With December upon us, I can officially state I wasn't NaNoWriMo "winner.” However, I can say I started a novel that I am enjoying writing and I’m 25K closer to seeing this story idea through to the end than I was before I started in November. The basic plot device/elements of this novel started gestating in my head a number of years ago, it was something I felt I could write about and I hope it will appeal to other people as well. I’m thinking of re-working a short story I wrote a couple of years ago into the novel and perhaps submitting the reworked story for publication. There are many writers who start their publishing careers with novels and just as many with short stories to get their name out there. I’m not certain which of these two camps I will fall into right now, all I care about at the moment is telling the story through to the end. Both have their merits, and writers who published both ways will espouse the benefits.
December also marks the time of year when Year in Review and Best of … lists start to appear in various places. SFFWorld will be no different, though it may come more towards the end of the month. I am working on a piece, or rather will start in earnest to work on such a piece with the ever-intrepid Hobbit of SFFWorld shortly.
December is also a great time to plan out reading habits for the next year, as publishers make available more information for books they hope people like me and the readers who visit forums such as SFFWorld and Frameshift will buy and read. I thought 2005 was a great year, but 2006 looks to be pretty impressive, as well. Most of the books are set to publish, with the manuscript at their respective editors. Without further ado:
The Lies of Lock Lamora by Scott Lynch, BantamSpectra June 2006 (Gollancz UK July)
Scott's name is probably very familiar to a lot of people. Most people (i.e. bloggers and Live Journal users) know his story and now we are all looking forward to what will likely be the debut novel of 2006. Early indications are that this book is incredible. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has read Scott's Live Journal, his writing voice is unique and very assured. For a sampling of how well he writes, check out his superlative review of Matt Stover’s Heroes Die.
The Empire of Ice Cream by Jeffrey Ford, Golden Gryphon April 2006
I have yet to be disappointed by anything my fellow New Jersey native has written. His Well-Built City trilogy is one of my favorite series, three books more full of inspired imagination than single volume novels twice the length of this entire trilogy. His award winning short-story collection The Fantasy Writer’s Assistant was probably one of the two or three best books I read this year. Yes I know it came out in 2002, I’m just getting on the short story bandwagon.
Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell, Tor, February 2006
I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of short stories from this very active blogger. Tobias is doing an incredible job of self-promoting his book and recently launched the official Web site for the book. The Earth is in the distant past to inhabitants of a world humans discovered through a worm-hole, it seems like an interesting blending of Fantasy and Science Fiction. And besides, with an incredible cover by Todd Lockwood depicting what look to be pirates on floating vessels, how can you go wrong?
Her Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, Del Rey March 2006
I’ve only recently seen things about Novik’s debut novel, but what I’ve seen impresses me. From what Rick Kleffel says, Del Rey is putting forth a very impressive marketing effort on this one, not the least of which is a blurb from Stephen King! Perhaps the most impressive thing about this book is that the two subsequent books in the trilogy will follow in each subsequent month. This is a blending of Fantasy and Alternate History, as Novik inserts dragons into the Napoleonic Wars. Novik has a cool background too, having worked on the popular Neverwinter Nights game. Like many authors, Novik keeps a LiveJournal giving a peek into her process.
Dusk by Tim Lebbon, BantamSpectra January 2006
This looks like a epic fantasy with a very dark horrific element. Hobbit reviewed for SFFWorld and had many good things to say. Lebbon has been very well-received in Horror circles and his foray into Epic Fantasy should be very interesting. Tim has a Web site specifically for Noreela, the world of Dusk.
Elemental: The Tsunami Relief Anthology edited by Steve Saville and Alethea Kontis, Tor, June 2006
Steve's official author forums are hosted by SFFWorld and is very knowledgeable about the genre. All proceeds from this book go to Save The Children's Tsunami Relief, contributors include: Arthur C. Clarke, Lynn Flewelling, Martha Wells, Jacqueline Carey, Sean Williams, Brian Aldiss, Tim Lebbon, and Michael Marshall Smith. There are more authors, but these are the writers with whom I am most familiar.
Vellum by Hal Duncan, Del Rey April 2006
Yeah, yeah, I know this has officially been published, but I live in America so I’m sticking with the American publishers. The first of a duology, this mixes heavens, hells, the multiverse, angels and technology. My only fear is that all of the very high positive response (or hype, if you will) is setting me up for a let down. Hal keeps a very cool blog at http://notesfromthegeekshow.blogspot.com/
Of course, some series I’ve been reading will see installments publishing next year. One I’m very eager to get my hands on is The Blood Knight by Greg Keyes , the penultimate installment of his thus far fantastic Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone saga. If things go as planned, George R.R. Martin will publish A Dance with Dragons next year. E.E. Knight jumps to Hardcover with his next Vampire Earth novel, Valentine’s Exile. Locus is listing a date for the UK version of Lynn Flewelling’s The Oracle’s Queen, the concluding volume in her Tamir Trilogy. I read the first two in fairly quick succession a couple of years ago and really liked them. Peter F. Hamilton’s Judas Unchained comes out in January, the sequel to Pandora’s Star. I thought his Fallen Dragon one of the best SF books I’ve read in the past 5 years or so, but didn’t pick up Pandora’s Star, I was waiting for both books of the duology to be released.
However, the one I am most looking forward to reading is Matt Stover’s Caine Black Knife. Of course Matt is still writing it so there isn’t even a publication date. As I said with GRRM, let Matt take the time he needs to make CBK the book he wants it to be.
I know there are probably more books I am forgetting, but I think this is a good enough base of 2006 releases to whet my appetite.