From the new China Mieville to the latest Cherie Priest, from quantum burglars to reworked fairy tales, here's what you'll be reading this spring. We've picked out the most exciting new books from the next few months' science fiction/fantasy releases.
In case you missed them, the year's already seen some really great releases, including Jo Walton's fantastical coming of age novel Among Others and Cowboy Angels, Paul McAuley's tale of CIA agents messing around with alternative Americas. But here's what to look for at the bookstore between now and June.
Leviathan Wakes wallpaper via Orbit Books.
Midnight Riot, Ben Aaronovitch (Del Rey)
Doctor Who alum Aaronovitch takes on urban fantasy. Peter Grant wants to be a proper detective inspector in London's police force. He's suddenly and rather unexpected helped along towards his goal when it's discovered he can communicate with the recently dead. Detective Chief Inspector and wizard Thomas Nightingale takes notice and takes Grant under his wing to help deal with London's paranormal crises.
Bloodshot, Cherie Priest (Del Rey)
Vampires are the trend that just won't die. But we still see the occasional title worth getting excited about, and this spring it's Cherie Priest's latest. Bloodshot follows Raylene Pendle, a flapper-turned-vampire (and daring international criminal) with a Louise Brooks haircut and an epic attitude. She takes a job "collecting" some sensitive government documents and finds herself running around Atlanta with a seriously bad-ass drag queen.
The World House, Guy Adams (Angry Robot)
A weird house full of weird rooms with a mysterious prisoner in the attic. Strangeness ahoy!
Deep State, Walter Jon Williams (Orbit)
The sequel to This Is Not A Game brings back Dagmar Shaw, who's running a massive alternate reality game and attempting to steer clear of the tyrannical local authorities. But an old friend offers her a chance to take her Puppetmaster role to the next level and pull the strings on real people.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Sausages, Tom Holt (Orbit)
Polly Mayer might be going mental. Or maybe there's some sort of interdimensional shenanigans going on, involving disappearing coffee and pigs and a magical ring. With this being Tom Holt's latest madcap fantasy, we'll assume it's the latter.
This month brings 3 intriguing offering from Angry Robot: Vegas Knights, urban fantasy about a couple of college kids who think they can beat the house with magic; Embedded, military science fiction which follows a journalist who rides along with a combat vet into a warzone via microchip implant; and Point, a dark near-future dystopia about a rash of teen suicide circles.
Daybreak Zero, John Barnes (Ace)
The sequel to Directive 51 finds the post-apocalyptic governments of Athens, GA, and Olympia, WA, in an uneasy truce as attempts to rebuild America begin. Little is known about Daybreak, the force behind the massive attacks that left the world is decimated — only that it's not gone and could strike back at any moment.
Sleight of Hand, Peter Beagle (Tachyon Publications)
Check out our review of Peter S. Beagle's recent "best-of" collection from back in October. A new Peter S. Beagle collection is always cause for celebration, and Sleight of Hand promises to be especially full of difficult choices and quiet revelations.
The Gravity Pilot, MM Buckner (Tor)
Orr and Dyce are a young couple living in a polluted, near-future Alaska. Things are all right in a patched-together kind of way, then their lives take a terrible turn. When Orr pulls off a spectacular dive and finds himself suddenly a celebrity, Dyce leaves him for the underground media metropolis of Seattle, where she's sucked into a virtual reality addiction.
Deathless, Catherynne M. Valente (Tor)
Valente takes on Russian folklore in Deathless, refashioning the malign Koschei the Deathless and the princess Marya Morevna for Soviet Russia. The result is fantastically weaves twentieth century history and fairy tale tropes. Check out the first chapter here.
After the Golden Age, Carrie Vaughn (Tor)
Celia Ward struggles to live her life out from under her parents' shadow—which isn't easy when your parents are superhero power couple Captain Olympus, and you're their nemeses' favorite captive. But she's sucked right back in for the trial of the archest of their enemies, the Destructor, and finds herself confronting some long-buried issues.
All the Lives He Led, Frederik Pohl (Tor)
In his latest, the grand master dreams up a world suffering in the wake of a massive eruption of the Yellowstone caldera. His protagonist is Brad Sheridan, an American survivor scraping along as a indentured servant in the greener pastures of Italy and destined to find himself caught up in a dangerously ambitious terrorist plot.
Soft Apocalypse, Will McIntosh (Nightshade)
Sometimes it's not a slouch to Gomorrah, so much as an amble. So it is with Soft Apocalypse:
There was an ancient miniature golf course choked in weeds alongside the bowling alley. The astroturf had completely rotted away in places. The windmill had one spoke. We looked it over for a minute (both of us had once been avid mini golfers), then continued toward the door. "By the way," I added. "We're not homeless, we're nomads. Keep your labels straight."
Will Super Villains Be On the Final? Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Temeraire genius Naomi Novik does superhero high school and in manga form, no less. Seriously, do you even need any more info?
The View from the Imperium, Jody Lynn Nye (Baen)
Jody Lynn Nye's latest is basically Wooster and Jeeves—in space! Ensign Thomas Innes Loche Kinago receives a command right out of the Academy and sets to work, attempting to meet his distinguished Admiral mother's expectations. Almost immediately, he's required to fend off a would-be galactic dictator with seeming mind-control abilities. Luckily, he has the loyal (and more importantly, competent) Parsons by his side.
Fuzzy Nation, John Scalzi (Tor)
Jack Holloway is a contractor for ZaraCorp, a massive interplanetary corporation in the process of harvesting the resources of Zarathustra. A slight hitch: Their mining rights are only valid if the planet is without sentient natives, and Jack's just discovered some awfully cute locals. John Scalzi reboots H. Beam Piper's Hugo-winning Little Fuzzy with Fuzzy Nation. For more details, check out this post, in which he reveals the details of the formerly super-secret project.
Embassytown, China Mieville (Del Rey)
Human colonist Avice Benner Cho doesn't speak the unique and nearly impossible to master Ariekei language, but she's been integrated as a figure of speech. Returning to Embassytown after years away, she finds a new ambassador, and upheaval between the humans and the Ariekei. And Avice isn't entirely confident where her loyalties lie. The tension between human colonists and enigmatic aliens is a classic science fiction trope, and we cannot wait to see what Mieville does with it.
Dead Reckoning, Charlaine Harris (Ace)
Mum's the word on Sookie Stackhouse book #11, but we've got a cover, and a release date of May 3.
The Quantum Thief, Hannu Rajaniemi (Tor)
The buzz has been building for months for The Quantum Thief, Hannu Rajaniemi's debut hard science-fiction novel, and it's easily one of the most anticipated novels for the year. Published overseas in September of last year, it's just now hitting this side of the Atlantic. The science is hard, but the plot is essentially a crackerjack heist thriller.
Chasing the Moon, Lee Martinez (Orbit)
Diana scores an excellent apartment, only to find it's inhabited by monsters and she's now stuck. First she meets Vom the Hungering, who informs her his raison d'etre is eating everything. But there are more ominous creatures afoot and aiming to devour the moon, and so it's up to the Lovecraftian roommates to stop them.
The Falling Machine, Andrew Mayer (Pyr)
A crime-fighting socialite! When the leader of the Society of Paragons is murdered right in front of her, Sarah Stanton teams up with clockwork hero The Automaton to unravel the mystery.
Naamah's Blessing, Jacqueline Carey (Tor)
Naamah's Blessing wraps Jacqueline Carey's most recent cycle of novels in the Kushiel Universe. Moirin returns to Terre d'Ange and finds the royal family in tatters. She's rapidly embroiled in court intrigue when she's asked to stand as guardian to the three-year-old princess Desirée, and she's got trouble from her past in the form of ex-lover Raphael de Mereliot.
The Uncertain Places, Lisa Goldstein (Tachyon Publications)
Will Taylor falls for mysterious fellow student Livvy Feierabend. But her family is wrapped up in a generations-old pact with forces from the faerie world, and he can't be with her unless he can rescue her.
Leviathan Wakes, James S.A. Corey (Orbit)
Levianthan Wakes is set in a future just advanced enough that we've colonized our own system, but no farther. Collaborators Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (writing as James S.A. Corey) both have fantasy backgrounds, which suggests we're in for good, old-fashioned, sprawling space opera. The narrative flips between Jim Holden, hard-ass hauling ice from Saturn to the Belt, and Detective Miller, boy scout searching for a missing girl, as the two men attempt to keep the lid on a secret that could spell war.
Jim and the Flims, Rudy Rucker (Nightshade Books)
Jim Oster makes the mistake of piercing the veil between our world and the next, killing his wife and unleashing an invasion of Flims. If he wants Val back and the Flims gone, he'll have to journey to the center of the netherworld with a pack of punks.