July 2018 Book Highlights

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

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 July.


Tim Bayley


Fantastic & Fantastical Fiction

July paperbacks hit with a bunch of big names, first with a trio of crime SF. Andy ‘The Martian’ Weir moves closer to home by a good few million miles, ARTEMIS being the moon’s first city. Entry level smuggler Jazz Bashara is hardly the satellites biggest criminal but she’s about to step up, planning an escapade in 1/6th gravity…

Meanwhile gnarly Scots crime (fiction) boss Chris Brookmyre takes another stab at SF after his VR adventure drama Bedlam with PLACES IN THE DARKNESS. It’s a top-of-class newbie and jaded veteran cop buddy drama on a sky city, previously virtually crimeless and now experiencing a series of killings that threaten the future of humanity…

Next up is Adam Roberts’ tight SF thriller THE REAL-TOWN MURDERS featuring reluctant detective Alma. In a future England where the majority spend their life in next generation virtual reality an impossible murder is committed in the real world. Unfortunately if Alma doesn’t tend her girlfriend every four hours she’ll die which means she’s in a double bind when she has no option but to take the case which has global ramifications for the world she lives in.

The multi-award winning Ann Leckie is back with PROVENANCE, not a sequel to her Ancillary Justice trilogy but a return to that universe with arguably something of the criminal to its plot. Ingray must free a thief from a prison planet for a chance at claiming the ancient artefacts they stole to secure her own future and that of her world.

Sequels next, beginning with one of our headline genres, urban fantasy. Firstly Benedict Jacka is back, which means Alex Verus is back in MARKED and in trouble in this paperback original. Camden’s very own weak-yet-also-powerful-in-his-own-right wizard has to divine his way through murky wizard politics in London to secure dangerous magical artefacts he’s tasked with finding.

Still with London UF, in CLOCKWORK CITY Paul Crilley’s Gideon ‘London’ Tau returns from South Africa to his namesake metropolis to find his daughter’s killer, conduct a heist into faerie and (hopefully) save London from a horned god. Any friends to help? ‘The reanimated corpse of my boss, a low-rent P.I. who’s heavily into conspiracy theories, and my alcoholic, foul-mouthed demonic sidekick dog.’ Happy days.

Onto ‘new in hardback’ and there can’t be many sequels more awaited than one from Becky Chambers in her Wayfarers sequence. Seems like a brand new cast in RECORD OF A SPACEBORN FEW, though given her major talent is creating and capturing relatable and engaging characters her fans will be all the more keen to meet her latest. Set in a fragile human community rocked by a disaster that will make them finally ask what their future is to be – assuming they have one…

Then in THE CLOVEN multi-talented multi-medium artist Brian Catling brings his surrealist Vorrh Trilogy – praised by the legendary Alan Moore and many others – to a conclusion. Featuring angels who failed to protect the Tree of Knowledge and historical figures (including William Blake) a la Tim Powers, the collective soul of mankind is on the line as World War Two begins…

And Gollancz are wheeling out one of their big guns of 2018 which they hail as ‘the biggest SF debut of 2018’, describing it as ‘Dune meets Name of the Wind’, Christopher Ruocchio’s EMPIRE OF SILENCE. With the massive amount of love for Name of the Wind – quite aside from Frank Herbert’s classic – that’s a powerful statement. The similarity to the former is in the protagonist being understood differently as hero and villain, the reader getting the real story of a young man trying to escape the shocking life intended for him in a wildly inventive future society…

Decidedly lighter than all the above, Ian Doescher offers everyone who hated – and everyone who didn’t – a chance to enjoy the latest Star Wars films in a decidedly different fashion: by reading and reciting them in the language of Mr William Shakespeare. Out in July, WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S JEDI THE LAST.

Bibliographic Information (More Highlights follow)

ARTEMIS * Andy Weir * 9781785030253 * PB * £7.99 * Ebury (Del Rey)

PLACES IN THE DARKNESS * Chris Brookmyre * 9780356506272 * PB * £8.99 * Orbit                         

THE REAL TOWN MURDERS * Adam Roberts * 9781473221468 * PB * £8.99 * Gollancz                     

PROVENANCE * Ann Leckie * 9780356506982 * PB * £8.99 * Orbit

MARKED * Benedict Jacka * 9780356507217 * PB * £8.99 * Orbit * Alex Verus * 9

CLOCKWORK CITY * Paul Crilley * 9781473631670 * PB * £8.99 * Hodder * Delphic Division * 2

RECORD OF A SPACEBORN FEW * Becky Chambers * 9781473647602 * HB * £14.99 * Hodder * Wayfarers * 3

THE CLOVEN * Brian Catling * 9781473636422 * HB * £20.00 * Hodder * The Vorrh Trilogy * 3

EMPIRE OF SILENCE * Christopher Ruocchio * 9781473224278 * HB * £16.99 * Gollancz * Sun Eater

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S JEDI THE LAST * Ian Doescher * 9781683690870 * HB * £11.99 * Quirk Books * William Shakespeare’s Star Wars * 8


Children’s & YA Choice

Children’s books! First up it’s the next in indie children’s bookseller Jennifer Bell’s London-set Uncommoners series, THE FROZEN TELESCOPE, now heading beyond the greatest reaches of the fantastical society beneath Greater London for that beneath New York! Time to track down another dangerous artefact and avoid the attentions of the villainous Dirge (and cue some transatlantic big buck sales we imagine!)

Then NIGHT FLIGHTS is a collection of stories from Philip Reeve set in the world of Mortal Engines which, you might be aware, comes as a massive, steaming Hollywood blockbuster later this year, featuring London on giant tracks munching up similarly automotive smaller urban settlements in a post-apocalyptic epic of ‘municipal darwinism’. It comes with a brilliant, memorable cast of characters, some of whom appear in this collection. Comes in snazzy new branding which is being rolled out to the original series.

THE FROZEN TELESCOPE * Jennifer Bell * 9780552572910 * PB * £6.99 * Corgi * Uncommoners * 3

NIGHT FLIGHTS * Philip Reeve * 9781407186771 * HB * £10.99 * Scholastic * Mortal Engines * 5


Non-Fiction Highlights

It sounds like Henry Eliot and Matt Lloyd-Rose have come up with an absolute CORKER of a book in CURIOCITY: IN PURSUIT OF LONDON having mined its fabric for new loci from which the big city is best understood: Congestion, xenophilia, islands and underground spaces, folkmoot(?)  and more. Comes with glowing endorsements from Londonist, The Evening Standard, The London Society, Tom Holland and… Philip Pullman!

Just in time for Gay Pride in GOOD AS YOU Paul Flynn charts 30 years of gay Britain, from the solidifying of the scene around the Bronski Beat’s anthemic Smalltown Boy, through the years of fear following the identification of the HIV virus, to the landmark passing of same-sex marriage.

Current affairs pick: In PEAK INEQUALITY Danny Dorling collects his existing journalism and new works to identify whether we have reached peak inequality, perhaps the ‘key political issue of our time’ though actually of any time, just with more awareness of it in the present day.

Onto music and ALWAYS interesting to see what Reaktion Books are up to. In July they’ve got PETER GABRIEL: GLOBAL CITIZEN, Paul Hegarty’s investigation into the longstanding and lasting contribution of Mr Gabriel through his career and his embracing of ideas and technology along the way.

CURIOCITY: AN ALTERNATIVE A-Z OF LONDON * Henry Eliot, Matt Lloyd-Rose * 9780141980799 * PB * £22.00 * Penguin

GOOD AS YOU: FROM PREJUDICE TO PRIDE – 30 YEARS OF GAY BRITAIN * Paul Flynn * 9781785032936 * PB * £9.99 * Ebury

PEAK INEQUALITY: BRITAIN’S TICKING TIME BOMB * Danny Dorling * 9781447349075 * PB * £12.99 * Policy Press

PETER GABRIEL: GLOBAL CITIZEN * Paul Hegarty * 9781780239767 * PB * £9.95 * Reaktion Books


Graphic Novels

Bridging the gap between non-fiction and comics the excellent Fred Van Lente offers up his and artist Ryan Dunlavey’s COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS, being (ah) a history of comics – in comic form, now in colour. Gives due attention to the Swiss roots of the modern form and, to the Anglophone scene, the less realised significance of the French and Belgian stages, also the ‘British Invasion’, Manga, characters in other media, and the contribution of female creators…

Legion somehow made it from being an obscure, supporting – however significant – characters in comics to having his own TV series via Si Spurrier’s X-Men Legacy series when it went from team book to spotlight on Professor X’s son who has a ‘team’ of characters in his head. Now in LEGION: TRAUMA we get the take of British leftfield legend and natural series choice Pete Milligan’s take on Marvel’s Premier sufferer of Multiple Personalities, brought to the sequential page by Artist Wilfredo Torres. Legion has sought the help of a therapist, not realising she brings her own demons on the voyage into his mind: he’s going to have to hope he can make allies of his dark internal enemies…

Then we just had to give one of our periodic shouts to one of the very best ongoing series and characters in comics: Ms Marvel! Only – in VOLUME 9 – where is she? Well an absence of the main character didn’t stop some superb storytelling in Superman’s pages and G Willow Wilson is a top notch creator so we’re happy to see what her friends are up to in a world (temporarily) without the much-loved Muslim inhuman teen superhero… Features new hero Red Dagger, brave members of the public of Jersey City stepping up and the former Ms Marvel and Kamala’s role model Captain Marvel…


A COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS * Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey * 9781684052554 * PB * £14.50 * IDW

LEGION: TRAUMA * Peter Milligan, Wilfredo Torres * 9781302911621 * PB * £13.50 * Marvel

MS MARVEL VOL 9 * G Willow Wilson, Nico Leon * 9781302910785 * PB * £14.99 * Marvel





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