Yay, 2021! It’s got to be better than last year. Please let it be better than last year. Please?
I’ve had a trawl through the new releases for January, and there’s not really all that much for me this month. Of the two that stood out to me, one is a sequel to 2017’s Dogs of War, a consuming and sympathetic sci-fi which looked at warfare from the perspective of the bio-engineered animal weapons. The other is one of my top reads from last year, a book whose characters I’m already missing, even through I only left them in November.
Bear Head [Dogs of War #2]
WELCOME TO HELL CITY, MARS
Jimmy Martin has a sore head.
He’s used to smuggling illegal data in his headspace. But this is the first time it has started talking to him.
The data claims to be a distinguished academic, author and civil rights activist.
It also claims to be a bear.
A bear named Honey.
Jimmy has nothing against bioforms – he’s one himself, albeit one engineered out of human stock – and works with them everyday in Hell City, building the future, staking mankind’s claim to a new world: Mars.
The problem is that humanity isn’t the only entity with designs on the Red Planet. Out in the airless desert there is another presence. A novel intelligence, elusive, unknowable and potentially lethal.
And Honey is here to make contact with it, whether Jimmy likes it or not.
Released 7th January 2021
There are dark forces at work in our world (and in Manchester in particular), so thank God The Stranger Times is on hand to report them . . .
A weekly newspaper dedicated to the weird and the wonderful (but mostly the weird), it is the go-to publication for the unexplained and inexplicable.
At least that’s their pitch. The reality is rather less auspicious. Their editor is a drunken, foul-tempered and foul-mouthed husk of a man who thinks little of the publication he edits. His staff are a ragtag group of misfits. And as for the assistant editor . . . well, that job is a revolving door – and it has just revolved to reveal Hannah Willis, who’s got problems of her own.
When tragedy strikes in her first week on the job The Stranger Times is forced to do some serious investigating. What they discover leads to a shocking realisation: some of the stories they’d previously dismissed as nonsense are in fact terrifyingly real. Soon they come face-to-face with darker forces than they could ever have imagined.
The Stranger Times is the first novel from C.K. McDonnell, the pen name of Caimh McDonnell. It combines his distinctive dark wit with his love of the weird and wonderful to deliver a joyous celebration of how truth really can be stranger than fiction.
Released 14th January 2021