No kidding. This month is just crushingly incredible, when it comes to new science fiction and fantasy books. Including a new William Gibson, Ann Leckie's Ancillary sequel, Gillian Anderson's science fiction novel, Ann Rice's new Lestat book, new Chuck Palahniuk, and so much more. Here are 27 must-read titles.
The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter F. Hamilton (Del Rey)
The first of a two-book story set in Hamilton's Commonwealth universe. Nigel Sheldon, one of the founders of the Commonwealth, has to travel into the mysterious, deadly void to discover what's happened to the humans trapped there — and finds that humans aren't the only creatures inside. The alien Fallers may hold the secret to destroying the menace of the Void once and for all, if the humans and the Fallers don't kill each other first.
Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch) by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
The hotly awaited sequel to the most award-winning novel in years. Breq, the soldier who was once a whole warship, is sent on a new mission — to go to the Athoek Station, the one place she would never go of her own accord. There, she has to protect the family of a lieutenant whom she murdered in cold blood. That's going to turn out well.
After years of Halo novels and collaborating on the Mongoliad, Bear is finally back with a new creation. And it's a military science fiction epic, in which humans have made a deal with "benevolent" aliens who shared their high technology with us. And now those aliens, who are running from an even more powerful civilization, want humans to fight for them. There really is no free lunch.
Beautiful You: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk (Doubleday)
The Fight Club author is back, with a tale of experimental sex toys. Sex toys so addictive, they make women lock themselves in their bedrooms forever, only emerging to get new batteries. Can this scheme for "erotically enabled world domination" be foiled?
Black Dog: Hellhound Chronicles by Caitlin Kittredge (Harper Voyager)
The Vertigo comic book Coffin Hill has been one of the main reasons to cherish existence lately, and now its writer (who also wrote the Iron Codex trilogy) is doing a new urban fantasy series. Which is described as "Kill Bill with demons and gangsters." Where do we sign up? Ava has been a Reaper's bitch for 100 years, and now she wants payback — but she'll have to deal with the Reaper's boss, the demon Lilith.
Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice (Knopf)
Anne Rice is back! And so is her most famous vampire. In fact, they're all back, pretty much. There are too damn many vampires in the world now, and some Old Vampires have been roused from their slumber to thin the herd — so it's up to the vamp crew, including Lestat himself, to find out the secret of the Voice that's commanding the Old Vampires to commit vampicide.
The Time Roads by Beth Bernobich (Tor Books)
The author of the River of Souls series gives us an alternate 19th century in which Éire is the world's leading empire, while the rest of Europe is a shambles. The brilliant scientists of Éire have already advanced the human race with their many discoveries — but now, they're working to conquer time itself.
A Vision of Fire: A Novel by Gillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin (Simon451)
The X-Files star co-writes her first science fiction novel! When children all around the world begin speaking in tongues, it seems to be connected to the threat of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. But as a child psychiatrist rushes to figure out what's causing these strange incidents, other weird things start happening. Including a boy lighting himself on fire, and animals acting in bizarre ways. Is this the end of the world?
Fish Tails: A Novel (Plague of Angels) by Sheri S. Tepper (Harper Voyager)
The 35th novel from the acclaimed author — and this one includes a lot of characters and storylines from her previous 34 books. Her beloved characters Abasio and Xulai, and their children, travel from village to village trying to convince people to join their sea-dwelling existence. But then they meet an assortment of odd characters, who have been gathered by a time-traveling meddler with a terrible message: the waters are rising, and the world will soon be swallowed completely. There's just time to do one last good deed.
The Dark Defiles by Richard K. Morgan (Del Rey)
The finale of the trilogy which began with The Steel Remains and The Cold Commands. If you haven't read those first two novels, you've been wasting your life — they're bloody, thrilling, daring and incredibly fun. In the final book, Ringil faces his greatest battle yet: the struggle against the immortal Changeling, which requires dark magics that may cost him his soul.
Image: The Guardian
J: A Novel by Howard Jacobson (Hogarth)
This novel has already won extravagant praise, and a Booker nomination, in the U.K. — now it's coming to America. J is set in a 1984-style dystopia, where nobody will discuss the catastrophe that reduced the world to brutality and horribleness. They only refer to it as "What Happened, If It Happened." But when Kevern meets Ailinn, they experience a spark of emotion — and their love affair could change the whole future of the human race.
A Call to Duty (Manticore Ascendant) by David Weber & Timothy Zahn (Baen)
The first in a whole new series set in Weber's Honorverse. A new hero, Travis Uriah Long, joins the Royal Manticorian Navy, and finds it a lot harder than he expected. Especially since the Navy is facing a budget squeeze, and there are forces in Parliament who want to eliminate it altogether. Just when they actually need it most.
A Man Lies Dreaming by Lavie Tidhar (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd)
A former pulp author is trapped in a Concentration Camp. So to escape the horrible reality of Auschwitz, he imagines another world, in which a disgraced former dictator ekes out a living as a private detective in a dark, crime-ridden city.
The Book of Strange New Things: A Novel by Michel Faber (Hogarth)
This novel has won huge praise from Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell, so that's a good sign. Peter becomes a missionary to a new planet, "galaxies away" from Earth, where he introduces the aliens to the Bible, which they call the Book of Strange New Things. But when Peter hears from his wife Bea that Earth is being wracked by terrible catastrophes, he feels torn between his new flock and his family.
Spark: A Novel by John Twelve Hawks (Doubleday)
In this near-future dystopian thriller, Jacob Underwood is an assassin working for an evil corporation called DBG, in a world where everybody is under surveillance all the time. But after Jacob has a motorcycle accident, he contracts a rare condition where he believes he is dead, and considers himself just a "Shell." Then Jacob is assigned to track down a young woman who works for DBG and has gone missing, and this draws him into an underground world he's incapable of understanding.
Atlantia by Ally Condie (Dutton Juvenile)
The author of Matched is back with a novel of a girl who lives under the sea, but dreams of coming Above, to the land and the sky. Until her sister makes a choice that strands her underwater forever.
Prophecies, Libels & Dreams: Stories by Ysabeau S. Wilce (Small Beer Press)
The author of the Flora Segunda books writes a series of interconnected stories set in the Republic of Califa, which is sort of like Gold Rush-era California with an overlay of Aztec ceremony. And these stories feature "rockstar magicians, murderous gloves, bouncing boy terrors, blue tinted butlers, sentient squids, and a three-year-old Little Tiny Doom and her vengeful pink plush pig."
The Peripheral by William Gibson (Putnam Adult)
Gibson returns to the future, and by all accounts the results are stupendous. In a dystopian future, Burton is beta-testing a new game that just requires him to walk around nudging virtual-reality bugs with his body. But when his sister Flynne takes over for him, she discovers this "game" is a lot more than her brother realized.
Image via Carina Books
The Body Electric by Beth Revis (Scripturient Books)
Ella Shepherd has the ability to enter people's dreams and memories, and she uses this to help them relive their happiest moments. Until everything goes wrong: first, she starts seeing her dead father and other impossible things. Then the government hires her to spy on a rebel group. And finally, she discovers that her own memory has been altered.
The Blood of Angels by Johanna Sinisalo (Peter Owen Publishers)
The Finnish author who won awards and huge praise for her novel Troll is back. When the bees finally start vanishing from the Earth once and for all, a beekeeper named Orvo realizes that the human race only has a few years left to live — unless he does something drastic. He comes up with a way to save the bees, but it puts him into conflict with his animal-rights-activist son.
Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond (Skyscape)
The author of Blackwood (and the upcoming Lois Lane novel) writes a strange new circus novel, about a high-wire-walker who discovers an unlucky peacock feather planted on her costume... and nearly falls to her death. Who is placing talismans of unlucky magic around the circus? And can Jules find out, before she falls once and for all?
Proxima by Stephen Baxter (Gollancz)
This hard SF novel takes place in the 27th century, when humans are colonizing Proxima Centauri — and in the far, far future, when the galaxy is one great galaxy-spanning intelligence, whose thoughts last 100,000 years. What secret do our descendants discover, which shapes the future of the entire cosmos?
Heraclix and Pomp: A Novel of the Fabricated and the Fey by Forrest Aguirre (Underland Press)
The acclaimed short story writer and editor writes a novel about a golem who looks like a man, and a time-bending fairy who can't understand the difference between past, present and future. Can the golem help the fairy understand the idea of "now," and hence the fact that they're in terrible danger?
The Chaplain's War by Brad R Torgersen (Baen)
Torgersen has been nominated for a slew of awards, and this is his first full-length novel. A chaplain serving in a future space military gets trapped behind enemy lines, and winds up fighting for more than his own survival — the future of the human race is at stake, too. And he's up against huge space bugs.
Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
The L.A. Times Book Award-winning author writes a novel about a girl who discovers something even harder than surviving high school — being able to see people's pasts and futures. Not to mention the horrible future of the entire world, in which women's rights are crushed and a new brutal patriarchy emerges.
Closer to Home by Mercedes Lackey (DAW)
Mags is a slave-turned-spy, whose gift of mindspeech wins him a prized position as one of the Heralds in the royal court. Until he's given the most important missions of all: protect the court from a conspiracy that could destroy everything. The first book in a new series, set in Lackey's popular world of Valdemar.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss (Daw)
A spin-off to Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles, this novella focuses on Auri, who's just become a student at the University — and she discovers there's a lot more to learn in the secret passages below campus than in the classrooms.