Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2015. Like fantasy, there were too many historical fiction books that caught my fancy for one post, so they’ve been split in two. 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! Read More …
Welcome to another post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2014. This is the second half of my historical fiction list. There were just so many books that caught my fancy that I split them in two. 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! Read More …
Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2013. Like fantasy, there were too many books that caught my fancy for one post, so they’ve been split in two. 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! Read More …
Literary fiction, modern fiction, contemporary fiction, mainstream fiction. I always struggle with what to call the books not shelved in one of the genres in the bookstore, so I decided to go with just fiction. I know it’s silly because everything on my other lists is fiction as well, but hey, I have to call it something! So in today’s Anticipated Books post we take a look at non-genre fiction. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for the round-up with my most Anticipated Reads!
Sophie Divry – The Library of Unrequited Love (Maclehose Press)
One morning a librarian finds a reader who was locked in overnight. She starts to talk to him, a one-way conversation that soon gathers pace as an outpouring of frustrations, observations and anguishes.
Two things shine through above all: her shy, unrequited passion for a quiet researcher named Martin, and an ardent and absolute love of books.
Ronlyn Dominique – The Mapmaker’s War (Atria)
In an ancient time, in a far away land, a young woman named Aoife is allowed a rare apprenticeship to become her kingdom’s mapmaker, tasked with charting the entire domain. Traveling beyond its borders, she finds a secretive people who live in peace, among great wealth. They claim to protect a mythic treasure, one connected to the creation of the world. When Aoife reports their existence to her kingdom, the community is targeted as a threat. Attempting to warn them of imminent danger, Aoife is exiled for treason and finds refuge among the very people who had been declared her enemy. With them, she begins a new life surrounded by kindness, equality, and cooperation. But within herself, Aoife has no peace. She cannot share the grief she feels for the home and children she left behind. She cannot bear the warrior scars of the man she comes to love. and when she gives birth to their gifted daughter, Aoife cannot avoid what the child forces her to confront about her past and its truth.
Michael Marshall – The Forgotten (Orion)
It should have been the greatest day of David’s life. A trip to New York, wife by his side, to visit his new publisher. Finally, after years of lonely struggle it looks as though the gods of fate are on his side. But on the way back to Penn station, a chance encounter changes all of that. David bumps into a man who covertly follows him and, just before he boards the train, passes by him close enough to whisper: ‘Remember me.’
When the stranger turns up in his home town, David begins to understand that this man wants something from him…something very personal that he may have no choice but to surrender.
Meanwhile, back in New York, ex-lawyer John Henderson does his girlfriend Kristina a favour and agrees to talk to Catherine Warren, an acquaintance of hers who believes she’s being stalked by an ex-lover. But soon John realises that Catherine’s problem is far more complex and terrifying than he could ever have imagined…
There are people out there in the shadows, watching, waiting. They are the forgotten. And they’re about to turn.
Peggy Riley – Amity & Sorrow (Tinder Press)
In the wake of a suspicious fire, Amaranth gathers her children and flees from the cult where her children were born and raised. Now she is on the run with no one but her barely-teenage daughters, Amity and Sorrow, neither of whom have ever seen the outside world, to help her. After four days of driving without sleep, Amaranth crashes the car, leaving the family stranded at a gas station, unsure of what to do next. Rescue comes in the unlikely form of a downtrodden farmer, a man who offers sanctuary when the women need it most.
Patrick Ness – The Crane Wife (Canongate)
One night George Duncan is woken by a noise in his garden. Impossibly, a great white crane has tumbled to earth, shot through its wing by a giant arrow. Unexpectedly moved, he helps the crane, and from the moment he watches it fly off, George’s life is transformed. The next day, he meets and falls in love with the enigmatic Kumiko. It is a passion that burns hot as a volcano. But this passion comes at a terrible price.
Wise, magical, romantic and funny, The Crane Wife is hugely entertaining. A celebration of the disruptive and redemptive power of love and a hymn to the creative imagination, it is a completely enchanting novel.
Brian Kimberling – Snapper (Tinder Press)
“Told with precise and memorable prose in beautifully rendered, time-shifted vignettes, Snapper richly evokes the emotions of coming to adulthood. Nathan’s fascination with the physical world and with living an authentic and meaningful life, his disdain for jingoistic environmentalism, and his struggle to find balance between the cloistered liberalism of college towns and the conservatism of small towns are thoughtfully explored. All this and it’s funny, too. Whether it’s a snapping turtle biting off a friend’s finger or a borrowed dog finding a human thigh bone in a cemetery, Kimberling writes gracefully about absurdity, showing a rich feeling for the whole range of human tragicomedy. A delightful debut.”
So says US publishing bible Booklist about Snapper by Brian Kimberling, a debut novel published under Headline’s new literary imprint Tinder Press in May 2013. With shades of David Vann and Annie Proulx, Snapper is a coming-of-age story, loosely based on the author’s teenage years as a bird watcher in backwater Indiana. The novel started as a collection of short stories, but Brian’s course tutor on the Bath Spa Creative Writing Course, Tessa Hadley, saw a glimmer of something special and Snapper the novel was formed. Set in a brilliantly observed rural Indiana, ‘the bastard son of the Midwest ‘, it is a book about birdwatching, being in love with the wrong woman, and about a man’s relationship with the town he loves to hate.
Anton Di Sclafani – The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls (Tinder Press)
1930s America, southern high society: Part love story, part coming-of-age novel, this is the moving, raw and exquisitely vivid story of an uncommon girl navigating a treacherous road to womanhood.
Thea Atwell is fifteen years old in 1930, when, following a scandal for which she has been held responsible, she is ‘exiled’ from her wealthy and isolated Florida family to a debutante boarding school in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. As Thea grapples with the truth about her role in the tragic events of 1929, she finds herself enmeshed in the world of the Yonahlossee Riding Camp, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty and equestrienne prowess; where young women are indoctrinated in the importance of ‘female education’ yet expected to be married by twenty-one; a world so rarified as to be rendered immune (at least on the surface) to the Depression looming at the periphery, all overseen by a young headmaster who has paid a high price for abandoning his own privileged roots…
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.