City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
In terms of modern supernatural horror Robert Jackson Bennett is most likely the name that fewer people know but hopefully this book may change that. Bennett has won and been nominated for the genre literary awards like the Shirley Jackson, the PK Dick and the Edgar. His work generally crosses genre borders and is hard to really categorize; City Of Stairs is a mix of second world fantasy, modernist suspense, urban fantasy with an odd gear and steamless atmosphere of steampunk. Though surrounded by an action oriented and very entertaining aid de camp its heroine Shara Thivani is a distinctly different kind of protagonist. I plan a full review for Monday to celebrate this book and hopefully create some sales for Robert...
Here is a link to an excerpt from tor.com and a synopsis
The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world’s new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself—first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it—stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.
Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem—and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.
An atmospheric and intrigue-filled novel of dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, protean city—Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs is available September 9th in the US (Crown Publishing) and October 2nd in the UK (Jo Fletcher Books).
Monstrous Affections edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant
So here I am at it again but I have to point out great looking themed short fiction collections (there are a couple of great looking ones coming out this month). I'm familiar with Ms Link from her own great short fiction collections so I have hopes that this will be influenced by her flavor or darkly humorous storytelling. Tor.com posted up this great piece of cover artwork along with a description and table of contents which I'm copying below...
Predatory kraken that sing with—and for—their kin; band members and betrayed friends who happen to be demonic; harpies as likely to attract as repel. Welcome to a world where humans live side by side with monsters, from vampires both nostalgic and bumbling to an eight-legged alien who makes tea. Here you’ll find mercurial forms that burrow into warm fat, spectral boy toys, a Maori force of nature, a landform that claims lives, and an architect of hell on earth. Through these and a few monsters that defy categorization, some of today’s top young-adult authors explore ambition and sacrifice, loneliness and rage, love requited and avenged, and the boundless potential for connection, even across extreme borders.
Table of Contents:
Paolo Bacigalupi—Moriabe’s Children
Cassandra Clare—Old Souls
Holly Black—Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (The Successful Kind)
M. T. Anderson—Quick Hill
Nathan Ballingrud—The Diabolist
Patrick Ness—This Whole Demoning Thing
Sarah Rees Brennan—Wings in the Morning
Nalo Hopkinson—Left Foot, Right
G. Carl Purcell—The Mercurials
Dylan Horrocks—Kitty Capulet and the Invention of Underwater Photography
Nik Houser—Son of Abyss
Kathleen Jennings—A Small Wild Magic
Kelly Link—The New Boyfriend
Joshua Lewis—The Woods Hide in Plain Sight
Alice Sola Kim—Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying
Hieroglyph edited by Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer...
This is an anthology inspired by some thoughts put forward by Neal Stephenson; I believe he had become disenchanted with the grim futures being written about by his fellow authors and posited writing more positive futures to dream bigger (higher faster better more to reference Captain Marvel.) This collection of stories taps some of the best writers in Science Fiction to imagine a better future....
Here is the solicitation from Harper..
Inspired by New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson, an anthology of stories, set in the near future, from some of today’s leading writers, thinkers, and visionaries that reignites the iconic and optimistic visions of the golden age of science fiction.
In his 2011 article “Innovation Starvation,” Neal Stephenson argued that we—the society whose earlier scientists and engineers witnessed the airplane, the automobile, nuclear energy, the computer, and space exploration—must reignite our ambitions to think boldly and do Big Stuff. He also advanced the Hieroglyph Theory which illuminates the power of science fiction to inspire the inventive imagination: “Good SF supplies a plausible, fully thought-out picture of an alternate reality in which some sort of compelling innovation has taken place.”
In 2012, Arizona State University established the Center for Science and the Imagination to bring together writers, artists, and creative thinkers with scientists, engineers, and technologists to cultivate and expand on “moon shot ideas” that inspire the imagination and catalyze real-world innovations.
Now comes this remarkable anthology uniting twenty of today’s leading thinkers, writers, and visionaries—among them Cory Doctorow, Gregory Benford, Elizabeth Bear, Bruce Sterling, and Neal Stephenson—to contribute works of “techno-optimism” that challenge us to dream and do Big Stuff. Engaging, mind-bending, provocative, and imaginative, Hieroglyph offers a forward-thinking approach to the intersection of art and technology that has the power to change our world.