Let’s go to space! This month, Andy Weir goes to a new planet with the Moon-set Artemis; Chris Brookmyre presents the space station Ciudad de Cielo; and more crews than you can shake a stick at (or at least two or three) are on the run from all kinds of threats. Down here on Earth, things are dystopian-grim, cyberpunk-neon, or very concerned with artificial humanity. In short, there’s a lot going on in November’s science fiction picks.
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Nanoshock (SINless #2)—KC Alexander (November 7, Angry Robot)
Being a mercenary isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Especially when Riko’s hard-won reputation has taken a hard dive into fucked. Now she’s fair game for every Tom, Dick and Blow looking to score some cred. In this city, credibility means everything – there’s no room for excuses. She still doesn’t know what she did to screw up so badly, and chasing every gone-cold lead is only making it worse. Without help and losing ground fast, Riko has a choice: break every rule of the street on her search for answers… or die trying.
Valiant Dust—Richard M. Baker (November 7, Tor Books)
Sikander Singh North has always had it easy—until he joined the crew of the Aquilan Commonwealth starship CSS Hector. As the ship’s new gunnery officer and only Kashmiri, he must constantly prove himself better than his Aquilan crewmates, even if he has to use his fists. When the Hector is called to help with a planetary uprising, he’ll have to earn his unit’s respect, find who’s arming the rebels, and deal with the headstrong daughter of the colonial ruler—all while dodging bullets. Sikander’s military career is off to an explosive start—but only if he and CSS Hector can survive his first mission.
Places in the Darkness—Chris Brookmyre (November 7, Orbit)
Hundreds of miles above Earth, the space station Ciudad de Cielo—The City in the Sky—is a beacon of hope for humanity’s expansion into the stars. But not everyone aboard shares such noble ideals. Bootlegging, booze, and prostitution form a lucrative underground economy for rival gangs, which the authorities are happy to turn a blind eye to until a disassembled corpse is found dancing in the micro-gravity. In charge of the murder investigation is Nikki “Fix” Freeman, who is not thrilled to have Alice Blake, an uptight government goody-two-shoes, riding shotgun. As the bodies pile up, and the partners are forced to question their own memories, Nikki and Alice begin to realize that gang warfare may not be the only cause for the violence.
The Rule of Luck (Felicia Sevigny #1)—Catherine Cerveny (November 7, Orbit)
Year 2950. Humanity has survived devastating climate shifts and four world wars, coming out stronger and smarter than ever. Advanced technology is available to all, and enhancements to appearance, intelligence, and physical ability are commonplace. In this future, Felicia Sevigny has built her fame reading the futures of others. Alexei Petriv, the most dangerous man in the TriSystem, will trust only Felicia to read his cards. But the future she sees is darker than either of them could ever have imagined. A future that pits them against an all-knowing government, almost superhuman criminals, and something from Felicia’s past that she could never have predicted, but that could be the key to saving—or destroying—them all.
More Human Than Human: Stories of Androids, Robots, and Manufactured Humanity—Neil Clarke, editor (November 7, Night Shade Books)
The idea of creating an artificial human is an old one. One of the earliest science-fictional novels, Frankenstein, concerned itself primarily with the hubris of creation, and one’s relationship to one’s creator. Later versions of this “artificial human” story changed the focus to more modernist questions: What is the nature of humanity? What does it mean to be human? These stories continued through the golden age of science fiction and then through post-modern iterations. Today, this compelling science fiction trope persists in mass media narratives from Westworld to The Windup Girl. The short stories in More Human than Human demonstrate the depth and breadth of artificial humanity in contemporary science fiction. Issues of passing, of what it is to be human, of autonomy and slavery and oppression, and yes, the hubris of creation; these ideas have fascinated us for at least two hundred years, and this selection of stories demonstrates why it is such an alluring and recurring conceit.
The Night Clave: A Numenera Novel—Monte Cook & Shanna Germain (November 7, Angry Robot)
In the far-future Ninth World, claves of Aeon Priests help their community understand and use the mysterious technologies of the past. But what happens when a group of these priests uses this knowledge and power to exploit the people who depend on them? In the region of Steremoss, a group of brave individuals are determined to resist this oppression from the shadows. They call themselves the Night Clave.
The Red Men—Matthew De Abaitua (November 7, Angry Robot)
Once, Nelson was a radical journalist, but now he works for Monad, the corporation that makes the Dr Easys, the androids which police London’s streets. They also make the Red Men, versions of real people imagined by a shadowy artificial intelligence… and they’re looking to expand the program. Nelson creates Redtown, a digital version of a suburb, where the deepest secrets and desires of its citizens can be catalogued and studied. But the project’s goals are increasingly authoritarian and potentially catastrophic. As the boundaries between Redtown and the real world break down and revolution against the Red Men is imminent, Nelson is forced to choose between the corporation and his family.
Strange Music: A Pip & Flinx Adventure—Alan Dean Foster (November 7, Del Rey)
The unexpected return of an old friend draws Flinx and Pip to the backward planet of Largess, whose seal-like denizens’ primitive technology and fractious clan politics have kept a wary Commonwealth from a profitable trade relationship. But now a rogue human employing forbidden advanced weaponry threatens to ignite a war among the Larians. And Flinx is just the man to stop it before it starts. But once on Largess, Flinx discovers that his empathic abilities—usually his greatest asset—are rendered useless by the natives’ unique language, which is sung rather than spoken. Worse, the abduction of a powerful chieftain’s daughter has raised tensions to the boiling point. Now Flinx must depend on his own mettle—and of course Pip, the devoted minidrag with the deadly edge—to right wrongs, mend fences, and battle a cold-blooded adversary armed with enough firepower to blow them all away … and destroy the chance for peace in Largess forever.
Terminal Alliance—Jim C. Hines (November 7, DAW)
The Krakau came to Earth to invite humanity into a growing alliance of sentient species. However, they happened to arrive after a mutated plague wiped out half the planet, turned the rest into shambling, near-unstoppable animals, and basically destroyed human civilization. The Krakau’s first impulse was to turn around and go home. Their second impulse was to try to fix us. Now, a century later, human beings might not be what they once were, but at least they’re no longer trying to eat everyone. Mostly. Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos is surprisingly bright (for a human). As a Lieutenant on the Earth Mercenary Corps Ship Pufferfish, she’s in charge of the Shipboard Hygiene and Sanitation team. When a bioweapon attack wipes out the Krakau command crew and reverts the rest of the humans to their feral state, only Mops and her team are left with their minds intact. Escaping the attacking aliens—not to mention her shambling crewmates—is only the beginning.
The Stealers’ War—Stephen Hunt (November 7, Gollancz)
Weyland has been at war. Invaded by a technologically advanced enemy, the cities sacked, and what fragile peace remained torn apart by a civil war. All anyone should want is a return to peace. But Jacob Carneham still wants his revenge; and if he can lure the invaders into the mountain he can have it. He can kill them all. If he does, there may never be peace again. If he doesn’t, Weyland will never be free of the threat of invasion. The northern horse lords are planning an attack. A future Empress is fighting to save her daughter. Jacob’s son is trying to restore peace and stability to Weyland, alongside the rightful King. And behind it all is a greater struggle, which may spell the end for them all.
Eight Days on Planet Earth—Cat Jordan (November 7, HarperTeen)
Young adult. On the hot summer day Matty’s dad leaves for good, a strange girl suddenly appears in the empty field next to the Jones farm—the very field in rural Pennsylvania where a spaceship supposedly landed fifty years ago. She is uniquely beautiful, sweet, and smart, and she tells Matty she’s waiting for her spaceship to pick her up and return her to her home planet. Matty has heard a million impossible UFO stories for each of his seventeen years: the conspiracy theories, the wild rumors, the crazy belief in life beyond the stars. When he was a kid, he and his dad searched the skies and studied the constellations. But all of that is behind him. Dad’s gone—but now there’s Priya. She must be crazy…right? As Matty unravels the mystery of the girl in the field, he realizes there is far more to her than he first imagined. And if he can learn to believe in what he can’t see: the universe, aliens, love … then maybe the impossible is possible, after all.
The Dark Intercept—Julia Keller (November 7, Tor Teen)
Young adult. In a radiant world of endless summer, the Intercept keeps the peace. Violet Crowley, the sixteen-year-old daughter of New Earth’s Founding Father, has spent her life in comfort and safety. Her days are easy thanks to the Intercept, a crime-prevention device that monitors emotion. But when her long-time crush, Danny Mayhew, gets into a dangerous altercation on Old Earth, Violet launches a secret investigation to find out what he’s hiding. An investigation that will lead her to question everything she’s ever known about Danny, her father, and the power of the Intercept.
Renegades—Melissa Meyer (November 7, Feiwel & Friends)
Young adult. The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew. Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to the villains who have the power to end them both.
The Wrong Stars—Tim Pratt (November 7, Angry Robot)
The shady crew of the White Raven run freight and salvage at the fringes of our solar system. They discover the wreck of a centuries-old exploration vessel floating light years away from its intended destination and revive its sole occupant, who wakes with news of first alien contact. When the crew break it to her that humanity has alien allies already, she reveals that these are very different extra-terrestrials … and the gifts they bestowed on her could kill all humanity, or take it out to the most distant stars.
Invaders From Beyond: First Wave—Colin Sinclair, Tim Major, Julian Benson (November 7, Abaddon)
Alien invasion is one of the oldest devices in modern science fiction, dating back to Wells’ The War of the Worlds. It spoke to the paranoia of mid-twentieth-century life, spawning such classics as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Plan 9 From Outer Space and The Thing. Why do so many damn aliens want to invade Earth, anyway? And who’s going to stop them? Is this going to take long? Only I was going to go to the pub later. By turns funny, blackly comic and thoughtful, Invaders From Beyond: First Wave chronicles three unlikely invasion bids, in dingy commercial estates and broken-down council estates, where unlikely heroes—kids, screw-ups, survivors—will stumble their way through protecting the Earth.
This Mortal Coil—Emily Suvada (November 7, Simon Pulse)
Young adult. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius. That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. During the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by an organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive for two years on her own. When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race. Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?
Ironclads—Adrian Tchaikovsky (November 7, Solaris)
Sergeant Ted Regan has a problem. A son of one of the great corporate families, a Scion, has gone missing at the front. He should have been protected by his Ironclad – the lethal battle suits that make the Scions masters of war – but something has gone catastrophically wrong. Now Regan and his men, ill equipped and demoralised, must go behind enemy lines, find the missing Scion, and uncover how his suit failed. Is there a new Ironclad-killer out there? And how are common soldiers lacking the protection afforded the rich supposed to survive the battlefield of tomorrow?
Communication Failure (Epic Failure #2)—Joe Zieja (November 7, Saga Press)
In this sequel to Mechanical Failure, Captain Rogers, despite his best attempts to do otherwise, has become the acting admiral of the 331st Meridan fleet. His first task: worrying. A lot. The rival Thelicosan fleet, under the influence of bad intelligence, a forbidden romance, and a communication officer with an eardrum injury, is about to break a two-hundred-year-old nonaggression pact. They have offered a vague, easily misinterpreted message: “We’re invading.” Rogers isn’t sure, but he thinks that’s probably bad. War is hell, especially when you’ve forgotten how to fight one.
The Rebel (San Angeles #3)—Gerald Brandt (November 14, DAW)
Kris Merrill has lost everything. A year ago, Kris’s life was torn apart when a delivery went wrong. Now, war has broken out between the corporations, and the lower levels of San Angeles are paying the price. Water and food are rationed. People are being ripped from their families in massive sweeps, drafted to fight. Those remaining live in a wasteland. The insurgents are trying to help, but Kris is being left out, given menial tasks instead of doing what she was trained for. She is torn between working with the insurgents as they become more like the corporations they are fighting, and helping the people of the lower levels. Caught in one of SoCal’s draft sweeps and being hunted by an enemy who will stop at nothing to have revenge are just the tip of the iceberg. Kris is pregnant, and she might have to choose between bringing down the corporations that destroyed her family or saving the life of her unborn son.
Dark Deeds (Keiko #3)—Mike Brooks (November 14, Saga Press)
After the riotous civil war in Dark Sky, the crew of the Keiko decides to go on vacation at an illegal gambling port for a little fun. What they don’t realize is that the casinos are run by an ex-client who didn’t get his shipment due to the war. The mob boss decides to take Tamara Rouke, the Keiko’s second-in-command, and hold her hostage until the crew raises enough money to pay him back for the lost shipment. If they don’t pay up in time, Rouke will be killed. Captain Ichabod Drift and his crew agree. But as they find a way to get the funds, one will betray everyone and one will die…
Into the Black (Beyond the Red #2)—Ava Jae (November 14, Sky Pony Press)
Young adult. The world ruler is dead, technology foundational to their society destroyed, and Safara is on the brink of collapse. Half-human, half-alien Eros is the rightful heir to the world throne, but before he can return to the capital, he’s abducted by a rebel group of humans who call themselves The Remnant—and won’t release him until he swears to help them overthrow the very government he’s inheriting. With Eros missing, ex-queen Kora is determined to stave off mad grabs for the throne. But as royalty from across the territories flock to the capital, and a new charismatic candidate takes the spotlight, Kora sets off into the desert with a skilled prince-turned-bounty hunter to find Eros before it’s too late for both the future king and his kingdom.
Flashtide (Flashfall #2)—Jenny Moyer (November 14, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
Young adult. Orion has survived the tunnels of Outpost Five, filled with mutant creatures and dangers around every bend. She has traversed the cordons, exposed to the radiation of the flash curtain and hunted by forces that want her stopped, dead or alive. Now, with Dram by her side, she has made it to the safety of the mountain provinces, where free Conjurors live and practice their craft of manipulating matter. But Orion’s story is far from over. With the effects of the flashfall spreading and the might of the protected city of Alara looming, Orion must travel into the hands of her enemies once again.
Beyond the Empire (Indranan War #3)—K.B. Wagers (November 14, Orbit)
Gunrunner-turned-Empress Hail Bristol was dragged back to her home planet to take her rightful place in the palace. Her sisters and parents have been murdered, and the Indranan Empire is reeling from both treasonous plots and foreign invasion. Now, on the run from enemies on all fronts, Hail prepares to fight a full-scale war for her throne and her people, even as she struggles with the immense weight of the legacy thrust upon her. With the aid of a motley crew of allies old and new, she must return home to face off with the same powerful enemies who killed her family and aim to destroy everything and everyone she loves. Untangling a legacy of lies and restoring peace to Indrana will require an empress’s wrath and a gunrunner’s justice.
Artemis—Andy Weir (November 14, Crown)
Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.
Until the Last Dog Dies—Robert Guffey (November 21, Night Shade Books)
What happens when all humor is wiped off the face of the Earth? Around the world, an unusual viral plague is striking the population. The virus attacks only one particular section of the brain. It isn’t fatal, but it results in the victim’s sense of humor being obliterated. No one is immune. Elliot Greeley, a young stand-up comedian starving his way through alternative comedy clubs in Los Angeles, isn’t even certain the virus is real at first. But as the pandemic begins to eat away at the very heart of civilization itself, the virus affects Elliot and his close knit group of comedian friends in increasingly personal ways. What would you consider the end of the world?
Sweet Dreams—Tricia Sullivan (November 21, Gollancz)
Charlie is a dreamhacker, able to enter your dreams and mould their direction. Forget that recurring nightmare about being naked at an exam—Charlie will step in to your dream, bring you a dressing gown and give you the answers. As far as she knows, she’s the only person who can do this. Unfortunately, her power comes with one drawback—Charlie also has narcolepsy, and may fall asleep at the most inopportune moment. But in London 2022, her skill is in demand. And when she is hired by a minor celebrity—who also happens to be the new girlfriend of Charlie’s lamented ex—who dreams of a masked Creeper then sleepwalks off a tall building, Charlie begins to realise that someone else might be able to invade dreams.
The Naked World (Jubilee Cycle #2)—Eli K.P. William (November 21, Talos)
In a world stripped bare of digital images and promotainment, unveiled with the audiovisual overlay of the ImmaNet, in an exposed world, a naked world, Amon Kenzaki awakens, lost and alone. He must now travel deep into the District of Dreams in search of Rashana Birla, the one person that might help him unravel the mystery of jubilee. But deprived of the apps and informational tools he’s depended on his entire life, traversing the largest bankdeath camp on Earth is no easy task. Amon soon finds himself face to face with two dangerous groups: a cult called the Opportunity Scientists, who preach bizarre superstitions about economic salvation, and a supposedly humanitarian organization called the Philanthropy Syndicate, whose mandate of serving the poor conceals rapacious motives. Amon takes refuge in Xenocyst, a community that genuinely strives to improve conditions in the camps. But when political forces threaten the community’s existence and the lives of its members, he is forced to team up with a vending-machine designer, an Olympic runner, a fertility researcher, a corporate tycoon, and many others to expose the heinous secret festering at the heart of the action-transaction market he once served.
A War of Gifts (An Ender Story)—Orson Scott Card (November 28, Tor Books)
A standalone holiday story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Orson Scott Card, A War of Gifts is set during Ender’s time at Battle School. At the Battle School, there is only one course of study: the strategy and tactics of war. Humanity is fighting an alien race, and we fight as one. Students are drawn from all nations, all races, all religions, taken from their families as children. There is no room for cultural differences, no room for religious observances, and there is certainly no room for Santa Claus. But the young warriors disagree. When Dink Meeker leaves a Sinterklaaus Day gift in another Dutch student’s shoe, that quiet act of rebellion becomes the first shot in a war of wills that the staff of the Battle School never bargained for.
Darkness Falling (Andromedan Dark #2)—Ian Douglas (November 28, Harper Voyager)
Lord Commander Grayson St. Clair has guided the Tellus Ad Astra to a part of the universe no human—and possibly no race known to Man—has ever seen. Far from the worlds they know, the colony ship is on its own, facing … something that seems to have no weakness. Something whose sole purpose seems to be devouring civilizations. With both time and space as enemies, St. Clair must figure out a way to explore this new corner of space, maintain military order on a mission that was supposed to be civilian, and—somehow—bring the Tellus Ad Astra back to the Milky Way.
Starfire: Shadow Sun Seven—Spencer Ellsworth (November 28, Tor.com Publishing)
Jaqi, Araskar and Z are on the run from everyone—the Resistance, the remnants of the Empire, the cyborg Suits, and right now from the Matakas—and the Matakas are the most pressing concern because the insectoid aliens have the drop on them. The Resistance has a big reward out for Araskar and the human children he and Jaqi are protecting. But Araskar has something to offer the mercenary aliens. He knows how to get to a huge supply of pure oxygen cells, something in short supply in the formerly human Empire, and that might be enough to buy their freedom. Araskar knows where it is, and Jaqi can take them there. With the Matakas as troops, they break into Shadow Sun Seven, on the edge of the Dark Zone.