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Confessions of a bad SF fan: Flowers for Algernon

Book cover: Flowers for Algernon - Daniel KeyesLast autumn, I ‘fessed up that I rarely read SF classics. Looking at “scifi novels every fan must read” lists, I’m a very bad SF fan indeed. This year I made a half-hearted effort to mend my ways (I haven’t exactly let them dominate my reading), but Sci Fi Month was my inspiration to tackle a giant.

Yes it’s taken me a while to get round to marshalling my thoughts

Tarnished City: Equal opportunities for the few

Book cover: Tarnished City - Vic James (a chained hand points down, a Scottish castle in the background)With the Chancellor dead, the Jardines are back in control of Britain. As Luke Hadley is delivered to the Scottish fortress of Lord Crovan for his Condemnation, Abi escapes to join Luke’s agitating allies. But can they do anything to avert the horror the Jardines will bring to Britain – let alone rescue poor Luke before he chooses to walk through the Last Door?

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A Matter of Oaths: cyberpunk space opera

Book cover: A Matter of Oaths - Helen S Wright (a silhouetted man overlaid with a web of light)Formidable Commander Rallya needs a new First Officer for Bhattya; talented young webber Rafe needs a new berth. But Rafe is an Oath-breaker and few crews will consider taking him on. Worse, he was identity-wiped: he has no idea who he was or why he broke faith. But there are those who do, and they aren’t finished with him – or with Bhattya if she takes him on Excellent story with bonus pulp scifi cover art

The Hanging Tree: dancing the Tyburn jig

Book cover: The Hanging Tree - Ben Aaronovitch (pinky-purple cast to a map of London, Mayfair dripping blood)Peter Grant is back in London – and Lady Tyburn wants to call in a long-owed favour. But when it becomes clear that the case involves an untimely death, ancient magical artefacts being sold on eBay and the Faceless Man himself, Peter knows this it can’t be swept under the carpet – even for an influential Mayfair goddess…

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Within the Sanctuary of Wings

Book cover: Within the Sanctuary of Wings - Marie Brennan - dragons!Isabella, Lady Trent, is now a famous scientist and a happily-married woman – if still unwelcome in the ranks of the Collegium. But there’s nothing so dangerous as boredom, so when a Yelangese rebel puts temptation in her way, Isabella, Suhail and Tom set off on their biggest adventure yet…

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Throwback Thursday: Foxglove Summer

Book cover: Foxglove Summer - Ben Aaronovitch (blood smearing across a map of the English countryside)Reeling from recent betrayals, Peter Grant finds himself packed off to the Welsh borders to rule out magical interference in a child abduction case and take some time out in the country air to work through his tangled emotions. If only life were that simple.

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Throwback Thursday: Broken Homes

Book cover: Broken Homes - Ben Aaronovitch (bloodstained London streetmap in yellow and red)Peter’s early adventures in architecture finally stand him in good stead as the Isaacs try to figure out the magical ambitions of a long-dead German architect. Meanwhile the Faceless Man is back in town, and he has an alarming (and rather fabulous) new ally…

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Signs for Lost Children

Book cover: Signs for Lost ChildrenRecently qualified and newly wed, Dr Ally Moberley-Cavendish has a lot to adjust to as a wife and as a doctor in a women’s asylum. Can she and Tom survive a separation of months so soon after their marriage; is she right to stay behind with her ghosts as he sets sail for Japan?

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Throwback Thursday: The Tropic of Serpents

Book cover: The Tropic of Serpents - Marie Brennan (an illustration of a dragon)Neither widowhood nor motherhood can distract Isabella Camherst from her dragons, but the politics of nations – and of the scientific fraternity – have delayed her expedition to Eriga. But nothing could prepare her for the Yembe court politics that greet her arrival. Will she ever get to study the Moulish swamp wyrms?

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Shattered Minds: gotta stop the signal

Book cover: Shattered Minds - Laura Lam (An eye, the image fractured like glass)Carina Kearney is a gifted neuroprogrammer on a highly sensitive research project to record the lived experience: senses, feelings, memories. She’s also a cold-blooded killer. Scared of her urges, Carina embraces Zeal addiction instead, drowning herself in drug-induced sprees of virtual murder. But her mentor Roz has ambitions far beyond brain recording, and Carina is key to her success. How can Carina escape her in a near-future where any brain can be hacked? And can she ever escape herself?

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Throwback Thursday: Lock In

Book cover: Lock in - John Scalzi (red and white figurines on a white background)The flupocalypse didn’t wipe us out, but it left 1 in 100 people paralysed – or ‘locked in’. One of them was the POTUS’s wife, so we gave a shit. But 25 years later, a new US government is stripping away the life lines that keep Hadens in touch with the physical world, and there’s a killing to be made… literally.

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Throwback Thursday: A Natural History of Dragons

Book cover: A Natural History of Dragons - Marie Brennan (a dragon, half anatomical study, half scales)Isabella isn’t a model young lady. She has an unnatural interest in dragons, so she’ll surely die an impoverished spinster. Can a young lady of intelligence and determination find a husband who will support her in pursuing her heart’s desires? Of course she can. Let’s study dragons, darling.

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