Asaro, Catherine :
The Final Key
(Tor 0-765-31353-7, $25.95, 348pp, hardcover, December 2005, jacket art Luis Royo)
SF novel, second in the two-part "Triad" sequence following Schism (December 2004), and latest book in the author's long-running Skolian Empire saga.
The description on the author's website says "An epic story of how the Ruby Dynasty reached maturity, Triad reveals how a war of galactic proportions first explodes between two great empires."
Amazon has the Publishers Weekly review, which concludes "Asaro's saga is a monumental work, but only a more careful honing of the individual novels will make the series masterful."
Cast, P. C. :
(Luna 0373802420, $13.95, 507pp, trade paperback, December 2005)
Fantasy romance about a female centaur torn between alliances with humans and her own herd.
The author's site quotes from a Romantic Times review and offers an excerpt.
The publisher's site has an author profile and this description.
Amazon has reader reviews.
Dann, Jack, & Gardner Dozois, eds. :
(Ace 0-441-01363-5, $7.99, 288pp, mass market paperback, December 2005, cover art Ben Gibson, cover design Rita Frangie)
Anthology of 14 stories about events after the 'singularity' -- the future state when technological change is so great that predicting the future becomes nearly impossible (according to the back cover description).
Only one of the stories -- Brian W. Aldiss' "Old Hundredth" from 1960 -- is more than a decade old; other stories are by Greg Egan, Charles Stross, Michael Swanwick, James Patrick Kelly, Walter Jon Williams, and Christopher Rowe.
Jack Dann's official site has this post about the book's release. Christopher Rowe's blog has this post with the table of contents listing.
Gunn, James :
Gift from the Stars
(BenBella Books 1932100652, $14.95, 154pp, trade paperback, December 2005)
SF novel about first contact with aliens, concerning a retired aerospace engineer who purchases a remaindered book and discovers plans for an alien spacecraft inside. It's a 'fix-up' of five stories first published in Analog magazine.
There's an introduction by Gregory Benford, and a preface by the author, who discusses his classic 1972 first contact novel The Listeners, Carl Sagan's later novel Contact, and how this book responds to Sagan's.
The publisher's site has this description on its order page.
Amazon has another description, along with its 'search inside' feature that includes the table of the contents and an excerpt.
Haber, Karen :
(ibooks 1596871377, $14.95, 239pp, hardcover, November 2005, jacket art Dennis Calero)
Young adult SF novel about a teenage girl who discovers that the guy she has a crush on is an alien refugee who, under conditions of emotional stress, is able to shift genders.
Amazon has a description; this publisher's site has another description.
Haber, Karen, ed. :
(Pocket 1-4165-1670-0, $14, 284pp, trade paperback, November 2005)
Nonfiction anthology, subtitled "The Cultural Impact, Pop Mythos, and Scientific Plausibility of a Cinematic Legend", consisting of 15 essays and other material about the movie King Kong.
There's a preface by Ray Harryhausen, a foreword by Ray Bradbury, and an introduction by the editor. Essayists include Richard A. Lupoff, Christopher Priest, Robert Silverberg, David Gerrold, Jack Williamson, Howard Waldrop, and Pat Cadigan. There's also a three-way 'conversation' with William Joyce, Michael Chabon, and Maurice Sendak.
The publisher's site has this description with a complete list of contributors, plus an excerpt from Bradbury's foreword.
Lee, Alan :
The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook
(Houghton Mifflin 0-618-64014-2, $30, 192pp, hardcover, October 2005, cover by Alan Lee)
Collection of sketches, in color and in black & white, done by Lee for the centenary edition of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and for Peter Jackson's film adaptations. Foreword by Ian McKellen.
The publisher's site has this description, while TheOneRing.net has these examples of art from the book.
Amazon has a description, and enthusiastic reader reviews.
Mackay, Scott :
(Prometheus/Pyr 1591023343, $25, 356pp, hardcover, November 2005, jacket illustration Brian W. Dow)
SF novel about first contact between two species who arise independently on a planet where massive oceanic tides make sea travel nearly impossible.
Pyr's site has this description, with quotes from reviews and an author profile. Mackay's website has a description and ordering links.
Amazon has a Booklist review by Carl Hays, who concludes "Blending deft, inventive characterizations into a masterfully lucid, action-centered narrative, Mackay's latest should appeal strongly to fans of military and alien-world-based sf."
MacLeod, Ken :
Learning the World
(Tor 0-765-31331-6, $24.95, 303pp, hardcover, November 2005, jacket art John Harris) First US edition (UK: Time Warner UK/Orbit, August 2005)
SF novel, subtitled "a scientific romance", about a generation starship that detects electronic signals from its planetary destination. It's a stand-alone novel, separate from any of the author's previous books.
The first edition UK publisher's site has this description.
Amazon has the starred Publishers Weekly review, from its Oct. 3rd issue, calling it "perhaps the finest novel of first contact since Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky" and concluding "As always with this deeply political writer, the book is chock-full of well-done extrapolation concerning the political and economic workings of his various societies. This is contemporary SF at its best." Amazon's 'search-inside' feature includes an excerpt.
Strange Horizons recently posted two views of the book.
Damien Broderick and Gary K. Wolfe both reviewed the book in the November '05 issue of Locus Magazine, while Russell Letson reviews it in the just-published January '06 issue. Broderick calls it "perhaps Ken MacLeod's most frolicsome novel to date" and concludes "the book is fun and often funny, it's blazingly intelligent, and you don't always find that these days, so grab it with both hands or wings." Wolfe ponders the implications of the subtitle change, and concludes "By the time the novel reaches its conclusion -- in which MacLeod offers what seems to be a completely original solution to Fermi's Paradox -- the articulate and engaging voice of Atomic Discourse Gale takes on an unexpected poignancy, and the tale itself, in the best dual-perspective MacLeod fashion, both celebrates and subverts the familiar conventions of the generation-starship tale and the first contact scenario."
Resnick, Mike :
(Prometheus/Pyr 1591023378, $25, 286pp, hardcover, December 2005, cover illustration John Picacio)
SF novel about a battered starship in the midst of an interstellar war.
It's Resnick's first foray into military SF, and the first of a five-part series about the starship Theodore Roosevelt, which will be followed by Pirate, Mercenary, Rebel, and Flagship.
Resnick's website has this timeline, which places the 'Starship' novels into the chronology first established in Resnick's early novel Birthright: The Book of Man.
The book includes several appendices about the Birthright Universe.
The publisher's site has this description, with quotes from reviews and an author profile.
Weis, Margaret :
Master of Dragons
(Tor 0-765-30470-8, $24.95, 352pp, hardcover, November 2005, jacket art Stephen Youll)
Fantasy novel, third in the Dragonvarld trilogy following Mistress of Dragons (2003) and The Dragon's Son (2004), about twins caught up in a war between renegade dragons and humankind.
Amazon has the Publishers Weekly and Booklist reviews; the latter, by Sally Estes, concludes "Weis spreads her net wide, bringing together the disparate plot threads of the previous books to wrap things up in a satisfactory manner and yet allow room, perhaps, for another story set in the same world."