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Author Profile: Liesel Schwarz @liesel_s ‘The High Priestess of Steampunk’ – The Independent   About (from the author’s website): Liesel Schwarz writes fiction. A life-long fan of 19th Century Gothic literature, she is a hopeless romantic and loves Victorians, steampunk, fairies, fantasy monsters, the Fin de Siècle, and the correct way to drink absinthe.

Extract / Preview: Sky Pirates by Liesel Schwarz

Chapter One Khartoum, 29 October 1905 Eleanor tightened her cotton keffiyeh round her face and squinted through the shimmering haze of the afternoon. Before her, the mud-baked flats of the North Sudan spread out as far as the eye could see. They shimmered in the heat, shades of cinnamon, flint and ochre. Her camel grunted […]

Extract / Preview: Luna by Ian McDonald

ONE In a white room on the edge of the Sinus Medii sit six naked teen­ agers. Three girls, three boys. Their skins are black, yellow, brown, white. They scratch at their skins constantly, intently. Depressurisa­tion dries hide, breeds itches. The room is tight, a barrel barely large enough to stand up in. The kids […]

Extract / Preview: London Falling by Paul Cornell

ONE Costain entered the service station and stopped when he saw Quill standing there, not even pretending to look at the chocolate bars displayed in front of him. Costain headed for the toilets, and Quill immediately followed, as if he didn’t care who noticed. Costain made astonished eye contact with him just before the door, […]

Extract / Preview: Confluence The Trilogy by Paul McAuley (from Child of the River, Book 1)

1 The White Boat The Constable of Aeolis was a shrewd, pragmatic man who did not believe in miracles. In his opinion, everything must have an explanation, and simple explanations were best of all. ‘The sharpest knife cuts cleanest,’ he often told his sons. And: ‘The more a man talks, the more likely it is […]

Extract / Preview: The Thing Itself by Adam Roberts

1 Thing and Sick Unity The beginning was the letter. Roy would probably say the whole thing began when he solved the Fermi Paradox, when he achieved (his word) clarity. Not clarity, I think: but sick. Sick in the head. He probably wouldn’t disagree. Not any more. Not with so much professional psychiatric opinion having […]

Extract / Preview: The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

One ‘They say it makes your eyes bleed. Almost pop out of your head and then bleed.’ ‘Who says?’ ‘People. I just heard it.’ ‘You made it up.’ ‘No, I didn’t,’ Will says. ‘Why would I make that up? I heard it somewhere. You go mad first and then your eyes bleed. I think maybe […]

Extract / Preview: The Boy Who Wept Blood by Den Patrick

1 The Second Son of Allattamento – 6 Giugno 325 Lady Araneae Oscuro Diaspora, formerly of House Contadino, known to her subjects as the Silent Queen, sat back from her letter-writing. Her nightgown was a pale grey silk that left her arms bare, alabaster skin almost luminous in the candlelight. As ever she wore a […]

Extract / Preview: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

From the ground, we stand; From our ships, we live; By the stars, we hope. —EXODAN PROVERB Day  128, GC  Standard  306 ……………………………………………. TRANSIT As she woke up in the pod, she remembered three things. First, she was travelling through open space. Second, she was about to start a new job, one she could not […]

Extract / Preview – The Mysteries by Lisa Tuttle

Joe The strangest memory of my childhood concerns my father’s disappearance. This is what I remember: It was late September. I was nine years old, and  my sister Heather was seven and a half.  Although summer was officially over and we’d been back at school for weeks, the weather continued warm and sunny, fall only […]

Extract / Preview: The Ark by Patrick S Tomlinson

NOTE: Where normally we bring you an extract from the beginning of the book, we’ve been given an exclusive excerpt of Patrick S Tomlinson’s THE ARK jumping straight into the action at Chapter 7! *** CHAPTER SEVEN The starboard manipulator arm disintegrated into a violent swarm of tiny projectiles pinging off the acrylic sphere like […]

Extract / Preview: Dreamland by Robert L Anderson

P A R T   O N E All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream —Edgar Allan Poe Afterward, Dea blamed it all on Toby. She knew it wasn’t nice to blame a cat. It was definitely immature. But that was life: one big chain reaction, a series of sparks […]

Extract / Preview: Limit by Frank Schatzing

PROLOGUE EVA I want to wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep— Good old Frankie-boy. Untroubled by urban transformation, as long as there was a stiff drink waiting for you when you woke up. Vic Thorn rubbed his eyes. In thirty minutes the automatic alarm signal would rouse the early shift from their beds. […]

Extract / Preview: Way Down Dark by J P Smythe

PROLOGUE The story goes that Earth was much older than the scientists thought. We had assumed that we had billions of years left; that we would be totally prepared if the worst hap- pened. Maybe that made us complacent. We thought that we understood what we were doing to the planet. We thought we had […]

Extract / Preview: The Return of the Arinn by Frank P Ryan

A Dragon’s Regret Spiralling as he rose on the battering winds, the Dragon King – Omdorrréilliuc to the worshipful Eyrie People and, more familiarly, Driftwood to Kate Shaunessy – found the thermals that were capable of bearing his titanic mass aloft. On the beach below, every face gazed up in rapture. Kate realised she must […]

Extract / Preview: Mythmaker by Marianne de Pierres

ONE I savoured the sunrise from the eastern butte. Today’s was extraordinary: splashes of molten gold as if the sun had dripped burning liquid on the plains. The sand and the silhouette of the distant western ranges gained colour with each moment, turning pale pink like the chest feathers of the cheeky galahs that swept […]