Peter S. Beagle, Summerlong
(Tachyon Publications Sep 2016)
Beagle’s first fantasy novel in over 15 years does not disappoint, a tale of a couple in the Pacific Northwest who find their lives changed by the arrival of a beautiful young waitress. ‘‘It’s a lovely, graceful, quiet meditation on matters of aging, families, art, love, relationships, and (since this is Beagle) Greek mythology.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
Keith Donohue, The Motion of Puppets
(Picador Oct 2016)
Donohue moves the story of Orpheus and Eurydice to Quebec for this wondrously strange and dark tale of a woman turned into a puppet and her husband’s search for her, even as he is suspected by the police. With its puppets that come to life between midnight and dawn, this is a rich tale drawing on myth and folklore – and the story of photographer Eadweard Muybridge.
Karen Joy Fowler, ed., The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Mariner Oct 2016)
Noted literary author Fowler presents 20 stories – ten fantasy, ten SF – from 2015 for this best-of-the-year anthology covering works from the US and Canada. The impressive roster of authors includes Sofia Samatar, Kelly Link, Catherynne M. Valente, Salman Rushdie, and Ted Chiang.
Ursula K. Le Guin, Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, with a Journal of a Writer’s Week
(Small Beer Press Oct 2016)
Le Guin’s insightful non-fiction can be as intriguing as her SF, and this collection of recent work provides plenty of examples with 68 pieces, including talks, essays, book reviews and introductions, a poem, and a foreword on writing non-fiction.
Cixin Liu, Death’s End
(Tor Sep 2016)
Liu, one of China’s most-respected SF authors, wraps up his epic Three-Body trilogy with this volume. Fifty years after the Doomsday Battle, Earth is profiting from the knowledge of their alien former enemies, who are themselves adopting aspects of Earth culture, but a long-forgotten program threatens the balance between the two worlds. Translated from the Chinese by Ken Liu.
Ken Liu, The Wall of Storms
(Simon & Schuster/Saga Press Oct 2016)
Liu returns with the second book in his epic ‘‘silkpunk’’ fantasy series, the Dandelion Dynasty, drawing on the legends and history of ancient China. Former con man Kuni Garu, having ruled as Emperor Ragin for almost ten years, struggles to hold his empire together and maintain progress against intrigue, unrest, an unexpected invasion, and the schemes of his own grown children.
Garth Nix, Goldenhand
(HarperCollins Oct 2016)
The fifth young-adult novel in Nix’s highly popular Old Kingdom series follows Abhorsen-in-waiting Lirael, who finds her old friend Nicholas Sayre tainted with Free Magic and seeks help for him from the librarians of the Clayr, with whom she grew up; meanwhile, a messenger from the far north undertakes a desperate journey to reach Lirael with vital information.
Sarah Porter, Vassa in the Night
(Tor Teen Sep 2016)
Vassa braves a strange, chicken-legged, dancing store late at night, despite knowing that few customers leave alive, in this wonderfully warped and somewhat surreal young-adult fantasy. Based loosely on the Russian fairy tale of ‘‘Vassilissa the Beautiful’’, this quirky tale has the witch Baba Yaga running a chain of all-night stores in a city where the nights get mysteriously longer and longer.
Alexander Weinstein, Children of the New World
(Picador Sep 2016)
Weinstein’s first collection presents 13 near-future SF stories, two brand new – and only one of which appeared in a genre source. Witty, nuanced, and occasionally satirical, these stories extrapolate from today’s technology to portray familiar, yet fresh, and sometimes frightening, futures. ‘‘Increasingly, genre readers need to be on the lookout for intriguing new work from beyond the traditional SF sources…. As fine a debut collection as I’ve seen in some time, and a book to read and celebrate.’’ [Rich Horton]
Connie Willis, Crosstalk
(Ballantine Del Rey Oct 2016)
Willis’s latest novel is near-future SF in screwball romantic comedy mode – with touches of suspense and social satire, exploring what happens when you have too much connectivity. Briddey Flannigan gets a procedure to increase her emotional awareness of her boyfriend, but somehow develops a sort of telepathy that quickly becomes a curse. ‘‘Crosstalk is a virtuoso performance that isn’t just for show: both daffy and deep.’’ [Faren Miller] Published 9/16 in the UK by Gollancz.