Wednesday, May 1, 2019

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!



Bear, Elizabeth. The Red-Stained Wings [Tor]
Publisher's Description
Hugo Award–winning author Elizabeth Bear returns to the epic fantasy world of the Lotus Kingdoms with The Red-Stained Wings, the sequel to The Stone in the Skull, taking the Gage into desert lands under a deadly sky to answer the riddle of the Stone in the Skull. 

The Gage and the Dead Man brought a message from the greatest wizard of Messaline to the ruling queen of Sarathai, one of the Lotus Kingdoms. But the message was a riddle, and the Lotus Kingdoms are at war.

Elizabeth Bear created her secondary world of the Eternal Sky in her highly praised novel The Range of Ghosts and its sequels. 
Why We Want It: Bear's previous novel, The Stone in the Skull, was an exceptional fantasy novel. When discussing it last year, I wrote that "Elizabeth Bear is at the height of her powers and her powers are mighty indeed." I was immediately impatient for The Red-Stained Wings and my wait is almost over.



Chiang, Ted. Exhalation [Random House]
Publisher's Description
“The universe began as an enormous breath being held.” 

From the acclaimed author of Stories of Your Life and Others—the basis for the Academy Award –nominated film Arrival—comes a groundbreaking new collection of short fiction: nine stunningly original, provocative, and poignant stories. These are tales that tackle some of humanity’s oldest questions along with new quandaries only Ted Chiang could imagine.

In “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and second chances. In “Exhalation,” an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications that are literally universal. In “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom,” the ability to glimpse into alternate universes necessitates a radically new examination of the concepts of choice and free will.

Including stories being published for the first time as well as some of his rare and classic uncollected work, Exhalation is Ted Chiang at his best: profound, sympathetic—revelatory. 
Why We Want It: A new Ted Chiang story is something to pay attention to, to take the time to seek out and read. A new collection,  his first in seventeen years, is a major event. Even better, Exhalation includes two stories never before published.



Kay, Guy Gavriel. A Brightness Long Ago [Random House]
Publisher's Description
International bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay’s latest work is set in a world evoking early Renaissance Italy and offers an extraordinary cast of characters whose lives come together through destiny, love, and ambition. 

In a chamber overlooking the nighttime waterways of a maritime city, a man looks back on his youth and the people who shaped his life. Danio Cerra’s intelligence won him entry to a renowned school even though he was only the son of a tailor. He took service at the court of a ruling count–and soon learned why that man was known as the Beast.

Danio’s fate changed the moment he saw and recognized Adria Ripoli as she entered the count’s chambers one autumn night–intending to kill. Born to power, Adria had chosen, instead of a life of comfort, one of danger–and freedom. Which is how she encounters Danio in a perilous time and place.

Vivid figures share the unfolding story. Among them: a healer determined to defy her expected lot; a charming, frivolous son of immense wealth; a powerful religious leader more decadent than devout; and, affecting all these lives and many more, two larger-than-life mercenary commanders, lifelong adversaries, whose rivalry puts a world in the balance.

A Brightness Long Ago offers both compelling drama and deeply moving reflections on the nature of memory, the choices we make in life, and the role played by the turning of Fortune’s wheel. 
Why We Want It: Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my more significant overlooked spots in my reading history. I've read Ysabel and loved it. I own several more of his books, have still only read Ysabel. I am long overdue to to explore the novels of Guy Gavriel Kay.



McCormack, Una. The Undefeated [Tor.com Publishing]
Publisher's Description
Una McCormack's The Undefeated is a thrilling space opera adventure featuring a no holds barred heroine on the front lines of an intergalactic war... 

She was a warrior of words.

As a journalist she exposed corruption across the Interstellar Commonwealth, shifting public opinion and destroying careers in the process.

Long-since retired, she travels back to the planet of her childhood, partly through a sense of nostalgia, partly to avoid running from humanity’s newest—and self-created—enemy, the jenjer.

Because the enemy is coming, and nothing can stand in its way. 
Why We Want It: Tor.com Publishing's novella line is such a rich mine of gems waiting to be discovered. I don't know a thing about Una McCormack, but The Undefeated looks to be a badass story of journalism.



McGuire, Seanan. Middlegame [Tor.com Publishing]
Publisher's Description
New York Times bestselling and Alex, Nebula, and Hugo-Award-winning author Seanan McGuire introduces readers to a world of amoral alchemy, shadowy organizations, and impossible cities in the standalone fantasy, Middlegame. 

Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.

Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.

Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.

 Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.

Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained. 
Why We Want It: Seanan McGuire is a friggin treasure. I've already read Middlegame and have a nanoreview forthcoming, but this is McGuire stretching towards a more ambitious novel and she nails it.



Swyler, Erika. Light From Other Stars [Bloomsbury]
Publisher's Description
From the author of national bestseller The Book of Speculation, a poignant, fantastical novel about the electric combination of ambition and wonder that keeps us reaching toward the heavens. 

Eleven-year-old Nedda Papas is obsessed with becoming an astronaut. In 1986 in Easter, a small Florida Space Coast town, her dreams seem almost within reach--if she can just grow up fast enough. Theo, the scientist father she idolizes, is consumed by his own obsessions. Laid off from his job at NASA and still reeling from the loss of Nedda's newborn brother several years before, Theo turns to the dangerous dream of extending his living daughter's childhood just a little longer. The result is an invention that alters the fabric of time.

Amidst the chaos that erupts, Nedda must confront her father and his secrets, the ramifications of which will irrevocably change her life, her community, and the entire world. But she finds an unexpected ally in Betheen, the mother she's never quite understood, who surprises Nedda by seeing her more clearly than anyone else. Decades later, Nedda has achieved her long-held dream, and as she floats in antigravity, far from earth, she and her crewmates face a serious crisis. Nedda may hold the key to the solution, if she can come to terms with her past and the future that awaits her.

Light from Other Stars is about fathers and daughters, women and the forces that hold them back, and the cost of meaningful work. It questions how our lives have changed, what progress looks like, and what it really means to sacrifice for the greater good. 
Why We Want It:I don't know if I want to cry reading a novel right now, but Light From Other Stars is going to hit me where it hurts with family and dreams. This is something I think I need.



Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine (2017-2019). Minnesotan.

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