The new month brings with it a massive selection of reading choices for readers of speculative fiction. What are the best bets? Without further delay, let's take a look at many of the notable new releases in November....
There are a small handful of writers today whose literary skills are universally praised for being significantly better than their peers. Gene Wolfe is one of those writers. His new Kafkaesque novel, The Land Across, takes place in an imaginary European country weighed down with bureaucracy and corruption and where supernatural forces are present.
For more traditional, space-based science fiction, there's Rachel Bach's new Paradox series which launches this month with Fortune's Pawn. It's the story of an ambitious mercenary who secures a position on a trading spaceship that puts her in more danger than she bargained for.
Meanwhile, Frank Schatzing offers up Limit, a near-future thriller that shows that humankind may be too innovative for its own continued existence. It includes a space elevator for the rich, space tourism, Earthside hackers and a cybercop who stumbles upon a conspiracy that puts elite space tourists in danger. Another thriller being offered this month is Libby McGugan's The Eidolon, a story mixing science, philosophy and espionage that examines the gap between life and death.
In Burning Paradise, Robert Charles Wilson offers us a present day alternate history in which there was no Great Depression and there was no World War II. That's because humans are being farmed by an extraterrestrial entity that has been altering our destiny, and while it may all seem benign, anyone who is found to know the truth is killed.
On the fantasy side of speculative fiction, Elizabeth Bear offers One-Eyed Jack, where personifications of the city of Las Vegas (named The One-Eyed Jack and the Suicide King) are characters. The book is about how The Suicide King vanishes and The One-Eyed Jack enlists the aid of undead allies (the ghosts of Doc Holliday and John Henry, echoes of imaginary super spies, and a vampire) to find him.
There's also E. C. Blake's Masks, which starts a new fantasy series where publically worn masks, used to denote social status and profession, are also magically infused to expose treasonous thoughts.
Readers of already-in-progress series may be pleased to know about the following releases as well:
¨ Contagion by Tim Lebbon
¨ Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest
¨ Iron Winter by Stephen Baxter
¨ Last to Rise by Francis F. Knight
¨ Long Live the Queen by Kate Locke (Orbit)
¨ Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.
¨ The Misfortune Cookie by Laura Resnick
¨ Trade Secret by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Young Adult Titles
It's profitable to market books at younger readers, but don't be misled into thinking that such books offer little for adults. Gail Carriger, for example, offers an excellent companion to her popular and fun Parasol Protectorate urban fantasy series. The second book in the also-fun Finishing School series is Curtsies & Conspiracies, and it continues the adventures of Sophronia, a young spy-in-training at a school located on airships, who uncovers a conspiracy threatening both supernaturals and humans.
Twinmaker by Sean Williams is near-future tale where technology offers you the chance to alter your body any way you want, making it stronger, taller or more beautiful. Young Clair thinks there's not much behind that promise, but that doesn't stop her friend from believing, and from putting herself in danger.
Nicola Griffith's Hild is a historical fantasy tale about the rise of the most powerful woman of the Middle Ages. Hild, who will one day be Saint Hilda of Whitby, is the king’s youngest niece and she can foresee the future—an ability that puts her in a position of power and of grave danger.
Daylighters, the latest entry in Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires series, sees drastic changes in the already-troubled Texas town. When a shady organization called the Daylight Foundation offers a segregation plan that seems like a good solution on the surface, it is soon learned that it is not at all vampire-friendly.
Medea, the main young protagonist of Cracked by Eliza Crewe, is really trying to find her identity. She is a "soul-eater," a monster by human standards part of a new breed according to those like her. Can Medea resist the "hunger" long enough to pose among the crusaders dedicated to wiping out her kind long enough to learn her true nature?
There's lots of great short fiction heading your way. Best bets for multi-author anthologies include:
¨ End of the Road, edited by Jonathan Oliver
¨ Legends: Stories in Honour of David Gemmell, edited by Ian Whates
¨ Space Opera, edited by Rich Horton
¨ Twenty-First Century Science Fiction, edited by David G. Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Best bets for single author collections include:
¨ Beyond the Rift by Peter Watts
¨ Bleeding Shadows by Joe R. Lansdale
¨ In the Company of Thieves by Kage Baker
¨ Shake Me to Wake Me: The Best of Stan Nicholls
¨ The Ape's Wife and Other Stories by Caitlin R. Kiernan
¨ The God Tattoo: Untold Tales from the Twilight Reign by Tom Lloyd
¨ The Man Who Made Models: The Collected Short Fiction by R.A. Lafferty