Cherie Priest's unique brand of steampunk involves feisty heroines, eccentric villains and robust anti-heroes, all elaborately cavorting in a brilliantly realized alternate-history version of Civil-War-era America.
Editors George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois assemble a stellar crew of high-powered contributors to cover an inhabited Mars full of aliens, canals and ruins, recreating the exotic ambiance of Bradbury and Burroughs.
At a covert school specializing in the art of coercion, a band of outsiders train to become "poets": seducers fit to brand language as a weapon of mind control. But verbiage soon turns violent, in Max Barry's addictive avant-garde thriller.
In a debut novel that's already being compared to Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Madeline Ashby provocatively addresses the perennial question of what makes a self-aware creature human. Her heroine is an artificial woman named Amy Peterson, who sets out on an arduous journey of self-discovery in a hostile world.
When a single book combines the hard-edged speculative verve of Stephen Baxter (Timelike Infinity) with the fertile comedic zest of Terry Pratchett (the Discworld series), followers of both writers will applaud. Leaping into a multiverse of parallel worlds, the British authors join forces to tell the thought-provoking story of two cross-dimensional explorers and their potentially infinite odyssey. The cosmic frontier never looked so big or appealing!
This year saw the publication of Grandmaster Samuel R. Delany's first novel in half a decade, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders. As if that were not enough, hard on its heels comes this welcome reissue of his essay collection from 1984, subtitled "More Notes on the Language of Science Fiction." His analysis of Heinlein's under-appreciated Glory Road is alone worth the price of admission.