Wednesday, February 14, 2018

New Books Spotlight

Welcome to another edition of the New Books Spotlight, where each month or so we curate a selection of 6 forthcoming books we find notable, interesting, and intriguing. It gives us the opportunity to shine a brief spotlight on some stuff we're itching to get our hands on.

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!

Bacigalupi, Paolo, & Tobias S. Buckell. The Tangled Land [Saga Press]
Publisher's Description:
From award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell comes a fantasy novel told in four parts about a land crippled by the use of magic, and a tyrant who is trying to rebuild an empire—unless the people find a way to resist.

Khaim, The Blue City, is the last remaining city in a crumbled empire that overly relied upon magic until it became toxic. It is run by a tyrant known as The Jolly Mayor and his devious right hand, the last archmage in the world. Together they try to collect all the magic for themselves so they can control the citizens of the city. But when their decadence reaches new heights and begins to destroy the environment, the people stage an uprising to stop them.

In four interrelated parts, The Tangled Lands is an evocative and epic story of resistance and heroic sacrifice in the twisted remains surrounding the last great city of Khaim. Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell have created a fantasy for our times about a decadent and rotting empire facing environmental collapse from within—and yet hope emerges from unlikely places with women warriors and alchemical solutions. 
Why We Want It: I've had copies of the linked novellas The Alchemist (Bacigalupi) and The Executioness (Buckell) on my shelf for a number of years without ever having cracked either cover for no good reason that I can understand. I've been a big fan of Buckell's work since discovering Crystal Rain ten years ago, so I'm always excited to see something with his name on the cover. The Tangled Land pulls together the two previously mentioned novellas with two additional ones to weave together a larger epic story. Now is the time to finally dive into this world.

Barnhill, Kelly. Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories [Algonquin]  
Publisher's Description:
A stunning new collection of short fictions for adult readers from the World Fantasy Award– and Newbery Medal–winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

From award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Kelly Barnhill comes a stunning first collection of acclaimed short fictions, teeming with uncanny characters whose stories unfold in worlds at once strikingly human and eerily original.

When Mrs. Sorensen’s husband dies, she rekindles a long-dormant love with an unsuitable mate in “Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch.” In “Open the Door and the Light Pours Through,” a young man wrestles with grief and his sexuality in an exchange of letters with his faraway beloved. “Dreadful Young Ladies” demonstrates the strength and power—known and unknown—of the imagination. “The Insect and the Astronomer” upends expectations about good and bad, knowledge and ignorance, love and longing. The World Fantasy Award–winning novella The Unlicensed Magician introduces the secret, magical life of an invisible girl once left for dead.

By an author hailed as “a fantasist on the order of Neil Gaiman” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), the stories in Dreadful Young Ladies feature bold, reality-bending fantasy underscored by rich universal themes of love, death, jealousy, and hope.  
Why We Want It: We loved Kelly Barnhill's Newbery Medal winning novel The Girl Who Drank the Moon (my review) and pretty much everything else Barnhill has written. I nominated Barnhill's story "Mrs Sorensen and the Sasquatch" for the Hugo back in 2015, but alas, it did not make the final ballot. I've been enjoying her short fiction for years, so this collection will be a delight.  It also includes The Unlicensed Magician (my review), so if you haven't had the chance to discover Sparrow, The Junk Man, or Marla the Egg Woman yet, you're in for a treat.

Bujold, Lois McMaster. Penric's Fox [Subterranean Press]
Publisher's Description
With Penric's Fox, multiple-award-winner and bestselling author Lois McMaster Bujold returns to her World of the Five Gods, the setting of her acclaimed novels The Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls, and The Hallowed Hunt. Continuing the tale begun in the novellas “Penric’s Demon, “Penric and the Shaman,” and "Penric's Mission," Bujold’s newest installment of Penric and Desdemona’s tale is another must-read novella for her legion of fans.

Some eight months after the events of Penric and the Shaman, Learned Penric, sorcerer and scholar, travels to Easthome, the capital of the Weald. There he again meets his friends Shaman Inglis and Locator Oswyl. When the body of a sorceress is found in the woods, Oswyl draws him into another investigation; they must all work together to uncover a mystery mixing magic, murder and the strange realities of Temple demons. 
Why We Want It: At this point we don't have to say much more than "Lois McMaster Bujold" to get you to pick up a book, do we? Bujold's Penric novellas are bite sized delights and I'm quite looking forward to more.

Burke, Sue. Semiosis [Tor]  
Publisher's Description
Human survival hinges on an bizarre alliance in Semiosis, a character driven science fiction novel of first contact by debut author Sue Burke. 

Colonists from Earth wanted the perfect home, but they’ll have to survive on the one they found. They don’t realize another life form watches...and waits... Only mutual communication can forge an alliance with the planet's sentient species and prove that humans are more than tools. 
Why We Want It: I've long loved novels of colonies and discovery across generations.  Semiosis continues to pop up on our radar and as this is a generational novel of a human colony struggling to survive on another world, it's exactly the novel I'm looking for. Semiosis should be an impressive debut.

Stross, Charles. Dark State [Tor] 
Publisher's Description
Hugo Award-winning author Charlie Stross dives deep into the underbelly of paratime espionage, nuclear warfare, and state surveillance in this provocative techno-thriller set in The Merchant Princes multi-verse 

Dark State ups the ante on the already volatile situations laid out in the sleek techno-thriller Empire Games, the start to Stross' new story-line, and perfect entry point for new readers, in The Merchant Princes series.

In the near-future, the collision of two nuclear superpowers across timelines, one in the midst of a technological revolution and the other a hyper-police state, is imminent. In Commissioner Miriam Burgeson’s timeline, her top level agents run a high risk extraction of a major political player. Meanwhile, a sleeper cell activated in Rita's, the Commissioner's adopted daughter and newly-minted spy, timeline threatens to unravel everything.

With a penchant for intricate world-building and an uncanny ability to realize alternate history and technological speculation, Stross' writing will captivate any reader who's a fan hi-tech thrillers, inter-dimensional political intrigue, and espionage.  
Why We Want It: Empire Games (my review) was perhaps the strongest of Stross's parallel universe hopping Merchant Princes novels filled with political intrigue. I didn't love it without reservations, but I frequently find myself coming back and thinking about the details and how things fit together. I'm hoping for more of Dark State to be set in Miriam's timeline since Empire Games skimped on that a bit, but I've got this sitting on the nightstand next to my bed and I anticipating cracking this one open very soon.

Wexler, Django. The Infernal Battalion [Ace] 
Publisher's Description
Military might and arcane power clash in Django Wexler’s thrilling new Shadow Campaigns novel. 

The Beast, the ancient demon imprisoned beneath the fortress-city of Elysium for a thousand years, has been loosed on the world. It absorbs mind after mind, spreading like a plague through the north. The fell army it has raised threatens the heart of Vordan, and it is under the command of the Beast’s greatest prize: legendary general Janus bet Vhalnich.

As Queen Raesinia Orboan and soldiers Marcus D’Ivoire and Winter Ihernglass grapple with the aftermath of a hard-fought military campaign, they soon discover a betrayal they never could have foreseen. The news arrives like a thunderbolt: Janus has declared himself the rightful Emperor of Vordan. Chaos grips the city as officers and regiments are forced to declare for queen or emperor.

Raesinia must struggle to keep her country under control and risks becoming everything she fought against. Marcus must take the field against his old commander, a man who has seemed an unbeatable strategist. And as Winter recovers from her injuries and mourns her losses, she knows the demon she carries inside her might be the only thing standing between the Beast and the destruction of everything in its path…. 
Why We Want It: We here at Nerds of a Feather have long been fan of Django Wexler's Shadow Campaigns, especially The G, so you know we're looking forward to this fifth volume. 

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.