2016 Books SF/F Editors Want You to Read
Last week, we revealed the 42 sci-fi and fantasy books we can’t wait to read in 2016. Now, we’re giving the editors and publishers their say. We reached out to over a dozen SF/F imprints and asked them what books they can’t wait to show you in the new year. Get ready to update your wish list and ready your pre-ordering finger: this will take a while, and you’ll love every word of it. Here are 72 books the genre’s movers and shakers are excited about in 2016.
All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders (January 26)
All the Birds in the Sky is the phenomenal, genre-blending, much-anticipated speculative debut novel from Charlie Jane Anders, the Hugo and Nebula award winning writer and i09 editor in chief. Resplendent with decorative blurbs from authors like Lev Grossman, Michael Chabon, and Karen Joy Fowler, this novel is a deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the fate of the world. It follows Patricia, a young witch and cater-waitress, and Laurence, a young scientist, as they become best friends, then enemies, then lovers, along the way to figuring out adult life while they try to save each other—and life as we know it—from breaking apart. – Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Executive Editor
A Gathering of Shadows, by V. E. Schwab (February 23)
For the discerning speculative reader and mainstream fantasy dabbler alike, V. E. Schwab’s delightfully dark magical brain will hold you spellbound in A Gathering of Shadows, the expansive sequel to the “compulsively readable” (NPR) A Darker Shade of Magic. Here, we go deeper into the parallel universe of multiple Londons—shying away from Georgian Grey London, and more firmly into Red London, home of Arnesian Empire, Prince Rhy Maresh and Kell, the last of the Travelers, whose blood magic allows for journeys between the various Londons. The brothers are still reeling from terror and loss, four months after the downfall of White London, and trying to plan a cross-empire magical tournament to prove the might of the Maresh Throne in the face of turmoil. Meanwhile, ex-Grey London thief Lilah Bard has finally taken to the high seas as she always dreamed—only to find that her set of skills might lie in a more magical arena… – Miriam Weinberg, Editor
Hex, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (April 26)
Dutch author Thomas Olde Heuvelt has been getting a ton of buzz lately, from two World Fantasy Award nominations to the first Hugo Award ever given to a work of translated fiction. We’re thrilled to be publishing his first novel in English, Hex, which was a bestseller and award winner in the Netherlands and has been expertly translated and recast in upstate New York. Hex is an extremely creepy examination of what happens to a small town kept in thrall by a seventeenth-century witch who causes anyone who tries to leave the town to go insane. Frustrated by being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting, but in the process they send the town spiraling into barbaric practices of the distant past. This chilling, thrilling novel heralds the arrival of a promising new voice in horror and dark fantasy. – Liz Gorinsky, Editor
Company Town, by Madeline Ashby (May 17)
Company Town centers around the last un-augmented woman in New Arcadia, Hwa—a bodyguard with the United Sex Workers of Canada. Hired away to be the corporate bodyguard for Joel Lynch, the precocious teenage heir to the dynastic corporation that controls New Arcadia, Hwa is struggling to save herself, her friends, and her charge from a sinister killer before it is too late. Hwa’s world exists at the intersection of near and far-future, but Ashby’s triumph is in her magnificent handling of Noir tropes and the layers of dysfunctional tension which permeate the industrial Canadian setting. This is a bold, dazzling, David-Lynch-ean masterpiece, fit for people who love thrillers, classic Noir, and science fiction alike. – Miriam Weinberg, Editor
False Hearts, by Laura Lam (June)
Orphan Black meets Inception in False Hearts, a new speculative thriller and the first adult novel from Laura Lam. Underworld intrigue, murder, mistaken identity, shared dreams, and next-generation biotechnology are all balanced within a tightly spun tale set in a near-future San Francisco. Twin sisters Taema and Tila, conjoined until the age of sixteen, are in their mid-twenties when they’re drawn into a deadly plot surrounding the battle for control of a drug that facilitates a disturbing form of lucid dreaming. Through the eyes of one sister, we experience the web of danger and deceit that has ensnared them in the present. Through the other sister, we learn the startling details of their strange upbringing within an isolated cult, before their surgical separation, when the twins shared a single heart. How these narratives entwine and converge is just part of what makes False Hearts such a fun and absorbing novel. – Marco Palmieri, Senior Editor
Red Right Hand, by Levi Black (July)
A gripping, thoroughly addictive dark-fantasy thriller about a troubled young woman who is recruited against her will to defend humanity from Lovecraftian elder gods, Red Right Hand pounces on the reader right from the start and never lets up as our heroine, “Charlie” Tristan Moore, is forced to become the reluctant acolyte of a sinister Man in Black, who may be just as fiendish and untrustworthy as the ghastly eldritch horrors she fights on his behalf. It’s the first book in a trilogy and has already received a treasure trove of enthusiastic endorsements from such bestselling authors as Jonathan Maberry, Faith Hunter, Nancy Holder, and Cherie Priest. – Greg Cox, Consulting Editor
Everfair, by Nisi Shawl (September)
Everfair, the first novel from the award winning short fiction author Nisi Shawl, is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel. It’s a reimagined story of the Belgian Congo that poses an intriguing question: What if the African natives developed steam power ahead of their colonial oppressors? Shawl’s speculative masterpiece manages to turn one of the worst human rights disasters on record into a marvelous and exciting exploration of the possibilities inherent in a turn of history. Audiences who have been clamoring to see more traditionally underrepresented characters will find one of the most diverse casts on our list: Africans, Europeans, East Asians, and African Americans in complex relationships with one another, in a compelling range of voices that have historically been silenced. Everfair is not only a beautiful book but an educational and inspiring one that will give the reader new insight into an often ignored period of history. – Liz Gorinsky, Editor
Gentlemen Jole and the Red Queen, by Lois McMaster Bujold (February)
Science fiction legend, Lois McMaster Bujold is one of the most highly regarded speculative fiction writers of all time. Bujold mixes space opera drama with fantasy and romance with a new installment to her New York Times Best Selling Vorkosigan series.
The Road to Hell, by David Weber and Joelle Presby (March)
The return of the Hell’s Gate series has been long anticipated and will return with The Road to Hell by Weber and Presby where magic and high-tech collide. Weber—considered one of the best in military science fiction storytelling—brings realistic human vices and virtues to his characters as they grapple with terrible costs and deadly secrets where the stakes are enormously high.
Deaths’ Bright Day, by David Drake (June)
The Grand Master of Military Science Fiction delivers another fast-paced entry in his RCN Series. Leary and Mundy are back as they undertake a high adventure mission to a distant but critical star system with political intrigue at every turn.
Alliance of Equals, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (July)
The 19th installment of the Liaden Universe continues with star‑crossed romance, coming‑of‑age stories that is set among the stars with youthful, strong‑blooded heroes and heroines
Monster Hunter Memoir, by Larry Correia and John Ringo (August)
Two superstars collaborate for the first time in Correia’s New York Times Best Selling Monster Hunter Series. Several books have been scheduled that will focus on one of the main characters. The first—Monster Hunter Memoir: Grunge— is the (mostly) true story of the life and times of one of MHI’s most effective, and flamboyant, hunters, Grunge. Pro‑tips for up and coming hunters range from how to dress appropriately for jogging (low‑profile body armor and multiple weapons) to how to develop contacts, and especially why it’s not a good idea to make Billy-goat jokes to trolls. The second “profile”—Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners—will release in December.
The Seer, by Sonia Orin Lyris (March)
A fantasy with the added conflict of selling precognitive information of a special talent to save a mother and her family drives this story. This novel has all the elements for a fantasy/YA crossover potential.
The Dragon Hammer, by Tony Daniel (July)
Best known for his adult science fiction and fantasy work, Daniel enters the field of Young Adult with the first book in a new epic fantasy series with stunning cover art by Spectrum Award Winner Daniel Dos Santos. The story enfolds with the fifteen‑year‑old third son of a duke in an alternate Viking‑like medieval America, as he faces invasion by confederates of a colonial Roman empire based on evil vampiric blood slavery.
With the caveat that it’s impossible to pick all of our highlights for 2016, here are just a few that you should definitely check out. – Lee Harris, Senior Editor
The Drowning Eyes, by Emily Foster (January 12)
When you fall in love with the characters in a piece, it can be hard to let go. From the first page of Emily Foster’s debut novella The Drowning Eyes, I loved her characters. The salty pirate Tazir with her spot-on opinions about rich girls and the naïve but determined Windspeaker Shina jump out of the page and into a fully-formed new world. Expect to see a lot more from Emily Foster, because this story has a lot of room to grow. Queer pirates and weather witches hunt marauding Vikings to steal back magic idols in this rambunctious nautical adventure.
Pieces of Hate, by Tim Lebbon (March 15)
An immortal man bent on revenge against the demonic assassin that killed his family? Yes, please! Pieces of Hate is one of two stories in this book—a high-octane pirate adventure set in the Caribbean, where the immortal Gabriel must battle his accursed foe, the demon known as Temple; there can be only one winner. The other tale—the novelette Dead Man’s Hand—follows our blood-drenched leads into Deadwood when the West was wildest.
Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire (April 5)
Our first hardcover book. I’ve read this 7 times, now, and I still get excited when describing it to people for the first time. It’s the story of Nancy— a girl who has been through her own portal fantasy adventure, but is thrust back into our world, a world without magic, and forced to come to terms with a mundane and action-free life. But then everything changes…
Runtime, by S. B. Divya (Summer)
I’m in favor of cheating in sports. That statement might need qualification. I’m in favor of sports being the medium by which human biomedical capacity is pushed to new limits, of cybernetic solutions to problems beyond normal human capacity, of international competition embracing technological innovation to redefine human excellence. Runtime gives me exactly what I want. The Sierra Minerva Challenge is the cyborg’s version of the Tour de France, with augmented racers dashing over the Sierra Nevada in a day-long competition. Our hero, Marmeg Guinto, could win a better life for herself and her family, but she’ll have to brave crooked competition, the wrath of nature, and neo-luddite survivalists to claim the top prize.
As we close our first year we here at Saga Press HQ want to thank the community for the support and warm welcome they gave us. Several of our titles have been on best of the year lists from NPR to Publisher’s Weekly, BuzzFeed, and this fine site right here. And the great news is that several of our most prominent authors will have sequels out next year including Ken Liu, Genevieve Valentine, and Laura Anne Gilman. We also have Kameron Hurley’s debut science fiction novel and a few big surprises.
Now that we’ve established Saga, in 2016 we’ll keep our innovative spirit alive by putting the spotlight on our 2016 debut authors. — Joe Monti, Executive Editor
Borderline, by Mishell Baker (March 1)
A year ago, Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.
For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court. To find him, she’ll have to smooth-talk Hollywood power players and uncover the surreal and sometimes terrifying truth behind the glamour of Tinseltown. But stronger forces than just her inner demons are sabotaging her progress, and if she fails to unravel the conspiracy behind the noble’s disappearance, not only will she be out on the streets, but the shattering of a centuries-old peace could spark an all-out war between worlds.
This is a standout urban fantasy, a book that fans of the genre will devour—but will also appeal to readers who have never before picked up a book like this. It captivated me from the opening line: “It was a mid-morning on a Monday when magic walked into my life wearing a beige Ann Taylor suit and sensible flats.” Mishell is a fantastic talent, and we couldn’t be happier that Borderline is only the first book in The Arcadia Project series—there are two more in the wings.
It’s voicey, clever, fun—and just a wonderful read. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of the October Daye series, said, “Exciting, inventive, and brilliantly plotted, this is the sort of urban fantasy I dream about. So good. So, so good. Smart, snappy, fast, fantastic. This book is so damn much fun, it hurts.” —Navah Wolfe, Editor
Roses & Rot, by Kat Howard (May 17)
What would you sacrifice for everything you ever dreamed of? That is the question that drives this haunting debut novel by Kat Howard.
The plot: A prestigious artists’ retreat in New Hampshire holds dark secrets as desire for art or love are within grasp for Imogen, a writer, and for her sister Marin, a dancer, but at a terrible price. Soon enough, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in a fairy tale after all, and it’s one that will pit her against her sister if she really wants to escape her past and succeed as an artist.
Oh, and we have a blurb, from NYT Bestselling author of American Gods and The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman: “Kat Howard is a remarkable young writer, and she’s written a powerful first novel, as strong as Emma Bull’s War For The Oaks. This is a book about family, about the price we’re willing to pay for art, and the strange music and haunting glades of faerie.”
Kat is a beautiful writer who has received a lot of praise, and a World Fantasy award nomination, for her stories and there’s great word already on this book with mentions on Buzz Feed and the Huffington Post as one of the most anticipated forthcoming books of early 2016! —Joe Monti
Dark Run, by Mike Brooks (May 24)
This is a pure popcorn space opera, especially for fans of the beloved Firefly. A debut novel import, written by a U.K. punk, which the illustrious Stephen Baxter (The Long Earth, Proxima) calls “Golden Age chic!”
The Keiko is a ship of smugglers, soldiers of fortune, and con artists, traveling Earth’s colony planets searching for the next job, and nobody aboard talks about their past—until now. Captain Ichabod Drift is being blackmailed: The Keiko has to deliver a mysterious load of cargo to Old Earth at a specific time and place, unseen. It’s what they call a dark run, and all too accurately, as when the delivery goes south it may be their last.
Enter a corrupt galaxy where criminals, like the crew on the Keiko, are often the best people in it, especially when they’re motivated by revenge. —Joe Monti
A Green and Ancient Light, by Frederic S. Durbin (June 7)
As planes darken the sky and cities burn in the ravages of war, a boy is sent away to the safety of an idyllic fishing village far from the front, to stay with the grandmother he does not know. But their tranquility is shattered by the crash of a bullet-riddled enemy plane that brings the war—and someone else—to their doorstep. Grandmother’s mysterious friend, Mr. Girandole, who is far more than he seems, has appeared out of the night to ask Grandmother for help in doing the unthinkable.
In the forest near Grandmother’s cottage lies a long-abandoned garden of fantastic statues, a grove of monsters, where sunlight sets the leaves aglow and the movement at the corner of the eye might just be fairy magic. Hidden within is a riddle that has lain unsolved for centuries—a riddle that contains the only solution to their impossible problem. To solve it will require courage, sacrifice and friendship with the most unlikely allies.
A gorgeous bittersweet fantasy in the spirit of Peter S. Beagle, classic Miyazaki films, and Pan’s Labyrinth, this book is both achingly familiar and wondrously strange. It feels classic and timeless in the way of a dreamy summer afternoon, and yet fresh and lovely. It’s a quiet, beautiful book that will linger in your heart and mind long after you finish it, like a haunting melody. —Navah Wolfe
Mechanical Failure, by Joe Zieja (June 14)
I (editor, Joe Monti) first met Joe Zieja in Chicago at Worldcon in 2012. He was in his air force captain’s uniform, looking very striking, and told me how he was transitioning from several years in the military service toward a more creative life as we talked about fantasy and science fiction.
Three years later he wrote one of the funniest novels I have read. Proof: As an editor, by the time I get to final draft I had read this book several times, and I was still giggling! Hell, our copy editor was giggling! Zieja has created the funniest robot in science fiction, next to Marvin. This book is like M.A.S.H. meets David Weber. Here’s a taste of Joe’s wit in the description:
Mankind in the Galactic Age had finally conquered war, so what was left for the military to do but drink and barbecue? That’s the kind of military that Sergeant R. Wilson Rogers lived in before he left the fleet to become a smuggler.
But when Roger returns to the fleet after only a year away, something has changed. These are soldiers — actual soldiers doing actual soldier-things like preparing for a war that Rogers is sure doesn’t exist. Rogers vows to put a stop to all this nonsense — even if it means doing actual work.
With an experienced ear for military double-speak, Zieja has created a remarkable and sarcastic adventure. In fact, I loved it so much I bought two sequels. —Joe Monti
The Forgetting Moon, by Brian Lee Durfee (July 5)
I saw an unpolished gem in this draft, and it honestly brought back many of the feelings I had when reading Tad Williams’s The Dragonbone Chair as a teenager. Heady praise, I know, but what Durfee is thematically doing here reminds me of what Williams did, so I stand by the comparison. Here’s what I mean:
A massive army, led by a religious tyrant, is on the brink of defeating their long-time rivals, in a world where prophecies are twisted into lies, magic is believed in but never seen, and hope is where you least expect to find it in a world on the edge.
Welcome to the Five Isles where you’ll encounter warrior princesses squashed by convention and manipulated by court intrigue; two brothers, both assassins, but one has fallen in love with his mark and now fights the other; and a veteran knight who is becoming disillusioned by the crusade he is at the vanguard of just as it embarks for final battle. And then Nail, the orphan boy hidden away at the edge of the last standing kingdom, who may be the link to its salvation.
I love this book because it uses tropes in the fantasy playbook, but everyone is not who they seem, nor do they fit the roles you expect. Durfee has created an epic fantasy full of hope in a world that is based on lies, and it will provide readers who love plot twists with a lot of joy. —Joe Monti
The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, edited by Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe (October 18)
This anthology is our love letter to fairy tales. My co-editor Dominik Parisien and I have always had a particular fondness for fairy tales, and for us, this project was a dream come true–not just because we got to work with authors that we admire, but because it was a chance to see so many beloved stories with fresh eyes.
We challenged our writers to explore their stories in unusual settings, and to come at their retellings from unexpected angles, and they delivered. The result is a seriously diverse anthology with everything from science fiction, western, post-apocalyptic, to traditional fantasy and contemporary horror. We also encouraged the retelling of lesser-known fairy tales alongside traditional ones, making for a really unique experience where the familiar and the unfamiliar co-exist.
From established authors like Garth Nix, Seanan McGuire, Naomi Novik, and Margo Lanagan to rising stars like Charlie Jane Anders, Sofia Samatar, and Genevieve Valentine, the book features some of the best and most exciting voices working in genre today.
And in addition to all the wonderful stories, the book itself is a thing of beauty. Published in a gorgeous paper over board format with incredible illustrations by Stella Björg, it’s going to be remarkable inside and out. —Navah Wolfe
Obviously we’re excited about all our Harper Voyager books in 2016 (the conclusion of Jay Allan’s Far Star series and Mitchell Hogan’s Sorcery Ascendant Sequence; new Beth Cato, Chuck Wendig, and Emmi Itäranta; and debut military SF from Elizabeth Bonesteel and fantasy from Rachel Dunne—just for example!) but here are our four Spotlight titles to look for next year! —David Pomerico, Executive Editor
The Everything Box, by Richard Kadrey (April 19)
A master thief with terrible luck, he is tasked with stealing (and re-stealing again and again) a box that may contain the Apocalypse. A departure from Sandman Slim into the territory of Christopher Moore and Tom Holt.
The God Wave, by Patrick Hemstreet (May 17)
A debut novel exploring the science behind telekinesis and the ends people will go to in order to possess such power. First in a trilogy in the tradition of Michael Crichton’s science thrillers.
The Queen of Blood, by Sarah Beth Durst (September)
The beginning of Durst’s first foray into adult fantasy, about the spirits that wish to destroy humanity and the young women tasked with fighting them. Uprooted meets The Warded Man.
The Rift, by Amy S. Foster (October)
When portals begin connecting our Earth with parallel worlds, teens are enhanced and trained to deal with the threat of whatever comes out of these rifts. First in a trilogy that blurs the line between YA and adult sci-fi.
Night Shade Books & Talos Press
The Edge of Worlds, by Martha Wells (April)
Fantasy writer Martha Wells is returning to the world of The Cloud Roads in the start of a brand new Three Worlds series. Wells has developed a devoted following for her acclaimed stories of the Raksura, shapeshifting creatures of flight who inhabit a complex world of danger, magic, and politics.
Almost Infamous, by Matt Carter (April)
Superheroes get the comeuppance they deserve in this hilariously tongue-in-check debut novel about a supervillain-in-training’s battle to reveal the façade behind our obsession with those who fight for good.
War Factory, by Neal Asher (May)
British space opera master Neal Asher returns with the second installment of his new Polity series Transformations, as a soldier brought back from the dead hunts the insane AI that killed him a hundred years earlier in a break-necked paced thriller stuffed with futuristic technology and deadly alien races.
The Raft, by Fred Strydom (May)
In the wake of a global event that wipes out humanity’s memory, one man must travel a futuristic post-apocalyptic world, through jungles, over oceans, and across destroyed cities, as he searches for the only thing he can remember from his past life: his son.
Just One Damned Thing After Another, by Jodi Taylor (June)
In the first book in British author Jodi Taylor’s hilariously wry self-publishing smash series The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, a team of disaster-magnet-cum-historians travel through time to history’s most indelible moments, and try not to muck things up too much once they get there. —Cory Allyn, Editor
Escapology, by Ren Warom (June 7)
Cath Trechman, Editor: I love to escape to dark new worlds and Escapology is pure science-fiction escapism. I fell instantly in love with the characters: Shock Pao, a hopeless, drug-addicted cyber-genius who can’t stay out of trouble; Amiga, a ‘cleaner’ (i.e. assassin) with serious commitment issues; Mimic, Shock’s ex, beautiful and ruthless. Escapology is set in the Gung, a Tokyo-esque urban jungle where as a Pass or a Fail you either live a life of privilege or a precarious existence ruled by the gang lords. When Mimic brings Shock a job which could help him escape his miserable existence, he accepts, little realising that this will turn out to be his most impossible, illegal and insane assignment yet. Escapology had me reading into the small hours and left me desperate for book two!
New Pompeii, by Daniel Godfrey (June 21)
Miranda Jewess, Editor: It’s a rare treat to find a new approach to the time travel novel. New Pompeii was once described by a colleague as “Jurassic Park meets Gladiator”: it’s thrilling but also clever, and several threads of narrative are gradually woven together, ramping up the tension. In a near future world an energy company called NovusPart has discovered the technology to transport people from the distant past to the present (one direction only!). For reasons that only gradually become clear—and may or may not explain why the CEO is paranoid, children are disappearing, and a woman thinks she’s a ghost—they transport the lost population of Pompeii out of the path of the erupting volcano, and put them in a replica city. We’re introduced to these real live Romans through the eyes of Nick Houghton, a historian, who soon realizes that NovusPart are seriously underestimating a people who once ruled an empire…
Duskfall, by Christopher B. Husberg (June 21)
Miranda Jewess, Editor: A man fished out of an ice sea with no memory but an innate killing ability; a tiellan (think elf) woman with untapped magical ability; a priestess who discovers her own sister is leading a heretical revolution; an ancient vampire trapped in the body of a tween called Astrid; and a pair of seriously committed body-swapping assassins. Duskfall is a wonderful new epic fantasy novel, the first in the Chaos Queen series. When I read this I was struck both by the world-building—magic has a real cost as it can only be activated by consuming addictive crystals that turn practitioners into magical junkies—and also how the author, Christopher B. Husberg, made me really care about each member of an ensemble of very different characters. They gradually come together over the course of the novel, which ends with a fantastic showdown, and leaves you desperate for book two.
The High Ground, by Melinda Snodgrass (July 5)
Miranda Jewess, Editor: The Emperor’s daughter Mercedes is the first woman ever admitted to the High Ground, the elite training academy of the Solar League’s Star Command, and she must graduate if she is to have any hope of taking the throne. Her classmate Tracy has more modest goals—he just wants to be a captain. And then there’s Boho, the rich golden boy who’s a dead ringer for Henry Cavill… This novel is the beginning of sweeping space opera series, in which we follow our protagonists through their careers, their tense love triangle, a looming civil war, honor, disgrace, and a seriously terrifying alien threat. Melinda Snodgrass is a force to be reckoned with in the genre—she was the story editor on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and has worked on shows such as Odyssey 5 and SeaQuest DSV as well as writing several acclaimed novels—and she doesn’t disappoint. This book is an absolute joy.
The Race, by Nina Allan (July 19)
Cath Trechman, Editor: As soon as I finished reading The Race I wanted to press it into the hands of everyone I know. Much like Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven, it’s science fiction that packs an emotional punch—subtle and layered but at the same time compelling and very readable. It is set partly in a future scarred by fracking and ecological collapse, and partly in modern times, and tells the story of four damaged people whose lives are inextricably linked—and a child’s kidnaping with consequences that reach across worlds. The Race has already been nominated for several awards and the Titan edition features a brand-new chapter, which I think completes the book even more effectively than before. I love this book, it still haunts my dreams.
Del Rey Books
Morning Star, by Pierce Brown (February)
In his short career, Pierce Brown has shown a unique ability to continually top his previous exploits. Readers around the world have fallen for his indomitable characters, twisty plotting, and visionary worldbuilding. Morning Star—a bloodydamn rocket of a novel—seeks to deliver on all counts. After years of sacrifice and the deaths of many loved ones, Darrow will finally open his rebellion against the Gold overlords. Resolve will be tested, both sides will lose champions, and the lines between ally and adversary will blur with a characteristic Pierce Brown flourish. Here is an author at the top of his game; here is a story that will echo across the worlds.
League of Dragons, by Naomi Novik (May)
The ninth and final installment in Naomi Novik’s landmark Temeraire series, which re-envisions an alternate Napoleonic War—with dragons! After his near-defeat in Russia, Napoleon and his shattered army are fleeing back to France to regroup. Lawrence and his loyal dragon Temeraire are keen to catch him, all too aware that—should the Emperor make it—the war could well stretch on for years. Especially since Napoleon has won the loyalty of dragons world-wide. But little do they know that the wily Emperor has one final trick up his sleeve that could change the course of the war—and the world—forever.
Age of Myth, by Michael J. Sullivan (June)
The story feels bigger than life: It begins with a humble blacksmith’s son slaying a god. But Michael J. Sullivan writes epic fantasy a little differently from his contemporaries. Because all is not what it seems—the gods may not be immortal after all, and the man now known as the Godkiller may not be exactly the hero the world needs. Despite the epic scope of this concept, and like Sullivan’s popular Riyria books, Age of Myth reconstructs the traditional epic fantasy on a more intimate, human scale, with grounded, relatable characters; a touch of humor; and twists on familiar tropes we think we know, but now feel like we’re seeing them again for the first time.
Sleeping Giants, by Sylvain Neuvel (April)
A girl goes out for a bike ride. The ground opens up beneath her, she falls through, and all goes black. She is saved, but the next day she is shown a photo that was taken from the surface: it is her, lying dozens of feet below the surface, in the giant palm of a metal hand.
This is how Sleeping Giants begins. The story picks up two decades later, and that young girl—Rose—is now a high-level physicist leading a team of people to figure out what that hand was and what it means. As they search for more evidence—or more pieces like the first—the US military gets involved, as does the White House; borders are crossed; and geopolitical tensions rise, setting off a dangerous game of science, politics and intrigue—or as the author describes it, “a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts.”
City of Mirrors, by Justin Cronin (May)
In The Passage and The Twelve, Justin Cronin brilliantly imagined the fall of civilization and humanity’s desperate fight to survive. Now, all is quiet on the horizon—but does silence promise the nightmare’s end or the second coming of unspeakable darkness? The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside of their walls, determined to build society anew—and daring to dream of a hopeful future. But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy—humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.
Alight, by Scott Sigler (April)
Hot on the heels of the much buzzed about Alive, Scott Sigler’s Alight centers on a band of young adults who have woken in a strange and terrifying place with no idea of who they are or how they got there.
Not sure they can trust one another, but utterly dependent on one another for companionship and survival, they must attack the physical and existential threats in their new home while contending with a grim realization: the revelation of their own identity is not an answer but another question–and one with nightmarish implications.
This Census-Taker, by China Miéville (January)
For readers of David Mitchell and Karen Russell, This Census-Taker is a stunning, uncanny, and profoundly moving novella from multiple-award-winning and bestselling author China Miéville. In a remote house on a hilltop, a lonely boy witnesses a profoundly traumatic event. He tries—and fails—to flee. Left alone with his increasingly deranged parent, he dreams of safety, of joining the other children in the town below, of escape. When at last a stranger knocks at his door, the boy senses that his days of isolation might be over. But by what authority does this man keep the meticulous records he carries? What is the purpose behind his questions? Is he friend? Enemy? Or something else altogether? Filled with beauty, terror, and strangeness, This Census-Taker is a poignant and riveting exploration of memory and identity.
With 2016 peeking its head around the corner, like a naughty child on Christmas Eve night, we wanted to share with you our most hotly anticipated books of 2016. Of course, if we could, we’d mention every last one of the amazing new reads Angry Robot has to offer over the next year, but our B&N pals insisted we keep it to five. Robot sad! —Marc Gascoigne, Publisher
Steal the Sky, by Megan E O’Keefe (January)
Beth Cato describes Megan E O’Keefe’s Steal the Sky as like “epic steampunk Firefly”, and if that doesn’t immediately make you want to rush out and snap up this debut fantasy novel, well, then there’s probably no hope for you. There’s a bit of everything in Steal the Sky: comedy, magical doppelgangers and the most brazen heist… of an airship. With delicious world-building and memorable characters, Steal the Sky is a perfect book to curl up with this January.
The Copper Promise, by Jen Williams (July)
Already fantasy bestsellers in the UK, Jen Williams’ Copper Cat series finally comes to US shores this summer. Looting a haunted citadel has to be a good idea, right? Well, maybe not, but for Wydrin of Crosshaven – otherwise known as the Copper Cat – and her impressively armed companions it is surely a quick way to make easy gold. Sadly, they didn’t anticipate the angry gods lying within or the havoc their actions would wreak upon the world. A modern take on sword and sorcery, this one’s like playing a satisfying D&D campaign with your sassiest wisecracking friends.
The Rise of Io, by Wesley Chu (Spring)
Wesley Chu is back, you guys! With a brand new series! That’s right, the John W Campbell Award-winning author of The Lives of Tao series and Time Salvager is due to release the first of a new science fiction trilogy in the fall 2016. Set in the same universe as the Tao thrillers, The Rise of Io follows Ella and the eponymous alien who lives inside her as they investigate a series of murders and double-dealings across the asteroid belt between Earth and Mars. For a near-immortal alien, though, Io really is something of a liability…
An Accident of Stars, by Foz Meadows (August)
Suitable for both adults and older teens, An Accident of Stars by acclaimed newcomer Foz Meadows is a portal fantasy that will leave fans of progressive epic fantasy begging for more. With an interesting cast of strong female leads and worldbuilding on a Kameron Hurley-esque scale, we just can’t wait to see how this series will develop. By the way, Hugo Award-winning Julie Dillon has just sent us the cover art… but if we showed it to you today, we’d probably have to kill you.
United States of Japan, by Peter Tieryas (March 1)
“A searing vision of the persistence of hope in the face of brutality, United States of Japan is utterly brilliant,” says the mighty Ken Liu, author of The Grace of Kings, and as you might imagine, we totally agree with him. When the spiritual sequel to Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle popped into our inbox earlier this year, we knew we had to have it. Peter Tieryas’ imagination is firing on all cylinders as he conjures up an America that lost WWII, and is now ruled by the Japanese. Not everyone is cowed by their giant mechas, however, and a message of rebellion is being circulated in a subversive videogame. Look closer, though, and you’ll realise there’s a lot more to this book than cool tech and fighting – there’s a deeper examination of how America and Japan deal with their guilt over WWII, and our ongoing troubled relationship with the past.
Solaris & Abaddon
Monstrous Little Voices, edited by David Thomas Moore (March)
Centuries before Tolkien imagined Middle Earth, Londoners trooped to the Globe to take in William Shakespeare’s timeless tales of fantasy: stories of fairies, magic, witches and potions, of wars won and lives irreparably altered by capricious Fate and uncertain Fortune. Four hundred years after the Bard’s death, Monstrous Little Voices summons some of his most beloved and feared heroes and heroines to tell five new stories set in his fantastical realms. Jonathan Barnes, Emma Newman, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Kate Heartfield and Foz Meadows expertly weave together tales of magic and mayhem that are at turns challenging, thrilling, and delightful.
The Wolf In The Attic, by Paul Kearney (May)
Oxford in the 1920s: home to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien… and Anna Francis, a young Greek refugee alone in a strange land with no company but her troubled father. Once upon a time she had a mother and a brother, and they all lived together in the most beautiful city in the world, by the shores of Homer’s wine-dark sea. But that is all gone now, and when Anna witnesses a brutal murder she is plunged into a world of ancient myth and unspeakable magic, a world that only a wild-eyed boy called Luca can guide her through… A beguiling and beautiful fantasy from the author of the Monarchies Of God series.
Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee (June)
Kel Cheris, a disgraced captain of the Hexarchate, is given the opportunity to redeem herself by recapturing the formidable Fortress of Scattered Needles from heretics. Cheris requests – and receives – a single devastating weapon to aid her in her task: the revived, near-immortal traitor, General Shuos Jedao. Feared throughout the stars and undefeated in battle, he is the perfect weapon. But Jedao is gripped by a madness that saw him massacre two armies in his first life – one of them his own. Preserved for his brilliance and tamed by his handlers, no one knows how long his good behaviour will last. Cheris must work with the mass murderer to destroy the heresy and save the Hexarchate – before he destroys her… An astonishing tale of madness, maths and massacres in deep space, Yoon Ha Lee’s bravura debut novel is the first installment of the Machineries Of Empire trilogy.
We have too many wonderful books in Orbit in 2016 to talk about all of them here, so the Orbit editors have decided to tell you why they fell in love with each of our debuts coming out in the first few months of the year. Enjoy! —Anne Clarke, Deputy Publisher
The Immortals, by Jordanna Max Brodsky (February)
I’m very excited about The Immortals, which we will be publishing in hardcover in February 2016. The Immortals is a contemporary fantasy that asks the question – what if the gods still walked the earth? And what if some of them lived in Manhattan? I absolutely loved the character of Selene DiSilva, who is angry, anti-social, and doesn’t really get along with her family. All things we can empathize with!
This is a story for anyone who read and loved Forever by Peter Hamill or American Gods by Neil Gaiman or grew up reading Percy Jackson. I just adored the depth of history that Jordanna pulls into this book, and reading about secrets of Manhattan: from an underground cave in Central Park to hidden subway stations. If you have a hankering for Greek Gods, myths, and Manhattan, or stories that have a vengeful goddess – then this is your book. —Devi Pillai, Editor
Hope and Red, by Jon Skovron (June)
Hope and Red is hands down one of the most exciting fantasy debuts I have read in years. Author Jon Skovron takes the usual fantasy tropes and makes them feel new and wonderfully fresh again. Reading Hope & Red for the first time reminded me of when I first fell in love with authors like Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson and Scott Lynch. The main characters – Hope & Red – are a trained warrior and a thief, who will do anything it takes to survive the corrupt underworld they were born into, even taking a risk and working together. You’re going to love spending time with them in this world, and when you’re done, you’ll be dying for the second book, Bane and Shadow. —Devi Pillai, Editor
Bite, by K. S. Merbeth (July)
When I first read Bite, I instantly fell in love with the voice of the narrator, Kid. A young girl in a Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic world, Kid deals with the challenge of survival much as I imagine that I would – pretty ineptly. She isn’t battle-hardened, she doesn’t know how to shoot a gun, and she does what most of us would do if tossed a hand grenade – panics and hurls it away unpulled. It’s this incredibly fresh and original voice that first grabbed me, and then I could not put Bite down because of the nonstop action. Kid and her raider crew of misfits are swept across a desolate, dangerous land – magnets for trouble, dodging bullets, and constantly fighting for their lives. Bite is truly the dystopian story I have been waiting for – gritty, realistic, darkly comedic and a total game-changer for the genre. It’s full of heart, packed with action, and reimagines familiar tropes in brilliant new ways. I promise, once you meet Kid and her crew, you won’t be able to put Bite down either. —Lindsey Hall, Editor
The Lazarus Way, Book One: Artefact, by Jamie Sawyer (February)
Thanks to Aliens I’ve spent enough of my childhood (fine, my adulthood, too) pretending to be a space marine that I immediately fell for the full-blooded action-adventure military science fiction of Jamie Sawyer’s Lazarus War series. Fast-paced action. Check. Badass soldiers. Check. Gruesome, relentless aliens. Check. On top of all that, the elite soldiers in question are part of a special branch that conducts the most dangerous combat missions via avatars that allow them to die and be born again to continue the fight. This is a series that you can’t stop once you start, and the good news is we’ve got the first three books all out in 2016. —Will Hinton, Editor
Snakewood, by Adrian Selby (March)
Simply put, Snakewood is the most vibrant and original fantasy debut I’ve read in a very, very long time. Right from the first few chapters, this is a world that you are living in. There is no magic; instead there are “fightbrews,” performance-enhancing drugs that are like steroids on… well, steroids. They give the warriors who use them superhuman abilities, and agonizing withdrawal and stained flesh to prove it. There are no clear lines between good and bad, and the villain is one whose bloody-minded revenge is easy to empathize with, even if sometimes his methods are not. Most remarkably of all, Selby weaves his tale together through a number of disparate voices, remembrances collected to tell the story of the autumn years of Kailen’s Twenty, gradually unmasking the seemingly unstoppable killer skilled enough to hunt them down one by one. I promise this is a fantasy novel like you’ve never seen, and will never forget. —Will Hinton, Editor
Dragon Lords: Fool’s Gold, by Jon Hollins (July)
Dragon Lords: Fool’s Gold breathes fresh air into fantasy and reminds you just how much fun the genre can be. The dragons are not as you’ve ever seen them, and there is wit and bite to the humor and lovable characters. The combination of the motley crew dynamic of Guardians of the Galaxy with the daring, and foolhardy, heist of the Hobbit makes for a story unlike any I’ve read.
Hollins takes us to a world where dragons rule, imposing strict laws and hoarding exorbitant taxes. Plotting against this oppression is a group of misfits that has banded together to reclaim as much of the taxed gold as they possibly can without being turned to a pile of ashes. It is pure fantasy fun. —Will Hinton, Editor
Arena, by Holly Jennings (April 2016)When I’m not reading, I love playing video games (and have logged 90+ hours on Dragon Age: Inquisition to prove it), and so I’m really excited about Arena, a science fiction novel set in the world of competitive gaming.
In 2054, the most popular form of entertainment is gladiatorial combat in virtual reality–pro gaming taken to the next level. The story revolves around Kali Ling, one of the first female captains of an elite team going into a tournament, and what she decides to do after she discovers the gaming league has been hiding secrets–like the fact that players can become addicted to virtual reality.
Arena is for fans of Ready Player One, and it’s cutting edge near future SF that explores topics very much in the zeitgeist right now: girl gamers, eSports, virtual reality, and celebrities. It’s fresh and unique, with a compelling story that is simply a blast to read! – Anne Sowards, Executive Editor
Admiral, by Sean Danker (May)
I like to think of Admiral as The Martian meets the movie Aliens. It’s a brilliant military science fiction thriller with a great sense of humor. When four people wake up from their sleeper pods to find their ship has crashed on an unknown planet with no sign of the crew, they must figure out how to get off of the planet before their oxygen runs out, or they turn on each other. The amazing chemistry between the characters and the constant danger meant that I couldn’t put this book down. –Rebecca Brewer, Assistant Editor
The Waking Fire, by Anthony Ryan (July)
Anthony Ryan started out in the self-publishing world with his incredibly popular Raven’s Shadow series, including Blood Song. The Waking Fire, which will be available in July, is the first book in a phenomenal new series—The Draconis Memoria. It takes place in a vibrant flintlock fantasy world, where the blood of dragons is the source of all arcane power. The story follows a master spy, an ex- thief, a sea captain, the search for a long forgotten breed of dragon, and the reawakening of an old feud between rival empires . Ryan’s incredible gift for storytelling is on full display here. —Jessica Wade, Senior Editor
Ninth City Burning, by J. Patrick Black (September)
I’m incredibly excited about this sweeping epic novel that takes place 500 years after an alien race attacked the earth, using a mysterious, destructive force. Almost all was lost, until we discovered that we could wield it too. Now the people of earth are locked in a grinding war, but when a new onslaught begins, heroes will rise from the unlikeliest quarters. This is a fabulous debut from a major new talent—with unforgettably strong characterization, an epic scope, and a seamless melding of science fiction and fantasy. —Jessica Wade, Senior Editor
The Invisible Library series, by Genevieve Cogman
First, making her American launch (as per your great cover reveal) is Genevieve Cogman with the very fun Invisible Library series. Dimension-hopping librarian spies, secret tomes and secret societies, hot dragon shapeshifters—what’s not to love?
The Independent just picked The Invisible Library as one of their best fantasy books of 2015, and everyone at Roc is super excited to publish these next year. Plus, The Invisible Library is June 2016, The Masked City is September ’16, and The Burning Page is December 2016, so readers can get all three within in six months. No need to practice willpower here! —Diana Gill, Executive Editor
The Burning Isle, by Will Panzo (October)
Then I have a wonderful debut author, Will Panzo, with The Burning Isle, a very dark revenge fantasy that’s a bit like if Zelazny had written The Count of Monte Cristo.. (Aka, could not stop reading!!) The jungle island of Scipio is ruled by a city-port controlled by two warring mob-bosses, only kept in check by the general who rules the fort deep in the jungle. But when an enigmatic—and very powerful—mage arrives, his agenda will reach far beyond Scipio into the Empire itself… The Burning Isle will pub in October 2016, and is perfect for fans of Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, and Mark Lawrence. —Diana Gill, Executive Editor
The Courier, by Gerald Brandt (March)
The Courier has it all: mega-corporations duking it out at the expense of ordinary citizens, a whip-smart nobody heroine who rises to the occasion, a fantastic romance with an underground resistance fighter, and non-stop action in a terrifying cyberpunk dystopia. Brandt’s thrilling debut is a twist on recent dystopian novels; it’s set in a near-future San Francisco that feels frighteningly imminent, where big business is the government, where everyone’s every move is under surveillance by powers unseen, and where the divide between haves and have-nots is taken to its logical extreme. For readers hungry for a slightly edgier brand of dystopia—fans of Ramez Naam, Wesley Chu, or James S. A. Corey—this is the book we’ve been waiting for. —Shelia Gilbert, Editor
The Summer Dragon, by Todd Lockwood (May)
When it comes to dragons, we think we’ve seen everything—but think again. Todd Lockwood, following an illustrious career as an award-winning fantasy artist, finally brings us his debut novel, a fresh take on dragon riders that remains respectful to all the best tropes of high fantasy that fans know and love. Lockwood’s heroine, Maia, is the daughter of dragon breeders who work for the political war machine—and while she would like nothing better than to train her very own dragon in peace, Maia is swept into the center of the political conflicts and conspiracies that threaten her home and their entire way of life. The Summer Dragon is a spellbinding story sure to appeal to readers who grew up with Anne McCaffrey or Naomi Novik, while also drawing fans of complex, political fantasy. —Betsy Wollheim, Publisher
Of Sand and Malice Made, by Bradley P. Beaulieu (September)
Çeda, the heroine of the widely anticipated, just-released novel Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, is the youngest pit fighter in the history of the great desert city of Sharakhai. In this prequel, she has already made her name in the arena as the fearsome, undefeated White Wolf; none but her closest friends and allies know her true identity. But this all changes when she crosses the path of Rümayesh, an ehrekh, a sadistic ancient creature forged by the god of chaos. Ehrekhs are usually desert dwellers, but this one lurks in the dark corners of Sharakhai, toying with and preying on humans. Rümayesh seeks to unmask the White Wolf and claim Çeda for her own, in a struggle that becomes a battle for Çeda’s very soul. This spellbinding tale is sure to strike a chord with readers of Peter V. Brett, Brent Weeks, and Trudi Canavan—as well as fans of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai who are eagerly awaiting book two. —Betsy Wollheim, Publisher
Winterwood, by Jacey Bedford (February)
Meet Ross Tremayne, a swashbuckling, crossdressing, female pirate captain, and Corwen, a clever and capable love interest whom Ross—and the meddlesome ghost of her late husband—don’t trust. Then, there’s the matter of the magical winterwood box she inherits from her estranged mother, a box that represents the accumulated sins of her ancestors. As she struggles to right an ancient wrong, she also has to worry about her crew and her country: 1800s Britain, where Mad King George is on the brink of war with Napoleon Bonaparte. Winterwood is a perfect blend of magic, historical fiction, and romance—it truly has something for every reader. —Shelia Gilbert, Editor
Heroine Complex, by Sarah Kuhn (July)
When it comes to fiction that captures the pulse of geek culture and superhero entertainment, look no further. Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to San Francisco’s most beloved superheroine, Aveda Jupiter—until one night, Evie is forced to pose as her boss, and her most destructive secret comes out: she has powers too. And it’s up to her to step up to the plate to save the city from demonic invasion… before it’s too late. This snarky, funny take on superheroes and the people who have to clean up after them has heart and wit in spades, and is sure to appeal to the inner geek in all of us. —Betsy Wollheim, Publisher
What books are you excited to read in 2016?