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From Babel to Borne – Upcoming Publications from Favourite Authors

What are my favourite authors doing next?

My favourite authors have new works in the works, pardon the pun, so depending on when they come out, I might have to add to my reading list for 2020. Here is an alphabetical list organized by surname. (Recommendations from readers are welcome, by the way – add a comment.)

  • Josiah Bancroft – The Fall of Babel – Book IV of the Books of Babel Tetralogy (pushed out to 2021) Readers have been waiting breathlessly for the last book in the series. On Nov. 3, 2019, Bancroft announced that “It is with a sense of boundless disappointment that I must announce a delay to the release of the final volume in the Books of Babel tetralogy. Book Four, originally slated for release in 2020, has been pushed into 2021.” But it now has a name – The Fall of Babel. That bodes no good for Senlin and his crew. So we hurry up and wait, already.
The title revealed by Josiah Bancroft
  • Brian Bilston – Alexa, What is There to Know About Love? (Jan. 2021) Hooray! My favourite poet who is also an author (Diary of a Somebody) has been busy. No wonder he has been reposting many of his published poems. I think he is saving his best new ones for this upcoming collection. “Some news. I’m delighted to have a new poetry collection publishing next year with Picador Books: ‘Alexa, what is there to know about love?’ It’s coming in January to coincide with the seventh wave of the virus.” As usual, Mr. Bilston is being witty.
Alexa, What is There to Know About Love?, by Brian Bilston
  • Philippa Gregory – Dark Tides – A Novel (Simon & Schuster Canada, Atria Books, Nov. 24, 2020) Gregory always manages to combine historical accuracy with sweeping drama, without getting too dark. “Set in the poverty and glamour of Restoration London, in the golden streets of Venice, and on the tensely contested frontier of early America, this is a novel of greed and desire: for love, for wealth, for a child, and for home” (The publisher’s blurb, not mine.)
Dark Tides, by Philippa Gregory
  • Jonas Jonasson – Sweet Sweet Revenge Ltd. (July 15, 2021) – There’s no cover art yet. According to Jonasson, his “…fifth novel was sold to several parts of the world long before anyone had read even a sentence. ‘We trust you, Jonas,’ said the publishers. I’m wondering what they’re trusting in. My talent for portraying how terrible our world is? Or is it that I’m bestowing hope unto a world of misery?”
Magic Lessons, by Alice Hoffman
  • Kazuo Ishiguro – Klara and the Sun (2021) This will be his first new novel after The Buried Giant (2015), and the first since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. It tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her.
Probably the temporary cover design for Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Haruki Murakami – 人称単数 / Ichininshō tansū (Japanese, July 18, 2020) The title means “first-person singular”. It is a collection of 8 short stories, which follows Men Without Women, published in 2014. It’s his newest work after Killing Commendatore, published in English in 2019. When the new anthology will be available in English has not been revealed.
Ichininshō tansū, by Haruki Murakami
  • Naomi Novik – A Deadly Education (Sept. 20, 2020) Novik wrote the very good Spinning Silver, and this new book is the first in a new trilogy.

  • China Miéville – A Spectre Haunting Europe (Head of Zeus, an Apollo book, Apr. 01, 2022)

The title is not unique. Google it and you will find at least two other reference works with the same name. So maybe it will be different by the time it comes out.

“In 1848 a strange political tract [The Communist Manifesto] was published by two emigres from Germany. Marx and Engels’s apocalyptic vision of an insatiable system that penetrates every corner of the world, reduces every relationship to that of profit, and bursts asunder the old forms of production and of politics, is still a picture of a recognisable world, our world, and the vampiric energy of the system is once again highly contentious. The Manifesto [sic] is a text that shows no sign of fading into antiquarian obscurity. Its ideas animate in different ways the work of writers like Yanis Varoufakis, Adam Tooze, Naomi Klein and the journalist Owen Jones. China Mieville is not a writer who has been hemmed in by conventional notions of expertise or genre, and this is a strikingly imaginative take on Marx and what his most haunting book has to say to us today. This is a book haunted by ghosts, sorcery and creative destruction.”

Publishers’ blurb, not mine. I wonder who wrote it, considering they got the name of the political tract, The Communist Manifesto, wrong, and spelled Miéville without the acute. But what the hey, it’s a new book by Miéville, his first since October: The Story of the Russian Revolution (2017) and worth waiting for. His latest novels were published in 2016: The Last Days of New Paris, and This Census-Taker.)

  • George Saunders – A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life(January 12, 2021) – Alas, Saunders has not written another novel since Lincoln in the Bardo, though of course he has published heaps of articles and essays. This is non-fiction, but since it is by Saunders it would probably be worth working through by authors and critical readers. There is no cover image yet.
  • David Sedaris – A Carnival of Snackeries: Diaries: Volume Two (July 2021) No cover image yet, not much more information available.
  • Johanna Sinisalo – Vieraat – Romaani (Finnish, meaning: Guests – A Novel) (Karisto, 2020)  Sinisalo, the Queen of Finnish Weird, has written a new novel which is due out in 2020 – but as yet there is no news of its  exact release date or its English translation which, judging by previous publications, could take three years.
Vieraat, by Johanna Sinisalo
  • Sjón – Korn-gult Hár Grá Augu (Icelandic, meaning: Corn Gold Hair Grey Eyes)(JPV Vorlag, Iceland, June 2019, not yet available in English.) So far, it has got rave reviews, but it will probably take a year or two to reach the North American market in translation.
Korn-gult hár grá augu, by Sjón
  • Jeff VanderMeer – Hummingbird Salamander (April 6, 2021), The Journals of Doctor Mormeck (forthcoming), The Book Murderer (forthcoming), The Misadventures of Jonathan Lambshead: A Peculiar Peril (forthcoming). In 2017, “Publisher’s Lunch announced that Annihilation and Borne author Jeff VanderMeer signed a “major deal” with publisher FSG for his next novel, Hummingbird Salamander, and an untitled short story collection. The deal is for over half a million dollars, and VanderMeer tells The Verge that it’s inspired in part by his concerns over the state the world when it comes to right-wing politics, climate change, and national security.”
Jeff VanderMeer’s edits of parts 1/2 of the manuscript of Hummingbird Salamander, on Twitter.

And the sad news is:

I keep checking but the answer stays the same.

  • Donna Tartt has not said anything about bringing out a new novel since the amazing The Goldfinch in 2013. She says it takes her about ten years to write a novel and a book tour every ten years is about all she can handle. This means that we can start sniffing around for new writing from her in…2024.
  • Following Sir Terry Pratchett’s death in 2015 – has it been that long ago already? – his daughter, Rhianna, the current custodian of the Discworld franchise, stated on several occasions that she has no plans to publish any of her father’s unfinished work, or to continue the Discworld on her own. Pratchett had told Neil Gaiman – with whom he had co-authored Good Omens, that anything that he had been working on at the time of his death should be put in the middle of a road and then destroyed by a steamroller crushing it. On 25 August 2017 Rob Wilkins, who manages the Pratchett estate, fulfilled this wish by destroying Terry Pratchett’s computer hard-drive. He did this by running it over with a steamroller called “Lord Jericho” at the Great Dorset Steam Fair. So there you go, no change, nothing more, and no ways around it. Finito.

And the strange news is:

  • This is old news that I wasn’t aware of until now: Amor Towles, the author of the bestseller A Gentleman in Moscow, brought out a new short story last year, in a collection with other authors called You have Arrived at Your Destination. The stories can be read in any order, they were published on the same day, It is only available as an e-book. How it was written and published is explained on Towles’ website, below:
Amor Towles has a short story in the anthology You Have Arrived at Your Destination.


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