All the New Science Fiction Books Coming Out in May

Summer’s a great time to head into space… with the plentiful science fiction books arriving on shelves. (Maybe it’s a good time to go into actual space, too? But we know less about that.) M.R. Carey returns to the universe of his Girl With All the Gifts with The Boy on the Bridge; Beth Revis’s young adult take on the life of Jyn Erso, Star Wars: Rebel Rising, takes flight; Timothy Zahn kicks off a new series with Pawn; and Martha Wells’ All Systems Red introduces her “murderbot” protagonist. Also there are some creepy egg sacs, a dollop of time travel, and an AI or two. Plenty to keep you busy.

Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

 

WEEK ONE

Skitter (Hatching #2)—Ezekiel Boone (May 2, Atria/Emily Bestler Books)
First, there was the black swarm that swallowed a man whole, the suspicious seismic irregularities in India that confounded scientists, the nuclear bomb China dropped on its own territory without any explanation. Then, scientist Melanie Guyer’s lab received a package containing a mysterious egg sac; little did Dr. Guyer know that, almost overnight, Earth would be consumed by previously dormant spiders that suddenly wanted out. Now, tens of millions of people around the world are dead. Half of China is a nuclear wasteland. Mysterious flesh-eating spiders are marching through Los Angeles, Oslo, Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, and countless other cities. According to Dr. Guyer, the crisis may soon be over. But in Japan, a giant, glowing egg sac gives a shocking preview of what is to come, even as survivors in Los Angeles panic and break the quarantine zone. Out in the desert, survivalists Gordo and Shotgun are trying to invent a weapon to fight back, but it may be too late, because President Stephanie Pilgrim has been forced to enact the plan of last resort. America, you are on your own.

The Boy on the Bridge—M.R. Carey (May 2, Orbit)
From the author of USA Today bestseller The Girl With All the Gifts, a terrifying new novel set in the same post-apocalyptic world. Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy. The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world. To where the monsters lived.

Free Space (Admiral #2)—Sean Danker (May 2, Ace)
I’d impersonated a prince, temporarily stopped a war, escaped a deadly planet, and survived more assassination attempts than I could conveniently count. After all that, there shouldn’t have been anything simpler than a nice weekend with a charming Evagardian girl. However, some corners of the galaxy aren’t as genteel as the Empire, and Evagardians aren’t universally loved, which is how I ended up kidnapped to be traded as a commodity. Their timing couldn’t have been worse. I’m not at my best, but these people have no idea whom they’re dealing with: a highly trained, genetically engineered soldier in the Imperial Service who happens to be my date.

Netherspace (Netherspace #1)—Andrew Lane, Nigel Foster (May 2, Titan Books)
Aliens came to Earth forty years ago. Their anatomy proved unfathomable and all attempts at communication failed. But through trade, humanity gained technology that allowed them to colonise the stars. The price: live humans for every alien faster-than-light drive. Kara’s sister was one of hundreds exchanged for this technology, and Kara has little love for aliens. So when she is drafted by GalDiv—the organisation that oversees alien trades—it is under duress. A group of colonists have been kidnapped by aliens and taken to an uncharted planet, and an unusual team is to be sent to negotiate. As an ex-army sniper, Kara’s role is clear. But artist Marc has no combat experience, although the team’s pre-cog Tse is adamant that he has a part to play. All three know that success is unlikely. For how will they negotiate with aliens when communication between the species is impossible?

The Gathering Edge (Liaden Universe #20)—Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (May 2, Baen Books)
The luck runs rough around Theo Waitley. Not only are people trying to kill her and capture the self-aware intelligent ship Bechimo to whom Theo is bonded, they’re also trying to arrest her crew members, and throw the dignity of an important passenger into question. No wonder Theo and her crew needed a break, and retired to what Bechimo refers to as “safe space.” Unfortunately, safe space may not be so safe. Things are leaking through from another universe, and another time. In fact, whole spaceships are coming through. One of those ships is a blasted battleship seemingly fleeing a long-lost war. What’s more, its crew may be members of Theo’s ancient ancestral line—her relatives. It’s certain that they are in dire need of help. Theo has a choice to make. It seems that Bechimo’s “safe space” is about to become deadly perilous.

Star Wars: Rebel Rising—Beth Revis (May 2, Lucasfilm-Disney)
Young adult. When Jyn Erso was five years old, her mother was murdered and her father taken from her to serve the Empire. But despite the loss of her parents she is not completely alone-Saw Gerrera, a man willing to go to any extremes necessary in order to resist Imperial tyranny, takes her in as his own, and gives her not only a home but all the abilities and resources she needs to becomea rebel herself. Jyn dedicates herself to the cause-and the man. But fighting alongside Saw and his people brings with it danger and the question of just how far Jyn is willing to go as one of Saw’s soldiers. When she faces an unthinkable betrayal that shatters her world, Jyn will have to pull the pieces of herself back together and figure out what she truly believes in… and who she can really trust.

All Systems Red—Martha Wells (May 2, Tor.com Publishing)
In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern. On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid—a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

Pawn—Timothy Zahn (May 2, Tor Books)
Nicole Lee’s life is going nowhere. No family, no money, and stuck in a relationship with a thug named Bungie. But, after one of Bungie’s “deals” goes south, he and Nicole are whisked away by a mysterious moth-like humanoid to a strange ship called the Fyrantha. Once aboard, life on the ship seems too good to be true. All she has to do is work on one of the ship’s many maintenance crews. However, she learned long ago that nothing comes without a catch. When she’s told to keep quiet and stop asking questions, she knows she is on to something. Nicole soon discovers that many different factions are vying for control of the Fyrantha, and she and her friends are merely pawns in a game beyond their control. But, she is tired of being used, and now Nicole is going to fight.

 

WEEK TWO

Lies, Damned Lies, and History (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #7)—Jodi Taylor (May 9, Night Shade)
The Chronicles of St. Mary’s tells the chaotic adventures of Madeleine Maxwell and her compatriots—Director Bairstow, Leon “Chief” Farrell, Mr. Markham, and many more—as they travel through time, saving St. Mary’s (too often by the very seat of their pants) and thwarting time-travelling terrorists, all the while leaving plenty of time for tea. As Max would be the first to admit, she’s never been one for rules. But in Lies, Damned Lies, and History, she’s gone too far and now everyone is paying the price. Grounded until the end of time, how can she ever put things right?

Killing Gravity—Corey J. White (May 9, Tor.com Publishing)
Before she escaped in a bloody coup, MEPHISTO transformed Mariam Xi into a deadly voidwitch. Their training left her with terrifying capabilities, a fierce sense of independence, a deficit of trust, and an experimental pet named Seven. She’s spent her life on the run, but the boogeymen from her past are catching up with her. An encounter with a bounty hunter has left her hanging helpless in a dying spaceship, dependent on the mercy of strangers. Penned in on all sides, Mariam chases rumors to find the one who sold her out. To discover the truth and defeat her pursuers, she’ll have to stare into the abyss and find the secrets of her past, her future, and her terrifying potential.

 

WEEK THREE

Vanguard (Genesis Fleet #1)—Jack Campbell (May 16, Ace)
After the invention of the faster-than-light jump drive, humanity is rapidly establishing new colonies. But the vast distances of space mean that the old order of protection and interstellar law offered by Earth has ceased to exist. When a nearby world attacks, the new colony of Glenlyon turns to Robert Geary, a young former junior fleet officer, and Mele Darcy, a onetime enlisted Marine. With nothing but improvised weapons and a few volunteers, Geary and Darcy must face down warships and armored soldiers—or die trying. The only hope for lasting peace lies with Carmen Ochoa, a “Red” from the anarchic world of Mars, and Lochan Nakamura, a failed politician. They have a plan: to lay the groundwork for mutual defense that could someday grow into an alliance. But if their efforts don’t succeed, the growing power of aggressor worlds could turn regions of space founded on freedom into battlefields between the first interstellar empires…

Substrate Phantoms—Jessica Reisman (May 16, Arche Press)
Dangerous power surges, inexplicable energy manifestations, and strange accidents plague the space station Termagenti. Jhinsei and his operations team crawl throughout the station, one of many close-knit working groups that keep Termagenti operational. After an unexplained and deadly mishap takes his team from him, Jhinsei finds himself—for lack of a better word—haunted by his dead teammates. In fact, they may not be alone in taking up residence in his brain. He may have picked up a ghost—an alien intelligence that is using him to flee its dying ship. As Jhinsei struggles to understand what is happening to his sanity, inquisitive and dangerous members of the station’s managing oligarchy begin to take an increasingly focused interest in him. Haunted by his past and the increasing urgent presence of another within his mind, Jhinsei flees the station for the nearby planet Ash, where he undertakes an exploration that will redefine friend, foe, self, and other.

 

WEEK FOUR

Dove Alight (Dove Chronicles #3)—Karen Bao (May 23, Viking Books for Young Readers)
Young adult. Shy, introverted Phaet Theta has gone from being a top student to an interplanetary fugitive to the reluctant but fierce leader of a revolution. With the Earthbound on their side, she and her friends finally have a chance at toppling the evil leaders who’ve held the Moon captive for decades. But as the death tolls rise, the cost of the war weighs heavily on Phaet, even as she’s forced to lead her siblings and Wes, the love of her life, into terrible danger. Phaet started this war because she lost someone she loved. Will she have to lose another to end it?

Radiate (Lightless #3)—C.A. Higgins (May 23, Del Rey)
Ananke may have the powers of a god, but she is consumed by a very human longing: to know her creators. Now Ananke is on a quest to find companionship, understanding, and even love. She is accompanied by Althea, the engineer who created her, and whom she sees as her mother. And she is in search of her “father,” Matthew, the programmer whose code gave her the spark of life. But Matthew is on a strange quest of his own, traveling the galaxy alongside Ivan, with whom he shares a deeply painful history. Ananke and her parents are racing toward an inevitable collision, with consequences as violent as the birth of the solar system itself—and as devastating as the discovery of love.

The Caledonian Gambit—Dan Moren (May 23, Talos)
The galaxy is mired in a cold war between two superpowers, the Illyrican Empire and the Commonwealth. Thrust between this struggle are Simon Kovalic, the Commonwealth’s preeminent spy, and Kyle Rankin, a lowly janitor happily scrubbing toilets on Sabaea, a remote and isolated planet. However, nothing is as it seems. Kyle Rankin is a lie. His real name is Eli Brody, and he fled his home world of Caledonia years ago. Simon Kovalic knows Caledonia is the site of a top-secret Illyrican superweapon project and that the past Brody so desperately tried to abandon can grant him access to people and places that are off limits even to a professional spy like Kovalic. Kovalic needs Eli Brody to come home and face his past. With Brody suddenly cast in a play he never auditioned for, he and Kovalic will quickly realize it’s everything they don’t know that will tip the scales of galactic peace. Sounds like a desperate plan, sure, but what gambit isn’t?

The Gauntlet (Cage #3)—Megan Shepherd (May 23, Balzer + Bray)
Young adult. Cora and her friends have escaped the Kindred station and landed at Armstrong—a supposed safe haven on a small moon—where they plan to regroup and figure out how to win the Gauntlet, the challenging competition to prove humanity’s intelligence and set them free. But Armstrong is no paradise; it’s a violent world where the teens are enslaved and put to work in mines. As Nok’s due date grows closer, and Mali and Leon journey across space to rescue Cassian, the former inhabitants of the cage are up against impossible odds. With the whole universe at stake, Cora will do whatever it takes to escape Armstrong and run the Gauntlet. But the other intelligent species—the Axion, Kindred, Gatherers, and Mosca—all have their own reasons to stop her. Not knowing who to trust, Cora must rely on her own instincts to win the competition, which could change the world—though it might destroy her in the process.

 

WEEK FIVE

Injection Burn (Dire Earth #4)—Jason M. Hough (May 30, Del Rey)
Skyler Luiken and his ragtag crew of scavengers, scientists, and brawlers have a new mission: a long journey to a distant planet where a race of benevolent aliens are held captive behind a cloud of destructive ships known as the Swarm Blockade. No human ships have ever made it past this impenetrable wall, and Skyler knows not what to anticipate when they reach their destination. Safe to say that the last thing he expects to find there is a second human ship led by the tough-as-nails captain, Gloria Tsandi. These two crews—and their respective captains—initially clash, but they will have to learn to work together when their mutual foe closes in around them and begins the outright destruction of their vessels—along with any hope of a return to Earth.

Extinction Horizon (Extinction Cycle #1)—Nicholas Sansbury Smith (May 30, Orbit)
Master Sergeant Reed Beckham has led his Delta Force Team, codenamed Ghost, through every kind of hell imaginable and never lost a man. When a top secret Medical Corps research facility goes dark, Team Ghost is called in to face their deadliest enemy yet—a variant strain of Ebola that turns men into monsters. After barely escaping with his life, Beckham returns to Fort Bragg in the midst of a new type of war. As cities fall, Team Ghost is ordered to keep CDC virologist Dr. Kate Lovato alive long enough to find a cure. What she uncovers will change everything. Total extinction is just on the horizon, but will the cure be worse than the virus?

Monstrous (Savage #2)—Thomas E. Sniegoski (May 30, Simon Pulse)
Young adult. Sidney and her friends might have survived the storm that came to the small island of Benediction, but now the storm has reached Boston, and the city isn’t prepared for what’s coming in this sequel to Savage from New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Sniegoski. The horrors that began in Savage continue in Boston as Sydney and her friends work to protect the city from the newly crazed rampage of animals and try to figure out the origin of the storm and its power.

The High Ground (Imperials #1)—Melinda Snodgrass (May 30, Titan Books)
The Emperor’s daughter Mercedes is the first woman ever admitted to The High Ground, the elite training academy of the Solar League’s Star Command, and she must graduate if she is to have any hope of taking the throne. Her classmate Thracius has more modest goals—to defy his humble beginnings and rise to the rank of captain. But in a system rocked by political division, where women are governed by their husbands and fathers, the poor are kept in their place by a rigid class system, and the alien races have been conquered and subjugated, there are many who want them to fail. A civil war is coming and the machinations of those who hunger for power threaten the cadets. In a time of political intrigue, class conflict, and alien invasion, they will be tested as they never thought possible…

Hearts and Minds (Star Trek: The Next Generation)—Dayton Ward (May 30, Pocket Books/Star Trek)
2031: United States Air Force fighter jets shoot down an unidentified spacecraft and take its crew into custody. Soon, it’s learned that the ship is one of several dispatched across space by an alien species, the Eizand, to search for a new home before their own world becomes uninhabitable. Fearing extraterrestrial invasion, government and military agencies which for more than eighty years have operated in secret swing into action, charged with protecting humanity no matter the cost. 2386: Continuing their exploration of the Odyssean Pass, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise discover what they at first believe is a previously uncharted world, with a civilization still recovering from the effects of global nuclear war. An astonishing priority message from Starfleet Command warns that there’s more to this planet than meets the eye, and Picard soon realizes that the mysteries of this world may well weave through centuries of undisclosed human history…

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