Debut author Drew Karpyshyn kicks things off with Children of Fire, a fantasy epic that incorporates elements of horror and operatic drama. The four children of the title are born into a world where magic has been ruthlessly suppressed because the gods cannot be trusted. Each child possesses chaotic powers, the gift of an evil deity, and must fight for self-determination—refreshing in a genre where destiny often goes unquestioned—as battles rage among gods, mages, and mortal rulers.
Fantasy author Steven Brust (the Vlad Taltos series) joins paranormal romance author Skyler White (In Dreams Begin) in a joint move to contemporary fantasy with The Incrementalists, in which meddlers live for thousands of years by passing their memories along to new human avatars. Their goal is to subtly shift the course of human history in positive directions, though they don’t always succeed. Urban fantasy author Richard Kadrey takes a break from the gritty Sandman Slim series for the more atmospheric Dead Set, a stand-alone featuring a young woman caught between our world and the world of the dead.
Military SF author John Ringo (the Posleen War series) joins the zombie brigade with Under a Graveyard Sky, in which action scenes—many featuring a 13-year-old girl with a zeal for destroying the undead—are balanced by scientists’ efforts to develop a vaccine for the zombie virus. Meanwhile, Mira Grant (the Newsflesh trilogy) moves away from zombie action and toward science fiction horror with Parasite. In this near-future world, numerous illnesses have been cured by bioengineered tapeworms—but the parasites have their own agenda. Appropriately, Grant’s novel is slated for a Halloween release.
Novelty isn’t everything; some authors know just what their readers want and reliably deliver it. Devon Monk found tremendous success with the Allie Beckstrom urban fantasy series, which ended last year with Magic for a Price, and her fans will be eager to pick up Hell Bent (Roc, Nov.), the first in a spinoff series featuring Allie’s longtime pals Shamus Flynn and Terric Conley. Readers who loved Stephen King’s The Shining (1977) have waited a little longer for there to be a sequel, but it’s here at last: Doctor Sleep, starring middle-aged Dan Torrance, the boy protagonist of the earlier book, as a physician who uses his “shining” to comfort the dying. Dan learns of a group of people who torture children with the shining to produce magical immortality energy, and soon a battle between good and evil—King’s stock in trade—is underway.
Several notable authors have collections coming out that span the entire speculative spectrum. Among these are Let the Old Dreams Die by John Ajvide Lindqvist, which continues Let the Right One In; How the World Became Quiet: Myths of the Past, Present, and Future by rising star Rachel Swirsky, who’s recently picked up several award nominations for her short fiction; and Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor, whose Nigeria-influenced works for teens and adults have won considerable acclaim. These short stories will be perfect for the long cool nights of fall, whether they’re told around a campfire or read with a flashlight under the covers.
Fall isn’t just back-to-school season for students. A number of speculative fiction writers are embarking on exciting new ventures this fall, some of them stretching their wings in surprising and challenging ways. Though some might say that the commercial popularity of SF, fantasy, and horror has led to their stagnation, there are plenty of counterexamples.
PW’s Top 10: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
Children of Fire. Drew Karpyshyn. Del Rey, Aug.
The Incrementalists. Steven Brust and Skyler White. Tor, Sept.
Dead Set. Richard Kadrey. Harper Voyager, Oct.
Under a Graveyard Sky. John Ringo. Baen, Sept.
Parasite. Mira Grant. Orbit, Oct.
Hell Bent: A Broken Magic Novel. Devon Monk. Roc, Nov.
Doctor Sleep. Stephen King. Scribner, Sept.
Let the Old Dreams Die. John Ajvide Lindqvist, trans. by Ebba Segerberg. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, Oct.
How the World Became Quiet: Myths of the Past, Present, and Future. Rachel Swirsky. Subterranean, Sept.
Kabu Kabu. Nnedi Okorafor. Prime, Oct.
Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Listings
Harrowgate by Kate Maruyama (Sept. 24, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1477807651). Maruyama’s debut novel is a chilling, richly detailed story of love, loss, and the haunted place between.
SEAL Team 13 by Evan Currie (Nov. 15, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1477807743). A dark, riveting, and action-packed tale of military intrigue and supernatural horror—the first in a new military SF series.
The Curse Keepers by Denise Grover Swank (Nov. 19, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1477808627). Swank launches a series about the survivors of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, the Curse Keepers.
Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Anarchy by James Treadwell (Sept. 17, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1451661675). Treadwell continues the imaginative fantasy trilogy that began with the critically acclaimed Advent.
Under a Graveyard Sky by John Ringo (Sept. 3, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1451639193). A family of survivors fight back against a zombie plague.
Mars, Inc.: The Billionaire’s Club by Ben Bova (Dec. 3, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1451639346). The Hugo winner returns to his most popular subject: the quest for Mars.
The Garden at the Roof of the World by W.B.J. Williams (Aug. 30, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1940076003). Young Gwenaella travels through 13th-century Europe, the Middle East, India, and Tibet to find the Garden at the Roof of the World.
The Loathly Lady by John Lawson (Oct. 15, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1940076034). When young Brandywine, a would-be knight, is called to defend his kingdom, he must solve a riddle and save a young woman from a curse.
The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst (Oct. 29, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0373803590). Lost your way? Your dreams? Yourself? Welcome to Lost. It was supposed to be a small escape. But once you arrive in Lost... you really can’t leave. Not until you’re Found.
Dead Set by Richard Kadrey (Oct. 29, hardcover, $22.99, ISBN 978-0062283016). An eerie, compelling stand-alone fantasy in which a young girl is caught between the worlds of the living and the dead. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
Winds of Salem by Melissa de la Cruz (Aug. 13, hardcover, $23.99, ISBN 978-1401324704). Bestseller de la Cruz concludes the Witches of East End trilogy. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
The Demon’s Wife by Rick Hautala (Sept. 13, trade paper, $18.95, ISBN 978-1936564958). Can a demon and a mortal find true love?
Netherworld, Book I by Lisa Morton (Jan. 10, trade paper, $18.95, ISBN 978-1940161082). Lady Diana Furnaval may be a polite 19th-century British noblewoman, but the lace gloves come off when she deals with demons.
Sorority by Tamara Thorne (Sept. 1, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-0758285515). Thorne’s sorority-themed horror novels will find a new audience in trade paperback with this omnibus, aimed at both teens and adults.
The Wolves of Midwinter: The Wolf Gift Chronicles by Anne Rice (Oct. 15, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0385349963) returns to the rugged coastline of Northern California and the grand mansion at Nideck Point—further exploring the unearthly education of the transformed Man Wolf. 250,000-copy announced first printing.
Death and Mr. Right by Kendra Saunders (Oct. 1, mass market, $7.95, ISBN 978-1939392046). Death, the agent of nightmares, has been exiled to live among mortals for the rest of his unnaturally long life.
A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish (Oct. 8, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-0316242394). Self-published star Dalglish brings his bestselling series to Orbit, starting with the gritty tale of an assassin. 25,000-copy announced first printing.
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Oct. 1, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-0316246620). Breq used to be the Justice of Toren, a huge, powerful spaceship, but is now reduced to a single frail, human body. 25,000-copy announced first printing.
Parasite by Mira Grant (Oct. 29, hardcover, $20, ISBN 978-0316218955). In Grant’s hardcover debut, the human race has been cured of the common cold and cancer. But the parasites are getting restless. 40,000-copy announced first printing.
Just Gone by William Kowalski (Sept. 1, trade paper, $9.95, ISBN 978-1459803275). Angelique’s work at a homeless shelter takes a strange turn when she encounters seven-year-old Jamal and his fantastic stories about a mysterious character named Jacky Wacky.
Adam Robots: Short Stories by Adam Roberts (Sept. 1, trade paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-0575130340). Twisted visions carry Roberts’s trademark elegance of style and restless enquiry of the sci-fi genre he loves.
Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill (Nov. 1, trade paper, $12.95, ISBN 978-0330514965). In Barrington House, an upmarket block in London, there is an apartment that has been vacant for 50 years. When a young American woman arrives, she quickly realizes that some doors are better left closed.
The Lost Stars: Perilous Shield by Jack Campbell (Oct. 1, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0425256312). The second in Campbell’s new military science fiction series, a spinoff of his bestselling Lost Fleet novels.
After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris (Oct. 29, hardcover, $18, ISBN 978-0425269510). Dead Ever After marked the end of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. In After Dead, Harris takes fans into the future of their favorite residents of Bon Temps.
Codex Born: Magic Ex Libris, Book 2 by Jim C. Hines (Aug. 6, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0756408169). Nonstop action and laughter power Hines’s riveting second journey into the “peculiar life” of Isaac Vainio, with werewolves, ghosts, robot insects, a fire spider that eats candy, and homages to classic SF.
Happy Hour in Hell by Tad Williams (Sept. 3, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0756408152). Bobby Dollar returns in a new urban fantasy.
The Last Dark by Stephen R. Donaldson (Oct. 15, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0399159206). Donaldson concludes the long-running Thomas Covenant epic fantasy series.
Hell Bent: A Broken Magic Novel by Devon Monk (Nov. 5, mass market, $7.99, ISBN 978-0451417923). The first book in a new series spun off from the bestselling Allie Beckstrom books.
Pink Narcissus Press
Elementari Rising by Nancy Hightower (Sept. 17, trade paper, $17, ISBN 978-1939056047). Winter moves like a predator, taking villages one at a time, leaving the people either dead or half mad. In Gaelastad, 18-year-old Jonathan is haunted by dreams of a little girl. Will he be able to find her and stop the tide of destruction?
Premier Digital Publishing
3 Gates of the Dead by Jonathan Ryan (Oct. 15, trade paper, $16.99, ISBN 978-1624670992). Aidan Schaeffer is a young assistant pastor whose fiancée is a victim in a series of ritualistic killings. His investigation threatens to corrupt his very soul.
A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon (Aug. 27, trade paper, $17.99, ISBN 978-1624670961). In an alternate 19th-century Earth, a war rages between scientific Anglica and magical Bharata.
Her Husband’s Hands and Other Stories by Adam-Troy Castro (Dec. 1, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1607014089) collects stories of a utopia where the most privileged get to do whatever they want, a soldier’s wife trying to love a husband who is little more than backup memory, and a society in which the citizens all make merry for nine remarkable days and on the 10th get a taste of hell, among others.
Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor (Oct. 1, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1607014058). Okorafor’s debut short story collection takes the reader to magical, occasionally dangerous, and always imaginative locations; foreword by Whoopi Goldberg.
One-Eyed Jack by Elizabeth Bear (Nov. 1, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1607014065). When the Suicide King vanishes in the middle of a magic-rights turf war, the King’s partner, the One-Eyed Jack, must seek the aid of a bizarre band of allies.
23 Years on Fire by Joel Shepherd (Sept. 3, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1616148096). Cassandra Kresnov—a highly advanced hunter-killer android—returns to face down a rogue government’s plot to eliminate free will.
The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich (Sept. 10, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1616148133). Brent Weeks meets China Miéville in this imaginative fantasy debut featuring high action, elegant writing, and sword and sorcery with Chinese flair.
Quercus/Jo Fletcher Books
A Cold Season by Alison Littlewood (Sept. 24, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1623650223). Littlewood’s debut novel, she has crafted a chilling portrait of a young mother pitted against mystical forces to save her son.
Mage’s Blood by David Hair (Sept. 3, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1623650148). An epic swords-and-sorcery fantasy about the struggle for mastery in a world ruled by magic.
Limit by Frank Schätzing, trans. by Shaun Whiteside, Jamie Searle, and Samuel Willcocks (Nov. 5, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1623650445). An epic science fiction thriller in which the depletion of Earth’s fossil fuel forces humankind to tap new sources of energy discovered on the moon.
Random House/Del Rey
Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik (Aug. 13, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0345522894). The penultimate adventure in the bestselling Temeraire series of Napoleonic-era military history with dragons.
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (Oct. 8, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0553804690). The highly anticipated The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies.
Children of Fire by Drew Karpyshyn (Aug. 27, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0345542236). This energetic Wagnerian epic revitalizes traditional epic fantasy quest elements with tragic heroes, evocative imagery, and sweeping conflict.
The Mammoth Book of Angels and Demons by Paula Guran (Aug. 1, trade paper, $13.95, ISBN 978-0762449378). Twenty-seven fantasy tales feature angels and demons from a range of new and well-known authors.
The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF by Mike Ashley (Sept. 3, trade paper, $13.95, ISBN 978-0762449392). A collection of past and future time travel stories, exploring what might happen if we attempt to manipulate time.
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (Sept. 24, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1476727653). King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a group of murderous paranormals.
Severn House Publishers
The Memory of Trees by F.G. Cottam (Oct. 1, hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-0727883155). Billionaire Saul Abercrombie plans to restore the ancient forest that covered his land before medieval times, and he employs young arboreal expert Tom Curtis who will find himself engaging in an epic, ancient battle between good and evil.
Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books
The Troop by Nick Cutter (Jan. 7, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1476717715). Boy Scouts live by the motto “Be Prepared.” However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island.
The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice (Oct. 15, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1476716084). In this supernatural novel, a group of teenagers find themselves with mysterious and dangerous powers.
Stories of Terror and the Supernatural by Herman Graf (Sept. 3, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1626362543). Bone-chilling tales from 19th-century English, French, and American authors.
St. Martin’s Press
Snowblind by Christopher Golden (Jan. 21, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1250015310). In a small Massachusetts town, a deadly snowstorm claims lives. Years later an identical snowstorm is on the way, and the memories of the dead are starting to haunt all of those who are still alive.
St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books
Let the Old Dreams Die by John Ajvide Lindqvist, trans. by Ebba Segerberg (Oct. 1, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0312620530). A classic short story collection that continues the breathtaking story begun in the internationally acclaimed Let the Right One In.
Star Road by Matthew Costello and Rick Hautala (Jan. 14, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1250013224). A rebel and an outlaw lead an unsuspecting group of adventurers on a secret space mission.
Day One by Nate Kenyon (Oct. 1, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1250013217). A man tries to escape from New York City as technology becomes sentient.
Blindsighted Wanderer by E.C. Hibbs (Sept. 17, trade paper, $16.99, ISBN 978-0989202787). When Silas Atego learns his father’s death was caused by a demon from beyond the Wall, his need for vengeance draws him to do the unthinkable.
How the World Became Quiet: Myths of the Past, Present, and Future by Rachel Swirsky (Sept. 30, hardcover, $40, 978-1596065505). Nebula-winner Swirsky’s debut collection of 18 stories showcases her range in both fantasy and SF.
Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard by Kim Newman (Sept. 10, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0857680860). The transformation in 1944 of a boy into a vampire launches the zany latest entry in Newman’s Anno Dracula series of vampire stories, set in an alternate world where Dracula ruled England before dying in 1959.
Fiendish Schemes by K.W. Jeter (Oct. 15, trade paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-0765330949). The long-awaited stand-alone sequel to Infernal Devices by one of the founders of steampunk.
Transcendental by James Gunn (Aug. 27, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0765335012). Beings from different worlds journey across the galaxy to uncover the secrets of Transcendentalism.
The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White (Sept. 24, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0765334220). In this philosophical and inventive urban fantasy, Brust (the Vlad Taltos series) and White (In Dreams Begin) introduce the eponymous secret society and its humble mission.
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (Nov. 12, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0765326362). The eagerly awaited sequel to the bestselling The Way of Kings.