Another problem with the blog, or rather, it would seem to be a hangover from the previous issue. And we think we’ve finally sorted it out now (cross fingers, touch wood, and any other good luck gesture you can think of). It came at an irritating time, though, since I’d wanted to put this post up as soon as possible after the post about the month’s new books.
When we introduced the new books to look forward to in November, we included Gnomon by Nick Harkaway. Really, we should have held it over for a few days and included it in this post, because this really is a stellar month for British science fiction. Alongside Harkaway, there are new books from three of the biggest names in British sf. And these are books you really won’t want to miss out on.
Austral by Paul McAuley
This actually came out right at the end of October, so it’s available for you now. McAuley has to be one of the very best contemporary hard sf writers, with books like Fairyland which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and The Quiet War quartet. Yet this new novel is already being acclaimed as one of his best ever. It’s a devastating account of a world after global warming, when all of our technological attempts to save the world have failed and Antarctica has become the Earth’s newest nation. This is a world of geoengineers, called “ecopoets”, and “edited people”, where humanity has to face all the extremes and dangers that climate change brings as they attempt to colonise Antarctica. Against this background we follow the story of Austral, one-time convict, who has just carried out the kidnapping of the century and is desperately trying to find a safe place among the harsh new landscape of Antarctica while trying to avoid the gangs that are after the girl she’s holding to ransom.
You Should Come With Me Now by M. John Harrison
Let’s face it, any new book from M. John Harrison is an event. The author of the astonishing Viriconium, and the stunning Kefahuchi Tract Trilogy of Light, Nova Swing (which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award), and Empty Space, Harrison is an absolute master of stories that drift between mainstream and sf by way of the New Weird. And this is the first new collection of short stories he’s produced in over a decade. The collection contains 18 short stories, several of which have never been published before and many of the others have only appeared online or in out-of-the-way publications. Accompanying those are a number of flash fictions. The book includes everything from science fiction to sword and sorcery, and even includes a couple of new Viriconium stories.
America City by Chris Beckett
Another Arthur C. Clarke Award winner (for Dark Eden), and another post-climate change story. It’s a hundred years in the future and the consequences of global warming across America have been an increase in droughts, hurricanes and floods. As a result more and more people are leaving their homes and trying to find safety further north. But the more northerly states are starting to close their borders to these new refugees from further south. Against this troubling backdrop, a charismatic politician runs for President on a policy of bringing America together again. But this is a post-truth world and stories on the whisperstream can have unimaginable consequences. It is not altogether clear whether he has helped to mend America, or has opened up an even more devastating rift.
And here’s a bonus, yet another major British author with a book out this month.
Aurora Rising by Alastair Reynolds
This novel first appeared under a different title, The Prefect, relatively early in his career. It is being reissued now under a new title because Reynolds is producing a new series of novels featuring Prefect Tom Dreyfus, the next of which, Elysium Fire, is due early in the new year. This is a police procedural, of a sort, but set out in the depths of space among the swirl of utopian space habitats known as the Glitter Band. When Dreyfus starts to investigate what seems like a fairly routine murder case, he quickly uncovers something much bigger, a mystery that could threaten the Glitter Band itself.
From Nebula and Hugo Award–nominated Carolyn Ives Gilman comes Dark Orbit, a compelling novel featuring alien contact, mystery, and murder.
Reports of a strange, new habitable planet have reached the Twenty Planets of human civilization. When a team of scientists is assembled to investigate this world, exoethnologist Sara Callicot is recruited to keep an eye on an unstable crewmate.