New & Notable Books, January 2019

Ben Aaronovitch, Lies Sleeping (DAW 11/18) Detective Constable (and apprentice wizard) Peter Grant has to deal with some major new developments as he hunts the Faceless Man and ends up confronting an old (very old) foe in this thrilling seventh book in the Rivers of London urban fantasy series. (Published simultaneously in the UK by Gollancz.)


Aliette de Bodard, In the Vanishers’ Palace (JABberwocky Literary Agency 10/18) “Beauty and the Beast” gets a dark, postapocalyptic retelling with an Asian flavor and some lesbian romance, about a failed scholar who finds herself sold to a dragon needing a tutor for her children.


Seth Dickinson, The Monster Baru Cormorant (Tor 10/18) The unstoppable Baru Cormorant is back in this powerful and convoluted epic fantasy novel, sequel to The Traitor Baru Cormorant – but now she’s secretly working for the empire she vowed to destroy, and hoping for a chance to trigger a war that will end the Masquerade.


Andy Duncan, An Agent of Utopia (Small Beer Press 11/18) The latest collection from a popular storyteller known for his unique voice, this presents 12 stories, a selection of some of his best older works plus two new ones.



Alison Goodman, The Dark Days Deceit (Viking 11/18) The conclusion to the Dark Days trilogy of delightful young-adult Regency fantasy novels about Lady Helen, a stylish teen demon hunter. (Published simultaneous by HarperCollins Australia as Lady Helen and the Dark Days Deceit.)


Paula Guran, ed., The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2018 (Prime 10/18) Dark fiction maven (and Locus reviewer) Guran offers 29 stories chosen as the best from 2017, with a diverse range of works by authors old and new including Laird Barron, Jeffrey Ford, Cassandra Khaw, Rebecca Roanhorse, Angela Slatter, and Conrad Williams.


Rich Horton, ed., The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2018 (Prime 8/18) Locus short fiction reviewer Rich Horton presents his selection of the best of 2017 with 34 stories by an impressive roster of writers including Charlie Jane Anders, Tobias S. Buckell, Karen Joy Fowler, Kameron Hurley, Yoon Ha Lee, and Michael Swanwick.


James Patrick Kelly, The Promise of Space (Prime 7/18) Kelly’s latest collection offers 16 stories from the last ten years, one new, and none previously collected, an entertaining mix of varied SF and even fantasy from an author who continually challenges himself, as noted in his afterword: “I try to write as many different kinds of stories as I can. But if there is a theme running through this new collection, it is that I am interrogating assumptions.”

Robert Shearman & Michael Kelly, eds., Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume Five (Undertow 10/18) This year’s-best series focusing on the stranger side of the genre comes to an end with this volume, but for its finale presents an impressive, wide ranging selection of 24 weird stories from 2017, chosen by guest editor Shearman, from a stellar roster of authors including Nadia Bulkin, Brian Evenson, Alison Littlewood, Carmen Maria Machado, and Paul Tremblay.

Charles Stross, The Labyrinth Index ( Publishing 10/18) Stross’s popular Laundry Files series, a Lovecraftian mix of spies, horror, and dark humor, has some fun with international politics in this ninth volume, which finds agents of the former government agency known as the Laundry ordered by the Prime Minister – an avatar of the elder god N’yar Lat’Hotep – to the US, to rescue the missing President. Published simultaneously in the UK by Orbit.

Lavie Tidhar, Unholy Land (Tachyon 10/18) A pulp-fiction writer returns to the land of his birth, the Jewish state of Palestina, created in what was Uganda, in this provocative alternate history novel involving the evils of colonialism, terrorism, and murder. A challenging and disturbing tale, yet still “a wildly inventive and entertaining novel that moves at a breathless gallop.” [Ian Mond]


Martha Wells, Exit Strategy ( Publishing 10/18) The highly popular Murderbot Diaries SF series wraps up with this suspenseful, actionpacked – but still quirkily heartwarming – fourth novella, in which Murderbot, the self-named rogue SecUnit, finally faces off with the corporation that once owned it.


This and more like it in the January 2019 issue of Locus.

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