Now that we’re at the halfway mark for the year, I thought it would appropriate to point out all the novels coming out from August-December that strike my fancy. I’ll be breaking my posts down by publisher. Below are the novels coming this Fall and Winter from Tor that will be must reads for me. The truth is though, I can’t read them all. So I’ll be looking forward to seeing what interests you.
Here’s what caught my eye:
Black Bottle by Anthony Huso (August)
Tabloids sold in the Duchy of Stonehold claim that the High King, Caliph Howl, has been raised from the dead. His consort, Sena Iilool, both blamed and celebrated for this act, finds that a macabre cult has sprung up around her.
As this news spreads, Stonehold—long considered unimportant—comes to the attention of the emperors in the southern countries. They have learned that the seed of Sena’s immense power lies in an occult book, and they are eager to claim it for their own.
Desparate to protect his people from the southern threat, Caliph is drawn into a summit of the world’s leaders despite the knowledge that it is a trap. As Sena’s bizarre actions threaten to unravel the summit, Caliph watches her slip through his fingers into madness.
But is it really madness? Sena is playing a dangerous game of strategy and deceit as she attempts to outwit a force that has spent millennia preparing for this day. Caliph is the only connection left to her former life, but it’s his blood that Sena needs to see her plans through to their explosive finish.
I read Last Page, Huso’s first novel, when it came out in 2010. I found it fascinating, but would have a hard time recommending it. If I were comparing it to another author I would say it was China Miéville level when it comes to ideas. Unfortunately, the plot was overly cryptic, which led to a great deal of confusion for me as a reader. That said, I have high hopes for Black Bottle. If Huso can get his narrative a little more under control, his work is going to really take off. I already have an early galley of this one and plan to get to it soon.
The Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson (September)
Steven Erikson entered the pantheon of great fantasy writers with his debut Gardens of the Moon. Now Erikson returns with a trilogy that takes place millennia before the events of the Malazan Book of the Fallen.The Forge of Darkness introduces readers to Kurald Galain, the warren of Darkness, and tells an epic tale of a realm whose fate plays a crucial role in shaping the world of the Malazan Empire.
It’s a conflicted time in Kurald Galain, the realm of Darkness, where Mother Dark reigns. But this ancient land was once home to many a power… and even death is not quite eternal. The commoners’ great hero, Vatha Urusander, is being promoted by his followers to take Mother Dark’s hand in marriage, but her Consort, Lord Draconus, stands in the way of such ambitions. The impending clash sends fissures throughout the realm, and as the rumors of civil war burn through the masses, an ancient power emerges from the long dead seas. Caught in the middle of it all are the First Sons of Darkness, Anomander, Andarist, and Silchas Ruin of the Purake Hold.
I would put anything Erikson writes, particularly in the Malazan universe, in the no-shit-I’m-reading-this category. I include it in this post because I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who haven’t read Erikson yet who find the ten book Malazan Book of the Fallen series daunting. Forge of Darkness is a brand new series and I hope will be a nice place for people to start finding out what the hype is about.
The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi (September)
A physicist receives a mysterious paper. The ideas in it are far, far ahead of current thinking and quite, quite terrifying. In a city of “fast ones,” shadow players, and jinni, two sisters contemplate a revolution.
And on the edges of reality a thief, helped by a sardonic ship, is trying to break into a Schrödinger box for his patron. In the box is his freedom. Or not.
Jean de Flambeur is back. And he’s running out of time.
In Hannu Rajaniemi’s sparkling follow-up to the critically-acclaimed international sensation The Quantum Thief, he returns to his awe-inspiring vision of the universe…and we discover what the future held for Earth.
Like Huso’s Black Bottle, Fractal Prince is the sequel to a novel from 2010 (in the UK) that excelled for its vision. Quantum Thief was well received by some and loathed by others. Hard science fiction merged with detective noir, the whole plot was layered in murk. Time shifting, identity shifting, and gobs of neologisms make it a mind bending read. Damn me if I didn’t love it. I’m looking forward to Rajaniemi’s second book even if it doesn’t cut through some of the crap. But, if it does… award winner.
Trent McCauley is sixteen, brilliant, and obsessed with one thing: making movies on his computer by reassembling footage from popular films he downloads from the net. In the dystopian near-future Britain where Trent is growing up, this is more illegal than ever; the punishment for being caught three times is that your entire household’s access to the internet is cut off for a year, with no appeal.
Trent’s too clever for that too happen. Except it does, and it nearly destroys his family. Shamed and shattered, Trent runs away to London, where he slowly he learns the ways of staying alive on the streets. This brings him in touch with a demimonde of artists and activists who are trying to fight a new bill that will criminalize even more harmless internet creativity, making felons of millions of British citizens at a stroke.
Things look bad. Parliament is in power of a few wealthy media conglomerates. But the powers-that-be haven’t entirely reckoned with the power of a gripping movie to change people’s minds….
If I’m being honest, the only reason I’m interested in Pirate Cinema is because Doctorow wrote it. And I’m only interested in Doctorow because I’ve never read him. His books don’t really make me want to read them, but a lot of people seem to love his work. As a blogger, I feel compelled to see what’s going on behind the curtain, so to speak.
Only Superhuman by Christopher L. Bennett (October)
2107 AD: A generation ago, Earth and the cislunar colonies banned genetic and cybernetic modifications. But out in the Asteroid Belt, anything goes. Dozens of flourishing space habitats are spawning exotic new societies and strange new varieties of humans. It’s a volatile situation that threatens the peace and stability of the entire solar system.
Emerald Blair is a Troubleshooter. Inspired by the classic superhero comics of the twentieth century, she’s joined with other mods to try to police the unruly Asteroid Belt. But her loyalties are tested when she finds herself torn between rival factions of superhumans with very different agendas. Emerald wants to put her special abilities to good use, but what do you do when you can’t tell the heroes from the villains?
Only Superhuman is a rollicking hard-sf adventure set in a complex and fascinating future.
A tale of intrigue, a murdered god, and the business of necromancy: an urban fantasy set in an alternate reality
A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.
Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will riot.
Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in. Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an understandable crisis of faith.
When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope of survival.
Set in a phenomenally built world in which justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.
This is probably my most anticipated debut of the year. The color is absolutely tremendous and not just the art. I love the type setting and the location of everything. It’s perfect. Read that blurb too, it sounds like an acid trip of awesome ideas. I’m in.
Peace by Gene Wolfe
Originally published in 1975, Peace is a spellbinding, brilliant tour de force of the imagination. The melancholy memoir of Alden Dennis Weer, an embittered old man living out his last days in a small midwestern town, the novel reveals a miraculous dimension as the narrative unfolds. For Weer’s imagination has the power to obliterate time and reshape reality, transcending even death itself. Powerfully moving and uncompromisingly honest, Peace ranks alongside the finest literary works of our time.
Hailed as “one of the literary giants of SF” by the Denver Post, Gene Wolfe has repeatedly won the field’s highest honors, including the Nebula, the Hugo, and the World Fantasy awards. Peace is Gene Wolfe’s first full-length novel, a work that shows the genius that later flourished in such acclaimed works as The Fifth Head of Cerberus and The Book of The New Sun.