It is up to you now, only you are in control of your future. You have never had to fight this hard before, you don’t know what you’re capable of. All you can do is gather all the power you’ve got. This month’s science fiction titles are all about accepting both the good and the bad. Find hope after the apocalypse in Mike Chen’s A Beginning at the End; embrace your gifts in Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez; and find power in anger in the new book from Tochi Onyebuchi, Riot Baby.
Head below for the full list of science fiction titles heading your way in January!
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 (January 7)
Resurgence (Foreigner #20)—C. J. Cherryh (DAW)
Bren Cameron, diplomat in residence, usually represents the ruler of the atevi state. But Ilisidi, the dowager, has been known to borrow his services from time to time—and she has her own notions how to solve the simmering hostilities in the south of the atevi continent, playing one problem against another.This time, she is betting the hard-won northern peace—and the lives of the people—on being right. She has commandeered the Red Train, taken aboard what passengers she chooses, and headed for the snowy roof of the world, where a hard-scrabble town and its minor lord are the first pieces she intends to use.
The God Game—Danny Tobey (St. Martin’s Press)
With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even. But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win? And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life―does it? As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us. God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.
Bone Silence (Revenger Universe #3)—Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz)
Two sisters ran away from home to join the crew of a spaceship. They took on pirates, faced down monsters and survived massacres… and now they’re in charge. Captaining a fearsome ship of their own, adventures are theirs for the taking. But Captain Bosa’s fearsome reputation still dogs their heels, and they’re about to discover that, out in space, no one forgives, and no one forgets…
WEEK TWO (January 14)
A Beginning at the End—Mike Chen (MIRA)
Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding the country, split between self-governing cities, hippie communes and wasteland gangs.In postapocalyptic San Francisco, former pop star Moira has created a new identity to finally escape her past—until her domineering father launches a sweeping public search to track her down. Desperate for a fresh start herself, jaded event planner Krista navigates the world on behalf of those too traumatized to go outside, determined to help everyone move on—even if they don’t want to. Rob survived the catastrophe with his daughter, Sunny, but lost his wife. When strict government rules threaten to separate parent and child, Rob needs to prove himself worthy in the city’s eyes by connecting with people again.Krista, Moira, Rob and Sunny are brought together by circumstance, and their lives begin to twine together. But when reports of another outbreak throw the fragile society into panic, the friends are forced to finally face everything that came before—and everything they still stand to lose. Because sometimes having one person is enough to keep the world going.
Vanished Birds—Simon Jimenez (Del Rey)
A solitary ship captain, drifting through time: Nia Imani is a woman out of place. Traveling through the stars condenses decades into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her. She lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky. A mute child, burdened with unimaginable power: The scarred boy does not speak, his only form of communication the haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and otherworldly nature, Nia decides to take the boy in to live amongst her crew. Soon, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself. For both of them, a family. But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. A millennia-old woman, poised to burn down the future: Fumiko Nakajima designed the ships that allowed humanity to flee a dying Earth. One thousand years later, she now regrets what she has done in the name of progress. When chance brings Fumiko, Nia, and the child together, she recognizes the potential of his gifts, and what will happen if the ruling powers discover him. So she sends the pair to the distant corners of space to hide them as she crafts a plan to redeem her old mistakes. But time is running out. The past hungers for the boy, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.
WEEK THREE (January 21)
Stars Beyond (Stars Uncharted #2)—S. K. Dunstall (Ace)
An engineer with a fondness for weapons. A captain with no memory. An obsessive genemodder who loves to tinker. Meet the crew of Another Road. Josune, Roystan, and Nika have escaped the company thugs trying to kill them. They’ve gotten a new spaceship to replace The Road (after it was blown up underneath them). And their new ship is armed to the teeth with dangerous weapons, courtesy of Josune. All that’s left to do before they head out to find the legendary lode of transurides is to restore Roystan’s memory. To do that, they need to collect the genemod machine Nika has ordered. But first, they have to shake off the Justice Department agent and the Companies tracking them. It should be easy. They’ve done it before. What could possibly go wrong?
Riot Baby—Tochi Onyebuchi (Tor.com Publishing)
Ella has a Thing. She sees a classmate grow up to become a caring nurse. A neighbor’s son murdered in a drive-by shooting. Things that haven’t happened yet. Kev, born while Los Angeles burned around them, wants to protect his sister from a power that could destroy her. But when Kev is incarcerated, Ella must decide what it means to watch her brother suffer while holding the ability to wreck cities in her hands. Rooted in the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is as much an intimate family story as a global dystopian narrative. It burns fearlessly toward revolution and has quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience. Ella and Kev are both shockingly human and immeasurably powerful. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by racism. Their futures might alter the world.
WEEK FOUR (January 28)
Buzz Kill—David Sosnowski (47North)
Pandora Lynch lives in Alaska with her single dad, an online therapist for Silicon Valley’s brightest and squirreliest. Homeschooled by computer and a self-taught hacker, Pandora is about to enter high school to learn how to be normal. That’s the plan at least. NorCal runaway George Jedson is a hacker too—one who leaves the systems he attacks working better than before. After being scooped up by a social media giant, will George go legit—or pull off the biggest hack ever? Not even his therapist knows for sure, but maybe the headshrinker’s daughter…After meeting in cyberspace, the two young hackers combine their passions to conceive a brainchild named BUZZ. Can this baby AI learn to behave, or will it be like its parents and think outside the box?
Warlord (Makaum War #3)—Mel Odom (HarperVoyager)
One step forward, two steps back sums up Frank Sage’s day-to-day on Makaum. No sooner does he get the drug cartels under control than a major political assassination stirs civil unrest to a fever pitch. Makaumans never wanted to choose sides in the Terran/Phrenorian war, but frustration, fear, and resentment are turning the tide against peacekeeping efforts. As street skirmishes rage on, the Terrans’ most powerful on-planet ally works with Sage’s superior officer to isolate insurgent cells—and outmaneuver the general who wants to yank troops from Makaum before their job is done. Meanwhile, the assassin who’s targeting powerful figures from all factions is still at large. Amidst the chaos, Sage must keep his eye on a lethal “prize”—the secret armory and headquarters where the Phrenorians have been stockpiling weapons, munitions, and war machines. The mission to infiltrate will put him on a collision course with Zhoh GhiCemid, his ruthlessly ambitious Phrenorian counterpart. As dangerous as ever, Zhoh isn’t afraid to die—and would like nothing better than to take Sage down with him.