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Category: New Treasures

Celebrate Derek Künsken’s First Trilogy, The Quantum Evolution

Celebrate Derek Künsken’s First Trilogy, The Quantum Evolution


The Quantum Evolution trilogy by Derek Künsken (Solaris; 2018, 2019, and 2021). Covers by Justin Adams

You lot know that every time one of our authors publishes a novel, we celebrate with dinner at the Black Gate rooftop headquarters in downtown Chicago. And you’re also aware that every time an author completes a trilogy, we bake a cake. So what do we do when a Black Gate author completes a trilogy, as our own Derek Künsken just did with the release of The Quantum War, the third novel in The Quantum Evolution?

Why, it’s cake for dinner, of course. In fact, it’s cake and bubbly for everyone! Have a drink on us to join in the celebration*!

(*Conditions apply. Must be 21 years old. Offer not valid outside the continental United States. Or anywhere that serves bubbly.)

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New Treasures: City of Iron and Dust by J.P. Oakes

New Treasures: City of Iron and Dust by J.P. Oakes


City of Iron and Dust (Titan Books, July 2021). Cover by Shutterstock/Julia Lloyd

I don’t know much about J.P. Oakes. He lives on Long Island, City of Iron and Dust was his first (and so far only) novel, and he keeps a low profile.

But I know that the moment I read the back of City of Iron and Dust I wanted to buy it. It’s the tale of a goblin princess, the aftermath of a terrible war, an old soldier plotting a revolution, and The Iron City, a “singular dark fantasy creation that breathes with menace and decay.” (Paul Jessup, author of The Silence That Binds.)

Paul Di Filippo calls it “a grim’n’gritty yet often blackly humorous political-coup-cum-caper novel… [a] lusty, brutal, philosophical excursion.” Here’s an excerpt from his entertaining review at Locus Online.

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The Universe Under Attack: The Protectorate Trilogy by Megan E. O’Keefe

The Universe Under Attack: The Protectorate Trilogy by Megan E. O’Keefe


The Protectorate trilogy by Megan E. O’Keefe (Orbit, 2019-2021). Covers by Sparth

Megan E. O’Keefe’s debut novel Steal the Sky was nominated for the 2017 David Gemmell Morningstar award, and became the opening book in the Scorched Continent trilogy, which author Beth Cato called “An epic steampunk Firefly.” Not a bad way to kickstart a writing career.

But it was her second trilogy, the space opera The Protectorate, that really launched her into the big time. Opening volume Velocity Weapon (2019) was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award, and Kirkus Reviews called it “edge-of-your-seat space opera with a soul; a highly promising science-fiction debut.” Chaos Vector was published last year, and the trilogy wrapped up in June of this year with Catalyst Gate. If you’re looking for modern SF filled with with twists and far-future political intrigue, you’ve definitely come to the right place.

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New Treasures: The Art of Space Travel by Nina Allan

New Treasures: The Art of Space Travel by Nina Allan


The Art of Space Travel (Titan Books, September 2021). Cover by Vince Haig

I had the chance to wander the Dealer’s Room at Worldcon last week — and if you’ve never had that pleasure, I encourage you to do it at least once. If there’s a worthy pilgrimage for science fiction and fantasy readers, it’s the peerless Dealer’s Room at Worldcon. The only things in my experience that come close are the vast Dealer’s Room at Windy City in Chicago, and the endless Great Exhibit Hall at Gen Con.

As I wandered starstruck between the cramped aisles of booksellers, painfully aware that I couldn’t return to Chicago with more than I could carry onto the plane, my eyes lighted on numerous wonders. Virgil Finley art books, out of print for decades. Stacks of vintage paperbacks from the 1970s. Handsome sets of limited edition books from Centipede Press, Subterranean Books, and numerous others. A wall of press clippings about Worldcon, some dating back to the very first in 1939. Joshua Palmatier’s table, heavily laden with more anthologies than I could count.

And in the middle of it all was Sally Kobee’s island of tables, all piled high with new books. I wasn’t at Worldcon to buy new books — but you can’t help it when one catches your eye. And the first one to do so was Nina Allen’s new collection The Art of Space Travel and Other Stories.

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New Treasures: The Godstone by Violette Malan

New Treasures: The Godstone by Violette Malan

The Godstone (DAW Books, August 2021. Cover design by Faceout Studio/Jeff Miller.

Violette Malan will be familiar to many of you. She’s the author of the acclaimed Dhulyn and Parno series of modern sword & sorcery novels, and The Mirror Prince fantasy series. She was also our Friday blogger here at Black Gate for many years.

Her new novel The Godstone vaults her into the front ranks of modern fantasy. Publishers Weekly raves that it “transports readers to an exciting world of high-stakes magic,” and Kirkus Reviews calls it “An original, enigmatic fantasy about reluctant heroes drawn into a quest to save the world.” It’s the launch of a major new series, released in hardcover by DAW in August. Here’s all the details.

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Forbidden Magic, Murder, and Disco: The Carter Archives by Dan Stout

Forbidden Magic, Murder, and Disco: The Carter Archives by Dan Stout

Dan Stout’s The Carter Archives: Titanshade, Titan Day, and Titan Song (DAW, 2019-21). Covers by Chris McGrath

Whenever an author wraps up a trilogy, we bake a cake in the Black Gate offices.

But what if it’s not actually, like, a trilogy? What if the third book is just a rest stop on a long and exciting journey toward five books? Or seven? Or, Wheel-of-Time like, a stupendous 12 volumes (or 14, or whatever the heck it is)?? If it’s not clear should we bake, or not bake?

Ha! You’re right, of course. Like we’d let nuance like that get in the way of cake. Fire up the oven, lads.

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The Controversy over Nebula Awards Showcase 55, edited by Catherynne M. Valente

The Controversy over Nebula Awards Showcase 55, edited by Catherynne M. Valente

Nebula Awards Showcase 55 (SFWA, August 2021). Cover by Lauren Raye Snow

I’m hearing some grousing about the latest Nebula Awards Showcase, edited by the distinguished Catherynne M. Valente.

This is the 55th volume in the long-running series, and the second to be published directly by SFWA, the Science Fiction Writers of America. As is customary, it contains the complete Nebula award-winning stories, as selected by that august body, as well as a tasty selection of the other nominees, as selected at the whim of the editor.

Well — not exactly. And that seems to be the crux of the problem. For the first time I can remember, the Nebula Awards Showcase contains only one of the winners from last year, A. T. Greenblatt’s short story “Give the Family My Love,” originally published in Clarkesworld. All the others — including the winners in novelette, novella, and novel category — are represented only by brief excerpts.

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New Treasures: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2021 edited by Veronica Roth and John Joseph Adams

New Treasures: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2021 edited by Veronica Roth and John Joseph Adams

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2021 (Mariner Books, October 2021). Cover uncredited

John Joseph Adams was my editor on my first novel, The Robots of Gotham, so naturally I assume he is the leading editor in the field (you should too.) For the past seven years he has been editing The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy with a strong line-up of annual co-editors, including Karen Joy Fowler, N.K. Jemisin, and Carmen Maria Machado. This year Veronica Roth joins him at the podium, the bestselling author of The Divergent series and Chosen Ones.

The 10 fantasy tales in this year’s volume are by Kate Elliott, Ken Liu, Yohanca Delgado (with two stories), and others; the ten SF stories are from Daryl Gregory, Ted Kosmatka, Karen Lord, Tochi Onyebuchi, Yoon Ha Lee, and others. Also within are Celeste Rita Baker’s World Fantasy Award Winner “Glass Bottle Dancer,” Meg Elison’s Locus Award winner “The Pill,” and Sarah Pinsker’s Nebula winner “Two Truths and a Lie.” Here’s a look at some recent reviews.

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Meanwhile, in a Universe with Space Ninjas and Sentient Insectoids: Neodymium Exodus by Jen Finelli MD

Meanwhile, in a Universe with Space Ninjas and Sentient Insectoids: Neodymium Exodus by Jen Finelli MD

Neodymium Exodus (WordFire Press, October 2021)). Cover design by Janet McDonald

Kevin J. Anderson’s Wordfire Press has published plenty of SF the last few years, including exciting books by Cat Rambo, Paul Di Filippo, D.J. Butler, Bill Ransom, R.M. Meluch, Mike Resnick, Lou Antonelli, Robert Asprin, Alan Dean Foster, Frank Herbert, Brenda Cooper — and even the first Nexus novel by Mike Baron.

Of course, any publisher worth its salt really proves itself by discovering and promoting new authors. So I was intrigued to see Neodymium Exodus cross my desk, the first novel in a “fun, frenetic space opera” (Publishers Weekly) featuring “sentient insectoids, purple jungles, and insane electromagnetic fields.” I don’t much about the author, Jen Finelli MD, except that she likes to put ‘MD’ after her name, which tells me that at some point in our relationship she’s likely to remind me I’m overdue for a colonoscopy.

Anyway, you lot know how I feel about space opera. I think I’ll settle down with this one in my big green chair.

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New Treasures: The Body Scout by Lincoln Michel

New Treasures: The Body Scout by Lincoln Michel

The Body Scout (Orbit, September 2021). Cover by Lauren Panepinto

I rejoined the Science Fiction Book Club over fifteen years ago, because it was the only way to get Jonathan Strahan’s fabulous Best Short Novels anthologies. After a corporate shake-up in 2007 led to the retirement of editor Ellen Asher — who’d been at the helm since 1973 — and Andrew Wheeler was laid off, the SFBC sadly stopped producing original anthologies and those delicious omnibus volumes. I miss them.

I’m still a member, even though their Things to Come newsletter isn’t as interested as it used to be. Partly it’s because they choose my novel The Robots of Gotham as a Feature Selection back in 2018 (a dream I’d had since I was a kid). But also because I still discover interesting books through the club that I don’t find anywhere else. Like Lincoln Michel’s debut novel The Body Scout, a near-future SF noir that looks very intriguing indeed. Here’s the description.

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