Greg Bear, War Dogs
(Orbit Oct 2014)
This first book in a new series presents a future Earth transformed by the technology and insights of seemingly benevolent advanced aliens called the Gurus… but 13 years after their arrival, the bill for all that help comes due: the Gurus are being pursued by an ancient enemy, and they need the people of Earth to fight them on the battlefields of Mars. ‘‘Be excited. Be very excited.’’ [Russell Letson]
Gail Carriger, Waistcoats & Weaponry
(Little, Brown Nov 2014)
In the third volume in the author’s Finishing School series, a spin-off from the Parasol Protectorate steampunk series, indomitable heroine Sophronia takes a train journey to Scotland with her friends… only to find the train is full of lethal cargo that could put all of London in danger. Will her wits and the steel-bladed fan sewn into her corset be sufficient to save the day?
Jonathan Carroll, Bathing the Lion
(St. Martin’s Oct 2014)
Carroll’s work is always hard to pin down, and his latest novel is no different, reading like a blend of Kafka, Philip K. Dick, and the Brothers Grimm, among other things. The inhabitants of a small Vermont town share a dream that reveals the existence of cosmic ‘‘mechanics’’ who work to save the world from de- scending into chaos… and now these strangers have to do their own parts to help hold the world together. ‘‘Carroll manages to weave his colorful imagery into a surreal tapestry which, if not quite seamless, is im- mensely appealing in its generosity and good humor.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
William Gibson, The Peripheral
(Penguin/Putnam Oct 2014)
After his celebrated recent trilogy set in the ‘‘near past,’’ Gib- son once again turns his insightful and inventive eye toward the near future, with the story of a woman who witnesses a real murder in a virtual world. ‘‘Dramatic, scary, creepy, violent, and finally satisfying… every scene, every page of the novel is filled with textures and details and observations and inventions and turns of phrase that delight.’’ [Russell Letson]
Lev Grossman, The Magician’s Land
(Viking Aug 2014)
The stunning conclusion to the Magicians trilogy sees Quentin Coldwater, exiled king of the magical land of Fillory, try to make a meaningful life for himself in our mundane world, while becoming entangled with a young student of magic named Plum and facing the literal spirit of his dead girlfriend Alice. Meanwhile, his friends back in Fillory try to save that world from destruction as the land’s magic fades away. This final chapter ‘‘explores the hidden connections between magic, myths, and the workings of the human heart.’’ [Faren Miller]
Peter F. Hamilton, The Abyss Beyond Dreams
(Ballantine Del Rey Oct 2014)
The master of sprawling space opera returns to his Commonwealth universe with the first installment in a new duology set in the year 3326. Commonwealth co-founder Nigel Sheldon infiltrates the Void, an enigmatic construct at the center of the galaxy where the laws of physics are twisted and mysterious aliens plot against humanity.
Harry Harrison, Harry Harrison! Harry Harrison!
(Tor Nov 2014)
We lost this SFWA Grandmaster in 2012 at the age of 87, but this memoir of his life in science fiction was his final project, and was largely completed before his death. The volume is rounded out by autobiographical essays Harrison intended to integrate into the larger work. The memoir ‘‘outlines a life of unconventional choices that led to unexpected destinations, adventures comfortable and otherwise, and generally happy endings.’’ [Russell Letson]
Maria Dahvana Headley & Kat Howard, The End of the Sentence
(Subterranean Press Sep 2014)
Two of the most engaging new voices in fantasy join forces for this mythic and unsettling novella. Malcolm Mays buys a house in rural Oregon where he hopes to rebuild his shattered life, only to receive a letter purporting to be from the house’s true owner, an enigmatic figure imprisoned for over a century… but soon to be released, and planning to return home.
Rob Latham, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Science Fiction
(Oxford University Press Oct 2014)
SF scholar Rob Latham has gathered an impressive collection of 44 original essays by some of the brightest minds in the field – including Brian Attebery, Andrew M. Butler, Veronica Hollinger, Farah Mendlesohn, Jess Nevins, Adam Roberts, Gary Westfahl, Gary K. Wolfe, and more – to provide an overview of the history and development of SF from its origins to the modern day. An invaluable resource for teachers, students, and devotees of the SF field.
Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu, The Three-Body Problem
(Tor Nov 2014)
This hard SF novel, a bestseller in China, has been translated into English for the first time (by celebrated SF writer Ken Liu) and begins a trilogy about alien first contact through the medium of video games. ‘‘A compelling piece of work, brilliantly translated by Ken Liu, whose astonishing control of tone lets us experience the novel as a speculative thriller without losing the sense of Chinese language and culture that makes it uniquely different from the fa- miliar rhythms of Western SF.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]
Lydia Millet, Mermaids in Paradise
(Dutton Oct 2014)
The Pultizer Prize nominee turns her satirical eye on corporate America and the commodification of won- der in this tale of a Caribbean resort where mermaids are discovered. The parent company wants to turn their reef into a theme park, and a group of tourists and adventurers fight to save the mythic creatures from that fate.
Robert Silverberg, The Collected Stories of Robert Silverberg, Volume Nine: The Millennium Express
(Subterranean Press Aug 2014)
The ninth (and probably final, the author says) volume of the ambitious series collecting the SFWA Grandmaster’s short fiction con- tains 16 stories published from 1995-2009, with an introduction and extensive story notes by Silverberg.
Sheri S. Tepper, Fish Tails
(Harper Voyager Oct 2014)
Tepper’s ambition has never been greater than in this epic adventure, bringing together characters from her Plague of Angels series and her True Game series. Abasio and Xulai from Plague of Angels travel the land of Tingawa spreading a warning of rising waters that will transform the world, and encouraging people to adapt to a new life in the sea. They encounter characters from the True Game series, transported to Tingawa by a time-traveling meddler who wants them to help ease the transition to a watery world.
Scott Westerfeld, Afterworlds
(Simon Pulse Sep 2014)
This cunningly structured work is like two novels made one. Darcy Patel drops out of college and moves to New York, fresh from the sale of a ‘‘Hindu paranormal romance’’ she banged out during National Novel Writing Month. Darcy tries to navigate the world of YA publishing, with Westerfeld providing plenty of in-jokes for those familiar with the industry, while in alternating chapters, we experience Darcy’s novel, about a girl who becomes a psychopomp following a terrorist attack. Audacious, ingenious, and accomplished.
Ysabeau S. Wilce, Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams
(Small Beer Press Nov 2014)
This collection gathers seven delightful and bizarre Stories of Califa, set in the magical alternate world of the author’s Flora Segunda novels, including World Fantasy Award finalist ‘‘The Lineaments of Gratified Desire’’ and two original stories, plus an introduction and afterword placing the stories in their ‘‘historical’’ context.