Last year was a good one for Valley sci-fi and fantasy writers. Beth Cato earned a surprise Nebula nomination for her novella Wings of Sorrow and Bone, and YA author Tom Leveen scripted Todd McFarlane’s legendary comic Spawn.
Alyssa Wong became the first Filipina to win a Nebula Award, for her short story “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” which also earned a World Fantasy Award and nominations for the Locus and Shirley Jackson award. Wong was nominated for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer at the Hugo Awards, but ultimately had to settle for an Alfie Award, better known as a hood ornament, at George R.R. Martin’s Hugo Losers Party.
Kevin Hearne hit the New York Times best-seller list in January with Staked, and Stephenie Meyer returned with the adult thriller, The Chemist.
A luck would have it, 2017 looks like it'll be yet another strong year for Phoenix-area sci-fi and fantasy authors. Here’s a look at some of the exciting books coming this year from our stable of local authors (and one who left us, but we still love anyway).
By Tom Leveen
Release date: March 21
The former Valley theater director and recent scriptwriter for Todd McFarlane’s Spawn is back with this YA horror novel. Hellworld follows Abby, an Arizona teenager whose mother disappeared while filming a ghost-hunting reality TV show. Determined to put her past nightmares behind her, she, along with the children of other missing members from the TV show, set out to discover what happened in that foreboding cave so many years ago.
Leveen will host a writing workshop at Changing Hands Phoenix on Monday, March 20, a release party at Changing Hands Tempe on Tuesday, March 21, and "Lit Out Loud," an evening of horror readings, at the Poisoned Pen on Monday, March 27.
By Suzanne Young
Release date: April 18
Young concludes the dystopian “Program” series with her latest. After a prequel duology, The Remedy and The Epidemic, The Adjustment picks up the series following the events of the 2014 bestseller The Treatment. The controversial “program” that stopped a teen suicide epidemic by blocking bad memories and implanting false ones has ended, and now former patients are having trouble readjusting to their new life. One such patient is Nathan, who no longer remembers his girlfriend Tatum and is starting to show symptoms of this memory disconnect, or crash back.
The Black Tempest
By Ryan Dalton
Release date: April 25
Dalton kicked off 2016 with his well-received YA debut The Year of Lightning. But his "Time Shift" trilogy was briefly thrown into writer's limbo when his publisher, Jolly Fish Press, closed its doors in October. Fortunately, a buyer for the imprint was found within a couple of weeks, and Dalton's second novel, following the continuing adventures of twins Malcolm and Valentine Gilbert as they face an ancient evil who can control the weather, will be released, albeit a few months later than expected.
Dalton is hosting a signing at Changing Hands Phoenix on Thursday, April 27, and another at the Poisoned Pen on Thursday, May 11.
By Gini Koch
Release date: May 2
Didn’t we just have a new “Kitty Katt” novel a few months ago? Alien Nation may still be warm, but the prolific Koch is back with another romantic adventure featuring the alien-loving first lady and her Alpha-Centaurian husband. This time, Kitty Katt is off on a diplomatic mission, which takes a comic turn into reality-show territory. There’s still plenty of time for romance between high jinks and galaxy-saving, however. And fans won’t have to wait long for a follow-up — Aliens Abroad is due in December.
Seven Stones to Stand or Fall
By Diana Gabaldon
Release date: June 27
Outlander fans will have to wait at least another year for the next doorstop, Go Tell the Bees That I’m Gone. However, Gabaldon does have a nice placeholder for those who need their annual dose of Outlander. Seven Stones collects five novellas that Gabaldon has written for recent anthologies including the Edgar Award-nominated A Plague of Zombies, as well as two new novellas — A Fugitive Green and Besieged.
Read on for books from Beth Cato, Rae Carson, and more.
By Kevin Hearne
Release date: July 5
Okay, Hearne isn’t strictly local anymore, since fleeing the heat for the mountains of Colorado. But his "Iron Druid" series has deep roots in Arizona, and he still regularly launches his books in the Valley.
The "Iron Druid Chronicles" is wrapping up next year with Scourged, and, like Gabaldon, Hearne is releasing a collection of short fiction featuring the millenia-old druid Atticus, his mentor Owen, his apprentice Granuaile, and of course his faithful wolfhound Oberon, to tide fans over. Unlike Gabaldon, however, his collection is mostly new stories. Only “Goddess at the Crossroads” and “The Demon Barker of Fleet Street” have been previously published.
Call of Fire
By Beth Cato
Release date: August 15
Cato's 2016 steampunk retelling of the Great San Francisco Earthquake, Breath of Earth, has garnered plenty of acclaim (and has been mentioned as a contender for several awards). In this sequel, geomancer Ingrid Carmichael is fleeing north from the ruins of San Francisco with her friends Cy and Fenris. She is searching for the mysterious diplomat Theodore Roosevelt, whom she hopes to enlist to aid her in stopping the allied forces of America and Japan from destroying China and conquering the world.
Into the Bright Unknown
By Rae Carson
Release date: October 10
YA author Carson wraps up her "Gold Seer Trilogy" with this magical historical romance. Leah Westfall has the power to sense gold, which she used to amass a fortune during the California Gold Rush. Now, she must protect her friends and herself from another mysterious mage who is looking to steal her riches.
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A Plague of Giants
By Kevin Hearne
Release date: October 17
Hearne is certainly stretching out finishing the "Iron Druid Chronicles." In addition to the previously mentioned Besieged, he is also starting a new epic fantasy series. A Plague of Giants is set in a peaceful kingdom that is thrown into chaos when an army of giants invades. The villagers must conjure ancient magic and summon mythical beasts to aid them in protecting their land.
God's Last Breath
By Sam Sykes
Release date: December 5
Sykes has had a busy couple of years as well. Since the previous volume of his "Bring Down Heaven" trilogy hit stores in March 2016, he has written Shy Knives, a Pathfinder adventure about a snarky thief, and the new comic Brave Chef Brianna, about a culinary wizard who opens a restaurant in Monster City to prove her worth to her father. But he's wrapping up 2017 back where he started, wrapping up "Bring Down Heaven" with Lenk the warrior, Kitaria the
elf schict, and the rest of their band of down-on-their-luck adventurers trying to save humanity from a demon-god that Lenk loosed on the world.