Jan 31, 2011

Urban Fantasy Updates

Here are a few updates on a few of my favorite urban fantasy series including Harry Dresden, Felix Castor, Sandman Slim, and everyone's favorite trampstamp heroine, Jayne Heller.

Dresden Delay

[via The Mad Hatter] Without spoiling anything, I will say that the events of the appropriately titled Changes have left fans eagerly anticipating Butcher's follow up, Ghost Story, due out this spring. Unfortunately for them, they'll have to wait a little bit longer to find out what happens to Harry Dresden next.

At MarsCon, Jim Butcher broke the news that Ghost Story was being pushed from its scheduled slot in March to one in late June. As to why, Jim was paraphrased as saying:
“It came down to, readers could either get a half-assed story in April, or a full-assed one in July!” 
Now anyone familiar with the Dresden Books or Codex Alera knows that Butcher has cranked out books at a ridiculous pace for years. They should also recognize that with each book, Butcher has become a better writer - most likely the reason behind the "decrease" in productivity.

I'll take fewer, better books any day. Look for Ghost Story on July 26, 2011.

Don't Forget About Felix

US fans of Felix Castor may still be wondering what happened to Felix Castor after 2009's Dead Men's Boots. Mike Carey's US publisher, Grand Central, has inexplicably stopped publishing subsequent entries, despite owning contractual rights to the books. UK fans are a bit better off, having access to Thicker Than Water (Book 4), and The Naming of the Beasts (Book 5) but are still without any concrete conclusion and no sign of the sixth entry on the publishing calendars.

After some digging, I was able to find a brief update from Carey on the message board of his infrequently updated website.

Book 6 is scheduled for a late 2011 release; and yeah, you're right, mastadge [message board user] - it's the one that answers the big questions that have been hanging in the air ever since the first book. We finally get to find out why the dead are rising now, after so many millennia of human civilisation, how Hell fits into the spiritual ecosystem of Castor's world, and what the "great project" that Moloch talked about was really meant to achieve.

But I've got two other novels to finish first, which is why there's this long delay. There was a fair amount of contractual skullduggery to get sorted after I finished writing book 5, but it's all good now, and it's all definitely going to happen.
Carey doesn't really mention what's going on with his US publisher (aside from possible contractual skullduggery) but it is nice to know that the series will continue, if only in the UK. Luckily, any American fans clamoring for more Castor can purchase the British editions via Amazon or the Book Depository.

I'll be sure to provide more info when I have it.

Sandman Slim Bulks Up

[via io9] - This week news broke that Richard Kadrey has signed a contract for three additional books in his Sandman Slim series after the third book Aloha From Hell fulfills the original contract.  Aloha from Hell promises to close out the first loose trilogy but it looks like the second set of books will continue the plot from the first.

When asked about the series extension, Kadrey told io9.

James Stark (aka Sandman Slim) has plenty more to say and do and kill and break and when I explained this to my publisher they agreed to continue the series if I let them out of the crawlspace under the abandoned slaughterhouse. I'm thrilled to be continuing Stark's story and I'm sure that once I've hosed down the good folks at Harper Voyager they will be too.
Glad to see his dark sense of humor isn't limited to his writing. Along with the new books, it was also announced that new global imprint Harper Voyager would be bringing Sandman Slim to British and Australian bookstores in 2011 saying:

Richard hasn't been published previously in the UK, and everyone (author, agent, and Voyager staff on both sides of the Atlantic) is thrilled that we could use the new global Harper Voyager to do a joint, cooperative deal for continuing the series in the US and to bring both his backlist and upcoming frontlist Sandman Slim books to the UK/ANZ.
Harper Voyager Executive Editor Diana Gill also added this about the content of books 4-6.
In terms of the story, Stark is in even more trouble than before-so far he's dealt with revenge, a zombie plague, and having to return to Hell to stop an immortal, but the end of ALOHA FROM HELL turns everything upside-down.
Kadrey's world is rich and inventive-there's a reason he's won praise from all over the map in terms of authors and reviewers—and there are a lot of adventures for Stark to come. Without ruining ALOHA FROM HELL, let's just say that there was no way we could leave things as they were: we knew we had to find out what happens next!
Look for Aloha From Hell late this year with more to follow.

Black Sun Rising

Daniel Abraham (as M.L.N. Hanover) has published three entries in his Black Sun's Daughter sequence with the fourth, Killing Rites on tap for fall of this year. Abraham just announced on his blog that he is just about done with the manuscript and expects to turn it in to the editors at Pocket within the week. Killing Rites promises the return of the scene stealing Midian (from Unclean Spirits (Book 1) as Jayne and her band of exorcists travel to Taos, New Mexico.

Books 5 and 6 are currently uncontracted but Abraham seems confident they will make it to bookstore shelves. The series is currently slated for 10 books and I really hope I get to read them all if only to see Jayne, Choygi Jake, Ex, and Aubrey battle demons in Dubuque, Iowa.

Jan 26, 2011

2011 Debuts: Call for Comments

This is the last one. Really. Not the previous post where I claimed that it was the last time I would mention 2011 debuts. Or the one before that. It's the last one, I swear.


I asked this at the end of each of my spotlight posts but I want to ask one more time:

Which debut books are you looking forward to reading in 2011?

Have at it.

2011 Debuts: Index / Release Calendar

To close out my look at Debut Authors for 2011, here's a list of every book I mentioned, neatly organized by release date.

January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
  • The Mall - SL Grey - June 1st
  • Leviathan Wakes - Ty Franck (as James S. A. Corey with Daniel Abraham - June 15th
July 2011
  • Bluegrass Symphony - Lisa L. Hannett - July 1st
  • Heaven's Shadow - David S. Goyer and Michael Cassutt - July 5th
August 2011
September 2011
  • The Princess Curse - Merrie Haskell - Sept 1st
  • Debris - Joanne Anderton - Sept 27th
Late 2011
  • How the World Became Quiet: Myths of the Past, Present, and Future - Rachel Swirsky - Late 2011
  • The Girl of Fire & Thorns - Rae Carson - Late 2011
  • Unwrapped Sky - Rjurik Davidson - Late 2011
2012 and Beyond
  • Nightshifted - Cassie Alexander - January 1, 2012
  • The Helix Game - Ted Kosmatka - January 12, 2012
  • Throne of the Crescent Moon - Saladin Ahmed - Early 2012
  • Ironskin - Tina Connolly - Early 2012

Jan 25, 2011

2011 Debuts: Looking further...

In the course of my research I found a few books that I would have easily made the list of promising 2011 debuts except for one thing - they don't come out in 2011. Now I don't know a whole lot about these books themselves but I do know enough about the authors from their short fiction to know that whatever they write, it will be worth reading.

Title: The Helix Game
Author: Ted Kosmatka
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: January 12, 2012
Synopsis: In the future, genetic engineering becomes an Olympic Sport.

Title: Throne of the Crescent Moon
Author: Saladin Ahmed
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: Early 2012
Synopsis: Legendary SF/F publisher DAW books will publish three books set in Ahmed's 1001 Nights-inspired heroic fantasy world The Crescent Moon Kingdoms which is also the setting for his short stories “Where Virtue Lives” and “Judgment of Swords and Souls”

Title: The Croning
Author: Laird Barron
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: Late 2011 / Early 2012
Synopsis: "It's about an elderly man who discovers his wife has kept some dark secrets from him over the course of their marriage. Or, high concept: Wilford Brimley Goes to Hell"

"On the surface it’s written in the vein of the quieter haunted house, occult-type novels of the 1970s. There’s something of a Bluebeard and Rosemary’s Baby vibe at play – a retired professor spends the summer alone at his wife’s ancestral farm in Western Washington. He pokes into her family history and begins to discern an alarming and insidious pattern of black magic, ritual sacrifice, and much hairier things. Matters descend into the realm of the untenable.

For anyone out there who has read “The Broadsword” or Mysterium Tremendum, The Croning progresses deeper into that particular subset of my Pacific Northwest Mythos. This isn’t your dad’s haunted house story."

Title: Ironskin
Author: Tina Connolly
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: Early 2012
Synopsis: Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It's the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain -- the ironskin.
Now Jane returns to the war-torn country to help a fey-cursed child. Helping the unruly Dorie suppress her curse is hard enough -- she certainly didn't expect to fall for the girl's father, the enigmatic artist Mr. Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio -- and come out as beautiful as the fey.
Jane knows he cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things are true? Step by step Jane must unlock the secrets of her new life -- and discover just how far she will go to become whole again.

I'm reasonably sure that these won't be the only debut novels in 2012 but I do know they are the ones I'll be waiting for most.

If you can't wait that long, I'd suggest taking a look the previous posts in my 2011 Debut series. You can find the full index here.

Jan 24, 2011

2011 Debuts: Young-Adult and Middle Grade

For the penultimate entry in my series of debut spotlights, I'm targeting a younger demographic than that of my average reader. Still, some people (who aren't me) have kids, and in a world where Twilight is the industry standard for successfuly "young adult" fiction, they could use all the help they could get to find some quality recommendations. So without further adieu, here are a few books that might keep the kids entertained. Although if they are anything like I was at that age, a few books might only last a week.

Young Adult

Title: The Girl of Fire & Thorns
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher: Green Willow / Harper Collins
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Synopsis: Princess Elisa is a disappointment to her people. Although she bears the Godstone in her navel, a sign that she has been chosen for an act of heroism, they see her as lazy and useless and fat.

On her sixteenth birthday, she is bartered off in royal marriage and shipped away to a kingdom in turmoil, where her much-older and extremely beautiful husband refuses to acknowledge her as his wife. Devastated, Elisa decides to take charge of her fate and learn what it means to bear the Godstone. As an invading army threatens to destroy her new home, and everyone at court maneuvers to take advantage of the young princess, Elisa becomes convinced that, not only is her own life in danger, the whole world needs saving. But how can a young girl who has never ridden horseback, never played the game of politics, and never attained the love of a man save the world? Elisa only knows she's going to try--so long as she doesn't have to give up pastries.

If your kids haven't quite reached young adult status yet, I would suggest any of these middle grade adventures along with Kid vs. Squid or The Boy at the End of the World by Greg Van Eekhout.

Middle Grade

Title: Kat, Incorrigible
Author: Stephanie Burgis
Publisher: Atheneum
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Kat Stephenson may be the despair of her social-climbing Step-Mama, but she was born to be a magical Guardian and protector of Society--if she can ever find true acceptance in the secret Order that expelled her own mother. She’s ready to turn the hidebound Order of the Guardians inside-out, whether the older members like it or not. And in a society where magic is the greatest scandal of all, Kat is determined to use all her powers to help her three older siblings--saintly Elissa, practicing-witch Angeline, and hopelessly foolish Charles--find their own true loves, even if she has to turn highwayman, battle wild magic, and confront real ghosts along the way!

Title: The Mostly True Story of Jack
Author: Kelly Barnhill
Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Synopsis: When Jack is sent to Hazelwood, Iowa, to live with his crazy aunt and uncle, he expects a summer of boredom. Little does he know that the people of Hazelwood have been waiting for him for a long time. . . .

When he arrives, three astonishing things happen: First, he makes friends-not imaginary friends but actual friends. Second, he is beaten up by the town bully; the bullies at home always ignored him. Third, the richest man in town begins to plot Jack's imminent, and hopefully painful, demise. It's up to Jack to figure out why suddenly everyone cares so much about him. Back home he was practically, well, invisible.

The Mostly True Story of Jack is a tale of magic, friendship, and sacrifice. It's about things broken and things put back together. Above all, it's about finding a place to belong.

Title: The Princess Curse
Author: Merrie Haskell
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: September 1, 2011
Synopsis: A retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses", in which an herbalist's apprentice in 15th century Romania attempts to break a curse and instead discovers a door to the Underworld.

Again, I'm sure I missed some excellent debut authors. Feel free to correct my oversights by leaving any additional recommendations in the comments.

The next entry in the series will look out past 2011, highlighting some debuts that aren't slated for this year but are no less anticipated.

You can the full index of highlighted 2011 debuts here.

Jan 20, 2011

2011 Debuts: Literary Crossovers and Short Fiction Collections

Today's debut preview shines a light on a few authors who may or may not be grateful for the attention. list. Literature and genre rarely play nice but when they do get together, they make one hell of a couple. Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman and China Mieville are only a few of the author who have made their careers off border straddling novels chock full or rich prose, challenging ideas, and original concepts. Will these authors make a name for themselves?

Literary Crossovers

Title: The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore
Author: Benjamin Hale
Publisher: Twelve
Release Date: February 2, 2011
Synopsis: Bruno Littlemore is quite unlike any chimpanzee in the world. Precocious, self-conscious and preternaturally gifted, young Bruno, born and raised in a habitat at the local zoo, falls under the care of a university primatologist named Lydia Littlemore. Learning of Bruno's ability to speak, Lydia takes Bruno into her home to oversee his education and nurture his passion for painting. But for all of his gifts, the chimpanzee has a rough time caging his more primal urges. His untimely outbursts ultimately cost Lydia her job, and send the unlikely pair on the road in what proves to be one of the most unforgettable journeys -- and most affecting love stories -- in recent literature. Like its protagonist, this novel is big, loud, abrasive, witty, perverse, earnest and amazingly accomplished. The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore goes beyond satire by showing us not what it means, but what it feels like be human -- to love and lose, learn, aspire, grasp, and, in the end, to fail.

Title: America Pacifica: A Novel
Author: Anna North
Publisher: Reagan Arthur
Release Date: May 18, 2011
Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Darcy lives on the island of America Pacifica--one of the last places on earth that is still habitable, after North America has succumbed to a second ice age. Education, food, and basic means of survival are the province of a chosen few, while the majority of the island residents must struggle to stay alive. The rich live in ""Manhattanville"" mansions made from the last pieces of wood and stone, while the poor cower in the shantytown slums of ""Hell City"" and ""Little Los Angeles,"" places built out of heaped up trash that is slowly crumbling into the sea. The island is ruled by a mysterious dictator named Tyson, whose regime is plagued by charges of corruption and conspiracy.

But to Darcy, America Pacifica is simply home--the only one she's ever known. In spite of their poverty she lives contentedly with her mother, who works as a pearl diver. It's only when her mother doesn't come home one night that Darcy begins to learn about her past as a former ""Mainlander,"" and her mother's role in the flight from frozen California to America Pacifica. Darcy embarks on a quest to find her mother, navigating the dark underbelly of the island, learning along the way the disturbing truth of Pacifica's early history, the far-reaching influence of its egomaniacal leader, and the possible plot to murder some of the island's first inhabitants--including her mother.

Short Fiction

Next up is literarure's little sister, the short story. Like the hard stuff, short stories can be frustrating and amazing at the same time and it take a really skilled writer to put together a good collection. Early collections are more often than not compilations rather than true collections but there are those gems that manage a mix of distinct stories that also become more than a sum of their parts. Here are three very strong authors who I expect might provide just that.

Title: Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & Other Horrors
Author: Livia Llewellyn
Publisher: Lethe Press
Release Date: March 15, 2011
Synopsis: Death and pleasure. Freud's Todestrieb, his statement that ''libido has the task of making the destroying instinct innocuous, and it fulfils the task by diverting that instinct to a great extent outwards....The instinct is then called the destructive instinct, the instinct for mastery, or the will to power.'' Few authors have spun stories of Thanatos and Eros as skillfully and powerfully as Livia Llewellyn. In his introduction to this volume, Laird Barron writes ''Scant difference exists between exquisite pleasure and pain.'' An orphan girl with a mind for anthracite falls into the hands of a cult worshipping an entombed god. In the Pacific Northwest, evergreens lull prepubescent girls into their trunks to serve as wombs. A suburban housewife troubled by her present encounters the sixteen year-old girl she ached to touch in her dreams. These ten stories promise to indulge a reader's sensibilities, their fears and desires.

Title: Bluegrass Symphony
Author: Lisa L. Hannett
Publisher: Ticonderoga Publications
Release Date: July 1, 2011
Synopsis: Ticonderoga Publications is more than well-pleased to announce a forthcoming collection of stories by acclaimed writer and master crafter of unsettling tales Lisa Hannett.
The collection is titled Bluegrass Symphony and scheduled for publication next year.
Since her first publication in 2009, Lisa Hannett’s stories have appeared in numerous anthologies including titles by Twelfth Planet Press and Ticonderoga Publication’s groundbreaking paranormal romance anthology, Scary Kisses. She has published stories in Clarkesworld Magazine, Fantasy Magazine and has tales forthcoming in Weird Tales and Steampunk Reloaded.
Bluegrass Symphony deals with cowboys and fallow fields, shapeshifters and rednecks, superstitions and realities in harsh prairie country — and a whole bunch of other things thrown in the mix.

Title: How the World Became Quiet: Myths of the Past, Present, and Future
Author: Rachel Swirsky
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Synopsis: Rachel Swirsky's 1st short fiction collection. It's about time.

Just a few titles between these two categories but I am always looking for more. As always, if you have any related suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Otherwise, come back tomorrow for my look at 2011's offerings for debut YA and Middlegrade fiction or check out the full index of 2011 here.

Jan 19, 2011

2011 Debuts: Urban Fantasy and Horror

After yesterday's foray into fantasy, it's time to move on to its inbred sex-starved cousin of the municipal variety. As a subgenre, Urban Fantasy doesn't look to be going anywhere any time soon. Not only do all the major players return,  they've also got a few new faces to contend with in the private investigator / witch / nurse/ vampire / nurse / waitress / werewolf / lover / guilty pleasure business.

Despite my proclivity for poking fun, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy the occasional Urban Fantasy. There are a lot of Twilight knock-offs or Dresden Dopplegangers - you just need to figure out what's worth reading and what's pure drek. Hopefully these promising new series will be the start of something special...

Urban Fantasy

Title: Midnight Riot (US) / Rivers of London (UK)
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Synopsis: Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut.

But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

Title: Hounded
Author: Kevin Hearne
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Synopsis: Atticus O’Sullivan has been running for two thousand years and he’s a bit tired of it. After he stole a magical sword from the Tuatha Dé Danann (those who became the Sidhe or the Fae) in a first century battle, some of them were furious and gave chase, and some were secretly amused that a Druid had the cheek to defy them. As the centuries passed and Atticus remained an annoyingly long-lived fugitive, those who were furious only grew more so, while others began to aid him in secret.

Now he’s living in Tempe, Arizona, the very last of the Druids, far from where the Fae can easily find him. It’s a place where many paranormals have decided to hide from the troubles of the Old World—from an Icelandic vampire holding a grudge against Thor to a coven of Polish witches who ran from the German Blitzkrieg.

Unfortunately, the very angry Celtic god who wants that sword has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power, plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good, old-fashioned luck of the Irish to kick some arse and deliver himself from evil.

Title: Nightshifted
Author: Cassie Alexander
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Synopsis: Nursing school never prepared Edie Spence to work with vampires.

When Edie's heroin-addicted brother overdoses, she's given a choice at the County Emergency Room: she can watch him die or buy him an unconventional treatment by quitting her current job and transferring to Floor Y4. She agrees to transfer and finds herself in the bowels of the County hospital, working with vampire-exposed humans and were-creatures in their mortal phases. Caring for her new patients is stressful enough -- and when she rescues an abused little girl from a vampire prince, she realizes that saving her brother may have come at the cost of her immortal soul.


I apologize for the short list of horror recommendations. In my defense, A) There aren't a lot of high profile horror novels, debuts or no. B) A lot of the newer writers are writing short fiction. C) Horror isn't my strong suit.

Title: Outpost
Author: Adam Baker
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: April 14, 2011
Synopsis: They took the job to escape the world
They didn't expect the world to end.

But the world beyond their frozen wasteland has gone to hell. Cities lie ravaged by a global pandemic. One by one TV channels die, replaced by silent wavebands.

The Rampart crew are marooned. They must survive the long Arctic winter, then make their way home alone. They battle starvation and hypothermia, unaware that the deadly contagion that has devastated the world is heading their way...

Kasker Rampart: a derelict refinery platform moored in the Arctic Ocean. A skeleton crew of fifteen fight boredom and despair as they wait for a relief ship to take them home.

Title: The Mall
Author: SL Grey
Publisher: Corvus
Release Date: June 1, 2011
Synopsis: Dan works at a bookstore in a deadly dull shopping mall where nothing ever happens. He’s an angsty emo-kid who sells mid-list books to mid-list people for the minimum wage. He hates his job

Rhoda has dragged her babysitting charge to the mall so she can meet her dealer and score some coke. Now the kid’s run off, and she has two hours to find him. She hates her life.

Rhoda bullies Dan into helping her search, but as they explore the neon-lit corridors behind the mall, disturbing text messages lure them into the bowels of the building, where old mannequins are stored in grave-like piles and raw sewage drips off the ceiling. The only escape is down, and before long Dan and Rhoda are trapped in a service lift listening to head-splitting musak. Worst of all, the lift’s not stopping at the bottom floor.

Plummeting into the earth, Dan and Rhoda enter a sinister underworld that mirrors their worst fears. Forced to complete a series of twisted tasks to find their way out, they finally emerge into the brightly lit food court, sick with relief at the banal sight of people shopping and eating. But something feels different. Why are the shoppers all pumped full of silicone? Why are the shop assistants chained to their counters? And why is McDonald’s selling lumps of bleeding meat?

Just when they think they’ve made it back to the mall, they realise their nightmare has only just begun…

Title: Southern Gods
Author: John Hornor Jacobs
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: August 1, 2011
Synopsis: Recent World War II veteran Bull Ingram is working as muscle when a Memphis DJ hires him to find Ramblin' John Hastur. The mysterious blues man's dark, driving music--broadcast at ever-shifting frequencies by a phantom radio station--is said to make living men insane and dead men rise.

Disturbed and enraged by the bootleg recording the DJ plays for him, Ingram follows Hastur's trail into the strange, uncivilized backwoods of Arkansas, where he hears rumors the musician has sold his soul to the Devil.

But as Ingram closes in on Hastur and those who have crossed his path, he'll learn there are forces much more malevolent than the Devil and reckonings more painful than Hell . . .

In a masterful debut of Lovecraftian horror and Southern gothic menace, John Hornor Jacobs reveals the fragility of free will, the dangerous power of sacrifice, and the insidious strength of blood.

Now, It's not the most comprehensive slate but as I said, I can always use some help in the Horror department. Recommendations of new authors are always welcome in the comments.

The same goes for Urban Fantasy - finding the diamond in that rough is much too dirty for my liking. But I'm always happy to take a look at something someone suggests is worth digging for.

Come back tomorrow for a rather respectable look at a few literary crossovers and those agonizingly brilliant things I refer to as short fiction collections.

If you are looking for more 2011 debuts, check out the full index (including science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk) here.

Jan 18, 2011

2011 Debuts: Fantasy and Steampunk

After yesterday's science based spotlight, it's time to shift the dial over to the magical side of the spectrum. Every book on this list contains one type of magic or another, even if it's under the guise of supernatural science. 

And as far as debuts go, none may be as critical as the first book in an epic fantasy series. Look for a few of these titles to generate a lot of discussion in 2011.


Title: God's War
Author: Kameron Hurley
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: January 18, 2011
Synopsis: Nyx had already been to hell. One prayer more or less wouldn t make any difference...

On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there's one thing everybody agrees on--

There's not a chance in hell of ending it.

Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war--but at what price?

The world is about to find out.

Title: The Desert of Souls
Author: Howard Andrew Jones
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Release Date: February 15, 2011
Synopsis: In 8th century Baghdad, a stranger pleads with the vizier to safeguard the bejeweled tablet he carries, but he is murdered before he can explain. Charged with solving the puzzle, the scholar Dabir soon realizes that the tablet may unlock secrets hidden within the lost city of Ubar, the Atlantis of the sands. When the tablet is stolen from his care, Dabir and Captain Asim are sent after it, and into a life and death chase through the ancient Middle East.

Stopping the thieves—a cunning Greek spy and a fire wizard of the Magi—requires a desperate journey into the desert, but first Dabir and Asim must find the lost ruins of Ubar and contend with a mythic, sorcerous being that has traded wisdom for the souls of men since the dawn of time. But against all these hazards there is one more that may be too great even for Dabir to overcome..."

Title: Wolfsangel
Author: M.D. Lachlan
Publisher: Pyr
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Synopsis: The Viking King Authun leads his men on a raid against an Anglo-Saxon village. Men and women are killed indiscriminately but Authun demands that no child be touched. He is acting on prophecy. A prophecy that tells him that the Saxons have stolen a child from the Gods. If Authun, in turn, takes the child and raises him as an heir, the child will lead his people to glory. But Authun discovers not one child, but twin baby boys. Ensuring that his faithful warriors, witness to what has happened, die during the raid Authun takes the children and their mother home, back to the witches who live on the troll wall. And he places his destiny in their hands. And so begins a stunning multi-volume fantasy epic that will take a werewolf from his beginnings as the heir to a brutal viking king, down through the ages. It is a journey that will see him hunt for his lost love through centuries and lives, and see the endless battle between the wolf, Odin and Loki - the eternal trickster - spill over into countless bloody conflicts from our history, and over into our lives. This is the myth of the werewolf as it has never been told before...

Title: The Unremembered
Author: Peter Orullian
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: April 12, 2011
Synopsis: The gods, makers of worlds, seek to create balance—between matter and energy; and between mortals who strive toward the transcendent, and the natural perils they must tame or overcome. But one of the gods fashions a world filled with hellish creatures far too powerful to allow balance; he is condemned to live for eternity with his most hateful creations in that world’s distant Bourne, restrained by a magical veil kept vital by the power of song.

Millennia pass, awareness of the hidden danger fades to legend, and both song and veil weaken. And the most remote cities are laid waste by fell, nightmarish troops escaped from the Bourne. Some people dismiss the attacks as mere rumor. Instead of standing against the real threat, they persecute those with the knowledge, magic and power to fight these abominations, denying the inevitability of war and annihilation. And the evil from the Bourne swells….

The troubles of the world seem far from the Hollows where Tahn Junell struggles to remember his lost childhood and to understand words he feels compelled to utter each time he draws his bow. Trouble arrives when two strangers—an enigmatic man wearing the sigil of the feared Order of Sheason and a beautiful woman of the legendary Far—come, to take Tahn, his sister and his two best friends on a dangerous, secret journey. Tahn knows neither why nor where they will go. He knows only that terrible forces have been unleashed upon mankind and he has been called to stand up and face that which most daunts him—his own forgotten secrets and the darkness that would destroy him and his world.

Title: The Winds of Khalakovo
Author: Brad Beaulieu
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Synopsis: Among inhospitable and unforgiving seas stands Khalakovo, a mountainous archipelago of seven islands, its prominent eyrie stretching a thousand feet into the sky. Serviced by windships bearing goods and dignitaries, Khalakovo's eyrie stands at the crossroads of world trade. But all is not well in Khalakovo. Conflict has erupted between the ruling Landed, the indigenous Aramahn, and the fanatical Maharraht, and a wasting disease has grown rampant over the past decade. Now, Khalakovoable and unforgiving seas stands Khalakovo, a mountainous archipelago of seven islands, its prominent eyrie stretching a thousand feet into the sky. Serviced by windships bearing goods and dignitaries, Khalakovo's eyrie stands at the crossroads of world trade. But all is not well in Khalakovo. Conflict has erupted between the ruling Landed, the indigenous Aramahn, and the fanatical Maharraht, and a wasting disease has grown rampant over the past decade. Now, Khalakovo is to play host to the Nine Dukes, a meeting which will weigh heavily upon Khalakovo's future. When an elemental spirit attacks an incoming windship, murdering the Grand Duke and his retinue, Prince Nikandr, heir to the scepter of Khalakovo, is tasked with finding the child prodigy believed to be behind the summoning. However, Nikandr discovers that the boy is an autistic savant who may hold the key to lifting the blight that has been sweeping the islands. Can the Dukes, thirsty for revenge, be held at bay? Can Khalakovo be saved? The elusive answer drifts upon the Winds of Khalakovo...

Title: Unwrapped Sky
Author: Rjurik Davidson
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: Late 2011
Synopsis: Caeli-Amur: an ancient city perched on white cliffs overlooking the sea; a city ruled by three Houses, fighting internecine wars; a city which harbours ancient technology and hidden mysteries. But things are changing in Caeli-Amur. Ancient minotaurs arrive for the traditional Festival of the Sun. The slightly built New-Men bring their technology from their homeland. Wastelanders stream into the city hideously changed by the chemical streams to the north. Strikes break out in the factory district. In a hideout beneath the city, a small group of seditionists debate ways to overthrow the Houses. How can they rouse the citizens of the city? Should they begin a campaign of terror? Is there a way to uncover the thaumaturgical knowledge that the Houses guard so jealously? As the Houses scramble to maintain their rule, it becomes clear that things will change forever in Caeli-Amur.


Now I won't claim to be an expert at drawing the line between Fantasy and Steampunk but these titles have a few more brass fittings and  

Title: Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti
Author: Genevieve Valentine
Publisher: Prime
Release Date: April 25, 2011
Synopsis: The Mechanical Circus Tresaulti travels the landscape of a ruined country under the spectre of war, but when two of its performers become locked in a battle of wills, the circus's own past may be the biggest threat of all.

Title: The Falling Machine
Author: Andrew P. Mayer
Publisher: Pyr
Release Date: May 24, 2011
Synopsis: In 1880 women aren’t allowed to vote, much less dress up in a costume and fight crime. But nineteen year-old socialite Sarah Stanton still dreams of becoming a hero. Her opportunity arrives in tragedy when Dennis Darby, the leader of the Society of Paragons—New York’s greatest team of gentlemen adventurers—is murdered right before her eyes. To uncover the truth behind the assassination, Sarah joins forces with Darby's greatest creation; the amazing mechanical man known as The Automaton. Together they begin to unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the Paragons that reveals the world of heroes and high-society is built on a crumbling foundation of greed and lies. But it is only when Sarah comes face to face with the megalomaniacal villain behind the murder that she will discover if she has the courage to sacrifice her life of privilege and truly become the hero she has always wanted to be.

Title: Debris
Author: Joanne Anderton
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Synopsis: Debris introduces us to Tanyana, leader of a matter-manipulating team. Following an accident, she’s dismayed to be demoted to little more than a garbage collector, but it soon becomes obvious she’s been manipulated into that role by the faceless faction she calls the Puppet Men, to uncover a world-shattering secret.

That's what I got, looks to be an interesting year for sure. Don't be afraid to note any debuts I'm missing in the comments.

Tomorrow - Urban Fantasy and Horror...

The full index of 2011 debuts can be found here.

Jan 17, 2011

2011 Debuts: Science Fiction

From self-hating cyborgs and cyberpunk space opera to post-apocalyptic Petrovitches and unexplained alien objects, the 2011 publishing slate is littered with offerings from some of the genre's brightest new talent. Here are some science fiction debuts to watch out for.

Science Fiction

Title: Up Against It
Author: M.J. Locke
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Synopsis: In M. J. Locke’s absorbing debut novel, rogue artificial intelligence and a lethal resource crisis threaten the asteroid colony Phoecea—while, meanwhile, an interplanetary crimesyndicate appears to be pulling the strings. Locke’s background as a resource management specialist in the energy industry gives particular depth to the portrayal of Jane, the bureaucrat-engineer in charge of keeping the plumbing running on her island of humanity in unforgiving space.

In short order, Jane discovers that her colony’s water crisis may have been engineered by the Martian mafia, as a means of executing a coup and turning Phocaea into a client-state. And if that wasn’t bad enough, an AI that spawned during the industrial emergency has slipped through the distracted safeguards and gone rogue…and there’s a giant x-factor in the form of the transhumanist Viridian cult that lives in Phocaea’s bowels. There’s never enough SF like this: accessible, fun to read, featuring both young and old characters who we like instantly and care about, plus a constant flow of fascinating invention. Among other things, Up Against It is a “workplace drama,” full of the fascination of watching competent people do their extremely interesting jobs, with lives at stake.

Title: Equations of Life
Author: Simon Morden
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Synopsis: Samuil Petrovitch is a survivor.

He survived the nuclear fallout in St. Petersburg and hid in the London Metrozone - the last city in England. He's lived this long because he's a man of rules and logic.

For example, getting involved = a bad idea.

But when he stumbles into a kidnapping in progress, he acts without even thinking. Before he can stop himself, he's saved the daughter of the most dangerous man in London.

And clearly saving the girl = getting involved.

Now, the equation of Petrovitch's life is looking increasingly complex.

Russian mobsters + Yakuza + something called the New Machine Jihad = one dead Petrovitch.

But Petrovitch has a plan - he always has a plan - he's just not sure it's a good one. "

Title: Soft Apocalypse
Author: Will McIntosh
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Synopsis: It’s at a speed-dating service that Jasper realizes he’s living through the apocalypse. He’s not interested in dating the woman who convinces him of this, because she’s in a wheelchair–a victim of Polio-X–and he feels guilty about that. In fact he struggles with the whole notion of looking for love while corpses pile up in the back alleys of Savannah. Maybe finding true love isn’t even possible when Dada terrorists prowl the streets planting bombs in dogs, and voracious strains of bamboo choke the countryside, driving ever more people into the cities. And watch out for dozens of home-cooked viruses, including a brand new one: Doctor Happy. It doesn’t kill you, it just leaves you on a permanent LSD trip.

When the country finally collapses under the weight of a thousand cuts, Jasper flees his home town of Savannah with a tribe of friends. It’s here that he encounters Phoebe, an old girlfriend, and wonders if she might be the one. Both suspect they’re incapable of love after all the things they’ve seen and done. Close to starvation, an opportunity arises–a community that offers food and safety. If they’ll infect themselves with the Doctor Happy virus first.

Title: The Quantum Thief
Author: Hannu Rajaniemi
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Synopsis: Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy - from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to steal their thoughts, to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of the Moving Cities of Mars. Except that Jean made one mistake. Now he is condemned to play endless variations of a game-theoretic riddle in the vast virtual jail of the Axelrod Archons - the Dilemma Prison - against countless copies of himself. Jean's routine of death, defection and cooperation is upset by the arrival of Mieli and her spidership, Perhonen. She offers him a chance to win back his freedom and the powers of his old self - in exchange for finishing the one heist he never quite managed ...

Title: Leviathan Wakes
Author: Ty Franck (with Daniel Abraham as James S. A. Corey)
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: June 15, 2011
Synopsis: Welcome to the future. Humanity has colonized the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond - but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, The Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for - and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to The Scopuli and rebel sympathizer, Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Title: Heaven's Shadow
Author: David S. Goyer and Michael Cassutt
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: July 5, 2011
Synopsis: "Heaven's Shadow" begins with the discovery of an object of unknown origin headed toward Earth. Speculation as to what it might be runs high, and leads to an international competition to be the first to land on it, to claim both the prestige and whatever other benefits there might be. Thus, two rival teams of astronauts begin a thrilling and dangerous race - but what they find when they reach their goal will turn out to be unlike anything they could have imagined ...What they have landed on is no asteroid but a spacecraft from a civilization that has travelled tens of thousands of years to reach earth. While the team try to work out what it is they are needed for, more sinister occurrences cause them to wonder if their involvement with this alien race will ead to anything but harm for humanity.

Not Actual Cover Art
Title: Machine
Author: Jennifer Pelland
Publisher: Apex Books
Release Date: August 12, 2011
Synopsis: "When a fast-acting mutation of Alzheimer's threatens to destroy Celia Krajewski's brain, she has her memories copied and downloaded into a perfect mechanical recreation of her body so she can continue to live her life while her flesh body stays in stasis, waiting for the cure. But when she wakes up, she finds her wife has left her, unable to reconcile the thought of Celia being in two places at once. Celia turns her pain inward, mutilating herself so she can see her machine parts. She soon falls in with a group of "mechanicals" who illicitly modify their programming and appearance as they see fit. But losing her humanity is a dangerous game, legally, emotionally, and sexually, and it's a game that Celia is ill-equipped to play."

Based on these books alone, it should be an interesting year for new sci-fi writers. Expect some more details as the release dates creep up. Keep in mind that I can't be aware of the books I'm not aware of, so please mention any debuts I may have missed in the comments.

Come back tomorrow for to see which authors are publishing their first fantasies.

The full index of 2011 debuts can be found here.
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