Whether you prefer laser guns and spaceships, or swords and magic, this lot should have you covered…
Power play / Ben Bova.
“When astronomy professor Jake Ross is recruited as an adviser to aspiring senator Frank Tomlinson, he is asked to become an expert on MHD, or “magnetohydrodynamics,” a new procedure intended to increase radically the generation of cheap and clean electricity. Its creator, Dr. Arlen Sinclair, is unwilling to expose this still–experimental technology to the political arena, especially since he has connections with the incumbent whose seat Tomlinson wants. Drawn further into the cutthroat world of political elections, Ross soon faces the prospect that he may not make it to Election Day alive. Bova’s latest novel, set in the near future, features a strong, plot-driven story; snappy dialog; and characters, uncluttered by backstory drama, whose personalities still leap off the page. VERDICT The winner of multiple Hugos puts the science in sf; his large following will appreciate another rapid-fire sf thriller.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary).
Zoo city / Lauren Beukes
“Zinzi has a talent for finding lost things. Being hired by famously reclusive music producer Odi Huron to find a teenybop pop star should be her ticket out of Zoo City, the festering slum of the criminal underclass. Set in a wildly re-imagined Johannesburg, it mixes refugees, crime, the music industry, African magic and the nature of sin. Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke award, 2011.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Out of Oz / Gregory Maguire ; illustrations by Douglas Smith.
“In the midst of Oz’s civil war, Rain, granddaughter of the infamous Elphaba, Wicked Witch of the West, is coming of age with a ramshackle band of friends. Adding to the chaos, Dorothy is back, destructive and irritatingly chipper as always, and events spiral into an ever-expanding web of betrayals, friendships, secrets, and unexpected returns. Maguire excels at creating multidimensional characters that rise above their many flaws. Readers will delight in the lyrical writing and many thinly veiled references to other Ozian works (Wicked, the Broadway musical; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) found throughout this gritty conclusion to Maguire’s popular “Wicked Years” series (Wicked; Son of a Witch; A Lion Among Men). The provided map, summaries of previous books, and family trees and time lines prove helpful in recalling characters and situations introduced earlier in the series. VERDICT This engrossing, complex novel continues to flip the world of Oz on its head while answering new and old questions about Oz and its denizens. Highly recommended for fans of the series.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)
Shadows in flight / Orson Scott Card.
“Julian “Bean” Delphiki, a friend of the legendary Ender Wiggin (Ender’s Game) from the Battle School during the war against the alien Formics, has left Earth along with his three children to spend the remainder of their artificially short lives among the stars. Bean and his children all have Anton Syndrome, a condition defined by hyper-intelligence and gigantism that results in a life span of under 25 years. Hoping to use their knowledge to discover a cure for their condition, the space travelers encounter an alien ship that may contain a surprising answer to their problem. Picking up where Shadow of the Giant leaves off, Card deals with the repercussions of bioengineering for the human species. VERDICT Card’s graceful story-telling gives this narrative the feel of a parable or a futuristic myth; it is bound to please the author’s fan base and readers who enjoyed the first book.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)
Fate’s edge / Ilona Andrews.
“Andrews’s delightful third Edge novel returns to the no-man’s-land separating the twin planes of the Broken (our mundane world) and the Weird (an alternate, splintered America filled with feuding nations and magic). Against her better judgment, reformed grifter Audrey Callahan undertakes one last job, helping her family steal a valuable magical item. The theft’s aftermath threatens to spark conflict between several Weird countries. Kaldar Mar, jack-of-all-trades and agent for Adrianglia’s enigmatic Mirror organization, is the first to find Audrey, promptly enlisting her services in order to recover the artifact. With the vicious rival society known as the Hand closing in, the two must use every skill at their disposal: running cons, stealing, donning disguises, and fighting for their lives. The clash of personalities and quick wits fuels serious chemistry, resulting in an appealing blend of madcap caper, spy thriller, and romantic comedy.” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)
Supervolcano : eruption / Harry Turtledove.
“The supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park has lain dormant for over 600,000 years, the many geysers-including Old Faithful-and hot springs the only evidence of its continued activity. When Los Angeles police lieutenant Colin Ferguson, vacationing after a recent divorce, meets geologist Kelly Birnbaum during an unexpected quake in the park, their mutual attraction takes second place to their growing suspicion that the Yellowstone volcano is preparing for an eruption that could spell disaster not only for the United States but also for the planet’s fragile environment. VERDICT The premiere voice of alternate history, Turtledove (Guns of the South) depicts an all-too-real potential future in this page-turner that combines powerful storytelling with convincing characters. A good choice for fans of disaster fiction.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)
Halo : primordium / Greg Bear.
“Continues the story of the ancient Forerunners engineering race, who are worshiped as gods by the Covenant while their mysterious connection to humanity slowly unfolds.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The bride wore black leather / Simon R. Green.
“Green’s superlative 12th Nightside novel (after 2011’s A Hard Day’s Knight), set in a world “hidden deep in the dark and dangerous heart of London,” ratchets up the stakes for series protagonist John Taylor in an intricate and action-filled plot that seamlessly blends crime and the supernatural. Taylor has been designated the new “Walker,” the public face of the rulers of the Nightside, so he begins wrapping up his personal investigation business. Then an anonymous e-mail sends Taylor to the Ball of Forever; the guest list is limited to immortals, but a killer manages to strike one down. As Taylor hunts the culprit, he learns that a powerful entity seeks to destroy the entire Nightside. The pace never flags and the sardonic Chandleresque narration (“She didn’t lose her innocence; she threw it away with both hands, first chance she got”) is perfectly suited to the Nightside’s fantastical mean streets.” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)
Sisterhood of Dune / Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
“In the aftermath of the Butlerian Jihad and the destruction of all thinking machines, human planetary governments reorganize themselves into the First Imperium under the leadership of Faykan Butler, now known as Corrino (after the decisive Battle of Corrin). Eight decades later, a number of schools have arisen to push the human mind to its highest levels. This includes the training of Mentats as human computers, the development of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood as practitioners of mental and social manipulation, and the bizarre transformation of men and women into mutated Navigators who use their minds to allow instantaneous interplanetary travel. Amid these changes, youthful members of disgraced House Harkonnen seek vengeance against the Atreides hero responsible for Harkonnen’s downfall, while the Butlerian movement under the leadership of zealot Manford Torondo seeks to root out every vestige of machine dependency. -VERDICT With their usual fidelity to the vision of the late Frank Herbert, coauthors Herbert (Frank’s son) and Anderson (The Winds of Dune) continue to illuminate heretofore hidden areas of the Dune time line. Fully realized characters and intricate plotting will put this title high on fans’ to-read list.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)
Stonewielder : a novel of the Malazan Empire / Ian C. Esslemont.
Picking up the story a few years after the events of Return of the Crimson Guard, Stonewielder centres on the character of Greymane, one of the Malazan army’s most revered commanders whose prowess in the field earned him the name ‘Stonewielder’.