Stories of time-travelling revisionists, strontium dogs, steampunk Seattle and cops and monsters are this month's pick from the outer limits
Zed is a secret agent whose unenviable job in The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen (Mulholland Books, £8.99) is making sure disasters happen when history says they happened.
He comes from the future - where the world has recovered from the "Great Conflagration" humanity is heading for - and has constructed a self-proclaimed utopia.
When dissidents from that era travel back to try to prevent horrors such as Belsen or Hiroshima, Zed must foil them. That history, bloody as it is, is what ultimately led to his "Perfect Present."
At the heart of this unusual and well-written novel is the way hegemony manages to trick so many decent patriots, in different countries in different times, into falling for a Panglossian error - the belief that theirs is the best of all possible worlds and must thus be defended at any moral cost. It's a compelling espionage thriller and a memorable moral tale.
Ignore the unwieldy title of Strontium Dog: The Life And Death Of Johnny Alpha: The Project by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra (Rebellion, £14.99).
It's the latest collection of a British comic strip running since 1978 but there's little here to baffle new readers.
In the 22nd century, people mutated by atomic war form a ghetto-dwelling underclass, the only trade open to them being that of bounty hunter.
The best of these "strontium dogs" was Johnny Alpha, who died a martyr to the cause of mutant liberation. Or did he? In this instalment, two of his friends chase a rumour that the hero has returned.
The subtlety and humour of Wagner's writing and plotting, satirical but also sincere, combines with Ezquerra's gorgeously detailed artwork (pictured below), beautifully reproduced in full colour, to create characters of rare depth and diversity.
We're in a "steampunk" version of 1863 Seattle for Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (Tor, £7.99), where a fantastically powerful gold-prospecting machine destroys much of the city during its test run, releasing from the earth a gas which has the regrettable effect of turning anyone who breaths it into a "rotter" - a flesh-eating zombie.
The city is sealed off and its population relocated to the safer outskirts but, 16 years later, a young mother must find a way into the blighted town to rescue her errant son.
She faces airship pirates and worse, while we get non-stop adventure, highly imaginative and involving.
The "cops and monsters" shelf is beginning to fill up with books in which London coppers fight ancient supernatural forces for the soul of the city. But in London Falling (Tor, £12.99) Paul Cornell has certainly found his own niche.
When DI Quill finally manages to arrest a mysteriously untouchable gangster, only to have his suspect die in custody in impossible circumstances, he realises he's up against something outside his experience.
He and his team decide they can only proceed as they would with any other operation, using tried and trusted police methods.
Relentlessly gripping and entertaining, this series-opener is also full of genuine horror - you've been warned.
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