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.

Next meeting 16th September

The next meeting is on 16th September at 2 p.m. in the Storyhouse meeting room. We will be discussing Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory.

Spoonbenders is a wonderful book (IMHO of course) and I urge you to read the review that I’ve linked. Daryl Gregory doesn’t write at the hyper-literary end of the spectrum but here he has produced characters you will immediately warm to and a plot with enough twists to keep you interested to the end.

Xaghra’s Revenge is sweet

Some of you might have seen my facebook posts and know that my historical fantasy book has been published this week. XAGHRA’S REVENGE came about when we were on holiday in Gozo, one of the Maltese islands. Attending a history exhibition I discovered that in 1551 pirates abducted all 5,000 people off Gozo, crammed them on 150 ships and took them to Libya to sell in auctions. Some didn’t make it. Others bought back by rich relatives in Malta and Italy. Some women were taken to harems in Constantinople. Well, those 5, 000 spirits scream out for revenge, don’t they? In my fictionalised version, a modern couple discover that one is descended from the pirate and one from an abductee, but which one? Their romance and lives are twisted by spirits some of which attempt to redo the 1565 Siege of Malta to change the cultural future of Europe and the world. If you’re interested the

Kindle £3.85 is at

Paperback £16 ish (sorry) at

There’s a video trailer on my website