August 2017 Book Highlights

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Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for August.

We take in Adult Fiction, fantastical and general, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

Selections are by Tim Bayley and are drawn from publisher submissions, The Bookseller magazine’s own monthly highlights, Buyer’s Guides and more.

NB. We believe in supporting bricks and mortar stores whether online or in person and a tiny snippet of any purchase comes our way to go towards site upkeep so any and all support very much appreciated!

So relax and browse on and check out the great reads in print coming your way in August.

Enjoy!

Tim B

Fantastic & Fantastical Fiction

THE GRADUAL * Christopher Priest * 9781473200555 * PB * £8.99 * Gollancz * Christopher Priest has only recently (shockingly some might say) come onto our radar, though already has a loyal base of discening readers. The Gradual is set in the Dream Archipelago, one of those liminal climes in a geography of alternative consciousness and reality and, we gather, on a greater scale than comparable works…

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A MAN OF SHADOWS * Jeff Noon * 9780857666697 * PB * £8.99 * Angry Robot * Mainstay of leftfield SF Jeff Noon has been cannily picked up by indie Angry Robot: here he treats us to an investigative thriller set in a thematic future urbanity split between constant light and constant dark…

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WHITE KNIGHT BLACK SWAN * David Gemmell * 9781473219960 * HB * £14.99 * Gollancz * We were all over Gollancz posthumous release of the great fantasists crime novel Rhyming Rings in May, a solid character-based thriller that is as close to an autobiography as we’ll get of a troubled young Gemmell as a London journalist. Now they re-release this work set in the same city and era regarding a clash between an honourable debt collector and his gangster boss. Very much looking forward to a read on the strength of Rhyming Rings…

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2023: A TRILOGY * The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu * 9780571338085 * HB * £17.99 * Faber * The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu? The KLF anyone? The subversive duo who also released ‘Doctorin’ the Tardis’ (aside from much other involvement in the music business) before releasing such tracks as 3AM Eternal, then deleting their back catalogue and burning a million quid? Well we do and while we have absolutely no idea of what this title is about (possibly a liminal fictional autobiog a la Moorcock and Gaiman) it’s a must-include title in our August highlights. Want to know NO more? Click the link and read what they DON’T say about the title themselves…

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AN ECHO OF THINGS TO COME * James Islington * 9780356507804 * HB * £16.99 * Orbit * LICANIUS TRILOGY * 2 We make an exception to our usual focus on book one’s this month because there are just a great bunch of worthy sequels in August. First up Jame’s Islington who’s Licaneus Trilogy promises a smart, sharp take on old school fantasy…

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RAISING FIRE * James Bennett * 9780356506654 * PB * £8.99 * Orbit * Ben Garston * 2 * James Bennett returns with the follow-up to Chasing Embers, a series whose present-day protagonist is a wiz– wait, sorry, a dragon. Strong mythic foundations we gather – looking forward to a read ourselves…

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THE BEAR AND THE SERPENT * Adrian Tchaikovsky * 9781509830251 * PB * £8.99 * Pan MacMillan * Echoes of the Fall * 2 Clarke Award winner Adrian T (Children of Time) returns to the realms of fantasy, in particular that he established in The Tiger and The Wolf featuring totemic shapeshifter tribes…

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WAKING HELL * Al Robertson * 9781473203440 * PB * £8.99 * Gollancz * The Station Series * 2 * ‘Nailed-down cyberpunk’ wallah Al Robertson takes us back to the razor-sharp setting of Crashing Heaven; not a direct follow on so much as a (dark) spiritual sequel. No need to neccessarily read book one in other words – except it’s damnably darkly smashing so you should.

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HEARTLAND * Lucy Hounsom * 9781447268628 * PB * £7.99 * Pan MacMillan * The Worldmaker Trilogy * 2 * A shout out to bookseller turned author Lucy Hounsom for her Worldmaker Trilogy fantasy sequel featuring a young woman whose powers come from the stars themselves – and, for better or worse, will change her world forever…

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Children’s & YA Choice

*** SPECIAL HIGHLIGHT ONE: BATCH TWO OF ROGER (ADAM) HARGREAVES’ MR MEN DOCTOR WHO! ***

 

DR SECOND * 9781405930093 * Adam Hargreaves * PB * £4.99 * BBC Childrens

DR NINTH * 9781405930123

DR EIGHTH * 9781405930116

DR SEVENTH * 9781405930109

The wonderful series continues with the next fabulously interpreted incarnations of the Doctor as Mr Men – absolutely loving these… (see April Highlights for batch one and more – or check a sneak interior preview of each title here!)

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THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON * Kelly Barnhill * 9781848126473 * PB * £6.99 * Piccadilly Press / Templar Publishing * The award-winner Kelly Barnhill serves up what sounds like an absolutely lovely middle-grade classic featuring a young girl accidentally fed moonlight (rather than starlight), the good witch whose mistake that was, and a woman with a tiger’s heart…

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A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT * Sabaa Tahir * 9780008160371 * PB * £8.99 * Harper Voyager * Hard-edged YA low-fantasy sequel: Robin Hobb’s a fan and a major film is the the works!

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*** SPECIAL HIGHLIGHT TWO: THE RETURN OF THE FIGHTING FANTASY GAMEBOOKS! ***

On the 35th Anniversary of the debut of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy books, having previously returned curated by Icon Books under their Wizard imprint, the legendary series returns as an imprint of Scholastic!

THE WARLOCK OF FIRETOP MOUNTAIN * Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone * 9781407181301 * PB * £6.99 * Scholastic * The inaugural Fighting Fantasy gamebook: turn the pages for the first time (in a few decades perhaps) in the hope of defeating the Warlock Zagor! No holding the pages and going back to take a different option when you meet a horrible fate now…

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CITY OF THIEVES * Ian Livingstone * 9781407181264 * PB * £6.99 * Scholastic * Originally book five it’s perhaps no surprise one of the most memorable of all the books follows the first in the re-release schedule…

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THE PORT OF PERIL * Ian Livingstone * 9781407181295 * PB * £6.99 * Scholastic * And then we travel across Allansia, returning to Port Blacksand to face again the terrifying villain of City of Thieves Zanbar Bone in the first new FF title in all this time, penned by Ian Livingstone himself!

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Non-Fiction Highlights

THE WITCH: A HISTORY OF FEAR, FROM ANCIENT TIMES TO THE PRESENT * Ronald Hutton * 9780300229042 * HB * £25 * Yale University Press * Ronald Hutton has long established himself as an authority on pagansim in history and the present with previous titles from Oxford University Press. Yale have snapped him up here for this Trade-end focus on witches…

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SCIENCE FICTION: A LITERARY HISTORY * Roger Luckhurst * 9780712356923 * HB * £20 * British Library Publishing * Go-to academic of the fantastic Roger Luckhurst serves up a history of the great genre of the speculative; bless the British Library for once more championing a sinfully disdained genre. Great stuff…

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DEMOCRACY FOR REALISTS: WHY ELECTIONS DO NOT PRODUCE RESPONSIVE GOVERNMENT * Christopher H. Achen (Author), Larry M. Bartels (Author) * 9780691178240 * PB * £14.99 * Princeton * Social awareness highlight: elaborates on the realities of elections and politics with regard to how the general public self-identify… *** UPDATE: Now September ***

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BLACK AND BRITISH * David Olusoga * 9781447299769 * PB * £9.99 * Pan MacMillan * A much needed history of Black Britain that reaches back to medieval times; coming in paperback to coincide with a BBC2 TV series. Multiply long and short listed for awards and a Waterstones History Boo of the Year in HB…

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MEET ME IN THE BATHROOM: REBIRTH AND ROCK AND ROLL IN NEW YORK CITY 2001–2011 * Lizzy Goodman * 9780571337972 * PB * £20 * Faber * Journalist Goodman captures the landmark New York music scene of the 00s, covering the coming of such bands you may just have heard of called The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, and Vampire Weekend…

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WRITING DIVERSE CHARACTERS FOR FICTION, TV OR FILM: AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE FOR AUTHORS AND SCRIPT WRITERS * Lucy V Hay * 9780857301178 * PB * £16.99 * Old Castle – Creative Essentials * We’re pleased to include a ‘Highlight for Creatives’ and something that writers of any genre ought to take an interest in: authentically representing diverse characters in their work…

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100 GREATEST VIDEO GAME FRANCHISES * Robert Mejia (Editor), Jamie Banks (Editor), Aubrie Adams (Editor) * 9781442278141 * HB * £29.95 * Rowman and Littlefield * Does just what it says on the tin; an indulgence for game fans with the added intellectual cred of a publisher like Rowman and Littlefield…

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TEN THINGS VIDEO GAMES CAN TEACH US: (ABOUT LIFE, PHILOSOPHY AND EVERYTHING) * Jordan Erica Webber (Author), Daniel Griliopoulos (Author) * 9781472137913 * PB * £14.99 * Robinson * A more trade-end title on the same from Robinson, yet exploring the useful ideas that can be drawn from games and gaming culture…

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Graphic Novels

THE MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL V1 * Margaret Stohl, Ramon Rosanas * 9781302906054 * PB * £14.99 * Marvel * A new start for Marvel’s lead heroine with a new creative team: thankfully they’ve maintained the continuity in which the sometimes-earth-sometimes-space-bound Carol Danvers leads the much-loved, quirky Canadian superteam Alpha Flight…

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REBORN * Mark Millar, Greg Capullo * 9781534301580 * HB * £22.99 * Image * Another Millar team-up with an A-Grade collaborator, Reborn gives a very different take on the afterlife, being a land of sci-fi / fantasy adventure…

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HOOKJAW V1 * Si Spurrier, Connor Boyle * 9781782768050 * PB * £13.99 * Titan Comics * With sharks still rather in the public consciousness from the inimitable Sharknado, Spurrier and Doyle bring a new take on Pat Mills classic from the UK’s Action comic (See also https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hook-Jaw-Archive-Pat-Mils/dp/1782768041/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1497022075&sr=1-68)

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THE MYSTERY KNIGHT * George RR Martin, Adapted by Ben Avery, Art by Mike Miller * 9780008253233 * HB * £14.99 * Harper Voyager * Avery & Miller brings a pre-Game-of-Thrones tale of Westeros to life sequential art style. Features Knight and Squire Dunk and Egg…

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@TimBayley1

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