Katherine Arden, The Bear and the Nightingale
(Ballantine Del Rey Jan 2017)
This thoroughly enchanting debut fantasy draws on Russian folklore and history. Vasilia lives with her father in the Russian wilderness, but when her new stepmother forbids the family to honor household spirits, things begin to go disastrously wrong, and it’s up to Vasilia to save the family using gifts long kept secret. ‘‘A particularly enchanting version of an old tale, with a bit of a nice twist in the end.’’ [Carolyn Cushman]
Greg Bear, Take Back the Sky
(Orbit Dec 2016)
This winds up the War Dogs trilogy, interstellar military SF by one of our most celebrated writers, with the anticipated bang, as the long conflict between the alien Antagonists and our military forces reaches a conclusion. ‘‘The whole trio of books is a series of riddles, puzzles, and mysteries… while the foreground might be grunts-in-space, the universe around and behind them is beyond vast and stranger than strange.’’ [Russell Letson]
A. M. Dellamonica & Steve Berman, eds., Heiresses of Russ 2016: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction
(Lethe Press Nov 2016)
The sixth volume of the Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction includes 17 stories from 2015, with work by Rose Lemberg, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, and Sonya Taaffe, among others, and an introduction by Dellamonica.
A. M. Dellamonica, The Nature of a Pirate
(Tor Dec 2016)
There’s even more swashbuckling action in this third volume of the fantasy adventure Stormwrack series that began with Child of a Hidden Sea. Videographer and biologist Sophie, native to the San Francisco of our world, remains stuck in the ocean realm of Stormwrack, where she investigates especially thorny crimes: this time it’s the case of a magical saboteur using forbidden spells to sink ships.
Susan Dennard, Windwitch
(Tor Teen Jan 2017)
The second volume in the promising Witchlands YA fantasy after Truthwitch delivers even more political intrigue, compelling characters, lush worldbuilding, hot romance, and strange magic in a memorable and inventive secondary world.
Stella Gemmell, The Immortal Throne
(Ace Dec 2016)
In this fantasy novel, sequel to The City, the hated emperor is dead, and his main rival has ascended to the throne. It should be a time to celebrate freedom and rebuild stability – but an army has risen in the north, with the singular goal of laying waste to the City and all its inhabitants. This gritty, dark epic fantasy is full of memorable characters – not least of them the City itself.
Laura Anne Gilman, The Cold Eye
(Simon & Schuster/Saga Press Jan 2017)
This follow-up to Silver on the Road continues the Devil’s West series about Isobel, the ‘‘left hand’’ of the Devil who rules the Territories west of the Mississippi, and her mentor Gabriel. While representing the Devil’s power and upholding his bargains, she investigates magical cataclysms including earthquakes and sickness, and confronts a power far greater than her own. ‘‘Intriguingly different… compelling reading.’’ [Carolyn Cushman]
Jason Heller & Joshua Viola, eds., Cyber World
(Hex Sep 2016)
This original anthology of 20 cyberpunk ‘‘Tales of Humanity’s Tomorrow’’ has stories by Saladin Ahmed, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Nisi Shawl, plus a foreword by Richard Kadrey and introductions and afterwords by the editors. Includes illustrations by Aaron Lovett and Joshua Viola, and a CD ‘‘Soundtrack of Humanity’s Tomorrow’’.
Alison Littlewood, The Hidden People
(Quercus/Jo Fletcher Nov 2016)
In this Gothic Victorian mystery novel, Albie Miralls travels from London to the Yorkshire countryside to investigate the death of his cousin at the hands of her husband – who claimed his wife was actually a changeling. ‘‘Modern’’ (circa 1860s) rationality clashes with ancient superstition in a haunting and captivating tale of tragedy.
Karen Lord, ed., New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean
(Peekash Dec 2016)
Lord gathers 11 original ‘‘Speculative Tales from the Caribbean’’ with stunning work, mostly by new authors from Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, and Bermuda. Lord’s foreword discusses the unique viewpoint of SF from the islands, and the long tradition of such writing from that region, while noting that ‘‘this anthology also speaks to the fragility of home, something that is not always understood by those who inhabit countries with more resources and choices.’’
Ken MacLeod, The Corporation Wars: Insurgence
(Orbit Dec 2016)
This is the second book in a trilogy about 20th-century criminals ‘‘resurrected’’ a thousand years in the future by technology and sent to crush a rebellion of sentient robots on a potential colony world 24 light-years from Earth. This twisty series is complex both philosophically and plot-wise, and ‘‘delivers the kind of smart, funny, ingenious, brain-teasing pleasure that one expects from Ken MacLeod.’’ [Russell Letson]
Sarah Pinborough, They Say a Girl Died Here Once
(Earthling Oct 2016)
One of the best writers of dark fiction working today delivers a slow burn of a ghost story/psychological horror novel about a teenage girl who comes to believe the dead are speaking through her grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s… leading her to discover terrible secrets about her hometown.