Speculative Fiction Stars 2013

Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror stars

Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW. The review source assigns the star.


  • Great North Road
    Author: Hamilton , Peter F.
    $ 30 ISBN: 9780345526663 Date: 2012
    starPW star Booklist star LJ
    New York Times-bestselling author Hamilton's riveting new thriller combines the nail-biting suspense of a serial-killer investigation with clear-eyed scientific and social extrapolation to create a future that seems not merely plausible but inevitable.
    Updated 11.15.12
  • The Univited
    Author: Jensen, Liz
    $ 25 ISBN: 9781608199921 Date: 2012
    A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother's neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? Part psychological thriller, part dystopian nightmare, The Uninvited is a powerful and viscerally unsettling portrait of apocalypse in embryo.
    Updated 11.15.12
  • Salvage and Demolition
    Author: Powers, Tim
    $ 30 ISBN: 9781596065154 Date: 2013

    Salvage and Demolition, the astonishing new 21,000 word novella by Tim Powers, begins when Richard Blanzac, a San Francisco-based rare book dealer, opens a box of consignment items and encounters the unexpected. There, among an assortment of literary rarities, he discovers a manuscript in verse, an Ace Double Novel, and a scattering of very old cigarette butts. These commonplace objects serve as catalysts for an extraordinary and unpredictable adventure.

    Without warning, Blanzac finds himself traversing a "circle of discontinuity" that leads from the present day to the San Francisco of 1957. Caught up in that circle are an ancient Sumerian deity, a forgotten Beat-era poet named Sophie Greenwald, and an apocalyptic cult in search of the key to absolute non-existence. With unobtrusive artistry, Powers weaves these elements into something strange and utterly compelling. The resulting story is at once a romance, a thriller, and the kind of intricately constructed time travel story that only the author of The Anubis Gates that quintessential time travel classic could have written. Ingenious, affecting, and endlessly inventive, Salvage and Demoliton is a compact gem from the pen of a modern master, a man whose singular creations never fail to dazzle and delight.

    - Publisher Marketing
    Updated 1.31.13


  • The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Ficton for the Modern Evil Genius
    Author: Adams, John Joseph (edt)
    $ 25.99 ISBN: 9780765326447 Date: 2013

    From Victor Frankenstein to Lex Luthor, from Dr. Moreau to Dr. Doom, readers have long been fascinated by insane plans for world domination and the madmen who devise them. Typically, we see these villains through the eyes of good guys. This anthology, however, explores the world of mad scientists and evil geniuses--from their own wonderfully twisted point of view.

    An all-star roster of bestselling authors--including Diana Gabaldon, Daniel Wilson, Austin Grossman, Naomi Novik, and Seanan McGuire...twenty-two great storytellers all told--have produced a fabulous assortment of stories guaranteed to provide readers with hour after hour of high-octane entertainment born of the most megalomaniacal mayhem imaginable.

    Everybody loves villains. They're bad; they always stir the pot; they're much more fun than the good guys, even if we want to see the good guys win. Their fiendish schemes, maniacal laughter, and limitless ambition are legendary, but what lies behind those crazy eyes and wicked grins? How--and why--do they commit these nefarious deeds? And why are they so set on taking over the world?

    If you've ever asked yourself any of these questions, you're in luck: It's finally time for the madmen's side of the story.

    - Publisher Marketing
    Updated 1.31.13
  • Domino Falls
    Author: Barnes, Steven
    $ 15 ISBN: 9781451617023Date: 2013
    starLJ star Booklist

    Updated 4.8.13
  • The Teleportation Accident
    Author: Beauman, Ned
    $ 25 ISBN: 9781620400234 Date: 2013
    When you haven't had sex in a long time, it feels like the worst thing that could ever happen.If you're living in Germany in the 1930s, it probably isn't.But that's no consolation to Egon Loeser, whose carnal misfortunes will push him from the experimental theaters of Berlin to the absinthe bars of Paris to the physics laboratories of Los Angeles, trying all the while to solve two mysteries: Was it really a deal with Satan that claimed the life of his hero, Renaissance set designer Adriano Lavicini, creator of the so-called Teleportation Device? And why is it that a handsome, clever, modest guy like him can't--just once in a while--get himself laid?
    Updated 1.31.13
  • American Elsewhere
    Author: Bennett, Robert Jackson
    $ 13.99 ISBN: 9780316200202 Date: 2013
    After a couple years of hard traveling, ex-cop Mona Bright inherits her long-dead mother's home in a small town in New Mexico. And the closer Mona gets to her mother's past, the more she understands that the people there are very, very different.
    Updated 1.31.13
  • A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent
    Author: Brennan, Marie
    $ 25.99 ISBN: 9780765331960 Date: 2013
    The story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana.
    Updated 1.31.13
  • The Office of Mercy
    Author: Djanikian, Ariel
    $ 26.95 ISBN: 9780670025862 Date: 2013
    A thrilling debut of a post-apocalyptic world for fans of The Hunger Games. Weaving philosophy and science together into a riveting, dystopian story of love and adventure,"The Office of Mercy illuminates an all-too-real future imagined by a phenomenal new voice in fiction.
    Updated 1.31.13
  • The Inner City
    Author: Heler, Karen
    $ 16.95 ISBN: 9781927469330 Date: 2013
    Heuler's stories dart out at what the world is doing and center on how the individual copes with it. Anything is possible: people breed dogs with humans to create a servant class; beneath one great city lies another city, running it surreptitiously; an employee finds that her hair has been stolen by someone intent on getting her job; strange fish fall from trees and birds talk too much; a boy tries to figure out what he can get when the Rapture leaves good stuff behind. Everything is familiar; everything is different. Behind it all, is there some strange kind of design or merely just the chance to adapt? In Heuler's stories, characters cope with the strange without thinking it's strange, sometimes invested in what's going on, sometimes trapped by it, but always finding their own way in.- Publisher Marketing
    Updated 1.31.13
  • Blood Oranges
    Author: Kiernan, Caitlin R.
    $ 16 ISBN: 9780451465016 Date: 2013
    "My name's Quinn. If you buy into my reputation, I'm the most notorious demon hunter in New England. But rumors of my badassery have been slightly exaggerated. Instead of having kung-fu skills and a closet full of medieval weapons, I'm an ex-junkie with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time. Or the right place at the wrong time. Or...whatever. Wanted for crimes against inhumanity I (mostly) didn't commit, I was nearly a midnight snack for a werewolf until I was "saved" by a vampire calling itself the Bride of Quiet. Already cursed by a werewolf bite, the vamp took a pint out of me too. So now...now, well, you wouldn't think it could get worse, but you'd be dead wrong"--
    Updated 1.31.13
  • Last Days
    Author: Nevill, Adam
    $ 15.99 ISBN: 9781250018182 Date: 2013

    Last Days by Adam Nevill is a Blair Witch style novel in which a documentary film-maker undertakes the investigation of a dangerous cult--with creepy consequences

    When guerrilla documentary maker, Kyle Freeman, is asked to shoot a film on the notorious cult known as the Temple of the Last Days, it appears his prayers have been answered. The cult became a worldwide phenomenon in 1975 when there was a massacre including the death of its infamous leader, Sister Katherine. Kyle's brief is to explore the paranormal myths surrounding an organization that became a testament to paranoia, murderous rage, and occult rituals. The shoot's locations take him to the cult's first temple in London, an abandoned farm in France, and a derelict copper mine in the Arizonan desert where The Temple of the Last Days met its bloody end. But when he interviews those involved in the case, those who haven't broken silence in decades, a series of uncanny events plague the shoots. Troubling out-of-body experiences, nocturnal visitations, the sudden demise of their interviewees and the discovery of ghastly artifacts in their room make Kyle question what exactly it is the cult managed to awaken - and what is its interest in him?- Publisher Marketing
    Updated 1.31.13

  • Elsewhens
    Author: Rawn, Melanie
    $ 25.99 ISBN: 9780765328779 Date: 2013
    Touchstone, the magical theater troupe, continues to build audiences. But Cayden is increasingly troubled by his Oelsewhens, O the uncontrolled moments when he is plunged into visions of the possible futures. He fears that his Fae gift will forever taint his friendships; his friends fear that his increasing distance will destroy him.
    Updated 1.31.13
  • Six-Gun Snow White
    Author: Valente, Catherynne M.
    $ 40 ISBN: 9781596065529 Date: 2013
    From New York Times-bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente comes a brilliant reinvention of one the best known fairy tales of all time. In the novella Six-Gun Snow White, Valente transports the title's heroine to a masterfully evoked Old West where Coyote is just as likely to be found as the seven dwarves.

    A plain-spoken, appealing narrator relates the history of her parents a Nevada silver baron who forced the Crow people to give up one of their most beautiful daughters, Gun That Sings, in marriage to him. With her mother's death in childbirth, so begins a heroine's tale equal parts heartbreak and strength. This girl has been born into a world with no place for a half-native, half-white child. After being hidden for years, a very wicked stepmother finally gifts her with the name Snow White, referring to the pale skin she will never have. Filled with fascinating glimpses through the fabled looking glass and a close-up look at hard living in the gritty gun-slinging West, readers will be enchanted by this story at once familiar and entirely new.

    Updated 1.31.13


  • The Departure: The Owner
    Author: Asher, Neal
    $ 15.99 ISBN: 9781597804479 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.8.13
  • Shattered Pillars
    Author: Bear, Elizabeth
    $ 26.99 ISBN: 9780765322550 Date: 2013
    The second book of Bear's The Eternal Sky trilogy and the sequel to Range of Ghosts. Set in a world drawn from the great Asian Steppes, this saga of magic, politics, and war sets Re-Temur, the exiled heir to the great Khagan and his friend Sarmarkar, a Wizard of Tsarepheth, against dark forces determined to conquer all the great Empires along the Celedon Road.
    Updated 1.31.13
  • Written in Blood: A Novel of the Others
    Author: Bishop, Anne
    $ 26.95 ISBN: 9780451464965 Date: 2013
    starLJ star Kirkus
    No one creates realms like New York Times-bestselling author Bishop. Now in a thrilling new fantasy series, readers can enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities--vampires and shape-shifters among them--who rule the Earth and whose prey are humans.
    Updated 1.31.13
  • Bloodfire Quest
    Author: Brooks, Terry
    $ 28 ISBN: 9780345523501 Date: 2013
    From New York Times-bestselling author Brooks comes the second thrilling novel in a brand-new trilogy. The quest for the missing Elfstones has gone badly awry. The Druid Order has been decimated, and its survivors are trapped inside a hellish dimension. One young Druid will have to make the ultimate sacrifice.
    Updated 1.31.13
  • Dreams and Shadows
    Author: Cargill, C. Robert
    $ 24.99 ISBN: 9780062190420 Date: 2013
    starKirkus star PW star LJ
    The screenwriter and noted film critic makes his fiction debut with this brilliantly crafted modern tale--part Neil Gaiman, part Guillermo Del Toro, part William S. Burroughs--that charts the lives of two boys, from their star-crossed childhood in a realm of magic and mystery to their anguished adulthoods.
    Updated 1.26.13
  • A Turn of Light
    Author: Czerneda, Jule E.
    $ 20 ISBN: 978076507070 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.8.13
  • Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy
    Author: Datlow, Ellen (edt)
    $ 15.99 ISBN: 9780765332271 Date: 2013
    starKirkus star PW
    Gaslamp Fantasy, or historical fantasy set in a magical version of the nineteenth century, has long been popular with readers and writers alike. A number of wonderful fantasy novels, including Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Prestige by Christopher Priest, owe their inspiration to works by nineteenth-century writers ranging from Jane Austen, the Brontes, and George Meredith to Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and William Morris. And, of course, the entire steampunk genre and subculture owes more than a little to literature inspired by this period. 
    Queen Victoria's Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves these works of neo-Victorian fiction, and wishes to explore the wide variety of ways that modern fantasists are using nineteenth-century settings, characters, and themes. These approaches stretch from steampunk fiction to the Austen-and-Trollope inspired works that some critics call Fantasy of Manners, all of which fit under the larger umbrella of Gaslamp Fantasy. The result is eighteen stories by experts from the fantasy, horror, mainstream, and young adult fields, including both bestselling writers and exciting new talents such as Elizabeth Bear, James Blaylock, Jeffrey Ford, Ellen Kushner, Tanith Lee, Gregory Maguire, Delia Sherman, and Catherynne M. Valente, who present a bewitching vision of a nineteenth century invested (or cursed!) with magic.- Publisher Marketing
    Updated 1.31.13
  • Wolfhound Century
    Author: Higgins, Peter
    $ 25.99 ISBN: 9780316219679 Date: 2013
    Inspector Vissarion Lom has been summoned to the capital to catch a terrorist--and ordered to report directly to the head of the secret police. Lom has been chosen because he is an outsider, not involved in the struggle for power within the party. And because of the sliver of angel stone implanted in his head.
    Updated 1.31.13
  • The Story Until Now: Great Big Book of Stories
    Author: Reed, Kit
    $ 35 ISBN: 9780819573490 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.8.13
  • Fantastic Erotica: The Best of Circlet Press 2008-12
    Author: Tan, Cecilia (edt)
    $ 19.95 ISBN: 9781613900444 Date: 2013
    Circlet Press celebrates its 20th anniversary with this "best of" anthology of erotic science fiction stories. The leader in the unique literary genre that is erotic science fiction and fantasy, Circlet Press continues to draw the best talents and hottest erotic voices to their fold. This anthology showcases the very best of those authors who have published with the company since the advent of the ebook. The digital publishing world is full of uncurated self-publishers and exotic pioneers, but Circlet Press continues to maintain the quality of literature that has brought them praise from Publishers Weekly, Salon, and many other publications in their 20 years of publishing. With topics ranging from shapeshifters to space travel, FANTASTIC EROTICA contains only the very cream skimmed from the top of all the many anthologies published digitally by the company in the past five years. Harnessing the power of the reader, the top stories were ranked by Internet poll on circlet.com and the final selections from among the top-ranked stories were then made by Circlet's experienced team of editors.- Publisher Marketing
    Updated 1.31.13


  • The House of Rumour
    Author: Arnott, Jake
    $ 26 ISBN: 9780544077799 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.8.13
  • Blood of Dragons: The Rain Wilds Chronicles
    Author: Hobb, Robin
    $ 27.99 ISBN: 9780062116857 Date: 2013

    The final volume in Robin Hobb's popular Rain Wilds fantasy series, Blood of Dragons completes the story of the dragons, their keepers, and their quest to find the lost city of Kelsingra--and the mythical silver wells that the dragons need to survive.

    Can Tintaglia and the Elderlings unlock the secrets of the ancient city? Or are they doomed to extinction?

    The world of Robin Hobb's Rain Wilds series has been praised by Booklist as "one of the most gripping settings in modern fantasy," and Publishers Weekly called the Rain Wilds books "a meticulously realized fantasy tale" and "a welcome addition to contemporary dragon lore."- Publisher Marketing
    Updated 1.31.13

  • River of Stars
    Author: Kay, Guy Gavriel
    $ 26.95 ISBN: 9780451464972 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.8.13
  • Prophet of Bones
    Author: Kosmatka, Ted
    $ 26 ISBN: 9780805096170 Date: 2013

    Paul Carlson, a brilliant young scientist, is summoned from his laboratory job to the remote Indonesian island of Flores to collect DNA samples from the ancient bones of a strange, new species of tool user unearthed by an archaeological dig. The questions the find raises seem to cast doubt on the very foundations of modern science, which has proven the world to be only 5,800 years old, but before Paul can fully grapple with the implications of his find, the dig is violently shut down by paramilitaries.

    Paul flees with two of his friends, yet within days one has vanished and the other is murdered in an attack that costs Paul an eye, and very nearly his life. Back in America, Paul tries to resume the comfortable life he left behind, but he can't cast the questions raised by the dig from his mind. Paul begins to piece together a puzzle which seems to threaten the very fabric of society, but world's governments and Martial Johnston, the eccentric billionaire who financed Paul's dig, will stop at nothing to silence him.

    - Publisher Marketing
    Updated 1.31.13
  • Hawk Quest
    Author: Lyndon, Robert
    $ 25.99 ISBN: 9780316219563 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.18.13
  • A Stranger in Olondria
    Author: Samatar, Sofia
    $ 16 ISBN: 9781931520768 Date: 2013
    Jevik travels to the city of Olondria where he is overtaken by a ghost from his past.
    Updated 11.15.12
  • Murder on Olympus
    Author: Warren, Robert B.
    $ 17 ISBN: 9780985023065 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.18.13


  • The Tyrant's Law
    Author: Abraham, Daniel
    $ 17 ISBN: 9781402258404 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.18.13
  • NOS4A2
    Author: Hill, Joe
    $ 28.99 ISBN: 9780062200570 Date: 2013
    starLJ starBooklist star Kirkus

    Updated 4.8.13
  • The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr Spencer Black
    Author: Hudspeth, E.B.
    $ 24.95 ISBN: 9781594746161 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.8.13
  • Deep Space
    Author: Douglas, Ian
    $ 7.99 ISBN: 9780062183804 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.18.13
  • Promise of Blood
    Author: McClellan, Brian
    $ 23.99 ISBN: 9780316219037 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.18.13


  • Lexicon
    Author: Barry, Max
    $ 26.95 ISBN: 9781594205385 Date: 2013
  • Wisp of a Thing
    Author: Bledsoe, Alex
    $ 25.99 ISBN: 9780765334138 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.8.13
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane
    Author: Gaiman, Neil
    $ 25.99 ISBN: 9780062255655 Date: 2013
    starBooklist star Kirkus

    Updated 4.18.13
  • The Shambling Guide to New York City
    Author: Lafferty, Mur
    $ 15 ISBN: 9780316221177 Date: 2013
    starKirkus star LJ

    Updated 4.18.13
  • Ecko Rising
    Author: Ware, Danie
    $ 14.95 ISBN: 9780857687623 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.18.13


  • The Goliath Stone
    Author: Niven, Larry
    $ 24.99 ISBN: 9780765333230 Date: 2013

    Updated 4.18.13







Starred Review Lists

Books that received at least one starred review from Booklist, Kirkus, LJ, and PW.

2013 Crime Fiction: Jan-June | Fiction: Jan-June | Speculative Fiction

2012 Crime Fiction: July-Dec | Fiction: July-Dec | Speculative Fiction

Hotlists@ Google Docs

Crime Fiction... 2013 | 2012 | 2011

Fiction... 2013 | 2012 | 2011

(lists of new and notable books - lists are sortable and can be downloaded)

more stars lists...

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