Science fiction fans are happy interstellar campers this month with nine new releases, including the climactic novel of Timothy Zahn’s Quadrail series, a new novel from Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter — together, and a new big idea from John Scalzi. What does happen when a group of space scientists compare notes after realizing everyone who goes on an “away” trip goes away forever?
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.
One hundred and fifty years from now, in a world where Africa is the dominant technological and economic power, and where crime, war, disease, and poverty have been banished to history, Geoffrey Akinya wants only one thing: to be left in peace, so that he can continue his studies into the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But Geoffrey’s family, the vast Akinya business empire, has other plans. After the death of Eunice, Geoffrey’s grandmother, erstwhile space explorer and entrepreneur, something awkward has come to light on the Moon, and Geoffrey is blackmailed to go up there and make sure the family’s name stays suitably unblemished. But little does Geoffrey realize what he’s about to unravel.
Possessing technology that allows him to travel across alternate worlds, John Rayburn begins building a transdimensional commercial empire, led by him, his closest friends, and their doppelgangers from several different parallel universes. But not every version of every person is the same, and their agendas do not always coincide. Despite their benign intentions, the group’s activities draw unwanted attention from other dimensional travelers who covet their technology and will kill anyone to control it, a threat that culminates in a nuclear standoff for dominance throughout the multiverse.
Judgment at Proteus (Quadrail, Book 5), by Timothy Zahn (June 5, Tor)
The Quadrail that connects the twelve civilizations of our galaxy has been the flashpoint of a battle for dominance fought mostly unnoticed by humankind. But Frank Compton of Earth, aided by the enigmatic woman Bayta, has fought on the front lines, using every bit of his human ingenuity and secret agent skills to outwit the Modhri, a group intelligence that would control the minds of every sentient being it can touch. Following a trail of deception and death to Proteus Station, Compton has discovered a conspiracy that threatens all life in the galaxy: the Shonkla’raa, an ancient enemy thought to be long dead, is rising again.
Juno Mozambe once had a life. That was when he was a dirty cop, married to a woman who suffered such profound abuse that she murdered her vile, drug kingpin father. Juno loved his wife and did his best to help her survive her guilt, her drug habit, and her desire to end her life on the dead-end planet of Lagarto. When she died, however, Juno’s life went downhill. And then his first partner, the corrupt chief of the Koba Office of Police, was murdered. The man responsible, Emil Mota, is using the KOP for his personal gain. Juno has been laying low, but now he’s ready to do whatever it takes to take down the bastard.
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better… until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed. Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy belowdecks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is.
No new releases.
Gerald Livingston is an orbital garbage collector. For a hundred years, people have been abandoning things in space, and someone has to clean it up. But there’s something spinning a little bit higher than he expects, something that isn’t on the decades-old orbital maps. An hour after he grabs it and brings it in, rumors fill Earth’s infomesh about an “alien artifact.” Thrown into the maelstrom of worldwide shared experience, the Artifact is a game-changer. A message in a bottle; an alien capsule that wants to communicate. The world reacts as humans always do: with fear and hope and selfishness and love and violence. And insatiable curiosity.
The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (June 19, Harper)
1916: the Western Front, France. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees. Where has the mud, blood and blasted landscape of No man’s Land gone? 2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Cop Monica Jansson has returned to the burned-out home of one Willis Linsay, a reclusive and some said mad, others dangerous, scientist. It was arson but, as is often the way, the firemen seem to have caused more damage than the fire itself. Stepping through the wreck of a house, there’s no sign of any human remains but on the mantelpiece Monica finds the prototype of an invention that Linsay called a stepper. An invention he put up on the Web for the world to see and use, an invention that would change the way mankind viewed Earth forever.
Caliban’s War (Expanse Series, Book 2), by James S.A. Corey (June 26, Orbit)
We are not alone. The alien protomolecule is clear evidence of an intelligence beyond human reckoning. No one knows what exactly is being built on Venus, but whatever it is, it is vast, powerful, and terrifying. When a creature of unknown origin and seemingly impossible physiology attacks soldiers on Ganymede, the fragile balance of power in the Solar System shatters. Now, the race is on to discover if the protomolecule has escaped Venus, or if someone is building an army of super-soldiers. Jim Holden is the center of it all. In spite of everything, he’s still the best man for the job to find out what happened on Ganymede.
Suited (The Veiled Worlds, Book 2), by Jo Anderton (June 26, Angry Robot)
Tanyana has chosen to help the Keeper, to stand against the Puppet Men, but has she bitten off more than she can chew?
Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. Royal Street, the first in her Sentinels of New Orleans series, is set in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Find Suzanne on Twitter and Facebook.