Fiction Affliction: October Releases in Science Fiction

Science fiction fans will find eighteen new SF-ish releases this month, including seven Young Adult titles. Karen Traviss brings a new Halo novel to the collection, Iain M. Banks releases his tenth Culture novel, and Mike Shepherd offers the tenth Kris Longknife book. In the standalone aisle, both Christopher L. Bennett and the team of Larry Niven (Ringworld)/Gregory Benford (Timescape) set their sights on space.

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.



Breathe (Breathe #1), by Sarah Crossan (October 2, Greenwillow Books)

Young Adult. The world is dead. The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air. Alina has been stealing for a long time. She’s a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she’s never been caught before. If she’s careful, it’ll be easy. Quinn should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself too. Even though this is dangerous, it’s also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. Bea wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they’d planned a trip together and she’d hoped he’d discover her out here, not another girl. And as they walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

Fire Season (Honorverse: Stephanie Harrington #2), by David Weber & Jane Lindskold (October 2, Baen)

Young Adult. Fire weather. That’s what the treecats call those rare seasons when the slightest spark can set aflame the vast green reaches they call home. Teenager Stephanie Harrington rapidly learns just how deadly those fires can be. Guided by her treecat companion, Lionheart, Stephanie and her good friend Karl Zivonik venture into the heart of a raging inferno to rescue twin treecats put at risk. But Sphinx isn’t the only thing ripe for burning. Stephanie has fallen hard for new arrival to Sphinx, Anders Whittaker. When Anders vanishes without a trace, Stephanie is at the forefront of the search. Then a lightning strike sets the Copperwall Mountains aflame and as a provisional ranger she is ordered to her post. Will Stephanie choose to honor the claims of her planet or those of her heart?

Halo: The Thursday War (Halo #10), by Karen Traviss (October 2, Tor)

Halo: The Thursday War picks up immediately where Halo: Glasslands left off, with forces on Earth and among the Covenant threatening a peace that is precarious at best. With a splinter group among the Sangheili pushing for war, some human colonies rebel against Earth authority; and as ONI policy continues to shift with the volatile situation in space, the discovery of a trove of Forerunner technology on Onyx provokes leaders on Earth to seek uses for it in the conflict. For the fight is far from over.

Night & Demons, by David Drake (October 2, Baen)

A collection of horrific, weird, and fantastic tales by a master storyteller and creator of best-selling military science fiction. Here are weird stories set in the present, along with alternative histories filled with gritty realism and exacting detail as well as an assortment of horrors and monsters. Most of all, here are the tough heroes who throughout time master their own fears and face the very real terrors that haunt existence.  Sometimes these heroes win a partial victory.  Sometimes it’s enough to go down fighting.

Quantum Coin (Coin #2), by E.C. Myers (October 2, Pyr)

Ephraim thought his universe-hopping days were over. His quantum coin has been powerless for almost a year, and he’s settled into a normal life with his girlfriend, Jena. But then an old friend crashes their senior prom: Jena’s identical twin from a parallel world, Zoe. It turns out that Ephraim’s problems have just begun, and they’re much more complicated than his love life: The multiverse is at stake, and it might just be Ephraim’s fault. Ephraim, Jena, and Zoe embark on a mission to learn what’s going wrong and how to stop it. They will have to trust in alternate versions of themselves and their friends, before it’s too late for all of them. The solution may depend on how much they’re willing to sacrifice for the sake of humanity, and each other.

The Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight (The Lost Fleet), by Jack Campbell (October 2, Ace)

Tarnished Knight follows the events in the Midway Star System during the same period as Dreadnaught and Invincible. For the first time, the story of the Lost Fleet universe is told through the eyes of citizens of the Syndicate Worlds as they deal with defeat in the war, threats from all sides, and the crumbling of the Syndicate empire.



Janus, by John Park (October 9, ChiZine)

In the near future, Jon Grebbel arrives on the colony world of Janus, and finds himself mysteriously without memory of his life on Earth. It seems that the journey has caused severe memory loss in many of Janus’s colonists. While Grebbel wants to start his new life, he also wants his memory back, and starts treatments to restore his past. But they only leave him angry and disturbed and he begins to doubt the glimpses of the past the treatments reveal. Grebbel meets Elinda, an earlier arrival, whose lover, Barbara, vanished and then was found lying in the woods, apparently brain-damaged. Elinda has also lost her memories of Earth, but unlike him she has abandoned the effort to recover them. Now their meeting brings each of them a glimpse of an experience they shared back on Earth. Investigating Barbara’s fate and their own, the two find their love and their search for justice turning toward bitter self-discovery and revenge, even as they begin to uncover the darkness at the heart of their world.

No Man’s World: The Alleyman, by Pat Kelleher (October 9, Abaddon)

Four months after the Pennine Fusiliers vanished from the Somme, they are still stranded on the alien world. As Lieutenant Everson tries to discover the true intentions of their alien prisoner, he finds he must quell the unrest within his own ranks while helping foment insurrection among the alien Khungarrii. Beyond the trenches, Lance Corporal Atkins and his Black Hand gang are reunited with the ironclad tank, Ivanhoe, and its crew. On the trail of Jeffries, the diabolist they hold responsible for their predicament, they are forced to face the obscene horrors that lie within the massive Croatoan Crater. Above it all, Lieutenant Tulliver of the Royal Flying Corp, soars free of the confines of alien gravity. However, to uncover the truth he must join forces with an unsuspected ally.

The Hydrogen Sonata (Culture #10), by Iain M. Banks (October 9, Orbit)

The Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence. Amid preparations, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted. Aided only by an ancient android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago.



Daniel X: Armageddon (Daniel X #5), by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (October 15, Little, Brown and Company)

Young Adult. Daniel must face an alien whose origins appear nearer to the depths of Hell than the outer reaches of the galaxy. Number Two is an unstoppable criminal that’s slowly been amassing an underground army to help him enslave Earth’s population. It’s all in preparation for the arrival of Number One, the most powerful alien in the universe and Daniel’s arch-nemesis. To Daniel’s horror, thousands of humans defect to the alien’s side. For the first time in his life, Daniel isn’t alone in his fight. He’s connected with several military and intelligence groups, including the daughter of a prominent FBI agent, and is prepared to lead the ultimate showdown against the evil that has plagued planet Earth for so long.

Beta (Annex #1), by Rachel Cohn (October 16, Hyperion)

Young Adult. Elysia is a clone, created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen year old girl with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of teenaged clone. Elysia’s purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. At first, Elysia’s new life on this island paradise is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne’s human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care. If anyone discovers that Elysia isn’t an unfeeling clone, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When Elysia’s one chance at happiness is ripped away from her, emotions she’s always had but never understood are unleashed. Elysia must find the will to survive.

Bowl of Heaven, by Larry Niven and Gregory Benford (October 16, Tor)

The limits of wonder are redrawn once again as a human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure half-englobing a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths, and it’s on a direct path heading for the same system as the human ship. A landing party is sent to investigate the Bowl, but when the explorers are separated, one group captured by the gigantic structure’s alien inhabitants, the other pursued across its strange and dangerous landscape, the mystery of the Bowl’s origins and purpose propel the human voyagers toward discoveries that will transform their understanding of their place in the universe.

Only Superhuman, by Christopher L. Bennett (October 16, Tor)

2107 AD: A generation ago, Earth and the cislunar colonies banned genetic and cybernetic modifications. But out in the Asteroid Belt, anything goes. Dozens of flourishing space habitats are spawning exotic new societies and strange new varieties of humans. It’s a volatile situation that threatens the peace and stability of the entire solar system. Emerald Blair is a Troubleshooter. Inspired by the classic superhero comics of the twentieth century, she’s joined with other mods to try to police the unruly Asteroid Belt. But her loyalties are tested when she finds herself torn between rival factions of superhumans with very different agendas. Emerald wants to put her special abilities to good use, but what do you do when you can’t tell the heroes from the villains?


The Twinning Project, by Robert Lipsyte (October 23, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Young Adult. Tom is a smart, talented loner with a chip on his shoulder and a big secret: an imaginary twin on another planet. Eddie is Tom’s opposite, a friendly, athletic kid who always looks on the good side. Tom worries sometimes: does confiding in Eddie mean he’s nuts? The truth is even crazier than that. Eddie and his planet are just as real as Tom and his Earth, but fifty-some years in the past. And the twins are caught up in an alien master plan that might just mean Earth, both Earths, will be destroyed. Switching places and identities, “slipping” between planets and across decades, a desperate escape, and the unraveling of deeper secrets leave Tom and Eddie aware of the danger they’re facing and the tools they can use to overcome it.

Kris Longknife: Furious (Kris Longknife #10), by Mike Shepherd (October 30, Ace)

Having used unorthodox methods to save a world and every sentient being on it, Lieutenant Commander Kris Longknife is wanted across the galaxy for crimes against humanity. For her own safety, she’s been assigned to a backwater planet where her Fast Patrol Squadron 127 enforces immigration control and smuggler interdiction. But Kris is a Longknife, and nothing can stop her from getting back to the center of things, not when all hell is breaking loose. Now she’s on the run, hunted by both military and civilian authorities, and since the civilian authorities happen to be her immediate family, Kris soon finds herself homeless, broke, and on trial for her life on an alien world.

Midnight City (The Conquered Earth #1), by J. Barton Mitchell (October 30, St. Martin’s Griffin)

Young Adult. Earth has been conquered. An extraterrestrial race known as The Assembly has abducted the adult population, leaving the planet’s youth to fend for themselves. In this treacherous landscape, Holt, a bounty hunter, is transporting his prisoner Mira when they discover Zoey, a young girl with powerful abilities who could be the key to stopping The Assembly. As they make their way to the cavernous metropolis of Midnight City, the trio must contend with freedom fighters, mutants, otherworldly artifacts, pirates, feuding alien armies, and Holt and Mira’s growing attraction to each other.

Ruins (Pathfinder #2), by Orson Scott Card (October 30, Simon Pulse)

Young Adult. When Rigg and his friends crossed the Wall between the only world they knew and a world they could not imagine, he hoped he was leading them to safety. But the dangers in this new wallfold are more difficult to see. Rigg, Umbo, and Param know that they cannot trust the expendable, Vadesh, a machine shaped like a human, created to deceive, but they are no longer certain that they can even trust one another. They will have little choice. Although Rigg can decipher the paths of the past, he can’t yet see the horror that lies ahead: A destructive force with deadly intentions is hurtling toward Garden. If Rigg, Umbo, and Param can’t work together to alter the past, there will be no future.

The Clone Sedition, by Steven L. Kent (October 30, Ace)

Earth, A.D. 2519. Less than a year has passed since the clone military of the Enlisted Man’s Empire toppled the government of the Unified Authority. Now the clones rule Earth, but a new enemy has emerged, and set off civil war. Formerly trained to fight for the U.A., clone Marine Wayson Harris had led the Enlisted Man’s Empire invasion of Earth. When a trio of religious fanatics from Mars attempts to attack Harris, he fears there is more unrest among the colony’s residents. He leads a troop of Marines to Mars. There, they learn the situation is much graver than they first feared. The red planet’s refugees have decided the clones are their number one enemy. When Harris is kidnapped and drugged, he discovers something disturbing about himself. He can be reprogrammed.

Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. River Road, the second in her Sentinels of New Orleans series after Royal Street, will be released on November 13. Find Suzanne on Twitter.


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