Feb 16, 2013

Ten Most Anticipated Books for 2013


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Here's my list of (approximately) ten books I'm really looking forward to this year. I don't know if they're all going to turn out to be as good as I hope they will but I'll definitely be there to find out.





10. Dreams and Shadows - C. Robert Cargill


A brilliantly crafted modern tale from acclaimed film critic and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill—part Neil Gaiman, part Guillermo Del Toro, part William S. Burroughs—that charts the lives of two boys from their star-crossed childhood in the realm of magic and mystery to their anguished adulthoods 
There is another world than our own—one no closer than a kiss and one no further than our nightmares—where all the stuff of which dreams are made is real and magic is just a step away. But once you see that world, you will never be the same.
Dreams and Shadows takes us beyond this veil. Once bold explorers and youthful denizens of this magical realm, Ewan is now an Austin musician who just met his dream girl, and Colby, meanwhile, cannot escape the consequences of an innocent wish. But while Ewan and Colby left the Limestone Kingdom as children, it has never forgotten them. And in a world where angels relax on rooftops, whiskey-swilling genies argue metaphysics with foul-mouthed wizards, and monsters in the shadows feed on fear, you can never outrun your fate. 
Dreams and Shadows is a stunning and evocative debut about the magic and monsters in our world and in our self.
The year's first big speculative fiction debut, in my not so humble opinion. Contemporary fantasy in the vein of Gaiman, Mieville, or Grossman? Sign me up. 





9. You - Austin Grossman

A NOVEL OF MYSTERY, VIDEOGAMES, AND THE PEOPLE WHO CREATE THEM, BY THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF SOON I WILL BE INVINCIBLE. 
When Russell joins Black Arts games, brainchild of two visionary designers who were once his closest friends, he reunites with an eccentric crew of nerds hacking the frontiers of both technology and entertainment. In part, he's finally given up chasing the conventional path that has always seemed just out of reach. But mostly, he needs to know what happened to Simon, the strangest and most gifted friend he ever lost, who died under mysterious circumstances soon after Black Arts' breakout hit. 
Then Black Arts' revolutionary next-gen game is threatened by a mysterious software glitch, and Russell finds himself in a race to save his job, Black Arts' legacy, and the people he has grown to care about. The bug is the first clue in a mystery leading back twenty years, through real and virtual worlds, corporate boardrooms and high school computer camp, to a secret that changed a friendship and the history of gaming. The deeper Russell digs, the more dangerous the glitch appears--and soon, Russell comes to realize there's much more is at stake than just one software company's bottom line. 
Austin Grossman's debut novel Soon I Will Invincible announced the arrival of a singular, genre-defying talent "sure to please fans of Lethem and Chabon" (Playboy). With YOU, Grossman offers his most daring and most personal novel yet-a thrilling, hilarious, authentic portrait of the world of professional game makers; and the story of how learning to play can save your life.


Has it really been 6 years since Soon I will Be Invincible? Is this 2013's answer to Ready Player One?





8. The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination - John Joseph Adams



From Victor Frankenstein to Lex Luthor, from Dr. Moreau to Dr. Doom, readers have long been fascinated by insane plans for world domination and the madmen who devise them. Typically, we see these villains through the eyes of good guys. This anthology, however, explores the world of mad scientists and evil geniuses—from their own wonderfully twisted point of view. 
An all-star roster of bestselling authors—including Diana Gabaldon, Daniel Wilson, Austin Grossman, Naomi Novik, and Seanan McGuire…twenty-two great storytellers all told—have produced a fabulous assortment of stories guaranteed to provide readers with hour after hour of high-octane entertainment born of the most megalomaniacal mayhem imaginable. 
Everybody loves villains. They’re bad; they always stir the pot; they’re much more fun than the good guys, even if we want to see the good guys win. Their fiendish schemes, maniacal laughter, and limitless ambition are legendary, but what lies behind those crazy eyes and wicked grins? How—and why—do they commit these nefarious deeds? And why are they so set on taking over the world? 
If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, you’re in luck: It’s finally time for the madmen’s side of the story.


There are only one or two original anthologies each year that really catch my eye and the concept and line-up that Adams has assembled really has made Mad Science the anthology of the year for me.






7. Promise of Blood - Brian McClellan

The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it. 
It's a bloody business overthrowing a king...Field Marshal Tamas' coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas's supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces. 
It's up to a few...Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail. 
But when gods are involved...Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should...


The second of two debuts on the list. I met McClellan back at ConFusion last year and I'm excited to finally see what all the fuss is about.








6. The Tyrant's Law / Abaddon's Gate / Graveyard Child - Daniel Abraham



The Tyrant's Law 

The great war cannot be stopped. 
The tyrant Geder Palliako had led his nation to war, but every victory has called forth another conflict. Now the greater war spreads out before him, and he is bent on bringing peace. No matter how many people he has to kill to do it. 
Cithrin bel Sarcour, rogue banker of the Medean Bank, has returned to the fold. Her apprenticeship has placed her in the path of war, but the greater dangers are the ones in her past and in her soul. 
Widowed and disgraced at the heart of the Empire, Clara Kalliam has become a loyal traitor, defending her nation against itself. And in the shadows of the world, Captain Marcus Wester tracks an ancient secret that will change the war in ways not even he can forsee.

Abaddon's Gate 

For generations, the solar system -- Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt -- was humanity's great frontier. Until now. The alien artifact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has appeared in Uranus's orbit, where it has built a massive gate that leads to a starless dark. 
Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artifact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.


Graveyard Child 

It’s a homecoming, of sorts, for Jayné Heller—and she wants some long-awaited answers to her past, in this fifth book in the acclaimed Black Sun’s Daughter urban fantasy series. 
After years on her own, Jayné Heller is going home to find some answers. How did the powerful spirit calling itself the Black Sun get into her body? Who was her uncle Eric, and what was the grand plan to which he devoted his life? Who did her mother have an affair with, and why? And the tattoo—seriously—what was that about? 
Jayné arrives during the preparations for her older brother’s shotgun wedding, but she’s not the only unexpected guest. The Invisible College has also come to town, intent on stopping the ceremony. They claim an ancient evil is threatening the child that would be Jayné’s niece, and that the Heller family has been rotten at the core for generations. The deeper Jayné looks, the more she thinks they might not be wrong. And behind them all, in the shadows of Jayné’s childhood home, a greater threat waits that calls itself the Graveyard Child...


With the help of his Expanse partner Ty Franck, Jamsiel S.A.M.L.O.N. Abrahanoverey somehow manages to put out three books a year and make them all awesome. Suck it Sanderson! 

Abraham's also working on a Star Wars novel set in the Original Trilogy era. If I could pre-order it now, I would.







5. NOS4A2 - Joe Hill



NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns. 
Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country. 
Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.” 
Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.


After the genius of Hill's Horns and Locke and Key, I'd buy a collection of his third grade spelling homework. Hill might be scientific proof that writing talent is genetic.







4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

It began for our narrator forty years ago, when the family lodger sole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. 
His only defense are three women on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.


The only thing better than the prospect of a new Gaiman book is the prospect of a Gaiman narrating a new Gaiman book. (Seriously, he opens his mouth and liquid myth comes out)






3. The Water Knife - Paolo Bacigalupi


In a future hammered by climate change and drought, mountain snows have turned to rain, and rain evaporates before it hits the ground. In a fragmenting United States, the cities of Phoenix and Las Vegas skirmish for a dwindling share of the Colorado River. But it is the Las Vegas water knives - assassins, terrorists and spies - who are legendary for protecting Las Vegas' water supplies, and for ensuring Phoenix's ruin. 
When rumours of a game-changing water source surface, Las Vegas dispatches elite water knife Angel Velasquez to Phoenix to investigate. There, he discovers hardened journalist Lucy Monroe, who holds the secret to the water source Angel seeks. But Angel isn't the only one hunting for water, Lucy is no pushover, and the death of a despised water knife is a small price to pay in return for the life-giving flow of a river.

It's not clear if we will see Bacigalupi's next adult novel this year or not but I'm sure I'm not the only one hoping to see another one of his disasterpieces. 



2. The Shining Girls - Lauren Beukes



The Time Traveler's Wife meets The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in this story of a time-traveling serial killer who is impossible to trace--until one of his victims survives.
In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back.
Working with an ex-homicide reporter who is falling for her, Kirby has to unravel an impossible mystery. 
THE SHINING GIRLS is a masterful twist on the classic serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing girl in pursuit of a deadly criminal.


I got an early peak at a few chapters of this one, can't wait to read the complete and shiny edition.







1. Necessary Evil / Something More Than Night - Ian Tregillis

Necessary Evil 

12 May 1940. Westminster, London, England:  the early days of World War II.  
Again.  
Raybould Marsh, one of “our” Britain’s best spies, has travelled to another Earth in a desperate attempt to save at least one timeline from the Cthulhu-like monsters who have been observing our species from space and have already destroyed Marsh’s timeline. In order to accomplish this, he must remove all traces of the supermen that were created by the Nazi war machine and caused the specters from outer space to notice our planet in the first place.  
His biggest challenge is the mad seer Greta, one of the most powerful of the Nazi creations, who has sent a version of herself to this timeline to thwart Marsh.  Why would she stand in his way?  Because she has seen that in all the timelines she dies and she is determined to stop that from happening, even if it means destroying most of humanity in the process. And Marsh is the only man who can stop her.
Necessary Evil is the stunning conclusion to Ian Tregillis’s Milkweed series.

Something More Than Night 


The title of my next novel, SOMETHING MORE THAN NIGHT, comes from a quote by Raymond Chandler.  In an essay where he looked back to describe some of his earlier short fiction, written before he hit his stride with the Philip Marlowe novels, he said, in part, "The law was something to be manipulated for profit and power.  The streets were dark with something more than night." 
The book is a Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler-inspired murder mystery set in Heaven.  Imagine central casting for a 1930s detective novel juxtaposed with all the strange and terrifying members of the heavenly choir: Angels, Archangels, Principalities, Thrones, Dominions, Powers, Virtues, Seraphim, Cherubim… Swell dames and femmes fatales, dirty priests and the Voice of God.


The first two books of The Milkweed Triptych set up the third volume so well, I'd choose a crack at the Necessary Evil over anything else due out this year, short of an exclusive copy of The Winds of Winter. And the best part? You'll only have to wait a few short months for more Tregillis.  




So whats on your list?

5 comments:

  1. Several of the books on your list were on mine too, but the one novel I've been most excited about is the new Guy Gavriel Kay, River of Stars.

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  2. Several of your books are on my list, too. Your description of Abraham's output is funny. And its true.

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  3. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we get The Unholy Consult by R. Scott Bakker this year!

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  4. Still reading, and glad of it. I didn't know I was looking forward to these books, but now I am.

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  5. Welcome back! I think this is my favorite 2013 Most Anticipated list yet - I hadn't seen a few of these mentioned on the other blogs I read, and now I'm really excited. So glad you're blogging again!

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