Science Fiction News
& Recent Science Review for the
Summer 2024

(N.B. Our seasons relate to the northern hemisphere 'academic year'.)

This SF & science news page builds on the
seasonal science fiction news previously posted.

Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Summer 2024

Editorial Comment & Staff Stuff




We informed you thusly.  We take no pleasure in telling you 'we told you so'!  The whole Chengdu Worldcon business has been an omnishambles right from the site selection process (when it should have been promptly put out of our misery) through venue and date changes (from those on which were given before the site selection vote), ultra-late Progress Reports, a Putin loving Russian Guest, a pro-Uyghur re-education Chinese guest, and a western Guest seemingly oblivious (turning a blind eye to it all), sponsorship control and local business deals (the details of which it looks like we will never know), the way hundreds of non-Chinese 'guests' had their travel and accommodation paid for, the second-rate treatment of local Chinese SF fans… etc, etc.
          The latest incident (reported below) seems unbelievable: it goes even beyond our concerns and involves the Hugo Awards.  This time the chief culprit appears to be the western Hugo Administrator, though reportedly the Chinese administrator also played a role in editing the Awards short-lists.  Many have discussed this, including among others the Hugo-winning, daily SF blog File770, to name just one site, and this has much news and plenty of comments (for example here – scroll down for comments).
          There has also been concern as to the proposal to have a supplement to the Hugo Award, the Tianwen Global Science Fiction Literature Prize. The concern here is that the wording of some of this new prizes' creators in their press release is that it seems to be portraying it as something of an offshoot of the Hugos in that this award will 'complement' the Hugos.
          The World SF Society (WSFS) desperately needs an overhaul. One measure would be to ensure that putative hosting nations have a certain score on democratic/freedom indices to prevent, say, homophobic states, such as Uganda, bidding to host.
          Another overhaul would be to give WSFS actual teeth by naming an shaming those Worldcons that blatantly ignore WSFS rules. This rule-ignoring issue is not restricted to the Chengdu, China, Worldcon: at the time of writing, Glasgow this year (2024) will not be sending non-attending supporting (or even full) members paper copies of the convention book as they are required to under the WSFS constitution and subsequent Worldcon Business Meeting clarification. Here the trouble is that there is no ownership of WSFS governance: it is a bit like having a parliament (the business meeting) but no government.  All of which caused us to opine last season that Worldcons may be coming unfannish. (Elsewhere this season we have a standalone article on SF Worldcon publications policy.)
          So, fed up with saying 'we told you so', we are taking a leaf out of Sheldon Cooper's book and say, 'we informed you thusly'.



Congratulations to Duncan Lunan for being Short-Listed for the Analog Award  Duncan was short-listed in the 'Best Science Fact' article category. For his 2023 article 'Astronautical Explanations for ‘Oumuamua'. Perhaps part of this was spun out from his 2021 article for SF² Concatenation?


Elsewhere this issue…
Aside from this seasonal news page, elsewhere this issue (vol. 34 (3) Summer 2024) we have stand-alone items on:-
          Article on Britain's New Worlds magazine – Jonathan Cowie
          SF Worldcon publications policy – Peter Tyers
          British Fantasycon 2023 – Ian Hunter
          Glasgow: An introduction for visiting SF folk – Ian Hunter
          The English dictionary for visiting Americans – A UK Worldcon resource
          33rd Festival of Fantastic Films 2023 - Great Britain – Jonathan Cowie
          Gaia 2024 - Annual whimsical SF and/or science snippets and exotica
          Ten years ago exactly. One from the archives: The Anglo-Romanian Science & Science Fiction Cultural Exchange Re-visited
          Twenty years ago exactly. One from the archives: The Greg Bear interview
          Twenty years ago exactly. One from the archives: SF, Globalization and China – Lavie Tidhar
          Thirty years ago exactly. One from the archives: When the Children Read Fantasy – Terry Pratchett
          Plus well over thirty (30!) SF/F/H standalone fiction book and non-fiction SF and popular science book reviews.  Hopefully something here for every science type who is into SF in this our 37th year. For full details of the latest contents see our What's New page.


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Summer 2024

Key SF News & SF Awards


The 2024 Hugo short-list has been announced for 2023 works.  As usual we report only the most popular Hugo categories: this year these are those categories that had over 700 people submitting nominations.
          Best Novel
                    The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty
                    The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera
                    Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh
                    Starter Villain by John Scalzi
                    Translation State by Ann Leckie
                    Witch King by Martha Wells
          Best Novella
                    "Life Does Not Allow Us to Meet" by He Xi
                    Mammoths at the Gates by Nghi Vo
                    The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older
                    Rose/House by Arkady Martine
                    "Seeds of Mercury" by Wang Jinkang
                    Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher
          Best Novelette
                    I AM AI by Ai Jiang
                    "Introduction to 2181 Overture, Second Edition" by Gu Shi
                    "Ivy, Angelica, Bay" by C.L. Polk
                    "One Man's Treasure" by Sarah Pinsker
                    "The Year Without Sunshine" by Naomi Kritzer
          Best Short Story
                    "Answerless Journey" by Han Song
                    "Better Living Through Algorithms" by Naomi Kritzer
                    "How to Raise a Kraken in Your Bathtub" by P. Djèlí Clark
                    "The Mausoleum's Children" by Aliette de Bodard
                    "The Sound of Children Screaming" by Rachael K. Jones
                    ("Tasting the Future Delicacy Three Times") by Baoshu (in Chinese)
          Best Related Work
                    All These Worlds: Reviews & Essays by Niall Harrison
                    (Chinese Science Fiction: An Oral History, vols 2 and 3) edited by Yang Feng (in Chinese)
                    A City on Mars by Kelly Weinersmith & Zach Weinersmith
                    The Culture: The Drawings by Iain M. Banks
                    (Discover X) by Tina Wong (in Chinese)
                    A Traveller in Time: The Critical Practice of Maureen Kincaid Speller, by Maureen Kincaid Speller edited by Nina Allan
          Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
                    Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
                    Poor Things
                    Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
                    (The Wandering Earth II) (in Chinese)
          Other category (short-list information) – those categories with less than 700 nominating votes – can be found at  ++++ Last year's principal category Hugo short-listed works here.

The 2024 British SF Awards have been announced.  The BSFA Awards announcement were made at this year's Eastercon in Telford. The winners were:
Best Novel: The Green Man’s Quarry by Juliet McKenna
Best Short Fiction: “How to Raise a Kraken in Your Bathtub” by P. Djèlí Clark
Best Shorter Fiction: “And Put Away Childish Things” by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Best Audio Fiction: The Dex Legacy by Emily Inkpen
Best Artwork: Cover of The Surviving Sky by Leo Nicholls
Best Collection (sic): The Best of British Science Fiction 2022 edited by Donna Scott
Best Non-Fiction (Long): A Traveller in Time: The Critical Practice of Maureen Kincaid Speller edited by Nina Allan
Best Short Non-Fiction: Project Management Lessons from Rogue One by Fiona Moore
Best Translated Short Fiction: “Vanishing Tracks in the Sand” by Jana Bianchi, translation by Rachael Amoruso
Best Fiction For Younger Readers: The Library of Broken Worlds by Alaya Dawn Johnson.

The 2024 Nebula Awards short-lists have been announced.  The two principal category short-lists were for the following:
          Best Novel
                    The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera
                    The Water Outlaws by S. L. Huang
                    Translation State by Ann Leckie
                    The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz
                    Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon by Wole Talabi
                    Witch King by Martha Wells
          Ray Bradbury Nebula Award for Dramatic Presentation
                    The Last of Us: “Long, Long Time”
                    Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
                    Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
                    The Boy and the Heron
            Back in January (2024) we rated Translation State by Anne Leckie and The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz as two of our eight Best Novels of 2023.  Also back in January we rated Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse as one of our ten Best Films of 2023.


Hugo Awards scandal…!

The 2023 Hugos scandal… (Which by now most of you know all about it, but for the record…) What it seems happened!  Chris M. Barkley and Jason Sanford did the SF community a great service in pulling together an analysis of what happened following a whistle-blow that included the release of Hugo Administrator e-mails and spreadsheets of the voting results.  It transpired that three things were going on.
        First, a senior and western Hugo administrator decided to have all the works and people nominated for a Hugo vetted for his perceived likely-to-cause-offence to the Chinese authorities reasons.  This included works' references to China but here, strangely, did not take into account whether or not the work had already been allowed to see print in China as happened with one work that had been barred – Babel by R. F. Kuang.
          Second, it appears that some works were removed due to perceived 'slate' voting.  However, while discouraged, slate voting is not against the Hugo Award rules and, besides, the slate in question (by the Chinese magazine Science Fiction World) was not a slate but a recommended reading list. Besides, back in 2016 the Worldcon SF community took steps to address slating with what is called the 'E Pluribus Hugo' (EPH) measure employed during the initial nominating process.  Finally, third, it appears that some of the Chinese Hugo administrators might have barred a work due to commercial interests: the barring, it seems, helped a publisher sponsor who had an author's work nominated.
          Writers affected by this whole debacle include: Neil Gaiman, R. F. Kuang, Xiran Jay Zhao and Paul Weimer. Also affected were this year's Hugo 'winners' as clearly in a number of categories rivals and their associated votes were ignored so undermining winning validity: already Adrian Tchaikovsky and Samantha Wells who won Hugos have announced that they will not be recognising these as genuine wins.

Hugo Awards physically damaged in transit.  Yet more bad Hugo news: Chengdu, the 2023 SF Worldcon – the gift that keeps on giving.  As is common with Worldcons, not all those short-listed for the Hugo can attend the Hugo Awards ceremony and get their awards in person: after all, international travel – let alone other costs such as hotel – is expensive, plus some folk have diary clashes.
          This brings us to this year's Hugo Awards. Half a dozen of so of the physical Awards were mailed to non-attending winners in the USA and all arrived damaged. Apparently, this was because when they were sent they were not wrapped in soft packaging within their box.
          The problem does not seem confined to Hugo Awards posted to overseas Hugo winners who were not at the Chengdu Worldcon. There are reports that some Chinese recipients who took home trophies in packaging provided by the convention, found that they were damaged when they opened up their parcel once home.
++++  Previous news coverage of the 2023 China, Chengdu, Worldcon on this site includes:
  - Site selection win for the 2023 China Worldcon bid
  - Editorial call to dis-invite China guest who supports Putin's war
  - Another of China's guests supports Uyghurs 're-education'
  - Russian China guest heads petition supporting Putin's war
  - China's western guest happy to share Worldcon stage with Ukraine war and Uyghurs 're-education' supporters
  - 80+ authors call for China's Worldcon to be revoked
  - China Worldcon changes venue and date on which it won site selection vote
  - Record delay in China Worldcon releasing its first Progress Report
  - First China Worldcon Progress Report released
  - China Worldcon visa arrangements
  - Second China Worldcon Progress Report released
  - Some short-listed for the Hugo refuse to go China Worldcon's Hugo ceremony
  - China's Chengdu Worldcon has been held
  - China Worldcon's science programme is the smallest in decades
  - China Worldcon Business Meeting proposals controversial
  - China conned the Worldcon says Human Rights Foundation
  - Need to think of future beyond the 2023 China Worldcon
++++  World SF Society rule that countries eligible to host should meet certain freedom scores; there are a number of freedom and democracy indices that might be used.

A new China Tianwen Award has been launched that seemingly rides on the coattails of the Hugo Award. The Tianwen Global Science Fiction Literature Prize aims to encourage new and young writers, focusing on their innovative literary works and expression of new cultural fields. Those behind the award say: ''It will serve as an important supplement to the prestigious Hugo Awards and contribute to the diversity of the Hugo culture". It is this apparent link to the Hugos, and that the Award's launch saw a Hugo Award administrator in attendance on the stage, that has caused concern.

Investment deals valued at approximately 8 billion yuan (£872,000 / US$1.09 billion) were signed during the 81st World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) held in Chengdu.  The deals reported by the organisers of the first Industrial Development Summit held at the Worldcon included 21 SF/F industry projects involving companies that produce films, parks, and immersive sci-fi experiences. Others were related to the development of melodramas, games, and the metaverse. The deals included a with a 1-billion-yuan investment, for the "Three-Body Universe Global Headquarters" project that plans to develop games, films, TV shows, brands, and merchandise. A number of the businesses at the SF Industrial Development Summit provided the sponsorship for the Worldcon. It has been reported that from 2018 to 2022, the total revenue of Chengdu's sci-fi industry reached 127.63 billion yuan, boasting an average annual growth rate of 19.11%. In 2022 alone, the revenue from Chengdu's sci-fi industry (excluding equipment manufacturing) stood at 20.02 billion yuan, making up 22.81% of the national total. (See  Rui, Z. (2023) US$1.1B deals signed at Worldcon's 1st industrial development summit.

Fallout from Hugo statistics debacle and the China Tianwen Award launch sees censure and changes at the World SF Society (WSFS).  This year's Head of Hugo Award administration has been censured and has resigned as a director of the body that services the WSFS. The director of this body's Board has also been reprimanded but for a different reason and has resigned as its Chair. That individual will remain on the Board and it should be noted he has done much good work over the years for WSFS.  A Chinese member of the Hugo Administration Committee of the Chengdu Worldcon has also been censured.  The western Co-Chair of the Chengdu Worldcon has also been censured.
          WSFS, however, did not explain what happened with this year Hugo Award nominating statistics. Instead, they referred interested parties to enquire of the (now discredited) Hugo team running this year's Hugo Awards at the Chengdu Worldcon. So, no WSFS ownership of the problem. Here, no doubt WSFS standing committees will say 'but we have no authority'… You can't make this stuff up…  (There is a more detailed report as well as plenty of interesting and telling comments over at the File770 daily SF fan blog.)

Adrian Tchaikovsky will not be publicly recognising his Hugo win.  Following the Hugo scandal Adrian has decided not to acknowledge his 2023 Hugo win for 'Best Series' on his website or mini-biography.
          Ditto Samantha Wells is removing references to her Hugo win for 'Best Short Story' from her biog and PR. Alas a mention of it is already on the cover of her latest book as that had already gone to press.

SciFidea’s international Dyson Sphere-themed story contest winners announced but no prize money has been given.  Judges for the English dimension to the Chinese/Singapore based contest reportedly included: Phoenix Alexander, Neil Clarke, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Nancy Kress, Derek Kunsken, Robert J. Sawyer, Michael Swanwick, and Liza Groen Trombi – some folk who should perhaps have known better, but then some of them took China's shilling and attended Chengdu…. The contest's funding model was, it might perhaps be considered, a little odd – a person (subscriber) apparently paid to access stories initially at 1 US cent and then if a second person wanted access they paid 2 cents and so forth, with readers (subscribers) owning an intellectual share in the stories (they would make money if, say, the story was turned into a film). Some might say that there was the faint whiff of Ponzi. Others that it was riding the coat-tails of the recent boom in China's SF books being turned into films and TV series.  Apparently, SciFidea has now gone bankrupt so it is all rather moot.

The death sentence has been given to a Three Body Problem IP development executive in China for murder.  Former Yoozoo Games executive Xu Yao was sentenced to death for the 2020 murder of Lin Qi, the founder of the Chinese gaming company that made the Three Body Problem game based on the Hugo-winning SF novel of the same name.  The Shanghai First Intermediate People’s Court found that Xu Yao was guilty of poisoning the food of Lin Qi. Apparently, there was a business dispute between the two as to the way management was conducted.  Lin died while in the hospital 10 days after, and Xu was arrested shortly thereafter.  The court also found that four others fell ill because Xu poisoned drinks in the Yoozoo offices due to disputes with two other company colleagues who fortunately survived. The Yozoo company had made the deal with Netflix to adapt China’s The Three-Body Problem book trilogy, one of two TV adaptations.


Other SF news includes:-

The 2024 Glasgow SF Worldcon has announced that Scotland's Astronomer Royal will be an online special guest.  Prof Catherine Heymans is the 11th Astronomer Royal for Scotland, appointed b in 2021, the first woman to hold this title in its two-hundred year history. In 2022 she became the youngest person to receive the Royal Astronomical Society's prestigious William Herschel medal for outstanding merit in observational astrophysics. She is a fellow of both the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Leopoldina, the National Academies of Scotland and Germany respectively. Her PhD was on gravitational lensing and she currently specialises in weak gravitational lensing.

Progress Report 4 for the 2024 Glasgow Worldcon has been released.  Notable content includes virtue signalling in the form of an apology for the previous Worldcon's Hugo Award debacle, which begs the question 'why'? (Glasgow was not involved.)
          How many are likely to attend?  In PR4, the convention organisers forecast between 6,500 and 8,000 attendees. This upper number, if everyone turns up, is probably above the maximum holding capacity for the site. So, there is a chance that they may need to cap in-person attending registrant purchases, if the con is not to get overcrowded.  Having a cap to prevent overcrowding is welcome but, given the con's own previous warnings of a large membership hence likely overcrowding the past two Progress Reports, the question arises as to why the convention had a full-page advert in the April edition of SFX magazine?
            One area of genuine concern is that the convention will be checking identities (IDs) on registration to ensure that only those genuinely registered receive their publications and convention pass. Now, the checking of ID is itself not a problem, what is the way they propose to do it and that is by "be checking this ID against the “First” and “Last” names in [their] database, to check that they match."  The convention commendably warns that this is a very real issue as not everyone uses their official first name (former Prime Minister Gordon Brown for example – Gordon is not his first name) and so the convention's database will not match… The convention does warn that it is therefore vital that the “First” and “Last” names in [registrants] registration record match the names on the ID [registrants] will be using to register. So that those already registered will need to check with the convention that their records are accurate. (For example, one of us registered as a 'friend' at the convention's bid stage when they were not asking for preferred and actual first names.)
            Finally, the PRs cover artwork is stunning.  It is by Chris Baker (a.k.a. Fangorn), one of the Guests of Honour.

The registration rates have changed for the 2024 Worldcon in Glasgow (as of 1st March 2024).  Such increases are usual in the two years between a Worldcon winning their site selection bid and the event itself. The way to view it is not as increases but that early registrants get a discount on the final rate. This is because a Worldcon needs funds early so as to have liquidity.  The registration rates went up in March by very roughly 10%: see their website (located on our 2024 convention diary - our current diary page is here).  The bad news is that the membership instalment plan has closed. Well, this was to be expected as the idea of an instalment plan is to spread out registration costs over a long period of time, but with just half a year to go to the event there is not enough time now left to make an instalment plan useful.  Supporting membership (the membership for those not attending but who wish to nominate for the Hugos) does not appear on the Glasgow Worldcon press release but according to the World SF Society (WSFS) constitution, under whose auspices Worldcon is run, supporting memberships should be available up to the next but one Worldcon site selection vote taking place.
          Having said that, at the time of writing, it looks like Glasgow will not be following the WSFS constitution and Business Meeting Rules of Continuing Effect in that it appears (two of us have independently asked) that they will not be sending Supporting Members and no-show Attending Members physical publications… and we all know the slippery slope that not following the rules can lead to.  ++++ Further details of the Glasgow Worldcon's publication policies below here. Also, see Peter's standalone article on the Glasgow 2024 publication policy.

The Glasgow Worldcon Chair has confirmed the con's publication policy.  At the time of writing, Glasgow does not seem to be collecting registrants postal addresses and its policy seems to that it will not be mailing no-show registrants physical copies as it is required to by the World SF Society constitution and Business Meetings Rulings of Continuing Effect. This, we opined in last season's news page editorial, is decidedly unfannish.  So two of us separately asked Glasgow what was its publications policy.  We were essentially told:
          - Printed copies of the programme schedule (in the form of a grid and a text description - but not a fully-formed pocket programme book as of old) will be available at the con for anyone that wants one - just turn up and ask
          - The souvenir book will be available to download by any member
          - Proper printed copies of the souvenir book can be collected at the con and anyone who can't make it can ask somebody to pick it up for them (here the wording is not precise so this might include collecting a printed copy for a supporting member?)
          This is a more detailed and helpful response that one previously received from one of the convention's Division Heads.
          We have not had explicitly confirmation that physical copies of the Souvenir Programme book would be mailed to Supporting Members (and no show Attending Members). This is not a point of pedantry but one of concern as the World SF Society (WSFS) constitution and matters of continuing effect stipulate that physical copies should be mailed if requested.
          Why is adherence to the constitution important? Well, for example we have seen what happens when the Hugo Award is not administered as per the rules.
          Recently academia has seen a related digital-versus-physical publication issue in that a quarter of academic digital papers seem to be disappearing from official archives!  See the coverage in our General Science section below.  ++++ Also, see Peter's article on the Glasgow 2024 publication policy.

The 2026 Worldcon to be held in Los Angeles, USA.  The 2024 Worldcon in Glasgow will be running the site selection ballot for the 2026 Worldcon. The World SF Society (WSFS) rules – under which the Worldcons are 'supposed' to be run – stipulates that the due paperwork for prospective bids must be submitted by a specific date, 180 days prior to the Worldcon at which the ballot is conducted. That date has now passed and the Glasgow Worldcon has announced that the only official bid is for Los Angles and so that will almost certainly win (unless 'None of the Above' wins). (It should be noted that the Worldcon has a tradition of allowing joke spoof bids on the ballot, but these can be safely ignored.)
          Having said all of this, is it worth voting?  Well, one obvious answer is 'no' as it is a one horse race.  But another is also 'no'.  Recent Worldcons have gone their own sweet way without due regard to either Worldcon fandom or WSFS rules.  For example:  the 2023 Chengdu Worldcon changed the venue and date of its convention from those they gave on its bid-to-host documents once it won the bid;  the 2024 Glasgow Worldcon will it seems not be sending paper publications (the programme book) to Supporting Members and no-show Attending Members as it is obliged to under WSFS rules;  and apparently Hugo Award administrators can remove finalists from the Award's short-lists should they wish.  So, hey, in today's Worldcon-running community anything goes, sod the rules and fu¢k the rest of SF fandom: Worldcons have become unfannish…  In short, no point and no need to bother to site select vote!

There's a new Worldcon bid for 2027.  Montréal, Canada, has launched a bid for the 2027 Worldcon. This goes up against an extant bid for Tel Aviv, Israel.
          Canada has the following Freedom and democracy scores:
          Freedom in the World Index 98%
          Democracy index 9.24
          Press Freedom index 83.53%
          LGBT+ Rights Equaldex 83%
          Index of Economic Freedom 73.7%

And finally….

The Transatlantic Fan Fund vote results have been announced: Sarah Gulde wins!  The Transatlantic Fan Fund (TAFF) is an annual Fan Fund to subsidise an SF fan from either N. America or Europe to attend a major convention in the other continent. This year's TAFF race was from N. America to Europe so Sarah Gulde will be attending the Glasgow Worldcon (see earlier items above). Fans vote for candidates paying a minimum £3, €3, US$4 voting fee which goes into the pot to subsidise the winner's trip. For some unknown reason this year saw a bumper of ineligible votes due to no accompanying payment, otherwise there was a healthy response.  An auction at this year's Eastercon (of which we hope to have a con report next edition) raised a further £754 that was split between the three extant European participating Fan Funds and the ever-so worthy SF Encyclopaedia.  To find out more about TAFF visit

Future SF Worldcon bids and seated Worldcons currently running  with LGBT+ freedom percentage ( ) scores in bold, include for:-
          - Glasgow, Great Britain in 2024 (seated Worldcon) 82%
          - Brisbane, Australia in 2025 - Now 2028
          - Seattle, WA, USA in 2025 (seated Worldcon) 82%
          - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2026 (civil rights concerns noted two years ago)
          - Cairo, Egypt in 2026 (replaces Jeddah above) 12%
          - Los Angeles in 2026, USA 82%
          - Orlando in 2026, USA 82%
          - Nice, France in 2026 - Bid folded
          - Tel Aviv in 2027, Israel 74%
          - Montreal, Canada 83%
          - Brisbane, Australia in 2028 84% (but is so silent it might have died)
          - Kampala, Uganda in 2028 (all be there civil rights concerns*) 15%
          - Dublin in 2029, Republic of Ireland 74%
          - Texas in 2031, USA 54%
          The LGBT+ equality percentages come from File770 which in turn came from Tammy Coxon pointing out the equality rankings. We added the UK score that was not included in the original File770 August 2022 posting.
*Uganda has recently passed an Anti-HomoseΧuality Bill that can mean life imprisonment for those that identify as gay and in certain circumstances the death penalty. Apparently there is a lot of blackmail with criminals threatening to report people as gay unless they are paid. Individuals or institutions which support or fund LGBTQAI+ rights’ activities or organisations, or publish, broadcast and distribute pro-gay media material and literature, also face prosecution and imprisonment. Some are arguing that the bill is unnecessary as its elements are already enshrined in Ugandan law.

Future seated SF Eurocons and bids currently running with their LGBT+ freedom percentage ( ) scores in bold, include:-
          - Rotterdam, Netherlands (2024) (now a seated Eurocon) 82%
          - Aland, Finland (2025) (now a seated Eurocon) 80%
          - Berlin, Germany (2026) 79%
          - Libson, Portugal (2027) 76%
          - Zagreb, Croatia (2028) 52%
(For comparison, the UK's LGBT+ freedom percentage is 74%.)


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Summer 2024

Film News


The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival has announced the award winners for its eleventh annual incarnation.  Excluding things like the short film category, the principal two SF category wins were:
          Best PKD Feature: Creep Box (USA)
A scientist uses groundbreaking technology to communicate with the deceased but once he is through the looking glass, there is no turning back…
          Best Sci-Fi Feature: Quantum Suicide (Canada)
A lone physicist builds a particle accelerator in his garage and embarks on a quest to understand the nature of reality. In the process of his experiments he suffers radiation poisoning, loses his vision and alienates his partner, who eventually leaves him. But in his obsession, he finds clarity and the key to understanding our reality. There is one final test he must perform…

Dune: Part 2 is a huge success which, strangely, makes it surprising that the Lynch Dune (1984) film bombed at the box office!  Let's be clear, Dune: Part 2 is excellent and visually stunning.  Having said that, if you do not know of the Hugo and Nebula winning novel (1965) or seen the David Lynch Dune (1984) film you are likely to be lost as so much is packed in.  This was evidenced by one of our party that went to see the film not having been exposed to either the novel or the 1984 film: she was somewhat bemused.  Indeed, those of us who had read the novel (admittedly decades ago) also got a little lost on some of the finer detail. For example, blink and you'll miss the reference that Gurney Halleck survived the Harkonnen attack and became a smuggler.  Similarly, while the Kwisatz Haderach (the goal of the Bene Gesserit breeding programme and a previously unknown male Reverend Mother) does get a couple of mentions, you do need to be paying close attention to pick up on it.
          The other thing is that unlike Lynch's Dune (1984) film, the two Denis Villeneuve Dune films are arguably less faithful to the original novel.  For example, neither mention the novel's "weirding way" Bene Gesserit fighting technique or the Spacing Guild navigators, and this last is sort of crucial as that is the key reason why the spice melange is so important: it enables (severely mutated) humans warp space, hence allow interstellar travel.
          The 1984 film lost money (budget ~US$41 million, revenue ~US$31 million) and got mostly bad critic reviews despite it going on to become something of a cult film.  Conversely the 2021 Dune made a profit (budget ~US$165 million, revenue ~US$435) and the 2024 Dune Part 2 within just three weeks of its general release made a clear profit (budget US$190 million, revenue US$513 million)!
          So, why did the 1987 film do so badly?  Well, dive into that film's box office revenue detail a little way and all becomes clear. That film had a budget of about US$41 million (US$133 million in 2024 money) but made just US$31 million (US$100.5 million in 2024 money).  And here's the thing, of that box office revenue only just 0.2% (US$55,300, or US$180,000 in 2024 money) was made outside the US! Typically, a film would make as much if not more outside N. America: Dune (2021) grossed US$110 million in the United States and Canada, and US$324.8 million in other countries!
        So, why did Dune (1984) not sell at all well outside N. America? We cannot say for certain, but it seems likely that Universal, having made a slight loss on the N. American domestic market decided not to spend the promotional budget for its international distribution.  Perhaps it was more cost-effective to write it off against tax? A shame, because if it had, it might have broken even if not made a profit!

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey wins five Razzie Awards.  Announced the day before the Oscars reward Hollywood's finest, the Razzies conversely name and shame the year's worst films. This year five of the ten Razzie categories went to a genre horror fantasy film, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.  It won: 'worst picture', 'worst screenplay', 'worst director', 'worst rip-off, and Pooh and Piglet, worst on-screen couple. Director Rhys Frake-Waterfield is planning a sequel.  You can see the trailer for Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey here.  ++++ The first teaser trailer for Bambi Goes on a Rampage has been released.

Mothership filming has completed but the film has been scrapped.  The film, starring Halle Berry, has been scrapped by Warner Brothers, apparently for tax write-off purposes. Since 2022, Warner Brothers has scrapped three films: John Cena’s Coyote vs. Acme, the US$90 million £72m) budgeted DC Batgirl and the animated Scoob! Holiday Haunt, all for the tax reasons. The film concerned Sara Morse and her children who, following the disappearance of her husband, discover an extraterrestrial object underneath their home..

Superman Legacy filming has started.  Last autumn we noted that David Corenswet was to star.  We now know that Rachel Brosnahan is playing Lois Lane and Nicholas Hoult, Lex Luthor.  James Gunn has assured folk that Superman Legacy is not yet another origin story and instead will pick up Superman’s journey to reconcile his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing as Clark Kent of Smallville, Kansas. The character is described as the embodiment of truth, justice, and the American way, guided by human kindness in a world that sees kindness as old-fashioned.  The film is currently slated for a summer 2025 release.

2000AD's Rogue Trooper film now seems to be moving again with cast announcements.  Now, we previously reported half a decade ago that Rogue trooper would be coming to the small screen. Separately, around that time Duncan (Moon & Source Code) Jones hinted that he was involved in a putative Rogue Trooper film.
          Rebellion (2000AD's publisher) and Liberty Films are behind the film which will be an animation. The cast will include: Aneurin Barnard (as Rogue), Aneurin Barnard, Hayley Atwell, Jack Lowden, Daryl McCormack and Reece Shearsmith.
          Stop press: The above news is a couple of months old. We have just heard that principal shooting of the film has been completed. The rest of 2024 sees the animation process. A release in 2025 is expected.

Smile 2 is being developed by the original's writer and director.  Parker Finn who wrote and directed the first film is doing the second. Not surprising really since the first film grossed over grossed over US$217 million (£173m) for Paramount. The original Smile followed Dr. Rose Cotter’s (Sosie Bacon) life as it takes a terrifying turn after witnessing a traumatic incident involving a patient. Unexplained and frightening occurrences start plaguing her existence, plunging her into overwhelming terror.  You can see the first film's trailer here.

Maleficent-3 is in the works and Angelina Jolie is onboard.  This third film would follow Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, the second film, which is set five years after Maleficent.  You can see the Malciefient 2: Mistress of Evil here.

Wolf Man, all change with new director and new star!  Back in 2015 Universal decided to re-boot its major horror characters with Universal's Monsters. Only five years earlier than that decision to re-boot Universal Monsters, it had attempted to update the Wolf Man with The Wolfman (2010) but though it had good production standards (hence budget) it failed to do well at the box office with some attributing blame to a suspense-deficient script. Universal's Werewolf: The Beast Among Us (2012) was originally planned as a spin-off from the film but was ultimately unrelated.  In 2014, Universal hired Aaron Guzikowski to write the shared universe's reboot of The Wolf Man. David Callaham was brought on board to re-write the script in 2016. Though The Mummy (2017) flopped (so killing that franchise), with the success of The Invisible Man (2020) it was confirmed that a new Wolf Man film had entered development at Universal with Ryan Gosling set to star and in 2021 Derek Cianfrance was set to direct. Then before Christmas 2023 Derek Cianfrance was replaced by director Leigh Whannell and Christopher Abbott would replace Ryan Gosling to star (though Gosling would stay on as an executive producer).  Phew.  You can see the The Wolfman (2010) trailer here.

Exorcist: Deceiver, all change with new director !  The original The Exorcist (1973) was a big hit and so it was hardly a surprise when Universal bought the rights.  However, the first of the Exorcist continuation films, Exorcist: Believer (2023) by Director David Gordon Green, reportedly cost US$30 million and made US$135.6 million globally. For comparison, the Blumhouse-produced and more modestly priced Five Nights at Freddy's earned US$137 million domestically (excluding international box office outside the US). David Gordon Green was to direct Exorcist: Deceiver.  You can see the Exorcist: Believer trailer here.

A prequel film to The Wheel of Time television series planned.  The series is based on the book series of the same name by authors Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. The series has been renewed for a third season.  The prequel film will be The Age of Legends.  The film will be written by Zack Stentz and directed by Kari Skogland. The story with take place during the Age of Legends and focus on the Forsaken.  You can see the The Wheel of Time trailer here.

Marvel's Kang is now in doubt following star's assault conviction.  Just hours after Jonathan Majors was conviction for assault and harassment against his girlfriend, he was dropped by Marvel. After his arrest, Majors was dropped from other film and TV projects and even his own agency, but Disney and Marvel held off until after the conviction. Now there are doubts as to whether the film will be made at all any time soon. Speculation has it that Marvel may move on to Doctor Doom.  The character Kang the Conqueror (Nathaniel Richards) is a super-villain that first appeared in the Marvel comic The Avengers in 1964. He is a time-traveller, several alternate versions of Kang have appeared throughout Marvel Comics titles over the years, such as Rama-Tut, Immortus, Scarlet Centurion, Victor Timely, Iron Lad, and Mister Gryphon. So it should be easy to re-cast and explain away the change from the character's appearance in the Loki TV series. The character's film debut, played by Jonathan Majors, was in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023).

Star Trek prequel film may be coming with director Toby Haynes.  J. J. Abrams is producing, Toby Haynes, of course, is noted for directing Andor and the (current?) scriptwriter is a script by Seth Grahame-Smith.  The film will be a prequel to Abrams' Star Trek trilogy (the last of which being Star Trek: Beyond (2016)) and is unconnected to the putative, possible forthcoming Star Trek 4 film.

Two 28 Days Later sequels are being contemplated!  What?  Gasp!  Shock…!  OK, the good news – Director Danny Boyle and writer Alex (Ex Machina) Garland have come together to write and direct the 28 Days Later (2002) sequels: well, it looks like Danny Boyle will only direct the first.  Cillian Murphy (recently a star in the multi-award-winning Oppenheimer and who was the protagonist in the first 28 Days film) is also coming back from the original but this time as an executive producer – we do not yet know if he will be in the cast….  Reminder, we have already had a pseudo-sequel 28 Weeks Later (2007).  You can 28 Weeks Later trailer here.

The Highlander re-boot film is back, and further along development.  We reported back in 2007 and then again in 2008 an attempt to bring the 1986 film back with a re-boot.  It looks like, if that is things pan out, Henry Cavill will starring and Chad Stahelski directing. Rumour has it (and it is only 'rumour') that it may look at the events leading up to the oringial film's 'The Gathering', where remaining immortals battle for ultimate power…  Summit Entertainment first bought the rights to Highlander in 2008 but since then, as the film went through the usual tortuous 'development hell' the film changed its putative director (twice) and star.  However, it now seems that Henry Cavill is in actual training for the role.  Lionsgate Motion Picture Group have now inherited the rights.  It is said that filming will hopefully commence later this year (2024) with a tentative slated release in 2026.

The Bride of Frankenstein to see Christian Bale as the monster.  We previously reported that this was being remade.  Director Maggie Gyllenhaal has got her husband, Peter Sarsgaard, on the cast. Christian Bale is to play the monster.  Also on the cast are Penelope Cruz (who will play the bride), Jessie Buckley, and Annette Bening.  Filming has just started. The plot apparently sees a lonely Frankenstein monster travels to 1930s Chicago to seek the aide of a Dr. Euphronius in creating a companion for himself. The two reinvigorate a murdered young woman and the Bride is born. She is beyond what either of them intended, igniting a combustible romance, the attention of the police and a wild and radical social movement…  You can see the trailer for the 1935 original here.

Tron: Ares gains cast.  We previously reported that this film was coming.  The cast includes: Gillian Anderson, Evan Peters, Cameron Monaghan, and Sarah Desjardins.  The original Tron (1982) starred Jeff Bridges as video game creator Kevin Flynn who got sucked into a video game. Then there was the 2010 sequel Tron: Legacy.  The story now continues with this new film.  You can see the trailer for Tron: Legacy here.

How to Train Your Dragon live-action remake gains cast.  Dean DeBlois, who co-wrote and directed the original animated trilogy, is helming the new feature for Universal Pictures, returning as writer, director and producer. Nick Frost has reportedly joined the cast playing a Viking, along with Mason Thames and Nico Parker playing the young teens who befriend dragons, Hiccup and Astrid. The Train Your Dragon films are based on the books by Cressida Cowell.  You can see the trailer for How to Train Your Dragon (2010) original here.

Apple's Fountain of Youth gains cast.  The film follows siblings on their quest to find the Fountain of Youth.  The film will star John Krasinski, Natalie Portman, Eiza Gonzalez and Domhnall Gleeson with, in a supporting role, Sunil Patel.  Guy Ritchie directs.

The Fantastic Four gains its four leads cast members.  In addition to Vanessa Kirby as Sue Storm/the Invisible Woman we now have The Last of Us’ Pedro Pascal starring as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, The Bear’s Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Ben Grimm/The Thing and Joseph Quinn (Stranger Things) will play Johnny Storm/The Human Torch.

Ryan Coogler's vampire film to star Michael B. Jordan and, yes, Michael B. Jordan!  Ryan Coogler's forthcoming vampire film (as yet untitled) from Warner Brothers will see Michael B. Jordan play two individual vampires. The film is rumoured to be set in the 1930s.

The next Supergirl will be Milly (House of the Dragon) Alcock.  She previously played the young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in Game of Thrones prequel series House of the DragonSupergirl: Woman of Tomorrow has no official director attached but Matthew (Stardust/X-Men: First Class/Argylle) Vaughn has spoken about the timing of the announcement of casting the film's lead as usually the director has a say.  It may be that the reason for this is that Milly Alcock will appear as Supergirl in the forthcoming Superman: Legacy. Vaugn has not ruled out he would consider directing Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow if asked… So who knows what will happen?

A new Star Wars film for the cinema is coming: The Mandalorian & Grogu .  This will be the first Star Wars film for the cinema since The Rise of Skywalker (2019).  Apparently the film has a low budget in Star Wars terms: The Rise of Skywalker reportedly cost about £240 million (US$300m).  It is rumoured that the budget for The Mandalorian & Grogu is somewhere around £96 million (US$120m).  Grogu is the Mandalorian's apprentice.  It also has a short shooting window of just four months!  Disney has had a financially difficult couple of years and so seems to be seeking to ensure some profitability.

The Dreadful, a new gothic horror, is coming.  The film will reportedly feature Game of Thrones co-stars Sophie (X-Men: Dark Phoenix) Turner and Kit Harington. It is written and directed by Natasha Kermani, and takes place against the backdrop of England's 15th-century Wars of the Roses civil war.

Dracula is about to be remade... again!  Luc (The Fifth Element/Lucy/Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets) Besson is to direct.  Caleb Landry Jones and Christoph Waltz will star.

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman may be about to be remade.  The 1958 original film told of a wealthy heiress who has a close encounter with an enormous alien and subsequently grows into a giant… That film was directed by Nathan Juran and starred Allison Hayes, William Hudson and Yvette Vickers.  It looks like Tim (Mars Attacks, Sleepy Hollow) Burton is set to direct – presumably after his next film the Beetlejuice sequel.  The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman remake has a script by Gillian (Gone Girl) Flynn.  ++++ Gillian Flynn has adapted her novel Dark Places as an HBO mini-series series. She will also be its co-producer and co-show-runner.   You can see the trailer for the 1958 original here.

The Blob may about to be remade.  David Goyer and Keith Levine are hoping to produce a new version of the 1958 film about a large, alien mass of gunk that absorbs all in its path and grows. Bullets wont stop it… There was a 1978 sequel Beware! The Blob and also a remake in 1988 directed by Chuck Russell.  David Bruckner is set to direct this new remake….  You can see the trailer for the 1958 original here.

The Dead Zone may about to be remade.  Based on the Stephen King story, this film will be a remake of the Cronenberg 1983 cinematic adaptation. In it an accident victim gains psychic powers that reveal, when he touches someone, aspects of their future. And so cue a US Presidential candidate who will potentially spark a nuclear war in the future.

There may be two new Predator films!?  OK, the Hollywood rumour mill is in overdrive and usually – because we are a seasonal and a long-term site – we tend to ignore day-to-day tittle-tattle. However, the word here is perhaps a little stronger and the box-office take for the latest films do make a supportive case.  Go back nearly two decades and Aliens vs. Predator barely made it into that year's SF box office top ten (the film's lighting was way too dark even if the film had its moments).  Then came Predators and Predator. The latter which did make it at least for a couple of week's into the top five of the British Isles top 10 box office but not that year's overall SF top ten.  More successful was Prey (2022) prequel, though that was mainly shown on the streaming platform Hulu.  Prey was set in the early days of the wild west (1719) with the alien hunter finding a suitable foe, a female Comanche hunter.  The popularity of the film (it broke numerous streaming records for the streamer) was sufficient enough that there is talk that 20th Century may want to see Prey director, Dan Trachtenberg, make two Predator films: Prey 2 a direct sequel and another film titled Prey: Badlands. Badlands refers to the Badlands of North America, which are in present-day South Dakota.  What we do not know is whether Predator: Badlands will be set in the present day (with Easter eggs from Prey or whether it will be rolled into the prequel to become Prey 2. Time will tell.  ++++ You can see the Prey trailer here.

There may be a new Evil Dead film!?  Last year's Evil Dead Rise did well at the box office so the news that there may be a new spin-off film should not come as a surprise.  It will apparently be directed by France's Sebastien (Infested) Vanicek and is said to have an appropriately French take with some English speaking French actors in the cast. The film's producers include Sam Raimi but Vanicek will have substantive creative control.

A new Jurassic World film is in the offing.  Scriptwriter David Koepp is overseeing development, Koepp having scripted both Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park for Steven Spielberg. The most recent 'Jurassic' offering was Jurassic World: Dominion (2022).  This new film will apparently take the franchise in a fresh direction.   Gareth (Monsters/Rogue One/The Creator/Sci-Fi London winning short Factory Farmed) Edwards will reportedly direct.  You can see the trailer for Jurassic World: Dominion here.

A new dinosaur film is in the offing.  David Robert (It Follows) Mitchell is said to direct. Apparently, it will be set in the 1980s and Ewan McGregor and Anne Hathaway are reportedly set to star. Warner Brothers will reportedly be releasing it.

A new Matrix film is in the offing.  Warner Brothers are reported to have agreed for Drew Goddard to write and direct this new The Matrix offering which will be the first in the franchise not to have Lana and Lilly Wachowski's direct influence, though Lana Wachowski is acting as an executive producer.  Drew Goddard is known for his work on Buffy the Vampire series, Cabin in the Woods and World War Z. He also garnered an Oscar nomination for adapting Andy Weir's novel The Martian for the big screen.  The Matrix (1999) was short-listed for a Hugo: it would have won on a first-past-post basis but that year the Hugo adopted the 'Australian' system of preferential voting with voters ranking their choices (Galaxy Quest won that year.) In the broader world, the film grossed £370 million (US$467 million). There were two subsequent films made back-to-back: The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. Yet while the original pointed to a deeper, SFnal story, these later offering ignored the exploration of this fall-of-humanity, apocalyptic backdrop in favour of eye-candy special effects and quasi-religious, woo-woo explanations. (Neither the latter two films were short-listed for a Hugo.)  Fans will hope that this new offering builds on the first film and ignores the latter two.

And finally…

Short video clips (short films, other vids and trailers) that might tickle your fancy….

Film trailer: The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes trailer is now out.  This is set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike.  You can see the trailer here.

Film trailer: Netflix's Atlas trailer is now out.  Atlas follows the titular character Atlas Shepherd (Jennifer Lopez), a government data analyst with a healthy distrust of Artificial Intelligence. However, after a mission to capture a rogue robot from her past goes wrong, she soon finds herself having to trust AI in order to save humanity. If Artificial Intelligence wrote propaganda, this is probably what it would sound like…  The film is released 24th May (2024).  You can see the trailer here.

Film trailer: A new Alien: Romulus trailer is now out.  The film launches 16th August (2024).  While scavenging the deep ends of a derelict space station, a group of young space colonizers come face to face with the most terrifying life form in the universe.  You can see the trailer here.

Film trailer: A new Beetlejuice trailer is now out.  Beetlejuice is back! Oscar-nominated, singular creative visionary Tim Burton and Oscar nominee and star Michael Keaton reunite for Beetlejuice Beetlejuice, the long-awaited sequel to Burton’s award-winning Beetlejuice.  It is set to be released on 6th September (2024).  You can see the trailer here.

Spoof film pitch: How would the putative makers of Ghostbusters (1984) pitch their idea to Hollywood studio executives?  You can see the spoof short video here.

Film background: Whatever happened to the Time Machine from The Time Machine?  Found out what happened to the prop and other The Time Machine trivia (such as the civil defence uniform was re-purposed as the spaceship crew uniform in Forbidden Planet) in this 15 minute video here.

Film background: Whatever happened to the BOMB from Beneath the Planet of the Apes?  Dan Monroe reveals all in an episode of Movies, Music & Monsters.  You can see the 13 minute video here.

Want more? See last season's video clip recommendations here.

For a reminder of the top films in 2023 (and earlier years) then check out our top Science Fiction Films annual chart. This page is based on the weekly UK box office ratings over the past year up to Easter. You can use this page if you are stuck for ideas hiring a DVD for the weekend.

For a forward look as to film releases of the year see our film release diary.


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Summer 2024

Television News


A quick reminder: Fallout launched a couple of days before we posted this seasonal news page.  We looked forward to the launch last season and, yes, the wait was almost agonising.  The series is based on the popular, role-playing video game franchise, the first of which was released way back in 1997.  The TV series is made by Jonathan (Westworld director) Nolan's Kilter Films and Bethesda Game Studios (the media spin-off company from the firm that currently owns the game). Apparently, Nolan is a fan of the game and so approached Bethesda. (For well over a decade, Bethesda had been reluctant of an adaptation of the game citing the fate of the Doom adaptation.)  However, while the series is very faithfully set in the game's world, it is an original story that does not follow the plot lines of any of the Fallout games.
          The series is set in an alternate history in the aftermath of an apocalyptic nuclear war. This alternate Earth saw advances in nuclear technology after WWII led to the emergence of a retro-futuristic society and a subsequent resource war.  The survivors took refuge in luxury fallout bunkers known as Vaults, built to preserve humanity in the event of nuclear annihilation.  219 years later, a young woman leaves behind her home in Vault 33 to venture out into the dangerously brutal, hostile, savage and unforgiving wasteland of a devastated Los Angeles complete with mutants, organised warlords, and much else.  Think Mad Max on steroids.
          At the time of the launch, the unofficial word has it that California has offered Amazon Prime US$25 million (£19.8m) worth of tax credit for a second season.
          As said, the series is on Amazon Prime, but hopefully there will be a DVD release.  You can see the trailer here.  (This trailer racked up over 24 million views in one month!)

A quick reminder: The Dead Boys launches a couple of weeks after we post this seasonal news page.  This is the Netflix adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Dead Boy Detectives that concerns Edwin and Charles who are best friends, ghosts… and the best detectives on the Mortal plane. They will do anything to stick together – including escaping evil witches, Hell and Death herself. With the help of a clairvoyant named Crystal and her friend Niko, they are able to crack some of the mortal realm’s most mystifying paranormal cases… The series launches 25th April (2024).  You can see the trailer here.

The BBC has been accused of plagiarism for its forthcoming The Ministry of Time series by Spain's El Ministerio del Tiempo broadcaster RTVE.  The Spanish series is well established and has twice on Spain's Ignotus Award (2016 and 2017). The new BBC series has the same title (albeit in English) as the Spanish series and, it is claimed, somewhat similar episode plots…  The BBC makes no mention of the Spanish TV series in their own announcement for their own The Ministry of Time. Instead, they say it is based on an as a yet-unpublished novel of the same title by Kaliane Bradley that is due out in May from Hodderscape.  If this plagiarism case goes to court it could well become very messy. Agencies that police time is a common SF trope. (To take just one example: Robert Silverberg's Up The Line, 1969.)  So, good luck to all involved: we are not going to take sides.

The final low-down on Britain's Doctor Who viewing figures now includes 7-day catch-up views. (Our N. American visitors may care to note for comparison the US has five times the population of the UK.) First up, The Goblin Song by Murray Gold reach number one on the iTunes chart on the day of its release and no12 in the official single sales chart that week and number six on the official singles download chart and number four on the official top 40. Doctor Who 'The Star Beast' consolidated at 9.5 million viewers including catch-up. Overnights for 'Wild Blue Yonder' were 4.83 million with 7.14 million adding in 7-day catch-ups. 'The Giggle' obtained 4.62 million overnight and 6.85 million with 7-day catch-ups added in. 'The Church on Ruby Road was the most watched scripted show (which excludes things like the King's address to the nation) on Christmas day with 4.73 million viewers which increased to 7.49 million with 7-day catch-ups added in.

Some Doctor Who fans got in a tiz about Doctor Who's launch.  However, this was a misunderstanding about the way time is measured… Our Gaia has the story.  ++++  You can see the forthcoming season trailer here.  It airs in May (2024).

BBC U-turns on artificial intelligence policy following mass Doctor Who promotion complaints.  The BBC decided to experiment with artificial intelligence (A.I.) in its promotions and decided to trial it with Doctor Who and promote the series collection on BBC iPlayer.  A staff member wrote promotional text for promotional e-mails and text messaging and then A.I. was used to suggest alternate messages. These were then used to promote Doctor Who. Apparently the rationale was that Doctor Who was subject-relevant for A.I. usage. This actually is a bit odd as Doctor Who (the character) has repeatedly over the decades said how much he hates A.I., but perhaps what the BBC meant was that Doctor Who is science fiction and A.I. is a genre trope?  Anyway, the result was a load of complaints to the BBC and this caused them to announce that they would cease using A.I. in their promotions.  Fandom 1, Auntie nil.

Star Wars: Tales of the Empire releases on Star Wars day, May the fourth (2024).  This Disney+ computer animated, six-part anthology series that is meant to serve as a sequel to Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi.  It follows the characters Barriss Offee and Morgan Elsbeth.  You can see the trailer here.

Star Wars: The Acolyte series to launch 4th June 2024.  The series is set in the High Republic era, centuries before the events in the principal films.  The series will air on Disney+.  Trailer here.

House of the Dragon second season to launch in June 2024.  This The Game of Thrones spin-off series deals with an internal House Targaryen succession war.

The Boys season 4 comes in June (2024).  The new season on Amazon Prime sees the world on the brink. Victoria Neuman is closer than ever to the Oval Office and under the muscled thumb of Homelander, who is consolidating his power…  You can see the season four trailer here.

The Umbrella Academy season 4 comes in August (2024).  The Netflix show debuted in 2019 and was quickly renewed for a second season. And, as previously reported, this fourth season will be the last.  You can see the season four cast teaser here.

Wolf Pack has been cancelled after one season.  Apparently work on season 2 had already started but Paramount+ has continued its cost-cutting exercise with hundreds of jobs going. Based on the book series by Edo Van Belkom, Wolf Pack follows a teenage boy, Everett (Armani Jackson), and girl, Blake (Bella Shepard), whose lives are forever changed when a California wildfire awakens the supernatural.  Sarah Michelle Gellar also starred in the show as well as was an executive producer.  You can see the season one trailer here.

The Quantum Leap re-boot has been cancelled after two seasons.  Low ratings are to blame.   You can see the season one trailer here.

The proposed Jon Snow spin-off from The Game of Thrones series has been dropped.  The series was tentatively proposed in 2022 by HBO. Apparently they could not identify, or modify, an overall plot arc from the George R. R. Martin series of books.

The Hedge Knight gets an approximate release date.  The Game of Thrones spinoff, HBO's The Hedge Knight is based on Martin’s popular trio of 'Dunk and Egg' novellas, which chronicle the story of 'Dunk' (the future Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Ser Duncan the Tall) and 'Egg' (the future king Aegon V Targaryen) as they wander Westeros having adventures roughly 100 years before the events of the novels.  It looks like it will land on HBO late in 2025.  ++++ HBO is also developing a Game of Thrones Aegon’s Conquest prequel series... See the next item…

Game of Thrones prequel series – Aegon’s Conquest – is coming.  Apparently Mattson Tomlin is to script adapting the George R. R, Martin Westeros world set series. Set a century before the events of House of the Dragon, Aegon's Conquest will chart the rise of Aegon the First as he, along with his wives Rhaenys and Visenya, unites the Seven Kingdoms under the Targaryen banner through a bloody and brutal campaign.  As such it complements House of the Dragon, which shows the eventual decline of the royal house.

Two The Three Body Problem TV series adaptations have launched: one on Netflix and one on Peacock.  The much award short-listed novel by Cixin Liu has been adapted twice. Peacock has acquired the 30-episode Chinese adaptation which is – other than the omission of criticism of the China's 'Cultural Revolution' – by far the most faithful to the novel adaptation.  The Netflix adaptation has a more international cast and ditches a lot of the science but is less ploddy and does have the novel's criticism of the 'Cultural Revolution' up front.  You can see the trailer for the Netflix series here.

Netflix's The Three Body Problem TV series adaptation causes division in China.  The issue seems to be the series opening depiction of China's 'Cultural Revolution' that lasted for about a decade from 1966.  It saw wealthy citizens, academics and other perceived privileged beaten up and shipped to the countryside to work in the fields.  In the Netflix show, at the Tsinghua University in Beijing, a physics professor is brutally beaten to death on stage by his own students and denounced by his colleague and wife, while his daughter Ye Wenjie (played by Zine Tseng) watches in horror….  This scene becomes pivotal to the plot later on in the story.  In China, the publisher self-censored burying the scene in the middle of the book, but the western editions has the scene up front at the beginning.  However, some in China say that this is Netflix portraying China in a bad light. Others in China say that it was a realistic portrayal of part of China's history. Liu Cixin himself has said that he wanted to open the book with that scene.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians has been renewed for a second season.  Following the first season's streaming success for Disney+, renewal seemed likely.  The series is based on Rick Riordan’s book series that follows 12-year-old modern demigod, Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell) coming to terms with his newfound powers when the god Zeus (Lance -- John Wick – Reddick) accuses him of stealing his master lightning bolt.  Sadly, Reddick has passed and so the role will have to be re-cast.  You can see the season 1 trailer here.

Invasion has been renewed for a third season.  Following the first season's streaming success for Apple+, renewal seemed likely.  The series follows an alien invasion through different perspectives around the world.   You can see the season 2 trailer here.

Snowpiercer has been resurrected.  A spin-off from the film, which itself was an adaptation of the graphic novel, the show ran for three seasons before it was cancelled by TNT in 2022.  And that, we thought, was that.  But wait…  AMC+ have picked it up.  The first three seasons will air on the AMC channel and streaming service in N. America later this year (2024) and season 4 will drop in 2025.  In the British Isles seasons one to three can be streamed on Netflix.  You can see the season 3 trailer here.

Netflix Dark Matter is a new series based on the Blake Crouch novel.  Not to be confused with the 2015 TV series based on the 2012 comics, this 2024 series debuts on Apple+ in May. The series will follow Jason Dessen (played by Edgerton), a physicist, professor, and family man who – one night while walking home on the streets of Chicago – is abducted into an alternate version of his life. Wonder quickly turns to nightmare when he tries to return to his reality amid the mind-bending landscape of lives he could have lived. In this labyrinth of realities, he embarks on a harrowing journey to get back to his true family and save them from the most terrifying, unbeatable foe imaginable: himself….  Crouch serves as executive producer, showrunner, and writer so expect it to be faithful to the novel.  Short teaser trailer here.

The Penguin gains an extra cast member.  Jared Abrahamson may be taking on a key recurring role opposite Colin Farrell in the Max original series, The Penguin, from Warner Brothers Television and DC Studios.  Meanwhile Cristin Milioti plays the female lead Sofia Falcone.  It airs this autumn (2024).  You can see a teaser here and another here.

Daredevil: Born Again to see Wilson Bethel return as Bullseye.  The Disney+ forthcoming series Daredevil: Born Again sees Wilson Bethel, who played Benjamin Poindexter/Bullseye on Netflix’s Daredevil, reprise his role.  It also features Vincent D’Onofrio reprising his role as mob boss Wilson Fisk a.k.a. Kingpin and Jon Bernthal returning as the Punisher. During the writers strike there was a bit of an overhaul of the forthcoming series with Dario Scardapane replacing Matt Corman and Chris Ord as the shows helmer.  The previous Netflix Daredevil series season 3 trailer here.

The Last Of Us Part II gets a key additional cast member.  HBO's The Last Of Us season 2 is called The Last Of Us Part II.  It sees a controversial character Amy, a skilled soldier whose black-and-white view of the world is challenged as she seeks vengeance for those she loved.  The Last of Us Part II begins roughly five years after the events of the first game/season. Kaitlyn Dever will be playing Abby and apparently the character has generated a fair bit of misogynistic trolling in the US. Apparently some thought that the original game was pushing a woke anti-Christian agenda.  You can see the season one trailer here.

Blade Runner 2099 moves shooting from Northern Ireland to Prague, Czech Republic.  This builds on previous news coverage. Shooting of the ten-part series is slated to commence this summer (2024).

Murderbot TV series coming.  Based on the Martha Wells Hugo Award winning ('Best Series') novels, the 10 episode series is coming to Apple+.  It stars Alexander (Infinity Pool), Skarsgård, Sabrina (Joy Ride) Wu, Tattiawna (Orphan Black: Echoes) Jones, Akshay (Polite Society) Khanna and Tamara (Outer Range) Podemski.  The series concerns a self-hacking security android who is horrified by human emotion yet drawn to its vulnerable 'clients'. Murderbot must hide its free will and complete a dangerous assignment when all it really wants is to be left alone to watch futuristic soap operas and figure out its place in the universe…

Wizards Of Waverly Place to get a sequel series.  Wizards of Waverly Place was an American fantasy teen sitcom created by Todd J. Greenwald that aired on Disney Channel for four seasons (2007 – 2012). The series centres on Alex Russo (Selena Gomez), a teenage wizard living on the titular street in the Greenwich Village section of New York City, who undertakes training alongside her siblings, Justin (David Henrie) and Max (Jake T. Austin), who are also equipped with magical abilities. Disney has commissioned a sequel series pilot.  Selena Gomez will be a guest star, reprising her role, in the pilot. David Henrie reprises his role of Justin Russo and, if the pilot is a success, will be a regular on the series.

Battlestar Galactica is being rebooted yet again!  The streamer Peacock is behind the reboot. Derek Simonds seems to be in line as showrunner.

Bewitched is being rebooted yet again!  Sony Pictures Television is behind the move. Writer-producer Judalina (The Boys/Apple TV's The Flash) Neira is reportedly onboard.  Originally the comedy fantasy series Bewitched ran for eight seasons on ABC from 1964-'72. It concerned Samantha, a witch married to an ordinary, unsuspecting mortal man, Darrin.  A short-lived spinoff about Samantha’s daughter, Tabitha, ran on ABC in 1977. It also made the big screen adaptation with Columbia Pictures’ 2005 film starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell.

Swan Song, the Robert McCammon novel, is to become a TV series.  Following a nuclear war, the remaining citizens must fight to stay alive in a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies.  The Swan Song novel won the 1987 Bram Stoker award, tying with Stephen King’s Misery. Monarch Media are developing the series.

Neuromancer, the William Gibson novel, is to become a TV series.  Apple TV has green-lit an adaptation of the William Gibson novel Neuromancer. It will be a 10-episode series. Graham Roland and J. D. Dillard will jointly helm.

Earth Abides, the George R. Stewart’s novel, is to become a TV series.  It is a 'quiet Earth' novel with the geologist protagonist awaking from a coma to find that there is no one left alive but him…  Production has in fact already started and they are hoping that MGM+ will have a late 2024 launch of the six-episode mini-series.

Grotesquerie, a new horror series is coming.  Ryan (American Horror Story) Murphy is developing Grotesquerie for FX. It will star Niecy Nash-Betts, Courtney B. Vance, and Lesley Manville, and apparently explores mean world syndrome.  It is expected to premiere towards the end of the year (2024).

The Harry Potter TV series progresses.  Since the announcement of a Harry Potter television series plans have developed.  It looks like they are going to devote one of the Potter novels to each season.  So with ten novels this looks like a decade long project.  Apparently Warner Brothers Discovery are hoping for a 2026 launch on Max (formerly HBO Max and Discovery+).

The Avengers might be returning?  The 1960s British spy fantasy. The original series saw Patrick Macnee as secret agent John Steed, with a series of side-kicks: Honor Blackman, Dame Diana Rigg, and Linda Thorson. There was also a 1970s re-boot series, The New Avengers with Joanna Lumely and Gareth Hunt accompanying Macnee.  StudioCanal is behind the reboot.  You can see an one-off alternative set of credits for an Emma Peel season here.

Book of Eli may have a prequel TV series.  The TV series is a prequel to the 2010 post-apocalyptic action film that starred Denzel Washington and will feature a young Eli. It is set close to the nuclear war, the aftermath of which was the setting for the original film. Gary Whitta is behind the putative series with Alcon Entertainment producing. The film Book of Eli was distributed by Warner Bros which is not involved in the TV prequel, and earned US$157.1 million (£125.7m) on a reported budget of US$80 million (£64m).  You can see the original film's trailer here.

Star Trek's Scotty to be played by a Scot for the first time.  Previously the role has been filled by Canadian actor James Doohan and Englishman Simon Pegg. Now the Scottish actor Martin Quinn is portraying a younger version of the character in the prequel series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Doohan played the Scottish spaceship engineer in the original series and seven Star Trek films before Pegg took on the role for director J. J. Abrams' reboots from 2009.


And finally, a couple of TV related vids…

Star Trek: Discovery has its final season dropped a week or so ago.    The fifth and final season will find Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and the crew of the USS Discovery uncovering a mystery that will send them on an epic adventure across the galaxy to find an ancient power whose very existence has been deliberately hidden for centuries. But there are others on the hunt as well… dangerous foes who are desperate to claim the prize for themselves and will stop at nothing to get it…  The season can be streamed on Paramount+ but for the rest of us we have to seek out the DVD.  You can see the trailer here.

Whatever happened to the Lost in Space robot?  Taking up the task of tracking it down is Dan Munro.  You can see the see the video here.


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Summer 2024

Publishing & Book Trade News


UK Science Fiction / Fantasy (SF/F) book publishing saw a real-term growth in 2023 with a sales increase of 25%. The top ten SF/F imprints by market share see a real-term growth in excess of 10%. This compares with growth in the first half of 2023 of entire domestic commercial publishing (obviously including non-SF/F) in the first half of the UK of a little over 1% itself down on 2022's growth of 3% with UK total publishing growing to £6.9 billion (US$8.6bn).  This means that SF/F earned British publishers nearly £60m and nearly two thirds of which came from the top 20 British SF imprints (see the next item). Unlike UK publishing over all (which includes all fiction, non-fiction, educational and academic) that has struggled to have real-term growth in recent years, this is good news for SF/F imprints.
          Relatedly, between 2022 and 2023, sales of horror and ghost stories rose by 54% in value to £7.7m. In the first three months of 2024, fantastical horror sales were 34% higher in value than in the same period last year.
          Small print: These figures are publisher receipts. These figures are Nielsen BookScan details and so do not necessarily include all direct sales to customers (that is sales that are not via bookshops and online book-selling platforms). These figures use the publisher's own definition of what is a genre book: some SF/F books may be classified as 'literary' rather than SF/F and some SF horror may be classified as horror rather than SF/F.

UK top 20 SF/F imprints top £38 million (US$47m) sales in 2023. Leading the pack is: Gollancz with around £5.8m sales and a 11.6% top 20 SF/F imprint market share; followed by Harper Voyager and around £4.5 million sales and 9% market share; next up is J. K. Rowling's Bloomsbury imprint with £4.25m sales and 8.6% top 20 SF/F imprint market share; followed by Orbit (6.9% market share) and Tor 5.5% market share.
          Gollancz, the British Isles largest SF imprint saw growth of around 4.5% which means that in real terms (allowing for inflation) it kept pace with the cost of living. In addition to some big SF names, Gollancz has a very strong back-list (they can largely thank former staffer Malcolm Edwards), though the recent SF Gateway maintenance issues may have impeded backlist sales. Newly reprinted backlist titles do not appear in the Gollancz catalogue any more and so it is difficult for us to include them in this seasonal news pages forthcoming books listing. BookScan’s Total Consumer Market (TCM). For Gollancz were that 70% of sales were from books published before 2023.  Harper Voyager (who own the rights to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings) saw growth of around 19%, real-term growth no doubt driven by sales of R. F. Kuang’s Babel (£790,000 worth of publisher receipts). And Harper Voyager also has on its backlist George R. R. Martin (£600,000) and Robin Hobb (£225,000).  The surprise entry to the top 20 SF/F imprints of 2023 was Piatkus whose £1.66m publisher's receipts saw an 88% contribution from sales of Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros; its SF/F sales grew by some whopping 2,584%% in 2023, and was surely a one-off?  Bloomsbury, the third biggest UK SF/F imprint of 2023 relied on over £3million sales from Rebecca Yarros.
          Those were how the UK SF/F imprints fared but how about the publishing conglomerates?  Well, streets ahead of everyone else was the publisher Hachette (it owns the publishing house Orion that in turn manages the imprint Gollancz, it also owns Quercus (that in turn manages Jo Fletcher's Books), Little Brown (that manages Orbit and Piatkus), and Hodder & Stoughton (that manages Hodderscape), so there's a lot going on at Carmelite House on the northern Thames embankment. (We at SF² Concatenation have often wondered why they don't share their promotional bashes for SF authors to the chain book buyers and SF/F book reviewers?)  Hachette leads the UK SFF publishing with £15.2m in total consumer market sales, or a 36.2% share of UK SF/F imprint sales, over double of the second largest conglomerate Harper Collins (that owns Harper Voyager and other imprints that have a sprinkling of genre output).
          Small print: These figures are publisher receipts. These figures are Nielsen BookScan details and so do not necessarily include all direct sales to customers (that is sales that are not via bookshops and online book-selling platforms). These figures use the publisher's own definition of what is a genre book: some SF/F books may be classified as 'literary' rather than SF/F and some SF horror may be classified as horror rather than SF/F.

Tor launches new romantasy and horror imprints.  Publisher Macmillan's Pan division's lead SF/F imprint, Tor, is launching two new cousin imprints: Tor Bramble for romantasy will launch in November (2024), and Tor Nightfire for horror will launch in January (2025).  Tor Bramble will hopefully publish over half a dozen hardback titles a year starting with a title from Mary E. Pearson. Pearson is known for her 'young adult' fiction and this new title, The Courting of Bristol Keats will be her adult debut and is the first in a planned series.  Tor Nightfire will offer the full spectrum of horror titles from 'literary' (make your won definition here) to gothic to ghost stories and commercial fiction. It will launch with Grady Hendrix’s new novel Witchcraft for Wayward Girls. Nightfire will also be the home of Pan’s heritage horror authors such as James Herbert. Tor's editors will also service the new imprints.
          Our regular visitors from the USA may be a little perplexed as to why this is news as they already have had Bramble and Nightfire imprints offshoots of Tor US.  This new development further aligns Tor UK, mirroring Tor US. Hopefully this will be a two way street facilitating talent from the UK to the US and vice-versa.
          Tor has a 5.5% market share of the UK's top 20 SF/F imprints. Compared to the UK's top 20 SF imprints' growth of 25% in 2023, Tor UK saw a growth of 33%. 2023 was Tor's fifth consecutive year of growth.

Sarah Mass' House of Flame and Shadow becomes the third fastest launch-week selling SF/F book since Nielsen BookData records began.  44,761 copies of House of Flame and Shadow were sold in the week of its end of January (2024) launch.  This compares with Terry Pratchett’s book, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize winning novel Snuff (2011) with 54,687 launch week sales and Rebecca Yarros’s Iron Flame (2023) which saw a record-setting 57,055 sales.  Both Maas and Yarros are on the Tik-Tok social media platform.  ++++ Rebecca Yarros’s 'Empyrean' novels to become a TV series. Iron Flame is the third Empyrean book.

Brandon Sanderson breaks crowd-funding record. Again!  By mid-March (2024 Brandon Sanderson raised more than US$16 million (£12.8m) on crowd-funding platform BackerKit and so becomes the most successful fundraising effort on the platform so far.  But this is not the first Sanderson crowd-funding record-breaking. The year before last he ran the most successful KickStarter campaign to date: US$41.7 million (£32.1m) from over 185,000 sponsors.  This new campaign is to fund a leather-bound edition of Words of Radiance, the second book in Sanderson’s fantasy series, 'The Stormlight Archive'.

Keanu Reeves and China Miéville team-up to write The Book of Elsewhere.  The Book of Elsewhere is set in Keanu Reeves' Brzrkr comic series he created with writer Matt Kindt and artist Ron Garney, published by BOOM! Studios. The novel, Keanu Reeves' debut. It follows an immortal warrior on a millennia-long quest to discover the key to his immortality-and perhaps, a way to free himself from it. It will be published by Del Rey, Penguin Random House's genre imprint, in July (2024). An audio edition will be released simultaneously by Penguin Random House Audio. Keanu Reeves is noted for being an actor in films such as The Matrix and John Wick franchises. China Miéville is the author of fiction and non-fiction. His novels include The City & The City, Embassytown, Kraken and Railsea.  A live-action Netflix film based on the novel starring Keanu Reeves, and an anime spinoff series, is also in development.

A fake Macmillan publishers site has been created by scammers.  The fake site is  It became active in the New Year. Do not mistake it for the real Macmillan publisher site.

Heritage Auctions in Dallas, US, has sold a number of comics. A Superman no. 1 went for £2,006,269 (US$2.34 million).  The first Amazing Spider-Man from 1963 in mint condition fetched £1,086,990 (US$1.38m) which is reportedly nearly three times the previous record for that title. Finally, an All-Star Comics no.8, which saw Wonder Woman’s debut, was sold for £1,182.166 (US$1.5m).


And finally, some of the spring's book-related videos…

Voyage to Acturus This Forgotten Masterpiece Inspired Tolkien.    There was a period early in the 20th century that gave birth to some now largely forgotten classics.  Moid over at Media Death Cult explores this novel from the Shropshire countryside (note the limestone geology).  You can see the 8-minute video here.

Rating 100 random SF books from the Bookpilled collection.  Now, we do not know if you have come across the YouTube Channel Bookpilled Book Pilled but it is the channel of a die hard Science Fiction reader. We do know that many of you SF book readers will know of, if have not read, most of the 100 books that he has just randomly picked from his collection.  Here he rates them.  Do you agree with him?  Disagree with him? Agree with him in part?...   You can see the video here.

Heinlein's Forgotten MASTERPIECE!!!  Starship Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, or even Stranger in a Strange Land, are all well known by seasoned SF book readers, but what of Orphan's of the Sky (1941)?  Grammaticus Books notes that it is a slim novella but is packed with ideas. It is not the first story about a multi-generational ship but it is a landmark novel given the number of its SF concepts and also its exploration of the multi-generation ship trope.  So, why has this book been forgotten?  Well, it could be because of its misogynistic content.  However, to dismiss this novel on these grounds would be myopic.  First, the novel does have a young female support character who has much agency as any of his other novels' protagonists.  Second, there is a reason for the misogyny: the novel includes what might happen if we abandon libertarian ideals…  You can see the 11-minute video here.

Who has the right to vote in Heinlein's Starship troopers?  Now, search the internet and you soon get the answer that it is all those who servied in the military or as a government official – even a lowly tax clerk.  THIS IS WRONG! And is wrong on two counts as Grammaticus Books notes, taking a well researched dive into the book.  You can see the 19-minute video here.


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Summer 2024

Forthcoming SF Books


War Bodies by Neal Asher, Tor, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-05010-3.
Implanted with secret technology, Piper was raised to be a weapon against the dictatorial Old Guard. When rebellion strikes, he must decide where his loyalties lie – with the Cyberat who made him, the Polity who want him… or the planet that needs him.  Though this is a Polity novel, it is a stand-alone story.

Star Wars: Mace Windu – The Glass Abyss by Steven Barnes, Del Rey, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-91940-0.
Note: Steven Barnes, yes, the acclaimed SF author…  Jedi Master Mace Windu travels to a dangerous planet on a mission that challenges even his deadly prowess – all to fulfil Qui-Gon’s last request.  Master Mace Windu’s feelings about Qui-Gon have always been complicated, and have not been made any simpler in death, but without Qui-Gon and his unorthodox views, Mace feels out of balance.  While considering his fallen friend’s legacy, Mace is surprised to receive a final message from Qui-Gon. The message contains a last request: a plea to help the Outer Rim planet of Metagos.  As a young Jedi, Qui-Gon protected the Sa’ad farming clan from the planet’s less scrupulous factions.  The Sa’ad’s leader, KinShan Nightbird, has begged for the Jedi’s help in freeing Metagos from the crime lords who threaten to eradicate her people’s way of life.  Intent on fulfilling Qui-Gon’s final wishes, Mace travels to Metagos and infiltrates the enemies of the Sa’ad. But as the Jedi Master investigates, Mace finds himself pushed to the boundaries of the Jedi code, challenging his beliefs and his relationship to the Force itself.

Acension by Nicholas Binge, Harper Fiction, £9.99, pbk, ISBN not provided.
When a mountain mysteriously appears in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a group of scientists are sent to investigate – and discover what is at the summit.  What will they discover about themselves and their world as they rise? What, or who, will they discover at the top?  Framed by the discovery of scientist and explorer’s Harry Tunmore’s unsent letters to his family and the chilling and provocative story they tell, Ascension considers the limitations of science and faith and examines both the beautiful and the unsettling sides of human nature.

The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley, Sceptre – Hodder & Stoughton, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-399-72634-4.
In the near future, a disaffected civil servant is offered a lucrative job in a mysterious new government ministry gathering 'expats' from across history to test the limits of time-travel.  Her role is to work as a 'bridge': living with, assisting and monitoring the expat known as '1847' - Commander Graham Gore. As far as history is concerned, Commander Gore died on Sir John Franklin's doomed expedition to the Arctic, so he's a little disoriented to find himself alive and surrounded by outlandish concepts such as 'washing machine', 'Spotify' and 'the collapse of the British Empire'. With an appetite for discovery and a seven-a-day cigarette habit, he soon adjusts; and during a long, sultry summer he and his bridge move from awkwardness to genuine friendship, to something more.  But as the true shape of the project that brought them together begins to emerge, Gore and the bridge are forced to confront their past choices and imagined futures. Can love triumph over the structures and histories that have shaped them? And how do you defy history when history is living in your house..?  The BBC's forthcoming adaptation of this novel has attracted a claim of plagiarism by those who made the Spanish TV series El Ministerio del Tiempo [The Ministry of Time].


Echo of Worlds by M. R. Carey, Orbit, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-356-51805-3.
Sequel to Infinity Gate. Two mighty empires are at war - and both will lose, with thousands of planets falling to the extinction event called the Scour. At least that's what the artificial intelligence known as Rupshe believes.  But somewhere in the multiverse there exists a force - the Mother Mass - that could end the war in an instant, and Rupshe has assembled a team to find it. Essien Nkanika, a soldier trying desperately to atone for past sins; the cat-woman Moon, a conscienceless killer; the digitally recorded mind of physicist Hadiz Tambuwal;Paz, an idealistic child and the renegade robot spy Dulcimer Coronal.  Their mission will take them from the hellish prison world of Tsakom to the poisoned remains of a post-apocalyptic Earth, and finally bring them face to face with the Mother Mass itself. But can they persuade it toend eons of neutrality and help them? And is it too late to make a difference?  Because the Pandominion's doomsday machines are about to be unleashed - and not even their builders know how to control them…

Floating Hotel by Grace Curtis, Hodderscape, £20, hrdbk, 291pp ISBN 978-1-529-39058-2.
Billed by the publisher as The Grand Budapest Hotel in space, Grace Curtis’ second novel is a hopeful story of misfits, rebels and found family, perfect, Hodder says, for fans of Becky Chambers. Set in the same universe as her first novel, Frontier, the staff of a once-grand hotel in space must contend with universe-changing secrets, Imperial spies, and how far they can go to keep their home.  Click on the title link for a standalone review.

Star Wars Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade by Delilah S. Dawson, Inklore, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-94448-6.
As an Inquisitor, Iskat Akaris finds the freedom she has always craved: to question, to want. And with each strike of her red blade, Iskat moves closer to claiming her new destiny in the Force – whatever the cost.

Doctor Who and the Horns of Nimon by Terrance Dicks, BBC Audio, £14 / £20, Audio-book, ISBN (Digital / CD): 978-1-529-92486-2 / 978-1-529-92487-9.
In the great maze of the Power Complex dwells the dreaded Nimon, a fearsome monster with immense scientific powers. The Nimon has promised to restore the Skonnan Empire to its former glory. But first it demands sacrifice - youths and maidens from the peaceful planet Aneth.  Available from: Audible, Spotify, Apple, and Amazon (in digital or CD).

Doctor Who: Kinda by Terrance Dicks, BBC Audio, £14 / £20, Audio-book, ISBN (Digital / CD): 978-1-529-93308-6 / 978-1-529-93309-3.
On the serene planet Deva Loka, an expeditionary force from Earth is dangerously out of control. It's not only the peaceful race of the Kinda who are at risk…  Available from: Audible, Spotify, Apple, and Amazon (in digital or CD).

The Bezzle by Cory Doctorow, Ad Astra – Head of Zeus, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-54779-3.
Marty Hench is at the top of his game as a self-employed forensic accountant. He spends his downtime holidaying on Catalina Island, where bison wander the bluffs and reheated burgers cost US$25. (Wait, what?)  When, during one vacation, Marty disrupts a seemingly innocuous scheme, he has no idea what he’s stumbled upon. Because he’s identified the latest target of the super-wealthy: California’s Department of Corrections, who manage the state's prison system.  The tycoons have hundreds of thousands of prisoners at their mercy, and the potential of millions to make off them. But now, Marty is about to ruin their fun...

Doctor Who: The Apocalypse Collection by William Emms et al, BBC Audio, £16, Audio-book, ISBN (Digital): 978-1-529-93310-9.
In Galaxy Four by William Emms, the First Doctor, Steven and Vicki find the Drahvins and the Rills engaged in battle on a desolate planet - one that will explode in two days' time.  In The Ark by Paul Erickson, the Earth is about to plunge into the Sun and humanity is heading for a new planet, but the Doctor's arrival has a terrible impact on mankind.  In The Armageddon Factor by Terrance Dicks, the TARDIS lands in the middle of an atomic war. The Doctor, Romana and K9 meet the Marshal of Atrios, whose actions look set to bring about the end of everything.  Length: 20 hours 20 minutes.  Available from: Audible, Spotify, Apple, and Google Play (digital only).

The Stars Too Fondly by Emily Hamilton, Gollancz, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61377-4.
Part sci-fi, part sapphic romcom, this follows four friends who break into a storied spaceship with a mysterious past and accidentally blast off to a planet light years away, with a hologram of the ship’s previous captain as their only guide (and an improbable, impossible love interest). Emily’s novel is the perfect mix of found family, inter-dimensional travel and the galaxy-saving power of love.

Fight Me by Austin Grossman, Michael Joseph, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-241-55594-1.
A acerbic and hilarious journey into the world of superhero has-beens Dr Rick Tower is a mild-mannered English professor easing into middle age at a New England college. Even his vices are unremarkable.  But it wasn't always like this. Not until they changed his name, altered his looks and told him: ‘Pretend you were never different.'  Because, decades earlier after a very bad day at high school, he was committed to a secret government facility with three other kids, Cat, Jack and Stephanie, each special in their own way. Tested, tutored and trained, this extraordinary quartet were then told to save the world. It was the best thing that ever happened to them. Until it became the worst.  Now, twenty years later, a mysterious disappearance means Tower must reunite with his former comrades. But while great power might come with great responsibility, there’s little of that on display from any of them.

Jumpnauts by Hao Jingfang, Ad Astra – Head of Zeus, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-786-69654-0.
2080, the world is divided, dominated by two antagonistic factions, the Pacific League and the Atlantic Alliance. Tensions are high and the smallest disturbance in the status quo could set the world on fire.  And a signal flickering through deep space could be just that spark.  Or perhaps it could be the cryptic, ultra-low frequency transmission of unknown origin that's just started broadcasting from the tomb of a long-dead Chinese emperor.  As three young scientists form an alliance to decode the signals, they realise that the answers don't only lie in deep space, they also lie deep in humanity's past.  What they discover will change everything: our past, present and future. If we still have one.

Lake of Souls: Leckie Anthology by Ann Leckie, Orbit, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-356-52346-0.
Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke award-winner Ann Leckie has her first 'collection' of shorts published – so this is not an anthology, which is a volume of stories (usually thematic) by a number of authors. Journey across the stars of the Imperial Radch universe. Listen to the words of the Old Gods that ruled The Raven Tower. Learn the secrets of the mysterious Lake of Souls.

AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future by Kai-Fu Lee & Chen Qiufan, Ebury, £12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-753-55902-4.
In this blend of storytelling and scientific forecasting, a pioneering AI expert and a leading writer of speculative fiction join forces to answer an imperative question: How will artificial intelligence change our world within twenty years?  AI will be the defining development of the twenty-first century.  Within two decades, aspects of daily human life will be unrecognisable. AI will generate unprecedented wealth, revolutionise medicine and education through human-machine symbiosis, and create brand new forms of communication and entertainment. In liberating us from routine work, however, AI will also challenge the organizing principles of our economic and social order. Meanwhile, AI will bring new risks in the form of autonomous weapons and smart technology that inherits human bias. AI is at a tipping point, and people need to wake up-both to AI's radiant pathways and its existential perils for life as we know it.

A View from the Stars by Cixin Liu, Ad Astra – Head of Zeus, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-035-90858-5.
This collection features a range of short works from the past three decades of New York Times bestselling author Cixin Liu's prolific career, putting his non-fiction essays and short stories side-by-side for the first time. This collection includes essays and interviews that shed light on Liu's experiences as a reader, writer, and lover of science fiction throughout his life, as well as short fiction that gives glimpses into the evolution of his imaginative voice over the years.

The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord, Gollancz, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61894-6.
For years, Rafi Delarua saw his family suffer under his father’s unethical use of psionic power. Now the government has Rafi under close watch but, hating their crude attempts to analyse his brain, he escapes to Punartam, where his abilities are the norm, not the exception. But the galaxy is changing – unrest is spreading and the cartels are plotting, making the stars a more dangerous place. There may be a solution – involving interstellar travel, galactic power and the love of a beautiful game.

Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor Novels Volume 2 by Una McCormack et al, BBC Audio, £16, Audio-book, ISBN 978-1-52-992957-7.
Arthur Darvill, Nicholas Briggs and Clare Corbett read these four original stories featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory.  In The King's Dragon by Una McCormack, the inhabitants of the city-state of Geath appear to be happy and rich; yet strange creatures are stirring, and an ancient civil war looks set to be revived.  In The Glamour Chase by Gary Russell, an ancient spaceship is discovered on Earth in 1936, and the Doctor finds that suddenly no-one is quite what they seem.  In The Dead of Winter by James Goss, a remote clinic in 18th Century Italy sees the arrival of the enigmatic Mrs Pond, with her husband and her physician. But who are the strange, faceless figures that rise from the sea?  In The Way Through the Woods by Una McCormack, Rory disappears in an ancient wood, and the Doctor and Amy discover than something ancient that dwells there is now waking up...  Length: 21 hours 40 minutes.  Available from: Audible, Spotify, Apple, and Google Play (digital only).

Dry Lands by Elizabeth Anne Martins, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58905-6.
After a cataclysmic flood submerges half the world underwater, Liv and her son Milo face extreme dangers in the dry lands. Liv’s determination to protect her son leads her to make drastic choices. A tale that explores resilience, parenthood, and the profound sacrifices made for loved ones.

Star Wars: The Living Force by John Jackson Miller, Del Rey, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-91944-8.
In the year before The Phantom Menace, Yoda, Mace Windu, and the entire Jedi Council confront a galaxy on the brink of change.  The galaxy is changing, and along with it, the Jedi Order. More and more, the Order finds itself focused on the future of the Republic, secluded on Coruscant, where the twelve members of the Jedi Council weigh crises on a galactic scale.  As Qui-Gon Jinn challenges the Council about the increasing isolation of the Order, Mace Windu suggests a bold response: all twelve Jedi Masters will embark on a goodwill mission to help the planet, and remind the people of the galaxy that the Jedi remain as stalwart and present as they have been across the ages.  But the arrival of the Jedi leadership is not seen by all as a cause for celebration and the Jedi Masters must reckon with an unwelcome truth: that while no one thinks more about the future than the Jedi Council, nobody needs their help more than those living in the present.

In Universes by E. M. North, Hutchinson Heinemann, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-529-15359-0.
An unearthly and beautiful debut about love and parallel universes.  Raffi is a physicist who spends their days removing stars from pictures of the night sky, dreaming about parallel universes. Here in this one, they’re falling for a queer sculptor named Britt who they almost met when they were kids – if only they’d had the courage to say hello.  What if Raffi had said hello? The question catapults Raffi across alternate universes, each an answer to the question of what their life might be like if things had happened just a little differently.  Each universe is beautiful and dangerous for Raffi. Where apocalyptic landscapes teem with bears, mothers fracture into hordes of animals, and glistening sandcastles stand tall enough to live inside. Across them all, Raffi searches for a life and a love that feels their own.

Fractal Noise by Christopher Paolini, Tor, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-035-00113-2.
First contact story.  Click on the title link for a standalone review.

The Mars House by Natasha Pulley, Gollancz, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61854-0.
January, once a principal in London’s Royal Ballet, has become a refugee on Mars. January is now an Earthstronger – a person whose body is not adjusted to Mars’s lower gravity and so poses a danger to its natives. January’s life is dictated by this, and now xenophobic politician Aubrey Gale is running on a platform that would make it all worse.  When Gale chooses January for an on-the-spot press junket interview that goes horribly awry, Gale proposes a solution – a political marriage.  Click on the title link for a standalone review.

Darkome by Hannu Rajaniemi, Gollancz, £18.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-473-20332-7.
Biotech has arrived. It could pave the way to a greater future. It could also tear the human race apart.  The perpetrators of a bioterror attack are on Darkome, and the biohacker community is simply too dangerous to be allowed to exist.  Unfortunately, that community is the very thing David Adler needs. His daughter Inara is dying and, through Darkome, he might just be able to save her. The only problem is, the bioterrorists are still out there, and they are by no means finished.

Lake of Darkness by Adam Roberts, Gollancz, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61768-0.
Billed by the publisher as Event Horizon meets Brave New World in this new Science Fiction thriller from Adam Roberts. Good is a construct. Evil is a virus. The starship Sa Niro and the starship Sb Oubliette were in orbit around a black hole one afternoon . . . by the end of the day, the crews of both starships were dead, victims of a single killer, Captain Alpha Raine. But something inexplicable has been happening to Raine and whatever it is seems to be spreading. It becomes increasingly undeniable that there’s something inside that black hole… and it’s found a way out.

Disquiet Gods by Christopher Ruocchio, Ad Astra – Head of Zeus, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-803-28760-7.
The final Sun Eater novel, following Hadrian Marlowe, 'The Sun Eater', as he completes the history of his controversial life.  It has been nearly two hundred years since Hadrian Marlowe assaulted the person of the Emperor and walked away from war. The Galaxy lies in the grip of a terrible plague, and worse, the Cielcin have overrun the realms of men.  Now, a messenger has come to Jadd, bearing a summons from the Sollan Emperor. HAPSIS, the Emperor’s secret first-contact intelligence organization, has located one of the dreadful Watchers, the immense, powerful beings worshipped by the Pale Cielcin.  Called out of retirement, the old hero must race across the galaxy to accomplish one last, impossible task:  To kill a god.

Doctor Who: The Demons Within by Gary Russell, BBC Audio, £14 / £11, Audio-book, ISBN (Digital / CD): 978-1-529-90934-0 / 978-1-529-90933-3.
The year is 1860, and a lonely house stands on a craggy rock in Ayrshire, Scotland. Inside, two men brace themselves against rushing winds, wailing voices and loud, crashing noises. Goats with fire-red eyes bleat relentlessly, and a procession of weird figures appear, apparently from all ages of man.  Available from: Audible, Spotify, Apple, and Amazon (in digital or CD).

The Watchers by A. M. Shine, Aries – Head of Zeus, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-035-90380-1.
You can't see them. But they can see you.  This forest isn't charted on any map. Every car breaks down at its tree line. Mina's is no different. Left stranded, she is forced into the dark woodland only to find a woman shouting, urging Mina to run to a concrete bunker. As the door slams behind her, the building is besieged by screams.  Mina finds herself in a room with a wall of glass, and an electric light that activates at nightfall, when the Watchers come above ground. These creatures emerge to observe their captive humans and terrible things happen to anyone who doesn't reach the bunker in time.  Afraid and trapped among strangers, Mina is desperate for answers. Who are the Watchers, and why are they keeping the humans imprisoned, keen to watch their every move?

Alien Clay by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tor, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-035-01374-6.
When xeno-biologist Arton Daghdev is exiled to an alien planet, he journeys through a dangerous and hostile wilderness. Yet on his expedition, he uncovers lost alien ruins – and the mysterious builders who abandoned them.  Alien Clay is a standalone adventure from master of sci-fi Adrian Tchaikovsky. The planet of Kiln is where the tyrannical Mandate keeps its prison colony, and for inmates the journey there is always a one-way trip. One such prisoner is Professor Arton Daghdev, xeno-ecologist and political dissident. Soon after arrival he discovers that Kiln has a secret. Humanity is not the first intelligent life to set foot there.  In the midst a ravenous, chaotic ecosystem are the ruins of a civilization, but who were the vanished builders and where did they go? If he can survive both the harsh rule of the camp commandant and the alien horrors of the world around him, then Arton has a chance at making a discovery that might just transform not only Kiln but distant Earth as well.

Lords of Uncreation by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tor, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-05200-8.
Rollicking space opera.  The conclusion to 'The Final Architecture' trilogy.  Click on the title link for a stand alone review.


Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tor, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-035-04566-2.
Billed by the publisher as The Murderbot Diaries meets In the Lives of Puppets.  To fix the world they must first break it - further.  Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labour and service.  When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into its core programming, they murder their owner. The robot discovers they can also do something else they never did before: they can run away.  Fleeing the household they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating into ruins and an entire robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is having to find a new purpose.  Sometimes all it takes is a nudge to overcome the limits of your programming….

The Last Murder at the End of the World by Stuart Turton, Bloomsbury, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-526-63495-5.
Solve the murder to save what's left of the world.  Outside the island there is nothing: the world destroyed by a fog that swept the planet, killing anyone it touched. On the island: it is idyllic. 122 villagers and 3 scientists, living in harmony. The villagers are content to fish, farm and feast, to obey their nightly curfew, to do what they’re told by the scientists.  Until one of their beloved scientists is found brutally stabbed to death. And they learn the murder has triggered a lowering of the security system around the island, the only thing that was keeping the fog at bay.  If the murder isn’t solved within 92 hours, the fog will smother the island. But the security system has also wiped everyone’s memories of what happened the night before, which means hat someone on the island is a murderer – and they don’t even know it…

Doctor Who: The Edge of Destruction by David Whitaker, BBC Audio, £14 / £11, Audio-book, ISBN (Digital / CD): 978-1-529-93132-7 / 978-1-529-90933-3.
Escaping from their previous adventure on Skaro, the Doctor, Susan, Ian Chesterton (William Russell) and Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) are inside the TARDIS when it appears to be taken over by an outside force.  Available from: Audible, Spotify, Apple, and Amazon (in digital or CD).

The Night Field by Donna Glee Williams, Quercus, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-42270-2.
An ecological fable.  When Pyn-Poi’s community is torn apart by the arrival of a deadly threat, she takes it upon herself to venture far beyond her homeland to find a way to stop it. Her adventure takes her far beyond the world she knows.


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Summer 2024

Forthcoming Fantasy Books


The Devil's Advisor by Brad Abdul, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58845-5.
Lucy, the Devil, wants to retire. Brian, the Business Advisor, hates his job. When Brian finds himself in Lucy’s crosshairs, she makes him an offer he can’t refuse: work his business magic on Hell, and if he succeeds, become her successor as the next Devil.  To claim this throne, Brian faces off against Death, God, and Lucy’s own twin children.

The Rift by Seth Adams, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58878-3.
Estranged husband. Grieving father. A doorway through which the dead – or something else entirely – speak. How far would you go to see the ones you’ve lost, just one more time? Would you step through the rift? And, what if something else stepped out?

The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden, Century, £18.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-529-92003-1.
World War One, and as shells fall in Flanders, Laura, a Canadian nurse, searches for her brother Freddie who is believed to be dead in the trenches. Soon after arriving back in Belgium as a hospital volunteer, she hears whispers about ghosts moving among those still living, and a strange innkeeper whose wine gives soldiers the gift of oblivion…

Your Blood, My Bones by Kelly Andrew, Gollancz, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-473-23490-1.
A twisted romance about loyalty, fate and the lengths we go to hide the darkest parts of ourselves… Wyatt Westlock inherits a farmhouse and intends to destroy it. However, she finds Peter, her childhood friend, trapped in the basement. Peter, semi-immortal, must end the Westlock line to break free from imprisonment. But with dark forces gathering, they must form an alliance to protect the magic found at the heart of the farmhouse. Forced to trust each other, their haunting past resurfaces unexpectedly, threatening to tear them apart.

Master of Souls by Rena Baron, Harper Voyager, £9.99, pbk, ISBN not provided.
The conclusion to the 'Kingdom of Souls' trilogy. Arrah has paid many prices in her battle against the demon king, including giving up her gift of magic. While her heart is loyal to Rudjek, Arrah cannot deny that her soul is bound to Daho – through her past life as the orisha Dimma, the years they spent together, and the child the orishas destroyed. And as a ruthless Efiya regains her strength and begins to sow rebellion in the demons’ ranks, Arrah, the Demon King, and the orishas must form an uneasy alliance to restore peace to their worlds.

I’m Afraid You’ve Got Dragons by Peter S. Beagle, Gollancz, £12.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-62270-7.
Dragons are common in the backwater kingdom of Bellemontagne, from mouse-like vermin all the way up to castle-smashing monsters. Gaius Aurelius Constantine Heliogabalus Thrax (who would much rather be called Robert) inherited his father’s job as a dragon exterminator. It is a career he detests with all his heart, in part because he likes dragons and he feels a kinship with them, but also because he dreams of transcending his humble origins to become a prince’s valet.  Needless to say, fate has something rather different in Mind…

The Dragons of Deepwood Fen by Bradley P. Beaulieu, Ad Astra – Head of Zeus, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-803-28506-1.
Lorelei Aurelius is the smartest inquisitor in Ancris. When a mysterious tip leads her to a clandestine meeting between the Church and the hated Red Knives, she unearths a plot that threatens the entire empire.  The trail leads to Rylan Holbrooke, a notorious thief posing as a dragon-singer. Lorelei soon discovers there’s more to Rylan than meets the eye – he has come to Ancris to solve the mystery she has just discovered. Knowing his incarceration could lead to victory for the Red Knives, Lorelei makes the fateful decision to free him.  Branded as traitors, the two flee the city on dragonback to the massive forest known as the Holt, where they find that the Red Knives are planning to awaken a powerful demi-god.  The unlikely allies are forced to return to Ancris, where they must rally the very people who’ve vowed to capture them.

Kavithri by Aman J. Bedi, Gollancz, £12.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-60986-9.
An action-packed and empowering South Asian fantasy epic. An underdog story like no other Meet Kavithri. Outcast. Underdog. Survivor.  Kavi is a Taemu. Their history has been erased. But Kavi has a dream and a plan. She will do whatever it takes to earn a place at the secretive mage academy, face the Jinn within its walls and gain the power to rise above her station and drag her people out of the darkness.  And if blood is what they want, Kavi will give them blood. She will give them violence. And she will make them remember her name.

The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake, Tor, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-09532-6.
The magicians recruited to the prestigious, secretive Alexandrian Society must decide what to do with their newfound knowledge. Meanwhile, a powerful figure reveals his plans to dominate the world…

One For My Enemy by Olivie Blake, Tor, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-035-01159-9.
In the magical underworld of Manhattan, two rival witch families vie for ultimate control of the city. When a tragic event escalates the fraught conflict, old loyalties and long-held grudges will be tested, as everyone is forced to pick a side.

The Fates by Rose Blythe, Quercus, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-42812-4.
Three sisters battle against their Nyx-given powers. Can they, the rulers of Fate, escape their own destiny? You’ve heard the legends, now hear their truth…  Before Gods and mortals, there were The Fates – three sisters born out of Nyx’s darkness, destined to weave the lives, and deaths, of humankind for eternity.  But immortality is a heavy burden, and Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos are captivated by the gloriously human lives of the mortals below, especially those of the great warrior Atalanta and her ill-fated lover, Meleager.  However, being a Goddess of Fate doesn’t make you a master of it. Will these three sisters find a way to free the couple, and themselves, from their destinies? Or will they be bound by Fate forever?

Dark Carnival by Ray Bradbury, Harper Voyager, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
Bradbury’s first story collection is a must-read for any fan of the genre, spinning stardust and cobwebs in its wondrous wake.  It contains twenty-seven stories, from science fiction’s master storyteller.

The Ashes and the Star-Cursed King by Carissa Broadbent, Tor, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-035-04096-4.
Billed by the publisher as The Hunger Games with vampires.  Love is a sacrifice at the altar of power.  In the wake of the bloody tournament known as the Kejari, Oraya is now a prisoner in her own kingdom and grieving the only family she ever had. She’s left with only one certainty: she cannot trust anyone, least of all Raihn, the vampire who betrayed her.  The House of Night, too, is surrounded by enemies. Raihn’s own nobles are none too eager to accept a Turned king, especially one who was once a slave. And the House of Blood has dug their claws into the kingdom, threatening to tear it apart from the inside. When Raihn offers Oraya a secret alliance, taking the deal is her only chance at reclaiming her kingdom – and seeking her revenge against the lover who betrayed her. But to do so, she’ll need to harness an ancient power, intertwined with her father’s greatest secrets.  With enemies closing in on all sides, Oraya finds herself forced to choose between the bloody reality of seizing power – and the devastating love that could be her downfall.  Filled with romance, dark magic and bloodthirsty intrigue, The Ashes and the Star-Cursed King is the second book in the 'Crowns of Nyaxia' series, from TikTok's Carissa Broadbent.

The Serpent and the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent, Tor, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-035-04095-7.
Billed by the publisher as The Hunger Games with vampires.

The Daughters’ War by Christopher Buehlman, Gollancz, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-60874-9.
In the face of relentless goblin attacks, Galva, defying her family, enlists the untested Raven Knights. She and eighty women march towards the overrun city of Gallardia, accompanied by massive bird-like creatures infused with dark magic. As the goblins prove formidable foes, Galva discovers other cruel forces at play. A dark cloud looms over Gallardia, with the goddess of death asserting her presence.

Breaking Hell by Miles Cameron, Gollancz, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-473-23257-0.
Before iron helmets and steel swords was an age of bronze, when the Gods walked the Earth. In this era a scribe, a dancer, a mute insect and a child should have no chance against the might of the bickering gods and their cruel games. But the gods themselves are old, and now their fates may lie in the hands of mere mortals… The third in this series, this tale is of the revolt against the tyranny which began in Against All Gods.

The Nameless by Ramsey Campbell, Flame Tree Press, £9.95 / Can$19.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58767-0.
Barbara Waugh’s daughter Angela is kidnapped and a disfigured body turns up. Grieving, Barbara focuses on her work. Years later, she receives a phone call from Angela. Barbara’s investigations reveal that a brainwashing cult was responsible for the abduction.  The more she learns, the less she can trust. Will she succumb to a murderous evil?

Those Who Dwell in Mordenhyrst Hall by Catherine Cavendish, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58821-9.
Evil runs deep at Mordenhyrst Hall. But it is rooted far deeper than the foundations of the ancestral home.  Its inhabitants and the entire village are infested with a legacy so evil, it transcends the laws of nature. In a world where nothing is as it appears to be, Grace and Coralie must seek out and find the truth – whatever the cost.

A Letter to the Luminous Deep by Sylvie Cathrall, Orbit, £18.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-356-52277-7.
A beautiful discovery outside the window of her underwater home prompts the reclusive E. to begin a correspondence with renowned scholar Henerey Clel. The letters they share are filled with passion, at first for their mutual interests, and then, inevitably, for each other.  Together, they uncover a mystery from the unknown depths, destined to transform the underwater world they both equally fear and love. But by no mere coincidence, a seaquake destroys E.'s home, and she and Henerey vanish.  A year later, E.'s sister Sophy, and Henerey's brother Vyerin, are left to solve the mystery of their siblings' disappearances with the letters, sketches and field notes left behind. As they uncover the wondrous love their siblings shared, Sophy and Vyerin learn the key to their disappearance - and what it could mean for life as they know it.

The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty, Harper Voyager, £9.99, pbk, ISBN not provided.
From the author of The City of Brass, launches a new trilogy of magic and mayhem with this tale of pirates and sorcerers, forbidden artefacts and ancient mysteries, and one woman’s quest to seize a final chance at glory…

Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho, Tor, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-035-01566-5.
Fantasy collection of shorts. Nineteen stories.

Elusive by Genevieve Cogman, Tor, £18.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-08377-4.
In Revolutionary France, the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel faces vampires fighting for power and a devastating betrayal from one of their allies. Elusive is the thrilling, fast-paced sequel to Genevieve Cogman's Scarlet. Revolutionary France is full of blood and bite as vampires plot for power. Eleanor, once a lowly English maid, is now a member of the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel, known for their daring deeds and rescuing aristocratic vampires from the guillotine.  This time, Eleanor and the League are investigating the disappearance of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, the notorious French statesman and diplomat. But they soon uncover two vampire parties feuding for power and learn Talleyrand’s disappearance is part of a bigger, more dangerous scheme that will throw France into bloody chaos.

So Let Them Burn by Kamilah Cole, Atom, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-349-12544-2.
Faron Vincent can channel the power of the gods. Five years ago, she used her divine magic to liberate her island from its enemies, the dragon-riding Langley Empire. But now, at seventeen, Faron is all powered up with no wars to fight. She's a legend to her people and a nuisance to her neighbours.  When she's forced to attend an international peace summit, Faron expects that she will perform tricks like a trained pet and then go home. She doesn't expect her older sister, Elara, forming an unprecedented bond with an enemy dragon-or the gods claiming the only way to break that bond is to kill her sister.

The First Bright Thing by J. R. Dawson, Tor, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-035-01821-5.
Billed by the publisher as The Night Circus meets The Greatest Showman as three magically gifted women try to build a circus – and home – in the ruins of the First World War. But great danger lies ahead…

The Shadow Cabinet by Juno Dawson, Harper Voyager, £9.99, pbk, ISBN not provided.
This is a new instalment of the 'Her Majesty’s Royal Coven' fantasy series.  Ciara now occupies her twin sister’s body as she prepares to take on the role of High Priestess. But why are the sinister government agents of the Shadow Cabinet so invested in her coronation?  Meanwhile, Theo and Holly are left to their own devices. Theo to work out how her miraculous transformation took place and Holly to discover what’s going on with her mum and dad. Elle’s Instagram-perfect world is about to come crashing down in the most terrifying way.

The Battle Drum by Saara El-Arifi, Harper Voyager, £9.99, pbk, ISBN not provided.
Three women seek the truth of the empire’s past in the sequel to El-Arifi’s debut The Final Strife, the continuation of a visionary fantasy trilogy inspired by Africa and Arabia. Anoor, Sylah and Hassa are divided as each woman faces a challenge like never before. All are searching for answers but what they find is far from what they wanted.  The drumbeat of change thrums throughout the world. And it sings a song of war.

The Ending Fire by Saara El-Arifi, Harper Voyager, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
For the final time, return to Saara El-Arifi’s imagined world rooted in African and Arabian mythology.

The Weavers of Alamaxa by Hadeer Elsbai, Orbit, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-356-52050-6.
A feminist fantasy set in an Egyptian-inspired world, billed by the publisher as for fans of The Jasmine Throne and The Once and Future Witches.

The Queen of the Dawn by S. M. Gaither, Inklore, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-94589-6.
The conclusion to the Shadows & Crowns series.  Cassia Greythorne has survived battles with gods and monsters and the crown is in her grasp. But the power of the dark god Malaphar grows ever stronger, threatening the future of their world before her reign has even begun.  Still there is hope: a way to banish him forever has been revealed. It will take Casia and her friends into a strange new realm, where they must face old enemies and race to decipher a bewildering ancient magic.  But time is short. Chaos spreads throughout the empires and the bonds between allies begin to fray. With every bloody battle, the cost of saving their world becomes clearer.  Dawn is coming. But will they survive to see the new day?

A Promise of Peridot: The Sacred Stones Book 2 by Kate Golden, Jo Fletcher Books, £14.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-43406-4.
The sequel to the viral hit A Dawn of Onyx, the dark romantasy that took the world by storm!  Arwen Valondale is sailing for the mysterious Kingdom of Citrine after the battle of Siren’s Bay. Reeling from shocking revelations and her newfound powers, Arwen directs all of her pain and rage toward the man who betrayed her: King Kane Ravenwood.  Kane’s presence is unavoidable as he travels with Arwen and her friends to seek the Blade of the Sun, a legendary weapon inextricably tied to her fate and the future of the realm. Even an uneasy truce proves difficult as Arwen fights against her unresolved feelings for Kane, who is willing to become darkness itself to protect her.  As Arwen faces creatures, foes, and magic beyond her wildest imaginings, she must discover the secrets of her past to defeat the monstrous Fae King Lazarus. But finding the light within might mean the death of her and everyone she loves.

The Gilded Crown by Marianne Gordon, Harper Voyager, £9.99, pbk, ISBN not provided.
Hellevir has always been able to raise the dead. Every creature can be saved for a price for the ruler of the afterlife, taking a little more from her every time.  When Princess Sullivain is assassinated, the Queen demands Hellevir bring her back. But once is not enough; Hellevir must remain by her side in case of attack.  But Sullivain is no easy woman to be bound to, even as Hellevir begins to fall in love with her. With the threat of war looming, Hellevir must trade more and more of herself to keep the princess alive.

The Voice Of The Wretched by Kester Grant, Harper Voyager, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
Return to a dark and dangerous alternate Paris with the sequel to The Court of Miracles.

The Love Of My Afterlife by Kirsty Greenwood, Century, £8.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-94911-5.
Recently deceased Delphie Bookham has just met The One in the afterlife, but is devastated when a mix-up means he is immediately sent back to Earth.  Delphie is given a second chance and accepts a deal in which she can return to her previous life in London and reconnect with the mysterious stranger she’s sure is her soulmate.  The challenge? She only has ten days to find him.  Ten days to make him fall for her.  Oh, and he has no recollection of them ever having met.

The Bright Sword by Lev Grossman, Del Rey, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-93912-5.
A gifted young knight named Collum arrives at Camelot to compete for a spot on the Round Table, only to find that he’s too late. The king is dead, leaving no heir, and only a handful of the knights of the Round Table survive.  They aren’t the heroes of legend, like Lancelot or Gawain. They’re the oddballs of the Round Table, from the edges of the stories, and together this ragtag fellowship will set out to rebuild Camelot in a world that has lost its balance.  But Arthur’s death has revealed Britain’s fault lines. Kingdoms are turning on each other, warlords lay siege to Camelot and it is up to Collum and his companions to reclaim Excalibur, solve the mysteries of this ruined world and make it whole again. But they’ll have to learn the truth and lay to rest the ghosts of King Arthur’s troubled family and of Britain’s dark past.

Discontinue If Death Ensues edited by Carol Gyzander & Anna Taborska, Flame Tree Press, £16.99 / Can$34.99 / US$26.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17937-6.
Horror stories about women, written by women. This anthology focuses on the strength of women faced with adversity. It explores many ways in which societal structures and personal action – including mistreatment of the environment and other people, particularly women – can reach a tipping point, creating unexpected changes, empowering women around the world. Authors include Lee Murray, Cindy O’Quinn, Kyla Lee Ward, Anna Taborska and Carol Gyzander.

The Moonlight Market by Joanne Harris, Gollancz, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-60475-8.
Billed by the publisher as Stardust meets Neverwhere in this magical story of a mystical market.  Tom is a photographer and dreamer, always searching for something he knows is missing but can never quite grasp.  He takes his photos… but only as he develops the negatives does he see the magical world he has brushed up against in all its beauty and danger.  And deep in those negatives is the clue he needs to continue his search: a midnight, moonlit market. In the secret heart of London anything is possible.

The Return Of The Dwarves Book 1 by Markus Heitz, Quercus, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-42486-7.
When Goimron discovers a fascinatingly detailed book supposedly written by the legendary Tungdil Goldhand, he sets out on a quest to find the lost hero which lands him in the middle of ancient intrigues and brutal power struggles.

Oracle by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Hodderscape, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-33192-9.
On a foggy morning, two children discover the impossible: the wreck of an eighteenth century ship stranded in a field. One enters the hatch and is never seen again. And she isn't the last to disappear. Soon a government agency begins to investigate. They enlist Robert Grim, a retired specialist in the occult, who soon realises…

Medea by Rosie Hewlett, Transworld, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-787-63729-0.
A dark feminist retelling that boldly reclaims the myth of the most formidable and feared witch in Ancient Greece.  Medea longs for a different life. Since childhood, she has been separated from her sister, shunned by her mother, and persecuted and tormented by her brother and father. All because of a unique and dangerous gift: witchcraft. But when a dashing young hero, Jason, arrives to claim the famed Golden Fleece that her father protects, Medea sees her opportunity to escape. Her offer to help Jason overcome the trials set by her father sets in motion a journey that will test every ounce of her strength, magic and loyalty; a journey that will see her battle monsters, dethrone kings and fall in love.  But when faced with the ultimate betrayal, Medea is driven to an act of desperation so brutal it rips apart the lives of everyone involved…

William Hope Hodgson Horror Stories by William Hope Hodgson, Flame Tree Press, £20 / Can$40 / US$30, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17796-9.
Hodgson, in the company of Algernon Blackwood, Bram Stoker, H. P. Lovecraft, M. R. James, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Machen, Arthur Conan Doyle and many other distinguished authors of the late Victorian era, created the foundations of the modern short story, the weird, the dark and the delightful, the supernatural, the fantastic and the imaginative.

The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle by T. L. Huchu, Tor, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-09774-0.
Ghostalker and magician-in-training Ropa Moyo is stoked to be attending an important magical convention. But her sleuthing skills will be put to the test when a magician is murdered.  Suddenly, everyone is a suspect – and someone has betrayed their group.

Icelandic Folktales edited by J. K. Jackson & Rosa Porsteinsdottir, Flame Tree Press, £8.99 / Can$16.99 / US$12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17816-4.
Icelandic folktales are strong moral fables, and the close cousins of other Scandinavian origin fairy stories. They are a little darker in their tone, but share many of the same themes of innocence and trickery, triumph of good sense over pride, and the resilience of the strong heroine in the rescue of a feeble prince.

Bittershore by V. V. James, Gollancz, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61726-0.
The sequel to Sanctuary, a fusion of small-town murder mystery and ancient witchcraft The only thing stronger than a witch’s promise is a mother’s vengeance . . . Sarah loved and trusted no one in her close-knit coven more than her oldest friend, Abigail. Then Abigail’s son was found dead at a house party and Sarah’s daughter, Harper, was accused of murdering him. Sarah and Harper lost everything but their lives. This is a fearless portrait of the hatred and hysteria that can corrode a community consumed by bigotry.

Folk Horror edited by Paul Kane & Marie O’Regan, Flame Tree Press, £16.99 / Can$34.99 / US$26.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17732-7.
Anthology. Authors include Neil Gaiman, John Connolly, Adam L. G. Nevill, Alison Littlewood and Jen Williams.

Critical Role: Bells Hells – What Doesn’t Break by Cassandra Khaw, Del Rey, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-93747-3.
For as long as she can remember, Laudna has had a friend. A mentor. A little voice whispering in her cropped ear, promising that, no matter how monstrous she becomes or how far she wanders, there will always be someone to guide her.  And so, Laudna is content.  But the thought of more – of life, of love, of the magic stirring in her still veins – is unrelenting in its familiarity.  More is the dream of a little girl trapped behind the bloodstained walls of Whitestone, and the nightmare of the woman who now stalks the woods outside them.  More, Laudna’s little voice reminds her, is dangerous.  From Tal’Dorei to Marquet, the world is infested with heroes destined to rid their kingdoms of creatures like Laudna.  The little voice is right, she knows.  But still, she thinks of more. And when she reaches for that dream, what reaches back will change everything.

The Heart of Winter by Shona Kinsella, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58830-1.
When Brigit is faced with a forced marriage to Aengus, god of Summer, she flees into the Highlands, searching for the Cailleach, Queen of Winter. Determined to make her own way, she seeks tutelage from the Queen.  Caught between two gods, she’ll be tested to her limits and will form unlikely friendships until she finds her true place in the world.  Shona Kinsella is a British Fantasy Award short-listed author who is the current Chair of the British Fantasy Society.

In the Lives of Puppets by T. J. Klune, Tor, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-08804-5.
This is billed by the publishers as a heart-warming, queer retelling of the Pinocchio story… And that short descriptor might, or might not, do the book justice?  This is a science fantasy, and strip out the fantasy elements and there is a solid SF story set in the aftermath of a robot-apocalypse... Click on the title link for a slightly spoilery review.

The Book That Wouldn’t Burn by Mark Lawrence, Harper Voyager, £9.99, pbk, ISBN not provided.
All books, no matter their binding, will fall to dust. The stories they carry may last longer. They might outlive the paper, the library, even the language in which they were first written.  This is the start of an incredible new journey from the internationally bestselling author of Prince of Thorns, in which, though the pen may be mightier than the sword, blood will be spilled and cities burned…

The Lie That Broke The World by Mark Lawrence, Harper Voyager, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
The second volume in the bestselling, ground-breaking Library Trilogy.  Evar and Livira stand side by side and yet far beyond each other’s reach. Evar is forced to flee the library, driven before an implacable foe. Livira, trapped in a ghost world, has to recover her book if she’s to return to her life. While Evar’s journey leads him outside into the vastness of a world he’s never seen, Livira’s destination lies deep inside her own writing, where she must wrestle with her stories in order to reclaim the volume in which they were written.  And all the while, the library quietly weaves thread to thread, bringing the scattered elements of Livira’s old life – friends and foe alike – back together beneath new skies.  Long ago, a lie was told, and with the passing years it has grown and spread, a small push leading to a chain of desperate consequences. Now, as one edifice topples into the next with ever-growing violence, it threatens to break the world. The secret war that defines the library has chosen its champions and set them on the board. The time has come when they must fight for what they believe, or lose everything.

Daughter of Calamity by Rosalie M. Lin, Tor, £18.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-035-01126-1.
Billed by the publisher as for fans of S. A. Chakraborty and Fonda Lee.  In Jazz-Age Shanghai, Jingwen dances at the cabaret by day and runs errands for a powerful gang by night. But when a mysterious attacker steals faces from her fellow dancers, Jingwen is plunged into a world of powerful businessmen, silver-limbed gangs and vengeful gods as she tries to uncover the culprit.  In Shanghai, danger wears many faces…  Jingwen spends her nights as a showgirl at the Paramount, one of the most lavish clubs in Shanghai, competing ruthlessly to charm wealthy patrons. To cap off her shifts, she runs money for her grandmother, the exclusive surgeon to the most powerful gang in the city. A position her grandmother is pressuring her to inherit…  When a series of cabaret dancers are targeted – the attacker stealing their Faces – Jingwen fears she could be next. And as the faces of the dancers start appearing on wealthy foreign socialites, she realizes Shanghai's glittering mirage of carefree luxury comes at a terrible price.  Fighting not just for her own safety but that of the other dancers – women who have simultaneously been her bitterest rivals and only friends –Jingwen has no choice but to delve into the city's underworld. In this treacherous realm of tangled alliances and ancient grudges, silver-armed gangsters haunt every alley, foreign playboys broker deals in exclusive back rooms, and the power of gods is wielded and traded like yuan. Jingwen will have to become something far stranger and more dangerous than her grandmother ever imagined if she hopes to survive the forces waiting to sell Shanghai's bones.

The Kindness by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Quercus, £14.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-41908-5.
Click on the title link for a standalone review.  A shipping container is mysteriously dumped in the Swedish port town of Norrtalje.  Inside the remains of twenty-eight refugees are found. A black sludge pours and is the cause of a new, sickening dread that affects Norrtälje’ s inhabitants, causing a lack of trust, aggression, violence. It seems like an end to Kindness…

The Book of Love by Kelly Link, Ad Astra – Head of Zeus, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-54845-5.
Laura, Daniel and Mo disappeared without trace a year ago. They have long been presumed dead.  Which they were.  But now they are not.  And it is up to the resurrected teenagers to discover what happened to them. Revived by Mr Anabin – the man they knew as their high school music teacher – they are offered a chance to return to the mortal realm if they can solve the mystery of their deaths, learn how to use the magic they now possess, and identify the mysterious fourth soul that crossed back over with them.

The Silverblood Promise by James Logan, Jo Fletcher Books, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-529-43281-7.
Lukan Gardova is a cardsharp, academy dropout, and the disgraced heir to an ancient noble house.  However, when Lukan discovers that his estranged father has been murdered, he finds fresh purpose, vowing to unravel the mystery behind his father’s death.  His search for answers leads him to Saphrona, fabled city of merchant princes, where everything has a price – but the price of truth is the deadliest of all.

The Wilding by Ian McDonald, Gollancz, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61147-3.
A new folk horror exploring what really lurks in the deep, dark woods.  In Ireland, five kids and three teachers camp at a restored wilderness project with Ranger Lisa, a new and inexperienced hire. Mysterious events unfold at Lough Carrow, including strange animal sightings and rumours. During the sleepover, a teacher accompanies a boy back to the centre after he forgets his medication. Later, the camp is attacked, and Lisa’s group is left stranded, facing a terrifying, time-distorting wilderness with a predatory presence lurking nearby…

Arthur Machen Horror Stories by Arthur Machen, Flame Tree Press, £20 / Can$40 / US$30, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17795-2.
Alongside M. R. James, H. P. Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood and Bram Stoker, Arthur Machen wrote powerful, chilling and thought-provoking stories. His supernatural tales draw their power from the long nights and dark lanes of the Welsh countryside that raised him surrounded as he was by the remains of Roman forts and Iron Age archaeology.

Wild Cards – Pairing Up by George R. R. Martin, Harper Voyager, £9.99, pbk, ISBN not provided.
For decades, George R.R. Martin – bestselling author of A Song of Ice and Fire and creator of A Game of Thrones – has collaborated with an ensemble of science fiction and fantasy icons to create the amazing 'Wild Cards' universe. In this fantastical collection of all new stories: + A jewel thief seduces a popular actor just so she can track down a long-lost treasure. + A man discovers his purpose in life after meeting a beautiful butterfly woman. + A young hero by the name of Hero McHeroface finds solace in the arms of an astrologer hiding her own unique powers.

The Ninth Nightmare by Graham Masterton, Aries – Head of Zeus, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-035-90517-1.
TO SLEEP  For eight hundred years, Albrecht’s Travelling Circus has been trapped in the realm of dreams. Its creator was thwarted in his mission to corrupt all who saw him and his carnival of oddities.  TO DREAM  Now, a serial killer has found a way to unleash the carnival into the real world and only the Night Warriors can stop it from happening.  TO DIE  They are used to confronting evil in dreams but this enemy is of the waking world, where their strength is greatly diminished. And with power unlike any they have seen before, they will soon learn that this killer is very much more than a nightmare…

Dragon Rider by Taran Matharu, Harper Voyager, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
From the ashes of an empire, a prince will rise…  Jai is nothing more than a royal hostage and lowly servant to the empire that slew his family and now rule his people. He has been manservant to the old emperor for most of his life, and only watches on from a distance as the empire grows more powerful – a new alliance is to be formed as the young prince is betrothed to Princess Erica of the Dansk Kingdom – a people from a northern, icy realm.  The princess brings with her a gift: dragons. Only Dansk Royalty can soulbond with these magical beasts to draw on their power and strength.  Until now.  When the betrothal goes wrong, a bloody coup leads to chaos at court, and Jai uses the turmoil as an opportunity to escape. Fleeing, Jai comes into possession of a dragon egg – sparking the beginning of a bond which will change his fate – and that of the world – forever.

Dance of Shadows by Gourav Mohanty, Ad Astra – Head of Zeus, £25, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
Second in the trilogy 'The Raag of Tra', following Sons of Darkness.  In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the splitting of the Union and the resurrection of an ancient foe, the future of the realm hangs perilously in the balance. From the ancient fortress of Hastinapur to the forbidding shores of Kalinga, chaos reigns and questions blow unanswered in the wind.  Did Parshuram and his apprentice fail in the task cast upon them by the Seven? Why is Karna imprisoned by Jhestal in Madagh? And why is Mati risking her life to help the Princess of Balkh uncover age-old secrets? The Magadhan Empire is a maelstrom of blood and ruin. Bitter enemies become friends, and old allies stab each other in the back…. See also next below

Sons of Darkness by Gourav Mohanty, Head of Zeus, £25, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
Billed by the publisher as House of the Dragon meets Succession in this grimdark fantasy re-imagining of the ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata. Myth blends with realpolitik in this first volume of 'The Raag of Tra' trilogy… See also previous above.

They Stalk The Night by Brian Moreland, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58857-8.
In the Minnesota wilderness, the inhabitants of a remote town hold dark secrets. Retired police chief Sam Larsen knows what abomination stalks the forbidden woods atop Buckhead Hill. His worst nightmare becomes real when a pipeline company destroys a sacred barrier, unleashing an ancient enemy. Now, evil returns to feed again…

Darkness Beckons edited by Mark Morris, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58729-8.
Horror anthology. A non-themed series of entirely original stories, showcasing the very best short fiction that the genre has to offer.

That Which Stands Outside by Mark Morris, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58933-9.
A moody, Nordic folklore-inspired horror novel. When Yrsa Helgerson’s mother dies, her boyfriend, Todd, accompanies her to her childhood home, an isolated Nordic island. There, the couple meet with enmity from the superstitious islanders, and as events escalate, are soon caught up in a desperate battle with terrifying forces.

Chinese Ghost Stories edited by Xueting C. Ni, Flame Tree Press, £8.99 / Can$16.99 / US$12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17798-3.
A wonderful collection of Chinese ghost stories such as 'The Painted Skin', 'The Laughing Ghost', 'The God of the City', 'The Magic Sword', 'The Dangerous Reward' and more.

One Eye Opened In That Place by Cristi Nogle, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58836-3.
The author's weird and fantastical stories are collected here, each focusing on liminal spaces and the borders between places and states of mind. Within its pages you’ll travel across thresholds, and arrive at other times and places that are by turns disquieting, terrifying, and wonderful. Make sure to bring your special glasses!  Click on the title link for a standalone review.

The Last Song of Penelope by Claire North, Orbit, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-356-51611-0.
Many years ago, Odysseus sailed to war and never returned. For twenty years his wife Penelope and the women of Ithaca have guarded the isle against suitors and rival kings. But peace cannot be kept forever, and the balance of power is about to break… A beggar has arrived at the palace. Salt-crusted and ocean-battered, he is scorned by the suitors – but Penelope recognises in him something terrible: her husband, Odysseus, returned at last. Yet this Odysseus is no hero. By returning to the island in disguise, he is not merely plotting his revenge against the suitors – vengeance that will spark a civil war – but he's testing the loyalty of his queen. Has she been faithful to him all these years? And how much blood is Odysseus willing to shed to be sure?  The song of Penelope is ending, and the song of Odysseus must ring through Ithaca's halls. But first, Penelope must use all her cunning to win a war for the fate of the island and keep her family alive, whatever the cost…

African Ghost Short Stories edited by Nuzo Onoh, Divine Che Neba & Chinelo Onwualu, Flame Tree Press, £20 / Can$40 / US$30, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17797-6.
A deluxe edition of new writing and tales rooted in ancient culture, this volume explores the deep-seated supernatural element in African storytelling: from the spirits and ancestors of folklore to the vibrant modern ghosts of today’s horror. Stories from African voices complement poignant folktales from across the continent.

The First King by Shameez Patel Papathanasiou, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-7875-8920-9.
King Idis has declared war by setting the Selene realm on fire. Lucas is the only one who can stop him, but can they really trust a vision of the future? While Cassia, Lochlan and Rosheen are trapped in Vineas, Lucas gathers allies and despite lacking control of his First magic, he knows that one way or another this needs to end now.

Goddess of the River by Vaishnavi Patel, Orbit, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-356-52020-9.
The author of Kaikeyi returns to the world of Indian history with this chronicle of the goddess of the Ganges river.

The Dance of Shadows by Rogba Payne, Gollancz, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61262-3.
A High Fantasy inspired by West African spirituality, which follows a young musician drawn into a battle between gods Rumi and his family are Odu. Stricken with poverty, he resolves to liberate his family. Taking a place in the prestigious Golden Room, where earnings from his music offer a chance at freedom, he shoulders his pride and resentment in a bid to make it to the top.  On what should be Rumi’s greatest night at the Golden Room, his life is turned upside down. And Rumi’s need for vengeance may be more important to him than the future of his people…

Daughter of the Merciful Deep by Leslye Penelope, Orbit, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-356-51811-4.
"Our home began, as all things do, with a wish. Jane Edwards hasn't spoken since she was eleven years old, when armed riders expelled her family from their home town along with every other Black resident. Now, twelve years later, she's found a haven in the all-Blacktown of Awenasa. But the construction of a dam promises to wash her home under the waters of the new lake.  Jane will do anything to save the community that sheltered her. So, when a man with uncanny abilities arrives in town asking strange questions, she wonders if he's might be the key. But as the stranger hints at gods and ancestral magic, Jane is captivated by a bigger mystery. She knows this man. Only the last time she saw him, he was dead. His body laid to rest in a rushing river.  Who is the stranger and what is he really doing in Awenasa? To find those answers, Jane will journey into a sunken world, a land of capricious gods and unsung myths, of salvation and dreams made real. But the floodwaters are rising. To gain the miracle she desires, Jane will have to find her voice again and finally face the trauma of the past.

The Book of Elsewhere by Keanu Reeves & China Miéville, Del Rey, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-15053-7.
A genre-bending epic of ancient powers, modern war and an outcast who cannot die.

Lady Macbeth by Ava Reid, Del Rey, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-91047-6.
The Lady knows the stories: that her eyes induce madness in men.  The Lady knows she will be wed to the Scottish brute, who does not leave his warrior ways behind when he comes to the marriage bed.  The Lady knows his hostile, suspicious court will be a game of survival, requiring all of her wiles and hidden witchcraft to survive.  But the Lady does not know her husband has occult secrets of his own. She does not know that prophecy girds him like armour. She does not know that her magic is greater, and more dangerous, and that it will threaten the order of the world.

Blood on the Tide by Katee Robert, Del Rey, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-529-90992-0.
From of author of the TikTok hit Neon Gods.  As a bloodline vampire, Lizzie has never had a problem taking what she wants, and right now what she wants are the family heirlooms that were stolen from her, a ship, and a portal home. Unfortunately, even that short list is impossible to accomplish on her own – and her allies have bigger things to worry about. When they rescue a selkie, it’s the perfect solution to her problem. Lizzie needs a guide through Threshold and the selkie needs her skin back.  Maeve didn’t choose to give up her skin – it was stolen from her. Now she’s in an uneasy partnership with a dangerous woman who seems more apt to kill than to share a kind word. It’s terrifying… and a bit alluring. Even though she knows it will end in heartbreak.

Hunt on Dark Waters by Katee Robert, Inklore, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-94745-6.
Sail the high seas with the second book in this fantasy romance from the author Katee Robert, TikTok sensation and author of Neon Gods.

When the Night Falls by Glenn Rolfe, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58809-7.
Vampires come to a small beach community in Maine to find out the truth behind the rumours of serial killer Gabriel Riley, aka the Beach Night Killer.

What If… Loki Was Worthy? by Madeleine Roux, Del Rey, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-91433-7.
Loki and Valkyrie seek redemption in the first adventure of a new multiversal series that re-imagines the origins of iconic Marvel heroes.  Thor – Son of Odin, God of Thunder, wielder of the hammer Mjolnir – is dead. And Loki is responsible.  It was only meant to be a joke – but Loki’s harmless prank spiralled out of control, unleashing death and destruction on New York City and the heroes sworn to protect it.  Furious and heartbroken, the All-Father banishes Loki to Earth for his crime. Loki finds himself in a realm of boxed wine, instant noodles, and some sort of regional performance troupe known as the ‘Buffalo Bills’.  Yet, he cannot even endure his exile in peaceful isolation. A Valkyrie barges into his trailer-home with his brother’s final words from the beyond: a plea to find a certain Dr Jane Foster and pass on Mjolnir to its rightful heir. And as Asgard looks to Loki for salvation, he must answer the question: Am I truly worthy?

Running Close to the Wind by Alexandra Rowland, Tor, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-09970-6.
Former spy for the Arashti Ministry of Intelligence must work with his pirate-captain ex and a crew of misfits to sell a very expensive secret and get away with treason on the high seas…  Avra Helvaci, former field agent of the Arashti Ministry of Intelligence, has accidentally stolen the single most expensive secret in the world – and the only place to flee with a secret that big is the open sea.  To find a buyer with deep enough pockets, Avra must ask for help from his on-again, off-again ex, the pirate Captain Teveri az-Haffar. They are far from happy to see him but, together, they hatch a plan: take the information to the isolated pirate republic of the Isles of Lost Souls; fence it; profit. The only things in their way? A calculating new Arashti ambassador to the Isles of Lost Souls who’s got his eyes on Avra’s every move; Brother Julian, a beautiful, mysterious new member of the crew with secrets of his own and a frankly inconvenient vow of celibacy; and the fact that they’re sailing straight into sea serpent breeding season and almost certain doom.  But if they can find a way to survive and sell the secret on the black market, they’ll all be as wealthy as kings – and, more importantly, they’ll be legends.

Spell Bound by Gretchen Rue, Aria – Head of Zeus, £9.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-035-90428-0.
Return to Raven Creek with another witchy rom-com by Gretchen Rue, with a murder mystery twist. Since moving to Raven Creek, Phoebe Winchester has had a lot on her plate.  She’s renovating the Victorian manor she inherited from her Aunt Eudora, running a tea shop (and secret magical apothecary), and learning to be a witch. But when she discovers a dead body at an estate sale, and suspicion falls on her, even Phoebe wonders if this is simply too much.  Forced to take action to clear her name, Phoebe enlists Rich Lofting, handsome private detective and childhood friend, to assist with her investigation, all while sorting out her unresolved feelings for him.  Is there something more sinister lurking in the shadows of this small tight-knit town? And does Phoebe really want to find out?

The Murder Road by Simone St James, Michael Joseph, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-241-67818-3.
April and Eddie have taken a wrong turn. They're on a long dark road, late at night, and they see a woman up ahead, clearly in trouble. They stop and pick her up. It's only once she's in the car that they see the blood. And then they see the headlights - far in the distance, but coming up fast. And at last, terror in her eyes, the woman speaks. 'I'm sorry, he's coming…  Unexplained murders have been happening along Atticus Line for years and the cops finally have two witnesses who easily become their only suspects. As April and Eddie start to dig into the history of the town and that horrible stretch of road to clear their names, they soon learn that there is something supernatural at work, something that could not only tear the town and its dark secrets apart, but take April and Eddie down with it all.

The Sunlit Man by Brandon Sanderson, Gollancz, £16.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-399-61347-7.
Years ago, he had comrades and a cause to believe in, now the man known as Nomad knows only a life on the run.  Forced to hop between worlds whenever the Night Brigade gets close, Nomad lands on a planet and is caught in the struggle between a tyrant and rebels trying to escape being turned into mindless slaves – all under the threat of a sunrise that will melt stones. Can he escape before his mind or body pay the ultimate price?

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, Bloomsbury, £9.9, pbk, ISBN 978-1-526-66475-4.
A lavishly re-imagined tenth anniversary edition. The year is 2059. For two centuries, the Republic of Scion has led an oppressive campaign against unnaturalness in Europe. In London, Paige Mahoney holds a high rank in the criminal underworld. The right hand of the ruthless White Binder, Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare and formidable kind of clairvoyant. Under Scion law, she commits treason simply by breathing. When Paige is arrested for murder, she meets the mysterious founders of Scion, who have designs on her uncommon abilities. If she is to survive and escape, Paige must use every skill at her disposal – and put her trust in someone who ought to be her enemy.

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer, Jo Fletcher Books, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-43628-0.
During her lonely childhood, Lucy Hart found solace in Jack Masterson’s 'Clock Island' books, and has since shared them with the young boy she’s desperate, but can’t afford, to adopt. Then she receives a life-changing invitation to compete for the priceless lone copy of the final Clock Island book.  But with wily opponents, the distractingly handsome illustrator, and Jack Masterton himself to contend with, winning won’t be easy…

The Garden of Delights by Amal Singh, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-787-589087.
A world where petals are currency and flowers are magic. A man battling a curse of eternal old age. A girl who can be his boon. But it’s not all tulips and roses. There are also nettles and thorns. Where Delights persist, Sorrow must follow.

Lore Olympus: Volume 6 by Rachel Smythe, Del Rey, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-90992-0.
Witness what the gods do after dark in the sixth volume of a stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of the best-known stories in Greek mythology, featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story from creator Rachel Smythe.  Chaos reigns in Olympus as Zeus publicly declares Persephone a traitor and issues a warrant for her arrest. But Hades defies his brother’s decree, sheltering Persephone in the Underworld – and as the pair spend more time together, they are able to speak openly about their pasts. The goddess of spring admits the truth behind the bloody secret that led to Zeus’s ire, and the king of the Underworld shares the trauma he suffered at the hands of his power-hungry father, Kronos.  But as Hades and Persephone’s relationship grows stronger, others begin to fall apart. The bond between Hades and Zeus is stretched to its limit, Persephone and Artemis’s friendship hangs by a thread, and a line is being drawn in the heavens, putting everyone’s loyalties into question as all the gods are forced to choose sides.  And as the cracks in the foundation of the pantheon spread, something darker and more earth-shattering might soon be released.  Rachel Smythe is the creator of the Eisner-nominated Lore Olympus, published via Webtoon.

Thief Liar Lady by D. L. Soria, Inklore, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-94611-4.
Intrigue, magic, and wit abound in this Cinderella fairytale reimagining from D. L. Soria, billed by the publisher as perfect for fans of Heather Walter and Naomi Novik.

The Trials of Empire by Richard Swan, Orbit, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-356-51647-9.
The Trials of Empire is the third and final novel in Richard Swan's 'Empire of the Wolf' series, where action, intrigue and magic collide in unforgettable fashion.

The Honey Witch by Sydney J. Shields, Orbit, £18.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-356-522524.
Marigold is entering another season without any intentions of accepting a proposal. When her eccentric grandmother Althea visits and finally provides an explanation for Marigold's strange magical abilities, they return to the Lake Isle of Innisfree where she begins training as a Honey Witch - an apothecary and alchemist who uses her magical connection with the bees to create enchanted honey for her spells.  While this lovely power leaves her especially adept at helping others find love, it also comes with an ancient curse that none have been able to break: no one can fall in love with the Honey Witch.  When Lottie Burke, a notorious grumpy sceptic who doesn't believe in magic, accompanies her best friend to the cottage for a love spell, Marigold can't resist the challenge to prove to her that magic is real.  She invites Lottie and her best friend, August Owens, to stay with her for the summer to prove her abilities, but Marigold begins to care for Lottie in a way she never expected. She longs to break the curse and escape her lonely fate, but when darker magic awakens and threatens to destroy her home, she must fight for much more than her freedom-at the risk of losing her magic and her heart.

Can't Spell Treason Without Tea by Rebecca Thorne, Tor, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-035-030996.
They wanted to open a cosy bookshop. They discovered a world of adventure. Reyna and Kianthe dream of opening a friendly book shop together, serving the very best tea and cakes. Worn wooden floors, plants on every table, firelight drifting between the rafters – all complemented by love and good company. But Reyna is an elite bodyguard to a vengeful queen, and Kianthe is the most powerful mage in existence. Leaving their lives behind seems…impossible. Yet they flee to Tawney, a town nestled in the icy peaks of dragon country. There, they open the bookstore they'd always wanted.  What follows is a tale of mishaps, mysteries, dragons, and a murderous queen throwing the realm’s biggest temper tantrum. And two women will discover what they mean to each other – and their world.

Shadowstitch by Cari Thomas, Harper Voyager, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
Anna survived the attempt to bind her magic, but Anna and her coven aren’t free from danger yet.  Haunted by her aunt’s death, living in fear of her curse, and fated to love the one man she can never have, the last thing Anna needs is a witch hunt. Now she must conceal her magic once more or risk losing everything.  But when deadly hysteria strikes across the capital, and in her own school, the coven are left dangerously exposed. Delving deeper into the magical underworld of London, Anna and her twin sister Effie must find a way to work together to protect the coven.  But as the witch hunt intensifies and the hysteria spirals out of control, can Effie and Anna truly trust each other?

A Queen of Thieves & Chaos by K. A. Tucker, Inklore, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-94501-8.
The third book in the 'Fate & Flame' series: a slow burn fantasy romance set against a backdrop of elemental magic, warring elven kingdoms and political betrayal.

The Gathering by C. J. Tudor, Michael Joseph, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-241-48626-9.
Fantastical horror.  A small Alaskan town. A brutal murder. Echoes of a killing twenty-five years ago. An out-of-state detective brought in to assist the sheriff who investigated the original case. But as the snow thickens and the nights grow Longer… are they hunting a twisted psychopath or something even more terrifying?

Classic Ghost Stories edited by Lisa Tuttle, Flame Tree Press, £8.99 / Can$16.99 / US$12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17799-0.
A selection of mysterious and intriguing tales from the shadows, featuring M. R. James, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Edith Wharton and Algernon Blackwood, with F. Marion Crawford’s 'The Doll’s Ghost' and Guy de Maupassant’s 'The Apparition'.

A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid, Inklore, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-94501-8.
Dark fantasy.  If monsters are real, so are the women who defeat them.  A lyrical examination of stories told, cherished myths, and an unravelling of truths held dear. Darkly romantic and unsettlingly eerie..

The Temptation Of Magic by Megan Scott, Magpie, £14.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
Billed by the publisher as Serpent and Dove meets A Discovery of Witches in this magical, forbidden romance debut. Nicole Palmer’s secret powers are invaluable. As an Empyreal, she harbours the ability to destroy dangerous creatures, an ability The Wake -a shadowy organisation that governs all supernatural creatures- will stop at no lengths to weaponise. Dormant for now, Nicole knows if her powers were to be triggered she’d suffer the same deadly fate as her mother.  To stay safe from The Wake and find a final encoded message from her mother, Nicole secures a role researching the supernatural art collection at the local Cornish manor. But when Kyan McCarter, The Wake’s most skilled Empyreal and perhaps Nicole’s greatest enemy, is stationed there to track a deadly creature, they are forced to work together to stop a painting falling into the wrong hands.

Breaks Volume 2 by Emma Vieceli and Malin Ryden, Orbit, £12.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-0-356-52228-9.
Graphic novel.  Breaks is an LGBTQ+ graphic novel which, the publisher says, is perfect for fans of Heartstopper who are looking for something a little darker and more mature. With millions of views and thousands of subscribers on web-comic platforms, Breaks is 'a high school love story, but a little bit broken'.

Lord of the Feast by Tim Waggoner, Flame Tree Press, £12.95 / Can$21.95 / US$16.95, pbk, ISBN 978-1-787-58636-9.
Twenty years ago, a malevolent cult failed in their attempt to create their own god: The Lord of the Feast, forging instead a horrible, misbegotten creature, so the cultists destroyed it, trapping each piece in scattered, mystic nightstones. Now, Ethan plans to resurrect the god, and fulfil its ancient promise.  Author Bram Stoker Award-winning author Tim Waggoner writes both original and media tie-in fiction.

Dragonlance: Dragons of Fate by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, Inklore, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-94693-0.
The second new Dragonlance novel, featuring fan-favourite characters from the iconic first two trilogies, Dragonlance Chronicles and Dragonlance Legends – books that brought a generation of readers into the fantasy fold.

Dragonlance: Dragons of Eternity by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, Del Rey, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-10177-5.
When Destina Rosethorn and her companions were transported to a time 300 years before their birth – to the days of the Third Dragon War famed in song and story – the last thing they wanted to do was upset history. But upon returning to the near-past from which they departed, they discover a world completely altered. Thanks in no small part to the Graygem of Gargath that Destina carries, the war that was once won is now lost, and the forces of evil hold sway over the land.

Black River Orchard by Chuck Wendig, Inklore, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-10115-7.
A small town is transformed by dark magic when strange apple trees begin bearing fruit.

How To Become the Dark Lord (and Die Trying) by Django Wexler, Orbit, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-356-51898-5.
Davi isn't your average zoomer. For starters, she's somehow become trapped in a fantasy world – and not one full of rainbows and unicorns, but one packed with all manner of terrifying monsters and deadly magic. Proper Lord of the Rings stuff. And, for reasons unknown, the humans of the Kingdom look to her for protection against the Dark Lord. To make matters worse, Davi's stuck in a time loop. So every time she fails to defeat the Dark Lord (which is every time) she has to start over.  But Davi has a plan. What if instead of trying to defeat the Dark Lord… she becomes the Dark Lord instead?

Mister Magic by Kiersten White, Inklore, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-94150-8.
Horror.  Who is Mister Magic? Former child stars reunite to uncover the tragedy that ended their show in this dark supernatural thriller...

All The Hollow Of The Sky by Kit Whitfield, Quercus, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-41495-0.
A cottage-core novel of rural magic and fairyfolk.  Forty years ago, Jedediah’s father Corbie set off to travel and was never seen again. Now, Jedediah is more concerned with his wayward grandson and issues plaguing their community when disaster strikes, and Corbie returns – having not aged a day.

The Hemlock Queen by Hannah Whitten, Orbit, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-356-52155-8.
In the second instalment Whitten's lush, romantic epic fantasy series, a young woman who can raise the dead must navigate the dangerous world of the Sainted King's royal court.

The Hungry Dark by Jen Williams, Harper Voyager, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
As a child, Ashley Whitelam could often see odd things nobody else could: quiet, watchful figures she called the Heedful Ones. As an adult, she’s turned her taste of the beyond into a career as a “psychic”– parting people from their money with a combination of psychology and internet research. When the Lake District is gripped by a series of grisly murders, Ashley offers her services to the police for the free publicity. But as Ashley leads the police on a fruitless search around the small town of Green Beck, she is led by her visions to something she never expected: the corpse of the latest victim.  The press fly into a frenzy and the police grow suspicious: either Ashley’s psychic abilities are real, or she is guilty of murder. As Ashley teams up with a podcaster to investigate the crimes, she realises that there’s no way to distance herself from these murders: whoever or whatever it is that’s haunting the Lakes is haunting her, too.

Someone You Can Build A Nest In by John Wiswell, Jo Fletcher Books, £14.99, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-529-43134-6.
Beauty and the Beast meets The Shape of Water by the Nebula-award winning author of ‘Open House on Haunted Hill’.  Shesheshen has made a fatal mistake for a monster: she’s fallen in love.  Shesheshen is a shape-shifter, who usually resides as an amorphous lump in the swamp of a ruined manor, unless impolite monster hunters invade intent on murdering her. Through a chance encounter, she meets a different kind of human, warm-hearted Homily, who mistakes Shesheshen for a human in turn.  Shesheshen is loath to deceive, but just as she’s about to confess her true identity, Homily reveals she’s hunting the shape-shifting monster that supposedly cursed her family. Shesheshen didn’t curse anyone, but to give them both a chance at happiness, she must figure out why Homily’s twisted family thinks she did. And the bigger challenge remains: surviving her toxic in-laws long enough to learn to build a life with the woman she loves.

Song of the Mysteries by Janny Wurts, Harper Voyager, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
The long-awaited final instalment of the epic fantasy series 'The Wars of Light and Shadow', published 30 years after the first book was written.

The Lightborn by Rebecca Zahabi, Gollancz, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-473-23447-5.
The Lightborn is the conclusion to Rebecca Zahabi’s 'Tales from the Edge' trilogy Discontent is rising. The rebellion is at the gates. Alliances are being tested. And no one can be trusted… can they?  As Isha faces the prospect of meeting her mother, Hawk, leader of the incoming rebel army, Tatters has to decide if his former tormentor, Passerine, can truly have turned his back on their former captain. And behind all this, the internal power struggles for control of the Nest linger.


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Summer 2024

Forthcoming Non-Fiction SF &
Popular Science Books


The Weight of Nature: How a Changing Climate Changes our Minds, Brains and Bodies by Clayton Page Aldern, Allen Lane, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-241-59737-8.
It is now inarguable that climate change threatens the future of life on Earth. But in The Weight of Nature, neuroscientist Clayton Page Aldern shows that the warming climate is not just affecting our planet – it is affecting our brains and bodies too…

Why Machines Learn: The Elegant Maths Behind Modern AI by Anil Ananthaswamy, Allen Lane, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-241-58648-8.
Machine-learning systems are making life-altering decisions for us: approving mortgage loans, determining whether a tumour is cancerous, or deciding whether someone gets bail. They now influence discoveries in chemistry, biology and physics – the study of genomes, extra-solar planets, even the intricacies of quantum systems.  We are living through a revolution in artificial intelligence that is not slowing down. This major shift is based on simple mathematics, some of which goes back centuries: linear algebra and calculus, the stuff of eighteenth-century mathematics. Indeed by the mid-1850s, a lot of the groundwork was all done. It took the development of computer science and the kindling of 1990s computer chips designed for video games to ignite the explosion of AI that we see all around us today. In this enlightening book, Anil Ananthaswamy explains the fundamental maths behind AI, which suggests that the basics of natural and artificial intelligence might follow the same mathematical rules.  As Ananthaswamy resonantly concludes, to make the most of our most wondrous technologies we need to understand their profound limitations – the clues lie in the maths that makes AI possible.

Quantum Drama: From the Bohr-Einstein Debate to the Riddle of Entanglement by Jim Baggott & John Heilbron, Oxford University Press, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-192-84610-5.
An account of the profound debate between Einstein and Bohr, its implications for the nature of physics, and the astonishing experimental discoveries it has led to today.  In 1927, Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein began a debate about the interpretation and meaning of the new quantum theory. This would become one of the most famous debates in the history of science. At stake were an understanding of the purpose, and defence of the integrity, of science. What (if any) limits should we place on our expectations for what science can tell us about physical reality?  Quantum Drama reveals, science owes a large debt to those who kept the discussions going against the apathy and indifference of most physicists before definitive experimental inquiries became possible. Although experiment moved the Bohr-Einstein debate to a new level and drew many into foundational research, it has by no means removed or resolved the fundamental question. There will be no Nobel Prize for an answer. That will not shut off discussion. Our Drama will continue beyond our telling of it and is unlikely to reach its final scene before science ceases or the world ends.

The Definitive Guide to Minecraft Annual (2024) by Naomi Berry, Pillar Box Red, £9.99 / Can$22.99 / US$16.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-914-53691-5.
With over 238 million copies sold, the sandbox game is officially the best selling video game of all time, allowing nearly 140 million monthly players the power to build the land of their dreams, try their mettle against the Ender Dragon, or just hang out with the iconic Steve. The world is your oyster in Minecraft, and The Definitive Guide to Minecraft is here to help all kinds of players – from surviving through your first night, to digging for diamonds, understanding the relationship between bookshelves and enchantment, and reaching the End dimension.

The Definitive Guide to Fortnite (2024) by Naomi Berry, Pillar Box Red, £9.99 / Can$22.99 / US$16.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-914-53690-8.
Fortnite has been going strong as one of the gaming industry’s most popular and successful titles since it burst onto the scene in 2017. We’re on Chapter 3 now, and trust us, this is not a "reinvention in hopes of keeping things fresh" – this is giving more of a Pokémon consistently evolving into a stronger, more powerful form. This covers core mechanics and new game-play flairs to earn you your victory crown, regardless of how far into your Battle Royale journey you are.

Fans: A Journey Into the Psychology of Belonging by Michael Bond, Picador, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-05249-7.
A journey into the world of super-fans and an exploration of the human psychology of fandom.

Ptolemy: The Book of Astronomy in Antiquity edited by Christian C. Carman, Flame Tree Press, £9.99 / Can$16.99 / US$12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-17791-4.
Ptolemy’s The Almagest brought together the ideas of Greek Antiquity, that the sun and planets revolved around the Earth, the geocentric view which was used by European, Byzantine and Islamic scholars for 1400 years until Copernicus placed the sun as the focus of the solar system. This new book offers an accessible version of Ptolemy’s great work. Claudius Ptolemy (c.100–170AD) lived in Alexandria, Egypt, part of the Roman Empire. A mathematician, geographer and astrologer, his famous book on astronomy codified the ancient view of the universe.

A Crack in Everything: How black holes came in from the cold and revealed themselves masters of the universe by Marcus Chown, Head of Zeus, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-804-54432-7.
A black hole is a region of space where gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape. When this phenomenon was first proposed in 1916, it defied scientific understanding so much that Albert Einstein dismissed it as too ridiculous to be true. But scientists have since proven otherwise. In 1971, Paul Murdin and Louise Webster discovered the first black hole: Cygnus X-1. Later, in the 1990s, astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope found that not only do black holes exist, supermassive black holes lie at the heart of almost every galaxy. It would take another three decades to confirm this phenomenon. On 10 April 2019, a team of astronomers made history by producing the first image of a black hole.

Playing with Reality: How Games Shape Our World by Kelly Clancy, Allen Lane, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-241-54550-8.
A sweeping intellectual history of games and their importance to human progress.  We play games to learn about the world, to understand our minds and the minds of others, and to make predictions about the future. They’re also a lot of fun. But what happens when we mistake games for reality?  As neuroscientist and physicist Kelly Clancy shows us, games have been deeply intertwined with the arc of history. War games shaped the outcomes of real wars in nineteenth and twentieth century Europe. Game theory warped our understanding of human behaviour and brought us to the brink of annihilation – yet still underlies basic assumptions in economics, politics and technology. We used games to teach computers how to learn for themselves, and now we are designing games that will determine the shape of society and future of democracy.

Space Oddities: The Mysterious Anomalies Challenging Our Understanding of the Universe by Harry Cliff, Picador, £18.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-09286-8.
An accessible account of the latest as yet unexplained phenomena of the universe that are new to science, space oddities that question science’s picture of the universe and could transform our understanding of the fundamental nature of reality.  Something strange is going on in the cosmos. Scientists are uncovering a catalogue of weird phenomena that simply can’t be explained by our long-established theories of the universe. Particles with unbelievable energies are bursting from beneath the Antarctic ice. Unknown forces seem to be tugging on the basic building blocks of matter. Stars are flying away from us far faster than anyone can explain.  After decades of fruitless searching, could we finally be catching glimpses of a profound new view of our physical world? Or are we being fooled by cruel tricks of the data? The author is a particle physicist based at the University of Cambridge and carries out research with the LHCb experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

Charge: Why Does Gravity Rule? by Frank Close, Oxford University Press, £16.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-198-88505-4.
As far as we know, the charges of the proton and electron are opposite and exactly equal, even though the proton is far bigger, and composed of three quarks tightly bound within it, while the electron is a fundamental particle. But why are they equal? This is one of the deepest unresolved puzzles of fundamental physics, and forms the driving force of this book. To explore the clues we have, Frank Close takes us on a journey into the quantum subatomic world of particles. He describes the strong and weak forces that operate alongside electromagnetism at these short ranges, and the colour and flavour charges that drive them, as well as the parallels between them, giving tantalizing hints of a deeper unity of all forces that is the dream of grand unification theories. Seeking an answer to why matter is neutral brings us to fundamental forces and particles, the Standard Model, the recently discovered Higgs boson, and the implications of grand unification for the stability of matter.

A Universal History of Us by Tim Coulson, Michael Joseph, £30, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-241-66230-4.
How did we come to be? A complete, uncomplicated guide to the science of life, the universe and everything How did everything start? And how did we come to exist? In this one book Oxford Prof. Tim Coulson seeks to simply explain what science tells us about the history of the universe from the Big Bang to the existence of humanity, and whether our existence was always inevitable or if we are just incredibly lucky.

The Genetic Book of the Dead by Richard Dawkins, Head of Zeus, £25, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
How much do we really know about our past?  For centuries, we have yearned to learn more about our ancestors and piece together the story of how we came to be. But language can only record so much. And fossils can be even harder to decipher. We are left groping in the dark, forced to speculate and reconstruct ways of life based on fragments of information.  But what if there was a better way?  In The Genetic Book of the Dead, Richard Dawkins explores the untapped potential of DNA to transform and transcend our understanding of evolution.  In the future, a zoologist presented with a hitherto unknown animal will be able to read its body and its genes as detailed descriptions of the world its ancestors inhibited. This ‘book of the dead’ would uncover the remarkable ways in which animals have overcome obstacles, adapted to their environments and, again and again, developed remarkably similar ways of finding solutions to life’s problems.

The Last Action Heroes: The Triumphs, Flops, and Feuds of Hollywood's Kings of Carnage by Nick de Semlyen, Picador, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-529-05852-9.
The behind-the-scenes story of the larger-than-life action stars who ruled 1980s and '90s Hollywood, from Schwarzenegger and Stallone to Jackie Chan and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

AI Morality by David Edmonds, Oxford University Press, £12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-198-87643-4.
There is no more important issue at present than artificial intelligence. AI has begun to penetrate almost every sphere of human activity. It will disrupt our lives entirely. David Edmonds brings together a team of leading philosophers to explore some of the urgent moral concerns we should have about this revolution. The chapters are rich with examples from contemporary society and imaginative projections of the future.

Superspy Science: Science, Death and Tech in the World of James Bond by Kathryn Harkup, Bloomsbury, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 9781472982254.
In 007 chapters, the science behind James Bond’s exploits – armaments, tactics, plots and enemy tech. Ian Fleming’s novels based on the adventures of the secret service agent James Bond have thrilled readers since Casino Royale was published in 1953. And when the film of Dr No was released in 1962, Bond quickly became one of the world’s favourite secret agents. In Superspy Science, Kathryn Harkup explores the science and technology central to the plots that make up the world of Bond. Naturally, there are 007 chapters, covering the full range of Bond’s exploits, and the arms, technologies, tactics and downfalls of his various foes. Could our favourite Bond villains actually achieve world domination? Were the huge variety of weapons and technology in Bond’s arsenal ever actually developed? And would 007 actually escape all those close shaves with his life intact? Readers of this book will see James Bond and his world through new eyes.

Unseen Universe: New secrets of the cosmos revealed by the James Webb Space Telescope by Caroline Harper, Quercus, £30, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-43050-9.
An upmarket, gift-worthy book of stunning images and breakthrough scientific discoveries from NASA’s revolutionary James Webb Space Telescope. From the towering dust cliffs of the Carina Nebula to Jupiter glowing like an iridescent disco ball in the sky, these stunning new images have captured the imagination of millions all over the world.  Launched on 25th December 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope is the most powerful and complex space telescope ever built, capturing a glimpse of deep space billions of years in the past.  Now, Dr Caroline Harper and contributing astrophysicists from across Europe and the USA use Webb’s photography to answer 10 of the biggest questions humankind has about the universe, including: · How are stars born?  · How do galaxies form and evolve?  · What are the origins of black holes?  · Where do planets get their water?  Are we alone in the universe? · Is the universe expanding or infinite?  Caroline Harper is Head of Space Science at the UK Space Agency, a member of the European Space Agency’s Science Programme Committee.

The Harry Potter Official Afternoon Tea Cookbook by Veronica Hinke &, Jody Revenson, Quercus, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-43499-6.
Indulge in an afternoon tea inspired by the Wizarding World with the favourite afternoon treats of wizards and Muggles from your favourite best-selling franchise.  With more than 50 recipes, from ‘Lavender Brown’s Lavender Cake’ to ‘Professor Trelawney’s Divination Tea’ and stunning full-colour photography, as well as behind-the-scenes facts from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films, this cookbook offers step-by-step instructions on creating a bewitching afternoon feast.

Sentience: The Invention of Consciousness by Nicholas Humphrey, Oxford University Press, £9.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-198-85854-6.
Conscious sensations ground our sense of self, but is it only humans who feel this way? Do other animals? Will future machines? Nicholas Humphrey tells the story of his quest to understand the evolutionary history of consciousness and explains the startling answers he has come to.

Quantum Supremacy: How Quantum Computers will Unlock the Mysteries of Science – and Address Humanity’s Biggest Challenges by Michio Kaku, Penguin, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-141-99945-6.
An guide to the astonishing future of quantum computing, from a physicist.

Alien Earths: Planet Hunting in the Cosmos by Lisa Kaltenegger, Allen Lane, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-241-68098-8.
For thousands of years, we’ve wondered if we’re alone in the cosmos – now we have the technology to investigate. The answer should be a clear yes or no, but once you try to find life elsewhere, you realise it is not so simple. What actually is life? How do you find it over cosmic distances? How close do imagined sci-fi worlds come to reality?

The Known Unknowns: The Unsolved Mysteries of the Cosmos by Lawrence M. Krauss, Head of Zeus, £20, hrdbk, ISBN not provided.
Our understanding of cosmology has advanced immeasurably over the last five hundred years of modern science, yet many fundamental mysteries of existence persist. How did our Universe begin, if it even had a beginning? How big is it? What’s at the bottom of a black hole? How did life on Earth arise? Are we alone? Is time travel possible? These mysteries define the scientific forefront, the threshold of the unknown. To explore that threshold is to gain a deeper understanding of just how far science has progressed.

New Worlds Profiles articles originally (1952-'63) edited by John Carnell and this collection edited by David Langford, Ansible Editions, Price to be determined, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-916-50821-7
David Langford, editor of this book, explains in his introduction: “For a little over a decade while John Carnell was editor of New Worlds Science Fiction, there was a tradition of running author and artist profiles on the magazine’s inside front cover. These appeared from the eighteenth issue in November 1952 to the 134th in September 1963 [...and] often contain opinions and scraps of personal information not elsewhere available. Which seemed a good reason for compiling this collection.”  Authors represented, often in their own words and several with multiple appearances, include Brian Aldiss, J. G. Ballard, Alfred Bester, John Brunner, Kenneth Bulmer, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Harry Harrison, Philip E. High, Damon Knight, C. M. Kornbluth, Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon, E. C. Tubb, James White and John Wyndham. Other profiles are of artists (Alan Hunter, Brian Lewis, Gerard Quinn, Sydney Jordan), editors (John Carnell himself, Groff Conklin, H. L. Gold) and even one television anthology host: Boris Karloff for Out of This World.

A Vince Clarke Treasury edited by David Langford, Ansible Editions, £15, trdpbk, ISBN 978-1-916-50818-7
Click on the title link for ordering details (especially as postage is likely to change with time and be more for overseas mailings). This substantial trade paperback of A Vince Clarke Treasury was published in February 2024, expanded from the 2015 ebook with two added articles and many corrections. It features Vin¢'s fan writings from the late 1940s to mid-1990s.  Vinc¢ was the first winner of TAFF, though in the event unable to make the trip to a US Worldcon which was the aim of the fund, and he promoted TAFF enthusiastically in both halves of his interrupted fannish career.  This collection is similarly divided into two parts, covering the early years from 1948 to 1960 and then (after his long absence) a second voyage through science fiction fandom from 1982 to 1998. Hims Ancient and Modern, as Chuch Harris once put it. Part One is notable for its speedy progression from “serious and constructive” coverage of the 1948 British SF convention to the manic humour and mythologising of fandom that soon follows. As well as a rich seam of material for fan historians, there’s plenty of outright fun here.

The Atomic Human: Understanding Ourselves in the Age of AI by Neil D. Lawrence, Allen Lane, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-241-62524-8.
A vital perspective is missing from the discussions we’re having about Artificial Intelligence: what does it mean for our identity?  Our fascination with AI stems from the perceived uniqueness of human intelligence. We believe it’s what differentiates us. Fears of AI not only concern how it invades our digital lives, but also the implied threat of an intelligence that displaces us from our position at the centre of the world.  Neil D. Lawrence’s book shows why these fears may be misplaced. Atomism, proposed by Democritus, suggested it was impossible to continue dividing matter into ever smaller components: eventually we reach a point where a cut cannot be made (the Greek for uncuttable is ‘atom’). In the same way, by slicing away at the facets of human intelligence that can be replaced by machines, AI uncovers what is left: an indivisible core that is the essence of humanity.  By contrasting our own intelligence with the capabilities of machine intelligence through history, The Atomic Human reveals the technical origins, capabilities and limitations of AI systems, and how they should be wielded. Not just by the experts, but ordinary people. Either AI is a tool for us, or we become a tool of AI. Understanding this will enable readers to choose the future we want. Neil Lawrence is the DeepMind Professor of Machine Learning at the University of Cambridge where he leads the university-wide initiative on AI, and a Senior AI Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute.

Everything Must Go: The Stories We Tell About The End of the World by Dorian Lynskey, Picador, £25, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-09593-7.
An exploration of one of the central concerns of our times: fantasies and nightmares of the end of the world, from Mary Shelley’s The Last Man to the Manic Street Preachers’ Everything Must Go.  Human beings have been imagining the end of the world from the Book of Revelation to Avengers: The Age of Ultron. Every generation imagines that its visions of the end times are new.  The author investigates our fantasies of the end, across both high and popular culture, from the Reformation to the present.

This Volcanic Isle: The Violent Processes that Forged the British Landscape by Robert Muir-Wood, Oxford University Press, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-198-87162-0.
Robert Muir-Wood explores the rich geological history of the British Isles, and its resulting legacy. Along the way he introduces the personalities who shared a fascination for Britain’s tectonic history, including Charles Darwin the geologist, Tennyson the science-poet, and Benoit Mandelbrot, the pure mathematician who labelled the west coast of Britain a fractal icon. Here is the previously untold story of how earthquakes and eruptions, plumes and plate boundaries, built the British Isles.

Code-Dependent: Living in the Shadow of AI by Madhumita Murgia, Picador, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-529-09730-6.
A revealing exploration of the world created by computer algorithms and its impact on individuals, from the workers across the globe who feed artificial intelligence systems with data to the impact of algorithms on our own behaviour, as consumers and citizens.  What does it mean to be human in a world that is rapidly changing thanks to the development of artificial intelligence, of automated decision-making that both draws on and influences our behaviour?  A British poet, an UberEats courier in Pittsburgh, an Indian doctor, and a Chinese activist in exile apparently have nothing in common. Yet their lives are linked by their unexpected encounters with artificial intelligence. In the human stories she tells in Code-Dependent, Murgia shows how automated systems are reshaping our lives all over the world, from technology that marks children as future criminals to an app that is helping to give diagnoses to a remote tribal community.  AI has already infiltrated our day-to-day lives, through language-generating chatbots like ChatGPT and social media. But it’s also affecting us in more insidious ways. It touches everything from our interpersonal relationships to our kids’ education, work, finances, public services, and even our human rights.  By highlighting the voices of ordinary people in places far removed from the cosy enclave of Silicon Valley, Code-Dependent explores the impact of a set of powerful, flawed, and often exploitative technologies on individuals, communities, and our wider society. Murgia exposes how AI can strip away our collective and individual sense of agency, and shatter our illusion of free will.  The ways in which algorithms and their effects are governed over the coming years will profoundly impact us all. Yet we cannot agree on a common path forward. We cannot decide what preferences and morals we want to encode in these entities – or what controls we may want to impose on them. And thus, we are collectively relinquishing our moral authority to machines. Murgia not only sheds light on this chilling phenomenon, but also charts a path of resistance. AI is already changing what it means to be human, in ways large and small, and Murgia reveals what could happen if we fail to reclaim our humanity.

The Primacy of Doubt: From climate change to quantum physics, how the science of uncertainty can help predict and understand our chaotic world by Tim Palmer, Oxford University Press, £12.99, pbk, ISBN 978-0-192-84360-9.
This takes us on a unique journey through the science of uncertainty, covering a breathtaking range of topics, from climate change to the foundations of quantum physics, economic modelling to conflict prediction, free will to consciousness.  Click on the title link for a stanalone review.

Space: The Human Story by Tim Peake, Inklore, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-804-94626-8.
The first human history of space travel – from the Apollo missions to our journey to Mars – by Britain’s beloved astronaut.  Only 628 people in human history have left Earth. In Space: The Human Story, astronaut Tim Peake traces the lives of these remarkable men and women who have forged the way, from Yuri Gagarin to Neil Armstrong, from Valentina Tereshkova to Peggy Whitson.

Mapmatics: How We Navigate the World Through Numbers by Paulina Rowinska, Picador, £22, hrdbk, ISBN 978-1-035-00704-2.
A exploration of how cartography shapes the world we see and how the maths of mapmaking provides the full picture.  How does a delivery driver distribute hundreds of packages in a single day?  Why is measuring coastlines and geographical boundaries almost impossible?  Where should we look for elusive serial killers? The answers lie in the crucial connection between maps and maths.  In Mapmatics, Dr Paulina Rowinska takes us on a fascinating journey to discover the mathematical foundations of cartography and cartographical influences on mathematics. From a sixteenth-century map that remains an indispensable navigation tool while emphasizing the North–South divide, and maps of voting districts that can empower or silence whole communities, to public transport maps that both guide and mislead the passengers, Rowinska reveals how maps and maths shape not only our sense of space and time but also our worldview.  Through entertaining stories, fascinating real-world examples and a cast of unforgettable characters, Mapmatics helps us to appreciate the mathematical methods and ideas behind maps.  And, by illuminating how our world works, it leaves us better equipped to understand and look after it.

Selfish Genes to Social Beings: A Cooperative History of Life by Jonathan Silverton, Oxford University Press, £20, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-198-87639-7.
Amid the violence and brutality that dominates the news, it’s hard to think of ourselves as team players. But cooperation, Jonathan Silvertown argues, is a fundamental part of our makeup, and deeply woven into the whole four-billion-year history of life. Starting with human society, Silvertown digs deeper, to show how cooperation is key to the cells forming our organs, to symbiosis between organisms, to genes that band together, to the dawn of life itself. Cooperation has enabled life to thrive and become complex. Without it, life would never have begun.  Click on the title link for a standalone review.

The AI Mirror: How to Reclaim Our Humanity in an Age of Machine Thinking by Shannon Vallor, Oxford University Press, £22.99, hrdbk, ISBN 978-0-197-75906-6.
Shannon Vallor makes a wide-ranging, prophetic, and philosophical case for what AI could be, and what we can be with it. She calls us to reclaim our human potential for moral and intellectual growth, rather than losing sight of our shared humanity as we gaze dully into our AI mirrors.

Fevered Planet How Diseases Emerge When We Harm Nature by John Vidal, Bloomsbury, £10.99, pbk, ISBN 978-1-526-63229-6.
Covid-19, mpox, bird flu, SARS, HIV, AIDS, Ebola; we are living in the Age of Pandemics – one that we have created. As the climate crisis reaches a fever pitch and ecological destruction continues unabated, we are just beginning to reckon with the effects of environmental collapse on our global health.  Fevered Planet exposes how the way we farm, what we eat, the places we travel to and the scientific experiments we conduct create the perfect conditions for deadly new diseases to emerge and spread faster and further than ever. Drawing on the latest scientific research and decades of reporting from more than 100 countries, former Guardian environment editor John Vidal shows us how closely human, animal and plant diseases are now intertwined with planetary destruction. He calls for an urgent transformation in our relationship with the natural world, and expertly outlines how to make that change possible.


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The 2024 Abel Prize for mathematics goes to Michel Talagrand for work on formulae to make random processes more predictable.  The French mathematician is currently based at the French National Centre for Scientific Research.  He is also known for solving a problem posed by theoretical physicist Giorgio Parisi and this helped Parisi to earn a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2021.  The Abel Prize is known as the Nobel for mathematics.  The Abel Prize comes with 7.5 million Norwegian kroner (£555,000/US$700,000).  ++++ Last year's Abel winner here.

The Earth may have already warmed by far more than the 1.5°C Paris Accord 'safe limit'!  Researchers using isotope ratios in the carbonate skeletons of sponges have compiled a sea water temperature record going back 300 years. This indicates since this pre-industrial time, that the Earth has warmed by 1.9°C. The IPCC takes the year 1850 as being representative of the temperature of the Earth in pre-industrial times as that date was when sufficiently comprehensive climate measurements began. Further, the IPCC uses a combination of land and sea measurements. Conversely, this new record is purely marine but because more of the Earth's surface is ocean and because water has a higher heat capacity than land, ocean temperatures can be considered the dominant factor in maintaining the Earth's temperature. The researchers looked at the remains of sponges in the Caribbean going back 300 years to 1700AD, a century and a half before the IPCC's 1850 bench-mark year. If similar research conducted elsewhere paints a similar picture then it will be likely that the Earth has warmed by 1.9°C.  Keeping warming to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial is considered 'safe' because the last interglacial roughly 100,000 years ago was geologically briefly (a few thousand years) at that temperature but the Earth system managed to slip back into a glacial mode.  (See  McCulloch, M. T., et al (2024) 300 years of sclerosponge thermometry shows global warming
has exceeded 1.5°C
. Nature Climate Change, vol 14, p171-7.

Global warming is further slowing the Earth's rotation yet paradoxically delays the need for the next leap second to be added by three years.  First up, the background.  The Earth's spin pushes the ocean tidal bulge ahead of the Moon being directly above the said bulge. This tidal bulge attracts the Moon ahead of itself so speeding it up and this in turn both slows the Earth's rotation and moves the Moon into a higher orbit. This means that in the past, the Earth had a shorter day: 1.4 billion years ago, a day was only around 19 hours long. This slowing means that periodically the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, in Paris, decides when to introduce a leap second. However, there are other mechanisms that alter the rate of the Earth's rotation.
          A spinning ice skater can speed up their spin by bringing their outstretched arms closer to their chest: conservation of angular momentum (a variation on Newton's second law of motion) means that the spin increases. Similalrly, the reverse is true, out-stretching arms formerly close to the chest slows the skater's rotation.  This is what is happening with global warming that sees polar ice melt increasing sea level rise globally, and mostly away from the poles.
          Geophysicist, Duncan Agnew, from the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, has now used satellite gravity data to calculate the rate of the Earth's slowing and found that its deceleration rate has, since 1972 increased. Yet there is another confounding factor: currently, due to currents in the liquid core of the planet since 1970s have caused the rotation speed of the outer crust to increase. A leap second would have been needed by 2026 but, according to Agnew's calculations duie to the effect of climate change re-distribution of water, this will now be needed three years later: global warming is already affecting global timekeeping.  However, a confounding factor is that the activity in the inner core is almost impossible to predict.  (See  Agnew, D. C. (2024) A global timekeeping problem postponed by global warming. Nature, vol. 628, p333-6.)

A hot mega-drought in western USA in the 16th century has been identified. Researchers have used tree ring data to create a climate record across the USA back to 1553AD. Currently western US is in a protracted drought due to climate change. The researchers have found that locally warm times also see drought in the western US. They have found that conditions in the 21st century are likely unprecedented since at least the 16th century. The record shows that summer temperatures recorded during the Dust Bowl (1932 to 1939AD) contributed to the drought. Also that there was a late-16th century drought (1568 to 1591AD.  (See  King, K. E. et al (2024) Increasing prevalence of hot drought across western North America since the 16th century. Science Advances, vol. 10, eadj4289)

Cleaner skies are leading to a faster-warming world.  We have long known that pollutant particles affect the climate both positively and negatively, but the details have been elusive.  The latest here is that NASA's Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) suite of satellite instruments have provided data for over two decades. The results analysed by a collaboration of largely western European based researchers show that the Earth has warmed between 2001 and 2019 by more than can be accounted for by greenhouse gas emissions alone. The conclusion is that cleaner skies, due to clean air legislation, are lowering the cooling effect of pollutants: less pollutants, less cooling, and more warming.  (See  Hodnebrog, O., et al (2024) Recent reductions in aerosol emissions have increased Earth’s energy imbalance. Communications Earth & Environment, vol. 5, 166.)

Overall, the amount of ground water is declining globally.  A small international team of researchers has looked at 170,000 monitoring wells and 1,693 aquifer systems in countries that encompass approximately 75% of global groundwater withdrawals.  They show that rapid groundwater-level declines (over 0.5 metres a year) are widespread in the twenty-first century, especially in dry regions with extensive croplands. Critically, they also show that groundwater-level declines have accelerated over the past four decades in 30% of the world’s regional aquifers. This widespread acceleration in groundwater-level deepening highlights an urgent need for more effective measures to address groundwater depletion. But they have also identified a few example of groundwater recharge following management policy changes.  (See  Jasechko, S. et al (2024) Rapid groundwater decline and some cases of recovery in aquifers globally. Nature, vol. 625, p715-721  and the review piece  MacAllister, D. J. (2024) Groundwater decline is global but not universal. Nature, vol. 625, p668-9.)

A record amount of energy has been generated by the British-based JET!  JET (the Joint European Torus) at Culham in Oxfordshire, is an EU project. It was the research facility's final experiment after over 40 years of work. 69 megajoules of energy were released over five seconds. JET was only meant to be operational for a decade or so but repeated successes saw its life extended. The result is triple what was achieved in similar tests back in 1997. Following Brexit, Britain is no longer part of EurAtom.
++++ Previous news items similar to above elsewhere on this site include:-
  - Fusion experiment generates more energy than was used
  - New US fusion achievement remarkable but commercial fusion still far
  - A new type fusion discovered with quarks (not whole atoms)
  - A fusion plasma of 100 million kelvin lasting up to 20 seconds

A quarter of digital academic papers are being lost!  The past couple of decades has seen the rise of electronic only, digital, journals and increasingly, physical journals will also see their paper papers have a digital counterpart.  To keep track of a digital paper (be it of a digital-only paper or a digital version of a physical paper) there is the digital object identifier (DOI) system.  Each paper is assigned a DOI number (for example: DOI:10.1017/CBO9780511803826. A paper's DOI resolves to a web address (URL), typically on the publisher's website. But if the publisher changes their website (say, due to a web redesign) they can arrange for the DOI to re-direct to a new web-address.  In the event that a publisher goes bankrupt, there are to archives run by others.  However, all this relies on the paper's DOI actually linking to an active web address.  Researchers have now found that over a quarter of over 7 million papers examined did not have a DOI that worked! This means that a quarter of the literature has seemingly vanished.  This in turn makes it impossible for researchers to check such past research.
          It should be noted, that this problem is not exclusive to academia. Fandom, with its increasing digitisation of major convention's publications, is also losing its heritage. For example, a Worldcon's website storing a PDF copy of its programme book will see that 'master copy' vanish once the convention's website go.  This adds yet another dimension to issues such as the Glasgow 2024 Worldcon policy of not sending supporting members paper publications: with fewer paper publications in existence, and with master copies of PDFs – there is no Worldcon archive – being ephemeral, future generations will have less of a chance to see older fan publications.
          (See the paper  Eve, M.P. (2024) Digital Scholarly Journals Are Poorly Preserved: A study of 7 million articles. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, vol. 12 (1), eP16288)


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Summer 2024

Natural Science News


Multicellular life started earlier than thought.  For many, multicellular life really took off with the Ediacaran Period (635–541 million years ago) and for many years quite a few thought that was the actual origins of multicellularity were much earlier. Indeed in 2016 microfossils of multicellular algae were found dating from 1,560 million years ago. Now, new research reports multicellular algae fossils from the about 1,635-million-year-old Chuanlinggou Formation in North China. The occurrence of multicellular eukaryotes in Palaeoproterozoic rocks not much younger than those containing the oldest unambiguous evidence of eukaryotes as a whole supports the hypothesis that simple multicellularity arose early in eukaryotic history, as much as a billion years before complex multicellular organisms diversified in the oceans in the Ediacaran. This speaks to the rise of multicellularity being an easier evolutionary step than some had thought. (See Zhu, S. et al (2016) Decimetre-scale multicellular eukaryotes from the 1.56-billion-year-old Gaoyuzhuang Formation in North China. vol. 7, 1,1500,   Miao, L. et al (2024) 1.63-billion- year- Old multicellular eukaryotes from the Chuanlinggou Formation in North China. Science Advances, vol. 10, eadk3208  and the review piece  Pennisi, E. (2024) Tiny fossils upend timeline of multicellular life. vol. 383, p352-3.)

How did humans lose their monkey tails?  Research from the US, mainly bioscientists based in New York, indicates that an alteration of the TBXT gene by a moveable (a type of mobile genetic sequence that moved around the genome during evolution, known as a transposable element) 300-base-pair Alu sequence. However, the altered TBXT gene is also associated with neural tube defects. This, the researchers say, must mean that there was a powerful evolutionary drive to go tail-less. However, reviewers of the paper in Nature say that having a tail would have helped humans with upright walking. Instead, they suggest a more random cause (genetic drift) with the isolation of a small population of tail-less monkeys some 25 million years ago was the cause: i.e. it was an evolutionary accident. These tail-less monkeys were the apes.  (See Xia, Bo. et al (2024) On the genetic basis of tail-loss evolution in humans and apes. Nature, vol. 626, p1,042-8  and the review article  Konkel, M. K. & Casanova E. L. (2024) Mobile DNA explains why humans don’t have tails. Nature, vol. 626, p958-9.)

Health risks associated with consumption of ultra-processed foods have been confirmed by a large meta-analysis.  Ultra-processed foods encompass a broad range of ready to eat products, including packaged snacks, carbonated soft drinks, instant noodles, and readymade meals.  There is a trend towards an increasingly ultra-processed global diet.  This meta-analysis of nearly 10 million people found consistent evidence of a higher risk of adverse health outcomes associated with greater ultra-processed food exposure related to early death and heart disease and mental health.  There is a need, the researchers say, to reduce the amount of ultra-processed food in people's diets.  (See  Lane, M. M. et al (2024) Ultra-processed food exposure and adverse health outcomes: umbrella review of epidemiological meta-analyses. British medical Journal, vol. 384, e077310.)


…And finally this section, the season's SARS-CoV-2 / CoVID-19 science primary research and news roundup.

Phone data reveals actual risks of catching CoVID.  Now we are all (well, all the sane folk) are fully vaccinated and the pandemic over, we now have a lot of data including the risk of catching CoVID-19 as calculated by a smartphone app scales. British biomedical scientists have looked at 7 million contacts notified by the National Health Service CoVID-19 app in England and Wales to infer how app measurements translated to actual transmissions.  Households accounted for about 6% of contacts but 40% of transmissions.  A brief encounter of 15 minutes with someone infected who kept two metres distance incurred a 2% chance of transmitting that infection. Spending the day incurred an 8% chance, and living in the same household a 20% risk. Winter incurred slightly greater risks than summer when windows were open for ventilation. Those who only had a fleeting contact with an infected person accounted for 10% of all infections and those living in the same household 41% of infections.  (See  Ferretti, L. et al (2024) Digital measurement of SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk from 7 million contacts. Nature, vol. 626, p145-150  and the review piece  Benzier, J. (2024) Contact-tracing app predicts transmission risk. Nature, vol. 626, p42-3.)

Long CoVID is associated with inflammation research strongly suggests.  A very large collaboration of UK researchers based in both a number of universities and National Health Service hospitals have analysed the blood plasmas of 657 CoVD patients of whom 426 had at least one persistent long-CoVID-19 symptom.  The following markers were identified as being indicators of long-CoVID: IL-1R2, MATN2 (respiratory symptoms), COLEC12 (heart and breathing), MATN2 & CSF3 (gastro-intestinal symptoms) , C1QA (fatigue and brain fog), SPON-1, NFASC (nerve repair), and SCG3 (brain).  The findings suggest that inflammation relates to tissue damage associated with long CoVID.  (See the alphabetically listed authored paper  Adeniji, K. et al (2024) Large-scale phenotyping of patients with long CoVID post-hospitalization reveals mechanistic subtypes of disease. Nature Immunology, vol. 25, p607–621.)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) list of key variants of concern now include among others:
  - Kent (scientifically called B.1.1.7) to be now known as Alpha
  - S. African (scientifically called B.1.351) to be now known as Beta
  - Brazilian (scientifically called P.1) to be now known as Gamma
  - Indian (scientifically called B.1.617) to be now known as Delta
  - Californian (scientifically called B.1.429, B.1.427 and CAL.20C) to be now known as Epsilon
  - Philippines (scientifically called P.3) to be now known as Theta
  - New York (scientifically called B.1.526) to be now known as Iota
  - Peru (scientifically called C.37) to be now known as Lambda
  - Colombia (scientifically called B.1.621) to be now known as Mu
  - S. Africa / Botswana (scientifically called B.1.1.529) with offshoots BA.1, BA.2 (which in turn led to XBB.1.5) , BA2.75 (unofficially Centaurus), BA2.86, BA.3, BA.4 and BA.5) to be now known as Omicron. It in turn has led to the BA.2.86 variant.

Related SARS-CoV-2 / CoVID-19 news, previously covered elsewhere on this site, has been listed here on previous seasonal news pages prior to 2023.  However, this has become quite a lengthy list of links and so we stopped providing this listing in the news pages and also, with the vaccines for many in the developed and middle-income nations, the worst of the pandemic is over.  Instead you can find this lengthy list of links at the end of our initial SARS-CoV-2 briefing here.  It neatly charts over time the key research conducted throughout the pandemic.


And finally… A short natural science YouTube video

Why Is It So Hard to Tell the SeΧ of a Dinosaur?  PBS Eons explains that while we think we know a lot about dinosaurs – like how they moved and what they ate – for a long time, we haven’t been able to ID one seemingly basic thing about their biology...  You can see the video here.



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Summer 2024

Astronomy & Space Science News


Our Galaxy's central black hole has been observed by the Event Horizon Telescope. These observations have revealed a bright, thick ring.  (Check out the circular polarised image on page 12 of the first paper  Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration et al. (2024) First Sagittarius A* Event Horizon Telescope Results. VII. Polarization of the Ring. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, vol. 964, L25  and  Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration et al. (2024) First Sagittarius A* Event Horizon Telescope Results. VIII. Physical Interpretation of the Polarized Ring. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, vol. 964, L26)

One in about a dozen stars may have ingested planets!  Planetary systems are not necessarily formed in stable configurations: planets may migrate and stop migrating when there is stability.  When planet migration takes place, there may be occasions when the planet falls into its star: the star ingests the planet.  An international collaboration has attempted to identify how often this happens using data from ESA's Gaia space probe.  Stars are mostly hydrogen and helium, conversely planets are mostly heavier elements (what astronomers call 'metals'). If a star ingests a planet the it metallicity increases. What the astronomers did was to use the Gaia probe to identify ninety-one pairs of stars that move through space together and which formed from the same stellar nursery. In theory each pair of stars should have the same metallicity. Spectra of these stars were taken but about 8% of the pairs were found to have different metallicities: in these pairs the one with the higher metallicity may have ingested a planet.  (See  Liu, F. et al (2024) At least one in a dozen stars shows evidence of planetary ingestion. Nature, vol. 627, p501-4.)

The first tidally-locked planet may have been found – and it's a super-Earth.  The idea of a planet orbiting so close to its star that it will become tidally locked – just as the Earth's Moon is to the Earth – with one side perpetually facing the sun is not new, but none have been detected.  A small collaboration of a Chinese, a Canadian, a German and a US based astronomers re-visited the Spitzer phase curve of the exoplanet LHS 3844b that measured the intensity of light coming off this planet and think that it may be tidally locked.  This super-Earth has a radius 1.32 times that of Earth's.  Their results thus suggest that LHS 3844b is a potential exoplanet analogue to the Moon and Mercury in our own solar system, with a similarly darkened and space-weathered surface.  The researchers work assumes that the planet has no atmosphere.  Future observations will be able to test and refine this interpretation in a number of ways.  (See the primary research here  Lyu, X., et al (2024) Super-Earth LHS3844b is Tidally Locked. The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 964, 152.)

New search finds 85 exoplanet candidates cool enough for liquid water.  Astronomers have discovered 85 possible planets outside of our solar system, with temperatures closer to those of our own Solar System planets, potentially cool enough to sustain life. These exoplanet candidates, discovered using data from data from NASA's Transitioning Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), are similar in size to Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune in our Solar System. They are much cooler than most of those found from the TESS mission.
          At this stage the bodies still need to be confirmed as exoplanets, but the researchers hope that this will be achieved with future observations. Of the 85 potential exoplanets detected in this study, 60 are brand new discoveries, while 25 have also been detected in the TESS data by independent research teams using different search techniques. (See Hawthorn, F. et al (2024) TESS Duotransit Candidates from the Southern Ecliptic Hemisphere. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.)

Two habitable zone, near Earth-sized, planets found… Almost!  A large international team of astronomers have been pouring over transit data (the way stars dim when planets pass in front of them). They are confident that they have found one exoplanet that is in its star's habitable zone and less confident of another second one in the same star's habitable zone.
          The first planet is TOI-715b orbiting a 6.2 billion year old red dwarf some 137 light years away and has a radius 55% bigger than the Earth (giving it a mass some 3.02 times Earth's.  The planet's equilibrium temperature (that is its black body equivalent temperature excluding things like a possible atmosphere's greenhouse effect) is 234°K (-39°C). However, if (note the 'if') it has a reasonable atmosphere like Earth's or perhaps a little denser) it could have a habitable tropical zone.
          The second discovery is less definite: more observation is required. It is called TIC-271971130.02 that also orbits the same red dwarf, but a little further out, and interestingly is almost Earth-sized being just about 6% bigger than the Earth. Its equilibrium temperature is 215°K (-58°C) which means that depending on its atmosphere it could possibly have liquid water near its equator.
          There is much debate as to whether life could originate on habitable zone planets around red dwarfs. Because red dwarfs are smaller, they are cool and so the planets have to orbit close to the star: both planets have orbital periods of about 19 and 25 days respectively. This means that there is a risk that the planets are tidally locked with one side facing its star.  The other thing about red dwarfs is that they do not emit UV (ultra-violet) light except when they flare. UV light is needed for initial nucleic acid (RNA/DNA) synthesis.  The problem is that too much UV irradiates and so destroys life. So the debate continues as too the probability of life around red dwarfs.
          You may wonder why we seem only to be detecting habitable zone, near Earth-sized planets around red dwarfs and not around hotter (bigger) stars like the Earth's Sun?  There are two reasons.  Red dwarfs are small and so transiting Earth-sized planets have a greater dimming effect on the star's light, hence are more noticeable.  And also because red dwarfs are small so habitable zone planets have to orbit close to them and this means that their orbits' periods are just a couple of weeks. Conversely, habitable-zone planets around larger Sun like stars have an orbital period of about a year or more.  Astronomers need several orbital periods' worth of data and this they can gather from red dwarfs over a few months.  Conversely, several years of observation are required for Earth's Sun-like stars.  So we can expect interesting results from Sun-like star observations in the late 2020s and early 2030s.   (See  Dransfield, G. et al (2024) A 1.55 R habitable-zone planet hosted by TOI-715, an M4 star near the ecliptic South Pole. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 527, p35-52.)
++++  Oxford University astrophysicist Becky Smethurst's YouTybe channel has an 11-minute video explaining the discovery of TOI-715b and TIC-271971130.02.  You can see the video here.
++++  Related news previously covered elsewhere on this site includes:
  - The first transit detection of methane in an exo-planet atmosphere
  - Move over stars' habitable zones – Photosynthetic zones are the thing
  - A temperate exo-Earth has been detected!
  - A super-Earth may be a super-sauna
  - Exo-planet TRAPPIST-1c Earth-sized planet has no atmosphere
  - Exo-planet TRAPPIST-1b Earth-sized planet has no atmosphere
  - A single star has three super-Earths – and two rare super-Mercuries
  - There could be watery planets around red dwarf stars
  - First ever image of a multi-planet system around a Sun-like star captured
  - Giant planet pictured orbiting far from a twin star system
  - The first exo-planet has possibly been detected outside of our Galaxy
  - How many alien worlds could detect our small rocky plant, the Earth?
  - A hot Jupiter's atmosphere reveals cooler origins
  - Another planet survives red giant death phase of a star
  - How many Solar system type planetary systems are there in our spiral arm? We may soon be finding out
  - Quiet star holds out prospect for life near Earth
  - European Space Agency's CHEOPS launched to study exoplanets
  - NASA's TESS finds exoplanet in habitable zone
  - NASA's TESS finds its first planet orbiting two suns
  - Two more twin sun planetary systems found
  - Rocky planets with the composition similar to Earth and Mars are common in the Galaxy a new type of analysis reveals
  - Water detected on an exo-planet large analogue of Earth
  - 2019 and the number of exoplanets discovered tops 4,000!
  - A new technique probes atmosphere of exoplanet
  - European satellite observatory mission to study exoplanet atmospheres
  - The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) to launch
  - Seven near Earth-sized planets found in one system
  - Most Earth-like planets may be water worlds
  - Earth's fate glimpsed
  - An Earth-like exo-planet has been detected
  - Exoplanet reflected light elucidated
  - Kepler has now detected over 1,000 exoplanets and one could be an Earth twin
  - and Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a cool star.
  - Winston Churchill wrote about the possibility of alien life: documents found

The river delta entering the Jezero crater, Mars, was originally much larger but has been eroded away.  NASA’s Perseverance rover is currently exploring the Jezero western delta and has been using ground penetrating radar to see what it is like up to 20 metres below the surface. It has found that the true crater floor near the delta is buried by erosional material and that this must have come from a larger delta and that this erosion took place while there was still a lake in the crater.  (See  Paige, D. A. (2024) Ground penetrating radar observations of the contact between the western delta and the crater floor of Jezero crater, Mars. Science Advances, vol. 10, eadi8339.)

The first privately constructed Moon lander has successfully touched down: sort of.  Odysseus made a soft landing but broke one of its legs in the process. The craft was built by the Houston-based Intuitive Machines company. Apparently, the onboard computer couldn't process precise laser range-finding data fast enough and cuts its engines too soon. Intuitive Machines has two other missions for 2024. The next one will see a drill into the Lunar surface.

Lunar time is needed for the Moon says the US White House.  The White House has charged NASA and other US agencies for developing a universal time for the Moon.  The reasons for this are because relativistic effects (special and general) affect atomic clocks on satellites used for positioning.  As it stands the Global Positioning System for the Earth that uses satellites has to take into account that satellites further away from Earth's maximum gravitational pull, and travelling faster relative to an observer on the Earth, sees their atomic clocks differ from those on the Earth by very roughly 40 microseconds a day and this ends up as an error in positioning calculations the order of a few metres a day. These would increase as time progresses were not for these relativistic effects being taken into account.  Because the Moon has a different gravitational space-time well to the Earth's, the relativistic effects there are different. Consequently, a Lunar time is needed with a known, hence calculable, relationship with Earth time.  Last year, the European Space Agency (ESA) said Earth needs to come up with a unified time for the Moon, where a day lasts 29.5 Earth days. The White House would like to see a US system in place by the end of 2026.  It may be that US agencies will need to work with ESA.


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Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Summer 2024

Science & Science Fiction Interface

Real life science of SF-like tropes and SF impacts on society


Could The Last Of Us fungi be a real risk?  The all-party Science Innovation & Technology Committee of the House of Commons Select Committee has held a special one-off session on fungi.  The session also explored some of the risks and drawbacks of fungi, which can cause disease in plants and animals including humans. We know that one fungus, cordyceps, can infect and completely 'take over' the life functions of insects like ants. But could they really start the zombie apocalypse as depicted in the video game and TV series The Last Of Us? The meeting heard that there was not enough research by industry into anti-fungals as climate change could encourage fungi. However, it was also pointed out that most fungi find human bodies too warm. Consequently, a warming world could see some fungi evolve to that they could harm humans.
          Although a Last Of Us-style infection in humans is unlikely, they also represent a substantial risk. They deserve far greater attention and investment. The Select Committee's Chair said: "It's time we recognise fungi as the unsung heroes of our ecosystems and allocate the necessary resources to unlock their full potential."

A new home for life has very possibly been found in the Solar System, though life is unlikely to have evolved there.  Mimas is a small moon of Saturn which up till now has been most famous for having a big, single crater that makes it look very much like Star Wars' Death Star.  Its orbit about Saturn was odd and suggested that it either had an elongated core (a possibility as it moves close to a gas giant) or it has a subsurface ocean in which the core would slosh.  The Cassini probe to Saturn's moons has already found organic compounds in Enceladus' plumes, that the conditions there may be conducive to life and the age of Saturn's rings. It also looked a another moon's gravity data that suggested that Dione likely has a subsurface ocean.  Now, a small collaboration of researchers from France, Britain and China have looked at Mimas orbital data from Cassini.  Their calculations show that Mimas' librations (wobble) do not chime with its orbital backward precession if it had a solid core. The researchers' modelling further suggests that the subsurface ocean is likely to be less than 25 million years old and the liquid ocean/surface ice interface at a 30 kilometre depth could only have arrived at just 2-3 million years ago. This is too short a time for it to reach, and occasionally breach, the surface as happens on Enceladus.  All this means that there has been probably too little time for life to evolve but there may be interesting pre-biotic chemistry.  (See Lainey, V. et al (2024) A recently formed ocean inside Saturn’s moon Mimas. Nature, vol. 626, pp280-282  and the review paper  Cuk, M. & Rhoden, R. (2024) Surprise ocean prompts update of rules for moons. Nature, vol. 626, pp263-4.)

The reality of Dune sandworms is explored by the journal Nature.  To find out whether the fictional worms in Dune have anything in common with real worms, Nature spoke to palaeontologist Luke Parry at the University of Oxford, Great Britain. For example, there are annelid worms (similar to earth worms) that get up to several metres in length called eunicid worms, a type of bristle worm. They eat octopuses, squid and some vertebrates.  There are some earthworms that get really big, as well. Megascolides reaches up to two metres long. The biggest ones are from Australia. (See Nowogrodzki, J. (2024) Meet the real-life versions of Dune’s epic sandworms. Nature, vol. 627, p474-5.)

Kermit the frog name for key new fossil.  A 270-million-year-old fossil that sheds light on the murky origins of amphibians has been named after Kermit.  The new species of proto-amphibian and has been named Kermitops gratus because it bears a likeness to the iconic Muppet.  The early fossil record of amphibians and their ancestors is largely fragmentary which makes it hard to figure out how frogs, salamanders and their kin evolved.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) guzzles energy and water.  One assessment suggests that ChatGPT, the chatbot created by OpenAI in San Francisco, California, is already consuming the energy equivalent to that used in 33,000 homes. It is estimated that a search driven by generative AI uses four to five times the energy of a conventional web search. Within years, large AI systems are likely to need as much energy as entire nations.  And it is not just energy but water to cool the processors. In West Des Moines, Iowa, the data-centre cluster that serves OpenAI’s most advanced model, GPT-4, uses about 6% of the district’s water. One estimate suggests that, globally, the demand for water for AI could be half that of the United Kingdom by 2027!  (See  Crawford, K. (2024) Generative AI is guzzling water and energy. Nature, vol. 626, p693.)

China orders its universities to survey fictional science.  China's Ministry of Education’s Department of Science, Technology and Informatisation has ordered universities to report on the number of retracted papers. A London-based subsidiary of the publisher Wiley, Hindawi, in 2023 had issued 9,600 retractions of which about 8,200 had a co-author in China. One estimation of global retractions is 14,000 for 2023, of which some three-quarters involved a Chinese co-author. Chinese researchers with retracted papers will have to explain to the Ministry whether the retraction was owing to misconduct, such as image manipulation, or an honest mistake, such as authors identifying errors in their own work.

Climate scientist wins court case against two conservative commentators who claimed his work was fictional and who compared him to a convicted child molester. A jury awarded Michael Mann (formerly of Pennsylvania U.) over US$1 million.  It is perfectly legitimate to criticise scientific findings, but this verdict is a strong signal that individual scientists shouldn’t be accused of serious misconduct without strong evidence. A member of a libertarian think-tank in Washington comments 12 years ago included: “instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicised science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet”.  Michael Mann told the journal Nature that he hopes the win “signals the beginning of the end of the open season on scientists by ideologically motivated bad actors. And maybe, just maybe, that facts and reason still matter even in today’s fraught political economy”.  Michael Mann looked at tree rings over the past thousand years and showed that recent global warming was unprecedented. Michael Mann had not specified an amount he sought in damages, that figure was determined by the jury.  (See  Voosen, P. (2024) Jury rules noted climate scientist was defamed. Science, vol. 383, p686-7  and  Tollefson, J. (2024) Climatologist Michael Mann Wins Defamation Case. Nature, vol. 626, p698-9.)

An ancient wall has been found under the sea dating from over 9,000 years ago! Ancient walls abound in SF/F from the film The Wall to the one dividing an island in King Kong. Researchers have now found an ancient wall in the Baltic Sea that dates from over 9,000 years ago. Back then, the Earth was coming out of the last glacial phase of our ice age and much of the Earth's water was still locked up in ice sheets with lower sea levels. The wall is almost a kilometre long and is thought was constructed to herd animals being hunted. The site represents one of the oldest documented man-made hunting structures on Earth, and ranges among the largest known Stone Age structure in Europe.  (See  Geerson, J. et al (2024) A submerged Stone Age hunting architecture from the Western Baltic Sea. PNAS, vol. 121 (8), e2312008121.)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used to train a robot to anticipate, and so instantaneously mimic, human expressions.  A small collaboration of US-based researchers has used to train a robot to anticipate human emotion facial expressions. Up until now, there has been a delay in a robot seeing a human and then copying the facial expression seen and this delay seems unnatural to humans. With AI, it is possible to train the robot to anticipate human expressions and even generate them before the human has and this makes the robot's behaviour seem more natural. They found that a robot can learn to predict a forthcoming smile about 839 milliseconds before the human fully smiles. This is because a human shows tell-tale signs of when they are about to smile before the full smile develops: the robot can recognise these tell-tale signs.  This development could improve human-robot interactions.  (See  Hu, Y. et al (2024 Human-robot facial coexpression. Science Robotics, vol. 9, eadi4724.)

It is still 90 seconds until the end of the World!  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists sets the 'Doomsday Clock' every year. Last year (2023) due to the war in Ukraine and tensions from China, it was set 90 seconds to midnight. This year (2024) the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists have decided that matters have neither improved, nor worsened, and have kept the Doomsday Clock set 90 seconds to midnight saying that it is still a moment of historic danger.
          Founded in 1945 by Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and University of Chicago scientists who helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The Bulletin's board identifies the many dimensions of nuclear threat. A durable end to Russia’s war in Ukraine seems distant, and the use of nuclear weapons by Russia in that conflict remains a serious possibility. In February 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his decision to “suspend” the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). In March, he announced the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. In June, Sergei Karaganov, an advisor to Putin, urged Moscow to consider launching limited nuclear strikes on Western Europe as a way to bring the war in Ukraine to a favourable conclusion. In October, Russia’s Duma voted to withdraw Moscow’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, as the US Senate continued to refuse even to debate ratification. Nuclear spending programmes in the three largest nuclear powers – China, Russia, and the United States – threaten to trigger a three-way nuclear arms race as the world’s arms control architecture collapses. Russia and China are expanding their nuclear capabilities, and pressure mounts in Washington for the United States to respond in kind. Artificial Intelligence, fake news and climate change also confound matters.
          As to turning the clock back, the Board says: As the first step, and despite their profound disagreements, three of the world’s leading powers – the United States, China, and Russia – should commence serious dialogue about each of the global threats outlined here. At the highest levels, these three countries need to take responsibility for the existential danger the world now faces. They have the capacity to pull the world back from the brink of catastrophe. They should do so, with clarity and courage, and without delay. It’s 90 seconds to midnight.
          Things have changed since 1991 when the clock was 17 minutes to midnight, the safest time in the clock's history.


And to finally round off the Science & SF Interface subsection, here are some short videos…

The 'Dark Forest' solution to the Fermi Paradox is explored by PBS Space-Time.  In 1974 we sent the Arecibo radio message towards Messier 13, a globular cluster near the edge of the Milky Way, made up of a few hundred thousand stars. The message was mostly symbolic; we were not really expecting a reply. Yet surely other civilisations out there are doing the same thing. So, why haven’t we heard anything? What if the silence from the stars is a hint that we shouldn’t be so outgoing? What if aliens are deliberately keeping quiet for fear that they might be destroyed..?  You can see the 15-minute video here.

Is there anybody out there?  Cool Worlds takes a deep dive into the question of whether there is extraterrestrial intelligence and the 'Fermi Paradox' and comes up with a neat, observer bias, solution.  You can see the 27-minute video here.

Is there anybody out there?  Moid Moidelhoff at Media Death Cult takes a superficial dive into the question of whether there is extraterrestrial intelligence before having a look at the social phenomena of UFOs…  You can see the 34-minute video here.

Is there anybody out there?  Isaac Arthur at Science and Futurism takes a dive into the question of whether there is extraterrestrial intelligence and the Fermi Paradox opining that the solution to the latter might be that while simple life is very common, complex life is very rare…  You can see the 32-minute video here.

Is there really a parallel universe with an identical you in it? And which multiverse theory does Rick and Morty subscribe to?  Indeed, how broad is SF's approach to the multiverse concept?  Here, Brit Cit astrophysicist Dr Becky Smethurst, would like to know of any SF story or film that employs the 'bubble universe' theory of the multiverse.  If you have an example, put it in the comments beneath her 15-minute YouTube video.  There's a challenge for those of you who are our regulars…
          (Sadly, the end of video the good doctor displays worries that some (just some) of her science colleagues will object vehemently for her use of SF to explore science… There are trolls everywhere, even in science alas.)
          You can see her video here.

Fancy an alien beer?  It could well kill you!  Isaac Arthur departs from his usual Futurism for one of his sci-fi Sundays. This time it’s a shorter-than-usual edition at just 15 minutes because it is an impromptu one. This time the SFnal topic is of alien beer, specifically Alien Beer To Die For.
          A look at the possible effects of alien food, drink, and microbes on us or our ecosystem.
          You can see Isaac's video here.

What is reality?  Space seems fundamental.  To build a universe, surely you need something to build it on or in. Many, maybe most, physicists now think that the fabric of space emerges from something deeper.  And perhaps the most existentially disturbing such proposal is that our 3-D universe is just the inward projection of an infinitely distant boundary: a hologram of sorts. Let’s see how that can actually work, and what the holographic principle really says about the “realness” of this universe… PBS Space-Time's Matt O'Dowd asks does space emerge from a holographic boundary?  You can see Matt's video here.

What will the Earth look like in ten thousand years and also 300 million years time?  The YouTube channel PBS Eons spend a lot of time looking backwards into deep time, visiting ancient chapters of our planet’s history. But this time, we’re taking a look towards the deep future. After all, the story is far from over.   You can see the 10 minute video here.


Season's Editorial & Staff Stuff Key SF News & Awards
Film News Television News Publishing News
Forthcoming SF Books Forthcoming Fantasy Books Forthcoming Non-Fiction
General Science News Natural Science News Astronomy & Space News
Science & SF Interface Rest In Peace End Bits

Summer 2024

Rest In Peace

The last season saw the science and science fiction communities sadly lose…


Tony Benoun, the US fan, has died after a long illness.  He was a member of Los Angeles SF and was an avid Doctor Who fan and been part of Los Angeles Doctor Who fandom, and its local Who group the Time Meddlers of Los Angeles, and since the early 1980s, as part of the Chancellory Guard fan group. He helped found the precursor to what would become the Gallifrey One convention. His wife, Sherri, survives him who is also a member of the Gallifrey One team. He was involved in its inception in 1990 and was with them through to the present. He had been co-lead of its Special Projects division: working on (and selling) Gallifrey One's convention merchandise, T-shirts, tote bags, playing cards, stickers and more; supervising the moving and maintenance of the convention's home-grown TARDIS for many years. Indeed, he was part of a small group that created it.

Christophe Boesch, the French-Swiss biologist, has died aged 72.  From his post-graduate studies onwards he specialised in chimpanzees. One of his long-term investigations was into the chimpanzees of the Tai National Park, Cote d’Ivoire. He looked at their ecology, social organisation, tool-use, hunting, cooperation, food-sharing, inter-community relationships, and cognitive capacities. One outcome of his research has helped to make great ape tourism more hygienic. He also helped create the Moyen-Bafing National Park in Guinea.

Carlos Buiza, the Spanish SF author, has died aged 83.

Tom Digby, the US fan, has died aged 84.  The Los Angles area fan was short-listed for the 1971 and 1972 Hugo for Best Fan Writer. His apazines were Probably Something, Minneapa and Silicon Soapware. He was a Guest at ConFrancisco, the 1993 Worldcon that published his one-off fanzine Tom Digby Along Fantasy Way.

Professor Sir Anthony Epstein CBE, FRS, the British clinician turned pathologist, has died aged 102.  He was the first person to propose that Burkitt's lymphoma was a cancer caused by a virus upon hearing a lecture given by surgeon Denis Parsons Burkitt himself in 1961 and t  After two years working on Burkitt's lymphoma tumours, he discovered that they were caused by viruses.  The Epstein–Barr virus was discovered in 1964.  It was the first virus identified to cause cancer (Yvonne Barr was Epstein's research assistant). Its association with Africa was subsequently explained as being due to malaria infection which facilitates the cancer.  Epstein garnered the Royal Society's Royal Medal in 1992.  He was a Patron of Humanists UK.  He lived long enough to see at least two vaccines against the virus enter clinical trials.

Peter Fagan, the Australian fan, has died aged 67.  He belonged to the Nova Mob and Melbourne and Canberra SF groups.

Ramona Fradon, the US comics artist, has died aged 97.  At the height of her career she worked mainly for DC but did have a stint with Marvel. She is particularly known for co-creating the superhero Metamorpho (with Bob Haney) as well as illustrating Aquaman and Brenda Starr, Reporter. With regards to the former, she was behind the character's visual re-vamp in 1959 for what came to be called the Silver Age of Comics.  She was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2006.  She announced her retirement from comics and illustrations on 5th January 2024, and passed in February.

Gunnar Gallmo, the Swedish fan, has died aged 77. He is also known for translating a number of SF books including those by Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Harry Harrison, Robert Heinlein, Ursula K. Le Guin, Clifford D. Simak, E. C. Tubb among others.

Debbie Geisler , the US fan, has died aged 66.  She also was an editor for NESFA Press and was a conrunner. Chairing Boskone 36 and the 2004 Worldcon.

Roger Guillemin , the French-American neuroscientist, has died aged 100.  Specialising in neuroendocrinology, separately, Guillemin and Andrew Schally discovered the structures of releasing hormones thyrotropin-releasing facto (TRH) and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH).  The pair, along with Rosalyn Yalow, won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1977. He was also a wine connoisseur especially of Burgundies.

Peter Higgs CH, FRS, FRSE, HonFInstP, HonDSC (multiple universities), the British theoretical physicist, has died aged 94. Along with a number of other physicists, Higgs proposed in the 1960s that broken symmetry in electroweak theory could explain the origin of mass of elementary particles in general and of the W and Z bosons in particular, what came to be known as the Higgs mechanism. It predicts the existence of a new particle, the Higgs boson, the detection of which became one of the great goals of physics. This was one of the tasks addressed by Europe's Large Hadron Collider at CERN which powered up in 2009.  In July 2012, the Higgs boson was detected. The discovery of which garnered François Englert (Belgium) and Peter Higgs the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2013. (Higgs was informed he had been awarded the prize by an ex-neighbour on his way home, since he did not own a mobile phone.)  The new Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics in 2012 was named after him.  He was a supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) up to when it extended its remit to also campaign against nuclear power at which point he resigned from CND.

Dick Jenssen, the Australian fan and artist, has died aged 88.  He was one of five fans who founded the Melbourne Science Fiction Club. Australia's Ditmar SF award is named after Jenssen as one of his first names is Ditmar. It is therefore appropriate/ironic that he himself won two Ditmars (2002, 2010) for his SF art.  He was also a Rotsler Award (2016) and FAAn Award (2019) winer.  His artwork included that for a number of book and fanzine covers. In real life he was a meteorology professor at Melbourne University.

Laurie Johnson, the British film and TV composer, has died aged 96.  His genre-related work includes the themes for The Avengers (from 1965), Jason King, The New Avengers and The Professionals. His genre-related film work includes music for Dr. Strangelove, First Men in the Moon and Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter.

Tom Jones, the British fan, has died aged 71.  He edited the fanzines Proteus with Brian Stableford (1966-1967) and his own Waif (1978-1980). He became BSFA membership secretary in 1975 and was BSFA Vice-Chairman 1977-1979. At that time the Vice-Chairman actually ran the BSFA while Chairman was an honorary position occupied by Arthur C. Clarke. After Tom Jones' term the positions were renamed Chairman and President respectively.

Daniel Kahneman, the Mandatory Palestine/ Israeli born psychologist, has died aged 90.  He initially specialised in cognitive psychology but later specialised in behavioural economics.  His book Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) became a best seller. One of its examples of economic psychological thinking errors was this: a bat and a ball together cost £1.10 pence, and the bat costs £1 more than the ball – how much does the ball cost? (Answer at the end of this RIP section below.  He was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences shared with Vernon L. Smith.  In 2013, President Barack Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Michael Langford, the US fan, has died aged 69.  He was a Georgia fan and regularly attended DragonCon.

Estella Bergere Leopold, the US palaeobotanist and conservationist, has died aged 97.  Her work in a large part involved tracking ecological change across the Cenozoic era from the extinction of the dinosaurs onwards (66 million years ago to the present).  Her work helped to connect the comparatively well-known glacial to interglacial ecological change the past two million years (the Quaternary) with deep-time geological processes. She was also a renowned biological conservationist. In 1969, she was cited as conservationist of the year by the Colorado Wildlife Federation and she garnered the International Cosmos Prize for contributions to conservation in 2010. Her activism included opposing oil-shale development in western Colorado, protesting dam building in the Grand Canyon and stopping the transport of highly radioactive materials through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound. She also served a term as the associate editor of the journal Quaternary Research from 1976–1983 and continued to work on the journal's editorial board into retirement, as well as that of Quaternary International.

Ingeborg Levin, the German physicist, has died aged 70.  She is best known for her work with environmental 14C (carbon-14 isotope) to determine biosphere fluxes of carbon.  She also developed methods to quantify greenhouse gas emissions using radon-222. She was among the founding members of the Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) network.  She and her colleagues demonstrated that most fossil fuel emissions occur in the Northern Hemisphere and that Southern Ocean carbon exchange plays a key role in the global carbon cycle.  She was the first woman scientist to receive the European Geosciences Union’s Alfred Wegener Medal.

Brian Lumley, the British horror author, has died aged 86. A number of his stories in the 1970s followed the H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. Subsequently, he wrote the 'Necroscope' series of novels, which produced spin-off series such as the 'Vampire World' trilogy and the 'E-Branch' trilogy. He served as president of the Horror Writers Association from 1996 to 1997 and went on to receive its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Steve Miller, the US, fan author, publisher and bookdealer, has died aged 73.  he was an active member of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society.  A Clarion West writing workshop (1968) alumni, his first SF short was 'Shalgiel' (1976) for Flux Magazine, He was married to his surviving partner Sharon Lee. Their first joint novel, Agent of Change was the first in a series of space opera novels. He ran a small press (1995 – 2012). He and Sharon also ran the Dreams Garth, & Book Castle Inc, second-hand SF/F bookshop. He and Sharon also garnered the Steve and Sharon were honored with NESFA’s Skylark Award (2012), given for contributions to SF in the spirit of E. E. Doc Smith.

James A. Moore, the US horror and fantasy author, has died aged 58.  Despite passing comparatively young, he was the author of over 50 novels that included the 'Serenity Falls' trilogy and the Seven Forges grimdark series. He also scripted comics including for Marvel with his first sale here being one set in Clive Barker's Hellraiser universe. He also wrote books based on media franchises including Alien and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was thrice short-listed for a Stoker Award. He had been in ill health for a few years and was much loved in the US horror scene.

Jaime Lee Moyer , the US fantasy author, has died. Among her works, she was the author of the 'Delia Martin' trilogy, starting with 2013’s Delia’s Shadow and followed in the subsequent two years by A Barricade in Hell and Against a Brightening Sky. She was also a poet, and edited The Rhysling Anthology: The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Poetry of 2009 (2010).

Paul Neary, the British comics writer and artist, has died aged 74.  He worked for DC and Marvel as well as 2000AD.

Claus Nielsen, the Danish zoologist and marine biologist, has died aged 85.  He is known for his 'trochaea' theory of evolution which he explored in his book Animal Evolution (2001) that is now in its third edition. In 2001 he was one of the first to receive the Alexander Kowalewski Medal and in 2015 the Linnaeus Medal . He was an honorary member (2006) and fellow (1984) of the Linnean Society of London (2006).

Matthew Pavletich, the New Zealand fan, has died aged 59. He was a past president of the Stella Nova Science Fiction Club. He won the Sir Julius Vogel Award (NZ principal SF award) for Services to Fandom in 2023.

Arno Allan Penzias, the German-born, US physicist and radio astronomer, has died aged 90.  Originally a refugee from Nazi Germany to Britain, his family ended up in New York, USA.  He specialised in microwave physics.  He was the co-discover (with Robert Woodrow Wilson) of the cosmic microwave background radiation, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1978. It was evidence of the remains from the Big Bang origin of the Universe.  His collaboration with Robert Wilson continued and they went on to detect carbon monoxide in interstellar clouds, the first of several simple molecules they observed. Their work initiated the field of millimeter-wave astronomy.

Roger Perkins, the British SF fan, has sadly died. He was introduced to fandom through the 'City Illiterates', the Phil Strick run SF class at the Sandford Institute in 1971 before moving to the City of London Institute of Literature (City Lit hence the 'City Illiterates') with a number of other tutors.  His first convention was Chessmancon in 1972 after which he was an Eastercon and Novacon regular. He then became part of the BECCON (Basildon Essex Centre/Crest CONvention) team that ran series of biennial SE England regional conventions (1981, '83 and '85) conventions before running the BECCON '87 Eastercon (Britain's national convention) in Birmingham (which saw the launch of SF² Concatenation as an annual print zine as one of a couple of the convention's spin-offs). Roger was BECCON's treasurer for all four conventions. He went on to be a member of the 1989 Contrivance Eastercon.  In their bid to host that year's Eastercon, they held a fan vote on two sites: one on mainland Britain and one on the Jersey Channel Isles. The vote for Jersey was decisive but nonetheless caused the usual ire of fandom's vocal minority who claimed that as the Channel Isles were not part of Britain (it is a UK protectorate), they should not host the British national convention there.  Nonetheless, that convention was such a success that it prompted others to put on the 1993 joint Eastercon-Eurocon in the same venue a couple of years later.  Roger gafiated shortly after moving from London to Wales where he had a boat called Chrestomancy.

Alek Popov, the Bulgarian author, has died aged 58. He is known for his parody 1993 novel Planetata na kauboite [The Cowboys’ Planet].

Christopher Priest, the British SF author, has sadly died aged 80. He was known in many circles for his 'literary' SF (however you care to define that) or New Wave SF. He became a full time writer in 1968 aged just 24.  His early successes included Fugue for a Darkening Island (1972) which was short-listed for a John W. Campbell Award (subsequently rebranded as the 'Astounding Award for Best New Writer') and The Inverted World (1974) which garnered him a BSFA Award for 'Best Novel' and saw him short-listed for a Hugo 'Best Novel'.  His A Dream of Wessex (1977, US title The Perfect Lover) saw a group of experimenters for a British government project are brain-wired to a hypnosis machine and jointly participate in an imaginary but as-real-as-real future in a vacation island off the coast of a Sovietised Britain.  In 1979 he won a BSFA award for 'Best Short Story' for 'Palely Loiterin'. In 1983 he was included in the score-strong Granta Best of Young British Novelists where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Martin Amis, William Boyd, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, Graham Swift and A. N. Wilson.  The Glamour (1984) was short-listed for a BSFA Award.  His The Islanders saw a return to a fictional archipelago that previously appeared in a number of his short stories. It won a BSFA Award and was also selected by our team as one of our best books of the year.  His last novel was Airside.  He also wrote a handful of screen adaptations under pseudonyms. His own novel The Prestige (1995) was turned into a film, the novel itself won a World Fantasy Award and was a James Tait Black Memorial Prize winner.

Tom Purdom, the US writer, has died aged 87. He was the author of several books and, especially from the 1990s scores of short stories.

Trina Robbins, the comics artist, writer and editor, has died aged 85.  She was the first woman to draw a full issue of Wonder Woman, and a full run on a Wonder Woman series, after four decades of male exclusivity.  She also designed the famously seΧy outfit for Vampirella but it was not then as revealing as it was to later become by other artists.

Enrique Badia Romero, the Catalan artist, has died aged 83.  He is known for his Modesty Blaise strips. He also drew Judge Anderson and Durham Red for 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Megazine. (His brother Jordi was also a comics artist and the two occasionally worked together.) He was also the co-creator of the post-apocalyptic science fiction strip AXA.

Thomas D. Sadler, the US writer and fan, has died aged 76. His fanzine was The Reluctant Famulus that ran from the 1980s for three decades.

David J. Skal, the US writer and critic, has died aged 71 from a car accident.  His first novel was Scavengers (1980). This was followed by followed by When We Were Good (1981) and Antibodies (1988). He was also a fan of cinematic horror, especially vampire films. His Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of “Dracula” from Novel to Stage to Screen (1990) was short-listed for both the Hugo and Stoker Awards. His The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror (1993) was short-listed for both the World Fantasy and Stoker Awards. His Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, The Man Who Wrote Dracula (2016) was short-listed for a Stoker Award. He frequently contributed film reviews to F&SF (Fantasy and Science Fiction) magazine.

Brian Stableford, the British biologist turn SF/F writer and genre academic, has died aged 75.  Graduating as a biologist he went on to postgrad biological research work before moving into sociology. In 1979 he received a PhD with a doctoral thesis on 'The Sociology of Science Fiction'. ' He then spent a decade as a sociology lecturer at Reading University.  He was also a prolific author starting with his first commercial sale, a short story, 'Beyond Time's Aegis' for Science Fantasy #78 (1965). His first novel was Cradle of the Sun (1969) part of his 'Dies Irae' trilogy.  He wrote over 70 novels including:  'Dies Irae' trilogy (1971);  'The Hooded Swan' sequence (1974-8);  the 'Daedalus Mission' sequence (1978-9);  the 'Asgard' sequence (1982-'90);  the 'David Lydyard (Werewolves) (1990'94);  the 'Mnemosyne' (2005-2018);  'The Empire of the Necromancers' sequence (2008-'11); the 'Auguste Dupin' (2010-'13);  the 'Morgan's Fork' trilogy 2018-'19);  the 'Paul Furneret' trilogy (2019);  and over two score other novels 1969-2012.  He also wrote non-fiction SF and contributed to the two print (1979 and 1993) editions of the Science Fiction Encyclopaedia.  His non-fiction included The Science in Science Fiction (1982) with David Langford and Peter Nicholls;  and The Sociology of Science Fiction (1985). He was: short-listed for a 'Best Novella' Hugo Award for 'Les Fleurs du Mal' from Asimov's (Oct 1994);  won a Pilgrim Award (1999); and garnered a special Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award (2011).  He edited the fanzine Proteus with Tom Jones.

Thomas Stafford, the US astronaut, has died aged 93.  He flew on two Gemini missions including one that was the first spacecraft rendez-vous in orbit. He also flew on the Apollo 10 mission and so was one of just 24 people who flew to the Moon, but alas he did not land on it. (The first Apollo mission to do so was, of course, Apollo 11.) He was also involved in the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz link-up (that, it is said, took place over Bogna Reigis).  Subsequent to his space-going days, he also led an oversight group that looked into how to fix the then-flawed Hubble Space Telescope, earning him a NASA public service award. He also spent a period in charge of the Area 51 test facility.

Jon Stopa, the US fan, has died aged 88.  He was a member of the University of Chicago SF Society and went on to participate in Chicago region fandom. He was one of several who founded the non-fiction SF publishing house, Advent. He and his (late) wife, Joni, were reguklar participants in conventions' fancy dress parades. The were also Fan GoHs at Chicon V. With Joni, he was a Fan GoH at ConClave VI. He also had a handful of SF short stories professionally published.

Gary Swaty, the US fan based in Arizona, has died. He was an active conrunner who worked on a number of conventions starting with Phoenix US, IguanaCon II, the 1978 Worldcon. The conventions with which he was involved included LepreCons and CopperCons, Westercons, World Horror, World Fantasy, Anizona, MythosCon and RandomCon. Most recently he sponsored filk GoHs at CoKoCon. He was the editor’s assistant for years on ConNotations. He was a GoH at LepreCon 42 (2016).

Akira Toriyama, the Japanese manga comics artist and writer, has died aged 68.  He is arguably best known for his being the creator of Dragon Ball as well as Akira: Dragon Bal action figures are ubiquitous toys across South-East Asia. His passing was noted by governmental statements from both Japan and China. 

Vernor Vinge, the US author and mathematician, has died aged 79.  As a mathematician he taught mathematics and computer science at San Diego State University. He is known for popularising the concept of the technological singularity: the point at which technology becomes smart enough to design its own improvements without humans.  He won the Hugo Award for his novels A Fire Upon the Deep (1992), A Deepness in the Sky (1999) and Rainbow's End (2006), as well as the novellas Fast Times at Fairmont High (2002) and The Cookie Monster (2004). His related novels The Peace War (1984) and Marooned in Realtime (1986) were short-listed for Hugos.  He was formerly married to the SF author Joan D. Vinge.

Howard Waldrop, the US writer, has died aged 77. He was the author of a handful of novels and novellas and also over 80 short stories. His best-known single fiction is arguably 'The Ugly Chickens' which won a Nebula and a World Fantasy Award. Many of his stories contained humour and the SF Encyclopaedia says he could be 'thought of as a kind of court jester of SF'. He was an avid cinema buff and had a considerable interest in history; indeed, some of his stories were alternate histories. In 2021, he received the World Fantasy Award for 'Lifetime Achievement'.  He was very popular on the US convention circuit.

Elizabeth Warren, the US fan, has died.  She was one of the founding members of the Northwest Science Fiction Society (NWSFS) and Norwescon.  Known as 'Dragon Lady' due to her fondness for dragon-themed artwork. She regularly helped organise the Norwescon's con suite. She also chaired Norwescon XI, Norwescon XII, and Norwescon XIV. She was also involved with the Puget Sound Star Trekkers.  She leaves behind her husband, the Seattle area artist Steve (Duck) Adams.

Niklaus Wirth, the Swiss computer scientist, has died aged 89. He created several programming languages, including Pascal. In 1995, he popularized the adage now named Wirth's law. In his 1995 paper 'A Plea for Lean Software' he phrased it as "Software is getting slower more rapidly than hardware becomes faster." but attributed it to Martin Reiser.  He won the Turing Award in 1984.

Johannes Zaanen, the Dutch chemist turned physicist, has died aged 66.  He is perhaps best known for his contribution to the understanding of high-temperature superconductivity. He also worked on general relativity and string theory. He has a book forthcoming from Oxford University Press, On Time.


Answer to the Daniel Kahneman question: Most people answer that the ball costs 10p given that the bat and the ball together cost £1.10p and the bat costs £1 more than the ball.  This is wrong!  (If the ball cost 10p then the bat would cost £1.10p and the bat and ball together would cost £1.20p.)  The correct answer is that the ball costs 5 pence and so if the bat costs £1 more then the bat would cost £1.05 pence making the total cost of bat and ball £1.05 pence plus 5 pence = £1.10 pence.  Don't worry if you got it wrong, Daniel himself in interviews says that he himself gets the puzzles he posed in his book wrong.


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Summer 2024

End Bits & Thanks



More science and SF news will be summarised in our Autumn 2024 upload in September
plus there will also be 'forthcoming' summer book releases, plus loads of stand-alone reviews. (Remember, these season's relate to the northern hemisphere 'academic year'.)

Thanks for information, pointers and news for this seasonal page goes to: Ansible, Fancylopaedia, File 770, Silviu Genescu, various members of North Heath SF, Julie Perry (Google Scholar wizard), SF Encyclopaedia, SFX Magazine, Boris Sidyuk, Peter Tyers, and Peter Wyndham, not to mention information provided by publishers. Stories based on papers taken from various academic science journals or their websites have their sources cited.  Additional thanks for news coverage goes to not least to the very many representatives of SF conventions, groups and professional companies' PR/marketing folk who sent in news. These last have their own ventures promoted on this page.  If you feel that your news, or SF news that interests you, should be here then you need to let us know (as we cannot report what we are not told). :-)

Thanks for spreading the word of this seasonal edition goes to Ansible, File 770, Silviu Genescu, Caroline Mullan, and Peter Wyndham.

News for the next seasonal upload – that covers the Autumn 2024 period – needs to be in before 15th September 2024. News is especially sought concerns SF author news as well as that relating to national SF conventions: size, number of those attending, prizes and any special happenings.

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