With countless new science fiction, fantasy and horror books being released each month, traversing bookstore aisles looking for something to read can be a daunting task. Fortunately you have lists like this one to steer you toward that path of good reading.
Here's a look at 11 enticing sf, fantasy and horror books being released this month.
Read the last SF Signal on three ways people are tricked into reading SF.
The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
Bacigalupi is a multiple award-winning and critically acclaimed author. Billed as a companion to his highly acclaimed novel Ship Breaker, his new novel The Drowned Cities, takes place in a dark future where two friends—Mahlia and Mouse, refugees from the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities—discover a wounded, bioengineered half-man who's being hunted by soldiers. Mahlia and Mouse are confronted with tests of loyalty and survival when one is captured and one must decide between recue and personal freedom. (Ed note: Read Bacigalupi’s exclusive posts for Kirkus on YA Dystopias.)
The Best Horror of the Year Volume 4 edited by Ellen Datlow
If you can only read one horror anthology series, make it this one. As an editor, Datlow is the undisputed queen of collecting quality horror fiction. This year's volume includes unsettling tales from Stephen King, Margo Lanagan, Peter Straub and 15 more writers of modern horror.
The Black Opera by Mary Gentle
Holy music has magical power in the 19th-century kingdom of the Two Sicilies. While the church may sanction the use of that power to heal the sick, others believe that the musical magic can also be used for more nefarious purposes. When the King stumbles onto a plot by the Prince's Men to produce a "black opera" to empower the Devil himself, he enlists the aid of Conrad Scalese, a struggling librettist in trouble with the Holy Office of the Inquisition, to counter the apocalyptic threat.
Year's Best SF 17 edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer
Now in its 17th year, this anthology by the master editing team of Hartwell and Cramer brings you some of the best that short science fiction had to offer in 2011. I've always maintained that anthologies are a great way to sample authors. Now, thanks to this volume with entries from Elizabeth Bear, Neil Gaiman, Nancy Kress, Bruce Sterling and 19 others...you can.
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
The much-lauded author of The Inheritance Trilogy returns with a brand new series filled with magic and wonder. The Killing Moon takes place in the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, where the only law is that peace shall prevail. To ensure that happens, the Gatherers watch from the rooftops and harvest the magic of its sleeping citizens to enforce the will of the dream goddess. But a conspiracy forces one Gatherer to question the order of things, and protect the woman he was sent to kill.
Nebula Awards Showcase 2012 edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel
This annual anthology usually brings you the Nebula Award nominees, as chosen by the Science Fiction Writers of America, straight to you in one package. But this year's volume also includes winners of other awards like the Andre Norton, Dwarf Star, Rhysling and Solstice Awards. Additionally, there are excerpts from award-nominated books. Lots of great stuff in one book.
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Enchanted is a story that twists common fairy tale tropes in unexpected ways. It's the story of Sunday, one of seven sisters, who seeks comfort in writing...except that the things she writes about start to become a terrible reality. Sunday befriends a talking frog, who is really a prince. When Sunday's kiss transforms him back to human form, the prince vows to make Sunday fall in love with him, despite the fact that this particular price is a man Sunday's family despises.
Railsea by China Miéville
If you're looking for something out of the ordinary, Miéville is a safe bet. Here, he re-imagines Herman Melville's classic Moby Dick. The point-of-view character (Sham Yes ap Soorap) works on board a moletrain that travels the railsea hunting giant moles that burst forth from the ground. The train's captain is bent on hunting the ivory-colored mole that took her arm years before. It's a good life, but Sham can't help feeling there should be something more to it...a feeling that might be proven correct when Sham finds evidence on a wrecked train of something that should be impossible.
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
Few authors are synonymous with world-building. Robinson is one of them. Here he takes us 200 years into the future where technology has allowed humanity to inhabit the worlds and moons beyond Earth. But humanity will be forced to confront its past and future when an unexpected death leads Swan Er Hong (literarily a designer of worlds) into a plot to destroy worlds.
Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg
It's a fact of publishing that books go out of print...which makes this reprint of Silverberg's classic most welcome. Lord Valentine's Castle, the first book in the inventive Majipoor Cycle (with the sequels being reprinted in the coming months), begins the saga, where Valentine joins a motley band of jugglers on the planet Majipoor looking for the secret of his lost past. His quest takes him to the city of Shapeshifters, the temple of the Lady of Sleep, the Isle of the King of Dreams and beyond to, ultimately, face his destiny.
The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
Master anthologists Ann and Jeff VanderMeer have assembled what has to be the most eclectic blend of fiction ever. What is "weird" fiction? Imagine a story that could be entertaining in its own right, but then add an element of something peculiar and bizarre that takes it in wickedly surreal directions. Now multiply that by 110...because that's how many strange trips you'll be taking with this massive collection of stories.
Who says lists have to stop at 11? Discussions about good books shouldn't be limited and neither should your reading choices. Here are a few more titles worth checking out:
A Tree of Bones by Gemma Files
Further: Beyond the Threshold by Chris Roberson
Girl Genius: Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell Volume 11 HC by Phil and Kaja Foglio & Phil Foglio
Princeps by L.E. Modesitt
Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky & Boris Strugatsky
Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley by Robert Sheckley
The Croning by Laird Barron
The Dragon Griaule by Lucius Shepard
The Future is Japanese: Stories From and About the Land of the Rising Sun edited by Haikasoru (VIZ Media LLC)
The Gift of Fire / On the Head of a Pin: Two Short Novels from Crosstown to Oblivion by Walter Mosley
The King's Blood (The Dagger and the Coin) by Daniel Abraham
The Mammoth Book of SF Wars edited by Ian Watson & Ian Whates
The Minority Council by Kate Griffin
The Other Log of Phileas Fogg by Philip Jose Farmer
V Wars edited by Jonathan Maberry
War and Space: Recent Combat edited by Rich Horton and Sean Wallace
John DeNardo is the editor of SF Signal, a Hugo-nominated group science-fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews. He also like bagels.