Seven Not-To-Miss SF/Fantasy Titles for Fall 2012: Abercrombie, Banks, Gladstone, and More

Abercrombie, Joe. Red Country. Orbit. Nov. 2012. 640p. ISBN 9780316187213. $25.95. FANTASY
Set in the same world as Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy and offering the return of Logen Ninefingers, this standalone opens with Shy South returning to the family farm. The farm has been burned down and her siblings kidnapped, so off she goes with her milquetoast stepfather, Lamb, to find them. Turns out that Lamb was a bloody lion in his past, which does help. Can’t argue with an author whose books have been described as The Lord of the Rings as directed by Kurosawa by Time critic Lev Grossman.

Banks, Iain. The Hydrogen Sonata. Orbit. Oct. 2012. 496p. ISBN 9780316212373. $25.99. SF
A big new Culture novel for the series’ 25th anniversary: the ancient Gzilt civilization, which helped set up the Culture 10,000 years ago but declined to join it, has decided to follow the lead of other civilizations and head for the Sublime. But when the Regimental High Command is destroyed, Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont is blamed and must hunt for truths about the Culture’s beginnings from her civilization’s oldest man (at 9000-plus years)‚ or face dead or exile. Essential for sf fans.

Cameron, Miles. The Red Knight. Orbit. Dec. 2012. 300p. ISBN 9780316212281. pap. $14.99. FANTASY
A trade paperback original, opening the Traitor Son Cycle trilogy, this debut blends fantasy with the nasty brutishness of the medieval era. The Red Knight has hired out himself and his company to an abbess whose rich nunnery, fortuitously stocked with pretty Sisters, is being stalked by a monster. Crunch. Expect the second book in spring 2013; note that this is billed for fans of Joe Abercrombie and George R.R. Martin, and I’ll go for the medieval bent.

Drake, Jocelynn. Angel’s Ink. Harper Voyager. Oct. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9780062117854. pap. $14.99. FANTASY
The author of the New York Times best-selling Dark Days novels launches a new series about a tattoo artist with a magical bent. Blending special inks and potent ingredients only he comprehends, Gage creates tattoos that can grant one’s deepest wishes. Alas, since he abandoned the Ivory Tower, he’s been denied the right to practice magic, and some nasty warlocks are after his hide. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Gladstone, Max. Three Parts Dead. Tor. Oct. 2012/ 336p. ISBN 9780765333100. $24.99. FANTASY
My interest in rounding up intriguing sf/fantasy titles for the fall that I might have missed started with Gladstone’s debut novel, featured at Day of Dialog’s Who’s On First? New Voices in Genre Fiction. What’s eye-catching here is the premise: Götterdämmerung be damned, a god has been murdered and must be brought back to life by newbie necromancer Tara or the city’s done for. What else is eye-catching: fresh, beautiful, surprising language. Not to mention Gladstone’s behind-the-scenes parallel to our own failed gods, a trumped economy and the folks who ran it. Smart sf fans should love.

Mosley, Walter. Merge / Disciple: Two Short Novels from Crosstown to Oblivion. Tor. Oct. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9780765330093. $24.99. SF
Mosley, who crossed into sf waters in May with The Gift of Fire / On the Head of a Pin: Two Short Novels from Crosstown to Oblivion, returns with another set of Oblivion tales. In Merge, lottery-lucky Raleigh has dedicated himself to reading the entire Popular Educator Library, left to him by his father, when a strange creature from another world pops into his apartment. In Disciple, fortyish Trent trudges peaceably through his data-entry job until he gets an instant message on his computer from the mysterious Bron and finds himself head of the company. LJ‘s reviewer observed that the first in the series didn’t quite display Mosley’s knack for characterization; let’s see if it emerges as he familiarizes himself with the genre.

Weeks, Brent. The Blinding Knife. Orbit. Sept. 2012. 704p. ISBN 9780316079914. $25.99. FANTASY
Here’s the second book in the Lightbringer series, whose opener, The Black Prism, reached no. 23 on the New York Times best sellers list. Bad news for Gavin Guile: he’s dying, Worse news: the world is being overrun by magic, which might mean the end of the Seven Satrapies, and the old gods are being reborn. And the worst news of all: it looks like Guile’s only hope is the brother whose life he stole. Big online promotion and an author tour; Weeks is hot among fantasy fans.


Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.