Science Fiction & Fantasy
Brooklyn (St. Martin’s/Dunne, May
2017) resembles the actual borough but
is populated by vampires. Turning the
traditional bloodsucker story on its
fanged head, the novel begins with the
main character losing his vampirism and
going to great lengths to save the woman
Another book from Dunne, Magicians
Impossible by Brad Abraham (July 2017),
has as its main character a 20-something
slacker who learns he’s descended from
spies with magical powers.
“It’s basically James Bond meets
Doctor Strange,” says Brendan Deneen,
who edited the book before moving to
Tor/Forge. Like other editors we spoke
with, he’s in favor of bending genre and
“Readers are hungry for these kinds of
new takes on genres that they love,” he
says. “We all want the familiar, but we
also want the familiar to surprise us.”
THE JOURNALS OF
VOLUME 1, 1957-1969
EDITED BY KENNETH R. JAMES
“Already visible in
these pages are the
Delany and his
author of The Brief
Wonderous Life of
ebook also available
Readers of military SF expect authors to do their homework
Even when authors wade into the uncharted future or an alternate reality, they still need to get the details right. This is especially true of military- themed speculative fiction, whose readers are drawn to details including strategy plans, epic battle descriptions, and weaponry specs. In some cases, credibility is borne by the author’s experience. That’s a
key selling point for Angeleyes (Baen, Nov.), the latest installment in Michael Z.
Williamson’s Freehold Series (102,000 print units sold, per Nielsen BookScan). In the
new book, Angie Kaneshiro, a former soldier, returns to service as a war begins between
Earth and its colonies.
The author’s experience shows in the way he depicts battle strategies, gear, and the
mind-set of the characters, says Toni Weisskopf, publisher at Baen, and informs his
vision of what the armed forces of the future might look like.
“Williamson is a veteran in both senses of the word, having served in two branches
of the U.S. military and published over a dozen novels,” Weisskopf says. The author
“knows what it feels like to be a soldier and return home,” bringing this knowledge
to the book in a way that rings true for readers.
Joe Zieja, a former Air Force captain who later worked as a government analyst,
launched a comedic space opera trilogy with 2016’s Mechanical Failure (Saga). He returns
with Communication Failure (June 2017), in which the hero of his first novel is thrust into
the role of admiral and is required to make decisions that could imperil the galaxy—a
scenario that is played for laughs as well as dramatic tension.
Other titles take a more sober view of current debates happening over government
and war, such as fighting terrorism and the repercussions of globalization. Taiyo Fujii’s
Orbital Cloud (Haikasoru, Mar. 2017), set in 2020, brings the war on terrorism into outer
space, as a shooting-star forecaster, a NORAD staff sergeant, and a billionaire entrepreneur embark an on international effort to fight space-based terrorists.
Techno-terrorism is at the center of Dogs of War (St. Martin’s Griffin, Apr. 2017),
ninth in Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series, which mingles SF with horror elements.
The series launched with Patient Zero (2009; 86,000 print copies sold, per BookScan),
in which Ledger is recruited to stop a bioweapon that turns humans into zombies.
This installment finds him tackling terrorists whose weapons include robot dogs
that deliver WMDs, and plague-spreading sex cyborgs. Though these sound like far-fetched threats, the book’s editor, Michael Homler, says that Maberry
aims to “take real-world events and touch them up slightly.”
Robyn Bennis’s debut, The Guns Above (Tor, May 2017), speaks to the
political moment from a more personal angle. The military fantasy
focuses on a nation’s first female airship captain, as she not only has to
outgun enemies in a high-stakes space battle, but also overcome sexist
doubts from her crew and superiors—difficulties that would read as
anything but far-fetched to today’s readers.
David Weber’s long-running Honor Harrington series, which
launched in 1993 with On Basilisk Station, also stars a military heroine,
one who lives in the fourth millennium. Baen will publish book 14, Shadow of Victory,
in November. Weisskopf says the author has worked to stay a step ahead of the times
in discussing political themes of “what government can and should be, how they go
wrong, and how they can be put right again—or not.”
In After the Crown (Orbit, Dec.), K.B. Wagers delves into military space opera as