Jemisin (the Inheritance Trilogy) goes all out with this gripping combination of political intrigue, the supernatural, and a phenomenal new fantasy landscape. In a city-state reminiscent of ancient Egypt, priests commit ritual murder of the corrupt and harvest their dying dreams, which can fuel powerful magic. When an insane prince takes the throne, a young priest must decide whether his devotion is to the state or the dictates of the Goddess—and what to do when they conflict. This captivating tale is sure to appear on next year’s award shortlists.
King adds to the extensive Dark Tower canon with this set of nested stories starring gunslinger Roland Deschain. As Roland seeks the Dark Tower, he tells his companions of a long-ago campaign, where he met a boy and told him a fairy tale about a brave young adventurer tricked into undergoing a dangerous quest. Both new readers and longtime fans will easily fall under Roland’s spell and be thrilled by King’s return to unabashed fantastical writing.
The VanderMeers have heaped enough strange fiction into this mammoth anthology to last readers all summer. Over 100 stories explore the evolution of uncanny and disconcerting literature from the Lovecraftian and the Kafkaesque to the modern subgenres of slipstream and the “new weird.” The astonishing ambition of the project is matched by the top-notch quality of the included works, which come from all over the world and paint a deliciously unsettling picture of human struggles to comprehend the incomprehensible.
Doctor Who: Shada: The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams
Gareth Roberts (Ace)
The seventh season of the new Doctor Who won’t air until autumn, so fans who are jonesing will be glad to fill the gap with Roberts’s smooth adaptation of a 1970s script by the late, great British humorist Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). The Fourth Doctor (as portrayed by Tom Baker) and fan-favorite companions Romana and K-9 visit a retired Time Lord masquerading as a Cambridge professor and are caught up in the fight to control a legendary Time Lord artifact. Roberts adeptly clears up continuity errors while seamlessly meshing his original work with Adam’s trademark whimsy and snappy dialogue.
Multigenre talent Saintcrow (Angel Town) launches a delicious steampunk London adventure series full of magical duels, backstreet chases after mechanically upgraded “flashboys,” battles with giant automatons, and confrontations with ancient wyrms and gigantic gryphons. The male and female leads make a great team without a hint of romantic chemistry, which keeps the focus on action and deduction and will delight younger readers and those who miss the days when Holmes and Watson were nothing more than roommates.