Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books of 2017 I’m Looking Forward To

Here’s a great topic for Top Ten Tuesday which I totally missed so I’m doing it now, on a Friday, because I’m rebellious like that. Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. 2016 has been such a busy year for great new releases, even better than 2015 And I am SO. VERY. BEHIND. on reading all of those new books. However, I already have a list of stuff I’m looking forward to next year. Here are my top ten:

Top Ten 2017 Releases I’m Looking Forward To

In order to spare you my incessant gushing about Cat Valente, I have split this list into sections. You can skip whichever one you want to avoid.

Part I: The Valentes

Catherynne M. Valente – The Lords of Glass Town

The Brontës as children, stepping into their made-up portal fantasy? Written by Cat Valente?! GIMME GIMME GIMME! The book doesn’t have a cover yet (I’m sure it will be epic) but here’s what little Goodreads says about the plot:

The Lords of Glass Town follows Charlotte, Emily, Branwell, and Anne Brontë as they discover a portal into Glass Town, a Narnia-like fantasy world of their own creation.

Catherynne M. Valente – Matryoshka

Unlike The Lords of Glass Town, I’m not sure this will actually be published in 2017. If it is, I’ll be the first to pounce on it and in this case, I’ll probably need the UK and US edition to go with my UK and US editions of Deathless.

The Deathless companion novel is a retelling of Ivan and the Firebird set during the children’s evacuation of Leningrad.

Catherynne M. Valente – The Spindle of Necessity

Valente said recently on Twitter that this third of her Prester John books would be Kickstarted next year. I still haven’t read the second book in the trilogy, but come on. Like I’m going to miss out on that. Plus, if it’s on Kickstarter, there may be some awesome extra swag to go with the book. Cat Valente is the one author I’ll gladly throw all my money at. No regrets.

Catherynne M. Valente – The Refrigerator Monologues

refrigerator-monologuesCat Valente has been busy writing, it appears, with four books coming out in a single year. This happens to be the perfect amount of Valente books per annum, if you ask me, and she could totally keep doing that forever and ever. AND this book is illustrated, so yay!

The lives of six female superheroes and the girlfriends of superheroes. A ferocious riff on women in superhero comics.
From the New York Times bestselling author Catherynne Valente comes a series of linked stories from the points of view of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes, and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated”: comic book women who are killed, raped, brainwashed, driven mad, disabled, or had their powers taken so that a male superhero’s storyline will progress.
In an entirely new and original superhero universe, Valente subversively explores these ideas and themes in the superhero genre, treating them with the same love, gravity, and humor as her fairy tales. After all, superheroes are our new fairy tales and these six women have their own stories to share.

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Part II: The Obvious Choices

Scott Lynch – The Thorn of Emberlain

thorn of emberlainNo idea if this will come out in 2017. It’s been pushed back several times and I’ll have to re-read The Republic of Thieves anyway. But despite my fading memories of a terrible reveal and new cliffhanger, I will look forward to this until it is finally in my hands.

With 50,000 copies sold of The Republic of Thieves and with praise from the likes of Joe Abercrombie and George RR Martin the saga of the Gentleman Bastard has become a favourite and key part of the fantasy landscape. And now Locke Lamora, thief, con-man, pirate, political deceiver must become a soldier.
A new chapter for Locke and Jean and finally the war that has been brewing in the Kingdom of the Marrows flares up and threatens to capture all in its flames.
And all the while Locke must try to deal with the disturbing rumours about his past revealed in The Republic of Thieves. Fighting a war when you don’t know the truth of right and wrong is one thing. Fighting a war when you don’t know the truth of yourself is quite another. Particularly when you’ve never been that good with a sword anyway…

Nnedi Okorafor – Binti: Home

binti-homeI adored Okorafor’s Tor.com novella, Binti, and I cannot wait for the sequel. Although Binti told a full story, the world is wide open for more and I am so glad Okorafor decided to share more of it with her readers. The cover is gorgeous again.

It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she left her family to pursue her dream.
And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.
But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.
After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?

Caitlín R. Kiernan – Agents of Dreamland

agents-of-dreamlandThe description actualyl doesn’t sound like my thing but it is a new Caitlín R. Kiernan novel and it’s sure to be weird and creepy and wonderful.

A government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman.
In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible—the Children of the Next Level—and offers them something to believe in and a chance for transcendence. The future is coming and they will help to usher it in.
A day after the events at the ranch house which disturbed the Signalman so deeply that he and his government sought out help from ‘other’ sources, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory abruptly loses contact with NASA’s interplanetary probe New Horizons. Something out beyond the orbit of Pluto has made contact.
And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.

Susan Dennard – Windwitch

windwitchHere’s an unexpected one. I didn’t think I’d come to like Truthwitch as much as I did. It had flaws, sure, but overall, the fun aspect was stronger and I find myself eagerly awaiting the sequel.

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In this follow-up to New York Times bestselling Truthwitch, a shadow man haunts the Nubrevnan streets, leaving corpses in his wake—and then raising those corpses from the dead. Windwitch continues the tale of Merik—cunning privateer, prince, and windwitch.

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Part IV: The Not-So-Obvious Choices

Katherine Arden – The Bear and the Nightingale

Ibear-and-the-nightingalef you read the synopsis, you’ll know why I want this. It has all my buzzwords right there. Fairy tales, Russian ones at that, a wild, willful girl – I need this!

A young woman’s family is threatened by forces both real and fantastical in this debut novel inspired by Russian fairy tales.
In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift – a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay.

S. Jae-Jones – Wintersong

wintersongThis is a Labyrinth retelling/sequel/spinoff!!! I was worried for a long time because this could go so very, very wrong. However, a handful of early reviews are up (by authors and trusted people) and they all sound quite positive. This appears to be less YA-tropey than expected so I’m all in.

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.
All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.
But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.
Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

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Part V: Non-Fiction

Jo Walton – An Informal History of the Hugos

informal-history-of-the-hugosI feel like I’ve read a dozen informal histories of the Hugos during the last three years and their accompanying Hugo disasters. But next year I’ll actually be attending WordCon for the first time, so more Hugo writing is welcome. Plus, I love Jo Walton’s non-fiction.

The Hugo Awards, named after pioneer science-fiction publisher Hugo Gernsback, and voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Society, have been given out since 1953. They are widely considered the most prestigious award in science fiction.
Between 2010 and 2013, Jo Walton wrote a series of posts for Tor.com, surveying the Hugo finalists and winners from the award’s inception up to the year 2000. Her contention was that each year’s full set of finalists generally tells a meaningful story about the state of science fiction at that time.
Walton’s cheerfully opinionated and vastly well-informed posts provoked valuable conversation among the field’s historians. Now these posts, lightly revised, have been gathered into this book, along with a small selection of the comments posted by SF luminaries such as Rich Horton, Gardner Dozois, and the late David G. Hartwell.
Engaged, passionate, and consistently entertaining, this is a book for the many who enjoyed Walton’s previous collection of writing from Tor.com, the Locus Award-winning What Makes This Book So Great.

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Between starting this post and finishing it, I have accumulated a whole new list of books to look forward to in 2017. I believe it’s going to be a good year for SFF.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half Of The Year

It’s another great topic from The Broke and the Bookish. Their weekly Top Ten Tuesday is something I’d love to participate in all the time but sometimes I find it difficult coming up with 10 books (or any) for their chosen topic. Not this week though. Oh no, I have plenty of books on my wishlist, most of which haven’t come out yet. So here they are, my

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2016

N. Kobelisk gate. Jemisin – The Obelisk Gate

OH MY GOD GIVE IT TO ME NOW!!! I read The Fifth Season pretty late, just in time to nominated it for a Hugo Award but long past most other book bloggers out there. But this book, man. It has blown me away. Everything about it is perfect. There are twists, there are the most amazing characters and the coolest, most original world-building I’ve encountered in a long, long time. Actually, I can’t think of anything quite as refreshing that didn’t also come from Jemisin’s brain. Give me the sequel already, I can’t wait to find out what happens next to these beloved characters.

Publication date: August 2016


Sarah Porter – Vassa in the Nightvassa in the night

An author I’ve never heard of before so not something I’d naturally freak out about. But a book description that starts with “In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn…” and then promises magic and Baba Yaga (Babs Yagg) is just begging to sit on my shelf. I love retellings and I love Russian fairy tales. So give me Vasilisa, give me Baba Yaga, and let’s not forget that beautiful cover which is partly responsible for my excitement.

Publication date: September 2016


Becky Chaclosed and common orbitmbers – A Closed and Commom Orbit

Another sequel, one to the amazing, make-you-warm-and-fuzzy-inside The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. It introduced the crew of the Wayfarer, a super cool space ship with even cooler people living on it. I’m pretty much okay with whatever Becky Chambers has in store for Lovey and Pepper, who I’ve come to love in the first book and who will be the protagonists in this new story. Chambers writes with heart and great care for her characters and I can’t wait to wrap this book around my brain like a cozy blanket on a cold day.

Publication date: October 2016


Scott Lynch – The Thorn of Emberlainthorn of emberlain

A new Locke Lamora!!!! It was a long wait between the second and third book in this amazeballs series and while The Republic of Thieves disappointed in the romance department, it was full of witty banter, clever cons, and a few twists that turned my world upside down. I desperately want to know more about the things uncovered in the last book and I always want more Locke Lamora.

Publication date: September 2016


last days of new parisChina Miéville – The Last Days of New Paris

A new China Miéville book is always reason for excitement. I’m really bad at catching up on his backlist because his books are just so damn big. But I have yet to read anything bad by Miéville so I’m going to get this book as soon as it’s out. I mean, Paris in 1941, Surrealist fighters, streets that are “stalked by living images and texts” – how could I resist? This sounds like dream and nightmare fuel alike and since it’s written by China Miéville I think I’m in for a treat again.

Publication date: August 2016


Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples – Saga Volume 6saga volume 6

Saga has been continuously excellent with the last collected volume one of the stand-out great ones. I pre-order these things as soon as they’re listed on Amazon and then forget about them until they show up surprisingly in the mail. But that doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to every new instalment in my favorite comic book series. What started as an interplanetary Romeo and Juliet has grown so much bigger, with a cast that I absolutely love, heroes and villains alike, and a world that offers so much more room for exploration. I also appreciate that the dream team Vaughan and Staples have stuck together to work on this. Let’s never stop, okay?

Publication date: July 2016 (so soon, yay!)


accident of starsFoz Meadows – An Accident of Stars

I have loved Foz Meadows’ non-fiction writing for a while so, naturally, I’m curious to see her fiction. With a cover like that – what are these people riding and where can I get one for myself? – and a portal fantasy description, I am giddy with excitement. Add to that four women protagonists, and I don’t even mind the otherwise fairly standard-sounding plot of world-saving. For some reason, I don’t think Meadows will go the tropey route of girl saves world so I want to book just to find out how she’ll subvert the tropes and stereotypes of the genre.

Publication date: August 2016


Angela Slatter – A Feast of Sorrowsfeast of sorrows

A new thing by Angela Slatter!!! *heavy breathing* If you missed it, Angela Slatter is my newest author crush. I shall devour all that she writes forever and ever. This is a collection of short fiction, so there will probably be some tales I’ve read already. But it also includes two brand-new novellas so I cannot miss it. Plus, Slatter got another great cover that immediately makes you think Snow White… a very dark version of Snow White. Which is just how I like it.

Publication date: October 2016


nevernight1Jay Kristoff – Nevernight

I’m on the fence. I had mixed feelings about Jay Kristoff’s debut novel, but I’ve been super excited about the acclaimed Illuminae (which he co-wrote with Amie Kauffman). Now this new book sounds amazing and has a wonderful cover to boot. There are so many buzzwords in the description: a “city built from the bones of a dead god“, “a land where three suns almost never set“, assassin schools, a protagonist who has to beat her opponents in “contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts“… aaaargh okay I give up, I want this book!

Publication date: August 2016


sex criminals volume threeMatt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky – Sex Criminals Volume 3

Another comic book series that I just pre-order without even reading the description anymore. The first volume was just wonderful in its depiction of a relationship between two extraordinary humans who thought they were all alone in the world. And then Matt Fraction started really playing around in this world he’s created. There are many more secrets to discover, the characters still have a lot of growth in them and there is always room for more humor (glowing genitalia aside).

Publication date: June 2016 (next week!)


So these are my most anticipated releases for the second half of 2016, although I’m sure there are more to come. What books are you looking forward to?

SFF Books Coming In 2016 That I Can’t Wait To Read

2015 is not quite over yet and, believe me, I’m holding on to every bit of it as much as I still can. Challenges unfinished, books not yet read, potential Hugo candidates still waiting to be discovered… but while I do this traditional end-of-the-year dance of reading-related-stress (the good kind), I am also looking forward to next year and all the shiny things coming our way. Take a look at these and then tell me you can stay away from the preorder-button of your choice!

More Tor.com novellas

I planned to read all of this year’s novellas (that didn’t work) but the ones I did were wonderful. Tor.com’s lineup for next year looks just as stunning, with my most awaited books being:

  • Mary Robinette Kowal – Forest of Memory
  • Frederic S. Durbin – A Green and Ancient Light
  • Emily Foster – The Drowning Eyes

I swear I didn’t pick these only because of their covers, although they are all stunning. That’s just an added bonus.

The last Fairyland book by Catherynne M. Valente

fairyland 5OHMYGODFAIRYLANDWILLEND WHATWILLIDOWITHMYLIFE… ahem. I am emotional about this. Valente’s Fairyland series is what made me start this blog, it is what brought a wonderful author to my attention and it has broken me emotionally almost every year since the book series began. But in a good way. Now it’s time to end the series and I know endings are good and important. But you know… saying goodbye to September, Saturday, Ell, Blunderbuss, and all the other wonderful characters will be hard.

Anglea Slatter’s first novel Vigil

As I went from reasonable to gushing in only two books, it comes as no surprise that anything by Angela Slatter is cause for major squees in my house. But a full novel, as opposed to the amazing short story collections and novella I’ve read, is something else. GIVE ME THIS NAO!!

Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven King

raven kingOHMYGODANOTHERSERIESISENDING!!! With my brand new book cases, the ever awesome boyfriend also got me a set of hardback copies of the entire Raven Cycle, this upcoming one included (well, pre-ordered). But again, this isn’t on my list because of its utterly stunning cover, but because I fell hard for these books that I expected to dislike. Maggie Stiefvater came up during a time when “this type” of fantasy romance (her Shiver trilogy) was everything you could see and I was sick and tired of it. But I gave her books a chance and am now a convert who gets all giggly and big-eyed when Blue or Gansey or Ronan (oh my god, Ronan!) are mentioned. Gimme, gimme, gimme!

These are the very specific authors and books I look forward to, but there is a whole list of random stuff I want to read as well, based on random things. Sometimes, I admit it’s the cover, sometimtes the blurb, other times I have no idea what the book is about but someone I trust recommended it, and so on. Here they be, some of the books I want next year:

 

Most Anticipated Books of 2015

Far more fun than looking back at the year is looking forward to ALL THE BOOKS that are yet to come. 2015 promises to be a fantastic year for reading, because… because TWO CAT VALENTE NOVELS! Yay!

this puts sparkles in my eyes

I’m still mulling over my top books of 2014, so in the meantime, here are my most anticipated books of 2015 (all of which I have pre-ordered because I’m greedy and can’t wait and must have them ASAP):

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Catherynne M. Valente – The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (March 3rd 2015)

boy who lost fairylandOMG OMG  OMG! It’s coming. And it’s not titled “The Girl Who…” I have been in emotional turmoil ever since the title was revealed. Scratch that. Ever since the end of The Girl who Soared Above Fairyland. Expect gushing and fangirling and general emotional-ness from me once this is out.

When a young troll named Hawthorn is stolen from Fairyland by the Golden Wind, he becomes a changeling – a human boy — in the strange city of Chicago, a place no less bizarre and magical than Fairyland when seen through trollish eyes. Left with a human family, Hawthorn struggles with his troll nature and his changeling fate. But when he turns twelve, he stumbles upon a way back home, to a Fairyland much changed from the one he remembers. Hawthorn finds himself at the center of a changeling revolution–until he comes face to face with a beautiful young Scientiste with very big, very red assistant.

Time magazine has praised Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland books as “one of the most extraordinary works of fantasy, for adults or children, published so far this century.” In this fourth installment of her saga, Valente ‘s wisdom and wit will charm readers of all ages.

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Catherynne M. Valente – Radiance (August 18th 2015)

radiance“The Radiant Cars Thy Sparrows Drew” was a strange little short story that I loved to bits. Cat Valente may be famous for her fantasies, for weaving myth and monsters, beautiful prose and diverse characters – but don’t forget that she writes excellent short fiction and SF. I can’t wait for the novel that came out of the short story.

The first adult novel in more than three years from the bestselling author of the Fairyland books
Radiance is a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood—and solar system—very different from our own, from the phenomenal talent behind the New York Times bestselling The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.
But her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Though her crew limps home to earth and her story is preserved by the colony’s last survivor, Severin will never return.

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Alethea Kontis – Dearest (February 3rd 2015)

dearestYou know I love the Woodcutter sisters. Both Enchanted and Hero were two of my favorite reads of the year. They are playful and clever and so very, very charming. Not without fault, they are heartwarming like cuddling into a blanket after coming home from a snow storm. The third volume retells the fairy tales “The Goose Girl” and “The Wild Swans” – and the way I know Princess Alethea, a handful of others just thrown in for good measure.

In her third book about the delightful Woodcutter sisters, Alethea Kontis masterfully weaves “The Wild Swans,” “The Goose Girl,” and a few other fine-feathered fairy tales into a magical, romantic companion novel to Enchanted and Hero.
Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and loving seamstress. When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sunday’s palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows he’s her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Friday’s unique magic somehow break the spell?

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N.K. Jemisin – The Fifth Season (August 4th 2015)

fifth seasonI adored The Inheritance Trilogy for its breath of fresh air that the genre needed desperately, but also for Jemisin’s style, her characters and – who’d have thought – the romance. The Killing Moon wasn’t quite my cup of tea but I just bought the Inheritance novella (The Awakened Kingdom) which may be my last book of the year. Needlessly said, I am giddy with excitement over this new series from one of the best writers out there.

This is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze—the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years—collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

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Genevive Valentine – Persona (March 10th 2015)

personaLook, I’ll read anything by Genevieve Valentine, okay? It’s been two years and I still get all the feels when I think about Mechanique. Valentine has her very own particular style (lots of parentheses) that I happen to love. Plus, this book is extra exciting as it’s published by shiny, new Saga Press.

An acerbic thriller from a Nebula award finalist, set against the backdrop of a near-future world of celebrity ambassadors and assassins who manipulate the media to the point where the only truth seekers left are the paparazzi.
When Suyana, Face of the United Amazonia Rainforest Confederation, secretly meets Ethan of the United States for a date that can solidify a relationship for the struggling UARC, the last thing she expects is an assassination attempt. Daniel, a teen runaway-turned-paparazzi out for his big break, witnesses the first shot hit Suyana, and before he can think about it, he jumps into the fray, telling himself it’s not altruism, it’s the scoop. Just like that, Suyana and Daniel are now in the game of Faces. And if they lose, they’ll die.

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Elizabeth Bear – Karen Memory (February 3rd 2015)

karen memoryIt took one look at the cover and I was hooked. Then I read the synopsis and it was a sure thing I would need this book. I’m still reading the Eternal Sky trilogy by Bear but, judging from its quality, I expect I will love this new book as well.

“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I’m one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It’s French, so Beatrice tells me.”
Hugo-Award winning author Elizabeth Bear offers something new in Karen Memory, an absolutely entrancing steampunk novel set in Seattle in the late 19th century—an era when the town was called Rapid City, when the parts we now call Seattle Underground were the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes bringing would-be miners heading up to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront. Karen is a “soiled dove,” a young woman on her own who is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts into her world one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, seeking sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.
Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper-type story of the old west with the light touch of Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science.

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These are the books that make me hop on one leg for excitement. But there are plenty of others that I look forward to. Nnedi Okorafor’s Book of Phoenix sounds interesting, Terry Pratchett announced the fifth Tiffany Aching novel, The Shepherd’s Crown [insert wild squeeing here], although I don’t know whether it will come out in 2015. Maria Dahvana Headley’s Magonia intrigued me with its description, I missed the kickstarter for Megan Lavey-Heaton’s anthology Valor but I am so going to get a copy, somehow. Also, if Scott Lynch’s Thorn of Emberlain comes out, I’ll be eating it up. I’m curious about Grace of Kings by Ken Liu although I still haven’t read any of his short fiction.

It looks to become a thrilling year full of potentially brilliant books. I can’t wait to see what else 2015 brings but I’m sure there will be a few surprises and, hopefully, new authors to discover, and new fantastic worlds to explore.

 

 

FTF Radar – Upcoming Fairy Tale Retellings

Getting excited about upcoming books is a thing of beauty, if you ask me. Staring at the cover and wondering what the author has in store for you is one part of the pleasure. The other is finally getting your copy in the mail and moving to the couch with a blanket and the book with an invisible “do not disturb” sign over your head. For the fairy tale fans out there, here are a few books coming out this year or early next year that we can all look forward to together.

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R.C. Lewis – Stitching Snow

14th October 2014

stitching snowI am so excited because I have a review copy of this on my Kobo and I can’t wait to get started. The plot sounds a lot like someone was trying to hop on Marissa Meyer’s bandwagon, what with sci-fi mixed with fairy tales, but I’ll give this a fair shot. If you’d asked me a while ago, I would have said my favorite fairy tale was The Snow Queen, but I seem to be reading a lot more Snow White retellings than any others. So maybe my subconscious is telling me something here…

Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

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Claire Legrand – Winterspell

30th September 2014

winterspellIT’S THE NUTCRACKER! Now there’s a story that I never particularly liked in book-form. But, oh, how I loved the animated movie set to Tchaikovsky’s music. I watched it over and over and over, to the point that my old tape is broken and nearly unwatchable. Seeing how I don’t love the original by Hoffman, I have very high hopes for any retelling. And with this cover, I’m already half sold.

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

divider1Alethea Kontis – Dearest

3rd February 2015

dearest*squee* Alethea Kontis has stolen my heart with the Woodcutter family. Friday, the quite, caring, loving sister is a perfect fit for retelling The Wild Swans and The Goose Girl (The Wild Geese?). I shouldn’t have gobbled up the first two books so quickly because now I have to wait soooo long.

In her third book about the delightful Woodcutter sisters, Alethea Kontis masterfully weaves “The Wild Swans,” “The Goose Girl,” and a few other fine-feathered fairy tales into a magical, romantic companion novel to Enchanted and Hero.

Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and loving seamstress. When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sunday’s palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows he’s her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Friday’s unique magic somehow break the spell?

divider1Stacey Jay – Princess of Thorns

princess of thorns9th December 2014

This blurb contains some deal breakers (using Game of Thrones’ fame as bait, romantic adventure, warrior princess, ugh) but it also caught my attention with certain buzz words (girls dressing up as boys, sisters saving their brothers, hell yes!) so I’m approaching this neutrally and hoping for a great novel.

Game of Thrones meets the Grimm’s fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

It seems that fairy tales are alive and kicking because there are a ton more retellings coming out next year. I thought I’d keep the list short and only add books that come out in the near-ish future. Expect another post like this around the end of the year – 2015 looks to be an excellent year for the fairy tale retelling.

 

 

Do Want! – Upcoming Books on my Radar

The Booksmugglers strike again. I don’t know what it is about Ana and Thea, but whenever they get really enthusiastic about a book, I find it enormously contagious. Even when they squee about books that normally wouldn’t catch my eye. It is largely due to these two and their consistent love for certain books on Twitter that I needed to create another wishlist.

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Ann Leckie – Ancillary Justice

This is the culprit. If you follow The Booksmugglers on Twitter, tumblr, or their blog, you can’t have missed their excitement about this novel. And the rest of the interwebs pretty much agrees. Justin Landon wrote a glowing review about it. So yes… I need this. Because REASONS!

ancillary justiceOn a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.
Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren–a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.
An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose–to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.

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Bill Campbell (ed.) – Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond

I already have an ebook copy of this because I supported the IndieGoGo campaign, but what with my busy schedule, I haven’t even read the first story yet. From the moment I saw the cover I knew I wanted this book. And the line-up is pretty impressive as well. Lauren Beukes, Tobias Buckell, Junot Diaz, and N.K. Jemisin are just a few of them.

mothershipMothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond sets a bold new course for anthologies by showcasing the work from some of the most talented writers inside and outside speculative fiction. The authors in this anthology have earned such literary honors as the Pulitzer Prize, the American Book Award, the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Bram Stoker, among others. They have garnered numerous accolades and have sold millions of books around the world. Many of their names are likely to be new to you; Mothership is your invitation to get acquainted with them and their writing.

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Ytasha L. Womack (ed.) – Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture

Talking about Afrofuturism (and gorgeous covers!), I also discovered this book here (while googling Mothership) and had to put it on my wishlist.

afrofuturism coverIn this hip, accessible primer to the music, literature, and art of Afrofuturism, author Ytasha Womack introduces readers to the burgeoning community of artists creating Afrofuturist works, the innovators from the past, and the wide range of subjects they explore. From the sci-fi literature of Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, and N. K. Jemisin to the musical cosmos of Sun Ra, George Clinton, and the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, to the visual and multimedia artists inspired by African Dogon myths and Egyptian deities, the book’s topics range from the “alien” experience of blacks in America to the “wake up” cry that peppers sci-fi literature, sermons, and activism. With a twofold aim to entertain and enlighten, Afrofuturists strive to break down racial, ethnic, and social limitations to empower and free individuals to be themselves.

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Jeff Vandermeer – Wonderbook

Another one I pre-ordered (and it arrived early, it should only be published today) but haven’t had time to read yet. Flipping through the pages, it looks absolutely stunning. Almost every pages is full of illustrations (full color) and things that make it hard to take your eyes off it. I admit I bought this mostly because it has pieces by Cat Valente and Lauren Beukes in it, but I’ll probably end up reading it front to back.

wonderbookThis all-new definitive guide to writing imaginative fiction takes a completely novel approach and fully exploits the visual nature of fantasy through original drawings, maps, renderings, and exercises to create a spectacularly beautiful and inspiring object. Employing an accessible, example-rich approach, Wonderbook energizes and motivates while also providing practical, nuts-and-bolts information needed to improve as a writer. Aimed at aspiring and intermediate-level writers, Wonderbook includes helpful sidebars and essays from some of the biggest names in fantasy today, such as George R. R. Martin, Lev Grossman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, Catherynne M. Valente, and Karen Joy Fowler, to name a few.

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Catherynne M. Valente – The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

I am crazy and pre-ordered this in June. It all depends on quick delivery from the book seller and the people at my post office how fast I can hold it in my greedy, little hands. It has been way too long since my last excursion to Fairyland, I miss Ell and Saturday, and I want to know what September is up to.
(Dear gods of bookish things! Please make this one arrive just before the weekend so I can curl up in bed with it and won’t have to speak to or interact with anyone until I’m finished. Thank you!)fairyland 3

September misses Fairyland and her friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. She longs to leave the routines of home and embark on a new adventure. Little does she know that this time, she will be spirited away to the moon, reunited with her friends, and find herself faced with saving Fairyland from a moon-Yeti with great and mysterious powers.

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Gail Carriger – Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2)

After the gradually more repetitive and boring Parasol Protectorate, I felt that Gail Carriger’s new YA series was exactly the kind of fresh breath I needed. The first book wasn’t perfect and it riffed off the first series in a lot of ways. But overall, it was enjoyable and fun and made me want more.

curtsies and conspiraciesDoes one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?
Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won’t Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.
Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.
In this sequel to bestselling author Gail Carriger’s YA debut Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail’s distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.

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Do Want! – Upcoming Books on my Radar

Here we are again. After I’ve been almost completely gone from the internet for half a month – due to obsessive watching of Battlestar Galactica and a week of well-deserved holidays – I have almost caught up. Which means it’s time for another upcoming books feature. Here are a few books that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

Sarah Zettel – Golden Girl

The first part of Zettel’s American Fairy Trilogy is still on my TBR pile but will you look at that cover? We are all reasonable people, we don’t love books because their wrapping is pretty but nobody can deny that covers still have importance and can decide whether a book is bought and read or overlooked. I bought Dust Girl because the premise sounded fantastic and I’m always on the lookout for new (to me) female SFF writers. Now that I see how gorgeous the second part looks, I plan on reading Dust Girl this summer!

golden girlCallie LeRoux has put her grimy, harrowing trip from the depths of the Dust Bowl behind her. Her life is a different kind of exciting now: she works at a major motion picture studio among powerful studio executives and stylish stars. Still nothing can distract her from her true goal. With help from her friend Jack and guidance from the great singer Paul Robeson, she will find her missing mother. But as a child of prophecy and daughter of the legitimate heir to the Unseelie throne, Callie poses a huge threat to the warring fae factions who’ve attached themselves to the most powerful people in Hollywood . . . and they are all too aware that she’s within their reach.

dividerTerry Pratchett and Steve Baxter – The Long War

Given my lukewarm feelings about The Long Earth, I am a little surprised myself about how excited I am for part two. Even though I thought the first volume had problems and didn’t live up to the hype, somehow I look foward to returning to Lobsang and discover what’s become of the Long Earth and its pioneers.

long warA generation after the events of The Long Earth, humankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by “stepping.” A new “America”—Valhalla—is emerging more than a million steps from Datum—our Earth. Thanks to a bountiful environment, the Valhallan society mirrors the core values and behaviors of colonial America. And Valhalla is growing restless under the controlling long arm of the Datum government.
Soon Joshua, now a married man, is summoned by Lobsang to deal with a building crisis that threatens to plunge the Long Earth into a war unlike any humankind has waged before.

dividerBrian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples – Saga Volume 2

Sure, I’ve already read this because I was lucky enough to get an e-ARC via NetGalley. But nothing is going to keep me from getting the paper version and slowly collecting the entire series on my shelf. Even though I have not much desire to actually touch the page with that giant’s scrotum hanging above Marko’s face…

saga volume 2The smash-hit ongoing epic continues! Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and alien monstrosities, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters something truly frightening: her grandparents!

Collects Saga issues #7-12

dividerJo Walton – What Makes This Book So Great

I still hate Among Others for its failed attempt at magic and its boring plot but whenever I read a great review on Tor.com it turns out Jo Walton wrote it. So let’s be grown up about it and admit that I didn’t like one thing she wrote but I adore other stuff. Apart from wanting to read one of her older novels, I will definitely buy this collection of reviews and book discussions.

what makes this book so greatThis is a collection of some of the best of Jo’s posts on Tor.com. Selected from the first three years, What Makes This Book So Great, forthcoming in January 2014, is the result.

Read the announcement post on Tor.com for a taste of the reviews that will be collected in this volume. It promises the entire Vorkosigan Saga, thoughts on George Orwell, book discussions on Susanna Clarke, Connie Willis, Ursula K. Le Guin, Robert Heinlein, Jerry Pournelle and (I hope) many more.

dividerAnd just to make this post complete, here are the two Cat Valente books I have pre-ordered. The level of my excitedness should be fairly obvious from anything I’ve ever said about Catherynne M. Valente’s books, here on this blog. I also just realized that, once these two books arrive in the mail, I will own “Silently and Very Fast” in three separate books…

Catherynne M. Valente – The Melancholy of Mechagirl

melancholy of mechagirl

I have no idea what to expect from this collection, other than the sheer perfection that is anything Cat Valente writes. Stories about Japan sound appealing because I hardly ever read anything set in or about Japan. Plus, the cover art ist beautifully weird.

Science fiction and fantasy stories about Japan by the multiple-award winning author and New York Times best seller Catherynne M. Valente.

A collection of some of Catherynne Valente’s most admired stories, including the Hugo Award-nominated novella Silently and Very Fast and the Locus Award finalist “13 Ways of Looking at Space/Time,” with a brand-new long story to anchor the collection.

Catherynne M. Valente – The Bread We Eat in Dreams

bread we eat in dreams

Ever since the magnificently pleasant surprise of the signed (!) Six-Gun Snow White – a gorgeous book, inside and out – I am putting all my trust in Subterranean Press. According to their website, this will not be signed but it’s fully clothbound and full of awesome. All I have to do now is wait until December…

Subterranean Press proudly presents a major new collection by one of the brightest stars in the literary firmament. Catherynne M. Valente, the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and other acclaimed novels, now brings readers a treasure trove of stories and poems in The Bread We Eat in Dreams.
In the Locus Award-winning novelette “White Lines on a Green Field,” an old story plays out against a high school backdrop as Coyote is quarterback and king for a season. A girl named Mallow embarks on an adventure of memorable and magical politicks in “The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland—For a Little While.” The award-winning, tour de force novella “Silently and Very Fast” is an ancient epic set in a far-flung future, the intimate autobiography of an evolving A.I. And in the title story, the history of a New England town and that of an outcast demon are irrevocably linked.The thirty-five pieces collected here explore an extraordinary breadth of styles and genres, as Valente presents readers with something fresh and evocative on every page. From noir to Native American myth, from folklore to the final frontier, each tale showcases Valente’s eloquence and originality.

The 2013 Hugo Award Nominees…

have been announced. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with the Hugos and for me, they have hugo awardsgotten worse and worse in the last years. But it’s decided by popular vote and that’s that. I don’t have a membership, so I didn’t nominate nor will I be able to vote but I’ve told my boyfriend that he can get me a supporting membership for next year, so I can add my vote to an award I follow, while I may not always approve.

Here’s the list (minus a few categories that I personally never know what to do with – best editor, best fan artist, etc.). Let’s talk about this below each category.

BEST NOVEL

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
Blackout by Mira Grant (Orbit)
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (Tor)
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (DAW)

What do I think?
You know I have to start with Redshirts, right? I know Scalzi is wildly popular and I can see the appeal in his Old Man’s War books. But Redshirst was such a lazily written book (Scalzi admits that on io9) with so many flaws that its good idea just didn’t merit a good rating from me, let alone an award nomination. Then again, the internet has prepared me for seeing this on the ballot.
A positive surprise is the latest instalment in Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga. While I still haven’t read any of those books, it’s heartening to see that volume 13 (or what is it?) of a series can still excite enough people to get nominated. Makes me want to read the series even more.
I doubt I’ll manage to read 2312 before the awards are nominated (Hugo or Nebula), and I’d have to start the Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire) series at the beginning. But again, I’m happy to see two women on the ballot.
Throne of the Crescent Moon was a fun read that made me want to read Ahmed’s next book, but it wasn’t good enough to get an award. I’m missing Caitlín R. Kiernan on this ballot because even though it has only sublte sff elements, it was one of those books that just defy categorisation and blow minds.

BEST NOVELLA

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)
On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats by Mira Grant (Orbit)
The Stars Do Not Lie (PDF) by Jay Lake (Asimov’s, Oct-Nov 2012)

What do I think?
Shame on me, I read only one of these. But I heard great things about Aliette de Bodard’s novella from Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings. And I am coming across Nancy Kress’ story all the time on the internet. It seems to garner endless amounts of praise. As for the one novella I have read: Brandon Sanderson is one of those authors that I can get behind. I’m still only partway through the Mistborn trilogy, but he is so fresh and original that – please, give him a Hugo already. Depending on the other novellas listed here, maybe not this particular Hugo (although I very much liked The Emperor’s Soul), but… come on. He deserves one.

BEST NOVELETTE

The Boy Who Cast No Shadow by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Postscripts: Unfit For Eden, PS Publications)
Fade To White by Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
“The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi” by Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity, Solaris)
In Sea-Salt Tears (PDF) by Seanan McGuire (Self-published)
“Rat-Catcher” by Seanan McGuire (A Fantasy Medley 2, Subterranean)

What do I think?
I have started listening to “Fade to White” but then work got in the way. I will finish that one and, seeing as she’s on the ballot twice, read at least one of Seanan McGuire’s novelettes. Cat Valente would be my blind choice, just because she is SO GOOD, but I’ll get back to you once I can make an informed decision.

BEST SHORT STORY

Immersion by Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld, June 2012)
Mantis Wives by Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
Mono no Aware by Ken Liu (The Future is Japanese, VIZ Media LLC)

Note: category has 3 nominees due to a 5% requirement under Section 3.8.5 of the WSFS constitution.

BEST RELATED WORK

The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature Edited by Edward James & Farah Mendlesohn (Cambridge UP)
Chicks Dig Comics: A Celebration of Comic Books by the Women Who Love Them Edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Sigrid Ellis (Mad Norwegian Press)
Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who Edited by Deborah Stanish & L.M. Myles (Mad Norwegian Press)
I Have an Idea for a Book… The Bibliography of Martin H. Greenberg Compiled by Martin H. Greenberg, edited by John Helfers (The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box)
Writing Excuses Season Seven by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler and Jordan Sanderson

What do I think?
There’s Brandon Sanderson again. I have been listening to Writing Excuses for a good while now and would definitely throw a Hugo their way. Then again, the Chicks dig… books have been on my radar for a while. Must check out. Soon.

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL

Grandville Bête Noire written and illustrated by Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse Comics, Jonathan Cape)
Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
Saga, Volume One written by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics) (my review)
Schlock Mercenary: Random Access Memorabilia by Howard Tayler, colors by Travis Walton (Hypernode Media)
Saucer Country, Volume 1: Run written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Ryan Kelly, Jimmy Broxton and Goran Sudžuka (Vertigo)

What do I think?
I just orderer Saga Volume One and hope it will arrive early next week. That’s a graphic novel on which I haven’t found a single negative review so far.
Sadly, I must admit, I haven’t even haerd of any of the others. Joe Hill writes comics? Awesome, I’ll put book 1 in that series on my to-buy list. And I do like Paul Cornell (if mostly for his recommendations on the SF Squeecast).
EDIT (April 3rd): I have bought and read Saga Volume 1 and, at the moment, can not think of many other comic books that made me this happy. It combines so many awesome things I love about genre and stories in general and I am utterly in love.

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (Long Form)

The Avengers Screenplay & Directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios, Disney, Paramount)
The Cabin in the Woods Screenplay by Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon; Directed by Drew Goddard (Mutant Enemy, Lionsgate)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro, Directed by Peter Jackson (WingNut Films, New Line Cinema, MGM, Warner Bros)
The Hunger Games Screenplay by Gary Ross & Suzanne Collins, Directed by Gary Ross (Lionsgate, Color Force)
Looper Screenplay and Directed by Rian Johnson (FilmDistrict, EndGame Entertainment)

What do I think?
Alright, let’s go through this list. I have seen all of these and The Avengers is the one my boyfriend and I watched more than once. It is so much fun, Joss Whedon is the king of dialogue and I would happily watch this movie again, right now. That said, Cabin in the Woods did something that I think is important for awards. Its metaness, the way it takes the horror movie genre and turns it on its head, while still having engaging moments of fun and terror – it’s just awesome. I would probably give this one the Hugo.
Everything that needs to be said about The Hobbit has already been said by people far more eloquent than I am. It was too long, it was too much of everything. I loved that the dwarves got more backstory (and yes, I am a squeeing Thorin fangirl because Richard Armitage was Mr. Thornton in North & South and I will always love him) but there was NO NEED to turn this story into a trilogy. The book was more lighthearted, more fun, with not nearly the stakes of The Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson should have known that he can’t reproduce the success the epic story had. Why try?
The Hunger Games? No. The movie had its good elements but it is basically another case of taking a nice book and putting the Hollywood-veil on it. None of the really important or good parts of the books were there, both Katniss and Gale (while nice to look at) were incredibly miscast – seriously, there is one story that requires the protagonist to look like the anorexic beauty ideal and you manage to find a girl who looks healthy and well fed? And where did Gale get all that muscle when the entire district is starving? I have more issues with the movie than the characters’ looks, mind you, but it lacked almost all of the thrill and intrigue of the novel. So no.
Looper was kind of lame. Am I the only one in thinking that? Apart from the fact that it was riddled with logical mistakes, I had trouble engaging with the story. So yeah, didn’t much care for it, and even Joseph Gordon Levitt couldn’t save it for me.

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (Short Form)

Doctor Who:“The Angels Take Manhattan” Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
Doctor Who:“Asylum of the Daleks” Written by Steven Moffat; Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
Doctor Who:“The Snowmen” Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Wales)
Fringe:“Letters of Transit” Written by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Akiva Goldsman, J.H.Wyman, Jeff Pinkner. Directed by Joe Chappelle (Fox)
Game of Thrones:“Blackwater” Written by George R.R. Martin, Directed by Neil Marshall. Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (HBO)

What do I think?
Other than People, there are things other than Doctor Who!, there isn’t much to say. I loved the “Angels Take Manhattan” episode and I loved the “Blackwater” episode of Game of Thrones. It’s meager pickings on this ballot because what if you don’t like Doctor Who? If I had to make a choice, I’d vote for “Blackwater” just because I like HBO and how they don’t bleep out cuss words or boobs. (I’m Austrian, there are boobs and swear words on TV constantly and the bleeping really only draws attention to something that is part of our every-day language, or points human anatomy out as a Bad Thing. I see boobies every day (being a woman), they’re not a bad thing and I don’t see why we have to pretend women don’t have boobs (or a butt) on TV. Who are we protecting? Anyway, this went off on a tangent, but it’s another reason why I’d give the Hugo to Game of Thrones.

BEST FANZINE

Banana Wings edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
The Drink Tank edited by Chris Garcia and James Bacon
Elitist Book Reviews edited by Steven Diamond
Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Emma J. King, Helen J. Montgomery and Pete Young
SF Signal edited by John DeNardo, JP Frantz, and Patrick Hester

What do I think?
I am thrilled to so Elitistit Book Reviews on here. They were the first blog I followed. Ever. Their reviews are insightful, short and to the point, and they have this brilliant feature called The University of Fantasy. You take their “classes” by starting with the classic SFF books and work your way up to more complex books, etc. The only downside to their blog is that they don’t update as frequently as, say, SF Signal.
Never having heard of the other nominees, I will go check them out right now. I see this as a good thing, awards are also supposed to show you new things, after all.

BEST FANCAST

The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester, John DeNardo, and JP Frantz
SF Squeecast, Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, Catherynne M. Valente (Presenters) and David McHone-Chase (Technical Producer)
StarShipSofa, Tony C. Smith

What do I think?
I’d give it to the SF Squeecast all over. Not only are these girls (and guy, of course, Paul Cornell is awesome) charming and eloquent, they have recommended a good mix of well-known books and very obscure or older titles that I would never have discovered on my own. I have listened to many of their episodes multiple times because whenever Seanan is there, they also manage to have wonderful moments of silliness and friendship. I get the feeling that they actually like each other and don’t just get together for the podcst.
The SF Signal Podcast is another one I listen to regularly. But their episodes can go either way. I love their panel discussions, but some of the interviews aren’t as well done. It’s kind of a gamble with them. And since they already have a Hugo for their website, I’d go with the Squeecast.
I believe I’ve listened to the other nominees at least once, but for some reason didn’t listen to more episodes. That could be either because they’re not up my alley or because I didn’t have time. I can’t make a truly fair judgement but the SF Squeecast is my favorite out there and should thusly win the award.
I am missing one fantastic podcast – The Writer and the Critic – that I’ve been listening to religiously lately. Maybe they didn’t get nominated because both the presenters are Australian or because not enough people know about it (or because they say “fuck” on the show). But if I had voted, they would have been my number 2 choice.

JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER

Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2011 or 2012, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).

Zen Cho *
Max Gladstone
Mur Lafferty *
Stina Leicht *
Chuck Wendig *

What do I think?
I can’t say much here. I didn’t like the only Chuck Wendig book I’ve ever read (Blackbirds) and I have books from Stina Leicht sitting on my TBR pile that sound very intriguing. I’ve heard good things about Mur Lafferty and Max Gladstone. I hadn’t heard of Zen Cho but I just took a look at her webpage and one of her novellas immedately interested me. I hope I can get it anywhere other than Amazon.
It also makes me happy to see three women on the ballot.

Now I have rambled long enough. I want to hear what you think! Did you nominate anyone? Who would you vote for, what did you think of the books, novellas, movies and TV episodes nominated? Let me hear your opinions, people. Also, I am always happy for recommendations so if among the many nominees I haven’t read, there is one you want me to read, let me know.

Do Want! – A new Fairyland book by Catherynne M. Valente

So… in the vast expanse of the interwebs I just stumbled over this… Seems legit, right? Barnes & Noble lists the publication date as October 8th 2013. If this is true – and the cover looks like a genuine Ana Juan illustration – then HERE ARE SOME CAPS-LOCK WORDS TO EXPRESS MY LEVEL OF EXCITEDNESS!!!

fairyland 3

The blurb (from Goodreads):

September misses Fairyland and her friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. She longs to leave the routines of home, and embark on a new adventure. Little does she know that this time, she will be spirited away to the moon, reunited with her friends, and find herself faced with saving Fairyland from a moon-Yeti with great and mysterious powers.

Here is another rich, beautifully told, wisely humorous, and passionately [layered] book from New York Times-bestselling author, Catherynne M. Valente.

Let’s talk about this:

Title and cover both suggest that September will learn to fly in volume three of the Fairyland series. I especially like the starry night-esque background and that awesome moon. I cannot wait to find out what people we will meet on Fairyland’s moon. And of course, Ell is on the cover again.It wouldn’t be right without the wyverary.

I will buy a hardcover edition of this as soon as it’s out, since I already own books one and two in hardback and they are beautiful. A big thanks goes to the publisher for keeping a consistent cover design and only shifting the background colors around. There are few things I hate more than cover designs that change mid-series. Then again, after this, there are two more volumes in the making. So there is still potential for mess-ups. But I will hope for the best and can NOT wait to have the entire series sitting on my shelf in all its wondrous, lyrical glory.

What do you guys think? Are you as giddy as I am? Do you like the new cover illustration? (How did I not read about this on Cat Valente’s livejournal?)

If you are among the people who have no idea why a grown woman is going crazy over a children’s book, let me tell you two things. One: Harry Potter. Two: Cat Valente is already one of my favorite authors and may even be my number one favorite some day. Go read the Fairyland books (and then everything else by her).

The Fairyland Series:

  1. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
  2. The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
  3. The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two

Prequel short story: The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland – For a Little While (read it for free on Tor.com (recommended after book 1) )

Do Want! – Upcoming Books on My Radar

I was browsing through io9’s guide for March and noticed it was time for another one of these excitement posts.

J. A. Nielsen – The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy #2) (March 1st)

Ever since The Booksmugglers’ glowing review of The False Prince, it has been sitting on my TBR pile. Given the fact it shares said “pile” with so many other books, I can afford to wait until the trilogy/series is finished (or nearly finished) before I start reading. I have no idea if I will actually like this but the Booksmugglers are pretty reliable in picking the awesome from the bad books.

runaway kingA kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen’s blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!

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Charles de Lint and Charles Vess – The Cats of Tanglewood Forest (March 5th)

Just look at that cover. If you’ve seen even one illustration of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust by Charles Vess, you know why I’m so excited. In addition, Charles de Lint has been on my radar for years and this book sounds just charming.

cats of tanglewood forestThe magic is all around you, if only you open your eyes….

Lillian Kindred spends her days exploring the Tanglewood Forest, a magical, rolling wilderness that she imagines to be full of fairies. The trouble is, Lillian has never seen a wisp of magic in her hills–until the day the cats of the forest save her life by transforming her into a kitten. Now Lillian must set out on a perilous adventure that will lead her through untamed lands of fabled creatures–from Old Mother Possum to the fearsome Bear People–to find a way to make things right.

In this whimsical, original folktale written and illustrated throughout in vibrant full color by two celebrated masters of modern fantasy, a young girl’s journey becomes an enchanting coming-of-age story about magic, friendship, and the courage to shape one’s own destiny.

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Seanan McGuire – Midnight Blue-Light Special (InCryptid #2) (March 5th)

I still haven’t read anything by Seanan McGuire or her alter ego Mira Grant (althouth I own a bunch of her books). But liking Seanan the way I do, just from listening to interviews and her delicious squees on the SF Squeecast, I cannot help but be excited anyway.

midnight blue-light specialCryptid, noun:
1. Any creature whose existence has been suggested but not proven scientifically. Term officially coined by cryptozoologist John E. Wall in 1983.
2. That thing that’s getting ready to eat your head.
3. See also: “monster.”

The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity–and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she’d rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and when her work with the cryptid community took her to Manhattan, she thought she would finally be free to pursue competition-level dance in earnest. It didn’t quite work out that way…

But now, with the snake cult that was killing virgins all over Manhattan finally taken care of, Verity is ready to settle down for some serious ballroom dancing—until her on-again, off-again, semi-boyfriend Dominic De Luca, a member of the monster-hunting Covenant of St. George, informs her that the Covenant is on their way to assess the city’s readiness for a cryptid purge. With everything and everyone she loves on the line, there’s no way Verity can take that lying down.

Alliances will be tested, allies will be questioned, lives will be lost, and the talking mice in Verity’s apartment will immortalize everything as holy writ–assuming there’s anyone left standing when all is said and done. It’s a midnight blue-light special, and the sale of the day is on betrayal, deceit…and carnage.

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Ellen Datolow and Terri Windling (eds.) – Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (March 19th)

In addition to reading more short fiction online, the bloggosphere has also pushed me to be interested in (print) anthologies. And this one sounds just up my alley. It doesn’t always have to be steampunk! I find something inherently magical about gaslamp fantasy, even if it comes without cogs and clockwork. Again, I admit, the cover decided it for me. Let’s not delude ourselves, even in the digital reading world, covers are still damn influential.

queen victoria's book of spellsFrom the extraordinary award-winning editor duo, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, comes an anthology with Gaslamp Fantasy as the theme. Furthermore, it will have 18 brand-new Tales not published before.

The Line-up:
“The Fairy Enterprise” by Jeffrey Ford
“From the Catalogue of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvelous, Scheduled for Premiere at the Great Exhibition (Before the Fire)” by Genevieve Valentine
“The Memory Book” by Maureen McHugh
“Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells” by Delia Sherman
“La Reine D’Enfer” by Kathe Koja
“Briar Rose” by Elizabeth Wein
“The Governess” by Elizabeth Bear
“Smithfield” by James P. Blaylock
“The Unwanted Women of Surrey” by Kaaron Warren
“Charged” by Leanna Renee Hieber
“Mr. Splitfoot” by Dale Bailey
“Phosphorus” by Veronica Schanoes
“We Without Us Were Shadows” by Catherynne M. Valente
“The Vital Importance of the Superficial” by Ellen Kushner and Caroline Stevermer
“The Jewel in the Toad Queen’s Crown” by Jane Yolen
“A Few Twigs He Left Behind” by Gregory Maguire
“Their Monstrous Minds” by Tanith Lee
“Estella Saves the Village” by Theodora Goss

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That’s it, folks. It looks like March is full of wonderful book releases. The ones above are the books I’ll definitely be getting this month. What are you excited for?