Welcome to another edition of the New Books Spotlight, where each month or so we curate a selection of 6 new and 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?
de Bodard, Aliette. Seven of Infinities [Subterranean]
Vân is a scholar from a poor background, eking out a living in the orbitals of the Scattered Pearls Belt as a tutor to a rich family, while hiding the illegal artificial mem-implant she manufactured as a student.
Sunless Woods is a mindship—and not just any mindship, but a notorious thief and a master of disguise. She’s come to the Belt to retire, but is drawn to Vân’s resolute integrity.
When a mysterious corpse is found in the quarters of Vân’s student, Vân and Sunless Woods find themselves following a trail of greed and murder that will lead them from teahouses and ascetic havens to the wreck of a mindship--and to the devastating secrets they’ve kept from each other.
Why We Want It: de Bodard's Xuya stories are consistently excellent and novella length is a sweet spot and always leaves us wanting more.
Drayden, Nicky. Escaping Exodus: Symbiosis [Harper Voyager]
The Compton Crook Award-winning author weaves her trademark blend of science fiction and dark humor in this dazzling story that continues the imaginative saga begun in Escaping Exodus, in which a society lives in the belly of a beast—and an entire civilization's survival depends on a pair of uneasy allies who must come together for one epic battle.Why We Want It: We love Nicky Drayden's novels around these parts. Each one is a wild ride as different from each other as can be. Escaping Exodus: Symbiosis is the first sequel from Drayden, following 2019's Escaping Exodus (Adri's review) and I loved that book at least as much as Adri, if not more.
Nearly a thousand years removed from Earth, the remnants of humanity cling to existence inside giant, space faring creatures known as the Zenzee. Abused and exploited by humans for generations, these majestic animals nearly went extinct, but under the command of its newly minted ruler, Doka Kaleigh, life in the Parados I has flourished. Thanks to careful oversight and sacrifice by all of its crew, they are now on the brink of utopia, and yet Doka’s rivals feel threatened by that success.
The Senate allowed Doka to lead their people believing he’d fail spectacularly—a disaster that would cement the legitimacy of their long-standing matriarchy. Despite vocal opposition and blatant attacks on his authority, Doka has continued to handle his position with grace and intelligence; he knows a single misstep means disaster. When a cataclysmic event on another Zenzee world forces Doka and his people to accept thousands of refugees, a culture clash erupts, revealing secrets from the past that could endanger their future. For Doka, the stakes are bigger and more personal than ever before—and could cost him his reign and his heart.
He has fallen for the one woman he is forbidden to love: his wife, Seske. Doka and Seske must work closely together to sway the other Zenzee worlds to stop their cycles of destruction. But when they stumble upon a discovery that can transform their world, they know they must prepare to fight a battle where there can be no winners, only survivors.
Martin, George R.R. and Gardner Dozois. Songs of Love and Death [Saga]
From epic fantasy, post-apocalyptic America, to faerie-haunted rural fields in 18th-century England, to an intergalactic empire, join star-crossed lovers as they struggle against the forces of magic and fate.Why We Want It: Is this the last Gardner Dozois anthology? Regardless, even though I haven't read them all, I know that any anthology from GRRM and Gardner Dozois is a top notch anthology.
A star-studded cross-genre anthology Songs of Love and Death features all-original tales from seventeen of the most prestigious names in romance, fantasy, and science fiction.
Robson, Justina (editor). Tales of Catt and Fisher [Solaris]
A brand-new collection of stand-alone stories featuring the return of two fan-favourite characters from the world of the critically acclaimed Redemption’s Blade and Salvation’s Fire novels.Why We Want It: I've read the five volumes of Robson's Quantum Gravity, but I've only dipped my toes in the rest of her catalog. Somehow, up until the time I was putting together this article I was under the assumption that this was a collection of Robson's stories - but as you can see from the description above, it is not. With that said, I've been interested in the After the War world since it was announced so while I may not be dipping my toes into more of Robson's fiction maybe this is the time to dip into After the War.
Four new tales of Doctors Catt and Fisher…
Scholars, shopkeepers, collectors… aficionados. Obtainers of rare antiquities; relic hunters who can’t resist a lead, even when it takes them into terrible danger. There’s always an opportunity to be found amid the confusion, in the wake of the terrible Kinslayer War. There’s always a deal to be done, a tomb to open, a precious thing to… obtain.
From encounters with the monstrous Vathesk to exploring new worlds; from wielding great power to do great good, to unearthing dark things best left lost. If you need the experts, if you can find your way to their Cherivell shop, maybe you can hire Doctors Catt and Fisher.
Vo, Nghi. When the Tiger Comes Down the Mountain [Tor.com Publishing]
"Dangerous, subtle, unexpected and familiar, angry and ferocious and hopeful. . . . The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a remarkable accomplishment of storytelling."—NPRWhy We Want It: One of two books on this spotlight where I haven't read the preceding book, I've been excited to read The Empress of Salt and Fortune since it was first announced. 2020 has been a heck of a year and many of my reading goals and expectations have not quite come through - so my everlasting to-read pile is now one book deeper because the follow up to one of my more anticipated books of the year is naturally also highly anticipated.
The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover—a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty—and discover how truth can survive becoming history.
Nghi Vo returns to the empire of Ahn and The Singing Hills Cycle in When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, a mesmerizing, lush standalone follow-up to The Empress of Salt and Fortune.
Winter, Evan. The Fires of Vengeance [Orbit]
In order to reclaim her throne and save her people, an ousted queen must join forces with a young warrior in the second book of this”relentlessly gripping, brilliant” epic fantasy series from a breakout author (James Islington).Why We Want It: One of the most buzzed about books from 2019 which I haven't read is Evan Winter's The Rage of Dragons. I own it, I just still need to read the book. Regardless of that, this is shaping up to be an incredible fantasy series and the publication of the second volume should be all the inspiration I need to read the first. It's also the only book I haven't read off of my 2020 Summer Reading List.
Tau and his Queen, desperate to delay the impending attack on the capital by the indigenous people of Xidda, craft a dangerous plan. If Tau succeeds, the Queen will have the time she needs to assemble her forces and launch an all out assault on her own capital city, where her sister is being propped up as the ‘true’ Queen of the Omehi.
If the city can be taken, if Tsiora can reclaim her throne, and if she can reunite her people then the Omehi have a chance to survive the onslaught.
POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 4x Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Minnesotan. He / Him.