New and Notable Books, May 2012




Elizabeth Bear, Range of Ghosts
(Tor Mar 2012)

Thirteen-century Central Asia and The Arabian Nights provide inspiration for this epic fantasy novel, the first book in a trilogy set in the Eternal Sky world, where a group of young wanderers find themselves in danger because of their links to royalty or magic.





C. J. Cherryh, Intruder
(DAW Mar 2012)

The 13th volume in the Foreigner series starts a new arc with a change of pace as the human Bren deals with politics, while the precocious eight-year-old Cajeiri, son of powerful atevi leaders, deals with serious boredom. “The Cajeiri and Bren threads finally converge in a strange and wonderful collision… it is one of the marvels of this series that after a dozen volumes, Cherryh can keep pulling such rabbits (or their atevi equivalents) out of the hat.” [Russell Letson]





Nalo Hopkinson, The Chaos
(Simon & Schuster/McElderry Apr 2012)

Noted multicultural author Hopkinson turns to young-adult fantasy with this tale inspired by Caribbean folklore. Scotch, a teen with a white Jamaican father and a black Canadian mother, feels out of place in Toronto even before the world goes mad when the Chaos breaks out.





Alaya Johnson, Wicked City
(St. Martin’s Apr 2012)

Zephyr Hollis returns in this sequel to Moonshine, set in Prohibition-era Manhattan, where the debate over the legalization of the blood-based vampire drug Faust turns deadly when users turn up dead, and suspicion falls on Zephyr and her djinni boyfriend. The author also writes as Alaya Dawn Johnson.





Caitlín R. Kiernan, The Drowning Girl: A Memoir
(Roc Mar 2012)

Kiernan mixes a ghost story with psychological suspense in this novel about schizophrenic teen Imp, who is trying to learn the truth behind some fantastic encounters. “One of the most complexly moving and richly layered tales I’ve read… easily Kiernan’s best novel to date.” [Gary K. Wolfe]





Stephen King, The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole
(limited Grant Feb 2012; trade Scribner May 2012)

The incomparable King returns to his epic fantasy series The Dark Tower with this novel, the eighth written but set between volumes four and five.





Nancy Kress, After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall
(Tachyon Publications May 2012)

Multiple SF themes mix in this haunting and understated SF novel about ecological collapse, alien intervention, dystopia, time travel – and the things people will do to survive.





Seanan McGuire, Discount Armageddon
(DAW Mar 2012)

Monster hunting has never been so much off-beat fun as in this first book in the InCryptid series. Cryptozoologist Verity Price, who’d rather be a ballroom dancer than a slayer, helps protect NYC cryptids by stopping the bad ones before they attract attention.





Christopher Moore, Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art
(Morrow Apr 2012)

Moore turns his distinctive blend of humor and fantasy to historical mystery and art history in this novel set in 19th-century France, as Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and Lucien Lessard investigate the death of Vincent van Gogh, a convoluted tale that “ends up succeeding on more than one level.” [Faren Miller]





Tim Powers, Hide Me Among the Graves
(HarperCollins/Morrow Mar 2012)

Powers returns to the world of 19th-century art and literature in this historical fantasy novel, sequel to The Stress of Her Regard, this time involving the Rossettis and their undead uncle John Polidori. “This is [Powers’s] best novel in years, and the Rossettis seem a better match for his morally complex art than even the earlier Romantics.” [Gary K. Wolfe]





Robert Sheckley, Store of the Worlds
(New York Review Books Apr 2012)

Editors Alex Abramovich & Jonathan Lethem select and introduce 26 stories from an author whose “short fiction, which from the beginning seemed to subvert some of the most cherished tropes of SF, can resonate with contemporary readers in a way comparable to Dick and Vonnegut.” [Gary K. Wolfe]





Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo & et al, The Mongoliad
(Amazon/47north Apr 2012)

The experimental online multi-author serial takes novel form in this first volume in the Foreworld Saga, set in an alternate 13th-century Europe during the Mongol invasion. Stephenson’s knack for dense historical detail combines with lots of sword-swinging adventure. “As it stands, the book itself is a romp through this thinly fictional historic period, one that is full of well-described swordplay and richly imagined characters. The transitions between the voices of [the authors] is seamless… the start of a truly epic adventure.” [Adrienne Martini]





Jack Vance, edited by Terry Dowling & Jonathan Strahan, Dream Castles: The Early Jack Vance, Volume Two
(Subterranean Press Mar 2012)

Dedicated Vanceans Terry Dowling & Jonathan Strahan edit and introduce this collection of ten stories by Grand Master Vance, this time dating from 1947-1977.





Kurt Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut: Novels & Stories 1950-1962
(Library of America Apr 2012)

The second volume from the prestigious Library of America brings together three of Vonnegut’s classic SF novels: Player Piano, The Sirens of Titan, and Mother Night, plus six stories, and a selection of non-fiction pieces including an essay on science fiction.