For over a decade, Barnes & Noble buyer Jim Killen has been a driving force behind Barnes & Noble’s science fiction and fantasy sections. Each month on Tor.com, Mr. Killen curates a list of science fiction & fantasy titles, sometimes focused on upcoming titles and sometimes focused on a theme.
Here’s the Barnes & Noble science fiction and fantasy picks for June.
American Gods: 10th Anniverary Edition by Neil Gaiman (Paperback, Harper Collins 6/12/12)
First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic—an intellectual and artistic benchmark from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman. Now discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this tenth anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neil Gaiman.
Amped by Daniel H. Wilson (Hardcover, Knopf, 6/5/12)
As he did in Robopocalypse, Daniel Wilson masterfully envisions a frightening near-future world. In Amped, people are implanted with a device that makes them capable of superhuman feats. The powerful technology has profound consequences for society, and soon a set of laws is passed that restricts the abilities—and rights—of “amplified” humans. On the day that the Supreme Court passes the first of these laws, twenty-nine-year-old Owen Gray joins the ranks of a new persecuted underclass known as “amps.” Owen is forced to go on the run, desperate to reach an outpost in Oklahoma where, it is rumored, a group of the most enhanced amps may be about to change the world—or destroy it.
Blackout by Mira Grant (Paperback, Orbit, 6/1/12)
The year is 2041, and the investigation that began with the election of President Ryman is much bigger than anyone had assumed. With too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, the surviving staff of After the End Times must face mad scientists, zombie bears, rogue government agencies—and if there’s one thing they know is true in post-zombie America, it’s this: Things can always get worse. Blackout is the conclusion to the epic trilogy that began in the Hugo-nominated Feed and the sequel, Deadline.
Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds (Hardcover, Penguin, 6/5/12)
Geoffrey Akinya wants only one thing: to be left in peace, so that he can continue his long-running studies into the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But Geoffrey’s family, who control the vast Akinya business empire, has other plans for him. After the death of his grandmother Eunice—the erstwhile space explorer and entrepreneur—something awkward has come to light on the Moon, so Geoffrey is dispatched there to ensure the family name remains untarnished. But the secrets Eunice died with are about to be revealed—secrets that could change everything...or tear this near utopia apart.
Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey (Paperback, Orbit, 6/26/12)
In the vast wilderness of space, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante have been keeping the peace for the Outer Planets Alliance. When they agree to help a scientist search war-torn Ganymede for a missing child, the future of humanity rests on whether a single ship can prevent an alien invasion that may have already begun . . .Caliban’s War is a breakneck science fiction adventure following the critically acclaimed Leviathan Wakes.
Existence by David Brin (Hardcover, Tor 6/19/12)
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.
Kiss the Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton (Hardcover, Penguin, 6/5/12)
When a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she’s faced with something she’s never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people—kids, grandparents, soccer moms—all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there’s one martyr, there will be more…But even vampires have monsters that they’re afraid of. And Anita is one of them…
The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter (Hardcover, Harper Collins, 6/19/12)
1916: The Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man’s-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone?
2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Police officer Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive—some say mad, others allege dangerous—scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson find a curious gadget: a box containing some rudimentary wiring, a three-way switch, and...a potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way humankind views the world forever. The first novel in an exciting new collaboration between Discworld creator Terry Pratchett and the acclaimed SF writer Stephen Baxter, The Long Earth transports readers to the ends of the earth—and far beyond.
Rasputin’s Bastards by David Nickle (6/26/12, ChiZine)
It is the 1990s. The Cold War is long finished. From a suite in an unseen hotel in the heart of Manhattan, an old warrior named Kolyokov sets out with an open heart, to gather together the youngest members of his immense, and immensely talented, family. They are more beautiful - and more terrible - than any who came before them. They are Rasputin’s bastards. And they will remake the world!
Redshirts by John Scalzi (Hardcover, Tor, 6/5/12)
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 all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.
The Magician King by Lev Grossman (Penguin. In paperback 5/29/12)
New in paperback! Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring. Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off—only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they’d hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia’s illicitly-learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.
Check back with us at the beginning of July for next month’s B&N Picks!