Future Treasures: 95 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books to Read in 2018

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Myke Cole THE ARMORED SAINT-small The Robots of Gotham-small Outpost W. Michael Gear-small

Hand in hand with the new year comes brand new schedules from the major genre publishers like Tor, DAW, Ace, Angry Robot, Solaris, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and many others. The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog has compiled a magnificent list of 95 Books Sci-Fi & Fantasy Editors Can’t Wait for You to Read in 2018, and I was surprised and delighted to see Black Gate authors well represented, including Myke Coke, Todd McAulty, and Patrice Sarath.

There’s also plenty of other enticing titles, including books by W. Michael Gear, Tim Powers, Yoon Ha Lee, Seanan McGuire, Jim Butcher, S.K.Dunstall, Peter McLean, David Weber, Kristen Britain, Sylvain Neuvel, Carrie Vaughn, Dale Bailey, Molly Tanzer, Rich Larson, Kameron Hurley, Nancy Springer, Peter Watts, Ian McDonald, Dan Abnett, and many others. Here’s a few of the hightlights.

The Armored Saint, by Myke Cole (Tor.com, 208 pages, $17.99 in hardcover, February 20)

This is a fabulous tale of bravery versus doubt, of magic versus religion and of humanity versus its demons (both real and metaphorical). A truly action-packed fantasy, with a heroine you can’t help but adore, and Myke Cole’s long-overdue foray into hardcover fiction. Book one in a series of three, and one not to be missed! — Lee Harris

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Reading 2000AD’s The ABC Warriors for the First Time

Saturday, January 6th, 2018 | Posted by Derek Kunsken

The ABC Warriors-1-small

I’ve been reading 2000AD for a bit now, and listening to the 2000AD podcast by the Molcher-Droid, so I’ve heard a lot about The ABC Warriors, but didn’t know anything about them. In fact, from the name alone, my first thought was that canned pasta Alphaghettis that my mother used to have in the pantry for when she was working and we had to make our own lunch. Little could I have guessed that ABC stands for the Atomic, Biological and Chemical parts of warfare, and the robots who fight in those kinds of wars.

As one of the comics bloggers for Black Gate, I recently got my hands on an advanced pdf of the fourth volume of The ABC Warriors. For clarity and disclosure, the publisher 2000AD is owned by the same horse-riding video game designers who own Solaris Books (my publisher), but I don’t get any bonuses or consideration if I review their comics. I just like comic books (as you can tell from my post history). So, I wouldn’t have reviewed this if I didn’t actually like it.

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Future Treasures: Mission to Methone by Les Johnson

Monday, January 1st, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Mission to Methone-smallLes Johnson is the co-author (with Travis S. Taylor) of Back to the Moon (2010), and (with Ben Bova) of Rescue Mode (2014). He also co-edited Going Interstellar (2012) with Jack McDevitt.

His first standalone novel is Mission to Methone, the tale of a vast and ancient galactic war, a derelict spaceship hiding in our solar system, and an artificial intelligence that has been concealing the existence of mankind. It appears humanity is not alone in the universe. Far across the galaxy, a war is raging between advanced alien races, and it’s about to be brought to our doorstep.

The year is 2065 and an accidental encounter in space leads to the discovery that we are not alone in the universe — and that our continued existence as a species may be in jeopardy.

Chris Holt, working in his office at the Space Resources Corporation, discovers that one of the asteroids he is surveying for mining is actually not an asteroid at all but a derelict spaceship. The word gets out and soon the world’s powers are competing to explore and claim for themselves the secrets that it holds.

What they don’t know is that across the galaxy, a war has been underway for millennia. A war between alien civilizations that have very different ideas about what should be done about emerging spacefaring civilizations like our own. The artificial intelligence resident in the derelict Holt discovered has been in our solar system since before the dawn of human civilization, watching, waiting and keeping quiet lest the interstellar war return and wipe out the sentient race that now resides there — humanity.

And that war might soon be again coming to our front door. The truth can only be discovered on Methone, a tiny, egg-shaped moon of the planet Saturn. Who will get there first? And will it be in time?

Mission to Methone will be published by Baen Books on February 6, 2018. It is 304 pages, priced at $16 in trade paperback. The cover is by Bob Eggleton. Read the first ten chapters at the Baen website.

Future Treasures: Rogue Trader: The Omnibus by Andy Hoare

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Rogue Trader the Omnibus-smallFantasy Flight released the epic Rogue Trader role playing game in 2009. One of the early fruits of their Warhammer 40,000 license, Rogue Trader allowed players to play intrepid merchant princes buying and selling outside the legal boundaries of the Imperium. I became a fan immediately, and it quickly became my favorite science fiction RPG.

Fantasy Flight lost the Warhammer 40K license last year, and the game is now out of print. I thought that would be the end of the brand, so I was pleased to see Black Library put Rogue Trader: The Omnibus on their schedule for next month. It’s a compilation of three novels and two short stories by Andy Hoare. Rogue Star (2006) and Star of Damocles (2007) chart the fortunes of rogue trader Lucian Gerrit on the Imperium’s fringes, and Savage Scars (2011) picks up the tale as the White Scars battle the T’au on the planet Dal’yth. Rogue Trader: The Omnibus arrives in trade paperback on January 23.

Explore the stars and the farthest reaches of the galaxy with the complete Rogue Trader omnibus, containing the novels Rogue Star, Star of Damocles and Savage Scars.

Licensed by ancient charter, Rogue Traders explore the uncharted regions of the galaxy, seeking new worlds to exploit on behalf of the Imperium. The fortunes of Rogue Trader Lucian Gerrit and his family are in decline, and his inheritance amounts to little more than a pile of debt and misery. In a final, desperate gamble to restore his family’s former glory, Gerrit strikes a deal on a forgotten Imperial world in the Eastern Fringe, but his timing could not be worse. The alien tau are seeking to expand their empire across the Damocles Gulf, and soon Gerrit is caught in the middle of a clash between two mighty star-spanning empires, neither of which is willing to back down.

Rogue Trader: The Omnibus will be published by Games Workshop/Black Library on January 23, 2018. It is 800 pages, priced at $21 in trade paperback. Read more at the Black Library website.

Future Treasures: Robots vs. Fairies edited by Dominik Parisien and‎ Navah Wolfe

Sunday, December 24th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Robots vs Fairies-smallThe Starlit Wood, the first book from Dominik Parisien and‎ Navah Wolfe, was one of the most acclaimed anthologies of 2016. It was nominated for the World Fantasy Award and the British Fantasy Award, and won the Shirley Jackson Award. And Amal El-Mohtar’s “Seasons of Glass and Iron” swept the short fiction awards, winning the Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Awards.

Their second anthology, scheduled to arrive in two weeks from Saga Press, is Robots vs. Fairies, and it includes another steller list of contributors, including Seanan McGuire, Jonathan Maberry, Kat Howard, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jeffrey Ford, Madeline Ashby, Lavie Tidhar, John Scalzi, Catherynne M. Valente, and many others. Publishers Weekly says:

Distinguished authors take sides in battles between robots and fairies by crafting serious (and seriously weird) reflections on whether magical or mechanical might would prove the stronger… Ken Liu creatively takes on big cities, rats, and unforeseen consequences in “Quality Time.”… Sarah Gailey’s “Bread and Milk and Salt” is a horrific rumination on the true natures of robots, fairies, and humans. Editors Parisien and Wolfe (The Starlit Wood) have cannily chosen a variety of stories that offer individual, distinctive insights into both living machines and magical creatures, along with glimpses of how humans might react to their face-off.

Reviews have already started to appear. Howling Libraries says Tim Pratt’s “Murmured Under the Moon” is a tale of “a human librarian who takes care of a fairy library, and is forced to go on a rescue mission when the fairy princess is taken hostage by a wicked man… fun, and unique, and magical, and fantastical, and sweet.” And Jim C. Hine’s Peter Pan-inspired “Second to the Left, and Straight On” is “twisted and haunting and beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking… It’s about a private investigator who is seeking out little girls that have been abducted by Tinker Bell.”

Read more at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, including the catalog copy and more details on the intricate cover, here.

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.

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Future Treasures: The King of Bones and Ashes by J.D. Horn

Monday, December 18th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The King of Bones and Ashes-small The King of Bones and Ashes-back-small

J.D. Horn is the bestselling author of the Witching Savannah series (The Line, The Source, etc.) His newest is the tale of a young witch’s quest to uncover her family’s terrifying history. It arrives next month from 47 North, Amazon’s publishing imprint, which has jumped into genre fiction in a big way but has yet to make a significant splash. It does tend to take chances with new and emerging authors, however, which I heartily approve.

The King of Bones and Ashes is the first volume of a new series, Witches of New Orleans. Publishers Weekly says “Sparkling magic and creepy villains bolster the narrative… The terrifying conclusion will have readers looking forward to the next installment.”

The King of Bones and Ashes will be published by 47North on January 23, 2018. It is 354 pages, priced at $24.95 in hardcover, $14.95 in trade paperback, and $4.99 for the digital edition. No sample chapters online that I can find, but I’ll keep looking.

Future Treasures: Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds

Monday, December 11th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Elysium Fire-smallAlastair Reynolds’ 2007 novel The Prefect introduced Prefect Tom Dreyfus, a hardened law enforcement officer tasked with maintaining democracy throughout the Glitter Band, part of Reynolds’s Revelation Space milieu. Publishers Weekly called the book “a fascinating hybrid of space opera, police procedural and character study… solid British SF adventure, evoking echoes of le Carré and Sayers with a liberal dash of Doctor Who.”

A decade later Reynolds has written a sequel, in which Dreyfuss finds himself caught in a web of murderers, secret cultists, tampered memories, and unthinkable power. It arrives in paperback from Orion next month.

Ten thousand city-state habitats orbit the planet Yellowstone, forming a near-perfect democratic human paradise.

But even utopia needs a police force. For the citizens of the Glitter Band that organization is Panoply, and the prefects are its operatives.

Prefect Tom Dreyfus has a new emergency on his hands. Across the habitats and their hundred million citizens, people are dying suddenly and randomly, victims of a bizarre and unprecedented malfunction of their neural implants. And these “melters” leave no clues behind as to the cause of their deaths…

As panic rises in the populace, a charismatic figure is sowing insurrection, convincing a small but growing number of habitats to break away from the Glitter Band and form their own independent colonies.

Elysium Fire is Book 2 of 3 in the Prefect Dreyfus Emergency series. Our most recent coverage of Reynolds includes Brandon Crilly’s review of Revenger (which won the 2017 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book), and a look at The Medusa Chronicles, co-authored with Stephen Baxter. Brit Hvide at Orbit shares this take on the cover art:

Peer into the darkness! Gaze upon the future! And admire that sweet, sweet new cover for Alastair Reynolds’ latest space opera, Elysium Fire! That gold band you see on the cover? Nope, it’s not one of Jupiter’s rings, fancy space debris, or a futuristic engagement ring. It’s the Glitter Band, the setting for Reynolds’s latest adventure: ten thousand city-state habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone, forming a near-perfect democratic human paradise. How’s that for scale?

Elysium Fire will be published by Orbit on January 23, 2018. It is 432 pages, priced at $15.99 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital editions.

Future Treasures: The Midnight Front by David Mack

Thursday, December 7th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Midnight Front-smallDavid Mack has built his rep chiefly on Star Trek novels, such as the Star Trek: Vanguard series, and the new Star Trek Discovery tie-in novel Desperate Hours (which Derek Kunsken reviewed for us here).

His latest is a World War II-era adventure in which an American soldier finds himself up against Nazi sorcerers. Kirkus Reviews calls it “Propulsive… Equal parts brimstone and gunpowder… an entertaining scenario that wouldn’t be out of place in a video game or a spirited match of Dungeons & Dragons.”

The Midnight Front is the opening novel in the Dark Arts series; it arrives simultaneously in hardcover and trade paperback from Tor in January. It will be followed by The Iron Codex, set in the 1950s; and Shadow Commission, set in the ’60s.

On the eve of World War Two, Nazi sorcerers come gunning for Cade but kill his family instead. His one path of vengeance is to become an apprentice of The Midnight Front ― the Allies’ top-secret magickal warfare program ― and become a sorcerer himself.

Unsure who will kill him first ― his allies, his enemies, or the demons he has to use to wield magick ― Cade fights his way through occupied Europe and enemy lines. But he learns too late the true price of revenge will be more terrible than just the loss of his soul ― and there’s no task harder than doing good with a power born of ultimate evil.

The Midnight Front will be published by Tor Books on January 30, 2018. It is 464 pages, priced at $27.99 in hardcover, $15.99 in trade paperback, and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Larry Rostant. Read an excerpt at Tor.com.

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

Witches, Privateers, and Enchanted Blades: Tales of the Thieftaker by D. B. Jackson

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Tales of the Thieftaker-small Tales of the Thieftaker-back-small

Night of Two Moons,” the most popular story in Black Gate 4, was my introduction to the work of David B. Coe. Over the past two decades he’s produced eight novels in the same setting, the Forelands Universe (five in the Winds of the Forelands series, plus the Blood of the Southlands trilogy), and I’ve followed them avidly. His prior work included the LonTobyn Chronicle trilogy; more recently he’s turned his attention to contemporary fantasy with the Case Files of Justis Fearsson (Spell Blind, His Father’s Eyes, and Shadow’s Blade), featuring a magic-using private detective who faces off against dark sorcerers in Phoenix, Arizona. Starting in 2015 David became a semi-regular blogger for us; the most recent article in his Books and Craft series was World Building and the Importance of Setting.

In addition to that prodigious output, under the name ‘D. B. Jackson’ David’s also written four novels in the popular Thieftaker Chronicles, a historical urban fantasy series set in pre-Revolutionary Boston. The books have been widely acclaimed, and Kirkus Reviews calls them “Splendid… with [a] contemporary gumshoe-noir tone… An unusual series of great promise.” I’m very excited to see the next release, Tales of the Thieftaker, is a collection of new and previously published short stories — featuring a pre-dawn fire in colonial Boston, a young witch who harbors a terrible secret, a magick-laden blade, and the true story of the bloody mutiny aboard the privateering ship Ruby Blade.

Tales of the Thieftaker will be published by Lore Seekers Press on December 18, 2017. It is 275 pages, priced at $17.95 in trade paperback and $4.99 for he digital edition. The cover is by Chris McGrath. Read David’s interview (as D.B. Jackson) with his main character Ethan Kaille, the Thieftaker, in a funny and very insightful post here at Black Gate.

Future Treasures: Year One by Nora Roberts

Friday, December 1st, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Year One Nora Roberts-smallNora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels. I want to repeat that for emphasis. Two. Hundred. Novels. That’s not even including the many she’s written under the pen name J. D. Robb, like the bestselling In Death series. Last year she placed #7 on Forbes list of Highest-Paid Authors (beating GRRM by 5 slots.) She has over 500 million books in print.

How can anything produced by a word factory like that be worth reading? Folks I trust tell me they really enjoy her novels and, let’s face it, many of the pulp writers I adore churned out books in similar volume. It sounds to me like she’s worth a try, and her upcoming post-apocalyptic fantasy Year One might be the place to start.

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed ― and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magick rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river ― or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

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