Mind Meld: Our Best of 2017 Authors Tell You What Books They Can’t Wait to Read This Year

This month, Mind Meld takes a bit of a departure from the usual format to look ahead to the next year of new sci-fi and fantasy books. We asked the authors included in our list of The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2017 to tell us what titles they have recently enjoyed or are most looking forward to reading in 2018. [Editor’s note: Unfortunately, not every author on our 2017 list was able to participate, often because they were busy writing followups to those amazing books!]

“I’m looking forward to Temper by Nicky Drayden. Drayden blew my socks off with The Prey of Gods. Her ability to blend genres, as well as her penchant for creating complex characters, had me hooked from the start, and I’m excited to see how she’ll employ similar techniques in a completely different story. Temper’s concept of vices, twins, and social stratification sounds fascinating, and I can’t wait to get sucked in.”

Marina J. Lostetter, Noumenon

“I recently read Solar Bones by Mike McCormack and loved it. It describes a day in the life of a civil engineer working for a county in northwest Ireland by way of dropping into the flow of his thoughts. After a few pages I felt like I was experiencing telepathy, an experience that only fiction can provide. This is one of those novels you don’t forget.”

Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140

“I’m going to recommend Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning. Between the pitch (an indigenous Mad Max: Fury Road!) and the awesomely atmospheric cover, this book was an automatic pre-order. But I also really loved Roanhorse’s award-winning short story in Apex last year and can’t wait to see what she does with her novel.”

S. A. Chakraborty, City of Brass

“I don’t know if this is appropriate, but one novel that I am looking forward to is Therese Anne Fowler’s A Well Behaved Woman, to be published by St. Martin’s Press in October. My most inadmissible reason is that Therese is my spouse. It’s historical novel about Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, a remarkable woman of the Gilded Age, and says a lot about that time of great wealth and great poverty, of racial prejudice, of women’s rights, all of it remarkably relevant to our own time.” [Editor’s note: Fowler’s novel is not yet available for preorder]

John Kessel, The Moon and the Other

“I’ve not yet read anything by Peter McLean, but as soon as I saw the description for his upcoming novel, Priest of Bones (Ace/Roc, October 2018), I started salivating. It’s been described as The Godfather with swords meets Peaky Blinders, about a crime boss who returns from the war to discover his businesses have been stolen from him. Does that sound up my alley, or does that sound up my alley?!”

Fonda Lee, Jade City

A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White. This book is a fast-paced hybrid of fantasy and sci-fi, featuring a diverse crew of exquisitely-written characters. It’s got spells, spaceships, badass villains, sorcery-powered racecars and—wait, why are you still reading this? Go and order this book!”

Nicholas Eames, Kings of the Wyld

“I am very much looking forward to reading The Poppy War by the young Chinese scholar, R. F. Kang (who is herself Chinese-American). The Poppy War draws on Chinese history and myth to tell the fantastical coming-of-age story of an unlikely heroine during the Opium Wars.”

Maggie Shen King, An Excess Male

“In January 2018 Orbit put onto the shelves of all good bookshops a novel that has been available only online since its self-published release five years ago. Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft is a remarkable work of fantasy fiction that despite its excellence languished in obscurity until chance exposed it to a large audience. Senlin Ascends is not only an excellent read, it is an object lesson in how even the best of books need a dash of good luck in order to be discovered. Read it!”

Mark Lawrence, Red Sister

“Yoon Ha Lee’s Revenant Gun, the third in his Machineries of Empire trilogy. The first two volumes combined thrilling worldbuilding with intriguing characters and a set of very original technological innovations, where the established calendar literally powered weapons. Lee has been going from strength to strength: I thought Raven Strategem expanded the already very strong Ninefox Gambit by showing us the world beyond the military and the political intrigues of the major factions, and can’t wait to see what happens next in this universe.”

Aliette de Bodard, The House of Binding Thorns

“Recently I’ve been enjoying novellas because they’re quick reads and often where some astounding work is being done. The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander is beautiful and sad yet ultimately triumphant in its defiance of cruelty and I can’t recommend it enough. Equally compelling is A Song for Quiet by Cassandra Khaw, a hardboiled tale of blues and bones and utterly delicious prose that’s a delight to read aloud, with bonus Elder Gods in the mix.”

Kevin Hearne, A Plague of Giants

“I have a soft spot for dark fairy tales, and this fall, multiple people—including my agent—recommended The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. From the beautiful black-and-gold cover to the premise of a fictional fairy tale world that might not be so fictional at all, I am intrigued and looking forward to reading.”

Katherine Arden, The Bear and the Nightingale

I Only Killed Him Once, by Adam Christopher. Christopher has a knack for diving deep into nostalgia and coming back up with something fresh and cutting edge, so the idea of retro sci-fi blended with Chandleresque noir penned by his deft hand sounds like everything I want from a summer read.

C. Robert Cargill, Sea of Rust

“I’m very much looking forward to Sam J. Miller’s Blackfish City. Set in the Arctic in the aftermath of catastrophic climate change it seeks not just to engage with the social and political implications of a world altered in profound ways, but to explore the way we ourselves might be transformed by the collision of environmental calamity and technology.”

James Bradley, Clade

What 2018 release is at the top of your TBR?

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