Fiction Affliction: November Releases in Science Fiction

Twenty-seven new releases appear on the science fiction shelves this month, with new adult titles from, among others, Jack McDevitt, Stephen Baxter, Steven Erikson, Steven L. Kent, Jean Johnson, Brian Falkner, Mira Grant, and Brandon Sanderson. (Did we miss any Stephen/Steven authors?) Also, find a new Wild Cards novel edited by George R.R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass.

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.

 

WEEK ONE

Harry Harrison! Harry Harrison!, by Harry Harrison, (November 4, Tor)

Recollections of one of the grand masters of science fiction, on his storied career as a celebrated author and on his relationships with other luminaries in the field. This memoir is filled with all the humor and irreverence Harry Harrison’s readers have come to expect from the author of the uproarious Stainless Steel Rat series. This also includes black and white photos spanning his sixty-year career.

Hope Reformed (Raj Whitehall #7-8), by David Drake, Eric Flint and S.M. Stirling, (November 4, Baen)

Omnibus Edition. The Reformer: On Hafardine, civilization had fallen further than most. The Empire of Vanbret spread across the lands in a sterile splendor that could only end in another collapse. Adrian Gellert was a philosopher, a Student of the Grove. He sought a life of contemplation in the service of wisdom, until he touched the ’holy relic’ that contained the disincarnate minds of Raj Whitehall and Center. The Tyrant: On the planet Hafardine, civilization must rediscover progress or collapse. Adrian, guided by disembodied electronic mentors from space, has brought gunpowder and steam power to the Kingdom of the Isles to break the stranglehold of the Empire. He will have to avoid being killed by the King he serves, by the barbarians, and even by his insanely vengeful brother.

Horizon, by Keith Stevenson, (November 1, HarperCollins Voyager Impulse)

Thirty-four light years from Earth, the explorer ship Magellan is nearing its objective—sthe Iota Persei system. But when ship commander Cait Dyson wakes from deep sleep, she finds her co-pilot dead and the ship’s AI unresponsive. Cait works with the rest of her multinational crew to regain control of the ship, until they learn that Earth is facing total environmental collapse and their mission must change if humanity is to survive. As tensions rise and personal and political agendas play out in the ship’s cramped confines, the crew finally reach the planet Horizon, where everything they know will be challenged. (Digital)

The Fire Seekers (The Babel Trilogy #1), by Richard Farr, (November 1, Skyscape)

Young Adult. An undeciphered language in Crete. A rash of mysterious disappearances, from Bolivia to Japan. An ancient warning at the ruins of Babel. A new spiritual leader, who claims that human history as we understand it is about to come to an end. Seventeen-year-old Daniel Calder’s world falls apart when a freak accident brings personal tragedy, and he discovers there’s a link between the accident and a wildly successful new cult, the Seraphim. Catapulted into a violent struggle for humanity’s past and future, he’s not even sure who the enemy is, or if he’s battling a phantom that doesn’t exist. But as Daniel puts his life on the line, he is forced to conclude that our very survival as a species will depend on who, and what, we choose to believe.

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1), by Claudia Gray, (November 4, HarperTeen)

Young Adult. Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer, her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul, escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him. Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt, and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

Chain of Events: A Novel, by Fredrik T. Olsson, (November 4, Little, Brown)

William Sandberg, once a well-respected military cryptologist pursuing cutting-edge research, is a ruined man. William’s talents haven’t gone unnoticed. A nameless, top-secret organization abducts him and tasks him with a daunting mission: decode a message that will reveal the prophecies hidden in our DNA before it is too late. William’s ex-wife Christina is haunted by his absence and suspects there is more to his disappearance. She sets out to find him and joins an eclectic cast of characters all drawn to a mysterious chateau in the Alps where the secret organization is plotting something. What is the organization hiding? What does the code have to do with the potent virus suddenly spreading around the world? Can William uncover the truth before it’s too late?

Coming Home (Alex Benedict #7), by Jack McDevitt, (November 4, Ace)

Thousands of years ago, artifacts of the early space age were lost to rising oceans and widespread turmoil. Garnett Baylee devoted his life to finding them. In the wake of his death, one was found in his home. Antiquities dealer Alex Benedict and his pilot, Chase Kolpath, have gone to Earth to learn the truth. The trail seems to have gone cold, so they head back home to be present when the Capella, the interstellar transport that vanished eleven years earlier in a time/space warp, is expected to reappear. Rescuing it is of the utmost importance. Twenty-six hundred passengers, including Alex’s uncle, Gabriel Benedict, are on board. Alex now finds his attention divided between finding the artifacts and anticipating the rescue of the Capella. Time won’t allow him to do both. Alex Benedict never forgets and never gives up, and another day will soon come around.

Crashland (Twinmaker #2), by Sean Williams, (November 4, Balzer + Bray)

Young Adult. Clair and Jesse have barely been reunited when the world is plunged into its biggest crisis since the Water Wars. The d-mat network is broken. The world has ground to a halt. People are trapped, injured, dying. It’s the end of the world as Clair knows it, and it’s partly her fault. Now she’s been enlisted to track down her friend Q, the rogue AI who repeatedly saved her life, and who is the key to fixing the system. Targeted by dupes, abandoned by her friends, and caught in a web of lies that strike at the essence of who she is, Clair quickly finds powerful and dangerous allies. Caught between pro- and anti-d-mat philosophies, in a world on the brink of all-out war, Clair must decide where she stands, and who she stands with, at the end.

Empire of Dust: A Psi-Tech Novel, by Jacey Bedford, (November 4, DAW)

Mega corporations use their agents to race each other for resources across the galaxy. The agents, or psi-techs, are implanted with telepath technology. Cara Carlinni is an impossible thing, a runaway psi-tech. She knows Alphacorp can find its implant-augmented telepaths, anywhere, anytime, mind-to-mind. Though it’s driving her half-crazy, she’s powered down and has been surviving on tranqs and willpower. She’s on the run from Ari van Blaiden, a powerful executive, after discovering massive corruption in Alphacorp. Cara barely escapes his forces on a backwater planet, and gets out just in time due to the help of Ben Benjamin, a psi-tech Navigator for Alphacorp’s biggest company rival. Cara and Ben struggle to survive. Betrayal follows betrayal, and friends become enemies. Suddenly the most important skill is knowing whom to trust.

Judgment Plague (Outlanders #71), by James Axler, (November 4, Gold Eagle)

Though the Cerberus Rebels have battled unfathomable odds to defend mankind, victory and sovereignty remain far from assured. As enemies of otherworldly origin push the warriors’ power to the limit, a very human menace emerges, eager to grind them all to dust. Brothers-in-arms Kane and Grant upheld the inflexible laws of Cobaltville until they finally turned their backs on its wicked regime. Now a fresh threat brings them back to the barony, a mysterious plague that kills with impunity. It becomes clear that this murderous pestilence isn’t the result of some random mutation, but the product of a dark and twisted mind. The Cerberus warriors can only hope they’re not too late, or too vulnerable, to save humanity from being snuffed out by one of its own. 

Lowball (A Wild Cards Mosaic Novel), edited by George R.R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass, (November 4, Tor)

Decades after an alien virus changed the course of history, the surviving population of Manhattan still struggles to understand the new world left in its wake. Natural humans share the rough city with those given extraordinary—and sometimes terrifying—traits. While most manage to coexist in an uneasy peace, not everyone is willing to adapt. Down in the seedy underbelly of Jokertown, residents are going missing. The authorities are unwilling to investigate, except for a fresh lieutenant looking to prove himself and a collection of unlikely jokers forced to take matters into their own hands—or tentacles. The deeper into the kidnapping case these misfits and miscreants get, the higher the stakes are raised.

Polestar Omega (Deathlands #119), by James Axler, (November 4, Gold Eagle)

Ryan Cawdor and his companions travel the barren wastelands of a post-nuclear world. There are no laws in Deathlands, only fear, destruction and annihilation. This group journeys toward the shaky promise of sanctuary. Ryan and his friends become the subjects in a deadly experiment when they’re taken captive inside a redoubt at the South Pole. A team of scientists is convinced the earth must be purified of mutants, and now they have the perfect lab rats to test their powerful bioweapon. Within Antarctica’s harsh and unstable conditions, the companions must fight the odds and take down the whitecoats before millions are killed. But in this uncompromising landscape, defeating the enemy may be just another step toward a different kind of death.

Proxima (Proxima #1), by Stephen Baxter, (November 4, Roc)

Mankind’s future in this galaxy could be all but infinite. There are hundreds of billions of red dwarf stars, lasting trillions of years, and their planets can be habitable for humans. Such is the world of Proxima Centauri. And its promise could mean the never-ending existence of humanity. But first it must be colonized, and no one wants to be a settler. There is no glamour that accompanies it, like being the first man on the moon, nor is there the ease of becoming a citizen of an already-tamed world. There is only hardship, loneliness, emptiness. But that’s where Yuri comes in. Because sometimes exploration isn’t voluntary. It must be coerced. (U.S.)

Willful Child, by Steven Erikson, (November 4, Tor)

And so we join Captain Hadrian Sawback, a kind of James T Kirk crossed with ’American Dad’, and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through ’the infinite vastness of interstellar space’. A smart, inventive and hugely entertaining spoof on the whole mankind-exploring-space-for-the-good-of-all-species-but-trashing-stuff-with-a-lot-of-hi-tech-kit-along-the-way type over-blown adventure. The result is this smart. inventive, occasionally wildly OTT and often very funny novel that deftly parodies the genre while also paying fond homage to it. (U.S.)

Where the Lost Things Are: A Tor.Com Original, by Rudy Rucker and Terry Bisson, (November 5, Tor)

Thanks to “bluegene,” life is long. But out Route 42 near Goshen, it’s also kind of dull. Just the thing to encourage an expedition into the only actual other universe, the place where, but that would be telling. (Digital)

 

WEEK TWO

Homefront, by Scott James Magner, (November 11, Arche)

Set against the backdrop of a far-future Earth struggling to reinvent itself after a technological disaster. An adventure story about what it truly means to be human. Jantine is a Beta, a genetically modified super soldier charged establishing a hidden colony on Earth. When her expedition arrives in the middle of a civil war, she must choose her allies wisely or be exterminated.

Some Fine Day, by Kat Ross, (November 11, Skyscape)

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. (Digital. Print available February 2015)

The Three-Body Problem (Three Body #1), by Cixin Liu, (November 11, Tor)

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision. (U.S.)

Stranger, by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith, (November 13, Viking Juvenile)

Young Adult. Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, “the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. ”Las Anclas” now resembles a Wild West frontier town.where the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed. Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever, an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read, nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.

 

WEEK THREE

The Collected Stories of Frank Herbert, by Frank Herbert, (November 18, Tor)

Frank Herbert is one of the most celebrated and commercially successful science fiction writers of all time. While best known for originating the character of Paul Atreides and the desert world of Arrakis, Herbert was also a prolific writer of short fiction. His stories were published individually in numerous pulps and anthologies spanning decades, but never collected. Until now. Frank Herbert: Collected Stories is the most complete collection of Herbert’s short fiction ever assembled, thirty-seven stories originally published between 1952 and 1979, plus one story, “The Daddy Box,” that has never been appeared before.

The Dire Earth: A Novella, by Jason M. Hough, (November 18, Del Rey)

In the middle of the twenty-third century, an inexplicable disease engulfs the globe, leaving a trail of madness and savagery in its wake. Dutch air force pilot Skyler Luiken discovers he is immune to the disease when he returns from a mission to find the world in chaos, but he soon realizes that he’s not the only one to have endured the apocalypse. Elsewhere, the roguish Skadz, the cunning Nigel, and the tough-as-nails Samantha each make their way toward the last remaining bastion of sanity: Darwin, Australia, home to a mysterious alien artifact that may hold the key to the survival of the human race. (Digital)

Where the Trains Turn: A Tor.Com Original, by Pasi Illmari Jaaskelainen, (November 19, Tor)

I don’t like to think about the past. But I cannot stop remembering my son. Emma Nightingale prefers to remain grounded in reality as much as possible. Yet she’s willing to indulge her nine year-old son Rupert’s fascination with trains, as it brings him closer to his father, Gunnar, from whom she is separated. Once a month, Gunnar and Rupert venture out to follow the rails and watch the trains pass. Their trips have been pleasant, if uneventful, until one afternoon Rupert returns in tears. “The train tried to kill us,” he tells her. Rupert’s terror strikes Emma as merely the product of an overactive imagination. After all, his fears could not be based in reality, could they? (Digital Short)

 

WEEK FOUR

Damnation (Theirs Not to Reason Why #5), by Jean Johnson, (November 25, Ace)

With their new ship claimed and new crewmembers being collected, Ia’s Damned are ready and willing to re-enter the fight against the vicious, hungry forces of their Salik foes. But shortly after they board the Damnation to return to battle, a new threat emerges. After several centuries of silence, the Greys are back, and the Alliance must now combat 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 execute the most terrible choice of all.

Ice War (Recon Team Angel #3), by Brian Falkner, (November 25, Random House)

February 2033. Things are not good. Recon Team Angel has been shut down, and if the alien forces manage to cross the frozen Bering Strait from Russia into Alaska, then humanity has lost the war. So far the aliens seem to be marshaling their resources, preparing for their invasion. But something isn’t right, at the control center, two Navy Seal teams have vanished without a trace. Did they lose their way on the ice? Or is something terrible happening? Recon Team Angel is secretly reinstated and authorized to investigate. What will they find in the frozen tundra? This could be their most chilling mission yet. (U.S.)

Symbiont (Parasitology #2), by Mira Grant, (November 25, Orbit)

The SymboGen designed tapeworms were created to relieve humanity of disease and sickness. But the implants in the majority of the world’s population began attacking their hosts turning them into a ravenous horde. Now those who do not appear to be afflicted are being gathered for quarantine as panic spreads, but Sal and her companions must discover how the tapeworms are taking over their hosts, what their eventual goal is, and how they can be stopped.

The Clone Apocalypse, by Steven L. Kent, (November 25, Ace)

After launching an unsuccessful invasion of Washington, D.C., the Unified Authority is on the verge of defeat. Then the clones intercept a message detailing the U.A.’s last ditch plan for survival: a super weapon, a virus designed to attack the clones’ internal architecture. Only one clone was created without the fatal flaw, Wayson Harris, an outlaw model with independent thoughts and an addiction to violence. As his empire collapses and his comrades die around him, Harris begins a one-man war against the government that created, betrayed and ultimately destroyed his brothers. Fighting the war becomes more difficult, however, as the rush from the constant combat has reached its peak, and is driving Harris slowly insane.

Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), by Brandon Sanderson, (November 28, Subterranean)

Stephen Leeds, AKA “Legion,” is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. Leeds and his “aspects” are hired by I3 (Innovative Information Incorporated) to recover a corpse stolen from the local morgue. The corpse is that of a pioneer in the field of experimental biotechnology, a man whose work concerned the use of the human body as a massive storage device. He may have embedded something in the cells of his now dead body.

 


Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. You can find Suzanne on Facebook and on her website.

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