June has come upon us. How did we get to be nearly halfway through the year already? No matter! Clearly the time has come to consider what the second half of the year offers in terms of books for us to look forward to reading…
As usual, this isn’t an exhaustive list. There are plenty of books relevant to this column’s interest, and I’ve no doubt I’ve missed more than half of them. Do drop by the comments and share what else we could be looking forward to!
July seems like a slight month for SFF, with only Carolyn Ives Gilman’s Dark Orbit (science fiction) and Stina Leicht’s Cold Iron (gunpowder epic fantasy) really popping up across my horizon. But August looks set to make up for the lack: not only is there a collection from the acclaimed Nalo Hopkinson, Falling In Love With Hominids, and Hodder and Stoughton’s publication of Becky Chambers’ well-received The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, there are three novels whose respective publications are being awaited with bated breath. From N.K. Jemisin, we can expect a new epic fantasy, The Fifth Season, beginning a new series; from Kate Elliott, her first foray into writing fantasy for a Young Adult audience, with Court of Fives (and I promise you, it’s Really Good); and the long-awaited new novel from Aliette de Bodard, The House of Shattered Wings, set in a post-apocalyptic Paris of fallen angels and warring houses—among other things. August also sees the UK publication of Regeneration, the final novel in Stephanie Saulter’s debut trilogy, and I’m really looking forward to that myself.
September is another month filled with interesting books. And interesting debuts: at least three of the novels that’ve caught my attention are their authors’ first. Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown, set in a Victorian England with magic, is getting quite a bit of buzz—some of you may already be familiar with Cho’s short fiction and her award-winning collection Spirits Abroad. Ilana C. Myer is also entering the debut lists with Last Song Before Night, which sounds like an interesting epic fantasy: magic, music, rebellion? Last but by no means least in this debut triad is Fran Wilde, with Updraft, a novel with wings, weird towers, and a protagonist that does a lot of growing up. (I’ve read an ARC, and it’s pretty damn good.)
But that’s not all for September! Rae Carson starts a new Young Adult fantasy series set in Gold Rush America with Walk The Earth A Stranger; Leigh Bardugo gives us Six of Crows, a fantasy heist novel; Kim Harrison opens a new series with The Drafter and Cecelia Holland dips her toe in old-style epic fantasy with Dragon Heart. Meanwhile, Cherie Priest follows up last year’s Maplecroft (Lizzie Borden vs. squamous horrors) with Chapelwood. And Seanan McGuire brings us a fresh entry in her Toby Daye series with A Red-Rose Chain.
And now we’re on to October. Guess what I’m really looking forward to in October? Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie—I can’t wait. Cannot wait. And Leah Bobet’s second novel, An Inheritance of Ashes, which looks like the best thing.
Also in October, Kameron Hurley follows up last year’s The Mirror Empire with sequel The Empire Ascendant, and Jaime Lee Moyer wraps up her trilogy of fantasy novels set in early-20th-century San Francisco with Against a Brightening Sky. Genevieve Cogman is set to follow up her batshit entertaining debut The Invisible Library with second novel in series The Masked City, while Laura Anne Gilman opens a new fantasy series in the American West with Silver on the Road. Tanya Huff’s An Ancient Peace opens a new chapter in her Confederation space opera, while Catherynne M. Valente offers us a new counter-factual science fiction novel in Radiance.
Now we reach the point in the year where I know about fewer books, and where I begin to suspect publication dates might be less than firm. But November has at least three books I both know about and am looking forward to! Kate Elliott opens a new epic fantasy trilogy with Black Wolves, set in the same world as her earlier “Crossroads” trilogy. Michelle Sagara brings us a new instalment of her Chronicles of Elantra series, with Cast in Honor. And Catherynne M. Valente’s Six-Gun Snow White finally gets a wider release: hurrah!
Who knows what’s coming in December? The only book I know of that looks interesting is the latest novel in A.M. Dellamonica’s current series, A Daughter of No Nation. It has a pretty cover.
I haven’t mentioned in this column the forthcoming works by Charles Stross, or Max Gladstone, or Django Wexler, or Scott Lynch that I’m also looking forward to. Or even nodded to the comic trade paperbacks (Bitch Planet!) that I covet so very much.
What are you guys getting greedy over for the second half of the year?