It's been a couple of months since our last New Books Spotlight. December was a bit spare with new releases and with last month's mega "24 Books" looking at some of the major books for the full year we needed to take a small break to refresh ourselves. For this month (and probably only this month), I'm also not going to include any books mentioned on that 24 Books list - so just know that there are some other impressive novels coming out.
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!
Anders, Charlie Jane. City in the Middle of the Night [Tor]
Charlie Jane Anders, the nationally bestselling author of All the Birds in the Sky delivers a brilliant new novel set in a hauntingly strange future with The City in the Middle of the Night.Why We Want It: We've followed the short fiction of Charlie Jane Anders for a number of years now, but she burst on the scene with her debut novel All the Birds in the Sky and it was a raw delight. The City in the Middle of the Night promises to be as different from All the Birds in the Sky as can be, and that is all the more exciting.
"If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams... And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives."
January is a dying planet--divided between a permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other. Humanity clings to life, spread across two archaic cities built in the sliver of habitable dusk.
But life inside the cities is just as dangerous as the uninhabitable wastelands outside.
Sophie, a student and reluctant revolutionary, is supposed to be dead, after being exiled into the night. Saved only by forming an unusual bond with the enigmatic beasts who roam the ice, Sophie vows to stay hidden from the world, hoping she can heal.
But fate has other plans--and Sophie's ensuing odyssey and the ragtag family she finds will change the entire world.
Gloss, Molly. Outside the Gates [Saga]
Villagers were always warned that monsters live outside the gates, but when a young boy named Vren is cast out, he finds a home in the world beyond, in Whiting Award winner Molly Gloss’s classic fantasy novel.Why We Want It: We've long been a fan of Gloss's novel The Dazzle of Day and have meant to read her other work. Saga is bringing back three of Gloss's older novels this year and it's the perfect time to fulfill that goal. Outside the Gates is the novel Ursula K. Le Guin told Saga Press's editor Joe Monti, "if you brought it back into print, I’d blurb the shit out of that.” There is no higher recommendation.
Vren has always been told that the world beyond the gates of his village is one filled with monsters, giants, and other terrifying creatures. But when he confides with his family about his ability to talk to animals, he’s outcast to the very world he’s been taught to fear his whole life. He expects to die alone, lost and confused, but he finds something different altogether—refuge in a community of shadowed people with extraordinary powers.
Thirty years later, Molly Gloss’s dystopian fantasy novel is just as timely, poignant, and stirring as ever, in a brand-new edition!
LaValle, Victor and John Joseph Adams. A People's Future of the United States [Random House]
A glittering landscape of twenty-five speculative stories that challenge oppression and envision new futures for America—from N. K. Jemisin, Charles Yu, Jamie Ford, G. Willow Wilson, Charlie Jane Anders, Hugh Howey, and more.Why We Want It: These are the days we're looking for alternate visions of America's future because its present doesn't offer a whole lot of promise. Badass stories dreaming a better world edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams? Sign us up!
In these tumultuous times, in our deeply divided country, many people are angry, frightened, and hurting. Knowing that imagining a brighter tomorrow has always been an act of resistance, editors Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams invited an extraordinarily talented group of writers to share stories that explore new forms of freedom, love, and justice. They asked for narratives that would challenge oppressive American myths, release us from the chokehold of our history, and give us new futures to believe in.
They also asked that the stories be badass.
The result is this spectacular collection of twenty-five tales that blend the dark and the light, the dystopian and the utopian. These tales are vivid with struggle and hardship—whether it’s the othered and the terrorized, or dragonriders and covert commandos—but these characters don’t flee, they fight. Thrilling, inspiring, and a sheer joy to read, A People’s Future of the United States is a gift for anyone who believes in our power to dream a just world.
Featuring stories by Violet Allen • Charlie Jane Anders • Lesley Nneka Arimah • Ashok K. Banker • Tobias S. Buckell • Tananarive Due • Omar El Akkad • Jamie Ford • Maria Dahvana Headley • Hugh Howey • Lizz Huerta • Justina Ireland • N. K. Jemisin • Alice Sola Kim • Seanan McGuire • Sam J. Miller • Daniel José Older • Malka Older • Gabby Rivera • A. Merc Rustad • Kai Cheng Thom • Catherynne M. Valente • Daniel H. Wilson • G. Willow Wilson • Charles Yu
Lee, Yoon Ha. Dragon Pearl [Rick Riordan]
Rick Riordan Presents Yoon Ha Lee’s space opera about thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you’d never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds. When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name. Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams. This sci-fi adventure with the underpinnings of Korean mythology will transport you to a world far beyond your imagination.Why We Want It: Simply put, it's a new Yoon Ha Lee space adventure. This time, a YA space adventure, but after the Machineries of Empire trilogy, Yoon has earned our trust.
Liu, Ken. Broken Stars [Tor]
Broken Stars, edited by multi award-winning writer Ken Liu--translator of the bestselling and Hugo Award-winning novel The Three Body Problem by acclaimed Chinese author Cixin Liu-- is his second thought-provoking anthology of Chinese short speculative fiction. Following Invisible Planets, Liu has now assembled the most comprehensive collection yet available in the English language, sure to thrill and gratify readers developing a taste and excitement for Chinese SF.Why We Want It: It might be a bit of a stretch to give Ken Liu credit for the flowering of Chinese science fiction in the United States, but it was his translation of Cixin Liu's The Three-Body Problem (winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel) that seemed to be the watershed publication that brought wider attention and certainly acclaim to Chinese science fiction. Broken Stars is Liu's second anthology of translated short fiction.
Some of the included authors are already familiar to readers in the West (Liu Cixin and Hao Jingfang, both Hugo winners); some are publishing in English for the first time. Because of the growing interest in newer SFF from China, virtually every story here was first published in Chinese in the 2010s.
The stories span the range from short-shorts to novellas, and evoke every hue on the emotional spectrum. Besides stories firmly entrenched in subgenres familiar to Western SFF readers such as hard SF, cyberpunk, science fantasy, and space opera, the anthology also includes stories that showcase deeper ties to Chinese culture: alternate Chinese history, chuanyue time travel, satire with historical and contemporary allusions that are likely unknown to the average Western reader. While the anthology makes no claim or attempt to be "representative" or “comprehensive," it demonstrates the vibrancy and diversity of science fiction being written in China at this moment.
In addition, three essays at the end of the book explore the history of Chinese science fiction publishing, the state of contemporary Chinese fandom, and how the growing interest in science fiction in China has impacted writers who had long labored in obscurity.
Modesitt, Jr, L.E. Endgames [Tor]
Endgames is the stunning final volume in L. E. Modesitt, Jr's, New York Times bestselling epic fantasy series the Imager Portfolio, and the third book in the story arc that began with Treachery's Tools and Assassin's Price.Why We Want It: Modesitt is my definition of a comfort read. I know exactly what I'm going to get, and I appreciate the slow ramping up of tension through the mundanity of every day tasks before chaos (so to speak) breaks out. I'm a book behind on this story arc, still needing to read Assassin's Price, but every Modesitt novel has been a pleasure to read. I have no doubt this will be the same. Also, much to my surprise (and despite the title), Endgames is purported to be the final Imager Portfolio novel - which really means that it is time to catch up.
Solidar is in chaos.
Charyn, the young and untested ruler of Solidar, has survived assassination, and he struggles to gain control of a realm in the grip of social upheaval, war, and rioting. Solidar cannot be allowed to slide into social and political turmoil that will leave the High Holders with their ancient power and privilege, and the common people with nothing.
But the stakes are even higher than he realizes.
POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 2017 & 2018 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Minnesotan.