Locus Online
 

1997 NEW & RECOMMENDED

sf novels

f/h novels

first novels

collections

anthologies

nonfiction/art

reprints


 
These lists are compiled from the monthly editorial selections of new and recommended books in Locus Magazine. The separate monthly lists are available here:

Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec | Jan '98

1997 SF Novels

Linked titles can be ordered from Amazon.com Books. Or see SF specialty and independent bookstore links.

The Fleet of Stars, Poul Anderson (Tor 3/97, hc) SF novel, fourth and final book in the Harvest of Stars sequence, in which near-immortal Anson guthrie heads back toward Earth, and a would-be spaceman challenges the cybercosm, while the author examines far-future politics, philosophy, and technology.

God's Fires, Patricia Anthony (Ace 4/97, $22.95, hc) When aliens land in Portugal during the latter stages of the Inquisition, this passionate, troubling SF novel tells us little about extraterrestrials, but a great deal about the joys and horrors of humankind.

The Gaia Websters, Kim Antieau (Roc 6/97, $12.95, tp) SF novel of post-industrial society in the future Arizona Territory, one woman's strange abilities and nightmares, and a potentially disastrous epidemic with links to the terrible past.

Excession, Iain M. Banks (Bantam 2/97, $12.95, tp) Sentient ships, a failed human love affair, and the complexities of far-future Culture civilization come together with the mystery of an alien artifact for a heady mix in Banks's latest SF novel.

Acts of Conscience, William Barton (Warner Aspect 1/97 $12.99, tp) An ordinary 26th-century man must represent the entire human race in a struggle for survival in this powerful SF novel.

Titan, Stephen Baxter (HarperPrism 11/97, $23.00, hc) An ambitious, complex, sprawling near-future SF novel mixing in everything from the dismantling of the NASA space program and a desperate cobbled-together one-way mission to Saturn's moon, to the death of the sun.

Voyage, Stephen Baxter (HarperPrism 1/97, $23.00, hc) SF novel of an alternate space program the way it should have been leading to the first manned landing on Mars.

/ Slant, Greg Bear (Tor 7/97, $24.95, hc) Hard-SF mystery novel of a 21st century transformed by nanotech and AIs, a sequel to Queen of Angels.

Foundation's Fear, Gregory Benford (HarperPrism 3/97, $23.00, hc) Part One of "The Second Foundation Trilogy", authorized by the Asimov estate, which will continue Isaac Asimov's epid social history of the future. In this volume, Benford goes back to the early days of Hari Seldon, and his first great challenge.

The White Abacus, Damien Broderick (Avon 3/97, $12.50, tp) It's "Hamlet in space," but this fascinating, witty novel offers more than a drama transplanted to the far future -- Shakespeare's characters change more than a little, in a galaxy of "ais," "hus," and fierce debate over a new instantaneous transport system.

Back in the USSA, Eugene Byrne & Kim Newman (Ziesing 9/97, $29.95, hc) Alternate history runs amok, while some familiar names show up, in this linked collection dealing with capitalist Russia vs. the United Socialist States of America.

Dead Things, Richard Calder (St. Martin's 2/97, $21.95, hc) In this sequel to Dead Girls and Dead Boys, darkly horrific SF takes even stranger turns, as time and space threaten to collapse entirely.

Finity's End, C.J. Cherryh (Warner Aspect 9/97, $22.00, hc) This new novel in the Union/Alliance series is one of Cherryh's strongest, both as character study and grittily realistic portrait of far future worlds.

3001: The Final Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke (Del Rey 3/97, $25.00, hc) The millennium's not the approaching one but the one after that, in what Clarke says is the last "Odyssey" SF novel, a grand tour of the next 1,000 years which also features characters introduced in the previous books.

Fortress on the Sun, Paul Cook (Roc 7/97, $5.99, pb) Tense SF thriller set in a 21st-century prison colony that once was a plasma-processing facility within the solar photosphere.

Einstein's Bridge, John Cramer (Avon 6/97, $23.00, hc) SF novel of 21st-century physics, closed timelines, alternate worlds, and alien races -- benevolent and otherwise....

Earthling, Tony Daniel (Tor 12/97, $22.95, hc) Daniel has fashioned three novellas set over a span of many centuries into an SF novel with the resonance of classics such as Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz and Simak's City.

The Seraphim Rising, Elisabeth DeVos (Roc 10/97, $5.99, pb) A noteworthy first novel, SF dealing with a shifty near-future Messiah.

Black Wine, Candas Jane Dorsey (Tor 1/97, $22.95, hc) This sophisticated literary SF novel is both feminist and darkly provocative.

Days of Cain, J.R. Dunn (Avon 8/97, $23.00, hc) SF novel of a renegade from a far future where people can change the past, but have sworn to let it be -- until compassion drives one woman back to the horrors of Auschwitz.

Silicon Karma, Thomas A. Easton (White Wolf 2/97, $11.99, tp) After the invention of mindscanning allows a virtual afterlife, people find revived relationships getting complicated and then villains begin to tap into the data base, in this wry SF novel.

Distress, Greg Egan (HarperPrism 6/97, $21.00, hc) Near-future SF thriller by one of the top names in current SF, set on an artificial island where scientists, debating the Theory of Everything, may cause the one Alpha Moment. Speculative science as only Greg Egan can write.

Boddekker's Demons, Joe Clifford Faust (Bantam Spectra 10/97, $5.99, pb) In this continuation of his SF advertising satire Ferman's Devils, Faust raises the stakes for both his former copywriter and those Devils, the now-popular gangster thugs.

Jed the Dead, Alan Dean Foster (Ace 1/97, $5.99, pb) Amusing SF novel of a Texas country guy and an alien corpse as unexpected traveling companions.

Contraband, George Foy (Bantam Spectra 5/97, $12.95, tp) Cyberthriller set in a near-future decaying New York City and a world where free-traders are dying of a strange new code, as a smuggler and some friends go questing to save human freedom.

Expendable, James Alan Gardner (AvoNova 7/97, $5.99, pb) SF novel, a first novel, of a future which cherishes lives -- except for those in the Explorer corps, sent into the dangers of deep space and hostile worlds.

The Calcutta Chromosome, Amitav Ghosh (Knopf Canada 4/97, C$29.95, hc; Avon 10/97, $23.00, hc) Described as "a medical thriller, a Victorian ghost story and a scientific quest," this novel defies easy definition -- postmodern fable? Whatever it is, it's highly enjoyable. Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

The Dazzle of Day, Molly Gloss (Tor 6/97, $21.95, hc) Literary author Gloss writes eloquently of Quakers in space on a colony ship, encountering a new world with a characteristic combination of metaphysics, practicality, and caution.

Mississippi Blues, Kathleen Ann Goonan (Tor 12/97, $25.95, hc) The classic American riverboat story is reprised in this sequel to Queen City Jazz, in an epic journey through a near-future America charged with myths and music.

Blue Limbo, Terence M. Green (Tor 1/97, $22.95, hc) Gripping SF thriller/police procedural of a burned-out cop in near-future Toronto.

Forever Peace, Joe Haldeman (Ace 10/97, $21.95, hc) Though not a sequel to Haldeman's award-winner The Forever War, this near-future novel set just before mid-21st century examines many of the same profound themes.

The Reality Dysfunction, Part 1: Emergence, Peter F. Hamilton (Warner Aspect 7/97, $5.99, pb) Massive space opera, with world-building on an epic scale, in a multi-stranded series of adventures which ultimately tie together -- in the next volume.

The Reality Dysfunction, Part 2: Expansion, Peter F. Hamilton (Warner Aspect 8/97, $5.99, pb) The complex space opera/galaxy-spanning epic of world-building begun in last month's Emergence concludes here.

Glimmering, Elizabeth Hand (HarperPrism 3/97, $22.00, hc) SF novel of a disastrously approaching 21st century where apocalypse could range from electromagnetic catastrophes to widespread diseases, strange new drugs... or all of the above. We meet some troubled, believable people in the midst of it all.

I Who Have Never Known Men, Jacqueline Harpman (Seven Stories 7/97, $22.00, hc) Near-future Kafkaesque SF novel examining what it means to be human, set in a post-holocaust Earth where women are emprisoned; translated from the French, winner of a 1996 Prix Médicis.

Signs of Life, M. John Harrison (St. Martin's 9/97, $21.95, hc) What starts as apparent mainstream, set in Britain from the 1960s through the '90s, and a bit beyond, takes on elements of SF in this very quirky, literary, and British exploration of one woman's physical and imaginative life -- with a whiff of J.G. Ballard.

Lightpaths, Howard V. Hendrix (Ace 9/97, $5.99, pb) Near-future SF of a utopia that isn't quite what it seems. An impressive first novel.

Corrupting Dr. Nice, John Kessel (Tor 2/97, $24.95, hc) After humans discover a method of time travel to pocket universes, a pair of swindlers exploits the economic potential, and the wealthy young paleontologist of the title gets caught up in comic mayhem, as Kessel updates screwball comedy to the future and a variety of twisted pasts.

The Dealings of Daniel Kesserich, Fritz Leiber (Tor 3/97, $18.95, hc) Subtitled "A Study of the Mass Insanity at Smithville," this rediscovered novella dates from his early career, influenced by H. P. Lovecraft, but the tone is already recognizable Leiber, in an ingenious work which could be dark fantasy or SF, right up to the final explanations.

Interface Masque, Shariann Lewitt (Tor 3/97, $23.95, hc) Future Venice, Italy, is baroque once again in this SF novel of the datastream and its mysteries, as one apprentice member of a data systems guild embarks on a private quest.

The Great Wheel, Ian R. MacLeod (Harcourt Brace 8/97, $24.00, hc) In this impressive first novel, MacLeod presents the vastly changed Earth of the 22nd century, following a century of catastrophic weather and social transformations, and gives it the convincing intimacy of mainstream literature as he deals with a troubled Euro priest in what once was North Africa.

An Exchange of Hostages, Susan R. Matthews (AvoNova 4/97, $5.99, pb) Intense SF novel of a young surgeon trained as a "Ship's Inquisitor" in deep space. A first novel.

Freedom's Choice, Anne McCaffrey (Ace/Putnam 6/97, $23.95, hc) SF novel, a sequel to Freedom's Landing. Unwilling colonists from Earth are learning to make a life for themselves on the alien world where the Catteni have forcibly settled them.

Eternity Road, Jack McDevitt (HarperPrism 5/97, $22.00, hc) Far-future SF novel of a quest through a postapocalyptic America, now home to city-states and the widespread ruins of the "Roadmakers," past engineers from the age of high-tech.

Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, Walter M. Miller, Jr. (Bantam 11/97, $23.95, hc) SF novel set in the universe of the classic A Canticle for Leibowitz, completed by Terry Bisson. Set 70 years after the second section of Canticle, the Church in Denver struggles with a rude and violent Texarkanan empire.

Deception Well, Linda Nagata (Bantam Spectra 2/97, $5.99, pb) A young man from a far-future space-elevator city discovers his special powers in the course of a descent to the surface of a dangerous planet where his father vanished, in this tale of nanotech and mystery.

Destiny's Road, Larry Niven (Tor 6/97, $24.95, hc) Solo SF novel set in the world of collaborations Legacy of Heorot and Beowulf's Children, several hundred years further into the history of the earth colony on planet Destiny. Here Niven excels, once again, at both planetary tourism and puzzle-solving.

Shade's Children, Garth Nix (HarperCollins Children's Books 9/97, $15.95, hc) Grim but absorbing post-holocaust YA SF novel (with elements of fantasy) set in a world without adults.

Secret Passages, Paul Preuss (Tor 8/97, $24.95, hc) Archaeology, quantum physics, and faith play equal parts in this fast-paced thriller with the same leading characters as Broken Symmetries.

Beneath the Gated Sky, Robert Reed (Tor 9/97, $23.95, hc) Earthly conspiracy mingles with cross-world romance in this ambitious sequel to Beneath the Veil of Stars.

Freeware, Rudy Rucker (Avon 5/97, $23.00, hc) In the 21st century, a young man's illicit romance with a "female" of the artificial life-form known as Moldies leads to big trouble -- and events that may change the cosmos -- in this sequel to Software and Wetware.

Illegal Alien, Robert J. Sawyer (Ace 12/97, $21.95, hc) SF and suspense mingle as Earth's first alien visitors become suspects in a murder trial, when expert worldbuilder Sawyer takes the action to our own planet.

Dreaming Metal, Melissa Scott (Tor 7/97, $22.95, hc) SF novel set on the world of Dreamships, as an entrepreneur unexpectedly finds herself in possession of what may be true Artificial Intelligence. Scott is an author of considerable charm and strangeness.

Convergence, Charles Sheffield (Baen 4/97, $5.99, pb) This fourth and final book in the "Heritage Universe" series features the strange Artifacts of a vanished alien race -- and a dangerous quest to understand some sudden, unsettling changes in them.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Charles Sheffield (Bantam Spectra 1/97, $13.95, tp) Epic Stapledonian hard-SF novel of a cryogenically preserved man's tour of the far future, from here to the Eschaton. Some of the concepts are as startling as anything in Stapledon.

Jovah's Angel, Sharon Shinn (Ace 5/97, $13.95, tp) In this successful sequel to Archangel set hundreds of years later, Shinn again mixes SF, apparent fantasy, romance, music, and politics, on a far-future lost colony world ruled by a race of genetically transformed "angels" derived from humans.

The Rise of Endymion, Dan Simmons (Bantam Spectra 9/97, $23.95, hc) A new (female) messiah appears in this fourth and final book of the now-classic "Hyperion" series, where space opera joins with high literary ambition.

Spares, Michael Marshall Smith (Bantam 5/97, $22.95, hc) Tense future-noir tale of clones fleeing the farm where they're harvested for spare parts, and the killers coming after them.

A King of Infinite Space, Allen Steele (HarperPrism 9/97, $23.00, hc) SF novel of a sometimes over-the-top future where nanotech meets life-after-death, and a young man embarks on an odyssey to the stars.

Someone to Watch Over Me, Tricia Sullivan (Bantam Spectra 9/97, $5.99, pb) Near-future SF novel which looks sharply at big questions about mind control, body transfer, and personal freedom, by a new writer whose work is worth watching.

Jack Faust, Michael Swanwick (Avon 9/97, $23.00, hc) The classic deal-with-the-devil story intriguingly retold as SF, with Faust as a kind of latter-day Prometheus sweeping his world into a premature destructive modern age.

The Family Tree, Sheri S. Tepper (Avon 5/97, $23.00, hc) Ecological fable of early 21st-century America and a farther future that seems to spring from fairytales -- two worlds which finally meet, with a startling revelation for the reader. Once again, Tepper is witty, charming, serious, and wise.

The Return, E. C. Tubb (Gryphon Books 4/97, $20.00, tp) The SF pulps ride again, as Dumarest of Terra rises from the (mostly) dead in this concluding volume #32 of the sage, in its first English-language edition -- "a long-lost science fiction classic".

The Merro Tree, Katie Waitman (Del Rey 10/97, $5.99, pb) SF novel of a galactic performance master, a first novel by a ''Del Rey Discovery.''

In Enemy Hands, David Weber (Baen 8/97, $22.00, hc) The latest episode of the "Honor Harrington" space opera finds the heroine on a prison planet and scheduled for execution. Will she get out of this one? Of course. Read it and see how.

Final Diagnosis, James White (Tor 5/97, $22.95, hc) This latest novel in the "Sector General" SF series returns to the hospital space station on the Galactic Rim, as what may be an inter-galactic plague threatens Terrans and others.

The Black Sun, Jack Williamson (Tor 3/97, $23.95, hc) Colonists struggle to survive on an ice-covered planet circling a dead sun in this haunting evocation of the abyss of time and space.

Faraday's Orphans, N. Lee Wood (Ace 6/97, $13.00, tp) SF novel of a post-disaster 23rd century in the ruins of Philadelphia and beyond, in territories with elements of myth, featuring a vividly memorable heroine alongside the restless hero.

Cinderblock, Janine Ellen Young (Roc 4/97, $5.99, pb) This first novel bring elements of "Cinderella" to a downbeat cyberpunkish Los Angeles of the near future, for a promising debut.

Donnerjack, Roger Zelazny & Jane Lindskold (Avon 8/97, $24.00, hc) SF Virtual Reality and Zelazny's unique brand of myth-haunted fantasy join in this tale of a programmer/engineer who takes on Death in pursuit of his lost love, a beautiful woman/AI program.

Fool's War, Sarah Zettel (Warner Aspect 4/97, $5.99, pb) This substantial but fast-moving SF novel manages to avoid space opera stereotypes, with a combination of subtlety and tension, as a cargo spaceship captain must contend with a dangerous techno-virus.

Reprinted SF Novels

The Final Encyclopedia, Vol. One, Gordon R. Dickson (Tor 1/97, $25.95, hc) This revised and corrected version of the first half of the 1984 major novel in the ''Childe Cycle'' is one of Dickson's most provocative works.

The Final Encyclopedia, Vol. Two, Gordon R. Dickson (Tor 2/97, $25.95, hc) This revised and corrected version of the second half of the 1984 major novel in the ''Childe Cycle'' is one of Dickson's most provocative works.

Winterlong, Elizabeth Hand (HarperPrism 7/97, $10.00, tp) Hand's sensually provocative and ambitious first novel (1990) of a strange, post-apocalyptic Earth is finally available again.

The Nature of Smoke, Anne Harris (Tor 7/97, $13.95, tp) Chaos theory meets riot grrls in this hard-edged near future. A first novel we missed reviewing last year when it appeared in hardcover. A belated recommendation.

A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr. (Bantam Spectra 10/97, $11.95, tp) Return of a remarkable SF classic, well-deserved winner of a 1961 Hugo.

Bring the Jubilee, Ward Moore (Del Rey 10/97, $11.00, tp) Long before Harry Turtledove turned to alternate history, Moore wrote this classic novel of a very different War Between the States.

Triplanetary, Edward E. Smith, Ph.D. (Old Earth Books, 12/97, $15.00, tp) Facsimile of the 1948 first edition of ''Doc'' Smith's first ''Lensman'' book, a classic SF adventure novel.

Vacuum Flowers, Michael Swanwick (Ace 5/97, $5.99, pb) Early cyberpunk tale (1987) of a high-tech fugitive amid Earth's orbiting settlements, an effective mix of drama, adventure, and future technologies.

The Demon Princes, Volume One, Jack Vance (Tor 5/97, $18.95, tp) Omnibus edition of the first three novels in Vance's rousing and inventive SF adventure series, The Star King (1964), The Killing Machine (1964), and The Palace of Love (1967), all featuring Kirth Gerson on his quest to avenge the deaths of his family and his world by hunting down the five galactic outlaws who led the Mount Pleasant Massacre.

TOP  
© 1997, 1998 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.