I suppose it’s possible to apply the term hey-day, though I would waffle on whether such a relatively positive word can be attached to the glut of books and stories discharging itself from the guts of humanity these days. Indeed, explosion seems a more fitting term describing the unprecedented quantity of fiction available as 2018 turns into 2019. Humanity has never before experienced such a deluge, which means there are going to be too many titles desirable to read yet not enough time. Nevertheless, I will attempt to outline the books I know are coming in 2019 which strike interest of some sort, starting with the many risky books planned.
I believe Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale has entered society’s mindset of being among the tip-top dystopias ever published. Alongside Nineteen Eighty-four, We, and Brave New World, it has become one of the defining bleak thought experiments of the 20th century. With 2019’s The Testament, Atwood will attempt to continue Offred’s tale after the events of A Handmaid’s Tale. Will it be as good, or at least be complementary in quality fashion, one can only hope Atwood thought to publish a sequel after having a knock out idea. Michael Swanwick’s The Iron Dragon’s Daughter and The Dragons of Babel form a wonderful, complementary pair. The former the story of young woman trying to find herself in an existence twisted by Swanwick’s quasi-fantasy, quasi-magic-realist pen, and the second the tale of a young man undergoing his own journey of self-discovery through an equally dynamic and colorful setting, it remains to be seen what the upcoming The Iron Dragon’s Mother can add to the pair, or at least the former. Threatening to split up the highly complementary nature of the pair (no husband likes to have an interfering mother-in-law, natch), one can at least hope Swanwick brings to the game an equally prodigious bit of imagination. The third risky book on my list is Tim Powers’ More Walls Broken. Powers seeming to have lost the mojo for the unique ideas he had at the beginning of this career and fallen back on allowing quality prose to propel relatively conventional stories, More Walls Broken doesn’t seem to want to break the trend. About a group of scientists who enter a graveyard to raise the dead, stereotype flags are waving high, and only reading the story will tell whether they are worth heeding.