Stephen Baxter, Transcendent
(Ballantine Del Rey Dec 2005)
The concluding novel of the ambitious Destiny’s Children trilogy finds the utopian Transcendents of the future starting to tamper with the 21st century. ‘‘Far-future philosophic space opera and near-future eco-thriller combine effectively.…The writing is intense, the characters drawn in depth, the play of ideas often mesmerizingly dense.’’ [Nick Gevers] Originally published in the UK by Gollancz (10/05).
Trudi Canavan, Priestess of the White
(HarperCollins/Eos Jan 2006)
Rising Australian author Canavan begins a new fantasy series with this first volume of the Age of the Five trilogy. A young woman rises quickly in the religious hierarchy of her land, but finds herself caught between her responsibilities, her love for a heathen Dreamweaver, and a new religious conflict led by a sorcerer determined to eliminate the White. First published by Voyager Australia (10/05).
Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Felaheen
(Bantam Spectra Jan 2006)
Hardboiled mystery and richly detailed alternate world SF meet in the third volume in the critically acclaimed Arabesk series featuring investigator Ashraf Bey, set in a world where the Ottoman Empire still rules in the 21st century. Originally published in the UK by Earthlight (2003).
Samuel R. Delany, About Writing: 7 Essays, 4 Letters & 5 Interviews
(Wesleyan University Press Dec 2005)
Delany offers sage advice on writing well in this non-fiction collection, which offers a long new introduction and an appendix of writing fundamentals for beginners.
L. Timmel Duchamp, The Red Rose Rages (Bleeding)
(Aqueduct Press Nov 2005)
A rehabilitation specialist in a women’s prison becomes obsessed with an actor jailed for civil disobedience in this effectively ironic short novel of near-future dystopia and professional disillusionment.
Jeffrey Ford, The Cosmology of the Wider World
(PS Publishing Nov 2005)
Myths, surrealism, tragedy, and farce mix in this engaging short novel about a depressed minotaur with writer’s block, and his friends’ search for a cure. ‘‘A wry postmodern hybrid…’’ [Faren Miller]; ‘‘…fabulous in multiple senses of the word.’’ [Rich Horton]
Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin & Jeffrey D. Smith, eds., The James Tiptree Award Anthology 2
(Tachyon Publications Nov 2005)
The second volume in this unpredictable anthology series offers winning and shortlisted works from 2004 (and some earlier) that fit the award’s call to ‘‘explore and expand gender,’’ with seven stories, two novel excerpts, three essays, and a letter on writing by Tiptree him/herself. ‘‘A trove of fascinating thought.’’ [Nick Gevers]
Adèle Geras, Ithaka
(Harcourt Jan 2006)
Noted YA author Geras follows up Troy, her retelling of The Iliad, with this gripping adaptation of The Odyssey, a moving story of those Odysseus left behind, told from the point of view of a young servant of Queen Penelope.
Joe Hill, 20th Century Ghosts
(PS Publishing Sep 2005)
Collection of 14 stories, two new, with notes on each by the author: ‘‘…a promising new voice…What strikes me over and over is his craft.’’ [Tim Pratt]
Vera Nazarian, The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass
(PS Publishing Oct 2005)
Posthumans on a far-future Dying Earth create a fertile female from ancient human DNA to be the Clock King’s bride in this lyrical SF short novel with more than a hint of fairy tale. ‘‘Whether you expect a royal convergence, romantic destiny, or just a boost to a lackluster gene pool, what you’ll get is less definitive – and more interesting.’’ [Faren Miller]
Alastair Reynolds, Pushing Ice
(Gollancz Oct 2005)
A ship which harvests ice asteroids for Earth is sent to follow one of Saturn’s moons when it unexpectedly heads out of the solar system. ‘‘Hard SF of a grand, traditional sort…a gripping and well-told tale, and with a profounder artistry implicit in its structure.’’ [Nick Gevers]
Richard Paul Russo, The Rosetta Codex
(Ace Dec 2005)
A boy seeks his destiny on a lawless world in this combination bildungsroman, exploration of a fascinating planet, and search for a key to an ancient alien language and technology. ‘‘An ambitious, eloquent work…an exotic metaphysical romance…Russo accomplished something rare and spectacular here.’’ [Nick Gevers]
Allen Steele, Coyote Frontier
(Ace Dec 2005)
Steele brings a fitting conclusion to his Heinleinesque trilogy about the rediscovered lost colony world Coyote, whose people now want Earth technology but fear the homeworld’s ecological disasters. ‘‘Steele shows that even in the era of New Space Opera and posthuman magic, the Standard Model of SF still works fine.’’ [Russell Letson]