The Book Queue

It’s hard to believe that my last published book queue was over a year ago, though I guess you could say that the Hugo Award nominees were a de facto queue early on in the year. Now that the Hugos are over, I’ve moved on to some other things. At first I wanted some palate cleansers, but once I realized that my supporting membership this year enables me to nominate and vote on next year’s awards, I’m back on the hunt for new and interesting SF. Recommendations are welcome, but I have already compiled a pretty lengthy list (a few of which, I’ve already started…), so let’s see what’s coming up:

  • A Darkling Sea by James Cambias – I actually just finished this very well executed deep-sea first contact story (basically), so I won’t say much more except that I’m pretty sure I’ll be nominating this for the award. I’m also pretty sure it won’t get enough votes, but a man can hope.
  • Lock In by John Scalzi – I just started this book recently and am about a quarter of the way through it. It’s a sorta near future detective story, with robots and the like. I’m being deliberately vague about it, but so far, so good. As of right now, it’s not a lock for my nominating vote, but it will almost surely be nominated next year. Scalzi’s a popular guy and this book has been getting good reviews.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir – I have also started this book, about an astronaut stranded on Mars, and it might be my favorite book of the year so far. Unfortunately, it’s Hugo eligibility is questionable. Weir self-published the novel in 2012, but it was so well received that he got a more traditional publishing deal, which republished the book in 2014. The rules seem pretty clear that this was eligible in 2013… but then, I also know that Scalzi’s Old Man’s War was self-published on his website several years prior to its being nominated for a Hugo, so perhaps there is hope. Regardless, this is one of the more audacious hard-SF efforts I’ve read in a while, and yet it remains accessible and even funny. Highly recommended, but I’m getting ahead of myself. I will try to review these suckers when I finish them.
  • A Sword Into Darkness by Thomas A. Mays – A military SF book by a formal naval officer, I’ve heard good things. Another self-published book, I’m almost certain this will not be nominated, but I also haven’t read it yet, so I guess we’ll find out. It does sound like it’s right up my alley though.
  • Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future – A collection of stories inspired by the optimism of golden age SF, this is a project driven by Neal Stephenson (so you know I’m all over it), but includes stories from lots of other folks (including, I might add, the aforementioned James Cambias). Hopefully this will be good fodder for the short fiction categories.
  • The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin – There’s apparently some buzz for this one because Liu Cixin is China’s most popular SF author, and this is the first time his work has been published in English. Translated words don’t tend to do well at the Hugos though, so I guess we’ll see. I know very little about it, but I’m willing to give it a shot based purely on buzz…
  • World of Fire by James Lovegrove – The first in a series of books where the main character is troubleshooter dropped into various situations where the local authorities are stumped. The SFnal catch is that this guy’s original bodied died, and he’s continually being downloaded into other bodies on various planets. Or something like that. I’m not expecting Hugo quality stuff here, just some entertaining, fun space-opera type stuff.
  • Ancillary Sword by Anne Leckie – The sequel to this year’s awards monster (it won the Hugo and every other award in its path), if this is actually published this year (it’s not available for presale yet, even though it’s due in October), it’s a shoe-in for another nomination (unless, I guess, it’s really bad).

There are, of course, plenty of other interesting books coming out that I may want to check out, but this seems like a promising start…

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