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Science Fiction To Look Forward To In 2009 – Books

We’ve look at movies, now it’s time to turn our attention to something we all here at SF Signal love: books. Even though we receive enough review copies of books to help up us fortify the ramparts on our World HQ Castle, that doesn’t mean we don’t look forward to new books by our favorite authors or new releases with interesting covers. We’ll take a look at both here.

I used the terrific Locus Online forthcoming books list to our list here, and, given how much I like to read, it’s surprising how few books made this list for me….

de.jpgJack Vance is the master of the ‘Dying Earth’ genre of SF and now Subterranean Press, in conjunction with editor extraordinaire Gardner Dozois, is producing Songs of the Dying Earth, an anthology in honor of Jack Vance. That right there is enough to be intriguing, but look at some of the authors: Dan Simmons, Neil Gaiman, George R.R.Martin and many, many more high profile authors. Awesome!

I also like the cover of the book, it has that ancient, fantastical, blurry feeling that stories set on a far future Earth have (for me anyway), and it complements the aim of the collection well. If you want a copy, you’d better hurry, the Limited and Lettered editions are sold out, which means it’s the $40 trade version for you. I’ve never bought anything from Subterranean Press before, but this just might be the first.

I’m a big Dan Simmons fan, and not just for his science fiction offerings. I thought Carrion Comfort was well done and Summer of Night to be equal, if not better than, Stephen King’s offerings. Drood is his latest novel detailing the strange obsession Charles Dickens develops for the strange creature, Drood. Sure, there is the mass market version from Amazon and other stores, or you can go for the version linked to above with the cool John Picacio cover, which I like much more.

In any case, it’s a new book from Simmons and this one, like The Terror seemingly has him encroaching into Tim Powers territory, ascribing supernatural events and forces to the lives of real life people. I’m in.

This one was sent to our underground lair a couple of weeks ago (the regular version), so it is on my ‘to read’ pile.

It’s unusual for a series to hit eleven books and show no signs of stopping. What’s ever more unusual is for a series to hit eleven books and show no drop off in quality. That’s exactly what Jim Butcher has achieved with his Harry Dresden series of books. Turn Coat is the eleventh book in the series and I’m looking forward to this one quite a bit. Dresden is one of those iconic characters that stay with you and that you can’t help but root for, even though he is far from perfect. I liken Harry to the ‘tank’ character class that exists in many MMORPGs. He can take a lot of punishment before wearing the bad guys down. Sort of an occult version of ‘rope-a-dope’.

If you’re only exposure to Dresden was the horrendous Dresden Files on Sci Fi, do yourself a favor and pick up the books. You won’t be disappointed.

The Temporal Void is book 2 in his new Commonwealth trilogy and it certainly lives up to size of his earlier works. Which is one reason why I like Hamilton’s brand of space opera. It may not have the most rigorously detailed science, but what Hamilton does give us is loads of interesting characters, interesting storylines and those little touches that bring his universe to life. The first book, The Dreaming Void was rock solid space opera whose ‘fantasy’ elements I actually liked better than the more SF oriented ones. Even so, I’m still looking forward to reading this one because, like all previous Hamilton books, I just have to know what happens.

Another book we’ve received here at the big SFS, and it’s even been reviewed by John (which I’ve avoided to side step any potential spoilers). Soon, it will be mine to read.

A new book by SF Signal favorite author, Alastair Reynolds, is always a cause for celebration. Add in the fact that House of Suns is a ‘hard’ SF novel that hearkens back to 60’s and 70’s SF, but with modern day ideas, and we’ve got a winner! Heck, it covers six million years of time and its protagonist clones herself 2000 times and sends them out into the universe, meeting every 200,000 years. Toss in a traitor and assassin with plenty of exotic weaponry, and you’ve got a mix that sounds terrific.

Sure, it’s not a new Revelation Space novel, but Reynolds knows how to tell a great story with realistic, even ‘hard’, SF elements. This one appears to be no less. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one and read it.

George Mann’s debut novel, The Affinity Bridge (review here), is a crowd pleasing mix of Sherlock Holmes, steampunk and zombies. The Osiris Ritual is the continuing story of Holmes-alike investigator Maurice Newberry in Mann’s fully realized steampunk Victorian London. I really enjoyed the first book and even knowing very little about the plot for this book, I have to put it on my ‘to be read’ list, sight (mostly) unseen. Of course, with Osiris (the Egyptian god of the afterlife) in the title, there’s probably going to be some use of Egyptian themes. This puts me in mind of one of my all-time favorite books, The Anubis Gates, which only heightens my interest.

This one comes out in July and I can’t wait. I’ll probably have to fight John over it and that won’t be a pretty sight.

About JP Frantz (2322 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

9 Comments on Science Fiction To Look Forward To In 2009 – Books

  1. I’m reading an ARC of Drood right now. 🙂

  2. Mmmmm The Osiris Ritual is definitely one I am looking forward too.  I just want to grab it while you and John battle over it.  🙂 

  3. I’m reading that mass-market version, right now, and I have to say, as a sometime book-cover designer, I much prefer that cover. I do love what Picacio did, but to me his beautiful art is ruined by the cheap Photoshop glow on the title. Bleh. Whoever did the mass market version has a great sense of typography, which does make a difference.

  4. Oops, that was Drood I was referring to above.

  5. Joe Parrish // February 18, 2009 at 11:01 am //

    I have already read House of Suns, and it is indeed a wonderful book.  I am about a third of the way through Drood and it just sucks you in in the most wonderful way, I nearly missed the movie I was going to see when I started reading it at the book store, and bought it and the paperback of the Terror.  I have however wondered about the Mann and will probally look for it,  I think I have a free download of a short store that goes with these books that I need to read.  Thinking about picking up the Vance as well.

  6. This is the table of contents (as of the last update I had from the publisher) for SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH. Just take a look at some of the names here. Foreward by Jack Vance himself.

    “The Green Bird” by Kage Bager

    “The Good Magician” by Glen Cook

    “The Copsy Door” by Terry Dowling

    “The Last Golden Thread” by Phyllis Eisenstein

    “The Return of the Fire Witch” by Elizabeth Hand

    “Grolion of Almery” by Matthew Hughes

    “Evillo the Uncunning” by Tanith Lee

    “An Incident in Uskvosk” by Elizabeth Moon

    “Inescapable” by Mike Resnick

    “Sylgarmo’s Proclamation” by Lucius Shepard

    “The True Vintage of Erzuine Thale” by Robert Silverberg

    “The Guiding Nose of Ulfant Banderoz” by Dan Simmons

    “The Final Quest of the Wizard Sarnod” by Jeff VanderMeer

    “The Traditions of Karzh” by Paula Volsky

    “Caulk the Witch-Chaser” by Liz Williams
    “The Lamentably Comical Tragedy (or The Laughably Tragic Comedy) of Lixal Laqavee” by Tad Williams

    “Abrizonde” by Walter Jon Williams.
    “Guyal the Curator” by John C. Wright 





  7. Well, that TOC is worth a post of its own!  Thanks!

  8. weyland yutani // February 18, 2009 at 11:31 pm //

    I can’t wait to read House of Suns.  It looks like a great story.

    Already a second book to follow The Affinity Bridge?!  It’s really sad that I can’t keep up with the output of these authors.  I need to get The Affinity Bridge on my shelf.

  9. Not that interesting a year, I’d agree (and maybe it is the year I get to either the Malazan Book Of the Fallen or the next Dark Tower stuff)


    But from your Locus list


    ***Dozois, Gardner, & Jonathan Strahan, eds. • The New Space Opera 2 • (Eos, anth, tpb)


    Asher, Neal • Orbus • (Tor UK, hc)

    Chadbourn, Mark • The Destroyer of Worlds • (Gollancz, hc/tpb) 
    Chadbourn, Mark • Lord of Silence • (Solaris)

    Morgan, Richard • The Cold Commands • (Gollancz, hc/tpb)

    Schroeder, Karl • Sunless Countries • (Tor, hc)

    Steele, Allen • Coyote Horizon • (Ace, hc)

    Stross, Charles • Wireless • (Orbit, cln, hc)

    Williams, Sean • Astropolis: Book 3: The Grand Conjunction • (Orbit)


    Jay Lake’s Green is rather good, too.

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