January 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends
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Happy New Year everyone!

If there was one thing 2016 was good for it was the publishing; but 2017 doesn’t miss a beat in supplying the same so here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for it’s first month. 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 and text here is by Tim Bayley (London flagship bookstore buyer, central buying committee, publishing sales rep, creator of this very website). These highlights are drawn from publisher submissions next to The Bookseller magazine’s own monthly highlights, Buyer’s Guides and more.

NB. You can find full biblio details and publisher copy via the online shop link. 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! Some products still being uploaded to the retailers sites – links to come.

So read on and kick off your 2017 in style with one of the great reads in print coming your way in January.

Enjoy!

 

Fiction

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THE HEART OF WHAT WAS LOST – A NOVEL OF OSTEN ARD * Tad Williams * 9781473646636 * HB * £16.99 * Hodder * A Memory, Sorrow and Thorn Novel

The world was nearly destroyed, but now knows hope again. At the end of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Ineluki the Storm King, an undead spirit of horrifying, demonic power, came within moments of stopping Time itself and obliterating humankind.

He was defeated by a coalition of mortal men and women joined by his own deathless descendants, the Sithi. In the wake of the Storm King’s fall, Ineluki’s loyal minions, the Norns, retreat north to Nakkiga, an ancient citadel which holds a priceless artefact known as The Heart of What Was Lost.

They are pursued by the army of Duke Isgrimnur who is determined to wipe out the Norns for all time.

The two armies will soon clash in a battle so strange and deadly, so wracked with dark enchant­ment, that it threatens to destroy not just one side but quite possibly all.

One of Fantasy’s greatest writers returns to the much-loved world and characters he created first! 
Buy from Waterstones
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THE CITY OF ICE * K.M. McKinley * 9781781084854 * PB * £7.99 * Solaris * The Iron Ship (sequel to) * 2

Deep in the polar south stands a city like no other, a city built aeons ago by a civilisation mighty and wise. Locked in a race with a rival engineer, Trassan Kressind’s great iron ship crosses uncharted seas. The City of Ice promises the secrets of the ancients to whomever can reach it first. It may prove too little knowledge too late, for the closest approach of the Twin in 4000 years draws near, an event that has heralded terrible destruction in past ages.

As the Kressind siblings pursue their fortunes, the world stands upon the dawn of a new era, but may yet be consumed by a darkness from the past.

Industry and magic, gods and steampower collide in the epic sequel to The Iron Ship.

Indie highlight #Steampunk
Buy from Waterstones
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THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE * Katherine Arden * 9781785031045 * TPB  * £12.99 * Del Rey

Frost-demons have no interest in mortal girls wed to mortal men. In the stories, they only come for the wild maiden.

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.

But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods…

Atmospheric and enchanting, with an engrossing adventure at its core, The Bear and the Nightingale is perfect for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman.

Folkloric slipstream highlight
Buy from Waterstones
CBJJ16 - Go - Feb - The Medusa Chronicles

THE MEDUSA CHRONICLES * Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds * 9781473210202 * PB * £8.99 * Gollancz

Inspired by Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s short story A Meeting with Medusa, this novel, with permission from the Clarke Estate, continues the story of Commander Howard Falcon over centuries of space-exploration, interaction with AI, first contact and beyond. All brought to life by two of our greatest SF authors, Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds.

Howard Falcon almost lost his life in an accident . . . and a combination of human ingenuity and technical expertise brought him back. Not as himself, but as an augmented human: part man, part machine, and exceptionally capable.

The Medusa Chronicles charts his journey through time, the changing interaction between humanity and our universe, and combined moments of incredible action with unparalleled exploration of and expansion into space. A compelling read from the beginning, this is classic SF which has appeal for readers who like Gravity and The Martian.

Retro continuation by 2 of SF’s best known and most read
Buy from Waterstones
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STILETTO * Daniel O’Malley * 9781781853948 * PB * £7.99 * Head of Zeus * The Checquy Files * 2

THE CHECQUY: A centuries-old covert organization that protects the nation from supernatural threat.

THE GRAFTERS: A centuries-old supernatural threat.

After centuries of rivalry and bloodshed, two secret and otherworldly organisations – The Checquy and The Grafters – are on the verge of joining forces, and only one person has the supernatural skills – and the bureaucratic finesse – to get the job done: Myfanwy Thomas.

But as a wave of gruesome atrocities sweep London, ingrained paranoias flare, old hatreds ignite and negotiations grind to a halt. It is up to Myfanwy to find the culprits before they trigger a devastating, all-out, supernatural war between the reluctant allies.”

With The Checquy Daniel O’Malley joined the (un)hallowed halls of the popular #UrbanFantasy subgenre. Here’s the sequel. #London Based
Buy from Waterstones
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SNAKEWOOD * Adrian Selby * 9780356505558 * PB * £8.99 * Orbit

‘Contemporary and as grimdark as it comes’ – British Fantasy Society

This debut epic fantasy from a British writer of incredible talent tells the tale of the Twenty, a band of mercenaries hunted by an unknown killer. Filled with unique voices and incredible worldbuilding, this stunning novel will delight fans of Joe Abercrombie or Mark Lawrence.

Once they were a band of mercenaries who shook the pillars of the world through their cunning, their closely guarded alchemical brews and stone cold steel. Whoever met their price won.

Now, their glory days behind them and their genius leader in hiding, the warriors known as the ‘Twenty’ are being hunted down and eliminated one by one.

A lifetime of enemies has its own price.

Sounds like a brilliantly realised evocative beginning to a series with some highly original protagonists. #Grimdark
Buy from Waterstones
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THE MASSACRE OF MANKIND * Stephen Baxter * 9781473205093 * HB * £18.99 * Gollancz

It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared.

So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat.

He is right.

Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist – sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins – must survive, escape and report on the war.

The Massacre of Mankind has begun.

Another retro continuation from master SFer Stephen Baxter
Buy from Waterstones
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DEATH’S MISTRESS * Terry Goodkind * 9781786691637 * HB * £20 * Head of Zeus * Sister of Darkness: The Nicci Chronicles * 1

Nicci has a past. Once she was a Sister of the Light, and once a Sister of the Dark. Once she was a tyrant’s most feared lieutenant and once a saviour’s most loyal ally. Once she swore to destroy a man, and then she fell in love with him.

But now the world has been forged anew. Tyranny has been vanquished, the breach between the living and the dead healed, the stars themselves realigned by a formidable act of magic. The man she once swore to destroy is now Lord Rahl, ruler of a vast realm encompassing lands and peoples unknown. And Nicci is his emissary, charged with bringing word of his rule to a world shattered by terror and war.

Her mission will take her into uncharted territories where she’ll face her greatest test yet. She’s helped save the world before, but this is the first time she’ll have to do it on her own.”

Upstart indie Head of Zeus got a serious coup when they acquired Goodkind’s prequel and sequel to the Sword of Truth series, we gather because he just really liked what they’re doing. (He’s not the only one!) Here’s his first original work for them.
Buy from Waterstones
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THE TRANSITION * Luke Kennard * 9780008200428 * TPB * £12.99 * 4th Estate

A RADIO 4 BOOK AT BEDTIME

What’s standing between you and success?

What do you do with a generation who’ve had everything, but still can’t grow up?

Welcome to The Transition.

While taking part in The Transition you and your partner will spend six months living under the supervision of your mentors, two successful adults of a slightly older generation. Freed from your financial responsibilities, you will be coached through the key areas of the scheme – Employment, Nutrition, Responsibility, Relationship, Finances and Self-Respect – until you are ready to be reintegrated into adult society.

At the end of your six months – who knows what discoveries you’ll have made about yourself? The ‘friends’ you no longer need. The talents you’ll have found time to nurture. The business you might have kick-started.

Who knows where you’ll be?

Slipstream SF speculation with real mass market appeal…
Buy from Waterstones
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THE MAP OF BONES * Francesca Haig * 9780007563128 * PB * £7.99 * Harper Voyager * The Fire Sermon * 2

‘Set in a vividly realised world of elite Alphas and their ‘weaker’ Omega twins, it holds a mirror up to our obsession with perfection’ Guardian

The second book in Francesca Haig’s incredible Fire Sermon series.

The Omega resistance has been brutally attacked, its members dead or in hiding.

The Alpha Council’s plan for permanently containing the Omegas has begun.

But all is not entirely lost: the Council’s seer, The Confessor, is dead, killed by her twin’s sacrifice.

Cass is left haunted by visions of the past, while her brother Zach’s cruelty and obsession pushes her to the edge, and threatens to destroy everything she hopes for.

As the country moves closer to all-out civil war, Cass will learn that to change the future she will need to uncover the past. But nothing can prepare her for what she discovers: a deeply buried secret that raises the stakes higher than ever before.”

The buzz was massive for The Fire Sermon – there’ll be a lot of people salivating for this sequel…
Buy from Waterstones
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LORD OF THE DARK WOOD * Lian Hearn * 9781509812813 * TPB * £12.99 * Picador * The Tale of Shikanoko * 2

Against a background of wild forest, elegant castles, hidden temples and savage battlefields, the adventure that began with Emperor of the Eight Islands draws to its thrilling conclusion.

The rightful emperor is lost. Shikanoko is condemned to live, half-man and half-deer, an outlaw in the Darkwood. Yet the mighty lords who now rule the Eight Islands are prey to suspicion and illness, and drought and famine choke the realm. Only Shikanoko can bring healing, by restoring the preordained ruler to the Lotus Throne. And only one person can bring him back from the Darkwood . . .”

*** See details of Book One here… ***

Buy from Waterstones
Lian Hearn (Gillian Rubenstein) caused a YA / Adult reader sensation when her sumptuous oriental masterpiece Across the Nightingale Floor was published in 2001. This is the second in her new series in a similar world…
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THE SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF HOPE * Claire North * 9780356504551 * PB * £8.99 * Orbit

My name is Hope Arden. I am the girl the world forgets.

It started when I was sixteen years old.

A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A friend who looks at me and sees a stranger.

No matter what I do, the words I say, the crimes I commit – you will never remember who I am.

That makes my life tricky. It also makes me dangerous . . .

The Sudden Appearance of Hope is the tale of a girl no one remembers, yet her story will stay with you for ever.

Claire North (AKA Kate Griffin, actually Catherine Webb) is carving an enviable and expansive niche along with Mike Carey, Sarah Pinborough (see below) and others in the vein of Michael Crichton: concept-based fantastical explorations with a very human element that has solid appeal to both genre fans and mainstream readers… 
Buy from Waterstones
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SOCKPUPPET * Matthew Blakstad * 9781473624740 * PB * £8.99 * Hodder * The Martingale Cycle * 1

Twitter. Facebook. Whatsapp. Google Maps. Every day you share everything about yourself – where you go, what you eat, what you buy, what you think – online. Sometimes you do it on purpose. Usually you do it without even realizing it. At the end of the day, everything from your shoe-size to your credit limit is out there. Your greatest joys, your darkest moments. Your deepest secrets.

If someone wants to know everything about you, all they have to do is look.

But what happens when someone starts spilling state secrets? For politician Bethany Leherer and programmer Danielle Farr, that’s not just an interesting thought-experiment. An online celebrity called sic_girl has started telling the world too much about Bethany and Dani, from their jobs and lives to their most intimate secrets. There’s just one problem: sic_girl doesn’t exist. She’s an construct, a program used to test code. Now Dani and Bethany must race against the clock to find out who’s controlling sic_girl and why… before she destroys the privacy of everyone in the UK.

On a not unrelated note, Matthew Blakstad’s Sockpuppet plays on all too current technology and concerns. Also that cover is just freaky…
Buy from Waterstones
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BEHIND HER EYES * Sarah Pinborough * 9780008131968 * HB * £12.99 * Harpercollins

Don’t Trust This Book

Don’t Trust These People

Don’t Trust Yourself

And whatever you do, DON’T give away that ending…

‘Sarah Pinborough is about to become your new obsession’ Harlan Coben

Louise

Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets…

David

Young, successful and charming – Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But that all comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife…

Adele

Beautiful, elegant and sweet – Louise’s new friend seems perfect in every way. As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her.

But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks… Is David really is the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears?
Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?

‘Fully realized characters, peerless writing, a tank of a plot that sustains the suspense right to the end, and a whammy of a finale. It takes a lot to catch me out, but this one did. It’ll get you too…’ Joanne Harris

*** Check out our Author Profile of Sarah on Carabas here…

See above in our comments on Claire North’s title – Be aware that this is ultimately a supernatural thriller, but a liminal novel that majors on the human condition and seems to tease at giving more than a little insight on the author as well. A superb read… #WTFThatEnding
Buy from Waterstones
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CARAVAL * Stephanie Garber * 9781473629141 * HB * £12.99 * Hodder

A mesmerising, magical and stunningly imaginative debut novel for anyone who loved The Night Circus.

The hardback will have FOUR secret hidden-on-the-board covers featuring stunning foiled illustrations. The one you receive will be random, but all are jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.

Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

Another folkloric novel of much promise…
Buy from Waterstones

Children’s / YA

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THE INQUISITION * Taran Matharu * 9781444924244 * PB * £7.99 * Hodder * The Summoner * 2

More demons, epic battles, and fights to the death: introducing the unmissable next instalment in the New York Times bestselling Summoner Trilogy…

On trial for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must face the Inquisition who will decide his future – the process is gruelling, lead by those who will do anything to see him suffer and haunted by ghosts from the past with clues to Fletcher’s tragic origins. But Fletcher has little time to dwell on these new revelations when the king announces a deadly challenge to the graduating students at Vocans. One that involves entering Orc territory to complete a risky mission.

With loyal demons by their sides, commoners and nobles, dwarves and elves must overcome barriers of class and race and work together to triumph. The reward: a fortune in gold, the safety of an empire and PEACE. With the entire empire watching, Fletcher has much to prove, but there are those out to get him and it soon becomes clear that there’s a traitor in their midst, trying to thwart the mission and create unrest within the Empire. With everything stacked against him, Fletcher must use everything in his power to fight his way to victory.

‘Friendship, loyalty, magic and political intrigue beckon …’ The Bookseller

Check out also our preview of book one The Novice with title details here!
Taran Matharu’s creation has been getting crazy coverage and promotion in English and translated markets. Really one to watch out for…
Buy from Waterstones

 

Non Fiction

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THE ART OF SPRAY PAINT * Lori Zimmer * 9781631591464 * PB * £16.99 * Rockport

The Art of Spray Paint showcases the grand and imaginative scale of spray paint art and design. Inside, you’ll find jaw-dropping spray paint creations from around the world! You’ll discover the process of each art form, as well as tricks of the trade, from small clever projects to huge art installations.

Much more than a book about “cool” spray paint designs, Lori Zimmer guides you through amazing large-scale art production, immersive environments, working from intuition, collaboration, the artist’s role in society, alternative creative economies, contemporary mythology, storytelling, DIY projects and more.

With such a readily available medium, what will you create?

Contributors include: CRASH, PichiAvo, BR163, Logan Hicks, Joe Iurato, Nick Walker, Caroline Caldwell, Casey Gray, Tristan Eaton, Matt Eaton, Hueman, Elle, Tatiana Suarez, Conor Harrington, Remi Rough, Will Hutnick, Rubin415, Rebecca Paul, Zac Braun, Ian Kuali’i, Ele Pack, Dana Oldfather

Buy from Waterstones
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REAL LIFE ROCK: THE COMPLETE TOP 10 COLUMNS 1986-2014 * Greil Marcus * 9780300223606 * PB * £14.99 * Yale University Press

From the author of The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs comes his “Basement Tapes”: the complete “Real Life Rock Top 10” columns For nearly thirty years, Greil Marcus has written a remarkable column called “Real Life Rock Top Ten.” It has been a laboratory where he has fearlessly explored and wittily dissected an enormous variety of cultural artifacts, from songs to books to movies to advertisements. Taken together, his musings, reflections, and sallies amount to a subtle and implicit theory of how cultural objects fall through time and circumstance and often deliver unintended consequences, both in the present and in the future. Real Life Rock reveals the critic in full: direct, erudite, funny, fierce, vivid, uninhibited, and possessing an unerring instinct for art and fraud. The result is an indispensable volume packed with startling arguments and casual brilliance.

A top tier music writer returns with a new work in print…
Buy from Waterstones
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FOREVER STARDUST: DAVID BOWIE ACROSS THE UNIVERSE * Will Brooker * 9781784531423 * PB * £9.99 * IB Tauris

Most of the many books about David Bowie track his artistic ‘changes’ chronologically throughout his career. This book, uniquely, examines Bowie’s ‘sameness’: his recurring themes, images, motifs and concepts as an artist, across all his creative work, from lyrics and music through to costumes, storyboards, films, plays and painting. To be published on Bowie’s 70th birthday, Forever Stardust looks at Bowie’s work not as a linear evolution through calendar time, to his tragic death in January 2016, but as a matrix, a dialogue, a network of ideas that echo back and forth across the five decades of his career, interacting with each other and with the surrounding culture. It explores Bowie’s creative output as a whole, tracing the repetitions and obsessions that structure his work, discovering what they tell us about Bowie in all his forms, from Ziggy Stardust to David Jones. David Bowie challenged cultural expectations from the early 1970s until his final masterpiece, Blackstar. Forever Stardust offers a new understanding of this remarkable & significant artist.

Buy from Waterstones
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THE AGE OF BOWIE * Paul Morley * 9781471148118 * PB * £9.99 * Simon and Schuster

Respected arts commentator Paul Morley, one of the team who curated the highly successful retrospective exhibition for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, David Bowie Is . . . constructs the definitive story of Bowie that explores how he worked, played, aged, structured his ideas, invented the future and entered history as someone who could and would never be forgotten. Morley will capture the greatest moments of Bowie’s career; from the recording studio with the likes of Brian Eno and Tony Visconti; to iconic live performances from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, as well as the various encounters and artistic relationships he developed with rock luminaries John Lennon, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. And of course, discuss in detail his much-heralded, and critically-acclaimed comeback with the release of Black Star just days before his shocking death in New York.

Morley offers a startling biographical critique of David Bowie’s legacy, showing how he never stayed still even when he withdrew from the spotlight, how he always knew his own worth, and released a dazzling plethora of mobile Bowies into the world with a bloody-minded determination and a voluptuous imagination to create something amazing that was not there before.

 

Buy from Waterstones
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HAUNTED: ON GHOSTS, WITCHES, VAMPIRES, ZOMBIES, AND OTHER MONSTERS OF THE NATURAL AND SUPERNATURAL WORLDS * Leo Braudy * 9780300203806 * HB * £25.00 * Yale University Press

An award-winning scholar and author charts four hundred years of monsters and how they reflect the culture that created them Leo Braudy, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, has won accolades for revealing the complex and constantly shifting history behind seemingly unchanging ideas of fame, war, and masculinity. Continuing his interest in the history of emotion, this book explores how fear has been shaped into images of monsters and monstrosity. From the Protestant Reformation to contemporary horror films and fiction, he explores four major types: the monster from nature (King Kong), the created monster (Frankenstein), the monster from within (Mr. Hyde), and the monster from the past (Dracula). Drawing upon deep historical and literary research, Braudy discusses the lasting presence of fearful imaginings in an age of scientific progress, viewing the detective genre as a rational riposte to the irrational world of the monstrous. Haunted is a compelling and incisive work by a writer at the height of his powers.

Buy from Waterstones
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STUDYING HAMMER HORROR * Victoria Grace Walden * 9781906733322 * PB * £13.00 * Columbia University Press

Although the team behind Hammer Studios never initially intended to focus on any one genre, it is for a particular brand of horror films that it is most remembered. It was the British touch that Hammer injected into classics such as Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy that helped these films become world famous. Studying Hammer Horror inspires serious study of these films by providing a range of theoretical frameworks that offer productive readings of the studio s production context, style and particular case studies. Victoria Grace Walden reevaluates classic film theories, such as genre and auteur studies, and considers philosophical approaches to understanding Hammer s engagement with gender, national identity, postcolonial issues and the occult. Studying Hammer Horror offers a general refresher of film theory, while critically engaging with a number of specific films including X the Unknown, The Curse of Frankenstein, The Stranglers of Bombay, The Gorgon, Dracula A.D. 1972 and Hammer s more recent productions Let Me In and The Woman in Black. At the heart of the book s narrative is the question, what is it that makes Hammer s horror films British?

A very special debut bringing expert attention to a much loved (and feared) British filmic institution…
Buy from Waterstones
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THE COMIC BOOK FILM ADAPTATION: EXPLORING MODERN HOLLYWOOD’S LEADING GENRE * Liam Burke * 9781496809704 * PB * 25.50 * University Press of Mississippi

In the summer of 2000 X-Men surpassed all box office expectations and ushered in an era of unprecedented production of comic book film adaptations. This trend, now in its second decade, has blossomed into Hollywood’s leading genre. From superheroes to Spartan warriors, The Comic Book Film Adaptation offers the first dedicated study to examine how comic books moved from the fringes of popular culture to the center of mainstream film production.

Through in-depth analysis, industry interviews, and audience research, this book charts the cause-and-effect of this influential trend. It considers the cultural traumas, business demands, and digital possibilities that Hollywood faced at the dawn of the twenty-first century. The industry managed to meet these challenges by exploiting comics and their existing audiences. However, studios were caught off-guard when these comic book fans, empowered by digital media, began to influence the success of these adaptations. Nonetheless, filmmakers soon developed strategies to take advantage of this intense fanbase, while codifying the trend into a more lucrative genre, the comic book movie, which appealed to an even wider audience. Central to this vibrant trend is a comic aesthetic in which filmmakers utilize digital filmmaking technologies to engage with the language and conventions of comics like never before.

The Comic Book Film Adaptation explores this unique moment in which cinema is stimulated, challenged, and enriched by the once-dismissed medium of comics.

Buy from Waterstones
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DEADPOOL AND PHILOSOPHY * Nicholas Michaud and Jacob Thomas May * 9780812699494 * PB * 13.99 * Open Court Publishing

Deadpool is the super-anti-hero who knows he’s in a comic book. His unique situation and blood-stained history give rise to many philosophical puzzles. A group of philosophical Deadpool fans delve into these puzzles in Deadpool and Philosophy.

For instance, if you know that someone is writing the script of your life, can you really be a hero? Is Deadpool really Wade Wilson, or did Wilson have his identity stolen by the monster who is now Deadpool? Are his actions predetermined by the writers, or does he trick the writers into scripting his choices? And what happens when Deadpool breaks into the real world to kill the writers? What kind of existence do literary characters have? How can we call him a moral agent for good when he still commits murder left and right and then left again and then right? Since Deadpool gets paid for his good deeds, can they be truly heroic? And which of the many Deadpool personalities are the real Deadpool? And of course, why does Deadpool love to annoy Wolverine so much?

Deadpool challenges us to think outside the box. Deadpool and Philosophy shows us the profound implications of this most contradictory and perplexing comic book character.

Buy from Waterstones
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REVOLUTIONARY RIDE: ON THE ROAD IN SEARCH OF THE REAL IRAN * Lois Pryce * 9781857886573 * PB * 14.99 * Nicholas Brealey Publishers

In 2011, at the height of tension between the British and Iranian governments, travel writer Lois Pryce found a note left on her motorcycle outside the Iranian Embassy in London:

… I wish that you will visit Iran so you will see for yourself about my country. WE ARE NOT TERRORISTS!!! Please come to my city, Shiraz. It is very famous as the friendliest city in Iran, it is the city of poetry and gardens and wine!!!
Your Persian friend,
Habib

Intrigued, Lois decides to ignore the official warnings against travel (and the warnings of her friends and family) and sets off alone on a 3,000 mile ride from Tabriz to Shiraz, to try to uncover the heart of this most complex and incongruous country. Along the way, she meets carpet sellers and drug addicts, war veterans and housewives, doctors and teachers – people living ordinary lives under the rule of an extraordinarily strict Islamic government.

Revolutionary Ride is the story of a people and a country. Religious and hedonistic, practical and poetic, modern and rooted in tradition – and with a wild sense of humour and appreciation of beauty despite the comparative lack of freedom – this is real contemporary Iran.”

Buy from Waterstones
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THE EMPATHY INSTINCT: HOW TO CREATE A MORE CIVIL SOCIETY * Peter Bazalgette * 9781473637511 * HB * 16.99 * John Murray

Empathy is the power of understanding others, imaginatively entering into their feelings. It is a fundamental human attribute, without which mutually co-operative societies cannot function. In a revolutionary development, we now know who has it, who lacks it and why. Via the MRI scanner we are mapping the human brain. This is a new frontier that reveals a host of beneficial ideas for childcare, teens challenged by the internet, the justice system, decent healthcare, tackling racism and resolving conflicts.

In this wide-ranging and accessible book full of entertaining stories that are underlined by the latest scientific research, Peter Bazalgette also mounts a passionate defence of arts and popular culture as a means of bridging the empathy gap.

As the world’s population expands, consuming the planet’s finite resources, as people haunted by poverty and war are on the move and as digital communications infinitely complicate our social interactions, we find our patience and our sympathy constantly challenged. Here is the antidote.

Culminating in a passionate manifesto on empathy, The Empathy Instinct is what makes us human and what can make us better humans.

Buy from Waterstones

Graphic Novels

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AETHER AND EMPIRE * Mike Horan with Bong Ty Dazo and Tim Yates * 9781940967905 * PB * £13.50 * Blue Juice Comics

At the height of Victoria’s reign, a scientific expedition to Mars has vanished and the daring rescue mission is now a race against time and space. When control is wrested from fellow scientists and given to a heroic crew of Her Majesty’s Navy, can the two groups work together to save the men of the first voyage? Jules Verne meets Star Trek in ther & Empire, a tale of adventure, mystery, and terror from Blue Juice Comics! This volume collects Issues 1-6 of the comic book.

#Indie #Steampunk
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SCOTLAND YARDIE * Joseph, Bobby & Samuels, Joseph * 9780861662517 * PB * £9.99 * Knockabout

With institutionalised racism at an all-time high, the Metropolitan Police embark on their yearly drive to recruit more ethnic people in the police force. With little or no success they bring over Jamaica’s most feared policeman – Scotland Yardie, a ganja smoking, no-nonsense bad bwoy cop who breaks all the rules to enforce his own harsh sense of justice. But what happens when cultures clash? Can the average criminal handle the street -wise Jamaican Lethal Weapon rolling through downtown Brixton? Will south London ever be the same again? With his reluctant partner P.C. Ackee -Saltfish, Scotland Yardie embarks on an adventure that deals with the disappearing drug trade in Brixton, corruption, the death of innocent people at the hands of racist cops, assassinated cats, immigration fears and the emergence of the addictive blue chicken! *** Check out our Preview and Review of Scotland Yardie here! ***

Very special indie highlight…
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SCARLET TRACES VOLUME 1 * Ian Edgington and Disraeli * 9781781085028 * PB * £15.99 * 2000 AD

The celebrated comic book sequel to H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds in a brand new omnibus edition. The ground-breaking series from Ian Edginton and D’Israeli is collected in this the first of two volumes. Starting with their visionary adaptation of the original novel, the collection also includes the first of three sequel stories set a decade after the Martian invasion. Great Britain has cannibalised Martian technology and now Hansom cabs scuttle along on multi-limbed crab legs, and the Martian heat-ray has become the weapon with which the British Empire dominates the world. When the bodies of several young women are found washed up on the banks of the Thames Captain Robert Autumn, retired solider and adventurer, and his former Sergeant-Major Archie Currie are drawn into a mystery that leads them from gin palaces to the corridors of power and the very Hall of the Martian King.

UK Comic greats bring their retro continuation of the SF classic…
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MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR VOLUME 1 * Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos and Marco Failla * 9781302902087 * PB * £14.99 * Marvel

She’s been so busy worrying about the Terrigen Cloud that would turn her Inhuman, Luna Lafayette might instead fall prey to…Cosmic Cooties?! Because when a new boy moves to town from far, far away, he’s oddly interested in her. Meanwhile, the most wanted T-Rex in NYC is running out of places to lie low – a problem that won’t get any easier when our darling duo undergo a body swap! It’s a big change up that will see Luna spending a freaky Friday (or whatever day it happens to be) as Devil Dinosaur, and vice versa! Will Luna evade capture? Will DD scrape a passing grade on his test? And who exactly is Moon Girl’s new 9-year-old archnemesis, Kid Kree? As his plans unfold, there’ll be major revelations about Luna’s abilities! COLLECTING: MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR 7-12

Marvel continue their quest to bring diversity and excellent superheroic adventure to new audiences. Ms Marvel has been an absolute phenomena. We touted this as another work to follow – and read of course. By all accounts we got that right…
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BEOWULF * Santiago Garcia, David Rubin * 9781534301207 * HB * £26.99 * Image

SANTIAGO GARCIA and DAVID RUBIN unite to bring forward the myth of Beowulf, which has endured for a thousand years and inspired an epic poem of the same name, became a foundational piece of English literature, and inspired generations of authors, from Tolkien to a good
number of Hollywood screenwriters.

BEOWULF tells of the tale of a Scandinavian hero in lands that would become what is now Denmark and Sweden: A monster, Grendel, has arrived in the kingdom of the Danes, devouring its men and women for 12 years until Beowulf arrives to save them.

GARCIA and RUBIN faithfully follow the original story for a new version that is neither revisionist nor postmodern, but captures the tone and important details of the poem, translating its potent, epic resonance and melancholy into a contemporary comic that isn’t standard swords and
sorcery or heroic fantasy fare, but rather an ancient story with a modern perspective that remains respectful of the source material.

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UNFOLLOW VOLUME 2 * Rob Williams and Marguerite Sauvage * 9781401267230 * PB * £13.99 * Vertigo

The mystery continues! And so does the battle… A dying social media mogul leaves his billions to be split evenly between 140 random people–or however many of them are still alive at the moment of his death. Rob Williams (MARTIAN MANHUNTER, THE ROYALS: MASTERS OF WAR) and Michael Dowling (Death Sentence) assemble a cast of seemingly unrelated individuals in the world who are about to be connected in the most unexpected way. Collects UNFOLLOW #7-12.

2000 AD’s Rob Williams and go-to comic artists Mike Dowling, Marguerite Sauvage et al continue their topical human-interest thriller…
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ROM VOLUME 1 * Christos Gage and Chris Ryall with David Messina (Artist) * 9781631408175 * PB * £17.99 * IDW

Far away, in another galaxy, the knights of the Solstar Order, defenders of justice and truth, were ambushed by the evil magicians, the Dire Wraiths. In the end, the Solstar Order prevailed and began seeking out its scattered enemies. One of these knights has followed the trail of the Dire Wraiths all the way to Earth. This knight, the one the Dire Wraiths fear more than all others has hounded them and kept them underground for centuries and could wipe them off the face of creation. He is ROM, Lord of the Solstar Order, Rom, the Wraithslayer. Collects issues #0–4 and Rom: Revolution #1.

The toy was shockingly bad yet Marvel made the character a mainstay of their universe. Much retro interest to be had as one of our top-rated comic scribes and artists whose work speaks for itself bring back the property for IDW…
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Tim Bayley

@timbayley1

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