The future’s so bright we need to find a new planet. The doom of humankind dominates science fiction in this month’s list of twenty-nine new releases in science fiction, but the real story is the genre’s takeover by marauding Young Adults. (Missing a favorite? Check tomorrow’s “Genre-Bender” column.) Look for a new Gardner Dozois-edited anthology as well as series additions from, among others, Shaunta Grimes (Viral Nation), Evan Currie (Odyssey One), Phoebe North (Starglass), David Lynn Golemon (Event Group), Hannu Rajaniemi (Jean le Flambeur), Ben H. Winters (The Last Policeman), and Jean Johnson (Theirs Not to Reason Why).
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.
A hundred years after the nukecaust, the tortured landscape of postapocalyptic America offers a brutal fight for survival. Yet tech secrets lie hidden, useful to those brave and strong enough to believe that hope can carry them toward ever-elusive peace. Violent gangs, a corrupt mayor and a heavily armed police force are the hallmarks of former Detroit, a mutie-infested, rubble-strewn metropolis. When Ryan and the companions show up, the Desolation Angels are waging a war to rule the streets. After saving the companions from being chilled by gangsters, the mayor hires Ryan and his friends to stop the Angels. Each blow toward victory proves there’s no good side to be fighting for. As Motor City erupts into bloody conflagration, the companions are caught in the crossfire.
Young Adult. Lydia has been trained into a person she might have once feared: focused, fierce, deadly. Although she never wanted the life of a Montauk Project recruit, the Project has captured someone she loves-someone she’ll do anything to save. Then Lydia glimpses a world in which the Montauk Project never existed. The Project has taken so much from Lydia already, but she knows that she will sacrifice everything to make her vision of a world without the Project a reality.
Prudence “Roo” Jones never thought he’d have a family to look after, until suddenly he found himself taking care of his orphaned teenage nephew. Roo, a former Caribbean Intelligence operative, spends his downtime on his catamaran dodging the punishing hurricanes that are the new norm in the Caribbean. An unexpected package from a murdered fellow spy shows up. Roo is thrown into the center of the biggest storm of all. Using his wits, and some of the more violent tricks of his former trade, Roo begins to unravel the mystery that got his friend killed. When a polished and cunning woman claiming to be murdered spy’s sister appears, the two find themselves caught up in a global conspiracy with a weapon that could change the face of the world forever.
Agent Franks of the U.S. Monster Control Bureau is a man of many parts, parts from other people, that is. He’s animated by a powerful alchemical substance and inhabited by a super intelligent spirit. Sworn to serve and protect the United States of America from all monsters by one of the country’s founding fathers, Franks has only one condition to the agreement: the government is never, ever allowed to try and make more like him. Project Nemesis: in a secret location, using sophisticated technology and advanced genetic engineering, the director of the very agency Franks works for is making more like him. Hell hath no fury like a monster betrayed. Particularly if that monster happens to be an undying killing machine capable of taking out vampires and werewolves with one hand tied behind his back.
Sixteen years ago, a plague wiped out nearly all of humanity. The Company’s vaccine stopped the virus’s spread. Those remaining live behind impenetrable city walls, taking daily doses of virus suppressant and relying on The Company for continued protection. Clover Donovan didn’t set out to start a revolution. That was before they forced her into service for the Time Mariners. Before they condemned her brother to death. Before she discovered terrifying secrets about The Company. Clover and the Freaks, her ragtag resistance group, are doing their best to spread the rebellion. When their hideout is discovered, they are forced, once again, to run. Only this time, The Company has special plans for Clover, plans that could risk her life and stop the uprising in its tracks
Young Adult. Sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist is on the verge of graduating from the black ops factory known as the Academy. She’s smart and deadly, and knows three things with absolute certainty:
1. When the world flooded and civilization retreated deep underground, there was no one left on the surface.
2. The only species to thrive there are the toads, a primate/amphibian hybrid with a serious mean streak.
3. There’s no place on Earth where you can hide from the hypercanes, continent-sized storms that have raged for decades.
Jansin has been lied to. On all counts.
The daughter of a rocket scientist in the post 1950s who wants to go to the moon, despite being discouraged because “girls don’t do that.” A novelette that’s science fiction by association. (ebook only)
Young Adult. The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they’ve left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable despite the isolation and hardships they face. They seek comfort and solace in one other. The tentative existence they’ve built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she’s pregnant. Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses its own dangers. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.
The last of humanity has taken refuge in hibernation at the poles, hiding from the giant invading insects that have conquered the Earth. The Masters voices have gone and a new peace has arrived in the northern hemisphere. In a not-too-distant future, amongst ruins in the ancient city of Berlin the Aux’s live in clans, fighting amongst themselves. Their ancient enemey, Them, giant marauding insects, are a folk memory. Evelyn War however will be the first to realize that this quiet is not what it seems, that the Auxs themselves, having been bred for hand to hand combat in a war long-thought to be over, and now idling violently in peace in the subways and collapsing buildings Evelyn is the only one to see the oncoming storm, but the clan leaders and her elders do not believe her warnings, and time is running short.
Deep in blackest space, the Drasin have watched humanity’s journey to the stars, and determined that a species as barbaric as ours has no place in the cosmos. The wreckage of the starship Odyssey lies strewn across New York City. Odyssey’s sacrifice covered the withdrawal of countless troops as the Drasin assault ravaged the planet. When Captain Eric Weston finally emerges from the rubble, alive thanks to the mysterious “Gaia,” he knows with the Drasin it’s kill or be killed. The Priminae have felt the brunt of Drasin aggression on their own home world, and they won’t leave humanity to face annihilation alone. Together with what’s left of the crews of the Odyssey and other starships, they race to join Weston and his group of Earth-bound survivors for a desperate last stand.
The Asherah has finally reached Zehava, the long-promised planet. There, Terra finds harsh conditions and a familiar foe, Aleksandra Wolff, leader of her ship’s rebel forces. Terra and Aleksandra first lock horns with each other, but soon realize they face a much more dangerous enemy in violent alien beasts, and alien hunters. Then Terra finally discovers Vadix. The boy who has haunted her dreams may be their key to survival, but his own dark past has yet to be revealed. And when Aleksandra gets humanity expelled from the planet, it’s up to Terra, with Vadix by her side, to unite her people, and to forge an alliance with the alien hosts, who want nothing more than to see humanity gone forever.
Alenna’s loyalties are put to the ultimate test, and it’s one of life and death. Alenna Shawcross and the others who escaped the wheel are working toward an all-out assault on the United Northern Alliance. The plan is to dismantle it from the inside, and Alenna is one of the few people who can access the organization’s inner sanctum. But when she returns to the home she has nearly forgotten, she encounters old friends and is swept into a secret plan that puts everything she loves in danger. Knowing what is at stake for her and her friends, Alenna ventures into the heart of the treacherous UNA. She’s determined to bring them down, because freedom is the only choice. Or is it?
He can make you forget. He can control you. And he is only eight years old. Pierre Jnr has a mind more powerful than any the world has encountered before. He can make you forget, he can control you and he is only eight years old. Three months after his birth he escaped. An hour later he was lost to surveillance. No one knows where he has been for the last eight years. Now Pierre Jnr is about to return. THE HUNT FOR PIERRE JNR follows the activities of an elite group dedicated to tracking down the eight-year-old boy who is currently the greatest threat humanity has ever known. It’s a pacy and gripping chase, and an impressive vision of our future. (U.S.)
A revolution has taken over the government of the United States and the environment has been saved. All pollution has been banned and reversed. It’s a bright, green new world. But this new world comes with a great cost. The United States is ruled by a dictatorship and the corporations are fighting back. Joining them are an increasing number of rebels angered by the dictatorship of Chairman Rahma. The Chairman’s power is absolute and appears strong, but cracks are beginning to show as new weapons are developed by the old corporate powers, foreign alliances begin to make inroads into America’s influence, and strange reports of mutants filter through the government’s censorship.
After Elissa and Lin exposed the government’s secret experiments in Linked, their home planet Sekoia is thrown into chaos. Determined to do their part to help the planet they’ve hurt, they return to Sekoia only to discover that things are far worse that they imagined. Resources are suddenly scarce, people are scared, and there’s a rising current of anger against the Spares. When Lissa and Lin find themselves among another group of Spares and twins, they feel like they’ve found their kindred spirits at last. But a threat none of them could have expected is lying in wait for Sekoia’s Spares.
A decade has passed since the city of Pittsburgh was reduced to ash. Survivor John Dominic Blaxton remains obsessed with the past. Grieving for his wife and unborn child who perished in the blast, Dominic relives his lost life by immersing in the Archive, a fully interactive digital reconstruction of Pittsburgh. Dominic investigates deaths recorded in the Archive to help close cases long since grown cold.When he discovers glitches in the code surrounding a crime scene, the body of a beautiful woman abandoned in a muddy park that he’s convinced someone tried to delete from the Archive, his cycle of grief is shattered. Dominic tracks the murder through a web of deceit that takes him from the darkest corners of the Archive to the ruins of the city itself, leading him into the heart of a nightmare more horrific than anything he could have imagined.
Under the supertech Coalition government, Fortune’s colonists are enslaved to harvest the highly valuable brain-enhancing drug Yolk. The population is dying off and the planet is becoming a police state whose only purpose is to harvest Yolk. Anna Landborn, a brilliant, sociopathic child, and her quiet, lethally gifted sister, Magali; Runaway Joel, a virtuous military pilot turned smuggler; Milar Whitecliff, a chess-playing fugitive full of hatred and heart; Doberman, a robot in the throes of a transformation; and Tatiana Eyre, a captured Coalition soldier torn between loyalty and love. The battle to spark an uprising is violently challenged by the Nephyrs, the government’s elite army. The prophecies of a mad soothsayer have foretold the coming of a hero destined to turn the tide.
Young Adult. When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She’s what’s known as an illusionist…She’s also a thief. After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. What if it wasn’t? The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a race against the government that could cost them their lives.
Rick Dial has the potential to be a hero. Rick’s high school football team couldn’t be stopped when he was leading them as their quarterback. Then his dad abandoned them and a terrible accident left him crippled. Rick spends months hiding away in his room playing video games. He is approached by a government agency who claims to be trying to thwart a cyber attack on America. The problem is that there are no extra lives and this isn’t just a game. Entering “The Realm” gives Rick the one thing he thought he’d never have again: a body that’s as fast and as strong as he ever was. The more time he spends in The Realm, the more questions he has. What secrets are these agents keeping from him? What really happened to his father? How many others have gone into The Realm already? Is he the hero they think he is?
A time of war is upon humanity. The plans of a million years are ready for what has always been coming: Armageddon. The first move is set in motion and the assassinations begin. Only one element in the arsenal of the world can possibly give the Earth a fighting chance at survival, a tiny being that has already saved the world once in the Arizona desert is now called upon to outthink his former masters. The Event Group, is suffering from losses of military personnel and being torn apart by internal conflict. The Group also faces a threat that may be more dangerous to Earth’s survival than the attacks from deep space. Their old enemies have returned to take revenge and the worst fears of Department 5656 are realized. A breach in security allows intruders to get at the secrets inside the complex in Nevada. The fate of planet depends on a few men and women.
George Brookes is a plant biologist living on a remote Canadian island. After his mysterious death, the heirs to his estate arrive on the island, including his daughter Isabelle, her teenage children, and Jules Beecher, a friend and pioneer in plant neurobiology. Jules, investigating the laboratory and scientific papers left by George, comes to realize that his mentor may have achieved a scientific breakthrough: communication between plants and humans. The island begins to have strange effects on the group, especially Jules who becomes obsessed with George’s journal, the strange fungus growing on every plant and tree, and secrets that lay buried in the woods. Isabelle to realizes that her father may have unleashed something sinister on the island.
With his infectious love of storytelling in all its forms, his rich characterization and his unrivaled grasp of thrillingly bizarre cutting-edge science, Hannu Rajaniemi set a new benchmark for Science Fiction. Now, with his third novel, he completes the tale of the many lives, and minds, of gentleman rogue Jean de Flambeur. Influenced as much by the fin de siècle novels of Maurice leBlanc as he is by the greats of SF, Rajaniemi weaves intricate, warm capers through dazzling science, extraordinary visions of a wild future, and deep conjectures on the nature of reality and story. We will discover the ultimate fates of Jean, his employer Miele, the independently minded ship Perhonnen, and the rest of a fractured and diverse humanity flung throughout the solar system.
The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-first Annual Collection—edited by Gardner R. Dozois (July 15, St. Martin’s Griffin)
In the new millennium, what secrets lay beyond the far reaches of the universe? What mysteries belie the truths we once held to be self evident? The world of science fiction has long been a porthole into the realities of tomorrow, blurring the line between life and art. The very best SF authors explore ideas of a new world in the year’s best short stories. This collection brings together award winning authors and masters of the field such as Robert Reed, Alastair Reynolds, Damien Broderick, Elizabeth Bear, Paul McAuley and John Barnes. With an extensive recommended reading guide and a summation of the year in science fiction, this annual compilation has become the definitive anthology for all science fiction fans and readers interested in breaking into the genre.
With the doomsday asteroid looming, Detective Hank Palace has found sanctuary in the woods of New England, secure in a well-stocked safe house with other onetime members of the Concord police force. But with time ticking away before the asteroid makes landfall, Hank’s safety is only relative, and his only relative, his sister Nico, isn’t safe. Soon, it’s clear that there’s more than one earth-shattering revelation on the horizon, and it’s up to Hank to solve the puzzle before time runs out, for everyone.
Agatha H and the Voice of the Castle: A Girl Genius Novel (Girl Genius Novels #3)—Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio (July 21, Night Shade)
Agatha Heterodyne returns to her ancestral home, the warped little town of Mechanicsburg. There she must claim her inheritance by convincing the artificial intelligence that animates her family’s castle that she is, in fact, the new Heterodyne. But this apparently simple task is made complicated in several ways: An imposter claiming to be the legitimate heir appears. The Empire is convinced that Agatha is the person responsible for the Long War (and to be fair, they are not entirely incorrect). And, worst of all, the Castle itself is insane. (ebook only, print in August)
America’s worst nightmare has come true: a “cyberPearl Harbor” attack by unknown terrorists has crippled the nation’s power grid. Its ruthless captors issue their ultimatums and vow an apocalyptic reckoning. A defenseless nation scrambles to fight an invisible invasion. Chief among America’s last line of defense is Lana Elkins, head of a major cyber-security company and former top NSA operative who returns to her roots to spearhead the Agency’s efforts to combat the enemy’s onslaught on its own terms. While she and her superiors take action to infiltrate a terrorist hotbed overseas, closer to home ruthless jihadists with a nuclear bomb hijack a busload of schoolchildren, including Lana’s daughter, and race toward a rendezvous with Armageddon. (Digital; print available Sept. 2014)
Frontiers can be found in all directions. Frontiers of time and space, as well as frontiers of courage, devotion, love, hate, and the outer limits of the human spirit. This collection of stories spans the length and breadth of history and the universe, while exploring new ideas and dilemmas. From the Baghdad of the Arabian Nights to a vast interstellar empire thousands of years in the future, from the Vatican to a one-man vessel drifting in the vast emptiness of the Asteroid Belt, from virtual reality duels to the intricacies of time travel and a golf tournament on the Moon, here are tales of scoundrels and heroes, scientists and explorers, aliens and artificial intelligences, and even a young Albert Einstein. Each of them stands at the border of a new frontier and must venture out into unexplored territory.
Emma looks forward to the day when she can let go of her past, both of them. With clues to her parents’ whereabouts within her grasp, she may finally find a place to settle down. The past rises to haunt her and to make sure there’s nowhere on the planet she can hide. Declan Burke wants his wife back, and with a little manipulation and a lot of reward money, he’s got the entire world on his side. Except for the one man she dreads confronting the most: Noah Tucker. Emma returns to face what she’s done. Noah has moved on and another woman is raising their daughter. Emma battles for her life and her freedom. She’s decided to play their game and prove she isn’t the woman they thought she was. Even if it means she winds up dead. Or worse, reborn.
It began with a terrible vision of the future. Compelled by her precognitive visions, Ia must somehow save her home galaxy long after she’s gone. Demoralized, their ship destroyed, Ia’s Damned must fight their way out of a planet-bound blockade and back into space. But no sooner do they board the Damnation and re-enter the fight than a new threat emerges. After several centuries of silence, the Greys are back, and the Alliance must now fight against both a rapacious, sadistic enemy, and a terrifying, technologically superior foe. Ia has asked nothing of her crew that she herself has not been willing to give. But with two wars to bring to an end, and time running out, Ia must make and carry out the most terrible choice of all.