Top Ten Tuesday: teasing 2023

Text only: top ten TUESDAY

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s all about books, lists and sharing the love we have of both with our bookish friends. This week, we’re looking ahead to the books we’re excited for in 2023.

There are a lot of fabulous sounding books coming our way in 2023 from first time and big name authors to much-anticipated sequels and unexpected retellings. How to choose what to yell about today? Well, I figure you already know about or are likely to hear about lead titles and big publishers, so I am focusing on titles from independent and smaller presses to tantalise your TBR. That’s not to say I’m not drooling at what Tor, Orbit, Pan MacMillan and others have in store for us (VenCo! The Faithless! The Adventures of Amina Al-Sarafi! Flight and Anchor! The Water Outlaws! To Shape A Dragon’s Breath! Once There Was! Song Of The Huntress! Maybe even – at last – Exordia!), but I can save my squee for when they get released.

First up, if you’re not planning to buy any books in April, look away now…

I have a long-time soft spot for Arthurian retellings, and Juliet McKenna has one for us on April 11th (Angry Robot). The Cleaving focuses on the saga’s female characters: Ygraine, Guinevere, Nimue and Morgana are given a voice here to explain their choices. Adultery, murder and black magic or women working together to wrest some control back from the men who make the decisions that shape their lives? I’m excited that this epic standalone focuses on female friendship and alliances rather than setting these women against each other.

Cyborg nuns at war. Enough said? Human souls, mechanical bodies, and a traitor in their midst as a training exercise goes wrong and leaves them stranded on a bitterly cold mountain. Enough said. The Iron Children by Rebecca Fraimow will be the first of the 2023 Solaris Satellites (the ever-exciting annual collection of 4 novellas from Solaris – if I haven’t pushed you into exploring them before, consider this the latest push. Go on. They’re great) and hits the shelves on April 12th.

A grief nurse takes your sadness, your anxiety, your fears and transmutes them into something wonderful. Even the best is going to be challenged by a series of deaths (or murders?) in quick succession as the Asters mourning spills over with deadly secrets and painful lies – The Grief Nurse is Angie Spoto’s gothic debut, where I suspect nothing will be quite as it seems. Out from Sandstone Press on April 13th.

The Surviving Sky by Kritika H Rao is a science fantasy of cities floating above cataclysmic storms, maintained by the psychic abilities of the ruling architects. If that weren’t enough to grab my interest (and oh, it is) the protagonists are a married couple whose strained relationship and secrets may put their entire civilisation at risk. Look out for a split release – the ebook will be with us on April 4th, but the paperback won’t hit shelves until June (Titan Books).

The last in my April line-up is Womb City by Tlotlo Tsamaase (Erewhon Books, cover yet to be revealed). Expect a feminist horror novel set in a future Botswana where consciousness can be implanted into microchipped bodies, and ghosts will kill for revenge. Sounds like crossing the surveillance state may be the least of the pregnant protagonist’s problems…

I have always, always wanted more books based on Sumerian myth, and Emily H Wilson is answering the call in late summer with Inanna, the first in a trilogy based on these ancient epics (Titan Books). Inanna was a storyteller, a goddess of love, a trickster, a wielder of most powerful magic. I’m not sure whether this trilogy intertwines different myths (might we get The Descent of Inanna? Please?) or whether the epic of Gilgamesh is being explored from different angles, but I can’t wait to find out.

I have been meaning to read Alaya Dawn Johnson ever since The Summer Prince came out, and The Library Of Broken Worlds (out from Scholastic on June 6th) may finally see me do so. What bookworm can resist a novel about the power of narrative, in which the daughter of a library god is propelled into a confrontation with the god of war? Not this one, I suspect.

Mother Sea is Lorraine Wilson’s next novel, a literary tale of rising sea levels and plummeting birth rates set on an island nation under threat. This isn’t speculative as far as I know, but Wilson’s handling of themes such as family and trauma (and her experience in conservation) make her books a must-read for me. Out from Fairlight Books on May 18th.

A civil servant on the run, a sink estate culture warrior and an Army officer with integrity become unlikely allies as Britain lurches further into fascism. The Disinformation War is likely to make desperately uncomfortable reading as the novel’s ‘poverty eradication programme’ – run by private enterprise, of course – sounds ripe to be sponsored by our current Government. Out from the new Gold SF imprint of Goldsmith Press on June 13th.

I’ll close with Cassandra Khaw’s take on mermaids, because I love mermaid horror. The Salt Grows Heavy (Titan Books, May 2nd) features a mermaid and a plague doctor on the run after the death of the mermaid’s husband; expect trauma and body horror as they clash with three surgeon-saints who play unspeakable games with local children. Khaw’s prose can be colourful to the point of overwhelming, but I have a soft spot for their work and hey, this is a mermaid horror where the mermaid is the protagonist? Hell yes.

What are you looking forward to this year?