‘Tis the season for looking at what books will be published in the coming year! I’ve seen many such lists on the web in the last couple of weeks, but most of them don’t capture what I consider to be the glorious diversity of perspectives that the current science fiction and fantasy scene has to offer. Since everyone gets to make a list if they want to, here’s mine! I hope you’ll find plenty here to fill your bookshelves and eReaders for the next several months.
The Galaxy Game, Karen Lord (Jo Fletcher, January) Karen Lord wowed the community with her award-winning fantasy debut, Redemption in Indigo, then followed it up with a much-discussed science fiction novel, The Best of All Possible Worlds. The Galaxy Game follows on directly from Best, and Lord recommends that you read Best first to understand Game better.
Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear (Tor, February). Bear writes in just about every sub-genre of sf and fantasy that exists. This book kicks off a fast-paced steampunk trilogy, set in the 19th century American west.
Get in Trouble, Kelly Link (Random House). Kelly Link is one of the best short story writers working in any genre today. A new volume from her is always worth picking up. If I’m not mistaken, this is her first collection in three years.
Something Coming Through, Paul McAuley (Gollancz, February). McAuley is one of the UK’s finest sf writers, and in this book he looks at what happens when aliens come bringing gifts of technology and new worlds.
Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology, Ann & Jeff VanderMeer (PM Press, February). The VanderMeers have proved themselves to be eminent anthologists through many projects, including significant volumes on Steampunk and the New Weird. This reprint anthology covers more than 40 years of feminist speculative fiction, and will make the case for its importance and excellence.
Harrison Squared, Daryl Gregory (Tor, March). Gregory’s first foray into the YA genre, after a string of truly excellent sf novels aimed at adults, most recently with 2014’s Afterparty. From the taste of the world offered by Gregory’s stand-along novella We Are All Completely Fine, I expect Harrison Squared to be packed full of weirdness and triumph to satisfy many different audiences.
The Glorious Angels, Justina Robson (Gollancz, March). Robson has written hard sf, and also sf that crosses over to fantasy, with elves and all. A new release from her is always cause for anticipation.
Persona, Genevieve Valentine (Saga, March). One of my favorite new writers, Valentine (who is also now writing the Catwoman comic books) plays on the weird edges of sf and fantasy. This one is described as a near-future political thriller, and I can’t wait to see what she does with it.
The Rebirths of Tao, Wesley Chu (Angry Robot, April). The first two books of this sf thriller series (The Lives of Tao and The Deaths of Tao) have been fun guilty pleasures. In this volume we’ll find out how things wind up for the alien Tao and his host, former geek-schlub Roen.
The Water Knife, Paolo Bacigalupi (Orbit, May). After his remarkable debut, the adult sf post-ecological collapse novel The Windup Girl, Bacigalupi turned to YA with books like Ship Breaker and Zombie Baseball Beatdown. In Water Knife he returns to writing for adults, this time focusing on the environmental challenges facing the American Southwest.
The Book of Phoenix, Nnedi Okorafor (DAW, May). A prequel to her amazing science fiction novel Who Fears Death, Book of Phoenix promises to bring us more of the world and characters of her unique future vision, ranging from the North America to Africa and back.
Cold Iron, Stina Leicht (Saga, June). The author of a fascinating fantasy series set in Northern Ireland (the first of which was Of Blood and Honey), with Cold Iron Leicht kicks off a epic fantasy series that might be categorized as military fantasy–a sub-genre that I’ve been finding particularly interesting of late.
The Year’s Illustrious Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy, Vol. 1, Nisi Shawl (Aqueduct, Summer) An award winning writer in her own right, Shawl kicks off an anthology series from this hugely respected small press, focusing on feminist F&SF. An excellent showcase for excellent, cutting-edge short fiction.
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit, August). Although so far best known as a fantasy author, in this volume, Jemisin kicks off a post-apocalyptic sf series focusing on a mother seeking to save her daughter.
Falling in Love with Hominids, Nalo Hopkinson (Tachyon, August). An amazing writer with Caribbean roots, Hopkinson’s novels have entranced audiences for years. This book collects her short fiction, which can be just as sharp and moving as her longer work. I especially love the fact that she touches on topics that are often absent from genre-fiction, such as post-menopausal women, miscarriages, etc.
Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho (Tor UK, Autumn). Cho’s debut short fiction collection, Spirits Abroad, was one of the highlights of 2014, focusing on fantasy rooted in Malaysian folklore. It will be interesting to see what this fantasy novel has to offer.
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor, September). From our own GeekMom Fran, a high-flying fantasy tale of towers of living bone and dark secrets, loaded with engineering, mystery, and monsters. Science-backed fantasy, fast-paced adventure, a multi-generational cast, and a deeply layered world.
Disclaimer: The only book of these that I’ve seen so far is Galaxy Game, for which I was a beta-reader. I know a number of authors on this list personally. All of the release dates come from Amazon and are subject to change.