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Science Fiction Thursday: Fantasy Release Round Up

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trade News | April 24, 2014 | Comments ()


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Thursday! Sci-Fi! Damnit, I should have held on talking about the Farscape movie until today, because the world is giving a big blank on science fiction this week. It’s probably because the universe hates you. Likely because of something you did. You’re not blameless in any of this.

So here’s what we’re going to do. This summer promises to be a fantastic one for fantasy literature. Even if you don’t have a high opinion of the quality, there’s an undeniable quantity coming down the pipeline. Here’s what’s slated for release over the next few months:

Brent Weeks, The Broken Eye: This is book 3 of his second trilogy, so if you haven’t read the previous ones, you have some good summer reading in August. Creative story and a fascinating world. Has some of the Lies of Locke Lamora issues with being a little too cute for its own good and just lapsing the characters into 21st century American mindsets, but entertaining nonetheless.

Robin Hobb, Fool’s Assassin: Another August release. This one starts a new series in the same world that Hobb has set most of her novels. In particular, this is set to be the third trilogy (a trilogy of trilogies, oh my) featuring dear old Fitz as the protagonist. If you haven’t read Hobb, she’s quite good. She writes characters of dear complexity without simply making them dark and edgy.

Assorted, Rogues: Another short story collection from a ton of famous names including Gaiman and Rothfuss, edited by George R.R. Martin. Short story collections are always wonderful, but this one has the added benefit of giving Westeros fans another book that’s not Winds of Winter with GRRM’s name in big print. You can hear them (us) wailing already. Releases in June.

Jim Butcher, Skin Game: Butcher releases a new Dresden Files book every year like clockwork, and frankly, despite a slow start in the first couple of books, they are getting better book by book. They have a familiar rhythm once you get into them, but the world building and characterization is top notch. This one comes at the end of May. Added note: if you like audiobooks, the ones for this series are fantastic. James Marsters nails the character of Harry Dresden.

Joe Abercrombie, Half a King: Departing from the universe of his First Law series, Abercrombie is starting a new fantasy series, this one geared more towards the traditional coming of age heroic arc. Naturally there will be grittiness and a spot of the old ultra violence, but that’s his trademark.

Mark Lawrence, Prince of Fools: Lawrence is back to his Broken Empire universe, but with a new character. The first trilogy was great dark fantasy, if not even remotely for everyone’s tastes. It featured a true unrepentant anti-hero, as opposed to the edgy guys that pretend they’re anti-heroes but really have a heart of gold underneath that get by in most fantasy.

I’ve probably missed some, because everyone who has ever published a fantasy novel has a release date this summer.

Steven Lloyd Wilson is a hopeless romantic and the last scion of Norse warriors and the forbidden elder gods. His novel, ramblings, and assorted fictions coalesce at www.burningviolin.com. You can email him here and order his novel here.


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  • Ian Fay

    I truly love the Brent Weeks books. Some of the best worldbuilding, great ideas in terms of magic that's completely different from the usual wizards and goblins and such.

    There's also an epic twist in the first book that makes it worth it all by itself.

  • Thank you! I wanted to share some love for Brent Weeks too because I find his books so thoroughly enjoyable. I read them while fantasizing what a great series Whedon could make with them. Night Angel trilogy was great but I love the Black Prism because it's such an unexpected take on traditional fantasy worlds.

    Also YAY Mark Lawrence! Jorg is one of the darkest and most enjoyable characters I've ever had the good fortune to met. Definitely a tough act to follow but I'll happily step up to see him try :)

  • Oh definitely. That is one of the most gut-punch twists I've ever read. And warning: if you're a fantasy fan and dislike being spoiled in the least, go read book one of the Night Angel trilogy before you're spoiled. You'll thank me.

  • MissAmynae

    I picked up the Night Angel trilogy because the covers are gorgeous. So happy I did- Weeks is fantastic. His worlds are so complete, and effortless.

  • amberdragonfly

    My friends call Jim Butcher the anti-Laurell Hamilton. Her Anita Blake books went downhill so fast it was almost sickening, while Dresden just gets more awesome with each new book.

  • BobbFrapples

    Right? I though so too. I finally realized that Hamilton was using her books to work through the same therapy that her characters were going through. I'm not a huge fan anymore, but the later books really appeal to people who are looking to read about people in alternative sexual practices (bondage, multi-partner, things that aren't mainstream). As a librarian, I've found that telling people ahead of time about the major changes in the series leads to a more diverse audience.

  • TK

    I've had this same thought. I used to read and re-read the Anita Blake books over and over, and then Obsidian Butterfly happened, and then everything went to shit from there. Every now and then I glance through one of the new ones and I'm like, nope, still gothic Harlequin Romance garbage.

    Butcher feels like he's just going to keep his foot on the gas, and I'm perfectly happy with the directions he's going in.

  • I feel the same. I devoured those books, and then Obsidian Butterfly wrecked it. She began to forget her own canon. Ruining Edward was only the beginning. I finished the next book, but then I was done, because lack of internal consistency + character assassination + really, really boring sex scenes = I'm out. If even one of those remained strong, I might have allowed myself to be strung along. Her hissy fits about criticism didn't help, either.

    Strangely enough, Butcher cites Hamilton as one reason he got into writing urban fantasy. That redeems her a tiny bit in my eyes. But I'm still not buying her books.

  • TK

    And don't get me started on that awful Merry Gentry series of Hamilton's. That mess was fucking garbage from book one.

  • One thing Butcher has going for him is that while he's written the stories as episodes, he's always had a huge game plan for them. He's stated for several years at least that the plan has always been for the series to be roughly 20 books followed by a big trilogy to tie it all off. He's even got the titles for the trilogy: "Stars and Stones", "Hell's Bells", and "Empty Night"

  • foolsage

    It's long felt to me that there was a clear through-line to the series that would be apparent in retrospect. Butcher is always meticulous in his callbacks, and everything fits perfectly once you have the right perspective.

    I didn't know about the 20 book plan but it makes sense.

  • amberdragonfly

    I kind of enjoyed Obsidian Butterfly, but everything after that I like to pretend never happened. I want to say I heard somewhere that she married someone who was into s&m during the time she was writing OB. Seems like that would explain a lot if it is true.

  • TK

    Nope, you're right. I'm thinking of Narcissus In Chains. THAT'S where shit started to go off the rails.

  • space_oddity

    Love the Mark Lawrence books, and always happy to read more Abercrombie.

  • Scully

    I’ll have to re-visit Harry Dresden. “Changes” destroyed me emotionally. I couldn't imagine any subsequent books living up to it. But it’s been a while…

  • emmalita

    I worried about it too, but I loved Ghost Story. I love that Butcher blew everything up in a way that makes complete sense for the series and now everyone is having to deal with the fallout.

  • Ghost Story (the next one) really makes Changes make a lot more sense in retrospect. It twists the knife even harder, but in a way that makes things snap into focus.

  • foolsage

    Things got worse for Harry in "Changes", but the long term prospects look better as things play out, if that makes sense. I mean, ok, being killed can ruin your day, but that's not where the story ends. Not at all.

  • BlackRabbit

    The thing I love/hate about the Dresden books is that sometimes Harry does things that are very very stupid...but you can understand why. Of course sometimes he just does stupid things, but that's how it goes. And the Codex Alera series is pretty damned good too.

  • foolsage

    Harry's a very sympathetic character. Even when he essentially cast "familicide"(the OOTS version), we could understand his reasoning. Harry's also a plausibly flawed protagonist; he makes mistakes but learns from them.

    I quite enjoyed the Codex Alera series, as well. It's very different in tone from the Dresden Files (well, and genre, for that matter).

  • amberdragonfly

    I haven't read the Codex Alera series yet. Guess I will have to give it a try.

  • foolsage

    It's high fantasy, and not darkly humorous like the urban fantasy of the Dresden Files. Still, the writing style is unmistakably Butcher's.

  • BobbFrapples

    Butcher is undoubtly becoming one of my all time favorite authors. I got to see him in person at DragonCon and he speaks with the same pacing and rhythm that he writes with.
    He's working on a steampunk themed series next. So excited!

  • foolsage

    I will definitely check that out, when it's published.

  • TK

    Absolutely worth continuing. Changes was brutal, and Ghost Story is no picnic either, emotionally speaking, but it's still so, so good. And then Cold Days is just goddamn amazing.

  • amberdragonfly

    Cold Days was so good I couldn't read anything else for a week after I finished it.

  • foolsage

    Keep reading. It's worth it.

  • Jim Butcher is the happiest author I've ever met at a signing. He loves his life and appreciates his fans and yet is still humbled by the fact that we clamor for any morsel he throws out. Also, he will have people ejected for spoiling the latest release, because that's a dick move (his words). I am going to drive to the Chicago 'burbs to get his latest signed, and I may have a car full of other Dresden fans with me, although my son has to read faster if he wants to catch up.

  • emmalita

    So jealous!

  • mswas

    The next installment in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series also comes out in June, Written in My Heart's Own Blood. It's epic, it's historic, and it involves time travel, so I believe we can shelve it in Fantasy.

  • She had me through the first few volumes, and then she lost me right before the Revolutionary War. I love her characters, but the slog defeated me - and I'm a history geek.

  • Yep. Everything post-Brianna is rough. Am desperately curious about the new show but sadly no longer waiting with bated breath for new book installments.

  • amberdragonfly

    I will happily slog through the slog if it means more Jamie.

  • NateMan

    Second on the recommendation of Butcher's Dresden Files, and the audiobooks that accompany them. I always get them in both print and audio versions and never regret it.

  • Drake

    Indeed, I've already pre-ordered the audiobook.

  • foolsage

    I don't do audiobooks, but the Dresden Files are great fun. The series has definitely improved over time, too, growing more complex and with increasingly higher stakes.

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