The end of the year naturally brings year-end lists (and I’m currently working on my year-end mix), but it also beckons us to look towards the future. And in the case of pop culture nerds like myself, that means looking forward to all of the music, movies, etc., that will be coming our way in the new year.
I know the inclusion of two particular authors in this list will seem the height of foolishness, but as they say, hope springs eternal. And even if those books don’t land on shelves in 2023, the year still promises plenty of excellent and entertaining reading material.
I’ve never read anything by Scotto Moore, but the premise alone is intriguing: in an infinitely tall skyscraper at the center of the multiverse, each floor is a self-contained world. A young woman named Carissa has hijacked an elevator which allows her to travel to any floor she likes, until an encounters with a shape-changing entity lands her in the middle of an inter-dimensional war involving technology, magic, and media. Sounds absolutely bonkers, in a good way.
Hurwitz’s Orphan X novels, in which a former government assassin now uses his elite skills to help people while avoiding his former allies, are absolute page turners. (I finished the previous novel, Dark Horse, in under 24 hours.) As the title suggests, The Last Orphan will be the series’ final novel, with Evan Smoak compelled to do the government’s dirty work once again. There will, of course, be plenty of twists and turns, and I suspect I’ll breeze through this one like I have all the others. I’m looking forward to it.
S. A. Chakraborty made a big splash with her Middle Eastern-themed Daevabad fantasy trilogy. (Read my review of The City of Brass, the trilogy’s first novel.) Her next trilogy moves from the desert to the high seas of the Indian Ocean, and follows a former pirate who elects to do one final job — the best kind of job, of course — that may bring tremendous wealth to her family, but could also end up costing her soul.
My wife and I both enjoyed Charles Soule’s debut novel, 2018’s The Oracle Year. His third novel, The Endless Vessel, is set in a world best by a “depression plague” where people struggle to find any sort of meaning to their existence. But when a woman has an experience that promises to lift her out of humanity’s malaise, she’s taken on a journey through space and time. The Oracle Year did a good job of blending weighty philosophical issues (e.g., free will vs. predestination) with page-turning thrills, so I look forward to seeing if The Endless Vessel can do the same.
In this parody/homage to Doctor Who, Harper Starling grieves the disappearance of her best friend Peggy while watching reruns of the Infinite Voyage TV show. But when Peggy suddenly returns, Harper discovers that Infinite Voyage is, in fact, real. And she’s landed in the middle of a war between the Argonaut and an alien threat. Such a premise could be too clever and cloying for its own good, but it could also make for a really fun read. We’ll find out this summer.
I read Christopher’s The Burning Dark a few years ago, and while I found it a bit of a letdown in the end, I still think about the bizarre atmosphere he was able to create with his writing. The Dead Stars is the third book in his Spider Wars trilogy, and follows the crew of an experimental starship that gets lost in an interdimensional void where — surprise! — they might not be alone.
Back in 2017, Neil Gaiman announced The Seven Sisters, a sequel to 1996’s Neverwhere that was partially inspired by the author’s work with the United Nations’ refugee agency. Since then, Gaiman has become a very busy man, overseeing TV adaptations of Good Omens and The Sandman (among other things). But I’d like to think that he’s found time in-between all of his projects to return to his parallel London.
At this point, I’ll basically read anything John Scalzi writes. The man’s a master of writing genre fiction that’s breezy, clever, and utterly entertaining. (Case in point: 2022’s Kaiju Preservation Society and the Interdependency trilogy.) Starter Villain looks to be more of the same, with clever riffs on classic supervillain tropes.
I know, I know… But hope springs (foolishly, perhaps… probably) eternal. While Martin has plenty of other irons in the fire, including various Games of Thrones spin-off series, he continues to whittle away at Winds of Winter. And if he gets his manuscript done, then I would hope that his publisher will do their darndest to get the book on shelves before year’s end.
See The Winds of Winter above. I’m starting to think that Rothfuss is just trolling us now, but I’d like to be able to eat those words if and when The Doors of Stone is actually released (and lives up to even our most moderate expectations).