This month’s selection from the Science Fiction and Fantasy novels recently added to our collection includes nearly everything from magic to murder, alternative histories to life on other planets, from astronautics to robots. There will be many hours of reading pleasure for enthusiasts of this genre.
Flames of rebellion / Jay Allan.
“The planet Haven slides closer to revolution against its parent nation, Federal America. Everett Wells, the fair-minded planetary governor, has tried to create a peaceful resolution, but his failure has caused the government to send Asha Stanton, a ruthless federal operative, to quell the insurgency. Wells quickly realizes that Stanton has the true power and two battalions of government security troops, specifically trained to put down unrest, under her control. Unlike Wells, Stanton is prepared to resort to extreme methods to break the back of the gathering rebellion, including unleashing Colonel Robert Semmes, the psychopathic commander of her soldiers, on the Havenites. But the people of Haven have their own ideas.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Rotherweird / Andrew Caldecott ; illustrated by Sasha Laika.
“The town of Rotherweird stands alone, there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant-garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird’s independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history. For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused. But secrets have a way of leaking out. Two inquisitive outsiders have arrived: Jonah Oblong, to teach modern history at Rotherweird School (nothing local and nothing before 1800), and the sinister billionaire Sir Veronal Slickstone, who has somehow got permission to renovate the town’s long-derelict Manor House.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Vanguard / Jack Campbell.
“Earth is no longer the center of the universe. After the invention of the faster-than-light jump drive, humanity is rapidly establishing new colonies. But the vast distances of space mean that the old order of protection and interstellar law offered by Earth has ceased to exist. When a nearby world attacks, the new colony of Glenlyon turns to Robert Geary, a young former junior fleet officer, and Mele Darcy, a onetime enlisted Marine. With nothing but improvised weapons and a few volunteers, Geary and Darcy must face down warships and armored soldiers, or die trying. This is the first volume in a new series title Genesis fleet.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
Standard Hollywood depravity / Adam Christopher.
“The moment Raymond Electromatic set eyes on her, he knew she was the dame marked in his optics, the woman that his boss had warned him about, Honey. As the band shook the hair out of their British faces, stomping and strumming, the go-go dancer’s cage swung, and the events of that otherwise average night were set in motion. A shot, under the cover of darkness, a body bleeding out in a corner, and most of Los Angeles’ population of hired guns hulking, sour-faced over un-drunk whiskey sours at the bar. But as Ray tries to track down the package he was dispatched to the club to retrieve, his own programming might be working against him, sending him down a long hall and straight into a mobster’s paradise. Is Honey still the goal, or was she merely bait for a bigger catch?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The wanderers / Meg Howrey.
“The best of Helen Kane exists in space. If she doesn’t go back up, she’ll be consigned to a lesser version of herself on a planet that has also seen better days. Helen is an experienced astronaut with a NASA position and a struggling grown-up daughter who needs her but when, at fifty-three, she is offered a place on the training program for the first mission to Mars, the most realistic simulation ever, she cannot refuse a last chance to walk among the stars. How far will the wanderers travel in the pursuit of endeavor, and what will it be like to come home?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Nemesis / Alex Lamb.
“Years ago, one starship and its crew discovered an alien entity which changed everything. Its discovery finally bought an end to the interstellar war being fought between the masses of humanity and the few pockets of genetically engineered colonists. An uneasy peace was negotiated as the human race realized there was something else sharing our universe. But the aliens have remained silent. The earth people have begun to test the edges of the peace treaty. Will, once a roboteer, once a human, now the most powerful being alive, has been sidelined and ignored. And a system-wide conspiracy threatens to plunge humanity back into war. Now one man, his head full of alien technology that lets him interact with machinery, must get to the bottom of the plot, find out what the aliens want, stop the oncoming war and save Will. His journey will uncover a new threat to humanity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Void star / Zachary Mason.
“Not far in the future the seas have risen and the central latitudes are emptying, but it’s still a good time to be rich in San Francisco, where weapons drones patrol the skies to keep out the multitudinous poor. Irina isn’t rich, not quite, but she does have an artificial memory that gives her perfect recall and lets her act as a medium between her various employers and their AIs, which are complex to the point of opacity. Thales is from a different world entirely-the mathematically inclined scion of a Brazilian political clan, he’s fled to L.A. after the attack that left him crippled and his father dead. A ragged stranger accosts Thales and demands to know how much he can remember. Irina finds a secret in the reflection of a laptop’s screen in her employer’s eyeglasses. None are safe as they’re pushed together by subtle forces that stay just out of sight.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The dispatcher / John Scalzi.
” This noir novella will be a surprise for Scalzi’s fans, who are used to his relatively sunny Heinleinesque yarns. Exploring how people in a near-future society would adjust to one enormous change in the basic facts of human life: unaccountably but inescapably, death is no longer permanent. Specifically, humans who die naturally or commit suicide stay dead, but those who are murdered revive. Therefore, to save lives, government “dispatchers” are appointed to kill people who are about to die. Dispatcher Tony Valdez is comfortable with that role until the disappearance of a fellow dispatcher forces him to reconsider how his own grey-area activities have exploited the new rules of life and death.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The rise and fall of D.O.D.O / Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland.
“When Melisande Stokes, an expert in linguistics and languages, accidentally meets military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons in a hallway at Harvard University, it is the beginning of a chain of events that will alter their lives and human history itself. Tristan needs Mel to translate some very old documents, which, if authentic, are earth-shattering. They prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for centuries. Something about the modern world “jams” the “frequencies” used by magic, and it’s up to Tristan to find out why. And so the Department of Diachronic Operations–D.O.D.O.–gets cracking on its real mission: to develop a device that can bring magic back, and send Diachronic Operatives back in time to keep it alive. and meddle with a little history at the same time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Pawn : a chronicle of the Sibyl’s War / Timothy Zahn.
“Nicole Lee’s life is going nowhere. No family, no money, and stuck in a relationship with a thug named Bungie. But, after one of Bungie’s “deals” goes south, he and Nicole are whisked away by a mysterious moth-like humanoid to a strange ship called the Fyrantha .Once aboard, life on the ship seems too good to be true. All she has to do is work on one of the ship’s many maintenance crews. However, she learned long ago that nothing comes without a catch. Nicole soon discovers that many different factions are vying for control of the Fyrantha , and she and her friends are merely pawns in a game beyond their control. But, she is tired of being used, and now Nicole is going to fight.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)