Readers immersed in the raging debates over the future of speculative fiction should take a break from social media and hit the bookstores. The future is already here, and it’s a glorious mélange of global perspectives and fresh ideas.
Cixin Liu (as his name is styled for American audiences) is one of China’s most popular science fiction authors and the winner of eight Galaxy Awards. The Three-Body Problem, a near-future SF adventure, is the first of his novels to be made available in English. It’s translated by Chinese-American SF/F author Ken Liu, winner of the 2012 Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award for short fiction.
Amish Tripathi’s Shiva trilogy is based on Indian mythology and legend, following the travels and tribulations of Shiva in the land of Meluha, also known as the Indus Valley, in 1900 B.C.E. The trilogy has sold millions of copies on the Indian subcontinent, and volume one, The Immortals of Meluha, lands in U.S. stores this winter.
Canadian-Australian Karen Miller, a prominent author of epic fantasy at home and abroad, opens a major trilogy with The Falcon Throne. Miller’s work has received the Tiptree Award for its powerful treatment of female characters, and this story of stolen crowns and warring empires promises to continue shaking up the genre.
After breaking onto the scene with a much-lauded fantasy novel, Redemption in Indigo, Barbadian author Karen Lord turned to science fiction with The Best of All Possible Worlds. Her third novel, The Galaxy Game, combines elements of the two genres: a school for youngsters with psychic powers, futuristic sports, and battles in space. On the other end of the speculative spectrum, renowned Finnish author Johanna Sinisalo tackles contemporary ecological concerns with The Blood of Angels, in which the disappearance of bees may herald the end of the world.
American-Canadian author William Gibson goes back to futurism with his first indisputably science-fictional novel since the Bridge trilogy of the 1990s. He’s hit bestseller lists over the past decade with the contemporary Blue Ant trilogy, and those readers may well follow him into the 2040s and beyond for The Peripheral, a story about the intersections of poverty, power, and technology.
Another long-awaited novel is Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Assassin, her first Farseer book in a decade. Past protagonist FitzChivalry Farseer is middle-aged and contentedly retired from his career as an assassin, but when the past catches up with him, he goes back on the road for another epic fantasy adventure full of intriguing characters. Hobb’s readers will gobble it up and look for more; fortunately, it’s the first of a trilogy.
When Cherie Priest announced the conclusion of her popular Clockwork Century series of American steampunk novels, her fans hoped she might return to dark historical fantasy like her Eden Moore books. Those hopes were not in vain: Maplecroft opens a series in which Lizzie Borden wields her axe against the forces of evil.
This season’s debut authors are some exciting experimental genre-blenders. Rajan Khanna’s Falling Sky flies airships over postapocalyptic North America, where the air is the only place to escape the infected hordes. Karina Sumner-Smith’s Radiant mixes a ghost story and a harsh lesson about haves and have-nots into an urban fantasy tale of a woman with no magic in a world that depends on it.
In a sign of the changing times, Pyr and Talos are explicitly promoting Khanna’s racially diverse cast and Sumner-Smith’s strong heroines. As speculative fiction’s edges and divisions continue to blur, it’s not entirely clear where the genre is headed, but it sure isn’t standing still.
PW’s Top 10: SF, Fantasy & Horror
The Blood of Angels. Johanna Sinisalo. Peter Owen, Oct. 1
The Falcon Throne. Karen Miller. Orbit, Sept. 16
Falling Sky. Rajan Khanna. Pyr, Oct. 7
Fool’s Assassin. Robin Hobb. Del Rey, Aug. 12
The Galaxy Game. Karen Lord. Del Rey, Jan. 6
The Immortals of Meluha. Amish Tripathi. Quercus/Jo Fletcher, Dec. 2
Maplecroft. Cherie Priest. Roc, Sept. 2
The Peripheral. William Gibson. Putnam, Oct. 28
Radiant. Karina Sumner-Smith. Skyhorse/Talos, Sept. 2
The Three-Body Problem. Cixin Liu, trans. by Ken Liu. Tor, Oct. 14
Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Listings
Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs (Sept. 2, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-425-26500-0). Mercy Thompson returns in this collection of new and reprinted paranormal stories from bestseller Briggs.
The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter (Sept. 2, paper, $15, ISBN 978-0-425-27245-9). This fantasy debut, set in Regency England, introduces readers to magical Merlin College.
Unborn by Amber Lynn Natusch (Aug. 26, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-4778-2429-0). From the bestselling author of Caged comes a dark new supernatural tale about a beautiful Underworld refugee haunted by her mysterious past, and the fallen angel who must save her.
The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan (Sept. 23, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-345-54502-2). A widowed illusionist returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where the magic of her ancestors lingers.
The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman (Oct. 7, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-425-27261-9). Horror author Buehlman explores the dark secrets of New York City’s subways in 1978.
The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander (Oct. 7, paper, $15, ISBN 978-0-8041-4068-3) is a debut fantasy that blends a modern-day tale of magicians who cheat death with a historical story of alchemists, witches, and demonic possession.
City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (Sept. 9, paper, $15, ISBN 978-0-8041-3717-1) is a densely atmospheric and intrigue-filled fantasy novel of living spies, dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, ever-changing city.
Closer to Home: Book One of Herald Spy by Mercedes Lackey (Oct. 7, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-7564-0899-2). Lackey expands her popular Valdemar setting with this opener to a new sub-series.
The Abyss Beyond Dreams: Chronicle of the Fallers by Peter F. Hamilton (Oct. 21, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-345-54719-4). Hamilton returns to the universe of his acclaimed Void Trilogy with the first novel in a duology.
The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord (Jan. 6, paper, $15, ISBN 978-0-345-53407-1). Lord’s new stand-alone novel combines futuristic sports and psychic powers in a galaxy-spanning story.
Half the World by Joe Abercrombie (Jan. 20, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-8041-7842-6) continues the epic fantasy story begun in Half a King.
Fool’s Assassin: Book One of the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy by Robin Hobb (Aug. 12, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-553-39242-5) is Hobb’s first Farseer novel in a decade, and the adventure and intrigue are as electrifying and mesmerizing as ever.
The Dark Defiles by Richard K. Morgan (Oct. 7, paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-345-49310-1) concludes the Land Fit for Heroes trilogy with a dark fantasy story of blood and battle.
Visions: A Cainsville Novel by Kelley Armstrong (Aug. 19, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-525-95305-0). Armstrong follows Omens with a second novel of supernatural intrigue.
The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith (Jan. 13, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4555-0212-7). The inimitable Grahame-Smith follows Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter with a new supernatural take on American history. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
The Missing by Sarah Beth Durst (Nov. 25, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0-7783-1712-8) is the sequel to The Lost.
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City of Endless Night by Milo M. Hastings (Oct. 1, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-84391-505-8) is a disturbing dystopian vision of a terrifying alternate ending to WWI.
Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, edited by Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer (Sept. 9, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-220469-1) collects stories set in the near future and drawing on the optimism and iconic visions of the golden age of science fiction. 35,000-copy announced first printing.
The Alliance: A Registry Novel by Shannon Stoker (Sept. 2, paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-0-06-227176-1) is the explosive final installment in Shannon Stoker’s Registry trilogy, in which a brave young woman risks her life and liberty to spark a revolution. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Open Road Media
The Genome by Sergei Lukyanenko (Dec. 2, paper, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-4976-4396-3) is a new far-future thriller by the author of Night Watch.
Symbiont by Mira Grant (Nov. 25, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-316-21899-3) is the second novel in a near-future science fiction trilogy by bestseller Grant, following the Hugo Award–nominated Parasite. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
War Dogs by Greg Bear (Oct. 14, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-316-07283-0). Bestseller Bear returns with the first book in a thrilling new military space adventure. 35,000-copy announced first printing.
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (Oct. 7, paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-316-24665-1) is the exciting sequel to Ancillary Justice, winner of the Nebula, Clarke, and BSFA Awards. 25,000-copy announced first printing.
The Free by Brian Ruckley (Oct. 14, paper, $15, ISBN 978-0-316-23349-1). From the bestselling author of Winterbirth comes an exciting new epic fantasy. 20,000-copy announced first printing.
The Falcon Throne by Karen Miller (Sept. 16, hardcover, $20, ISBN 978-0-316-12008-1). Australian author Miller has written her most ambitious fantasy novel to date. 30,000-copy announced first printing.
The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks (Aug. 26, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-316-07992-1). Weeks continues his popular Lightbringer epic fantasy series. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
The Innocence Device by William Kowalski (Sept. 1, paper, $9.95, ISBN 978-1-4598-0748-8). In a dystopian future where there are only prisoners and guards, a young man survives an uprising and stumbles toward the freedom he’s never known.
Horror Stories: Classic Tales from Hoffmann to Hodgson, edited by Darryl Jones (Oct. 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-19-968543-1) collects 29 of the greatest horror stories from around the globe.
(dist. by IPG)
Final Days by Gary Gibson (Sept. 28, paper, $13.95, ISBN 978-0-330-51969-4). It’s 2235 and through the advent of wormhole technology, more than a dozen interstellar colonies have been linked to Earth—but this new mode of transportation comes at a price.
The Broken Isles by Mark Charan Newton (Sept. 28, paper, $12.95, ISBN 978-0-330-52168-0) concludes Newton’s epic series about a civilization on the brink of collapse.
dist. by IPG)
The Blood of Angels by Johanna Sinisalo (Oct. 1, paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-0-7206-1004-8). The disappearance of bees may herald the end of the world in this ecothriller from the acclaimed Finnish author.
Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong (Oct. 28, paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-452-29834-7) collects rare and never-before-published short stories with characters from Armstrong’s bestselling Otherworld series.
The Peripheral by William Gibson (Oct. 28, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-399-15844-5) is a gripping novel about war and poverty in America’s near and far futures.
Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna (Oct. 7, paper, $17, ISBN 978-1-61614-982-6). This fresh and fast-paced take on a postapocalyptic near-future North America pairs steampunk airships with swashbuckling action and a racially diverse cast.
Sword of the Bright Lady by M.C. Planck (Sept. 9, paper, $18, ISBN 978-1-61614-988-8). In this flintlock fantasy, a 21st-century man accidentally stumbles through a portal into a world of magic.
Jala’s Mask by Mike Grinti and Rachel Grinti (Nov. 4, paper, $18, ISBN 978-1-61614-978-9) is a stand-alone fantasy novel of romance and adventure set in a unique, non-Western world filled with sorcery, strange gods, and magical ships.
Grudgebearer by J.F. Lewis (Sept. 2, paper, $18, ISBN 978-1-61614-984-0) is a coming-of-age tale, a quest, and a portrait of an individual in conflict with society.
Scarlet Tides by David Hair (Oct. 7, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-62365-829-8) is the sequel to Hair’s acclaimed debut, Mage’s Blood.
The Immortals of Meluha: The Shiva Trilogy, Book 1 by Amish Tripathi (Dec. 2, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-62365-143-5) is the first part of a thriller-fantasy retelling of the life of the Hindu god Shiva.
The Guard by Peter Terrin and David Colmer (Jan. 6, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-62365-900-4) is a tense and psychological dystopian novel.
Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix (Sept. 23, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-59474-526-3) is a traditional haunted house story in a contemporary setting, packaged in the form of a retail catalogue.
House Immortal by Devon Monk (Sept. 2, paper, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-451-46736-2) is a thrilling, genre-crossing new series from a popular urban fantasist.
Maplecroft: The Borden Dispatches by Cherie Priest (Sept. 2, paper, $15, ISBN 978-0-451-46697-6). In this chilling new dark fantasy series from the bestselling author of Boneshaker, Lizzie Borden is recast as a hero, struggling to protect the world from a dark and unspeakable evil.
The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women, edited by Alex Daily MacFarlane (Dec. 2, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0-7624-5470-9). This anthology showcases exceptional science fiction stories written by women, including longtime stars like Ursula K. Le Guin and Nancy Kress as well as new award-winning talents.
Of Bone and Thunder by Chris Evans (Oct. 14, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-4516-7931-1). Apocalypse Now meets The Lord of the Rings in a bold new fantasy from the acclaimed author of the Iron Elves trilogy.
The Deep by Nick Cutter (Jan. 13, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4767-1773-9). From the acclaimed author of The Troop comes a new and terrifying novel.
A Vision of Fire by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin (Oct. 7, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-4767-7652-1). X-Files star Anderson debuts her first novel with coauthor Rovin, a speculative thriller about a child psychologist whose young patient’s violent visions may have supernatural implications.
Stories of the Raksura, Vol. One: The Falling World & The Tale of Indigo and Cloud by Martha Wells (Sept. 2, paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-1-59780-535-3). Two novellas draw readers into the splendid world of the Raksura. 12,000-copy announced first printing.
Bring Me Flesh, I’ll Bring Hell by Martin Rose (Oct. 7, paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-1-940456-09-6). A decomposing PI searches for a lost child who may be his own son—the boy he thought he’d killed. Arcana by Jessica Leake (Nov. 4, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-940456-14-0). A young woman’s society debut in 1905 London is overshadowed by her developing magical abilities. 10,000-copy announced first printing.
Radiant: Towers Trilogy, Book One by Karina Sumner-Smith (Sept. 2, paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-1-940456-10-2). A woman without magic in a magical world has only one talent: her ability to see ghosts.
Prophecies, Libels & Dreams: Stories by Ysabeau S. Wilce (Oct. 14, paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-61873-089-3) is the first collection of stories from Califa, the alternate California explored in Wilce’s sparking and baroque novels.
Young Woman in a Garden: Stories by Delia Sherman (Nov. 11, paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-61873-091-6). Sherman’s long-awaited first collection selects the best stories from 25+ years of writing about ghosts, fairies, artists, and even a merman.
The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly Messinger (Dec. 2, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-250-03898-2) is a fast-paced historical fantasy set in the rich world of the American West, featuring a Civil War veteran who can see ghosts.
The Godless: Children, Book One by Ben Peek (Aug. 19, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-250-05002-1). A former shop clerk with magic powers joins steadfast mercenaries and would-be gods in defense of her adopted homeland.
Hawk by Steven Brust (Oct. 7, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-2444-3). Brust’s newest Vlad Taltos novel features Vlad’s return to his homeland in the midst of great danger.
The Whispering Swarm: Book One of The Sanctuary of the White Friars by Michael Moorcock (Nov. 25, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-2477-1). The celebrated fantasist’s first novel in nearly a decade takes readers to a time-twisted realm hidden in the byways of London.
The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, trans. by Ken Liu (Oct. 14, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-7706-7) is a broad-scope near-future adventure from China’s most popularscience fiction writer.
Exo by Steven Gould (Sept. 9, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-3654-5). Gould returns to the world of his classic novel Jumper in this sequel to Impulse, blending the drama of high school with world-shattering consequences for the misuse of power.
Willful Child by Steven Erikson (Nov. 4, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-7489-9) is a new novel of devil-may-care adventures through the infinite vastness of interstellar space.