Filmmakers are fond of teasing audiences with trailers for upcoming films months before a film's actual release date. They love to do it because it generates early buzz for a film project, and audiences love trailers because they get a sneak peek at what lies ahead.
There's nothing that says the film industry should have all the fun! Here's a look at just some of the notable science fiction and fantasy books coming at you later this year.
A few notes: Obviously, as publishers line up their schedules, a lot more is known about the books coming out in the next few months than is known about the books hitting shelves at the end of the year. And of course, publication dates are subject to change. With that in mind, let's go!
We've already seen some excellent science fiction, fantasy and horror titles that are available this month. February brings another fine batch of books to the shelves. For example, Hugo Award–winning author Elizabeth Bear takes on steampunk with the release of her new novel Karen Memory, whose titular character finds herself in a whole heap of trouble after an injured girl arrives at the bordello where she works and she's followed by a man who owns a mind-control device. Dark Intelligence by Neal Asher is a whip-cracking space opera that involves a rogue artificial intelligence and the man brought back from the dead to take it down. Something Coming Through by Paul McAuley explores the impact of advanced alien technology on a human culture possibly not quite ready for it. Fantasy readers can look forward to reading The Wide World's End by James Enge, which offers a peek into the early days of the stalwart, magic-using hero Morlock Ambrosius, who also happens to be the son of Merlin the Magician. V.E. Schwab checks in with A Darker Shade of Magic, a story of parallel universes and perilous magic. February's short fiction outlook is bright: We'll see collections of stories by Kate Elliott (The Very Best of Kate Elliott) and Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances), as well as themed anthologies from editors Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology) and John Joseph Adams (Wastelands II: More Stories of the Apocalypse).
March has a magnificent lineup, too. Author and futurist Brenda Cooper posits a dark future in Edge of Dark, where artificial intelligences once again meet the human race that banished them long ago. The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis takes on themes of freedom through its protagonist, a mechanical "Clakker" man named Jax. Prudenceby Gail Carriger is a fun, supernatural steampunk romp (first in a new series) in which the Prudence takes her airship and finds adventure and danger in India. Then there's Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory, in which a young boy tuned to the supernatural world tries to find out what happened his mother after she disappeared in a small, seaside Lovecraftian town. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro is a subtle fairy tale that sees a couple embark on a journey in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in year. Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop takes readers to a world of magic, divine "Others” and shape-shifters. The Skull Throne by Peter V.Brett (part of his popular Demon Cycle) continues to depict the human struggle for survival against demons. Unfortunately, the most likely saviors have gone missing. Dan Simmons offers a metafictional alternate history mashup with The Fifth Heart, where Sherlock Holmes and Henry James come to America to solve a woman's murder. Meanwhile, it's like short fiction parade in March with collection by Kelly Link (Get in Trouble), Jonathan Lethem (Lucky Alan and Other Stories) and Jack Vance (The Early Jack Vance, Volume Five: Grand Crusades). Notable anthologies in March include The Doll Collection edited by Ellen Datlow, Operation Arcana edited by John Joseph Adams, Thirteen: Stories of Transformation edited by Mark Teppo, and the sf-throwback anthology Old Venus edited by George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois. (Sorry, fans of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire...there is currently no firm publishing date for the next book in that series.)
April is no less exciting. The magical adventure Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal wraps up the acclaimed Glamourist Histories series that mixes Jane Austen and magic. Melanie Rawn offers Window Wall, whose protagonist Cade (part Elven, part Fae, part human Wizard) is gifted with the power of sight, which he reluctantly uses to see that only he can save the royal castle. Social media and technology collide in the near future of The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson, where science determines which social group you best belong to. Looking for far future space opera? Check out The Machine Awakes by Adam Christopher which depicts mankind's war with the planet-killing species known as the Spiders. Tracker by C. J. Cherryh is the 16th book in C.J. Cherry's long-running favorite series, Foreigner, and the beginning of a new sub-trilogy…but rest assured that it will contain adventure and intrigue. Alternate history master Harry Turtledove asks a question with Joe Steele: What if, instead of New York governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, California congressman Joe Steele became president after the Great Depression? Meanwhile, on the short fiction front, there's Terry Pratchett's never-before-published collection of stories called Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Tales; and two (count 'em) themed anthologies from Editor Paual Guran: Blood Sisters: Vampire Stories by Women and New Cthulhu 2: More Recent Weird.
The merry month of May will see the release of Uprooted by Naomi Novik, a modern fairy tale featuring magic and dragons. Also available this month is The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi, in which factions in a near-future American Southwest duke it out for control of the dwindling water supply. The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor (prequel to her acclaimed novel Who Fears Death) is a work of magical futurism that is the portrait of a woman who acquires great power through genetic engineering. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson occurs across the time span on five millennia and depicts what happens when Earth's days are numbered, as well as the aftermath that follows its destruction. Speaking of devastation, The Border by Robert McCammon is an epic science fiction/horror hybrid involving the terrible consequences of a war between two marauding alien civilizations that arrive on Earth. Apex by Ramez Naam continues the story of a new race of humans augmented by technology and their attempts to control the world. In May, short fiction readers can marvel in imaginations with a collection by Hannu Rajaniemi (Collected Fiction) and a "Best of" anthology curated by editor Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Nine). There's some eye candy available this month as well. Be sure to check out Women of Wonder: Celebrating Female Creators of Fantastic Art edited by Cathy Fenner.
Summer months are always brimming with great sf/f/h reads. In June, Stephen King dishes out some more heaping spoonfuls of his particular brand of suspense with Finders Keepers, in which a long-lost manuscript is sought after by a crazed murderer. Eager readers will be thrilled to know that they can expect a new book in the Expanse series from James S.A. Corey (the writing team of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, whose series is being adapted into a television show). In Nemesis Game, the balance of power is shifting as the universe becomes the new frontier and thousands of worlds become available for human colonization. Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds takes place at the back end of a weary war involving hundreds of worlds, during which a woman awakens on a ship with people from both sides of that war and their memories are embedded in bullets. The Long Utopia by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter is the fourth book in the collaborative writing team's wonder-filled Long Earth series, about a series of parallel worlds and mankind's exodus across them. Kevin J. Anderson's Blood of the Cosmos continues his epic Saga of Shadows space opera series that figures in conflict between galactic civilizations. Cold Iron by Stina Leicht is a flintlock fantasy in which a pair of twins move beyond their royal heritage to establish themselves as heroes. The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton continues the story started in The Just City, where Gods and humans co-exist side by side and learn from one another. Short fiction readers, meanwhile, can look forward to more "Year’s Best" anthologies (The Best Horror of the Year Volume Seven edited by Ellen Datlow, and The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2015 edited by Rich Horton) as well as The Year's Illustrious Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy, Vol. 1 edited by Nisi Shawl and a collection by Tananarive Due called Ghost Summer and Other Stories.
What else does 2015 have in store? Stay tuned next week to find out!