For over a decade, Barnes & Noble buyer Jim Killen has been a driving force behind Barnes & Noble’s science fiction and fantasy sections. Each month on Tor.com, Mr. Killen curates a list of science fiction & fantasy titles, sometimes focused on upcoming titles and sometimes focused on a theme.
Here are the Barnes & Noble science fiction and fantasy picks for January 2015.
Saga, Volume 4—Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples (Artist)
(Dec 30, Image Comics—Paperback)
The highly anticipated comics series returns with its 4th volume! Now that Hazel’s a toddler, the family must go in a radical new dimension, as Marko and Alana try to stay on their feet and give their daughter a proper childhood, despite their life on the lam.
Collects Saga #19-24.
First and Last Sorcerer: A Novel of the Noble Dead—Barb Hendee, J. C. Hendee
(Jan 6, Roc—Hardcover)
Waylaid in their quest for the orb of the Air, Magiere, Leesil, Chap, and Wayfarer have all been wrongly imprisoned. But it is Magiere, the dhampir, who suffers the most as a cloaked interrogator employs telepathic torture.
Arriving at the Suman port city in search of Magiere, Wynn Hygeorht and her companions—including vampire Chane Andraso—seek out Domin Ghassan il’Sänke for assistance, which proves no easy task. The domin is embroiled in a secret hunt for a spectral undead with the power to invade anyone living and take the body as its host.
Even if Wynn can manage to free her friends from prison, battling this entirely new kind of undead hidden inside host bodies may be a challenge none of them can survive….
Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant Series #5)—Ben Aaronovitch
(Jan 6, DAW—Paperback)
When two young girls go missing in rural Herefordshire, police constable and wizard-in-training Peter Grant is sent out of London to check that nothing supernatural is involved.
It’s purely routine—Nightingale, Peter’s superior, thinks he’ll be done in less than a day. But Peter’s never been one to walk away from someone in trouble, so when nothing overtly magical turns up he volunteers his services to the local police, who need all the help they can get. But because the universe likes a joke as much as the next sadistic megalomaniac, Peter soon comes to realize that dark secrets underlie the picturesque fields and villages of the countryside and there might just be work for Britain’s most junior wizard after all.
Soon Peter’s in a vicious race against time, in a world where the boundaries between reality and fairy have never been less clear….
Gideon: A Novel—Alex Gordon
(Jan 6, HarperCollins Publishers—Paperback)
When Lauren’s father dies, she makes a shocking discovery. The man she knew as John Reardon was once a completely different person, with a different name. Now she’s determined to find out who he really was, even though her only clues are an old photograph and the name of a town: Gideon.
But someone—or something—doesn’t want her to discover the truth. A strange man is stalking her, appearing everywhere she turns, and those who try to help her end up dead. Neither a shadowy enemy nor her own fear will prevent her from solving the mystery of her father—and unlocking the secrets of her own life.
Making her way to Gideon, Lauren finds herself more confused than ever. Nothing in this small midwestern town is what it seems, including time itself. Residents start going missing, and Lauren is threatened by almost everyone she encounters. Two hundred years ago, a witch was burned at the stake, but in Gideon the past feels all too chillingly present….
Golden Son (Red Rising Series #2)—Pierce Brown
(Jan 6, Random House Publishing Group—Hardcover)
As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.
A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.
He must live for more.
Half-Resurrection Blues: A Bone Street Rumba Novel—Daniel Jose Older
(Jan 6, Roc—Paperback)
“Because I’m an inbetweener—and the only one anyone knows of at that—the dead turn to me when something is askew between them and the living. Usually, it’s something mundane like a suicide gone wrong or someone revived that shouldn’ta been.”
Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.
One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead.
But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death.
The Witches of Echo Park—Amber Benson
(Jan 6, Ace Trade—Paperback)
Unbeknownst to most of humankind, a powerful network of witches thrives within the shadows of society, using their magic to keep the world in balance. But they are being eliminated—and we will all pay if their power falls…
When Elyse MacAllister’s great-aunt Eleanora, the woman who raised her, becomes deathly ill, Lyse puts her comfortable life in Georgia on hold to rush back to Los Angeles. And once she returns to Echo Park, Lyse discovers her great-aunt has been keeping secrets—extraordinary secrets—from her.
Not only is Lyse heir to Eleanora’s Victorian estate; she is also expected to take her great-aunt’s place in the Echo Park coven of witches. But to accept her destiny means to place herself in deadly peril—for the world of magic is under siege, and the battle the witches now fight may be their last….
Strands of Sorrow—John Ringo
(Jan 6, Baen—Hardcover)
Strand of Sorrow is the conclusion of the Black Tide Rising series!
With the world consumed by a devastating plague that drives humans violently insane, what was once a band of desperate survivors bobbing on a dark Atlantic ocean has now become Wolf Squadron, the only hope for the salvation of the human race. Banding together with what remains of the U.S. Navy, Wolf Squadron, and its leader Steve Smith, not only plans to survive—he plans to retake the mainland from the infected, starting with North America.
Smith’s teenage daughters have become zombie hunters of unparalleled skill, both at land and on the sea, and they may hold the key to the rebirth of civilization on a devastated planet.
Tales from the Nightside—Simon R. Green
(Jan 6, Ace—Hardcover)
Welcome to the Nightside. It’s the secret heart of London, beating to its own rhythm, pumping lifeblood through the veins of its streets and alleys hidden in eternal darkness, where creatures of the night congregate and where the sun is afraid to shine. It’s the place to go if you’re looking to indulge the darker side of your nature—and to hell with the consequences.
Tales from the Nightside presents ten macabre mysteries that shine a dim beam into the neighborhood’s darkest corners to reveal things that should never come to light. Take a walk with such deadly and dangerous denizens of the Nightside as Razor Eddie, Dead Boy, and Larry Oblivion as they encounter things even more inhuman and inhumane than they are. And join John Taylor, the PI with a knack for finding lost things, as he confronts Sir Francis Varney, King of the Vampires, in a never-before-published novella-length adventure.
There may be nothing to be afraid of in the dark, but there’s plenty to be afraid of in the Nightside….
The Last American Vampire—Seth Grahame-Smith
(Jan 13, Grand Central Publishing—Hardcover)
In Reconstruction-era America, vampire Henry Sturges is searching for renewed purpose in the wake of his friend Abraham Lincoln’s shocking death. Henry’s will be an expansive journey that first sends him to England for an unexpected encounter with Jack the Ripper, then to New York City for the birth of a new American century, the dawn of the electric era of Tesla and Edison, and the blazing disaster of the 1937 Hindenburg crash.
Along the way, Henry goes on the road in a Kerouac-influenced trip as Seth Grahame-Smith ingeniously weaves vampire history through Russia’s October Revolution, the First and Second World Wars, and the JFK assassination.
Unbreakable—W. C. Bauers
(Jan 13, Tor Books—Hardcover)
The colonists of the planet Montana are accustomed to being ignored. Situated in the buffer zone between two rival human empires, their world is a backwater: remote, provincial, independently minded. Even as a provisional member of the Republic of Aligned Worlds, Montana merits little consideration—until it becomes the flashpoint in an impending interstellar war.
When pirate raids threaten to destabilize the region, the RAW deploys its mechanized armored infantry to deal with the situation. Leading the assault is Marine Corps Lieutenant and Montanan expatriate Promise Paen of Victor Company. Years earlier, Promise was driven to join the Marines after her father was killed by such a raid. Payback is sweet, but it comes at a tremendous and devastating cost. And Promise is in no way happy to be back on her birthworld, not even when she is hailed as a hero by the planet’s populace, including its colorful president. Making matters even worse: Promise is persistently haunted by the voice of her dead mother. Meanwhile, the RAW’s most bitter rival, the Lusitanian Empire, has been watching events unfold in the Montana system with interest. Their forces have been awaiting the right moment to gain a beachhead in Republic territory, and with Promise’s Marines decimated, they believe the time to strike is now.
The Globe: The Science of Discworld II—Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, and Jack Cohen
(Jan 20, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group—Paperback)
When the wizards of Unseen University first created Roundworld, they were so concerned with discovering the rules of this new universe that they overlooked its inhabitants entirely. Now, they have noticed humanity. And humanity has company. Arriving in Roundworld, the wizards find the situation is even worse than they’d expected. Under the elves’ influence, humans are superstitious, fearful, and fruitlessly trying to work magic in a world ruled by logic. Ridcully, Rincewind, Ponder Stibbons, and the orangutan Librarian must travel through time to get humanity back on track and out of the dark ages.
The Globe goes beyond science to explore the development of the human mind. Terry Pratchett and his acclaimed co-authors Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen combine the tale of the wizards rewriting human history with discussions of the origins and evolution of culture, language, art, and science, offering a fascinating and brilliantly original view of the world we live in.
Vicious—V. E. Schwab
(Jan 20, Tor Books—Paperback)
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?