Thursday, April 9, 2015

2016, Looking Forward with my Magic 8Ball

This morning I went to update the fall release list I keep on a running document, and I added the fifth Tiffany Aching book 'The Sheperd's Crown' to the list, but more, it's the final Terry Pratchett book who's release I will ever add to my list. And once again I was struck by the hole Pratchett's death a month ago has left in my reading life.
To quote another author who's death left a hole in my life, 'and so it goes.'

I've also been looking forward, to 2016, which is starting to shape up into a banner year, with new books by several of my favorite writers already announced, and strong expectation of releases by several others. How crazy is it that I am already looking forward to books in 2016?
Please note, the books listed as speculative releases indicate that NO RELEASE INFORMATION HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED, and though I am confident to one degree or another that we will see these books in 2016. This included 'The Winds of Winter' which I expect may actually drop in late 2015, though early 2016 is more likely (my Magic 8Ball is unclear) as well as 'The Doors of Stone' which I am very confident of in 2016.
Most of these books don't have a firm release date, but where I have one, I've included it. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!

Confirmed Releases:

Bosworth, Jennifer • The Killing Jar 01/12
Sanderson, Brandon • Calamity          01/21
Bennett, Robert Jackson • City of Blades 01/26
Sanderson, Brandon • Bands of Mourning 01/??

Abercrombie, Joe • Untitles First Law  Story Collection        2016
Bear, Elizabeth • Ancestral Night          2016
Brown, Pierce • Morning Star          2016
Butcher, Jim • Brief Cases          2016
Crowley, John • Ka                     2016
Durham, David Anthony • Untitled Spatacus Novel
Hearn, Kevin • Staked          2016
Hurley, Kameron • The Stars Are Legion  2016
Kay, Guy Gavriel • Children of Earth and Sky Spring
Kowal, Mary Robinette • Ghosttalkers          2016
McGuire, Seanan • Once Broken Faith          2016
Lawrence, Mark • The Red Queens War

Speculative Releases:

Scholes, Ken • Hymn
Hobb, Robin • Assassin's Fate
Smylie, Mark • Bright Sword
Walton, Jo • Necessity
Williams, Tad • The Witchwood Crown
Martin, George RR • The Winds of Winter
Rothfuss, Patrick •  The Doors of Stone

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Looking Forward: Spring Releases (April-June) 2015

The Spring 2015 releases have some great titles, including the ones I talked about yesterday. This is certainly not a complete list, so let me know what books I missed that you are looking forward to!

April 2015

Cherryh, C. J. • Tracker                 04/07
Feist, Raymond • King of Ashes 04/07
Grant, Mira • Rolling in the Deep                                  04/07
Hunter, Faith • Dark Heir         04/07
Liu, Ken • The Grace of Kings 04/07
Chu, Wesley • The Rebirths of Tao         04/07
Walton, David • Superposition 04/07
Turtledove, Harry • Joe Steele

Marshall, Alex • A Crown for Cold Silver         04/14
Rawn, Melanie • Window Wall 04/14

Martin, Gail Z • War of Shadows 04/21
Wilson, Robert Charles • The Affinities                        04/21
Wexler, Django • The Mad Apprentice 04/21
Wilson, Robert Charles • The Affinities         04/21
Wright, John C. • The Architect of Aeons         04/21

Kowal, Mary Robinette • Of Noble Family 04/28
Davis, Lauren B  • Againsta Darkening Sky 04/28
Tahir, Sabaa • An Ember in the Ashes 04/28

May 2015

Connolly, Tina • Seriously Wicked 05/05
Okorafor, Nnedi • The Book of Phoenix 05/05
West, Michelle  • Oracle                 05/05
Warrington, Freda • The Dark Arts of Blood 05/05

Danielewski, Mark Z • One Rainy Day in May 05/12
Downum, Amanda  • Dreams of Shreds and Tatters 05/12
Marmell, Ari • Hallow Point         05/12
Millar, Martin • The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies  05/12

Barker, Clive • Scarlet Gospels 05/19
Gaiman, Neil, & Michael Reaves & Mallory Reaves • Eternity's Wheel  05/19
Novik, Naomi • Uprooted         05/19
Stephenson, Neal • Seveneves 05/19
Fox, Andrew • Fat White Vampire Otaku                      05/21
Hunt, Stephen • Foul Tide's Turning 05/21

Orullian, Peter • Trial of Intentions 05/26
Bacigalupi, Paolo • The Water Knife 05/26
Bledsoe, Alex • Long Black Curl 05/26
Douglas, Ian • Deep Time         05/26
Priest, Cherie • I Am Princess X 05/26

June 2015

Anderson, Kevin J. • Blood of the Cosmos 06/02
Corey, James S. A. • Nemesis Games 06/02
de Castiel, Sebastien • Knight's Shadow 06/02
Lawrence, Mark • The Liars Key 06/02
Wells, Martha • Stories of the Raksura 2                       06/02
King, Stephen • Finders Keepers 06/02

Blaylock, James P. • Beneath London 06/09
Cohen, Joshua • The Book of Numbers 06/09
Brooks, Terry • The Darkling Child                 06/09
Reynolds, Alastair • Slow Bullets 06/09

Deas, Stephen • The Silver Kings 06/16
Wells, Dan • The Devils Only Friend 06/16
Fforde, Jasper • Early Riser           UK06/18

Saintcrow, Lilith • Trailer Park Fae 06/23
Pratchett, Terry, & Stephen Baxter • The Long Utopia 06/23

Nagata, Linda • The Red                 06/30
Older, Daniel Jose • Shadowshaper         06/30
Walton, Jo • The Philosopher Kings 06/30
Lindskold, Jane • Artemis Invaded 06/30

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What's new in my reading stock for 04/07/2015

There's some great new books released today, including Ken Liu's 'The Grace of Kings' which I am currently reading (and loving). Here are the ones that have already been added to my to-read shelf! Plus the re-issue of a definitive edition of Peter Orullian's 'The Unremembered'.

Feist, Raymond • King of Ashes  (Book One of the War of Five Crowns)
 bitter war engulfs five Greater Realms after four brother kingdoms violate the ancient Covenant. Ithrace, the Kingdom of Flames, is destroyed by battle, ending an ancient balance of power.
As a Free Lord of Osean, Daylon Dumarch owes allegiance to no king, but knows it is unwise to betray any of them. So when an infant hidden in his pavilion is discovered, he knows instantly that the child is the missing heir of the slain king of Ithrace - and decides to use that knowledge to his advantage. A cunning and patient man, Daylon keeps the baby's existence secret, sending him to be raised on the Island Kingdom of Coaltachin, the Kingdom of Night, where the most powerful and lethal soldiers - the Nocusara, the Hidden Warriors - are trained.
Years later, a young man named Declan earns his Masters standing as a smith. Blessed with intelligence and skill, he unlocks the secret to forging King's Steel, the apex of a weapon maker's art shared by only a few. Yet this precious knowledge is also deadly, and Declan is forced to leave his home to safeguard his life. Landing in Lord Daylon's provinces, he hopes to start anew.
Soon, two young men - the rightful heir to a throne and an exiled smith - will discover their fates entwined... and that the War of Five Crowns has never truly ended.

Grant, Mira • Rolling in the Deep                      
When the Imagine Network commissioned a documentary on mermaids, to be filmed from the cruise ship Atargatis, they expected what they had always received before: an assortment of eyewitness reports that proved nothing, some footage that proved even less, and the kind of ratings that only came from peddling imaginary creatures to the masses.
They didn't expect actual mermaids. They certainly didn't expect those mermaids to have teeth.
This is the story of the Atargatis, lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy. Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found

Liu, Ken • The Grace of Kings  (Book One of the Dandelion Dynasty)
Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards.
Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shapeshifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.
Fans of intrigue, intimate plots, and action will find a new series to embrace in the Dandelion Dynasty

Chu, Wesley • The Rebirths of Tao (Book Three of the Tao Series)
Many years have passed since the events in The Deaths of Tao. The world is split into pro-Prophus and pro-Genjix factions, and is poised on the edge of a devastating new World War. A Genjix scientist who defects to the other side holds the key to preventing bloodshed on an almost unimaginable scale.
With the might of the Genjix in active pursuit, Roen is the only person who can help him save the world, and the Quasing race, too. And you thought you were having a stressful day...

Orullian, Peter • The Unremembered  (Book One of the Vault of Heaven Series)
The gods who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy however, they sealed the rogue god-and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortal kind-in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that protected humankind for millennia has become weak and creatures of nightmare have now come through. Those who stand against evil know that only drastic measures will prevent a devastating invasion.
Tahn Junell is a hunter who's unaware of the dark forces that imperil his world, in much the same way his youth is lost to memory. But an imperious man who wears the sigil of the feared Order of Sheason and a beautiful woman of the legendary Far have shared with Tahn the danger. They've asked him, his sister, and his friends to embark with them on a journey that will change their lives . . . and the world . . . forever. And in the process, he'll remember . . .

In addition to stunning updates to the original text, Tor is including an exclusive short story set in the world of Vault of Heaven as well as a sneak preview of the sequel, Trial of Intentions, plus a glossary to the universe.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Few Thoughts on the 2015 Hugo Nominations

There's a lot being said about the 2015 Hugo nominations, some people are ebulliant, some are convinced the world is going to go down in flames because the Hugos are being held hostage by a small and increasingly irrelevant band of ideologues. Drama queens, all of them. The thing is, this really only matters in the distorted fishbowl politics of SFWA and fandom, though it is reflective of a greater social paradigm.
The very term liberal means (among other things) "favoring or permitting freedom of action, especially with respect to matters of personal belief or expression" and this is why, on the national level, liberals suck at being disciplined and sharing a cohesive message, because they are decentralized and individualized. Authoritarian conservatives (and reactionaries), are not. They can follow orders, and get shit done, because they agree that the message is more important than the individual.
This is why a group of between 250 and 275 people was able to steamroll the nominations process when there were over 2000 ballots cast. They were organized and focused, and to them, their message was more important than the representatives they chose.
I've heard of one of the Sad Puppy nominees complaining that no one is congratulating him for his nomination on his Twitter, and my response is 'congratulations for what?' You're not the nominee, you're a representative of the Sad Puppy slate. Brad Torgerson may deserve congratulations. You? You're just a tool he's used to push his agenda, expect to be rewarded as such.
I'm worried by the voices I hear calling out for a retooling of the nomination process. I really am. I'm worried because I am a liberal. I want to look at the list of nominations and see a list of what our disparate voices feel are the best our genre produced this year. Is that what I got this year? No. Absolutely not. Anyone who can look me in the eye and tell me Vox Day is a better editor than Gardner Dozois, George RR Martin, Ellen Datlow, or any of the other brilliant anthologists that are working in the genre today is an idiot.
But if we retool the nomination process to make the Hugos a true 'people's choice award' (which we already have, it's called the Locus Awards) to diminish the impact the radicals can have, I worry that we will diminish the awards themselves.
On a related note, I'm surprised that no one yet has taken the con committee from Sasquan to task for their blatent voter disenfranchisement. When my paper ballot arrived days after voting had closed, I just shrugged it off and assumed it was delayed in the mail somehow. But this year only three paper ballots were submitted, which is over a 90% decrease over last years voting, which leads me to believe that the failure to mail out ballots was widespread, and everyone I talked to at Norwescon this last weekend confirmed my suspicions that no one I checked with received a paper ballot before the nomination period closed.
While the paper ballots may not have affected the final nominations in all categories, there are several categories where just a few votes may have made a difference. While I have reached out to the con, I haven't yet heard back from them
I also hope this motivates the majority of Worldcon members who didn't vote in this nominating processs to participate in the future. Had there been another 2,000 votes, then it's likely that the ballot would look very different. So talk to your friends who are Worldcon attendees, and let them know that there voices are heard. Even if you only read 10 books and 2 short stories last year, were any of those worthy of being nominated? Then nominate it! If you care about the results, then take part in the process, even if it's just reminding the voters to vote. While I know there are a lot of people that can't afford a supporting Worldcon membership, there are a lot of people who can. If you can, and care, then take the time to participate. Nominate books that you feel are truly worthy, so ideologically driven votes aren't the only votes that count.

That's my 2 cents anyway.

***Update: I just heard back form the Sasquan 'Pre-Convention Information Desk' Tom Veal about the ballots not going out in time.
 "There were reasons for the tardy mailing of Sasquan's Progress Report No. 3, but unfortunately not good reasons. The convention committee is extremely sorry for the delay.  Even though voting was available on-line (and the number of nominating ballots cast was an all-time record for the Hugo Awards), we realize that a number of members expected to receive timely ballots in the mail and were unaware of, or were unable to use, the electronic alternative.
We have taken steps to ensure that Progress Report No. 4, which will include the final Hugo ballot, will be mailed well before the voting deadline."

 Make of that what you will.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

'The Very Best of Kate Elliott', or, A Perambulation Through My Spotty Past


        I'm pretty sure this title is a lie.
Mind you, I don't think Tachyon is trying to be deceptive, but, to me, the true 'very best of Kate Elliott' are the poignant and powerful moments of aching perfection that you've been waiting and agonizing over for 400 pages while characters try to bridge the lonely distances between each other or find redemption for the shortcomings of their own imperfect souls (and yes, that was all one sentence, thank you). It's not that Kate Elliott isn't an amazing short fiction writer, it's that her novels are just So. Damn. Good.
         This collection of her brilliant short works is out this week, so just go buy it, and thank me later. Because you will thank me. You'll thank me for every perfectly written sentence that breaks your heart, or fills the hole you didn't realize was there, and you'll thank me for every moment these perfect jewels of a story make you go 'no THAT one is my favorite' until you read the next one.

So now I'm going to circle back to my spotty past and how much I love Kate Elliott.
Many years ago, I picked up this book called 'The Labyrinth Gate' by Alis Rasmussen, which was this great portal fantasy (at a time when portal fantasy was all the rage). Alis went on and wrote a scifi trilogy with Bantam style covers that I didn't love) which had great characters, but I didn't finish the trilogy because I lost my copy of book two, and never found book three (this was back before Amazon).
And then she disappeared.
I hate when authors I like disappear (this was common in the bad old days pre-wifi).
A couple of years later, I read this book, 'Jaran' by Kate Elliott, which I really really liked. It's a first novel, and I am a total sucker for a great first novel. And this was a GREAT first novel. And then, as you did back in the 90s, I never saw any of the other books in the series come out (small town, no great bookstores. Life was barely worth living). After I moved to Phoenix, and got a job in a bookstore, we had a booksigning with Melanie Rawn for her 'Ruins of Ambrai', and she mentioned she had a book coming out with Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott.  And I was all 'hey, I loved her Jaran book!' and Melanie was all 'she wrote 3 more of them.  Plus she wrote some books under Alis Rasmussen.'
So let me explain, that the only thing I love more than a great first novel, is discovering an author I thought had quit writing had, in fact, written more books.
So TL:DR, go read Kate Elliott, because I've fallen in love with her writing TWICE, and Tachyon says this is her Very Best.*

(*It's not their fault that they're wrong.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Finally! A Release Date for 'The Aeronaut’s Windlass' Announced!

It's finally coming!
The first book in Jim Butcher's new high fantasy steampunk series, The Cinder Spires is coming on September 29th of this year, and it's called 'The Aeronaut’s Windlass' from Roc Books, which also publishes his Dresden novels.
Anne Sowards of Roc describes it as follows:
 “Horatio Hornblower meets The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen—it’s a fantastic, creative new series of airships, privateers, warrior monks, and mad sorcerers. Honestly, it’s like Jim put all my favorite things in one book!”
Jim's website (which you can find here) includes the following description:
"The Cinder Spires is set in a fascinating new world, where an ancient evil has awoken, plunging the world into a shroud of mists filled with monstrous and fantastic creatures. The fate of humanity will rest on the loyalty and courage of a single airship’s crew. New York Times bestselling author David Weber said, “This is Jim Butcher at his best…It’s steampunk meets magic with a dose of sci-fi for seasoning.”'
This comes just days after Jim provided us with a sneak peak at the first line of 'Peace Talks' in a much buzzed about tweet:

It's a great week to be a Jim Butcher fan!
Now, does anyone know where this image came floating around the interwebs from? Fanart?

Edit: Through the excellent work of my friend Kim, it looks like Windjager is the German edition of 'The Aeronaut's Windlass' and the Google translate of the description is:

"Since the fog has covered the whole world, people live in fortress-like towns on the tops of mountains. Entering the mist can be fatal. Nevertheless, as the troops summit fortress Aurora in the area of Albion, and a war can not be averted. The summit Prince of Albion calls his allies and prepares his people for battle. The fleet is strong, the men and women are well educated. But his greatest hope is the summit prince on the secret mission of Captain Grimm and his airship hunters."

Sounds like fun! I kind of hope that they use the same cover for the US edition as well, though there's no guarantee.

What's New In My Reading Stack This Week 02/10/2015

Barnes, Jonathan • Cannonbridge                                            02/10
        Something has gone wrong with history in this gripping novel about a lie planted among the greatest works of English fiction.
        Flamboyant, charismatic Matthew Cannonbridge was touched by genius, the most influential creative mind of the 19th century, a prolific novelist, accomplished playwright, the poet of his generation. The only problem is, he should never have existed and beleaguered, provincial, recently-divorced 21st Century don Toby Judd is the only person to realise something has gone wrong with history.
       All the world was Cannonbridge’s and he possessed, seemingly, the ability to be everywhere at once. Cannonbridge was there that night by Lake Geneva when conversation between Byron, Shelley and Mary Godwin turned to stories of horror and the supernatural. He was sole ally, confidante and friend to the young Dickens as Charles laboured without respite in the blacking factory. He was the only man of standing and renown to regularly visit Oscar Wilde in prison. Tennyson's drinking companion, Kipling's best friend, Robert Louis Stevenson's counsellor and guide - Cannonbridge's extraordinary life and career spanned a century, earning him a richly-deserved place in the English canon.
       But as bibliophiles everywhere prepare to toast the bicentenary of the publication of Cannonbridge's most celebrated work, Judd's discovery will lead him on a breakneck chase across the English canon and countryside, to the realisation that the spectre of Matthew Cannonbridge, planted so seamlessly into the heart of the 19th Century, might not be so dead and buried after all...

Elliott, Kate • The Very Best of Kate Elliott 02/10
      Strong heroines and riveting storytelling are the hallmark of groundbreaking fantasy author Kate Elliott (Crown of Stars,Crossroads). Elliott is a highly-compelling voice in genre fiction, an innovative author of historically-based narratives set in imaginary worlds. This first, retrospective collection of her short fiction is the essential guide to Elliott’s shorter works. Here her bold adventuresses, complex quests, noble sacrifices, and hard-won victories shine in classic, compact legends.
      In “The Memory of Peace,” a girl’s powerful emotions rouse the magic of a city devastated by war. Meeting in “The Queen’s Garden,” two princesses unite to protect their kingdom from the blind ambition of their corrupted father. While “Riding the Shore of the River of Death” a chieftain’s daughter finds an unlikely ally on her path to self-determination.
       Elliott’s many readers, as well as fantasy fans in search of powerful stories featuring well-drawn female characters, will revel in this unique gathering of truly memorable tales.

McClellan, Brian • The Autumn Republic                             02/10
(Book three of the Powder Mage trilogy)
The capital has fallen...
       Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing, his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away.
An army divided...
       With the Kez still bearing down upon them and without clear leadership, the Adran army has turned against itself. Inspector Adamat is drawn into the very heart of this new mutiny with promises of finding his kidnapped son.
All hope rests with one...
       And Taniel Two-shot, hunted by men he once thought his friends, must safeguard the only chance Adro has of getting through this war without being destroyed...
The Autumn Republic is the epic conclusion that began with Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign.