Leading this month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels is the multiple award winning novel by Naomi Alderman titled The Power and is highly recommended. Other novels in this selection cover well-loved themes of this genre including interplanetary voyages, alternative histories, dystopian fiction, artificial intelligence, and imaginary wars and battles.
The power / Naomi Alderman.
“Suddenly tomorrow or the day after, girls find that with a flick of their fingers they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman’s extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed, and we look at the world in an entirely new light. What if the power were in women’s hands?” (Adapted from Sydetics summary)
The rift / Nina Allan.
“Selena and Julie are sisters. As children they were closest companions, but as they grow towards maturity, a rift develops between them. There are greater rifts, however. Julie goes missing at the age of seventeen. It will be twenty years before Selena sees her again. When Julie reappears, she tells Selena an incredible story about how she has spent time on another planet. Selena has an impossible choice to make: does she dismiss her sister as a damaged person, the victim of delusions, or believe her, and risk her own sanity in the process? Is Julie really who she says she is, and if she isn’t, what does she have to gain by claiming her sister’s identity?”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Killing is my business / Adam Christopher.
“Another golden morning in a seedy town, and a new memory tape and assignment for intrepid PI-turned hitman and last robot left in working order, Raymond Electromatic. But, in Killing Is My Business, he finds his skills may be rustier than he remembered.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Walkaway / Cory Doctorow.
“Hubert, Seth, and their ultra-rich heiress friend Natalie are getting a little old to hang out at the “Communist parties,” techno-raveups in abandoned industrial spaces, full of insta-printed drugs and toys. Natalie was finished, years ago, with her over controlling zillionaire dad and now that anyone can manufacture food, clothing, shelter with equipment comparable to a computer printer, there seems to be little reason to stick with the world of rules and jobs. So, like hundreds of thousands of others in the mid-21st century, the three of them walk away. Mind you, it’s still dangerous out there. Much of the countryside is wrecked by climate change, and predators are with us always. Yet when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death” (Adapted from Syndetics summary).
Red vengeance : a novel of alien resistance / Brendan DuBois.
“U.S Army Sergeant Randy Knox is sixteen, and already a seasoned veteran. He is an alien killing prodigy who has eradicated more of the invading Creepers than anyone can keep track of. But Randy is also a high school student struggling with geometry. And he is a young man whose heart is being pulled in two directions by two very different girls. One, Abby Monroe, a straightforward warrior, the other, Serena Coulson, dangerous and mysterious. Randy, with the help of Serena’s strange brother, alien interpreter Buddy Coulson, has convinced a Creeper base to surrender. After a decade of conflict, misery, and the death of millions of humans, it finally seems that the war may come to an end. But then the surrender effort turns into a bloody ambush. More disturbing, Buddy and Serena Coulson arrive, having escaped torture and interrogation at the hands of a C.I.A. operative. It begins to dawn on Randy that, as much as he doesn’t want to believe it, the powers-that-be may not want the war to be over.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Darien / C. F. Iggulden.
“The city of Darien stands at the weary end of a golden age. Twelve families keep order with soldiers and artefacts, spies and memories, clinging to a peace that shifts and crumbles. The people of the city endure what they cannot change. Here, amongst old feuds, a plot is hatched to kill a king. It will summon strangers to the city, Elias Post, a hunter, Tellius, an old swordsman banished from his home, Arthur, a boy who cannot speak, Daw Threefold, a chancer and gambler, Vic Deeds, who feels no guilt and Nancy, a girl whose talent might be the undoing of them all. As the sun sets, their arrival inside the walls will spark a series of explosive events. Before the sun returns, six destinies will have been made and lost in Darien.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The punch escrow / Tal M. Klein.
“It’s the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We’ve genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. Teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport, the world’s most powerful corporation, in a world controlled by corporations. Joel Byram spends his days training artificial-intelligence engines to act more human and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. He’s pretty much an everyday twenty-second century guy with everyday problems, until he’s accidentally duplicated while teleporting. Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Provenance / Ann Leckie.
“A power-driven young woman has just one chance to secure the status she craves and regain priceless lost artifacts prized by her people. She must free their thief from a prison planet from which no one has ever returned. Ingray and her charge will return to her home world to find their planet in political turmoil, at the heart of an escalating intergalactic conflict. Together, they must make a new plan to salvage Ingray’s future, her family, and her world, before they are lost to her for good.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
A man of shadows : a Nyquist mystery / Jeff Noon.
“Below the neon skies of Dayzone, where the lights never go out, and night has been banished, lowly private eye John Nyquist takes on a teenage runaway case. His quest takes him from Dayzone into the permanent dark of Nocturna. As the vicious, seemingly invisible serial killer known only as Quicksilver haunts the streets, Nyquist starts to suspect that the runaway girl holds within her the key to the city’s fate. In the end, there’s only one place left to search: the shadow-choked zone known as Dusk.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The idiot gods / David Zindell.
“The Idiot Gods is an epic tale of a quest for a new way of life on Earth, told by an orca .When Arjuna of the Blue Aria Family encounters three signs of cataclysm, he leaves his home in the Arctic Ocean to seek out the Idiot Gods and ask us why we are destroying the world. But the whales’ ancient Song of Life is beyond our understanding, and we know nothing of the Great Covenant between our kinds. Arjuna is captured, starved, tortured and made to do tricks in a tiny pool at Sea Circus. His love for a human linguist gives him hope. As the whales’ beloved Ocean turns toward the Blood Solstice the fate of humanity hangs in the balance: for if Arjuna gains the Voice of Death he could destroy mankind. But if understanding can prevail, he may, through the whales’ mysterious power of quenging, create a new Song of Life and enable human evolution to unfold.” (Adapted from Syndetics summaries)