Monday, January 03, 2011

19 Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2011

This is the fourth 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 three lists you'll note that there are two particular novels which are frequent inhabitants of these lists. Hopefully 2011 is the year both are completed and published. I feel hopeful.

1. A Memory of Light, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (??): I expect that it is more likely we’ll see this final Wheel of Time novel in early 2012, but on the off chance that it is published this year…well, this is any year's #1.

2. A Dance With Dragons, by George R. R. Martin (??): I will hold out hope every year that GRRM finishes the book and we get to read it. I am due a series re-read to prepare, but I’m waiting until the announcement is made. I have faith like a child.

3. The Sea Thy Mistress, by Elizabeth Bear (February): To be fair, I’ve already read this one and it is an outstanding conclusion to Bear’s Edda of Burdens trilogy. You really need to have read All the Windwracked Stars and By the Mountain Bound to get the full emotional impact for the character arcs, but it is well worth the journey.

4. Machine, by Jennifer Pelland (August): I love, love, love, love Jennifer Pelland’s short fiction. I’ve been raving about it since I read “Captive Girl” on the Nebula ballot a few years back, have searched it out wherever I could find, and picked up her collection Unwelcome Bodies. Debut novel. EXCITED.

5. The Coldest War, by Ian Tregillis (October): The second volume of the Milkweed Triptych, following 2010’s excellent Bitter Seeds. Must. Read.

6. The Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch (June?): As much as I want to read this next adventure of Locke Lamora, I want Scott Lynch to be healthy and whole. If that means that we have to wait longer for future volumes, so be it. I won’t be mad, though, if Lynch has finished the book and we see publication in 2011.

7. Grail, by Elizabeth Bear (March): The conclusion to the Jacob’s Ladder trilogy. Dust and Chill were excellent and I yearn to see how Bear wraps this up.

8. Eclipse Four, by Jonathan Strahan (May): Might I state for the record just how highly I think of Strahan’s work on the Eclipse series?

9. Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, by Genevieve Valentine (May): I have no idea what this is about, though I’ll hazard a guess that a circus of some sort will figure into it. What I know is that I’ve been following Genevieve Valentine’s short fiction for several years now and have been hoping for a novel. Here it is. Also, Kelly Barnhill has already read it and loved it, and we seem to have some overlapping taste in what we find delightful.

10. The Diviner, by Melanie Rawn (August): Out of all of the books listed here, and even out of all the books NOT listed here, I never expected to learn that Melanie Rawn had written The Diviner, let alone finished it. The Diviner is the prequel to the outstanding generational fantasy novel The Golden Key co-written by Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott. With everything that has gone on with Rawn and her recent focus on the Spellbinder novels, I just assumed this was one of those ideas that just wasn’t going to come to fruition. I am SO glad that it did.

11. The Tempering of Men, by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear (August): The follow up to A Companion of Wolves. That novel was all sorts of awesome. As if I needed a reason to anticipate a novel written, in part, by Elizabeth Bear.

12. Dark Jenny, by Alex Bledsoe (April): It’s a new Eddie LaCrosse novel. Have sword, will travel; it’s a mystery of sorts set in a fantasy world. Think Glen Cook’s Garrett PI novels, only Eddie can be more of a bruiser. Still got plenty of quick wit. I already have a copy of this.

13. His Father’s Fists, by Matthew Stover: It’s a new Caine novel from Matthew Stover. You know, the guy who wrote Heroes Die, The Blade of Tyshalle, and Caine Black Knife? Yeah, him.

14. City of Ruins, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (May): This is Rusch’s follow up to the outstanding Diving Into the Wreck. Another story about the explorer / scavenger Boss. Yes, please.

15. Fort Freak, by GRRM (June): New Wild Cards.

16. Deathless, by Catherynne M. Valente (April): I confess, the cover art is doing a lot of selling here. Deathless is tied to Russian folklore and the product description says “All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.” We should also expect more of Valente’s stunningly beautiful and descriptive prose. That’s just my assumption.

17. Raising Stony Mayhall, by Daryl Gregory (July): Author of Pandemonium and The Devil’s Alphabet. Gregory isn’t working with a series, but each volume is a gem. You want to watch this guy.

18. Never at Home, by L Timmel Duchamp (June): Listed on the Locus list as a collection. Duchamp's Marq'ssan Cycle is excellent, and I'm always on the eye out for more from Duchamp.

19. The Mostly True Story of Jack, by Kelly Barnhill (August): Honestly, I don’t really care what this is about. I’m going to read it. Kelly Barnhill is a friend and she’s absolutely delightful, and I’ve enjoyed what stories of hers I’ve had the chance to read. I’m thrilled that her first novel is coming out this year.

I could probably make another list or three of all the books I'm looking forward to.  Here, I've mostly stuck with the SFF genre.  Step outside of the genre, and the list will grow exponentially.

So.  What do YOU want to read this year?


Anonymous said...

Just wait until you read Valentine's book. So good it gave me chills. Hell, I've got chills right now just thinking about it.

Joe said...

Now you're just teasing me, Kelly.

Carl V. Anderson said...

Strahan rocks! I can't wait for Eclipse Four and was disappointed that it didn't come out as early as they usually come out during the year. I did pick up Engineering Infinity today and read the first two stories (the second by Rusch) and am enjoying the collection thus far.

I too am looking forward to City of Ruins.

As I've only read the first GRRM book (but loved it), I feel like a wannabe to claim fandom, but I too hope the next book comes out, despite the fact that I probably won't get to it this year. I feel bad for all of you who have had to wait so long.

Also looking forward to Fuzzy Nation just because it is a new Scalzi.

Anonymous said...

Embassytown by China Mieville. Mieville is only one of three authors who I've never been disappointed by. I'm working my way through the enormously entertaining Kraken right now on my Nook, and I can't wait for his first foray into true SF (as New Weird is a lot closer to secondary world fantasy than SF).

Joe said...

I'll read Fuzzy Nation because it is Scalzi, but it's not really on my radar.

I don't see it happening in the next decade, but what would really excite me is when GRRM writes another non Ice and Fire novel again. His Ice and Fire work is fantastic, everybody knows that. But his earlier short fiction and The Armageddon Rag? Fevre Dream?

The man is just really, really good.

Joe said...

Adam: Who are the other two?

Carl V. Anderson said...

Oh, and how could I forget to echo the Dark Jenny anticipation? That is one of the books I am most excited about in 2011.

redhead said...

I'm with you on the Martin and the Lynch. Have heard late Sept is the maybe, actual, possible release date for the Martin?

Chad Hull said...

You absolutely have to put together an Elizabeth Bear fansite.

Furthermore, after reading your blog for awhile, I might just get into Melanie Rawn; I've been jones-ing for some old school fantasy for a long time.

Joe said...

redhead: Until George announces that he's finished the book and delivered it to his publisher, I take nothing for granted. I wouldn't be mad about September, though. I suspect he delivers fairly clean copy, so the turnaround from delivery to publication should be shortish.

Chad: I just try to support the writers I have love for. But I know Bear casually outside of her books. I think that would probably make both of us uncomfortable.

But do read more of Melanie Rawn's fantasy. I need to get back on my Dragon Prince re-read. That was some defining fantasy of my later teenage years. I understand that she's been contracted for another traditional fantasy series. Can't wait!

Nick Leshi said...

Great list. If half of those are published on time and I get a chance to read them, I'll be happy.

Anonymous said...

My first time posting here; good to have found your blog!

Your list is terrific, and I look forward to these books -- as soon as I make a dent in that huge backlog from 2010!

Joe said...

Thanks, Jeff. I just pretend those backlogs don't exist. Once they sit there for more than six months, they're out of my mind.

On the other hand, I just read whatever strikes my fancy, no matter when it was published. (Slow River, by Nicola Griffith. Go read).

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