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As promised yesterday, a short list of books I'm looking forward to in 2012. There is no shortage of such lists already out there, of course, but that's not going to stop me.

(I will briefly note that there are two books that would have been on this list, had I not been lucky enough to receive advance copies and have the time to already read them. Those are The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan, which I've briefly mentioned previously, and Intrusion by Ken MacLeod. Both are good books, good enough that if they're not on my best-of-year list in twelve months' time it will have been a very good year.)


So, what am I looking forward to?

The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, edited by Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn (January). The James/Mendlesohn Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction is an excellent introduction to its subject; this volume enters a less-crowded field with just as impressive a roster of contributers: Greer Gilman, Roz Kaveney, Paul Kincaid, Nnedi Okorafor, Adam Roberts, Graham Sleight and Gary K Wolfe, to name just a few. Rich pickings.

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway (February). A book I want to read very much, which certain people keep diligently reminding me they greatly enjoyed; between that, and the great bouncing joy that was The Gone-Away World, I have high expectations. The book blurb says it's a "riveting action spy thriller, blistering gangster noir, and howling absurdist comedy", which sounds like a lot for one novel, but Harkaway's got as good a chance as anyone at pulling it off.

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (May). A new novel by KSR will always be an event for me; a new novel which can be described as "dos Passos meets Asimov"? Be still my worldbuilding-loving heart.

A Stranger In Olondria by Sofia Samatar (June). So here's a thing: I'm looking forward to Samatar's debut novel -- an interesting sounding fantasy, to go by the description -- not just because it's being published by Small Beer Press, but because I've really enjoyed her reviews for us over the last year. Here she is with plenty to say about A Life on Paper, Yellowcake, The Silver Wind and Utopia; I want to see what she says in her fiction.

Black Opera by Mary Gentle (August). A listing for this book has been knocking about on Amazon for several years, always getting pushed back a year at the last minute, so I'm not completely certain it's real yet: but it now has cover art and a synopsis, so I'm allowing my hopes to get up. And I'm a sucker for stories about the power of music.

Rapture by Kameron Hurley (autumn). This one can't possibly be a surprise, given how much I've enthused about the first two volumes of the Bel Dame Apocrypha. As is the case with all the series I really engage with, I'm excited both to read another piece of narrative about characters I enjoy, and to read the culmination of an argument: I want to know how Hurley is going to resolve (or not) the world she's created.


What else? Chris Beckett's third novel Dark Eden (January, and currently sitting on my shelf) is a proper off-planet sf novel, which is an interesting direction for him; Ali Shaw, whose The Girl with Glass Feet was a very striking fantasy debut, has a new novel out called The Man Who Rained (January, also on my shelf); Alastair Reynolds starts what sounds like a major new series in Blue Remembered Earth (January, and not sitting on my shelf yet); Matt Ruff has a new novel, The Mirage (February), which sounds like an another interesting alternate war-on-terror novel; Ted Kosmatka's first novel, The Games (March) is apparently "a riveting tale of science cut loose from ethics"; Tobias Buckell has a new standalone climate change thriller, Arctic Rising (March); Theodora Goss has a new double-sided short book out, The Thorn and The Blossom (March); Kristin Cashore's long-awaited follow-up to Graceling and Fire, Bitterblue is due in May; also in May is Adam Roberts' next novel, Jack Glass, and there are rumours of a short story collection to boot; M. John Harrison's third Kefahuchi Tract novel, Empty Space, is due in July; Stephen Baxter has a collaboration with Terry Pratchett, The Long Earth, out in June, and brings his Northland trilogy to a close in Iron Winter (September). And then there are all the books I don't know about yet...



Niall Harrison is a reader and fan.
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3 Oct 2022

Lying in bed last night I felt fingers reach in, grabbing. I opened in spite of myself as you clawed me with your fingernails, flattened, panicked. Split throat, iron tongue, white masks ranged overhead, the rings on their fingers scraping me as they reached in to take you.
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