The watch list

My weekly[-ish] list of speculative fiction novels that I think are worth looking out for. They are mainly – but not always! – new or forthcoming releases.

Sketch-Book-icon The watch list

Hang Wire by Adam Christopher

HangWire Adam ChristopherWhen Ted Hall finds strange, personalised messages from a restaurant’s fortune cookies scattered around his apartment, his suspicions are aroused, particularly as his somnambulant travels appear to coincide with murders by the notorious Hang Wire Killer.

Meanwhile, the circus has come to town, but the Celtic dancers are taking their pagan act a little too seriously and the manager of the Olde Worlde Funfair has started talking to his vintage machines, although the new acrobat’s frequent absences are causing tension among the performers.

Out in the city there are other new arrivals, immortals searching for an ancient power which has been unleashed – a primal evil which, if not stopped, will destroy the entire world.

Book Depository shows that this book is available from 7 November 2013, but Angry Robot‘s site shows the publication date as  January/February 2014 (US&Can/UK). Designer and illustrator Will Staehle did the cover for this, as well as for Christopher’s other novels. My favourite is the one for Empire State.

Bête by Adam Roberts

Bete Adam RobertsA man is about to kill a cow. He discusses life and death and his right to kill with the compliant animal. He begins to suspect he may be about to commit murder. But kills anyway…

It began when the animal right movement injected domestic animals with artificial intelligences in bid to have the status of animals realigned by the international court of human rights. But what is an animal that can talk? Where does its intelligence end at its machine intelligence begin? And where might its soul reside.

This novel is still several months away from release (anticipated June 2014), but Gollancz today revealed the cover, and it really is rather remarkable.

The book includes a talking cat, as Adam Roberts explains:

‘It’s true. However felinophobic I may, myself, be, I figured it was time. And, you know: Sabrina the Teenage Witch features a talking cat. Bulgakov features a talking cat. Considering the kind of writer I am, you can probably guess whereabouts on the scale strung between those two felines my own talking cat comes. Besides, there’s a lot more than just a cat. For example, the novel starts, as does the Quran itself, with a cow.’

Uncrashable Dakota by Andy Marino

Uncrashable Dakota Andy MarinoIn 1862, Union army infantryman Samuel Dakota changed history when he spilled a bottle of pilfered moonshine in the Virginia dirt and stumbled upon the biochemical secret of flight. Not only did the Civil War come to a much quicker close, but Dakota Aeronautics was born.

Now, in Andy Marino’s “Uncrashable Dakota,” it is 1912, and the titanic Dakota flagship embarks on its maiden flight. But shortly after the journey begins, the airship is hijacked. Fighting to save the ship, the young heir of the Dakota empire, Hollis, along with his brilliant friend Delia and his stepbrother, Rob, are plunged into the midst of a long-simmering family feud. Maybe Samuel’s final secret wasn’t just the tinkering of a madman after all. . . .

What sinister betrayals and strange discoveries await Hollis and his friends in the gilded corridors and opulent staterooms? Who can be trusted to keep the most magnificent airship the world has ever known from falling out of the sky?

There’s an excerpt over at Tor: http://www.tor.com/stories/2013/10/uncrashable-dakota-excerpt-andy-marino

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