Mar 262019
 

B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog: A Fantastic New Space Opera Saga Dawns in Elizabeth Bear’s Ancestral Night

Elizabeth Bear is a master of disguise. If you’ve spent any time with her enormous back catalog, you know that the only thing you can expect from her is to be surprised and delighted by how different each new book is from the one that preceded it. Since winning the 2005 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, she has published dozens of novels and even more short stories, jumping between genres and styles with apparent ease. Certainly not just any writer can publish one of the best epic fantasy series of the past decade (The Eternal Sky trilogy and its ongoing pseudo-sequel series, which began with The Stone in the Skull), take a pitstop in steampunk for a book or two, and then follow up with a big, bold science fiction saga poised to fill the void left by the James S.A. Corey’s soon-to-conclude series The Expanse.

Bear’s latest, the chunky space opera Ancestral Night, does just that. It travels familiar trade routes, but does so with aplomb, effortlessly separating itself from the crowd of new books in a resurgent subgenre.

Ancestral Night is chock full of great worldbuilding, supported by thematic explorations of politics, humanity, society, and individualism.

As it does in all of her work, Bear’s prose does double-duty, using exposition to worldbuild, inject humor, shape the characters, and establish the monumental stakes.

Ancestral Night’s tropes are the basic building blocks of genre­—galaxy-spanning mysteries, pirates and rogues, long-lost alien tech, hyperspace travel, harrowing space combat—­but Bear deploys them with expert precision. Imagine James S.A. Corey at his snarkiest, plus the bold sci-fi invention of Peter F. Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn trilogy, topped off with the rich characterization of Lois McMaster Bujold. The result is both familiar and wholly unique, managing a precarious balance between huge SFnal ideas—just wait until you find out about the Ativahika, an alien species whose abilities and appearance will boggle your mind—and an imminently approachable style, thanks to Haimey’s roguish narrative voice.

Bear’s first sci-fi novel in more than a decade has everything going for it: big space battles, thrilling action, a scrappy crew, and huge mysteries with galaxy-wide implications. Ancestral Night is space opera at its best and boldest, making you think hard even as it gets your blood pumping and your imagination flowing.

Mar 202019
 

Cover of The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander.Congratulations to our DMLA authors who made the 2019 Sturgeon Award Finalists list for best short science fiction story!

The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing)
“The Starship and the Temple Cat” by Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 2/1/18)

Mar 182019
 

Wild Country, Anne Bishop’s newest book from the Others series, debuts at #14 on the New York Times Combined Print and E-book Fiction bestseller list!

In this powerful and exciting fantasy set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, humans and the shape-shifting Others will see whether they can live side by side…without destroying one another.

There are ghost towns in the world—places where the humans were annihilated in retaliation for the slaughter of the shape-shifting Others.

One of those places is Bennett, a town at the northern end of the Elder Hills—a town surrounded by the wild country. Now efforts are being made to resettle Bennett as a community where humans and Others live and work together. A young female police officer has been hired as the deputy to a Wolfgard sheriff. A deadly type of Other wants to run a human-style saloon. And a couple with four foster children—one of whom is a blood prophet—hope to find acceptance.

But as they reopen the stores and the professional offices and start to make lives for themselves, the town of Bennett attracts the attention of other humans looking for profit. And the arrival of the outlaw Blackstone Clan will either unite Others and humans…or bury them all.

Mar 152019
 

Cover of Dragon Pear by Yoon Ha Lee.New York Times: “Dragon Pearl” is a clever mash-up of Korean mythology and science fiction tropes. With crisp dialogue, a winning protagonist and a propulsive plot, the tale is enormously entertaining. And a heads-up to speculative-averse adults: If you decided Harry Potter was O.K., this is another one that might surprise you.

Mar 132019
 

BookPage Magazine: In Elizabeth Bear’s richly textured Ancestral Night, there’s a hole in space-time, and the good ship Singer is going to see what’s on the other side. A sentient ship capable of complex thought, Singer is helmed by Haimey and her shipmate Connla. When Haimey boards a derelict ship the crew hopes to salvage and inadvertently discovers a heinous crime, the team realizes they’re in way over their heads. Bear gives her characters the space to develop on their own terms, never missing a chance to world build in the interim. It’s often by the slimmest of margins that our heroes avoid disaster, and only a thin layer of metal separates the “slowbrains” (read: things that breath air, according to Singer) from the vastness of space. But the profound connection between man and machine at its heart will keep readers turning the pages.

Mar 112019
 

Cover of Dread Nation by Justina Ireland.Congratulations to our DMLA authors who are 2018 Bram Stoker Awards Finalists!

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Abbot by Saladin Ahmed (BOOM! Studios)

Mar 082019
 

Author of the forthcoming GIDEON THE NINTH and Shirley Jackson Award  nominee Tamsyn Muir’s untitled dark fantasy novella to Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press for publication in 2020 by Jennifer Jackson.

Mar 052019
 

In this powerful and exciting fantasy set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, humans and the shape-shifting Others will see whether they can live side by side…without destroying one another.

There are ghost towns in the world—places where the humans were annihilated in retaliation for the slaughter of the shape-shifting Others.

One of those places is Bennett, a town at the northern end of the Elder Hills—a town surrounded by the wild country. Now efforts are being made to resettle Bennett as a community where humans and Others live and work together. A young female police officer has been hired as the deputy to a Wolfgard sheriff. A deadly type of Other wants to run a human-style saloon. And a couple with four foster children—one of whom is a blood prophet—hope to find acceptance.

But as they reopen the stores and the professional offices and start to make lives for themselves, the town of Bennett attracts the attention of other humans looking for profit. And the arrival of the outlaw Blackstone Clan will either unite Others and humans…or bury them all.

Mar 052019
 

Halmey Dz and her partner Connla Kurucz are salvage operators, living just on the inside of the law…usually. Theirs is the perilous and marginal existence—with barely enough chance of striking it fantastically big—just once—to keep them coming back for more. They pilot their tiny ship into the scars left by unsuccessful White Transitions, searching for the relics of lost human and alien vessels. But when they make a shocking discovery about an alien species that has been long thought dead, it may be the thing that could tip the perilous peace mankind has found into full-out war.

Energetic and electrifying, Ancestral Night is a dazzling new space opera, sure to delight fans of Alastair Reynolds, Iain M. Banks, and Peter F. Hamilton.