Unlikely superheroes, human-AI mediums, alchemists, ferals—this month’s genre-benders are full of intriguing characters. Sofia Samatar presents her first collection of short fiction; Zachary Mason peers into the future of San Francisco in Void Star; Mariam Petrosyan’s massive Gray House sees U.S. publication; and Jeff VanderMeer follows up his Southern Reach trilogy with the mysterious Borne.
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume 1—Hank Davis, editor (April 4, Baen Books)
The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume I, gathers together fourteen stories, predominantly from the first half of legendary science fiction and fantasy writer Gordon R. Dickson’s career, ranging from the early 1950s through the 1960s, including tales dragons, dolphins, aliens, werewolves, mutants and humans trying to make sense of an infinitely bewildering universe. A maiden aunt is suddenly given superpowers. An alien who looks like a large, sentient rabbit makes ominous announcement which make no sense from behind an impenetrable force shield. Humans besieged by an alien enemy refuse, against all reason, to give up fighting. And stay tuned for The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume II, with another generous display of Dickson’s virtuosity, covering his brilliant career from 1970s to the century’s end.
Feral—James DeMonaco & B.K. Evenson (April 4, Anchor Books)
Allie Hilts was still in high school when a fire at a top-secret research facility released an air-borne pathogen that quickly spread to every male on the planet, killing most. Allie witnessed every man she ever knew be consumed by fearsome symptoms: scorching fevers and internal bleeding, madness and uncontrollable violence. No man was spared, and the few survivors were irrevocably changed. They became disturbingly strong, aggressive, and ferocious. Feral. Three years later, Allie has joined a group of hardened survivors in an isolated, walled-in encampment. Outside the guarded walls the ferals roam free, and hunt. Allie has been noticing troubling patterns in the ferals’ movements, and a disturbing number of new faces in the wild. Something catastrophic is brewing on the horizon, and time is running out. With Feral, writer/director James DeMonaco and acclaimed novelist Brian Evenson have created a challenging and entertaining novel of timely horror and exhilarating suspense.
A Little More Human—Fiona Maazel (April 4, Graywolf)
Meet Phil Snyder: new father, nursing assistant at a cutting-edge biotech facility on Staten Island, and all-around decent guy. Trouble is, his life is falling apart. His wife has betrayed him, his job involves experimental surgeries with strange side effects, and his father is hiding early-onset dementia. Phil also has a special talent he doesn’t want to publicize—he’s a mind reader and moonlights as Brainstorm, a costumed superhero. But when Phil wakes up from a blackout drunk and is confronted with photos that seem to show him assaulting an unknown woman, even superpowers won’t help him. Try as he might, Phil can’t remember that night, and so, haunted by the need to know, he mind-reads his way through the lab techs at work, adoring fans at Toy Polloi, and anyone else who gets in his way, in an attempt to determine whether he’s capable of such violence.
Kokoro—Keith Yatsuhashi (April 4, Angry Robot)
After the events in Kojiki, a sad and lonely Roarke mourns in secret while the world he’s supposed to rule falls into chaos. The Earth is at peace and the Great Spirits have disappeared into the Boundaries to heal the wounds the war left behind. But Roarke Zar Ranok, Great Spirit of Earth is hiding inside a new planet, Higo, still grieving the loss of his mate, Botua. Knowing of Roarke’s pain, Takeshi Ahk-kiko, Great Lord of Spirit pulls Higo from time until Roarke is ready to become a present God. But eventually the people of Higo evolve without Roarke and develop only a vague notion of his existence. Even so, they await his return with eager anticipation, turning to hope in the face of a religious civil war—all except for one, that is—Baiyren Tallaenaq, Prince of Higo and heir to its throne.
The Alchemists of Kush—Minister Faust (April 11, Arche Press)
Two Sudanese “lost boys.” Both fathers murdered during civil war. Both mothers forced into exile where the only law was violence. To survive, the boys became ruthless loners and child soldiers, until they found mystic mentors who transformed them into their true destinies. One: known to the streets as the Supreme Raptor; the other: known to the Greeks as Horus, son of Osiris. Separated by seven thousand years, and yet connected by immortal truth. Born in fire. Baptized in blood. Brutalized by the wicked. Sworn to transform the world and themselves. They are the Alchemists of Kush.
Void Star—Zachary Mason (April 11, Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Not far in the future the seas have risen and the central latitudes are emptying, but it’s still a good time to be rich in San Francisco, where weapons drones patrol the skies to keep out the multitudinous poor. Irina isn’t rich, but she does have an artificial memory that gives her perfect recall and lets her act as a medium between her various employers and their AIs, which are complex to the point of opacity. It’s a good gig, paying enough for the annual visits to the Mayo Clinic that keep her from aging. Kern has no such access; he’s one of the many refugees in the sprawling drone-built favelas on the city’s periphery, where he lives like a monk, training relentlessly in martial arts, scraping by as a thief and an enforcer. Thales is from a different world entirely—the mathematically inclined scion of a Brazilian political clan, he’s fled to L.A. after the attack that left him crippled and his father dead. None are safe as they’re pushed together by subtle forces that stay just out of sight.
Tender: Stories—Sofia Samatar (April 11, Small Beer Press)
The first collection of short fiction from a rising star whose stories have been anthologized in the first two volumes of the Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy series and nominated for many awards. Some of Samatar’s weird and tender fabulations spring from her life and her literary studies; some spring from the world, some from the void.
Entropy in Bloom: Stories—Jeremy Robert Johnson (April 18, Night Shade)
Jeremy Robert Johnson’s short stories present a brilliantly dark and audaciously weird realm where cosmic nightmares collide with all-too-human characters and apocalypses of all shapes and sizes loom ominously. In “Persistence Hunting,” a lonely distance runner is seduced into a brutal life of crime with an ever-narrowing path for escape. In “When Susurrus Stirs,” an unlucky pacifist must stop a horrifying parasite from turning his body into a sentient hive. Running through all of Johnson’s work is a hallucinatory vision and deeply-felt empathy, earning the author a reputation as one of today’s most daring and thrilling writers. Featuring the best of his independently-published short fiction, as well as an exclusive, never-before-published novella, Entropy in Bloom is a perfect compendium for avid fans and an ideal entry point for adventurous readers.
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Eleven—Jonathan Strahan, editor (April 18, Solaris)
The 11th volume in this much lauded series with incisive and genre-defining stories chosen my multi-award winning editor Jonathan Strahan. The internationally-acclaimed Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year series moves into its second decade with the very best science fiction and fantasy from around the world. Hard science fiction, space opera, epic fantasy, dystopia, alternate history, swords and sorcery—you can find it all in the more than two dozen stories carefully chosen for this book by award-winning anthologist Jonathan Strahan to give readers a captivating and always-entertaining look at the very best the genre has to offer.
The Gray House—Mariam Petrosyan (April 25, AmazonCrossing)
Bound to wheelchairs and dependent on prosthetic limbs, the physically disabled students living in the House are overlooked by the Outsides. Not that it matters to anyone living in the House, a hulking old structure that its residents know is alive. From the corridors and crawl spaces to the classrooms and dorms, the House is full of tribes, tinctures, scared teachers, and laws—all seen and understood through a prismatic array of teenagers’ eyes. But student deaths and mounting pressure from the Outsides put the time-defying order of the House in danger. As the tribe leaders struggle to maintain power, they defer to the awesome power of the House, attempting to make it through days and nights that pass in ways that clocks and watches cannot record.
Borne—Jeff VanderMeer (April 25, Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
A young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a ruined city half destroyed by drought and conflict. The city is littered with discarded experiments from the Company—a biotech firm now derelict—and punished by the unpredictable predations of a giant bear. Rachel ekes out an existence in the shelter of a run-down sanctuary she shares with her partner, Wick, who deals his own homegrown psychoactive biotech. One day, Rachel finds Borne during a scavenging mission and takes him home. Borne as salvage is little more than a green lump—plant or animal?—but exudes a strange charisma. Borne, learning to speak, learning about the world, is fun to be with, and in a world so broken that innocence is a precious thing. But as Borne grows, he begins to threaten the balance of power in the city and to put the security of her sanctuary with Wick at risk. For the Company, it seems, may not be truly dead, and new enemies are creeping in. What Borne will lay bare to Rachel as he changes is how precarious her existence has been, and how dependent on subterfuge and secrets. In the aftermath, nothing may ever be the same.