If there's one thing I like as much as reading books, it's browsing books. Just wandering the aisles of the bookstore—seeing the books lined up, fawning over some cool cover art, glimpsing a new title by an author I admire—all of it incites me to read.
Read the last SF Signal on demystifying sci-fi terms.
While I may be hopeless case in the bookstore, you can learn from my folly and arm yourselves with the following list of science-fiction and fantasy books coming out in April that are definitely worth a look...
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall and The Fountain of Age: Stories by Nancy Kress
Two novels by a superb author in the same month? Yes please! No way I'm gonna choose between ’em for this list! In the novel After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, the future of humanity is at stake when a present-day FBI agent's investigations into a series of kidnappings leads to a plan by survivors of an eco-ravaged future Earth to repopulate the world by using alien technology to retrieve children from Earth's past. Meanwhile, The Fountain of Age collects nine of the author's stories that, like much of her fiction does, explore the human condition against a science-fictional backdrop.
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
This chilling tale introduces 20-something Miriam Black, who knows exactly when and how you will die. Although she is trying to disavow her ability, Miriam nevertheless must face it head on when she meets a man, foresees his death and realizes she is involved in it.
Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal
Glamour in Glass continues the story of Kowal's well-received debut novel, Shades of Milk and Honey, a tribute to Jane Austen which introduced a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. Here, Jane must use her magical powers of illusion to save her newlywed husband and escape the perils of Belgium, which is thrown into turmoil after Napoleon escapes his exile in Elba.
Kurt Vonnegut: Novels & Stories 1950-1962 by Kurt Vonnegut
The Library of America is making great strides [http://www.kirkusreviews.com/blog/science-fiction-and-fantasy/sf-signal-speculative-fiction-library-america/] in preserving the nation's cultural heritage through the publication of definitive volumes of influential writers. Their latest is a collection of novels by Vonnegut, a writer who often dabbled in speculative fiction. This lovely volume contains the novels Player Piano (a dystopia of capitalism), The Sirens of Titan (where a Martian invasion of Earth is used to explore themes of free will and omniscience), Mother Night (the memoirs of a U.S. spy), as well as a generous sampling of Vonnegut's short fiction.
Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010 by Damien Broderick & Paul di Filippo
This reference book serves as a sequel of sorts to David Pringles seminal Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels, which covered novels up to the year 1985. Now, two of today's professional critics continue that trend and bring us to the present. If you want to know the essential science-fiction books to read that were published in the last 25 years, this is your go-to guide.
The Best of Kage Baker by Kage Baker
One of the field's brightest stars shines again in this collection of stories showcasing her immeasurable storytelling talents. This volume contains 20 stories, including some set in the milieu of her widely popular Company series, which revolve around the exploits of time-traveling cyborgs from our future. You won't be disappointed.
The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson
Acclaimed author Hopkinson plies her incomparable writing talents to a book marketed to young adults. (But don't be fooled by labels; adults will enjoy this, too!) In it, a young woman of mixed heritage—and a self-proclaimed misfit—encounters a supernatural force called the Chaos that makes her brother disappear and threatens the city. What follows is a quest, not only to save the people, but also a quest of self-discovery, told with an intriguing blend of fantasy and Caribbean folklore.
The Mongoliad: Book One by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, et al.
The Mogoliad was born as a community-driven, enhanced serial novel set in the year 1241, when only a small band of warriors and mystics stood between Europe and the Mongol Horde. But don't let its unconventional beginnings steer you wrong; this story is pure adventure, with much swordplay and swashbuckling.
The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel by Stephen King
The master storyteller returns to the world of his Dark Tower series with The Wind Through the Keyhole, a standalone novel that chronologically sits between the fourth and fifth book (Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla). Readers learn more about Roland through a series of stories that King himself describes as modern-day fairy tales.
Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer
Sawyer possesses a knack for writing accessible science fiction, usually taking place in the near future. In Triggers, an assassin's bullet sends President Seth Jerrison to the hospital where, coincidentally, an experiment is underway to create a device that can erase traumatic memories. An electromagnetic pulse triggers that device, allowing certain people in the hospital, including President Jerrison, to share each other's memories. The problem: in the wrong hands, the President's memories will endanger national security and put lives at risk.
Ah, if only it were that easy to cherry-pick only 10 (OK, 11) books that piqued my interest. I am too weak—too weak, I say!—to perform such a impossible task. So, I'm taking the easy way out and naming more. The good news for you, dear reader, is that you have more reading recommendations from which to choose:
Blue Magic by A.M. Dellamonica
Burning Man by Mark Chadbourn
Deadfall Hotel by Steve Rasnic Tem
Dream Castles: The Early Jack Vance, Volume Two by Jack Vance
Faustus Resurrectus by Thomas Morrissey
Lost Everything by Brian Francis Slattery
Night Sessions by Ken MacLeod
Radiant Days by Elizabeth Hand
Red Glove by Holly Black
Rocket Science: Science Fiction and Non-Fiction by Ian Sales
Spirit's Princess by Esther Friesner
The Complete John Thunstone by Manly Wade Wellman
The Shape of Desire by Sharon Shinn
The Shining City by Fiona Patton
The Straits of Galahesh by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Tricked by Kevin Hearne
Westlake Soul by Rio YouersJohn DeNardo is the editor of SF Signal, a group science-fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews.