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7. The Janus Cycle by Tej Turner

Also from January.  I had a lot of thoughts about this at the time, too, but they're all gone.

The author read from his work in progress, which is the sequel to this, at the January BristolCon Fringe. It was very funny so most of us came away with a copy of the first book, which is made up of a series of interlinking short stories surrounding the young people who go to the Janus Club.

It reminded me a lot of people I knew in my late teens and early 20s - all the misfits with no family, adrift, not having found their place in the world yet. Only weird supernatural shit didn't happen to us.  But the heartbreak and the shitty living conditions, that's all too real.  There are gay characters, trans characters (so like any alternative scene), so if you feel that representation matters, this is the book for you.

It's very much a first book, but I enjoyed it a lot. A good reminder that being young sucks a lot of the time.

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2. Airship Shape and Bristol Fashion edited by Roz Clarke and Joanne Hall

Disclaimer: I know the editors and practically all the contributors.

Like the previous anthologies put out by the lovely folks from BristolCon, this punches well above its weight for your local sci-fi group's collection. (In fact, I gave my spare copy to my brother[1] and he didn't entirely believe that it was a load of stories written by people I go to the pub with regularly).

The theme for this one is steampunk tales set in Bristol. But they went for stories with a point and social commentary rather than a bunch of posh blokes crashing around the empire in airships. Because thankfully the editors have as little tolerance for that sort of thing as I do.

Like all short story collections, I liked some more than the others, and not surprisingly to anyone who's ever met me my favourite was the Lovecraftian one.

I enjoyed the three at the end less but can't swear to whether that's because they were less good, or because I read the whole thing at once (we're doing it in book club tomorrow) rather than over time and may have been cogged-out towards the end.

Recommended, and I'm not just saying that because they're my mates. I am privileged to know such talented people and humbled that they put up with me.

[1] Two launch events, they didn't have the hardcover from the press yet at the first...
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63. Dark Spires edited by Colin Harvey

The second book to come out of BristolCon. In this one the theme was Wessex (the first was Bristol). The quality of the work here is probably more consistently professional than in Future Bristol, and it all ties into the theme extremely neatly, but overall it didn't grab me the way that Future Bristol did.

The entries by [ profile] hirez and [ profile] zorz_db are both top notch.
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58. Future Bristol, edited by Colin Harvey

It's BristolCon next weekend, so I thought I'd better read the books put out by previous BristolCons. This is the first, from 2009, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The stories are all set in and around Bristol, but there's a wide variety in the approaches taken, though some themes recur - Brunel, slavery, environmentalism in general and the lack of political will to do anything about the city's incessant gridlock and appalling public transport.

This collection is better than it has any right to be - even the stories that are Not My Thing can't be faulted for sloppy writing.

[ profile] hirez has a story in here, and very fine it is too.


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