Fiction Affliction: December Releases in Science Fiction

Seventeen science fiction titles vie for your holiday dollars this month. Look for new titles from, among others, Gini Koch, Jay Allan, Jack McDevitt, and Jean Johnson, as well as a new Jonathan Strahan-edited The Infinity Project anthology.

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 in Chief (Katherine “Kitty” Katt #12)—Gini Koch (December 1, DAW)

As Kitty can tell you, it’s not easy being the wife of the vice president, especially not when he’s an alien from the Alpha Centauri system. Kitty & Company have been savoring a few months of quiet since they got back from Beta Eight. Their peace is shattered by the arrival of a mysterious female assassin, who might be Jeff’s missing niece, Stephanie. When the most dangerous prisoners in the most secure supermax prison escape with ease, things look bad. When the Mastermind releases a virus that kills people in a week, things go to Defcon Worse fast. It’s up to Kitty to save everyone important in the U.S. government before the virus spreads through the rest of the country, and then the world. This time, the Mastermind’s made it very personal. Either he’s going down, or Kitty is.

Challenging Saber (The Alliance #4)S.E. Smith (December 1, Montana)

Sci-fi Romance. Saber, a wounded Trivator, believes he is no longer a fit warrior, much less strong enough to claim a mate. He does everything in his power to push away the human female he has fallen in love with. Taylor Sampson may be human, but that doesn’t make her weak. She survived living on Earth for four years after the world went crazy. She has her eye on the one stubborn Trivator that captured her heart seven years before. Taylor has one last requirement in order to complete her schooling. Then, she plans to show Saber that he is the man she wants, but when the planet she is on erupts into a civil war, she is trapped behind enemy lines. When Saber discovers that Taylor has been left behind, the warrior inside him refuses to think of her as collateral damage in a battle for power. Journey to a lawless, alien world and discover what happens when the beast awakens inside a damaged Trivator warrior when the woman he loves is threatened. (Digital)

Come the Revolution (Sasha Naradnyo #2)Frank Chadwick (December 1, Baen)

Sasha Naradnyo had come a long way from the slums of Crack City on the planet Peezgtaan from Human gangster to head of security for Tweezaa e-Traak, the Varoki heiress to the largest fortune in the history of the Stellar Commonwealth. Then the largest nation on the Varoki home world collapsed into riots and civil war, a murderously anti-human Varoki fanatic made his bid for power, and the head of the Secret Police decided to take a personal interest in Sasha. Now Sasha must navigate the violence and anarchy of a growing revolution, come to grips with ghosts from his past who have suddenly turned up alive, make common cause with resistance fighters who want him dead, expose a conspiracy which will shake the Commonwealth to its foundations, and do it all without losing his soul.

Enemy in the Dark (Far Star Trilogy #2)Jay Allan (December 1, Harper Voyager)

Successfully completing their mission to rescue Marshal Augustin Lucerne’s daughter, the crew of the Wolf’s Claw are enjoying some rest. Except Blackhawk. The space gun for hire cannot escape Lucerne’s pleas for help against growing imperial control in the Far Stars. His resistance crumbles when Lucerne presents evidence that the imperial governor has been manipulating the conflicts in the Far Stars. Convinced of the danger of imperial domination, Blackhawk and his crew board the Wolf’s Claw and set out to gather intelligence on the Empire’s movements. Deep in the territory of the Far Stars, he discovers that the imperial governor’s machinations are far reaching, and threaten the independence of every world this side of the Void. Blackhawk is beginning to realize he can no longer remain a prisoner to his own past while the future of the Far Stars is in jeopardy.

Meeting Infinity (Infinity Project #4)Jonathan Strahan, editor (December 1, Solaris)

Whether it’s climate change, inundated coastlines and drowned cities; the cramped confines of a tin can hurtling through space to the outer reaches of our Solar System; or the rush of being uploaded into some cyberspace, our minds and bodies are going to have to change and change a lot. Meeting Infinity will be one hundred thousand words of SF filled with action and adventure that attempts to answer the question: how much do we need to change to meet tomorrow and live in the future? The authors contributing tho this collection are: Gregory Benford, James S.A. Corey, Aliette de Bodard, Kameron Hurley, Simon Ings, Madeline Ashby, John Barnes, Gwyneth Jones, Nancy Kress, Yoon Ha Lee, Ian McDonald, Ramez Naam, An Owomoyela, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Bruce Sterling and Sean Williams.

Nexis (Tricksters #1)A.L. Davroe (December 1, Entangled Teen)

Young Adult. In the domed city of Evanescence, appearance is everything. A Natural Born amongst genetically-altered Aristocrats, all Ella ever wanted was to be like everyone else. Augmented, sparkling, and perfect. Then, the crash. Devastated by her father’s death and struggling with her new physical limitations, Ella is terrified to learn she is not just alone, but little more than a prisoner. Her only escape is to lose herself in Nexis, the hugely popular virtual reality game her father created. In Nexis she meets Guster, a senior player who guides Ella through the new world she now inhabits. He offers Ella guidance, friendship, and something more. Something that allows her to forget about the “real” world, and makes her feel whole again. But Nexis isn’t quite the game everyone thinks it is. And it’s been waiting for Ella.

Rhythm of the Imperium (Imperium #3)Jody Lynn Nye (December 1, Baen)

The Zang, an elder race of the galaxy, are intelligent, curious, and powerful. They practice a most unusual art form: they bonsai star systems. Lieutenant Lord Thomas Kinago, accompanied as always by his personal assistant Parsons, sets out on a several-week jaunt to see the Zang destroy a moon to enhance the beauty of a star system. The trip is sidelined when Kinago’s uncle offers to take him to the seldom seen human homeworld, Earth. Kinago goes along, only to find on his return that the planet he’s just visited may be in danger of being eradicated. Earth lies within the protective sphere of the Zang, but enemies of the Imperium are lobbying to have Sol system turned over to them. It is up to Kinago and Parsons to save Earth. Kinago has the key, but will he be able to persuade the Zang to spare the human homeworld before it’s too late?

SlavemakersJoseph Wallace (December 1, Ace)

Twenty years ago, venomous parasitic wasps known as “thieves” staged a massive, apocalyptic attack on another species, Homo sapiens, putting them on the brink of extinction. But some humans did survive. The colony called Refugia is home to a population of 281, including scientists, a pilot, and a tough young woman named Kait. In the African wilderness, there’s Aisha Rose, nearly feral, born at the end of the old world. And in the ruins of New York City, there’s a mysterious, powerful boy, a skilled hunter, isolated and living by his wits. As the survivors journey through the wastelands, they will find that they are not the only humans left on earth. Not by a long shot. But they may be the only ones left who are not under the thieves’ control.

Tarnished (Perfected #2)Kate Jarvik Birch (December 1, Entangled Teen)

Young Adult. Ella was genetically engineered to be the perfect pet, graceful, demure, and kept. In a daring move, she escaped her captivity and took refuge in Canada. But while she can think and act as she pleases, the life of a liberated pet is just as confining as the Congressman’s gilded cage. Her escape triggered a backlash, and now no one’s safe, least of all the other pets. She’s trapped, unable to get back to Penn, the boy she loves, or help the girls who need her. Back in the United States, pets are turning up dead. With help from a very unexpected source, Ella slips deep into the dangerous black market, posing as a tarnished pet available to buy or sell. If she’s lucky, she’ll be able to rescue Penn and expose the truth about the breeding program. If she fails, Ella will pay not only with her life, but the lives of everyone she’s tried to save.

The Prison in Antares (Dead Enders #2)Mike Resnick (December 1, Pyr)

The Traanskei Coalition’s greatest weapon is the Q bomb, and after years of failure, the Democracy has come up with a defense against it. The problem is that they killed most of the team that created it. The sole survivor, Edgar Nmumba, was kidnapped by the Coalition. Only Nmumba can duplicate the work fast enough to prevent the loss of another dozen populated planets. Nathan Pretorius and his team of Dead Enders will require all their skills and cunning to rescue him, sane and in one piece, from the Coalition’s best-hidden and best-guarded prison, somewhere in the Antares sector. But in a game of cross and double-cross, can they find him before it’s too late?

Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3)Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (December 1, Disney-Hyperion)

Young Adult. A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck. In the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker. Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

Thunderbird (Ancient Shores #2)Jack McDevitt (December 1, Ace)

A working stargate dating back more than ten thousand years has been discovered in North Dakota, on a Sioux reservation near Devils Lake. Travel through the gate currently leads to three equally mysterious destinations: (1) an apparently empty garden world, quickly dubbed Eden; (2) a strange maze of underground passageways; or (3) a space station with a view of a galaxy that appears to be the Milky Way. The race to explore and claim the stargate quickly escalates, and those involved divide into opposing camps who view the teleportation technology either as an unprecedented opportunity for scientific research or a disastrous threat to national security. In the middle of the maelstrom stands Sioux chairman James Walker. Questions about what the stargate means for humanity’s role in the galaxy cannot be ignored. Especially since travel through the stargate isn’t necessarily only one way.

 

WEEK TWO

Inherit the Stars (Inherit the Stars #1)Tessa Elwood (December 8, Running Press)

Young Adult. Three royal houses ruling three interplanetary systems are on the brink of collapse, and they must either ally together or tear each other apart in order for their people to survive. Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family’s livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren’s life, possibly from the hands of their own father. But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?

 

WEEK THREE

No new releases.

 

WEEK FOUR

Barsk: The Elephants’ GraveyardLawrence M. Schoen (December 29, Tor)

In a distant future, no remnants of human beings remain, but their successors thrive throughout the galaxy. These are the offspring of humanity’s genius-animals uplifted into walking, talking, sentient beings. The Fant are one such species: anthropomorphic elephants ostracized by other races, and long ago exiled to the rainy ghetto world of Barsk. They develop medicines upon which all species now depend. The most coveted of these drugs is koph, which allows users to interact with the recently deceased and learn their secrets. To break the Fant’s control of koph, an offworld shadow group attempts to force the Fant to surrender their knowledge. Jorl, a Fant Speaker with the dead, is compelled to question his deceased best friend. Jorl unearths a secret the powers that be would prefer to keep buried. His dead friend’s son, a young Fant named Pizlo, is driven by disturbing visions to take his first unsteady steps toward an uncertain future.

The V’Dan (First Salik War #2)Jean Johnson (December 29, Ace)

The V’Dan always believed they were the chosen race, destined to make a mark on the galaxy. For the last few centuries, they interacted peacefully with other sentient species, save for the Salik. Cold, amphibious, and vicious, the Salik were set on one goal: to conquer every race within their grasp. Now that the Salik’s ruthless war has begun, the fate of the galaxy is in the hands of two strange companions: Li’eth, a prince under siege and his rescuer, Jacaranda MacKenzie. A beautiful ambassador from the Motherworld, Jackie possesses more than the holy powers of a goddess. She brings a secret weapon, a strange, wondrous, and dangerous new technology that could be her and Li’eth’s last and only hope to save their people from extinction.

Can & Can’tankerousHarlan Ellison (December 31, Subterranean)

This collection from one of SF’s leading authors showcases Ellison’s versatility. The first story, the 2010 Hugo-winner “How Interesting: A Tiny Man,” memorably depicts humanity’s smallness of spirit when people driven by irrational fears turn on an innocent victim. That scathing tale is followed by “Never Send to Know for Whom the Lettuce Wilts,” in which aliens plan to conquer humanity by subtly demoralizing methods such as the invention of wilted lettuce, buttons that cut thread, and the English language. Among the other eight pieces here are a modern re-envisioning of a schlock SF yarn Ellison wrote in 1957, 26 short pieces gathered as “From A to Z, in the Sarsparilla Alphabet,” and a loving tribute to Ray Bradbury.

Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, and writes paranormal and suspense as Susannah Sandlin. You can find Suzanne on Facebook and on her website.

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