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Harry Potter

JK Rowling, Bloomsbury

Volumes 1-5 available in paperback & cloth. For those who are gift- or collection-minded, the Bloomsbury boxed set was updated to include volume 5 and is available in both paperback & hardback ($74.95 / $139.95 respectively). Attractively packaged and very nice to hold, these books win hands down on aesthetics as well as authenticity.

Brass Man

Neal L. Asher, $42.95 hb. UK import.

Ooh: the new novel in the Skinner/Gridlinked sequence is out. It's the wonderfully menacing & sad Mr Crane's story this time. Looking forward to this one quite a bit.

Skinner & Gridlinked are now out in mass mkt pbk in the US; The Line of Polity (March 2004, UK pb import $19.95); and Cowl, a stand-alone (April 2005, UK pb import, $19.95) all full-length novels. Asher's worlds are gritty, far-future, and noirish; the stories are space-operas but they're also literate hard sci-fi with a solid infrastructure of biological worldbuilding, something very few authors can do well. There really isn't anything else out there quite like Asher's universe, and his craft continues to improve with each work.

Sadly, The Engineer, a novella and 6 short stories right on the edge of a dual sci-fi/horror classification, is now out of print [7/2006].

Unfortunately, so is The Parasite [01/07]. It was a UK digest-sized import, an illustrated short story/novella, not a full-length novel.

Malazan Book of the Fallen

Steven Erikson

The hottest import series we've got right now; big-time promotional monies on the other side of the ocean. Bit of the kitchen sink: mainly a cross between fantasy and military sci-fi with some Jordan-style magic & space-opera thrown in. Literate, sprawling, entertaining. Volumes 1-4 available in UK import mass-market-size ($18.95); volume 5 out in hardback ($42.95) and oversize trade paperback ($28.95).

In order, then:

Absolution Gap

Alastair Reynolds

The fourth in the well-received futuristic hard sci-fi epic from Reynolds is now available in US mass market edition; Diamond Dogs still available in UK mass market, $18.95; Century Rain (not part of series, stand-alone) due out in UK mass market late fall 2005, avail now as trade pbk import, ~$27.95.