It ain’t easy being a starship trooper. Ask the characters in many of this month’s twenty-seven science fiction releases. Look for series additions from, among others, Mark Walden (H.I.V.E.), C.J. Cherryh (Foreigner), Stephen Coonts (Saucer), Robert Buettner (Orphan’s Legacy), and David Weber and Eric Flint (Honorverse: Wages of Sin).
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.
Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
A new era is beginning in the villainous world of H.I.V.E. as civil war looms, forcing Otto and his friends to take sides. Scheming, extorting, menacing, and general evilness are nothing new in the world of villainy, indeed, it’s expected, especially at the Higher Institute of Villainous Education. There have always codes of conduct. In an attempt to purge the Global League of Villainous Enterprises of its more destructive elements, Dr. Nero has underestimated the cunning and resources of those who oppose him. Otto and the rest of the Alpha stream have been sent to begin their most feared exercise, the Hunt, in the icy wastes of Siberia. There is a traitor in their midst. The first strike against Nero will be a strike against the Alpha stream. Villain-kind is on the brink of civil war. (U.S.)
Cajeiri has his young guests from the starship, three young folk entranced by weather and trees and creatures with minds of their own. Now safety is foremost: Cajeiri’s grandfather has been assassinated, hostile Assassins Guild invaded Great-uncle’s house, and now Bren Cameron, paidhi-aiji, who was sent to keep the aiji’s son safe, has more than the young guests on his mind. The aiji-dowager knows who’s to blame for the attacks, and they’re going after him. Bren Cameron has the pieces now, of a decades-old plot that’s been threaded through Guild actions going back before his arrival on the continent, and more, he knows the person responsible is going to find out he knows. If they don’t move, the other side will. The lives of the boy, the guests, the entire ruling family are at stake.
Young Adult. Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated, conservative deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean. This is a sweeping and harrowing novel about a girl who can’t read or write or even withstand the forces of gravity. What choices will she make? How will she build a future on an earth ravaged by climate change?
A year after young engineering student Rip Cantrell discovered the first flying saucer buried deep in the sands of the Sahara, another saucer is brought up from the bottom of the Atlantic. One of the technicians, Adam Solo, an alien marooned on Earth for a thousand years, steals the saucer, hoping to summon a starship to rescue him. The stolen saucer has damaged communications gear. Solo goes to Rip Cantrell and his partner and Rip’s uncle, for help in summoning a starship. As a terrified world fearful of space invaders approaches meltdown, big pharma moguls and their thugs are hot on the trail of the foursome. It may be the arriving aliens who offer limitless possibilities. Rip and Charley face an incredible decision.
We engineered a race of superior fighters, the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us. In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Asha and Pax, strangers and enemies, find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city. Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource, information, viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society. Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check. With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other’s secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.
Young Adult. After barely surviving a plot to destroy her school and its menagerie of alien patients, could things get worse for novice exoveterinarian Zenn Scarlett? Yes, they could: her absent father has been kidnapped. Desperate to find him, Zenn stows away aboard the Helen of Troy, a starliner powered by one of the immense, dimension-jumping beasts known as Indra. With her is Liam Tucker, a Martian boy who is either very fond of her, very dangerous to her, or both. On the verge of learning the truth about her missing dad, Zenn’s quest suddenly catapults her and Liam thousands of light years beyond known space, and into the dark heart of a monstrous conspiracy.
The fifth omnibus edition of the classic science fiction of A. Bertram Chandler’s John Grimes books and stories in this SF space-faring saga. Contains Into the Alternate Universe, Contraband from Otherspace, The Rim Gods (1969), a story collection, The Commodore at Sea (a.k.a. Alternate Orbits, 1971), four novellas. Pipe-smoking, action-loving spaceship commander Lieutenant John Grimes (think Captain Kirk with more of a navy, salty attitude) moves out of the Federation navy and finds his true calling adventuring along the spaceways of the galactic rim. Number five in the collected adventures of the legendary John Grimes of the Galactic Rim series.
The balance point of interplanetary Cold War II between Earth and monolithic Yavet tips unexpectedly toward peace. Covert ops Captain Jazen Parker and his sharp shooting lover and partner Kit Born slide from world saving hazardous duty to escorting a telepathic alien monster home from Earth to mate. The two of them are forced to consider a quiet domestic future together. When old enemies’ thirsts for power and revenge, Jazen’s problematic past, and his former girlfriend, upset Jazen and Kit’s personal balance point, the two cold warriors find their relationship, and their very survival, tested as never before. They must each penetrate Yavet, the universe’s most insular and repressive world, then foil a plot that could turn Cold War II hot and nuclear, or die trying.
Young Adult. One of the last survivors in Earth’s final years, Tora Reynolds yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns “red giant,” but discovers her fellow survivors are even more deadly than the hostile environment. When family friend, Markus, arrives with mercenaries to take their weapons by force, Tora’s fury turns to fear when government ships descend in an attempt to kill them all. She forges an unlikely alliance with Markus including a smart but quiet soldier named James. She’d felt a strange pull to James from the start. Tora must quickly figure out who she can trust, as she must choose between saving herself by giving up the guns or honoring her father’s request to save humanity from the most lethal weapons in existence.
The Mesan Alignment: a centuries-old cabal that seeks to impose its vision of a society dominated by genetic rank onto the human race. Now the conspiracy stands exposed by spies Anton Zilwicki and Victor Cachat. The outing of the Alignment has turned the galaxy’s political framework topsy-turvy. The long and hard-fought war between the Republic of Haven and the Star Empire of Manticore is not only over, but these bitter enemies have formed a new pact. Defying the odds and relying on genetic wizardry themselves for a disguise, Zilwicki and Cachat return to Mesa. Soon they are on the run in Mesa’s underworld. If Zilwicki and Cachat succeed in rooting out the ancient conspiracy, an evil may be finally removed from the galaxy, and freedom may dawn.
Young Adult. Aluna and Hoku, Kampii from the City of Shifting Tides, and their friends, Equian Dash and winged Aviar Calli, are determined to stop a war. The maniacal ex-scientist Karl Strand is planning to conquer the world with his enormous army of tech-enhanced soldiers, unless the four friends can get to Strand first. Aluna’s plan is dangerous: pose as Upgraders and infiltrate the army. The enemy isn’t what they expected and the strategy begins to crumble. When the friends are torn apart by conflicting allegiances, their slim chance of avoiding war seems to disappear completely. For Aluna and Hoku, what began as a quest to save their own people has become a mission to save the world. But do Aluna and her friends have any hope of defeating Strand if they can’t take him on together?
Cassandra discovered that the technology that created her has been misused in her former home and now threatens all humanity with catastrophe. Returning home to Callay, she finds that Federation member worlds are unwilling to risk the confrontation that a solution may require. Some of these forces will go to any lengths to avoid a new conflict, including threatening the removal by force of Cassandra’s own branch of the Federal Security Agency. Sandy has brought back to Callay three young children, whom she met on the mean streets of Droze. Can she reconcile her duty as a soldier, including what she must do as a tactician, with the dangers that those decisions will place upon her family, the one thing that has come to mean more to her than any cause she now believes in?
Humans beware. As the robotic revolution continues to creep into our lives, it brings with it an impending sense of doom. What horrifying scenarios might unfold if our technology were to go awry? From self-aware robotic toys to intelligent machines violently malfunctioning, this anthology brings to life the half-formed questions and fears we all have about the increasing presence of robots in our lives. With contributions from a mix of bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming writers, and including a rare story by “the father of artificial intelligence,” Dr. John McCarthy, Robot Uprisings meticulously describes the exhilarating and terrifying near-future in which humans can only survive by being cleverer than the rebellious machines they have created.
The thrilling adventure of a human expedition to another star system that is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure cupping a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths. And which, tantalizingly, is on a direct path heading toward the same system the human ship is to colonize. Investigating the Bowl, or Shipstar, the human explorers are separated, one group captured by the gigantic structure’s alien inhabitants, the other pursued across its strange and dangerous landscape, while the mystery of the Shipstar’s origins and purpose propel the human voyagers toward discoveries that transform their understanding of their place in the universe.
Young Adult. In a far distant future, Tucker Feye and the inscrutable Lia find themselves atop a crumbling pyramid in an abandoned city. In present-day Hopewell, Tucker’s uncle Kosh faces armed resistance and painful memories as he attempts to help a terrorized woman named Emma, who is being held captive by a violent man. And on a train platform in 1997, a seventeen-year-old Kosh is given an instruction that will change his life, and the lives of others, forever. Tucker, Lia, and Kosh must evade the pursuit of maggot-like Timesweeps, battle Master Gheen’s cult of Lambs, all while they puzzle out the enigmatic Boggsians as they search for one another and the secrets of the diskos. Who built them? Who is destroying them? Where, and when, will it all end?
In the future, the “death of print” has become a reality. We spend our time glued to handheld devices called Memes that not only keep us in constant communication but also have become so intuitive that they hail us cabs before we leave our offices and even create and sell language itself in a marketplace called the Word Exchange. Anana Johnson works with her father, Doug, at the North American Dictionary of the English Language (NADEL), where Doug is at work on the last edition that will be printed. Doug disappears from the NADEL offices, leaving a single written clue: ALICE. It’s a code word he devised to signal if he ever fell into harm’s way. Anana penetrates the mystery of her father’s disappearance as a pandemic of decaying language called “word flu” spreads.
The Discworld, as everyone knows, is a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the shell of the giant star turtle, the Great A’Tuin, as it slowly swims through space. There’s a lot of Discworld to keep track of, more than most fans can manage without magic. Turtle Recall is the ultimate authority on the most heavily populated, certainly the most hilarious, setting in fantasy literature and includes a guide to Discworld locales from Ankh-Morpork to Zemphis, as well as information to help you distinguish Achmed the Mad from Jack Zweiblumen and the Agatean Empire from the Zoons. Plus much, much more. Covering everything from The Colour of Magic, the first Discworld novel, through Snuff!. (U.S. Release)
From the Hugo-winning, bestselling author of The Guns of thye South, a tale of love, parasitism, and loss. (Digital)
Eighteen-year-old Jarra has a lot to prove. After being awarded one of the military’s highest honors for her role in a daring rescue attempt, Jarra finds herself, and her Ape status, in the spotlight. Jarra is one of the unlucky few born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Derided as an “ape”, a “throwback”—the rest of the universe, Jarra is on a mission to prove that Earth Girls are just as good as anyone else. Except now the planet she loves is under threat by what could be humanity’s first ever alien contact. Jarra’s bravery, and specialist knowledge, will once again be at the center of the maelstrom, but will the rest of the universe consider Earth worth fighting for? (U.S.)
Before his trip to the stars, before the Rocinante, Amos Burton was confined to a Baltimore where crime paid you or killed you. Unless the authorities got to you first. Set in the hard-scrabble solar system of Leviathan Wakes, Caliban’s War, Abaddon’s Gate and the upcoming Cibola Burn, Beloved of Broken Things deepens James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series. (Digital)
The outlink station of Miranda has been completely destroyed by a nanomycelium. All the signs of devastation point to Dragon, a gigantic bioconstructed creature. Agent Cormac is sent to the scene to investigate this disaster aboard the titanic Polity dreadnought, the Occam Razor. In the dangerous world of Masada, there is no breathable air and monstrous predatorial hooders and siluroynes lurk the planet. The planet houses the weird and terrible gabbleducks. The rebellion is trapped below-ground since the slave population is subjected to an arsenal of laser arrays controlled by a group known only as the Theocracy. Roaming the planet is the biophysicist, Skellor, who possesses something so powerful that Polity AIs will stop at nothing to acquire it. But just how powerful is it? And how does everything connect? Only Agent Cormac can find out. (U.S.)
Luke Abramson, a cellular biologist who is battling lung cancer, has one joy in life, his ten-year-old granddaughter, Angela. When he learns that Angela has an inoperable brain tumor, Abramson wants to try a new enzyme that he believes will kill Angela’s tumor. The hospital bureaucracy won’t let him do it because MORF4 has not yet been approved. Abramson abducts Angela from the hospital with plans to take her to a private research laboratory in Oregon. Luke realizes he’s too old and decrepit to flee across the country with his sick granddaughter, chased by the FBI. So he injects himself with a genetic factor that will stimulate his body’s production of telomerase, an enzyme that has successfully reversed aging in animal tests. Luke begins to grow physically younger, stronger. His lung cancer is not abating; the tumors are growing faster. And Angela is dying.
It begins in Toronto, in the years after the smart drug revolution. Any high school student with a chemjet and internet connection can download recipes and print drugs, or invent them. A seventeen-year-old street girl finds God through a new brain-altering drug called Numinous, used as a sacrament by a new Church that preys on the underclass. But she is arrested and put into detention, and without the drug, commits suicide. Lyda Rose, another patient in that detention facility, has a dark secret: she was one of the original scientists who developed the drug. With the help of an ex-government agent and an imaginary, drug-induced doctor, Lyda sets out to find the other three survivors of the five who made the Numinous in a quest to set things right.
Young Adult. Tania Deeley has always been told that she’s a rarity: a human child in a world where most children are androids manufactured by Oxted Corporation. When a decline in global fertility ensued, it was the creation of these near-perfect human copies called teknoids that helped to prevent the collapse of society. She has always been aware of the existence of teknoids, it is not until her first day at The Lady Maud High School for Girls that Tania realizes that her best friend, Siân, may be one. Returning home from the summer holiday, she is shocked by how much Siân has changed. If Siân could be a teknoid, how many others in Tania’s life are not real? Everyone knows that on their eighteenth “birthdays,” teknoids must be returned to Oxted, never to be heard from again.
From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell’s doomed ship, Devi Morris’ life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood, an incurable virus that’s eating her alive. Now, with the captain missing and everyone, even her own government, determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible. The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi’s never been one to shy from a fight, and she’s getting mighty sick of running. It’s time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.
All that is left of humanity is on a thousand-year journey to a new planet aboard one ship, The Noah, which is also carrying a dangerous serial killer. As a City Planner on the Noah, Hana Dempsey is a psychic, economist, hacker and bureaucrat and is considered “mission critical.” After serving her mandatory Breeding Duty, the impregnation and birthing that all women are obligated to undergo, her life loses purpose. Policeman Leonard Barrens enlists her and her hacking skills in the investigation of his mentor’s violent death. The missing man has simply “Retired,” nothing unusual. Together they follow the trail left by the mutilated remains. Their investigation takes them through lost dataspaces and into the uninhabited regions of the ship, where they discover that the answer may not be as simple as a serial killer after all.
The book begins with a pair of affectionate appreciations from Greg Bear and Barry Malzberg, and continues with a series of original stories that inhabit and extend some of Silverberg’s most memorable creations. In In Old Pidruid, the late Kage Baker turns to the world of Majipoor in a tale of rivalry and reconciliation. Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Voyeuristic Tendencies shows us the world of the 1972 novel Dying Inside from a wholly different perspective. Nancy Kress’s Eaters provides a bleak and harrowing conclusion to the classic short story Sundance. In Silverberg, Satan, and Me or Where I Got the Idea for My Silverberg Story for This Anthology, Connie Willis offers what might be the only plausible explanation for the whole Silverberg phenomenon. Mike Resnick, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Elizabeth Bear, James Patrick Kelly, and Tobias S. Buckell also ring changes on a number of Silverberg’s signature fiction.