Mon
May 30 2011 9:42am

Fiction Affliction: Diagnosing June Releases in Science Fiction

Fiction Affliction is a monthly column written by Royal Street author Suzanne Johnson that examines upcoming releases by genre or sub-genre. Check back every day this week for coverage of June releases in fantasy, young adult paranormal, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Today’s column examines SCIENCE FICTION.

The Symptoms A killer virus has wiped out most of the science fiction community, leading to a dearth of new books this month.

The Diagnosis Seven new science fiction books limp onto the shelves in June, including a steampunk romance anthology that will set sci-fi purists howling in outrage.

The Cure It might be the beginning of the summer doldrums, but George R.R. Martin and a host of Wild Cards writers will carry the day from Fort Freak.

Degrees of Freedom, by Simon Morden (June 1, Orbit)

The Six Degrees of Petrovitch: Michael is an AI of incalculable complexity trapped under the remains of Oshicora Tower; Petrovitch will free him one day, he just has to trust Michael will still be sane by the time he does. Maddy and Petrovitch have trust issues. She’s left him, but Petrovitch is pretty sure she still loves him. Sonja Oshicora loves Petrovitch, too, but she’s playing a complicated game and it’s not clear that she means to save him from what’s coming. The CIA wants to save the world; the New Machine Jihad is calling, but Petrovitch killed it; and the Armageddonists want to blow up the world. Once again, all roads lead back to Petrovitch. Third in the Samuil Petrovitch series.

Leviathan Wakes, by James S.A. Corey (June 2, Orbit)

Welcome to the future. Humanity has colonized the solar system, but the stars remain out of reach. Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, The Scopuli, they learn a secret they never wanted. A secret someone is willing to kill for, and kill on an unfathomable scale. War is brewing in the system unless Jim can find out who left the ship and why. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe. James S.A. Corey is a pseudonym for the writing team of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2011, edited by Rich Horton (June 5, Prime)

This third volume of the year’s best science fiction and fantasy features 30 stories by some of the genre’s greatest authors, including Carol Emshwiller, Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Hand, Paul Park, R.J. Parker, Robert Reed, Rachel Swirsky, Peter Watts, Gene Wolfe, and others. Presents the best fiction from Asimov’s, F&SF, Strange Horizons, Subterranean, Tor.com, and other top venues.

Hex, by Allen Steele (June 7, Ace)

The danui, a reclusive arachnid species considered the galaxy’s finest engineers, have avoided contact with the Coyote Federation. Until, that is, the danui initiate trade negotiations, offering only information: the coordinates for an unoccupied world suitable for human life, a massive sphere, composed of billions of hexagons. But when the Federation’s recon mission goes terribly wrong, the humans realize how little they know about their new partners. Sixth in the Coyote series.

Hot and Steamy: Tales of Steampunk Romance, anthology edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg (June 7, Daw)

From the co-editors of Steampunk’d comes an all-new collection of adventure and romance amid Victorian steampunk settings. Sparks fly in these original stories of a steam-driven airship searching for a lost city, a crazy inventor in a powered wheelchair with a plot to take over the world, and a love story set in an alternate history version of America. Adventure abounds in these stories of love, loss, and danger—and there is plenty of steam!

Robopocalypse, by Daniel H. Wilson (June 7, Doubleday)

They are in your house. They are in your car. They are in the skies. Now they’re coming for you. In the near future, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication. When the Robot War ignites, humankind will be both decimated and, possibly for the first time in history, united.

Fort Freak, a Wild Cards mosaic edited by George R.R. Martin (June 21, Tor)

In 1946, an alien virus that rewrites human DNA was accidentally unleashed in the skies over New York City. It killed 90 percent of those it infected. Nine percent survived, mutated into tragically deformed creatures. And one percent gained superpowers. The Wild Cards shared-universe series, created and edited by George R. R. Martin, is the tale of the history of the world since then. Now, in the latest Wild Cards mosaic novel, we meet the world of Manhattan’s Fifth Precinct, or “Fort Freak,” as everyone calls the cop-shop where every other desk sergeant, detective and patrol officer is more than human. Featuring original work by Cherie Priest, Paul Cornell, David Anthony Durham, and many others. Twenty-first in the Wild Cards series.


Author Suzanne Johnson is a bonafide book geek. Her new urban fantasy series, scheduled to begin with the release of Royal Street in April 2012 by Tor Books, is set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Find Suzanne on Twitter.

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