Alex Bledsoe, The Hum and the Shiver
(Tor Oct 2011)
A military veteran returns home to her mysterious people living in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in this colorful contemporary fantasy novel. "A strong tale whose heroine is just one of several major characters forced to (re-)discover their own essential strangeness, and put it to use in troubling situations." [Faren Miller]
Paula Brandon, The Traitor's Daughter
(Spectra Jan 2011)
A kidnapped young noblewoman starts to sympathize with her revolutionary captors, even as the nature of the world's magic is changing in this complex far-future fantasy novel, the first book in a trilogy and an impressive first novel. "A complex many-layered plot that only speeds up when it's good and ready... Brandon generates all the more suspense through the many fools, villains, and otherwise flawed characters." [Faren Miller]
Rae Carson, The Girl of Fire and Thorns
(Greenwillow Sep 2011)
A princess is her people's Chosen, but has no idea what she's supposed to do in this young-adult fantasy, the first book in a trilogy. Though full of familiar elements, this debut novel "takes these familiar elements and combines them in a way that is utterly fresh and compelling... Carson joins the ranks of writers like Kristin Cashore, Megan Whalen Turner, and Tamora Pierce as one of YA's best writers of high fantasy." [Gwenda Bond] Simultaneous with the UK (Gollancz as Fire and Thorns) edition.
Kate Elliott, Cold Fire
(Orbit Sep 2011)
Elliott's complex worldbuilding retains its novelty in this second volume of the Spiritwalker trilogy, a fascinating mix of unusual magics and alternate-world steampunk adventure. This time, Cat Barahal flees Europa and ends up in the steamy Caribbean, where she contends with her usual determination with zombies, pirates, hurricanes, revolution, romance and a native civilization built by powerful mages using magics based on fire instead of ice.
Kameron Hurley, Infidel
(Night Shade Books Oct 2011)
Six years after events in God's War, ex-assasin Nyx returns to deal with an attempted coup led by some former associates in this second far-future noir novel in the Bel Dame Apocrypha series. "Nyx is older, meaner, more damaged physically and psychologically, but not one iota wiser. Reading about her is not a pleasant experience. It is, however, a gripping one." [Paul Witcover]
Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant, eds., Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories
(Candlewick Press Oct 2011)
Fans of all ages can explore the possibilities of steampunk with this young-adult anthology of 14 new stories by a stellar roster of authors including Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Garth Nix, and Holly Black.
Richard K. Morgan, The Cold Commands
(Ballantine Del Rey Oct 2011)
The heroes reunite to face a new threat in this second book in Morgan's "muscular, bloody, nearly antiheroic fantasy (the ironic series title is A Land Fit for Heroes)..." that takes an intelligent and violent look at how just how unpleasant fantasy worlds might be to actually live in.
Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus
(Doubleday Sep 2011)
Two young magicians compete to create the most magical acts for Le Cirque des RÍves as it tours during the end of the 19th century in this enchanting first novel. "It is delightful, in short. It is magical." [Adrienne Martini].
Tim Powers, The Bible Repairman and Other Stories
(Tachyon Publications Sep 2011)
The latest collection from Powers gathers six stories from the last five years, one a sequel novella to The Stress of Her Regard, the remainder mostly variations on ghost stories. "Powers knows the ways we get haunted by ambition, greed, loss, and heartbreak and you finish reading this handful of beautifully crafted tales wishing he'd tell us more." [Gary K. Wolfe]
Neal Stephenson, Reamde
(Morrow Sep 2011)
Stephenson eschews SF for his much-anticipated new contemporary thriller about a game developers, their virtual game world come under assault by a virus, terrorists, and more. "A straight-up suspense/thriller/espionage story as told, of course, by Neal Stephenson, which means that nothing is as transparent or linear as it first appears... a ride that you won't soon forget, nor will you forget the characters that made the trip possible." [Adrienne Martini]
Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone
(Little, Brown Sep 2011)
Young-adult dark fantasy novel about a blue-haired teenage artist, raised by monsters in Prague, who becomes involved in an ancient war between angels and the chimera who raised her. "The most unusual, intricate, and challenging YA fantasy of the year." [Gwenda Bond].
Vernor Vinge, The Children of the Sky
(Tor Oct 2011)
After almost 20 years, Vinge presents this sequel to the Hugo-winning far-future SF novel A Fire Upon the Deep, set ten years later as the human children on Tines World struggle to build a new civilization. "It's a slightly different kind of ride from the wilder, wider A Fire Upon the Deep, but the landscape it traverses has its own fascination and excitement." [Russell Letson]
David Weber, A Beautiful Friendship
(Baen Oct 2011)
Weber turns to young-adult SF with this book, an expansion of the eponymous story about treecats and a young ancestor of Weber's popular character Honor Harrington. Young Stephanie Harrington is the first to spot the treecats of Sphinx, and to make friends with one and becomes a determined protector of the Ďcats as their existence is revealed to humanity.
Scott Westerfeld, Goliath
(Simon Pulse Sep 2011)
Nicola Tesla takes center stage as a mad scientist in this third installment in the Leviathan trilogy of young-adult alternate-history/steampunk SF novels about the airship Leviathan's quest for a weapon to stop WWI, a tale full of history and improbable events. "Improbabilities, in fact, are a good part of what fuels adventure/romances like these, and as long as Westerfeld is having as much fun with them as he seems to be... we should be glad he's invited us along for the ride." [Gary K. Wolfe]