Fiction Affliction: May Releases in Science Fiction

Fifteen new releases is a virtual tsunami when it comes to science fiction these days, including some scientifically scintillating anthologies and an examination of the science behind the film “Avatar” by author Stephen Baxter.

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


The Drowned Cities, by Paolo Bacigalupi (May 1, Little, Brown)

In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man—a bioengineered war beast named Tool who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers—their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible. A companion to Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker. Young Adult.

The Lost Fleet: Invincible (Beyond the Frontier, Book 2), by Jack Campbell (May 1, Ace)

Invincible continues the story from Dreadnaught as the Alliance fleet commanded by Admiral Geary tries to escape threats outside human space and return before danger can strike humanity again.

War and Space: Recent Combat, edited by Sean Wallace and Rich Horton (May 2, Prime)

War and Space offers the ultimate speculation on the future of warfare—stories of insectoid anguish, genetically-engineered diplomats who cannot fail, aliens plundering humanity, a weaponized black hole. Authors include Ken MacLeod, Suzanne Palmer, Alastair Reynolds, Catherynne M. Valente, Adam-Troy Castro, Beth Bernobich, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Nancy Kress, and many others.



A Confusion of Princes, by Garth Nix (May 15, HarperCollins)

You’d think being a privileged Prince in a vast intergalactic Empire would be about as good as it gets. But it isn’t as great as it sounds. For one thing, Princes are always in danger. Their greatest threat? Other Princes. Khemri discovers that the moment he is proclaimed a Prince. He also discovers mysteries within the hidden workings of the Empire. Dispatched on a secret mission, Khemri comes across the ruins of a space battle. In the midst of it all he meets a young woman named Raine, who will challenge his view of the Empire, of Princes, and of himself. Young Adult.



The Lost Code, by Kevin Emerson (May 22, Katherine Tegen)

What is oldest will be new, what was lost shall be found. The ozone is ravaged, ocean levels have risen, and the sun is a daily enemy. But global climate change is not something new in the Earth’s history. No one will know this better than less-than-ordinary Owen Parker, who is about to discover that he is the descendant of a highly advanced ancient race—a race that took their technology too far and almost destroyed the Earth in the process. Now it is Owen’s turn to make right in his world what went wrong thousands of years ago. If Owen can unlock the lost code in his very genes, he may rediscover the forgotten knowledge of his ancestry . . . and that less-than-ordinary can evolve into extraordinary. Young adult.

Further: Beyond the Threshold, by Chris Roberson (May 22, 47North)

The thirty-fourth century. Humankind is spread across three thousand light years in a myriad of worlds and habitats known as the Human Entelechy. Linked by a network of wormholes with Earth at its center, it is the world Captain RJ Stone awakens to after a twelve-thousand-year cryogenic suspension.Stone soon finds himself commanding the maiden voyage of the first spacecraft to break the light speed barrier: the FTL Further. In search of extraterrestrial intelligence, the landing party explores a distant pulsar only to be taken prisoner by the bloodthirsty Iron Mass, a religious sect exiled from the Entelechy millennia before. Now Stone and his crew must escape while they try to solve the riddle of the planet’s network of stone towers that may be proof of the intelligence they’ve come to find. First in a new series.

2312, by Kim Stanley Robinson (May 22, Orbit)

The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity’s only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future. The first event takes place on Mercury, on the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. It is an unexpected death, but one that might have been foreseen. For Swan Er Hong, it is an event that will change her life.



The Science of Avatar, by Stephen Baxter (May 29, Orbit)

Audiences around the world have been enchanted by James Cameron’s visionary Avatar, with its glimpse of the Na’vi on the marvelous world of Pandora. But the movie is not entirely a fantasy; there is a scientific rationale for much of what we saw on the screen, from the possibility of travel to other worlds, to the life forms seen on screen and the ecological and cybernetic concepts that underpin the ‘neural networks’ in which the Na’vi and their sacred trees are joined, as well as to the mind-linking to the avatars themselves. From popular science journalist and science fiction author Stephen Baxter, The Science of Avatar is a guide to the rigorous fact behind the fiction.

Harmony, by Keith Brooke (May 29, Solaris)

The aliens are here, all around us. They always have been. And now, one by one, they’re destroying our cities. Dodge Mercer deals in identities, which is fine until the day he deals the wrong identity and clan war breaks out. Hope Burren has no identity and no past, but she does have a multitude of voices filling her head. In a world where nothing is as it seems, where humans are segregated and aliens can sing realities and tear worlds apart, Dodge and Hope lead a ragged band of survivors on a search for sanctuary in what may be the only hope for humankind.

Weird Space: The Devil’s Nebula, by Eric Brown (May 29, Abaddon)

A new space-opera series begins with the release of The Devil’s Nebula. Brown introduces readers to the human smugglers, veterans and ne’er-do-wells who are part of the Expansion, and their uneasy neighbours, the Vetch Empire. When an evil race threatens not only the Expansion, but the Vetch too—an evil from another dimension which infests humans and Vetch alike and bends individuals to do their bidding—only cooperation between them means the difference between a chance of survival and no chance at all. First in a new shared-world series.

Year’s Best SF 17, edited by David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer (May 29, Harper Voyager)

A collection of science fiction offerings from Elizabeth Bear, Gregory Benford, Neil Gaiman, Nancy Kress, Michael Swanwick, Ken MacLeod, Ken Liu, Mercurio Rivera, Nnedi Okorafor, Karl Schroeder, Paul Park, Charlie Jane Anders, Judith Moffett, Madeline Ashby, Robert Reed, Karen Heuler, Tony Ballantyne, Bruce Sterling, Pat MacEwan, Gwyneth Jones, Genevieve Valentine. Yoon Ha Lee, and Carolyn Ives Gilman.

Going Interstellar, edited by Les Johnson and Jack McDevitt (May 29, Baen)

Essays by space scientists and engineers teamed with a collection of tales by an assortment of award-winning authors all taking on new methods of star travel. Some humans may be content staying in one place, but many of us are curious about what’s beyond the next village, the next ocean, the next horizon. Are there others like us out there? How will we reach them?  Others are concerned with the survival of the species. It may be that we have to get out of Dodge before the lights go out on Earth. How can we accomplish this? Wonderful questions.  Now get ready for some answers. Authors include Ben Bova, Mike Resnick, Jack McDevitt, Michael Bishop, Sarah Hoyt and more.

Night’s Engines (The Nightbound Land, Book 2), by Trent Jamieson (May 29, Angry Robot)

The conclusion of the Nightbound Land duology. The Roil has not yet been defeated – and the Roil extends its grip on Shale, following the commands of the Dreaming Cities.Wars will be fought. Doomsday weapons employed. And night will fall.

Toxicity, by Andy Remic (May 29, Solaris)

Welcome to Manna, the utopian galaxy where all races exist in harmony. Manna is a place of wisdom, technology and art. On the edge of the galaxy, hides TOX1C, a reprocessing planet run by The Company and dealing with all Manna’s waste; there’s no poison The Company will not “recycle.” Jenni Xi, ECO Terrorist, is fighting a cleanup war against The Company. Svoolzard Koolimax, poet, swashbuckler, bon viveur, is Guest of Honour on a Masters Cruise when a violent attack leaves his Cruiser crashed. Horace is a torture model Anarchy Android, known simply as The Dentist. Horace works for The Company. Soon, he will meet Jenni and Svool—and the fate of Manna will change forever.

No Going Back (Jon & Lobo Series), by Mark L. Van Name (May 29, Baen)

Jon and Lobo are back—and everything is about to change. If they both survive. Haunted by memories of children he could not save, Jon Moore is so increasingly self-destructive that even his best friend, the hyper-intelligent Predator-Class Assault Vehicle, Lobo, is worried. When Jon risks meeting a woman from his distant past and undertakes a high-stakes mission, Lobo fears this will be their last. The job is illegal. They have to take on one of the oldest, most powerful men alive. Two different security forces are tracking them. And Jon is falling in love.

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.


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