Future Treasures: The Last by Hanna Jameson

Thursday, March 21st, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

The Last Hanna Jameson-small The Last Hanna Jameson-back-small

If you keep tabs on upcoming titles like I do, you get used to the relentless hype and the breathless blurbs. After a while it takes something really special to get your attention.

The blurbs for Hanna Jameson’s The Last, arriving in hardcover in two weeks, got my attention. Kirkus Reviews says it’s “”Reminiscent of The Shining… an eerie and unsettling tale,” and Luca Vesta (Dead Gone) says it’s “Nuclear apocalypse meets murder mystery… It’s Stephen King meets Agatha Christie. This is *the* book of 2019.” And Publishers Weekly calls it “An engrossing post-apocalyptic psychological thriller… equal parts drama and locked-room murder mystery.” Here’s the description.

Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife’s text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he’s waiting in the lobby of the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That’s all he knows before news outlets and social media goes black—and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange.

Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can’t bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears, and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel’s water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl.

As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world?

The Last will be published by Atria Books on April 9, 2019. It is 352 pages, priced at $27 in hardcover and $12.99 for digital editions.


The Fortress World and the Eye of Terror: Warhammer 40K: The Cadian Novels by Justin D. Hill

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Cadia Stands-small Cadian Honour-small

When I made the 90-minute commute to Glenview every morning (and the 90-minute drive home every evening), I got addicted to Warhammer 40K audio dramas. They made the long drive bearable. When I left that job four years ago I fell out of the habit, and haven’t kept up on the unfolding drama in my favorite dark space opera. I did hear rumors of a Thirteenth Black Crusade, the unexpected return of the loyal primarch Roboute Guilliman (in Guy Haley’s Dark Imperium series), and the catastrophic fall of the fortress world of Cadia, the last line of defense against the daemonic tide spilling out of the Eye of Terror. Man, you take your eye off the ball for a minute, and everything goes to hell.

Justin D. Hill’s new Cadia series seem like the perfect place to jump back into the saga. The first novel, Cadia Stands, was published in March 2018, and the sequel Cadian Honour is scheduled for September of this year (and is already available in digital format). Here’s the description for the first volume.

The brutal war for Cadia is decided, as Lord Castellan Ursarkar Creed and the armies of the Imperium fight to halt the Thirteenth Black Crusade and prevent a calamity on a galactic scale.

Under almost constant besiegement by the daemonic hosts pouring from the Eye of Terror, Cadia stands as a bulwark against tyranny and death. Its fortresses and armies have held back the hordes of Chaos for centuries, but that grim defiance is about to reach its end. As Abaddon’s Thirteenth Black Crusade batters Cadia’s defences and the armies of the Imperium flock to reinforce this crucial world, a terrible ritual long in the making comes to fruition, and the delicate balance of this brutal war shifts… From the darkness, a hero rises to lead the beleaguered defenders, Lord Castellan Ursarkar Creed, but even with the armoured might of the Astra Militarum and the strength of the Adeptus Astartes at his side, it may not be enough to avert disaster and prevent the fall of Cadia. While Creed lives, there is hope. While there is breath in the body of a single defender, Cadia Stands… but for how much longer?

And here’s the description for Cadian Honour.

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Future Treasures: Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Saturday, March 16th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Greystone Secrets The Strangers-smallMargaret Peterson Haddix is The New York Times bestselling author of a bunch of stuff, including The Shadow Children, Children of Exile, and The Missing series. Her latest is a middle-grade thriller that Booklist says “blends adventure and sf elements into an engrossing mystery… secret rooms, alternate realities, and a cliffhanger ending raise the stakes and delight fans new and old.” It arrives in hardcover on April 2.

What makes you you?

The Greystone kids thought they knew. Chess has always been the protector over his younger siblings, Emma loves math, and Finn does what Finn does best — acting silly and being adored. They’ve been a happy family, just the three of them and their mom.

But everything changes when reports of three kidnapped children reach the Greystone kids, and they’re shocked by the startling similarities between themselves and these complete strangers. The other kids share their same first and middle names. They’re the same ages. They even have identical birthdays. Who, exactly, are these strangers?

Before Chess, Emma, and Finn can question their mom about it, she takes off on a sudden work trip and leaves them in the care of Ms. Morales and her daughter, Natalie. But puzzling clues left behind lead to complex codes, hidden rooms, and a dangerous secret that will turn their world upside down.

Here’s the rundown from Publishers Weekly.

In Ohio, the Greystone kids — responsible Chess, math-savvy Emma, and excitable Finn — have established a pleasant life with their mother years after their father’s death. Until, that is, the day they find their mother weeping and wan over a news story about three kidnapped Arizona children… After their mom disappears on a “work trip” the very next day, the Greystones receive a cryptic farewell and a coded letter… A secret-stacked, thrilling series opener.

Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers will be published by Katherine Tegen Books on April 2, 2019. It is 416 pages, priced at $17.99 in hardcover and $10.99 in digital formats. It is illustrated by Anne Lambelet, whom I presume also did the terrific cover. Read the first eight chapters here.

See all our recent Future Treasures here.


Future Treasures: Warhammer Horror: The Wicked and the Damned by Josh Reynolds, David Annandale, and Phil Kelly

Monday, March 11th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

The Wicked and the Damned-smallFive years ago, when I was commuting to Glenview and in the car three hours a day, I got hooked on Warhammer 40K audio books. My favorites were the Horus Heresy volumes, especially Ben Counter’s epic tale of betrayal and revenge Galaxy in Flames, but I devoured them all.

I take the train these days, and don’t keep up on the unfolding drama in the dark days of the 40th Millennium the way I used to, but I still pay attention when I can. So I was very intrigued to hear about the launch of Warhammer Horror, a new line of books and audio plays (wait… like the current line isn’t dark enough??) It arrives next month with three launch titles, the short-story anthology Maledictions, an audio drama titled Perdition’s Flame, and a collaborative novel titled The Wicked and the Damned, from three stars of the Warhammer stable. That last one is the one that really interests me, and mostly because of this description:

A chilling mosaic novel by masters of their craft.

On a misty cemetery world, three strangers are drawn together through mysterious circumstances. Each of them has a tale to tell of a narrow escape from death. Amid the toll of funerary bells and the creep and click of mortuary-servitors, the truth is confessed. But whose story can be trusted? Whose recollection is warped, even unto themselves? For these are strange stories of the uncanny, the irrational and the spine-chillingly frightening, where horrors abound and the dark depths of the human psyche is unearthed.

“A chilling portmanteau. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck prickling. The perfect combination of horror and Warhammer 40,000.” – Paul Kane.

Josh Reynolds wrote the popular Nightmare Men series on occult detectives here at Black Gate, David Annandale is the author of the Yarrick series and a contributor to The Beast Arises, and Phil Kelly is the man behind War of Secrets and Crisis of Faith.

The Wicked and the Damned will be published by Warhammer Horror on April 2, 2019. It is 400 pages, priced at $16 in trade paperback. No word on a digital version yet. See all our previous Warhammer coverage here.


New Treasures: The Wormwood Trilogy by Tade Thompson

Friday, March 8th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Rosewater Tade Thompson-small The Rosewater Insurrection Tade Thompson-small The Rosewater Redemption-small

Tade Thompson’s second novel Rosewater was one of the more intriguing books published last year. Here’s a snippet from Ross Johnson’s rave review at the B&N Sci-fi & Fantasy blog, which labeled it “a groundbreaking future noir.”

In the Nigeria of the mid-21st century, a makeshift town has sprung up around a mysterious dome that inexplicably appeared there some time in the recent past. Though the structure is alien in origin, its purpose is unclear—its influences can be malign, but also dramatically beneficial. Approximately once a year, people come from far and wide to take advantage of the healing powers released by the structure, but the effects aren’t entirely predictable, and sometimes leave pilgrims mangled and malformed — and those who die are left vulnerable to soulless reanimation. Still, HIV and cancer are completely curable in this altered world, and that alone makes the journey worth the risk.

This is all the backdrop for the story of Kaaro, a former thief and sometimes rogue government agent, first recruited for his unique sensitivity to the minds of others. For in the new world of the dome, a small portion of humans have developed empathic and telepathic powers, to greater and lesser degrees, and Kaaro is near the top of the scale. As a young man, he used his abilities to hunt down his neighbors’ valuables. As an adult, he’s tasked with interrogating subversives and potential public enemies, even as turbulent political waters leave those categories clouded.

Though generally mercenary in his considerations, Kaaro is ultimately pushed too far by his handlers in Section 45, threads of classic noir run thread through the story. A reluctant hero (when he’s being heroic at all), there’s a strong sense throughout that Kaaro’s sins and flaws might ultimately be his undoing…  It is, on one level, an engaging future noir about a flawed protagonist falling into the role of reluctant hero while coming to grips with an alien mystery, and that alone would make for a solid read. But Thompson’s ambitions are greater, and alongside the complex puzzles and multiple mysteries, he has a great deal to say about the ways in which individuals, whatever their nations of origin, respond to oppressive governments.

The second volume in what’s now being called The Wormwood Trilogy will be published next week in trade paperback from Orbit; and the final book arrives just six months later. Here’s the description for both.

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Future Treasures: The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

Monday, March 4th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

The Light Brigade-smallKameron Hurley’s debut novel God’s War, which eventually became part of her Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy, was nominated for a Nebula Award; she won a Hugo in 2014 for Best Related Work. Her big space opera from last year, The Stars Are Legion, showed a very difference side to her, and was one of the most acclaimed books she’s ever published, with an Honorable Mention for the James Tiptree Award, a nomination for the Campbell Award, and a fifth-place finish for the Locus Award for Best SF Novel.

Her latest is something new again — a science fiction thriller about a futuristic war during which soldiers are broken down into light in order to get them to the front lines on Mars. It’s based on a short story with the same title originally published in John Joseph Adams’ Lightspeed Magazine (read it here); the novel version arrives in hardcover from Saga Press in two weeks.

They said the war would turn us into light. I wanted to be counted among the heroes who gave us this better world.

The Light Brigade: it’s what soldiers fighting the war against Mars call the ones who come back… different. Grunts in the corporate corps get busted down into light to travel to and from interplanetary battlefronts. Everyone is changed by what the corps must do in order to break them down into light. Those who survive learn to stick to the mission brief — no matter what actually happens during combat.

Dietz, a fresh recruit in the infantry, begins to experience combat drops that don’t sync up with the platoon’s. And Dietz’s bad drops tell a story of the war that’s not at all what the corporate brass want the soldiers to think is going on.

Is Dietz really experiencing the war differently, or is it combat madness? Trying to untangle memory from mission brief and survive with sanity intact, Dietz is ready to become a hero — or maybe a villain; in war it’s hard to tell the difference.

The Light Brigade will be published by Saga Press on March 19. It is 354 pages in hardcover, priced at $26.99 in hardcover and $7.99 in digital formats. The cover is by Eve Ventrue.

See all our recent Future Treasures here.


Future Treasures: The Spin Trilogy by Andrew Bannister

Thursday, February 28th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Creation Machine-small Iron Gods-small Stone Clock-small

Last week, in my article about Elizabeth Bear’s upcoming novel Ancestral Night, I included a quote from Publishers Weekly about the current “space opera resurgence.” The most common response to that piece has been, “There’s a space opera resurgence?”

You know, I think there might be. Just in the last few weeks we’ve talked about Gareth L. Powell’s Embers of War books, Jesse Mihalik’s Polaris Rising, Lisanne Norman’s Sholan Alliance series, Alastair Reynolds’s Shadow Captain, Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings, Tom Toner’s The Amaranthine Spectrum trilogy, Marina J. Lostetter’s Noumenon series, K.B. Wagers There Before the Chaos, and a whole lot more. That’s a critical mass of space opera, especially for a site that pretends to mostly cover fantasy books…. so yeah. I kinda think there’s a resurgence.

The latest evidence landed on my desk earlier this week, in the form of a new review copy from Tor. It’s the debut novel from British author Andrew Bannister, the first in a promised trilogy, and it received some enviable attention in the UK when it was first published there three years ago. Here’s the notice from The Guardian, from their May 2016 roundup of the Best Recent Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels.

Space opera lends itself to the depiction of grand dimensions and great duration, but it’s one thing to talk big, quite another to present a vast universe through the eyes of fully rounded characters without the former overshadowing the latter. Many a novice has floundered, their vision ill served by technique. Fortunately, debut novelist Andrew Bannister comes to the genre with his talents fully formed in the ambitious, compulsively readable Creation Machine, the first volume in a trilogy. Fleare Haas, the maverick daughter of the industrialist tyrant Viklun Haas, is imprisoned in a monastery on the moon of Obel, her crime to join rebels opposed to her father’s ruthless regime. Her escape from prison and her headlong race across the galaxy to the Catastrophe Curve is just one of the novel’s many delights. Creation Machine has everything: intriguing far-future societies, exotic extraterrestrial races, artificial galaxies and alien machines dormant for millions of years. Bannister holds it all together with enviable aplomb.

Tor has scheduled the sequel, Iron Gods, for publication in July. It will be followed by Stone Clock. Here’s the back covers for the first two.

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Future Treasures: Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear

Friday, February 22nd, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Ancestral Night-smallElizabeth Bear is an author with ambition and big ideas, and that puts her in some rarefied company. Her new novel Ancestral Night, arriving in hardcover next month, is getting a lot of pre-release buzz — more than enough to pique my attention, anyway. Here’s a sample from the starred review at Publishers Weekly.

Anyone who enjoys space opera, exploration of characters, and political speculation will love this outstanding novel, Bear’s welcome return to hard SF after several years of writing well-received steampunk (Karen Memory) and epic fantasy (the Eternal Sky trilogy). As an engineer on a scrappy space salvage tug, narrator Haimey Dz has a comfortable, relatively low-stress existence, chumming with pilot Connla Kuruscz and AI shipmind Singer. Then, while aboard a booby-trapped derelict ship, she is infected with a not-quite-parasitic alien device that gives her insights into the universe’s structure. This makes her valuable not only to the apparently benevolent interstellar government, the Synarche, but also to the vicious association of space pirates… Amid a space opera resurgence, Bear’s novel sets the bar high.

Kirkus Reviews says the book “Offers plenty of big, bold, fascinating ideas…Impressive at the core.” Here’s the description.

A space salvager and her partner make the discovery of a lifetime that just might change the universe in this wild, big-ideas space opera from multi award-winning author Elizabeth Bear.

Halmey Dz and her partner Connla Kurucz are salvage operators, living just on the inside of the law… usually. Theirs is the perilous and marginal existence — with barely enough chance of striking it fantastically big — just once — to keep them coming back for more. They pilot their tiny ship into the scars left by unsuccessful White Transitions, searching for the relics of lost human and alien vessels. But when they make a shocking discovery about an alien species that has been long thought dead, it may be the thing that could tip the perilous peace mankind has found into full-out war.

Ancestral Night will be published by Saga Press on March 5, 2019. It is 512 pages, priced at $25.99 in hardcover and $7.99 in digital formats. It is the opening volume in the White Space series. We previously covered Bear’s novels Shattered Pillars (2013) and The Stone in the Skull (2017).

See all our recent coverage of the best upcoming SF and fantasy here.


Future Treasures: The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Journey into Space with 1950s Radio, TV, Films, Comics and Books by John Wade

Saturday, February 16th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

The Golden Age of Science Fiction A Journey into Space with 1950s Radio, TV, Films, Comics and Books-smallJohn Wade is the author of more than thirty books published in the US and the UK, including London Curiosities and The Ingenious Victorians. His newest is The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Journey into Space with 1950s Radio, TV, Films, Comics and Books, a gorgeous hardcover that celebrates classic science fiction in all its forms. Well, the early forms that made vintage SF what it is, anyway.

John Wade grew up in the 1950s, a decade that has since been dubbed the ‘golden age of science fiction.’ It was a wonderful decade for science fiction, but not so great for young fans. With early television broadcasts being advertised for the first time as ‘unsuitable for children’ and the inescapable barrier of the ‘X’ certificate in the cinema barring anyone under the age of sixteen, the author had only the radio to fall back on – and that turned out to be more fertile for the budding SF fan than might otherwise have been thought. Which is probably why, as he grew older, rediscovering those old TV broadcasts and films that had been out of bounds when he was a kid took on a lure that soon became an obsession.

For him, the super-accuracy and amazing technical quality of today’s science fiction films pale into insignificance beside the radio, early TV and B-picture films about people who built rockets in their back gardens and flew them to lost planets, or tales of aliens who wanted to take over, if not our entire world, then at least our bodies. This book is a personal account of John Wade’s fascination with the genre across all the entertainment media in which it appeared – the sort of stuff he revelled in as a young boy – and still enjoys today.

Science Fiction has long been a genre of obsession, though modern fans have a healthy range of sub-genres to obsess over, like video games, anime, role playing games, comics, television, Marvel movies, Star Wars, toys, Star Trek, George R.R. Martin, and many others. In the 1950s there was just magazines, movies…. and radio.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction has a lot of appeal for me, since I hope it will be a look at the genre from a fresh perspective…. well, fresh to me, anyway. I don’t know much about classic SF radio and 1950s monster movies, I’m looking forward to it. It will be published by Pen and Sword Books on February 28, 2019. It is 240 pages, priced at £25.00/$42.95 US. Get more details at the Pen and Sword website here.

See all our recent coverage of the best upcoming SF and fantasy releases here.


Future Treasures: The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

The Raven Tower-smallAnn Leckie knows how to make an entrance. Her debut novel Ancillary Justice (2013) won the Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke, and British Science Fiction Award, and she followed it in short order with three sequels: Ancillary Sword (2014), Ancillary Mercy (2015), and Provenance (2017).

Her fifth novel, and her debut fantasy, is one of the most anticipated books of the year. It arrives in hardcover from Orbit next week. Lev Grossman calls The Raven Tower “A powerhouse epic of humans and gods at war, deeply imagined and profoundly thrilling,” and Kirkus Reviews says:

It is a common fantasy trope to suggest gods gain strength through faith and worshipers and that they can employ that strength to bend reality. But few authors have really explored all the implications of what happens when multiple beings with that power come into conflict. There is so much story and careful thought packed into this short volume that it should correct anyone who believes a fully realized fantasy novel requires a minimum of 500 pages.

Here’s the description.

Gods meddle in the fates of men, men play with the fates of gods, and a pretender must be cast down from the throne in this masterful first fantasy novel from Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.

For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven’s Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven’s watch, the city flourishes.

But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods.

It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo — aide to Mawat, the true Lease — arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven’s Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself… and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.

The Raven Tower will be published by Orbit Books on February 26, 2019. It is 432 pages, priced at $26 in hardcover and $13.99 in digital formats. The cover was designed by Lauren Panepinto.

See all our recent coverage of the best upcoming fantasy here.


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