Andy Weir's stirring paean to the will to survive finds a castaway on the Red Planet, as astronaut Mark Watney outdoes Jules Verne, Tom Swift and George Clooney in his quest to live and even flourish in this forbidding environment.
A poor Samuel Johnson scholar sits wrongly imprisoned, the victim of a Silicon Valley conspiracy. Even worse, he's been dead for months. Marcel Theroux's surrealist ghost story ably echoes the works of Julio Cortazar and Stephen King.
Spared from Earth's end, six humans are brought to an alternate timeline by suspicious immortals in Daniel Price's supernatural thriller, combining the best of Marvel Comics and the films of J.J Abrams.
Like a mutant hybrid of Ian Fleming's taut spy games and the supernatural worlds of Neil Gaiman (with some Russian Futurists thrown in for good measure), Sergei Lukyaneko's faceoff between vampires and the magical task force that polices them is one thrilling bite to the neck.
Passive oddball Rat Korga discovers an interplanetary device which delivers users to their ideal lover, and may shatter the galaxy in the process. First published in 1984, Samuel Delany's prophetic anticipation of the Internet now appears in eBook for the first time.
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.