Win ‘Planesrunner’ by Ian McDonald

The last book giveaway generated some great responses, and I have a feeling this week’s offering will be equally inspirational. The lucky winner will receive a book I read and raved about just a few weeks ago. I’m so pleased to be able to pass this gem on to some lucky reader – maybe you! Before I get too excited, here’s a reminder of the competition format:

I post a summary of the book, plus a thought or two of my own about an aspect of it that I find especially intriguing. Then I ask you to tell me about your particular version of that particular reality. What do I mean? Read on:

 

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There is not just one you, there are many yous. We’re part of a multiplicity of universes in parallel dimensions – and Everett Singh’s dad has found a way in.

But he’s been kidnapped from the streets of London, right under his son’s nose, and now it’s as if Everett’s dad never existed. The police won’t help, and his mum thinks Everett has brought shame on his family. There is only one clue for him to follow, a mysterious app his dad sent to his iPad: the Infundibulum.

The app is a map, not just to the Ten Known Worlds, but to the entire multiverse – and there are those who want to get their hands on it very badly. Now Everett’s got to find a way to unlock the secret of the Infundibulum and cross entire dimensions to find his father. If he’s going to beat the bad guys, he’s going to need friends: like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness.

Ian McDonald’s novels explore the idea of a multiverse, an infinite sequence of alternate universes each of which is different from the one we know. The difference here on Earth may be one tiny, almost unnoticeable thing – a slightly altered pattern on the wing of a particular butterfly, for example. Or it may be huge – maybe the continents never broke apart. To win a copy of Planesrunner, tell me this: How would the alternate universe you’d most like to visit be different from this one?

Post your answer in comments, or tweet it to me @scriptopus (or both!). You have until midnight on Sunday (UK time) to get it in, then I’ll pick a winner. The competition is open to you wherever you are in the world, as long as your answer is in English. Prizes will be dispatched from Jo Fletcher Books HQ in London, and remember, we’ll need your address if you win.

Here’s the question again: How would the alternate universe you’d most like to visit be different from this one?

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Win ‘A Cold Season’ by Alison Littlewood

It’s a surprisingly frosty morning in north Devon and I’ve got a book to give away that feels just right for the last gasp of winter:

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Cass is building a new life for herself and her young son Ben after the death of her soldier husband Pete, returning to the village where she lived as a child. But their idyllic new home is not what she expected: the other flats are all empty, there’s strange graffiti on the walls, and the villagers are a bit odd.

And when an unexpectedly heavy snowstorm maroons the village, things get even harder. Ben is changing, he’s surly and aggressive and Cass’s only confidant is the smooth, charming Theodore Remick, the stand-in headmaster.

Not everyone approves of Cass’s growing closeness to Mr Remick, and it soon becomes obvious he’s not all he appears to be either. If she is to protect her beloved son, Cass is going to have to fight back.

Alison Littlewood uses the harsh weather, coupled with the bleak environment of the moors, to reflect a growing sense of crisis for Cass and her son. Winter is almost always a metaphor for danger in fiction, and as this one comes to an end we’re probably all heaving a sigh of relief. The competition question is: What’s the worst thing about winter?

Post your answer in comments, or tweet it to me @scriptopus (or both). You have until midnight Sunday 3rd March to get it in, then I’ll pick a winner. The competition is open to you wherever you are in the world, as long as your answer is in English. Prizes will be dispatched from Jo Fletcher Books HQ in London, and remember, we’ll need your address if you win.

One Sentence Wonders: The City’s Son

It’s my turn to join in the Great Jo Fletcher Books Giveaway, and boy do I have some wonderful stuff for you! I’ll be running a weekly competition, starting today and until the publication of my own novel at the end of March (or longer if I can persuade them to let me keep giving away books). Here’s the Twitter-friendly format:

I’ll post a summary of the book of the week, plus a thought or two about an aspect of it that I find especially intriguing. Then I’m going to ask you to tell me, in a single sentence, about your particular version of that particular reality. Examples are the best explanation, so here’s the first one:

 
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Hidden under the surface of everyday London is a city of monsters and miracles, where wild train spirits stampede over the tracks and glass-skinned dancers with glowing veins light the streets.

When a devastating betrayal drives her from her home, graffiti artist Beth Bradley stumbles into the secret city, where she finds Filius Viae, London’s ragged crown prince, just when he needs someone most. An ancient enemy has returned to the darkness under St Paul’s Cathedral, bent on reigniting a centuries-old war, and Beth and Fil find themselves in a desperate race through a bizarre urban wonderland, searching for a way to save the city they both love.

Some of you might remember me raving about this book back in September; it was one of my favourite reads of 2012. Now up for a prestigious Kitschies award, Tom Pollock’s debut novel is about what it means to be part of a city, to be its blood and bones and to have it in yours. It’s a literal truth for Filius Viae, the boy with the city in his skin; and a metaphorical one for Beth Bradley, who finds sanctuary and a cause worth fighting for in the city itself, when home can provide her with neither.

So my question for you is: What makes you love your city? Post your answer in comments, or tweet it to me @scriptopus (or both!). You have until Sunday midnight (GMT) to get it in, then I’ll pick a winner. The competition is open to you wherever you are in the world, as long as your answer is in English. Prizes will be dispatched from Jo Fletcher Books HQ in London, and remember, we’ll need your address if you win.

In one sentence: What makes you love your city?  Ready, set, go!

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