What are you looking forward to? Anything you want to argue with us about? Is there something we should consider spotlighting in the future? Let us know in the comments!
|Cover Design by Jaya Miceli|
DeLillo, Don. Zero K [Scribner, 2016]
The wisest, richest, funniest, and most moving novel in years from Don DeLillo, one of the great American novelists of our time—an ode to language, at the heart of our humanity, a meditation on death, and an embrace of life.Why We Want It: New DeLillo. If, somehow, that isn't enough to explain why we're excited that there is a new novel from the author or White Noise, Underworld, End Zone, and Falling Man, I'm not sure what to do.
Jeffrey Lockhart’s father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say “an uncertain farewell” to her as she surrenders her body.
“We are born without choosing to be. Should we have to die in the same manner? Isn’t it a human glory to refuse to accept a certain fate?”
These are the questions that haunt the novel and its memorable characters, and it is Ross Lockhart, most particularly, who feels a deep need to enter another dimension and awake to a new world. For his son, this is indefensible. Jeff, the book’s narrator, is committed to living, to experiencing “the mingled astonishments of our time, here, on earth.”
Don DeLillo’s seductive, spectacularly observed and brilliant new novel weighs the darkness of the world—terrorism, floods, fires, famine, plague—against the beauty and humanity of everyday life; love, awe, “the intimate touch of earth and sun.”
Zero K is glorious.
|Cover Artist: Unknown|
Hill, Joe. The Fireman [William Morrow, 2016]
From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman.Why We Want It: Joe Hill is a master at telling a gripping story that refuses to let go (hence, the gripping) and as good as everything he has published so far has been, The Fireman sounds like it could be his best novel yet. Joe Hill is not to be missed.
The fireman is coming. Stay cool.
No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.
Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.
Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.
In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.
|Cover Design In House at Saga|
Howard, Kat. Roses and Rot [Saga, 2016]
Imogen and her sister Marin escape their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, whether it be art or love in this haunting debut novel from “a remarkable young writer” (Neil Gaiman).Why We Want It: Howard has dazzled with her short fiction in recent years. Roses and Rot is her first novel and I want to know more about how this post-grad school works and how it impacts Imogen's dreams and the sacrifice of family.
What would you sacrifice for everything you ever dreamed of?
Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire
|Cover Design by Will Staehle|
Older, Malka. Infomacracy [Tor.com Publishing, 2016]
It's been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything's on the line.Why We Want It: After reading Malka Older's story "Tear Tracks", we knew she was a writer to watch. Older's debut novel comes across as eerily prescient for a future where information is the true political power.
With power comes corruption. For Ken, this is his chance to do right by the idealistic Policy1st party and get a steady job in the big leagues. For Domaine, the election represents another staging ground in his ongoing struggle against the pax democratica. For Mishima, a dangerous Information operative, the whole situation is a puzzle: how do you keep the wheels running on the biggest political experiment of all time, when so many have so much to gain?
Infomocracy is Malka Older's debut novel.
|Cover Art by Victor Mosquera|
Palmer, Ada. Too Like the Lightning [Tor, 2016]
Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer--a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.Why We Want It: A far future novel of bringing down a utopian society? Sign us up!
The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labeling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world's population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.
And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life...
|Cover Art by Dominic Harmon|
Reynolds, Alastair. Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds [Subterranean Press, 2016]
The Guardian called Alastair Reynolds’ work “a turbulent, wildly entertaining ride” and The Times acclaimed him as “the mastersinger of space opera”. With a career stretching back more than 25 years and across fourteen novels, including the classic ‘Revelation Space’ series, the bestselling ‘Poseidon’s Children’ series, Century Rain, Pushing Ice, and most recently The Medusa Chronicles (with Stephen Baxter), Reynolds has established himself as one of the best and most beloved writers of hard science fiction and space opera working today.Why We Want It: Alastair Reynolds is one of the modern masters of science fiction and space opera, and Beyond the Aquila Rift is a massive collection of his excellent and sometimes underrated short fiction. This is a must read, especially if you only know Reynolds from his novel length fiction.
A brilliant novelist, he has also been recognized as one of our best writers of short fiction. His short stories have been nominated for the Hugo, British Fantasy, British Science Fiction, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial, Locus, Italia, Seiun, and Sidewise Awards, and have won the Seiun and Sidewise Awards.
The very best of his more than sixty published short stories are gathered in Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds, a sweeping 250,000 word career retrospective which features the very best stories from the ‘Revelation Space’ universe like “Galactic North”, “Great Wall of Mars”, “Weather”, “Diamond Dogs”, and “The Last Log of the Lachrymosa” alongside thrilling hard science fiction stories like Hugo Award nominee “Troika”, “Thousandth Night”, and “The Star Surgeon’s Apprentice”. Spanning more than fifteen years, the book also collects more recent stories like environmental SF tale “The Water Thief”, powerful and moving YA “The Old Man and the Martian Sea” and the brilliant “In Babelsberg”.
Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds has something for every reader of science fiction, and easily meets the challenge of delivering stories that are the hardest of hard science fiction and great entertainment.
POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Writer / Editor at Adventures in Reading since 2004, Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2015. Minnesotan.