Popular SF/F/H Novels of 2014

In 2014, SF Signal noted the upcoming appearance of over 3400 titles: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.

To prepare the lists below, I looked each title up at Goodreads, eliminating those for which Goodreads had no data or a publication date prior to 2014. Then I ranked the remaining ~2100 books by the cube of their current score (expressed as a percentage) times the log of the number of voters. Finally I broke them up into somewhat arbitrary categories to yield the “top X” lists below, and as usual, I removed the actual Goodreads data, leaving only the ordering. Note that this procedure significantly favors books released earlier in the year.

Here’s a key to the abbreviations and terminology:

  • F = Fantasy
  • H = Horror
  • PR = Paranormal Romance
  • Sequels = Titles likely to draw on information arising in earlier, related books by the same author
  • SF = Science Fiction
  • UF = Urban Fantasy
  • YA = Young Adult

Top 25 SF/F/H (Non-Sequels, Non-YA, and Non-UF/PR)

  1. Brian Staveley, The Emperor’s Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne)
  2. Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven
  3. Robert Jackson Bennett, City of Stairs
  4. Stephen King, Mr. Mercedes: A Novel
  5. M.R. Carey, The Girl With All the Gifts
  6. Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor
  7. David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks
  8. Claire North, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
  9. Josh Malerman, Bird Box: A Novel
  10. Sebastien de Castell, Traitor’s Blade
  11. William Gibson, The Peripheral
  12. Daniel Suarez, Influx
  13. Stephen King, Revival: A Novel
  14. John Scalzi, Lock In
  15. Daniel Price, The Flight of the Silvers
  16. Nick Harkaway, Tigerman
  17. Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation: A Novel (Southern Reach Trilogy)
  18. Michel Faber, The Book of Strange New Things: A Novel
  19. George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, Rogues
  20. Dean Koontz, The City
  21. M. D. Waters, Archetype
  22. Peter Watts, Echopraxia
  23. Robin Spriggs, The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom
  24. K. J. Parker, Academic Exercises
  25. John Joseph Adams (ed.), The End is Nigh

Top 25 SF/F/H Sequels (Non-YA and Non-UF/PR)

  1. Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, Book 2)
  2. Brent Weeks, The Broken Eye (Lightbringer)
  3. Brian McClellan, The Crimson Campaign (The Powder Mage Trilogy)
  4. Robin Hobb, Fool’s Assassin: Book One of the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy
  5. Anthony Ryan, Tower Lord (A Raven’s Shadow Novel)
  6. Lev Grossman, The Magician’s Land: A Novel (Magicians Trilogy)
  7. R. A. Salvatore, Night of the Hunter: Companions Codex, I
  8. John Gwynne, Valor (The Faithful and the Fallen)
  9. R. A. Salvatore, Rise of the King: Companions Codex, II
  10. Scott Sigler, Pandemic: A Novel (Infected)
  11. James S.A. Corey, Cibola Burn (The Expanse)
  12. Patrick Rothfuss, The Slow Regard of Silent Things
  13. Charles Stross, The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files)
  14. H. Paul Honsinger, For Honor We Stand (Man of War)
  15. Patrick W. Carr, Draw of Kings, A (The Staff and the Sword)
  16. Douglas Hulick, Sworn in Steel: A Tale of the Kin
  17. Jonathan L. Howard, The Brothers Cabal
  18. Ann Leckie, Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch)
  19. Sam Sisavath, The Fires of Atlantis (Purge of Babylon, Book 4)
  20. Hannu Rajaniemi, The Causal Angel (Jean Le Flambeur)
  21. John Ringo, Islands of Rage and Hope (Black Tide Rising)
  22. Django Wexler, The Shadow Throne: Book Two of the Shadow Campaigns
  23. Marcus Sakey, A Better World (The Brilliance Saga, Book Two)
  24. Peter F. Hamilton, The Abyss Beyond Dreams: A Novel of the Commonwealth (Commonwealth: Chronicle of the Fallers)
  25. Evan Currie, Out of the Black (Odyssey One, Book 4)

Top 25 Young Adult SF/F/H/UF/PR (Non-Sequels)

  1. Pierce Brown, Red Rising
  2. Leslye Walton, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
  3. Mary E. Pearson, The Kiss of Deception (Remnant Chronicles)
  4. Melissa Landers, Alienated
  5. Marie Lu, The Young Elites
  6. Rachel Hawkins, Rebel Belle
  7. Danielle Jensen, Stolen Songbird
  8. Joe Abercrombie, Half a King (Shattered Sea Series)
  9. Amy Engel, The Book of Ivy
  10. Maggie Stiefvater, Sinner (Shiver)
  11. Danielle Paige, Dorothy Must Die
  12. Katie Alender, Famous Last Words
  13. Victoria Scott, Fire & Flood
  14. Josephine Angelini, Trial by Fire
  15. Claudia Gray, A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird)
  16. Sally Green, Half Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy)
  17. Joseph Delaney, A New Darkness
  18. A.S. King, Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future
  19. Rae Carson, The Girl of Fire and Thorns Stories
  20. Alisa Krasnostein, Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories
  21. R.C. Lewis, Stitching Snow
  22. Martina Boone, Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island)
  23. Kiersten White, Illusions of Fate
  24. Julie Kagawa, Talon (The Talon Saga)
  25. Juliet Marillier, Dreamer’s Pool: A Blackthorn & Grim Novel

Top 25 Young Adult SF/F/H/UF/PR Sequels & Related Works

  1. Marissa Meyer, Cress (Lunar Chronicles)
  2. Tahereh Mafi, Ignite Me (Shatter Me)
  3. Sarah J. Maas, The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass novellas
  4. Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods
  5. Richelle Mead, Silver Shadows: A Bloodlines Novel
  6. Alexandra Bracken, In the Afterlight: A Darkest Minds Novel
  7. Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone)
  8. Neal Shusterman, UnDivided (Unwind Dystology)
  9. Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Cycle #3: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
  10. Veronica Rossi, Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky)
  11. Pittacus Lore, The Revenge of Seven (Lorien Legacies)
  12. Leigh Bardugo, Ruin and Rising
  13. Victoria Schwab, The Unbound (An Archived Novel) (The Archived)
  14. Gena Showalter, The Queen of Zombie Hearts (White Rabbit Chronicles)
  15. Cassandra Clare, The Course of True Love (and First Dates) (The Bane Chronicles)
  16. Julie Kagawa, The Forever Song (Blood of Eden)
  17. Ransom Riggs, Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Children)
  18. Cecilia Bernard, Inside Divergent: The Initiate’s World
  19. Rick Yancey, The Infinite Sea (5th Wave)
  20. Kasie West, Split Second (Pivot Point)
  21. Erin Hunter & Dan Jolley, Warriors Super Edition: Bramblestar’s Storm
  22. S. J. Kincaid, Catalyst (Insignia)
  23. Jennifer Estep, Killer Frost (Mythos Academy Novels)
  24. Scott Sigler, THE CHAMPION
  25. Robin LaFevers, Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin Trilogy)

Top 5 Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance (Non-YA and Non-Sequels)

  1. J. D. Horn, The Line (Witching Savannah, Book One)
  2. Christopher Buehlman, The Lesser Dead
  3. Simone St. James, Silence for the Dead
  4. Seanan McGuire, Sparrow Hill Road
  5. C. J. Burright, Wonderfully Wicked

Note: This category has only 5 entries, because nothing else that fit the category appeared above the 25th item on any other list. I have to look each title up manually to make a decision about how to categorize them, and I’m sorry, but I suspect it would be quite a lot of work to find 20 more given the available data. In fact, including some of these entries stretches the definitions of urban fantasy and non-sequel. Even taking the “sequel bump” into account (scores tend to go up for sequels as readers bounce off earlier books), the dearth of high-scoring titles in this category is a surprising result because urban fantasy sequels simply dominate the top 200 results. Perhaps SF Signal has overlooked some series starters this year. Or maybe it’s a very difficult field to get noticed in at first.

Top 25 Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance Sequels (Non-YA)

  1. Jim Butcher, Skin Game (Dresden Files)
  2. Ilona Andrews, Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels)
  3. Diana Gabaldon, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood: A Novel (Outlander)
  4. Kim Harrison, The Undead Pool
  5. Patricia Briggs, Night Broken (Mercy Thompson)
  6. Kim Harrison, The Witch with No Name (Hollows)
  7. Darynda Jones, Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson)
  8. Sherrilyn Kenyon, Illusion: Chronicles of Nick
  9. Sherrilyn Kenyon, Born of Fury (League Novel)
  10. Anne Bishop, Murder of Crows: A Novel of the Others
  11. Darynda Jones, Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson Series)
  12. Nalini Singh, Shield of Winter (Psy/Changelings)
  13. Jeaniene Frost, Up from the Grave (Night Huntress)
  14. Deborah Harkness, The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy)
  15. Seanan McGuire, The Winter Long (October Daye)
  16. Faith Hunter, Black Arts (Jane Yellowrock)
  17. Kevin Hearne, Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles
  18. Christine Feehan, Dark Wolf (Carpathian)
  19. Larry Correia, Monster Hunter Nemesis
  20. Patricia Briggs, Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson
  21. Faith Hunter, Broken Soul (Jane Yellowrock)
  22. Chloe Neill, Wild Things (Chicagoland Vampires)
  23. Jonathan Maberry, Code Zero: A Joe Ledger Novel
  24. Larissa Ione, Revenant (Lords of Deliverance)
  25. Chloe Neill, Blood Games (Chicagoland Vampires)

Top 25 Miscellaneous Works (Comics, Etc.)

  1. Joe Hill, Locke & Key Volume 6: Alpha & Omega
  2. Hajime Isayama, Attack on Titan 14
  3. Fiona Staples & Brian K. Vaughan, Saga Deluxe Edition Volume 1
  4. Ian Doescher, William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back (William Shakespeare Trilogy)
  5. Wizards RPG Team, Player’s Handbook (Dungeons & Dragons)
  6. Bryan Lee O’Malley, Seconds
  7. Zack Whedon, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind
  8. Tom Taylor, Injustice: Gods Among Us Vol. 2
  9. Ben Hatke, Julia’s House for Lost Creatures
  10. Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell, The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel: Volume 1
  11. Kieron Gillen, The Wicked + The Divine Volume 1
  12. Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell, The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel: Volume 2
  13. Ian Doescher, William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return
  14. Gene Luen Yang, The Shadow Hero
  15. Gene Luen Yang & Michael Dante DiMartino, Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Rift Part 2
  16. Masashi Kishimoto, Naruto 68: A Shinobi’s Dream!
  17. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale
  18. Tom Taylor, Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 2 Vol. 1
  19. Wizards RPG Team, Monster Manual (D&D Core Rulebook)
  20. Tim Minchin, Storm
  21. Marvel Comics, Black Widow Volume 1: The Finely Woven Thread
  22. Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn, Alex + Ada Volume 1
  23. Hayao Miyazaki, Art of Princess Mononoke
  24. Terry Pratchett, A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction
  25. Bill Willingham, Fables Vol. 20: Camelot

Selected SF/F Previews for 12/2014

SFSignal’s December round-up of new releases seemed especially full of things I’d seen before (reprints of classics or things on the same list in previous months) combined with many, many titles with either no preview at Amazon or not enough of a preview. I can’t say I intentionally chose proportionally fewer titles to highlight, but that seems to have been the outcome.

  • Catherine Asaro, Undercity. Many years ago, I read and enjoyed the first few books in Asaro’s space-fantasy-romance series, the Saga of the Skolian Empire, and I was glad to read the preview of this (15th?) installment too. It’s chattier and more straightforward than I remember the other books being: perhaps my recollection is poor, but the main character’s voice reminded me more of an urban fantasy protagonist’s than one I associate with space opera. In any case, the breezy style and inverted gender dynamics seemed fun.
  • Jim C. Hines, Rise of the Spider Goddess: An Annotated Novel. Hines revisits his first, unpublished novel and provides snarky comments on all his writing mistakes. I have to say I like the idea of this book, even though I have doubts about reading the main part of the text. It’s not quite like the Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics series, because the comments are more amusing than instructive and because the main book is something less than a classic. What it reminds me of are Eye of Argon readings or Mark Reads Fanfiction occurring within the slightly kinder circumstance of self-critique.
  • John Dixon, Phoenix Island. Based on the preview, I have no idea how the SF elements of this YA novel will play out, but the characterization in the opening chapter about a court appearance by a juvenile offender with a background in boxing struck me as reasonably vivid and humanizing, and the author bio may have something to do with that (“former Golden Gloves boxer, youth services caseworker, prison tutor, and middle school English teacher”). I see the book itself being compared to Lord of the Flies, Battle Royale, Cool Hand Luke, and The Island of Dr. Moreau. That’s an impressive list of things to call to mind.
  • Liv Spector, The Beautiful and the Wicked. The premise of this novel seems to be that Lila Day, formerly a detective with Miami PD, has a billionaire acquaintance who has discovered the secret to time travel, and to solve cold cases (perhaps always involving the wealthy?), he keeps sending her back in time. Back to, like, the 90s. Or the mid 2000s. It’s a surprisingly prosaic thing to do with time travel, and I can’t tell whether any of the SFnal ramifications are worked out. But accepting this as sort of a TV show pitch, OK, and simply put, the preview reads quickly and leaves me wondering where it will go. The first book in the series is actually The Rich and the Dead.

Selected SF/F Previews for 11/2014

I’ve finally finished going through all the available Amazon previews from SFSignal’s monthly round-up from November 2014, and I found quite a few things to admire. But I’m going to try to be brief, because it’s almost Christmas!

  • C. D. Rose, The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure. Imaginary authors, humorously described. Reminds me of Stanislaw Lem’s Imaginary Magnitude (prefaces to imaginary books) and Segal & Mager (eds.), The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature (blurbs/reviews of imaginary books).
  • Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith?, and Lars Pearson (eds.), Chicks Dig Gaming: A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It. The latest in a popular series, frequently nominated for the related work Hugo award. This seems pretty great: numerous authors I like telling personal stories about their experiences with a hobby I also enjoy.
  • Brandon Sanderson, Legion: Skin Deep. I read the novella Legion some time ago, perhaps as part of a Hugo packet, and I thought the idea of a Holmesian consulting detective who sees imaginary people and listens to them to understand his own thoughts was maybe an idea that trivializes mental health issues, but it works well enough on a story-telling level as just a way to externalize the main character’s deeply embedded hunches. Anyway, it seemed reasonably fun in the preview of this second installment.
  • Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Saga (Deluxe Edition HC, v. 1). A hardback collection of the hit space fantasy comic book series, which has won a Hugo and several Eisners. The preview at least shows off some of the weird imagery and the key development setting the story in motion.
  • Gavin Deas (a.k.a. Gavin Smith and Stephen Deas), Empires: Infiltration and Empires: Extraction. Two British SF/fantasy authors team up here to write a linked duology, telling the story of Earth’s invasion by aliens from different points of view. I liked the preview for Gavin Smith’s contribution quite a bit more than the other preview, but I’ve enjoyed Stephen Deas’s work in the past.
  • Delia Sherman, Young Woman in a Garden: Stories. In the preview story, Sherman writes a tiny bit of fantasy into the margins of art history, inventing a lesser-known French painter and poking around in a little museum devoted to his work for details about what inspired his paintings. At least one of the stories in this volume, “The Ghost of Cwmlech Manor,” is available in full online, but I don’t know about the others.
  • Nick Mamatas, The Nickronomicon. Mamatas typically writes Lovecraftian short stories with a contemporary aspect to them. The ones in the preview (as well as the one I’d read previously) are clever, though not as ornate or as cosmically weird as HPL’s own work.
  • Peter V. Brett, Messenger’s Legacy. Some reviews complain that this fantasy novella is too expensive, but I appreciated its preview as a small taste of Brett’s Demon Cycle, which I’ve heard people praise very highly. The story’s beginning was straightforward, but the prompt introduction of a creepy/dangerous monster lurking right outside the main character’s house seemed to speak volumes about what the series might be like.
  • Frank Herbert, The Collected Stories of Frank Herbert. Who knew Frank Herbert wrote so many short stories? I’ve read at least six of his novels, but I had no idea, maybe because I read them all as a teenager and then stopped investigating his oeuvre. The preview suggests many of these could have a strong 50s feel to them, but I’m OK with that.
  • Lexie Dunne, Superheroes Anonymous. I’m loving the superhero novel trend, and this one seems pretty fun. It’s a tongue-in-cheek story of a sort of Lois Lane-like character, under constant threat from supervillains, who acquires superpowers of her own.
  • Anonymous? [Malcolm C. Lyons (trans.)], Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange. It’s rare that I’ll choose to highlight a book for which the preview contains no sample matter from the main part of the text, but reading the introduction alone, I’m very intrigued by this new translation of a collection of Arabic folktales and legends that I’d never heard of. I’ve read the Signet Classics edition of the Thousand and One Nights, and I’m dimly aware of story collections like Hamadhani’s Maqamat and The Assemblies of Al Hariri, but this one was completely new to me. These articles make it sound like a blast, so I’m in.
  • Mike Carey, Linda Carey, and Louise Carey, The House of War and Witness. I’ve read some of Mike Carey’s work before and thought well of it, and I liked the premise of this book: an 18th C. military force holes up at a ghost-ridden estate on the Prussian border, and various mysteries unfold. The preview shows it to be very readable too, though like any ghost story it seems to be building up carefully.
  • Robin LaFevers, Mortal Heart. In 15th C. Brittany, young women join a convent where they’re trained to be assassins in the service of Saint Mortain, a god of death in a pantheon called The Nine. Well, why the heck not? Assassin fantasy is a very crowded subgenre, but this YA series aiming to add in a little romance and put a gender-balanced spin on the general idea seems pretty neat. So far as I could see them, I was OK with the alternate history elements just being sort of dropped into the world, and the writing seemed smooth. This is the third book in the series, though, so I’ll have to go back and try Grave Mercy first.

Selected SF/F Previews for 10/2014

I’m waaaaaay behind in commenting on SFSignal’s round-up of SF/F releases from October, but I didn’t give up on it! There were only 306 books to consider, so it should have been relatively easy, but there seemed to be an unusually large number of books that made the first cut, as well as the final cut. Anyway, here are the 14 books that I found most interesting.

  • Ann Leckie, Ancillary Sword. The sequel to last year’s terrific, multiple-prize-winnning Ancillary Justice gets off to a good albeit typical start for a space opera: a captain readying her ship and crew for a new mission. The situations, observations, and character interactions in the preview are all nice, so I’m very hopeful about the whole.
  • William Gibson, The Peripheral. I like it when Gibson focuses on technology and aesthetics, which is most of the time, so I was happy with this preview. There’s a steady stream of cultural/technological extrapolation here into the near future, and although I can’t say many of the earliest examples are really surprising, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic.
  • Garth Nix, Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen. The fourth novel in Nix’s Abhorsen / Old Kingdom series, this one begins well, dropping plenty of intriguing offhand references to setting details into clean, engaging prose. I’ve never read this series, but I’ve certainly heard about it from sources I appreciate, and now I’m interested. I also enjoyed another piece by Nix this month: his story in Fearsome Magics, edited by Jonathan Strahan. It’s set in a different fantasy milieu that features Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz, a weird god-killing pair of mercenaries who seem pretty great, and I’m willing to pick it up on the strength of that story alone.
  • John Twelve Hawks, Spark. This preview about a hired assassin suffering from Cotard’s syndrome (i.e. he thinks he’s already dead, or at least just a shell of a person) has a hard-boiled quality to it that I liked, but the idea that there’s still a “bright and pure and transcendent” spark inside the shell somewhere strikes me as very reminiscent of the divine spark concept associated with Gnosticism. It’s an interesting combination of possibilities, and I hope it pays off in the book.
  • Steven Brust, Hawk. Yay! I see Vlad is back in Adrilankha again, and this story is rumored to finally move the overall arc forward again. I’ve been reading this series for … almost thirty years? Wow. Anyway, I had become convinced it would never move forward again, because it looked like Brust had settled into writing a pattern more commonly found in crime novels where a troubled but likable first-person narrator just gets presented in some new situation every year or so, gets beaten up, does some beating up, and that’s that. Fine as far as it goes, and I don’t blame anyone for liking it that way, but this series has questions and long-standing issues that really merit some resolution. I don’t imagine this will wrap everything up, or I think I’d have heard, but maybe it’s something.
  • Patrick Rothfuss, The Slow Regard of Silent Things. This is apparently a 30,000 word vignette, focusing entirely on one character from Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle. I recall this character, Auri, having qualities perhaps justifying the MPDG tag I’ve heard her labeled with (minus being the love interest?). It’s been a while since I’ve read the book, but the M, P, D, and G characteristics each stick, I think. Anyway, as usual, Rothfuss’s prose glides along, and this seems to be a nice, atmospheric piece.
  • R. S. Belcher, The Shotgun Arcana. This seems to be a grim, Clint Eastwood-style Western with dark magic infused into it, and I could easily envision the opening scenes on film. It’s connected to Belcher’s first book, The Six-Gun Tarot, which I heard praised last year, so I’ll have to go back and give that a closer look as well.
  • Antal Szerb, Journey by Moonlight. This is a reprint of what is apparently a classic of Hungarian magical realism, but I’d never heard of it, and I was intrigued by the preview. The action has a strange, accidental quality to it, full of minor insights about mutual misunderstandings between ordinary people.
  • Marie Lu, The Young Elites. I think this is the second or third time this year I’ve seen someone putting superheroes int a secondary world fantasy, but I’m all for it. Both are genres I enjoy, and it’s got to work eventually. The preview here is straightforward stuff for YA fantasy, but it’s very readable, so I’m sold.
  • Richard K. Morgan, The Dark Defiles. I’ve read a couple of Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs SF novels, and they’re great, but I haven’t tried this grimdark fantasy series, A Land Fit for Heroes. This is the third book, and there’s a lot going on that is presumably based on earlier episodes, but not much exposition to catch the reader up. It seems to be more about character and action than setting stuff or big ideas, but I gather that mostly from all the characters’ just having fairly lively thoughts or interactions in the opening chapters. Incidentally, they’re profanity-laced thoughts and interactions, but Morgan reinforces them with stuff that better establishes the emotional stakes of what’s going on, if not the larger context. Anyway, I could see myself breezing through this contentedly.
  • Ysabeau S. Wilce, Prophecies, Libels & Dreams: Stories of Califa. Wilce is well-known for her Flora novels, a series for middle-grade/early teen readers. These stories seem to be set in the same world, a sort of steampunk California with more Aztec influences than in our universe. The first one has more bombast and “falder-a-oo” to it than I’d normally like, but I appreciate it when writers push things a bit, and I also saw potential in the setting and the fictional afterword to the story.
  • Tom Reynolds, The Second Wave. Only reading the preview, this strikes me as a straightforward, chatty superhero novel offering a first-person perspective on fairly archetypal superhero situations. And since I like superheroes and this seems pretty readable, I’m interested. It’s the sequel to Reynolds’s first novel, Meta, which I’ll have to check out further.
  • Brian Ashcraft & Luke Plunkett, Cosplay World. I suspect good cosplay photos are among the very easiest of things to find on the web, but this book appears to collect a bunch of older examples, placing cosplay into the larger historical context of costuming in fandom, which is interesting.