Last week, we started loading up or reading lists with some science fiction, fantasy, and horror books coming out between February and April 2016. Let's keep adding to it by looking at the next few months, shall we?
In May, a wide spectrum of science fiction awaits the reader looking for sense of wonder. For starters, there's Central Station by Lavie Tidhar, which gives intimate portraits of the people located around an Earth-based space station at a time when most of humanity has moved off-world. After years of delay, the long-awaited Company Town by Madeline Ashby will be published this month. It's a futuristic murder mystery set in a community based on a city-sized oil rig. In The Spear of Light by author and futurist Brenda Cooper, humans are threatened by the appearance of posthumans who were previously banished from human society. Neal Asher's War Factory, meanwhile, continues the galactic hunt for a rogue AI. In The City of Mirrors, Justin Cronin completes the trilogy he began with The Passage and The Twelve, where survivors of the apocalypse finally emerge from a 100-year reign of darkness. Claire North's The Sudden Appearance of Hope is a novel about a girl who everyone—even her parents—literally keep forgetting about. The Fireman by Joe Hill is a chilling tale about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous human combustion.
Fantasy readers also have much to look forward to in May. In League of Dragons by Naomi Novik—a new Temeraire novel—Dragons are used by mankind to fight wars. Speaking of dragons, renowned fantasy artist Todd Lockwood delivers his first prose novel with The Summer Dragon, in which a young girl who grows up raising dragons for others desires one of her very own. In The Sorcerer's Daughter, Terry Brooks delivers a new stand-alone Shannara book. Empires clash with faith in Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay, which was inspired by Renaissance Europe. Fantasy goes meta in Paul Kearne's The Wolf in the Attic, where a young refugee in 1920's Oxford meets two of the founding fathers of modern fantasy: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Urban fantasy fans will no doubt want to check out Night Shift by Charlaine Harris, where the vampire protagonist of a small Texas town tries to find a reason for sharp increase in suicides.
In May, short fiction readers will have their hands full lots of anthologies and collections: The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Ten edited by Jonathan Strahan, The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu by Paula Guran, The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror by Joyce Carol Oates, The Man Underneath: The Collected Short Fiction, Volume Three by R.A. Lafferty, and Hwarhath Stories: Twelve Transgressive Tales by Aliens by Eleanor Arnason.
If June science fiction has a theme, it's got to be space opera. James S.A. Corey's Expanse series (now enjoying a television adaptation), gets a new volume in Babylon's Ashes, where a dangerous and sentient protomolecule takes control over humanity's gateway to the stars. In Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee, a disgraced starship captain has a chance to redeem herself by retaking a space fortress commandeered by heretics. Dark Run by Mike Brooks is an adventurous tale involving space smugglers. Meanwhile, in Tracer by Rob Boffard, a madman roams loose on an enclosed space station. Military sci-fi fans will want to check out Death’s Bright Day by David Drake, where a space captain embarks on a mission to prevent interstellar war. Jodi Taylor's Just One Damned Thing After Another features a group that travels through time to answer history's nagging unanswered questions. False Hearts by Laura Lam is set in a crime-free near-future where a woman assumes the identity of her twin sister in order to solve a murder.
If fantasy fans want secret organizations, there's plenty. There's Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley, the plot of which is about maintaining the uneasy balance between secret organizations and averting a supernatural war. Then there's The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross, where a vampire acts as a spy for the mysterious Laundry group, Britain’s secret counter-occult agency. If it's vampires you're after, Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton (the latest in her Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series) sees Anita heading to Ireland to rescue her kidnapped boyfriend. For more traditional fantasy, Blake Charlton's long-awaited sequel Spellbreaker hits shelves in June. In it, the heroine is granted a sneak peek into her future and learns that she is destined to murder someone she loves. Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan launches a new fantasy series in which the balance between man and the godlike Fhrey is upset when a Fhrey falls by human blade. Also releasing this month: Icon by Genevieve Valentine, the fast-paced sequel to Persona.
Short fiction readers should hang onto their seats as a batch of "Year's Best" volumes hit the bookstore shelves. There's The Best Horror of the Year Volume Eight by Ellen Datlow, The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume One by Neil Clarke, The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2016 edited by Rich Horton, and The Year's Best Military & Adventure SF 2015: Volume 2 edited by David Afsharirad. Also: the exciting new collection The Best of Alastair Reynolds.
July science fiction is marked by adventure and steam! In Time Siege by Wesley Chu, a fugitive ex-time-traveler hides on the toxic wasteland that is Earth. Nina Allan's The Race is an intricately woven story revolving around the kidnapping of a young girl in future Great Britain. The alternate present day of Underground Airlines by Ben Winters is very much like our own, except that the Civil War never occurred and slavery is still legal in four states. In Alliance of Equals by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, a desperate space trading clan attempts to reestablish its dominance. The military sci-fi novel Indomitable by W. C. Bauers sees its female space marine assigned to reinforce a valuable and strategic mining planet from enemy forces. Panacea by F. Paul Wilson is about not one, but two secret societies battling for control over the ultimate medical miracle. The titular character of David D. Levine's retro sci-fi/steampunk novel Arabella of Mars is sent to Earth where, to save her family who is still on Mars, she disguises herself as a boy and joins an airship crew.
Steampunk mixes with urban fantasy in Gail Carriger's Imprudence, where recent revelations shake the foundations of England's scientific community. Gods and humans mingle in Jo Walton's Necessity, in which the paradisiacal island set up by the gods is moved to another planet. The Thorn of Emberlain, the next installment in Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastard Sequence, thief, con-man, pirate, and political deceiver Locke Lamora must become a soldier. The Last Adventure of Constance Verity by A. Lee Martinez features the world’s great adventurer (a master of martial arts, a keen detective, and owner of a collection of strange artifacts) who wants to call it quits despite her destiny. Red Queen by Christina Henry leverages Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland to take readers back on another imaginative adventure with Alice. In Max Gladstone's Four Roads Cross, the great city of Alt Coulumb, where magic and law are practiced, is in crisis. Meanwhile, The Family Plot by Cherie Priest offers a modernized haunted house story.
July short fiction will include the anthologies The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Third Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois and Drowned Worlds edited by Jonathan Strahan, as well as the collections A Natural History of Hell by Jeffrey Ford and The Best of Bova: Volume 2 by Ben Bova
What does the rest of 2016 have in store? Stay tuned next week to find out!