The Life Of Spike author Jodie Portugal  jvoportugal.wordpress.com – has already gained just over 2,000 extra and I still have halfway to go.

As well as the final edit I’ve also been preparing for actual P-Day, and part of that preparation – along with all the work in the Kindle direct publishing back room (so to speak) – has been the cover. Now I’ve always had an idea or two of how I wanted the cover to look, what I wanted it to say about the story. But the problem is I’m no artist. So after putting a shout out on Twitter for guidance I was given the contact details of Susan Omand – www.omandoriginal.com – and contacted her about doing a proper job of my ideas.

Susan is very professional, she listened to what I wanted and set to work giving me a first draft with a week of initial contact.

Book cover first draft

I liked this from the off, I like that she has used the same sort of font used during the Next Generation years of Star Trek for the main series title and my name – something she did with no input from me. My idea for the cover was to show the two main forms of technology featured in the story, I also wanted to depict a scene that I enjoyed writing and introduces the ship on the cover. But after seeing the first draft I realized my idea to have both forms of technology present on the cover didn’t really work, the effect in the top right above the title drew my eyes away from the main image. An image I felt needed total attention. So I asked Susan for some changes.

Book cover second draft

I feel this second draft better captures the image I want, along with removing the effect above the title I also corrected an error in the ships designation, moved it more to the front. I feel these changes made the image I wanted on the cover clearer, more defined. This is not a war story but a story set during a war, that’s what I feel the cover tells any prospective reader. So with what I wanted locked in Susan did the tweaks needed to clean the image up and re-size for the Kindle.

Final cover for website

So there we have it, the cover to my book and a damned fine cover if I say so. Susan has done a sterling job in doing this and if anyone ever wants someone to do a book, CD cover or any sort of artwork I recommend you contact her.

 

hang wireTitle: Hang Wire

Author: Adam Christopher

Publisher: Angry Robot

Published: Out Now

Ted is worried, he’s been sleep walking and each episode seems to coincide with the murders carried out by the Hang Wire killer.

Meanwhile the circus is in town, but the Celtic dance troop seem to be taking their act a little too seriously, the manager of the Olde World Funfair has started talking to his rides and the new acrobats frequent absences are causing tensions with the rest of the performers.

Elsewhere in the city there are other new arrivals, immortals searching for an ancient power, a primeval evil which, if unopposed, could destroy the world.  

Hang Wire is Adam Christopher’s fourth book and it is his best so far. That’s not saying the three that went before – Empire State, Seven Wonders and The Age Atomic – were not good, they were very good in fact, what I am saying is over the course of the previous books I have seen Adam’s style and mastery of his craft grow and expand. The result is Hang Wire, a pitch perfect story set in the world of nameless monsters and forgotten gods running rampant on the streets of San Francisco. Adam seems determined not to tie himself down with one genre, so far we’ve had a noire-gumshoe tale set in an alternative Manhattan, we’ve had a superhero team fighting the last great super-villain and we’ve returned to the alternative world of the Empire State with a tale or impending Armageddon and nuclear powered robots. Now he’s turned his unique and fresh style of writing towards mythology, but not your usual run of the mill mythos – there are no Thor’s or Zeus’ here – for this tale he’s mined the rich folklore of Hawaii, Korea and China. It’s a credit to his style that he can switch between genres so easily, whilst they all do sit firmly within the Urban Fantasy section, they each warrant their own section within.

This book also differs from his previous ones. They were all tightly focused tales centred on a few characters set within one or two locations. Hang Wire is on a more grander scale, it is not only set in the present day but it also builds a back-story through a series of flashbacks ranging from Oklahoma 1889, to the 1906 San Francisco quake, and on through the decades with interludes spread across the United States. It also has a larger cast, including Kanaloa Hawaiian god of life and death, Nezha the Chinese trickster god and Tangun the legendary founder god of Korea it also has their alter egos, and those alter egos have friends, loved ones. There is Jack Newhaven – the brilliantly named Magical Zanaar – ringmaster for The Magical Zanaar’s travelling Caravan of Arts and Sciences, his carnival manager Joel Duvall, the mystery man known only as Hirewire, Malcolm the leader of the Stonefire Celtic dance troop, Ted, Alison, Benny, Zane and everyone else that gets caught up in the events surrounding the killings carried out by the serial killer known as Hang Wire. All these elements – the characters, the locations, the back-story going back over a century – come together in a gripping tale that whips along at a frantic pace.

Adam has always put out tightly written stories, there is no fluff, no side bars that take the reader away from the action. I like this style, it drags you in and locks you down for the duration. To say a book is un put downable is a cliché that is liberally bandied about, but here is a book that is definitely that. Adam also uses his near-trademark chapter ending cliff-hanger so the reader can’t just leave it until tomorrow to carry on, you have to read just one more chapter to find out what happens. And then he goes and does it again at the end of that one. In a way his writing is episodic, his work could very easily be translated to TV – if that is intentional I do not know, but it is a style that makes for very easy reading.

I’d like to say that Adam has hit his peak with Hang Wire, the style, the dialogue, the characters and the story all flow and wind their way into your head like a worm until it takes you over, the result is you’ll find you’ve lost blocks of time and have a pile of undone jobs but a satisfied feeling that you’ve read a dammed good story.

Publication Day Is Coming

After a lot of faffing, re-reads, re-writes, abandoning, resurrecting and general wasting time dicking around on the internet, I’ve finally picked a date to publish my novella. It’s been an ongoing project for some time – in one form or another about 2 and a bit years – but I’m biting the proverbial bullet and going for it. Had the final beta readers feedback and am now editing based on their suggestions. Once that’s done its one more read through and I’m good to go.

I’ve also gone with a professional designer to do the cover – the wonderful Susan Omand over at Omand Original  http://www.omandoriginal.com/ – who is working on the design based on my very rough sketched idea. I’ve gone for a retro looking cover a bit like the old 1950s movie posters, and chosen a couple of scenes from the story to highlight the technology present in the world I’ve created.

Once I have the finished cover I’ll do a post about the process and include my rough attempt and the proper version that will be uploaded to Kindle when done. I’ve already been on Amazon and created my account and put most of the details in I need to, all that remains is the novella.

At present it stands at just shy of 17,000 words, but I have the feeling it could be gaining  some with this final beta readers input. I already have the 2nd draft of the second novella done – and is already longer than the first – I’ll be looking to get that out to beta readers once part one is published.

I’ll be doing updates from now to P-Day, and there will be some serious pimping as well.

Oh yeah, what’s it called? Ha, ha, see not as organised as I thought. The overall series title is Life in the Fastlane and part one is called Brave New World.

the shattered crownTitle – The Shattered Crown

Author – Richard Ford

Publisher – Headline

Out Now

I suppose there comes a time if you review books – and find yourself on a publisher’s mailing list – when you will get sent a book that is either part of a series, or the middle book of a trilogy. The Shattered Crown is such a book. It is the second in the Steelhaven trilogy, and being the second book must act as the bridge between what went before and what comes next. It could be seen as a hindrance to have not read the first book, to find yourself thrust into a story already a third done with characters established and the plot well underway. But it is the sign of a good author if he or she can write a book so that someone in my position can read it and not be totally lost. Richard Ford is such an author.

Steelhaven is the primary city and administrative centre in the Free States – kind of like Brussels – and so a jewel that must be taken if anyone is looking to take those states for their own. The Elharim warlord Amon Tugha has united the fractured Khurta tribes into a formidable army and is crushing all before them en-route to Steelhaven. But the city has other problems apart from the approaching army, the king is dead and his young daughter Queen Janessa wears the steel crown. Also the city if rife with plots, the Father of Killers assassin is at large and the Guild seems to be operating to the benefit of the approaching army. Janessa is surrounded by advisors of dubious character who seem to have ideas of their own as to how the defence of the city should be organised.

There must be about a dozen sub plots crammed into this book, all of them rattle along at a great pace. The host of characters rivals a book with the initials GRRM attached to it, but they are not there to make up numbers. Merrick Ryder & Kaira struggle to acclimatise to their new roles and responsibilities, Waylain wonders what other ills will befall him on his path to knowledge, the killers Forest and River, the Ying and Yang in the Father of Killer arsenal, the Zatani troop led by Regulus hoping to find redemption glory and honour on the battlefields of the north and finally the brilliantly named Nobul Jacks who’s dark past threatens to consume him and that he finds he has to embrace to survive. All of them have a story to tell, a small part of the same story of a city preparing for war, but together those stories come together and merge until all the characters are in place ready to face the coming storm.

The book is mainly set within the walls of Steelhaven but through the various characters POV you get glimpses of the greater world beyond, the battles that the defending armies face, and the darker deeds that are done to aid the Khurta horde. You don’t actually get to see any of this external action, most of this book is set up with Ford moving his pieces in preparation for the third book – making this book a ship-in-a-bottle instalment – but that doesn’t mean this book doesn’t have any action. The city is not a safe place and factions vie for supremacy seeing an opportunity and thinking the Queen is soft and an easy target. But unlikely heroes come to the fore and blood is spilt – in inventive ways as well.

I have known of Richard Ford for some years, we both frequent the same forums and follow eachother of Twitter. But this is the first of his books I’ve ever read and boy have I been missing out. The plot is packed but not convoluted, the characters colourful and at times brutal, and the prose flows so fast you find hours slipping away as you immerse yourself in the tide. If you like your fantasy full of guts and glory and with a clever plot then this is for you.

 

 

beauty sarah pinboroughBeauty is the retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, all the elements are here, the impenetrable forest, the cursed princess, the handsome prince. This final story in Sarah Pinborough’s trilogy of fairy tale retellings closes the circle started in Poison, but whilst being the last book released, chronologically it is the first story in the sequence. I’d long suspected – after events and comments made by two characters in Poison – that this trilogy would follow along the same non-linear lines as the film Sin City. This disjointed way of telling the story has built over the previous two books making this first story a brilliant ending.

From the title it’s easy to assume what this book is all about. Already we’ve had Snow White in Poison and Cinderella in Charm, so going into this I was expecting the trademark slantways take that Sarah has given us many time before, but this time focused on the Sleeping Beauty story. Whilst this is mainly what we get – in a roundabout way – we also get a lot more. I did think everything and the kitchen sink once I’d finished, counting at least three separate fairy tales blended into the mix, and possible nod’s to more. It’s a nice piece of plotting pulling all these threads into one story and not making it looked crowded. But as well as telling this story Sarah had to also tie off loose ends carried over from the previous two. I’ve read some full novels where too many threads have made the story bloated and incoherent, but Sarah has managed this with some sparkling prose and a cracking pace.

Sometimes novellas can be a little like a Chinese takeaway, a quick meal and soon after you are feeling hungry again. But here Sarah has managed to make a novella that feels like a full novel, you get given a full blown world full of character’s all of which are fully formed and three dimensional, and whilst they may feel familiar, they all have uniqueness to them that sets them apart from what may be the accepted image of the characters. Here you also get very much the view that the separate kingdoms already visited in the previous two books are very tightly linked together. Whilst the cast comes from different parts, they have a common past, one that brings them together whether they wanted to or not.

As with the previous two stories this is very much a Sarah Pinborough book, full of devious twists on character traits and healthy dollops of sexual tension. Whilst not as blazingly sexy as the previous two – though there is a pretty wild party – this time there is more underlying tension, a hint that at any moment bodices will be ripped and breaches dropped to the floor. As a standalone this would work on many levels, added to the whole it makes a perfect episode in the overall story arc.

According to my account on Goodreads I’ve read 32 books this year, well 33 as I’ve just finished one that is not currently listed on the site. So that’s 2.75 books a month, and I wonder sometimes what I spend all my time doing!

So this year, for the first time, I decided to look through what I had read and list my top 10. I’m not usually a fan of best of lists purely because tastes change on a regular basis. What might be the best today may not be tomorrow simply because something better comes along. But seeing as 2013 is in its last few hours, and the books I have read during the last 12 months will not be repeated, I thought it was fairly safe to put a list together, because even if something better does come along tomorrow, it’ll be 2014 by then.

I should point out this is a list of books I have read in 2013, not a list of books published in 2013.

So to kick things off…

No. 10: Ace Of Skulls by Chris Wooding – whilst I was not totally blow away by this final instalment in the Tales Of The Ketty Jay series it gets a placing simply because it is the final instalment. The series as a whole has been brilliant, with a mix of fantasy, horror and steampunk it was something different and entertaining. The  mixed crew of misfits were instantly likeable and grew on you with each book. Was it original, maybe not. A lot of people likened it to Firefly, but having never seen the show I had no comparison to make.

No. 9: The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig – a mix of organised crime, fantasy and horror, this is the story of Mookie Pearl. Pearl is a hard man, an enforcer, a killer. He is also privy to the knowledge of the dark forbidden underbelly of the city where monsters lurk and death is ready for the unwilling. Along with Wendig’s trademark no-holds-barred style of story telling this is a great tale full of wit, blood and kick-ass action.

No. 8: Exit Kingdom by Alden Bell – the sequel/prequel to the excellent The Angels Are The Reapers. Set in a post apocalyptic world where humanity has fallen to the zombie hordes. But unlike your run-of-the-mill zombie tale here the walking dead are mere bit part players. Carrying on the tale of Moses Todd this story flashes back to his days on the road with his psychotic brother Abraham,  as he tries to find some form of peace in a broken world. Along the way they encounter a gifted woman who may very well be the cure everyone has dreamt of.

No. 7: Ack-Ack Macaque by Gareth L Powell – Ack-Ack Macaque is a cigar chomping, whisky swilling one-eyed spitfire pilot, he is also a Monkey. Fighting the hordes of ninja-Nazi paratroopers is what he does, but he is beginning to think everything is not as real as he thinks. This is a unique tale of a sentient ape and his part in the saving of a prince and battle against the coming apocalypse. There is a twist, and its a very inventive twist that allows Ack-Ack to bridge the gap between the 1940s war and the 21st century workd where most of the story is set. Look out for the sequel Hive Monkey due out soon.

No. 6: Age Atomic by Adam Christopher – this is the follow-up to the brilliant Empire State and carries on the story of the Pocket universe that is the mirror of Manhattan. This time round the Empire State is in danger of being destroyed as earth tremors and a freezing winter threaten to tear the fabric of the Pocket apart. On top of that someone is building an army of nuclear powered robots and plan to invade New York.

No. 5: The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell – this is the latest in the Saxon Stories and continues the tale of Uhtred. King Alfred is dead, Edward now sits on the throne and his advisor’s and the church have distanced him from his fathers greatest warlord, the pagan Uhtred. After an ill advised trip to punish a wayward son, Uhtred finds himself banished from Wessex, penniless and with only a few faithful warriors still at his side he heads north to finally retake his ancestral home. But the long peace between Wessex and the Danes is about to come to a crashing end, and when the Danes strike, and blood is spilt, Wessex as always will only have one man to turn to to save them.

No. 4: The Split Worlds Trilogy (Between Two Thorns/Any Other Name/All Is Fair) by Emma Newman – the Nether is home to the Fae-touched and is a mirror to Mundanus (Earth). There is a treaty in place that forbids the Fae and their puppets from interfering in the lives of the Mundanes, a treaty enforced by the Sorcerers and their Arbitors. But someone has corrupted one of the Chapters and Mundanes are being snatched from the streets of London. This trilogy is a debut fantasy series and if you didn’t know that you’d be hard pressed to notice. Emma’s writing is pitch perfect, her characters vibrant and three dimensional. The story is one of adventure, conspiracy and rebellion. But in amongst this there is also dark subjects including murder, marital rape and slavery.

 

No. 3: The Copper Promise: Let Sleeping Gods Lie by Jen Williams – I reviewed this in the previous post to this, so most everything I have to say can be read there. But I will say this is a debut fantasy novel that breathes life into the pulp style of story telling that I grew up reading. brilliantly paced, great characters and a plot that carries you through a breathtakingly imagined fantasy world.

No. 2: The Broken Empire Trilogy (Prince Of Thorns/King Of Thorns/Emperor Of Thorns) by Mark Lawrence – another debut fantasy trilogy, and another breath of fresh aired breathed into a genre stuffed full of grim and dark. Jorg of Ancarth has to be one of the darkest characters I’ve come across in a while. Haunted by a childhood tragedy that saw his brother and mother brutally slain, and treated with scorn by an unloving father Jorg does what many boys have done before and runs away. But in running away he joins a troop of road brothers and embarks on a killing spree that would be seen as bloody by any counts, but is made more so because Jorg is barely into his teens at the time. Through the course of the three books Jorg cuts his way from road brother, to King to the Empire Throne, the body count is countless, no-one is safe, including those who ride with him. Does Jorg have redeeming qualities, yes, he is not a mindless killing machine, he does what he does for a reason. But those reasons are not always as clear as you might think.

No. 1: Sarah Pinborough’s Modern Fairy Tales (Poison/Charm/Beauty) by Sarah Pinborough – the title I made up, not sure this series of three novellas actually has an overall title? But still, Sarah’s re-imaging/retelling/modern interpretation (call them what you will) of classic fairy tales are brilliant and by far the best thing I’ve read this year. These are fairy tales for grown-ups, Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty all come under the spotlight and are given the Pinborough treatment. These are not suitable reading for children, some adults of a sensible nature may want to steer clear as well. Sarah has taken the core of each story and given it a twist, added ingredients and also brought in elements from other fairy stories to make original stories that intrigued and delight.

 

Bubbling under and worthy a mention…

Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough – a fresh new take on the Jack the Ripper legend that isn’t about Jack the Ripper.

NOS4R2 by Joe Hill – twisted serial killer Charlie Manx kidnaps children and takes them off to Christmasland where he feeds off their fun.

The Shinning Girls by Lauren Beukes – another serial killer but this time one that can time travel between the 1920s and 1990s killing girls that show some spark of greatness.

Space Danger by Doug Strider – a series of self published novellas set about a starship captained by Kurt Dangler. To sum this up its a mix of Monty Python, Douglas Adams and Ripping Yarns, in space.

 

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 638 other followers