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Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops Series

John Brown John, translator of the Zamonia Novels

Jim C. Hines author of Libriomancer

Nick Harkaway author of Angelmaker (review here)

Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

David Tallerman author of Giant Thief

Mazarkis Williams author of The Emperor's Knife

Rob Ziegler author of Seed

Steven Gould author of 7th Sigma

Douglas Hulick author of Among Thieves (review here)

Mark Charan Newton author of Nights of Villjamur (review here)

Kameron Hurley author of God's War (review here)

Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

Anthony Huso author of The Last Page (review here)

Brandon Sanderson author of The Way of Kings (review here)

Lou Anders Editor of Pyr Books

Ian Tregillis author of Bitter Seeds (review here)

Sam Sykes author of Tome of the Undergates (review here)

Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch author of Diving Into the Wreck (review here)

Ken Scholes author of Lamentation

Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker (review here)

Lev Grossman author of The Magicians (review here)

Character Interviews

Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Eva Forge from Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin

Atticus from Kevin Hearne's Hounded


The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
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LOOKING FORWARD | Urban Fantasy and Steampunk in 2011

And the reading list just keep getting longer and longer.  Now up are my Urban Fantasy and Steampunk picks for 2011. The Sci-Fi and Fantasy lists are up already for those interested. I've dropped quite a few of the Urban Fantasy series I was reading over the last year as they were getting a bit too same-y and not building to anything I was interested in. So I'm hoping this new crop has a few I can sink my teeth into.

Urban Fantasy

Bloodshot by Cherie Priest | January 25, Spectra

Sure vampire Urban Fantasies are plentiful, but Priest has the skills to make this start to a new series quite entertaining.  Plus the sequel Hellbent will be out in August for all of us that hate waiting.
Raylene Pendle (AKA Cheshire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn’t usually hang with her own kind. She’s too busy stealing priceless art and rare jewels. But when the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott asks for help, Raylene finds him impossible to resist—even though Ian doesn’t want precious artifacts. He wants her to retrieve missing government files—documents that deal with the secret biological experiments that left Ian blind. What Raylene doesn’t bargain for is a case that takes her from the wilds of Minneapolis to the mean streets of Atlanta. And with a psychotic, power-hungry scientist on her trail, a kick-ass drag queen on her side, and Men in Black popping up at the most inconvenient moments, the case proves to be one hell of a ride.

The World House by Guy Adams  | Jan 25, Angry Robot  |  DEBUT

I'm calling this a debut while in reality it is Adams' fifth or sixth book, but all the rest were established properties related to the TV shows Torchwood and Life on Mars. I just love this idea. Read on...
Combining the puzzle box of Hellraiser with the explorartion of Tad Williams' Otherland series, this is the perfect blend of fantasy and adventure, an exceptional modern fantasy debut.


In some rooms, forests grow. In others, animals and objects come to life. Elsewhere, secrets and treasures wait for the brave and foolhardy.

And at the very top of the house, a prisoner sits behind a locked door waiting for a key to turn. The day that happens, the world will end...File under: Modern Fantasy [Worlds within Worlds | Prison Break | Exploring the Unknown | Dark Powers]

Midnight Riot/Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch  |  Feb 1, Del Rey | DEBUT

This one has the title Rivers of London in the UK and Midnight Riot in the US.  Some are calling it British Dresden Files, but I always thought that was Mike Carey's Felix Castor?  But I digress as this is getting many rave reviews with the sequel Moon Over Soho coming out in March.
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher  | July 26, Roc

A new Dresden Files is always an event and with the giant cliff-hanger from Changes we all need to know what will happen to Harry. WARNING: Do not read the blurb if you are not up-to-date on the series.
When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn't doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.

But being dead doesn't stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.

To save his friends-and his own soul-Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic...

After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn  |  April 12, Tor

I love superhero stuff done in prose form.  This time around the POV is from the mundane daughter to superheros parents. Definitely sounds like good times to me.
Can an accountant defeat a supervillain? Celia West, only daughter of the heroic leaders of the superpowered Olympiad, has spent the past few years estranged from her parents and their high-powered lifestyle. She’s had enough of masks and heroics, and wants only to live her own quiet life out from under the shadow of West Plaza and her rich and famous parents.

Then she is called into her boss’ office and told that as the city’s top forensic accountant, Celia is the best chance the prosecution has to catch notorious supervillain the Destructor for tax fraud. In the course of the trial, Celia’s troubled past comes to light and family secrets are revealed as the rift between Celia and her parents grows deeper. Cut off from friends and family, Celia must come to terms with the fact that she might just be Commerce City’s only hope

This all-new and moving story of love, family, and sacrifice is an homage to Golden Age comics that no fan will want to miss.

Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne | April 19, Del Rey | DEBUT

A new Urban Fantasy series with a quick succession planned for publishing--with book two Hexed out in May and book three Hammered in June--this could become a popular series quickly. I was always fascinated with the early Highlander books and this seems to be in that vein starring an immortal druid.
Atticus O’Sullivan has been running for two thousand years and he’s a bit tired of it. After he stole a magical sword from the Tuatha Dé Danann (those who became the Sidhe or the Fae) in a first century battle, some of them were furious and gave chase, and some were secretly amused that a Druid had the cheek to defy them. As the centuries passed and Atticus remained an annoyingly long-lived fugitive, those who were furious only grew more so, while others began to aid him in secret.

Now he’s living in Tempe, Arizona, the very last of the Druids, far from where the Fae can easily find him. It’s a place where many paranormals have decided to hide from the troubles of the Old World—from an Icelandic vampire holding a grudge against Thor to a coven of Polish witches who ran from the German Blitzkrieg.

Unfortunately, the very angry Celtic god who wants that sword has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power, plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good, old-fashioned luck of the Irish to kick some arse and deliver himself from evil.

The Damned Busters by Matthew Hughes | June, Angy Robot

Book 1 in the Hell & Back series from the author of the Henghis Hapthorn series. It seems like this will be a lighter series than the Hapthorn books and the awesome cover pulled me in immediately. Some black humor perchance?
After accidentally summoning a demon, Chesney Anstruther refuses to sell his soul, which leads through various confusions to, well, Hell going on strike. Which means that nothing bad ever happens in the world… with disastrous consequences.

No Hero by Jonathan Wood    | July 2011, Night Shade  |  DEBUT

Described as Jim Butcher meets James Rollins this could be a good action packed Cthulhu/Urban Fantasy.
"What would Kurt Russell do?"

Oxford police detective Arthur Wallace asks himself that question a lot. Because Arthur is no hero. He's a good cop, but prefers that action and heroics remain on the screen, safely performed by professionals.

But then, secretive government agency MI12 comes calling, hoping to recruit Arthur in their struggle against the tentacled horrors from another dimension known as the Progeny. But Arthur is NO HERO.

Can an everyman stand against sanity-ripping cosmic horrors?

Low Town by Daniel Polansky | August 16, Doubleday | DEBUT

With Joe Pitt being done and the Nightside coming to a close it is time for a new place to visit and "Low Town" could just be it. This is being published under the title The Straight Razor Cure in the UK. I wonder if "Low Town" means something to the British causing the title change? This has been pitched as "an edgy noir/fantasy crossover pitched as Tarantino meets Tolkien." Let's see if that pans out. The cover certainly works well. Do you feel the gritty?
Drug dealers, hustlers, brothels, dirty politics, corrupt cops . . . and sorcery. Welcome to Low Town.

In the forgotten back alleys and flophouses that lie in the shadows of Rigus, the finest city of the Thirteen Lands, you will find Low Town. It is an ugly place, and its champion& is an ugly man. Disgraced intelligence agent. Forgotten war hero. Independent drug dealer. After a fall from grace five years ago, a man known as the Warden leads a life of crime, addicted to cheap violence and expensive drugs. Every day is a constant hustle to find new customers and protect his turf from low-life competition like Tancred the Harelip and Ling Chi, the enigmatic crime lord of the heathens.

The Warden’s life of drugged iniquity is shaken by his discovery of a murdered child down a dead-end street . . . setting him on a collision course with the life he left behind. As a former agent with Black House—the secret police—he knows better than anyone that murder in Low Town is an everyday thing, the kind of crime that doesn't get investigated. To protect his home, he will take part in a dangerous game of deception between underworld bosses and the psychotic head of Black House, but the truth is far darker than he imagines. In Low Town, no one can be trusted.

Daniel Polansky has crafted a thrilling novel steeped in noir sensibilities and relentless action, and set in an original world of stunning imagination, leading to a gut-wrenching, unforeseeable conclusion. Low Town is an attention-grabbing debut that will leave readers riveted . . . and hun­gry for more.

The Edinburgh Dead by Brian Ruckley | August 17, Orbit

I'm a fan of Ruckley's very grim Godless World Trilogy. This one looks to be worlds apart from his earlier work so it will be interesting to see his take on something with a slightly more modern setting.
The year is 1827. For Adam Quire, an officer of the recently formed City Police, Edinburgh is a terrifying place. It is a city populated by mad alchemists and a criminal underclass prepared to treat with the darkest of powers. But nothing can prepare him for the trail of undead hounds, emptied graves, brutal murders and mob violence that will take him into the darkest corners of the underworld and to the highest reaches of elegant Edinburgh society.

Aloha from the Dead by Richard Kadrey | October 18, Harper Voyager

Sandman Slim Book 3 can't get here soon enough for me. This volume should see some sort of showdown with Stark and the angels that have been plaguing him. No synopsis has been released as of yet.


Like 2010 it seems a whole lot of Steampunk novels will be released near the end of the year so info on this list is a bit more scant as you go down.

Agatha H. and the Airship City by Phil & Kaja Foglio | January 12, Night Shade | DEBUT

This is the Foglio's prose novel debut based on their Nebula award-winning graphic novel Girl Genius. Fans of Gail Carriger should eat up this series. Sexy herione. Check. Airships. Check. Strange mechanicals. Check.
The Industrial Revolution has escalated into all-out warfare. It has been sixteen years since the Heterodyne Boys, benevolent adventurers and inventors, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Today, Europe is ruled by the Sparks, dynasties of mad scientists ruling over - and terrorizing - the hapless population with their bizarre inventions and unchecked power, while the downtrodden dream of the Hetrodynes' return. At Transylvania Polygnostic University, a pretty, young student named Agatha Clay seems to have nothing but bad luck. Incapable of building anything that actually works, but dedicated to her studies, Agatha seems destined for a lackluster career as a minor lab assistant. But when the University is overthrown by the ruthless tyrant Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, Agatha finds herself a prisoner aboard his massive airship Castle Wulfenbach - and it begins to look like she might carry a spark of Mad Science after all.

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder  | March 22, Pyr

The sequel to what I called the best Steampunk novel of 2010 The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack. I'm eager to see how far Hodder takes his alternative timeline. Let the fun ensue.
It is 1862, though not the 1862 it should be...

Time has been altered, and Sir Richard Francis Burton, the king’s agent, is one of the few people who know that the world is now careening along a very different course from that which Destiny intended.

When a clockwork-powered man of brass is found abandoned in Trafalgar Square, Burton and his assistant, the wayward poet Algernon Swinburne, find themselves on the trail of the stolen Garnier Collection—black diamonds rumored to be fragments of the Lemurian Eye of Naga, a meteorite that fell to Earth in prehistoric times.

His investigation leads to involvement with the media sensation of the age: the Tichborne Claimant, a man who insists that he’s the long lost heir to the cursed Tichborne estate. Monstrous, bloated, and monosyllabic, he’s not the aristocratic Sir Roger Tichborne known to everyone, yet the working classes come out in force to support him. They are soon rioting through the streets of London, as mysterious steam wraiths incite all-out class warfare.

From a haunted mansion to the Bedlam madhouse, from South America to Australia, from séances to a secret labyrinth, Burton struggles with shadowy opponents and his own inner demons, meeting along the way the philosopher Herbert Spencer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Florence Nightingale, and Charles Doyle (father of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

Can the king’s agent expose a plot that threatens to rip the British Empire apart, leading to an international conflict the like of which the world has never seen? And what part does the clockwork man have to play?
Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine  |  April 25, Prime Books  |  DEBUT

Valentine has become one of my favorite new short story writers over the last couple of years. I've been waiting for this one since I first heard the title. It is about a Steampunk style circus in a dystopian future. Need you know more? Oh, very well. A short story placed in this world is available here and as audio here.
It's about a post-apocalyptic steampunk circus, and what happens when a dozen brittle, vicious people are forced to form a makeshift family whether they like it or not. Also, there’s war.

The Mechanical Circus Tresaulti travels the landscape of a ruined country under the spectre of war, but when two of its performers become locked in a battle of wills, the circus’s own past may be the biggest threat of all.

Camera Obscura by Lavie Tidhar | April 26, Angry Robot

The sequel to one of the most odd Steampunk novels of 2010, The Bookman. This time around it seems the story will focus on different characters and mostly be placed in Paris.

The mysterious and glamorous Lady De Winter is one of their most valuable agents. A despicable murder inside a locked and bolted room on the Rue Morgue in Paris is just the start. This whirlwind adventure will take Milady to the highest and lowest parts of that great city - and cause her to question the very nature of reality itself.

The Falling Machine by Andrew P. Mayer  | May 24, Pyr  |  DEBUT

A Steampunk Justice League you say? You know I've got to be there for that. This is Mayer's debut and the first in The Society of Steam series.
In 1880 women aren't allowed to vote, much less dress up in a costume and fight crime. But nineteen year-old socialite Sarah Stanton still dreams of becoming a hero. Her opportunity arrives in tragedy when Dennis Darby, the leader of the Society of Paragons—New York’s greatest team of gentlemen adventurers—is murdered right before her eyes. To uncover the truth behind the assassination, Sarah joins forces with Darby's greatest creation; the amazing mechanical man known as The Automaton. Together they begin to unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the Paragons that reveals the world of heroes and high-society is built on a crumbling foundation of greed and lies. But it is only when Sarah comes face to face with the megalomaniacal villain behind the murder that she will discover if she has the courage to sacrifice her life of privilege and truly become the hero she has always wanted to be.

The Society of Steam takes place in a Victorian New York where Fortified Steam allows ordinary men to wield extraordinary abilities, but can also corrupt gentlemen of great moral strength. The formula behind this amazing substance is something that villains will gladly kill for, and a secret that Sarah must try and protect, no matter what the cost.

Dead of Veridon by Tim Akers  |  May 31, Solaris

This is the sequel to Akers's debut Heart of Veridon, which established the Jacob Burn character as one hard-ass to keep down. Very Noir style set in a very different Steampunk world. This isn't alternative history Steampunk, but more of a second world Fantasy with a lot of Sci-Fi elements.
Trouble finds Jacob Burn: kicked out of his house, out of his comfortable life – out of everything that is familiar – even turned away from his circle of criminal friends and interesting enemies. Two years after he saved an ungrateful city from a mad angel, thwarting the plans of every powerful faction in Veridon, Jacob is still trying to pull his life together. And still trouble finds him. A bad job goes worse, and soon old enemies present themselves as allies, and former friends set themselves against Jacob as he tries to put the dead to rest and the living to justice. Things gets even harder when he’s appointed by the Council to investigate the rise of the cog-dead, while some hold him personally accountable, and others in the city work to use the chaos to their advantage.

The Clockwork Rocket by Greg Egan  |  July,  Night Shade

This is the first in Egan's Orthogonal series. The synopsis immediate intrigued me and I've been liking Steampunk related stories that are taking place off Earth.
In Yalda's universe, light has mass, no universal speed, and its creation generates energy; on Yalda's world, plants make food by emitting light into the dark night sky. And time is different: an astronaut might measure decades passing while visiting another star, only to return and find that just weeks have elapsed for her friends. On the farm where she lives, Yalda sees strange meteors that are entering the planetary system at an immense, unprecedented speed - and it soon becomes apparent that more of this ultra-fast material is appearing all the time, putting her world in terrible danger. An entire galaxy is about to collide with their own. There is one hope: a fleet sent straight towards the approaching galaxy, as fast as possible. Though it will feel like weeks back home, on board, millennia will pass before the collision, time enough to raise new generations, and time enough to find a way to stop the ultra-fast material. Either way, they have a chance to save everyone back on the home world.

Heartless by Gail Carriger | July 7, Orbit
Timeless by Gail Carriger | November 3, Orbit

The 4th and 5th novels in the very wry Parasol Protectorate series. Here is the description for Heartless:
Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband’s past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux’s latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.

Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf’s clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama’s second best closet?

The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper | December 1, Ace

This is Harper's first Steampunk novel, but it is the start to a trilogy. In Book One, The Doomsday Vault, Alice Webb and Gavin Michael join an underground police force in Victorian London, where they fight zombies, mad scientists, and air pirates in an attempt to save the British Empire from a terrible plague, only to discover that the cure may be worse than the disease. Books two and three are tentatively titled The Impossible Cube and The Dragon Men. No full description has been release yet.

Heart of Iron by Ekaterina Sedia  |  Fall 2011?, Prime Books

I'm not sure this belongs in the list as a description hasn't been released so it may not be Steampunk at all. Regardless Sedia is always on my must-read list. If you haven't tried Sedia yet grab The Alchemy of Stone for a good helping of her Clockpunk style.


Ganymede by Cherie Priest  | Winter 2011, Tor

The third (fourth if you count Clementine) Clockwork Century novel described by Priest as:

My Hunley version 4.0 submarine book about Andan Cly and his crew having a damp misadventure in a Texian-occupied New Orleans, plus Bonus! guerrilla warfare, other assorted historic pirates, and an octoroon madam who moonlights as a Union spy.

All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen | 2011?, Tor | DEBUT

Lev is very well known in the Steampunk culture world, but this is his first novel. The blurb sounds especially delicious.
A steampunk novel inspired by both Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. The novel follows Violet Adams as she disguises herself as her twin brother to gain entry to Victorian London’s most prestigious scientific academy, and once there, encounters blackmail, mystery, gender confusion, talking rabbits and killer automata.

You Might Also Like:
Best Books of 2010 (That I've read)
LOOKING FORWARD | Fantasy & Cross Genre Books to Watch for in 2011
LOOKING FORWARD | Sci-Fi Books to Watch for in 2011


Daniel Polansky said...

Hi Michael,

Thanks so much for including my book on this list. I'm really looking forward to the day that it gets released to the world.

Concerning the title, THE STRAIGHT RAZOR CURE is actually the original title and Doubleday decided to change it because the series is going to be called the LOW TOWN series. So they thought calling the first book LOW TOWN sets that up a little better. Hodder & Stoughton loved the original title so much that they didn't want to let it go!

Anyway, excerpts and more are coming soon. If any of your readers want to stay current and be eligible for giveaways, I'd love for them to Like my Facebook page!

Thanks again!


redhead said...

I'm excited about the new Mark Hodder, and the Polansky (Hi Daniel!) and i really want to get a hold of the Agatha Heterodyne/Foglio book, have you read their graphic novels?

I'd read that first Lavie Tidhar book, and I think I'm going to wait till the entire series is out before continuing.

Patrick said...

Great list(s) Hatter. Plenty to check out here, you've managed to find a few that are new to me as well.

Mad Hatter Review said...

@Daniel - Thanks for the explanation. I was curious to see the reasons.

@redhead - I have in fact read all the Girl Genius collected edition except for the latest, which was just given to me. Love that series!

@Patrick - Thanks. I try to mix it up and not go with just the expected even though I still want the expected as well.

Jobben said...

Great job with all the lists Hatter! There must be more than 50 books on all them. What are your top choices? I know I can't read them all?

Ryan said...

Thanks for the great lists! So many good looking books coming out this year. The latest from Ruckley stands out as one that sounds really interesting to me. As usual, I'll be looking forward to reading your reviews. Keep up the fantastic work!

Scott said...

I really like this list! I was hoping that you would review and recommend more urban fantasy/detective novels. Those are my favorites. Stuff like the Dresden Files, Joe Pitt, and series like those are by far my favorites. I hope more are coming in 2011!

Mad Hatter Review said...

@Scott - Don't worry I'll definitely be reviewing more UF detective style novels. Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch looks to fill-in that gap. And have you checked out the Felix Castor novels by Mike Carey yet? Very good stuff in that series.

Scott said...

I have the first couple of Felix Castor and I plan on reading them next. I have heard really good things about them. Thanks for the recommendation and keep up the good work on the site!

Jonathan Wood said...

Hi - thanks so much for including No Hero on this list. It's sort of my attempt to create the hideous love child of James Rollins, Jim Butcher, and HP Lovecraft and then chart its lumberings through the world of urban fantasy.

It grew out of some flash fiction I was posting at the Daily Cabal site, so if you want a very approximate taste for the sort of thing that's going in the book you can check out a story I did called Fish Food that features a proto-Arthur Wallce.

Any way, thanks again. Looking forward to checking out some of the other stuff on your list. First I'd heard of Kathy Sedia's new steampunk novel. That one's going to be awesome from her track record.