This month’s science fiction titles take us from the cold depths of space to the far reaches of time, then sideways to a parallel world or two! Tade Thompson’s The Rosewater Insurrection returns us to the sprawling city on the back of a gargantuan alien; Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire blends space opera with murder mystery; Cory Doctorow visits the near future in the novella collection Radicalized; K Chess’s Famous Men Who Never Lived explores the vanished culture of an alternate timeline; and Alastair Reynolds’s time-hopping Permafrost seeks a solution to an ecological catastrophe. Plus, the scattered crew of the Rocinante gears up for another fight in Tiamat’s Wrath, the eighth installment of James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series.
Which will you read first?
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Invisible Ecologies (sequel to Origamy)—Rachel Armstrong (March 5, NewCon Press)
Set in a near-future Venice, Invisible Ecologies tells the story of Po, an ambiguously gendered boy who shares an intimate connection with a nascent sentience emerging within the Po delta: the bioregion upon which the city of Venice is founded. The pair share a series of extraordinary adventures and, as Po starts school, stumble upon the Mayor’s drastic plans to modernise the city and reshape the future of the lagoon and its people.
Creation Machine—Andrew Bannister (March 5, Tor Books)
In the vast, artificial galaxy called the Spin, a rebellion has been crushed.
Viklun Hass is eliminating all remnants of the opposition. Starting with his daughter. But Fleare Hass has had time to plan her next move from exile to the very frontiers of a new war.
For hundreds of millions of years, the planets and stars of the Spin have been the only testament to the god-like engineers that created them. Now, beneath the surface of a ruined planet, one of their machines has been found.
Ancestral Night—Elizabeth Bear (March 5, Saga Press)
Halmey Dz and her partner Connla Kurucz are salvage operators, living just on the inside of the law… usually. Theirs is the perilous and marginal existence—with barely enough chance of striking it fantastically big—just once—to keep them coming back for more. They pilot their tiny ship into the scars left by unsuccessful White Transitions, searching for the relics of lost human and alien vessels.
But when they make a shocking discovery about an alien species that has been long thought dead, it may be the thing that could tip the perilous peace mankind has found into full-out war.
Famous Men Who Never Lived—K Chess (March 5, Tin House Books)
Wherever Hel looks, New York City is both reassuringly familiar and terribly wrong. As one of the thousands who fled the outbreak of nuclear war in an alternate United States—an alternate timeline—she finds herself living as a refugee in our own not-so-parallel New York. The slang and technology are foreign to her, the politics and art unrecognizable.
While others, like her partner Vikram, attempt to assimilate, Hel refuses to reclaim her former career or create a new life. Instead, she obsessively rereads Vikram’s copy of The Pyronauts—a science fiction masterwork in her world that now only exists as a single flimsy paperback—and becomes determined to create a museum dedicated to preserving the remaining artifacts and memories of her vanished culture.
Alice Payne Rides (Alice Payne #2)—Kate Heartfield (March 5, Tor.com Publishing)
After abducting Arthur of Brittany from his own time in 1203, thereby creating the mystery that partly prompted the visit in the first place, Alice and her team discover that they have inadvertently brought the smallpox virus back to 1780 with them.
Searching for a future vaccine, Prudence finds that the various factions in the future time war intend to use the crisis to their own advantage. Can the team prevent an international pandemic across time, and put history back on its tracks? At least until the next battle in the time war…
Infinite Detail—Tim Maughan (March 5, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
BEFORE: In Bristol’s center lies the Croft, a digital no-man’s-land cut off from the surveillance, Big Data dependence, and corporate-sponsored, globally hegemonic aspirations that have overrun the rest of the world. Ten years in, it’s become a center of creative counterculture. But it’s fraying at the edges, radicalizing from inside. How will it fare when its chief architect, Rushdi Mannan, takes off to meet his boyfriend in New York City—now the apotheosis of the new techno-utopian global metropolis?
AFTER: An act of anonymous cyberterrorism has permanently switched off the Internet. Global trade, travel, and communication have collapsed. The luxuries that characterized modern life are scarce. In the Croft, Mary—who has visions of people presumed dead—is sought out by grieving families seeking connections to lost ones. But does Mary have a gift or is she just hustling to stay alive? Like Grids, who runs the Croft’s black market like personal turf. Or like Tyrone, who hoards music (culled from cassettes, the only medium to survive the crash) and tattered sneakers like treasure.
The Bayern Agenda (Galactic Cold War #1)—Dan Moren (March 5, Angry Robot)
Simon Kovalic, top intelligence operative for the Commonwealth of Independent Systems, is on the frontline of the burgeoning Cold War with the aggressive Illyrican Empire. He barely escapes his latest mission with a broken arm, and vital intel which points to the Empire cozying up to the Bayern Corporation: a planet-sized bank.
There’s no time to waste, but with Kovalic out of action, his undercover team is handed over to his ex-wife, Lt Commander Natalie Taylor. When Kovalic’s boss is tipped off that the Imperium are ready and waiting, it’s up to the wounded spy to rescue his team and complete the mission before they’re all caught and executed.
Pure Chocolate (Chocoverse #2)—Amber Royer (March 5, Angry Robot)
To save everyone she loves, Bo Bonitez is touring Zant, home of the murderous, shark-toothed aliens who so recently tried to eat her. In the midst of her stint as Galactic paparazzi princess, she discovers that Earth has been exporting tainted chocolate to the galaxy, and getting aliens hooked on cocoa. Bo must choose whether to go public, or just smile for the cameras and make it home alive.
She’s already struggling with her withdrawal from the Invincible Heart, and her love life has a life of its own, but when insidious mind worms intervene, things start to get complicated!
Today I Am Carey—Martin L. Shoemaker (March 5, Baen)
Mildred has Alzheimer’s. As memories fade, she acquires the aid of a full-time android to assist her in everyday life. Carey. Carey takes care of Mildred, but its true mission is to fill in the gaps in Mildred’s past. To bring yesterday into today by becoming a copy. But not merely a copy of a physical person. A copy from the inside out.
After Mildred passes, Carey must find a new purpose. For a time, that purpose is Mildred’s family. To keep them safe from harm. To be of service. There is Paul Owens, the overworked scientist and business leader. Susan Owens, the dedicated teacher. And Millie, a curious little girl who will grow up alongside her android best friend. And Carey will grow up with her. Carey cannot age. But Carey can change.
The Last Dog on Earth—Adrian J. Walker (March 5, Sourcebooks)
Every dog has its day…
And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from London, the day his city falls is finally a chance for adventure. Too bad his master Reg plans to hide himself away from the riots outside.
But when an abandoned child shows up looking for help, Reg and his trusty hound must brave the chaos in a journey that will prove not just the importance of bravery, but of loyalty, trust, and finding family in the unlikeliest of places.
Ruin’s Wake —Patrick Edwards (March 12, Titan)
An old soldier in exile embarks on a desperate journey to find his dying son.
A young woman trapped in an abusive marriage with a government official finds hope in an illicit love.
A female scientist uncovers a mysterious technology that reveals that her world is more fragile than she believed.
Ruin’s Wake imagines a world ruled by a totalitarian government, where history has been erased and individual identity is replaced by the machinations of the state. As the characters try to save what they hold most dear—in one case a dying son, in the other secret love—their fates converge to a shared destiny.
The Widening Gyre —Michael R. Johnston (March 12, Flame Tree Press)
Eight hundred years ago, the Zhen Empire discovered a broken human colony ship drifting in the fringes of their space. The Zhen gave the humans a place to live and folded them into their Empire as a client state. But it hasn’t been easy.
One of the first humans to be allowed to serve in the Zhen military, Tajen Hunt became a war hero at the Battle of Elkari, the only human to be named an official Hero of the Empire. He was given command of a task force, and sent to do the Empire’s bidding in their war with the enigmatic Tabrans. But when he failed in a crucial mission, causing the deaths of millions of people, he resigned in disgrace and faded into life on the fringes as a lone independent pilot.
When Tajen discovers his brother, Daav, has been killed by agents of the Empire, he, his niece, and their newly-hired crew set out to finish his brother’s quest: to find Earth, the legendary homeworld of humanity. What they discover will shatter 800 years of peace in the Empire, and start a war that could be the end of the human race.
The Rosewater Insurrection (Wormwood #2) —Tade Thompson (March 12, Orbit)
All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret.
The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. But Aminat is stymied by the machinations of the Mayor of Rosewater and the emergence of an old enemy of Wormwood…
Radicalized—Cory Doctorow (March 19, Tor Books)
Radicalized is a novel comprised of four SF novellas connected by social, technological, and economic visions of today and what America could be in the near, near future.
- Unauthorized Bread is a tale of immigration, the toxicity of economic and technological stratification, and the young and downtrodden fighting against all odds to survive and prosper.
- In Model Minority, a Superman-like figure attempts to rectifiy the corruption of the police forces he long erroneously thought protected the defenseless… only to find his efforts adversely affecting their victims.
- Radicalized is a story of a darkweb-enforced violent uprising against insurance companies told from the perspective of a man desperate to secure funding for an experimental drug that could cure his wife’s terminal cancer.
- The fourth story, Masque of the Red Death, harkens back to Doctorow’s Walkaway, taking on issues of survivalism versus community.
The Municipalists—Seth Fried (March 19, Penguin)
In Metropolis, the gleaming city of tomorrow, the dream of the great American city has been achieved. But all that is about to change, unless a neurotic, rule-following bureaucrat and an irreverent, freewheeling artificial intelligence can save the city from a mysterious terrorist plot that threatens its very existence.
Henry Thompson has dedicated his life to improving America’s infrastructure as a proud employee of the United States Municipal Survey. So when the agency comes under attack, he dutifully accepts his unexpected mission to visit Metropolis looking for answers. But his plans to investigate quietly, quickly, and carefully are interrupted by his new partner: a day-drinking know-it-all named OWEN, who also turns out to be the projected embodiment of the agency’s supercomputer. Soon, Henry and OWEN are fighting to save not only their own lives and those of the city’s millions of inhabitants, but also the soul of Metropolis. The Municipalists is a thrilling, funny, and touching adventure story, a tour-de-force of imagination that trenchantly explores our relationships to the cities around us and the technologies guiding us into the future.
The Light Brigade—Kameron Hurley (March 19, Saga Press)
The Light Brigade: It’s what soldiers fighting the war against Mars call the ones who come back… different. Grunts in the corporate corps get busted down into light to travel to and from interplanetary battlefronts. Everyone is changed by what the corps must do in order to break them down into light. Those who survive learn to stick to the mission brief—no matter what actually happens during combat.
Dietz, a fresh recruit in the infantry, begins to experience combat drops that don’t sync up with the platoon’s. And Dietz’s bad drops tell a story of the war that’s not at all what the corporate brass want the soldiers to think is going on.
Is Dietz really experiencing the war differently, or is it combat madness? Trying to untangle memory from mission brief and survive with sanity intact, Dietz is ready to become a hero—or maybe a villain; in war it’s hard to tell the difference.
Luna: Moon Rising (Luna #3)—Ian McDonald (March 19, Tor Books)
A hundred years in the future, a war wages between the Five Dragons-five families that control the Moon’s leading industrial companies. Each clan does everything in their power to claw their way to the top of the food chain-marriages of convenience, corporate espionage, kidnapping, and mass assassinations.
Through ingenious political manipulation and sheer force of will, Lucas Corta rises from the ashes of corporate defeat and seizes control of the Moon. The only person who can stop him is a brilliant lunar lawyer: his sister, Ariel.
The Chaos Function—Jack Skillingstead (March 19, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Olivia Nikitas, a hardened journalist whose specialty is war zones, has been reporting from the front lines of the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. When Brian, an aid worker she reluctantly fell in love with, dies while following her into danger, she’ll do anything to bring him back. In a makeshift death chamber beneath an ancient, sacred site, a strange technology is revealed to Olivia: the power to remake the future by changing the past.
Following her heart and not her head, Olivia brings Brian back, accidentally shifting the world to the brink of nuclear and biological disaster. Now she must stay steps ahead of the guardians of this technology, who will kill her to reclaim it, in order to save not just herself and her love, but the whole world.
Permafrost—Alastair Reynolds (March 19, Tor.com Publishing)
2080: At a remote site on the edge of the Arctic Circle, a group of scientists, engineers and physicians gather to gamble humanity’s future on one last-ditch experiment. Their goal: to make a tiny alteration to the past, averting a global catastrophe while at the same time leaving recorded history intact. To make the experiment work, they just need one last recruit: an ageing schoolteacher whose late mother was the foremost expert on the mathematics of paradox.
2028: A young woman goes into surgery for routine brain surgery. In the days following her operation, she begins to hear another voice in her head… an unwanted presence which seems to have a will, and a purpose, all of its own – one that will disrupt her life entirely. The only choice left to her is a simple one.
Does she resist… or become a collaborator?
Tiamat’s Wrath (Expanse #8)—James S. A. Corey (March 26, Orbit)
Thirteen hundred gates have opened to solar systems around the galaxy. But as humanity builds its interstellar empire in the alien ruins, the mysteries and threats grow deeper.
In the dead systems where gates lead to stranger things than alien planets, Elvi Okoye begins a desperate search to discover the nature of a genocide that happened before the first human beings existed, and to find weapons to fight a war against forces at the edge of the imaginable. But the price of that knowledge may be higher than she can pay.
At the heart of the empire, Teresa Duarte prepares to take on the burden of her father’s godlike ambition. The sociopathic scientist Paolo Cortázar and the Mephistophelian prisoner James Holden are only two of the dangers in a palace thick with intrigue, but Teresa has a mind of her own and secrets even her father the emperor doesn’t guess.
And throughout the wide human empire, the scattered crew of the Rocinante fights a brave rear-guard action against Duarte’s authoritarian regime. Memory of the old order falls away, and a future under Laconia’s eternal rule—and with it, a battle that humanity can only lose—seems more and more certain. Because against the terrors that lie between worlds, courage and ambition will not be enough…
A Memory Called Empire—Arkady Martine (March 26, Tor Books)
Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.
Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.
Koko Uncaged (Koko #3)—Kieran Shea (March 26, Titan Books)
Surviving job loss, an unsettled vendetta, a submarine wreck, heartbreak, and mortal carnage on a tokusatsu scale, Koko P. Martstellar (ex-corporate mercenary and saloon/brothel owner) is trying to reassemble what’s left of her life. Being hired to protect global industrialist Bogart Gong seems like as good a place to start as any, but bodyguard work isn’t the cakewalk Koko thought it’d be.
Throw in some autocratic malfeasance, a hatchet man with a flair for the dramatic, a South American despot, lovers back from the grave, and a high-speed race at a prison, and you’ve a brain-melting cocktail of cyberpunk satire that’s impossible to put down.
The Artificial Man and Other Stories—Clare Winger Harris (March 26, Belt Publishing)
The early twentieth century pulp stories of author Clare Winger Harris influenced the boom of modern writers such as Ursula K. Le Guin and Margaret Atwood. In this new collection, author and scholar Brad Ricca assembles ten of Harris’s greatest short stories, including “The Fifth Dimension,” “The Fate of the Poseidonia,” “The Menace of Mars,” and “The Vibrometer.”