2013 looks set to be an interesting year. At the more literary end of the spectrum we have new novels by Graham Joyce and Christopher Priest (two novels in three years is, by his standards, astonishingly productive). At the diametric opposite end of the scale we have Raymond E. Feist's last-ever Riftwar novel, which is being published to a reception of stone-cold indifference by most SFF readers. Inbetween we have the ongoing re-release of David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series (set to expand by four volumes this year) and the resumption of Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series, which reaches its ninth and penultimate volume. Neil Gaiman also presents us with his first adult-oriented, full-length novel in eight years, which should be worth a look.
Sadly, we have to bid farewell to Chris Wooding's splendid Tales of the Ketty Jay series, which is wrapping up after four volumes. Peter Brett's Daylight War has some hard work to do to make up for the deficiencies of the second volume, whilst Daniel Abraham hits us with another fantasy/SF double-whammy with The Tyrant's Law and Abaddon's Gate. Richard Morgan's divisive Land Fit For Heroes trilogy (no word yet on if it is indeed expanding to four books) also reaches its third volume with The Dark Defiles.
In the area of SF, Alastair Reynolds has the sequel to his Blue Remembered Earth coming out, whilst Stephen Baxter returns to interstellar exploration and colonisation with Proxima.
Undated, but pretty certain to hit in 2013, is Ian Cameron Esslemont's Assail (working title). Easily the most eagerly-awaited of Esslemont's novels, this book takes us to the much-dreaded continent of Assail. Expect to see a showdown involving the T'lan Imass, Silverfox, the Crimson Guard and much more besides. Less certain for 2013 is Fall of Light, Steven Erikson's middle volume in his Kharkanas Trilogy, which might still just sneak out before the end of the year The ever-fecund. Brandon Sanderson, meanwhile, has several
That's about it for the epic fantasy big-hitters. No Rothfuss, and Lynch's Republic of Thieves remains MIA. Martin fans will get some more Song of Ice and Fire morsels in the form of a narrative history of the Dance of Dragons, which will appear in Dangerous Women, and then a big coffee-table guidebook to the world with The World of Ice and Fire, which is tentatively scheduled for November (but again delays are possible).
At this stage my most eagerly-awaited novel of the year is River of Stars, a semi-follow-up to Guy Gavriel Kay's excellent Under Heaven.
The Daylight War by Peter Brett
Jimmy and the Crawler by Raymond E. Feist
Dreams and Shadows by Robert Cargill
The Art of War by David Wingrove
The High Kingdom by Pierre Pevel
The God Tattoo by Tom Lloyd
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Abominable by Dan Simmons
River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
Son of the Morning by Mark Alder (MD Lachlan)
The Tyrant's Law by Daniel Abraham
Magician's End by Raymond E. Feist
Dangerous Women by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (ed.)
The Year of the Ladybird by Graham Joyce
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Abaddon's Gate by James S.A. Corey (aka Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck)
The City by Stella Gemmell
On the Steel Breeze by Alastair Reynolds
The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski
Cold Steel by Kate Elliott
The Dragon Queen by Stephen Deas
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
A Discourse in Steel by Paul S. Kemp
An Inch of Ashes by David Wingrove
Requiem by Ken Scholes
Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea by Adam Roberts
The Glass God by Kate Griffin
Gallow: The Crimson Shield by Nathan Hawke (Stephen Deas)
Shadows of the New Sun: Stories in Honour of Gene Wolfe by Bill Fawcett (ed)
The Adjacent by Christopher Priest
Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
War Master's Gate by Adrian Tchaikovsky
The Dark Defiles by Richard Morgan
The Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding
Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik
Gallow: Cold Redemption by Nathan Hawke (Stephen Deas)
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
The Broken Wheel by David Wingrove
Shaman: A Novel of the Ice Age by Kim Stanley Robinson
Gallow: The Last Bastion by Nathan Hawke (Stephen Deas)
Proxima by Stephen Baxter
Drakenfield by Mark Charan Newton
The World of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson
Moon's Artifice by Tom Lloyd
The White Mountain by David Wingrove
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
The Last Dark by Stephen Donaldson
Happy Hour in Hell by Tad Williams
Assail by Ian Cameron Esslemont
New Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
King of Cobwebs by David Keck
Possible For 2013 But Uncertain
Fall of Light by Steven Erikson
The Free by Brian Ruckley
Seal of the Worm by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Spellbreaker by Blake Charlton
Stormlight Archive #2 by Brandon Sanderson
Next Gaunt's Ghosts novel by Dan Abnett
Dresden Files #15 by Jim Butcher
The Unholy Consult by R. Scott Bakker
The Sea Beggars by Paul Kearney
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
Endlords by J.V. Jones
Triumff: The Double Falsehood by Dan Abnett
The Wheel of Time Encyclopedia by Harriet McDougal
In terms of games, 2013 is looking reasonably good at this point, though (thankfully for my wallet) not as jam-packed as last year. There's a lot of much-delayed games coming out in 2013, such as Aliens: Colonial Marines (which somehow looks less interesting with every trailer that appears) and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, which is arriving a full two years behind schedule. I expect both will be playable, but will be surprised if either is outstanding (in particular, Blizzard really need to hire some new writers).
Also long-awaited is SimCity 5: A Truckload of DRM (or just SimCity as we now have to call it). Long-term fans of the venerable city management series have seen increasing disappointment as they learned of the always-on internet connection and the fact that the biggest cities you can build in the game are disappointingly small.
Looking much more interesting is BioShock Infinite. Whilst I was somewhat underwhelmed by the original BioShock's gameplay, certainly the art direction and visuals were striking and the sequel is following up on that end of things in spades. Hopefully the gameplay will match up this time.
Unfortunately, the dissolution of THQ has left the release dates for Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light and South Park: The Stick of Truth all up in the air. Though the three games have all been rescued (by Sega, Deep Silver and Ubisoft respectively), their transition has left final release dates in some doubt. In particular, there is a legal tussle over South Park that could delay it indefinitely, which is a shame as it was looking like a particularly interesting take on the RPG genre.
Also suffering a delay is Grand Theft Auto V, which slips back four months to September, but only with the console versions confirmed. We all know there will be a PC version - given they released GTA4 on PC at a time when PC sales were rock-bottom and still sold shedloads, they'd be completely idiotic not to now the PC format is back on top of its game - so Rockstar's refusal to confirm it is just tiresome.
Arriving at the end of the year will be the new consoles, and with them the first 'next-gen' titles, such as Star Wars 1313 (likely a launch title for them). However, potentially more interesting is the arrival of the first batch of bigger games funded through Kickstarter (a few, like FTL, have already come out). Wasteland 2, Double Fine Adventure and Carmageddon: Reincarnation should prove whether the concept has legs. 2014 promises even more Kickstarted goodness, with Project: Eternity, Star Citizen and Elite 4 (hopefully) all arriving in force.
For me, the most promising game of the year is easily Rome II: Total War (or Total War: Rome II under Creative Assembly's new naming scheme). There hasn't been a really good Total War game for me since 2006's Medieval II, but Rome II looks like being both more epic and more fun than the last few games in the series.
Dead Space 3
Aliens: Colonial Marines
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
Company of Heroes 2
Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse
Metro: Last Light
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Grand Theft Auto V
Rome 2: Total War
The Elder Scrolls Online
Star Wars 1313
Double Fine Adventure
Film-wise, 2013 looks a bit same-old, with a strong focus on superhero movies (even if these are some of the more interesting ones). We'll have to wait and see if Zack Snyder can resurrect the Superman movies (I'm not holding my breath), but Thor, Iron Man and a Japanese-influenced Wolverine should at least be fun.
The trailers are also suggesting that Into Darkness will be a more interesting, larger-scaled movie than J.J. Abrams's first Star Trek movie (which I was underwhelmed by: all the right ingredients, but not mixed together quite well). Benedict Cumberbatch certainly looks like a far more compelling villain than Eric Bana, at any rate. Also packed full of CGI and large explosions is Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim, which initially looks like a Michael Bay Transformers movie with added Idris Elba (which is in itself quite a good idea, actually). However, Del Toro's trademark weirdness could make this a bit more interesting than it appears.
Later in the year we have sequel city, with the second Hunger Games movie hoping to repeat the better-than-the-book trick of the first one. There's also the second Hobbit movie. I'm hoping against hope that Peter Jackson learns the art of editing so we can get a lean 90-minute (okay, two hours max) action movie, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. What is likely to be a lot shorter and a lot funnier is The World's End, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's long-awaited conclusion to their thematic Three Colours of Cornetto trilogy (following Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz).
For me, the movie I'm most interested in is, perhaps unexpectedly, Riddick. The third film to feature Vin Diesel's titular character, we've been promised a picture that jettisons most of the excesses of the second film in favour of a tighter scope and more condensed storytelling. With Katee Sackhoff on board to provide support and Karl Urban resuming his role from the second film, this could be a bit of a dark horse.
Star Trek: Into Darkness
Iron Man 3
Man of Steel
World War Z
The World's End
Thor: The Dark World
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Crimson Nuptials. Does more need to be said?
Community Season 4
Game of Thrones: Season 3
Doctor Who: Season 33.5
Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary Special
The Walking Dead Season 3.5/4.0