Welcome to the latest edition of TBR & BEYOND, a new regular feature where I take a look at my TBR, run through my reading plans for the month ahead, and talk about science-fiction related things I’m excited about for the coming month. A fair bit of this is similar to the previous month, but I’ll do my best to keep repetition to a minimum. Without further ado, let’s get into that TBR.
September saw a massive growth of my TBR tower, entirely the fault of a trip to England and it’s many wonderful bookshops. Thanks to a charity shop haul, I now have a sizeable number of Simon Scarrow’s historical novels, which I’ll probably be using as between-SF reads next year once I have the whole series. The fantasy section of my TBR has a new member too in the form of Joe Abercrombie, with The Wisdom of Crowds being a guaranteed read for October as I try and stop my fantasy habits spiralling out of control. There aren’t many fantasy authors I’m still keeping up with, but they all seem to release at the same time.
October will mark the end of two readthroughs I’ve been on since the start of the year. The first of these is Dune. For once in my life I’m bang on schedule with this epic reread, having finished Frank Herbert’s books in September as planned. Usually I read these books at opposite ends of the month to avoid growing bored, but with the final two books I’m changing that. In the spirit of Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune being the expanded version of a seventh Dune novel, I’ll be reading them back to back as a single volume. For the Dune fans out there, I may also have another little surprise I hope to slip into the month. keep an eye out for that one.
I’m also at the end of my Star Trek litverse readthrough. Revelations and Dust is the last reread I have scheduled, with the rest all being fresh ground to me. I’ll be reading that and the rest of The Fall series back to back. It’s only five books after all, and Star Trek reads aren’t as dense as some others. Then I have a single Next Generation book and the final two Titan books to read before I’m up to date enough to tackle Coda, which seemingly has not been as delayed as I thought. There are a lot of gaps in my readthrough, but I’m hoping to tackle some of those next year. I’ve also picked up a copy of the latest Picard novel, Rogue Elements, which I’m holding off until after I’m done with my readthrough.
In September I managed to get on top of my Warhammer 40,000 reading, which I naturally celebrated by buying five more books. I don’t know much about Phil Kelly’s Farisght books, but his entry in The Book of Martyrs has me intrigued about the T’au, and this is one of the only books dealing with them as protagonists. I’ve also loaded up on Warhammer Crime anthologies. A lot of the authors in these anthologies are new to me (and many are new to Warhammer), so I’m hoping to find some interesting new writers in these. With any luck, some will get novels of their own in the Crime range. I’m hoping to get some of these anthologies read by the end of October, and will probably end up sliding them between larger books in my schedule.
The largest of these books are Pierce Brown’s Iron Gold and Dark Age. having unexpectedly made it through both Night Lords and Fallen Dragon, I’ve decided to bring these two forward in my schedule. I don’t want to have to too many ongoing series hanging over my head, and even if the final book in this series has no set release date, at least I can be up to date. if I get time, I’d also like to tackle the giant anthology that is The Best of World SF-Volume 1.
After all that’s done, I have left a grab bag of random SF books that I probably won’t have time to get around to this month. But a lot of them are fairly short, so there’s always a chance. John Appel’s Assassin’s Orbit is a book about which I know precisely nothing, but it has a great cover and looks like a standalone, so I used it to bulk out a Waterstones purchase. Also fresh from Waterstones are two classics. Larry Niven’s Ringworld and Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. I’m always up for exploring the history of SF, and these two are both pretty famous examples of the genre. In a similar vein, I still have HG Wells’ The War in the Air floating around (pun intended) from last month.
Another classic, though this time a second-hand purchase, is A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. I have heard a lot about this one, most of it positive, and originally planned to get a copy for a readalong earlier in the year. As it happens, I’ve been delayed, but it’s here now and I’m looking forward to it. That same charity shop also provided me with Jack McDevitt’s Chindi – a first contact novel that looks very promising, Walter Jon Williams’ The Praxis – space opera from one of the authors of The New Jedi Order, and Jody Lynn Nye’s View from the Imperium, which boasts one of the most gloriously bonkers covers I’ve ever seen. All of these are part of a larger series, and I’m hoping at least one of them is something I’ll be interested in pursuing. Following ongoing series is all well and good, but I’m always interested in new and new to me books.
Not currently in the TBR but somewhere in the postal system is Christopher Ruocchio’s The Lesser Devil & Other Stories, which I’ll be reading as soon as it arrives.
Now that I’m up to date with Dune, I’m ready for the film adaptation’s release on the 22nd (I think, the date has been shifted around a lot). I’m hoping to see this one in the cinema, but the way the world is you can never be too sure.
One release that has crept up on me is the new Honorverse book. The fourth (and I believe final) Crown of Slaves novel comes out on the 5th. To End in Fire is co-written by David Weber and Eric Flint, and will hopefully wrap up a lot of story-lines. It’s been a while since I read the Honorverse, but this book might just be enough to get me excited about it again.
In a bid to become a modern day renaissance man, astronaut/musician/children’s author Chris Hadfield releases his adult novel debut on the 12th. The Apollo Murders is a piece of historical fiction/alternate history about murders in the space programme, and looks very interesting. Hadfield knows his stuff when it comes to space, and I’m confident this will hold my attention.
Also out on the 12th is Ronin by Emma Mieko Candon. This is a Star Wars book that ties into the non-canon anime series Visions. I have no idea what to expect from this, but taking a galaxy, far, far away back to it’s samurai-inspired roots sounds full of potential.
The Star trek: Coda series has in fact not been delayed as much as I believed. It turns out that the first book, Dayton Ward’s Moments Asunder released in September. The second volume, The Ashes of Tomorrow by James Swallow, releases on the 26th of this month.
Over in the worlds of Warhammer 40,000, Black Library are playing it typically close to their chests. However, the Coming Soon page has at last been updated with some loose release dates. Nate Crowley’s Necron novel Ruin will be up for order on the 2nd, with a sequel on the way fairly soon. Later on in the month there;s a new anthology in the form of Inferno! presents: the Inquisition. I expect there are also some new Warhammer Horror releases on the way to coincide with Halloween, but there’s no confirmation on when exactly the next batch will be available. Regardless, there’s certainly a lot of 40k coming out that I’m eager to rwad.
What about you? What SF are you looking forward to reading in October? Let me know in the comments.