How’s space doing this month? Things seem pretty stressful out there, between Avengers: Infinity War and a whole lot of books in which things are bleak and dangerous and war is just around the corner. May is also ready to meet all your dystopia needs, from a future in which a form of dementia afflicts people of all ages to one where there’s a literal price to be paid for every crime. On-the-run siblings, uncontrollable time-jumping, giant robots, clones, and ever so much more round out the month’s science fictional offerings!
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
The Glory of the Empress—Sean Danker (May 1, Ace)
The war between Evagardian Empire and the Commonwealth is at its peak. The Evagardians have developed a weapon that could change everything, but they can’t use it until it’s been fully tested. Targeting unsuspecting pirates in a newly annexed system, far from the worst of the fightingsean is supposed to be a safe way to determine if the weapon is ready for live combat. Everything about the mission is unconventional; the crew of twelve has been pulled from every corner of the Imperial Service, but it should still be an easy tour. After all, a few pirates can’t possibly threaten Evagard’s elite, especially when they’re armed with the most powerful technology in the Imperium. But it’s an unproven system aboard an experimental ship, and there are worse things than pirates waiting in the Demenis System. Far from the front lines, the crew of the Lydia Bennett is about to start a war of their own, and they’re a long way from home.
Medusa Uploaded—Emily Devenport (May 1, Tor Books)
My name is Oichi Angelis, and I am a worm. They see me every day. They consider me harmless. And that’s the trick, isn’t it? A generation starship can hide many secrets. When an Executive clan suspects Oichi of insurgency and discreetly shoves her out an airlock, one of those secrets finds and rescues her. Officially dead, Oichi begins to rebalance power one assassination at a time and uncovers the shocking truth behind the generation starship and the Executive clans.
Only Human (Themis Files #3)—Sylvain Neuvel (May 1, Del Rey)
Brilliant scientist Rose Franklin has devoted her adult life to solving the mystery she accidentally stumbled upon as a child: a huge metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. The discovery set in motion a cataclysmic chain of events with geopolitical ramifications. Rose and the Earth Defense Corps raced to master the enigmatic technology, as giant robots suddenly descended on Earth’s most populous cities, killing one hundred million people in the process. Though Rose and her team were able to fend off the attack, their victory was short-lived. The mysterious invaders retreated, disappearing from the shattered planet … but they took the scientist and her crew with them. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find a devastating new war—this time between humans. It appears the aliens left behind their titanic death machines so humankind will obliterate itself. Rose is determined to find a solution, whatever it takes. But will she become a pawn in a doomsday game no one can win?
Bandwidth (Analog #1)—Eliot Peper (May 1, 47North)
A rising star at a preeminent political lobbying firm, Dag Calhoun represents the world’s most powerful technology and energy executives. But when a close brush with death reveals that the influence he wields makes him a target, impossible cracks appear in his perfect, richly appointed life. Like everyone else, Dag relies on his digital feed for everything—a feed that is as personal as it is pervasive, and may not be as private as it seems. As he struggles to make sense of the dark forces closing in on him, he discovers that activists are hijacking the feed to manipulate markets and governments. Going public would destroy everything he’s worked so hard to build, but it’s not just Dag’s life on the line—a shadow war is coming, one that will secure humanity’s future or doom the planet to climate catastrophe. Ultimately, Dag must decide the price he’s willing to pay to change the world.
True Storm (True Born #3)—L.E. Sterling (May 1, Entangled Teen)
Young adult. Lucy’s twin sister, Margot, may be safely back with her—but all is not well in Plague-ravaged Dominion City. The Watchers have come out of hiding, spreading chaos and death throughout the city, and suddenly Lucy finds herself torn between three men with secrets of their own. Betrayal is a cruel lesson, and the Fox sisters can hardly believe who is behind the plot against them. To survive this deadly game of politics, Lucy is forced to agree to a marriage of convenience. But DNA isn’t the only thing they want from Lucy … or her sister. As they say in Dominion, rogue genes can never have a happy ending…
Obscura—Joe Hart (May 8, Thomas & Mercer)
In the near future, an aggressive and terrifying new form of dementia is affecting victims of all ages. Dr. Gillian Ryan is on the cutting edge of research and desperately determined to find a cure. She’s already lost her husband to the disease, and now her young daughter is slowly succumbing as well. After losing her funding, she is given the unique opportunity to expand her research. She will travel with a NASA team to a space station where the crew has been stricken with symptoms of a similar inexplicable psychosis—memory loss, trances, and violent, uncontrollable impulses. Crippled by a secret addiction and suffering from creeping paranoia, Gillian finds her journey becoming a nightmare as unexplainable and violent events plague the mission. With her grip weakening on reality, she starts to doubt her own innocence. And she’s beginning to question so much more—like the true nature of the mission, the motivations of the crew, and every deadly new secret space has to offer.
The Rig—Roger Levy (May 8, Titan)
Humanity has spread across the depths of space but is connected by AfterLife—a vote made by every member of humanity on the worth of a life. Bale, a disillusioned policeman on the planet Bleak, is brutally attacked, leading writer Raisa on to a story spanning centuries of corruption. On Gehenna, the last religious planet, a hyperintelligent boy, Alef, meets psychopath Pellon Hoq, and so begins a rivalry and friendship to last an epoch.
Blood Orbit—K. R. Richardson (May 8, Pyr)
Eric Matheson, an idealistic rookie cop trying to break from his powerful family, is plunged into the investigation of a brutal crime in his first weeks on the job in Angra Dastrelas, the corrupt capital city of the corporate-owned planet Gattis. A newcomer to the planet, Matheson is unaware of the danger he’s courting when he’s promoted in the field to assist the controversial Chief Investigating Forensic Officer, Inspector J. P. Dillal, the planet’s first cybernetically enhanced investigator. Coming from a despised ethnic underclass, the brilliant and secretive Dillal seems determined to unravel the crime regardless of the consequences. The deeper they dig, the more dangerous the investigation becomes. But in a system where the cops enforce corporate will, instead of the law, the solution could expose Gattis’s most shocking secrets and cost thousands of lives—including Matheson’s and Dillal’s.
Mayfly—Jeff Sweat (May 8, Feiwel & Friends)
Young adult. Jemma has spent her life scavenging tools and supplies in her tribe’s small enclave outside what used to be a big city. Now she’s a teen, and old enough to become a Mama. Making babies is how her people survive—in Jemma’s world, life ends at age seventeen. Survival has eclipsed love ever since the Parents died of a mysterious plague. But Jemma’s connection to a boy named Apple is stronger than her duty as a Mama. Forced to leave, Jemma and Apple are joined in exile by a mysterious boy who claims to know what is causing them to die. The world is crumbling around them, and their time is running out. Life is short. Can they outlive it?
Side Life—Steve Toutonghi (May 8, Soho Press)
Vin, a down-on-his-luck young tech entrepreneur forced out of the software company he started, takes a job house-sitting an ultra-modern Seattle mansion whose owner has gone missing. There he discovers a secret basement lab with an array of computers and three large, smooth caskets. Inside one he finds a woman in a state of suspended animation. There is also a dog-eared notebook filled with circuit diagrams, beautiful and intricate drawings of body parts, and pages of code. When Vin decides to enter one of the caskets himself, his reality begins to unravel, and he finds himself on a terrifying journey that raises fundamental questions about reality, free will, and the meaning of a human life.
Strange New World—Rachel Vincent (May 8, Delacorte Press)
Young adult. Dahlia 16’s life is a lie. The city of Lakeview isn’t a utopia that raises individuals for the greater good; it is a clone farm that mass-produces servants for the elite. And because Dahlia breaks the rules, her sisters—the 4,999 girls who share her face—are destroyed. She and Trigger 17, the soldier who risked his life for hers, go on the run, escaping into the wild outside the city walls. But it turns out Dahlia has one remaining identical. Waverly Whitmore is teenage royalty, a media sensation with millions of fans who broadcasts her every move—including every detail of her wedding planning, leading up to the day she marries Hennessy Chapman. Waverly lives a perfect life built on the labors of clones like Dahlia. She has no idea that she too is a clone … until she comes face to face with Dahlia. One deadly secret. Two genetic sisters. And a world that isn’t big enough for both of them.
Artificial Condition (Murderbot #2)—Martha Wells (May 8, Tor.com Publishing)
It has a dark past—one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more. Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue. What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…
The Soldier—Neal Asher (May 15, Night Shade Books)
In a far corner of space, on the borders between humanity’s Polity worlds and the kingdom of the vicious crab-like prador, is an immediate threat to all sentient life: an accretion disc, a solar system designed by the long-dead Jain race and swarming with living technology powerful enough to destroy entire civilizations. Neither the Polity or the prador want the other in full control of the disc, so they’ve placed an impartial third party in charge of guarding the technology from escaping into the galaxy: Orlandine, a part-human, part-AI haiman. She’s assisted by Dragon, a spaceship-sized alien entity who has long been suspicious of Jain technology and who suspects the disc is a trap. Meanwhile, the android Angel is planning an attack on the Polity, and is searching for a terrible weapon to carry out his plans—a Jain super-soldier. But what exactly the super-soldier is, and what it could be used for if it fell into the wrong hands, will bring Angel and Orlandine’s missions to a head in a way that could forever change the balance of power in the Polity universe.
Buying Time—E.M. Brown (May 15, Solaris)
In January 2017, something very strange happens to screenwriter Ed Richie. He wakes up one morning to find that he has been shunted back in time nine months and is now inhabiting the body of his younger self. Worse is to come: the following day he jumps to 2013, with all his memories of the intervening years intact. What is happening to him? Is he going mad? And where will his involuntary time-travel end? Meanwhile, in 2030, journalist Ella Croft is investigating the life of screenwriter and celebrated novelist Ed Richie, who mysteriously vanished in 2025. She interviews friends, acquaintances, and old lovers—and what she discovers will change not only Ed Richie’s life, but her own…
Ascendant (Genesis Fleet #2)—Jack Campbell (May 15, Ace)
In the three years since former fleet officer Rob Geary and former Marine Mele Darcy led improvised forces to repel attacks on the newly settled world of Glenlyon, tensions have only gotten worse. When one of Glenlyon’s warships is blown apart trying to break the blockade that has isolated the world from the rest of human-colonized space, only the destroyer Saber remains to defend it from another attack. Geary’s decision to take Saber to the nearby star Kosatka to safeguard a diplomatic mission is a risky interpretation of his orders, to say the least. Kosatka has been fighting a growing threat from so-called rebels—who are actually soldiers from aggressive colonies. When a “peacekeeping force” carrying thousands of enemy soldiers arrives in Kosatka’s star system, the people of that world, including Lochan Nakamura and former “Red” Carmen Ochoa, face an apparently hopeless battle to retain their freedom. It’s said that the best defense is a good offense. But even if a bold and risky move succeeds, Geary and Darcy may not survive it…
The Crossing—Jason Mott (May 15, Park Row)
Twins Virginia and Tommy Matthews have been on their own since they were orphaned at the age of five, surviving a merciless foster care system by relying on each other. Twelve years later, the world begins to collapse around them as a deadly contagion steadily wipes out entire populations and a devastating world war rages on. When Tommy is drafted for the war, the twins are faced with a choice: accept their fate of almost certain death, or dodge the draft. Virginia and Tommy flee into the dark night. Armed with only a pistol and their fierce will to survive, the twins set forth in search of a new beginning. Tommy and Virginia must navigate the dangers and wonders of this changed world as they try to outrun the demons of their past.
Hell Divers III: Deliverance—Nicholas Sansbury Smith (May 15, Blackstone Publishing)
Left for dead on the nightmarish surface of the planet, Commander Michael Everhart and his team of Hell Divers barely escape with their lives aboard a new airship called Deliverance. After learning that Xavier “X” Rodriguez may still be alive, they mount a rescue mission for the long-lost hero. In the skies, the Hive is falling apart, but Captain Jordan is more determined than ever to keep humanity in their outdated lifeboat. He will do whatever it takes to keep the ship in the air—even murder. But when he learns the Hell Divers he exiled have found Deliverance, he changes course for a new mission—find the divers, kill them, and make their new ship his own. Michael and his fellow divers fight across the mutated landscape in search of X. But what they find will change everything.
Originators (Netherspace #2)—Andrew Lane & Nigel Foster (May 22, Titan)
Contact with the alien race, the Gliese, was made forty years ago, but communication with them remains impossible. There is trade, but on seemingly inexplicable terms; anti-gravity technology traded for a bicycle tyre. Human science has become fixated on understanding the alien technology, but with little success. The world may be a better place but it’s no longer our own, with mankind dependent on inexplicable faster-than-light technology, controlled by the aliens. As humanity begins to colonize the stars, we are still dependent on mysterious aliens we do not understand. It falls upon the unlikely team of a conceptual artist, Marc Keislack, and assassin, Kara Jones, to embark on a dangerous mission that will unearth the mystery of the Gliese.
84k—Claire North (May 22, Orbit)
The penalty for Dani Cumali’s murder: £84,000. Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office. He assesses each crime that crosses his desk and makes sure the correct debt to society is paid in full. These days, there’s no need to go to prison – provided that you can afford to pay the penalty for the crime you’ve committed. If you’re rich enough, you can get away with murder. But Dani’s murder is different. When Theo finds her lifeless body, and a hired killer standing over her and calmly calling the police to confess, he can’t let her death become just an entry on a balance sheet. Someone is responsible. And Theo is going to find them and make them pay.
Star Trek Prometheus: The Root of All Rage—Christian Humberg & Bernd Perplies (May 29, Titan)
A dangerous evil is flourishing in the Alpha Quadrant. In the Lembatta Cluster, a curious region of space, fanatics who call themselves the Purifying Flame are trying to start a galactic war. The Federation have sent the U.S.S. Prometheus to settle the crisis, and the crew must contend with both the hostile Renao: the secretive inhabitants of the Cluster, and the Klingon captain of the I.K.S Bortas, who is desperate for war.
LIFEL1K3 (Lifelike)—Jay Kristoff (May 29, Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Young adult. Seventeen-year-old Eve isn’t looking for trouble—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she spent months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, she’s on the local gangster’s wanted list, and the only thing keeping her grandpa alive is the money she just lost to the bookies. Worst of all, she’s discovered she can somehow destroy machines with the power of her mind, and a bunch of puritanical fanatics are building a coffin her size because of it. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it. The problem is, Eve has had a worse day—one that lingers in her nightmares and the cybernetic implant where her memories used to be. Her discovery of a handsome android named Ezekiel—called a “Lifelike” because they resemble humans—will bring her world crashing down and make her question whether her entire life is a lie. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic sidekick Cricket in tow, Eve will trek across deserts of glass, battle unkillable bots, and infiltrate towering megacities to save the ones she loves … and learn the truth about the bloody secrets of her past.
Cross Fire (Exo #2)—Fonda Lee (May 29, Scholastic Press)
Young adult. Earth’s century of peace as a colony of an alien race has been shattered. As the government navigates peace talks with the human terrorist group Sapience, Donovan tries to put his life back together and return to his duty as a member of the security forces. But a new order comes from the home planet: withdraw. Earth has proven too costly and unstable to maintain as a colony, so the aliens, along with a small selection of humans, begin to make plans to leave. As word of the withdrawal spreads through the galaxy, suddenly Earth suddenly becomes vulnerable to a takeover from other aliens races. Invaders who do not seek to live in harmony with humans, but to ravage and destroy the planet.As a galactic invasion threatens, Donovan realizes that Sapience holds the key that could stop the impending war. Yet in order to save humankind, all species on Earth will have to work together, and Donovan might just have to make the ultimate sacrifice to convince them.
Nightflyers and Other Stories—George R.R. Martin (May 29, Bantam)
On a voyage toward the boundaries of the known universe, nine misfit academics seek out first contact with a shadowy alien race. But another enigma is the Nightflyer itself, a cybernetic wonder with an elusive captain no one has ever seen in the flesh. Soon, however, the crew discovers that their greatest mystery—and most dangerous threat—is an unexpected force wielding a thirst for blood and terror. Also included are five additional classic George R. R. Martin tales of science fiction that explore the breadth of technology and the dark corners of the human mind.