Are you faced with too many choices when you browse new book releases? I can help with that. Here's a roundup of the best speculative fiction reads coming out in March. Like all science fiction and fantasy, these stories are sure to expand your mind. Pick one (or several) and dig in!
The Magos by Dan Abnett
I'm a huge fan of Abnett's Eisenhorn series (in case you couldn't already tell) because he writes relentlessly page-turning stories. For the uninitiated, Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn is charged with hunting down threats to the Imperium of Mankind in a dark, war-torn future filled with all manner of human and supernatural threats. The Magos is Eisenhorn's latest series of adventures. In a novel length story, Eisenhorn, whose puritanical ways have already been tested past the point of breaking, must once and for all confront his soul. Also included are twelve short stories with even more Eisenhorn adventures. Bring it.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
This West African-inspired fantasy debut revolves around a young girl named Zélie Adebola who lives in Orïsha, a land where magic is commonplace. Or at least was, before the night magic disappeared, when a ruthless king ordered all magi killed. That was the night Zélie's mother was taken from her. Now Zélie has a chance to bring the magic back to Orïsha and strike back at the evil monarchy. She's got a rogue princess on her side, but then she encounters something she never expected: growing feelings for the enemy prince.
The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard
This short novel is set in de Bodard's well-imagined Xuya universe, an alternate history in which China discovered America and a high-tech conflict rages between the Mayan and Chinese empires. Despite the conflict, the stories are often told at a very personal level and are steeped in culture. The Tea Master and the Detective takes place in Scattered Pearls Belt, a group of space habitats ruled by exiled human scholars and powerful families in which travel occurs via living mindships. The Shadow's Child is one such ship. Discharged from military service, she now brews mind-altering drugs for travelers, including her latest client: a scholar in search of a corpse.
Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs
In this latest book of the Alpha and Omega urban fantasy series, Charles Cornick and Anna Latham, a pair of mated werewolves, are standing in for their Alpha who is out of the country. When a call for help comes from a group of werewolf outcasts who are too damaged to live safely among their own kind, Charles and Anna head into the mountainous wilderness to investigate. They interrupt an abduction in progress, but the attackers get away. Fortunately, hunting is what they do best.
Good Guys by Steven Brust
This standalone novel posits the existence of a secret society that trains sorcerers to do their bidding and to make sure that normal humans never find out about magic, and especially not about the Foundation itself. Donovan, Marci and Susan are three of the Foundation's operatives. It's not a perfect gig—the pay is low, for one thing—but it's a living. (Especially is Donovan's case, where he's lucky to be alive at all. He was killed and magically resurrected by the Foundation.) Their latest case involves a series of murders performed by magic…and a trail that leads them to question the supposed benevolence of the Foundation.
The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea edited by Ellen Datlow
I love reading short fiction and you will too, especially when you're in the capable hands of editor Ellen Datlow. In this themed anthology of all-new short fiction stories, fifteen authors spin tales of the fantastic revolving around the depths of the deep blue sea. Contributors include Simon Bestwick, Siobhan Carroll, Ray Cluley, Bradley Denton, Terry Dowling, Christopher Golden, Brian Hodge, Stephen Graham Jones, John Langan, Seanan McGuire, Michael Marshall Smith, Steve Rasnic Tem, Lee Thomas and A.C. Wise and Alyssa Wong. Also: stay tuned to this space for a forthcoming interview with the creators behind this wonderful anthology!
Smoke Eaters by Sean Grigsby
In this interesting approach to dragons, firefighters are portrayed as the last line of defense when dragons rise from the earth. Cole Brannigan is an experienced firefighter on the verge of retirement after thirty years on the job, ten of them fighting dragons. Then he discovers he possess a rare gift: he's immune to dragon smoke. He is thus reassigned to the elite fighting force known as the Smoke Eaters. Instead of retirement, he's a back to rookie status. But he's not your usual rookie. When he discovers a plot to take over the city's government, he takes matters into his own hands.
If Tomorrow Comes by Nancy Kress
Tomorrow's Kin was an excellent alien contact novel. Its sequel, If Tomorrow Comes, tells us what happens ten years later. Humans have built a spaceship to follow the aliens to their home world and hopefully find a cure for the spore disease. On board the ship are scientists to find a cure, diplomats to forge a working relationship with the aliens, and a squad of Rangers to protect them. When they arrive, they find that a timeslip occurred while they were travelling and way more than a decade has passed. The race is on, then, to see if the scientists can find a scientific solution to the spore problem on Earth before the military enacts their own solution.
Glimpse by Jonathan Maberry
In this unusual supernatural-tinged thriller, a recovering drug addict named Rain Thomas, haunted by the decision to give up her child for adoption when she was sixteen, has been fighting to get her life back to normal. That's hard to do when you hear voices in your head and you experience blackouts. Things get even harder when Rain comes across a pair of glasses with a crack in the lens. Through the crack, she see's images of a boy who is being chased. That boy looks like Rain's dead boyfriend and must therefore be her son. Are these images real, or just some hallucinations?
…AND EVEN MORE SHORT FICTION…
Besides the short fiction mentioned above, March has a bunch of other worthwhile short fiction titles you should be checking out…
- DJStories by David J. Schow
- Dracula: Rise of The Beast edited by David Thomas Moore
- Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson
- Guardian Angels and Other Monsters by Daniel H. Wilson
- The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg
- Nightflyers & Other Stories by George R.R. Martin
- Still So Strange by Amanda Downum
- Stone Mad by Elizabeth Bear
- You Should Come With Me Now: Stories of Ghosts by M. John Harrison