The arrival of autumn is marked by a bountiful harvest of sf/fantasy titles by both beloved series authors Piers Anthony (Esrever Doom) and Stephen R. Donaldson (The Last Dark) and promising newcomers Elliott James (Charming) and Ann Leckie (Ancillary Justice). Representing horror, and just in time for Halloween, is James Tipper’s Gods of the Nowhere.
Donaldson, Stephen R. The Last Dark. Putnam. (Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant). Oct. 2013. 592p. ISBN 9780399159206. $35. FANTASY
Reborn through the extraordinary sacrifice of Linden Avery, Thomas Covenant returns to the Land for one last time. Fortified by the company of Linden, her newly awakened autistic adopted son Jonathan, his beloved giants, and the gallant steeds of the Ranyhyn, Thomas sets out to confront the would-be destroyers of the land, including his rebellious son Roger, She Who Must Not Be Named, and, finally, Lord Foul himself. VERDICT The tenth and final volume featuring Thomas Covenant provides a satisfying wrap-up to an opus that began in 1977 with Lord Foul’s Bain and has garnered millions of fans. Donaldson’s landmark historical fantasy series marks a milestone of epic storytelling and deserves the widest audience. [See Prepub Alert, 4/15/13.]
James, Elliott. Charming. Orbit: Hachette. (Pax Arcana, Vol. 1). Sept. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780316253390. pap. $15. FANTASY
John Charming, formerly a member of the modern Knights Templar and sworn to protect mortals from supernatural threats until he was infected by a werewolf, now tends bar under an assumed name in a small Virginia town. When a stunning blonde and a vampire intent on creating havoc enter his bar on the same night, he embarks on a strange partnership that leads him to confront his true nature as well as his destiny. VERDICT This debut introduces a self-deprecating, wisecracking, and honorable-to-a-fault hero who can stand up to such established protagonists as Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden and Seanan McGuire’s October Daye. Combining action and romance—with an emphasis on action—this is a top-notch new series opener for lovers of urban fantasy.
Modesitt, L.E., Jr. The One-Eyed Man: A Fugue, With Winds and Accompaniment. T or. Sept. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780765335449. $24.99. SF
For the interstellar Union of the Ceylesian Arm, the colony world of Stittara represents the prime source for anagathics, drugs that extend one’s life span. Freelance consultant Paolo Verano, reeling from a shattered personal life, gladly accepts the commission to travel to Stittara to observe the world’s fragile ecology and establish how much, if any, impact the human colonists have. It is his determination that will decide the fate of the colony, and the pressure is on him to find a way to make sure that the supply of anagathics continues. In his stand-alone tale of exploration and discovery, Modesitt vividly creates an unusual planet, in which tornadolike tentacles fill the sky and most of the colors fall into the gray spectrum. Verano grows more likable as the story progresses, and the slow revelation of the colony’s backstory presents a compelling reason to keep turning the pages. VERDICT The author’s ability to weave between fantasy (the Recluce novels) and sf (The Parafaith War; The Eternity Artifact) grants him a rare versatility and ensures the high quality of his novels, whether stand-alone or part of a series (and this reader hopes that there is more to come about Stittara’s future).
DEBUT OF THE MONTH:
Leckie, Ann. Ancillary Justice. Orbit: Hachette. Oct. 2013. 416p. ISBN 9780316246620. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780316246637. SF
Years ago, a soldier called Breq was one part of the starship Justice of Toren, whose artificial intelligence (AI) expressed itself in thousands of corpse soldiers serving the empire of the Radch. Now an act of treachery has left Breq with a single fragile human body and an unquenchable desire for revenge against the Lord of the Radch, a multibodied intelligence known as Anaander Mianaai. Leckie’s debut constructs a far-future world with a heroine who, despite her apparent lack of individuality, nevertheless grows increasingly human as her search for justice takes her into close contact with both allies and enemies. Using the format of sf military adventure blended with hints of space opera, Leckie explores the expanded meaning of human nature and the uneasy balance between individuality and membership in a group identity. VERDICT Leckie is a newcomer to watch as she expands on the history and future of her new and exciting universe. [Previewed in Kristi Chadwick’s Genre Spotlight feature “New Worlds To Explore,” [ow.ly/odoSr] LJ 8/13.—Ed.]
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“Linden did not hesitate. ‘I’ve been here before.’ She had come too far to falter now. ‘That’s the advantage of being older. I’ve been here before. With Thomas. I’ve seen what he can do. Maybe I’ve come to the end of what I can do, but he hasn’t. And he doesn’t believe Lord Foul can’t be stopped. He doesn’t even believe the world can’t be saved.’”The Last Dark
Anthony, Piers. Esrever Doom. Tor. (Xanth, Vol. 37). Oct. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780765331366. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781429946612. FANTASY
Bach, Rachel. Fortune’s Pawn. Orbit: Hachette. (Paradox, Bk. 1). Nov. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780316221115. pap. $15. SF
Carlson, Amanda. Cold Blooded. Orbit: Hachette. Oct. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780316205221. pap. $14. FANTASY
Gladstone, Max. Two Serpents Rise. Tor. Oct. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780765333124. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466802049. FANTASY
Tipper, James. Gods of the Nowhere: A Novel of Halloween. Waxlight. Sept. 2013. 372p. ISBN 9780988243316. pap. $14.95. HORROR
Wolfe, Gene. The Land Across. Tor. Nov. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9780765335951. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466826359. FANTASY
COLLECTIONS & ANTHOLOGIES
Armstrong, Kelley & others. Four Summoner’s Tales. Gallery: S. & S. Sept. 2013. 384p. ISBN 9781451696684. pap. $16. HORROR
Lansdale, Joe R. Bleeding Shadows. Subterranean. Nov. 2013. 488p. ISBN 9781596065994. $40. HORROR
The Treasury of the Fantastic. Tachyon. Sept. 2013. 720p. ed. by David Sandner. ISBN 9781616960964. pap. $19.95. FANTASY
Twenty-First Century Science Fiction. Tor. Nov. 2013. 576p. ed. by David G. Hartwell & Patrick Nielsen Hayden. ISBN 9780765326003. $34.99; ebk. ISBN 9781429988742. SF
Brown, Pierce. Red Rising. Del Rey: Ballantine. Feb. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780345539786. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780345539793. SF
Monteleone, Thomas F. Submerged. Cemetery Dance. Sept. 2013. 520p. ISBN 9781587673511. $40. Horror
Ringo, John. Under a Graveyard Sky. Baen. Sept. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9781451639193. $25. SF
MASS MARKET PAPERBACK OF NOTE
Jacka, Benedict. Chosen: An Alex Verus Novel. Ace: Berkley. Sept. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780425264928. pap. $7.99. FANTASY
In the fourth story (Fated; Cursed; and Taken) featuring diviner Alex Verus, the former apprentice to a dark mage—now reformed—finds his past has come back to haunt him.
The sf magazine Omni, which ran from 1978 to 1995, will enjoy a new online life as Omni Reboot (http://omnireboot.com/) and will features articles, fiction, and other sf and science-related materials. Claire Evans has been chosen as editor. Thanks to http://www.locusmag.com/News/ for the information.
Fans of the popular TV series Dr. Who learned recently that actor Peter Capaldi, 55, will become the 12th Doctor during this year’s Christmas special. Capaldi, a lifelong series fan and a participant in some of the 2008 episodes as well as in the spinoff series Torchwood, is the oldest Doctor since John Pertwee, who held the role from 1970 to 1974.
Jackie Cassada, formerly with Asheville Buncombe Library System, NC, has been LJ’s SF/Fantasy columnist since 1984