All hands to the navigation deck to thwart the invasion of a new alien species: teenagers! After laying waste to fantasy and urban fantasy, young adult fiction makes steady inroads into science fiction in October’s twenty-seven releases. Look for new adult titles from, among others, David Weber, Timothy Zahn and Thomas Pope (Honorverse: Manticore Ascendant); Greg Bear (War Dogs); Charles E. Gannon (Caine Riordan); David Weber (Safehold); Gene Wolfe; and Catherynne M. Valente.
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.
Lieutenant Travis Long of the Royal Manticoran Navy is the sort of person who likes an orderly universe. One where people follow the rules. Two of the best ways of making enemies ever invented are insisting on enforcing the rules, and thinking outside them when other people don’t. Travis learned that lesson the hard way as a young volunteer in basic training. The one rule Travis Long absolutely can’t break is the one that says an officer in the Royal Navy does his duty, whatever the consequences. There are powerful forces in the young Star Kingdom of Manticore’s Parliament which don’t think they need him. What does a sleepy little single-system star nation need with a navy? The edge of the explored galaxy can be a far more dangerous place than they think it is. They’re about to find out why they need the Navy, and how fortunate they are that Travis Long is in it.
The first book of a new military science fiction spin-off of Tanya Huff’s Confederation series.
For a moment, things seemed to be under control for Breq, the soldier who used to be a warship. Then a search of Atheok Station’s slums turns up someone who shouldn’t exist, and a messenger from the mysterious Presger empire arrives, as does Breq’s enemy, the divided and quite possibly insane Anaander Mianaai, ruler of an empire at war with itself. Breq refuses to flee with her ship and crew, because that would leave the people of Athoek in terrible danger. The odds aren’t good, but that’s never stopped her before.
After barely surviving his last tour on Mars, Master Sergeant Michael Venn finds himself back on earth in enforced isolation. Through a dangerous series of operations he returns to Mars to further his investigation into the Drifters, ancient artifacts suddenly reawakened on the red planet. But another front in the war leads his team to make the difficult journey to Saturn’s moon, Titan. Here, in the cauldron of war, hides new truths about the Drifters, the origin of life in our solar system and the plans of the supposedly benevolent Gurus, who have been “sponsoring” and supporting humanity in their fight against outside invaders.
Caine Riordan, reluctant diplomatic and military intelligence operative, has just finished playing his part repulsing the Arat Kur’s and Hkh’Rkh’s joint invasion of Earth. But scant hours after the attackers surrender, the mysterious but potentially helpful Slaasriithi appeal to Caine to shepherd a diplomatic mission on a visit to their very alien worlds. The possible prize: a crucial alliance in a universe where the fledgling Consolidated Terran Republic has very few friends. But Caine and his legation aren’t the only ones journeying into the unknown reaches of Slaasriithi space. A group of renegade K’tor are following them, intending to destroy humanity’s hopes for a quick alliance. And that means finding and killing Caine Riordan. Assuming that the bizarre and dangerous Slaasriithi lifeforms don’t do it first.
Ben Gold sacrificed his ship in an effort to prevent pirates from attacking the hidden city of Tamoanchan. Now Malik, an old friend turned enemy, has captured Ben and Miranda, the scientist Ben loves. With Miranda held hostage, Ben has to do Malik’s dirty work. Miranda has plans of her own, though. She has developed a test for the virus that turned most of the population into little more than beasts called Ferals two generations ago. She needs Ben’s help to rescue a group of her colleagues to perfect the test, but first they must rescue themselves. When a terrible new disease starts spreading across Tamoanchan and people start dying, it seems there’s something more sinister afoot. Then an old enemy attacks. Can Ben fight off the invaders? And will it be in time to save anyone from the disease?
The year is 2066. A Caltech intern notices an anomaly from a space telescope, something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate. Spaceships do. A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: Whatever built that ship is at least one hundred years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. The race is on, and an remarkable adventure begins, an epic tale of courage, treachery, resourcefulness, secrets, surprises, and astonishing human and technological discovery, as the members of a hastily thrown-together crew find their strength and wits tested against adversaries both of this earth and beyond.
Young Adult. When the aliens came, they didn’t attack, they just hung in the sky. After a year of human hysteria, they left and the rains began. Ever since, some girls have been born with unusual abilities. The fifth daughter of Magnus Roma, creator of the extraordinary circus called The Show, Penn was born a Celestine: she can call down the stars. Her newborn cries brought burning hail that killed her twin brother. For sixteen years Penn has hidden her power by assuming the life of her twin, just as her four older sisters have hidden from the Wardens’ Commission in plain sight as circus performers. One explosive night, Penn loses everything. The wardens want to protect Earth from anything alien. Her sisters are taken, and The Show is destroyed. Penn must do the unthinkable and use the power she’s been taught to suppress. She’ll travel to the very heart of her world’s darkness and discover the truth about her terrifying gift.
Young Adult. Liddi Jantzen hates the spotlight. As the only daughter in the most powerful tech family in the galaxy, it’s hard to escape it. When a group of men show up at her house uninvited, she assumes it’s just the usual media-grubs. Until shots are fired. Liddi escapes, only to be pulled into an interplanetary conspiracy. Her older brothers have been caught as well, trapped in the conduits between the planets. When their captor implants a device in Liddi’s vocal cords to monitor her speech, their lives are in her hands: Liddi travels to another world, where she meets the one person who might have the skills to help her bring her eight brothers home, a handsome dignitary named Tiav. Liddi must use every bit of her strength and wit to convince Tiav that her mission is true. With the tenuous balance of the planets deeply intertwined with her brothers’ survival, just how much is Liddi willing to sacrifice to bring them back?
Omnibus. In Emperors of the Twilight: Evi is a Frankenstein, the next step beyond human, her physiology bioengineered to make her the best Agency special operative. When she’s forced to go on the run from an unidentified hit team ready to destroy a skyscraper just to take her out, Evi’s only hope is to evade her stalkers long enough to make contact with her superiors. She soon discovers that even the Agency may not be able to save her. In Specters of the Dawn: A moreau of rabbit stock, Angel Lopez is the last survivor of a Cleveland street gang. She’s come to “tolerant” San Francisco only to find that the old-fashioned kind of humans aren’t keen on moreaus. She thinks she’s found a home and safety until Byron the fox barges into her life, dragging her into a series of confrontations that may blow San Francisco and the whole planet wide open.
Young Adult. This collection contains three novellas as well as a sneak peek at the first novel in Alexandra Bracken’s new series, Passenger. In Time: Gabe’s life has been devastated in the wake of the economic crash. The only option left for someone like him to escape his tragic past is to leave his small town behind and to attempt to become a skip tracer. Sparks Rise: Sam didn’t think things could get worse at Thurmond rehabilitation camp. Then the Reds arrive. To her horror, Sam recognizes one of them: Lucas, the one spark of light in Sam’s dark childhood. Beyond the Night: The government-run “rehabilitation camps” have been shut down, but kids with Psi powers are anything but free. Sam would rather be on her own than put in the care of a foster family. Sam once made someone a promise, and the time has come to fulfill it.
Torris, son of the Facemaker, knows only his small community at the base of the great Tree and his daily struggle for survival. When it comes time for his vision quest to the top of the Tree, he is completely unprepared for what he finds: first, a thieving and hostile fellow quester; then, Ning, a female hunter from a neighboring tree-bearing comet, who has catapulted across empty space in search of food to save her family; and ultimately, alien visitors in a massive starship that has spent billions of years crossing the galaxy. Forced to kill a fellow human and then banished for it, shocked at the cultural differences between his home and Ning s, and stunned by the changes precipitated by the arrival of the spaceship, Torris must learn quickly, adapt even faster, and face an uncertain and rapidly changing future unlike anything he has ever imagined.
Centuries ago, the human race fought its first great war against an alien race, and lost. A tiny population of human beings fled to distant Safehold. Centuries later, their descendants have forgotten their history. Merlyn Athrawes, cybernetic avatar of one of Earth’s longdead defenders, now reawakened after a thousand years. Merlyn has intervened in the small Safeholdian realm of Charis. It’s been a long and bloody fight, but aided by a stream of inventions, Charis and its few allies seem to have finally gained the upper hand. Now major realms have begun to consider switching sides. Merlyn Athrawes has been everywhere, under multiple disguises and wielding hidden powers. The secret of who and what he is has been closely held. But a new player has arrived, one who knows many secrets, including Merlyn’s own.
In the near future, the effects of a catastrophic solar flare have left the earth almost entirely submerged, with only the tops of the very tallest mountains remaining above water. Moored to one of these peaks is a flotilla of ships and boats containing all of the planet’s known survivors. One hundred and twenty-five souls remain, but not for long—a mysterious infection is turning the air they breathe and the water they drink into deadly hazards. Twelve volunteers have been sent out to look for help, or even any signs of life, and none have returned. It now falls to Eva, a former cop, and Jim, the flotilla’s elected leader, to keep the fragile peace among the inhabitants. Humanity is depending on them for its survival, together, can they find the answers in time?
Young Adult. When seventeen-year-old Ishmael wakes up from stasis aboard the Pequod, he is amazed by how different this planet is from the dirty, dying, Shroud-covered Earth he left behind. But Ishmael isn’t on Cretacea to marvel at the fresh air, sunshine, and endless blue ocean. He’s here to work, risking his life to hunt down great ocean-dwelling beasts to harvest and send back to the resource-depleted Earth. Even though easy prey abounds, time and again the chase boat crews are ordered to ignore it in order to pursue the elusive Great Terrafin. It’s rumored that the ship’s captain, Ahab, lost his leg to the beast years ago, and that he’s now consumed by revenge. But there may be more to Captain Ahab’s obsession. Dark secrets and dangerous exploits swirl around the pursuit of the beast, and Ishmael must do his best to survive, if he can.
There’s a storm on the horizon. Central Command is gone, the military is fractured, and the doomsday clock continues to tick. Despite overwhelming odds, Dr. Kate Lovato has developed a new weapon to defeat the Variants, a weapon that could end the war sweeping the globe. But can Master Sergeant Reed Beckham and the remaining members of Team Ghost protect her and the survivors of Plum Island long enough to save the human race? (Digital)
It is a hundred years in the future, our civilization is gone, and another is in place in North America, but it retains many familiar things and structures. The population is now small, there is advanced technology, there are robots, and there are clones. E. A. Smithe is a borrowed person. He is a clone who lives on a third-tier shelf in a public library, and his personality is an uploaded recording of a deceased mystery writer. Smithe is a piece of property. A wealthy patron, Colette Coldbrook, takes him from the library because he is the surviving personality of the author of Murder on Mars. A physical copy of that book was in the possession of her murdered father, and it contains an important secret, the key to immense family wealth. She borrows Smithe to help her find the book and to find out what the secret is. Then the plot gets complicated.
I Am Crying All Inside and Other Stories: The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak, Volume One—Clifford D. Simak (October 20, Open Road Media)
Ten stories of mystery and imagination in a world that cannot be, including the never-before-published “I Had No Head and My Eyes Were Floating Way Up in the Air,” originally written for Harlan Ellison’s The Last Dangerous Visions ™ People work. Folk play. That is the way it has been in this country as long as Sam can remember. He is happy, and he understands that this is the way it should be. People are bigger than folk. They are stronger. They do not need food or water. They do not need the warmth of a fire. All they need is a job to do and a blacksmith to fix them when they break. The people work so the folk can drink their moonshine, fish a little, throw a horseshoe. But when Sam starts to wonder about why the world is this way, his life will never be the same.
Young Adult. This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. Their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe. Her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Her crew limps home to earth and her story is preserved by the colony’s last survivor, Severin will never return.
Tales of the unknown in which a fix-it man crosses into another dimension, and more. Hiram Taine is a handyman who can fix anything. When he isn’t fiddling with his tools, he is roaming through the woods with his dog, Towser, as he has done for as long as he can remember. He likes things that he can understand. But when a new ceiling appears in his basement, a ceiling that appears to have the ability to repair television sets so they’re better than before, he knows he has come up against a mystery that no man can solve. Each story includes an introduction by David W. Wixon, literary executor of the Clifford D. Simak estate and editor of this ebook. (Digital)
Hank is walking home from the bar when the Model T pulls alongside him. It’s been decades since he saw a car this old, and the sound of it takes him right back to his twenties. The door is open, and when he climbs in, the car takes off, without a driver. Before he knows what’s happened, Hank is right back at Big Spring Pavilion, where he spent his youth drinking bootleg whiskey and chasing pretty girls. He will find the past is not quite as he remembered it, but still a lovely place to go for a drive. This collection includes some of the finest short fiction Clifford Simak ever wrote, including “City,” the story that became the basis for his beloved novel of the same name. (Digital)
The Cyrists are swiftly moving into position to begin the Culling, and Kate’s options are dwindling. With each jump to the past or the future, Kate may trigger a new timeline shift. Worse, the loyalties of those around her, including the allegiances of Kiernan and the Fifth Column, the shadowy group working with Kate, are increasingly unclear. Kate will risk everything, including her life, to prevent the future her grandfather and the Cyrists have planned. But, when time runs out, it may take an even bigger sacrifice to protect the people she loves.
Young Adult. In the near future, scientists create what may be a new form of life: an artificial human named Charlotte. All goes well until Charlotte escapes, transfers her consciousness to the Internet, and begins terrorizing the American public. Charlotte’s attacks have everyone on high alert, everyone except Lee Fisher, the closeted son of the U.S. president. Lee has other things to worry about, like keeping his Secret Service detail from finding out about his crush on Nico, the eccentric, Shakespeare-obsessed new boy at school. When attacks start happening at his school, Lee realizes he’s Charlotte’s next target. Nico may be part of Charlotte’s plan too. As Lee races to save himself, uncover Charlotte’s plan, and figure out if he can trust Nico, he comes to a whole new understanding of what it means to be alive, and what makes life worth living.
Five hundred years in the future, a depopulated Earth has become a tolerant, progressive paradise. What could be better, or duller? Mars is home to New Austin, a freewheeling human colony fabled to make Las Vegas look like a meditation retreat. Earnest schoolteacher Jordan Kincaid finds himself forced to relocate. It’s either life on Mars or life behind bars. Trend-chasing hipsters and obnoxious tourists have swarmed into New Austin at the expense of poverty-stricken locals, all overseen by a greedy megamogul bent on transforming the city into a gentrified nightmare. When a sexy but sinister heiress seduces Jordan, he finds himself on the wrong side of a literal real-estate rebellion. Forget about keeping it weird, someone’s got to keep Mars from becoming a hell off Earth. (Digital; print available January 2016)
In Argentine Antarctica, Eliana Gomez is the only female P.I. in Hope City, a domed colony dependent on electricity (and maintenance robots) for heat, light, and survival. At the center is an old amusement park, now home only to the androids once programmed to entertain, but Hope City’s days as a tourist destination are long over. The City produces atomic power for the mainland. A local mobster, Ignacio Cabrera, runs a brisk black-market trade in illegally imported food. Eliana just wants to save enough money to escape Hope City. An aristocrat hires Eliana to protect an explosive personal secret. Eliana finds herself caught up in the political tensions threatening to tear Hope City apart. Eliana finds her job coming into deadly conflict with Diego’s, just as the electricity that keeps Hope City from freezing begins to fail.
The aliens attacking the planetary system of Alwa are an enemy unlike any Admiral Kris Longknife has ever encountered before. She doesn’t know who they are, only that they worship a being known as the Enlightened One and are unafraid to sacrifice themselves against her fleet. But Kris faces more than just the fanatical behavior of an alien armada. A saboteur has infiltrated the military’s medical facility and unleashed an epidemic that has spread throughout the fleet without warning. Seventy-two career military women are down with something not even the aliens could do to them, including Admiral Kris Longknife.
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.