Last year I stole this from the Gravel Pit because I thought it was a great idea to look at the titles from the full year to come rather than just what might be interesting in a single quarter. Locus only went up to September, so if I am missing a great title, it is only because I am not aware of it yet.
This list is mostly in order of my interest, but after the first couple it becomes a real jumble. Tis the season for lists and no actual content.
1: A Memory of Light, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (??): Yeah, as if there is a question about this. I've spent the majority of my fantasy reading life with Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time, and even the least of his work has been a joy to read. Whether this is split into two volumes or published as one extraordinarily mammoth volume, A Memory of Light is without a doubt the one book I want to read in 2009 if, for some reason, I would read only one book.
2: A Dance with Dragons, by George R. R. Martin (??): I wrote about this last year and it was the #1 novel I most looked forward to. Here, it is still #2. I believe and hope that 2009 will give us the new George R. R. Martin. If it does then fantasy fans shall rejoice. Or, they should.
3: Best Served Cold, by Joe Abercrombie (July): Mr. Abercrombie may have a slight problem with being placed at number three on any list, but sir, look at your company. I've still only read the first two volumes of The First Law and have the third at home, but it doesn't really matter what Best Served Cold is actually about. I'll read anything Mr. Abercrombie writes.
4: Seven for a Secret, by Elizabeth Bear (March): So, y'all know how I feel about Elizabeth Bear, right?
5: The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Three, edited by Jonathan Strahan (March): I thought the second volume was fantastic, I still want to read the first, and I expect this is going to be one of the classics of the field of "Best Of" anthologies. There's no question here.
6: Chasing the Dragon, by Justina Robson (August): A fourth Quantum Gravity novel? Ohhhh yeah! I really have no idea where Robson is going with this series and I find the idea of the broken hero Lila Black fascinating. Sure, there are plenty of broken heroines, but Robson does this one very well.
7: The Revolution Business, by Charles Stross (April): I am seldom enthused about Stross's fiction, but I'd be happy with another half dozen more of this series.
8: The Walls of the Universe, by Paul Melko (February): I thought the short story this novel is based on was excellent, so this is a novel I've been waiting for ever since I heard an inkling it might be real.
9: The City & The City, by China Mieville (May): Hey, it's new Mieville. I'm not sure I really care what it is about. It's worth a look.
10: The City Without End, by Kay Kenyon (February): This is a series improving with each of the first two volumes and Kay Kenyon is proving herself to be a writer who commands attention. And deserves it.
11: The God Engine, by John Scalzi (April): Well, this is on the Locus list, but I'm not seeing it on the SubPress forthcoming catalog. Will it come out in April? I dunno. If it does, or if it comes out in December, a new Scalzi story (a novella, a non-novel length story with a plot!) is worth reading.
12: Steal Across the Sky, by Nancy Kress (February): I've only read a small amount of Kress's work, but I'm at the point that I want to read anything new she publishes all the while I seek out her older work.
13: Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson (June)
14: Federations, edited by John Joseph Adams (May): I like JJA's work as an anthologist, so there's no way I'm missing this one.
15: The Son of Retro Pulp Tales, edited by Joe R. Lansdale (May)
16: The Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch (??): Originally slated for 2008 publication, then early 2009, I don't see The Republic of Thieves on any schedule. As such, if I had any inkling this entry into The Gentlemen Bastards would be published in 2009, it would be much, much higher on the list. Since I don't, it will get an honorary place on the list. I think there is a far better chance of seeing the new George Martin.
To look at a full year, these are the sixteen titles I most look forward to, the titles I would actually want to highlight. Now, I may be missing something exceptional here, and if so, let's add it to the list!