Monday, January 8, 2018

24 Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2018

I'd like to take a moment to talk a little bit about some books I'm looking forward to maybe reading in 2018. "Now, Joe", you ask, "haven't you and Shana been running the New Books Spotlight each and every month talking about just this very thing?" Well, yes. Yes, I have. The reason this is different is because it allows an opportunity to take a much higher level look at what awesome books the forthcoming year has to offer us.

As with any list, this is incomplete. Any number of stellar novels and collections have not been announced yet and will slot into place at some point this year. Some books on this list scheduled for later in the year may be pushed back into 2019 for any number of reasons. Some books are left off this list because they are the third or fourth book in a series I've never read. Some books are left off because they are not to my taste and thus, I'm not actually looking forward to them. Some books are left off this list because I haven't heard of them yet, even though they've been announced. Some books are left off this list because, sadly, I completely forgot about it even though I've tried to do as much research as possible. Finally, some books are left off this list because I had to draw the line somewhere and 24 seemed like it might be enough for one man's survey.

After all, we do still have the New Books Spotlight to look forward to each month. I'm sure in many cases there will be some overlap, but discussing and arguing is half the fun, isn't it?

1. Beneath the Sugar Sky, by Seanan McGuire (Jan, Publishing): I'm cheating a little here because I've already read and reviewed this, but McGuire's Wayward Children novellas are exceptional and special and I highly recommend each of them. Beneath the Sugar Sky stands alone, but gains extra resonance if you've read Every Heart a Doorway (my review).

2. Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor (Jan, Publishing): I'm still cheating because I've also read this one, too, but damn, The Night Masquerade might be my favorite Binti novella.

3. Imposter Syndrome, by Mishell Baker (Mar, Saga): I finished reading Phantom Pains as I was putting the finishing touches on this article and I can tell you that Mishell Baker has raised her game and leveled up from the already excellent Borderline. Phantom Pains is even better and my expectations for Imposter Syndrome have been raised.

4. Stone Mad, by Elizabeth Bear (Mar, Publishing): This is a follow up novella to Bear's excellent novel Karen Memory (Charles' review). New stuff from Elizabeth Bear is a cause for celebration around these parts, and we're pretty excited for this one.


5. Wrath of Empire, by Brian McClellan (Mar, Orbit): I haven't had the chance to finish reading Sins of Empire yet, but McClellan's original Powder Mage trilogy is so good that I'm in for anything he writes.

6. Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Apr, Saga): Eurovision. In space.

7. Taste of Wrath, by Matt Wallace (Apr, Publishing): Everyone knows that I'm down with Matt Wallace, right? Taste of Wrath is the final book in the seven volume Sin du Jour cycle an I'm afraid Wallace is fixing to rip my heart out and serve it up with some fava beans and a nice chianti. I friggin love these books and I'm not quite prepared for the series to end, but I know Matt Wallace is going to stick the landing and close this out right.

8. Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland (Apr, Balzer + Bray): That cover. Oh, that cover. We're sold, people. But beyond just the cover, this story of zombies rising during the American Civil War and how that changes everything is a must read for 2018.

9. Armistice, by Lara Elena Donnelly (May, Tor): The follow up to Donnelly's excellent debut Amberlough. Amberlough was comfortably one of my top novels of 2017 and I'm excited to see where she goes next.

10. So Lucky, by Nicola Griffith (May, FSG): While we wait for a sequel to Hild, we'll take anything we can get from Nicola Griffith. Unsurprisingly, So Lucky is fiercely political, personal, and full of monsters. I'll read anything Nicola Griffith writes.

11. The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (May, Tor): Kowal's "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" was a charmingly excellent novelette which won a Hugo Award in 2014 and while there were clearly more stories to tell, I had no reason to expect we would get more. But now comes The Calculating Stars and, a few months later, The Fated Sky. I can't wait!

12. Afterwar, by Lilith Saintcrow (May, Orbit): A novel about the fallout from America's second Civil War. I'm always in for one of these novels.

13. By Fire Above, by Robyn Bennis (May, Tor): We loved The Guns Above (Shana's review) and the return of Captain Josette Dupre is welcome and none too soon because the world could use a dose of her raw excellence and sass.

14. Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Jun, Solaris): I'm a book behind, but Ninefox Gambit was excellent and I've read that Raven Strategem is even better. So, I have that to look forward to and hope to be caught up by June when Revenant Gun closes out the series.

15. Apocalypse Nyx, by Kameron Hurley (Jul, Tachyon): Nyx is back! Six years after her last novel length appearance in Rapture, Kameron Hurley has brought Nyx back in this story collection featuring stories originally available only behind Hurley's Patreon paywall.

16. Deep Roots, by Ruthanna Emrys (Jul, Tor): I adored Winter Tide and I wasn't sure at the time if there were more books planned but I knew I wanted more stories of Aphra. Now there is another.

17. Infinity's End, by Jonathan Strahan (Jul, Solaris): I assume Infinity's End is the final anthology in Strahan's Infinity Project and if so, it's been a great run. I've thoroughly enjoyed each of the Infinity anthologies and I'm excited to see how Strahan just how Strahan is going to close this out. Stories about the end of time / existence, I assume. And if this isn't the final anthology, I'm still excited for Infinity's End.

18. Ancestral Night, by Elizabeth Bear (Jul, Saga): Space opera from Elizabeth Bear? Anything from Elizabeth Bear! Honestly, Bear is one of the best writers working today and her return to space opera is to be celebrated.

19. Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Jul, Harper Voyager): We loved The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit. We're all in for Becky Chambers and her Wayfarers series.

20. Temper, by Nicky Drayden (Aug, Harper Voyager): Drayden impressed with Prey of Gods and so I'm very interested to see what she does next with Temper. It appears to be a standalone novel, which is always refreshing in a genre filled with series.

21. Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Aug, Del Rey): Expanding on her short story of the same title, Naomi Novik updates the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale. Novik has previous published Uprooted (my review), a not to be missed standalone fairy tale which felt both fresh and familiar.

22. Port of Shadows, by Glen Cook (Sep, Tor): New Black Company! Though I was hoping this would follow after the series closer of Water Sleeps, I'll take anything Black Company from Glen Cook. Port of Shadows falls between the first two books (Black Company and Shadows Linger).

23. A Cathedral of Myth and Bone, by Kat Howard (Sep, Saga): A story collection from the sublime Kat Howard. I love her novel length fiction as well as the handful of her short stories I've encountered.

24. The Monster Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson, Tor (Fall): The Traitor Baru Cormorant was excellent. I know nothing else about this novel except that it exists and I must read it.

So that's it, 24 books I'm looking forward to in 2018. Except, of course, I'm really looking forward to all of the books. There are seven more I'd like to mention that I didn't list above. Is this the year George R. R. Martin finishes The Winds of Winter? We'll see. It looks like both Kate Elliott's The Dead Empire and Kameron Hurley's The Broken Heavens will push back into 2019, so those are almost definitely off the list. I think Ancestral Night from Elizabeth Bear is scheduled for Summer 2018, but until I see something more definitive I can't commit to it. Likewise with Helene Wecker's The Iron Season, the follow up to her excellent debut The Golem and the Jinni. I'm looking forward to The Thorn of Emberlain, the fourth volume in Scott Lynch's excellent Gentleman Bastards sequence. And, finally (but never finally), we may see the debut epic fantasy novel from Marlon James (winner of the Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings) if he finishes Black Leopard, Red Wolf in time. That will be a huge release when it is published. So many books. So little time.

This should be another awesome year for science fiction and fantasy. What are you looking forward to?

POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 2017 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Writer / Editor of the mostly defunct Adventures in Reading since 2004. Minnesotan.