SFX - - Reviews -

The pick of this month’s pa­per­backs? Prob­a­bly Adam Roberts’ weird Jules Verne homage,


( , 12 May, Gol­lancz). In 1958, the crew of a French sub­ma­rine set sail to test a rev­o­lu­tion­ary atomic en­gine; af­ter some­thing goes awry, they find them­selves trav­el­ling through a uni­verse where the cos­mic medium is wa­ter. We said: “Packed with sly jokes, puns and far­ci­cal mo­ments, it suc­cess­fully ne­go­ti­ates hu­mour, spec­u­la­tive SF and sus­pense.” Mean­while,


( , 5 May, Pan) sees Naomi Novik leave be­hind the Napoleonic dragons of her Te­meraire books for the first in a new se­ries in­spired by Pol­ish folk tales. It fol­lows an ap­par­ently un­re­mark­able 17- year- old girl from a vil­lage be­side a scary en­chanted for­est, who’s picked to be a ma­gi­cian’s lat­est apprentice. We said: “Clev­erly plot­ted, colour­fully imag­i­na­tive, and sharply in­ter­est­ing in the moral dilem­mas it poses its char­ac­ters.” Also worth a look: first- time author Al Robert­son’s

Crash­ing Heaven

( , 12 May, Gol­lancz). Set in a fu­ture ruled by god- like AIs ( af­ter hu­man­ity lost a hu­man/ AI war), this noirish blend of techno thriller and hard SF sees a guy whose mind is linked with a “pup­pet” AI dragged into a twisty­turny mys­tery. We said: “Doesn’t quite reach the heights of mind­ben­ders like Al­tered Car­bon or The Quan­tum Thief, but it’s still a sat­is­fy­ing ad­ven­ture for those who like their SF with a darker edge.”

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