Wednesday, April 4, 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!



Ireland, Justina. Dread Nation [Harper Collins]
Publisher's Description
At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland's stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar—a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet. 

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.

In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.

But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It's a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston's School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.

But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies.

And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems. 
Why We Want It: Per the author, Dread Nation is a post-reconstruction novel about zombies and racism. Also, the cover. That cover is magnificent is as much a selling point as anything else I'm going to read about the book.



Miller, Sam J. Blackfish City [Orbit]
Publisher's Description
“Miller gives us an incisive and beautifully written story of love, revenge, and the power (and failure) of family in a scarily plausible future. Blackfish City simmers with menace and heartache, suspense and wonder. Plus, it has lots of action and a great cast of characters. Not to mention an orca and a polar bear!” —Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Clarke Awards 

After the climate wars, a floating city is constructed in the Arctic Circle, a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, complete with geothermal heating and sustainable energy. The city’s denizens have become accustomed to a roughshod new way of living, however, the city is starting to fray along the edges—crime and corruption have set in, the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside direst poverty are spawning unrest, and a new disease called “the breaks” is ravaging the population.

When a strange new visitor arrives—a woman riding an orca, with a polar bear at her side—the city is entranced. The “orcamancer,” as she’s known, very subtly brings together four people—each living on the periphery—to stage unprecedented acts of resistance. By banding together to save their city before it crumbles under the weight of its own decay, they will learn shocking truths about themselves.

Blackfish City is a remarkably urgent—and ultimately very hopeful—novel about political corruption, organized crime, technology run amok, the consequences of climate change, gender identity, and the unifying power of human connection.  
Why We Want It: I'm not as familiar with Sam Miller's work, though the praise I've seen for his last novel, The Art of Starving, is immense. This was has piqued my interest. There's an orcamancer. That's awesome.



Newman, Emma. Before Mars [Ace]
Publisher's Description
Hugo Award winner Emma Newman returns to the captivating Planetfall universe with a dark tale of a woman stationed on Mars who starts to have doubts about everything around her. 

After months of travel, Anna Kubrin finally arrives on Mars for her new job as a geologist and de facto artist in residence–and already she feels she is losing the connection with her husband and baby at home on Earth.

In her room on the base, Anna finds a mysterious note, painted in her own hand, warning her not to trust the colony psychiatrist. A note she can’t remember painting.

When she finds a footprint in a place that the colony AI claims has never been visited by humans, Anna begins to suspect that she is caught up in an elaborate corporate conspiracy. Or is she losing her grip on reality? Anna must find the truth, regardless of what horrors she might discover or what they might do to her mind.  
Why We Want It: I'm a bit behind on my Emma Newman reading, but I loved Planetfall, Newman's novel of interstellar colonization, and though I should really read After Atlas next, I'm putting this here as a reminder to get to it. Before Mars is the third volume of Newman's loose trilogy and the strength of Planetfall has interested in all of it.



Scalzi, John. Head On [Tor]
Publisher's Description
"As much as Scalzi has the scientific creativity of a Michael Crichton, he also has the procedural chops of a Stephen J. Canell to craft a whodunit with buddy-cop charm and suspects aplenty—most of them in someone else's body." —USA Today 

John Scalzi returns with Head On, the standalone follow-up to the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed Lock In. Chilling near-future SF with the thrills of a gritty cop procedural, Head On brings Scalzi's trademark snappy dialogue and technological speculation to the future world of sports.

Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent’s head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are “threeps,” robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden’s Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it.

Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.

Is it an accident or murder? FBI agents and Haden-related crime investigators, Chris Shane and Leslie Vann, are called in to uncover the truth—and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where fortunes are made or lost, and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field. 
Why We Want It: At this point I'll read pretty much anything John Scalzi writes. I was slightly nervous going into Lock In because it was a significant departure from the space based awesomeness he normally writes, but I really enjoyed that book. Head On is the mostly standalone sequel to Lock In, so I'm on board. Plus, it's written by Scalzi. Of course I'm there!



Wallace, Matt. Taste of Wrath [Tor.com Publishing]
Publisher's Description
With seven books for seven sins, Taste of Wrath is the adrenaline-fuelled finalĂ© to Matt Wallace's Sin du Jour series, which Chuck Wendig calls "a raucous, riotous tale of culinary madness"! 

Bronko and his team of crack chefs and kitchen staff have been serving the New York supernatural community for decades. But all that could be about to change.

The entity formerly known as Allensworth has been manipulating Bronko and his team from Day One, and the gang at Sin du Jour have had enough.

Old debts are called in, and an alliance is formed with the unlikeliest of comrades.

Some will die. Some will descend. And some will rise.  
Why We Want It: You've probably already seen my review of Taste of Wrath. I love this series with all of my twisted heart and Wallace nails the friggin ending. It's bittersweet, but it had to be. I heartily recommend every one of the Sin du Jour novellas and if you're only just hearing about them, I entreat you to go start with Envy of Angels and prepare yourself for the delight you are about to encounter.


Valente, Catherynne M. Space Opera [Saga]
Publisher's Description
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Eurovision in an over-the-top galactic science fiction spectacle from bestselling author Catherynne Valente where sentient races compete for glory in a universe-wide musical contest—where the stakes are as high as the fate of planet Earth.

A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented—something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding.

Once every cycle, the civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix—part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Instead of competing in orbital combat, the powerful species that survived face off in a competition of song, dance, or whatever can be physically performed in an intergalactic talent show. The stakes are high for this new game, and everyone is forced to compete.

This year, though, humankind has discovered the enormous universe. And while they expected to discover a grand drama of diplomacy, gunships, wormholes, and stoic councils of aliens, they have instead found glitter, lipstick, and electric guitars. Mankind will not get to fight for its destiny—they must sing.

A band of human musicians, dancers, and roadies have been chosen to represent Earth on the greatest stage in the galaxy. And the fate of their species lies in their ability to rock. 
Why We Want It: I really don't know what to say if the first paragraph of the publisher's description doesn't do it for you. It really is the most amazing book description I think I've ever read.


POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 2017 & 2018 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Writer / Editor of the mostly defunct Adventures in Reading since 2004. Minnesotan. 

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