This January, your local bookstore will keep you warm by bringing the hot spaceships, freaky Soviet alien invasions, and the burning touch of Edgar Allan Poe from beyond the grave.
Yellow Blue Tibia, by Adam Roberts (Gollancz Books)
Definitely the weirdest alternate history to be published in some time, Yellow Blue Tibia is about what happens when a Russian psyops campaign from the 1940s turns out to be coming true. In an effort to maintain Soviet solidarity, Stalin orders the military to create a story that aliens are about to invade Earth. After creating props, photographs, and stories to bolster the greatest hoax in history, Stalin abruptly calls off the campaign. The Cold War has started, and there's a real enemy to unite the country again. But suddenly, in the present day, the tales spun by those Soviet operatives start to come true . . .
David Falkayn: Star Trader, by Poul Anderson (Baen Books)
This is the second in Anderson's Polesotechnic League series about a galaxy-wide league of star traders. His hero David Falkayn is dispatched to deal with shady goings-on in the interstellar marketplace, to root out dirty tricks and swindlers. Check out this reissued book if you want to immerse yourself in old-school libertarian space opera.
Regenesis, by C.J. Cherryh (DAW Books)
The long-awaited sequel to Cherryh's celebrated series that started with Downbelow Station and Cyteen, this novel is first and foremost a murder mystery. The clone of great scientist Ariane Emory must figure out who murdered her genetic progenitor in a world of post-humans, genetic conditioning, mind control, and interstellar political struggle. But even as she tries to unravel the mystery, she begins to suspect she may be in danger too.
We Think, Therefore We Are, edited by Peter Crowther (DAW Books)
An anthology of tales about artificial intelligence, this collection features new work by Stephen Baxter, Adam Roberts, and several others. Included is a fascinating introduction to the topic by Paul McAuley.
Poe: Tales Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Ellen Datlow (Solaris Books)
If you love the shivery, gothic fiction of Edgar Allan Poe, who turns 200 this year, you'll weep tears of blood over this amazing anthology of Poe-inspired fiction. Everything from alternate history to paranormal romance haunts the pages of these brilliant, original takes on Poe's literary legacy. Included among other writers are Kim Newman, Pat Cadigan, Sharyn McCrumb, Lucius Shepard, Laird Barron, and Suzy McKee Charnas. Datlow is a talented editor who always pulls together amazing anthologies, so if you buy any Poe-inspired books this year, this should be the one.
The Gears of the City, by Felix Gilman (Bantam Spectra)
Welcome back to the giant, industrial creepytown that stars in Gilman's Ararat series about a vast city that's like a shimmery combination of Coruscant and the metropolis in Dark City. A kind of surreal quest tale, Gears of the City is about the people who try to climb the vast, mysterious Mountain that looms over the temporal mish-mash of the city of Ararat. Expect weird landscapes and strange peoples, along with a literary tale of a city slowly falling apart under the weight of possible war and myriad bureaucracies.
A is for Alien, by Caitlin Kiernan (Subterranean Press)
A collection of eight short stories (some award-winning) about Earth's eco-gothic future, where Antarctica is ice-free and the new frontier is being created on the icy moons of Saturn and the frigid valleys of Mars. Tough and beautiful, Kiernan's prose will ensnare you and her ideas stay with you long after you put this collection down.
Mind Over Ship, by David Marusek (Tor Books)
The sequel to Marusek's critically-acclaimed Counting Heads, this novel takes up right where his previous one left off. In a post-human future where AI holograms jockey for power and clones just want to be free individuals, a woman brought back from the dead must find out why she and her politician mother were murdered. The answer is bound up with the creation of the generation ships called "O Ships" that her mother's company has been building so that humanity can spread out to the stars. Marusek's writing is gorgeous and his scientific details intriguing, but the best part of his work is a pervasive sense of cynical humor. His tone reminds us that even our greatest technological achievements are often the result of petty squabbles, lusts, and mistakes.
End of the Century, by Chris Robertson (Pyr Books)
This YA time-travel fantasy combines Arthurian legends with steampunkery. According to Publishers Weekly:
A strange visitation sends young father Galaad to Caer Llundain in the year 498. American teenager Alice Fell, who gets holy visions during epileptic seizures, makes a similar pilgrimage to London in 2000. In 1897, as Queen Victoria celebrates her jubilee, consulting detective Sandford Blank and his sidekick, Roxanne Bonaventure, investigate a series of brutal murders.