Twenty new releases teleport to the science fiction shelves this month, with a new series edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois and new series additions from, among others, Peter Liney (Detainee Trilogy), David Drake and John Lambshead (Citizen), Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs (Virals), Christian Cantrell (Containment), and Nicholas Sansbury Smith (Orbs). Prefer your SF to be YA. You’re in luck this month…again.
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.
This series describes the clash of forces when an advanced society that has filled a solar system with flesh and blood life meets the near-AI’s that it banished long ago. This is a story of love for the wild and natural life on a colony planet, complex adventure set in powerful space stations, and the desire to live completely whether you are made of flesh and bone or silicon and carbon fiber. Meet ranger Charlie Windar and his adopted wild predator, and explore their home on a planet that has been raped and restored more than once. Meet Nona Hall, child of power and privilege from the greatest station in the system, the Diamond Deep. Meet Nona’s best friend, a young woman named Chrystal who awakens in a robotic body.
Ryan Cawdor and his six companions struggle to survive post-nuclear America, a grim new world where hope for the future is lost amid the devastation. In pursuit of a hardened enemy, Magus, Ryan and the companions find themselves in a land more foreign than any they’ve encountered. After unwittingly slipping through a time hole, the group lands in twentieth-century New York City, getting their first glimpse of predark civilization. And they’re not sure they like it. Only Mildred and Doc can appreciate this strange metropolis, but Armageddon is just seventy-two hours away, and Magus will stop at nothing to make sure Ryan and his team are destroyed on Nuke Day.
The Cutter Stream colonies were at peace. If everybody behaved reasonably, that peace could last a thousand years. Allen Allenson had known war; it had made him peaceful and reasonable. He was far too experienced to believe the same was true of all his fellow colonists, however, let alone the government of the distant homeworld across the Bight. War was coming, a war that the colonies had to win if they were ever to be more than prison camps and a dumping ground for incompetent noblemen. The experience that had caused Allenson to hate war made him the only man who could lead the colonial army. Allenson knew that he wasn’t really a general, but he understood his fellow colonists better than any homeworld general could. What Allen Allenson would not do, what he would never do, was quit.
The planet Venus has loomed almost as large in the imaginations of science fiction writers as Earth’s next-nearest neighbor, Mars. This new anthology of sixteen original stories turns back the clock to a more innocent time, before the hard-won knowledge of science vanquished the infinite possibilities of the imagination. Travel back in time to a planet that never was but should have been: a young, rain-drenched world of fabulous monsters and seductive mysteries. Featuring all-new stories by Eleanor Arnason, Elizabeth Bear, David Brin, Tobias S. Buckell, Michael Cassutt, Joe Haldeman, Matthew Hughes, Gwyneth Jones, Joe R. Lansdale, Stephen Leigh, Paul McAuley, Ian McDonald, Garth Nix, Mike Resnick, Allen M. Steele and Lavie Tidhar.
Young Adult. The Virals are back, but they’re not the only pack in town anymore. Terminal finds Tory Brennan, grandniece of the famous forensic anthropologist (star of the hit show Bones), and the rest of the Morris Island gang tracking a pack of rogue Virals who call themselves the Trinity. The new pack was infected by a strain of supervirus created by Tory’s nemesis and sometimes-crush, Chance Clayborne, who accidentally infected himself, too. These red-eyed Virals have openly challenged Tory’s pack for domination of Charleston, bringing on the attention of a shadowy government organization intent on learning the secret to their powers. Surviving it all is going to test the limits of the gang’s abilities.
Young Adult. Lora Mint is determined not to forget. Though her mother’s been dead for five years, Lora struggles to remember every detail about her, the specific events that occurred the night she sped off in her car, never to return. But in a world ravaged by Vergets disease, a viral form of Alzheimer’s, that isn’t easy. Usually Lora is aided by her memory key, a standard-issue chip embedded in her brain that preserves memories just the way a human brain would. A minor accident damages Lora’s key, and her memories go haywire. Lora remembers a moment from the night of her mother’s disappearance that indicates her death was no accident. Lora’s longing for her lost mother and journey to patch up her broken memories is filled with emotion. Her race to uncover the truth is a twisty ride.
Young Adult. Harlow Wintergreen has just been named the new Matriarch of VisionCrest, the powerful religious organization previously led by her father. But there’s one big problem. The real Harlow is trapped inside a Cambodian temple, and her double, the evil Isiris, has escaped confinement and is masquerading as her. Now initiated as their leader, Isiris intends to unleash a killer super virus aimed at cleansing the planet of VisionCrest. In order to stop her, Harlow must find a way out of the temple and locate the Resistance, or the world will be destroyed.
When it rains it pours monster machines that attack during a funeral and ruin everyone’s day. MI317, the government department devoted to defending Britain from cosmic horrors, is under siege, so Arthur Wallace and his team must travel to Area 51, ably, and oddly, assisted by Agent Gran. But their travels don’t end there, not when there’s an Arctic town populated entirely by spore zombies and the 2.0 version of Clyde has some funny ideas about how to save the world.
Young Adult. Chase Harcourt, call sign “Nyx,” is one of only two pilots chosen to fly the experimental “Streaker” jets at the junior Air Force Academy in the year 2048. She’s tough and impulsive with lightning-fast reactions, but few know the pain and loneliness of her past or the dark secret about her father. All anyone cares about is that Chase aces the upcoming Streaker trials, proving the prototype jet can knock the enemy out of the sky. But as the world tilts toward war, Chase cracks open a military secret. There’s a third Streaker jet, whose young hotshot pilot, Tristan, can match her on the ground and in the clouds. Chase doesn’t play well with others, but to save her country she may just have to put her life in the hands of the competition.
Young Adult. After escaping Internment, Morgan and her fellow fugitives land on the ground to finally learn about the world beneath their floating island home. The ground is a strange place where water falls from the sky as snow, and people watch moving pictures and visit speakeasies. A place where families can have as many children as they want, their dead are buried in vast gardens of bodies, and Internment is the feature of an amusement park. It is also a land at war. Everyone who fled Internment had their own reasons to escape their corrupt haven, but now they’re caught under the watchful eye of another king who wants to dominate his world. They may have made it to the ground, but have they dragged Internment with them?
Young Adult. Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. For some reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha, physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega, burdened with deformity. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other. Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream a dangerous dream: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights. (U.S.)
Having escaped the Island, a wasteland that housed those no longer able to contribute to society, ageing ‘Big Guy’ Clancy thought his fight was over. But they have returned to the mainland to find that it is not the haven they anticipated. With the punishment satellites that kept them on the Island, and the city under control, gone, hell has been unleashed. Clancy is about to discover that his work is far from over. (U.S.)
A delicate balance exists between humankind on Earth and the Coronians, the descendants of terrestrial scientists who were marooned aboard the space station Equinox. In exchange for raw materials crucial to expanding their off-world home, the Coronians provide precious space-based solar power to an Earth obscured by greenhouse gasses. Their future rests in the hands of Ayla Novik, a smuggler desperate to survive the world in which she plies her trade, and Luka Mance, a drug-addicted technician determined to save his planet and his people. When Ayla makes a devil’s deal to take human hostages in a Coronian power play, her mission sparks a revolt that will force an ultimate confrontation between earthbound and space-born, deciding once and for all whether two races will rise to coexistence or collapse in devastation.
Young Adult. In the past year Zel lost her father, the boy she loves, her safety, and any future she might have imagined for herself. Now she, her sister, and the band of genetic outcasts they’ve come to call their family are forced on the run when their safe house is attacked by men with neural guns. But on the way to a rumored haven in Chicago, Zel hears something, a whisper from Cy, the boy who traded himself for her sister’s safety. And when she veers off plan in order to search for him, what she finds is not what she expected. There’s more to their genetic mutations than they ever imagined, aspects that make them wonder if they might be accepted by the outside world after all.
With their numbers diminishing and the alien armies growing, Sophie’s biosphere decides to join forces with the team from NTC’s submarine. They discover strange, alien poles at each of the world’s seven highest summits: alien technology that the survivors believe may hold the key to shutting down the alien ships. The satellite also reveals an encrypted set of coordinates that reveal SOS messages from US Military bases around the world, all activated on invasion day, except for one: Offutt Air Force Base. The biosphere must deal with sabotage from within and a strange nanotechnology that has infected several of the survivors. Sophie and team must decide whether a new discovery at Offutt is worth abandoning the biosphere. The more the team learns, the more they realize the planet may be beyond saving and that salvation may require leaving the planet forever. (Digital)
The battle for Cygni colony may be over, but for Captain James Hood and the crew of the EDF Armstrong, the battle for humanity’s future has just begun. Hood’s defense of the remote outpost against the Cilik’ti aliens was magnificent, but without the timely help of an unlikely ally, a splinter tribe of humanity’s bitter enemies, the colony would have been lost and the Armstrong destroyed. As the humans prepare for a crucial meeting, a desperately needed Earth supply convoy is attacked. The lead escort cruiser’s captain disappears mysteriously. The fate of all of Earth’s new colonies hangs in the balance. Hood is charged with protecting them against growing threats from all sides. When rebellion and unrest challenge the very leadership of the Earth Defense Forces, Hood may need to go it alone, and make the ultimate sacrifice. (Digital)
Transporting a serial killer might seem like a simple job for CCF Homicide Investigator Kyle Tanner. Babysitting a prisoner will bring him to Alpha Centauri, where he can search for a way to escape the CCF forever. When his ship breaks down in deep space and a CCF research vessel comes to his aid, Tanner realizes he’s in terrible danger: the scientists on board have blocked his distress call. When Tanner’s prisoner escapes, he begins to suspect that the proximity of the research vessel had nothing to do with luck and everything to do with the CCF’s relentless reach. Tanner must unravel a tangled skein of vengeance, duplicity and murder in deep space. He’s being held at the will of master puppeteers, and if he can’t cut the strings, he’ll dance straight to a gruesome, excruciating death. (Digital)
Young Adult. Elusion was hailed as an exciting leap in technology, until users began to disappear amid rumors of addiction. Regan’s search for the truth led her and her new love interest, Josh, to Etherworld. Etherworld is a dimension hidden deep beyond Elusion’s firewall, where players can hide, and ultimately fight back. Regan’s father and others are here working to destroy Etherworld, but the longer they stay the less likely they’ll be able to return to the real world alive. Escape means attacking Elusion from within the program. It’s dangerous and it’s a puzzle. And even if they manage it, how will they be able to stop Orexis from distributing Elusion to the masses when the people who run it are corrupt?
Earth’s survivors face devastating new challenges in the wake of recovering from an alien conflict. Battered and mourning tremendous losses, the once fractious peoples of enemy nations must work together to rebuild their shattered world, and prevent the possibility of their attackers’ return. What they don’t know is that a new, deadlier enemy unlike anything they’ve ever faced will usher in the dawn of another war. Captain Morgan Passer commands the Rogue Class destroyer Autolycus, charged with an interstellar recon mission to detect traces of the repelled enemy while gathering information for the fortification of Earth’s defenses. What the expedition finds instead is a deeply disturbing mystery: a discovery that redefines everything they thought they knew about Earth’s place in the galaxy, and reveals deadly new horrors.
Grand journeys among the stars, pursuits, quests, explorations and encounters. Whether to have Kirth Gersen roam the Oikumene and Beyond tracking down his five Demon Princes or to strand Adam Reith on far-off Tschai. Or, as in this present volume, to take Earthstyle opera to the nonhuman folk of distant Rlaru, to study the much coveted treepod dwellings on Iszm, to follow the clues in five gold bands to the knowledge that lets a handful of races control all space travel in the universe, or to endure servitude at the hands of ruthless alien overlords. The five early tales featured in “Grand Crusades: The Early Jack Vance, Volume Five’” take us on a selection of journeys showing us how the future was in the earlier years of his writing career.