New & Notable Books, December 2018
Dale Bailey, In the Night Wood (John Joseph Adams 10/18) This tale of literary horror concerns Erin, the descendant of a famous children’s book author, who inherits the family estate. In mourning with her husband over the loss of their daughter, things get worse when they begin to see a grim figure from her ancestor’s book. “The prose is genuinely good, the setting is genuinely creepy, and the hints of a deeper, more complicated mythology that run through the book are legitimately numinous.” [Lila Garrott]
Steve Berman, ed. Wilde Stories 2018: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction (Lethe 10/18) This final volume in the Lambda Award-winning annual anthology series gathers 15 stories of SF about gay characters and themes published in 2017, with work by authors including include Richard Bowes, John Chu, Greg Egan, Rich Larson, Sam J. Miller, and Karin Lowachee, among others.
Selena Chambers & Jason Heller, eds. Mechanical Animals: Tales at the Crux of Creatures and Tech (Hex 10/18) This offbeat and enjoyable anthology includes 19 stories (16 original) and two novel excerpts about mechanical animals. Authors include Nick Mamatas, An Owomoyela, Delia Sherman, Molly Tanzer, and Carrie Vaughn, with an introduction by Mike Libby and an essay by Jess Nevins.
Imraan Coovadia, A Spy in Time (California Coldblood 8/18) This ingenious Afrofuturist thriller by a South African author concerns fledgling time agent Enver Eleven, sent back to Marrakesh in 1955 to prevent the apocalypse. A group of rival time travelers bent on spreading chaos kidnaps Eleven’s handler, forcing the young agent to crisscross the timestream from 1967 Rio to 2271 Johannesburg and points beyond to save the world, in his time and others.
Gardner Dozois, ed. The Book of Magic (Bantam 10/18) This anthology by the late editor is a worthy addition to his influential body of work, featuring 17 fantasy stories about magic with work by Eleanor Arnason, Elizabeth Bear, John Crowley, Megan Lindholm, K.J. Parker, Tim Powers, and more. “A terrific example of Dozois’s flawless eye for such tales, and a sad sign of what we’ll be missing.” [Gary K. Wolfe]
T.E. Grau, I Am the River (Lethe 10/18) Grau is well known for his dark fiction, and many horror aficionados have eagerly awaited his debut novel. This hallucinatory historical work is set during and after the Vietnam War, and concerns an American soldier who returns to the jungles of Laos after the war to face his demons.
Charlaine Harris, An Easy Death (Saga 10/18) This alternate-history fantasy Western launches a new series about mercenary gunslinger Gunnie Rose, working in the magic-haunted country of Texoma – once US territory, before the assassination of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Great Depression shattered the country.
Derek Künsken, The Quantum Magician (Solaris 10/18) This debut novel SF by an acclaimed writer is fast-paced and full of eyeball kicks and big ideas. Our hero Belisarius is a Homo quantus, engineered with the ability to see into the quantum realm – a knack that gives him the necessary edge to become the greatest thief and con artist in the galaxy. “A fat, fun SF heist-thriller… a readable, eventful adventure narrative in which the jinks are hi- and the pretentions are low.” [Adam Roberts]
Richard K. Morgan, Thin Air (Del Rey 10/18) Thin Air is a triumphant return to Morgan’s SF noir/thriller mode, about Hakan Veil, an ex-corporate enforcer on Mars, who takes on a job as a bodyguard that becomes a lot more complex than anticipated. “If you ever imagined that the core esthetics and themes of cyberpunk… were played out, Thin Air will set you straight, and kick your butt in the process.” [Paul Di Filippo]
Alec Nevala-Lee, Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction (Dey Street 10/15) Scholar Nevala-Lee delved deep into archives, unpublished correspondence, and interviews to create meticulously researched work, a critical history of the development of American SF from 1907-1971 that also serves as a compelling biography of legendary editor and author John W. Campbell, Jr. “More than a biography, his book is a recreation of the dawn of modern science fiction and the lives of writers who made their greatest impact on it… an excellent contribution to science fiction studies.” [Stephen Dziemianowicz]
Infinity’s End, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Solaris 7/18) Locus‘s own Jonathan Strahan concludes his long-running original anthology Infinity Project series with this seventh volume featuring 14 stories set in our solar system. Contributors include Stephen Baxter, Paul McAuley, Seanan McGuire, Alastair Reynolds, Justina Robson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Peter Watts, Fran Wilde, and more. “A very strong book, and these volumes stand with the very best original anthology series ever in the field.” [Rich Horton]
Sonya Taaffe, Forget the Sleepless Shores (Lethe 10/18) This second collection by the celebrated poet and story writer features 22 stories, including one original. “It shouldn’t be missed: the stories are beautifully written… the characters are affectingly limned, and the mysterious impinges on the mundane to great effect.” [Rich Horton]
Bogi Takács, ed. Transcendent 3: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction (Lethe 10/18) This year’s best volume collects 19 of the finest stories about transgender themes published in 2017, with authors including Charlie Jane Anders, Indrapramit Das, Yoon Ha Lee, Rivers Solomon, and K.M. Szpara, plus a foreword by the editor.
From the December 2018 issue of Locus.
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