Thoughtful Thursday: What we can’t wait to read in 2014

I asked the FanLit reviewers to name one or two 2014 SFF releases that they’re looking forward to reading. As usual, they can’t obey the rules… or maybe it’s just that they’re so excited about 2014 releases that they can’t pick just one. We’d like to hear about the SFF releases that you’re anticipating this year. One random commenter will choose a book from our stacks.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsAlixAlix: There are more than a few books coming out in 2014 that I’m excited about. Maybe most of all, I’m excited for Steles of the Sky, the final book in Elizabeth Bear’s ETERNAL SKY trilogy, coming out in April. I have some pretty high expectations based on how awesome Range of Ghosts was, and I have a strong history of liking the final book the best. Then there’s Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon, a story about alien invasion in Lagos which comes out at exactly the same time. It also has an absolutely gorgeous cover. Finally, there’s Helen Oyeyemi’s I’m-not-sure-it-counts-as-real-fantasy Boy, Snow, Bird, which is supposed to be a Snow White retelling in the 1950s US, which is all about race and whiteness and passing and all those things I love thinking about. I’d also kind of like the affordable e-book version of Catherynne M. Valente’s Six-Gun Snow White to come out sooner than May, to stick with the theme of fairy tale retellings. Other than that, I’m playing catch up on last year’s good reads.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Billfantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Widow’s House by Daniel Abraham: THE DAGGER AND THE COIN is one of the smartest, best written series going. And I pretty much look forward to anything from Abraham. The Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb: One of my favorite fantasy characters of all time. I’m hoping Fitz’s return is closer to his original books than Hobb’s latest DRAGON ones, which moved too slowly for me. The Magician’s Land by Lev Grosman: another smart series. Fall of Light by Steven Erikson and Assail by Ian C. Esslemont: I’ve lost track of the thousands upon thousands of pages I’ve read set in the Malazan Empire. You think I’m stopping now? Cibola Burn by James S. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) See above re Abraham.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Bradfantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe number one anticipated comic book release in 2014 is Sandman: Overture, the prequel to SANDMAN by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by J. H. Williams III. It’s a six-issue mini-series and DC is releasing it every other month to stretch out the excitement. On the off-months, DC is releasing a special edition of the previous month’s issue with interviews and extra art and other goodies for the serious SANDMAN fan. I have the first issue and have read it multiple times. It’s even better than I had anticipated. There are four other continuing comic book series that I think are of interest to FanLit readers: SAGA, by Brian K. Vaughan, is about an inter-species couple on the run in space from about everybody, since their having a baby represents peace and the end to an ongoing war between planets. Ed Brubaker‘s FATALE is a brilliant mix of noir and Lovecraftian horror. In LAZARUS, Greg Rucka, who is known for creating excellent female characters, presents a dystopian world where a few families own everything, and most of the people in the world can barely survive. ALEX & ADA by the Luna Brothers has a simple premise: A young, lonely man in the future is frustrated in love and is given a gift that changes his life. I’ll cheat and mention a comic that does not fit into the SFF category. But it’s the comic I am most looking forward to reading: Ed Brubaker’s VELVET. It’s a retro-style spy story in the mode of Flemming’s Bond, but in this case, the main character is the Secretary, the Moneypenny character, Velvet Templeton, who is accused by her employers of murdering an agent. Now she’s on the run. Luckily, it turns out she hasn’t always been a secretary…

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsJohnfantasy and science fiction book reviewsI can’t wait for The Shadow Throne, book two of the SHADOW CAMPAIGNS series by Django Wexler. The first book, The Thousand Names, was outstanding. Another second book I’m looking forward to is Brian McClellan’s The Crimson Campaign. The first book in his POWDER MAGE trilogy, Promise of Blood, ended with a powder mage killing a god… how do you not want to read the next book?! Then there’s Alex HughesMarked, Max Gladstone’s, Full Fathom Five, Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Fools, and Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King. There’s a lot to look forward to this year!

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Kat: As I look at my list of most anticipated reads this year, I’m a little surprised to find that they are mostly installments in on-going series. fantasy and science fiction book reviewsI think this simply means that I know what to expect from these authors (something entertaining, almost certainly) but it’s likely that what will turn out to be my favorite book of the year isn’t even on my radar yet. So, here’s what I’m looking forward to so far. He Drank, and Saw the Spider by Alex Bledsoe (fifth in his EDDIE LACROSSE series), Skin Game by Jim Butcher (book 15 of THE DRESDEN FILES), Shattered by Kevin Hearne (seventh in his IRON DRUID CHRONICLES) and, most of all, Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb (a new novel about Fitz and the Fool!!). I’ve already got my grubby paws on Minding the Stars which is Subterranean Press’s collection of early Jack Vance stories. I’m also hoping for something unexpected and wonderful from Gail Carriger, William Gibson, or Neal Stephenson.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsKelly:fantasy and science fiction book reviews Rebecca and I are salivating for Laini Taylor‘s Dreams of Gods and Monsters — we can’t wait to see how Taylor wraps up this beautifully written, emotionally haunting trilogy. Jennifer McMahon, whose twisty novels Don’t Breathe a Word and The One I Left Behind I really enjoyed, has a new book coming out entitled The Winter People; and I’m also looking forward to seeing what happens next in the urban fantasy series of such authors as Ilona AndrewsSeanan McGuire, and Jenn Bennett. And like Terry, I always love to be surprised by a great new debut author!

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsRyan: I’m excited about SFF in 2014. Lev Grossman should be releasing the final novel in his MAGICIANS trilogy. fantasy and science fiction book reviewsI find the third installment in a trilogy is usually difficult for authors to pull off, but I’ll probably be happy with the series even if The Magician King turns out to be like The Empire Strikes Back and The Magician’s Land turns out like The Return of the JediWilliam Gibson is expected to release a new novel, which I hope will be as good as his BIGEND trilogy. However, my most anticipated novel is whatever Neal Stephenson ends up publishing. After Anathem and Reamde, how is a Neal Stephenson novel not the biggest SFF release of the year? The details remain pretty sketchy, but if we’re lucky we’ll have a new Neal Stephenson novel by the end of the year.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews TerryCaitlin R. Kiernan, writing as Kathleen Tierney, is set to publish the second in her urban fantasy series, Red Delicious. I loved the first one, with its unreliable narrator (a Kiernan trademark) and smart-mouthed heroine who is afflicted both with vampirism and lycanthropy, and I figure they can only get better. fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Time Traveler’s Almanac, edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer, sounds like just my type of anthology, huge and stuffed with unusual stories. Graham Joyce has a new book with an intriguing title coming out, The Ghost in the Electric Blue SuitEllen Datlow has a couple of anthologies scheduled, including Lovecraft’s MonstersFearful Symmetries and The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Six. There are a number of new books expected in series I follow, so books by authors Paul Cornell, Lincoln Child & Douglas Preston, Ben Aaronovitch, and Gillian Philip are all on my radar as well. I’d love to say I was also looking forward to new books from George R.R. MartinScott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss, but my guess is that books by those authors — even those tentatively scheduled — will take a bit longer to arrive. That’s okay by me, as I want the best each of these gifted writers has to offer — and heaven knows, there’s enough to read in the meantime. Finally, what I’m really looking forward to is the debut novel that’s going to knock everyone off her feet, by an author no one knows about yet. I’m sure there’ll be one, but there’s no predicting what and by whom.

What about you, dear readers? What are YOU looking forward to in 2014? One commenter will be chosen to pick a book from our stacks.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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  1. Sandyg265 /

    So far I’m looking forward to reading the next book in Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series.

  2. …Well, I think we win a prize for least-crossover between lists.

  3. LOL Alix! That’s why it’s so good to have us all! We can cover more subgenres than any of us could alone!

    • Which is something we specifically aim for when we add new reviewers.

      • I was thinking the same thing Alix about halfway through.

        Of course, the down side is more books that I hadn’t been planning on purchasing. It just never ends . . .

        Of course, the upside is more books that I hadn’t been planning on purchasing–it just never ends!

  4. The Fool’s Assassin and Prince of Fools are both tops on my must-read list.

    I’m sure Fall of Light and Assail will make it onto the list as well, but I have some Malazan catching up to do first.

    • “Some” catching up to do can mean 4000 pages . . .

      When you get up to Dust of Dreams, Bob, join us at for the reread. We move at a glacial pace (two chapters a week, though sometimes one if it’s a long one), but it’s a lot of fun. DoD starts next week or the week after (I should probably check that out, since I’m writing it)

  5. April /

    In addition to the latest installments in the ongoing series by Butcher, Andrews, Briggs, Carriger and Gabaldon, I’m also looking forward to:

    Peacemaker by KA Stewart (shhh, I’ve already read an ARC and it is good, I’m looking forward to getting to spread the word on a cool new series)

    Mister Max book two by Cynthia Voigt – smart and interesting middle grade.

    Dust & Light by Carol Berg – a return to the world in which Flesh & Bone was set, very much look forward to it as it was her best duology of all her books IMO.

    AND gobs of other books too but these are the highlights.

  6. Franziska /

    Can’t wait for the new Hollows book by Kim Harrison (already pre-ordered)

    Also, I’m with Ryan, The Magician’s Land will only complete an already awesome series.

    I heard somewhere that Scott Lynch’s fourth Gentleman Bastard book will be released later in 2014, so I’m looking forward to that.

    There are rumors flying around that Pat Rothfuss’ Doors of Stone comes out. If it does (I won’t hold my breath) this will be THE book to read in 2014.

    My guilty pleasure author is Trudi Canavan. Her writing isn’t that good, but for some reason I really enjoy her books. Thief’s Magic, the first book in a new series comes out in May, as far as I know.

  7. I’m looking forward to Frank Tuttle’s latest Markhat book and also hoping for installments from
    Aimee Gilchrist (YA author of The Tell Tale Con)
    and I’m VERY hopeful there will be a new book in the Rust and Relics series by Lindsay Buroker (First book is Torrent).

    Also hoping there will be a new installment from
    Aimee Love (First book is Cry Baby Hollow).

  8. Oh and Benedict Jacka’s latest!!!

  9. Peter Watts’ Echopraxia. Because I adored Blindsight and cannot wait to see what was happening on Earth and sunward with the vampires.
    Hannu Rajaniemi’s The Causal Angel. Because I love The Quantum Thief and enjoyed The Fractal Prince. And I want to see how he wraps this thing up.

  10. Melanie Goldmund /

    The book that I’m looking forward to the most is definitely Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson.

    Another book that I’m eagerly anticipating is Empress of the Son, by Ian McDonald.

  11. Brad Hawley /

    This comic book nerd appreciates all these recommendations, but my brain hurts trying to figure out which of these series I should start since so many of the books recommended are parts of series I’ve never read (much less heard of). I think Robin Hobb is sounding really interesting . . . .

    If only I can find something I like as much as Bujold’s long series about Miles. It’s been many, many years since I’ve devoured books by a single author non-stop like this: Character-driven with an emphasis on the emotional and logical complexities of ethical situations. I also love the use of different planets to compare cultural differences. I particularly love the portrayal of strong, intelligent women. I think I could read an entire series about Miles’s mother. I like this series for these reasons and it makes me think of my favorite SFF book: Marge Piercy’s He, She, and It (which fans of William Gibson should check out since she openly borrowed his earlier cyberpunk conventions for her work).

    So perhaps I’ll be reading anything and everything by Bujold, particularly since I like her stuff on audio as well (thank you, Kat, for talking me into listening to the books–I’ve listened to four of the books and read the rest).

    Anyway, I’m rambling. I just wanted to say: Thanks for all the recommendations everybody!

  12. RedEyedGhost /

    There’s so many…

    The Revolutions by Felix Gilman – for shame that none of the reviewers listed this
    Afterparty by Daryl Gregory
    Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier
    The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell
    By Blood We Live by Glen Duncan
    Skin Game by Jim Butcher
    Anything by Daniel Abraham and his pseudonyms
    etc., etc.

  13. I’m looking forward to THE BROKEN EYE by Brent Weeks!
    Guile is one of my favorite fantasy characters of all time. August 2014 cannot come quick enough…

  14. Marion /

    Trey, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

    • Trey Palmer /

      I used the contact page about winners. Haven’t heard a confirmation from you yet.

      • Hi Trey, we think we’re on this now. I think Marion has contacted you, but please let me know if that’s not the case.


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