There are so many reasons to go to space this month! Becky Chambers returns to the world of A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet with its followup, A Closed and Common Orbit; John Scalzi kicks off a new series with The Collapsing Empire; Cassandra Rose Clarke’s Star’s End explores a family that owns a small planet system; and Ian McDonald returns to the Moon with Luna: Wolf Moon. And that’s just for starters. Science fiction also stays on earth (Ava Palmer’s Seven Surrenders), goes time-traveling (Jodi Taylor’s What Could Possibly Go Wrong?) and faces ancient war machines in the desert (Cat Sparks’ Lotus Blue). What to read first?
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Archangel (Spectre War #2)—Margaret Fortune (March 7, DAW)
It’s been over a year since New Sol Station went up in a blaze of light to reveal the Spectres, an incorporeal alien race bent on humanity’s destruction. As a soldier in the Celestial Guard, Michael Sorenson is on the frontlines of the war. When he distinguishes himself during a mission, he is recruited into Division 7, a top secret R&D base. He and his team must make dangerous runs into enemy-held territory in order to test out new weapons prototypes on their incorporeal enemy—but not all enemies are invisible. A saboteur is loose in R&D, and he has his sights set squarely on the Archangel, a massive weapons system capable of destroying the enemy en masse. While Michael searches for the saboteur within, outside the enemy is closing in. All signs point to a massive Spectre offensive brewing on the horizon, and though no one knows when or where it will strike, they do know the Archangel could be the only thing standing between victory and annihilation.
Seven Surrenders (Terra Ignota #2)—Ada Palmer (March 7, Tor Books)
In a future of near-instantaneous global travel, of abundant provision for the needs of all, a future in which no one living can remember an actual war…a long era of stability threatens to come to an abrupt end. For known only to a few, the leaders of the great Hives, nations without fixed location, have long conspired to keep the world stable, at the cost of just a little blood. A few secret murders, mathematically planned. So that no faction can ever dominate, and the balance holds. And yet the balance is beginning to give way. Mycroft Canner, convict, sentenced to wander the globe in service to all, knows more about this conspiracy the than he can ever admit. Carlyle Foster, counselor, sensayer, has secrets as well, and they burden Carlyle beyond description. And both Mycroft and Carlyle are privy to the greatest secret of all: Bridger, the child who can bring inanimate objects to life.
Alone (Generations #3)—Scott Sigler (March 7, Del Rey)
Pawns in a millennia-old struggle, the young people known only as the Birthday Children were genetically engineered to survive on the planet Omeyocan—but were never meant to live there. They were made to be “overwritten,” their minds wiped and replaced by the consciousnesses of the monsters who created them. Em changed all of that. Em and her friends escaped an ancient ghost ship and fled to Omeyocan. They thought they would find an uninhabited paradise. Instead, they found the ruins of a massive city long since swallowed by the jungle. And they weren’t alone. The Birthday Children fought for survival against the elements, jungle wildlife, the “Grownups” who created them … and, as evil corrupted their numbers, even against themselves. With these opponents finally defeated, Em and her people realized that more threats were coming, traveling from across the universe to lay claim to their planet. The Birthday Children have prepared as best they can against this alien armada. Now, as the first ships reach orbit around Omeyocan, the final battle for the planet begins.
Lotus Blue—Cat Sparks (March 7, Talos)
Seventeen-year-old Star and her sister Nene are orphans, part of a thirteen-wagon caravan of nomadic traders living hard lives travelling the Sand Road. When their caravan witnesses a relic-Angel satellite unexpectedly crash to Earth, a chain of events begins that sends Star on a journey far away from the life she once knew. Shanghaied upon the sandship Dogwatch, she is forced to cross the Obsidian Sea by Quarrel, an ancient Templar supersoldier. Eventually shipwrecked, Star will have no choice but to place her trust in both thieves and priestesses while coming to terms with the grim reality of her past—and the horror of her unfolding destiny—as the terrible secret her sister had been desperate to protect her from begins to unravel. Meanwhile, something old and powerful has woken in the desert. A Lotus Blue, deadliest of all the ancient war machines. A warrior with plans of its own, far more significant than a fallen Angel. Plans that do not include the survival of humanity.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong? (Chronicles of St. Mary’s #6)—Jodi Taylor (March 7, Night Shade)
The Chronicles of St. Mary’s tells the madcap adventures of Madeleine Maxwell and her compatriots—Director Bairstow, Leon “Chief” Farrell, Mr. Markham, and many more—as they travel through time, saving the St. Mary’s Institute (too often by the very seat of their pants) and thwarting time-travelling terrorists, all the while leaving plenty of time for tea. In What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Max is back, with a new husband, a new job, and a training regime that cannot fail … to go wrong. Take one interim chief training officer, add five recruits, and mix with Joan of Arc, a baby mammoth, a duplicitous Father of History, a bombed rat, Stone Age hunters, a couple of passing policemen who should have better things to do, and Dick the Turd. Stir well, bring to a boil—and wait for the bang!
Hunger Makes the Wolf—Alex Wells (March 7, Angry Robot)
The strange planet known as Tanegawa’s World is owned by TransRifts Inc, the company with the absolute monopoly on interstellar travel. Hob landed there ten years ago, a penniless orphan left behind by a rift ship. She was taken in by Nick Ravani and quickly became a member of his mercenary biker troop, the Ghost Wolves. Ten years later, she discovers that the body of Nick’s brother out in the dunes. Worse, his daughter is missing, taken by shady beings called the Weathermen. But there are greater mysteries to be discovered – both about Hob and the strange planet she calls home.
The Naked World (Jubilee Cycle #2)—Eli K.P. William (March 7, Talos)
In a world stripped bare of digital images and promotainment, unveiled with the audiovisual overlay of the ImmaNet, in an exposed world, a naked world, Amon Kenzaki awakens, lost and alone. He must now travel deep into the District of Dreams in search of Rashana Birla, the one person that might help him. But deprived of the apps and informational tools he’s depended on his entire life, traversing the largest bankdeath camp on Earth is no easy task. Amon soon finds himself face to face with two dangerous groups: a cult called the Opportunity Scientists, who preach bizarre superstitions about economic salvation, and a supposedly humanitarian organization called the Philanthropy Syndicate, whose mandate of serving the poor conceals rapacious motives. Amon takes refuge in Xenocryst, a community that genuinely strives to improve conditions in the camps. But when political forces threaten the community’s existence and the lives of its members, he is forced to team up with a vending-machine designer, an Olympic runner, a fertility researcher, a corporate tycoon, and many others to expose the heinous secret festering at the heart of the action-transaction market he once served.
A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2)—Becky Chambers (March 14, Harper Voyager)
Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow. Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for—and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.
The Return—Joseph Helmreich (March 14, Thomas Dunne Books)
During a live television broadcast on the night of a lunar eclipse, renowned astrophysicist Andrew Leland is suddenly lifted into the sky by a giant spacecraft and taken away for all to see. Six years later, he turns up, wandering in a South American desert, denying ever having been abducted and disappearing from the public eye. Meanwhile, he inspires legions of cultish devotees, including a young physics graduate student named Shawn Ferris who is obsessed with finding out what really happened to him. When Shawn finally tracks Leland down, he discovers that he’s been on the run for years, continuously hunted by a secret organization that has pursued him across multiple continents, determined to force him into revealing what he knows. Though Leland is at first reluctant to reveal anything, Shawn will soon learn the truth about his abduction, the real reason for his return, and will find himself caught up in a global conspiracy that puts more than just one planet in danger.
The Wanderers—Meg Howrey (March 14, G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
In four years, aerospace giant Prime Space will put the first humans on Mars. Helen Kane, Yoshihiro Tanaka, and Sergei Kuznetsov must prove they’re the crew for the historic voyage by spending seventeen months in the most realistic simulation ever created. Constantly observed by Prime Space’s team of “Obbers,” Helen, Yoshi, and Sergei must appear ever in control. But as their surreal pantomime progresses, each soon realizes that the complications of inner space are no less fraught than those of outer space. The borders between what is real and unreal begin to blur, and each astronaut is forced to confront demons past and present, even as they struggle to navigate their increasingly claustrophobic quarters—and each other.
Flames of Rebellion—Jay Allan (March 21, Harper Voyager)
The planet Haven slides closer to revolution against its parent nation, Federal America. Everett Wells, the fair-minded planetary governor, has tried to create a peaceful resolution, but his failure has caused the government to send Asha Stanton to quell the insurgency. Stanton is prepared to resort to extreme methods to break the back of the gathering rebellion, including unleashing Colonel Robert Semmes, the psychopathic commander of her soldiers, on the Havenites. But the people of Haven have their own ideas. Damian Ward is a retired veteran and decorated war hero who has watched events on his adopted world with growing apprehension. He sympathizes with the revolutionaries, his friends and neighbors, but he is loath to rebel against the flag he fought to defend. That is until Stanton’s reign of terror intrudes into his life—and threatens those he knows and loves. Then he does what he must, rallying Haven’s other veterans and leading them to the aid of the revolutionaries. Yet the battle-scarred warrior knows even if Haven’s freedom fighters defeat the federalists, the rebellion is far from over.
Infinity Engine (Transformation #3)—Neal Asher (March 21, Night Shade Books)
In the outskirts of space, and the far corners of the Polity, complex dealings are in play. Several forces continue to pursue the deadly and enigmatic Penny Royal, none more dangerous than the Brockle, a psychopathic forensics AI and criminal who has escaped the Polity’s confinements and is upgrading itself in anticipation of a deadly showdown. Aboard Factory Station Room 101, the behemoth war factory that birthed Penny Royal, groups of humans, alien prador, and AI war drones grapple for control. The stability of the ship is complicated by the arrival of a gabbleduck known as the Weaver, the last living member of the ancient and powerful Atheter alien race. What would an Atheter want with the complicated dealings of Penny Royal? Are the Polity and prador forces playing right into the dark AI’s hand, or is it the other way around? Set pieces align in the final book of Neal Asher’s action-packed Transformation trilogy, pointing to a showdown on the cusp of the Layden’s Sink black hole, inside of which lies a powerful secret, one that could destroy the entire Polity.
Star’s End—Cassandra Rose Clarke (March 21, Saga Press)
The Corominas family owns a small planet system, which consists of one gaseous planet and four terraformed moons, nicknamed the Four Sisters. Phillip Coromina, the patriarch of the family, earned his wealth through a manufacturing company he started as a young man and is preparing his eldest daughter, Esme, to take over the company when he dies. When Esme comes of age and begins to take over the business, she gradually discovers the reach of her father’s company, the sinister aspects of its work with alien DNA, and the shocking betrayal that estranged her three half-sisters from their father. After a lifetime of following her father’s orders, Esme must decide if she should agree to his dying wish of assembling her sisters for a last goodbye or face her role in her family’s tragic undoing.
Mass Effect—Andromeda: Nexus Uprising—Jason Hough & K.C. Alexander (March 21, Titan Books)
Titan Books worked closely with acclaimed video game developer BioWare to publish three brand new novels set in the universe of Mass Effect: Andromeda. The action weaves directly into the new game, chronicling storylines developed in close collaboration with the BioWare game team. The action takes place concurrently with the adventure of the game itself, setting up the story and events of the game adding depth and detail to the canonical Mass Effect saga.
Nemesis—Alex Lamb (March 21, Gollancz)
Years ago, one starship and its crew discovered an alien entity. Its discovery finally bought an end to the interstellar war being fought between the masses of humanity and the few pockets of genetically engineered colonists. An uneasy peace was negotiated as the human race realized there was something else sharing our universe. Something that had plans for us. But the aliens have remained silent. The earthers have begun to test the edges of the peace treaty. Will, once a roboteer, once a human, now the most powerful being alive, has been sidelined and ignored. And a system-wide conspiracy threatens to plunge humanity back into war. Now one man, his head full of alien technology that lets him interact with machinery, must get to the bottom of the plot, find out what the aliens want, stop the oncoming war and save Will. And his journey will uncover a new threat to humanity. Nemesis is coming.
Shadow Run—Michael Miller & AdriAnne Strickland (March 21, Delacorte Press)
Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is an antique. As for Nev, he’s a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary. But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they’re more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive. Nev’s mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she’ll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power—and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.
Nemesis—Brendan Reichs (March 21, G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Young adult. It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. Hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased. Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s plagued by nightmares of murder and death, though he does his best to hide the signs. When the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in a blink. For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.
New York 2140—Kim Stanley Robinson (March 21, Orbit)
As the sea levels rose, every street became a canal. Every skyscraper an island. For the residents of one apartment building in Madison Square, however, New York in the year 2140 is far from a drowned city. There is the market trader, who finds opportunities where others find trouble. There is the detective, whose work will never disappear—along with the lawyers, of course. There is the internet star, beloved by millions for her airship adventures, and the building’s manager, quietly respected for his attention to detail. Then there are two boys who don’t live there, but have no other home—and who are more important to its future than anyone might imagine. Lastly there are the coders, temporary residents on the roof, whose disappearance triggers a sequence of events that threatens the existence of all—and even the long-hidden foundations on which the city rests.
The Collapsing Empire—John Scalzi (March 21, Tor Books)
Our universe is ruled by physics. Faster than light travel is impossible—until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field available at certain points in space-time, which can take us to other planets around other stars.
Riding The Flow, humanity spreads to innumerable other worlds. Earth is forgotten. A new empire arises, the Interdependency, based on the doctrine that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war—and, for the empire’s rulers, a system of control. The Flow is eternal—but it’s not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well. In rare cases, entire worlds have been cut off from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that the entire Flow is moving, possibly separating all human worlds from one another forever, three individuals—a scientist, a starship captain, and the emperox of the Interdependency—must race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.
The Body Market (Unplugged #2)—Donna Freitas (March 28, HarperTeen)
Young adult. Skylar Cruz found her sister in the Real World—only to learn that her sister has betrayed her and put everyone in the App World in danger. The Body Market is now open for business and everyone still plugged into the App World is for sale. Shaken by the betrayal of everyone she trusted, Skylar is through being a pawn. She may be the only one who can stop what her family started. And she has to do it before the App World runs out of time.
Luna: Wolf Moon (Luna #2)—Ian McDonald (March 28, Tor Books)
Corta Helio, one of the five family corporations that rule the Moon, has fallen. Its riches are divided up among its many enemies, its survivors scattered. Eighteen months have passed. The remaining Helio children, Lucasinho and Luna, are under the protection of the powerful Asamoahs, while Robson, still reeling from witnessing his parent’s violent deaths, is now a ward—virtually a hostage—of Mackenzie Metals. And the last appointed heir, Lucas, has vanished of the surface of the moon. Only Lady Sun, dowager of Taiyang, suspects that Lucas Corta is not dead, and more to the point—he is still a major player in the game. After all, Lucas always was the Schemer, and even in death, he would go to any lengths to take back everything and build a new Corta Helio, more powerful than before. But Corta Helio needs allies, and to find them, the fleeing son undertakes an audacious, impossible journey—to Earth. In an unstable lunar environment, the shifting loyalties and political machinations of each family reach the zenith of their most fertile plots as outright war erupts.