Series Profile: THE TROOP – by Noel Clarke & Joshua Cassara!

The Troop #1 Cover Joshua Cassara Across the planet and unknown to each other, a group of troubled teenagers lead lives of quiet desperation. But hell is about to befall them and they find their lives destroyed when they are targeted by dark forces. On the run, they discover they have unbelievable powers and must come together – as The Troop!  – Titan
This month (Dec 15) TITAN COMICS release #1 of Noel Clarke (Mickey from Dr Who) and Joshua Cassara’s THE TROOP. A quite deliberate riff on the X-Men, with an eclectic mix of ages, personalities and abilities, The Troop follows a bunch of super-powered misfits avoiding the sinister men-in-black and religious nutcases with secrets and hidden agendas to be revealed.
Read on for the press release, title info, launch videos and interior art from #’s 1 and 2!

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Extract / Preview: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Jan - the-invisible-library-book-one-978144725623601 CHAPTER ONE
Irene passed the mop across the stone floor in smooth, careful strokes, idly admiring the gleam of wet flagstones in the lantern-light. Her back was complaining, but that was only normal after an evening’s work cleaning. The cleaning was certainly necessary. The pupils at Prince Mordred’s Private Academy for Boys managed to get just as much mud and muck on the floor as any other teenagers would. Clean indoor studies in the dark arts, military history and alchemy didn’t preclude messy outdoor classes in strategic combat, duelling, open-field assassination and rugby.
The clock in the study struck the quarter-hour. That gave her forty-five minutes before the midnight orisons and chants. She knew from weeks of experience – and, to be honest, her own memories of boarding school – that the boys wouldn’t be getting up a moment earlier than necessary. This meant most would be dragging themselves out of bed at eleven forty-five, before heading to the chapel with hastily thrown-on clothes and barely brushed hair. So that gave her thirty minutes before any of them started moving.

*
Thirty minutes to steal a book and to escape.

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Extract / Preview: London Falling by Paul Cornell

CPP PC - London Falling ONE
Costain entered the service station and stopped when he saw Quill standing there, not even pretending to look at the chocolate bars displayed in front of him. Costain headed for the toilets, and Quill immediately followed, as if he didn’t care who noticed. Costain made astonished eye contact with him just before the door, turning to take in the SUVs he’d left on the forecourt outside, with Mick and Lazlo currently filling up the first two vehicles with diesel. No, nobody was watching. He closed the toilet door behind them.
They stood in the cubicle, with the door bolted: the seat gone, the toilet bowl blocked, everything smelling of shit, a single bulb making it all ghostly white. The cold made their breath bloom around them.
‘What the fuck is Toshack doing?’ asked Quill. He was speaking too loudly.
‘I don’t know.’
‘“I don’t know, sir!”’

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

CPP - PM - Confluence The Trilogy

1

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
Unity
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

One

‘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

1

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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Extract / Preview: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

CB - Aug - The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet From the ground, we stand;
From our ships, we live;
By the stars, we hope.
—EXODAN PROVERB
Day  128, GC  Standard  306
…………………………………………….

TRANSIT

As she woke up in the pod, she remembered three things. First, she was travelling through open space. Second, she was about to start a new job, one she could not screw up. Third, she had bribed a government official into giving her a new identity file. None of this information was new, but it wasn’t pleasant to wake up to.

*
She wasn’t supposed to be awake yet, not for another day at least, but that was what you got for booking cheap transport. Cheap transport meant a cheap pod flying on cheap fuel, and cheap drugs to knock you out. She had flickered into consciousness several times since launch – surfacing in confusion, falling back just as she’d got a grasp on things. The pod was dark, and there were no navigational screens. There was no way to tell how much time had passed between each waking, or how far she’d travelled, or if she’d even been travelling at all. The thought made her anxious, and sick. Read the rest of this entry »

Extract / Preview – The Mysteries by Lisa Tuttle

CB - JF - Nov - The Mysteries

Joe

The strangest memory of my childhood concerns my father’s disappearance.
This is what I remember:
It was late September. I was nine years old, and  my sister Heather was seven and a half.  Although summer was officially over and we’d been back at school for weeks, the weather continued warm and sunny, fall only the faintest suggestion in the turning of the leaves, and nothing to hint at the long Midwestern winter yet to come. Everybody knew this fine spell couldn’t last, and so on Saturday morning my mother announced we were going to go for a picnic in the country.

*
My dad drove, as usual. As we left Milwaukee, the globe compass fixed to the dashboard – to me, an object of lasting fascination – said we were heading north-northwest. I don’t know how far we went. In those days, car journeys were always tedious and way too long. But this time, we stopped too soon. Dad pulled over to the side of a country road in the middle of nowhere. There was nothing but empty fields all around. I could see a farmhouse in the distance and some cows grazing in the next field over, but nothing else: no park, no woods, no beach, not even a picnic table.

‘Are we here?’  asked  Heather,  her  voice a whine of disbelief.

‘No, no, not yet,’ said our mom, at the same moment as our dad said, ‘I have to see a man about a  horse.’

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Curveball by Jeremy Sorese: Preview!

CG - Oct - Curveball

Coming in October NoBrow Press bring you Curveball, a futuristic dystopian tale of love and heartbreak written and illustrated by the writer of Boom! Studios Steven Universe Jeremy Sorese – and we have a preview of the wonderfully evocative interior art, rendered in duo- (and trio!-) tone below…

Enjoy!

 

Opening pages… Curveball P1

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Extract / Preview: The Ark by Patrick S Tomlinson

NOTE: Where normally we bring you an extract from the beginning of the book, we’ve been given an exclusive excerpt of Patrick S Tomlinson’s THE ARK jumping straight into the action at Chapter 7!

***

CB - AR - Nov - The Ark CHAPTER SEVEN
The starboard manipulator arm disintegrated into a violent swarm of tiny projectiles pinging off the acrylic sphere like a shotgun blast, leaving a dozen chips in the glass and sending the pod spinning out of control.
“Mayday!”Benson shouted into the com as the Ark tumbled into and out of his view. “Mayday! I’m hit!”
Only years spinning around in the Zero ring kept him from blacking out or throwing up. Warning lights blinked angrily all around him, while an alarm screamed throughout the tiny cabin loud enough to ring in his ears until his visor snapped shut, silencing them.
“Mayday, does anyone copy?” Bursts of static filled his ears. “Mayday. I’m calling from inside the EVA pod.”

*
Agonizing seconds ticked by while Benson waited for a response. The pod’s gyrations continued unabated. The com was his only hope, he was way outside of the range of his plant’s wireless connection. Read the rest of this entry »

Extract / Preview: Dreamland by Robert L Anderson

CB - Sep - Dreamland

P A R T   O N E

All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream
—Edgar Allan Poe
Afterward, Dea blamed it all on Toby. She knew it wasn’t nice to blame a cat. It was definitely immature. But that was life: one big chain reaction, a series of sparks and explosions.
Always, explosions.
If Toby hadn’t clawed through the screen door, she would never have met so-and-so, she would never have said such- and-such, she would never have done blah, blah, blah. She’d still be slogging through dumb algebra homework in Fielding, Indiana, getting picked last in gym class and ignored in the cafeteria.

*
Funny how Fielding, Indiana, didn’t seem so bad anymore. Or maybe it just didn’t seem important. Not after the cops and the disappearance. Not after the men with no faces and the city in the sand.

Not after the monsters started showing up in the mirror. Definitely not after Connor.

 

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Extract / Preview: Limit by Frank Schatzing

CB - JF - Nov - Limit

PROLOGUE

EVA
I want to wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep—
Good old Frankie-boy. Untroubled by urban transformation, as long as there was a stiff drink waiting for you when you woke up.
Vic Thorn rubbed his eyes.
In thirty minutes the automatic alarm signal would rouse the early shift from their beds. Strictly speaking he couldn’t have cared less. As a short-term visitor he was largely free to decide how he was going to spend the day, except that even guests had to adapt to a certain formal framework. Which didn’t necessarily mean getting up early, but they woke you anyway.

*

If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere—

Thorn started unfastening his belt. Because he thought staying too long in bed was degrading, he didn’t trust anyone else’s automatic devices to allow him to spend as little time of his life as possible asleep. Particu- larly since he liked to decide for himself who or what summoned him back to consciousness. Thorn loved turning his music systems up to the max. And he preferred to entrust his wake-up call to the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Sammy Davis Junior, the disreput- able heroes of times past, for whom he felt an almost romantic affection. And up here nothing, nothing at all, was conducive to the habits of the Rat Pack. Even Dean Martin’s now famous observation that ‘You’re not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on’ was physically invalidated, and nor would the inveterate toper have been able to indulge his predilection for falling off his bar-stool and tottering out into the street. At 35,786 kilometres above the Earth’s surface there were no prostitutes waiting for you outside the door, just lethal, airless space. Read the rest of this entry »

Extract / Preview: Way Down Dark by J P Smythe

CB - Jul - Way Down Dark

PROLOGUE

The story goes that Earth was much older than the scientists thought. We had assumed that we had billions of years left; that we would be totally prepared if the worst hap- pened. Maybe that made us complacent. We thought that we understood what we were doing to the planet. We thought we had time to fix it.
The first problem was overpopulation: too many people on the planet and not enough room for them. Then there wasn’t enough fuel, there wasn’t enough power, and we were wasting what little we had left. The planet got full around the same time as it started cracking and shaking. The weather changed, becoming warmer and colder at different times, extremes of everything and we couldn’t adapt fast enough. The scientists knew that we were doomed.

*
The people of Earth scrambled for anything to save themselves. They built these ships in a rush – as many as they could manage, that’s how the story goes – and they loaded them up with people and sent them up into the sky. I’ve imagined that so many times: all of these ships crowding in the skies. Not everybody could be saved, that’s how the story goes. The people sent up in the ships – they were the lucky ones. Read the rest of this entry »

Extract / Preview: The Return of the Arinn by Frank P Ryan

CB - JF - Nov - The Return of Arinn

A Dragon’s Regret

Spiralling as he rose on the battering winds, the Dragon King – Omdorrréilliuc to the worshipful Eyrie People and, more familiarly, Driftwood to Kate Shaunessy – found the thermals that were capable of bearing his titanic mass aloft. On the beach below, every face gazed up in rapture. Kate realised she must look minuscule,  waving  goodbye from on high to the fast-disappearing Cill children. They included her friend Shaami, and the special one who was already taller and more knowing than the others, the new Momu, who was gazing heavenwards with those big golden eyes. The pain of leaving them, knowing she might never see them again, felt like a cold splinter of iron impaled in Kate’s heart. But all too soon they were gone, the beach reduced to a snowflake of brilliant white before it too was lost behind the clouds that were materialising against the up-thrust mountains.
The dragon’s voice remained a rumble as deep as thunder even when it addressed Kate mind-to-mind: <Weep not for others but for yourself in your coming ordeal.>

*
‘I’ll still miss them terribly.’

<The heart is a poor guide to reason.>

‘Ah,  sure, and where would we be without it?’

<Safer, perhaps. And besides, they no longer need your help.>

‘No. They have a new young Momu to guide them.’

<And who in this war-torn world will guide you when you have proven yourself so refractory to common sense?>

‘I know I’ve been unreasonable, but I’m back now. I do so hope that we remain friends. Please tell me where we are headed?’ Read the rest of this entry »

Masked Volume 2 by Serge Lehman and Stephane Crety: Preview!

CG - Titan - Oct - Masked V2 We’ve been looking forward to checking out Lehman & Crety’s MASKED series, brought to the UK by Titan Comics in collected volumes, this being the second. So we’re behind on our reading but no reason you should be. Scroll on and have a peak into Volume 2, coming in October!

 

NB. Pages in order but not sequential.

Masked Vol 2 Preview 1

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