More seriously though, whether set on distant planets or in fantasy lands, here are our favorite Science Fiction & Fantasy titles that have already received terrific early praise:
THE EMPEROR’S BLADES by Brian Staveley
“In this epic fantasy debut, Staveley has created a complex and richly detailed world filled with elite soldier-assassins, mystic warrior monks, serpentine politics, and ancient secrets. Readers of Sara Douglass's Wayfarer novels and George R.R. Martin's 'Song of Ice and Fire' series should enjoy this opener.” – Library Journal, starred review and Debut of the Month selection
YEAR’S BEST SF 18 edited by David G. Hartwell
“One of the best collections of the year, without a weak tale in its list, this is highly recommended for fans of the short story and of SF in general.” – Library Journal, starred review
“Almost uniformly excellent—but then when was an anthology from Hartwell ever less?” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
FIDDLEHEAD by Cherie Priest
“This is a compelling finale to a fantastic series. The good guys are complex and sympathetic; the villains are suitably clever and malign. The action rattles along at breakneck speed, and the reader can't resist coming along for the wild ride, which includes a climactic battle featuring a wheelchair-bound Abe Lincoln and a temporarily sober Ulysses S. Grant. Highly recommended for all readers of fantasy and steampunk.” – Library Journal, starred review
A DARKLING SEA by James Cambias
“An exceptionally thoughtful, searching and intriguing debut.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Like [Robert] Silverberg, who developed fully realized alien societies in such novels as Downward to the Earth…Cambias makes the Sholen and Ilmataran people and cultures as real as the more familiar human component. Beautifully written, with a story that captures the imagination the way SF should.” – Booklist, starred review
We'd like to think that we're a couple of dangerous women, but we're softies at heart, kinda like these guys (awww...). The thing we're the most hazardous to is your "To Read" pile.
With that warning in mind, we've got a doozy for you: DANGEROUS WOMEN, an awesome collection of 22 original short stories co-edited by A Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, featuring contributions from bestselling authors, including Jim Butcher, Diana Gabaldon, Lev Grossman, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Brandon Sanderson, and Martin himself. Whether it's science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, or suspense, women are the stars, from feisty heroines down to villainess vixens.
"Venerable editors Martin and Dozois (Warriors) have invited writers from many different genres of fiction to showcase the supposedly weaker sex’s capacity for magic, violence, and mayhem. These 22 brand-new short stories prove that women are men’s equals—at least—in lethal potential. This meaty collection delivers something for nearly every reader’s taste as it explores the heights that brave women can reach and the depths that depraved ones can plumb." – Publishers Weekly, starred review
"VERDICT: The wide selection of authors guarantees something to please almost every reader's tastes." – Library Journal, starred review
"When genre collections include this many big-name authors, they’re typically a grouping of series outtakes and Easter eggs. Readers...will surely be satisfied by these [series-related stories] and other entries. Everyone will find something to like here." – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Get whitelisted and download your review copy on Edelweiss.
The full-page New York Times Book Review (9/22 issue) had this to say about DUPLEX, the coming-of-age love story where time, place, and mind all bend in extraordinary ways:
"[I fell] in love with Davis's writing, what it did to me, that combination of horror and excitement that spilled out of the book, into my past, into the now, into everything around me. Few books have given me this sort of real-time thrill.... [DUPLEX] wormholes through the real and unreal in a way that is always compelling even if it doesn't make immediate sense to the top of the mind, the human experience always recognizable even in a world that feels like a much-needed nightmare version of 'Brigadoon.' When you are lost in the uncanny woods of this astonishing, double-hinged book, just keep reading, and remember to look up. Kathryn Davis knows right where you are." (Lynda Barry, author of CRUDDY)
DUPLEX is available now from Graywolf Press.
And... Hitting your shelves in November is Gene Wolfe's latest standalone novel, THE LAND ACROSS.
Wolfe is generally known as one of the greatest living writers of science fiction and fantasy. He's won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2007, and just this year he received the SFWA Grand Master award.
With all that acclaim, we're very excited for THE LAND ACROSS, a new fantasy that seamlessly blends mystery, travelogue, authoritarianism and the supernatural. Set in the present in an imagined Eastern European country, an American travel guide writer is trapped the moment he crosses the border. At first it seems like pure bureaucracy--only later it's evident that there are supernatural agencies at work. But why? Is our hero a spy or is he an innocent citizen caught in a Kafkaesque trap?
THE LAND ACROSS has already received two starred pre-publication reviews:
"Wolfe, in masterful mood, builds his characters, explores the puzzles, links the elements together and contrives to render the backdrop both intriguingly attractive and creepily sinister. Sheer enjoyment." --Library Journal, starred review
"Wolfe evokes Kafka, Bradbury, and The Twilight Zone in combining the implausible, creepy, and culturally alien to create a world where every action is motivated by its own internal logic, driving the story forward through the unexplored and incomprehensible." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
When Talia told me that the brilliant minds at EarlyWord approached her about setting up a blog for Readers' Advisory librarians to learn more about the Science Fiction and Fantasy books coming out of Macmillan I whispered, "mine."
Finally! A place to highlight some of our fantastic fiction for the curious minded!
Each season I'll pick a few titles that I love and tell you a little bit about why I think they're so special. Uncharted Pages will cover a wide range of genres under the speculative fiction umbrella written for teens, adults, and immortals.
Ready to take a peek? Hop on your unicorn/magic carpet/transport zombie and head over to Uncharted Pages!
To celebrate we're giving away one slick, single-shouldered A MEMORY OF LIGHT backpack that we crammed full of finished books!
This contest has ended. Congratulations to our winner: Brianna Glenn, Library Director at De Soto Public Library!
Head over to Uncharted Pages, click the pale blue envelope icon under my picture, and send me an e-mail introducing yourself. Tell me one thing that you or your patrons love about speculative fiction and I'll enter you in the drawing!
This sweepstakes is open to librarians in the United States. More eligibility details below.
So I've been in a bit of a reading frenzy lately. I mean, I'm always reading a lot, but it's been more than usual.
One of the latest books I've read wasn't a Tor book. It wasn't even a Macmillan book. Nope, it was an Orbit book. Oops. But yeah, still fantasy. The book? The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.
"In an increasingly deep Zelaznyesque series of political maneuverings, Yeine, nearly powerless but fiercely determined, finds potential allies among her relatives and the gods who are forced to live in Sky as servants after losing an ancient war." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)Read more
So I just finished book two of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, The Great Hunt. It was a fantastic read, and reinforced my huge, enormous, colossal love for fantasy. Jordan really stepped up the intrigue in the second installment. While I loved the first book, I was a bit worried that the series might devolve into a reductive battle of good and evil. But in The Great Hunt, he shows that there are many more factions than we had believed, and even within those factions there is infighting as goals clash.Read more
Beth Bernobich's Passion Play is the coming of age tale of Ilse Zahlina, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. When he reveals his plans to marry Ilse off to a another merchant, she feels like just another item in his ledger. Matters are made worse when she finds that his last fiancée disappeared mysteriously, an occurrence most seem content to dismiss. Resolute not to end up a man's puppet like her mother, Ilse flees in the night, takes a new name, and seeks a life where she can forge her own identity.
Ilse's world seems to be pseudo-feudal, set in a sort of pre-fundamentalist Islamic Middle east.Read more
The magic revolves around grammar and language, and there are multiple languages that wizards can master. The REAL kicker comes in the nature of the antagonist. Sure, any other author could be content with demons destroying the world with tooth and claw, but not Charlton. (continue reading)Read more
So. I'm reading an urban fantasy novel. Big shift from my usual epic fantasy reading, right? And I've come up with a quibble that struck me once before. I'm not going to point fingers at any manuscripts, that's not the point. What's done is done. But we can be vigilant in the future.
Urban Fantasy tends to have immortal characters that have been around for a very long time. Usually vampires. But in the case of this book I'm reading, it's dragons and dwarves. And sometimes these characters speak with weird affectations and accents. Why? Because they're centuries old? Us mortals manage to adapt or drop accents in the short spans of our lives, why can't immortal (or just long-lived) characters? Especially when it seems pretty important for them to remain inconspicuous.Read more