Authors are creating near futures that are both glorious and grim, exciting and terrifying. Here and now, nothing feels certain—and as we learned in the atomic age, uncertain times give rise to some splendid speculative fiction.
SF, Fantasy & Horror Top 10
David J. Schow. Subterranean, Mar. 1
Schow is a renowned and multitalented horror writer, filmmaker, and film historian, and this excellently chilling compilation of his short stories and personal reminiscences covers the entire horror genre.
The Doomed City
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, trans. from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield. Chicago Review, July 1
This is the first English translation of one of the Strugatsky brothers’ most famous novels, which was published during perestroika in the late 1980s. An experimental city is populated by people plucked randomly from the 20th century and left to govern themselves.
Joe Hill. Morrow, May 17
A plague that causes people to burst into flames is spreading across the U.S. in Hill’s gripping mid-apocalyptic novel.
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
Lois McMaster Bujold. Baen, Feb. 2
Bujold builds on her immensely successful Vorkosigan series with this sparkling science-fiction social comedy, as the far-reaching effects of galactic technology change all the old rules.
Simone Zelitch. Tor, June 21
Zelitch’s fascinating, troubling parable of an alternate Israel is set in the sovereign state of Judenstaat, which borders Germany, Poland, and the Soviet Union.
League of Dragons
Naomi Novik. Del Rey, May 10
Novik concludes her renowned historical fantasy series with an exciting final showdown, in which English naval officer Capt. William Laurence and his fearless dragon, Temeraire, face off against Napoleon and his forces.
Matt Ruff. Harper, Feb. 16
This timely rumination on racism in America refracts an African-American family’s brush with supernatural horrors through the prism of life in the Jim Crow years of the mid-20th century.
A Natural History of Hell
Jeffrey Ford. Small Beer, July 12
These stories explore the vicissitudes of life, death, and the spaces in between. Ford’s exhilarating visions drag the reader in like an irresistible undertow.
United States of Japan
Peter Tieryas. Angry Robot, Mar. 1
Tieryas follows Bald New World with another close examination of culture and unspoken assumptions. In this alternate history, the Axis won WWII and now, in the late 1980s, the Japanese Empire rules over the western U.S. But a game censor and an imperial government agent discover truths about the empire that make them question their loyalty.
Pedro Cabiya, trans. from the Spanish by Jessica Powell. Mandel Vilar, Apr. 27
A Caribbean zombie who’s a top executive at an important pharmaceutical company becomes obsessed with finding a chemical cure for his unwholesome condition in this complex, surreal novel from one of Latin America’s literary stars.
SF, Fantasy & Horror Listings
Arena by Holly Jennings (Apr. 5, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-101-98876-3). Kali Ling is chosen to be the first female captain in the RAGE tournaments—the Virtual Gaming League’s elite competition—but when one of her teammates overdoses, she discovers the VGL hides darks secrets. 35,000-copy announced first printing.
Night Shift by Charlaine Harris (May 3, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-425-26322-8). In the third novel in Harris’s New York Times bestselling Midnight, Texas, series, resident vampire Lemuel discovers why witches and werewolves, killers and psychics, have been drawn to the remote town. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
New Charity Blues by Camille Griep (Apr. 12, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-5039-5120-4). In the City, people scrabble for scraps in the wasteland. The city of New Charity enjoys the bounty of its hydroelectric dam and refuses City denizens so much as a drop of precious water. In this intense and emotional reimagining of the Trojan War epic, two women clash when loyalty, identity, community, and family are all put to the ultimate test.
The Phoenix Descent by Chuck Grossart (Mar. 15, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-5039-4575-3). The first Mars mission gets lost in time and returns to a dead Earth in an alternate year 2025, where daylight harbors the stuff of nightmares.
(dist. by PRH)
United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas (Mar. 1, trade paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-0-85766-533-1). The Axis won WWII and now, in the late 1980s, the Japanese Empire rules over the western United States, its power assured by technological superiority. When a video game emerges that posits a world where the allies won, a game censor and an imperial government agent discover truths about the empire that make them question their loyalty.
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold (Feb. 2, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4767-8122-8) builds on the author’s immensely successful Vorkosigan series with this sparkling science fiction social comedy, as the far-reaching effects of galactic technology change all the old rules.
The Seer by Sonia Lyris (Mar. 1, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-1-4767-8126-6). In Lyris’s debut, a poor young woman rises to the heights of a crumbling empire, where she must speak hard truth to power in order to save a world from chaos.
Ex-Isle by Peter Clines (Feb. 2, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-0-553-41831-6) is the fifth adventure in the genre-busting Ex-Heroes series. In the days after civilization fell to the zombie hordes, a small team of heroes built a stronghold against the undead and brought the last humans they could gather within its walls. Now every day is a desperate battle against overwhelming odds.
(dist. by IPG)
Spindles: Short Stories from the Science of Sleep, edited by Penelope Lewis and Ra Page (Feb. 1, trade paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-1-905583-69-0). The science of sleep is changing, and this anthology incorporates new theories and discoveries into fiction, while staying in touch with the age-old mythology that still surrounds and informs our understanding of sleep.
The Doomed City by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, trans. from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield (July 1, trade paper, $18.99, ISBN 978-1-6137-4993-7), is the first English translation of one of the Strugatsky brothers’ most famous novels, published during perestroika in the late 1980s. It’s set in an experimental city whose sun gets switched on in the morning and switched off at night, populated by people who were plucked randomly from the 20th century and left to govern themselves.
The Courier by Gerald Brandt (Mar. 1, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-7564-1139-8). In the near future, California has been turned into a seven-level corporation-ruled city that stretches from San Francisco to the Mexican border. After a courier witnesses the murder of one of her clients, she’s stuck with a mysterious package that everyone seems to want. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Morning Star by Pierce Brown (Feb. 9, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-345-53984-7) concludes the Red Rising trilogy, in which the human underclass on Mars rebels against the ruling elites.
League of Dragons by Naomi Novik (May 10, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-345-52292-4) concludes Novik’s renowned historical fantasy series with a final showdown, in which English naval officer Capt. William Laurence and his fearless dragon, Temeraire, face off against Napoleon and his forces.
The Devourers by Indra Das (July 12, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-101-96751-5). The Last Werewolf meets Interview with the Vampire in this hauntingly dark, literary fantasy debut about a young historian and a persuasive and beguiling stranger coming together in modern-day Kolkata, India, to transcribe an ancient journal.
Freenet by Steve Stanton (Apr. 12, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-77041-229-3). This nuanced story about artificial intelligence and digital immortality plunges readers into the far future, when wormhole tunnels run between interplanetary colonies, consciousness has been digitized, information is currency, and the truth belongs to whoever has the most bandwidth.
The Long Cosmos by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (June 14, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-229737-2). The thrilling conclusion to the internationally bestselling Long Earth series explores the greatest question of all: what is the meaning of life?
Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff (Feb. 16, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-229206-3). The critically acclaimed cult novelist makes visceral the terrors of life in Jim Crow America and its lingering effects in this brilliant and wondrous work of the imagination that melds historical fiction, pulp noir, and Lovecraftian horror and fantasy.
The Perdition Score by Richard Kadrey (June 28, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-237326-7). Sandman Slim returns in a stunning, high-octane thriller filled with intense kick-ass action and inventive fantasy.
The Weaver by Emmi Itäranta (May 24, trade paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-0-06-232617-1). The author of the acclaimed Memory of Water returns with this literary ecological tale, in which an innocent young woman becomes entangled in a web of ancient secrets and deadly lies that form the dark center of her prosperous island world.
Inkshares/Sword & Laser
(dist. by IPS)
Asteroid Made of Dragons by G. Derek Adams (June 14, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-1-941758-73-1). A lone goblin researcher has stumbled across an artifact of mysterious import that delivers a terrifying message: an asteroid made of dragons is approaching. When it falls, the planet will be plunged into nuclear winter—and there will also be many angry dragons wandering around nursing concussions.
Whistling Past the Graveyard and Other Stories by Jonathan Maberry (July 22, trade paper, $18.95, ISBN 978-1-942712-67-1). Creepy tales of horror, suspense, adventure, and mystery take readers to the troubled little town of Pine Deep, feudal Japan, the angry red planet of John Carter of Mars, and a land of nightmares.
The Night Parade by Ronald Malfi (July 26, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-1-4967-0386-6). Wanderer’s Folly—a disease of delusions, of daydreams and nightmares—is threatening to wipe out the human race, and an eight-year-old girl may be the key to a cure.
Wicked Weeds by Pedro Cabiya, trans. from the Spanish by Jessica Powell (Apr. 27, trade paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-942134-11-4). A Caribbean zombie who’s a top executive at an important pharmaceutical company becomes obsessed with finding a chemical cure for his unwholesome condition. His story is chronicled by Isadore Bellamy, a Haitian ethnobotanist whose personal history intersects with that of the nameless main character.
The Fireman by Joe Hill (May 17, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-220063-1). A plague that causes people to burst into flames is spreading across the U.S. An infected pregnant woman’s only hope is the Fireman, one of the afflicted, who has learned to control the fire within himself.
The Best Science Fiction of the Year, Vol. 1, edited by Neil Clarke (June 7, trade paper, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-59780-854-5). Hugo and World Fantasy Award–winning editor Clarke launches an annual compilation of the genre’s best short fiction.
The Root by Na’amen Tilahun (June 7, trade paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-1-59780-863-7) is a dark, gritty urban fantasy debut set in modern-day San Francisco, filled with gods, sinister government agencies, and worlds of dark magic hidden just below the surface.
Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey (June 14, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-316-33474-7). In the sixth novel of the interplanetary Expanse series, now a Syfy television series, the new alliances are as flawed as the old, and the struggle for power has only just begun. As the chaos grows, an alien mystery deepens. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky (Feb. 16, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-316-34718-1). In Brodsky’s impressive debut, beginning the Olympus Bound series, the Greek gods walk the streets of New York City, much faded since their glory days of millennia past. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
The Spider’s War by Daniel Abraham (Mar. 8, trade paper, $16.99, ISBN 978-0-316-20405-7). Three unlikely heroes are faced with the impossible task of bringing a lasting peace to their lands. Their tools: traitors high in the imperial army, the last survivor of the dragon empire, and a financial scheme that is either a revolution or the greatest fraud in the history of the world. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Version Control by Dexter Palmer (Feb. 23, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-307-90759-2). Philip’s decade-long dedication to building a causality violation device (which he would greatly prefer you do not call a “time machine”) has effectively stalled his career and made him a laughingstock in the physics community. But he may be closer to success than he expects.
Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak (Mar. 1, trade paper, $18, ISBN 978-1-63388-136-5). In a Prohibition-era Chicago where magic is a secret from the general populace, a paranormal investigator protects humans from supernatural threats while navigating gangs and police.
Masks and Shadows by Stephanie Burgis (Apr. 12, trade paper, $17, ISBN 978-1-63388-132-7). Music, magic, and blackmail mingle in a plot to assassinate the Habsburg emperor and empress in a fantasy version of the Hungarian palace Esterháza, the “Hungarian Versailles,” where alchemy is a tool for political gain.
Albina and the Dog-Men by Alejandro Jodorowsky, trans. from the Spanish by Alfred MacAdam (Mar. 29, trade paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-1-63206-054-9). This darkly funny, surreal novel set in Chile and Peru is a sprawling modern myth in which sexual desire appears as a dangerous and generative force that mutates and transforms, unraveling identities and rending the social and moral fabric of a small town.
Admiral by Sean Danker (May 3, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-451-47579-4). Four military personnel awake to find themselves on a dead ship on an unknown planet with no knowledge of how they got there—and they are not alone. 35,000-copy announced first printing.
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (June 14, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-1-101-98864-0). The first novel in Cogman’s Invisible Library series, previously published in the U.K., features time-traveling librarian spies. 30,000-copy announced first printing.
The Devil’s Serenade by Catherine Cavendish (Apr. 5, e-book, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-260-0). When Maddie inherits her Aunt Charlotte’s crumbling mansion, repressed memories stir of the summer she turned 16. She has barely moved in before a series of bizarre events drives her to question her sanity. Gradually, Maddie begins to recall that terrifying summer and must face the long-dead builder of the house.
Santa Fe Writers Project
(dist. by PGW)
Ordination: Book One of the Paladin trilogy by Daniel M Ford (June 1, trade paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-939650-34-4). For generations, warlords fought bitterly for dominance in a land without a king. Allystaire Coldbourne travels a treacherous path toward his Ordination as a holy knight of legend, but to fulfill this role, he—and the unexpected allies he finds along the way—must face the demonic, sorcerous evil that stalks the land, the wrath of gods and men, and his own dark past.
Borderline by Mishell Baker (Mar. 1, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-481453-06-6). A cynical, paraplegic screenwriter with borderline personality disorder gets recruited to join a secret organization that oversees relations between Hollywood and Fairyland in the first book of a new urban fantasy series.
A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly
(Feb. 2, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-481410-33-5). Two young sorcerers experiment with magic and mobsters during 1920s Prohibition, when a startling discovery turns their lives upside down.
(dist. by Consortium)
A Natural History of Hell by Jeffrey Ford (July 12, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-618731-18-0). Emily Dickinson takes a carriage ride with Death. A couple are invited to a neighbor’s daughter’s exorcism. A country witch with a sea-captain’s head in a glass globe intercedes on behalf of abused and abandoned children. In July of 1915, in Hardin County, Ohio, a boy sees ghosts. These and other exhilarating visions assembled in Ford’s newest collection explore strange history and the endless struggles of life.
Psycho: Sanitarium by Chet Williamson (Apr. 12, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-250-06105-8). Between the events of Robert Bloch’s two original Psycho novels, murderer Norman Bates spent decades in an asylum. Williamson explores those terrifying years in this disturbing work.
Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey (June 14, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-250-07634-2). This moving debut is a supernatural family drama infused with vivid emotional depth, gritty violence, and themes of death, addiction, and grief.
Waypoint Kangaroo by Curtis C. Chen (June 21, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-250-08178-0). Kangaroo is an interstellar spy with extensive agency training, access to bleeding-edge technology, a ready supply of quips and retorts—and “the pocket,” a portal that opens into an empty, seemingly infinite parallel universe.
DJSturbia by David J. Schow (Mar. 1, hardcover, $40, ISBN 978-1-59606-772-1) is an outstanding collection of stories and essays by a renowned and multitalented horror writer, filmmaker, and film historian.
The Brotherhood of the Wheel by R. S. Belcher (Mar. 1, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-8028-9). A small present-day offshoot of the Knights Templar has returned to the order’s original mission: to defend the roads of the world and guard those who travel on them. Theirs is a secret line of truckers, bikers, taxi hacks, state troopers, and bus drivers, one of whom goes on a quest to discover the terrible truth behind a string of children gone missing.
Company Town by Madeline Ashby (May 17, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-8290-0). Hwa is the last truly organic person left on a city-size oil rig, but her expertise in the arts of self-defense and her record as a fighter mean that her services are in high demand. But can even she protect the ruling family’s youngest child against increasingly intense death threats that may be coming from another timeline?
The Family Plot by Cherie Priest (July 19, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-7824-8). Salvager Dahlia Dutton is alarmed to turn up human remains on a property she’s demolishing. When a storm closes roads and cuts off the power, she and her crew are trapped with a murderous phantom that’s taking its last chance to raise hell before the house is gone forever.
Judenstaat by Simone Zelitch (June 21, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-8296-2). On Apr. 4, 1948, the sovereign state of Judenstaat was created in the territory of Saxony, bordering Germany, Poland, and the Soviet Union. Forty years later, widowed Jewish historian Judit Klemmer is making a documentary portraying Judenstaat’s history. Her research into the past, and what really happened to her husband, embroils her in controversy and conspiracy, collective memory and national amnesia.
Too like the Lightning by Ada Palmer (May 10, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-765378-00-2). The world of the 25th century is a hard-won utopia built on technologically generated abundance. Economic and cultural competion are carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. And one person has discovered how to make wishes come true.
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (Feb. 16, e-book, $2.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-8661-8). Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tommy opens a door to a deeper realm of magic and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Apr. 5, e-book, $9.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-8387-7). A boarding school offering sanctuary for dimension-hopping children is threatened by a series of murders in McGuire’s darkly hypnotic standalone fantasy.
The Big Book of Science Fiction, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (July 12, trade paper, $25, ISBN 978-1-101-91009-2), is a definitive collection that truly captures the global influence and significance of science fiction, bringing together authors from all over the world and from both the genre and literary ends of the spectrum.
Sisters of Tomorrow: The First Women of Science Fiction, edited by Lisa Yaszek and Patrick B. Sharp (June 7, trade paper, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-8195-7624-8), offers readers a comprehensive selection of works by genre luminaries, linking women’s work in the early SF community to larger patterns of women’s literary and cultural production in turn-of-the-20th-century America.