Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ten Books I'm Looking forward to in 2011

There are always plenty of books out there that I would be happy to read, had I enough time and energy. But a handful of upcoming titles fill me with genuine anticipation, whether I'll have the chance to review them or not.

Started Early, Took My Dog -- Kate Atkinson
I'm already nearly a 100 pages into the latest by "Case Histories" and "When Will We Have Good News?" An impulsive purchase at a mall, the rescue of a small dog and a search for a client's natural parents lead to violence and other unforeseen complications. According to Atkinson, this is likely to be her last Jackson Brodie book for a few years, so enjoy him while you can.

A Drop of the Hard Stuff -- Lawrence Block
Lawrence Block is among the last of the great  crime fiction traditionalists, and he's returning to Matt Scudder after a long hiatus. This new entry in the series jumps back in time to when Scudder was still struggling with his alcoholism. That strategy worked well in "Before the Sacred Gin Mill Closes," so we'll see whether Block can construct another satisfying flashback.

Satori -- Don Winslow
You wouldn't think that Trevanian's "Shibumi" calls out for a follow-up after 30+ years, but Winslow, author of "California Fire and Life"  and "The Death and Life of Bobby Z," has decided to resurrect Nicolai Hel. Will Winslow be able to emulate Trevanian's tongue-in-cheek tone in the midst of all the super-assassin hugger-mugger? I'm certainly intrigued.

The Wise Man's Fear -- Patrick Rothfuss
Rothfuss's "The Name of the Wind" was one of the most intriguing fantasy debuts of the mid-2000s. Fans have been impatiently clamoring for more ever since, and finally a new installment is ready. Middle volumes are notoriously tricky, but Rothfuss managed to sidestep many of the high fantasy pitfalls with his first book, so perhaps he'll be able to beat the sophomore slump.

Flashback -- Dan Simmons
After three big historical novels, Simmons returns to science fiction with a near-future thriller. A new drug allows users to re-live their favorite moments from the past, and one ex-detective strives to break his addiction while investigating a murder. Simmons does "hardboiled" well, and this book might given him a welcome chance to stretch those muscles.

Fuzzy Nation -- John Scalzi
The author of "Zoe's Tale" channels H. Beam Piper, for reasons that aren't quite clear but which will undoubtedly prove amusing. Note: Ewoks and Fuzzies are not related.

Listener -- Warren Ellis
Few details are available about the second novel by the co-creator of "Planetary" and "Transmetropolitan." His first novel, "Crooked Little Vein," didn't quite live up to its promise, but Ellis knows his way around a

Other Kingdoms -- Richard Matheson
Matheson's recent output hasn't matched the standards of his early classics, but I keep hoping that he'll muster some more of the mojo that powered "Hell House" or "I Am Legend." This latest novel is set in England after World War I and involves fairies, witches and the like.

Embassytown -- China Mieville
Mieville is hit and miss for me. I lost patience with "The City and the City" but really enjoyed last summer's "Kraken." "Embassytown" promises more "New Weird" weirdness, so I'm eager to see what Mieville has come up with this time.

iZombie -- Chris Roberson with Michael Allred
I'm done buying monthly pamphlets, but I liked the sample first issue I received of this on-going Vertigo series. Allred's art is always awesome, and I trust Roberson to do something interesting with the overworked "The dead are back!" scenario. The first collection will be available later this spring.

1 comment:

Ben Lund said...

Mike--glad to see you're blogging again. I had stopped looking after your long hiatus.