Joan Aiken, The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories
(Small Beer Press Apr 2016)
This retrospective collection gathers 20 stories by the late author of mesmerizingly strange fiction, with pieces published from the 1950s to the ’90s. It includes an introduction by Kelly Link about her relationship to Aiken’s work, and another by the author’s daughter, Lizza Aiken, on ‘‘The Power of Storytelling’’.
Madeline Ashby, Company Town
(Tor May 2016)
Bodyguard Hwa is the only non-bioengineered person on the city-sized oil rig known as New Aradia, charged to protect the son of the wealthy owners – and her job is made more difficult when a series of murders throw the community into chaos. ‘‘As a brutal murder mystery in a very detailed and convincing SF setting, Company Town never falters in its pacing, and introduces its more SFnal complications with considerable skill.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
Neal Asher, War Factory
(Skyhorse/Night Shade Books May 2016)
The latest novel set in the brutal and strange far-future Polity universe continues the story begun in Dark Intelligence, book one of the Transformation series, with resurrected man Thorvald Spear continuing his quest for vengeance against Penny Royal, the rogue AI that murdered him a century ago.
Frances Hardinge, The Lie Tree
(Abrams/Amulet May 2016)
One of our most accomplished YA writers pens an eerie fantasy about a girl in the Victorian era who investigates her father’s death with the help of a tree that thrives on lies and reveals secret truths. Winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award and a finalist for the Carnegie Medal when published last year in the UK. ‘‘A rather stunning page-turner of a performance, and an excellent introduction to Hardinge’s increasingly important body of work.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
Kat Howard, Roses and Rot
(Simon & Schuster/Saga Press May 2016)
This stunning and evocative debut novel by the World Fantasy Award-nominated short fiction author concerns two adult sisters – writer Imogen and dancer Marin – who shared a traumatic childhood and are reunited as adults when they’re both invited to attend Melete, a prestigious and remote artists’ colony… but Melete holds a secret far stranger than any fairy tale.
Richard Kadrey, The Everything Box
(Harper Voyager Apr 2016)
This new novel by the author of the noir fantasy Sandman Slim books launches a rollicking new contemporary fantasy series about a thief named Coop, who specializes in acquiring magical objects. When Coop steals the titular magical artifact for a client, he accidentally sets the world on the path to destruction, and has to team up with the Department of Peculiar Science to prevent the apocalypse. ‘‘Pretty much everything you’d expect from Richard Kadrey…. West Coast fantasy noir, complete with spells, vampires, and thieves…. A fun read for all of the Kadrey-isms alone.’’ [Faren Miller]
Mercedes Lackey, ed., Nebula Awards Showcase 2016
(Pyr May 2016)
This year’s Nebula Award winners and selected finalists are showcased in this 50th volume in the annual anthology series, with 14 nominees reprinted in their entirety, excerpts from five of the nominated novellas, and a selection from Best Novel winner Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. Lackey provides an introduction.
Sylvain Neuvel, Sleeping Giants
(Ballantine Del Rey Apr 2016)
This much-talked-about debut novel concerns a woman who discovers an inexplicable artifact – an immense metal hand – as a child, and trains to become a physicist so she can continue studying the enigma. The story is told in the form of interview transcripts, journal entries, and articles, which gradually reveal the stunning scope of the mystery.
Claire North, The Sudden Appearance of Hope
(Orbit/Redhook May 2016)
The new novel by North (a pseudonym for Catherine Webb) is as ambitious as her ‘‘debut’’ The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. People began forgetting Hope Arden when she was 16. At first she just temporarily slips the minds of her families and friends, but in time she becomes practically invisible: no matter what she says or does, she’s a perpetual stranger. Her struggle to survive (and thrive) makes for a harrowing, fascinating, and thought-provoking tale.
Thomas Olde Heuvelt, HEX
(Tor Apr 2016)
The English-language debut by the Hugo Award-winning author is a translation of his bestselling Dutch dark fantasy, set in a small town that cut itself off from the world to hide a bizarre secret: the presence of the Black Rock Witch, a seemingly immortal woman from the 17th century who wanders the town with her eyes and mouth sewn shut. The author provides an afterword about his inspirations, and the changes he made to the story for its publication in English.
Ada Palmer, Too Like the Lightning
(Tor May 2016)
This powerful debut is set in a 25th century where nations have been replaced by various ‘‘Hives,’’ each with a political system based on a classic philosophical idea – from an absolute monarchy to shareholder democracy and points in between. It’s a bizarre system to modern eyes, but it works… until our genial narrator Mycroft Canner, a criminal sentenced to wander the world offering his services to anyone in need, discovers a secret that could change the balance forever. ‘‘A richly complex and thoroughly original future… probably the most unusual SF novel we’ll see this year.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
K. J. Parker, Downfall of the Gods
(Subterranean Press Mar 2016)
The latest novella from the World Fantasy Award-winning master concerns a goddess who forces a mortal man who killed her favorite musician to accompany her to the Land of the Dead in order to bring the victim back to life, with plenty of screwball-comedy banter… and profound consequences. ‘‘Easily the funniest of his recent string of novellas… and the one most directly suggestive of Parker’s alter ego Tom Holt.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
Lavie Tidhar, Central Station
(Tachyon Publications May 2016)
This mosaic novel is built around substantially revised versions of several stories Tidhar published set around the titular spaceport in a future Tel Aviv, Israel. ‘‘While the stories, a few of which have been included in multiple ‘year’s best’ anthologies, stand quite well on their own, they do gain considerable resonance together…. the result is a rather elegant suite of tales.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
Erin Underwood, ed., The Grimm Future
(NESFA Press Feb 2016)
This original anthology presents 14 futuristic twists on beloved fairy tales, with new stories by Jeffrey Ford, Max Gladstone, Kat Howard, John Langan, Seanan McGuire, Maura McHugh, Garth Nix, and more, plus an introduction by the editor. Each story is followed by the text of the fairy tale that inspired it, drawn from the 1884 translation of the Grimm’s tales by Margaret Hunt: ‘‘This is a wonderful concept that allows authors to use less well-known fairy tales and to go back to pre-Disney versions without losing the audience or the impact of the story.’’ [Karen Burnham]