New & Notable Books, January 2018
Chris Brookmyre, Places in the Darkness (Orbit 11/17) A novelist noted for his mysteries and crime novels (as Christopher Brookmyre), the author here mixes plenty of hard SF with mystery in a complex tale of murder and memory manipulation set on a space station where rival groups build test designs for the great colony ship that will carry mankind to the stars.
S.A. Chakraborty, The City of Brass (Harper Voyager US 11/17) A con woman with unusual talents, surviving in early 19th-century Cairo, accidentally summons a djinn and finds herself in the magical city of Daevabad. This first novel, the first book in the Daevabad trilogy, “bodes well for both the series and the author’s longer career… With its blend of royal politesse, djinnish magic, human loves and fears, and Middle Eastern Machiavellianism, The City of Brass offers pleasures worthy of Scheherazade.” [Paul Di Filippo]
Louise Erdrich, Future Home of the Living God (Harper 11/17) Noted Native American author Erdrich turns to SF for this near-future dystopian thriller in which evolution on Earth runs backwards, governments try to control childbearing as panic spreads, and one pregnant woman struggles to stay free. “Erdrich dismantles strategies, icons, avatars, and tropes from many genres until we see the world anew – past, present, and future.” [Faren Miller]
Michael Kelly, ed., Shadows and Tall Trees 7 (Undertow Publications 4/17) The seventh installment in this acclaimed anthology series presents 19 new stories of weird horror by a notable roster of authors including Brian Evenson, Alison Moore, Nicholas Royle, Simon Strantzas, and Steve Rasnic Tem.
Kari Maaren, Weave a Circle Round (Tor 11/17) A teen who just wants to fade into the background gets some wacky new neighbors and finds herself caught up in time-jumping adventures in this delightfully strange, frequently over-the-top fantasy, an impressive first novel good for all ages.
Helen Marshall & Michael Kelly, eds., Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume Four (Undertow Publications 10/17) The latest volume in this best-of-the-year anthology series gathers 15 weird stories from 2016. The impressive line-up of authors includes Jeffrey Ford, Usman T. Malik, Sam J. Miller, Johanna Sinisalo. and Sarah Tolmie.
K.J. Parker, The Two of Swords: Volume Two (Orbit 11/17) This second volume of three collects parts 9-15 of Parker’s epic serial about war between empires, one of his trademark gritty historicals set in a place that never was, told with snarky wit and unflinching realism from the viewpoints of a fascinating cast of characters.
Tim Powers, Down and Out in Purgatory: The Collected Stories of Tim Powers (Baen 11/17). Powers’s recognized brilliance is amply displayed in this collection of 21 stories – three collaborations with James P. Blaylock – mixing humor, horror, fantasy, and SF.
Tim Pratt, The Wrong Stars (Angry Robot 11/17) Locus‘s own Tim Pratt turns to space opera for this first novel in the Axiom series, involving salvagers who find a centuries-old spaceship with a passenger in cryosleep bearing news of a new, game-changing alien race. “An amazingly good, extremely fun, very satisfying novel… There’s so much entertaining banter, and Pratt keeps the pacing dialled up to eleven.” [Liz Bourke]
Molly Tanzer, Creatures of Will & Temper (John Joseph Adams 11/17) Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray gets a fascinating makeover in this witty Victorian fantasy novel about a female fencer who is recruited by a demon hunter and begins to suspect her own family of dabbling in the dark arts.
James Van Pelt, The Experience Arcade and Other Stories (Fairwood Press 11/17) This latest collection from one of the field’s noted writers of short fiction presents 24 stories written as part of a personal challenge to write one story a week for a year, with notes on the inspirations for and writing of each.
Andy Weir, Artemis (Crown 11/17) Weir heads to the moon for this fast-paced SF thriller following Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara, a savvy woman who turns to smuggling in her struggle to get by in the moon’s tough economy – only to stumble on a conspiracy that threatens her way of life. “A brisk, enjoyable read, with a kick-ass female protagonist who feels real… What you loved about The Martian, you’ll also love about Artemis. [Adrienne Martini]
Conrad Williams, I Will Surround You (Undertow Publications 10/17) This collection of 14 stories, two original, showcases recent, previously uncollected work by an author critically acclaimed for his talent for the dark and weird.
Jane Yolen, The Emerald Circus (Tachyon 11/17) Famous authors from history, literary characters, and bits of Arthurian legend are just some of the acts in this engaging circus of 16 stories, one new. Yolen’s ongoing interest in the way stories evolve is evident in her notes and poems that accompany each of her works.
From the January 2018 issue of Locus Magazine.