November and December 2018 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends

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

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! Hyperlinks lead on to Waterstone’s, Forbidden Planet in the case of Graphic Novels.

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


Tim Bayley


Fantastic & Fantastical Fiction

In LIES SLEEPING, book 7 of Ben Aaronovitch’s super-selling Urban Fantasy series, a face has been put to the sorcerous mastermind the ‘Faceless Man’ who is now on the run – but he’s far from beaten. And (run for the hills!) the terrifying supernatural killer Mr Punch seems to be back on the scene as well…

Then Nebula and Hugo award-winning author of the Wind-Up Girl, now with Head of Zeus, returns with bestselling Halo author Tobias S Bucknell with TANGLED LANDS, a post-apocalytic fantasy of people standing against a would-be emperor tyrant…

Meanwhile SKYWARD is a brand new space opera by one of the topselling authors of fantasy, Mr Brandon Sanderson. There’s so much appreciation of his fantasy work – just what will he bring to SF?

Then Genevieve Cogman serves up the MORTAL WORD the latest in her liminal urban fantasy series involving alternate realities and the fae, now moving to a different Paris in the 1890s…

Now this looks interesting. Fantasy inspired by Medeval India anyone? In EMPIRE OF SAND a young woman is caught performing the forbidden spirit rites of her mother’s outcast people and is forced into an arranged marriage – but with a mysterious man who has similar abilities and sympathies as her own…

And then Nnedi Okorafor’s WHO FEARS DEATH. Picked as an Editor’s Choice for November by The Bookseller, winner of the World Fantasy Award and optioned for TV by HBO with Executive Producer George RR Martin – how much more do you need to know?! It’s set in a post-apocalyptic Africa, where a mixed-race young woman develops magical powers, even as she’s pursued by something trying to kill her…

And a super indie highlight! Terry Newman’s first Detective Strongoak book The Case of the Dead Elf was an absolute delight, comedic fantasy crime with a dwarf policeman and wonderfully realised satirical versions of fantasy race tropes. Finally we get the sequel THE KING OF ELFLAND’S LITTLE SISTER (Amazon link, also on E-Book), a noir romp delving into the seedy fantasy world of adult movies, slavery and elven politics. And check out the first book now if you haven’t already had the pleasure!

Another big indie highlight, this time from Tachyon Books – UNHOLY LAND by the award-winning inimitable Lavie Tidhar! An alternate historic mystery set in a Jewish enclave in Africa where a wall is being built to keep out continental unwanteds, and a time traveller is pursued by a rogue trans-dimensional agent…

M R Carey is back! Many know him from his earlier comic work (Lucifer, X-Men), many more know him from the book and film ‘The Girl with all the Gifts’ and its sequel and more. Not that he hasn’t already ‘made it’ on those terms, but SOMEONE LIKE ME, a psychological thriller of Dissociative identity disorder looks set to catapult him a tier beyond. I note this not just on account of the books endorsements but of their diversity: Lauren Beukes. Joss Whedon. Elle Magazine. Laini Taylor. Martina Cole. The Guardian…

Off-beat fantasy by the super-selling V E Schwab, THE DARK VAULT concerns – and refers to – the realm where the dead are archived, but from which they all too frequently wake and look to walk beyond. Fortunately there are people like Mackenzie Bishop to prevent this – not fortunately for her… or us if by chance she fails in her task…


Bibliographic Information (more highlights follow)

LIES SLEEPING * Ben Aaronovich * 9781473207813 * HB * £16.99 * Gollancz * PC Grant * 7
TANGLED LANDS * Paolo Bacigalupi, Tobias S Bucknell * 9781788544771 * PB * £7.99 * Head of Zeus
SKYWARD * Brandon Sanderson * 9781473217850 * HB * £16.99 * Gollancz
THE MORTAL WORD * Genevieve Cogman * 9781509830725 * PB * £7.99 * Pan * The Invisible Library * 5
EMPIRE OF SAND * Tasha Suri * 9780356512006 * PB * £8.99 * Orbit
WHO FEARS DEATH * Nnedi Okorafor * 9780008288747 * PB * £8.99 * HarperVoyager
DETECTIVE STRONGOAK: THE KING OF ELFLAND’S LITTLE SISTER * Terry Newman * 9781909295117 * PB * £8.99 * Monkey Business * Detective Strongoak * 2
DETECTIVE STRONGOAK: THE KING OF ELFLAND’S LITTLE SISTER * Terry Newman * 9781909295124 * EB * £1.99 * Monkey Business * Detective Strongoak * 2
UNHOLY LAND * Lavie Tidhar * 9781616963040 * PB * £11.99 * Tachyon Publishing 
SOMEONE LIKE ME * M R Carey * 9780356509464 * HB * £16.99 * Little Brown (Orbit) 
THE DARK VAULT * V E Schwab * 9781789090857 * PB * £9.99 * Titan Books




First up, NOTHING IS REAL is an Essay collection on pop music by a leading commentator. A Bookseller Editor’s Choice for November, enjoyed for being both eclectic and unpretentious amongst anything else…


Special shout for this neat series, each volume devoted to someof the greatest SF films ever made: In November Martyn Conterio on MAD MAX!


Then a big ‘socially minded / progressive’ highlight, now in paperback A WORLD OF THREE ZEROES. A Nobel Peace prize winner sets out an agenda and challenge for a sea-change in our social consciousness – do click the link and read more. This book could make a real difference…


And an art highlight from Amberley, TATTOOS: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY. Tina Brown on draws on interviews with some of the world’s top tattoo artists to tell the history of the form.


And finally a subculture / games culture highlight, LUDOPOLITICS: VIDEOGAMES AGAINST CONTROL, a new work exploring whether video games are the solution to a fantasy of control…



CONSTELLATIONS: MAD MAX * Martyn Conterio * 9781911325864 * PB * £9.99 * Auteur
TATTOOS: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY * Tina Brown * 9781445680170 * PB * £14.99 * Amberley
LUDOPOLITICS: VIDEOGAMES AGAINST CONTROL * Liam Mitchell * 9781785354885 * PB * £17.99 * Zero


Children’s and Young Adult

First up a double shout to Mr Philip Reeve. STATION ZERO is the conclusion to his Railhead trilogy, now in paperback (and just in time for the Mortal Engines film). Zen leaps back into danger on the rails, completely unprepared for what he finds…

Then, also ready also for Mortal Engines the film, a big illustrated hardback on the world of the Traction Cities: THE ILLUSTRATED WORLD OF MORTAL ENGINES!



As far as dystopian YA goes This Mortal Coil was about as dark as anything – and then got darker with some absolutely leftfield twists at the end. Going to be a lot of folk keen to find out what the hell happens next, which they can in THIS CRUEL DESIGN



STATION ZERO * Philip Reeve * 9780192759153 * PB * £7.99 * Oxford University Press * Railhead * 3
THE ILLUSTRATED WORLD OF MORTAL ENGINES * Philip Reeve, Jeremy Levett, various illustrators * 9781407186788 * HB * £20 * Scholastic * Mortal Engines
THIS CRUEL DESIGN * Emily Suvada * 9780141379289 * PB * £7.99 * Puffin * This Mortal Coil sequel * 2


Graphic Novels

A couple of Graphic Novels for your consideration which couldn’t be more different. 2000 AD serve up the collection of Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton’s Urban Fantasy Noir HOPE: FOR THE FUTURE, set in Hollywood in an alternate world where dark magic became commonplace: a haunted PI investigates the disappearance of a young boy…

Then the return of the fabulous Posy Simmonds! In CASSANDRA DARKE a rich social pariah is shocked out of her existence – and multi-million pound home – when she makes a shocking discovery left behind by her lodger in her basement. One of the Bookseller’s November One’s to Watch


HOPE: FOR THE FUTURE * Guy Adams, Jimmy Broxton * 9781781086582 * PB * £10.99 * 2000 AD
CASSANDRA DARKE * Posy Simmonds * 9780224089098 * HB * £16.99 * Jonathan Cape


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