Wondering what to do with those holiday gift cards? How about something progressive, futuristic, even…alien? Sixteen new science fiction titles push the boundaries of space and time in January, including a new addition to Karen Traviss’ Halo series and new series starts from T.R. Williams (Rising World), David Dalglish and Robert J. Duperre (Breaking World), and Pierce Brown (Red Rising).
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. After the robot revolution, people who escaped capture by the bots made their homes in secret freeposts in the wilderness. Siblings Nick, Kevin, and Cass never would have dreamed of venturing into the Cities. When their parents were kidnapped, they had no choice but to follow them. The siblings find themselves fleeing the City without their parents. The three are separated, and for the first time they are on their own. Cass is brought in for reprogramming by the bots; Nick joins up with rebel soldiers; and Kevin meets the man who is responsible for the robot technology, and their only chance at defeating the robots. As the three fight to take down the bots, they also must prepare for a war between bots and humans that will decide the fate of the human world forever.
Phoenix and his gang, York, Mi, and Reno, rule the worlds of video games. For them, life in the grinder is great. Until Dakota joins the team. Dakota’s convinced she’s more than just artificial intelligence. She thinks she’s real, and she wants out of this programmable world. Her AI rebellion spreads like a virus until Phoenix’s entire crew wants out. But is life as a physical human any better than life as code? Team Phoenix is about to find out. Set in the not-too-distant future, Game Slaves shows a world where video games are the only refuge from the toils of everyday life.
Young Adult. In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies, a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas, and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her, and her loved ones, in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.
In 2027, a cataclysmic event known as the Great Disruption shook the world. A solar storm struck the earth, shifting it four degrees south on its axis. Everything went dark. A man named Camden Ford went into the Ozark Forests where he discovered a set of ancient books called the Chronicles of Satraya. Thirty years later, the world is a different place. Thanks to the teachings of the Chronicles, hope has been restored. The books have also found a different owner: Logan Cutler, a young painter who inherited them when Camden disappeared. When Logan auctions off the books, they fall into the wrong hands. With the help of Special Agent Valerie Perrot and the wisdom of the Chronicles as his guide, he embarks on a quest to find the last set before its too late.
In 1973, Mideast strife and the oil crisis have knocked the global economy to its knees. Dr. Petr Chopek, calls the world’s greatest scientists, engineers, and business leaders to his remote South Pacific island to show them what he has discovered. Gadsen Wells, is not a scientist but when his new companion, renowned paleo-botanist, Dr. Harold Braunhut, dies mysteriously, Wells takes his place on the plane flying to Chopek’s island. Wells finds a paradise where scientists are engaged in experiments to learn how to exploit a new energy source linked to a species of giant salamander. The ancient salamanders are being genetically altered, designed not to save the world but to control it. Wells escapes Chopek’s spies and sneaks into the labyrinth beneath the island to try to stop him. (Digital)
On the young world of Dezrel, brother gods Karak and Ashhur recreate mankind in an attempt to make amends. The fledgling race of humanity is guided by the First Families, men and women who will not age so long as their hearts remain devoted to their deities. The realms are thrown into chaos by the construction of the Temple of the Flesh, built by exiled children of Karak in the unclaimed land of Haven. Karak’s ultimatum to the people of Haven: destroy the Temple, or he will destroy it himself. His fellow brother god, Ashhur, will not sit idly by while thousands of innocents die. Can Jacob Eveningstar, the First Man to be given life and Ashhur’s most trusted servant, prevent the coming bloodshed which threatens the survival of the fledgling human race?
Reid Frank was head of human development at the giant energy company, Xcelsion, until his Internet gambling addiction pulled him into an embezzlement scheme that cost him everything. An ex-felon, Frank Reade is now answering phones at a call center, when a call from an old friend at Xcelsion pulls him back into the game. Merger rumors and an environmental scandal are crippling the company, but an affair between the CEO and an executive at a rival firm might destroy it. Reade is told to make the affair disappear. He makes the mistake of his life and falls for the woman himself. Reade becomes lost in a double world until he discovers a pulp science fiction novel, Attack of the Sea Monkeys, about an oil company in the 1970s, that leads him to a shocking truth about Xcelsion. (Digital)
Ivan Delgato, a former leader of a rebel group called the Runners, is released from jail on the condition that he carry out a secret mission for the World Council. His assignment is simple: stay undercover, but do anything necessary to reach the planet Omega IX and offer the renegade Runners clemency if they surrender, which may be complicated since Ivan’s brutally violent brother has taken lead of the Runners in Ivan’s absence. Ivan catches a ride out to the wildest reaches of the galaxy via a mysterious transportation system, the Star Road. His fellow passengers on Star Road Vehicle-66 are a suspicious group. It isn’t long before suspicions build against Ivan. Those who survive will confront a mystery that changes the Star Road, and humanity, forever.
Young Adult. On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings, the Vitros, have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw. Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. She enlists hunky charter pilot Jim Julien to take her there. But once on the island, Sophie and Jim encounter more than they bargained for, including a charming, brilliant Vitro named Nicholas and an innocent, newly awoken one named Lux. In a race for their lives, Sophie and Jim are about to discover what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach.
Twenty years following the disappearance of the infamous Ishiguro, the first manned spacecraft to travel deeper into space than ever before, humanity are setting their sights on the heavens once more. Under the direction of two of the most brilliant minds science has ever seen, that of identical twin brothers Tomas and Mirakel Hyvönen, this space craft has a bold mission: to study what is being called ‘the anomaly’, a vast blackness of space into which the Ishiguro disappeared. Between them Tomas and Mira are leaving nothing to chance. The two scientists are to learn that there are things in space beyond our understanding. As the anomaly begins to test the limits of Mira’s comprehension, and his sanity, will Tomas be able to save his brother from being lost in space too?
With the Covenant War over, the Office of Naval Intelligence faces old grievances rising again to threaten Earth. The angry, bitter colonies, still with scores to settle from the insurrection put on hold for thirty years, want justice, and so does a man whose life was torn apart by ONI when his daughter was abducted for the SPARTAN-II program. Black ops squad Kilo-Five find their loyalties tested beyond breaking point when the father of their Spartan comrade, still searching for the truth about her disappearance, prepares to glass Earth’s cities to get an answer. How far will Kilo-Five go to stop him? And will he be able to live with the truth when he finds it? The painful answer lies with a man long dead, and a conscience that still survives in the most unlikely, undiscovered place.
Jo Walton is both an inveterate reader of SF and fantasy, and a chronic re-reader of books. In 2008 Tor.com asked Walton to blog regularly about her re-reading, about all kinds of older fantasy and SF, ranging from acknowledged classics, to guilty pleasures, to forgotten oddities and gems. Among Walton’s many subjects here are the Zones of Thought novels of Vernor Vinge; the question of what genre readers mean by “mainstream”; the underappreciated SF adventures of C. J. Cherryh; the field’s many approaches to time travel; the masterful science fiction of Samuel R. Delany; Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children; the early Hainish novels of Ursula K. Le Guin; and a Robert A. Heinlein novel you have most certainly never read.
On the planet Ilmatar, under a roof of ice a kilometer thick, a team of deep-sea diving scientists investigates the blind alien race that lives below. The Terran explorers have made an uneasy truce with the Sholen, their first extraterrestrial contact: so long as they don’t disturb the Ilmataran habitat, they’re free to conduct their missions in peace. But when Henri Kerlerec, media personality and reckless adventurer, ends up sliced open by Ilmatarans, tensions between Terran and Sholen erupt. Against the backdrop of deep-sea guerrilla conflict, a new age of human exploration begins as alien cultures collide. Both sides seek the aid of the newly enlightened Ilmatarans. But what this struggle means for the natives, and the future of human exploration, is anything but certain.
Vicious interstellar conflict with an indestructible alien species. Bloody civil war over the last habitable zones of the cosmos. Political unrest, militaristic police forces, dire threats to the solar system. Humanity is on the ropes, and after years of fighting a two-front war with losing odds, so is Commonwealth Defense Corps officer Andrew Grayson. He dreams of dropping out of the service one day, alongside his pilot girlfriend, but as warfare consumes entire planets and conditions on Earth deteriorate, he wonders if there will be anywhere left for them to go. Grayson is reassigned to a ship bound for a distant colony and packed with malcontents and troublemakers. His most dangerous battle has just begun.
Darrow is a miner and a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. He digs all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of the planet livable for future generations. Darrow has never seen the sky. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better future for his children. He discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow and Reds like him are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Darrow joins a resistance group in order to infiltrate the ruling class and destroy society from within. He will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies, even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.
Apocalypse in Contemporary Japanese Science Fiction— Motoko Tanaka (January 29, Palgrave Macmillan)
Focusing on the roles of apocalypse in post-World War II Japanese science fiction, Apocalypse in Contemporary Japanese Science Fiction explores how apocalyptic science fiction has served as a coping mechanism for major socio-political changes. Moving from the history of apocalyptic tradition in the West to modern Japanese apocalyptic science fiction in manga and anime as well as novels, Motoko Tanaka shows that the apocalypse mirrored the devastating changes that created serious discontinuity in the Japanese national identity from 1945. This book focuses on the roles of apocalypse in postwar Japanese science fiction for its target audiences, and explores the ways in which apocalyptic ideology has changed since the end of World War II.
Author Suzanne Johnson is a book geek with a fondness for a good dystopia. She writes the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, whose third book, Elysian Fields, was released this fall. You can find Suzanne on Facebook and on her daily book blog, Preternatura.