Monday, 10 September 2007


Gollancz have reissued eight of their SF novels as their 'Future Classics Range'. My thoughts:

Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
Morgan's debut novel, a cyberpunk noir ultraviolent thriller starring Takeshi Kovacs. Co-stars a sentient hotel. Brilliant. *****

Blood Music by Greg Bear
Scientist inadvertantly dooms the Earth and the human race to utter annihilation. Or does he? Basically Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End rewritten for a later generation (Bear does this a lot). It doesn't stop it being utterly superb. Bear's best novel by light years. *****

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
The opening salvo in the very good Revelation Space Trilogy, and the first novel in a wider universe now encompassing five novels and two collections. Chasm City - a standalone in the same universe - is Reynolds' best book and a better candidate for the range, but Revelation Space is still relentlessly readable and entertaining, despite echoes of Fred Saberhagen's Beserker novels coming through towards the end. ****

The Separation by Christopher Priest
Jaw-droppingly clever. Original. Startling. Difficult to describe, almost impossible to review, with a series of plot twists at the end which may cause the reader's brain to implode, but it all hangs together and makes sense. One of the very best SF&F novels released this century from the author of The Prestige. *****

I haven't read the other books in the range:

Evolution by Stephen Baxter
Fairyland by Paul J. McAuley
Hyperion by Dan Simmons (yeah, I know)
Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan

There is an interview with Gollancz editor Simon Spanton here on the range.

The Deckled Edge has posted a brief review of Paul Kearney's superb series, The Monarchies of God, here.

The series will be reissued next summer from Solaris in one huge volume, alongside Kearney's new single-volume fantasy, The Ten Thousand.

I am currently reading James Barclay's Cry of the Newborn, and should be following that up with Paul J. McAuley's Cowboy Angels, Steph Swainston's The Year of Our War and Robert Harris' Imperium. Should Cry of the Newborn work out though, I'll probably try to get hold of the sequel and concluding half, Shout For the Dead, first.

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