This is the third time I've attempted to put together a list of the books I am most looking forward to in the coming year.
If you take a look at the previous two lists you'll note that there are two particular novels which are frequent inhabitants of these lists. Hopefully 2010 is the year both are completed and published. I feel hopeful.
1. Towers of Midnight, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (November): After finding out just how good of a job Sanderson did with The Gathering Storm, and given that The Wheel of Time has long been my favorite fantasy series, this second of three concluding volumes to the epic has to be the most anticipated volume of the year for me.
2. A Dance with Dragons, by George R. R. Martin (unknown): Last year I wrote "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." Well, I believe that 2010 will give us the new George R. R. Martin. If it does, fantasy fans should rejoice. At the very least, I will.
3. The Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch (unknown / July): The first two volumes of The Gentleman Bastards were some of the freshest and flat out fun fantasy I've had the pleasure to read in some time. Recent livejournal posts from Scott Lynch have suggested that the third volume is almost complete and that there is a decent chance we'll see this in 2010.
4. Shadow Unit: Season One, by Emma Bull and Elizabeth Bear (editors) (unknown): Unlike every other book on this list (or previous lists), I've read every published word of Shadow Unit. Follow the link and you'll get to the main site. It's all free for the reading (donations accepted), but it'll be great to have a chance to have a copy on my bookshelf.
5. The Prince of Storms, by Kay Kenyon (January): The Entire and the Rose is a very strong science fiction series and with the bar set very high, I expect that Kenyon is going to deliver an outstanding conclusion.
6. Swords and Dark Magic, by Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan (editors): C'mon now, look at the Table of Contents. Can't wait for this one.
7. Fort Freak, by George R. R. Martin (editor) (December): New Wild Cards, now with Cherie Priest and David Anthony Durham.
8. Dreadnought, by Cherie Priest (September): "New Cherie Priest" is generally enough to get me in the door, but this is the follow up to Boneshaker. Nuff said.
9. The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson (August): In the middle of finishing Wheel of Time (and just after finishing both Mistborn and Warbreaker), Brandon Sanderson is launching a potential ten volume new series titled The Stormlight Archive. This is the first volume. Years before The Way of Kings was ever seriously announced there was a listing for it on Amazon.com and faux-reviews of the faux-novel began to appear. Now we get the real thing.
10. The Sea Thy Mistress, by Elizabeth Bear (November): The third and concluding volume to Bear's Edda of Burdens trilogy. By the Mountain Bound improved on an already good All the Windwracked Stars. With no idea at all as to how this will end, the end of the year can't come soon enough.
11. Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal (June): Most easily described as "Jane Austen with magic", I wouldn't necessarily be drawn to the subject. Except, this one is written by Mary Robinette Kowal and I am more than enamored with her short fiction.
12. Horns, by Joe Hill (February): Joe Hill's first novel was the outstanding Heart-Shaped Box. Doesn't matter what this is about. I'll follow Hill anywhere he wants to go. Literary-wise, that is. Anything more than that would be weird.
13. Eclipse Four, by Jonathan Strahan (editor): Arguably the best original anthology series on the market (not that there are many of them), and I'm happy that Strahan and Night Shade won't be stopping at Three.
14. Gardens of the Sun, by Paul McAuley: I only recently finished reading The Quiet War and my review is forthcoming, but there is no way the sequel wouldn't be on this list. That's some well done science fiction, y'all.
15. The Best of Joe R. Lansdale (February): The short fiction of Joe Lansdale is exciting and it is dangerous. There is an edge to Lansdale which is thrilling for the reader. A Best Of is something to celebrate.
16. Lesser Demons, by Norman Partridge (April): The last time I read a novella from Partridge it was Dark Harvest, so I'm itchin to see what Partridge has for us this time around.
17. The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, Volume 4, by Jonathan Strahan (editor) (March): My favorite year's best anthology series.
18. Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor (June): Post-apocalyptic Africa. I've previously reader Okorafor's The Shadow Speaker and was impressed. This should be one of the year's major releases.
19. Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld (October): Just yesterday I finished Westerfeld's Leviathan. It's all kinds of awesome. Alternate history of World War I. Westerfeld seems to play the war straight, but the technology change is fascinating in its execution. Oh, and did I mention it is awesome?
Now, obviously there are plenty of fantastic novels which will be published in 2010. We can expect new novels from Tobias Buckell, Steven Erikson, Elizabeth Bear (besides the one I mentioned), Kim Stanley Robinson, Connie Willis, Dan Simmons, Liz Williams, Alastair Reynolds, Adam Roberts, Robert Sawyer, Stephen Baxter, Cory Doctorow, China Mieville, and, and, and you get the point. There's plenty of goodness to go around.
These are the 19 pieces of goodness that I most want to read.