Would you like your SF more mathy, or more piratey? More space or more Muderbots? More time travel or more near-future? More empress of the future or classic SF? Or maybe some nice nonfiction? There’s so much to choose from this month, including (but by no means limited to) new work from John Scalzi, K.B. Wagers, David Weber, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Julie E. Czerneda. Start stockpiling your winter reading now!
(Looking for the new YA SF titles? Starting this month, all the new YA SFF books get their own list!)
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Search Image (Web Shifter’s Library #1)—Julie E. Czerneda (October 2, DAW)
Esen’s back! And the dear little blob is in trouble, again. Things began so well. She and her Human friend Paul Ragem are ready to celebrate the first anniversary of their greatest accomplishment, the All Species’ Library of Linguistics and Culture, by welcoming his family back. He hopes. Having mourned his supposed death years ago, understandably, feelings are bent. Instead, they’ve unexpected guests, starting with an old acquaintance. Paul’s father has gone missing under dire circumstances. Before he can convince Esen to help him search, a friend shows up to use the Library. A crisis on Dokeci Na is about to explode into violence. To stop it, Evan Gooseberry needs answers. Unfortunately, the artifact he brought in trade holds its own distracting secret. A touch of very familiar blue. Web-flesh. The race is on. Paul, to find his father. Esen, to search for a mysterious legacy while helping Evan avert an extinction. What none of them realize is the price of success will be the most terrible choice of all.
The Stranger Game—Peter Gadol (October 2, Hanover Square Press)
Rebecca’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ezra, has gone missing, but when she notifies the police, they seem surprisingly unconcerned. They suspect he has been playing the “stranger game,” a viral hit in which players start following others in real life, as they might otherwise do on social media. As the game spreads, however, the rules begin to change, play grows more intense and disappearances are reported across the country. Curious about this new obsession, and hoping that she might be able to track down Ezra, Rebecca tries the game for herself. She also meets Carey, who is willing to take the game further than she imagined possible. As her relationship with Carey and involvement in the game deepen, she begins to uncover an unsettling subculture that has infiltrated the world around her. In playing the stranger game, what may lead her closer to finding Ezra may take her further and further from the life she once lived.
The First Protectors—Victor Godinez (October 2, Talos Press)
The last thing Ben Shepherd wanted was another war. But sometimes the universe won’t take no for an answer. His body and spirit mangled by a lifetime of combat, Shepherd, a retired Navy SEAL, has retreated to the desolate desert of New Mexico to heal his wounds and dodge his demons. All he wants now is peace and quiet. Both are shattered one starry night, when an alien ship crashes nearby. Out of the ship crawls the last, dying member of a conquered civilization. It’s been shot down by an extraterrestrial enemy, the vanguard of a ravenous force hunting for a new homeland. With its last gasp, the wounded alien injects Shepherd with a high-tech serum that gives him near superhuman powers. Now, with a new body but a soul as fractured as ever, Shepherd becomes the reluctant leader of the human resistance against the coming invasion. With enemies on all sides, the man who couldn’t bear the guilt of seeing one more friend die in battle now finds himself charged with protecting the entire planet.
Zero Sum Game—S.L. Huang (October 2, Tor Books)
Cas Russell is good at math. Scary good. The vector calculus blazing through her head lets her smash through armed men twice her size and dodge every bullet in a gunfight, and she’ll take any job for the right price. As far as Cas knows, she’s the only person around with a superpower … until she discovers someone with a power even more dangerous than her own. Someone who can reach directly into people’s minds and twist their brains into Moebius strips. Someone intent on becoming the world’s puppet master. Cas should run, like she usually does, but for once she’s involved. There’s only one problem… She doesn’t know which of her thoughts are her own anymore.
Uncompromising Honor (Honor Harrington #19)—David Weber (October 2, Baen Books)
Honor Harrington has worn the Star Kingdom’s uniform for half a century and served her monarch and her people well. In the course of those years, the woman the newsies call the Salamander has grown from a tactically brilliant but politically naïve junior officer to supreme fleet command and a seat on the highest military and political councils of the Grand Alliance. She knows the Mandarins and the Solarian League Navy are growing increasingly desperate as the truth of their technological inferiority sinks home, but she also knows the sheer size of the League. And she knows how its citizens will react if the Grand Alliance takes the war to the League, attacks its star systems, destroys its infrastructure … kills its civilians. Honor knows the Grand Alliance must find a victory that doesn’t require incursions deep into Solarian space, doesn’t leave a legacy of bottomless hatred, and the strategy she supports has been working. But the Mandarins have embraced a desperate new strategy, and in pursuit of that strategy, the SLN has committed atrocities such as the galaxy has not known in a thousand years. The League have violated its own Eridani Edict against mass civilian casualties, violated the Deneb Accords prohibition on war crimes. And they have finally killed too many of the people Honor Harrington loves. Hers is the voice of caution and compromise no longer, and the galaxy is about to see something it has never imagined. The Salamander is coming for the Solarian League, and Hell is coming in her wake.
Exit Strategy (Murderbot Diaries #4)—Martha Wells (October 2, Tor.com Publishing)
Murderbot wasn’t programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right? Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah—its former owner (protector? friend?)—submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit. But who’s going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue? And what will become of it when it’s caught?
Power Failure—Ben Bova (October 9, Tor Books)
Dr. Jake Ross came to Washington to try to make a difference, but he’s learned the only way to get something done in Washington, assuming your ideals survive the corrosive atmosphere, is to gather power. Ross has gathered a great deal, riding in the wake of Frank Tomlinson. But now Tomlinson has decided to shoot for the moon. If they win, they get it all. If they lose, the game is over for Jake Ross. In the Power trilogy, Bova’s vision of a future powered by solar satellite transmission is tantalizingly within reach.
The Rift Coda (Rift Uprising #3)—Amy S. Foster (October 9, Harper Voyager)
Not long ago, Ryn knew what her future would be—as a Citadel, a genetically enhanced super-soldier, it was her job to protect her version of Earth among an infinite number of other versions in the vast Multiverse at any cost. But when Ezra Massad arrived on Ryn’s Earth, her life changed in an instant, and he pushed her to start asking why she was turned into a Citadel in the first place. What began as merely an investigation into her origins ended up hurling Ryn, Ezra, and Ryn’s teammate Levi through the Multiverse and headlong into a conspiracy so vast and complex that Ryn can no longer merely be a soldier … she must now be a general. And in becoming a true leader, she must forge alliances with unpredictable species, make impossible decisions, and face deep sacrifices. She must lead not thousands, but hundreds of thousands of troops under her command and in doing so, leave any trace of her childhood behind. Ryn always knew that she was created to fight. But now she must step forward and lead.
Austral—Paul McAuley (October 9, Gollancz)
The great geoengineering projects have failed. The world is still warming, sea levels are still rising, and the Antarctic Peninsula is home to Earth’s newest nation, with life quickened by ecopoets spreading across valleys and fjords exposed by the retreat of the ice. Austral Morales Ferrado, a child of the last generation of ecopoets, is a husky: an edited person adapted to the unforgiving climate of the far south, feared and despised by most of its population. She’s been a convict, a corrections officer in a labour camp, and consort to a criminal, and now, out of desperation, she has committed the kidnapping of the century. But before she can collect the ransom and make a new life elsewhere, she must find a place of safety amongst the peninsula’s forests and icy plateaus, and evade a criminal gang that has its own plans for the teenage girl she’s taken hostage.
There Before the Chaos—K.B. Wagers (October 9, Orbit)
Hail Bristol, infamous galactic gunrunner and former runaway princess, never expected to inherit the throne of Indrana. But after avenging the murder of her entire family and cleansing the Empire of usurpers in a bloody civil war, the former outlaw must fulfill her duties to her people. Hail retires her gun and throws herself into the rebuilding of her Empire. Her hard-won peace is short-lived. When Indrana’s closest ally asks Hail to intervene in an interstellar military crisis, she embarks on the highest stakes diplomatic mission the Empire has ever faced. Caught between two alien civilizations at each other’s throats, she must uncover each side’s true intentions before all of humanity becomes collateral damage in a full-blown galactic war.
The Future is Female! 25 Classic SF Stories By Women—Lisa Yaszek, editor (October 9, Library of America)
SF-expert Lisa Yaszek presents the biggest and best survey of the female tradition in American science fiction ever published, a thrilling collection of twenty-five classic tales. From Pulp Era pioneers to New Wave experimentalists, here are over two dozen brilliant writers ripe for discovery and rediscovery, including Leslie F. Stone, Judith Merril, Leigh Brackett, Kit Reed, Joanna Russ, James Tiptree Jr., and Ursula K. Le Guin. Imagining strange worlds and unexpected futures, looking into and beyond new technologies and scientific discoveries, in utopian fantasies and tales of cosmic horror, these women created and shaped speculative fiction as surely as their male counterparts. Their provocative, mind-blowing stories combine to form a thrilling multidimensional voyage of literary-feminist exploration and recovery.
The Wastelanders—K.S. Merbeth (October 16, Orbit)
Omnibus. Welcome to the Wasteland, a post-apocalyptic world where lawlessness reigns, and around every bend is another pack of bloodthirsty raiders. This omnibus edition contains K. S. Merbeth’s two novels Bite and Raid. In Bite, hungry, thirsty, alone, and out of options, a young girl joins up with outlaws who have big reputations and bigger guns. But as they set out on their journey, she discovers that her new gang may not be the heroes she was hoping for. In Raid, bound and gagged in a bounty hunter’s passenger seat is the most revered and reviled raider king in the eastern wastes. Unable to let him out of her sight, they cross the wasteland, but a tyrant worse than they could imagine is vying to claim the land as his own. How do you survive in a world gone mad?
The Consuming Fire (Interdependency #2)—John Scalzi (October 16, Tor Books)
The Interdependency, humanity’s interstellar empire, is on the verge of collapse. The Flow, the extra-dimensional conduit that makes travel between the stars possible, is disappearing, leaving entire star systems stranded. When it goes, human civilization may go with it—unless desperate measures can be taken. Emperox Grayland II, the leader of the Interdependency, is ready to take those measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But nothing is ever that easy. Arrayed before her are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth—or at the very least, an opportunity that can allow them to ascend to power. While Grayland prepares for disaster, others are preparing for a civil war, a war that will take place in the halls of power, the markets of business and the altars of worship as much as it will take place between spaceships and battlefields. The Emperox and her allies are smart and resourceful, but then so are her enemies. Nothing about this power struggle will be simple or easy… and all of humanity will be caught in its widening gyre.
Mutiny at Vesta (Shieldrunner Pirates #2)—R.E. Stearns (October 16, Saga Press)
Adda Karpe and Iridian Nassir have escaped the murderous AI that was trapping them on Barbary Station, and earned themselves a place on Captain Sloane’s fabled pirate crew. And now that they’ve arrived at Vesta, Sloane’s home base, they can finally start making a living stealing from well-off megacorporations. Unfortunately, the political situation has deteriorated in Captain Sloane’s absence. Adda and Iridian find themselves trapped in a contract with Oxia Corp., one of the very megacorporations they’d hoped to prey on, forced to rob and intimidate targets they’d never have chosen on their own. If they’re ever going to have the independent life together that they’ve always wanted, they’ll have to free themselves from Oxia Corp. first. Meanwhile, the inhuman allies who followed Adda and Iridian from Barbary Station have plans of their own, which may be more dangerous than the humans involved could imagine. It will take not one but five heists, and every bit of ingenuity Adda and Iridian have to escape from Oxia and find the life they’ve always dreamed of…if they can survive.
Lost Mars: Stories from the Golden Age of the Red Planet—Mike Ashley, editor (October 22, University of Chicago Press)
An antique-shop owner gets a glimpse of the Red Planet through an intriguing artifact. A Martian’s wife contemplates the possibility of life on Earth. A resident of Venus describes his travels across the two alien planets. From an arid desert to an advanced society far superior to that of Earth, portrayals of Mars have differed radically in their attempts to uncover the truth about our neighboring planet. Since the 1880s, after an astronomer first described “channels” on the surface of Mars, writers have been fascinated with the planet, endlessly speculating on what life on Mars might look like and what might happen should we make contact with the planet’s inhabitants. This collection offers ten wildly imaginative short stories from the golden age of science fiction by such classic sci-fi writers as H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, and J. G. Ballard, as well as hard-to-find stories by unjustly forgotten writers from the genre.
Restless Lightning (Breaker of Empires #2)—Richard Baker (October 23, Tor Books)
Lieutenant Sikander North has avoided an outright court martial and finds himself assigned to a remote outpost in the crumbling, alien Tzoru Empire—where the navy sends trouble-makers to be forgotten. When Sikander finds himself in the middle of an alien uprising, he, once again, must do the impossible: smuggle an alien ambassador off-world, break a siege, and fight the irrational prejudice of his superior officers. The odds are against his success, and his choices could mean disgrace—or redemption.
A Pillar of Fire by Night (Carrera #7)—Tom Kratman (October 23, Baen Books)
Carrera’s held off his enemies coming by sea from the north, in the process dealing the naval and amphibious forces of the Zhong Empire a stinging defeat. Now, though, his adopted country of Balboa is under assault from the east, from the south, from the west, from the air, and from space. The Zhong have bounced back and forced a lodgment east of the capital. The Taurans have assaulted Balboa from the south, cutting the Transitway that joins Terra Nova’s Mar Fusioso and her Shimmering Sea. They’ve cut off and besieged the second city of the country, Cristobal, trapping Carrera’s Fourth Corps. Inside the town, a sense of desperation is growing among the men and women of the Fourth Corps: Has their leader forgotten about or abandoned them? In space, the United Earth Peace Fleet, under the Command of High Admiral Marguerite Wallenstein, keeps as low a profile as possible, all the time spying and feeding intelligence to both Zhong and Tauran. It’s beginning to look like the game is up for Balboa and Patricio Carrera. But Carrera’s been planning this war for fifteen years. He certainly hopes his enemies think they’re winning.
Texas Hold’em (Wild Cards #18)—George R.R. Martin, editor (October 23, Tor Books)
San Antonio, home of the Alamo, is also host to the nation’s top high school jazz competition, and the musicians at Xavier Desmond High are excited to outplay their rivals. They are also jokers, kids with strange abilities and even stranger looks. On top of that, well, they are teenagers, apt for mischief, mishaps, and romantic misunderstandings. Michelle Pond, aka The Amazing Bubbles, thinks that her superhero (and supermom) know-how has prepared her to chaperone the event. But when her students start going wayward, she’ll soon discover the true meaning of “Don’t mess with Texas.” Texas Hold’em features the writing talents of David Anthony Durham (Acacia Trilogy), Max Gladstone (the Craft Sequence), Victor Milan (Dinosaur Lords series), Diana Rowland (Kara Gillian and White Trash Zombie series), Walton Simons, Caroline Spector and William F. Wu.
Thin Air—Richard K. Morgan (October 23, Del Rey)
On a Mars where ruthless corporate interests violently collide with a homegrown independence movement as Earth-based overlords battle for profits and power, Hakan Veil is an ex–professional enforcer equipped with military-grade body tech that’s made him a human killing machine. But he’s had enough of the turbulent red planet, and all he wants is a ticket back home—which is just what he’s offered by the Earth Oversight organization, in exchange for being the bodyguard for an EO investigator. It’s a beyond-easy gig for a heavy hitter like Veil … until it isn’t. When Veil’s charge, Madison Madekwe, starts looking into the mysterious disappearance of a lottery winner, she stirs up a hornet’s nest of intrigue and murder. And the deeper Veil is drawn into the dangerous game being played, the more long-buried secrets claw their way to the Martian surface. Now it’s the expert assassin on the wrong end of a lethal weapon—as Veil stands targeted by powerful enemies hellbent on taking him down, by any means necessary.
Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction—Alex Nevala-Lee (October 23, William Morrow)
Astounding is the landmark account of the extraordinary partnership between four controversial writers who set off a revolution in science fiction and forever changed our world. This remarkable cultural narrative centers on the figure of John W. Campbell, Jr., who has never been the subject of a biography until now. Campbell was both a visionary author—he wrote the story that was later filmed as The Thing—and the editor of the groundbreaking magazine best known as Astounding Science Fiction, in which he discovered countless legendary writers and published classic works ranging from the I, Robot series to Dune. Over more than thirty years, from the rise of the pulps to the debut of Star Trek, he dominated the genre, and his three closest collaborators reached unimaginable heights. Asimov became the most prolific author in American history; Heinlein emerged as the leading science fiction writer of his generation; and Hubbard achieved lasting fame—and infamy—as the founder of the Church of Scientology. Drawing on unexplored archives, thousands of unpublished letters, and dozens of interviews, Alec Nevala-Lee offers a riveting portrait of this circle of authors, their work, and their tumultuous private lives.
Making of the Planet of the Apes—Jonathan Rinzler (October 23, Harper Design)
Based on Pierre Boulle’s novel La Planéte de singes, the original Planet of the Apes was one of the most celebrated films of the 1960s and beyond. Starring Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall, the movie struck a chord with the world and sparked a franchise that included eight sequels, two television series, and a long-running comic book. Now, five decades after its theatrical release, New York Times bestselling author J. W. Rinzler tells the thrilling story of this legendary Hollywood production—a film even Boulle thought would be impossible to make. With a foreword by Fraser Heston, Charlton Heston’s son, The Making of Planet of the Apes is an entertaining, informative experience that will transport readers back to the strange alternate Earth ruled by apes. Meticulously researched and designed to capture the look and atmosphere of the film, The Making of Planet of the Apes is also packed with a wealth of concept paintings, storyboards, and never-before-seen imagery—including rare journal pages and sketches from Charlton Heston’s private collection—as well as color and black-and-white unit photography, posters, and more unique ephemera.
Red Moon—Kim Stanley Robinson (October 23, Orbit)
It is thirty years from now, and we have colonized the moon. American Fred Fredericks is making his first trip, his purpose to install a communications system for China’s Lunar Science Foundation. But hours after his arrival he witnesses a murder and is forced into hiding. It is also the first visit for celebrity travel reporter Ta Shu. He has contacts and influence, but he too will find that the moon can be a perilous place for any traveler. Finally, there is Chan Qi. She is the daughter of the Minister of Finance, and without doubt a person of interest to those in power. She is on the moon for reasons of her own, but when she attempts to return to China, in secret, the events that unfold will change everything – on the moon, and on Earth.
No new titles.