September 2017 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends

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

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 September.

Enjoy!

Tim B

Fantastic & Fantastical Fiction

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THE FURTHEST STATION * Ben Aaronovitch * 9781473222427 * HB * £12.99 * Gollancz * PC Grant *
 Somewhat hot off the heels of the paperback of The Hanging Tree, the UK’s mainstay of Urban Fantasy returns with a PC Grant Novella in which Pete and Sergeant Kumar are after a ghost with an important message…

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URBAN ENEMIES * See below * 9781501155086 * PB * £10.99 * Gallery Books * Anthology of big name Urban Fantasists telling tales from the bad guys perspective: by Jim Butcher (the Dresden Files), Kelley Armstrong (Cainsville), Seanan McGuire (October Daye), Kevin Hearne (The Iron Druid Chronicles), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville), Joseph Nassise (Templar Chronicles), Domino Finn (Black Magic Outlaw), Steven Savile (Glasstown), Caitlin Kittredge (Hellhound Chronicles), Jeffrey Somers (The Ustari Cycle), Sam Witt (Pitchfork County), Craig Schaefer (Daniel Faust), Jon F. Merz (Lawson Vampire), Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock), and Diana Pharaoh Francis (Horngate Witches). Anyone missing?

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THE LAST DOG ON EARTH * Adrian J Walker * 9781785035722 * PB * £7.99 * Del Rey * Adrian Walker made a big splash with his mainstream/slipstream post-apocalyptic The End of the World Running Club (Jun 16 highlights). Now he’s back with a tale of an a mutt and his agoraphobic football fan owner braving the outside of their London flat… *** Check out also Adrian J’s musical influences on TEofWRC on Carabas here! ***

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THE TRANSITION * Luke Kennard * 9780008200459 * PB * £8.99 * Fourth Estate * The mere mention of something Black Mirror-esq by the publisher will have many rushing for their wallets and bookstores; a dark love story of debt and and submission we gather…

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INVISIBLE PLANETS * Ken Liu * 9781786692788 * PB * £8.99 * Head of Zeus * Ken Liu first came to our attention as the translator of Cixin Liu’s award-winning trilogy: here he curates a collection of the best short speculative fiction from China…

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CLADE * James Bradley * 9781785654145 * PB * £7.99 * Titan Books *
Sounds like one of those liminal SF treats that could grab a deal of mainstream interest with its mix of strange human-level happenings and characters against a semi-apocalyptic backdrop…

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WYCHWOOD * George Mann * 9781783294091 * PB * £7.99 * Titan Books * George Mann is back with a brand new series where macabre mythic fiction meets police procedural. A journalist who’s life has fallen apart ends up back in her small home town out in the sticks and teams up with a childhood friend turned policeman to investigate a ritual murder. Could the Saxon Carrion King be real and have anything to do with it? And could this canny cross-genre mix earn the author the broader appeal enjoyed by one Ben Aaronovitch? Might not be the worst bet ever placed…

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SWEET DREAMS * Tricia Sullivan * 9781473212992 * TPB * £14.99 * Gollancz * 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…

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IDLE HANDS * Tom Fletcher * 9781848662599 * PB * £7.99 * Jo Fletcher * Yet to read volume 1, Gleam, but this just smacks of well-conceived alternative fantasy with some great characters. Wild Alan and Bloody Nora set off to break into the heart of dystopia, the Pyramid, each with their own agenda…

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Children’s & YA Choice

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THE FIVE REALMS: THE GIFT OF DARKHOLLOW (PODKIN ONE EAR) * Kieran Larwood * 9780571328413 * HB * £9.99 * Faber * 2 * The Five Realms *
We were loving Podkin One-Ear before we’d even read it – more after. One of the children’s book highlights of the last decade, certain institutions called Blue Peter and Waterstones clearly felt similarly naming it as their book of the year and (children’s) of the month respectively. Now we get to hear the next chapter in the life of the great warrior rabbit Podkin and his super-smart sister Paz with more magic and adventure to be enjoyed by all…

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LOCKWOOD & CO: THE EMPTY GRAVE * Jonathan Stroud * 9780552575799 * PB * £7.99 * Corgi Childrens * Lockwood and Co * 5 * Jonathan Stroud nailed himself into the YA scene with the superb Bartimaeus sequence. Lockwood and Co is his similarly brilliantly conceived follow-up endeavour, concerning an alternative England where hauntings are a terrifying reality of daily life, and also big business…

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SKY * Sarah Driver * 9781405284684 * PB * £6.99 * Egmont * The Huntress Trilogy * 2 * On the outside Sarah Driver’s Sea looked comparatively dry, but within those pages are to be found one of the most nuanced and wildly different fantasies we can remember. From what we’ve read of Sky the author takes that all to a whole new level…

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CITADEL OF CHAOS * Steve Jackson * 9781407181257 * PB * £6.99 * Scholastic *
The re-release of the legendary Fighting Fantasy series that began in August continues! These are the choose your own adventure stories where the reader makes decisions by turning to a page of choice to continue the story. First up, originally book 2, is Citadel of Chaos where the reader as fighter-wizard has to infiltrate the lair of Balthus Dire and end his schemes before the world is threatened by his hordes…

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FOREST OF DOOM * Ian Livingstone * 9781407181288 * PB * £6.99 * Scholastic * Next up is Ian Livingstone’s Forest of Doom, a collect-the-pieces-of-the-artefact-and-save-the-world type adventure, all set in Darkwood Forest…

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HOUSE OF HELL * Steve Jackson * 9781407182001 * PB * £6.99 * Scholastic * Looking back the majority of the Titan world-set adventures were penned by Ian L, while Steve Jackson covered other genres; here it’s a present-day horror in which the ‘hero’ is caught in an old house populated by demon-worshippers and supernatural nasties besides…

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Non-Fiction Highlights

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HOW COMICS WORK * Dave Gibbons, Tim Pilcher * 9782888933410 * PB * £16.99 * Rotovision *
Comics Laureate Gibbons (artist on Watchmen and countless more) and writer-editor Pilcher serve up a pro’s account through every stage of the comic creation process. Heavy on the artistic side but delivers on the overall picture from scriptwriting (through art) to lettering and even covers and logo design. A complete package for those who want and need to know…

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COMIC BOOK FILM STYLE: CINEMA AT 24 PANELS PER SECOND * Dru Jeffries * 9781477314500 * PB * £24.99 * University of Texas Press * There’s been some really interesting material on how comics translate to film and relate to the medium generally coming from university presses. Dru Jeffries offers the latest, looking especially on how the translation is impacting the aesthetics of film more generally through close readings of all the comic blockbusters you can shake a stick at.

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VIDEO DUNGEON * Kim Newman * 9781783299393 * PB * £14.99 * Titan Books * Horror novelist and go-to film commentator Kim Newman has reviewed the best and worst DTV B-movies for Empire magazine for some time. Here Titan compile a first installment for your reading – and possibly watching – pleasure…

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THE FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO MONSTER MOVIES * Michael Gingold * 9781903254950 * PB * £16.99 * FAB Press * “Celebrated writer, editor and critic Michael Gingold starts in the silent era and traces the history of the genre all the way through to the present day. From Universal Studios legends such as Frankenstein’s Monster and the Mummy, to the big bugs, atomic mutants and space invaders that terrorised the ’50s, to the kaiju of Japan and the ecological nightmares of the ’70s and ’80s, to the CG creatures and updated favourites of recent years – they’re all here.”

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LONDON TATTOO GUIDE * Tom Angell * 9781784881207 * HB * £12.99 * Hardie Grant Books * In a first-of-a-kind collection Tom Angell “illuminates the leading pioneers of the city’s tattoo industry” and “profiles the top London studios championing new aesthetics and techniques, and celebrates their resident tattooists.” Features studios: Cloak & Dagger Tattoo (Shoreditch), Frith Street Tattoo (Soho), Good Times (Shoreditch), Love Hate Social Club (Notting Hill), Modern Classic Tattoo (Fulham), New Wave Tattoo (Muswell Hill), Old Habits (Haggerston), Parliament Tattoo (Finsbury Park), Prick (Old Street), Sang Bleu (Dalston), Seven Doors Tattoo (Aldgate), Shall Adore (Shoreditch), The Circle (Soho) and The Family Business (Exmouth Market).

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GEEK TATTOO: POP CULTURE IN THE FLESH * Issa Maoihbiou * 9782374950747 * HB * £34.99 * Cernunnos * More because we track body art in the remit of alternative culture than anything else, but we figured a good bunch of you would be intrigued by the best renditions of characters from popular culture on the skin… Check it out.

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ART OF THE STREET: SAN FRANCISCO * Andy Cantillon Photos * 9780993240782 * HB * £9.95 * Art of Publishing * From the publisher: “Art of the Street: San Francisco is the fourth book in a series dedicated to capturing the best of street art across the world’s greatest cities. Featured artists include Laura Campos, Os Gemeos, Reka, and BIP, with many more both celebrated and as yet unknown.”

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NO FUTURE: PUNK, POLITICS AND BRITISH YOUTH CULTURE 1976-84 * Matthew Worley * 9781316625606 * PB * £17.99 * Cambridge University Press * Covering punks formative years, Matthew Worley takes in all the music, fashion and associated reactionary and progressive campaigning of the time. An ever fascinating subject, this title will doubtless have the rigour of academia with a wider readership…

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CENSORED: A LITERARY HISTORY OF CONTROL AND SUBVERSION * Matthew Fellion; Katherine Inglis * 9780712356893 * HB * £25 * British Library * Never a bad moment for the subject of subversion and control to come up – and a perfect subject for those smart folk at the British Library to tackle for your reading pleasure…

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BEERONOMICS:HOW BEER EXPLAINS THE WORLD * Johan Swinnen; Devin Briski * 9780198808305 * HB * £16.99 * Oxford University Press * A look at human history through the lens of an empty glass… Well beer anyway. Whether your interest is history, economics or beer itself we just had to highlight this one for you…

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SOHO: THE HEART OF BOHEMIAN LONDON * Peter Speiser * 9780712356572 * PB * £10 * British Library * Whether or not you live in the Big City you can’t help but be intrigued by it’s history and culture. Now the British Library are turning their minds and presses to do that district by evocative district. First up: bohemian Soho!

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CAMDEN TOWN: DREAMS OF ANOTHER LONDON * Tom Bolton * 9780712356947 * PB * £10 * British Library * Then the heart of the alternative (yes even though constantly threatened by homogenizing commercial factors) in London – and therefore very much an area we cleave to – Camden!

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BLOOMSBURY: BEYOND THE ESTABLISHMENT * Matthew Ingleby * 9780712356565 * PB * £10 * British Library * Lastly literary and more generally cultural Bloomsbury…

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THE LAST LONDON:TRUE FICTIONS FROM AN UNREAL CITY * Iain Sinclair * 9781786071743 * HB * £18.99 * Oneworld * Sinclair ruminates on the Big City once more through the lens of what might best be understood as urban shamanism: “Here is a mesmerising record of secret scholars and whispering ghosts. Of disturbing encounters. Night hospitals. Pits that become cameras. Mole Man labyrinths. And privileged swimming pools, up in clouds, patrolled by surveillance helicopters.” This and much more.

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DEVOTION: WHY I WRITE * Patti Smith * 9780300218626 * HB * £12.99 * Yale University Press * The ever popular “punk poet laureate” Patti Smith lands with the consistently canny Yale press to offer up an insight into her own creative process. If we’ve got this right she begins with an original story, then works beyond into its development through an international tour of the literary landscape. A must read for rather a lot of people…

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BREAK BEATS IN THE BRONX: REDISCOVERING HIP-HOP’S EARLY YEARS * Joseph Ewoodzie * 9781469632759 * PB * £29.95 * University of North Carolina Press *
Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr. goes back to roots and relates the birth of one of the worlds most vibrant and fascinating music genres, while also establishing previously unrecognised influences and asking new questions on hip-hops foundation…

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DEMOCRACY FOR REALISTS: WHY ELECTIONS DO NOT PRODUCE RESPONSIVE GOVERNMENT * Christopher H. Achen, Larry M. Bartels * 9780691178240 * PB * £14.99 * Princeton * Social awareness highlight number one: Achen and Bartels elaborate on the realities of elections and politics with regard to how the general public self-identify…

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THE ATTENTION MERCHANTS * Tim Wu * 9781782394853 * PB * £9.99 * Atlantic Books * Whether the subtitle finally settles to ‘The Epic Struggle to Get Inside Our Heads’ or ‘How Big Business Lured Us In and Sold Us Out’ this has got to be one of those go to titles a la No Logo. Details the rise and techniques of the inescapable endeavour of marketing and publicity to place product in our minds and drive consumption…

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THE INEQUALITY CRISIS * Roger Brown * 9781447337584 * PB * £12.99 * Policy Press * And then two books on what must ultimately be the core issue of our – and any – time. Academic and policy-maker Roger Brown explores global inequality and brings it down to the UK stage, looking at what is and isn’t being done and what can be to address the stark imbalance in society…

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THE NEW URBAN CRISIS * Richard Florida * 9781786072122 * HB * £20.00 * Oneworld * Meanwhile Richard Florida zeroes in to the issue as perhaps most starkly evidenced in our cities and urban hubs, and the consequent housing crisis afflicting societies, families and individuals. He explains how it affects us all and how a more inclusive built environment can bring about collective prosperity and greater social justice…

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JUSTICE FOR ALL AND HOW TO ACHIEVE IT: CITIZENS, LAWYERS AND THE LAW IN AN AGE OF HUMAN RIGHTS * Geoffrey Nice * 9781785511233 * HB * £20 * Scala Arts & Heritage * A very interesting one for Scala Arts & heritage to be publishing. QC Geoffrey Nice takes in the sweep of judicial history in order to explain how we can further the cause of social justice…

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THE ISLAMAPHOBIA INDUSTRY: HOW THE RIGHT MANUFACTURES HATRES OF MUSLIMS (2nd Ed) * Nathan Lean * 9780745337166 * PB * £14.99 * Pluto Press * And a very natural book for progressive indie mainstay Pluto. I think we’ll let this one speak for itself but noting as a rare inclusion here as a second edition, so entirely up to date with developments on both sides of the Atlantic…

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ASTOUNDING ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF SCIENCE FICTION * Flame Tree * 9781786645272 * HB * £20 * Flame Tree * A big illustrated history of the great genre of speculation, distinguished perhaps by the wider inclusion of SF in Art and other media as well as fiction and film…

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Graphic Novels

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FIFTY FREAKIN’ YEARS OF THE FABULOUS FURRY FREAK BROTHERS * Gilbert Sheldon * 9780861662616 * PB * £9.99 * Knockabout *
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the drug-fueled anarchy of Gilbert Sheldon’s adored dysfunctional hippies Knockabout gift you a whole bunch of new strips along with an interview and artistic parody tributes by other comic greats. Can’t wait to for a look at this… Happy Birthday Phineas, Franklin, Fat Freddy… and (of course) Fat Freddy’s Cat!

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HARLEY QUINN: A CELEBRATION OF 25 YEARS * Paul Dini, Bruce Timm * 9781401275990 * HB * £35 * DC Comics * People just love Harley Quinn, The Joker’s therapist turned lunatic girlfriend. To celebrate 25 years of her comic insanity DC serve up a collection of her greatest tales from the last quarter century…

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JUPITER’S LEGACY VOL 2 * Mark Millar, Frank Quitely * 9781632158895 * PB * £14.99 * Image Comics * World-class comics scribe Mark Millar delivers the follow-up blow in his and equally World-class artist Frank Quitely’s Jupiter’s Legacy series. Riffing off the same moral vs pragmatic superheroism as Civil War which he wrote for Marvel, our morally dubious protagonists assemble a team of super-crooks to take down the pragmatic ‘heroes’ who took down their world’s equivalent of Superman in order to take over…

More info / Buy option: Link to come…

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BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA/ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK PAPERBACK * Greg Pak, Daniel Bayliss, John Carpenter (Creator) * 9781684150083 * PB * ? * Boom Town * We don’t tend to bother with crossovers – but Jon Carpenter’s Jack Burton and Snake Plisskin scripted by Greg Pak? A must-read for so many fans of comics and film besides…

More info / Buy option: Link to come…

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THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP * Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier * 9781302906467 * PB * £12.99 * Marvel * Marvel really are leading the way in terms of gender representation – and in terms of race and culture – in the superhero genre. Their latest takes a leaf from the cinematic universe and establishes Hank Pym’s daughter Nadia as the new Wasp in place (we suppose) of her mother…

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POPPIES OF IRAQ * Brigitte Findakly, Lewis Trondheim * 9781770462939 * HB * £16.99 * Drawn & Quarterly *
We might forget that the worst of places that have seen the worst tragedies and injustices still evoke feelings of home to those who were brought up there. Brigette of Findakly was a middle class Orthodox Christian living under Saddam’s regime. Her script as rendered by Lewis Trondheim relates the extreme contrasts and nuances of her childhood in Iraq, and then the subsequent isolation that results from exile…

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SAUCER COUNTRY * Paul Cornell, Ryan Kelly * 9781684050956 * PB * £26.99 * IDW Publishing * A deserved shout to Mr Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly for the overall collection of Saucer Country, an examination of the American mindset through the mythos of UFOlogy…

More info / Buy option: Link to come…

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MAN-THING * R. L. Stine, German Peralta * 9781302902001 * PB * £13.50 * Marvel * And a special shout out for this. The latest adventures of Marvel’s muck-monster – however much fun – would be hard-pressed to squidge into these hallowed ranks of titles – only this is scripted by Goosebumps creator RL Stine! Not yet read, really looking forward to doing so…

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NICK CAVE: MERCY ON ME * Reinhard Kleist * 9781910593363 * PB * £14.99 * Self Made Hero * Always interesting to see what SelfMadeHero have in the works – and Reinhard Kleist’s graphic biography of Nick Cave’s early and formative years could be a real winner. Check it out on Waterstone’s where pre-orders earn you chance to see the man himself at the O2 and other Cave greatness…

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@TimBayley1

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