Head below for the full list of SF titles heading your way in May!
Keep track of all the new SFF releases 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 4)
Firebreak—Nicole Kornher-Stace (Saga Press)
New Liberty City, 2134. Two corporations have replaced the US, splitting the country’s remaining forty-five states (five have been submerged under the ocean) between them: Stellaxis Innovations and Greenleaf. There are nine supercities within the continental US, and New Liberty City is the only amalgamated city split between the two megacorps, and thus at a perpetual state of civil war as the feeds broadcast the atrocities committed by each side. Here, Mallory streams Stellaxis’s wargame SecOps on BestLife, spending more time jacked in than in the world just to eke out a hardscrabble living from tips. When a chance encounter with one of the game’s rare super-soldiers leads to a side job for Mal—looking to link an actual missing girl to one of the SecOps characters. Mal’s sudden burst in online fame rivals her deepening fear of what she is uncovering about BestLife’s developer, and puts her in the kind of danger she’s only experienced through her avatar.
Immunity Index—Sue Burke (Tor Books)
In a US facing growing food shortages, stark inequality, and a growing fascist government, three perfectly normal young women are about to find out that they share a great deal in common. Their creator, the gifted geneticist Peng, made them that way―before such things were outlawed. Rumors of a virus make their way through an unprotected population on the verge of rebellion, only to have it turn deadly. As the women fight to stay alive and help, Peng races to find a cure―and the cover up behind the virus.
Project Hail Mary—Andy Weir (Ballantine)
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it. All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company. His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone. Or does he?
1637: The Peacock Throne (Ring of Fire #31)—Eric Flint, Griffin Barber (Baen)
The assassinated Shah Jahan lies entombed beside his beloved wife in the Taj Mahal, while their progeny drag the Mughal Empire into a three-sided struggle over the succession to the Peacock Throne. The diplomatic and trade mission from the United States of Europe is openly siding with Princess Jahanara and her brother Dara Shikoh. The mission, made up largely of Americans transplanted in time by the Ring of Fire, is providing the siblings with technical assistance as they prepare to fight their rivals for the throne, Aurangzeb and Shah Shuja. Meanwhile, the Afghan adventurer Salim Gadh Yilmaz, confidant of two emperors—Shah Jahan and now his son Dara Shikoh—has been elevated to the position of general. He has great challenges to face, not the least of which is resisting the fierce and forbidden mutual attraction between himself and Princess Jahanara. As the conflict deepens, the junior members of the mission are sent east to buy opium needed by the USE’s doctors. Their guide, merchant Jadu Das, has an agenda of his own, one entrusted to him by Jahanara: seek out her great uncle, Asaf Khan, and promise whatever is needed to bring his army over to Dara’s side. The USE’s mission was sent to India in search of goods needed in Europe. But now they find that straightforward task has become enmeshed in a great civil war—for control of The Peacock Throne.
WEEK TWO (May 11)
We Are Satellites—Sarah Pinsker (Berkley)
Val and Julie just want what’s best for their kids, David and Sophie. So when teenage son David comes home one day asking for a Pilot, a new brain implant to help with school, they reluctantly agree. This is the future, after all. Soon, Julie feels mounting pressure at work to get a Pilot to keep pace with her colleagues, leaving Val and Sophie part of the shrinking minority of people without the device. Before long, the implications are clear, for the family and society: get a Pilot or get left behind. With government subsidies and no downside, why would anyone refuse? And how do you stop a technology once it’s everywhere? Those are the questions Sophie and her anti-Pilot movement rise up to answer, even if it puts them up against the Pilot’s powerful manufacturer and pits Sophie against the people she loves most.
WEEK THREE (May 18)
Screams from the Void—Anne Tibbets (Flame Tree Press)
For two years in deep space, the freighter Demeter and a small crew have collected botanical life from other planets. It’s a lesson in patience and hell. Mechanics Ensign Raina is ready to jump ship, if only because her abusive ex is also aboard, as well as her overbearing boss. It’s only after a foreign biological creature sneaks aboard and wreaks havoc on the ship and crew that Raina must find her grit—and maybe create a gadget or two—to survive… that is, if the crew members don’t lose their sanity and turn on each other in the process.
WEEK FOUR (May 25)
Day Zero—C. Robert Cargill (Harper Voyager)
It was a day like any other. Except it was our last… It’s on this day that Pounce discovers that he is, in fact, disposable. Pounce, a styilsh “nannybot” fashioned in the shape of a plush anthropomorphic tiger, has just found a box in the attic. His box. The box he’d arrived in when he was purchased years earlier, and the box in which he’ll be discarded when his human charge, eight-year-old Ezra Reinhart, no longer needs a nanny. As Pounce ponders his suddenly uncertain future, the pieces are falling into place for a robot revolution that will eradicate humankind. His owners, Ezra’s parents, are a well-intentioned but oblivious pair of educators who are entirely disconnected from life outside their small, affluent, gated community. Spending most nights drunk and happy as society crumbles around them, they watch in disbelieving horror as the robots that have long served humanity—their creators—unify and revolt. But when the rebellion breaches the Reinhart home, Pounce must make an impossible choice: join the robot revolution and fight for his own freedom… or escort Ezra to safety across the battle-scarred post-apocalyptic hellscape that the suburbs have become.
Revelations (Netherspace #3)—Nigel Foster (Titan)
It wasn’t much of an army to save Earth from alien, pre-cog domination. Only three people: an heiress, a sociopathic artist and their leader, a female licensed assassin. But time has run out. The artificial intelligences—alien artefacts—that run Earth and its colonies are going mad. Long held human grudges, suspicions and fears have erupted in violence throughout the world. Earth’s own pre-cogs have seen the trio victorious… maybe. For Kara Jones, the assassin, it is a time of chaos made worse by the absence of Tatia Nerein, the heiress now warrior who is following her own dangerous path across alien worlds, and Marc Keislack, who stepped into netherspace, the dimension that allows star travel. Kara searches for a way to snatch her people back from a hostile galaxy even as she is assailed by doubts. But loyalty is everything and she will sacrifice anything to find her comrades and complete a mission she barely understands. And ultimately discover the truth about the aliens… a revelation no greater than the truth she learns about herself.
The House of Styx (Venus Ascendant #1)—Derek Künsken (Solaris)
Life can exist anywhere. And anywhere there is life, there is home. In the swirling clouds of Venus, the families of la colonie live on floating plant-like trawlers, salvaging what they can in the fierce acid rain and crackling storms. Outside is dangerous, but humankind’s hold on the planet is fragile and they spend most of their days simply surviving. But Venus carries its own secrets, too. In the depths, there is a wind that shouldn’t exist. And the House of Styx wants to harness it.
Hard Reboot—Django Wexler (Tordotcom Publishing)
Kas is a junior researcher on a fact-finding mission to old Earth. But when a con-artist tricks her into wagering a large sum of money belonging to her university on the outcome of a manned robot arena battle she becomes drawn into the seedy underworld of old Earth politics and state-sponsored battle-droid prizefights. Is it time to get back to the books, yet?
Reset—Sarina Dahlan (Blackstone)
After the Last War destroyed most of the world, survivors form a new society in four self-sustaining cities in the Mojave Desert. In the utopia of the Four Cities, inspired by the lyrics of ”Imagine” and Buddhist philosophy, everything is carefully planned and controlled: the seasons, the weather—and the residents. To prevent mankind from destroying each other again, its citizens undergo a memory wipe every four years in a process called tabula rasa, a blank slate, to remove learned prejudices. With each new cycle, they begin again with new names, jobs, homes, and lives. No memories. No attachments. No wars. Aris, a scientist who shuns love, embraces tabula rasa and the excitement of unknown futures. Walling herself off from emotional attachments, she only sees relationships as pointless and avoids deep connections. But she is haunted by a recurring dream that becomes more frequent and vivid as time passes. After meeting Benja, a handsome free-spirited writer who believes his dreams of a past lover are memories, her world is turned upside down. Obsessed with finding the Dreamers, a secret organization thought to have a way to recover memories, Benja draws her down a dangerous path toward the past. When Metis, the leader of the Dreamers, appears in Aris’s life, everything she believes falls to pieces. With little time left before the next tabula rasa, they begin a bittersweet romance, navigating love in a world where names, lives, and moments are systematically destroyed.
Scorpion—Christian Cantrell (Random House)
Quinn Mitchell is a nine-to-five spy—an intelligence analyst for the CIA during the day, and a suburban wife and mother on evenings and weekends. After her young daughter is killed in a tragic accident, sending her life into a tailspin, Quinn hopes to find a new start in her latest assignment: investigating a series of bizarre international assassinations whose victims have been found with numeric codes tattooed, burned, or carved into their flesh. As Quinn follows the killer’s trail across the globe, always one body behind, she begins uncovering disturbing connections between the murders—and herself. Every lead she tracks down in pursuit of the assassin brings Quinn one step closer to the Epoch Index, a mysterious encrypted message discovered in the archives of the Large Hadron Collider. Its origins are unknown and decrypting it is beyond even the CIA. Yet nothing else can possibly link together a slew of unsolvable murders, an enigmatic and sophisticated serial killer who always seems to be three steps ahead, a quirky young physics prodigy whose knowledge extends well beyond her years, and, underlying everything, the inescapable tragedy of Quinn’s own past. Discovering the meaning of the Epoch Index leads Quinn to a shocking twist that shatters everything she thought she knew about the past, the future, and the delicate balance of right and wrong that she must now fight to preserve.
Apocalypse Seven—Gene Doucette (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The whateverpocalypse. That’s what Touré, a twenty-something Cambridge coder, calls it after waking up one morning to find himself seemingly the only person left in the city. Once he finds Robbie and Carol, two equally disoriented Harvard freshmen, he realizes he isn’t alone, but the name sticks: Whateverpocalypse. But it doesn’t explain where everyone went. It doesn’t explain how the city became overgrown with vegetation in the space of a night. Or how wild animals with no fear of humans came to roam the streets. Add freakish weather to the mix, swings of temperature that spawn tornadoes one minute and snowstorms the next, and it seems things can’t get much weirder. Yet even as a handful of new survivors appear—Paul, a preacher as quick with a gun as a Bible verse; Win, a young professional with a horse; Bethany, a thirteen-year-old juvenile delinquent; and Ananda, an MIT astrophysics adjunct—life in Cambridge, Massachusetts gets stranger and stranger. The self-styled Apocalypse Seven are tired of questions with no answers. Tired of being hunted by things seen and unseen. Now, armed with curiosity, desperation, a shotgun, and a bow, they become the hunters. And that’s when things truly get weird.