Everything goes black. You’re lost, floating, weightless, scared. And then, there is a light. There is life beyond. This month’s science fiction titles are all about seeking what’s out there, or what could be out there. Rescue a prince and save the universe in K. Eason’s How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse; wait for the end of civilization as we know it in Supernova Era by Cixin Liu; and take the last trip to the newly independent city-state of Rosewater as Tade Thompson’s epic Wormwood Trilogy completes with The Rosewater Redemption.
Head below for the full list of science fiction titles heading your way in October!
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
WEEK ONE (October 1)
Half Way Home—Hugh Howey (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Five hundred colonists have been sent across the stars to settle an alien planet. Vat-grown in a dream-like state, they are educated through simulations by an artificial intelligence and should awaken at thirty years old, fully-trained, and ready to tame the new world. But fifteen years in, an explosion on their vessel kills most of the homesteaders and destroys the majority of their supplies. Worse yet, the sixty that awaken and escape the flames are only half-taught and possess the skills least useful for survival. Naked and terrified, the teens stumble from their fiery baptism ill-prepared for the unfamiliar and harsh alien world around them. Though they attempt to work with the colony A.I. to build a home, tension and misery are rampant, escalating into battles for dominance. Soon they find that their worst enemy isn’t the hostile environment, the A.I., or the blast that nearly killed them. Their greatest danger is each other.
Antediluvian—Wil McCarthy (Baen)
What if our legends are older than we think? All the Stone Age has left behind are rocks and bones; all other materials have rotted away, leaving no trace. But what if “cave men” never existed, and the Stone Age was a time of great sophistication still preserved in our oldest stories? In a brilliant and dangerous brain hacking experiment, Harv Leonel and Tara Mukherjee are about to discover entire lifetimes of human memory coded in our genes, and reveal ancient legends—from knights and trolls, to flood myths, to the birth of humanity itself—that are as real as they are deadly. Before disaster erased the coastlines and river valleys of the Antediluvian age—before the Flood—men and women struggled and yearned and innovated in a world of savage contrasts into which Harv and Tara are thrust, unprepared. Will their science be enough to save them?
The Waters and the Wild (Serrated Edge #10)—Mercedes Lackey & Rosemary Edghill (Baen)
Deeply depressed Olivia, whose parents are divorcing, is ripe for manipulation. And swimming star Blake is looking for someone just like her. Although her friend tries to warn her, Olivia falls for his ploys and accepts an invitation to go to the Adirondack resort camp of Lake Endor with him and his family. But all is not as it seems at the hundred year old resort. Not only does Olivia discover that Blake is not the guy she thought he was, there is something sinister afoot at the lake. There is something lying beneath the waters of Lake Endor. Something not of this world. Will Olivia be drawn under or will she allow true friends to draw her from the lure of oblivion?
Dooku: Jedi Lost (Star Wars)—Cavan Scott (Del Rey)
Darth Tyranus. Count of Serenno. Leader of the Separatists. A red saber, unsheathed in the dark. But who was he before he became the right hand of the Sith? As Dooku courts a new apprentice, the hidden truth of the Sith Lord’s past begins to come to light. Dooku’s life began as one of privilege—born within the stony walls of his family’s estate, orbited by the Funeral Moon where the bones of his ancestors lie interred. But soon, his Jedi abilities are recognized, and he is taken from his home to be trained in the ways of the Force by the legendary Master Yoda. As he hones his power, Dooku rises through the ranks, befriending fellow Jedi Sifo-Dyas and taking a Padawan of his own, the promising Qui-Gon Jinn—and tries to forget the life that he once led. But he finds himself drawn by a strange fascination with the Jedi Master Lene Kostana, and the mission she undertakes for the Order: finding and studying ancient relics of the Sith, in preparation for the eventual return of the deadliest enemies the Jedi have ever faced. Caught between the world of the Jedi, the ancient responsibilities of his lost home, and the alluring power of the relics, Dooku struggles to stay in the light—even as the darkness begins to fall.
Future Tense Fiction: Stories of Tomorrow—Slate, New America, and Arizona State University (The Unnamed Press)
A disease surveillance robot whose social programming gets put to the test. A future in which everyone receives universal basic income—but it’s still not enough. A futuristic sport, in which all the athletes have been chemically and physically enhanced. An A.I. company that manufactures a neural bridge allowing ordinary people to share their memories. Brimming with excitement and exploring new ideas, the stories collected by the editors of Slate’s Future Tense are philosophically ambitious and haunting in their creativity. At times terrifying and heartwrenching, hilarious and optimistic, this is a collection that ushers in a new age for our world and for the short story. A partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University, Future Tense explores how emerging technologies will change the way we live, in reality and fiction. Featuring Carmen Maria Machado, Emily St. John Mandel, Charlie Jane Anders, Nnedi Okorafor, Paolo Bacigalupi, Madeline Ashby, Mark Oshiro, Meg Elison, Maureen F. McHugh, Deji Bryce Olukotun, Hannu Rajaniemi, Annalee Newitz, Lee Konstantinou, and Mark Stasenko―Future Tense Fiction points the way forward to the fiction of tomorrow.
WEEK TWO (October 8)
How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse (Thorne Chronicles #1)— K. Eason (DAW)
Rory Thorne is a princess with thirteen fairy blessings, the most important of which is to see through flattery and platitudes. As the eldest daughter, she always imagined she’d inherit her father’s throne and govern the interplanetary Thorne Consortium. Then her father is assassinated, her mother gives birth to a son, and Rory is betrothed to the prince of a distant world. When Rory arrives in her new home, she uncovers a treacherous plot to unseat her newly betrothed and usurp his throne. An unscrupulous minister has conspired to name himself Regent to the minor (and somewhat foolish) prince. With only her wits and a small team of allies, Rory must outmaneuver the Regent and rescue the prince. How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse is a feminist reimagining of familiar fairytale tropes and a story of resistance and self-determination—how small acts of rebellion can lead a princess to not just save herself, but change the course of history.
The Forbidden Stars (Axiom #3) —Tim Pratt (Angry Robot)
Aliens known as the Liars gave humanity access to the stars through twenty-nine wormholes. They didn’t mention that other aliens, the ancient, tyrannical—but thankfully sleeping—Axiom occupied all the other systems. When the twenty-ninth fell silent, humanity chalked it up to radical separatists and moved on. But now, on board the White Raven, Captain Callie and her crew of Axiom-hunters receive word that the twenty-ninth colony may have met a very different fate. With their bridge generator they skip past the wormhole, and discover another Axiom project, fully awake, and poised to pour through the wormhole gate into all the worlds of humanity…
The Rosewater Redemption(Wormwood #3)—Tade Thompson (Orbit)
Life in the newly independent city-state of Rosewater isn’t everything its citizens were expecting. The Mayor finds that debts incurred during the insurrection are coming back to haunt him. Nigeria isn’t willing to let Rosewater go without a fight. And the city’s alien inhabitants are threatening mass murder for their own sinister ends… Operating across spacetime, the xenosphere, and international borders, it is up to a small group of hackers and criminals to prevent the extra-terrestrial advance. The fugitive known as Bicycle Girl, Kaaro, and his former handler Femi may be humanity’s last line of defense.
WEEK THREE (October 15)
Salvaged—Madeleine Roux (ACE)
Rosalyn Devar is on the run from her famous family, the bioengineering job she’s come to hate, and her messed-up life. She’s run all the way to outer space, where she’s taken a position as a “space janitor,” cleaning up ill-fated research expeditions. But no matter how far she goes, Rosalyn can’t escape herself. After too many mistakes on the job, she’s given one last chance: take care of salvaging the Brigantine, a research vessel that has gone dark, with all crew aboard thought dead. But the Brigantine’s crew are very much alive—if not entirely human. Now Rosalyn is trapped on board, alone with a crew infected by a mysterious parasitic alien. The captain, Edison Aries, seems to still maintain some control over himself and the crew, but he won’t be able to keep fighting much longer. Rosalyn and Edison must find a way to stop the parasite’s onslaught… or it may take over the entire human race.
Escaping Exodus—Nicky Drayden (Harper Voyager)
Earth is a distant memory. Habitable extrasolar planets are still out of reach. For generations, humanity has been clinging to survival by establishing colonies within enormous vacuum-breathing space beasts and mining their resources to the point of depletion. Rash, dreamy, and unconventional, Seske Kaleigh should be preparing for her future role as clan leader, but her people have just culled their latest beast, and she’s eager to find the cause of the violent tremors plaguing their new home. Defying social barriers, Seske teams up with her best friend, a beast worker, and ventures into restricted areas for answers to end the mounting fear and rumors. Instead, they discover grim truths about the price of life in the void. Then, Seske is unexpectedly thrust into the role of clan matriarch, responsible for thousands of lives in a harsh universe where a single mistake can be fatal. Her claim to the throne is challenged by a rival determined to overthrow her and take control—her intelligent, cunning, and confident sister. Seske may not be a born leader like her sister, yet her unorthodox outlook and incorruptible idealism may be what the clan needs to save themselves and their world.
WEEK FOUR (October 22)
Interference (Semiosis #2)—Sue Burke (Tor Books)
Over two hundred years after the first colonists landed on Pax, a new set of explorers arrives from Earth on what they claim is a temporary scientific mission. But the Earthlings misunderstand the nature of the Pax settlement and its real leader. Even as Stevland attempts to protect his human tools, a more insidious enemy than the Earthlings makes itself known. Stevland is not the apex species on Pax.
The Blue Eye (Khorasan Archives #3)—Ausma Zehanat Khan (Harper Voyager)
The Companions of Hira have used their cunning and their magic in the battle against the patriarchal Talisman, an organization whose virulently conservative agenda restricts free thought. One of the most accomplished Companions, Arian, continues to lead a disparate group in pursuit of the one artifact that could end the Talisman’s authoritarian rule: The Bloodprint. But after a vicious battle, the arcane tome has slipped once more beyond her reach. Despite being separated and nearly losing their lives, Arian’s band of allies has remained united. Yet now, the group seems to be fracturing. To continue the fight, Arian must make a dangerous journey to a distant city to recruit new allies. But instead of her trusted friends, she is accompanied by associates she may no longer be able to trust.
Supernova Era—Cixin Liu, transl. Joel Martinsen (Tor Books)
Eight light years away, a star has died, creating a supernova event that showers Earth in deadly levels of radiation. Within a year, everyone over the age of thirteen will die. And so the countdown begins. Parents apprentice their children and try to pass on the knowledge needed to keep the world running. But when the world is theirs, the last generation may not want to continue the legacy left to them. And in shaping the future however they want, will the children usher in an era of bright beginnings or final mistakes?
WEEK FIVE (October 29)
Sisters of the Vast Black—Lina Rather (Tor.com Publishing)
Years ago, Old Earth sent forth sisters and brothers into the vast dark of the prodigal colonies armed only with crucifixes and iron faith. Now, the sisters of the Order of Saint Rita are on an interstellar mission of mercy aboard Our Lady of Impossible Constellations, a living, breathing ship which seems determined to develop a will of its own. When the order receives a distress call from a newly-formed colony, the sisters discover that the bodies and souls in their care—and that of the galactic diaspora—are in danger. And not from void beyond, but from the nascent Central Governance and the Church itself.
Salvation Lost (Salvation Sequence #2)—Peter F. Hamilton (Del Rey)
The comparative utopia of twenty-third-century Earth is about to go dreadfully awry when a seemingly benign alien race is abruptly revealed to be one of the worst threats humanity has ever faced. Driven by an intense religious extremism, the Olyix are determined to bring everyone to their version of God as they see it. But they may have met their match in humanity, who are not about to go gently into that good night or spend the rest of their days cowering in hiding. As human ingenuity and determination rise to the challenge, collective humanity has only one goal—to wipe this apparently undefeatable enemy from the face of creation. Even if it means playing a ridiculously long game indeed. But in a chaotic universe, it is hard to plan for every eventuality, and it is always darkest before the dawn.
Alien: Prototype—Tim Waggoner (Titan)
Venture, a direct rival to the Weyland-Yutani corporation, will accept any risk to crush the competition. Thus, when a corporate spy “acquires” a bizarre, leathery egg from a hijacked vessel, she takes it directly to the Venture testing facility on Jericho 3. Though unaware of the danger it poses, the scientists there recognize their prize’s immeasurable value. Early tests reveal little, however, and they come to an inevitable conclusion. They need a human test subject. ENTER ZULA HENDRICKS: A member of the Jericho 3 security staff, Colonial Marines veteran Zula Hendricks has been tasked with training personnel to deal with anything the treacherous planet can throw their way. Yet nothing can prepare them for the horror that appears—a creature more hideous than any Zula has encountered before. Unless stopped, it will kill every human being on the planet.