Fear not! For on the third day of Anticipated Books posts there will be horror – well, one horror book anyway – and science fiction. Both SF and horror were genres I managed to explore further in the past reading year with success, so this year there are more books in this list than last year. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!
Natsuo Kirino – The Goddess Chronicle (Canongate)
In a place like no other, on an island in the shape of a tear drop, two sisters are born into a family of the oracle. Kamikuu, with creamy skin and almond eyes, is admired far and wide; Namima, small but headstrong, learns to live in her sister’s shadow.
On her sixth birthday, Kamikuu is presented with a feast of seaserpent egg soup, sashimi and salted fish, and a string of pure pearls. Kamikuu has been chosen as the next Oracle, while Namima is shocked to discover she must serve the goddess of darkness. So begins an adventure that will take Namima from her first experience of love to the darkness of the underworld. But what happens when she returns to the island for revenge?
Natsuo Kirino, the queen of Japanese crime fiction, turns her hand to an exquisitely dark tale based on the Japanese myth of Izanami and Izanagi. A fantastical, fabulous tour-de-force, it is a tale as old as the earth about ferocious love and bitter revenge.
Ramez Naam – Nexus (Angry Robot Books)
Mankind gets an upgrade
In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link human together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it.
When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.
James Smythe – The Explorer (HarperVoyager)
When journalist Cormac Easton is selected to document the first manned mission into deep space, he dreams of securing his place in history as one of humanity’s great explorers.
But in space, nothing goes according to plan.
The crew wake from hypersleep to discover their captain dead in his allegedly fail-proof safety pod. They mourn, and Cormac sends a beautifully written eulogy back to Earth. The word from ground control is unequivocal: no matter what happens, the mission must continue.
But as the body count begins to rise, Cormac finds himself alone and spiralling towards his own inevitable death … unless he can do something to stop it.
He looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task now is to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion… and more.
But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.
Naomi Foyle – Seoul Survivors (Jo Fletcher Books)
A meteor known as Lucifer’s Hammer is about to wreak destruction on the earth, and with the end of the world imminent, there is only one safe place to be.
In the mountains above Seoul, American-Korean bio-engineer Dr Kim Da Mi thinks she has found the perfect solution to save the human race. But her methods are strange and her business partner, Johnny Sandman, is not exactly the type of person anyone would want to mix with.
Drawn in by their smiles and pretty promises, Sydney – a Canadian model trying to escape an unhappy past – is an integral part of their scheme, until she realises that the quest for perfection comes at an impossible price.
Karen Lord – The Best of All Possible Worlds (Jo Fletcher Books)
The Sadiri were once the galaxy’s ruling élite, but now their home planet is unlivable and most of the population killed. The few groups living on other worlds are desperately short of Sadiri women, and their extinction is all but certain.
Grace Delarua is assigned to work with Councillor Dllenahkh, a Sadiri, on his mission to visit distant communities, looking for possible mates. Delarua is garrulous and fully immersed in the single life; Dllenahkh is controlled and responsible for keeping his community together. They both have a lot to learn.
Ian Whates (ed.) – Solaris Rising 2 (Solaris)
Having re-affirmed Solaris’s proud reputation for producing high quality science fiction antologies in the first volume, Solaris Rising 2 is the next collection in this exciting series. Featuring stories by Allan Steele, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Kim Lakin-Smith, Paul Cornell, Eugie Foster, Nick Harkaway, Nancy Kress, Kay Kenyon, James Lovegrove, Robert Reed, Mercurio D. Rivera, Norman Spinrad, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Liz Williams, Vandana Singh, Martin Sketchley, and more. These stories are guaranteed to surprise, thrill and delight, and maintain our mission to demonstrate why science fiction remains the most exiting, varied and inspiring of all fiction genres. In Solaris Rising we showed both the quality and variety that modern science fiction can produce. In Solaris Rising 2, we’ll be taking that much, much further.
Jared Shurin & Anne C. Perry (eds.) – Pandamonium Fiction: The Lowest Heaven (Jurassic London)
The Lowest Heaven explores the furthest reaches of the Solar System with help from the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Today’s greatest science fiction authors set out on missions of discovery, with new stories inspired by our closest celestial neighbours.
Eric Brown – Serene Invasion (Solaris)
THEY ARE HERE… AND WE ARE NOT READY It’s 2025 and the world is riven by war, terrorist attacks, poverty and increasingly desperate demands for water, oil, and natural resources. The West and China confront each other over an inseperable ideological divide, each desperate to sustain their future. And then the Serene arrive, enigmatic aliens from Delta Pavonis V, and nothing will ever be the same again. The Serene bring peace to an ailing world, an end to poverty and violence but not everyone supports the seemingly benign invasion. There are forces out there who wish to return to the bad old days, and will stop at nothing to oppose the Serene.
He now has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Now split into two opposing factions – the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix – the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries. Both sides are searching for a way off-planet, and the Genjix will sacrifice the entire human race, if that’s what it takes.
Meanwhile, Roen is having to train to be the ultimate secret agent. Like that’s going to end up well…
Al Ewing – The Fictional Man (Solaris)
Niles Golan is writing a remake of a camp-classic spy movie. The studio has plans for a franchise, so rather than hiring an actor, the protagonist will be ‘translated’ into a cloned human body.
It’s common practice – Niles’ therapist is a Fictional. So is his best friend. So (maybe) is the woman in the bar he can’t stop staring at. Fictionals are a part of daily life now, especially in LA.
In fact, it’s getting hard to tell who’s a Fictional and who’s not…
Alan Averill – The Beautiful Land (Ace)
Takahiro O’Leary has a very special job working for the Axon Corporation as an explorer of parallel timelines—as many and as varied as anyone could imagine. A great gig—until information he brings back gives Axon the means to maximize profits by changing the past, present, and future of this world. If Axon succeeds, Tak will lose Samira, the woman he has loved since high school—because her future will cease to exist. The only way to save her is for Tak to use the time travel device he “borrowed” to transport them both to an alternate timeline.
But what neither Tak nor Axon knows is that the actual inventor of the device is searching for a timeline called the Beautiful Land—and he intends to destroy every other possible present and future to find it.
The switch is thrown, and reality begins to warp—horribly. And Tak realizes that to save Sam, he must save the entire world…
Stephanie Saulter – Gemsigns (Jo Fletcher Books)
For years the human race was under attack from a deadly Syndrome, but when a cure was found – in the form of genetically engineered human beings, Gems – the line between survival and ethics was radically altered.
Now the Gems are fighting for their freedom, from the oppression of the companies that created them, and against the Norms who see them as slaves. And a conference at which Dr Eli Walker has been commissioned to present his findings on the Gems is the key to that freedom.
But with the Gemtech companies fighting to keep the Gems enslaved, and the horrifying godgangs determined to rid the earth of these ‘unholy’ creations, the Gems are up against forces that may just be too powerful to oppose.
Guy Haley – The Crash (Solaris)
The Market rules all, plotting the rise and fall of fortunes without human intervention. Mankind, trapped by a rigid hierarchy of wealth, bends to its every whim. To function, the Market must expand without end. The Earth is finite, and cannot hold it, and so a bold venture to the stars is begun, offering a rare chance at freedom to a select few people.
But when the colony fleet is sabotaged, a small group finds itself marooned upon the tidally locked world of Nychthemeron, a world where one hemisphere is bathed in perpetual daylight, the other hidden by eternal night. Isolated and beset, the stricken colony members must fight for survival on the hostile planet, while secrets about both the nature of their shipwreck and Nychthemeron itself threaten to tear their fragile society apart.
Frank Schätzing – Limit (Quercus)
2025. Entrepreneur Julian Orley opens the first-ever hotel on the moon.
But ORLEY ENTERPRISES deals in far more than space tourism: it operates the world’s only space elevator, connecting the earth with the moon and enabling the transportation of helium-3, the fuel of the future.
Now Julian has invited twenty-one of the world’s richest and most powerful individuals to sample his lunar accommodation, in the hope of securing the finances for manufacturing a second lift.
Meanwhile, on earth, cyber detective Owen Jericho is sent to Shanghai to find a young female hacker, Yoyo, on the run since uncovering information that someone seems very determined to protect.
As Jericho closes in on the girl, and the conspiracy surrounding her, he finds increasingly concerning links to Julian Orley – and his enemies and competitors – that suggest the lunar expedition is in real and immediate danger.
Alison Littlewood – Path of Needles (Jo Fletcher Books, January)
A murderer is on the loose, but the gruesome way in which the bodies are being posed has the police at a loss. Until, on a hunch, an expert in fairytales is called in. And it is Alice who finds the connection between the body of Chrissie Farris and an obscure Italian version of Snow White.
Then, when a second body is found, Alice is dragged further into the investigation – until she herself becomes a suspect. Now Alice must fight, not just to prove her innocence, but to protect herself: because it’s looking like she might well be next.