There is an amazing variety of characters in the novels selected from this month’s recently received new Science Fiction and Fantasy added to the collection, from assassins to wizards, FBI agents to drug dealers, soldiers to physicists. Highly recommended this month is New Zealand writer James McNaughton’s dystopian novel set in Wellington and titled Star sailors.
Winter tide / Ruthanna Emrys.
“After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future. The government that stole Aphra’s life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race. Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Dancer’s lament / Ian C. Esslemont.
“A new prequel trilogy takes readers deeper into the politics and intrigue of the Malazan Empire. Dancer’s Lament focuses on the genesis of the empire, and features Dancer, the skilled assassin, who, alongside the mage Kellanved, would found the Malazan Empire.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Deadmen walking / Sherrilyn Kenyon.
“Devyl Bane is an ancient dark warlord returned to the human realm as one of the most notorious pirates in the New World. A man of many secrets, Bane makes a pact with Thorn, an immortal charged with securing the worst creations the ancient gods ever released into our world. Those powers have been imprisoned for eons behind enchanted gates. At Thorn’s behest, Bane takes command of a crew of Deadmen and, together, they are humanity’s last hope to restore the gates and return the damned to their hell realms.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Agents of dreamland / Caitlín R. Kiernan.
“A government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman. In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible, the Children of the Next Level, and offers them something to believe in and a chance for transcendence. A day after the events at the ranch house which disturbed the Signalman so deeply, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory abruptly loses contact with NASA’s interplanetary probe New Horizons. Something out beyond the orbit of Pluto has made contact. And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Luna : wolf moon / Ian McDonald.
“Corta Helio, one of the five family corporations that rule the Moon, has fallen. Its riches are divided up among its many enemies, its survivors scattered. Eighteen months have passed .The remaining Helio children, Lucasinho and Luna, are under the protection of the powerful Asamoahs, while Robson, still reeling from witnessing his parent’s violent deaths, is now a ward, virtually a hostage.of Mackenzie Metals. The last appointed heir, Lucas, has vanished of the surface of the moon. Only Lady Sun, dowager of Taiyang, suspects that Lucas Corta is not dead But Corta Helio needs allies, and to find them, the fleeing son undertakes an audacious, impossible journey to Earth.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Star sailors / James McNaughton.
“In the not too distant future, the effects of climate change devastate the world and New Zealand becomes a haven for elites. When a young couple, from the wrong side of the tracks gains entry into Wellington’s most exclusive gated community, it appears their troubles are over. But they find themselves divided over the identity of Sam Starsailor, an alien prophet who has washed up on a beach near New Hokitika and is said to bring warnings from another planet. Te couple’s housewarming party becomes an all-night carnival, and revolution gathers beyond the gate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Cold welcome / Elizabeth Moon.
“Summoned to the home planet of her family’s business empire, space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta is told to expect a hero’s welcome. But instead she is thrown into danger unlike any other she has faced and finds herself isolated, unable to communicate with the outside world, commanding a motley group of unfamiliar troops, and struggling day by day to survive in a deadly environment with sabotaged gear. Only her undeniable talent for command can give her ragtag band a fighting chance. Yet even as Ky leads her team from one crisis to another, her family and friends refuse to give up hope, endeavoring to mount a rescue from halfway around the planet, a task that is complicated as Ky and her supporters find secrets others will kill to protect: a conspiracy infecting both government and military that threatens not only her own group’s survival but her entire home planet.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Waking gods / Sylvain Neuvel.
“As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers–and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force. Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Borne / Jeff VanderMeer.
“In a ruined, nameless city of the future, Rachel makes her living as a scavenger. She finds a creature she names Borne entangled in the fur of Mord, a gigantic despotic bear that once prowled the corridors of a biotech firm, the Company, until he was experimented on, grew large, learned to fly, and broke free. Made insane by the company’s torture of him, Mord terrorizes the city even as he provides sustenance for scavengers. At first, Borne looks like nothing at all, just a green lump that might be a discard from the Company. Yet when she takes Borne to her subterranean sanctuary, Rachel convinces her lover, Wick, a special kind of dealer, not to render down Borne as raw genetic material for the drugs he sells. But nothing is quite the way it seems: not then past, not the present, not the future.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Thrawn / Timothy Zahn.
“Rescued from exile by Imperial soldiers, Thrawn proved to be indispensable to Emperor Palpatine and the Empire. Ambitious and a warrior never to be underestimated, one promotion followed another, launching this blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power and infamy as Thrawn rises to Admiral.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)