2017 in Review: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

Our third “2017 in Review” post looks at three different genres: science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Click on a cover or a title to place a hold! And click here to see our previous “2017 in Review” posts on general fiction and mystery/suspense novels.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
FANTASY ARDEN

“In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift – a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay.”

 

 


Universal Harvester by John Darnielle
HORROR DARNIELL

“A video store worker investigates when customers complain that videocassettes have been tampered with, with odd and sometimes violent scenes inserted in them.”

 

 

 

 

 


Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
FICTION DONNELLY

“Welcome to Amberlough City, the illustrious but corrupt cosmopolitan beacon of Gedda. The radical One State Party–nicknamed the Ospies–is gaining popular support to unite Gedda’s four municipal governments under an ironclad, socially conservative vision. Not everyone agrees with the Ospies’ philosophy, including master spy Cyril DePaul and his lover Aristide Makricosta, smuggler and emcee at the popular Bumble Bee Cabaret. When Cyril’s cover is blown on a mission, however, he must become a turncoat in exchange for his life.”

 

 


Ararat by Christopher Golden
HORROR GOLDEN

“While climbing Mount Ararat in Turkey, an avalanche forces a couple to seek shelter inside a massive cave uncovered by the snow fall. The cave is actually an ancient, buried ship that they speculate is really Noah’s Ark. But when a team of scholars, archaeologists, and filmmakers make it inside the ark for the first time, they discover an elaborate coffin in its recesses; the cadaver within is an ugly, misshapen thing with horns. Now a massive blizzard has them trapped in the cave thousands of meters up the side of a remote mountain… but the team is not alone.”

 

 


Strange Weather by Joe Hill
HORROR HILL

“A collection of four chilling novels, ingeniously wrought gems of terror from the brilliantly imaginative, number one New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman, Joe Hill. “Snapshot” is the disturbing story of a Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by “The Phoenician,” a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories, snap by snap. A young man takes to the skies to experience his first parachute jump. . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapor that seems animated by a mind of its own in “Aloft.” On a seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails–splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. “Rain” explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads out across the country and around the world. In “Loaded,” a mall security guard in a coastal Florida town courageously stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun rights movement. But under the glare of the spotlights, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it. When an out-of-control summer blaze approaches the town, he will reach for the gun again and embark on one last day of reckoning.”


The Wanderers by Meg Howrey
SCIENCE FICTION HOWREY

“In four years Prime Space will put the first humans on Mars. Helen Kane, Yoshi Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov must prove they’re the crew for the job by spending seventeen months in the most realistic simulation ever created. Retired from NASA, Helen had not trained for irrelevance. It is nobody’s fault that the best of her exists in space, but her daughter can’t help placing blame. The MarsNOW mission is Helen’s last chance to return to the only place she’s ever truly felt at home. For Yoshi, it’s an opportunity to prove himself worthy of the wife he has loved absolutely, if not quite rightly. Sergei is willing to spend seventeen months in a tin can if it means travelling to Mars. He will at least be tested past the point of exhaustion, and this is the example he will set for his sons. As the days turn into months the line between what is real and unreal becomes blurred, and the astronauts learn that the complications of inner space are no less fraught than those of outer space.”


The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
FANTASY JEMISIN

“This is the way the world ends… for the last time. The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women. Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe. For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

 

 


The Changeling by Victor LaValle
FICTION LAVALLE

“Apollo Kagwa has had strange dreams that have haunted him since childhood. An antiquarian book dealer with a business called Improbabilia, he is just beginning to settle into his new life as a committed and involved father, unlike his own father who abandoned him, when his wife Emma begins acting strange. Disconnected and uninterested in their new baby boy, Emma at first seems to be exhibiting all the signs of post-partum depression, but it quickly becomes clear that her troubles go far beyond that. Before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act–beyond any parent’s comprehension–and vanishes, seemingly into thin air. Thus begins Apollo’s odyssey through a world he only thought he understood to find a wife and child who are nothing like he’d imagined.”

 


Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
SCIENCE FICTION NEUVEL

“26 years ago: A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. 9 years ago: She is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. Today: with the remainder of the giant robot found and assembled, every question answered about the mysterious contraption raises two more. But the team behind the greatest discovery of the last millennium might be out of time when a second robot suddenly appears, looming over downtown London.”

 

 


The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley
FANTASY PULLEY

“In 1859, ex-East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne is trapped at home in Cornwall after sustaining an injury that almost cost him his leg. . When the India Office recruits Merrick for an expedition to fetch quinine–essential for the treatment of malaria–from deep within Peru, he knows it’s a terrible idea. Nearly every able-bodied expeditionary who’s made the attempt has died, and he can barely walk. But Merrick is desperate to escape the strange events plaguing his family’s crumbling estate, so he sets off, against his better judgment, for the edge of the Amazon. There he meets Raphael, a priest around whom the villagers spin unsettling stories of impossible disappearances, cursed woods, and living stone. Merrick must separate truth from fairytale and gradually realizes that Raphael is the key to a legacy left by generations of Tremayne explorers before him…


An Unkindness of Ghosts by River Solomon
SCIENCE FICTION SOLOMON

“Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She’s used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, she’d be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remains of her world. Aster lives in the lowdeck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer, Aster learns there may be a way to improve her lot–if she’s willing to sow the seeds of civil war.”

 


Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
SCIENCE FICTION VANDERME

“A young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a ruined city half destroyed by drought and conflict. The city is dangerous, littered with discarded experiments from the Company–a biotech firm now derelict–and punished by the unpredictable predations of a giant bear. Rachel ekes out an existence in the shelter of a run-down sanctuary she shares with her partner, Wick, who deals his own homegrown psychoactive biotech. One day, Rachel finds Borne during a scavenging mission and takes him home. Borne as salvage is little more than a green lump–plant or animal?–but exudes a strange charisma. Against her instincts–and definitely against Wick’s wishes–Rachel keeps Borne. She cannot help herself. Borne, learning to speak, learning about the world, is fun to be with, and in a world so broken that innocence is a precious thing. But as Borne grows, he begins to threaten the balance of power in the city and to put the security of her sanctuary with Wick at risk. For the Company, it seems, may not be truly dead, and new enemies are creeping in.”

 

Happy reading!

—Katie, Adult Reference

 

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