If technology doesn’t get us, aliens will. Just consult this month’s twenty-six science fiction releases. Look for series additions from, among others, Gini Koch (Kitty Katt), Jeff VanderMeer (Southern Reach), Michael J. Martinez (Daedalus), Jack Campbell (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier); David Drake (Lt. Leary/RCN), and Ian Douglas (Star Carrier).
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.
Young Adult. Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best, at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush the school, killing his father in the process and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans. All Tate knows may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret inter-species conflict that’s been going on for centuries. Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it. Scan is a clever alien thriller with muscle and heart.
Despite not having run for office, nor wanting to remain in office, Representative Jeff Martini is being wooed as the vice presidential running mate for a charismatic senator who seems likely to win the campaign. While the Diplomatic Corps has to deal with the pressures of a political campaign sure to uncover secrets they don’t want shared with the world, Ambassador Kitty Katt-Martini has other worries, handling the reemergence of her most potent nemesis, thought dead and buried.
For thirty years, a secret agency called the Southern Reach has monitored expeditions into Area X, a remote and lush terrain mysteriously sequestered from civilization. After the twelfth expedition, the Southern Reach is in disarray, and John Rodriguez (aka “Control”) is the team’s newly appointed head. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and more than two hundred hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the secrets of Area X begin to reveal themselves, and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency he’s promised to serve.
For years the human race was under attack from a deadly Syndrome, but when a cure was found, in the form of genetically engineered human beings, Gems, the line between survival and ethics was radically altered. Now the Gems are fighting for their freedom, from the oppression of the companies that created them, and against the Norms who see them as slaves. And a conference at which Dr Eli Walker has been commissioned to present his findings on the Gems is the key to that freedom. But with the Gemtech companies fighting to keep the Gems enslaved, and the horrifying godgangs determined to rid the earth of these ‘unholy’ creations, the Gems are up against forces that may just be too powerful to oppose. (U.S.)
Omnibus Edition. Secret of the Lost Race: Joktar was running for his life, and he didn’t know why. After growing up orphaned in the spaceman’s helltown of interstellar New York, Joktar was adept at dodging the law, but he knew of no special reason why all the police forces of the civilized galaxy should suddenly concentrate on him. All he knew was that he had to run, out of the Solar system and across the galaxy to the mysterious Wolf worlds. In the freezing hell that was the planet Fenris, Joktar turned to face his hunters and fight to regain his freedom in a universe gone mad. Star Hunter: On safari to an unexplored jungle world, Ras Hume must hunt two kinds of quarry, the fearsome native beasts and the equally menacing lone survivor of a mysterious spaceship crash.
A space-faring ne’er-do-well with more bravado than brains, Rex Nihilo plies the known universe in a tireless quest for his own personal gain. When he fleeces a wealthy weapons dealer in a high-stakes poker game, he ends up winning a worthless planet, and owing an outstanding debt more vast than space itself. The only way for Rex to escape a lifetime of torture on the prison world Gulagatraz is to score a big payday by pulling off his biggest scam. Getting mixed up in the struggle between the tyrannical Malarchian Empire and the plucky rebels of the Revolting Front, and trying to double-cross them both, may be his biggest mistake. His frustrated but faithful robot sidekick has the cyber-smarts to deal with it all, while still keeping Rex’s martini glass filled.
Lieutenant Commander Shaila Jain has been given the assignment of her dreams: the first manned mission to Saturn. The Chinese are vying for control of the critical moon Titan, and the moon Enceladus may harbor secrets under its icy crust. Project Daedalus now seeks to defend against other dimensional incursions. For Thomas Weatherby, it’s been nineteen years since he was second lieutenant aboard HMS Daedalus. Now captain of the seventy-four-gun Fortitude, Weatherby helps destroy the French fleet at the Nile and must chase a French ship from Egypt to Saturn, home of the unstable aliens who call themselves the Xan. In Egypt, alchemist Andrew Finch has ingratiated himself with Napoleon’s forces, and finds the reason why the French invaded Egypt in the first place.
Geary and the crew of the Dauntless have managed to safely escort important alien representatives to Earth. Two of Geary’s key lieutenants vanish. The search for his missing men leads Geary to the one spot in space from which all humans have been banned: the moon Europa. Any ship that lands there must stay or be destroyed, leaving Geary to face the most profound moral dilemma of his life. Strains on the Alliance are growing as the Syndics continue to meddle. Geary is ordered to take a small force to the border of Syndic space. What he finds there is a danger much greater than anyone expected. As Geary spearheads a desperate battle to protect the Alliance against a shrewd and powerful enemy, he’s left with just one question: Who are they?
Cinnabar’s chief spymaster is a mother also, and her son is determined to search for treasure in the midst of a civil war. Who better to take the blows directed at him, than Captain Daniel Leary, the Republic of Cinnabar Navy’s troubleshooter, and his friend the cyberspy Adele Mundy? The only thing certain in the struggle for control of the mining planet Corcyra is that the rival parties are more dangerous to their own allies than to their opponents. Daniel and Adele face untold dangers, even before they can get to their business of ending the war on Corcyra. Only with planetary peace can the boy they’re escorting get on with his mission. The boy thinks the treasure he’s looking for is a thousand years old. If the treasure is real, it might be tens of thousands of years older than anyone imagines, and incalculably more valuable.
A young man and his Kzin friend seek technological bounty on a forbidden planet while in a race with Kzin space pirates willing to kidnap and kill to make the treasure their own. On Wunderland, a generation after Liberation, memories of the bloody kzin conquest and Occupation have faded, and men and kzin live largely in peace. But the fabulous treasure of the kzin pirates, hidden on a distant world, remains a magnet for freebooters. Young Peter Cartwright and his kzinrett friend Marthar receive information and map from a most unlikely source and soon themselves fighting the most ruthless pirates in Known Space for an unimaginable prize.
Science Fiction: A Guide for the Perplexed—Sherryl Vint (May 8, Bloomsbury Academic)
From its beginnings in the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne to the virtual worlds of William Gibson, Science Fiction: A Guide to the Perplexed helps students navigate the often perplexing worlds of a perennially popular genre. The book explores the different answers that criticism has offered to the vexed question, ‘what is science fiction?’ Each chapter of the book includes case studies of key texts and annotated guides to further reading to help students master the full range of contemporary critical approaches to the field, including the scientific, technological and political contexts in which the genre has flourished. This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the genre.
When Earth is invaded by telepathic aliens, humanity responds by creating the defenders. They are the perfect warriors, seventeen feet tall, knowing and loving nothing but war, their minds closed to the aliens. The question is, what do you do with millions of genetically-engineered warriors once the war is won? A novel of power, alliances, violence, redemption, sacrifice, and yearning for connection.
Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision making for the best personal results. Sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she’s accepted to an elite boarding school, her future happiness seems all the more assured. Once on campus, something feels wrong. She meets North, a townie who doesn’t use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Rory is going against Lux’s recommendations, listening to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore, a choice that leads her to uncover a truth she nor the world ever saw coming.
Young Adult. Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton, until she meets him and he confounds all her expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world, for the chosen few. The few who can pay. Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia. What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price.
Young Adult. After coming back from death as Reboots and being trained by HARC as soldiers, Wren and Callum have finally escaped north, where they hope to find a life of freedom. But when they arrive at the Reboot Reservation, it isn’t what they expected. Under the rule of a bloodthirsty leader, Micah, the Reboots are about to wage an all-out war on the humans. Although Wren’s instincts are telling her to set off into the wilderness on their own and leave the battle far behind, Callum is unwilling to let his human family be murdered. When Micah commits the ultimate betrayal, the choice is made for them. But Micah has also made a fatal mistake, he’s underestimated Wren and Callum.
Young Adult. There is no one left for Mila to trust. Except for a boy she barely knows. But Hunter has no idea who, and what, Mila really is. She can’t bear to reveal her secret, even though he’s unwittingly joined her search for Richard Grady, a man who may know more details of Mila’s complicated past. Yet the road to the truth is more dangerous than ever. With General Holland and the Vita Obscura scouring the earth for her whereabouts, Mila must rely on her newfound android abilities to protect herself and Hunter from imminent harm. Still, embracing her identity as a machine leads her to question the state of her humanity, as well as Hunter’s real motives.
Middle Grade. Zachary Night may have saved Earth, but back at Indigo 8, he’s still just a Starbounder-in-training. And unlike his fellow trainees, who are having a blast gearing up for the annual Indigo Games, Zachary has more important things on his mind. He has yet to decipher the cryptic warning Professor Olari left him, and it looks like someone is trying to beat him to it. When all the clues point to a larger conspiracy, Zachary and his friends must once again leave Indigo 8 behind and take matters into their own hands. Their investigation will lead them through the far reaches of space. Time is running out for Zachary to solve Professor Olari’s riddle. Trainee or not, Zachary is facing down a rebellion of unimaginable proportions, and the fate of the outerverse hangs in the balance.
The mission seems simple enough: extract a pharmaceutical magnate from Russian soil, a volatile man who holds the secret to a deadly bioweapon. But nothing is as it appears to be. A conspiracy of world-shattering scope unravels as Tucker and Kane struggle to keep one move ahead of their deadly enemies. From the frozen steppes of Russia to the sun-blasted mountains of South Africa and Namibia, a biological threat millions of years in the making strikes out at the heart of America. All that stands in the way from a global apocalypse: one man and his dog. But can even Tucker and Kane thwart an ecological menace out of the ancient past to save the world’s future?
NASA is building a probe to be splashed down in the Kraken Mare, the largest sea on Saturn’s great moon, Titan. The surface is dangerous, requiring the probe to contain artificial intelligence software. Melissa Shepherd, a programmer, has developed “Dorothy,” a powerful, self-modifying AI. When miscalculations lead to a catastrophe during testing, Dorothy flees into the Internet. Former CIA agent Wyman Ford is tapped to help Melissa Shepherd track down the rogue AI. The AI is also being pursued by a pair of Wall Street traders, who want to capture her code and turn her into a high-speed trading bot. Dorothy has a revelation, and devises a plan. Ford must face the ultimate question: is rescuing Dorothy the right thing? Is the AI bent on saving the world, or on wiping out the cancer that is humankind?
Ralf is a software prodigy. He works in the U.S. government office that updates the software in the population’s boosts, networked supercomputers contained in a chip implanted within the brains of 99 percent of the world’s population. Days before a national upgrade, Ralf notices that the update includes an open surveillance gate. Ralf attempts to hack the boost, but is caught by agents working for Washington’s preeminent lobbyist. His boost is ripped from his head, and Ralf barely escapes with his life. Ralf flees to the US–Mexico border, where there are others like him, “wild” humans on the fringes of society, unenhanced by technology. Ralf’s only hope is to work with these wild bosses of the analog world, in hopes of winning back freedom in the digital one.
January, 2155. Earth Defense Forces Captain James Hood is on the mission of his life. The Cygni solar system is just one space-fold jump away. One more jump and they’ll have reached the fledgling colony that Earth needs if the human race is going to survive. A plot to derail him has already damaged his ship, threatened the lives of his crew and cost him time. So much depends on him now, but Hood’s confidence is shaken. Danger surrounds his team; a brutal insectoid alien race is still out there and a greater threat from an unknown, elusive enemy has emerged. The forces at work on Cygni are like nothing Hood has trained for, tactically or emotionally. He must choose to either trust the unlikeliest of allies, or run and seal the fate of the Cygni colony forever. (Digital)
Artemis is a pleasure planet created out of rock by a technologically advanced human empire. The animals (and the humans brought to live there) were bioengineered to help the guests enjoy their stay, but there was always the possibility of danger so that visitors could brag that they had “bested” the environment. The Empire was shattered in a horrific war; centuries later humanity has lost much of the advanced technology and Artemis is a fable told to children. Until young archeologist Griffin Dane finds intriguing hints that send him on a quest to find the lost world. Stranded on Artemis after crashing his ship, he encounters the Huntress Adara and her psych-linked companion, the puma Sand Shadow. Their journey with her will lead Dane to discover the planet’s secrets, and perhaps provide a key to give unimagined power back to mankind.
An enemy might just have to become an ally, in order to save humankind. The United States of North America is now engaged in a civil war with the Earth Confederation, which wants to yield to the demands of the alien Sh’daar, limit human technology, and become a part of the Sh’daar Galactic Collective. USNA President Koenig believes that surrendering to the Sh’daar will ultimately doom humankind. But when highly advanced, seemingly godlike aliens appear through an artificial wormhole in the Omega Centauri Cluster 16,000 light years from Earth, President Koenig is faced with a tremendous choice: continue fighting the Sh’daar, or ally with them against the newcomers in a final war that will settle the fate of more than one universe.
An original collection of new short science fiction, the latest in the Infinities collections edited and comissioned by anthologist Jonathan Strahan. What happens when humanity reaches out into the vastness of space? The brightest names in SF contribute new orginal fiction to this amazing anothology from master editor Jonathan Strahan. Including new work by Alastair Reynolds, Greg Egan, Ian McDonald, Ken Macleod, Pat Cadigan, Karl Schroeder, Hannu Rajaniemi, Karen Lord, Adam Roberts, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Aliette de Bodard Peter Watts, and others.
In ’’Sergeant Chip,’’ experience war from the front lines, through the eyes of an enhanced soldier. When Man makes a weapon of his own best friend, the consequences go far beyond what human generals can imagine. In ’’Blackburn and the Blade,’’ the killer-protagonist of the novel Blackburn returns in a tale of desire and blood that pits him against an enemy who may even be a God. What this enemy doesn’t realize is that in a battle against a God, it’s a Devil who has a fighting chance. In ’’The Adakian Eagle,’’ a young Army private stationed in the Aleutians in 1944 makes a gruesome discovery that may lead to his doom. His only hope lies with a tubercular fifty-year-old corporal, a former detective famous for his mystery novels. Both the young private and the old corporal could be at the mercy of dark sorcery wielded by an even darker soul.
In Edwin McCallum’s world, nations are no more. The world’s assets are divided among three companies. When one of those assets is murdered, it’s McCallum’s job to figure out what it means to the bottom-line. The bottom-line’s on filmmaker Sylvia Cho’s mind, too. Who’s footing the bill for this documentary? And who’s the subject, this so-called ‘Milkman’? Systems engineer Emory Leveski knows and it looks like it might cost him his life. With no governments, there is no crime. Any act is measured against competing interests, hidden loyalties and the ever-upward pressure of the corporate ladder. It’s a tough place for those who still believe in right and wrong. And for these three, it just got a lot tougher.