Three-quarters of the way through the year, and October is when publishers really get their autumn lists going. So this month we’ve got some really big names, including William Gibson, Tanith Lee, Ken MacLeod and Connie Willis. But they’re all lined up for the the follow up posts to this one. We’ve got enough big names and must-have books already for this first part. So let’s start with:
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017 edited by John Joseph Adams & Charles Yu
Probably the last of the Year’s Best anthologies to appear (I can’t honestly be sure, I’m losing track of quite how many there are these days), this volume has John Joseph Adams as the series editor and Charles Yu as the guest editor for this volume only. The collection, which probably leans slightly more towards fantasy than science fiction, is an interesting mixture of familiar big names, including Catherynne M. Valente, Brian Evenson, N.K. Jemisin and Peter S. Beagle, with some rather less familiar names (Leigh Bardugo and Dale Baily seem to be attracting particular attention).
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Last year’s UK edition has already attracted quite a bit of attention, winning the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction (an award not often associated with sf), and surprising many when it missed out on a place on the Clarke Award shortlist. It has also attracted admiration from Margaret Atwood, who is Alderman’s mentor. It’s the provocative story of young women suddenly acquiring the power to emit electricity, a force that can injure or even kill. And with this new power comes a radical transformation in political power.
Six Months, Three Days, Five Others by Charlie Jane Anders
This is the first short story collection from Charlie Jane Anders. It includes the Hugo Award winning novelette, “Six Months, Three Days”, which brings together a man who can foresee the future and a woman who can see all possible futures. The five other stories in the collection are “The Fermi Paradox is Our Business Model”, “As Good As New”, “Intestate”, “The Cartography of Sudden Death”, and include “Clover”, which is original to this book and which acts a pendant to her Nebula Award winning novel, All the Birds in the Sky.
Tool of War by Paolo Bacigalupi
This is the third novel in Bacigalupi’s YA series beginning with Ship Breaker. Tool has been engineered to be a soldier, but now he has found a way to by-pass the loyalty that was genetically ingrained in him. As a result, he now as big a threat to his masters as he ever was to the enemy. So Tool is being hunted by someone who is determined to destroy him before he can start an all-out war against the very people who originally enslaved him.
Children of the Fleet by Orson Scott Card
This is the first time in years that Card has returned to the universe of his multi-award winning Ender’s Game. The old Battle School where Ender Wiggin studied has been replaced by Fleet School, where the best and brightest study to lead the colonization fleet to other worlds. Dabeet Ochoa is very bright indeed, but he has no connections to the Fleet, so he doesn’t think he has any chance of getting into Fleet School. Moving between the Fleet and events on Earth, this new novel provides a different angle on events in the Ender’s Shadow series.
Forbidden Suns by D. Nolan Clark
This is the third and final part of Clark’s epic space opera trilogy, The Silence. The hero, Aleister Lanoe, has been at war for 300 years, and so far he’s not encountered an enemy he can’t defeat. But now there’s an alien race that is systematically destroying all sentient life in its path, and Lanoe has to stop them. This could well be the last mission of his long career, certainly the stakes have never been higher.
Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr by John Crowley
Okay, this is fantasy not science fiction; but it’s by John Crowley, for heaven’s sake, who has to be one of the very best writers around. He doesn’t produce anywhere near as many novels as we might like, but when he does it is well worth paying attention. A new John Crowley novel is an event whether it is fantasy or science fiction or something else entirely, and if you’ve got any sense you’ll want to pay attention to it. Dar Oakley is the first crow with a name of his own, and when he tells the story of his 2,000 years of life, it provides a fascinating glimpse of human history, from Caesar to the Irish monks who sailed to America. In fact, what Dar Oakley has learned could change the human way of life completely.
To Guard Against the Dark by Julie E. Czerneda
This is the first volume in an intriguing new hard sf trilogy, but it also acts as the conclusion to Czerneda’s Clan Chronicles sequence. Once, Jason Morgan was a powerful starship captain, but then he joined Sira di Sarc and travelled with her and her clan out of known space. Now he has returned, alone and saying nothing about what happened. But the universe he has returned to is far from safe. The absence of Sira di Sarc has created a power vacuum, and as other races jockey for position, peace and stability are under increasing threat.
From Nebula and Hugo Award–nominated Carolyn Ives Gilman comes Dark Orbit, a compelling novel featuring alien contact, mystery, and murder.
Reports of a strange, new habitable planet have reached the Twenty Planets of human civilization. When a team of scientists is assembled to investigate this world, exoethnologist Sara Callicot is recruited to keep an eye on an unstable crewmate.