Featuring: Daniel Abraham, Jason Arnopp, Stephen Aryan, Madeline Ashby, Adrian Barnes, Terry Brooks, Steve Cavanagh, Catherine Cerveny, Curtis C. Chen, Jennifer Close, Brenda Cooper, John DeCure, Christopher Fowler, Neil Gaiman, Deena Goldstone, Jack Grimwood, Aidan Harte, Nathan Hill, L.S. Hilton, Roger Hobbs, Trevor Hoyle, Richard A. Knaak, Spencer Kope, Giles Kristian, Robert Kroese, Jason LaPier, Glenda Larke, James Lovegrove, Drew Magary, Gail Z. Martin, Malka Older, Melissa F. Olson, Stephanie Saulter, Jon Skovron, Sam Sykes, Laura van Den Berg, Dan Vyleta, David Wingrove, Ben H. Winters, John Wray
Today, a quick look at upcoming titles from Tor Books (US) that have caught my eye — some of these aren’t due out until early 2016, but I thought they looked interesting enough to feature now.
Charlie Jane Anders, ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY (January 26th, 2016)
Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during middle school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.
But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together — to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.
A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.
A dazzling novel of humanity, noir heroines, and the Singularity
They call it Company Towna citysized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, now owned by one very wealthy, powerful, byzantine family: Lynch Ltd.
Hwa is of the few people in her community (which constitutes the whole rig) to forgo bioengineered enhancements. As such, she’s the last truly organic person left on the rigmaking her doubly an outsider, as well as a neglected daughter and bodyguard extraordinaire. Still, her expertise in the arts of selfdefense and her record as a fighter mean that her services are yet in high demand. When the youngest Lynch needs training and protection, the family turns to Hwa. But can even she protect against increasingly intense death threats seemingly coming from another timeline?
Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city’s stability and heightens the unease of a rig turning over. All signs point to a nearly invisible serial killer, but all of the murders seem to lead right back to Hwa’s front door. Company Town has never been the safest place to bebut now, the danger is personal.
A brilliant, twisted mystery, as one woman must evaluate saving the people of a town that can’t be saved, or saving herself.
I think the first time I heard about Company Town was via Angry Robot Books, who published Ashby’s The Machine Dynastyseries. However, I can’t find anything about Company Town on their website (this might be because of the recent purchase of the publisher and subsequent changes).
R.S. Belcher, BROTHERHOOD OF THE WHEEL (March 1st, 2016)
A unique new urban fantasy exploring the haunted byways and truck stops of the U.S. Interstate Highway System
In 1119 A.D., a group of nine crusaders became known as the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomona militant monastic order charged with protecting pilgrims and caravans traveling on the roads to and from the Holy Land. In time, the Knights Templar would grow in power and, ultimately, be laid low. But a small offshoot of the Templars endure and have returned to the order’s original mission: to defend the roads of the world and guard those who travel on them.
Theirs is a secret line of knights: truckers, bikers, taxi hacks, state troopers, bus drivers, RV gypsiesany of the folks who live and work on the asphalt arteries of America. They call themselves the Brotherhood of the Wheel.
Jimmy Aussapile is one such knight. He’s driving a big rig down South when a promise to a ghostly hitchhiker sets him on a quest to find out the terrible truth behind a string of children gone missing all across the country. The road leads him to Lovina Hewitt, a skeptical Louisiana State Police investigator working the same case and, eventually, to a forgotten town that’s not on any mapand to the secret behind the eerie BlackEyed Kids said to prowl the highways.
Seth Dickinson, THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT (September 15th)
A young woman from a conquered people tries to transform an empire in this richly imagined geopolitical fantasy.
Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people-even her soul.
When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, overwrites her culture, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to swallow her hate, join the Empire’s civil service, and claw her way high enough to set her people free.
Sent as an Imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn, another conquered country, Baru discovers it’s on the brink of rebellion. Drawn by the intriguing duchess Tain Hu into a circle of seditious dukes, Baru may be able to use her position to help. As she pursues a precarious balance between the rebels and a shadowy cabal within the Empire, she orchestrates a do-or-die gambit with freedom as the prize.
But the cost of winning the long game of saving her people may be far greater than Baru imagines.
Dickinson’s debut is published in the UK by Tor Books, as The Traitor.
The Moon wants to kill you. Whether it’s being unable to pay your per diem for your allotted food, water, and air, or you just get caught up in a fight between the Moon’s ruling corporations, the Five Dragons. You must fight for every inch you want to gain in the Moon’s near feudal society. And that is just what Adriana Corta did.
As the leader of the Moon’s newest “dragon,” Adriana has wrested control of the Moon’s Helium-3 industry from the Mackenzie Metal corporation and fought to earn her family’s new status. Now, at the twilight of her life, Adriana finds her corporation, Corta Helio, surrounded by the many enemies she made during her meteoric rise. If the Corta family is to survive, Adriana’s five children must defend their mother’s empire from her many enemies… and each other.
This is published in the UK by Gollancz, on September 17th, 2015.
For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.
Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemenConquest, Famine, and Deathare brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.
Nowbound, bloodied, and druggedGideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen fornot to mention all of humankindhe needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.
V.E. Schwab, A GATHERING OF SHADOWS (February 23rd, 2016)
Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.
In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games-an extravagent international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries — a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again — and so to keep magic’s balance, another London must fall.
Brian Staveley, THE LAST MORTAL BOND (March 15th, 2016)
War engulfs the Annurian Empire.
The ancient csestriim are back to finish their purge of humanity; armies march against the capital; leaches, solitary beings who draw power from the natural world to fuel their extraordinary abilities, maneuver on all sides to affect the outcome of the war; and capricious gods walk the earth in human guise with agendas of their own.
But the three imperial siblings at the heart of it all Valyn, Adare, and Kaden come to understand that even if they survive the holocaust unleashed on their world, there may be no reconciling their conflicting visions of the future.
The first two books in Staveley’s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne are also published in the US by Tor Books: The Emperor’s Blades and Providence of Fire. The series is published in the UK by Tor (UK). I loved the first two books, can’t wait to read this!
Once a year on Dragon Day the fabled Dragon Gate is raised to let a sea dragon pass into the Sabian Sea. There, it will be hunted by the Storm Lords, a fellowship of powerful water-mages who rule an empire called the Storm Isles.
Emira Imerle Polivar is coming to the end of her tenure as leader of the Storm Lords, but she has no intention of standing down graciously. As part of her plot to hold onto power, she instructs an order of priests known as the Chameleons to sabotage the Dragon Gate. There’s just one problem: that will require them to infiltrate an impregnable citadel that houses the gate’s mechanism — a feat that has never been accomplished before.
But Imerle is not the only one intent on destroying the Storm Lord dynasty. As the Storm Lords assemble in answer to a mysterious summons, they become the targets of assassins working for an unknown enemy. And when Imerle sets her scheme in motion, that enemy uses the ensuing chaos to play its hand.
Turner’s debut, When Heavens Fall, is also published by Tor Books in the US, and in the UK by Titan Books. I assume they’ll be publishing book two as well.
Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage.
Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.
As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever — if it isn’t destroyed outright.
Madeline Ashby is the author of the critically-acclaimed vN and iD science fiction novels, the first two books in the Machine Dynasty series (published by Angry Robot Books). Her protagonist is a “von Neumann machine, a self-replicating humanoid robot”. This made me wonder how one goes about making a non-human character relatable and sympathetic? When I was told Madeline was available for guest posts, I jumped at the chance to ask her about this. So, without further ado…
How Do You Make Non-Humans Seem Human?
by Madeline Ashby
How do you make non-humans seem human? Well, with self-replicating humanoids designed to love and serve humans, it’s not that difficult. At least, it’s not for me. In vN and iD, the robots love humans enough to spend significant amounts of time with them. They have long-term relationships, both at home and at work. The longer they live, the better they learn to “pass,” as human, or at least to behave in the most human way possible.
But that’s not the real issue. The real issue is making them read as human – making them leap off the page in the way that three-dimensional human characters do in other books. I try to do that in a few different ways. Continue reading →