Peter S. Beagle & Joe R. Lansdale, eds., The Urban Fantasy Anthology
(Tachyon Publications Aug 2011)
The more commercial side of urban fantasy is explored in this anthology of 20 stories. Beagle discusses the development of the genre and its recent subdivisions, further discussed by Charles de Lint, Paula Guran, and Joe R. Lansdale. Authors include many stars of the field, including Neil Gaiman, Jeffrey Ford, Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Holly Black, and Tim Powers.
Kathleen Ann Goonan, This Shared Dream
(Tor Jul 2011)
Jill Dance, living in 1991 in the reality she created by preventing Kennedy's assassination during earlier novel In War Times, has disturbing visions of the more violent alternate reality left behind. "A rare novel that combines a darkly realistic vision of history with a dose of classic SF optimism about the flexibility of the future." [Gary K. Wolfe]
George R. R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons
(Bantam Jul 2011)
The eagerly anticipated fifth book in epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire "thoroughly justifies Martin's slow pace of publication, his immense cast of characters, the widespread scenes of action and numerous concurrent plotlines... masterful at setting scenes, as well as expressing and invoking emotions... I'm determined to savor the whole [series]." [Faren Miller].
Daniel Polansky, Low Town
(Doubleday Aug 2011)
A first novel getting a lot of buzz, this noir fantasy novel follows the Warden, a disgraced ex-agent turned addict and drug dealer, as he investigates a child murder in the Low Town slums and realizes a powerful sorcerer must be involved. Polansky "deftly recombines fantasy and noir elements to create a pleasing cross-genre mystery.... In novels like these, narrative voice is paramount, and the Warden has a great voice. I hope to hear more from him." [Tim Pratt]
Geoff Ryman, Paradise Tales
(Small Beer Press Jul 2011)
This collection contains 16 stories, one original, by one of the field's most celebrated voices. Ryman's "short fiction has seemed so distinctive, and has been so often award nominated over the past couple of decades, that it comes a something of a surprise to realize there's so little of it... what is most distinctive is the passionate, lyrical, sometimes sardonic voice of one of the most deeply committed writers the field has seen in a generation." [Gary K. Wolfe]
Dan Simmons, Flashback
(Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur Books Jul 2011)
Near-future thriller set in a fragmented US ravaged by economic and political collapse. Most of the population is addicted to a drug called "flashback," which enables them to vividly relive better times. A former homicide detective turned addict is asked to revisit an old murder case, leading to political intrigue and dragging him back to the devastated present.
Charles Stross, Rule 34
(Ace Jul 2011)
Near-future SF novel, a loose sequel to Halting State. Detective Inspector Liz Kavanaugh, stuck in a dead-end job monitoring the Internet for illegal (and disgusting) activity, is drawn into an international murder investigation involving dead e-mail spammers, psychopathic entrepreneurial criminals, and a fake nation-state. "Rule 34 is a full-on, fully integrated science-fictional police procedural... [with] ingenious, why-didn't-I-see-that-coming conflations of technological and sociological extrapolation; entertaining and propulsive storytelling; and endless, almost manic verbal playfulness." [Russell Letson]
Greg van Eekhout, The Boy at the End of the World
(Bloomsbury Jun 2011)
A boy wakes from a survival pod in a devastated "Ark" to find a world where people have long since disappeared. He goes on a quest through a transformed North America to find more survivors, accompanied only by a broken robot and a cloned pygmy mammoth. "The sure-footed pacing, deft balance of humor with serious, memorable characters, and well-crafted action sequences combine to make this van Eekhout's most accomplished work to date. Cormac McCarthy, take note: not every post-apocalypse must be unrelentingly grim." [Gwenda Bond]
Jeff VanderMeer, with S. J. Chambers, The Steampunk Bible
(Abrams Image May 2011)
Steampunk gets a highly visual overview in this entertaining tome, which traces the subgenre from its roots in Verne and Wells and history, to the alternate history works and authors that coined the term, on to the present-day subculture. Filled with photos and illustrations of films, art, fashion, fantastic constructions, and more.
K. D. Wentworth, ed., L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume XXVII
(Galaxy May 2011)
The latest anthology from the famed contest for beginning writers presents 13 stories by the award winners and finalists, with accompanying artwork by Illustrators of the Future winners. Michael Resnick provides an essay on writing, and storyboard artist Robert Castillo discusses the business of art.