Welcome to the latest edition of TBR & BEYOND, a regular feature where I take a look at my TBR, run through my reading plans for the month ahead, and talk about science-fiction related things I’m excited about for the coming month. A fair bit of this is similar to the previous month, but I’ll do my best to keep repetition to a minimum. Without further ado, let’s get into that TBR.
Aside from Simon Scarrow’s Eagles of the Empire (a series for which I am missing several key books), my plan is to finish everything in the photo above before I start anything I may be gifted for Christmas. Some of these books have been for for several months now, and it’s always a good idea to do a bit of cleaning around the TBR tower.
The other exception to this plan is the Star Trek: Coda series. I was hoping to read this whole trilogy back-to-back, but the third book has been pushed back (see below) I’m going to hold off on reading the first two for a while, but if Oblivion‘s Gate doesn’t appear until next year, I might end up reading this two on their own. I really want to know how the Litverse canon concludes, and can only restrain myself for so long.
Having spent the last month mopping up standalones, December will be the month where I get into some new authors. Well, new to me. Top of this list is the trio of second-hand purchases I made way back in September. View From the Imperium by Jody Lynn Nye and The Praxis by Walter Jon Williams are both the first books in their respective series, but look tonally very different. Nye’s has one of the best covers Baen have ever put on a book, and I’m hopeful that the story itself is every bit as madcap. Williams’ offering looks more like the military space opera I enjoy so much. The third of these books is Jack McDevitt’s Chindi. This is a middle book in his larger Academy series, but I’m led to believe these hard SF books are functionally standalone. The most appealing part of these books to me is that each author has a lengthy back-catalogue, so hopefully I’ll be reading more of them in the future.
I do have two ongoing series to keep up with and the first is Dune. The Lady of Caldan came out two months ago, but I was knee-deep in a later stage of my reread at the time, and decided to take a mall break before backtracking along the timeline to slot it in. That break has now been had, and I’m looking forward to reading my first Dune book since tracing the new film, and seeing if (and how) it affects my reading. The second series is Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward, which also sees its penultimate release this year in the form of Cytonic.
Though I read a lot of Warhammer 40,000 novels, most of those relate to the Imperium, so Phil Kelly’s Farsight novels, which focus on the T’au, will be a change of pace for me. I don’t think this series is complete yet, but I’ll likely read these two back-to-back. Reading series in a solid block is something I want to do more of in 2022, so this will be good practise.
This month’s TBR also includes two non-SF books that will probably take up a considerable amount of time. Both Ken Liu’s The Veiled Throne, and the perennial favourite S. are rather dense books, so if my reviewing is a bit light this month, it’ll be because I’m reading one of them. These fantasy releases are the only books likely to get in the way of me demolishing my TBR before December 31st.
The 2nd of December sees the last big release of the year in the form of Leviathan Falls, the ninth (and final) book in James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse series. I’ve been waiting on this one for a long while now, and I don’t think my expectations could be any higher. The TV adaptation of the series also reaches an end this year, with the sixth and final season hitting Amazon Prime on the 10th, though with siz episodes it will run into January.
On the 9th, Brendan P. Bellecourt’s alternate history Absynthe will be released. I won’t be buying this, because for the first time in my life, I have a review copy! I’ll hopefully be getting my thoughts on that one to you before the official release date.
Though the date has shifted from November to January and everywhere in between, there’s a chance David Mack’s Oblivion’s Gate will be released this month. This will be an end to a canon of Star Trek that has been going for twenty years, and I’m very excited to read it.
Black Library has managed to squeeze a few extra releases in before Christmas. The pre-order of Andy Clark’s Astra Militarum novel Steel Tread is up now, but the book will be released on the 4th. Later in the month we have the new Sabbat Worlds novel Volpone Glory by Nick Kyme, and the omnibus edition of Crimson Fists, collecting stories by Steve Parker and Mike Lee. Volpone Glory looks very exciting, and while I’ve sort of sworn myself off new Space Marine content, Crimson Fists does look mighty tempting.
On the small screen, December will see the climax of Doctor Who: Flux (about which I have many, many thoughts) with a slim possibility of a Christmas special to follow, though I expect a New Year special is more likely. We also have the continuation of Star Trek: Discovery, which is available for free in the UK on Pluto TV. Finally, Star Wars returns to Disney+ on the 29th in the shape of The Book of Boba Fett.
I’m on the verge of wrapping up a few TV series (Defiance, Fear the Walking Dead, Walking Dead: World Beyond) so I’m hoping to watch Foundation this month, but that space could well be taken by Wheel of Time instead. We’ll have to see.
What about you? What SF are you looking forward to reading in December? Let me know in the comments.