Book From A Library: London Falling

Written by Paul Cornell The concept of police investigating magical-related crime in London is not without precedent – I’m a big fan of Ben Aaronovitch’s Folly series – but it’s way that the story is told that makes it different. Cornell, in addition to his comic-book writing, has written for television (Doctor Who, Primeval, Robin Hood) and this book has a televisual feel (SFX glibly describes it as Buffy meets The Sweeney but they have a point) – in the acknowledgements, Cornell admits that the story was originally created as a television series pitch, something that is evident in the story and […]

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Notes On A Book: The Name Of The Wind

Book One of The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss The paperback edition that I read is 662 pages of small print text. It’s a big book. Yet I raced through it in a euphoric rush as I devoured this book (not literally; that would be hideous, to steal a line from Alan Partridge), because the prose is so well written and the story is so engaging. I couldn’t stop and enjoyed it from start to finish, and I need to have the rest of the story NOW because I need to know everything that happens. I think you can call […]

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From A Library: World War Z

An Oral History Of The Zombie War by Max Brooks The great thing about this book is the scale – this is a book about what happens to the whole world during a zombie epidemic, instead of the small stories that tend to focus on a group of people in a small area. China, Israel, India, Russia, South Africa, Europe, South Korea, Japan, Cuba, the oceans, even the space station – there is a real attempt to imagine the disaster on a worldwide scale, the implications to different societies based on politics, religion or historical attitudes, and eventual return to […]

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Book Review – Girl Genius: Agatha H And The Airship City

By Phil and Kaja Foglio Published by Titan Books Girl Genius is a comic book series turned online webcomic written by the Foglios and drawn by Phil, and this book is a novelisation of the first storyline. It has a steampunk setting with an alternative world history but the authors additionally describe it as ‘gaslamp fantasy’ to differentiate it because of the other elements in the story – Frankensteinian resurrectionism, soldier monsters, a talking cat – which differentiate it from the relatively straightforward steampunk trappings. Warfare has nearly destroyed the world after the Industrial Revolution, but Europa is now controlled […]

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From A Library: Temeraire

By Naomi Novik I have to credit Helen O’Hara, Deputy Editor of Empire Online, for her recommendation of this book; on the Empire podcast, when answering readers’ questions about what good books haven’t been adapted into film, she mentioned this book (with a description of ‘Napoleonic wars with dragons’) and because she is smart and cultural person, I knew I had to read it. And I’m very glad I did because it is a great and enjoyable read. It is the early 19th century, and Will Laurence is a captain in the Royal Navy. His ship captures a French frigate, […]

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Book Review – Foundation: The Collegium Chronicles Book I and Intrigues: The Collegium Chronicles Book II

By Mercedes Lackey I like to think that I’m fairly well read, or at least read enough about the areas I’m interested to have some knowledge of a wide variety of different genre-related materials, so it’s slightly embarrassing to admit that, before reading these books, I had never heard of Mercedes Lackey, despite the fact that she is a best-selling author of dozens of books. I never said I was omniscient … The majority of Lackey’s stories are set in the country of Valdemar on the planet Velgarth, where she has created an engrossing society and populated with a variety […]

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Book Review – Anno Dracula: Dracula Cha Cha Cha

By Kim Newman I have thoroughly enjoyed Kim Newman’s alternative world vampire stories, with their wonderful blending of history and characters from literature and film, so I was looking forward to sampling the next instalment. Dracula Cha Cha Cha is another delightful addition to his ongoing storyline and it continues to combine his overwhelming love for and knowledge of genre pop culture with a clean prose style and a cheeky sense of humour. It is 1959, and Count Dracula is to be married to Asa Vadja, Princess of Moldavia in Italy, and it will be the social occasion of the […]

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Notes On A Book: Patient Zero

By Jonathan Maberry When I was recently lavishing praise on Gorlan Parlov’s art in Marvel Universe Vs Punisher, I didn’t talk too much about the writing, which is unusual for me. When looking for some information about Maberry, I discovered his website and that he is an award-winning novelist: in addition to the Pine Deep Trilogy and the Benny Imura series, he has written five books in the Joe Ledger series, the first book of which is Patient Zero from 2009. So, when I saw it in my local library, I judged it a sign that I should read it. […]

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From A Library – Anno Dracula: The Bloody Red Baron

Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula is a wonderful novel blending fiction and history, with characters appropriated from novels and films, into an alternative timeline (in which Dracula wasn’t killed but has become consort to Queen Victoria and brought vampires into English society) detective story about a Jack the Ripper killing vampire prostitutes. I enjoyed it, so I was glad that the book was republished recently, perhaps due to the recent popularity of vampire-related material, which has also led to the republishing of the other books in the series. Anno Dracula: The Bloody Red Baron is the first sequel, set in 1918, […]

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Book Review: Turbulence

Turbulence by Samit Basu, Titan Books. Published 7 July (£7.99). Basu is not an author I was aware of before I read this novel, but he’s not a novice writer: he published the first book of his fantasy series, The Gameworld Trilogy, at 23 and has also worked on comic books – he wrote Devi for Virgin Comics and co-wrote the graphic novel Untouchable with Mike Carey. In Turbulence, he has combined these two elements to write the first in a trilogy about super-powered individuals in the real world. This is a book that populates our world with the craziness […]

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