Our pick of the paperbacks this month is Adam Roberts’ THE THING ITSELF ( , 13 October, Gollancz). Centring on two scientists in an Antarctic research station, it connects timetravelling “ghosts”, the birth of an AI and a future “Utopia” via a narrative that hops around in time, with stories from one era finding echoes in others. We said: “a heroic partial success that rises to the challenge that David Mitchell sets down.” Fancy something spookily David Lynch-ian? In Keith Lee Morris’s TRAVELERS REST ( , 13 October, Weidenfeld & Nicolson), a family check into a small-town motel, then become trapped in its limbo-like corridors. We said: “The prose has a hypnotic rhythm that perfectly captures the uncanny ambience… An ultimately rewarding, if sometimes arduous, journey.” Finally, the latest entry in the SF Masterworks range is Maureen F McHugh’s 1992 debut CHINA MOUNTAIN ZHANG (13 October, Gollancz), which was nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards. Set in a Chinesedominated 22nd century where the US has undergone a Communist revolution, it’s a mosaic novel that switches between a young man of mixed Chinese/Latino ancestry (who is secretly gay) and the lives of four other characters. A quiet, small-scale story set in a well-drawn world, it’s a coming-of-age tale of sorts – but not that of a special “chosen one”, just an ordinary person trying to find their place in society.