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Category: New Treasures

Galactic Real Estate, Revolutions, and an Uplifted Moose: The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz

Galactic Real Estate, Revolutions, and an Uplifted Moose: The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz

The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz (Tor Books, January 31, 2023)

On the one hand, The Terraformers is full of great characters, solid science, and socio-political conflict, with enough action to move things along and keep you turning pages to the end. On the other, it’s not actually about terraforming and it’s told in 3 novellas set hundreds of years apart with only a few characters able to provide links between them.

The Terraformers opens when Environmental Rescue Team Ranger Destry is out in the terraformed forest with her faithful steed, the uplifted moose named Whistle. Destry and Whistle come across a human doing all sorts of disgusting paleolithic things, burning wood, killing small game, defecating on the land, and generally upsetting the ecological balance of Sask-E. It’s taken 10,000 years for Sask-E to be made habitable, and it’s Destry’s job to make sure it stays that way.

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New Treasures: HellSans by Ever Dundas

New Treasures: HellSans by Ever Dundas


HellSans by Ever Dundas (Angry Robot, October 11, 2022). Covers by Kate Cromwell

One thing I’ll say about science fiction and fantasy: there’s always room for an audacious idea. And that pretty much describes HellSans, the science fiction debut by Scottish writer Ever Dundas, about a font that triggers euphoria — or agony.

Publishers Weekly calls it “Wildly imaginative… [a] stand out,” and Library Journal proclaims it “A smart and unique dystopian thriller.” And Lisa Tuttle at The Guardian selected it as one of The Best Recent Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, calling it “a violent and compelling thriller, with far more psychological and moral complexity than the general run of dystopian fiction.”

I don’t know about all that. But I do know that when I picked up a copy at the bookstore last week, I was taken immediately by the originality of the idea — and the premise of a scientist on the run as she tries to find a cure for a ubiquitous font. I brought it home with me, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

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Street Thieves and Queen’s Guards: Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Street Thieves and Queen’s Guards: Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson


Dance of Thieves and Vow of Thieves (Square Fish, 2019 and 2022). Covers by Rich Deas and Mike Burroughs

I don’t pay as much attention to Young Adult fantasy as I should. It’s not experiencing the explosion of bestsellers and media attention it was just a few years ago, but it’s still one of the bright spots in genre publishing, and where a lot of talented writers are doing some excellent work.

Fortunately Barnes & Noble makes it easy for me to stumble on some of the most exciting titles, and that’s exactly what happened on Sunday when I stopped in front of their YA display tables. There in the center was Dance of Thieves, the first of a two-volume series featuring an outlaw family, a legendary street thief, a dark secret, the young women of the Queen’s guard, a son thrust suddenly into power, and a life-and-death cat and mouse game between them all. It shares a setting with the author’s bestselling Remnant Chronicles, which helped pique my interest, and that (and the enticing description) was enough to convince me to take it home.

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A Classic Returns: In A Lonely Place by Karl Edward Wagner

A Classic Returns: In A Lonely Place by Karl Edward Wagner

In A Lonely Place (Valancourt Books, January 17, 2023)

Ah, Valancourt Books. You’re always full of delightful surprises. How well I remember that fateful day in 2014 when I first laid eyes on your table at the World Fantasy Convention in Washington, D.C. Groaning it was (the table, not the convention), under the weight of uncountable literary treasures. Since that day I’ve kept a keen eye on your catalog, and you’ve never disappointed.

I’ve been extra-special not disappointed this week, since you saw fit to rectify one of the great publishing injustices of the last four decades: returning Karl Edward Wagner’s legendary first collection, In a Lonely Place, back to print, where it can delight and horrify a whole new generation of readers.

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New Treasures: Silver Queendom by Dan Koboldt

New Treasures: Silver Queendom by Dan Koboldt


Silver Queendom (Angry Robot, August 23, 2022). Cover design by Alice Claire Coleman

Have you ever made a purchase decision less than halfway through the book description?

That’s exactly what happened to me on Sunday at Barnes & Noble, about ten seconds after I picked up Dan Koboldt’s Silver Queendom and read:

Service at the Red Rooster Inn leaves much to be desired. The innkeeper, Darin, has a scowl for every new face. The homebrewed ale seems to grow less palatable with each new batch. The barmaid, Evie, only seems to work when wealthy young men are around, and the old witch Seraphina ensures that’s not too often. As for Big Tom, well, everyone learns quickly to stay on the bouncer’s good side. There’s a reason everyone in the Red Rooster crew is bad at their job… by night, they’re the best team of con artists in the Old Queendom.

That’s all I needed to decide to take the book home with me.

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The Modern Horrors of Ronald Malfi

The Modern Horrors of Ronald Malfi


Black Mouth and Ghostwritten (Titan Books, July 2022, October 2022). Cover designs by Julia Lloyd

There’s nothing quite like a thoroughly unexpected discovery in a good bookstore.

I couldn’t find the last Dell Magazines at my local Barnes & Noble in nearby Geneva, Illinois. So before Christmas I made a snowy road trip to the B&N superstore in Naperville. I didn’t find the magazines I wanted (what the heck, B&N magazine clerks??), but the 20 minutes I spent browsing their Science Fiction & Fantasy section turned out to be enormously rewarding anyway.

Possibly the most consequential discovery I made was a small section of shelving real estate devoted to a horror writer I’d never heard of, Ronald Malfi. I ended up taking two of his books home with me, Black Mouth and Ghostwritten, and spending time this week tracking down the rest online.

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A Valentine’s Gift for Lovers of Fantasy Intrigue: The Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan

A Valentine’s Gift for Lovers of Fantasy Intrigue: The Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan


The Justice of Kings and The Tyranny of Faith (Orbit, 2022 and 2023). Covers by Martina Fackova

When I wrote about Richard Swan’s debut fantasy novel The Justice of Kings back in October, I got an enthusiastic response. Wayne Ligon called it “My favorite fantasy this year, so far!” and BG blogger Sarah Avery said,

I’m a sucker for fantasy novels that care about the rule of law. I loved Sebastian de Castell’s Greatcoats series, about badass itinerant magistrates in a recently failed state, to no end. This one looks likely to scratch the same itch.

Hot on the heels of The Justice of Kings comes The Tyranny of Faith, due from Orbit on Valentine’s Day. Kirkus Reviews tells us, “While The Justice of Kings was pretty dark, this volume gets even grittier.” I know that’s just what you bloodthirsty lot were dying to hear.

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New Treasures: The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach

New Treasures: The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach


The Dawnhounds (Saga Press, June 14, 2022). Cover by Bo Moore

Between online sources like Amazon and my bi-weekly trips to Barnes & Noble in nearby Geneva, IL, my book needs are generally well met. But it’s still nice to walk the aisles of a major Dealers Room, like the one at Worldcon here in Chicago last fall. I came away with a number of delightful finds (see the pic below for the bulk of my haul).

One of them was The Dawnhounds, an unusual (to say the least) debut novel by Sascha Stronach, a Māori-inspired fantasy about a murdered police officer brought back to life with a mysterious new power, and tasked with protecting her city from an insidious evil. Tamsyn Muir says it’s “Part police procedural, part queer fever dream, and part love letter to a city that doesn’t exist.”

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The White Space Novels by Elizabeth Bear

The White Space Novels by Elizabeth Bear


Ancestral Night and Machine (Saga Press, March 2019 and October 2020). Covers by Getty Images and Jae Song

Elizabeth Bear is chiefly known as a fantasy writer these days. She won the 2005 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and she’s had a hand in more than eight acclaimed series in the years since, including The Edda of Burdens trilogy, the Eternal Sky trilogy, and The Lotus Kingdoms trilogy, all from Tor. When I wrote about her new space opera novel Ancestral Night back in 2019, I quoted the Publishers Weekly review that first got my attention.

Outstanding… Bear’s welcome return to hard SF after several years of writing well-received steampunk and epic fantasy. 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.

While shipping for some Christmas break reading at B&N last week, I laid eyes on the sequel for the first time. The trade edition of Machine was released in July of 2021, and now looks very handsome on my bookshelf next to the first one.

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Monsters, Mechs, and a Multi-Book Saga: Nightwatch Over Windscar by K. Eason

Monsters, Mechs, and a Multi-Book Saga: Nightwatch Over Windscar by K. Eason


The novels of The Weep: Nightwatch on the Hinterlands and Nightwatch Over Windscar
(DAW, October 2021 and November 2022). Covers by Tim Green/Faceout

I’m pretty much an impulse buyer. When I pick up a book and it mentions monsters, interstellar Confederations, extra-dimensional horrors, subterranean ruins, witches, and decommissioned battle mechs — all in the first two paragraphs — I’m usually sold.

That’s exactly what happened when I read the inside jacket copy for Nightwatch Over Windscar, the new novel by K. Eason. I paid for that damn thing and had it home before I even finished the third paragraph of the jacket copy.

If I’d paid even the teeniest bit of additional attention, I might have also noticed that it’s the second book of The Weep, a two-book series set in the world of Eason’s popular science fantasy Thorne Chronicles, which opened with How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse and continued in How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge. Doesn’t look like you need to read those books to enjoy The Weep… good thing, because tracking down the first book, Nightwatch on the Hinterlands, is effort enough. I was looking forward to riding out this massive winter storm and Christmas break with what I have on hand.

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