Speculative Fiction

ECCC Fiction Preview

It’s Tuesday, and normally I would have a new fiction review for you, but I spent my weekend at Emerald City Comic Con, and consequently didn’t get much reading done. But! ECCC included an awesome set of panels called the Writer’s Block, and as a result I got to meet a bunch of great science fiction and fantasy authors, and add a whole bunch of recent or upcoming titles to my TBR pile. Here are some of the books I’m excited about, starting with those that are already out, and progressing to those that are being released in the coming weeks or months:

United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas (03/01/16) – Angry Robot Books

Cover image for The United States of Japan by Peter TieryasI’ve read at least a couple of alternative history novels that posit Germany winning World War II, and I know that there are way more out there. Tieryas’ alternate history focuses on the results of a victory by the Japanese Empire, and is partly inspired by Philip K. Dick’s classic The Man in the High Castle.  Add in some giant mecha and this is basically alternative history meets some of my favourite anime series. Tieryas spoke on the ECCC panel The Science Behind Science Fiction, and he sparked my interest with his discussion of the research that went into ensuring that he honoured the tragedy of “all those who suffered during the events of WWII.”

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel  (04/26/16) – Del Ray

Cover image for Sleeping Giants by Sylvain NeuvelI’m trying to read more Canadian fiction this year, and I’m especially interested in Canadian genre fiction,  so I was excited to encounter this novel by French-Canadian linguist Sylvain Neuvel . After accidentally discovering a buried giant mechanical hand while exploring as a child, Rose Parker becomes a cutting-edge physicist focused on unraveling the mystery of her discovery. The novel incorporates a variety of documents, including transcripts that give it a heavy focus on dialogue. I was lucky enough to pick up an ARC, so I hope to review this one soon, as we are only a couple weeks from the release date. Update: Read my full review.

Breath of Earth by Beth Cato (08/23/2016) – Harper Voyager

Cover image for Breath of Earth by Beth CatoI really enjoyed Beth Cato’s The Clockwork Dagger series, which did a great job of combining magic into steampunk fiction. Her next novel, due out in August, seems to take a similar path, blending magic and alternative history. The US and Japan have banded together into the United Pacific, with their eyes set on a vulnerable China. The protagonist is a powerful geomancer who must hide her powers because she is a woman. But it is 1906, and one of history’s most powerful earthquakes is about to be unleashed, and unscrupulous geomancers are determined to harvest that power for their own ends.

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (09/13/16) – Scholastic

Cover image for Ghosts by Raina TelgemeierPopular graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier is known for her autobiographical comics Smile and Sisters, as well as her adaptations of the Babysitters Club books into comic form. Her most recent book, Drama, also drew significantly on elements of her own life. Her forthcoming graphic novel, Ghosts, ventures more purely into fiction, with the story of two sisters who move from Southern California to a coastal town in Northern California because the younger sister, Maya, has cystic fibrosis. I was able to snag a preview of the first 23 pages; Ghosts continues to incorporate the sibling relationships Telgemeier writes so well, but will also include elements of magic realism! Update: Read my full review.

The Rift Uprising by Amy S. Foster (10/04/16) – Harper Voyager

The Rift Uprising PreviewA classified experiment has torn open thirteen multiverse portals, called rifts, at locations around the world. The Allied Rift Coalition is formed to police the portals, and this task force includes the creation of enhanced child soldiers, who are implanted with special chips at age seven, and become active Citadels at fourteen. Ryn is one such Citadel, and has been posted at the rift in Battleground, Washington State for three years. Ryn is supposed to be the perfect soldier, but when a young man crosses through the rift and begins asking questions, she finds herself having doubts of her own. Part of what piqued my interest here is the fact that Foster had her teenage children read The Rift Uprising, and also work-shopped it with their AP English class. She didn’t seem to have much patience for YA fiction that doesn’t acknowledge the realities of actual teens, so I am curious to see what kind of novel that has produced. I was able to pick up a preview of the first chapter, but it is hard to tell much from that.

Those are just five of the novels I heard about this weekend, and I saw four of the authors speak at ECCC as well. But enough talk, it’s time to start reading!




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