Fiction Affliction: December Releases in Science Fiction

In December, science fiction readers’ minds turn to alien Santas and robotic elves…or not. It’s a light month of releases, with eleven titles that include some retreads of planets already discovered—two containing classic golden age stories from late Australian sci-fi author A. Bertram Chandler. For those who like their reading a bit more on the modern side, there are interesting debuts afoot, including a self-described “science fiction/superhero noir” from Adam Christopher, Empire State, biomechanicals gone wild in Mecha Corps from Brett Patton, and the U.S. release of Rod Rees’ The Demi-Monde: Winter. (For more steampunk and alt history, see the “Genre-Benders” column coming up this week.)

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.



Galactic Courier, by A. Bertram Chandler (Dec. 6, Baen)

Third in a three-volume collection of the John Grimes of the Galactic Rim series. Here are the crowning tales of Grimes’ career—the Grimes “Rim Commodore” stories. In these tales, Grimes has found his true calling out on the edge of galactic civilization. He’s the sheriff of a realm where pioneer colonies and parallel dimensions overlap, and a starship captain must be prepared for adventure in all possible worlds.Includes an astounding (as in, mostly published in Astounding and Analog by editor John W. Campbell) cornucopia of Grimes novels bringing together all previous Commodore Grimes tales in Star Courier, To Keep the Ship, Matilda’s Stepchildren, and Star Loot.

Earthbound, by Joe Haldeman (Dec. 6, Ace)

The mysterious alien Others have prohibited humans from space travel, destroying Earth’s fleet of starships in a display of unimaginable power. Now Carmen Dula, the first human to encounter Martians and then the mysterious Others, and her colleagues struggle to find a way, using nineteenth-century technology to reclaim the future that has been stolen from them. Third in the Marsbound series.

Alien Proliferation, by Gini Koch (Dec. 6, DAW)

Alien Super-Being Exterminator Kitty Katt is expecting her first baby. But the alien attacks are getting more dangerous, and now Kitty and her Alpha Centaurion husband, Jeff, have to find out who’s behind the conspiracy to kill Kitty’s secret agent mom and what caused Kitty’s transformation into a superhuman—and they’ve got to do it all before the baby shower. Fourth in the Katherine “Kitty” Katt series.

Mecha Corps, by Brett Patton (Dec. 6, Roc)

Matt Lowell is in hell—and there’s no place he’d rather be. At a training camp on the backwater planet of Earth, he and his fellow cadets are learning to ride Mechas: biomechanicals sporting both incredible grace and devastating firepower. Their ultimate aim is to combat the pirates of the Corsair Confederacy, but before they survive a battle, they have to survive their training. Because every time Lowell and his comrades “plug in” to their Mechas, their minds are slowly being twisted and broken by an unseen power that is neither man—nor machine.



Artemis, by Philip Palmer (Dec. 12, Orbit)

Artemis McIvor is a thief, a con-artist, and a stone-cold killer. And she’s been on a crime spree for years. The galactic government has collapsed and the universe was hers for the taking.But when the cops finally catch up with her, they give Artemis a choice. Suffer in prison for the rest of her very long life, or join a crew of criminals, murderers, and traitors on a desperate mission to save humanity against an all-consuming threat. Now, Artemis has to figure out how to be a good guy without forgetting who she really is.

Tales from Super-Science Fiction, edited by Robert Silverberg (Dec. 17, Haffner)

Stories from the golden age of pulp sci-fi, including editor Silverberg’s “Catch ‘Em All Alive” and “The Loathesome Beasts,” as well as stories from Henry Slesar, James E. Gunn, A. Bertram Chandler, Don Berry, Robert Bloch, Jack Vance, J.F. Bone, Robert Moore Williams, Daniel L. Galouye, Alan E. Nourse, Charles W. Runyon and Tom Godwin.



Count to a Trillion, by John C. Wright (Dec. 20, Tor)

After the collapse of the world economy, a young boy grows up in what used to be Texas as a tough duellist for hire, the future equivalent of a hired gun. But even after the collapse, there is space travel, and he leaves Earth to have adventures in the really wide open spaces. While humanity and Artificial Intelligence grow and change, he is catapulted into the more distant future and becomes a kind of superman.



Empire State, by Adam Christopher (Dec. 27, Angry Robot)

The Empire State is the other New York. A parallel-universe, Prohibition-era world of mooks and shamuses that is the twisted magic mirror to our bustling Big Apple, a place where sinister characters lurk around every corner while the great superheroes that once kept the streets safe have fallen into dysfunctional rivalries and feuds. Not that its colourful residents know anything about the real New York—until detective Rad Bradley makes a discovery that will change the lives of all its inhabitants.

The Demi-Monde: Winter, by Rod Rees (Dec. 27, William Morrow)

The Demi-Monde is the most advanced computer simulation ever devised. Created to prepare soldiers for the nightmarish reality of urban warfare, it is a virtual world locked in eternal civil war. Its 30 million digital inhabitants are ruled by duplicates of some of history’s cruellest tyrants: Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the Holocaust; Beria, Stalin’s arch executioner; Torquemada, the pitiless Inquisitor General; Robespierre, the face of the Reign of Terror. But something has gone badly wrong inside the Demi-Monde, and the U.S. president’s daughter has become trapped in this terrible world. It falls to eighteen-year-old Ella Thomas to rescue her, yet once Ella has entered the Demi-Monde she finds that everything is not as it seems, that its cyber-walls are struggling to contain the evil within and that the Real World is in more danger than anyone realizes. U.S. release.

Gothic High Tech, by Bruce Sterling(Dec. 31, Subterranean)

Sterling is the original Cyberpunk Guru, presenting this sixth collection of stories described by the publisher as “an arsenal of dark euphoria.” Included are such titles as “I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation Destroyed by Google,” “The Exterminator’s Want Ad,” “The Lustration,” “The Hypersurface of This Decade” and “White Fungus.”

All About Emily, by Connie Willis (Dec. 31, Subterranean)

In this long novelette, theater legend Claire Havilland fears she might be entering the Sunset Boulevard phase of her career. That is, until her manager arranges a media appearance with her biggest fan—a famous artificial intelligence pioneer’s teenage niece. After precocious Emily’s backstage visit, Claire decides she’s in a different classic film altogether. While unnaturally charming Emily swears she harbors no desire for the spotlight, Claire wonders if she hasn’t met her very own Eve Harrington from “All About Eve.” But the story becomes more complex as dreams of fame give way to concerns about choice, free will, and identity.

Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. 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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