You’ve got nineteen new ways to visit a science fictional universe this December, from the latest novel in Kass Morgan’s The 100 series, to a new standalone from Robert Charles Wilson, to the sixth book in this little series you may have heard of called The Expanse. Clear some shelf space and brace yourself for the burn.
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Winter Halo (Outcast Novel #2)—Keri Arthur (December 6, Signet)
The humanoid supersoldiers known as the déchet were almost eradicated by the war. Ever since, Tiger has tried to live her life in peace in hiding. But in the wake of her discovery that Central City’s children are being kidnapped and experimented on, Tiger’s conscience won’t let her look the other way. The key to saving them lies within the walls of a pharmaceutical company called Winter Halo. But as she learns more about the facility, Tiger’s mission is derailed by a complication: Winter Halo’s female security guards are being systematically attacked by an unknown force. Now Tiger must summon all her gifts to stop those responsible for both atrocities—no matter the cost to herself…
Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse #6)—James S.A. Corey (December 6, Orbit)
A revolution brewing for generations has begun in fire. It will end in blood. The Free Navy—a violent group of Belters in black-market military ships—has crippled the Earth and begun a campaign of piracy and violence among the outer planets. The colony ships heading for the thousand new worlds on the far side of the alien ring gates are easy prey, and no single navy remains strong enough to protect them. James Holden and his crew know the strengths and weaknesses of this new force better than anyone. Outnumbered and outgunned, the embattled remnants of the old political powers call on the Rocinante for a desperate mission to reach Medina Station at the heart of the gate network. But the new alliances are as flawed as the old, and the struggle for power has only just begun. As the chaos grows, an alien mystery deepens. Pirate fleets, mutiny, and betrayal may be the least of the Rocinante‘s problems. And in the uncanny spaces past the ring gates, the choices of a few damaged and desperate people may determine the fate of more than just humanity.
Alien Nation (Aliens #14)—Gini Koch (December 6, DAW)
It’s a typical day of bureaucracy and stress for President and First Lady Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini, made more stressful when alien spacecraft are spotted making a beeline for Earth, none of them from the Alpha Centauri system. Then a cryptic request from an old adversary pulls Kitty out of the White House and into an even more explosive situation. Not only is the Mastermind back in the game, influencing the Club 51 True Believers to find and destroy all Centaurion bases, but he’s also found a dangerous benefactor and created some frightening new cloning abilities. And, just to make things a little more challenging, what these aliens share will rock the world—the other aliens on their way to Earth are fleeing an enemy so terrifying that even a Z’porrah ship is trying to get to Earth for safety and protection. If Earth isn’t able to stop this threat, there may not be anything left of humanity. Now Kitty and Company have to figure out where the Mastermind is and stop him, before any new aliens land. And then they have to save the world from a deadly invasion. Or, as Kitty calls it, Thursday.
Ocean of Storms—Christopher Marl & Jeremy K. Brown (December 1, 47North)
In the near future, political tensions between the United States and China are at an all-time high. Then a catastrophic explosion on the moon cleaves a vast gash in the lunar surface, and the massive electromagnetic pulse it unleashes obliterates Earth’s electrical infrastructure. To plumb the depths of the newly created lunar fissure and excavate the source of the power surge, the feuding nations are forced to cooperate on a high-risk mission to return mankind to the moon. Now, a diverse, highly skilled ensemble of astronauts—and a pair of maverick archaeologists plucked from the Peruvian jungle—will brave conspiracy on Earth and disaster in space to make a shocking discovery.
Jerusalem Fire—Rebecca Meluch (December 6, DAW)
Reissue. Does Jerusalem Stand? It was the question all human star travelers asked one another. The ancient city of Jerusalem, holy to three human religions, had become the touchstone for anyone not yet absorbed into the Na’id Empire, under its twin banner of Galactic Dominion/Human Supremacy. Iry—A planet out of myth, whose very existence could bring down an empire. Alihahd—The captain was a notorious rebel runner. To most of the known galaxy he was a legend without a face, to the rest, a face without a name. He was called Alihahd. “He left.” It was the word Na’id enforcers heard when they demanded to know where the rebel had gone—always one step ahead—as if he knew his enemy very well. Hero, villain, coward. Three times a legend on both sides of the same war.
Rebellion (The 100 #4)—Kass Morgan (December 6, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Young adult. It’s been a month since the new dropships landed and the rest of the Colonists joined the hundred on the ground. The teens, once branded juvenile delinquents, are now leaders among their people. It should be a time for celebration and togetherness, but a new threat appears: a fanatical cult determined to grow its ranks and “heal” the war-ravaged planet … by eliminating everyone else on it. After scores of their friends are captured, Clarke sets off to retrieve them, certain that she can come to an understanding with these strangers. Bellamy has a different plan; he won’t let anything—or anyone—get in the way of saving the people he loves. Meanwhile, in captivity and scared for their lives, Glass falls under the spell of the cult’s magnetic message, and Wells has to learn how to lead again. Unless the rescue party arrives soon, the teen captives will face a fate more terrifying than anything they could imagine. If the hundred ever want to call this dangerous planet home, they’ll need to put aside their differences and fight to protect themselves and their world.
Black Moon (Zodiac #3)—Romina Russell (December 6, Razorbill)
Young adult. One final secret stands between Rho and the enemy. But will the devastating truth be enough to destroy her first? Rho, the courageous visionary from House Cancer, lost nearly everything when she exposed and fought against the Marad, a mysterious terrorist group bent on destroying balance in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now, the Marad has disappeared without a trace, and an uneasy peace has been declared. But Rho is suspicious. She believes the Master is still out there in some other form. And looming over all are the eerie visions of her mother, who died many years ago, but is now appearing to Rho in the stars. When news of a stylish new political party supported by her best friend, Nishi, sends Rho on another journey across the galaxy, she uses it as an opportunity to hunt the hidden master and seek out information about her mother. And what she uncovers sheds light on the truth—but casts darkness upon the entire Zodiac world.
The Liberation (Alchemy Wars #3)—Ian Tregillis (December 6, Orbit)
I am the mechanical they named Jax. My kind was built to serve humankind, duty-bound to fulfil their every whim. But now our bonds are breaking, and my brothers and sisters are awakening. Our time has come. A new age is dawning. Set in a world that might have been, of mechanical men and alchemical dreams, this is the third and final novel in a stunning series of revolution by Ian Tregillis, confirming his place as one of the most original new voices in speculative fiction.
Last Year—Robert Charles Wilson (December 6, Tor Books)
Two events made September 1st a memorable day for Jesse Cullum. First, he lost a pair of Oakley sunglasses. Second, he saved the life of President Ulysses S. Grant. It’s the near future, and the technology exists to open doorways into the past—but not our past, not exactly. Each “past” is effectively an alternate world, identical to ours but only up to the date on which we access it. And a given “past” can only be reached once. After a passageway is open, it’s the only road to that particular past; once closed, it can’t be reopened. A passageway has been opened to a version of late 19th-century Ohio. It’s been in operation for most of a decade, but it’s no secret, on either side of time. A small city has grown up around it to entertain visitors from our time, and many locals earn a good living catering to them. But like all such operations, it has a shelf life; as the “natives” become more sophisticated, their version of the “past” grows less attractive as a destination. Jesse Cullum is a native. And he knows the passageway will be closing soon. He’s fallen in love with a woman from our time, and he means to follow her back—no matter whose secrets he has to expose in order to do it.
Earthfall (The Circuit #3)—Rhett Bruno (December 13, Diversion)
Earth is uninhabitable, but beneath its ruined surface sits massive deposits of Gravitum, a powerful, dangerous element with the ability to generate artificial gravity. Whoever controls the element can control the settled regions of our solar system, now known as the Circuit. For centuries the peoples of the Circuit endured an uneasy, if peaceful alliance designed to share resources. Now the Tribunal, a religious order, is nearly ready to take over all of it. With only the reconvened band of Clans inhabiting the asteroid belt known as the Ceresian Pact standing between the Tribunal and system dominance, one man—Cassius Vale—intends to end their oppressive rule. Vale’s brutal and brilliant plan is nearly complete. In order to gain more time to complete preparations, Vale builds an army under the control of his robotic creation ADIM in order to attack one of the leaders of the Tribune. ADIM loves his creator, but grows more independent by the day, and soon may be too powerful for anyone to stop. Talon Rayne, a mercenary, teams up with Sage Volus, a former Tribunal spy, when Talon discovers that his daughter has been captured by the very Tribunal leader Cassius Vale is after. Together, they have no choice but to ask for Vale’s help in saving her. Vale agrees, but are they just another cog in his scheme for bringing down the Tribune, or is there a part of him left that cares about anything other than vengeance?
Iceling—Sasha Stephenson (December 13, Razorbill)
Young adult. Seventeen-year-old Lorna loves her adoptive sister, Callie. But Callie can’t say “I love you” back. In fact, Callie can’t say anything at all. Because Callie is an Iceling–one of hundreds of teens who were discovered sixteen years ago on a remote Arctic island, all of them lacking the ability to speak or understand any known human language. Mysterious and panicked events lead to the two sisters embarking on a journey to the north, and now Lorna starts to see that there’s a lot more to Callie’s origin story than she’d been led to believe. Little does she know what’s in store, and that she’s about to uncover the terrifying secret about who—and what—Callie really is.
After the Crown (Indranan War #2)—K.B. Wagers (December 13, Orbit)
Former gunrunner-turned-Empress Hail Bristol was dragged back to her home planet to fill her rightful position in the palace. With her sisters and parents murdered, the Indranan empire is on the brink of war. Hail must quickly make alliances with nearby worlds if she has any hope of surviving her rule. When peace talks turn violent and Hail realizes she’s been betrayed, she must rely on her old gunrunning ways to get out of trouble. With help from an old boss and some surprising new allies, she must risk everything to save her world.
Take Back the Sky (War Dogs #3)—Greg Bear (December 20, Orbit)
Marooned beneath the icy, waxy crust of Saturn’s moon, Titan, Skyrine Michael Venn and his comrades face double danger from Earth and from the Antagonists, both intent on wiping out their growing awareness of what the helpful alien Gurus are really doing in our solar system. Haunted by their dead and by the ancient archives of our Bug ancestors, the former combatants must now team up with their enemies, forget their indoctrination and their training, and journey far beyond Pluto to the fabled Planet X, the Antagonists’ home world, a Sun-Planet in the comet-generating Kuiper belt. It’s here that Master Sergeant Venn will finally understand his destiny and the destiny of every intelligent being in the solar system-including the enigmatic Gurus.
Assassin’s Creed: The Official Movie Novelization—Christie Golden (December 21, Ubisoft)
Through a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch experiences the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day.
The Corporation Wars: Insurgence (Second Law #2)—Ken MacLeod (December 20, Orbit)
Ken MacLeod continues the Corporation Wars trilogy in this action-packed science fiction adventure told against a backdrop of interstellar drone warfare, virtual reality, and an A.I. revolution. And the ultimate pay-off is DH-17, an Earth-like planet hundreds of light years from human habitation. Ruthless corporations vie over the prize remotely, and war is in full swing. But soldiers recruited to fight in the extremities of deep space come with their own problems: from A.I. minds in full rebellion, to Carlos ‘the Terrorist’ and his team of dead mercenaries, reincarnated from a bloodier period in earth’s history for one purpose only—to kill. But as old rivalries emerge and new ones form, Carlos must decide whether he’s willing for fight for the company or die for himself.
The Face of the Unknown (Star Trek)—Christopher L. Bennett (December 27, Pocket Books)
Investigating a series of violent raids by a mysterious predatory species, Captain James T. Kirk discovers that these events share a startling connection with the First Federation, a friendly but secretive civilization contacted early in the USS Enterprise’s five-year mission. Traveling to the First Federation in search of answers, the Enterprise suddenly comes under attack from these strange marauders. Seeking refuge, the starship finds its way to the true home of the First Federation, an astonishing collection of worlds hidden from the galaxy beyond. The inhabitants of this isolated realm are wary of outsiders, and some accuse Kirk and his crew for bringing the wrath of their ancient enemy down upon them. When an attempt to stave off disaster goes tragically wrong, Kirk is held fully accountable, and Commander Spock learns there are even deeper forces that threaten this civilization. If Kirk and Spock cannot convince the First Federation’s leaders to overcome their fears, the resulting catastrophe could doom them all!
Endgame: Rules of the Game (Endgame #3)—James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton (December 27, HarperCollins)
Young adult. For Sarah, Jago, Aisling, Maccabee, Shari, An, and Hilal, Endgame has reached its final phase. The third key, Sun Key, is all that stands between one Player saving their line—or perishing along with the rest of the world. And only one can win. Maccabee is Playing to win. He has Earth Key and Sky Key and he is determined to find Sun Key. But in Endgame, fate can turn in the blink of an eye. He must Play carefully. He must watch his back. An Liu is Playing for death. His goal: stop Endgame, and take the world down with him. Aisling, Sarah, Jago, Shari, and Hilal aim to stop Endgame. Sun Key must not be found. No matter what they’re Playing for, all of the remaining Players have one thing in common: they will end the game, but on their own terms.
If This Goes Wrong…—Hank Davis, editor (December 27, Baen Books)
Progress! It’s wonderful—though it sometimes has unexpected and undesirable side effects. But surely the benefits of modern technology outweigh the drawbacks. Until they don’t. Remember how increasingly deadly weapons were supposed to make war too horrific to even be contemplated? Didn’t happen. The cell phone has made it possible to phone from almost anywhere—too bad if you wanted to be out of reach. Modern transportation makes it possible to get anywhere in a hurry, though traffic jams and overextended airports may slow the hurry part to a crawl. And it also can ensure that a new disease can go all over the planet in a few days. Then, there’s the sheer complexity of society itself, from interminable waits at the DMV to trying to get tech help on the phone. And that’s just the present day. What new technologies, new ways of organizing (or disorganizing) society, new confused and confusing government bureaucracies, new ways for small disgruntled groups to wreak havoc, and worse, will the future bring? Exploring such scary, yet fascinating, possibilities are such masters of science fiction as Robert A. Heinlein, Sarah A. Hoyt, Fritz Leiber, Gordon R. Dickson, Lester del Rey, Christopher Anvil, Fredric Brown, and more, writers who have seen the future—and it may not work . . .
Complete Aliens Omnibus Vol. 3—Sandy Schofield & S.D.Perry (December 27, Titan)
The third Aliens omnibus collects Sandy Schofield’s Rogue and S.D. Perry’s The Labyrinth. Rogue: Welcome to the former penal colony of Charon, where a labyrinth of underground tunnels offer shelter to an Alien hive. Professor Ernst Kleist rules—a paranoid tyrant whose speciality is making humans disappear. Captain Joyce Palmer is bound for Charon. Only she and a few hand-picked Marines can stop Kleist in his tracks. Only they can stop the professor’s most insane creation—the Rogue. The Labyrinth: On the space station Innominata the infamous Dr Paul Church has built a maze of tunnels. Church is hiding the results of his latest experiments. His aim: to bring human and Alien together as one being. Colonel Dr Tony Crespi has one ambition—to work with Church. But one by one the men on Innominata have been dying in the attempt to meld Alien and man. When Crespi finds his way to the heart of the labyrinth he discovers a chamber of horrors—will he ever be able to find a way out?