Your partner hands you a tool and you poke at the wires. Just a few more adjustments and you’ll be ready to go. The gears click into place, the power hums on around you. It’s time to leave and be amongst the stars again. This month’s science-fiction titles are all about heading off to the next mission: follow an all-female mission to a faraway planet ready for human habitation in Goldilocks by Laura Lam; and catch up on shows with the one and only Murderbot in Martha Wells’ Network Effect.
Head below for the full list of science fiction titles heading your way in May!
Keep track of all the new SFF releases here. You can also find horror titles scheduled for 2020 here. All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher. Note: Release dates are subject to change.
WEEK ONE (May 5)
Network Effect (Murderbot Diaries #5)—Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you’re a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you’re Murderbot. Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century.
Driving the Deep (Finder Chronicles #2)—Suzanne Palmer (DAW)
As a professional finder, Fergus Ferguson is hired to locate missing objects and steal them back. But it is rarely so simple, especially after his latest job in Cernee. He’s been recovering from that experience in the company of friends, the Shipmakers of Pluto, experts at crafting top-of-the-line AI spaceships. The Shipmakers have convinced Fergus to finally deal with unfinished business he’s been avoiding for half his life: Earth. Fergus hasn’t been back to his homeworld since he was fifteen, when he stole his cousin’s motorcycle and ran away. It was his first theft, and nothing he’s stolen since has been anywhere near so easy, or weighed so heavily on his conscience. Many years and many jobs later, Fergus reluctantly agrees that now is the time to return the motorcycle and face his family. Unfortunately, someone has gotten to the motorcycle before him. And before he can figure out where it went and why the storage unit that held it is now filled with priceless, stolen art, the Shipyard is attacked. His friends are missing, presumably kidnapped. Accompanied by an untrustworthy detective who suspects Fergus is the art thief and the sole friend who escaped the attack, Fergus must follow the tenuous clues to locate and save his friends. The trail leads them to Enceladus, where Fergus plans to go undercover to the research stations that lie beneath the moon’s thick ice sheet deep in a dark, oppressive ocean.
The Human (Rise of the Jain #3)—Neal Asher (Night Shade)
A Jain warship has risen from the depths of space, emerging with a deadly grudge and a wealth of ancient yet lethal technology. It is determined to hunt down the alien Client, and will annihilate all those who stand in its way. So Orlandine must prepare humanity’s defense. Both humanity and the Prador thought their ancient foe—the Jain—had perished in a past age. And they resolve to destroy these outliers at any cost. Orlandine wants the Client’s inside knowledge to act, but the Client has her own agenda. Earth Central therefore looks to the Prador for alliance, after the Jain destroy their fleet. However, not everyone is happy with this, and some will do anything to shatter this fragile coalition. As the Jain warship makes its way across the galaxy, it seems unstoppable. Human and Prador forces alike struggle to withstand its devastating weaponry. Orlandine’s life work is to neutralize Jain technology, so if she can’t triumph, no one can. But will she become what she’s vowed to destroy?
Goldilocks—Laura Lam (Orbit)
Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation. It’s humanity’s last hope for survival, and Naomi, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity like this—to step out of Valerie’s shadow and really make a difference. But when things start going wrong on the ship, Naomi begins to suspect that someone on board is concealing a terrible secret—and realizes time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared.
The Shaman of Karres (Witches of Karres #4)—Eric Flint, Dave Freer (Baen)
Captain Pausert just can’t catch a break! First, he became the mortal enemy of his fiancée, his home planet, the Empire—and even the Worm World, the darkest threat to mankind in all of space. All because he helped rescue three slave children from their masters. Of course, these three young women were the universally feared Witches of Karres—but how was he to know that?! And after he defeated the Worm World (with the help of the witches, of course), the Empress herself had sent him on a secret mission to stop a nanite plague that was raging across the galaxy. But an enemy had somehow convinced the Imperial Fleet that he was actually a wanted criminal, so after a battle leaving his ship in urgent need of repairs, Pausert and the witches of Karres joined an interstellar traveling circus in order to save the galaxy. Now Pausert and the witches of Karres roam the spaceways again, this time dealing with a slaver-culture that somehow makes slaves happy to be in servitude, and a quest for a long-lost alien pet, during which the youngest witch, The Leewit, begins to come to her full powers as a healer—and of course generates chaos in her wake. For Pausert, it’s all in a day’s work. But would it be too much to ask for a vacation?
WEEK TWO (May 12)
Unreconciled (Donovan #4)—W. Michael Gear (DAW)
Where does one put a messianic cult of practicing cannibals? That becomes the question when Ashanti appears in Donovan’s skies. She was designed for no more than four years in space. It’s taken ten. The crew has sealed the transportees onto a single deck—and over the years, the few survivors down there have become monsters. Led by the messiah, Batuhan, they call themselves the Unreconciled. Supervisor Kalico Aguila settles them at remote Tyson Station. With the discovery of a wasting disease among the Unreconciled, it’s up to Kalico, Dya Simonov, and Mark Talbot to try and deal with the epidemic. Only Batuhan has plans of his own—and Kalico and her people are to be the main course. Talina Perez has brokered an uneasy truce with the quetzal molecules that float in her blood. Now, she, young Kylee Simonov, a quetzal named Flute, and a clueless nobleman named Taglioni rush to save Kalico’s vanished party. But as always, Donovan is playing its own deadly game. Lurking in the forest outside Tyson Base is an old and previously unknown terror that even quetzals fear. And it has already begun to hunt.
WEEK THREE (May 19)
Chaos Reigning (Consortium Rebellion #3)—Jessie Mihalik (Harper Voyager)
As the youngest member of her High House, Catarina von Hasenberg is used to being underestimated, but her youth and flighty, bubbly personality mask a clever mind and stubborn determination. Her enemies, blind to her true strength, do not suspect that Cat is a spy—which makes her the perfect candidate to go undercover at a rival House’s summer retreat to gather intelligence on their recent treachery. Cat’s overprotective older sister reluctantly agrees, but on one condition: Cat cannot go alone. Alexander Sterling, a quiet, gorgeous bodyguard, will accompany her, posing as her lover. After Cat tries, and fails, to ditch Alex, she grudgingly agrees, confident in her ability to manage him. After all, she’s never found a person she can’t manipulate. But Alex proves more difficult—and more desirable—than Cat anticipated. When she’s attacked and nearly killed, she and Alex are forced to work together to figure out how deep the treason goes. With rumors of widespread assaults on Serenity raging, communications down, and the rest of her family trapped off-planet, Catarina must persuade Alex to return to Earth to expose the truth and finish this deadly battle once and for all. But Cat can’t explain why she’s the perfect person to infiltrate hostile territory without revealing secrets she’d rather keep buried
WEEK FOUR (May 26)
Ballistic (Palladium Wars #2)—Marko Kloos (47North)
There is a personal price to pay for having aligned with the wrong side in a reckless war. For Aden Jansen it’s the need to adopt a new identity while keeping his past hidden. Now he’s integrated himself aboard the Zephyr, a merchant ship smuggling critical goods through dangerous space. But danger is imminent on planet Gretia, as well. Under occupation, torn between postwar reformers and loyalists, it’s a polestar for civil unrest. Meanwhile an occupation forces officer is pulled right back into the fray when the battle alarm is raised, an ambitious heiress is entangled in a subversive political conspiracy, and an Allied captain is about to meet the enemy head-on. As Aden discovers, the insurgents on Gretia—and in space—are connected, organized, and ready to break into full-scale rebellion. History is threatening to repeat itself. It’s time that Aden rediscovers who he is, whom he can trust, and what he must fight for now.