Fiction Affliction: May Releases in Science Fiction

Thirty-one new releases break the dystopian science fiction shelves this month (no, that’s not a typo), with new series titles from, among others, Gini Koch (Katherine “Kitty” Katt), Ramez Naam (Nexus), A. Bertram Chandler (John Grimes), Taylor Anderson (Destroyermen), Jack Campbell (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier), Ian Douglas (Star Carrier), and Mike Shepherd (Vicky Peterwald).

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

Alien Separation (Katherine “Kitty” Katt #11)Gini Koch (May 5, DAW)

The Mastermind has finally been identified, but before Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini can take him down, they, their daughter, Jamie, Charles Reynolds, Paul Gower, Christopher White, and several others are zapped out of their solar system and into another. Landing them on an alien planet, and not together…

Apex (Nexus #3)Ramez Naam (May 5, Angry Robot)

Global unrest spreads as mass protests advance throughout the US and China, Nexus-upgraded riot police battle against upgraded protestors, and a once-dead scientist plans to take over the planet’s electronic systems. The world has never experienced turmoil of this type, on this scale. They call them the Apex, humanity’s replacement. They’re smarter, faster, better. And infinitely more dangerous. Humanity is dying. Long live the Apex.

Binary (Evolution #2)Stephanie Saulter (May 5, Jo Fletcher)

Zavcka Klist has reinvented herself: no longer the ruthless gemtech enforcer determined to keep the gems they created enslaved, she’s now all about transparency and sharing the fruits of Bel’Natur’s research to help gems and norms alike. Neither Aryel Morningstar nor Dr. Eli Walker are convinced that Klist or Bel’Natur can have changed so dramatically, but the gems have problems that only a gemtech can solve. In exchange for their help, digital savant Herran agrees to work on Klist’s latest project: reviving the science that drove mankind to the brink of extinction. Then confiscated genestock disappears from a secure government facility, and the more DI Varsi investigates, the closer she comes to the dark heart of Bel’Natur and what Zavcka Klist is really after-not to mention the secrets of Aryel Morningstar’s own past. (U.S. Release)

Cash Crash Jubilee (Jubilee Cycle #1)Eli K.P. William (May 5, Talos)

In a near future Tokyo, every action is intellectual property owned by corporations. A BodyBank computer system implanted in each citizen records their movements and connects them to the audio-visual overlay of the ImmaNet. Amon Kenzaki works as a Liquidator for the Global Action Transaction Authority. His job is to capture bankrupt citizens, remove their BodyBank, and banish them to BankDeath Camps. Everything seems to be going well, until he is asked to cash crash a charismatic politician and model citizen, and soon after is charged for an incredibly expensive action called “jubilee” that he is sure he never performed. Amon must unravel the secret of jubilee, but finds himself asking dangerous questions about the system to which he’s devoted his life, and the costly investigation only drags him closer to the pit of bankruptcy.

CorsairJames L. Cambias (May 5, Tor)

In the early 2020s, two young, genius computer hackers, Elizabeth Santiago and David Schwartz, meet at MIT and have a brief affair. Elizabeth dreams of technology and space travel and takes a military job after graduating. Nearly ten years later, David is setting himself to become a billionaire by working in the shadows for international thieves, and Elizabeth works in intelligence preventing international space piracy. Robotic mining shipments from space are dropped down the gravity well into the oceans. If David can nudge a shipment 500 miles off its target, his employers can get there first and claim it legally in the open sea. When Elizabeth loses a major shipment, she leaves government employ to work for a private space company to find a better way to protect shipments. International piracy has very high stakes and some very evil players. And both Elizabeth and David end up in a world of trouble.

Gateway to Never (John Grimes #6)A. Bertram Chandler (May 5 Baen)

Number six in the collected adventures of John Grimes of the Galactic Rim series. Contains Chandler classic novels and collections The Gateway to Never, The Dark Dimensions, and The Way Back. Pipe-smoking, action-loving spaceship commander Lieutenant John Grimes (think Captain Kirk with more of a navy, salty attitude) moves out of the Federation navy and finds his true calling adventuring along the spaceways of the galactic rim.

Hell’s Maw (Outlanders #73)James Axler (May 5, Gold Eagle)

Earth’s secret history of alien occupation is challenged by a powerful alliance of warriors driven to reclaim humanity’s birthright. When a cruel, vicious ruler spreads a new wave of terror, the Cerberus rebels must fight for their lives. Beautiful, seductive and deadly, she is called Ereshkigal. Her flowerlike temple, eerie and alien, rises out of the desolate, sun-drenched desert of postapocalyptic Spain. The river of blood flowing to her temple doors is just the first sign of the horror to follow. With her army of Terror Priests eager to kill for their queen, Kane, Grant and Brigid must confront her dark power. But Ereshkigal’s power to control men’s lives may prove stronger than anything the Cerberus warriors have ever faced. And this evil interloper will not be satisfied until she has annihilated everything between her and total domination of Earth.

Overtaken (Overpowered #2)Mark H. Kruger (May 5, Simon & Schuster BYR)

Young Adult. After the mysterious pulses changed Nica Ashley’s life forever, she was sure things could only get worse when Dana Fox returned. Her reappearance after having gone missing for months surely means not only that Nica will lose her friendship with Jackson, but also that something more ominous is simmering under the surface of quiet Barrington. When another pulse occurs, Nica discovers that she can be invisible at any time. She tries to talk to her friends about how bizarre things have become, but they all seem to have no idea what she is talking about. Nica soon realizes that Dana has a strange control over the whole town, including her undercover, government-agent father. Now on her own, Nica must stop BarTech from using her and her friends as weapons. But can she figure out their ultimate plan before it is too late?

Straits of Hell (Destroyermen #10)Taylor Anderson (May 5, Roc)

Matt Reddy’s old Asiatic Fleet destroyer USS Walker has been transported to an alternate version of earth. Here WWII is no longer raging, and Reddy and his crew have been trying to find a new place for themselves in this strange new world. Along with the felinoid Lemurians and Imperial allies, they fight to keep the reptilian Grik, a race growing in supremacy, from reconquering the Lemurians’ ancestral home on Madagascar. Reddy and his crew are exhausted, far from reinforcements, and outnumbered. As for the fate of the Americas, Don Hernan and the evil Dominion have gathered to annihilate the forces behind the walls of Fort Defiance as a shadowy power with an agenda all its own rises with chilling resolve. A tipping point may have been reached at last, and cold steel and hot-blooded valor will remain the ultimate weapons.

The Book of Phoenix (Who Fears Death #0.1)Nnedi Okorafor (May 5, DAW)

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman”, only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. She is content living in her room speed reading e-books, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7. One evening, Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life. Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape. Phoenix’s escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanity’s future.

Until the Beginning (After the End #2)Amy Plum (May 5, Harper Teen)

Young Adult. When Juneau’s clan disappeared, she lost so much more than her friends and family. She soon discovered everything she thought she knew about her life was a lie. Her people’s gifts were actually secret abilities that others wanted, desperately enough to kidnap an entire village. Juneau and her new companion Miles’s cross-country journey to find her clan has led them to a game preserve in New Mexico. Now Juneau’s people are finally within reach, and she will stop at nothing to save them. But she has a target on her back too, because unbeknownst to her she is the key to unlocking everything. To rescue her people, and herself, Juneau must discover what she, and her abilities, are truly capable of.

Leviathan (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier #5)Jack Campbell (May 5, Ace)

Two Syndicate World star systems have fallen prey to a mysterious fleet of warships, a fleet controlled entirely by artificial intelligence, that is now targeting Alliance space. The warships were developed by the government to ensure security, but malfunctioned. If the Syndics learn the truth, the war with the Alliance will resume with a vengeance. As the government attempts to conceal the existence of the A.I. warships, and its role in their creation, Geary pursues them, treading a fine line between mutiny and obedience. It soon becomes clear that his fleet is no match for the firepower of the machine-piloted armada. With the help of the Dancer species of aliens, Geary has tracked the A.I. ships to their secret base in the mythical Unity Alternate star system where his fleet, the last hope of the Alliance’s future, will end the conflict at any cost.

The Venusian Gambit (Daedalus #3)Michael J. Martinez (May 5, Night Shade)

In the year 2135, dangerous alien life forms freed in the destruction of Saturn’s moon Enceladus are making their way toward Earth. A task force led by Lt. Cmdr. Shaila Jain is scrambling to beat them there while trying to save crewmember Stephane Durand, who was infected during the mission and is now controlled by a form of life intent on reopening a transdimensional rift and destroying the human race. Stephane has bigger plans, beaming critical data to other conspirators heading not for Earth, but for Venus. In 1809, a Napoleonic era far different from our own, the French have occupied England with their Corps Eternélle, undead soldiers risen through the darkest Alchemy. The machinations of old enemies point to a bold and daring gambit: an ancient weapon, presumed lost in the jungles of Venus. In the dark, alien jungles of Venus, humanity’s fate in both dimensions hangs in the balance, forcing past and present to once again join forces against an ancient terror.

TrackedJenny Martin (May 5, Dial)

Young Adult. On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee’s legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn’t stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra’s future than she could ever have imagined. It’s up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?

 

WEEK TWO

ArchangelMarguerite Reed (May 12, Arche Press)

The Earth is dying, and our hopes are pinned on Ubastis, an untamed paradise at the edge of colonized space. Such an influx of people threatens the planet’s unstudied ecosystem. The Ubasti colonists barely get by on their own. They are relegated to selling whatever they can to outside investors. For xenobiologist Vashti Loren, this means bringing Offworlders on safari to hunt the specimens she and her fellow biologists desperately need to study. Haunted by the death of her husband, the heroic and celebrated Lasse Undset, Vashti must balance the needs of Ubastis against the crush of settlers. When she discovers a genetically engineered soldier smuggled onto the surface, Vashti must face the nightmare of her husband’s murder all over again. Standing at the threshold of humanity’s greatest hope, she understands the darkness of guarding paradise.

Burn (Scan #2)Sarah Fine and Walter Jury (May 12, Putnam Juvenile)

Young Adult. At the cliffhanger ending of Scan, Tate loses the very thing he was fighting to protect, what his father had called the key to human survival. Tate doesn’t have much time to worry about it because he needs to get away, to ensure he and Christina are safe. His father left him one last thing that can do just that, a safehouse, which turns out to be a clue to what’s really threatening the planet. As Tate follows the clues his father left behind, he starts to uncover the truth, realizing he’s up against an enemy he’s only beginning to understand.

Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected FictionHannu Rajaniemi (May 12, Tachyon)

Inside the firewall the city is alive. Buildings breathe, cars attack, angels patrol, and hyper-intelligent pets rebel. A collection of Hannu Rajaniemi’s post-apocalyptic, post-cyberpunk, and post-human stories.

Mother of Eden (Dark Eden #2)Chris Beckett (May 12, Broadway Books)

Just a few generations ago, the planet’s five hundred inhabitants huddled together in the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees, afraid to venture out into the cold darkness around them. Humanity has spread across Eden, and two kingdoms have emerged. Both are sustained by violence and dominated by men, and both claim to be the favored children of Gela, the woman who came to Eden long ago on a boat that could cross the stars, and became the mother of them all. When young Starlight Brooking meets a powerful man from across Worldpool, she believes he will offer an outlet for her ambition and energy. She has no inkling that she will become a stand-in for Gela herself, and wear Gela’s fabled ring on her own finger, or that in this role, powerful and powerless all at once, she will try to change the course of Eden’s history.

Nil Unlocked (Nil #2)Lynne Matson (May 12, Henry Holt and Co. BYR)

Young Adult. On the island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape, or you die. Rives is now the undisputed Leader of Nil City, but keeping the City united is tougher than ever. Raiders have grown bolder, supplies are dwindling, and non-human inhabitants have taken a turn toward the deadly. New arrivals cause rifts within the City, putting the Search system at risk, and calling everything Rives knows into question. Desperate for answers, he teams up with the only other person searching for them: Skye, a new arrival with a mysterious past of her own. Soon the duo find themselves locked in a desperate race to save all the residents of Nil, and possibly destroy the island forever. But at what cost? And who will pay the price?

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Nine—edited by Jonathan Strahan (May 12, Solaris)

Distant worlds, time travel, epic adventure, unseen wonders and much more. The best, most original and brightest science fiction and fantasy stories from around the globe from the past twelve months are brought together in one collection. Includes stories from Joe Abercrombie, Eleanor Arnason, Polo Bacigalupi, Elizabeth Bear, Lauren Beukes, Holly Black, Greg Egan, Amal El-Mohtar, Theodora Goss, Nicola Griffith, James Patrick Kelly, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Alice Sola Kim, Ellen Klages, Kelly Link, Ken Liu, Usman Malik, Tim Maughan, Ian McDonald, Garth Nix, K.J. Parker, Karl Schroeder, Michael Swanwick, Rachel Swirsky, Genevieve Valentine, Peter Watts, and Kai Ashante Wilson.

 

WEEK THREE

AuroraKim Stanley Robinson (May 19, Orbit)

Tells the story of our first voyage beyond the solar system. Our voyage from Earth began generations ago. Now, we approach our destination. A new home. AURORA.

Dead Shift (Rho Agenda Inception Series #3)Richard Phillips (May 19, 47North)

The NSA’s most brilliant hacker is abducted and the world stands on the brink of cyberwar. The Ripper and his ghost team commandos are called to action, battling a host of enemies ranging from a genius tech-billionaire and the Chinese government to an emerging superintelligence capable of bringing the world to its knees. With every threat in play, Jack must confront his alien passenger and regain some semblance of self-control. As the origins of the Rho Agenda come to light, Jack struggles to embrace his destiny. But how can even one such as he prevail against an existential threat to humanity?

Eternity’s Wheel (InterWorld #3)Neil Gaiman, Michael Reaves and Mallory Reaves (May 19, HarperTeen)

Young Adult. Joey Harker never wanted to be a leader. But he’s the one everyone is looking to now that FrostNight looms, and he’ll have to step up if he has any hope of saving InterWorld, the Multiverse, and everything in between. Eternity’s Wheel is the conclusion to the InterWorld series, full of time and space travel, magic, science, and the bravery of a young boy who must now face his destiny as a young man.

SevenevesNeal Stephenson (May 19, William Morrow)

What would happen if the world were ending? A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space. But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain. Five thousand years later, their progeny, seven distinct races now three billion strong, embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown, to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

The Neptune Challenge (The Neptune Project #2)Polly Holyoke (May 19, Disney-Hyperion)

Young Adult. Genetically engineered to survive in the ocean, Nere and her friends are recovering from their treacherous journey to Safety Harbor, an undersea refuge founded by the scientists of the Neptune Project. Plenty of enemies prowl just outside the colony’s boundaries, and when two of the children are kidnapped, Nere, her loyal dolphins, and the other Neptune kids must set out on an expedition even more perilous than their first. Tasked with infiltrating the kidnapper’s high-tech undersea base, Nere soon discovers that rescuing the missing Neptune kids isn’t all there is to her mission: the secret to saving the world’s oceans is hidden somewhere deep inside this vast fortress, and she and her friends will have to risk everything to find it. Will Nere and her companions find a way to save their friends, themselves, and their underwater world?

 

WEEK FOUR

Deep Time (Star Carrier #6)Ian Douglas (May 26, Harper Voyager)

Once rebels themselves facing off against the Earth Confederation, the United States of North America is now the dominant force in negotiations with the interstellar Sh’daar Collective. But just as the Marines root out the last violent dissenters, an alien ship of unknown origin suddenly flees Earth’s orbit. Is it mere coincidence, or a terrifying omen? President Alexander Koenig watches with great interest as USNA forces chase the runaways down. But upon first contact, it’s not apparent where or when, the crew is headed. For this bizarre species has somehow mastered the power to manipulate time itself. Now Koenig must decide whether he’s dealing with angels of astonishing technological prowess, or the agents of humanity’s destruction.

Survivor (Vicky Peterwald #2)Mike Shepherd (May 26, Ace)

Seeking revenge for her brother’s death, Grand Duchess Vicky Peterwald underwent an unlikely transformation, from pampered heir to naval lieutenant. Now a new challenge looms: Vicky will need to use both her military and political ranks to rebuild war-torn planets, planets ruined both by the Peterwald Empire and by Kris Longknife’s revolutionary quests. But not everyone shares Vicky’s goals. When the death-before-dishonor code of the Navy meets the anything-goes-to-win motto of the Imperial family, Vicky must confront, outwit, and conquer both revolutionaries and her own family to stifle galactic disorder. And nothing stops a Grand Duchess, on or off the field.

The Cage (The Cage #1)Megan Shepherd (May 26, Balzer & Bray)

Young Adult. When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn’t know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments, all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn’t alone. Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora’s past. They slowly start to trust each other. When their mysterious jailer, a guard called Cassian, appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren’t from Earth. They have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo, where the exhibits are humans. Cora realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions?

The Death Code (The Murder Complex #2)Lindsay Cummings (May 26, Greenwillow)

Young Adult. Zephyr keeps the secret about Meadow close, that if she dies, The Murder Complex will be destroyed, too. Meadow, desperate to find her brother, father, and little sister, is determined to fearlessly fight to the end, even if it means sacrificing herself and her friends, new and old.

The Water KnifePaolo Bacigalupi (May 26, Knopf)

In the American Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, and California skirmish for dwindling shares of the Colorado River. Into the fray steps Angel Velasquez, detective, leg-breaker, assassin and spy. A Las Vegas water knife, Angel “cuts” water for his boss, Catherine Case, ensuring that her lush, luxurious arcology developments can bloom in the desert. When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in drought-ravaged Phoenix, Angel is sent to investigate. He encounters Lucy Monroe, a journalist with no love for Vegas, a young Texas refugee who survives by her wits and street smarts in a city that despises everything that she represents. It seems like California is making a power play to monopolize the life-giving flow of a river. For Angel, Lucy, and Maria time is running out and their only hope for survival rests in each other’s hands. The only thing for certain is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.

The BorderRobert McCammon (May 31, Subterranean)

A saga of an Earth devastated by a war between two marauding alien civilizations. It is not just the living ships of the monstrous Gorgons or the motion-blurred shock troops of the armored Cyphers that endanger the holdouts in the human bastion of Panther Ridge. The world itself has turned against the survivors, as one by one they succumb to despair and suicide or are transformed by otherworldly pollution into hideous Gray Men, cannibalistic mutants driven by insatiable hunger. Into these circumstances comes an amnesiac boy who names himself Ethan, a boy who must overcome mistrust and suspicion to master unknowable powers that may prove to be humanity’s last hope. Those powers make Ethan a threat to the warring aliens, long used to fearing only each other, and thrust him and his comrades into ever more perilous circumstances.


Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, including the recently released Pirate’s Alley. You can find Suzanne on Facebook and on her website.

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