September 2018 Book Highlights


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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! 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 September.

Enjoy!

Tim Bayley

 

Fantastic & Fantastical Fiction

First up is Chris Beckett’s nearish future political drama AMERICA CITY in which the consequences of climate change threatens the fabric American society; but will the partnership of a British publicist and Presidential candidate Senator Slaymaker bring America together or tear it apart?

Next, the mass market paperback of FRANKENSTEIN IN BAGHDAD: the blackly humorous horror, a reworking of (wait for it) Mary Shelley’s masterpiece in contemporary occupied Baghdad, winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and even shortlisted for the Booker! Bravo Oneworld – and Ahmed Saadawi of course.

Have to give a shout to BATTLESTAR SUBURBIA, anarchic offbeat SF in the vein of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy featuring humans and a sentient breadmaking appliance having a bad day… More via the link – Indie highlight from Farrago publishers…

Onto some superleads of the year. First up one of the masters of fantasy Raymond E Feist (Magician and the Riftwar novels) returns with KING OF ASHES, the opening volume in a new work featuring a young blacksmith and three assassins in training. A ruthless conqueror is taking over the five kingdoms of Garn…

Then Pan MacMillan have the pleasure of serving up a brand new series from master of SF Peter F Hamilton with SALVATION. In 2204 a security team head to the limits of know space to investigate a wrecked alien ship with contents of massive consequence; but in the far future a team of genetically engineered soldiers go to meet humanity’s ancient alien adversary with the fate of the human race at stake…

And then the much anticipated return of the superb Chris Wooding with THE EMBER BLADE from Gollancz. If you want a bold new fantasy with great characters, look no further; if you’re hankering for a modern take on classic fantasy with tropes refreshed, the archetype of the hero deconstructed, one of the most authentic medieval settings you’re likely to encounter and insightful personal journeys – look no further! Features an escape from a prison mine, a terrifying trek through ancient ruins, and a fantasy heist for a magic sword in the name of revolution and freedom…

On a not dissimilar note September also sees the paperback release of the first in a new series from John Gwynne. A TIME OF DREAD is a sequel to Gwynne’s Faithful and the Fallen quartet, set many years after, a historic and mythically-based epic which is now a mainstay of the genre and on bookshelves…

And then there’s the third volume in Bannister’s acclaimed space opera trilogy STONE CLOCK, escalating in wild speculations now to millenia ahead where humans live disembodied in VR or barely survive in reality in far flung space; meanwhile a dying aien comes to discover the truth of the Spin where this all takes place…

Bibliographic Information (More Highlights follow)

AMERICA CITY * Chris Beckett * 9781786491541 * PB * £8.99 * Corvus * *
FRANKENSTEIN IN BAGHDAD * Ahmed Saadawi (Author), Jonathan Wright (Translator) * 9781786073976 * PB * £9.99 * Oneworld * *
BATTLESTAR SURBURBIA * Chris McCrudden * 9781788421027 * PB * £8.99 * Farrago * Battlestar Suburbia *
KING OF ASHES * Raymond E Feist * 9780007264858 * HB * £20.00 * HarperVoyager * The Firemane Saga * 1
SALVATION * Peter F Hamilton * 9781447281313 * HB * £20.00 * Pan MacMillan * The Salvation Sequence * 1
THE EMBER BLADE * Chris Wooding * 9781473214842 * HB * £20 * Gollancz * The Darkwater Legacy * 1
A TIME OF DREAD * John Gwynne * 9781509812936 * PB * £8.99 * Pan MacMillan * Of Blood and Bone * 1
STONE CLOCK * Andrew Bannister * 9780593076521 * HB * £18.99 * Bantam * The Spin Trilogy * 3

 

Non-Fiction

What a month of Non-Fiction! Kicking of ART MATTERS is a title that will be a must-read for a majority of Mr Neil Gaiman’s many fans as well as a nifty little hardback of a format readily picked up by casual readers; a collection of a top level creators vision from writings and speeches, illustrated by collaborator and top talent in his own right Chris Riddell

And with his own work of non-fiction publishing, those smart people at UPoM release a collection of interviews, CONVERSATIONS WITH NEIL GAIMAN… Any takers?

Onto music. Best known as a critic and commentator on Film, Mark Kermode’s career in music seems to have lacked no similar levels of enthusiasm, or indeed success if such is measured in misadventures to entertain listeners and readers as opposed to, well, actual success. Publishing this month, HOW DOES IT FEEL?

Now in paperback, another one for the music lovers, STICKY FINGERS. With cameos by some of the biggest stars the world has ever seen, Joe Hagan details 50 years of Rolling Stone magazine’s founder’s life and encounters…

Poetry anyone? A rarity for us but this is the mighty Kate Tempest. RUNNING WITH THE WIRES is a collection of personal verses on relationships and the time between by arguably our foremost contemporary performance poet. See also The Bricks that Built the Houses, her fiction published last year. A Season Highlight in the Bookseller Buyer’s Guide, and no surprise…

Onto our cluster of progressive / awareness-raising highlights. We’ll let the publishers speak for WHY SOCIAL MEDIA IS RUINING YOUR LIFE, an affordable hardback that gives answer to ever more important questions within society: “Katherine Ormerod meets the experts involved in curating, building and combating the most addictive digital force humankind has ever created. From global influencers – who collectively have over 10 million followers – to clinical psychologists, plastic surgeons and professors, Katherine uncovers how our relationship with social media has rewired our behavioural patterns, destroyed our confidence and shattered our attention spans.”

Then in PALACES FOR THE PEOPLE Klinenberg articulates how society can become more progressive through the design of public places: libraries, parks, markets, schools, playgrounds, gardens and communal spaces – how people can come together in these shared spaces…

Already one of the highlights of the year, English journalist Reni-Eddo Lodge had an instant bestseller with Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race, articulating structural racism in the UK. In September sociologist Dr Crystal Fleming delivers her work on the same, HOW TO BE LESS STUPID ABOUT RACE. For all that it’s US slanted it could hardly lack relevance in white-dominant Britain, and frankly the more published on this the better…

Then MONEYLAND, in which Oliver Bullough serves up the horrific true picture of the super-rich and how, regardless of how they attained their wealth, they can ignore the law on an international scale. The most important book of the year? Certainly It’s in the Bookseller magazine’s Buyer’s Guide as one of their Highlights of the Season – also one of the Bookseller’s Caroline Sanderson’s top two titles of the month, to which she adds “An urgent, sickening book you’ll read in the certain knowldege that something must be done if we aren’t all to go to hell in a handcart.”

A subculture inclusion, SIGNIFICANT ZERO is something equally biography and expose of the game industry by one of it’s key writers, criticising its addiction to violence while relating how the industry can offer something a little finer through the crafting of story…

Next up we just had to include I OBJECT. It’s a history of dissent through object from the whole run of human civilisation and ties in to the exhibition curated by Mr Hislop at the British Museum beginning in September… History finally gets to be written by the underdogs, losers and rebels…

Ronald Hutton has long established himself as an authority on pagansim in history and the present with previous titles from Oxford University Press. Yale have snapped him up here for THE WITCH: A HISTORY OF FEAR, FROM ANCIENT TIMES TO THE PRESENT, a trade-end higher brow history focus on exactly what you’d expect… Already widely praised and now in paperback.

Over three years in the making, TTT: TATTOO is a landmark book for the real aficionado of body art. 528 pages with 1667 pictures covering the work of 300 top contemporary tattoo artists and seminal figures of tattooing… Nuff said.

All hail history publisher Pen & Sword. In September they publish Neil Melville’s TWO HANDED SWORD HISTORY, DESIGN AND USE, an account of the development, spread and techniques of use of the iconic two-handed sword from the 13th century onward… One for the history buffs and practitioners of medieval sword-fighting naturally…

 

ART MATTERS * Neil Gaiman (author), Chris Riddell (illustrator * 9781472260086 * PB * £9.99 * Headline
CONVERSATIONS WITH NEIL GAIMAN (LITERARY CONVERSATIONS SERIES) * Joseph Michael Sommers (Author), Neil Gaiman (Contributor) * 9781496818706 * PB * £24.50 * University Press of Mississippi
HOW DOES IT FEEL?: A LIFE OF MUSICAL MISADVENTURES * Mark Kermode * 9781474608978 * HB * £18.99 * Orion
STICKY FINGERS: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JANN WENNER AND ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE * Joe Hagan * 9781782115939 * PB * £12.99 * Canongate
RUNNING UPON THE WIRES * Kate Tempest * 9781509830022 * PB * £9.99 * Pan MacMillan
WHY SOCIAL MEDIA IS RUINING YOUR LIFE * Katherine Ormerod * 9781788400626 * HB * £12.99 * Octopus
PALACES FOR THE PEOPLE: HOW TO BUILD A MORE EQUAL AND UNITED SOCIETY * Eric Klinenberg * 9781847924995 * HB * £18.99 * Vintage
HOW TO BE LESS STUPID ABOUT RACE: ON RACISM, WHITE SUPREMACY, AND THE RACIAL DIVIDE * Crystal M Fleming * 9780807050774 * HB * £20.00 * Beacon Press
MONEYLAND: WHY THIEVES AND CROOKS NOW RULE THE WORLD AND HOW TO TAKE IT BACK * Oliver Bullough * 9781781257920 * HB * £20 * Profile
SIGNIFICANT ZERO: HEROES, VILLAINS, AND THE FIGHT FOR ART AND SOUL IN VIDEO GAMES * Walt Williams * 9781501129964 * PB * £10.99 * Atria Books
I OBJECT: IAN HISLOP’S SEARCH FOR DISSENT * Ian Hislop & Thomas Hockenhull * 9780500480410 * HB * £25 * Thames & Hudson
THE WITCH: A HISTORY OF FEAR, FROM ANCIENT TIMES TO THE PRESENT * Ronald Hutton * 9780300238679 * PB * £11.99 * Yale University Press
TTT: TATTOO * TTTism / Maxime Plescia-Buchi & Nick Schonberger * 9781786270757 * HB * £50 * Lawrence King
TWO HANDED SWORD HISTORY, DESIGN AND USE * Neil Melville * 9781526733139 * HB * £25.00 * Pen & Sword

 

Children’s and Young Adult

Onto our Middle Grade and Young Adult highlights, beginning with the third volume in one of the very best series of recent times, The Five Realms, best known by it’s titular character, the legendary warrior-rabbit-to-be Podkin One-Ear… In THE BEASTS OF GRIMHEART Podkin and his siblings Paz and Pook go forth to request a magic bow from their uncle, unaware they’ve been betrayed… Smashing illustrations to complement a smashing story: A series to be genuinely excited about…

Then modern children’s legend Cornelia Funke returns with this Christmas time fantasy set in an alternate England / London (Londra) populated behind the scenes with races from our fairy tales. A young Tabatha seeks the titular magical object THE GLASS OF LEAD & GOLD with some decidedly unusual companions… A captivating short read at 96 pages…

Is any introduction necessary? If you’re not returning to the world of Lyra and His dark Materials then get reading Northern Lights now, devour The Subtle Knife, then blast through The Amber Spyglass ready for this; for this rest of us, the wait is finally over… Book one of The Book of Dust LA BELLE SAUVAGE is here, now in paperback as of September 2018. NB. As Pullman has put it these new books are ‘equals’ – both prequels and sequels and, we imagine, simultaneous to the original jaw-dropping trilogy…

And set progressively in near-future periods, the bestselling author of YA super-spy series CHERUB Robert Muchamore is back, now at Hot Key publishers, with a new standalone speculative thriller, KILLER T. With wild advancements in genetic engineering you can get smart, beat terminal diseases, look great – or create deadly synthetic viruses. The newest and deadliest? Killer T. The terrorists want a billion dollars or they’ll release it. So what does this have to do with Las Vegas teens, lonely new arrival from Britain Harry – and Charlie who’s been accused of blowing up a football player? Looking forward to a read of this…

 

THE BEASTS OF GRIMHEART * Kieran Larwood * 9780571328444 * HB * £10.99 * Faber * The Five Kingdoms * 3
THE GLASS OF LEAD AND GOLD * Cornelia Funke * 9781782691983 * HB * £9.99 * Pushkin Children’s
LA BELLE SAUVAGE: THE BOOK OF DUST VOLUME ONE * Philip Pullman * 9780241365854 * PB * £7.99 * Penguin and David Fickling Books * His Dark Materials
KILLER T * Robert Muchamore * 9781471407178 * HB * £12.99 * Hot Key Books

 

Graphic Novels

Graphic Novels / Comic Collections – kicking off with the latest instalment of KICK-ASS, the double-A-List creative duo of Millar and Romita Jr return for another helping in THE NEW GIRL. This time its not Dave Lizewski in the green and yellow. So who is the new female Kick-Ass?

We don’t suppose anyone would be interested in the new series by the top level creator of the Walking Dead (as well as Invincible and the also TV-adapted Outcast)? In OBLIVION A man makes daily trips to rescue refugees from the hellish realm Philadelphia fell into years ago – but does he have a motive beyond philanthropy and, if so, what is it?

Next up a couple from Marvel, firstly a giant collection of the now-TV-adapted superpowered misfit duo in CLOAK AND DAGGER: PREDATOR AND THE PREY, notably by their superb creator Bill Mantlo, and featuring villains from the mundane to the supernaturally freakish…

Superhero characters, it’s now well established in the Marvel Universe as well as DC’s, never stay dead. But the circumstances of Jean Grey’s last demise means it would need a truly great creative team to justify her return. From their established work and the love X-MEN RED has been getting, this is one red-headed creation where Marvel have hit the jackpot. A new eclectic team of characters in a book, we gather, bursting with wild ideas. If you plan on checking out one X-Men title…

On the subject of landmark series, it turns out it’s the 25th Anniversary of one of the big Batman stories. Not long after the classic Death of Superman storyline, DC opted not to kill but cripple their other lead character in this, featuring a the first appearance of the adversary who does the deed: Bane… Publishing in two volumes: KNIGHFALL V1 and KNIGHTFALL V2.

And then an Indie Highlight: FOLLOW ME IN. Children’s book artist and independent comic creator Katriona Chapman’s autobio-graphic novel seems to be causing a bit of a stir, getting a hit in the Bookseller magazine’s highlights apart from love from the indie scene. This is her story, of leaving Mexico as an artist who’d drawn nothing for five years with her boyfriend who had an alcohol problem…

 

 

KICK-ASS: THE NEW GIRL * Mark Millar, John Romita Jr * 9781534308329 * PB * £14.99 * Image
OBLIVION SONG * Robert Kirkman (Author), Lorenzo De Felici (Artist), Annalisa Leoni (Artist) * 9781534306424 * PB * £14.99 * Image
CLOAK & DAGGER: PREDATOR AND PREY * Bill Mantlo & various  * 9781302913892 * PB * £33.50 * Marvel
X-MEN RED VOL. 1: THE HATE MACHINE * Tom Taylor (Author), Mahmud Asrar (Author) * 9781302911676 * PB * £14.99 * Marvel
BATMAN: KNIGHTFALL VOLUME 1: 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION * Chuck Dixon et al * 9781401284299 * PB * £15.99 * DC
BATMAN: KNIGHTFALL VOLUME 2: 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION * Chuck Dixon et al * 9781401284398 * PB * £15.99 * DC
FOLLOW ME IN * Katriona Chapman * 9781910395387 * HB * £18.99 * Avery Hill

 

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@TimBayley1

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