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!
In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality itself–the first in a dazzling new series from City of Stairs author Robert Jackson Bennett.Why We Want It: Robert Jackson Bennett's Divine Cities trilogy is my pick for the Hugo Award for Best Series. It's some of the best damn fantasy you're likely to read in this or any year. Knowing this is the new novel in a new series from Bennett, that's enough. But a novel with an attempt to re-write reality, thieves, and mystic artifacts from Robert Jackson Bennett? C'mon now. I'm already there.
Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle.
But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic–the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience–have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims.
Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them.
To have a chance at surviving—and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way—Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.
Drayden, Nicky. Temper [Harper Voyager]
In a land similar to South Africa, twin brothers are beset by powerful forces beyond their understanding or control in this thrilling blend of science fiction, horror, magic, and dark humor—evocative of the works of Lauren Beukes, Ian McDonald, and Nnedi Okorafor—from the author of The Prey of Gods.Why We Want It: Prey of Gods was an excellent debut novel that had me excited to see what Drayden was going to do next. To be honest, I haven't paid a whole lot of attention as to what this book was about. What I needed to know was that this was the second book from Nicky Drayden.
One demonic possession.
Can this relationship survive?
Auben Mutze has more vices than he can deal with—six to be exact—each branded down his arm for all the world to see. They mark him as a lesser twin in society, as inferior, but there’s no way he’ll let that define him. Intelligent and outgoing, Auben’s spirited antics make him popular among the other students at his underprivileged high school. So what if he’s envious of his twin Kasim, whose single vice brand is a ticket to a better life, one that likely won’t involve Auben.
The twins’ strained relationship threatens to snap when Auben starts hearing voices that speak to his dangerous side—encouraging him to perform evil deeds that go beyond innocent mischief. Lechery, deceit, and vanity run rampant. And then there are the inexplicable blood cravings. . . .
On the southern tip of an African continent that could have been, demons get up to no good during the time of year when temperatures dip and temptations rise. Auben needs to rid himself of these maddening voices before they cause him to lose track of time. To lose his mind. And to lose his . . .
Duchamp, L Timmel. Chercher La Femme [Aqueduct]
"Everything about the humanoids inhabiting the planet La Femme is beautiful and desirable. Even their names are a pleasure to the tongue, a pleasure that can be experienced only in meat space." —Paul 22423Why We Want It: I've been a fan of Duchamp's fiction since I first read Alanya to Alanya and the subsequent novels in her Marq'ssan Cycle. Chercher La Femme is not part of that sequence, but looks to be another imaginative and important work of feminist science fiction.
They named the planet "La Femme" and called it a paradise and refused to leave it. Now Julia 9561 is heading up the mission to retrieve the errant crew and establish meaningful Contact with the inhabitants. Are the inhabitants really all female, as the first crew claimed? Why don't the men want to return to Earth? What happened to the women on the crew? And why did Paul 22423 warn the First Council to send only male crew members?
Eames, Nicholas. Bloody Rose [Orbit]
A band of fabled mercenaries, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, tour a wild fantasy landscape, battling monsters in arenas in front of thousands of adoring fans, but a secret and dangerous gig ushers them to the frozen north, and the band is never one to waste a shot at glory . . . even if it means almost certain death.Why We Want It: I missed out of Kings of the Wyld when it was first published. It didn't seem like my thing at all, but I've reconsidered based on the recommendation from some friends and reviewers whose opinions I trust. I still need to step back and read that one, but that interest has me keeping my eye on the second book from Nicholas Eames: Bloody Rose.
Live fast, die young.
Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.
When the biggest mercenary band of all, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, rolls into town, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It’s adventure she wants – and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death.
It’s time to take a walk on the wyld side.
Kowal, Mary Robinette. The Fated Sky [Tor]
Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars.
Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic—but potentially very dangerous—mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.Why We Want It: I've only just began to read The Calculating Stars at the time I'm working on this spotlight, so if you're reading this, I loved it. I've been a fan of Kowal's novel length fiction and short fiction for many years now, and I loved "The Lady Astronaut of Mars", the story that both this and The Calculating Stars was spun off from. I have high expectations for both this and The Calculating Stars.
Otis, Abbey Mei. Alien Virus Love Disaster [Small Beer]
Abbey Mei Otis’s short stories are contemporary fiction at its strongest: taking apart the supposed equality that is clearly just not there, putting humans under an alien microscope, putting humans under government control, putting kids from the moon into a small beach town and then the putting the rest of the town under the microscope as they react in ways we hope they would, and then, of course, in ways we’d hope they don’t.
Otis has long been fascinated in using strange situations to explore dynamics of power, oppression, and grief, and the twelve stories collected here are at once a striking indictment of the present and a powerful warning about the future.Why We Want It: If I'm being completely honest, the title itself is a bit of a selling point. I'm not familiar with the work of Abbey Mei Otis, but between the title and the description of the stories, I want to know more. I want to read this collection.
POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 2017 & 2018 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Minnesotan.