Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Shape of Things to Come: Books for 2011

Here are some of the books to watch out for in 2011. As usual with these things, all release dates are highly speculative and the cover art is not necessarily final (especially for those lower down on the list).

Prospero Burns by Dan Abnett
Black Library (UK & USA): 6 January

The Horus Heresy series reaches its fifteenth novel. This volume, delayed by illness, is the flipside of the earlier A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill. In this book the Space Wolf and Thousand Sons legions of the Astartes are manipulated into fighting one another on Prospero by the forces of Chaos. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that this conflict will not be solved by a nice chat over a cup of tea and some peanut butter sandwiches.

The Hammer by K.J. Parker
Orbit (UK & USA): 20 January

Factions clash for control of a remote island in the latest stand-alone from the perennially enigmatic and always bleak Parker.

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
Gollancz (UK): 27 January
Orbit (USA): 7 February

Already reviewed here. Northlanders and Union soldiers clash in a three-day battle for control of a valley in the arse-end of nowhere.

License to Ensorcell by Katherine Kerr
DAW (USA): 1 February

Having completed her monumental Deverry series, Kerr moves into urban fantasy with a new sequence about a psychic agent and her Israeli sidekick tracking down a werewolf-murdering serial killer in San Francisco. Hopefully as bonkers as it sounds.

Deep State by Walter Jon Williams
Orbit (UK & USA): 7 February

The sequel to This is Not a Game, about where alternate reality games and real life cross and meet.

Son of Heaven by David Wingrove
Corvus Atlantic (UK): 1 February (special edition), 3 March (standard)

Already reviewed here. A former city broker ekes out a rural existence in a post-economic collapse Devon before encountering an expanding Chinese techno-empire. The first in the twenty-volume re-release of Wingrove’s Chung Kuo series.

The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
Orbit (UK & USA): 3 February

Vampires in Venice in this alt-history/horror offering from respected SF author Jon Courtenay Grimwood, the first in The Vampire Assassin Trilogy.

The Sea Watch by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Tor UK: 4 February

The sixth volume of Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt series once again sees Collegium under threat from outside forces, but this time the Wasps are not the enemy. Major betrayals and shocks are promised as the series moves into its second half.

The Crippled God by Steven Erikson
Bantam Books (UK): 21 February
Tor US: 1 March

The Malazan Book of the Fallen reaches its conclusion (more or less – six more books in two trilogies are on their way) in its tenth volume. The Bonehunters confront the Forkrul Assail in distant Kolanse with the fate of the Crippled God and the world itself at stake. Expect a divisive ending of Lost proportions.

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Gollancz (UK): 1 March
DAW (USA): 1 March

The first the ‘Big Missing Three’ SFF books of the last few years to make it to print, the bookshelf-destroying sequel to the giga-selling Name of the Wind is picking up some mixed advanced reviews (great writing, glacial pace, pretty much the same as the first one) but will no doubt be a great success.

A Kingdom Besieged by Raymond E. Feist
Voyager (UK): 3 March
Eos (USA): 31 March

Feist’s huge, 30-volume Midkemian epic begins drawing to a close with the beginning of the Chaoswar Trilogy, the final act in this mammoth series, more than thirty years in the writing. Feist’s decline in quality over the last thirteen years or so has been sad to watch, but hopefully (though I wouldn't put money on it) the impending grand finale of his saga will fire up the enthusiasm that recent novels have so sadly lacked.

A Game of Thrones (new edition) by George R.R. Martin
Bantam (USA): 22 March
Voyager (UK): 22 March

A new edition of the first Song of Ice and Fire novel, due to tie in with the launch of the HBO series in early April and also the launch of new, properly-edited and checked UK ebook editions. This new edition features a new typeset (meant to replace the slightly grubby old one) and marks the transfer of the series to the ‘B’-size paperback size being adapted as the new standard format in the UK.

Black Halo by Sam Sykes
Gollancz (UK): 16 June
Pyr: 22 March

The sequel to Tome of the Undergates sees Lenk and his crew attempting to escape the island they were shipwrecked on in the previous volume whilst other forces track down the missing Tome.

Kings of the North by Elizabeth Moon
Orbit (UK): 24 March
Del Rey (USA): 22 March

The seventh Paksenarrion novel and the second in the current Paladin’s Legacy series.

Embedded by Dan Abnett
Angry Robot (UK & USA): 29 March

A stand-alone from Abnett, featuring a new type of war correspondent who lives in a chip embedded in a soldier’s head during a war. When the soldier is killed, the correspondent has to steer his body back to base through hostile territory.

The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel
Hodder & Stoughton (UK): 29 March
Crown (US): 29 March

Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series reaches its sixth and final volume, nine years after the publication of the previous book and thirty after the series began.

Tiassa by Steven Brust
Tor US: 29 March

The latest Vlad Taltos novel, apparently featuring the titular character fighting a snow tiger with bat wings or something, going by the cover art.

The White Luck Warrior by R. Scott Bakker
Orbit (UK): 5 May
Overlook (US): 31 March

The fifth volume in The Second Apocalypse and the second in The Aspect-Emperor sub-trilogy sees the stakes raised as the army known as the Great Ordeal draws closer to Golgotterath, headquarters of the Consult. Meanwhile, Achamian’s quest into the heart of darkness continues whilst new threats continue to gather at the Imperial Court.

The Inheritance by Robin Hobb
Voyager (UK): 31 March
Eos (US): 3 May

A new short story collection featuring stories written as both Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm, including some new material set in the Five Duchies/Cursed Shores setting. And also cats, it appears.

Sea of Ghosts by Alan Campbell
Tor UK: 1 April 2011

After a disappointing finale to his Deepgate Codex trilogy, Alan Campbell returns with a new series, The Gravedigger Chronicles. The Gravediggers, an elite military unit, are disbanded by order of the Emperor and their commander finds a new job working in an undersea prison. The arrival of two new prisoners triggers a series of unexpected events as factions fight for control of them and an old enemy rises from the sea.

The River of Shadows by Robert V.S. Redick
Gollancz (UK): 21 April 2011
Del Rey (USA): 19 April 2011

The third and penultimate novel in Robert Redick’s Chathrand Voyage series, continuing the story begun in The Red Wolf Conspiracy and The Rats and the Ruling Sea.

The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham
Orbit (UK & USA): 21 April

The first volume in Abraham’s new fantasy series, The Dagger and the Coin. War is threatening between the free cities as mercantile, political and military interests collide. The new work from the author of the excellent Long Price Quartet. I suspect Tor are going to regret letting him go to another publisher...

The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman
Penguin (UK): 28 April
Dutton Adult (USA): 4 August

The highly mixed reaction to The Left Hand of God (the weakest genre release of 2010 by some considerable margin) hasn’t stopped it being something of a sales success due to Penguin’s slightly ludicrous marketing for the first book. The second volume will no doubt repeat that success. Hopefully Hoffman’s writing skills have improved in the interim.

Titus Awakes by Mervyn Peake and Maeve Gilmore
Vintage (UK): 7 July
Overlook (USA): 28 April

Mervyn Peake impressively produces a fourth novel in his Gormenghast series forty-three years after his death. Begun by Peake whilst working on the third book and finished by his wife a decade later, this manuscript had lain undiscovered in an attic (as is usually the case) for a long time before it was discovered. Potentially intriguing.

The Deserter by Peadar Ó Guilín
David Fickling Books (UK): 5 May

The Inferior was one of the best lower-profile genre novels of 2008, a gruesome but intelligent story about cannibals living in an unusual environment packed with hostile creatures. The much-delayed sequel and second volume in The Bone World Trilogy takes Stopmouth into the more overtly SF world of the Roof.

Embassytown by China Mieville
Macmillan (UK): 6 May
Del Rey (US): 17 May

China Mieville’s first SF novel, although the focus on a strange city at the end of the universe populated by weird beings shows he’s not moving too far from his familiar stomping grounds.

The Order of the Scales by Stephen Deas
Gollancz (UK): 19 May

The concluding volume to the Memory of Flames sequence by Stephen Deas, featuring the conclusion of the dragon-riders’ civil war.

Fenrir by M.D. Lachlan
Gollancz (UK): 19 May

The follow-up to last year’s Wolfsangel, focusing on a Viking siege of Paris and a clash of cultures and faith.

The Warlock’s Shadow by Stephen Deas
Gollancz (UK): 2 June

The sequel to The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice.

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck)
Orbit (UK & USA): 2 June

The first novel in The Expanse series, an old-school space opera where humanity has colonised and settled the Solar system. The discovery of a derelict spacecraft threatens open war between the outer colonies and the powerful Earth-Mars bloc.

The Book of Transformations by Mark Charan Newton
Tor UK: 3 June 2011

The third and penultimate volume in Newton’s Legends of the Red Sun series sees the action return to Villjamur where the new Emperor is trying to keep resistance to his rule in check whilst simultaneously holding off the growing external threat to his kingdom.

Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds
Gollancz (UK): 16 June 2011

The first novel in Reynolds’s new Poseidon’s Children trilogy. In the mid-22nd Century, a resurgent and industrialised Africa is fuelling the colonisation of the Solar system. A discovery on the Moon sparks a change in the direction of humanity.

The Kings of Morning by Paul Kearney
Solaris (UK & USA): 28 June

The third and final novel in Kearney’s Macht series sees the armies of the Macht invading the Asurian Empire to avenge the betrayal of the Ten Thousand thirty years earlier.

Vortex by Robert Charles Wilson
Tor US: 5 July

The third and final book in the brilliantly-named Spin Cycle featuring humanity expanding to other worlds through wormholes after the Earth has been sealed away from the rest of the universe and sent billions of years into the future.

By Light Alone by Adam Roberts
Gollancz (UK): 21 July 2011

In a world where humans can photosynethise sunlight, no-one goes hungry. A young woman is kidnapped but, years later, is returned to her family, sparking a mystery.

Shadow’s Lure by Jon Sprunk
Gollancz (UK): 21 July
Pyr (US): 21 July

The sequel to Shadow’s Son, furthering the adventures of the reformed assassin Caim.

The Diviner by Melanie Rawn
DAW (US): 2 August

It may not be The Captal’s Tower, but Rawn finally delivers a sequel to one of her older books, The Golden Key.

The Edinburgh Dead by Brian Ruckley
Orbit (UK & USA): 4 August

An alt-history Edinburgh in 1827, home to mad professors and crazed alchemists. The newly-formed Edinburgh Police Force has to investigate a series of murders and suspicious deaths. An interesting change in direction from the author of the brutal Godless World trilogy.

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Voyager (UK): 4 August
Ace (US): 2 August

The first volume in The Broken Empire trilogy is picking up some strong advance notices. The main character is a ruthless and amoral outlaw who discovers a new threat to the remnants of the empire.

Stands a Shadow by Col Buchanan
Tor UK: 5 August

The sequel to Farlander, one of 2010’s more enjoyable fantasy debuts, sees the Empire of Mann’s assault on Bar-Khos intensify whilst the Roshun target the Empress herself for retribution after the death of one of their own.

Heirs of the Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Tor UK: 5 August 2011

The seventh volume in The Shadows of the Apt series (and the conclusion of the second story arc in the overall series) sees the story move to the Dragonfly Commonweal, whilst the Wasp Empire begins its resurgent expansion. I heavily recommend avoiding the Amazon plot synopsis, since it appears to massively spoil the events of the preceding novel The Sea Watch, itself not out yet.

The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding
Gollancz (UK): 18 August

The third volume in The Tales of the Ketty Jay series sees the crew run afoul of the titular Iron Jackal whilst the political tensions from the first two volumes in the series continue to rise.

Manhattan in Reverse by Peter F. Hamilton
Macmillan (UK): Summer

Hamilton’s next novel, Great North Road, is not due until 2012, but in the meantime we have a collection of short fiction to be going on with. This volume collects Hamilton’s short fiction together from the last decade or so, including some stories set in the Commonwealth setting.

War in Heaven by Gavin Smith
Gollancz: 15 September 2011

The sequel to last year’s strong debut novel, Veteran.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Gollancz (UK): 15 September

The third book in Cashore’s fantasy world focuses on the character of Bitterblue six years after the events of Graceling.

Salvation Reach by Dan Abnett
Black Library (UK & USA): 3 October

The thirteenth Gaunt's Ghosts novel (and the second in 'The Victory' arc) sees the Tanith First-and-Only assault an Imperial submersible vessel infiltrated by Chaos cultists.

The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin
Orbit (UK): 6 October 2011

The third and concluding volume of the Inheritance Trilogy, following the well-received Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Broken Kingdoms.

The Cold Commands by Richard Morgan
Gollancz (UK): 20 October
Del Rey (US): 11 October

The much-delayed second novel in Morgan’s Land Fit for Heroes trilogy and the sequel to The Steel Remains.

The Islanders by Christopher Priest
Gollancz (UK): 20 October

Priest’s first novel in almost a decade. This novel returns to the Dream Archipelago, the setting of the titular short story collection and The Affirmation, one of his finest novels. The Islanders is now my top tip for 2011 since even if it's just half as good as its predecessor, The Separation, this should easily be the best book of the year.

Initiate’s Trial by Janny Wurts
Voyager (UK): 27 October

The ninth volume in Wurts’s immense Wars of Light and Shadow series (and the first of three that will conclude the overall huge epic).

Black Opera by Mary Gentle
Gollancz (UK): 17 November

An intriguing new fantasy in which music has power, to the point where a hymn sung by a church choir can heal the sick. An atheist composer unleshes his new new opera upon the world...only to see the opera house destroyed by a lightning bolt. Gentle is the author of the brain-melting Ash: A Secret History as well as the entertaining Grunts!, and this sounds like an intriguing new novel from her.

Legacy of Kings by Celia Friedman
Orbit (UK): 1 December 2011

Celia Friedman’s Magister Trilogy comes to an end.

His Father’s Fists by Matt Stover
Del Rey: Autumn

The fourth novel featuring Matt Stover’s popular character Caine.

Requiem by Ken Scholes
Tor US: Autumn

The fourth and penultimate volume in Scholes’s Psalms of Isaak series.

Daylight on Iron Mountain by David Wingrove
Corvus (UK): Autumn

The sequel to Son of Heaven and the second volume in the new edition of Chung Kuo. This book picks up the story of Jake Reed and his family, now citizens of the City, adjusting to life under Chinese rule as the ruling elite systematically starts destroying real history in favour of their own design.

Triumff: The Double Falsehood by Dan Abnett
Angry Robot (UK): Autumn

The sequel to Abnett’s Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero sees the return of the swashbuckling hero as he performs more deeds of derring-do in an alt-history steampunk England where Elizabethan society has survived to the present day.

Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge
Tor US: Autumn

The long-awaited sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep, set ten years after the events of that novel.

The Coldest War by Ian Tregellis
Tor US: Autumn

The second volume in The Milkweed Triptych sees the Cold War start several years early, after the warlock-assisted Soviet Union has destroyed the superhuman-armed Nazi Germany and overrun most of Europe. This novel picks up the story with Britain trying to find out what happened to the superhumans captured by the USSR during the invasion.

Orb, Sceptre, Throne by Ian Cameron Esslemont
Bantam (UK): Autumn

Esselmont’s fourth novel set in the Malazan world returns us to the gaslit streets of Darujhistan shortly after the events of Erikson’s Toll the Hounds. A demigod has died on the streets and portents reveal that a Tyrant is returning to claim his city. Against this fate stands a motley crew of citizens, led by the redoubtable Kruppe...

Mistborn: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Tor (US): Autumn

Between all of his other writing projects, Sanderson has somehow found the time to write a fourth Mistborn novel, albeit a quite short one. This new book is set several centuries after the first trilogy and sees allomancy being used in a more technologically-advanced environment.

Snuff by Terry Pratchett
Doubleday (UK): Autumn

Pratchett's new Discworld novel sees the return of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch and Commander Vimes as a new threat to the city arises.

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
Bantam (US): Some time.
Voyager (UK): Eventually.

With the much-delayed [/understatement] fifth volume in A Song of Ice and Fire about to exceed the already-bookshelf-destroying A Storm of Swords in length, it looks like the novel will either be completed soon and published in 2011, or split for length and then at least partially released in 2011. Either way, the long wait looks like it is finally coming to a close. Although checking the temperature in hell may be a more reliable indicator ;-)

Hey, what about...
I have no further information on whether The Republic of Thieves will make it out in 2011, or David Gerrold's much, much-delayed new Chtorr novel, although apparently there is still hope on both scores. Also, the list itelf is not exhaustive, since a full listing of every genre release of note in 2011 would be about five times this length. I can recommend checking out the various SFF publishers' websites, many of whom now have their catalogues for at least the first half of 2011 available for download.


Mike Bonsiero said...

I wish I could bet money on things like "sometime around May or June, George R.R. Martin will publish on his blog that he just finished a tough chapter and there is a chance (no promises) that the book will be out by the end of the year." It's a bet that would have paid off every year since 2006.

jamie said...

Bugger me that's a lot of books...
Also an impressively long post, thank you Wert.

ediFanoB said...

This a quite impressive and interesting list. 27 of these books are either on my radar or ordered in advance.

I sure that you have a lot more books on your list.
For me it would be no problem to add immediately handful more like
- Hellhole by Kevin J. Anderson
- The curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder
- The Crown of the Conqueror by Gavin Thorpe
- Among Thieves: A Tale of the Kin by Douglas Hulick
- The Martian Ambassador by Alan Baker
- Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe
- PAX BRITANNIA: Anno Frankenstein by Jonathan Green

The reissue of
- Morlock Nights by K. W.Jeter
- Infernal Devices by K. W.Jeter

In the end it is just a matter of taste.

Thank you for your list

Elfy said...

Thankyou for this, Wert. So many books, so little time to read them all.

Lagomorph Rex said...

New Discworld is nice.. the rest well.. looks like I'll be hitting up Powell's and Amazon looking for more old out of print stuff since none of this interests me in the slightest..

Anonymous said...

Prospero Burns is already out in the US. Saw it a Barnes and Noble on Monday.

JamesY said...

Thanks Wert. I'll use your list to start planning my 2011 purchases.

Ratatoskr said...

Wow, epic blog post, Wert! Thanks a lot. Psyched about the Vinge, which I hadn't heard about.

Anonymous said...

So many books!... little of any interest to me whatsoever. I grew up reading fantasy, and still identify as a genre reader (I don't read much else, at least in fiction), but so little of what's written now still excites me.

Of those you mentioned, these stand out to me:

The Hammer - I get the feeling I should pick up some KJ Parker sometime, going by what other people have said about him/her.

Heroes - people laud Abercrombie to the heavens, so maybe I should try some, but his own internet persona and the passages of his writing that I've read have just seemed... not exactly cliche, not exactly juvenile, but nonetheless somehow tired and shallow.

Deep State - interesting enough gimmick, but I know nothing about the author. Is he any good?

Tiassa - I love the winged-snow-tiger cover! But no.

White-Luck Warrior: I'll probably try Bakker sometime. What people say about him makes me want to like him, but I'm put off by having read actual passages from the books. Don't know if I could read an entire novel written like that.

The Inheritance: loved Farseer, Liveship Traders and Tawny Man (on re-read, hated the final book the first time). But for some reason haven't read anything since. Then again, I've read one or two of her short stories, and liked them, so I might just pick this one up.

The Dragon's Path: feel I should read the Long Price Quartet sometime, but the synopses for the new series sound as though they're moving in a less interesting direction.

Kings of Morning: maybe I should try Kearney sometime.

By Light Alone: cute premise. I know nothing about the author, however.

THE ISLANDERS!!!!! - OK, so the only Priest I've read is The Prestige. I've got The Affirmation on the to-read pile. But even one book is enough to tell me that Priest is a seriously brilliant writer who I should pay attention to.

Black Opera: I loved ASH, and though her other books haven't yet motivated me enough through their synopses to get me to buy them, this one looks interesting.

People tell me I should try Stover.

Pratchett and GRRM obviously, although (heresy!) I'm really getting tired of the Watch, and AFFC didn't fill me with confidence either.

Ryan said...

Nice list Wert. There's a few must buys on there that I'm excited to get my hands on.

Alex said...

@Bonzi, I remember Martin saying he wouldn't publish an update on his website until it was finished. Everyone got bored with the annual updates- the last was what? 1 Jan 2008 or something?

I think he's lost interest in it personally.

IZ said...

Wasn't Mary Gentle going to release a book set in the same world as Ash and Illario called 'The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies'? Is this Black Opera book the same thing with the title changed, or has TKOTTS been tanked?

Tarien Cole said...

Shouldn't Ghost Story the 13th volume of Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files be here too...yeah I know, he has scant need of publicizing it. But there was the Martin book, in even less need. :P

April 5th, 2011, unless the date's been changed when I wasn't looking.

Brian said...

Hi Adam,

Do you have any insider information on the publication date for Lynch's "The Republic of Thieves"? has it coming out on Feb. 17. I've also heard Gollancz's website lists the same date. What's going on with that? There hasn't been any advertisement at all... I'm nervous to preorder it...

Thanks for your help. I've been reading your blog for a year and a half now -- you're doing great work around here.