The books on the long list at present are:
Ada Palmer, “Too like the lightning”
“The year is 2454.
Humanity has engineered a hard-won golden age, forged in the aftermath of a bitter conflict that wiped both religion and nation state from the planet. Now seven factions or ‘hives’ co-govern the world, their rule fuelled by benign censorship, oracular statistical analytics and technological abundance. But this is a fragile Utopia – and someone is intent on pushing it to breaking point.
Convicted for his crimes, celebrated for his talents, Mycroft Canner is the indentured instrument – and confidant – of some of the world’s most powerful figures. When he is asked to investigate a bizarre theft, he finds himself on the trail of a conspiracy that could shatter the tranquil world order the Hives have maintained for three centuries.
But Mycroft has his own secrets. He is concealing a much greater threat to the seven Hives, a wild card no degree of statistical analysis could have prophesied. This threat takes the unlikely form of a thirteen-year-old called Bridger. For how will a world that has banished God deal with a child who can perform miracles?”
Raymond Chandler “The Big Sleep”
Raymond Chandler’s most famous and popular novel of all – the ultimate Philip Marlowe adventure from the author of The Lady in the Lake and The Long Goodbye
Los Angeles PI Philip Marlowe is working for the Sternwood family. Old man Sternwood, crippled and wheelchair-bound, is being given the squeeze by a blackmailer and he wants Marlowe to make the problem go away. But with Sternwood’s two wild, devil-may-care daughters prowling LA’s seedy backstreets, Marlowe’s got his work cut out – and that’s before he stumbles over the first corpse . . .
‘One of the greatest crime writers, who set standards others still try to attain’ Sunday Times
‘Chandler is an original stylist, creator of a character as immortal as Sherlock Holmes’ Anthony Burgess
Katherine Arden “The Bear and the Nightingale”
‘Frost-demons have no interest in mortal girls wed to mortal men. In the stories, they only come for the wild maiden.’
In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.
But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods…
Atmospheric and enchanting, with an engrossing adventure at its core, The Bear and the Nightingale is perfect for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman.
James Corey, “The Leviathan Wakes”
“Leviathan Wakes is the Hugo-nominated first book in the New York Times bestselling Expanse series.
Humanity has colonised the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.
Jim Holden is an officer on an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew discover a derelict ship called the Scopuli, they suddenly find themselves in possession of a deadly secret. A secret that someone is willing to kill for, and on an unimaginable scale. War is coming to the system, unless Jim can find out who abandoned the ship and why.
Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money – and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and Holden, they both realise this girl may hold the key to everything.
Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries and secret corporations, and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.”
Iain M Banks, “The Hydrogen Sonata”
“The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilisation.
An ancient people, organised on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilisations: they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.
Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted – dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago.
It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilisation are likely to prove its most perilous.”
Karl Schroeder, “Ventus”
“Ventus is a large-scale Hard SF adventure novel in the tradition of Larry Niven, Vernor Vinge, and Arthur C. Clarke. Karl Schroeder, a physicist and writer, is a winner of Canada’s Aurora Award. His first novel was called the best first fantasy of the year by Science Fiction Chronicle, and now his first SF novel launches a major career in SF.
Young Jordan Mason, on the terraformed planet Ventus, has visions. Kidnapped by Calandria May–a human from offworld sent to investigate the AIs (the Winds) of Ventus–Jordan is desperate to find the meaning of his visions, desperate enough to risk calling down the Winds that destroy technology to protect the created environment, who descend and wreak havoc. As a result Jordan escapes from Calandria and sets out to discover his destiny on his own. Calandria and others, both human and AI, search for Jordan, who holds the key to catastrophe or salvation.
Ventus is an epic journey across a fascinating planet with a big mystery–why have the Winds fallen silent? It is one of the major, ambitious SF novels of the year and the international launch of an important new hard SF writer.”
George Mann, “Ghosts of War”
New York City is being plagued by a pack of ferocious brass raptors attacking people and carrying them away into the night. The originator of these skeleton-like creations is a deranged military scientist, who is also part of a plot to escalate the cold war with Britain into a full-blown conflict. He is building a weapon – a weapon that will fracture dimensional space and allow the monstrous creatures that live on the other side to spill through -and only the Ghost and his unlikely allies can stop him.
James Blish, “Cities in Flight”
James Blish’s galaxy-spanning masterwork, originally published in four volumes, explores a future in which two crucial discoveries – antigravity devices which enable whole cities to be lifted from the Earth to become giant spaceships, and longevity drugs which enable their inhabitants to live for thousands of years – lead to the establishment of a unique Galactic empire.
George RR Martin, “Fevre Dream”
“Abner Marsh has had his dearest wish come true – he has built the Fevre Dream, the finest steamship ever to sail the Mississippi. Abner hopes to race the boat some day, but his partner is making it hard for him to realise his ambition.
Joshua York put up the money for the Fevre Dream, but now rumours have started about the company he keeps, his odd eating habits and strange hours. As the Dream sails the great river, it leaves in its wake one too many dark tales, until Abner is forced to face down the man who helped to make his dreams become reality.”
Spider Robinson, “Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon”
“A one-of-a-kind bar with a colorful batch of regulars who tell stories, exchange terrible puns, and meet strangers—human and alien alike—who are drawn to this ‘saloon’ where “”shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased.””
“”If one were given the task of creating Spider Robinson from scratch, the best way to do it would be to snatch James Joyce from history, force-feed him Marx Brothers films and good jazz for the better part of a decade, then turn him loose on a world badly in need of a look at itself.””
– The Vancouver Sun”
Kim Stanley Robinson, “The Wild Shore”
A nuclear strike has wiped out civilization as we know it in the USA, reducing the population to isolated enclaves living in the ruins and the wilderness the disaster has left behind. It’s a chance to start anew. It’s an exciting opportunity for 17-year-old Henry to make America great again.
Calvin Trillin, “Tepper Isn’t Going Out”
Fantastically funny and offbeat, Tepper Isn’t Going Out is a novel about a seemingly straightforward man who, in his search for a quiet life and a beautiful parking spot, inadvertently attracts the attention of an entire city.
Lottie Moggach, “Kiss Me First”
“Teenage identity in the digital age is explored in this innovative, unsettling and powerful coming-of-age story about a life lived online.
Sheltered and obsessive, Leila spends more time online than in the real world. So she seems like the ideal person to take over the virtual identity of the vivacious and fragile Tess, who wants to disappear. But even with all the facts at her fingertips, there are things that Leila can’t possibly know about Tess – or herself – until it is too late . . .”
Robert Heinlein, “Stranger in a Strange Land”
“Twenty-five years ago, the first manned mission to Mars was lost, and all hands presumed dead. But someone survived…
Born on the doomed spaceship and raised by the Martians who saved his life, Valentine Michael Smith has never seen a human being until the day a second expedition to Mars discovers him.
Upon his return to Earth, a young nurse named Jill Boardman sneaks into Smith’s hospital room and shares a glass of water with him, a simple act for her but a sacred ritual on Mars.
Now, connected by an incredible bond, Smith, Jill and a writer named Jubal must fight to protect a right we all take for granted: the right to love.”
Meg Wolitzer, “The Female Persuasion”
“Greer didn’t really know why Faith took an interest. But what she knew for sure, eventually, was that meeting Faith Frank was the thrilling beginning of everything. It would be a very long time before the unspeakable end.’
Greer Kadetsky is a shy college student when she meets the woman who will shape her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant, has been a pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others. Hearing Faith speak for the first time, in a crowded campus chapel, Greer – misunderstood yet full of longing for an ambition that she can’t quite place – feels herself changed. And then, astonishingly, Faith invites her to make something out of this new sense of purpose, with a career opportunity that leads her down the most exciting and rewarding path as it winds towards and away from her meant-to-be love story with high school sweetheart Cory and the future she had always imagined.
Expansive and wise, compassionate and witty, The Female Persuasion is about the spark we all believe is flickering inside us, waiting to be seen and fanned by the right person at the right time, and the desire within all of us to be pulled into the light.”
Robert Charles Wilson, “Spin”
“One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout. It would shape their lives.
The effect is worldwide. The sun is now a featureless disk – a heat source, rather than an astronomical object. The moon is gone, but tides remain. Not only have the world’s artificial satellites fallen out of orbit, their recovered remains are pitted and aged, as though they’d been in space far longer than their known lifespans. As Tyler, Jason, and Diane grow up, space probe reveals a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts. Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside – more than a hundred million years per day on Earth. At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future.
Jason, now a promising young scientist, devotes his life to working against this slow-moving apocalypse. Diane throws herself into hedonism, marrying a sinister cult leader who’s forged a new religion out of the fears of the masses.
Earth sends terraforming machines to Mars to let the onrush of time do its work, turning the planet green. Next they send humans…and immediately get back an emissary with thousands of years of stories to tell about the settling of Mars. Then Earth’s probes reveal that an identical barrier has appeared around Mars. Jason, desperate, seeds near space with self-replicating machines that will scatter copies of themselves outward from the sun – and report back on what they find.
Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger.”
C E Murphy, “Urban Shaman”
“Joanne Walker has three days to learn to use her shamanic powers and save the world from the unleashed Wild Hunt. No worries. No pressure.
Never mind the lack of sleep, the perplexing new talent for healing herself from fatal wounds, or the cryptic, talking coyote who appears in her dreams. And if all that’s not bad enough, in the three years Joanne’s been a cop, she’s never seen a dead body–but she’s just come across her second in three days. It’s been a bitch of a week. And it isn’t over yet.”
Lois McMaster Bujold, “Shards of Honor”
“When Cordelia Naismith and her survey crew are attacked by a renegade group from Barrayar, she is taken prisoner by Aral Vorkosigan, commander of the Barrayan ship that has been taken over by an ambitious and ruthless crew member. Aral and Cordelia survive countless mishaps while their mutual admiration and even stronger feelings emerge. A science fiction romance by a Hugo and Nebula Award winning master. Bujold’s SHARDS OF HONOR is the first book in her SF universe to feature the Vorkosigan clan, followed by the Hugo award-winning BARRAYAR. The Nebula award-winning FALLING FREE precedes it by internal chronology in the same future history.
Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two grown children. She began writing with the aim of professional publication in 1982. She wrote three novels in three years; in October of 1985, all three sold to Baen Books, launching her career. Bujold went on to write many other books for Baen, mostly featuring her popular character Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, his family, friends, and enemies. Her books have been translated into twenty-one languages. Her fantasy from Eos includes the award-winning Chalion series and the Sharing Knife series. ”
Jorge Amado, “Captains of the Sands”
A Brazilian Lord of the Flies, about a group of boys who live by their wits and daring in the slums of Bahia.
They call themselves ‘Captains of the Sands’, a gang of orphans and runaways who live by their wits and daring in the torrid slums and sleazy back alleys of Bahia. Led by fifteen-year-old ‘Bullet’, the band – including a crafty liar named ‘Legless’, the intellectual ‘Professor’, and the sexually precocious ‘Cat’ – pulls off heists and escapades against the privileged of Brazil. But when a public outcry demands the capture of the ‘little criminals’, the fate of these children becomes a poignant, intensely moving drama of love and freedom in a shackled land. Captains of the Sands captures the rich culture, vivid emotions, and wild landscape of Bahia with penetrating authenticity and brilliantly displays the genius of Brazil’s most acclaimed author.
Darren McGarvey, “Poverty Safari”
Darren McGarvey has experienced poverty and its devastating effects first-hand. He knows why people from deprived communities all around Britain feel angry and unheard. And he wants to explain . . .
So he invites you to come on a safari of sorts. But not the kind where the wildlife is surveyed from a safe distance. This book takes you inside the experience of poverty to show how the pressures really feel and how hard their legacy is to overcome.
Arguing that both the political left and right misunderstand poverty as it is actually lived, McGarvey sets out what everybody – including himself – could do to change things. Razor-sharp, fearless and brutally honest, Poverty Safari is an unforgettable insight into modern Britain.
Kazuo Ishiguro, “Never Let Me Go”
In one of the most acclaimed novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.
Alexander Williams, “Eternal Youth”
Caroline Owen is in recovery after a mental breakdown. Confined to a hostel, she has to avoid the addicts and strange, oppressive characters lurking in crannies and wandering the hallways. Getting her life back on track proves difficult as more than past ghosts are coming out of the woodwork. Bad dreams torment her of girls disappearing, girls like her, taken by some ancient evil that will do anything to stay young and beautiful. Caroline begins to learn that there are far worse things than ghosts lurking in the darkness of the world.