The election is over, and it's time to return to the fantasy worlds that always provide us with more fulfillment than reality. This month, we bring you news of a treasure trove of new scifi books packed with monsters, interstellar politics, mad scientists, and shadow worlds filled with underwater cities of the dead. Plus, a toxic blob that could take over the world. Read on, read hard, and check out our November books recommendations. Neal Asher, The Gabble and Other Stories Asher's monster-packed, politically-savvy novels mostly take place in "the Polity," his interstellar civilization. He's dealt with everything from time travel to AI in books like Gridlinked and Line War, and this new short story collection promises to bring you a satisfying dose of Polity monsters and machinations.
Peter S. Beagle, We Never Talk About My Brother One of the best works of urban fantasy I've ever read, The Folk of the Air, is by Beagle, though he's probably best known for The Last Unicorn. This collection of short stories from Tachyon is full of previously-published and new stuff from a writer whose work is always bittersweet, wry, and memorable. Describing the stories in the collection, the publisher writes:
The Angel of Death enjoys newfound celebrity while moonlighting as an anchorman on the network news; King Pelles the Sure, the shortsighted ruler of a gentle realm, betrays himself in dreaming of a "manageable war"; an American librarian discovers that, much to his surprise and sadness, he is also the last living Frenchman; and rivals in a supernatural battle forgo pistols at dawn, choosing instead to duel with dramatic recitations of terrible poetry.
UPDATE: This book's release has been delayed until March. Elizabeth Bear, All the Windwracked Stars Author of scifi classics like Carnival, here Bear turns again to industrial fantasy, combining Norse paganism with cybernetics in a strange tale of postapocalyptic cities, vengeance, angels, and a two-headed horse. If the phrase "norsepunk" gets your steam engines hot, then this novel will put all your gauges into the red zone.
James P. Blaylock, The Adventures of Langdon St. Ives A series of rip-roaring novellas from artful anachronist Blaylock, author of The Man in the Moon. I've been waiting a while to delve into this book, which represents the collected adventures of St. Ives, a Victorian-era mad scientist. According to Publishers Weekly:
In "The Ape-Box Affair," St. Ives attempts to launch an orangutan named Newton into outer space, but the ship crashes in a pond in St. James Park, terrifying the people of London into believing that they've been invaded by aliens. In Philip K. Dick Award–winner "Homunculus," St. Ives battles the evil, hunchbacked genius Dr. Ignacio Narbondo, who attempts to awaken the dead, while in "Lord Kelvin's Machine," a grief-beset St. Ives must counter Narbondo's threat to throw the Earth in front of a passing comet.
M.M. Buckner, Watermind This action-packed novel about a grad student who discovers a new lifeform in a toxic sludge pile promises to be smart, weird, and fun as hell. There's a blend of interesting characters and rip-roaring monster weirdness. Our hero, an MIT dropout, is struggling to deal with her emotionally distant family and an underground journalist lover while also racing across the country to stop the strange new toxic life from getting out of control. Highly recommended! Jeffrey A. Carver, Sunborn The fourth book in Carver's space opera Chaos Chronicles, Sunborn is an interstellar murder mystery. Jeffrey Ford, The Drowned Life A collection of surreal, melancholy stories dealing with everything from worlds of the drifting dead to drunken tree parties. Ford is the author of the superlative, creepy Well-Built City trilogy and his writing is both powerful and disturbing in the best possible way. Jack McDevitt, The Devil's Eye The fourth Alex Benedict novel, this space opera is a madcap mystery involving memory-erasure, novel-writing, and a kidnapping that threatens the future of an entire planet. Alan Steele, The Last Science Fiction Writer This is Steele's fifth collection of short stories. According to Publishers Weekly, in this book:
Adventurers who look outward are rewarded with learning where they truly belong, be they canines transplanted off Earth (The War of Dogs and Boids), prospectless teens who stumble across a time-travel repair mission (Escape from Earth) or a virtual author breaking free of marketing straitjackets (The Last Science Fiction Writer).
If you want to know about more amazing books coming out this month or two months from now, always remember to check Locus magazine's upcoming books listings.