Future Treasures: The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Seven, edited by Ellen Datlow

Saturday, April 18th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Best Horror of the Year Volume Seven-smallLast week I surveyed eleven upcoming Best of the Year anthologies, including books edited by Rich Horton, Jonathan Strahan, Paula Guran, Gardner Dozois, John Joseph Adams and Joe Hill, Stephen Jones, and others. All eleven will be published between May and October — a bumper crop for everyone who delights in excellent short fiction.

Night Shade Books used to publish two: Strahan’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, and Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year, but after the sale of Night Shade to Skyhorse two years ago, Strahan took his volume to Solaris.

Fortunately for us Night Shade have continued to publish the horror volume, and the seventh arrives in August of this year, with 22 short stories and novelettes from Garth Nix, Nathan Ballingrud, Genevieve Valentine, John Langan, Dale Bailey, Gemma Files, Robert Shearman, and many others.

James McGlothlin reviewed the Sixth installment in the series for us last year, saying it made a strong case that we’re living in a Golden Age of Horror.

Here’s the book description for the upcoming seventh volume.

For over three decades, Ellen Datlow has been at the center of horror. Bringing you the most frightening and terrifying stories, Datlow always has her finger on the pulse of what horror readers crave. Now, with the seventh volume of this series, Datlow is back again to bring you the stories that will keep you up at night.

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Future Treasures: Sword of the North by Luke Scull

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Sword of the North-smallSword of the North is the sequel to 2013′s The Grim Company, which Tor.com called “Brilliant” and The Daily Mail called “A grisly, compelling read… hugely enjoyable.”

The second volume in the series returns to the hostile, decaying world where the gods are dead… a land desperately in need of heroes. But what it gets instead is a ragtag band of old warriors, a crippled Halfmage, two orphans and an oddly capable manservant: the Grim Company.

In The Grim Company, Luke Scull introduced a formidable and forbidding band of anti-heroes battling against ruthless Magelords and monstrous terrors. The adventure continues as the company — now broken — face new dangers on personal quests…

As Davarus Cole and his former companions were quick to discover, the White Lady’s victorious liberation of Dorminia has not resulted in the freedom they once imagined. Anyone perceived as a threat has been seized and imprisoned—or exiled to darker regions — leaving the White Lady’s rule unchallenged and absolute. But the White Lady would be wiser not to spurn her former supporters: Eremul the Halfmage has learned of a race of immortals known as the Fade, and if he cannot convince the White Lady of their existence, all of humanity will be in danger.

Far to the north, Brodar Kayne and Jerek the Wolf continue their odyssey to the High Fangs only to find themselves caught in a war between a demon horde and their enemy of old, the Shaman. And in the wondrous city of Thelassa, Sasha must overcome demons of her own.

Because the Fade are coming…

Sword of the North will be published by Roc on May 5, 2015. It is 448 pages, priced at $26.95 in hardcover, and $12.99 for the digital edition.

Future Treasures: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Monday, April 13th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

A Court of Thorns and Roses-smallSarah J. Maas is the author of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series (Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, and the upcoming Queen of Shadows.)

Her new series is an adult fantasy with a strong fairy tale theme, drawing from Beauty and the Beast and the tales of Tam Lin.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin — one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it. . . or doom Tamlin — and his world-forever.

A Court of Thorns and Roses will be published by Bloomsbury on May 5, 2015. It is 432 pages, priced at $18.99 in hardcover and $9.99 for the digital version.

See our summary of April new fantasy releases here, and all our reports on upcoming fantasy of note here.

The Future of Fantasy: April New Releases

Saturday, April 11th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Vagrant-small Perfect Slate Brandon Sanderson-small The Grace of Kings-small

It’s tough to keep up on all the exciting new fantasy releases every month. But that’s why Black Gate is in your life. That and — admit it — you love Goth Chick’s Halloween Show reports.

April looks pretty exciting from where I sit, with a new fantasy debut from wunderkind Ken Liu, an exciting line up of graphic novels — including new Alan Moore — some fresh installments in popular series, and a lot more. We’re here to point you towards the most exciting releases of the month, so let’s get started.

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Get Ready For 11 Best-of-the-Year Volumes

Thursday, April 9th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Best British Horror 2014-smallWe’re entering the Best-of-the-Year season.

Starting in May we’ll see no less than eleven volumes collecting the best short fiction of last year, beginning with Jonathan Strahan’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Nine (released May 12), and ending in October with the release of the latest volume in Stephen Jones’ long-running Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. We’ve showcased eight as Future Treasures in just the last few months (click on the links below for details on each.)

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Nine, edited by Jonathan Strahan (May 12)
Best British Horror 2015, edited by Johnny Mains (May 25)
The Year’s Best Military SF and Space Opera, edited by David Afsharirad (June 2)
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas: 2015 edited by Paula Guran (June 16)
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015, edited by Rich Horton (June 16)
The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2015, edited by Paula Guran (June 24)
The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Second Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois (July 7)
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Seven, edited by Ellen Datlow (August 4)
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015, edited by John Joseph Adams and Joe Hill (October 6)
Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume 2, edited by Kathe Koja (October)
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 26, edited by Stephen Jones (October)

After 18 volumes, we lost David’s Hartwell’s Year’s Best SF in 2014 — a major loss– but we’ve added three to the list this year: the Afsharirad, Adams, and Paula Guran’s Best Novellas book. (And Year’s Best Weird Fiction just started up in 2014). I don’t remember any time in the history of the genre when we had this many Year’s Best volumes; certainly there’s been no time when I’ve looked forward with anticipation to nearly so many. I take it as a sign that there’s still a very healthy interest in short fiction in this market. Stay tuned over the next six months, and we’ll bring you additional details as they hit the market.

Future Treasures: Blood Sisters, edited by Paula Guran

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Blood Sisters Paula Guran-smallIn her lengthy intro to her new anthology Blood Sisters, Paula Guran traces the modern literary history of the vampire, from C.L. Moore (“Whether… Moore’s “Shambleau” (1933) is a vampire story may be open to question, but one can make a good argument that the alien Shambleau is a form of vampire”) to Stephen King (“Salem’s Lot… downplayed vampiric eroticism, upped the level of terror, and focused on the vampire as a metaphor of corrupt power”) to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (“Saint-Germain was the first genuinely romantic and heroic vampire”), and beyond.

In Blood Sisters Guran collects 25 vampire stories by Carrie Vaughn, Catherynne M. Valente, Nancy A. Collins, Suzy McKee Charnas, Pat Cadigan, Nalo Hopkinson, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Melanie Tem, Charlaine Harris, and over a dozen other women. It’s a stellar line-up, and one of the most intriguing collections of any kind I’ve seen this year.

A tantalizing selection of stories from some of the best female authors who’ve helped define the modern vampire.

Bram Stoker was hardly the first author — male or female — to fictionalize the folkloric vampire, but he defined the modern iconic vampire when Dracula appeared in 1897. Since then, many have reinterpreted the ever-versatile vampire over and over again — and female writers have played vital roles in proving that the vampire, as well as our perpetual fascination with it, is truly immortal. These authors have devised some of the most fascinating, popular, and entertaining of our many vampiric variations: suavely sensual… fascinating but fatal… sexy and smart… undead but prone to detection… tormented or terrifying… amusing or amoral… doomed or deadly… badass and beautiful… cutting-edge or classic…

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Future Treasures: The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Second Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois

Sunday, April 5th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Year's Best Science Fiction Thirty-Second Annual Collection-smallThere are roughly ten Year’s Best volumes currently being published in the speculative fiction market, but they all bow before Gardner Dozois’ The Year’s Best Science Fiction. The Thirty-Second volume in this venerable series will be published in July.

Now, believe it or not, there were Year’s Best series before Gardner. Everett F Bleiler and T.E Dikty edited the first volume of The Best Science Fiction Stories way back in 1949 (I know, right? Who knew there was good science fiction in those days!) Judith Merril edited twelve volumes of The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy (1956-1967), while Donald Wollheim, Terry Carr, Lin Carter, Arthur Saha, Harry Harrison and Brian Aldis, and Lester del Rey all tried their hand at it for a while, with varying success. Gardner Dozois edited the Del Rey series, taking over from Lester del Rey, from 1977-81, until starting over again with The Year’s Best Science Fiction: First Annual Collection in 1984 (There’s a nice summary of all this history in Scott Laz’s review of that very first volume here.)

Gardner’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction was exceptional right from the very beginning. For one thing, most prior books — even market leaders like Terry Carr’s The Best Science Fiction of the Year — were slender paperback originals. With his first volume Gardner delivered a massive 575-page hardcover, packed with 25 stories — including a couple of novellas, like Dan Simmons’ knockout “Carrion Comfort.”

He also began what quickly became one of the most-read columns in the entire industry: his lengthy, frank, and often highly opinionated annual summation, covering news, magazines, anthologies, movies, deaths, awards, the birth and growth of fan websites, podcasts, and much more. His first one in 1984 was a thin 17 pages, but over the decades Gardner’s comprehensive report card on the field grew to nearly 100 pages. I, for one, read them cover-to-cover.

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Future Treasures: Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Of Noble Family-smallOf Noble Family, the fifth and final novel in Mary Robinette Kowal’s popular Glamourist Histories, is due to arrive later this month.

The first novel, Shades of Milk and Honey, was nominated for a Nebula Award. The previous four books in the series are:

Shades of Milk and Honey (2010)
Glamour in Glass(2012)
Without a Summer (2013)
Valour and Vanity (2014)

I had the good fortune to hear Mary read from Valour and Vanity at Capricon last year, where she talked about the effort involved in ensuring the language in these novels is appropriate for the time — including creating a Jane Austen dictionary, and making heavy use of the Oxford historical concordance, which lists words in the order in which they appeared in the English language.

Mary is also a high-profile author here in Chicago, and I first met Wesley Chu at the launch party for Without a Summer in 2013.

Here’s the description for Of Noble Family.

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George R.R. Martin Offers a New Excerpt from The Winds of Winter

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Martin The Winds of Winter-smallBack in January we reported that The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in George R.R. Martin’s epic Song of Ice and Fire series, will not arrive this year, as some readers had hoped.

But to soothe the pain a little, Martin has been releasing small bits from the novel at his website. This morning he offered up a brand new chapter, featuring the return of a character who’s been absent for a long time. Here’s a small sample.

Alayne loved it here. She felt alive again, for the first since her father… since Lord Eddard Stark had died.

She closed the window, gathered up the fallen papers, and stacked them on the table. One was a list of the competitors. Four-and-sixty knights had been invited to vie for places amongst Lord Robert Arryn’s new Brotherhood of Winged Knights, and four­ and-sixty knights had come to tilt for the right to wear falcon’s wings upon their warhelms and guard their lord.

The competitors came from all over the Vale, from the mountain valleys and the coast, from Gulltown and the Bloody Gate, even the Three Sisters. Though a few were promised, only three were wed; the eight victors would be expected to spend the next three years at Lord Robert’s side, as his own personal guard (Alayne had suggested seven, like the Kingsguard, but Sweetrobin had insisted that he must have more knights than King Tommen), so older men with wives and children had not been invited.

And they came, Alayne thought proudly. They all came.

Read the complete chapter here, and the lengthy summary of everything we know about the novel so far over at Tor.com.

See the Table of Contents for The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015, edited by Rich Horton

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015-smallLast month Prime Books announced the Table of Contents of my favorite Year’s Best book, Rich Horton’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015.

This is the seventh volume, and it looks like another stellar line-up, with 34 stories from the leading print magazines (Asimov’s SF, Interzone, Analog, F&SF, and others), online publications (Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and more) and anthologies (Fearsome Magics, Reach for Infinity, Rogues, and Solaris Rising 3, among others).

Authors include Kelly Link, Robert Reed, James Patrick Kelly, Alexander Jablokov, K. J. Parker, Ken Liu, Genevieve Valentine, Eleanor Arnason, Cory Doctorow, Peter Watts, and many, many others.

I was also very pleased to see two Black Gate contributors made the list: Saturday blogger Derek Künsken, with his Asimov’s tale “Schools of Clay,” and website editor emeritus C. S. E. Cooney, for her story “Witch, Beast, Saint: An Erotic Fairy Tale,” from Strange Horizons.

The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015 is a fat 576 pages, and goes on sale in trade paperback from Prime Books in June.

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.

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