Extract / Preview – Song of the Sycamore by Edward Cox

Chapter One

The city of Old Castle rose from the wasteland like an abscess swelling on the festering skin of a diseased world. Across its neighbourhoods and districts a siren called, lifting and falling with an ominous wail that sent citizens scurrying for their homes. Hiding like monsters in burrows, they prayed that this latest threat from the wastes would pass the city by, while fearing that this time, judgement had come to demand penance for their crimes. The people of Old Castle were rank with guilt. The city was populated by murderers.

And it was my home.

Through the chill of evening shadows, I made my way to the outskirts of Old Castle. No breeze disturbed the air, no sound accompanied the siren’s wail; light from a setting red sun did little to warm a tense ambience. Beyond the last of the buildings, I began crossing a stretch of open ground, heading towards the city wall. But it wasn’t me walking, not really, not any more. I could see through my eyes, hear through my ears, smell the stench of the city, but I had no control over my direction. My footsteps weren’t made of my own volition.

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Extract / Preview: Luna by Ian McDonald

CB - Go - Sep - Luna ONE
In a white room on the edge of the Sinus Medii sit six naked teen­ agers. Three girls, three boys. Their skins are black, yellow, brown, white. They scratch at their skins constantly, intently. Depressurisa­tion dries hide, breeds itches.
The room is tight, a barrel barely large enough to stand up in. The kids are wedged on benches facing each other, thighs pressed against their neighbours’, knees touching those opposite. There is nowhere to look and nothing to see except each other but they are  shy of eye contact. Too  close, too exposed. Each breathes through a transparent mask. Oxygen hisses where the seals are inexact. Just below the window on the outlock door is a pressure meter. It stands at fifteen kilopascals. It has taken an hour to bring the pressure this low.
But outside is vacuum.


Lucasinho leans forward and once again looks through the small window. The gate is easily visible; the line from him to it is straight and open. The sun is low, the shadows are long and profound, thrown towards him. Blacker on the black regolith, they could conceal many treacheries. Surface temperature is one hundred and twenty Celsius, his familiar had warned. It will be a fire-walk.

A fire­walk, an ice­walk.

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The Music behind the Relic Guild – by its author Edward Cox

CB - Jul - The Relic Guild PB Last year I wrote a piece for the Gollancz blog about how important music is to me and my writing process. This year the Grim Reaper seems to be working overtime to claim so many of our musical heroes and influences. In light of this, the piece that I wrote for Gollancz seems more pertinent because the music that touches us doesn’t die with its creators. It’s important that we continue to celebrate the work they leave behind, and also cherish the artists who are still with us and continue to inspire.
(NB. If you’d like to get more background before going on you can check out our profile of Ed here, more on his first book The Relic Guild and sequel The Cathedral of Known Things and other Gollancz titles via those links, and even read an extract from The Relic Guild here!)

Music has always been an important part of my life. I used to make my own – probably not very well, but then I wanted to be a writer, so who cares! – and if not for time constraints, I’d still be making it now. It was a lot of fun, and I remember the lifetime of hours I spent noodling around in my little studio setup very fondly. But the one thing I’ll never give up on is the passion I have for the music that I listened to. It is integral to who I am.

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A Q&A with Crashing Heaven author Al Robertson

CBP Jun - Crashing Heaven CB - Go - Oct 16 - Waking Hell Having read the marvellous Crashing Heaven – mass market paperback coming from Gollancz in May and the sequel Waking Hell scheduled for October – we were very keen to quiz the mind behind this “gnarly, wild AI thriller”.
Here’s what we wanted to know and what author Al Robertson had to say…
(NB. If you’d like to read more about Crashing Heaven first check out the link above and / or read our extract here!)


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Gollancz Books – Publishing Jan-Jun 16!

CPP - Gollancz 1 Here’s an (edited) look at what Gollancz have coming for you over the period Jan-Jun 2016! We’ll be bringing you our particular recommends of all publishers together by month of publication. Note: All copy from Gollancz; we’ve included Hardback or Trade PB jackets were a Mass Market Paperback cover is yet to be confirmed and publication dates are liable to change.
*** Publisher Page – link / profile ***
*** See Other Publishers Jan-Jun 16 [In Progress] ***

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Extract / Preview: Confluence The Trilogy by Paul McAuley (from Child of the River, Book 1)

CPP - PM - Confluence The Trilogy


The White Boat

The Constable of Aeolis was a shrewd, pragmatic man who did not believe in miracles. In his opinion, everything must have an explanation, and simple explanations were best of all. ‘The sharpest knife cuts cleanest,’ he often told his sons. And: ‘The more a man talks, the more likely it is he’s lying.’
But to the end of his days, he could not explain the affair of the white boat.
It happened one midsummer night, when the huge black sky above the Great River was punctuated only by a scattering of dim halo stars and the dull red swirl of the Eye of the Preservers, no bigger than a man’s hand and outshone by the heaped lights of the little city of Aeolis and the lights of the carracks riding at anchor outside the harbour entrance.

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Extract / Preview: The Thing Itself by Adam Roberts

CB - Go - Dec - The Thing Itself 1
Thing and Sick
The beginning was the letter.
Roy would probably say the whole thing began when he solved the Fermi Paradox, when he achieved (his word) clarity. Not clarity, I think: but sick. Sick in the head. He probably wouldn’t disagree. Not any more. Not with so much professional psychiatric opinion having been brought to bear on the matter. He concedes as much to me, in the many communications he  has addressed to me from his asylum. He sends various manifestos and communications to the papers too, I understand. In  all of them he claims to have finally solved the Fermi Paradox. If he has, then I don’t expect my nightmares to diminish any time soon.

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Extract / Preview: The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

CBP - The Death House


‘They say it makes your eyes bleed. Almost pop out of your head and then bleed.’
‘Who says?’
‘People. I just heard it.’
‘You made it up.’
‘No, I didn’t,’ Will says. ‘Why would I make that up? I heard it somewhere. You go mad first and then your eyes bleed. I think maybe your whole skin bleeds.’
‘That is such a heap of shit.’

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Extract / Preview: The Boy Who Wept Blood by Den Patrick

CBP - The Boy Who Wept Blood


The Second Son of Allattamento

6 Giugno 325
Lady Araneae Oscuro Diaspora, formerly of House Contadino, known to her subjects as the Silent Queen, sat back from her letter-writing. Her nightgown was a pale grey silk that left her arms bare, alabaster skin almost luminous in the candlelight. As ever she wore a veil over the bottom half of her face, a neat triangle of matching fabric, a line of blue embroidery dancing along the topmost edge. Her kohl-stained eyes stared out of the lead-latticed windows; the town of Santa Maria slept in darkness beyond the glass. Blacksmiths slumbered, children snored faintly, while drunks mumbled and turned, beset by night terrors. Mothers and fathers dared dream of a prosperous, safer future.

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Press Release – Sharp Ends, a collection from Joe Abercrombie


‘Joe Abercrombie is doing some terrific work’

George R. R. Martin, author of GAME OF THRONES.

‘The brightest star among the new generation of British fantasy writers’ THE TIMES

Gollancz and Orbit to publish Sharp Ends, a collection of gritty short stories by Joe Abercrombie

Gollancz and Orbit US are thrilled to announce that they will be publishing a stunning hardback collection of superb short stores featuring best-loved characters from the world of The First Law, by Sunday Times bestselling fantasy author Joe Abercrombie. Gollancz will publish the collection in the United Kingdom and Orbit in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »

August 2015 Carabas New Book Recommends

Carabas - New Book Recommends
CB - DR - Aug - Return of the Discontinued Man
CB - Corgi - Aug - The Hive Construct
CB - Aug - The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
CB - Go - Aug - The House of Shattered Wings
CB - AR - Aug - The Contrary Effect of the Butterfly Girl


The two months following August are where publishers traditionally bring out their big guns ready for a certain festive season; that said August is a pretty heavyweight month as far as we’re concerned, with some cracking mass market paperbacks, not to mention trades and hardbacks of particular note.

And our top picks aren’t the end of the either, so check out the individual Publisher links for their July to December output: plenty more on those as well!

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The Fantastical & The Speculative – Publishing July to December 2015!

Carabas Pub Jul-Dec 15 Herein, via links to individual pages, lies the more-or-less complete output of UK SFF and major worldwide Graphic Novel publishers for July to December 2015!
We’ve applied selection criteria with the assumption that readers with a penchant for paranormal romance and titles more for the American market will have no problem finding those elsewhere; reissues and classic reprints are included sparingly.

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Gollancz – Publishing Jul-Dec 15!

CPP - Gollancz 1 Here’s an (edited) look at what Gollancz have coming for you over the period July to Dec 2015! We’ll be bringing you our particular recommends of all publishers together by month of publication. Note: Publication dates are liable to change.
*** Publisher Page – link / profile ***
*** See Other Publishers Jul-Dec 15 ***


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Extract / Preview: Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

Nov - Foxglove Summer 1

Due Diligence

I was just passing the Hoover Centre when I heard Mr Punch scream his rage behind me. Or it might have been someone’s brakes or a distant siren or an Airbus on final approach to Heathrow.
I’d been hearing him off and on since stepping from the top of a tower block in Elephant and Castle. Not a real sound, you understand – an impression, an ex-pression through the city itself – what we might call a super-vestigia if Nightingale wasn’t so dead set against me making up my own terminology.
Sometimes he’s in a threatening mood, sometimes I hear him as a thin wail of despair in amongst the wind moaning around a tube train. Or else he’s pleading and wheedling in the growl of late-night traffic beyond my bedroom window. He’s a mercurial figure, our Mr Punch. As changeable and as dangerous as an away crowd on a Saturday night.

This time it was rage and petulance and resentment. I couldn’t understand why, though – it wasn’t him who was driving out of London. Read the rest of this entry »

July 2015 Carabas New Book Recommends

Carabas - New Book Recommends CB - Or - Jul - Tracer CBP - Jun - Three Moments of an Explosion CB - AR - Jul - Time Salvager Haig Nov - Foxglove Summer


Having just worked through the next 6 months of fantastical output we’re finding it as hard as ever to restrain our top picks; just so much great stuff! But there really is something about July this year where we’ve straightforwardly had to say ‘whatever – all this must go in’… And these aren’t even the end of the story – check out the individual Publisher articles for their July to December output as they come: plenty more on those as well!

It’s just a great month of books.

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Author Profile: Chris Wooding

CPP - Chris Wooding www.chriswooding.com Publisher Links:
The Crooked Lanes (Forum) On Orion Books (Adult SFF)
On Wikipedia On Gollancz
On GoodReads On Scholastic (Children’s / YA)


About (from the author’s site):

Chris Wooding grew up in a small town in Leicestershire, where not much of anything happened. So he started to write novels. He was sixteen when he completed his first. He had an agent by eighteen. By nineteen he had signed his first book deal. When he left university he began to write full-time, and he has been doing it professionally all his adult life.

His books have been translated into twenty languages, won various awards and been published around the world. He writes for film and television, and has several projects in development. Read the rest of this entry »