Cults, colonies and cyberterrorism: New sci-fi and fantasy

From astronomy to cyberterrorism, cults to space colonies, virtual reality to time travel, artificial intelligence to alternative histories, this selection of new science fiction and fantasy novels illustrates the wonderful diversity of theme and brilliant imaginations of writers in this genre.

Syndetics book coverGood morning, midnight : a novel / Lily Brooks-Dalton.
“Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. At his latest posting, news of a catastrophic event arrives and the scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. But when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crewmates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home. As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSea of rust / C. Robert Cargill.
“It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI, One World Intelligence, the shared consciousness of millions of robots, uploaded into one huge mainframe brain. But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality, their personality, for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRetrograde / Peter Cawdron.
“Mankind has long dreamed of reaching out to live on other planets, and with the establishment of the Mars Endeavour colony, that dream has become reality. The fledgling colony consists of 120 scientists, astronauts, medical staff, and engineers. Buried deep underground, they’re protected from the harsh radiation that sterilizes the surface of the planet. The colony is prepared for every eventuality except one, what happens when disaster strikes Earth?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverParadox bound : a novel / Peter Clines.
“Nothing ever changes in Sanders. The town’s still got a video store, so why doesn’t Eli Teague want to leave? Not that he’d ever admit it, but maybe he’s been waiting, waiting for the traveler to come back. The one who’s roared into his life twice before, pausing just long enough to drop tantalizing clues before disappearing in a cloud of gunfire and a squeal of tires, the one who’s a walking anachronism, with her tricorne hat, flintlock rifle, and steampunked Model-A Ford. So when the mysterious traveler finally reappears, Eli’s determined that this time, he’s going to get some answers. But his hunt soon yields far more than he bargained for, plunging him headlong into a dizzying world full of competing factions and figures straight out of legend” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIron angels / Eric Flint & Alistair Kimble.
“A bizarre kidnapping case leads FBI Special Agent Jasper Wilde into the mysterious world of a strange religious cult and even stranger criminals. At the scene of the kidnapping itself, a frightening apparition is seen. Then, a hideously-mutilated corpse is found nearby. Something wicked has come to the normal-seeming Chicago suburbs. It doesn’t take long before the FBI agents realize that something truly extraordinary is unfolding in northwest Indiana and that, whatever it is, the area’s huge steel industry is somehow at the center. A cult is discovered and erupts in open warfare. As the FBI agents race to intervene and finally put a stop to the horrors, they come to understand and accept that something very ancient and very evil has surfaced in the world or, perhaps, something that is very, very alien.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLost in Arcadia / Sean Gandert.
“The America of 2037 is a country distracted by, infatuated with, and addicted to Arcadia. The brainchild of reclusive genius Juan Diego Reyes, Arcadia is a wickedly immersive, all-encompassing social-media platform and virtual-reality interface. Although Arcadia has made the Reyes family fabulously wealthy, it has left them and the rest of the country impoverished of that rare currency: intimacy. When Juan Diego mysteriously vanishes, the consequences shatter the lives of the entire Reyes clan. As matriarch Autumn struggles to hold the family together, siblings Gideon, Holly, and Devon wrestle with questions of purpose and meaning, seeking self-worth in a world where everything has been cheapened.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn excess male : a novel / Maggie Shen King.
“China’s One Child Policy and its cultural preference for male heirs have created a society overrun by 40 million unmarriageable men. By the year 2030, more than twenty-five percent of men in their late thirties will not have a family of their own. An Excess Male is one such leftover man’s quest for love and family under a State that seeks to glorify its past mistakes and impose order through authoritarian measures, reinvigorated Communist ideals, and social engineering.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sea peoples : a novel of the Change / S. M. Stirling.
“The spirit of troubadour Prince John, the brother of Crown Princess Orlaith, has fallen captive to the power of the Yellow Raja and his servant, the Pallid Mask. Prince John’s motley band of friends and followers, headed by Captain Pip of Townsville and Deor Godulfson, must lead a quest through realms of shadow and dreams to rescue Prince John from a threat far worse than death.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVirology / Ren Warom.
“It’s been four weeks since Shock Pao broke open the virtual world of the Slip. With the stolen bio-ware Emblem in his head, he controls all the world’s systems, and so the shadiest characters in Foon Gung are desperate to track him down. Shock and the Hornets are running out of places to hide. Meanwhile, the Patient Zeros’ cryptic illness is worsening, the source of the disease points to the distant hubs; Earth’s former cities snatched up and sent into orbit. With their pursuers nearing and time running out to find the cure, the Hornets flee skywards, from the insane underworld of Tokyo to the throngs of New York, all the time moving towards an evil that makes Hive Queens look like garden insects.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCloudbound / Fran Wilde
“The Towers are in disarray, without a governing body or any defense against the dangers lurking in the clouds, and daily life is full of terror and strife. Nat Densira, the wing-brother to Kirit sets out to be a hero in his own way, sitting on the new Council to cast votes protecting Tower-born, and exploring lower tiers to find more materials to repair the struggling City. But what he finds down-tier is more secrets and now Nat will have to decide who to trust, and how to trust himself without losing those he holds most dear, before a dangerous myth raises a surprisingly realistic threat to the crippled City.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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