Future Treasures: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Friday, July 3rd, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

The Only Good Indians-small The Only Good Indians-back-small

Cover designed by Ella Laytham

Stephen Graham Jones is the author of the World Fantasy Award nominee Mapping the Interior, The Last Final Girl, Mongrels, and the acclaimed collection After the People Lights Have Gone Off. His latest novel, The Only Good Indians, arrives from Saga Press in two weeks. Paul Tremblay calls it “A masterpiece,” and my interest was greatly heightened by a rave review at Columbia Journal by Max Asher Miller. Here’s an excerpt:

It’s unabashedly a slasher, and blood is plentiful, but a deeper layer runs through the material as Jones, a Blackfeet native, uses the trappings of horror to delve into a dissection of contemporary Native American identity.

The Only Good Indians follows a friend group of Blackfeet a decade after they trespass on hunting land reserved for tribal elders and slaughter a herd of elk, including a pregnant cow who refuses to die easily. The vengeful spirit manifests as a woman with the head of an elk who tracks the group down one by one to exact revenge. The killings are shocking, yes, but they feel like exclamation points on larger ideas. They are not the entre, but the garnish upon it.

The novel puts its ideas on the table almost immediately with a prologue in which the first of the four main characters, Ricky Boss Ribs, is jumped by a group of white guys from his construction crew outside a dive bar. The racialized dynamic of the attack is its focal point, Jones delineating the body politics of the beat-down…. Constant awareness of what it means to navigate the world as Native American is of central concern to the novel’s characters…

A terrifying whirlwind of blood with the brains to match, The Only Good Indians is sure to be among the most exciting novels this summer can scare up.

The Only Good Indians will be published by Saga Press on July 14, 2020. It is 310 pages, priced at $26.99 in hardcover and $7.99 in digital formats. The cover was designed by Ella Laytham.

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

Future Treasures: Where the Veil Is Thin edited by Cerece Rennie Murphy and Alana Joli Abbott

Saturday, June 27th, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

Where the Veil Is Thin-smallAlana Joli Abbott is the co-editor of the Blackguards anthology Knaves (with Melanie Meadors) and Kaiju Rising II: Reign of Monsters (with N.X. Sharps). She was a reviewer at Black Gate for over a decade, dating all the way back to our early print days; these days she is Editor in Chief at Outland Entertainment. Her latest project is the anthology Where the Veil Is Thin, co-edited with Cerece Rennie Murphy, author of the popular Wolf Queen series. Where the Veil Is Thin arrives in trade paperback on July 7 and has a stellar list of contributors, including Seanan McGuire, Minsoo Kang, Carlos Hernandez, and Black Gate‘s own C.S.E. Cooney. Here’s the description.

These are not your daughters faerie stories…

Around the world, there are tales of creatures that live in mist or shadow, hidden from humans by only the slightest veil. In Where the Veil Is Thin, these creatures step into the light. Some are small and harmless. Some are bizarre mirrors of this world. Some have hidden motives, while others seek justice against humans who have wronged them.

In these pages, you will meet blood-sucking tooth fairies and gentle boo hags, souls who find new shapes after death and changelings seeking a way to fit into either world. You will cross the veil — but be careful that you remember the way back.

Here’s the impressive Table of Contents.

Introduction by Jim Hines
“The Tooth Fairies” by Glenn Parris
“Glamour” by Grey Yuen
“See a Fine Lady” by Seanan McGuire
“Or Perhaps Up” by C.S.E. Cooney
“Don’t Let Go” by Alana Joli Abbott
“The Loophole” by L. Penelope
“The Last Home of Master Tranquil Cloud” by Minsoo Kang
“Your Two Better Halves: A Dream, with Fairies, in Spanglish” by Carlos Hernandez
“Take Only Photos” by Shanna Swendson
“Old Twelvey Night” by Gwen Nix
“The Seal Woman’s Tale” by Alethea Kontis
“The Storyteller” by David Bowles
“Poisoned Hearts” by Zin E. Rocklyn
“Colt’s Tooth” by Linda Robertson

Where the Veil Is Thin was funded by a successful Kickstarter in March of this year, and will be published by Outland Entertainment on July 7, 2020. It is 210 pages, priced at $16.95 in trade paperback and $7.99 in digital formats. The beautiful cover is by Anna Dittmann. Order copies directly at Outland Entertainment. See all our recent coverage of the best upcoming SF and Fantasy releases here.

Future Treasures: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Sunday, June 21st, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

Mexican Gothic-smallSilvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of Signal to Noise (2015), Gods of Jade and Shadow (2019), Certain Dark Things (2018), and Untamed Shore, just released in February. Her second novel for 2020 is Mexican Gothic, which Booklist calls “A shiver-inducing tale,” and which Kirkus raves over, calling it,

A terrifying twist on classic gothic horror . . . Moreno-Garcia weaves elements of Mexican folklore with themes of decay, sacrifice, and rebirth, casting a dark spell all the way to the visceral and heart-pounding finale. Fans of gothic classics like Rebecca will be enthralled as long as they don’t mind a heaping dose of all-out horror.

Mexican Gothic is set in glamorous 1950s Mexico, and has all the ingredients for a good beach read (providing you can find an open beach) — an isolated mansion, a suavely charismatic aristocrat, and a spunky young socialite to expose their mysterious secrets. Here’s the publisher’s description.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find — her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

Mexican Gothic will be published by Del Rey on June 30, 2020. It is 320 pages, priced at $27 in hardcover and $13.99 in digital formats. Read the first chapter at Entertainment Weekly.

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

Future Treasures: The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell

Monday, June 15th, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

The Kingdom of Liars-small The Kingdom of Liars-back-small

The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell. Saga Press, June 2020. Cover artist uncredited

Nick Martell is a bit of a carte blanche. He’s never published anything before, not even a short story. At the age of 23 he sold his first novel, The Kingdom of Liars, to Saga Press, and it arrives in hardcover next week. Publishers Weekly calls it a “taut, clever [tale] of rebellion and regicide in a world where the use of magic comes at the cost of one’s memories.”

The Kingdom of Liars is the opening novel in a new series, The Legacy of the Mercenary King. Kirkus Reviews gave it a warm review, saying in part,

Martell’s debut novel is a shelf-bending adventure fantasy that chronicles the life — and looming death — of Michael Kingman, an ill-fated young man awaiting execution for the killing of a king.

Set in a secondary world — particularly noteworthy for a fractured moon whose pieces frequently fall to the planet, wreaking havoc on the populace — the narrative takes place largely in Hollow, a once-thriving kingdom now beleaguered by tragedy, treason, and an impending civil war. Michael is an outcast whose father was executed for infamously killing a child prince years earlier, and he’s obsessed with finding the truth behind his beloved father’s death. A war hero, the king’s adviser, and a man of honor, his father would never have killed a child, especially a child he vowed to protect. But with the once-venerated name of Kingman now irrevocably tarnished, Michael, a con man doing what he needs to survive, is faced with the monumental task of restoring his family’s name…

Martell generally keeps the pages turning with a story full of relentless action and more than a few jaw-dropping plot twists…. An impressive fantasy debut that creates a solid foundation for (hopefully) a much larger narrative to come.

The Kingdom of Liars will be published by Saga Press on June 23, 2020. It is 608 pages, priced at $27.99 in hardcover. The cover artist is uncredited. If you can’t wait that long, the digital version is available today, priced at just $7.99. See all our coverage of the best new SF and fantasy here.

In 500 Words or Less: The Book of Dragons, edited by Jonathan Strahan

Sunday, June 14th, 2020 | Posted by Brandon Crilly

The Book of Dragons-smallThe Book of Dragons
Edited By Jonathan Strahan; illustrated by Rovina Cai
Harper Voyager (576 pages, $35 hardcover, $16.99 eBook, July 7, 2020)

More than a year ago now, I was hanging out with Kelly Robson and she mentioned a new anthology she’d been invited to contribute to. The topic? Dragons. When was it coming out? 2020 sometime, probably, and we promptly moved on to talking about other things.

It’s now the middle of 2020 and that anthology is here, my friends.

Look at this freaking contributor list. You might think that an anthology about dragons is going to hit a few specific themes or styles, but you would be wrong and should know better, especially with Jonathan Strahan at the helm. I grinned with excitement reading JY Yang’s “The Exile” – dragons that terraform new worlds! (Also a poignant piece about loneliness and consequence.) Pretty sure I muttered a silent “ooooooh” at how Ann Leckie and Rachel Swirsky present bee-like dragons dealing with hive collapse in “We Continue.” Plus there’s Elle Katharine White’s story “Matriculation,” about a young woman with tuition debt, her machinework dragon and a kindly vampire bookseller, which I already described on Twitter as an emotional gut punch.

If I had to pick a thematic through line (not sure if that’s the right term, but I’m going with it) that seems to tie most of The Book of Dragons together, it would be family. In some cases, the focus is reforming bonds and learning to trust each other, like in Zen Cho’s “Hikayat Sri Bujang, or The Tale of the Naga Sage” or Kelly’s “La Vitesse” – an epic ride of Alberta school bus vs dragon. Or it’s about the loss and heartache that sometimes comes with family – like the adopted human watching the hive collapse in “We Continue,” or in R.F. Kuang’s story “The Nine Curves River,” about someone escorting their younger sister to be sacrificed to end a drought. Or the idea of found family, which Seanan McGuire captures brilliantly with “Hoard,” about a long-lived dragon who cares for foster kids close to aging out the way others care about gold.

The idea of gold or treasure comes up often, too. Sometimes as more of an addendum than a focus, like in Sarah Gailey’s “We Don’t Talk About the Dragon.” The real story there is a young girl growing up in a harsh, abusive family – though there’s also a dragon living in the barn.

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Epic Fantasy on a Reliable Schedule: A Chorus of Dragons by Jenn Lyons

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

The Ruin of Kings-small The Name of all Things-small The Memory of Souls-small

Covers by Lars Grant-West

Bestselling fantasy dominates modern bookshelves in a way I could only dream about as a young reader. George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle are the two biggest examples in recent memory. Of course, both are also unfinished, and the latest installments are both long overdue. Makes you wonder what they could have accomplished if the publishing magic that fueled them had also included a reliable schedule.

Tor is trying something impressive with their latest big-budget epic fantasy. If things unfold as scheduled, Jenn Lyons’ ambitious 5-volume series A Chorus of Dragons will be released in rapidfire sequence. Here’s what Lyons said on her website last year.

The series is on a nine month release schedule. That means that, should everything go to plan, Tor will be releasing a book in the series every nine months or so. Two this year, one next year, two the year after that (again, if all goes to plan.) Is this stunningly ambitious? Yes. Is this going to kill me? Quite possibly…

So far, Jenn (and Tor) have hit the deadlines. The Ruin of Kings was published in February 2019, The Name of All Things in October, and Book 3, The Memory of Souls, is now scheduled to arrive on August 25, 2020.

The series has been a critical hit as well as a commercial one; the first novel scored a rare publishing quadruple crown, with starred reviews from Library Journal (“Stunning”), Booklist (“Dazzling”), Publishers Weekly (“intricate epic fantasy”) and Kirkus Reviews (“Un-put-down-able”). Tor has been leaking news about the third book since October. I’ll be very curious to see if the buzz built up after the release of the first two volumes continues once the third arrives.

Read the complete first chapter of The Ruin of Kings at Tor.com, and see all our recent New Treasures here.

Future Treasures: The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

Saturday, June 6th, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

The Angel of the Crows-smallThere are pseudonyms, and there are pseudonyms. “Katherine Addison” is one of the latter.

“Addison” is a pen name for Sarah Monette, who’s achieved some notoriety in the field with the Melusine novels and her Kyle Murchison Booth stories, which have appeared in Clarkesworld, Uncanny, and other fine places. In 2014 she adopted the name Katherine Addison to publish The Goblin Emperor, which became one of the most successful books of the year, nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award, and winning the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Award. It was included in Unbound Worlds‘ list of The 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time.

What do you do when your pseudonym is more famous than you are? Write more books under the pseudonym, of course. And that’s exactly what Monette has done. Her next Addison novel, The Angel of the Crows, arrives from Tor in two weeks, and it looks like a doozy.

It’s a Sherlock Holmes pastishe in which Holmes is an outcast angel called Crow, Watson is suffers from a supernatural injury picked up in the war, and the city of London is crawling with vampires, werewolves and darker things. Kirkus calls it “A Sherlock Holmes–esque novel that truly breaks the mold,” and The Nerd Daily pronounces it “good for Holmes fans of any stripe.”

Addison… makes note of the inspiration she drew from Cumberbatch’s Sherlock in particular, so it’s no surprise that since Sherlock opened with “A Study in Pink,” The Angel of the Crows opens with what we might call a Study in Gold… Yes, this version of Victorian London is densely populated by angels, monsters, creatures, fey, and various and sundry supernatural alongside the usual assortment of villains, murderers, and thieves. But that’s no real impediment to the world’s greatest detective or his newly stalwart companion. Dr. Doyle, who is essentially-but-not-quite Dr. Watson, joins the enigmatic Crow, who is Sherlock but for one distinct difference: Crow is an angel.

The Angel of the Crows takes us through the most famous of Holmes’s cases, including “A Study in Scarlet,” “The Sign of the Four,” and “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” as well as taking on Jack the Ripper.

The Angel of the Crows will be published by Tor Books on June 23, 2020. It is 448 pages, priced at $27.99 in hardcover and $14.99 for the digital edition. Read the first two chapters here.

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

Future Treasures: The Ghosts of Sherwood and The Heirs of Locksley by Carrie Vaughn

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

The Ghosts of Sherwood-small The Ghosts of Sherwood-back-small The Heirs of Locksley-small

The Ghosts of Sherwood and back cover, and The Heirs of Locksley. Tor.com, June and August 2020

Carrie Vaughn is the author of the bestselling Kitty Norville urban fantasy series, the superhero saga After the Golden AgeThe Bannerless Saga from John Joseph Adams Books, and Martians Abroad. Her latest, The Ghosts of Sherwood, arrives in two weeks and kicks off a new series of adventure novellas from Tor.com. The second installment, The Heirs of Locksley, follows in just two months.

I don’t know about you lot, but I’m always open to a quality retelling/reinterpretation of the Robin Hood myth. Publishers Weekly raved about the first one; always a good sign. Here’s an excerpt.

Vaughn (the Kitty Norville Series) turns her formidable talents to the legend of Robin Hood in this impeccable novella and series launch. When Robin of Loxley learned of the death of heroic King Richard, he reluctantly swore loyalty to Richard’s wicked brother, King John. Though the decision caused tension among Robin’s former merry band, it enabled Robin and his beloved wife, Marian, to settle down and raise their children in peace. But when a band of rogues kidnap the three Locksley children, the aging Robin and Marian brave Sherwood Forest once again, reuniting with old friends as they confront a new threat… Vaughn’s masterful worldbuilding and lovable cast promise more good things to come in future adventures.

Here’s all the deets.

The Ghosts of Sherwood (104 pages, $12.99 trade paperback/$3.99 digital, June 9, 2020)
The Heirs of Locksley (128 pages, $13.99 trade paperback/$3.99 digital, August 4, 2020)

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

Future Treasures: Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta by J. David Spurlock

Monday, May 18th, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta-smll

There’s not many novels in the publishing pipeline this month, to be honest with you. The regular flood of advance proofs and review copies that wash up in the mailroom at Black Gate‘s rooftop headquarters here in Chicago has slowed to a trickle, and the only thing flooding in these days is book cancellations and postponements.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t have exciting publishing news for you. Would we ever let you down? (Hint: no.) The upcoming month of June is looking lighter than usual from a publishing perspective, but that just means the books remaining in the schedule will be all the more cherished. And that goes double for J. David Spurlock’s oversized tribute to one of the great fantasy artists of the 20th Century, Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta.

J. David Spurlock is the author of Art of Neal Adams, Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage: Queen of Pulp Pin-Up Art, and Paintings of J Allen St John: Grand Master of Fantasy, all from Vanguard, as well as multiple volumes dedicated to Frank Frazetta, including the Frazetta Sketchbook (two volumes) and The Sensuous Frazetta. His latest is Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta, which repackages and expands the long out-of-print The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta from 1977 into a 120-page coffee table book. It arrives in hardcover next month from Vanguard.

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Future Treasures: Ballistic, Book 2 of The Palladium Wars by Marko Kloos

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

Aftershocks The Palladium Wars-small Aftershocks The Palladium Wars-back-small
Ballistic The Palladium Wars-small Ballistic The Palladium Wars-back-small

Aftershocks and Ballistic, the first books in The Palladium Wars (47North). Cover design by Shasti O’Leary Soudant.

Marko Kloos is the author of six books in the Frontlines military SF series, starting with Terms of Enlistment (2013) and Lines of Departure (2014). His newest series is The Palladium Wars, a space opera trilogy which kicked off with Aftershocks last summer. In a far-ranging interview at The Verge, Kloos laid out the intriguing backdrop.

Aftershocks is set in the aftermath of that massive, system-wide conflict over resources — namely palladium — that saw its instigator, the planet Gretia, endure a major defeat and occupation by its enemies. One of the story’s central characters, Aden Robertson, was on the losing side, and he’s just been released from a POW camp where he’s had to contend with the atrocities that he witnessed during the war. Kloos explains that he wanted to deal with a character who had to come to terms with the collapse of a system he supported for two decades, and “how you find your identity after that.”

Kloos’s own German roots figure into the larger geopolitics of the series. “I totally cribbed from history,” he says. “The aggressors here are basically space Germany. It’s kind of like this cross between the end of World War I and the end of World War II. I kind of mashed it up a bit so that there’s a set of circumstances where it was a war of aggression, and they definitely are the bad guys, but also make the war logically understandable and consistent — a war for resources.”

Booklist called Aftershocks a “fast-moving combination of corporate machinations, police procedural, and interstellar naval combat.” The second volume Ballistic arrives from 47North on May 26, 2020, priced at $24.95 in hardcover, $14.95 in trade paperback, and $4.99 in digital formats. It is 318 pages. The cover was designed by Shasti O’Leary Soudant.

See all our recent Future Treasures here.

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