Next meeting Saturday 17th February

The next meeting is on Saturday 17th February in the Storyhouse meeting room. We will be discussing the book Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones.

There was some discussion about the availability of the book. It was published in 2016 but apparently only as a hardback or e-book. The paperback edition has only just been published. However if you’re looking for a copy there are several cheap copies (of the hardback) available on Amazon and eBay so you should have too much trouble getting one.

This was a book I pushed hard for, so you have me to to blame if you don’t like it. I thought it was a wonderful depiction of what life would really be like for werewolves, and their life is … well … rubbish. Rather than say more here let me direct you to the Tor review of the book, which I think gives an excellent idea of what the book is like.

Stephen Graham Jones is a native American, a member of the Blackfeet tribe, and I wonder if his depiction of the werewolves as social outcasts is a metaphor for the position in which native Americans find themselves.

Finally, since it came up at the meeting, let me direct you to a completely different but equally good werewolf book – The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. There is a review by the Guardian here. Tread carefully though, for this book is not for the faint of heart.


Next meeting 20th January

The next meeting will be on 20th January in the Storyhouse meeting room. We will be discussing Descent by Ken Macleod.

Ken MacLeod is a veteran hard sci-fi author but Descent seems a bit different to the usual run of the mill hard SF. It’s more a coming of age novel set in a future/imaginary Scotland. It looks … intriguing!

Next meeting 16th December

The next meeting is at 14:00 on December 16th in the Storyhouse Meeting room. We will be discussing Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott.

Rotherweird is Caldecott’s first book so it is something of an unknown quantity, but the reviews have been pretty good. The Guardian described it as the love child of Gormenghast without the rancour, and Hogwarts without the rightful heir. The Independent described is as an entertaining and hugely funny history, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy caper. Though everyone agrees it’s a longish book so start it in plenty of time!

We also have to choose the next four books. The shortlist is:

  • Dave Hutchinson – Europe at Midnight
  • James Brogden – Hekla’s Children
  • Johanna Sinisalo – The Core of the Sun
  • Ken Macleod – Descent
  • Lavie Tidhar – The Violent Century
  • Paul McAuley – Something Coming Through
  • Sergei Lukyanenko – Night Watch
  • Sheri S. Tepper – Grass
  • Stephen Graham Jones – Mongrels

You’ll find descriptions of all the books here.

Next meeting 18th November

The next meeting is on Saturday 18th November. This clashes with the Chester Literature Festival so we aren’t sure if we’ll be able to use the Storyhouse meeting room. Watch this space for more news.

We’ll be discussing the book The Tourist by Robert Dickinson. There is a review on the Kirkus web site here. This is a bit of a punt since none of us know anything about the author or the book, but the review looks good.

At this meeting we have to update our shortlist of choices for the next four books, so come armed with suggestions for new books. The shortlist currently contains:

  • Dave Hutchinson – Europe at Midnight
  • James Brogden – Hekla’s Children
  • Johanna Sinisalo – The Core of the Sun
  • Ken Macleod – Descent
  • Paul McAuley – Something Coming Through
  • Sergei Lukyanenko – Night Watch
  • Sheri S. Tepper – Grass
  • Stephen Graham Jones – Mongrels

SFX Rated books 2016 onwards

Just in case you’re struggling for ideas about what to read this is a list of the books rated by SFX magazine since 2016 (ish) as four star or above. Thanks to Kyle for compiling the list. We’ll try (but probably fail) to keep this up to date.

The pink entries were added on 10th November 2017.


Five star

  • Adrian Tchaikovsky – Dogs Of War
  • Noami Alderman – The Power
  • Paul Tremblay – A Head Full of Ghosts
  • Jen Williams – The Ninth Rain
  • Nicholas Eames – Kings of the Wyld
  • Claire North – The End of the Day
  • Neil Gaiman – American Gods
  • Claudia Grey – Defy the Stars
  • Cory Doctorow – Walkaway
  • Jeff Vandermeer – Borne
  • Daryl Gregory – Spoonbenders
  • Marina J. Lostetter – Noumenon
  • Lauren James – The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

Four and a half star

  • Leigh Bardugo – The Language Of Thorns
  • Paul McAuley – Austral
  • Nick Harkaway – Gnomon
  • Christopher Priest – The Gradual
  • William Gay – Little Sister Death
  • Katherine Arden – The Bear and the Nightingale
  • Meg Howray – The Wanderers
  • Anna Smith Spark – The Court of Broken Knives
  • James Abbott – The Never King
  • James Bradley – Clade
  • Helen Phillips – Some Possible Solutions
  • Ed McDonald – Blackwing

Four star

  • Jeanette Ng – Under The Pendulum Sun
  • Joe Hill – Strange Weather
  • Jason Segal, Kristen Miller – Otherworld
  • Stephen Donaldson – Seventh Decimate
  • Joanne M Harris – A Pocketful Of Crows
  • Chris Beckett – America City.
  • Robert Dickenson – The Tourist
  • Alastair Reynolds – Revenger
  • D. Nolan Clark – Forsaken Skies
  • Alison Littlewood – The Hidden People
  • Michelle Paver – Thin Air
  • James Lovegrove – Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows
  • Stephen Baxter – The Massacre of Mankind
  • James A. Moore – The Last Sacrifice
  • Kim Stanley Robinson – New Your 2140
  • Tim Lebbon – Relics
  • John Scalzi – The Collapsing Empire
  • S. L. Grey – The Apartment
  • James Brogdan – Hekla’s Children
  • Xan Brooks – The Clocks in the House All Tell Different Times
  • Ashley Posten – Geekerella
  • Kieranan Shea – Off Rock
  • David Gemmell – Rhyming Rings
  • M. R. Carey – The Boy on the Bridge
  • Patrick Ness – Release
  • Zachary Mason – Void star
  • Sarah Lotz – The White Road
  • Justina Robson – The Switch
  • James Barclay – Heart of Granite
  • Megan Hunter – The End We Start From
  • Tom Holt – The Management Style of the Supreme Beings
  • Anne Corlett – The Space Between the Stars
  • Stephen Baxter – Xeelee Vengeance
  • Natasha Pulley – The Bedlam Stacks
  • Gavin Chait – Our Memory Like Dust
  • Christina Henry – Lost Boy
  • Michael Marshall Smith – Hannah Green and her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence
  • Tom Fletcher – Idle Hands
  • R. J. Barker – Age of Assassins
  • Adam Roberts – The Real Town Murders
  • The Epic Crush of Genie Lo – F. C. Lee
  • Jeff Noon – A Man of Shadows
  • Matt Haig – How to Stop Time
  • Nina Allan – The Rift
  • Ann Leckie – Provenance
  • Ferrett Steinmetz – The Uploaded
  • Tricia Sullivan – Sweet Dreams
  • Michael Tolin – NK3
  • China Miéville – The Last Days of New Paris
  • Megan Hunter – The End We Start From

Collections and Anthologies

Four and a Half star

  • Jonathon Oliver – Five Stories High

Four star

  • Alastair Reynolds – Beyond the Aquila Rift
  • Neil Gaiman – Norse Mythology
  • Malvash Murad and Jared Shurin – The Djinn Falls in Love
  • Malcolm Devlin – You Will Grow Into Them

Trilogies and Series

Five star

  • Anna Stephens – Godblind

Four and a Half star

  • Mark Lawrence – Red Sister
  • Deborah A. Wolf – The Dragon’s Legacy

Four star

  • Step Swainston – Fair Rebel
  • Adrian Tchaikovsky – The Tiger and the Wolf, The Bear and the Serpent
  • Stella Gemmell – The City, The Immortal Throne
  • Tad Williams – The Witchwood Crown

Next meeting 21st October

The next meeting is on 21st October in the Storyhouse meeting room. We will be discussing Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang.

Ted Chiang is best known as the author of Story of Your Life, the novella that was turned into the film Arrival. Although he seems little know he’s a very accomplished writer with stack of literary awards to his name. There is a nice article about him on the Guardian web site.