UK March Releases by John Berlyne
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 Perhaps more "olds" than news,  but nonetheless worthy of a  mention in this column is the recent announcement of the nominees  for the both the British Science Fiction Association and the Arthur C. Clarke awards. Three titles are up for both awards - Perdido Street Station by China Miéville, Ash- A Secret History by Mary Gentle and Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds - and though there are some other interesting novels nominated, I reckon it'll be one of these three that'll scoop the gongs. (My money is on the Miéville!)

My featured review this month is of a new release from Macmillan. Gridlinked (review), the debut novel from British talent Neil Asher is well worth a look. Be sure to check out my interview with author too. Macmillan are also publishing what their catalogue describes as a "spiritual-procedural thriller" -  whatever that may be! A Crown of Lights by Lancashire born writer Phil Rickman is a hard cover and carries the ISBN 0-333-751744,  priced £16.99.  Macmillan's Pan imprint this month gives us the aforementioned Perdido Street Station its mass market paperback release (coinciding with the US release this month coming from Del Rey) . This is surely one of the best novels I have read in the last year, if not ever, and comes from one of the most talented British writers to emerge in a long time. You'll really be missing out if you don't read it! - and no, I'm not on commission! Shiva 3000 by Jan Lars Jenson also gets a paperback release from Pan this month. I've not got to this one yet, but by all accounts this Canadian writer's debut is worth the time. (ISBN 0-330-39237-9, £5.99).

My other review this issue is of the new Stephen King novel, Dreamcatcher (review). Published in the US a week earlier than it is over here, the UK release from Hodder & Stoughton is a hard cover priced at £17.99, ISBN 0-340-77071-6. It's nice to see King recovered from his appalling accident and Dreamcatcher is certainly a remarkable return to form. The Hodder Headline/ Nel imprint releases the paperback edition of House Harkonnen by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. An inventive continuation of the hugely popular Dune saga, this is priced at £5.99 and carries the ISBN 0340751789.

Bantam publish the post-cyberpunk Paradox by John Meaney as a mass market paperback (£6.99, ISBN 0-553-50589-0). This received pretty good reviews when it first appeared last year and deserves to do well.

Following on from last month's slew of releases, March sees Orbit give us another Orson Scott Card novel in the form of a paperback edition of Alvin Journeyman (Price £6.99, ISBN 1841490296). Orbit also continues with it's programme of quality fantasy with the release of the fourth novel by Tad Williams in the Otherland series - Sea of Silver Light, a hard cover priced at £17.99, ISBN 1857239911. There is the UK release of Transformation by Carol Berg too. Originally seen last year in the US from Roc, this debut novel comes highly recommended and receives a release here as a large format trade paperback priced at £9.99, ISBN 184149075X. A follow-up title called Restoration has been also been announced but as yet no date has been given. Orbit's final fantasy offering is the paperback edition of Chris Bunch's The Empire Stone. This priced at £6.99 and carries the ISBN 1841490334.

HarperCollins/Voyager also give us a purely fantasy filled diet this month. The third title in Alice Borchardt's Wolf series, entitled the Wolf King is released as a handsome trade paperback priced £11.99, ISBN 0-00-224717-8. Fans of this well received series from the sister of Anne Rice will welcome this acclaimed addition to the series. A hard cover has  been issued simultaneously in the US by Ballantine. The best in Australian fantasy is released in large format trade paperback too. Book one of The Crucible, an epic new series by the popular Ozzie author Sara Douglass is entitled The Nameless Day and is priced at £11.99, ISBN 0-00-710844-3. More series releases also this month from Voyager - there is Book III in Stephen Lawhead's The Celtic Crusades - The Mystic Rose, a hard cover priced at £17.99, ISBN 0002246678, and also the mass market release (also of a third book), of The Liveship Trader Book - Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb. Price £6.99, ISBN 0006498876.

Following the trend Orion/Gollancz also have an output this month that almost entirely features fantasy - though in this case, both old and new. Lord Dunsany's enchanting classic, The King of Elfland's Daughter is the latest addition to the Fantasy Masterworks series, (£6.99, ISBN 1-85798-790-X). Two titles by Sherri S. Tepper are released - Singer from the Sea (£6.99, ISBN 1-85798-749-7) and The Fresco (£9.99, ISBN 0575071923) are published in paperback. Another third book in a series is also released - Adam Nichols's The Curer, Book III of The Whiteblade Saga. Nichols is a Brit, but now lives in Canada. This is a paperback priced £6.99, ISBN 1-85798-531-1 and yet another third book (I'm beginning to think this is a conspiracy!) is published with the UK first edition of Holly Lisle's novel, Courage of Falcons (The  Secret Texts - Book 3) (The Secret Texts - Book 3), This is a hard cover issued at £16.99, ISBN 0575070854. The highly acclaimed epic high fantasy Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon gets it's UK (and first hard cover) release (£16.99, ISBN 0575072423), along with it's sequel, Prophecy which is also a hard cover but is issued at the special price of only £12.99 (ISBN 0575072083). The token science fiction offering from Gollancz this month continues their wonderful SF Masterworks series. No. 39 is The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke is a paperback priced at £6.99, ISBN 1-85798-763-2.

 Yet more Fantasy from Earthlight! And another third series title (this is getting ridiculous!!!) - Wizardborn (The Runelords, Book Three) is by US writer David Farland. and is released as a large format trade paperback priced £10.00, ISBN 0-684-86061-9.

 In this column only a couple of months ago I was bemoaning the amount of fantasy being released over here in the UK. Don't get me wrong - I like Fantasy, and we're pretty good at it over here. Anyone who has been strong enough to pick up Mary Gentle's amazing Ash- A Secret History will know that as well as developing strong chest and arm muscles, they have had one of the best reads of the last year. However, this month's crop of releases has only one original indigenous Science Fiction title (the rest being reissues) and I can't help thinking that things could be a little better in terms of balance! Clearly fantasy sells well over here and there are few businesses more commercially cut-throat than publishing. I just hope the current dearth of home-grown SF doesn't turn into a serious drought. Thankfully the next couple of months at least promise some relief to parched SF fans.

                             More next month, - John Berlyne

© 2001 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu