November and December 2019 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends

Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for November and December (we tend to combine these, both being smaller months in publishing output).

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. Publication dates may change)

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.

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


Tim Bayley


Fantastic & Fantastical Fiction



SKEIN ISLAND * Aliya Whiteley * 9781789091526 * PB * £8.99 * Titan

Skein Island lies in turbulent waters. Few receive the invitation to stay. If you are chosen, you must pay for your stay with a story from your past; a Declaration for the Island’s vast library. What happens to your Declaration after is none of your concern. From the monsters of Ancient Greece to the atrocities of World War II, from heroes to villains with their seers and sidekicks, Skein Island looks through the roles we play, and how they form and divide us. It is a story over which the characters will fight for control – until they realise the true enemy is the story itself. This new edition features a brand new novelette. MORE / BUY

BROKEN STARS * Ken Liu * 9781788548120 * PB * £8.99 * Head of Zeus

Sixteen short stories from China’s groundbreaking SFF writers, edited and translated by award-winning author Ken Liu. In Liu Cixin’s ‘Moonlight’, a man is contacted by three future versions of himself, each trying to save their world. Hao Jingfang’s ‘The New Year Train’ sees 1,500 passengers go missing on a train that vanishes into space. In the title story by Tang Fei, a young girl is shown how the stars can reveal the future. In addition, three essays explore the history and rise of Chinese SFF publishing and fandom. MORE / BUY

THE AGE OF ANXIETY: A NOVEL * Pete Townshend * 9781473622937 * HB * £20.00 * Coronet

The debut novel by Pete Townshend The Age of Anxiety is a great rock novel, but that is one of the less important things about it. First conceived as an opera it captures the craziness of the music business and displays Pete Townshend’s sly sense of humour and sharp ear for dialogue. The Age of Anxiety deals with mythic and operatic themes including a maze, divine madness and long-lost children. Hallucinations and soundscapes haunt this novel, which on one level is an extended meditation on manic genius and the dark art of creativity. MORE / BUY

MADE THINGS * Adrian Tchaikovsky * 9781250232991 * HB * £11.92 *
Welcome to Fountains Parish, a cesspit of trade and crime, where ambition curls up to die and desperation grows on its cobbled streets like mould on week-old bread. Coppelia has something other thieves don’t: tiny puppet-like companions of wood or metal. They don’t entirely trust her, and she doesn’t entirely understand them, but their partnership mostly works. After a surprising discovery shakes their world, Coppelia and her friends must re-examine everything they thought they knew, while attempting to save their city from a seemingly impossible threat. [LINK TO COME]

THE PURSUIT OF WILLIAM ABBEY * Claire North * 9780356507415 * HB * £18.99 * Orbit

South Africa, 1884. A young and naive English doctor by the name of William Abbey witnesses the lynching of a local boy by white colonists. He’s guilt-struck, but too cowardly to stand up against this horrific act. And as the child dies, his mother curses William. The shadow of the dead boy starts following him across the world. It never stops, never rests. And if it catches him, the person he loves most in the world will die… MORE / BUY


SEVEN BLADES IN BLACK * Sam Sykes * 9781473218246 * PB * £12.99 * Gollancz * New Series * 1

Brand-new epic fantasy introducing an unforgettable outcast magician caught between two warring empires. Among humans, none have power like mages. And among mages, none have will like Sal the Cacophony. Now vagrant, she walks a wasteland scarred by generations of magical warfare.
The Scar is where rogue mages go to disappear, disgraced soldiers go to die and Sal went with a blade, a gun and a list of names she intended to use both on. Betrayed, her magic torn from her and awaiting execution, Sal has one last tale to tell before they take her head. All she has left is her name, her story and the weapon she used to carved both. MORE / BUY

REALM OF ASH * Tasha Suri * 9780356512013 * PB * £8.99 * Orbit * The Books of Ambha * 2

Widowed by the infamous, unnatural massacre at Darez Fort, Arwa was saved only by the strangeness of her blood. With a disgraced, illegitimate prince who has turned to forbidden occult arts she seeks answers in the realm of ash where mortals can seek the echoes of their ancestors’ dreams. To save the Empire they must walk through the realm and into the desert, where the cause of the Empire’s suffering – and its only chance of salvation – lie in wait. But what they find there calls into question everything they’ve ever valued… and whether they want to save the Empire at all. MORE / BUY

THE LIGHTS GO OUT IN LYCHFORD * Paul Cornell * 9781250249470 * PB * £11.97 * * Witches of Lychford * 4

Paul Cornell’s The Lights Go Out in Lychford continues the award-nominated Witches of Lychford series. The borders of Lychford are crumbling. Other realities threaten to seep into the otherwise quiet village, and the resident wise woman is struggling to remain wise. The local magic shop owner and the local priest are having troubles of their own.
And a mysterious stranger is on hand to offer a solution to everyone’s problems. No cost, no strings (she says). But as everyone knows, free wishes from strangers rarely come without a price… [LINK TO COME]

THE SECRET CHAPTER * Genevieve Cogman * 9781529000573 * PB * £8.99 * Tor / Pan * The Invisible Library * 6

As Irene tries to manage a fraught Fae–dragon truce and her overbearing parents, she’s given a hot new mission. The only book that can save the world is held by Mr Nemo, secretive Fae villain and antique dealer, so Irene and Kai travel to his Caribbean retreat to strike a deal. They must steal a painting from twenty-first-century Vienna, joining a team of dragons, Fae gamblers and thieves, so their greatest challenge may be one another. And some will kill to protect this painting, which hides an extraordinary secret from a past age. MORE / BUY

FALSE VALUE * Ben Aaronovitch * 9781473207851 * HB * £18.99 * Gollancz * Rivers of London * 8

Peter Grant is facing fatherhood, and an uncertain future, with equal amounts of panic and enthusiasm. He takes a job with Silicon Valley genius Terrence Skinner’s new London start up – the Serious Cybernetics Company in Old Street’s famous ‘silicon roundabout’. Compared to his last job, Peter thinks it should be a doddle. But magic is not finished with Mama Grant’s favourite son. Because Terrence Skinner has a secret hidden in the bowels of the SCC. A technology that stretches back to Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, and forward to the future of artificial intelligence. A secret that is just as magical as it technological – and just as dangerous. MORE / BUY

*** See Graphic Novels below for the latest Rivers of London collection by Ben Aaronovitch and co! ***



THE LIGHT OF ALL THAT FALLS * James Islington * 9780356507842 * HB * £18.99 * Orbit * The Licanius Trilogy * 3

James Islington’s bestselling debut The Shadow of What Was Lost began an epic tale of three friends who embraced forbidden powers to confront an ancient evil. The adventure continued in An Echo of Things to Come as armies clashed and magic collided. Now the final battle – and the fate of the world – is at hand in The Light of All That Falls, the gripping final volume in the Licanius trilogy. MORE / BUY




Flea, the iconic bassist and co-founder of the immortal Red Hot Chili Peppers, finally tells his origin story. Little Michael Balzary moved from Oz with his very conservative family to Westchester, New York, where his parents split up. He and his sister moved into the home of his mother’s free-wheeling, jazz musician boyfriend – trading in rules, stability, and barbecues for bohemian values, wildness, and Sunday afternoon jazz parties where booze, weed, and music flowed. When Michael’s family moved to LA he sought a sense of belonging partying, playing basketball, and committing petty crimes. At school he met another social outcast, Anthony Kiedis: soon came the night when Anthony, excited after catching a Grandmaster Flash concert, suggested they start their own band… MORE / BUY

WHY BOWIE MATTERS * Will Brooker * 9780008313722 * HB * £12.99 * Harpercollins (William Collins)

To many of us, Bowie was so much more than a pop idol. But why?
In Why Bowie Matters, Professor Will Brooker answers that question persuasively, as both a fan and an academic. In this original and illuminating book, Professor Brooker approaches Bowie from various angles, re-tracing his childhood on the streets of Bromley, taking us through his record collection and bookshelves, and deciphering the symbols and codes of his final work, Blackstar to piece together how an ordinary suburban teenager turned himself into a legend. He shows us that while David Robert Jones died, David Bowie will live on forever. MORE / BUY

JOIN THE FUTURE: BLEEP TECHNO AND THE BIRTH OF BRITISH BASS MUSIC * Matt Anniss * 9781913231002 * PB * £14.99 * Velocity Press

Publishing December. Since the dawn of the 1990s, British dance music has been in thrall to the seductive power of weighty sub-bass. It is a key ingredient in a string of British-pioneered genres, including hardcore, jungle, drum & bass, dubstep, UK garage and grime. In the Join The Future book, dance music journalist Matt Anniss (Resident Advisor, DJ Magazine, Red Bull Music Academy) traces the roots, origins, development and legacy of the sound that started it all: the first distinctively British form of electronic dance music, bleep techno. Based on five years of research and hundreds of hours of new interviews, the book is a radical alternative history of the rise of British dance music during the late 80s and early 90s. MORE / BUY (On the Velocity Press website – advance copies in November)

STRANGER THINGS AND PHILOSOPHY * Jeffrey A. Ewing, Andrew M. Winters * 9780812694703 * PB * £14.99 * Open Court

From the deepest recesses of the Upside Down, its tunnels snaking beneath the local bookstores of Hawkins, Indiana and who knows where else, this collection of philosophical musings on the world of Stranger Things promises to enlighten readers. This volume considers many of the philosophically related ideas that that come up in the show such as: What are the moral implications of secret government projects? What is the nature of friendship? Does scientific research need to be concerned with ethics? What might it be like to experience the world from the perspective of the Mind Flayer? Is it possible to understand the metaphysics of the Upside Down? MORE / BUY

A MARVELOUS LIFE: THE AMAZING STORY OF STAN LEE * Danny Fingeroth * 9781471185748 * HB * £20.00 * Simon & Schuster UK

With behind-the-scenes stories and interviews with Stan’s brother Larry Lieber and other industry legends, The Marvelous Life has insights that only an insider like Fingeroth can offer. Fingeroth – himself a longtime writer and editor at Marvel Comics, now a lauded pop culture critic and historian – knew and worked with Stan Lee for over three decades. Due to this connection, Fingeroth is able to put Lee’s life and work in a context that makes events and actions come to life as no other writer could. MORE / BUY


WHY COMICS?: FROM UNDERGROUND TO EVERYWHERE * Hillary Chute * 9780062957788 * PB * £14.99 * Harpercollins

Focusing on ten major themes—disaster, superheroes, sex, the suburbs, cities, punk, illness and disability, girls, war, and queerness—Chute explains how comics get their messages across more effectively than any other form. “Why Disaster?” explores how comics are uniquely suited to convey the scale and disorientation of calamity, from Art Spiegelman’s representation of the Holocaust and 9/11 to Keiji Nakazawa’s focus on Hiroshima. “Why the Suburbs?” examines how the work of Chris Ware and Charles Burns illustrates the quiet joys and struggles of suburban existence; and “Why Punk?” delves into how comics inspire and reflect the punk movement’s DIY aesthetics. Why Comics? is an indispensable guide that offers a deep understanding of this influential art form and its masters. MORE / BUY

MAKING COMICS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE * Dave Gibbons (Author), Tim Pilcher (Author) * 9780785837374 * PB * £9.99 * Chartwell Books

In the Eisner–nominated Making Comics Dave Gibbons and Tim Pilcher offer a class in creating comic books. The artist behind juggernauts like Watchmen and The Green Lantern, Dave Gibbons, is here to teach you scriptwriting, page layouts, lettering, cover designs, and more. Making Comics covers both Gibbons’ hand-drawn and digital design techniques in depth. You’ll learn how he layers text for editing, creates effects such as flares and neon glows, and prepares artwork for print and online. Making Comics is everything you need to know to get started creating great comic books. MORE / BUY

MAKING COMICS * Lynda Barry * 9781770463691 * PB * £16.99 * Drawn & Quarterly

For more than five years cartoonist Lynda Barry has been teaching students from all majors, graduate and undergraduate, how to make comics, how to be creative, how to not think. Doodling is enthusiastically encouraged. Making Comics is the follow-up to Barry’s bestselling Syllabus and this time she shares all of her comics-making exercises in a new hand drawn syllabus detailing her creative curriculum. At the core of Making Comics is her certainty that creativity is vital to processing the world. MORE / BUY

COMICS AND POP CULTURE * Barry Keith Grant, Scott Henderson * 9781477319390 * PB * £26.99 * University of Texas Press

Representing diverse academic fields, including technoculture, film studies, theatre, feminist studies, popular culture, and queer studies, Comics and Pop Culture examines current debates and the questions raised by comics adaptations – authorship, style, and textual fidelity. The contributors consider the topic from an array of approaches that take into account representation as well as concepts of world-building and cultural appropriation in comics from Modesty Blaise to Black Panther. MORE / BUY


Children’s and Young Adult


THE FOWL TWINS * Eoin Colfer * 9780008324810 * HB * £14.99 * Harpercollins * Artemis Fowl – Spinoff Series * 1

*** First in a spin-off series from the super-selling Artemis Fowl! ***

Myles and Beckett Fowl are twins but wildly different. Beckett is blonde, messy and sulks whenever he has to wear clothes. Myles is impeccably neat, has an IQ of 170, and 3D prints a fresh suit every day – just like his older brother, Artemis. A week after their eleventh birthday the twins are left in the care of house security system, NANNI, for a single night. In that time, they befriend a troll on the run from a nefarious nobleman and an interrogating nun, both of whom need the magical creature for their own gain… MORE / BUY


Graphic Novels


A PUFF OF SMOKE * Sarah Lippett * 9781911214861 * HB * £18.99 * Jonathan Cape

When the headaches started, Sarah Lippett would stand alone on a different side of the playground from the other children. When she started to drag one of her legs visits to many different bewildered doctors began. When Sarah went back to school she was placed with the struggling kids, and still so often ill, she felt even more alone. But Sarah’s parents never showed despair and she grew up in the midst of a boisterous, loving family. Finally, when Sarah turned sixteen, she was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital where the doctors diagnosed her with the rare disease, Moyamoya… MORE / BUY

THUMBS * Sean Lewis, Hayden Sherman * 9781534313590 * PB * £17.99 * Image Comics

Imagine Mark Zuckerburg created his own army of tech obsessed teens and directed them to take on the government. Welcome to the world of THUMBS! Adrian Camus is a rock star tech designer who’s recruited kids like THUMBS to turn their experience playing his video games into real life warfare. Opposing them, is the Power, a group of politicians and advocates wanting to take tech away and return to simpler times. Heartfelt, action packed and forward thinking it is the next hit from the team that brought you the smash hit THE FEW. Collects THUMBS issues 1 through 5. MORE / BUY

SHARKEY THE BOUNTY HUNTER VOL 1 * Mark Millar, Simone Bianchi * 9781534313668 * PB * £17.99 * Image Comics

Set in a brilliant new sci-fi universe, Sharkey is a blue-collar bounty hunter tracking criminals across the galaxy in his converted, rocket-powered ice-cream truck. Aided and abetted by his ten-year-old partner, he’s out for the biggest bounty of his career. Collects SHARKEY THE BOUNTY HUNTER 1-6. NB. Netflix’s latest live-action project from Mark Millar – read the comic before you see the movie! MORE / BUY

INVISIBLE KINGDOM VOL 1 * G. Willow Wilson, Christian Ward * 9781506712277 * PB * £16.99 * Berger Books

Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning author G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel) and Eisner winning artist Christian Ward (Black Bolt) team up for this epic new sci-fi saga. In a small solar system in a far-flung galaxy, two women – one a young religious acolyte and the other, a hard-bitten freighter pilot – uncover a conspiracy between the leaders of the most dominant religion and an all-consuming mega-corporation. On the run from reprisals on both sides, this unlikely pair must decide where their loyalties lie… and risk plunging the world into anarchy if they reveal the truth. MORE / BUY

GIFTS OF THE NIGHT * Paul Chadwick (Author), John Bolton (Illustrator) * 9781506710747 * HB * £16.99 * Berger Books

Never before collected into a single volume, Gifts of the Night is a timeless fable of family, power, sex, and betrayal by two masters of comics storytelling. When a simpleton prince has a vision that his father, the King, turns into military strategy, he is hailed as a seer. But no one realizes that his visions are merely poetic retellings of history lessons learned from his timid tutor, who becomes a reckless manipulator of the boy’s visions.
Magdin soon becomes a helpless pawn in a game of savage political intrigue. When his prophecies become more and more ominous, no one is safe as desperation and murder thunders throughout the kingdom. MORE / BUY


PUNK MAMBO * Cullen Bunn, Adam Gorham * 9781682153307 * PB * £13.99 * Valiant

Punk Mambo is a hard-living voodoo priestess who grew up in London, then relocated to Louisiana’s Bayou Country. Now, she’s a mystical mercenary for hire. In her first-ever solo series, Punk Mambo investigates a series of abductions in the New Orleans gutter punk scene, stumbling upon a deadlier mystery that takes her to the haunted shores of Haiti. From writer Cullen Bunn (Venom) and artist Adam Gorham (New Mutants: Dead Souls) comes this hilariously horrifying breakout adventure for Valiant’s fan-favorite mystic malcontent. Collecting the five-issue limited series, along with PUNK MAMBO #0 from writer Peter Milligan and artist Robert Gill. MORE / BUY

SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY * Chip Zdarsky (Author), Mark Bagley (Author) * 9781302917333 * PB * £20.99 * Marvel

In 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15, fifteen-year-old Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and became the Amazing Spider-Man! 57 years have passed in the real world since that event – so what would have happened if the same amount of time passed for Peter as well? To celebrate Marvel’s 80th anniversary, Chip Zdarsky and Spider-Man legend Mark Bagley unite to spin a unique Spidey tale – telling an entire history of Spider-Man from beginning to end, set against the key events of the decades through which he lived! Prepare to watch Peter Parker age through 57 years of groundbreaking history – and find out what happens to him, and those he loves the most! Collecting: Spider-Man: Life Story 1-6 MORE / BUY

BLADE RUNNER 2019 VOLUME 1 * Michael Green (Author), Mike Johnson (Author), Andres Guinaldo (Illustrator) * 9781787731615 * PB * £12.99 * Titan Comics

Welcome to the rain soaked world of Los Angeles 2019 – a dystopic world of Replicants, Spinners and hardboiled future noir. There’s a new Blade Runner in town, and she’s out for blood. Replicant blood. This officially sanctioned sequel comic to the original Blade Runner film is written by Michael Green, the screenwriter of Blade Runner 2049. MORE / BUY

RIVERS OF LONDON VOLUME 7: ACTION AT A DISTANCE * Ben Aaronovitch (Author), Andrew Cartmel (Author), Brian Williamson (Illustrator) * 9781785865466 * PB * £13.99 * Titan Comics

*** See above for the latest Rivers of London Novel from Ben Aaronovitch ***

Uncover the secret World War II history of Peter Grant’s mentor, the mysterious Nightingale! October, 1957. A serial killer terrorising the women of Cumbria has moved to the streets of London, with Constable Angus Strallen hot on his heels. But this murderer has special abilities, and Strallen soon realises he needs the help of an old friend from the front lines who can match this madman’s power – London’s own wizarding police officer, Thomas Nightingale. As the pair move in closer, it quickly becomes clear that murder is not this man’s only intent. Tying directly into the continuity of the Rivers of London novels and revealing secrets about Nightingale’s past that readers have long-hoped to find out! Collects Rivers of London: Action at a Distance #1-4. MORE / BUY



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