Sunday, May 9, 2010

Summer Blockbusters

Like the oft-celebrated summer movie schedule, 2010 is lining up its best in the coming months and has several guaranteed (*note* not really guaranteed) good reads for the SF world. This summer will be a heck of a good season, friends and neighbors. The following books are all due out in the next few months, encompassing fully one-half of my top ten working genre authors. This is going to be a great year by anyones standards.

June 1st, 2010 Ace (US) - March 15th, 2010 Gollancz (UK)
Reynolds takes a departure from the many volumed Revelation Space universe in order to deliver this far-future steampunkish novel which is set on a Babel-esque tower housing various castes of humanity at various levels. What makes this tower unique is that each section appears to be locked into various technological eras; post-singularity above to the horse-and-buggies below. When one of the post-human "angels" falls down into the more or less late 20th century level, the mystery and suspense begin.

Al is the author of the seven volumes of Revelation Space staring with the eponymous book and ending, most recentely, with The Prefect. In addition he has written other books including the noir-styled-alternate-history-mystery (got that?) Century Rain and the deep future House of Suns in which humans have fully colonized the galaxy only to discover that we are completely alone.

No release data yet for US - June 3rd, 2010 Gollancz (UK)
This first volume in yet another trilogy (man, that Baxter loves him some three book sequences) Stone Spring sinks its teeth deep into an alternate stone age, 8,000 years in the past. The tale follows a band of hunter-gatherers who live in "Northland", the natural land bridge linking England to Holland, while they struggle to keep their homeland intact in the face of the rising North Sea. Followed by Bronze Summer and Iron Winter over the next two years, the trilogy will track the fate of the community though history's greatest epochs.

Baxter is the author of, among other things, the Manifold series consisting of the books Time, Space and Origin in which each novel examines a different possible answer to the Fermi Paradox; and the unique Mammoth sequence which follows the struggles of the last mammoth herds in the face of extinction from man.

June 15th, 2010 Night Shade Books (US) - June 15th, 2010 Gollancz (UK)
This summer Egan brings us Zendegi, the story of the Iran expatriate Nasim Golestani, a scientist living in America who is currently working on the ambitious "Human Connectome Project" which aims to completely map every neural connection in the human brain. But when funding for the project evaporates, Nasim moves his expertise into the creation of the world's largest virtual community Zendegi. Representing millions, this new controversial community is being fought as those living argue against the nature and rights of the software-only beings who reside within.

Egan is the famously reclusive science-fiction author living in Australia whose background in mathematics shines through in all his work. His ideas are often huge, sometimes intimidating and always a joy to read. He is perhaps best known for the 1994 novel Permutation City, also exploring ideas of a virtual civilization and most recently Incandescence, a novel in which a pre-industrial alien culture proposes the theories of general relativity and black hole physics.

  • Kraken by China Mieville
June 29th, 2010 Del Ray (US) - May 7th, 2010 Macmillan (UK).
China's new novel is is promising to be his weirdest yet, and as he is the de-facto leader of what the sub-genre hairsplitters are calling the "New Weird" that is not a statement to be taken lightly. When the centerpiece of the London Natural History Museum, the Architeuthis dux, better known as the Giant Squid, disappears into thin air in front of a group of tourists an underground and heretofore unknown group the city's denizens rise to proclaim their dominance. Now groups as various as the newly risen Congregation of Kraken, to the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crimes Unit (FSRC) whom fight sorcery with sorcery are all chasing one man, Billy the tour guide, who inadvertently holds the key to the cephalopod's power and the continued existence of everything we know.

China is the author of the best-selling Bas-Lag universe novels including perhaps most famously Perdido Street Station and Iron Council as well as last year's most award winningest novel, an ambitious noir mystery that only China could write, The City & The City.

July 6th, 2010 Ace (US) - July 1st, 2010 Orbit (UK)
With the third book in what is now known as "The Laundry Files", Stross promises to deliver another stunning yet unlikely mix of Lavecratftian horror, IT hackery, comedy and 007 style gadgetry and espionage. Following up on The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue, Bob Howard is getting a bit tired of his work following him home at night. Unlike you and me however, when Bob's work follows him home it is generally in the form of mad eldritch gods from the black depths or zombie assassins. When Bob's boss at the ultra-covert black-ops agency responsible from keeping these horrors from the general public is indicted for the disappearance of a secret file that may reveal all, people start dying.

Charlie is a the prolific author of the six volume science fantasy Merchant Princes series and many hard science fiction novels often examining possible futures for humans in a post-singularity world such as Accelerando and Halting State as well as the space-opera Saturn's Children.

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