Library Journal‘s genre spotlight on SF/Fantasy has so much Macmillan goodness, it’s out of this world!
A MULTIPLICITY OF CHARACTERS
September marks the publication of James Tiptree Jr. Literary Award–winning short story writer Nisi Shawl’s highly anticipated first novel, EVERFAIR, a steampunk alternate history set in the Belgian Congo. “It’s as diverse in about as many ways as you can count. The author is a queer black woman, and several of [her] characters are queer (and often women and/or nonwhite as well),” explains Tor Books editor Liz Gorinsky. “The [other] characters represent a multiplicity of voices that have been historically silenced—Africans, East Asians, and African Americans—as well as a few Europeans, in complex relationships with one another.”
WORKS IN TRANSLATION
Increasingly, publishers’ fall lists are featuring speculative fiction in translation, and awards committees have taken note. In 2015, Cixin Liu’s THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM became the first translated sf novel to win a Hugo Award and wound up on the reading lists of President Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg. Arriving in September from Tor is DEATH’S END, the highly anticipated conclusion to Liu’s “Remembrance of Earth’s Past” trilogy.
“I have somehow fallen into the Chinese [sf] publishing business, and I couldn’t be happier,” exclaims Tor’s Gorinsky. “This fall we actually have two books translated by Ken Liu (who’s an amazing author in his own right—the only one to ever win Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards for the same story).” The second title is INVISIBLE PLANETS, an anthology of Chinese short stories; it includes two tales by Cixin Liu and the rest by rising talents, including the Hugo- and Sturgeon Award–nominated “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang. Coming in October is Mariko Koike’s THE GRAVEYARD APARTMENT; known for her hybrid works that mix detective fiction with horror, the author is one of Japan’s most popular writers. Originally published in 1986, this novel follows a young family as they move into what they believe is the perfect home—despite the cemetery next door.
DRAWN FROM OTHER LANDS
Pseudonymous author Lian Hearn, who has lived in Japan and is a student of the Japanese language, explores that country’s medieval history and mythology in her four-volume “Tale of Shikanoko” series. In the third outing, LORD OF THE DARKWOOD, the warrior Shikanoko must confront the Spider Tribe that he had some part in creating.
Authors are also incorporating some unusual urban settings in the natural world for their epics. Australian Thoraiya Dyer’s series opener, CROSSROADS OF CANOPY, due from Tor in January, introduces a city set in the canopy of a rainforest ruled by gods. Unar, the young servant of the goddess Audblayin, must descend to the deprived realms of Understorey and Floor to seek her destiny. Fran Wilde introduced readers to her towering city of living bone and its flying inhabitants in her award-winning debut UPDRAFT, but more trouble brews for residents in CLOUDBOUND.
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW
Mary Robinette Kowal, the author of the popular “Glamourist History” paranormal series, moves from Regency England to the trenches of World War I with her first stand-alone fantasy, GHOST TALKERS. Tor’s Gorinsky raves, “It’s a wonderful and tragic story about the Spirit Corps, a group of mediums who contribute to World War I intelligence by taking combat reports from soldiers after they die.
INVESTIGATING THE NEAR FUTURE
Another unusual sf thriller landing on bookshelves this October is Hugo Award winner Will McIntosh’s stand-alone, FALLER, in which the title character exists, like everyone else, with no memories of his past on an Earth transformed into islands floating in an endless sky.
THE HORROR, THE HORROR
Tor publicity director Patty Garcia is seeing lots of ghosts this season. In Cherie Priest’s haunted-house tale, THE FAMILY PLOT, Chuck Dutton sends his daughter Augusta to oversee the salvaging of the Withrow estate, little suspecting that the Halloween prank graveyard on the premises is all too real.