October 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

First up RF Kuang’s Edgy fantasy based on 20th C China. THE POPPY WAR centres around opium, the manifestation of god-level abilities, and the young woman embroiled in both…

Then Peter McClean’s PRIEST OF BONES: Sounds like a delicious piece of grimdark. A soldier-priest returns home to a state of high unemployment, food shortages and the plague – and to find that someone has stolen his criminal empire. Time to assemble a misfit band of his dangerous friends to play the espionage game…

With praise from Yoon Ha Lee and Cixin Liu Solaris might well have a real winner on their hands with Derek Kunsken’s THE QUANTUM MAGICIAN. A post-human super-genius becomes the galaxy’s greatest con man and thief. But when all of that fails to challenge his overactive intellect he takes on a job to smuggle a squadron of warships through an enemy wormhole with consequences either way for all of humanity…

Malazan Book of the Fallen scribe Steven Erikson joins Gollancz with REJOICE, a highly lauded novel of first contact. An alien AI comes to save the Earth – even if it must destroy or control us in order to do so…

And the author of Altered Carbon (now adapted to a stylish visual treat of a TV series) returns after 8 years serving up another download of cyberpunk. In THIN AIR A bodyguard investigates the abduction of his charge on Mars, who in turn was investigating the disappearance of a lottery winner…

Got bad dreams? If you’re in London in 2022 you could call up Charlie the dreamhacker. You’d just best hope they’re not caused by someone less pleasant with the same abilities… SWEET DREAMS hits in paperback in October also from Gollancz

Charles Stross returns with the latest in his Lovecraftian Urban Fantasy series The Laundry Files, THE LABYRINTH INDEX. An elder god is now in residence at No 10, our protecting secret governmental department The Laundry is disbanded, and there are supernatural troubles for Mhari Murphy to investigate in America…

How much love is there for Fink and Cranor’s Night Vale novels? Rather a lot as far as we can tell, rather a lot to say the least. Night Vale is a town in which the whole of the X-Files played out (something along those lines). In IT DEVOURS! a young scientist must desperately seek common ground with a charismatic member of a secret cult and it’s dark mysteries…

Then BLOOD COMMUNION. Noted as one of the Bookseller’s Super Thursday highlights and no real surprise, Anne Rice is back with the latest installment of the (after)life of vampire Prince Lestat…

Meanwhile MUSE OF NIGHTMARES arrives from the superb Laini Taylor, sequel to Strange the Dreamer, a  liminal fantasy for young and older adults… 

And now in paperback PERSEPOLIS RISING by James SA Corey. It’s the latest volume of The Expanse, doing great things in adapted form on Netflix – but if you’re ploughing through the books, well, here’s the latest!

Then in THE HYENA AND THE HAWK the soulless Plague People have risen to remake the world in their own dark visions. Now in paperback, the concluding part of Mr Tchaikovsky’s latest series, Echoes of the Fallen…


Bibliographic Information (more highlights follow)

THE POPPY WAR * RF Kuang * 9780008239848 * PB * £8.99 * HarperVoyager
PRIEST OF BONES * Peter McLean * 9781787473485 * HB * £18.99 * Jo Fletcher
THE QUANTUM MAGICIAN * Derek Kunsken * 9781781085707 * PB * £8.99 * Solaris
REJOICE * Steven Erikson * 9781473223806 * HB * £18.99 * Gollancz
THIN AIR * Richard Morgan * 9780575075146 * HB * £20 * Gollancz
SWEET DREAM * Tricia Sullivan * 9781473213005 * PB * £14.99 * Gollancz
THE LABYRINTH INDEX * Charles Stross * 9780356511085 * HB * £20 * Orbit * The Laundry Files * 9
IT DEVOURS! * Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor * 9780356508672 * PB * £8.99 * Orbit * A Night Vale novel *
BLOOD COMMUNION: A TALE OF PRINCE LESTAT * Anne Rice * 9781784742058 * HB * £20 * Chatto & Windus * The Vampire Chronicles * 13
MUSE OF NIGHTMARES * Laini Taylor * 9781444789034 * HB * £16.99 * Hodder * Strange the Dreamer sequel * 2
PERSEPOLIS RISING * James S A Corey * 9780356510323 * PB * £9.99 * Orbit * The Expanse * 7
THE HYENA AND THE HAWK * Adrian Tchaikovsky * 9781509830299 * PB * £8.99 * Pan * Echoes of the Fall * 3



First up some ‘social minded’ non-fiction to shout about, beginning with James Miller’s CAN DEMOCRACY WORK, a major critique of democracy and the role it plays in the common good – or otherwise…

Then Afua Hirsch’s BRIT(ISH) arrives in paperback, concerning the search for identity of non-white British people in a society, many elements of which don’t understand them as citizens, native or otherwise…

Some great books on film in October and just had to include BROADSWORD CALLING DANNY BOY. Not perhaps the usual focus of Carabas, but on a personal note Where Eagles Dare is one of those much-loved classics of war / espionage movies. Now approaching its fiftieth anniversary this is a scene by scene analysis but with affection and humour…

Next up HORROR MOVIES a reissue of the work of the late James Marriott, with foreword and endorsement by one Kim Newman! A must-have read and reference by the big fans of the genre?

And on the same subject / genre in SLEEPING WITH THE LIGHTS ON: THE UNSETTLING STORY OF HORROR Darryl Jones casts a net across hundreds of years of literature, theatre, film and the internet examining our fascination with horror, its tropes and key changes in the genre…

Not moving on from what we refer to as ‘Fact Behind the Fiction’ but segueing into the superheroic GENDER AND THE SUPERHERO NARRATIVE is an essay collection on social justice and representation as relates the genre and the backlash against it. Covers comics themselves, TV adaptations, cosplay and cons and games besides. Essays by Dorian Alexander, Janine Coleman, Gabriel Gianola, Mel Gibson, Michael Goodrum, Tim Hanley, Vanessa Hemovich, Christina Knopf, Christopher McGunnigle, Samira Nadkarni, Ryan North, Lisa Perdigao, Tara Prescott, Philip Smith, and Maite Ucaregui…

And then almost definitively a work that lives in our ‘Fact Behind the Fiction’ tag, with creative benefits besides… Dan Koboldt curated a series of articles on science in sicence fiction for fans and aspiring writers on his blog, from scientists, engineers, medical professionals and more (including our pal Terry Newman!) Now in PUTTING THE SCIENCE IN FICTION: EXPERT ADVICE FOR WRITING WITH AUTHENTICITY IN SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, & OTHER GENRES Writer’s Digest have collected those articles in printed form for your enjoyment and insight…

And finally on the Music front THE FLAME. Coming from Canongate in hardback this is the last collection of writings – thoughts and poetry, illustrations also – by the great Leonard Cohen…


BRIT(ISH): ON RACE, IDENTITY AND BELONGING * Afua Hirsch * 9781784705039 * PB * £8.99 * Vintage
BROADSWORD CALING DANNY BOY: ON WHERE EAGLES DARE * Geoff Dyer * 9780141987620 * PB * £7.99 * Penguin
HORROR MOVIES * James Marriott * 9781787391390 * PB * £20 * Carlton
GENDER AND THE SUPERHERO NARRATIVE * Tara Prescott, Philip Smith, Michael Goodrum * 9781496821102 * PB * £28.95 * University Press of Mississippi
THE FLAME * Leonard Cohen * 9781786893130 * HB * £20.00 * Canongate


Children’s and Young Adult

Middle Grade & YA next, for kids and adults both – A month of big sequels. First up the sequel to the highly rated Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow – WUNDERSMITH. Morrigan Crow had a curse that was broken, then discovering she has a magic she’s told is evil. Now her friends are being blackmailed and turned against her, and the most evil man in the world is trying to lure her away from the society that is supposed to be protecting her…

Then SKYCIRCUS, the latest in Peter Bunzl’s Cogheart Adventures, a rip-roaring Middle Grade steampunk yarn with a fiery female lead. Still looking forward to a read of the second but the first was absolutely superb. Now Lily and Robert have been kidnapped by a sinister flying circus… (Don’t let there be clowns, don’t let there be clowns…)

Onto YA and kicking off with the much-anticipated fourth volume in Ransom Riggs series Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children with a new story arc and new American peculiarities in A MAP OF DAYS

Next the follow up to Otherworld from Oneworld, from the imaginations of How I Met Your Mother’s Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller – already, and unsurprisingly, compared to Ready Player One. In OTHEREARTH Simon, Kat and Busara are on the run having escaped the company who run Otherworld, the super-addictive virtual reality game, but know too much to be left at liberty…

And with Taran Matharu’s The Summoner series well underway, four books out already – basically Lord of the Rings meets Pokemon – it’s probably about time for a world guide. A statement of the mark the series has made… Check it out – THE SUMMONER’S HANDBOOK.



WUNDERSMITH: THE CALLING OF MORRIGAN CROW * Jessica Townsend * 9781510104440 * HB * £12.99 * Orion * Morrigan Crow * 2
SKY CIRCUS * Peter Bunzl * 9781474940658 * PB * £6.99 * Usborne * The Cogheart Adventures * 3
A MAP OF DAYS * Random Riggs * 9780141385907 * HB * £14.99 * Penguin * Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children * 4
OTHEREARTH * Jason Segel, Kirsten Miller * 9781786074522 * PB * £7.99 * Oneworld / Rock the Boat * Otherworld * 2
THE SUMMONER’S HANDBOOK * Taran Matharu * 9781444947700 * HB * £14.99 * Hodder * The Summoner


Graphic Novels

We’re all about new creations – but there are some reissues and anniversaries we just can’t ignore. Neil Gaiman’s mythic/horror epic THE SANDMAN is one, the first volume PRELUDES & NOCTURNES arriving in October…

Created by the great Alan Moore in his legendary Swamp Thing run, magician John Constantine was then taken on by Moore’s handpicked successor Jamie Delano for his own series Hellblazer which then saw a defining era under the scripting of Garth Ennis. Three decades on Vertigo celebrate with the HELLBLAZER 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, a collection of key stories from the mature readers run (Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 and Hellblazer #11, 27, 41, 63, 120, 146, 229 and 240) with an introduction by Sting who inspired Constantine’s creation!

MEDIA TIE-IN. We’re absolutely loving the Black Lightning TV adaptation – just feels more like a proper comic superhero adventure than anything else. Check out BLACK LIGHTNING: COLD DEAD HANDS, the new comic adventures of the iconic 70s superhero. Yet to read but it does seem to be the in-universe adaptation of the TV series…

In other news – in case you weren’t aware – core writer Jason Aaron has taken the scripting reins of THE AVENGERS, with Ed McGuiness on art duties, their first volume being collected as THE AVENGERS: THE FINAL HOST. One of the interesting things about any new super-team beginning is the choice of team. Here we have the ‘big three’ – Thor, Iron Man and Captain America, long term mainstays She-Hulk and Black Panther, then core super-femme Captain Marvel, Dr Strange and – leftfield addition – Ghost Rider. Big on the film / TV ‘verse appeal aside from anything else. Anyway, come for the characters, stay for the villains – in this case the super-god Celestials, with a certain Asgardian god of mischief we gather. Mr Aaron doesn’t mess around…

MAZEWORLD is the leftfield creation from the mind of Alan Grant, rendered in the glorious art of Arthur Ranson: a fantastical story featuring an executed felon from our world waking up alive in a labyrinthine realm with it’s own dangers and machinations…

Wife and husband team Leah Moore and John Reppion serve up a little something that might just be timed with Halloween in mind, with art from Sally Jane Thompson in CONSPIRACY OF RAVENS. Teenager Anne discovers the magical nature of her family when she inherits a locket and an old mansion – and that other families with powers are not nearly so pleasant as her own…

Wanted to give an indie shout also to a little something from Seven Stories Press who’ve always got something interesting cooking. THE MENTAL LOAD is an incisive feminist commentary on women’s lives through the medium of comics, collecting the work and insights of Emma…

And then just had to include GRAFITY’S WALL from Ram V and RK Anand. Set in Mumbai, an aspiring street artist finds his canvas on single wall left standing after the demolition of the tenements outside his home and using it tell of the lives and aspirations of his friends… Really looking forward to a look at this…



SANDMAN V1 PRELUDES & NOCTURNES 30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION * Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth * 9781401284770 * PB * £15.99 * Vertigo / DC
HELLBLAZER 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION * Various * 9781401284794 * PB * £32.00 * Vertigo / DC
BLACK LIGHTNING: COLD DEAD HANDS * Tony Isabella, Clayton Henry * 9781401275150 * PB * £12.99 * DC
AVENGERS (BY JASON AARON V1) THE FINAL HOST * Jason Aaron, Ed McGuiness * 9781302911874 * PB * £14.99 * Marvel
MAZEWORLD * Alan Grant, Arthur Ranson * 9781781086568 * PB * £19.99 * 2000 AD
CONSPIRACY OF RAVENS * Leah Moore, John Reppion, Sally Jane Thompson * 9781506708836 * HB * £12.50 * Dark Horse
GRAFITY’S WALL * Ram V, RK Anand * 9781783526840 * HB * £14.99 * Unbound


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