The House of Styx (Solaris, May 2021). Cover uncredited.
It’s been a genuine pleasure to watch Derek Künsken’s career take off. We published his third story in Black Gate 15, and he’s been a blogger with us since 2013, publishing nearly 200 articles here. But it’s his recent novels that have really grabbed the spotlight, including The Quantum Magician (2018) and The Quantum Garden (2019).
His latest is The House of Styx, released in hardcover by Solaris in May, and this one has breakout novel written all over it. SciFiNow calls it “Stunning,” Locus labels it “Wonderful,” and Library Journal proclaims it an “electrifying planetary adventure.” Here’s an excerpt from the rave review at Publishers Weekly.
The intricacies of family dynamics, politics, and coming of age play out against the stunning, deadly backdrop of Venus in this standout work by Künsken (The Quantum Magician). The D’Aquillon family is scraping by in the depths of Venus’s atmosphere — harvesting water and oxygen and gathering metals from volcanic ash in the lowest clouds — when they discover an anomalous storm with startling origins brewing on the planet’s surface… To fully exploit their situation, they’ll have to open ranks to new allies and set aside old grudges. Künsken’s vivid worldbuilding is a knockout; the shifting relationships, intriguing politics, well-drawn counterculture, and the haunting atmosphere of Venus combine into a mesmerizing whole. This is a must-read…..
It’s a very special pleasure indeed to see Rich Horton proclaim Derek “one of the best pure “hard science” writers of the current generation,” which he does in his Locus Online review. Check it out here.
The House of Styx offers multiple pleasures – the pure sense of wonder of the central discovery; the extremely well-worked out details of how to live on Venus, of the Venusian life-forms, of the ways to travel through the clouds. The political maneuverings are involving, and the Bank representatives provide a suitable villain… SF readers of a certain bent, like me, will find the engineering aspects intriguing – and important to both the plot and the worldbuilding. And there is enough sheer adventure – flying through the clouds, a struggle to rescue someone from a terrible storm, an attempt to steal (or to prevent the theft, depending on one’s POV) of an entire habitat – to satisfy most anyone…
It bids well to be a true saga – there is tragedy and triumph already in this book, and I’m sure there’s more of both to come. Künsken has, to my mind, already established a place as one of the best pure “hard science” writers of the current generation, and this book is further evidence.
The House of Styx is the opening novel in the Venus Ascendant series. It was published by Solaris on May 25, 2021. It is 600 pages, priced at $27.99 in hardcover and $8.99 in digital formats. The cover is uncredited.
See all our recent coverage of the latest books by Black Gate contributors here.