Lots of activity coming up, and here’s a first thing… Infinity Plus have a new deal with Baen Books for ebooks, and my first five novels are up there - including this rather nice “bundle”…
From ‘Perpetual Man’ aka Tim @ SF Chrons…
Where do you begin to review a book like this?
To begin with it goes without saying that this not the normal type of book that I would pick up to read, although strangely enough, one of the books that is mentioned in the introduction (Crescent City Rhapsody by Kathleen Ann Goonan) is one that I have read, so perhaps there is a precedent.
One of the main things that struck me as I read through the novel was the sheer amount of imagination that has been thrown into Urbis Morpheos. Most imaginative fiction requires a vast amount of creative energy in it, but this ratches things up another notch. It is wildly, insanely creative on a level that is simply stunning.
It is a novel that makes the reader earn its delights, making you concentrate as you read, not just to follow the two major intwining plots, but to absorb the depth of detail sunk into a far future Earth that is both breathtaking and nightmarish at the same time.
Set in a (very) far distant future, it shows a world that has been torn apart by the relentless progression of machine against nature, where the Earth has been torn apart, with nano-technology running rampant, turning the planet into a dystopian place with no-one sure what should be the right dominant force, nature or technology?
It is a world where knowledge can be absorbed through the ingestion of mushrooms (for the biologicals) and through technological wrealities (for the constructed), each side convinced that their is the natural way forward, so society sits in a precarious balance. The world it takes place in is a wondrous, terrible place filled with incredibly named places and artifacts, characters that conjure the strangest of images in the minds eye, with names that are as complicated as they are delightful as you pronounce them.
As stated above this is two tales, one of Psolilai and the other of psolilai (now you begin to see how it requires concentration). Both are women on a mission to try and find their way through the world of Urbis Morpheos, to come to terms with all the things that are arrayed against them, and bring balance to the environment of their world. But of course just to add to the confusion one might be dreaming of the other, but which one is the dream and which the reality is not easy to discern. Even more confusing, the characters they interact with, companions on their journeys and otherwise have the same names, the same relationships, are in fact the same people translocated between the realities. Add to this the fact that jumping between the two characters seems to jump to different places in their journeys, it becomes dreamlike.
In both cases the protagonists seem to be flawed, to make mistakes, and the conundrum is something that is not really resolved until the end of the book, which is the way thing should be. Ultimately the title of the world in which they struggle might be the biggest help of all: Urbis Morpheos, which translates into City of Dreams.
Reading this was an apt reminder of why it is sometimes a good thing to read utside of your regular comfort one, because it opens you to something else. The book is a very enjoyable read, something a little bit different and a showcase for a talent and an imagination that is extraordinary.
Aimed at a young-to-YA audience, this novel is set in a modern Africa of tribal communities and elephant poachers. Main character Bat rescues an orphaned baby elephant, which, as he grows up, grows alongside him. Eventually the inevitable happens, and Bat is left to live his life without his elephant friend. However, in the second main section of the novel things get a little more unpleasant, with the return of poachers. This is a good book, which I enjoyed reading. I was quite surprised in a few places at the density of the prose - which seemed aimed at an older audience - and also at various POV changes that are unflagged, and require going back to re-read. (I don’t normally comment on this sort of thing, but it surprised me in a novel aimed at this particular audience.) As an evocation of Africa, and of childhood and the perils of life as an older person, this is a great read.
Delighted to say that my story Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme has been accepted by Alex Davis for the forthcoming Boo Books anthology After The Fall, which deals with interpretations of the post-apocalypse theme. Here’s the full list of authors and their stories. Best of luck to Alex for this anthology!
Delighted to be able to say that my story Palestinian Sweets is the lead story in the forthcoming dual anthology La Femme and Noir from the NewCon Press; my story begins the former volume. This looks like being a particularly intriguing anthology, so congrats to Ian Whates for setting it up… and look at this author list!
Frances Hardinge – Slink-Thinking
Storm Constantine – A Winter Bewitchment
Andrew Hook – Softwood
Adele Kirby – Soleil
Stewart Hotston – Haecceity
John Llewellyn Probert – The Girl with No Face
Jonathan Oliver – High Church
Maura McHugh – Valerie
Holly Ice – Trysting Antlers
Ruth E.J. Booth – The Honey Trap
Benjanun Sriduangkaew – Elision
E.J. Swift – The Crepuscular Hunter
Adam Roberts – Gross Thousand
Donna Scott – The Grimoire
Emma Coleman – The Treehouse
Paula Wakefield – Red in Tooth and Claw
Simon Kurt Unsworth – Private Ambulance
Jay Caselberg – Bite Marks
Marie O’Regan – Inspiration Point
Paul Graham Raven – The Boardinghouse Heart
Simon Morden – Entr’acte
James Worrad – Silent in Her Vastness
Paul Kane – Grief Stricken
Alex Dally McFarlane – The (De)Composition of Evidence
Excellent new book by terrific writer, in which the differences between life in traditional societies and in Western societies are compared. Illuminating as ever (though a bit of a slow start for the first fifty or so pages). The sections on religion/meaning of life and food consumption are particularly interesting. His conclusions are realistic – this is a man who’s lived for many years amongst traditional New Guinea people, and he knows what he’s talking about. Definitely a recommended read.
From the boss at Infinity Plus, Keith Brooke, talking about my forthcoming Hairy London. He certainly qualifies as a decent cove: