Science fiction stays in steady orbit in September with twenty-five books hitting the virtual and real shelves. Look for a “cli-fi” climate SF anthology edited by John Joseph Adams this month, plus new titles from, among others, David Walton, Janet Edwards (Earth Girl series), Stephanie Diaz (Extraction series), Ian McDonald, Henry V. O’Neil (Sim War series), and Tim Lebbon.
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.
In the near future, after the collapse of society as we know it, one English town survives under the protection of the computer algorithms of the Process, which governs every aspect of their lives. The Process gives and it takes. It allocates jobs and resources, giving each person exactly what it has calculated they will need. But it also decides who stays under its protection, and who must be banished to the wilderness beyond. James, the town bailiff, is charged with making sure the Process’s suggestions are implemented. Now the Process is making soldiers. It is readying for war, the First World War. The Process is slowly recreating events that took place over a hundred years ago, and is recruiting the town’s men to fight in an artificial reconstruction of the Dardanelles campaign. James, too, must go fight. And he will discover that the Process has become vastly more sophisticated and terrifying than anyone had believed possible.
Former assassin Raena Zacari thinks she’s left the past behind. The Imperial torturer who trained her is dead, the human empire is disbanded, and she is finally free. But Raena is troubled by a series of nightmares that always seem to end with her shooting an ex-lover in the head. She needs to get her mind clear because there’s a flaw in the most commonly used starship drive, and the band of media-obsessed pirates she’s fallen in with is right at the heart of the controversy. With humanity scattered across the galaxy, she’s going to have to rely on the alien crew members of the Veracity to help her put the pieces together. It doesn’t help that the Templars, wiped out in a genetic plague while Raena was imprisoned, have left booby-trapped biotechnology scattered across the galaxy.
Three novels in one volume for the first time: Janissaries and Tran: A modern soldier is transported by aliens to a world filled with warriors through the ages including medieval knights, Roman soldiers. His task: survival. Janissaries: Some days it just didn’t pay to be a soldier. Captain Rick Galloway and his men had been talked into volunteering for a dangeorus mission, only to be ruthlessly abandoned when faceless CIA higher-ups pulled the plug on the operation. Clan and Crown and Storms of Victory: Captain Rick Galloway, formerly of the US Army, more recently a mercenary commander, was now Lord Rick on the planet Tran. The time of the Demon Star approaches, whose close approach and fierce heat will render much of Tran uninhabitable. To survive this fiery apocalypse, the warring nations of Tran must be united. (Omnibus)
Ryan Oronzi is a paranoid, neurotic, and brilliant physicist who has developed a quantum military technology that could make soldiers nearly invincible in the field. The technology, however, gives power to the quantum creature known as the varcolac, which slowly begins to manipulate Dr. Oronzi and take over his mind. Oronzi eventually becomes the unwilling pawn of the varcolac in its bid to control the world. The creature immediately starts attacking those responsible for defeating it fifteen years earlier, including Sandra and Alex Kelley, the two versions of Alessandra Kelley who are still living as separate people. The two young women must fight the varcolac, despite the fact that defeating it may mean resolving once again into a single person.
Together for the first time in one volume, all four novels in the dark science fiction epic, the Morgaine Cycle. The gates were relics of a lost era, a linked network of portals that the ruthless Qual empire used to span Time and Space. The Science Buereau has come to believe that sometime, somewhere in the unreachable past, someone has done the unthinkable and warped the very fabric of the universe using these gates. Now, it is up to Morgaine, a mysterious woman aided by a single warrior honor-bound to serve her, to travel from world to world sealing the ancient gates whose very existence threatens the integrity of all worlds. (Omnibus)
For years the Garde have fought the Mogadorians in secret. Now all of that has changed. The invasion has begun. If the Garde can’t find a way to stop the Mogs, humanity will suffer the same fate as the Lorien: annihilation. There is still hope. When the Elders sent the Garde to Earth, they had a plan, one which the Garde are finally starting to understand. In the climax of The Revenge of Seven, a group of the Garde traveled to an ancient pyramid in Mexico known to their people as the Sanctuary. There they awoke a power that had been hidden within our planet for generations. Now this power can save the world, or destroy it. It will all depend on who wields it.
Labor organizer Padma Mehta is on the edge of space and the edge of burnout. All she wants is to buy out a little rum distillery and retire, but she’s supposed to recruit 500 people to the Union before she can. She’s only thirty-three short. When a small-time con artist tells her about forty people ready to tumble down the space elevator to break free from her old bosses, she checks it out. As Padma should know by now, there are no easy shortcuts on her planet. Retirement seems farther away than ever: she’s just stumbled into a secret corporate mission to stop a plant disease that could wipe out all the industrial sugarcane in Occupied Space. If she ever wants to have another drink of her favorite rum, she’s going to have to fight her way through the city’s warehouses, sewage plants, and up the elevator itself to stop this new plague.
Jarra never wanted to be a celebrity. All she ever wanted was to gain some respect for the people left on Earth: the unlucky few whose immune system prevents them from portaling to other planets. Except now she’s the most famous Earth girl in the universe, but not everyone in the universe is happy about it, nor the fact that she has found love with a norm. Jarra’s actions have repercussions that spread further than she ever could have imagined, and political unrest threatens to tear apart the delicate balance of peace between humanity’s worlds. The first alien artifact ever discovered appears to be waiting for Jarra to reveal its secrets. To do so, she must find a way to leave Earth, or else the alien artifact will be lost forever. Is there a way for Jarra to travel to another planet? Or is her destiny only to look to the stars, but never to reach them? (U.S. Release)
Clementine and Logan’s world is on the brink of destruction. An army of aliens from the planet Marden has arrived with a massive fleet of battleships, intent on putting an end to an age-old war. With the Alliance headquarters reduced to rubble and one of the rebel leaders close to death, Clementine and her friends have no choice but to retreat to the Core to escape the alien ships attacking the Surface. Safety in the Core means forming a temporary alliance with their sworn enemy. Striking a bargain with him, his pardon in exchange for their help defeating the Mardenites, seems the only way the rebels might survive. They soon find out that Marden’s force is more powerful than anyone anticipated, with weapons and technologies never before seen on Kiel. Unless old feuds can be set aside long enough for a diplomatic solution to be found, all of Kiel’s people will be destroyed, and all of Clementine’s sacrifices will mean nothing.
Young Adult. Fifteen-year-old bender Kivali has had a rough time in a gender-rigid culture. Abandoned as a baby and raised by Sheila, an ardent nonconformist, Kivali has always been surrounded by uncertainty. Is it true what Sheila says, that she was deposited on Earth by the mysterious saurians? What are you? people ask, and Kivali isn’t sure. Boy/girl? Human/lizard? Both/neither? Now she’s in CropCamp, with all of its schedules and regs, and the first real friends she’s ever had. Strange occurrences and complicated relationships raise questions Kivali has never before had to consider. But she has a gift, the power to enter a trancelike state to harness the “knowings” inside her. She has Lizard Radio. Will it be enough to save her?
The Earth lies in ruins in the aftermath of an extraterrestrial invasion. The seas are drying up while the atmosphere corrodes and slowly cooks any life remaining on the now desolate rock. Food is scarce, trust even more so, and the only people left alive all have done horrific things to stay that way. Among the few survivors is Lucas, an ordinary man hardened by the last few years after the world’s end. He’s fought off bandits, murderers, and stranded creatures on his long trek across the country in search of his family. What he finds instead is hope, something thought to be lost in the world. There’s a ship buried in a crater wall. One of theirs. One that works. To fly it, Lucas must join forces with a traitorous alien scientist and a captured, merciless raider named Asha. But unless they find common ground, all will die, stranded on a ruined Earth.
Last Light (Halo #16)—Troy Denning (September 15, Gallery Books)
It is 2553, and the three-decade long Covenant War has suddenly drawn to a close. Tensions remain that threaten to overflow into another full-scale conflict. Beneath the surface of the planet Gao lies a vast cavern system renowned for its therapeutic effects and rumored miraculous cures. Now Gao natives are turning up brutally murdered down there, violent acts that happen to coincide with the arrival of a UNSC research battalion protected by Spartan Blue Team, led by the Spartan-II Fred-104. Maverick detective Veta Lopis of the Gao Ministry of Protection is only trying to do her job as the Special Inspector assigned to catch a serial killer. When Gao is revealed to harbor ancient Forerunner technology that could solidify the UNSC’s military supremacy for centuries to come, Insurrection loyalists within the planetary government will do anything, even align with a vicious faction of the Covenant, to ensure that never happens. SF
Loosed Upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction—edited by John Joseph Adams (September 15, Saga Press)
The first, definitive anthology of climate fiction, a cutting-edge genre made popular by Margaret Atwood. Is it the end of the world as we know it? Climate Fiction, or Cli-Fi, is exploring the world we live in now, and in the very near future, as the effects of global warming become more evident. Join bestselling, award-winning writers like Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi, Kim Stanley Robinson, Seanan McGuire, and many others at the brink of tomorrow. SF
Young Adult. Michael, Taylor, Ostin, and the rest of the Electroclan go on their most dangerous mission yet. The resistance movement has been compromised. The Voice is in hiding. Their families are missing. Can the Electroclan pull together to defeat the Elgen once and for all?
In the year 2420, war looms between the galaxy’s two most powerful empires: the tyrannical Theocracy and the protectionist Commonwealth. Caught in the middle sits the occupied outpost system Cadiz, where young officer and aristocrat Katherine “Kat” Falcone finds herself. Kat is sent to command the Commonwealth navy’s newest warship, Lightning. Kat struggles to earn her crew’s respect and find her footing as the youngest captain in naval history. She soon discovers the situation on Cadiz is even worse than anyone in power anticipated. War isn’t just a possibility, it is imminent. Yet the admiral in position to bolster defenses refuses to prepare for a fight. Can Kat find a way to investigate the enemy, alert the Commonwealth, and whip an entire fleet into fighting shape before the Theocracy’s war machine destroys everything she holds dear?
Anders Jensen is having a bad month. His roommate is a data thief, his girlfriend picks fights in bars, and his best friend is a cyborg, and a lousy tipper. When everything is spiraling out of control, though, maybe those are exactly the kind of friends you need. In a world divided between the genetically engineered elite and the unmodified masses, Anders is an anomaly: engineered, but still broke and living next to a crack house. All he wants is to land a tenure-track faculty position, and maybe meet someone who’s not technically a criminal, but when a nightmare plague rips through Hagerstown, Anders finds himself dodging kinetic energy weapons and government assassins as Baltimore slips into chaos. His girlfriend’s street-magician brother-in-law might be a pretentious hipster, or might hold the secret to saving them all. (Digital)
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach. If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself, but first she has to make it there, alive.
The Scourwind family legacy brought the empire to the height of its power and prosperity and defended it against all enemies. One man’s machinations aim to shift the balance of power. When the trusted General Corian launches a coup against Emperor Scourwind, he hurls the planetary kingdom into chaos. To secure his claim as ruler, Corian will need the strength of the Scourwind name behind him, and he will stop at nothing to bring under his grasp the young Scourwind heirs, twins Lydia and Brennan. Barely into adulthood, the two are thrust into the crossfire. They eventually find refuge with Mira Delsol, pirate and former member of the elite empire forces. Loyalists, mercenaries, and political opportunists rally around the heirs in a bid to unseat the usurper. If their risky gambit fails, will the empire crumble into oblivion?
Serving aboard the Ananke, an experimental military spacecraft launched by the ruthless organization that rules Earth and its solar system, computer scientist Althea has established an intense emotional bond with the ship’s electronic systems, which speak more deeply to her analytical mind than human feelings do. A pair of fugitive terrorists gain access to the Ananke. While one of the saboteurs remains at large somewhere on board, his captured partner, Ivan, may prove to be more dangerous. As the ship’s systems begin to malfunction and the claustrophobic atmosphere is increasingly poisoned by distrust and suspicion, it falls to Althea to penetrate the prisoner’s layers of intrigue and deception before all is lost. But when the true nature of Ivan’s mission is exposed, it will change Althea forever, if it doesn’t kill her first.
The Moon wants to kill you. Maybe it will kill you when the per diem for your allotted food, water, and air runs out, just before you hit paydirt. Maybe it will kill you when you are trapped between the reigning corporations, the Five Dragons, in a foolish gamble against a futuristic feudal society. On the Moon, you must fight for every inch you want to gain. And that is just what Adriana Corta did. As the leader of the Moon’s newest “dragon,” Adriana has wrested control of the Moon’s Helium-3 industry from the Mackenzie Metal corporation and fought to earn her family’s new status. Adriana finds her corporation, Corta Helio, confronted by the many enemies she made during her meteoric rise. If the Corta family is to survive, Adriana’s five children must defend their mother’s empire from her many enemies, and each other.
The Promise of the Child (Amaranthine Spectrum #1)—Thomas N. Toner (September 22, Night Shade)
Lycaste is a lovesick recluse living in a forgotten Mediterranean cove who is renowned throughout the distorted people of the Old World for his beauty. Sotiris Gianakos is a 12,000-year-old Cypriote grieving the loss of his sister, a principled man who will change Lycaste’s life forever. Their stories, and others, become darkly entwined when Aaron the Longlife, the Usurper, a man who is not quite a man, makes a claim to the Amaranthine throne that threatens to throw the delicate political balance of the known galaxy into ruin. Set against an epic backdrop ranging from 14th-century Prague, to a lonely cove near the Mediterranean Sea, to the 147th-century Amaranthine Firmament.
For most of her life, Lirael has been training to kill, and replace, a duplicate version of herself on a parallel Earth. She is the perfect sleeper-soldier. But she’s beginning to suspect she is not a good person. Fans of eerily futuristic and beautifully crafted stories such as Never Let Me Go, Orphan Black, and Fringe will find themselves haunted by this unsettling debut. The two Earths are identical in almost every way. Two copies of every city, every building, even every person. But the people from the second Earth know something their duplicates do not, two versions of the same thing cannot exist. They, and their whole planet, are slowly disappearing. Lira has been trained mercilessly since childhood to learn everything she can about her duplicate, to be a ruthless sleeper-assassin who kills that other Lirael and steps seamlessly into her life
The Step, a faster-than-light method of travel, is humanity’s greatest advantage in its interstellar war with the Sims. Olech Mortas, Chairman of the Emergency Senate, believes the Step could be used to contact an alien entity that might tip the scales in the conflict. Olech’s son, Lieutenant Jander Mortas, has recently survived his first battle as part of the elite Orphan Brigade. The Orphans’ new mission is to investigate suspicious Sim activity on the jungle planet Verdur, but what they discover there is far worse than anything they could have imagined. Jander’s sister Ayliss has gone to the war zone as the governor of a new colony made up of discharged veterans. Ayliss realizes that she and the colonists stand in the way of both the Sim enemy and a sinister mining corporation. All three members of the Mortas family are about to step into dire situations. (Digital)
Predator ships stream into human space in unimaginable numbers. The Colonial Marines, controlled by Weyland-Yutani, respond to the incursion, thus entering The Rage War. This terrifying assault by the Yautja cannot go unchallenged, yet the cost of combat is high. Predators are master combatants, and each encounter yields a high body count. Then when Lt. Johnny Mains and his marines, the VoidLarks, enter the fray, they discover an enemy deadlier than any could imagine.
Nancy Kress, winner of multiple awards for her science fiction and fantasy, ranges through space and time in this collection. Anne Boleyn is snatched from her time stream, with unexpected consequences for two worlds. A far-future spaceship brings religion to a planet that already harbors shocking natives. People genetically engineered to never need to sleep clash with those who do. A scientific expedition to the center of the galaxy discovers more than anyone bargained for. A woman finds that ”people like us” does not mean what she thinks it does. Praised for both her hard SF and her complex characters, Nancy Kress brings a unique viewpoint to twenty-one stories, the best of a long and varied career that has won her five Nebulas, two Hugos, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.
Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, with a new novella in the Dark Secrets anthology out this month. You can find Suzanne on Facebook and on her website.