TBR Pile: The Book of Dragons, ed. by Jonathan Strahan

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Hardcover, First UK Edition, 558 pages
Published June 25th 2020 by HarperVoyager UK
ISBN: 0008331472 (ISBN13: 9780008331474) https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008331474/the-book-of-dragons/

A unique collection of stories by the greatest fantasy writers working today.

Sparking myths and legends from Asia to Europe, Africa to North America, dragons are the most universal and awe-inspiring of magical creatures.

Whether they are fearsome, rampaging monsters or benevolent sages with much to teach humanity, dragons bring creation, destruction, and adventure in stories told all around the globe.

In this landmark collection, award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan combines nearly thirty never-before-seen short stories and poems, written by modern masters of science fiction and fantasy, and illustrations by acclaimed artist Rovina Cai.

Featuring stories from Scott Lynch, R.F. Kuang, Garth Nix, Ken Liu, Kate Elliott, and many more, The Book of Dragons breathes fresh life and fire into the greatest magical beasts of all.

– Introduction by Jonathan Strahan
– What Heroism Tells Us poem by Jane Yolen
– Matriculation by Elle Katharine White
– Hikaya Sri Bujang, or The Tale of the Naga Sage by Zen Cho
– Yuli by Daniel Abraham
– A Whisper of Blue by Ken Liu
– Nidhog poem by Jo Walton
– Where the River Turns to Concrete by Brooke Bolander
– Habitat by K.J. Parker
– Pox by Ellen Klages
– The Nine Curves River by R.F. Kuang
– Lucky’s Dragon by Kelly Barnhill
– I Make Myself a Dragon poem by Beth Cato
– The Exile by JY Yang
– Except on Saturdays by Peter S. Beagle
– La Vitesse by Kelly Robson
– A Final Knight to her Love and Foe poem by Amal El-Mohtar
– The Long Walk by Kate Elliott
– Cut Me Another Quill, Mister Fitz by Garth Nix
– Hoard by Seanan McGuire
– The Worm of Lirr poem by C. S. E. Cooney
– The Last Hunt by Aliette de Bodard
– We Continue by Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky
– Small Bird’s Plea by Todd McCaffrey
– The Dragons poem by Theodora Goss
– Dragon Slayer by Michael Swanwick
– Camouflage by Patricia A. McKillip
– We Don’t Talk About the Dragon by Sarah Gailey
– Maybe Just Go Up There and Talk to It by Scott Lynch
– A Nice Cuppa poem by Jane Yolen

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Review: All Systems Red, by Martha Wells

Hardcover, 176 pages
Published January 22nd 2019 by Tor.com (first published May 2nd 2017)
1250214718 (ISBN13: 9781250214713)

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighbouring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

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Review: The City Among The Stars, by Francis Carsac

First English translation of the celebrated Golden Age Science Fiction Classic.

“This stunning classic stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Arthur C. Clarke, Asimov, and Heinlein. No devotee of great sf should miss The City of the Stars.” New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear

Tankar Holroy, Lieutenant in the Stellar Guard of Earth’s Empire, floats in space after his spaceship is sabotaged. Rescued by an enormous, unknown ship, he awakes to discover himself saved by the People of the Stars who are born and live in space with minimal contact with planets and their occupants whom they call, with contempt, planetaries.

The chilly welcome he receives from the ship s leader, the Teknor, is followed by overt hostility from the other inhabitants of the Tilsin. Only a woman named Orena reaches out to him. 

Tankar soon realizes that he was rescued for his knowledge of tracers, the technology that allows Empire ships to track others through hyperspace, a technology the People of the Stars lack. Out of spite, he refuses to deliver the one piece of knowledge that can protect the people who saved but now spurn him – and the consequences will be catastrophic.

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

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Unexpected Review #2: ‘We Are Legion (We Are Bob)’, by Dennis E Taylor

Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency; 2nd edition
14th April 2017


Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it’s a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street.

Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets. The stakes are high: no less than the first claim to entire worlds. If he declines the honor, he’ll be switched off, and they’ll try again with someone else. If he accepts, he becomes a prime target. There are at least three other countries trying to get their own probes launched first, and they play dirty.

The safest place for Bob is in space, heading away from Earth at top speed. Or so he thinks. Because the universe is full of nasties, and trespassers make them mad — very mad.

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Non-fiction Bonus Reviews #1

I haven’t been feeling great so my reviews are a bit behind. I have a stack of books next to my laptop that I need to tell you all about. I’ve got three Pen & Sword books for you and an indie about comic book history.

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Alex’s Review: ‘The Planetsider’, by G.J. Ogden


Published By: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Publication Date: 18th February 2018

I.S.B.N.: 978-1983716720

Format: Paperback

Price: £8.99

Available from Amazon


Several generations after ‘The Fall’, the scattered clusters of civilisation that grew in its wake live in ignorance of the past. No-one wants to know what caused such devastation or why. No-one, except Ethan. Ethan used to believe in the guardians; mysterious lights in the sky that, according to folklore, protect the survivors, so long as you believe in them. But the death of his parents shattered his faith and forged within him a hunger to know more. One night, a light grows brighter in the sky and crashes to the planet’s surface. Ethan then embarks on a heartbreaking journey in which harrowing discoveries unveil the secrets of the past, and place him at the centre of a deadly conflict. Powerful, thought-provoking and emotionally absorbing, The Planetsider is a gripping, post-apocalyptic thriller that will keep you hooked until the very end.

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Reviews, as promised :D

Two book reviews for you today, they’re not very long because it’s way too hot and muggy, and I’m still recovering from Paris.

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May Reviews, part one

Hey, I’ve had a not so great few weeks, and have got behind with my reviews (sorry!) but to make up for it, here’s four book reviews.

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August Reviews: part 2

And I returneth with a small number of book reviews. I hadn’t planned to post this set of reviews yet but I managed to read two fairly long books yesterday and thought it would be sensible to post them rather than waiting ten days.
Continue reading “August Reviews: part 2”

May Reviews

Good morning, I’m sick again and the sun has disappeared so I can’t sit around in the garden writing. I’m going to laze in luxury in my room instead. I have two book reviews to write; I’ve been putting them off because of working, but it’s Saturday and I actually have a bit of free time.Continue reading “May Reviews”