Thoughtful Thursday: Promising new authors

One of the things we’re always getting excited about here at FanLit is the emergence of new talent in speculative fiction. Every time a publicist writes to tell us about a debut author, we huddle together to read the press release, look around at each other, and start to mumble: “Is this the Dragon Reborn one we’ve been waiting for?  The next King or Queen of Fantasy Literature? Someone who will reach down and lift us out of the wretchedness of our miserable mundane lives?Jesse Bullington

Alas. Usually no. But over the past couple of years we have read some authors that we’re getting pretty excited about, though we don’t all agree on who they are.

Personally, one of my favorite new-ish authors is Jesse Bullington. He’s rude, foul, disgusting, and warped. I love him for that.

How about you? Which SFF author who’s debuted in, let’s say, the last 3 years, looks really promising to you, and why?

As usual, one commenter gets a book from our stacks.

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JUSTIN BLAZIER (on FanLit's staff since September 2009) is a Cyber-Security Analyst/Network Engineer located in Northern Kentucky. Like many fantasy enthusiasts, Justin cut his teeth on authors like Tolkien, Anthony, and Lewis. Due to lack of space, his small public library would often give him their donated SFF books. When he is not reading books he is likely playing board games or Tabletop RPGs. Justin lives in a quiet neighborhood with his wife, their daughter, and Norman the dog.

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  1. Said it before and I’ll say it again; Robert Jackson Bennett (Mr. Shivers, The Troupe) is the new Stephen King.

  2. Hmm. The main one that comes to mind is J.C. Daniels, who wrote Blade Song. But I don’t know if she counts because she has several romantic suspense out under Shiloh Walker. Let me think.

    I’d also say Frank Tuttle, but I have no idea when his Markhat series began. I discovered him in the last 3 years and the series got better and better as it went along.

    Those are my two newer favorites that I am avidly following. Some others started out strong with a book one, but didn’t hold my interest past the first book.

    And I just know I’m forgetting at least one. I better go check my list and reviews.

  3. I think I’d add Andrea Host as one to watch. I really enjoyed her Stained Glass Monsters (fantasy). Good stuff.

  4. Okay, don’t kick me off for too many choices–Chris Strange (Man Who Crossed Worlds) is another author I’m keeping an eye on.

  5. I’d have to nominate Hugh Howey. Wool is one of the best things I’ve read in years, and the dozen or so people I’ve foisted it off on agree.

    • Justin Blazier /

      oh I have Wool on Kindle. I snagged it on a daily deal or something because it looked interesting. I will be bumping it up my list…my long list.

  6. Michael Rosenberg /

    Tricky because I haven’t read a huge number of debut authors recently (mostly catching up on long series and missed classics).

    I guess my favorite would be Hannu Rajaniemi (Quantum Thief), followed by Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate series; 1st book was Oct ’09, so barely fits in the time frame). I have a number of books by newish authors I simply haven’t read yet, so maybe the next great one is just sitting there waiting.

  7. Kevin B /

    N.K. Jemisin and Kameron Hurley are both authors who bring a fresh wind of diversity and originality to the genre, both in terms of setting and characters.

    • Justin Blazier /

      Jemisin is a solid pick. She came out of nowhere and blew my mind with her writing.

  8. April V. /

    What a tough question. I never pay attention to the author of a book. Hm. That sounds bad. What I’m saying is that if I am searching for a new book, the title and synopsis and cover are what draws me – I have no idea whether the author is a debut author or not because just because they are new to me doesn’t mean much. I was startled by reading above that someone’s choice is Gail Carriger – it seems like I’ve been enjoying her books forever. So how do I know that an author is a debut? Heck, when I first read The Name of the Wind, I had no idea that was Patrick Rothfuss’ first book.

    Most of the new to me authors I’ve read recently are independent – would I consider them to be debut authors or just new to me? Some to watch are definitely Lindsay Buroker, Maria Schneider and Andrea Host and the not independent Frank Tuttle is definitely worth discussing. But outside of independent authors, it is hard to say. I just discovered CE Murphy recently but now that I think about it, I think her books have been out for some time now. Then there are the authors who switch genres and change their name – Daniel Abraham is a good example of that one. Oh, wait, I think I recently read a YA mystery by a debut author and I knew that from the blurb by Stephen King on the cover. It was Peter Abrahms. That was a very good book.

  9. My wife loves the Gail Carriger Parasol Protectorate series and I have been loving the Larry Correia Monster Hunter series.

    • I’ve really enjoyed Larry Correia’s Grimnoir Chronicles. These are particularly excellent in audio format, narrated by actor Bronson Pinchot.

  10. Col Buchanan impressed me with Farlander. Haven’t read the follow-up, Stands A Shadow, but I feel that he’s worth a mention on the first book alone.

  11. Matthew Kirby (Icefall and The Clockwork Three)

    Kate Milford (The Broken Lands and The Boneshaker)

    How good? Both of their first two books made my top ten list each year and Kirby’s Icefall just won the PEN Center award for Children’s Literature (and if you let that “children’s literature” stop you from reading it, boy, are you missing out!)

    Honorable mention: Rachel Hartman (Seraphina) and Benjamin Tate (Well of Sorrows)

  12. I would have to go with Chuck Wendig, of Mockingbirds and Blackbirds fame. Both of these books are amazing.

    Either that or Adam Christopher, of Empire State and Seven Wonders fame. Again two awesome books.

    Too hard to pick just one.

  13. Steve commented on Fantasy Literature: Fantasy and Science Fiction Book and Audiobook Reviews:

    I would have to go with Chuck Wendig, of Mockingbirds and Blackbirds fame. Both of these books are amazing.Read more at

  14. CTGT, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks. Please contact me (Tim) with your choice and a US address.

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