In a semi-regular feature, the members of Novelocity talk about new-or-soon-to-be-released novels that the world needs to know about.
Coming March 10th from Saga Press
I had the pleasure of repping Mechanique in the field when it was released, helping connect the book with indie booksellers across the Midwest. Then I started reading Genevieve’s hilarious and insightful articles on pop culture, from TV/film to fashion.
So when I read the description of Persona, it went on my TBR list instantly. By all indications, it’s basically all of Genevieve’s wit and snark for mass media culture wrapped around the backbone of a thriller plot.
Coming March 18th, 2015 from Image Comics
I’ve been a fan of Greg Rucka for years, from his Wonder Woman work to his co-authoring of Gotham Central with Ed Bubaker, but his current Image series Lazarus is my new favorite. Set in a future where ultra-rich corporate heads are royalty in a new Feudal era, with wholly-owned serfs as their support staff and company town work force. And the rest of humanity is labeled Waste, sharecroppers at best, discarded human detritus at worst. Lazarus is one of my favorite modern dystopian narratives, with a one-two punch of action and sociological speculation.
1) The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
Release date: April 7
Ken Liu is unquestionably one of the best speculative short story writers today, and his upcoming first novel is every bit as good as his short stories.
A secondary world fantasy in the style Liu refers to as “silkpunk,” this book (a first in a trilogy, but it reads fine as a standalone) is what you might get if you mashed together the Game of Thrones, Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Avatar: The Last Airbender.
I was lucky enough to read an advance copy, so my anticipation is mostly for the opportunity to share this book is with other readers and chat about it with my friends in greater detail.
2) Sense8 TV Series (Netflix)
Release date: June 5
An original TV series written by J. Michael Straczynski (of Babylon 5 fame) and directed by the Wachowski siblings (of The Matrix)? I don’t even care what it’s about: sign me up!
Okay, I care a little bit, and the premise seems very interesting. It’s about eight very different people from around the world, who are total strangers to each other, suddenly becoming linked to each other, both mentally and emotionally. There hasn’t been all that much info out there about the series, but everything I read makes me very curious and I will definitely be watching.
Alex Shvartsman is a writer, translator and game designer from Brooklyn, NY. Over 70 of his short stories have appeared in InterGalactic Medicine Show, Nature, Galaxy’s Edge, Daily Science Fiction, and many other magazines and anthologies. He won the 2014 WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction. He is the editor of the Unidentified Funny Objects annual anthology series of humorous SF/F. His collection, Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories released in February 2015. His website is www.alexshvartsman.com, and
the Kickstarter for the UFO 4 anthology is here.
Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani is about a teenager who finds out that her dead father used to be a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia, just as his past his catching up with her.
Both of these are debut novels. I’m excited to try out two new authors. I have high hopes I’m going to find some new favorites in these.
#1 on the list for me: Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves. A close runner-up is Dan Simmons’s The Fifth Heart. Both of these guys fall into the category of I Don’t Care What You Write Next, I’m Just Gonna Buy It.
Michael J. Martinez has this amazing series that started with The Daedalus Incident. The books combine space-faring alchemy-powered British frigates and a science-fiction based human future with exploration on Mars and beyond. The two timelines converge in amazing ways. Well, the third book in the trilogy is out in May. My fangirl love for the first two books resulted in me getting to blurb The Venusian Gambit. Seriously, if you love science fiction and historical fiction, this has it all. Go forth and get the trilogy!
Another new release I really enjoyed was Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. It reminded me of a cross between Charles de Lint’s Newford and Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park. Moreno-Garcia evokes magical realism via music in late 1980s Mexico City and balances that with the repercussions as seen in 2009. It’s one of those books that can be marketed as YA but there’s a somber depth to it that you understand a lot more as you get older.
Oh, there’s always so many books I’m looking forward to. I’m sneakily stretching my top two picks to three because there are three April debuts that I’m particularly excited to see released:
Waking Up Naked in Strange Places by Julie McGalliard. I blurbed this one for Julie as “Seamlessly blends Cajun werewolves, religious cults, and Seattle prep schools in a fresh and compelling take on the werewolf mythos. I couldn’t put it down.” Which is totally true.
Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee, whom I recently met here in Portland. Those of you looking for space opera-y YA books, this story of Martian colonists and the new sport of weightless “zeroboxing” sounds like a fun and actiony ride.
The Year of the Cow by Jared Stone. Jared is always insightful and funny, and this book follows his adventures as he buys one entire grass-fed cow from a local rancher, and begins to cook his way through it. Recommended for anyone interested in good books about slow food.
I’m really looking forward to Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. The Internet has brought back and even expanded public shaming as a form of punishment, and Ronson has spent three years studying the phenomenon to tell very human stories about the people involved in these acts of public shaming. It’s being released at the end of March.
I’m looking forward to so many books in the next couple of months. But most of all, I’m looking forward to Ad Astra: The 50th Anniversary SFWA Cookbook. With over 150 recipes by authors including William Gibson, Gail Carriger, Connie Willis, Yoon Ha Lee and John Scalzi, the cookbook is amazing. The recipes range from delicious to hilarious to impossible (elf bbq, anyone?).
Most importantly, once it’s out, I can have my life back.