Category: Recent picks

New Science Fiction and Fantasy for April

This month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels contains the usual wide variety of imaginative plots readers of this genre have come to love. From cloning to immortality, reincarnation to psychic ability, slave traders to space spiders, all provide many hours of entertaining reading.

Syndetics book coverThe skill of our hands / Steven Brust and Skyler White.
“The Incrementalists are a secret society of two hundred people, an unbroken lineage reaching back forty thousand years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations and time. They have a very modest mission: to make the world better, a little bit at a time. Phil, the Incrementalist whose personality has stayed stable through more incarnations than anyone others, has been shot dead. They’ll bring him back, but first they need to know what happened. Their investigation will bring them up against corruption, racism, and brutality in high and low places alike. But the key may lay in one of Phil’s previous lives, in “Bleeding Kansas” in the late 1850s, and the fate of the passionate abolitionist we remember as John Brown.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe book of Etta / Meg Elison.
“Etta comes from Nowhere, a village of survivors of the great plague that wiped away the world that was. In the world that is, women are scarce and childbearing is dangerous, yet desperately necessary for humankind’s future. Mothers and midwives are sacred, but Etta has a different calling, as a scavenger. Loyal to the village but living on her own terms, Etta roams the desolate territory beyond: salvaging useful relics of the ruined past and braving the threat of brutal slave traders, who are seeking women and girls to sell and subjugate. When slavers seize those she loves, Etta vows to release and avenge them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe warren / Brian Evenson.
“X doesn’t have a name. He thought he had one, or many,but that might be the result of the failing memories of the personalities imprinted within him. Or maybe he really is called X. He’s also not as human as he believes himself to be. But when he discovers the existence of another, above ground, outside the protection of the Warren, X must learn what it means to be human, or face the destruction of their two species.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe immortal bind / Traci Harding.
“When Sara is gifted a beautiful antique chair as a wedding present, she is completely unaware that it is one of a unique pair. On the other side of the world, the chair’s twin is presented to a reclusive artist, Jon, as a birthday gift. The two new owners are thrust into a mind-expanding adventure through the ages, medieval East Anglia, Scotland, France and India. In each instance they experience significant junctions in their lives past; to remember and redress ripples of karma they set in motion, and thwart an evil entity that still threatens their present day lives.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe stars are legion / Kameron Hurley.
“On the outer rim of the universe, a galactic war has been waged for centuries upon hundreds of world-ships. But these worlds will continue to die through decay and constant war unless a desperate plan succeeds. Anat, leader of the Katazyrna world-ship and the most fearsome raiding force on the Outer Rim, wants peace. To do so she offers the hand of her daughter, Jayd, to her rival. As Anat convinces her to spend the rest of her life wed to her family’s greatest enemy, it is up to Jayd’s sister Zan, with no stomach for war, to lead the cast off warriors she has banded together to victory and rescue Jayd. But the war does not go at all as planned.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpaceman of Bohemia / Jaroslav Kalfař.
“Orphaned as a boy, raised in the Czech countryside by his doting grandparents, Jakub Procha has risen from small-time scientist to become the country’s first astronaut. When a dangerous solo mission to Venus offers him the chance at heroism he’s dreamt of, he ventures boldly into the vast unknown. But in so doing, he leaves behind his devoted wife, Lenka, whose love, he realizes too late, he has sacrificed on the altar of his ambitions. Alone in Deep Space, Jakub discovers a possibly imaginary giant alien spider, who becomes his unlikely companion. Over philosophical conversations about the nature of love, life and death, and the deliciousness of bacon, the pair form an intense and emotional bond. Will it be enough to see Jakub through a clash with secret Russian rivals and return him safely to Earth for a second chance with Lenka?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSix wakes / Mur Lafferty.
“It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood. At least, Maria Arena had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone; her first memory was of how she died. Maria’s vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. And Maria wasn’t the only one to die recently.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHumans, bow down / James Patterson and Emily Raymond with Jill Dembowski ; illustrations by Alexander Ovchinnikov.
“The Great War is over. The Robots have won. The humans who survived have two choices, they can submit and serve the vicious rulers they created or be banished to the Reserve, a desolate, unforgiving landscape where it’s a crime to be human. The robots are not content, following the orders of their soulless leader; they’re planning to conquer humanity’s last refuge. With nothing left to lose, Six, a feisty, determined young woman, is a rebel with a cause. On the run for her life after an attempted massacre, Six is determined to save humanity before the robots finish what the Great War started and wipe humans off the face of the earth.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew York 2140 / Kim Stanley Robinson.
“As the sea levels rose, every street became a canal, every skyscraper an island. For the residents of one apartment building in Madison Square, however, New York in the year 2140 is far from a drowned city. There is the market trader, who finds opportunities where others find trouble. There is the detective, whose work will never disappear, along with the lawyers, of course. There is the internet star, beloved by millions for her airship adventures, and the building’s manager, quietly respected for his attention to detail. Then there are two boys who don’t live there, but have no other home, and who are more important to its future than anyone might imagine. Lastly there are the coders, temporary residents on the roof, whose disappearance triggers a sequence of events that threatens the existence of all and even the long-hidden foundations on which the city rests.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRadiant terminus / Antoine Volodine ; translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman ; foreword by Brian Evenson.
Radiant Terminus takes place in a Tarkovskian landscape after the fall of the Second Soviet Union. Most of humanity has been destroyed thanks to a number of nuclear meltdowns, but a few communes remain, including one run by Solovyei, a psychotic father with the ability to invade people’s dreams, including those of his daughters, and torment them for thousands of years. When a group of damaged individuals seek safety from this nuclear winter in Solovyei’s commune, a plot develops to overthrow him, end his reign of mental abuse, and restore humanity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Science Fiction and Fantasy for March

There are new titles from several very popular writers included in this month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels. These are Greg Bear, William R. Forstchen, Terry Goodkind, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Charles Stross. Highly recommended is A closed and common orbit by Becky Chambers, that can be read as a stand-alone novel, not necessarily as the second title in her Wayfarers series.

Syndetics book coverThe bear and the nightingale : a novel / Katherine Arden.
“At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind, she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSummerlong / Peter S. Beagle.
“It was a typically unpleasant Puget Sound winter before the arrival of Lioness Lazos, even the weather takes notice. As an impossibly beautiful spring leads into a perfect summer, Lioness is drawn to a complicated family. She is taken in by two disenchanted lovers, dynamic Joanna Delvecchio and scholarly Abe Aronson, visited by Joanna’s previously unlucky-in-love daughter, Lily. With Lioness in their lives, they are suddenly compelled to explore their deepest dreams and desires. Lioness grows more captivating as the days grow longer. Her new family thrives, even as they may be growing apart. But lingering in Lioness’s past is a dark secret, and even summer days must pass.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTake back the sky / Greg Bear.
“The conclusion to an epic interstellar trilogy of war. Marooned beneath the icy, waxy crust of Saturn’s moon, Titan, Skyrine Michael Venn and his comrades face double danger from Earth and from the Antagonists; both are intent on wiping out their growing awareness of what the helpful alien Gurus are really doing in our solar system. The former combatants must now team up with their enemies, forget their indoctrination and their training, and journey far beyond Pluto to the fabled Planet X, the Antagonists’ home world, a Sun-Planet in the comet-generating Kuiper belt. It’s here that Master Sergeant Venn will finally understand his destiny and the destiny of every intelligent being in the solar system-including the enigmatic Gurus.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA closed and common orbit / Becky Chambers.
“Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has to start over in a synthetic body, in a world where her kind are illegal. She’s never felt so alone. But she’s not alone, not really. Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall Lovelace, is determined to help her adjust to her new world, because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over. Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that, huge as the galaxy may be, it’s anything but empty.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe final day / William R. Forstchen.
“The sequel to One year after. Since the detonation of nuclear weapons above the United States more than two years ago, the small town of Black Mountain, North Carolina has suffered famine, civil war, and countless deaths. Now, after defeating a new, tyrannical federal government, John Matherson and his community intend to restore their world to what it was before the EMP apocalypse. But a new, aggressive government announces that it’s taking over and ceding large portions of the country to China and Mexico. The Constitution is no longer in effect, and what’s left of the U.S. Army has been deployed to suppress rebellion in the remaining states. John fears he and his town will be targets. Will John and his people accept the new, autocratic regime? Or will revolution rip the fledgling nation apart at the seams?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath’s mistress : sister of darkness / Terry Goodkind.
“One-time lieutenant of the evil Emperor Jagang, known as “Death’s Mistress” and the “Slave Queen”, the deadly Nicci captured Richard Rahl in order to convince him that the Imperial Order stood for the greater good. But it was Richard who converted Nicci instead, and for years thereafter she served Richard and Kahlan as one of their closest friends and one of their most lethal defenders. Now, with the reign of Richard and Kahlan finally stabilized, Nicci has set out on her own for new adventures. One of her jobs will be to keep her travelling companion, the unworldly prophet Nathan, out of trouble. But her real task will be to scout the far reaches of Richard Rahl’s realm.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Dreamblood duology / N. K. Jemisin.
The Dreamblood Duology includes the novels The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun. In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers, the keepers of this peace. Priests of the dream-goddess, their duty is to harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal, soothe and kill those judged corrupt. But when a conspiracy blooms within Gujaareh’s great temple, Ehiru, the most famous of the city’s Gatherers, must question everything he knows. Ehiru must now protect the woman he was sent to kill or watch the city be devoured by war and forbidden magic.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBorn of vengeance / Sherrilyn Kenyon.
“Bastien Cabarro survived the brutal slaughter of his entire family only to have his wife pin their murders on him. Made Ravin by The League, he is now a target for their assassins-in-training to hunt and kill. The average life expectancy for such beings is six weeks. But defying the odds is what this Gyron Force officer does best, and Bastien won’t rest until he lays his betrayers in their graves.Ten years later, he has one chance to balance the scales of justice, provided he relies on his former wingman, the very sister of the woman who testified against him. Carrying a secret she knows Bastien will annihilate her over, she must find some way to trust her former wingman before he catches on and kills her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA blade of black steel / Alex Marshall.
“The sequel to A Crown for Cold Silver. After five hundred years, the Sunken Kingdom has returned, and brought with it a monstrous secret that threatens to destroy every country on the Star. As an inhuman army gathers on its shores, poised to invade the Immaculate Isles, the members of the Cobalt Company face an ugly choice: abandon their dreams of glory and vengeance to combat a menace from another realm, or pursue their ambitions and hope the Star is still there when the smoke clears.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmpire games / Charles Stross.
“The year is 2020. It is seventeen years since the Revolution overthrew the last king of the New British Empire. But Miriam Burgeson, commissioner in charge of the shadowy Ministry of Intertemporal Research and Intelligence, has a problem. For years, she’s warned everyone: “The Americans are coming.” Now their drones arrive in the middle of a succession crisis. In another timeline, the U.S. has recruited Miriam’s own estranged daughter to spy across timelines in order to bring down any remaining world-walkers who might threaten national security. Two nuclear superpowers are set on a collision course. Two increasingly desperate paratime espionage agencies try to find a solution to the first contact problem that doesn’t result in a nuclear holocaust.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Science Fiction and Fantasy novels for February

Normal by Warren Ellis is our highly recommend title from this selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels recently received by Wellington City Libraries. The selection also includes this genres most popular themes, genetic engineering, shapeshifting, space warfare, artificial intelligence and magic, just to highlight some of the great choices for readers.

Syndetics book coverNecrotech / K C Alexander.
“Street thug Riko has some serious issues: memories wiped, reputation tanked, girlfriend turned into a tech-fueled zombie and the only people who can help are the mercenaries who think she did them over. In an apathetic society devoid of ethics or regulation, where fusing tech and flesh can mean a killing edge or a killer conversion, a massive conspiracy is unfolding that will alter the course of the human condition forever. With corporate meatheads after her and a necro-tech blight between her and salvation, Riko is going to have to fight meaner, work smarter, and push harder than she’s ever had to.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIllicit / Cathy Clamp.
“When a border dispute between two bear clans destabilizes shapeshifter relations throughout Europe and threatens to reveal their existence to humans, the Sazi High Council orders both sides to the negotiation table. The peace talks take place in Luna Lake, the American community where all shifter species live in harmony. Dalvin Adway, a Wolven agent, is startled to find Rachel Washington in Luna Lake. The last time he saw her, they were children in Detroit. Then she was kidnapped and, he thought, murdered. She’s stunned to see Dalvin and learn that he, too, is an owl-shifter. Their wary friendship is on the brink of becoming something more when conspiracy and betrayal cause the peace talks to break down. The fight between the bear clans will be settled through a form of traditional challenge, a risky tactic that might lead to full-blown war.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSinners / Larry Correia & John Ringo.
“With New Orleans out of control, Chad Oliver Gardenier, one of Monster Hunter International’s premier hunters, has been dispatched from Seattle to reinforce the beleaguered members of MHI’s Hoodoo Squad in their fight against darkness. Chad had once taken a werewolf while wearing only jogging gear. With half a dozen loup garou appearing every full moon, houdon necromancers, fifty-foot bipedal crocodiles and more vampires than a Goth concert, New Orleans in the ’80s gives a whole new perspective to the term “Hell on Earth.” Chad may be able to collect enormous bounties but there’s one catch: he has to stay alive to do it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInto the guns / William C. Dietz.
“On May Day, 2018, sixty meteors entered Earth’s atmosphere and exploded around the globe with a force greater than a nuclear blast. Earthquakes and tsunamis followed, as China mistakenly attacked Europe, Asia, and the United States. As refugees across America band together and engage in open warfare with the military over scarce resources, a select group of individuals make a power play to rebuild the country.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNormal / Warren Ellis.
“When Adam Dearden, a foresight strategist, arrives at Normal Head, he is desperate to unplug and be immersed in sylvan silence. But then a patient goes missing from his locked bedroom, leaving nothing but a pile of insects in his wake. A staff investigation ensues; surveillance becomes total. As the mystery of the disappeared man unravels Adam uncovers a conspiracy that calls into question the core principles of how and why we think about the future, and the past, and the now.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRogue One : a Star Wars story / Alexander Freed.
“The Rebellion has learned of a sinister Imperial plot to bring entire worlds to their knees. Deep in Empire-dominated space, a machine of unimaginable destructive power is nearing completion, a weapon too terrifying to contemplate and a threat that may be too great to overcome. If the worlds at the Empire’s mercy stand any chance, it lies with an unlikely band of allies: Jyn Erso, a resourceful young woman seeking vengeance; Cassian Andor, a war-weary rebel commander; Bodhi Rook, a defector from the Empire’s military and Baze Malbus; and K-2SO, a deadly Imperial droid turned against its former masters. In their hands rests the new hope that could turn the tide toward a crucial Rebellion victory, if only they can capture the plans to the Empire’s new weapon.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe operator / Kim Harrison.
“Peri Reed’s job eats away at her personal life, but for a special task agent in hiding, forgetting the past can be a blessing. Betrayed by the man she thought she loved and the agency that turned her into the very thing she fought against, Peri abandoned the wealth and privilege of Opti for an anonymous life riddled with memory gaps and self-doubt. But when a highly addictive drug promises to end her dependency on those who’d use her as a tool for their own success, she must choose to either remain broken and vulnerable or return to the above-the-law power and prestige she once left: strong but without will, for whoever holds her next fix, will hold her loyalty.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe hammer and the blade / Paul S. Kemp.
“Robbing tombs for fun and profit might not be a stable career, by Egil and Nix aren’t in it for the long-term prospects. Egil is the hammer-wielding warrior-priest of a discredited god. Nix is a roguish thief with just enough knowledge of magic to conjure up trouble. Together, they seek riches and renown, yet often find themselves enlisted in lost causes, generally against their will. The trouble starts when Nix and Egil kill the demonic guardian of a long-lost crypt, nullifying an ancient pact made by the ancestors of an obscenely powerful wizard. Now the wizard will stop at nothing to keep that power from slipping away, even if it means freeing a rapacious beast from its centuries-old prison.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInsurgence / Ken MacLeod.
“Die for the company , live for the pay. The ultimate pay-off is DH-17, an Earth-like planet hundreds of light years from human habitation. Ruthless corporations vie over the prize remotely, and war is in full swing. But soldiers recruited to fight in the extremities of deep space come with their own problems: from A.I. minds in full rebellion, to Carlos ‘the Terrorist’ and his team of dead mercenaries, reincarnated from a bloodier period in earth’s history for one purpose only to kill. But as old rivalries emerge and new ones form, Carlos must decide whether he’s willing for fight for the company or die for himself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover1635 : the wars for the Rhine / Anette Pedersen.
“In the year 1635, the Rhineland is in turmoil. The impact of the Ring of Fire, the cosmic accident which transported the small modern West Virginia town of Grantville to Europe in the early seventeenth century, has only aggravated a situation that was already chaotic. Archbishop Ferdinand of Cologne is determined to restore the power of the Catholic Church over the middle Rhine, the so-called “Bishop’s Alley,” and has unleashed a plot for that purpose. But that same middle Rhine is territory which Landgrave William V of Hesse-Kassel is determined to seize for himself, under the guise of expanding the influence of the United States of Europe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels for January

This month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels includes the much awaited second book in series by Ben Bova, Ken Liu and David Dalglish, also the last book in the Guardians trilogy by Nora Roberts. Plus there is the first book in a new saga by Anthony Ryan titled Draconis memoria.

Syndetics book coverApes and angels / Ben Bova.
“Book 2 in the Star Quest Trilogy. A wave of death is spreading through the Milky Way galaxy, an expanding sphere of lethal gamma radiation that erupted from the galaxy’s core twenty-eight thousand years ago and now is approaching Earth’s vicinity at the speed of light. Every world it touched was wiped clean of all life. But it’s possible to protect a planet from gamma radiation. Earth is safe. Now, guided by the ancient intelligent machines called the Predecessors, men and women from Earth seek out those precious, rare worlds that harbor intelligent species, determined to save them from the doom that is hurtling toward them. The crew of the Odysseus has arrived at Mithra Gamma, the third planet of the star Mithra, to protect the stone-age inhabitants from the Death Wave. But they’ll also have to protect themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThunderlord : a Darkover novel / Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross.
“The saga of two kingdoms, divided by bitter history and present-day suspicions, one armed with devastating power and the other determined to overcome it, no matter what the price. Can love and resourcefulness overcome even the overwhelming power of a Thunderlord?” (Adapted from Syndetis summary)

Syndetics book coverFireborn / David Dalglish.
“The next novel in the Seraphim series following Skyborn. Bree and Kael Skyborn have seen their island invaded, their Seraphim disbanded, and their royal family imprisoned. A rebellion grows from the ashes, demanding Bree to be their Phoenix, their symbol against Center’s tyranny, and for Kael to find the doomsday prophet Johan and sway his cult to their side. Should they fail, the hope of their rebellion fails with them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWarp / Lev Grossman.
“Twenty-something Hollis Kessler languishes in a hopelessly magician-less world (with the exception of a fleet-footed nymph named Xanthe) not too far from where he graduated college. His friends do, too. They sleep late, read too much, drink too much, talk too much, and work and earn and do way too little. But Hollis does have an obsession: there’s another world going on in his head, a world of excitement and danger and starships and romance, and it’s telling him that it’s time to stop dreaming and get serious.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wall of storms / Ken Liu.
“Book 2 in the Dandelion dynasty series. Grace of Kings, Kuni Garu, now known as Emperor Ragin, runs the archipelago kingdom of Dara, but struggles to maintain progress while serving the demands of the people and his vision. Then an unexpected invading force from the Lyucu Empire in the far distant west comes to the shores of Dara and chaos results. But Emperor Kuni cannot go and lead his kingdom against the threat himself with his recently healed empire fraying at the seams, so he sends the only people he trusts to be Dara’s savvy and cunning hopes against the invincible invaders: his children, now grown and ready to make their mark on history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe dark side / Anthony O’Neill.
“In this dark and gripping sci-fi noir, an exiled police detective arrives at a lunar penal colony just as a psychotic android begins a murderous odyssey across the far side of the moon. Purgatory is the lawless moon colony of eccentric billionaire, Fletcher Brass: a mecca for war criminals, murderers, sex fiends, and adventurous tourists. You can’t find better drugs, cheaper plastic surgery, or a more ominous travel advisory anywhere in the universe. But trouble is brewing in Brass’s black-market heaven. When an exiled cop arrives in this wild new frontier, he immediately finds himself investigating a string of ruthless assassinations in which Brass himself, and his equally ambitious daughter, are the chief suspects.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInvasion / Luke Rhinehart.
“Super-intelligent furry aliens suddenly appear from another universe. And they’ve come to earth to have fun. “Louie” follows fisherman Billy Morton home one day and he and his family come quickly to love the playful alien. But when Louie starts using their computer to hack into government and corporate networks, and steal millions from banks to give to others, they realize that Louie and his friends mean trouble. Billy, his wife and two sons begin a roller-coaster ride of fame, fortune, jail, death, resurrection, and a distinguished ranking high on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” List. The Government soon decides that all these aliens are terrorists. They must be eliminated. The aliens are playing games they hope will help humans to see the insanity of the American political, economic and military systems. But the Powers that Be don’t play games: they make war.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIsland of glass / Nora Roberts.
“Book 3 in the Guardians trilogy. Doyle Mac Cleirich, soldier and reluctant immortal, has always vowed never to return home. But when his search for the final star leads him to Ireland, it becomes clear that fate has other plans. Solitary by inclination, Doyle is also fighting his growing attraction to archaeologist Riley. His warrior spirit is drawn to the wild and there’s no one more familiar with the wild than Riley. As the six guardians face their final challenge, Riley and Doyle are prepared to risk their lives in battle. But without love to sustain them, the quest is doomed to failure.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe waking fire / Anthony Ryan.
“Throughout the vast lands controlled by the Ironship Trading Syndicate, nothing is more prized than the blood of drakes. Harvested from captive or hunted Reds, Greens, Blues and Blacks, it can be distilled into elixirs that bestow fearsome powers on the rare men and women known as the Blood-blessed. But not many know the truth: that the lines of drakes are weakening. If they fail, war with the neighbouring Corvantine Empire will follow swiftly.The Syndicate’s last hope resides in whispers of the existence of another breed of drake, far more powerful than the rest, and the few who have been chosen by fate to seek it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAt the sign of triumph / David Weber
“The Church of God Awaiting’s triumph over Charis was inevitable. Despite its prosperity, the Charis was a single, small island realm. It boasted less than two percent of the total population of Safehold. How could it possibly resist total destruction? The Church had every reason to be confident of a swift, crushing victory, an object lesson to other rebels. But Charis had something far more powerful than simple numbers. It had Merlin, the cybernetic avatar of a woman dead over a thousand years, who was determined to break the Church’s grip upon the human mind and soul. So after eight years of war, it is not Charis but the Church that stands upon the brink of defeat. But the Church still commands immense resources, and faced with the unthinkable it’s decided that it, too, must embrace the forbidden technology which has carried Charis so far. In the end, it is simple, for only one can survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Science Fiction & Fantasy Novels for December

This month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels includes the third book in Cixin Liu’s Three Body trilogy, titled Death’s end, and the third book in Juliet Marillier’s series Blackthorn & Grim, titled Den of Wolves. Also included in this selection is the latest novel from the brilliant Christopher Priest, titled The gradual.

Syndetics book coverThe power / Naomi Alderman.
“In The Power the world is a recognizable place, there’s a rich Nigerian kid who larks around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge, with devastating effects. Now, with the flick of a switch, teenage girls can cause agonizing pain and even death, and, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIsis orb : a Xanth novel / Piers Anthony.
“In Xanth, everyone has a talent. But that doesn’t mean everyone loves his talent, and no one understands that better than Hapless. Endowed with the ability to conjure any instrument he wants, Hapless could be an extraordinary musician if only he could play a tune that didn’t fall ear-piercingly flat. His one desire is to find an instrument he can play. When the Good Magician hears about Hapless’s desperate desire, he sends the young man on a quest to find the elusive Isis Orb, a magical talisman that could fulfill his wish. But the mysterious Egyptian goddess for whom the orb is named guards the enchanted object and won’t let anyone see it, let alone use it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChapel of ease / Alex Bledsoe.
“When Matt Johansson, a young New York actor, auditions for “Chapel of Ease,” an off-Broadway musical, he is instantly charmed by Ray Parrish, the show’s writer and composer. They soon become friends; Matt learns that Ray’s people call themselves the Tufa and that the musical is based on the history of his isolated home town. But there is one question in the show’s script that Ray refuses to answer: what is buried in the ruins of the chapel of ease? As opening night approaches, strange things begin to happen. A dreadlocked girl follows Ray and spies on him. At the press preview, a strange Tufa woman warns him to stop the show. Then, as the rave reviews arrive, Ray dies in his sleep.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNight without stars : Chronicle of the Fallers / Peter F. Hamilton
“The planet Bienvenido is in crisis. It has finally escaped the Void, emerging into regular space. But it’s millions of light-years from Commonwealth assistance, and humans are battling the Fallers for control of their world. This rapacious adversary, evolved to destroy all sentient life, has infiltrated every level of human society, hijacking unwilling bodies so its citizens fear their leaders, friends and family. A mysterious figure known as the Warrior Angel leads a desperate resistance. But the government obstructs the Angel’s efforts at every turn, blinded by prejudice and technophobia. Then astronaut Ry Evine uncovers one last hope. On a mission against the enemy, his spacecraft damages an unidentified vessel carrying unexpected cargo: a baby. This extraordinary Commonwealth child possesses knowledge that could save them all. But if the Fallers catch her, the people of Bienvenido will not survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath’s end / Cixin Liu ; translated by Ken Liu.
“Book three of the Three-Body Trilogy concludes with Death’s End . Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Den of wolves / Juliet Marillier.
“Healer Blackthorn knows all too well the rules of her bond to the fey: seek no vengeance, help any who ask, do only good. But after the most recent ordeal she and Grim have suffered, she knows she cannot let go of her quest to bring justice to the man who ruined her life. Despite her own struggles, Blackthorn agrees to help the princess of Dalriada to care for a troubled young girl who has been brought to court, while Grim travels to the girl’s home at Wolf Glen to aid her wealthy father with a strange task, repairing a broken down house deep in the woods. It doesn’t take Grim long to realize that everything in Wolf Glen is not as it seems, the place is full of perilous secrets and deadly lies.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe gradual / Christopher Priest.
“Alesandro Sussken is a composer, and we see his life as he grows up in a fascist state constantly at war with another equally faceless opponent. His brother is sent off to fight; his family is destroyed by grief. Occasionally Alesandro catches glimpses of islands in the far distance from the shore, and they feed into his music, music for which he is feted. But all knowledge of the other islands is forbidden by the junta, until he is unexpectedly sent on a cultural tour. And what he discovers on his journey will change his perceptions of his country, his music and the ways of the islands themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCuldesac : a novella from the war with no name / by Robert Repino.Culdesac
“The war with no name rages on, setting the world on fire. Humanity faces extinction at the hands of the Colony, a race of intelligent ants seeking to overthrow the humans and establish a new order. The bobcat Culdesac is among the fiercest warriors fighting for the Colony. Driven by revenge and notorious for his ability to hunt humans in the wild, Culdesac is the perfect leader of the Red Sphinx, an elite unit of feline assassins. With the humans in retreat, the Red Sphinx seizes control of the remote village of Milton. But holding the town soon becomes a bitter struggle of wills. As the humans threaten a massive counterattack, the townsfolk protect a dark secret that could tip the balance of the war. For the brutal Culdesac, violence is the answer to everything. But this time, he’ll need more than his claws and his guns, for what he discovers in Milton will upend everything he believes, everything he fought for, and everything he left behind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMort(e) : a novel / by Robert Repino.Mort(e)
“After the War With No Name, a cat assassin searches for his lost love in this strange, moving fantasy epic. The colony of ants has risen up to set about creating a human-free Utopia on Earth. Former housecat turned war hero, Mort is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend, a dog named Sheba.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShadow of victory / David Weber.
“The Mesan Alignment has a plan,one it’s been working on for centuries. A plan to remake the galaxy and genetically improve the human race its way.Until recently, things have gone pretty much as scheduled, but then the Alignment hit a minor bump in the road called the Star Empire of Manticore. So the Alignment engineered a war between the Solarian League, the biggest and most formidable interstellar power in human history. To help push things along, the Alignment launched a devastating sneak attack which destroyed the Royal Manticoran Navy’s industrial infrastructure. In order to undercut Manticore’s galaxy-wide reputation as a star nation of its word, it launched Operation Janus, a false-flag covert operation to encourage rebellions it knows will fail by promising Manticoran support. The twin purposes are to harden Solarian determination to destroy the Star Empire once and for all, and to devastate the Star Empire’s reputation with the rest of the galaxy. But even the best laid plans can have unintended consequences, and one of those consequences in this case may just be a new dawn of freedom for oppressed star nations everywhere.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Science Fiction and Fantasy novels for November

From this month’s selection from the new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, Malka Older’s debut novel set in the not too distant future, titled Infomocracy comes highly recommend. Also included is the latest work from Wesley Chu and Eric Flint, along with many other great writers, all giving wonderful plot and character diversity to this genre.

Syndetics book coverNinth City burning / J. Patrick Black.
“Generations after Earth has been attacked by an unknown alien force, the world is a different place. Most cities were instantly destroyed by the invaders using an element known as “thelemity,” and human survival depends on a few who can wield this power as well. In the intervening centuries, those who use thelemity are sought and put into military service. But while the surviving cities lead the ongoing war efforts, the rural settlements resent being employed as a supply source of resources and soldiers. Two young sisters from the unincorporated wild country are dragged into the conflict.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverZero-G / Rob Boffard.
“Former space station courier Riley Hale is once again caught up in deadly plots complicated by competing loyalties. Six months after Riley saved the Outer Earth space station, the last refuge of humankind after eco-collapse on Earth, she’s now employed as a “stomper,” part of local law enforcement. But her past has made her a target for vigilante Morgan Knox, who wants Riley’s help in taking his revenge on jailed terrorist leader Janice Okwembu. To force Riley to help him, Knox has surgically implanted explosive charges in Riley’s knees. To complicate matters, a deadly virus is sweeping across the station. When Knox falls ill, Riley must find a cure to save herself as well as the rest of the station.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA shadow all of light / Fred Chappell.
“Falco is the apprentice to Maestro Astolfo in the shadow trade in the Italianate fantasy city of Tardocco. Here, shadows are stolen, bought, and sold, and a person can surrender their shadow and don a different one for a special purpose. Astolfo is a master of the business, equal parts thief, scholar, magician, and detective, and under his tutelage and that of his henchman, Mutano, Falco grows from “a bumpkin, trying on the airs of a town bravo” to a shadow adept over the course of a series of episodic adventures.” (Adapted from Syndetic sunmmary)

Syndetics book coverThe rise of Io / Wesley Chu.
“The Prophus and the Genjix, two aspects of a stranded alien species, have secretly been guiding human evolution since the beginning and are now fighting a war intended to raise humans to the level where they can create the technological necessary to return the aliens to their home world. The aliens, who are immaterial and ride their human vessels, have instigated many of humans’ greatest triumphs and horrors. Now Io, a perennial incompetent, has chosen Ella to make her play for greatness, but Ella has her own agenda.” (Adapted from Syndetic summary)

Syndetics book coverCastaway odyssey / Eric Flint, Ryk E. Spoor.
“Sergeant Samuel Morgan Campbell had been in plenty of tight spots before, but nothing like this. It had happened in a few terrifying seconds: the starship he and his crew travelled on, the Outward Initiative, shattered to pieces before their eyes and disappeared, leaving them stranded in the endless night of deep space on Lifeboat LS-88 all systems dead, light-years from any known colony. Somehow, Sergeant Campbell and his crew of half-trained children ranging from freshly graduated Xander Bird down to eight-year-old Francisco have to repair systems with no tools, navigate with no computers, and if they could find a planet they could live on land a shuttle whose controls were more than half-destroyed. And if they manage all of that, then the real challenge begins; the only planet in range has secrets that even Sergeant Campbell cannot imagine.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe obelisk gate / N.K. Jemisin.
“In the world called the Stillness-which the first book hints may actually be our world, thousands of years in the future-orogenes are hated and feared for their ability to control the geological forces that shape the land. Powerful orogene Essun desperately searches for her eight-year-old daughter, Nassun, who was stolen away by her father. He hopes to find someone to “fix” the girl and excise her burgeoning orogene talent. But Essun’s search is interrupted by her old mentor, Alabaster. Alabaster is dying, and he hopes to use Essun’s powers to end the current “season,” a disastrous change in global climate that could destroy all life, by recapturing the planet’s long-lost moon, whose absence is the cause of the ironically named Stillness’s geological instability.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGhost talkers / Mary Robinette Kowal.
“In the summer of 1916, American heiress Ginger Stuyvesant is engaged to British intelligence officer Benjamin Hartshorne and working in France as a medium in the top secret Spirit Corps, a force that gathers intelligence from fallen soldiers at the moment of death. It is grisly, exhausting work that puts the souls of the mediums in danger of becoming permanently separated from their physical forms, and it is made more dangerous by the discovery that the German army is not only aware of the Spirit Corps but has a double agent assisting them. When Ben is murdered, it falls to Ginger to help him move on by finding his killer and discovering the traitor in the corps while keeping her soul intact.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSleeping giants / Sylvain Neuvel.Sleeping Giants
“When Dr. Rose Franklin was a little girl, she made a startling discovery in the woods near her home: the gigantic hand of a robot that appeared to be of alien manufacture. Now that she has grown up and become a prominent scientist, she has, perhaps by coincidence, been put in charge of secretly recovering other parts of the robot, which have apparently been hidden around the world for thousands of years, and returning the behemoth to working order. When the robot’s human pilots accidentally blow a hole in Denver, Colo., thus revealing the machine’s existence, other nations demand access and tensions mount.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInfomocracy / Malka Older.
“In the (slightly implausible) future, most of the world is part of a massive democracy divided into “centenals” of 100,000 people. Governments are global and overlapping, and each centenal decides which government to belong to. A worldwide organization known as Information manages elections and attempts to keep governments’ campaign promises in check; the governments themselves range from corporate ones such as PhilipMorris to more traditional ones with names like Liberty and Policy1st. Ken, a Brazilian of Japanese descent who works for the Policy1st government, is attempting to research non-Policy1st centenals that might be willing to change governments in the upcoming election. After he learns of a potential conspiracy involving the election, he ends up working with (and falling for) Information agent Mishima.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe high ground / Melinda Snodgrass.
“A future interstellar empire is the setting of this military space opera, told from the perspective of two misfits in the prestigious military academy known as the High Ground. One is Thracius “Tracy” Belmanor, a tailor’s son and scholarship student treated with contempt by the sons of the nobility around him; the other is Mercedes de Arango, the first woman to attend the High Ground, from which she must graduate to succeed her father, the emperor of the Solar League. As Tracy and Mercedes struggle with classism, sexism, and the weight of familial expectations and dreams, alien and human conspiracies threaten to undermine Mercedes’s future and that of the empire itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Science Fiction and Fantasy novels for October

This month’s selection from our recently received new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels includes four alternative histories, set in Paris, Central Africa, Japan and San Francisco. There are also novels about zombies, space warfare, interplanetary voyages, robots and survival.

Syndetics book coverObelisk / Stephen Baxter.
“This collection contains stories set in the worlds of the bestselling duology ULTIMA and PROXIMA, which expand on the characters and worlds of that series, including two brand new short stories. There is also a selection of alternate histories and possible futures, building on Baxter’s work with Terry Pratchett on the LONG EARTH series.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverImpact / Rob Boffard.
“This is the concluding volume in the Outer Earth Trilogy. A signal has been picked up from Earth, although the planet was supposed to be uninhabitable. But it seems there are survivors down there, with supplies, shelter and running water. Perhaps there could be a future for humanity on Earth after all. Riley Hale will find out soon enough. She’s stuck on a spaceship with the group of terrorists that is planning to brave the planet’s atmosphere and crash-land on the surface. But when the re-entry goes wrong, Riley ends up hundreds of miles from her companions Prakesh and Carver, alone in a barren wilderness. She’ll have to use everything she knows to survive. And all of them are about to find out that nothing on Earth is what it seems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBreath of earth / Beth Cato.
“In an alternate 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation, the Unified Pacific, in an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China. In San Francisco, headstrong secretary Ingrid Carmichael is assisting a group of powerful geomancer wardens who have no idea of the depth of her own talent, or that she is the only woman to possess such skills. When assassins kill the wardens, Ingrid and her mentor are protected by her incredible magic. But the pair is far from safe. Without its full force of guardian geomancers, the city is on the brink of a cataclysmic earthquake that will expose the earth’s power to masterminds determined to control the energy for their own dark ends.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe span of empire / Eric Flint, David Carrico ; with K.D. Wentworth.
“A new novel in the Jao Empire series. It has become clear to both the Jao and their human and Lleix partners that if they are going to defeat the Ekhat who have been terrorizing the galaxy for eons, they need more allies. To that end, Preceptor Ronz, guardian of Earth and greatest living strategist of the Jao, has harnessed the energy of Earth’s humans to create and send out an exploration fleet under the command of Caitlin Kralik. But after a long search, all the expedition has found are dead worlds and now-extinct intelligent species slaughtered by the genocidal Ekhat. Do they continue to search down the galactic arm in which Earth and the Jao worlds lie, or do they make an astounding leap in another direction?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe emperor’s railroad / Guy Haley.
“Global war devastated the environment, a zombie-like plague wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. But that was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place.Conflict between city states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities, homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out.” (Adapted from Synedetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ghoul king / Guy Haley.
“The Knight, Quinn, is down on his luck, and he travels to the very edge of the civilized world, whatever that means any more, to restock his small but essential inventory. After fighting a series of gladiatorial bouts against the dead, he finds himself in the employ of a woman on a quest to find the secret to repairing her semi-functional robot. But the technological secret it guards may be one truth too many.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary

Syndetics book coverLord of the Darkwood / Lian Hearn.
“Shikanoko, at what should be a warrior’s hour of greatest triumph, turns his back on those around him, in mourning for a secret love. The Spider Tribe, spurned by their guardian, explore the extent of their powers and ruthless ambitions. Hina, who alone knows the whereabouts of the true emperor, has to forge a new identity of her own. No one must ever know that she is Kiyoyori’s daughter. As the traditional powers navigate weakness and disarray, old spirits and new figures enter the epic battle for the Lotus Throne.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeep time / Anthony Nanson.
“Zoologist Dr Brendan Merlie has wasted his best years in futile pursuit of imaginary creatures. He’s now leading a survey of an ecological hotspot in a forgotten corner of Central Africa. Guided by the enigmatic Salome Boann, a woman strangely at ease in the rainforest, with her own reasons for being there, the team discovers a ‘refugium’ of prehistoric plant-life. Among the forest people they hear rumours of animals, too, unknown to science. Driven by civil war, and their own competing desires, Brendan and his companions enter a shifting world in which they must come to terms with the wildness within as well as the wildness around them. The deeper they travel, the more is revealed, beyond Brendan’s wildest dreams.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe long cosmos / Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.
“2070-71. Nearly six decades after Step Day and in the Long Earth, the new Next post-human society continues to evolve. For Joshua Valienté, now in his late sixties, it is time to take one last solo journey into the High Meggers: an adventure that turns into a disaster. Alone and facing death, his only hope of salvation lies with a group of trolls. But as Joshua confronts his mortality, the Long Earth receives a signal from the stars, a signal that is picked up by radio astronomers but also in more abstract ways by the trolls and by the Great Traversers. Its message is simple but its implications are enormous.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Science Fiction and Fantasy novels

As to be expected with this genre, the selected titles from the recently received Science Fiction and Fantasy additions to our collection contain a weird and wonderful range of characters. From angels to monsters, aliens to dragons, robots to ex-convicts, shapeshifters to hunters, all contained in the narratives of these novels, they will provide many hours of pure escapism.

Syndetics book coverThe Swarm / Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston.
“Earth survived the attack of the first Formic scoutship. But can the heroes of that first invasion save humanity from the full fleet that’s on its way? The Swarm picks up a few years after the conclusion of the First Formic War series. Earth has begun preparing a desperate defense. The Hegemon, Polemarch, and Strategos are in place, and the newly minted International Fleet is working with corporate forces to build an armada and weapons as fast as possible. Will it be enough? And can humanity overcome the dangers posed by political machinations, careerism, international squabbles, and petty bureaucracy?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTime siege / Wesley Chu.
“A sequel to Time Salvager, a futuristic saga that pits fugitive time traveler James Griffin-Mars and his allies, who seek to rescue a ravaged Earth from utter destruction, against Valta, the megacorporation that rules the galaxies. While James and Grace Priestly, the Mother of Time, embark on an interplanetary search for a cure for James’s unwell sister, Sasha, scientist Elise Kim and the Elfreth tribe seek refuge from Valta’s ruthless Senior Securitate Kuo on “the dreaded Mist Isle,” formerly Manhattan.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGrunge / Larry Correia & John Ringo.
“When Marine Private Oliver Chadwick Gardenier is killed in the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, somebody who might be Saint Peter gives him a choice: Go to Heaven or return to Earth. The Boss has a mission for him. He’s a Marine: he chooses the mission. Eventually, it appears that God’s will is for Chad to join a group called “Monster Hunters International” and protect people from things that go bump in the night. From there, everything tends to go downhill.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDark matter : a novel / by Blake Crouch.Dark Matter
“Brilliant scientist Jason Dessen was on the verge of a major breakthrough when his life took a different turn instead of completing his work on quantum superposition, he married his pregnant girlfriend and now lives a relatively happy life as husband to the gorgeous Daniela, father to teenage Charlie, and professor of undergrad physics at a small Chicago-area college. All is well if not very exciting until the night he is abducted and bludgeoned, and wakes up in a different time and place or, perhaps, it’s a different plane. It appears there is another world, one where Jason didn’t marry Daniela but went on to create a box that can transport someone into a parallel universe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sea without a shore / David Drake.
“Cinnabar’s chief spymaster is a mother also, and her son is determined to search for treasure in the midst of a civil war. Who better to watch over him then Captain Daniel Leary, Cinnabar’s troubleshooter, and his friend cyberspy Adele Mundy? The only thing certain in the struggle of the mining planet Corcyra is that the rival parties are more dangerous to their own allies than to their opponents. Daniel and Adele face kidnappers, hijackers, pirates and a death squad, even before they can get to their real business of ending the war and escorting the boy on his mission.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe perdition score : a Sandman Slim novel / Richard Kadrey.
“James Stark (aka Sandman Slim) is living the closest thing he can to a normal life: he works for the Sub Rosa, and he has a girlfriend and a social life (well, he’s part of an underground fight club). Then a dying angel gives him a vial of mysterious black milk and another angel tries to kill him for it. The Wormwood Corporation is up to no good, a kid goes missing, and too many coincidences start to pile up. His friends are in danger, Heaven is in revolt, and everyone’s soul hangs in the balance. Now Stark needs to find a way to get back to Hell.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDragonmark / Sherrilyn Kenyon.
“Centuries ago, Illarion was betrayed, a dragon made human against his will, then forced to serve humanity as a dragonmount in their army, and to fight for them in barbaric wars, even while he hated everything about them. Enslaved and separated from everyone he knew and from his own dragon brothers, he was forced into exile in a fey realm where he lost the only thing he ever really loved. Now he has a chance to regain what’s been lost, to have the one thing he covets most. But only if he gives up his brothers and forsakes the oaths he holds most dear. Yet what terrifies him most isn’t the cost his happiness might incur, it’s the fact that there is just enough human in his dragon’s heart that he might actually be willing to pay it and betray everything and everyone, to see the entire world burn in Dragonmark.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAlliance of equals : a new Liaden Universe novel / Sharon Lee, Steve Miller.
“The 19th installment of the long-running Liaden Universe space adventure series The members of Clan Korval and their allies still trying to solidify their economic position and regain their strength following their exile from their home planet. With the insidious Department of the Interior manipulating their public image and outright attacking their ships, the clan is hard-pressed to maintain and expand its trade routes. Meanwhile, Clan Korval member Padi yos’Galen is starting to manifest a power that could destroy her, and AI experts Tolly Jones and Hazenthull are dispatched to mentor a newborn computer intelligence, with orders to save or destroy it as necessary.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDissidence / Ken MacLeod.
“Carlos is dead. A soldier who died for his ideals a thousand years ago, he’s been reincarnated and conscripted to fight an A.I. revolution in deep space. And he’s not sure he’s fighting for the right side. Seba is alive. By a fluke of nature, a contractual overlap and a loop in its subroutines, this lunar mining robot has gained sentience. Gathering with other ‘freebots’, Seba is taking a stand against the corporations that want it and its kind gone. As their stories converge against a backdrop of warring companies and interstellar drone combat, Carlos and Seba must either find a way to rise above the games their masters are playing, or die, and even dying will not be the end of it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLegion / Jamie Sawyer.
“Conrad Harris is the legend known as Lazarus. Using simulant bodies, he runs suicide missions in the depths of space. But he always comes back. Having survived their last ordeal on Helios, Conrad and his Lazarus Legion are sent to recover an artefact that could help humanity win their brutal war against the alien Krell. What they discover is beyond their worst nightmares.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Science Fiction and Fantasy novels for August

Two alternative history narratives are included in this month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels. One is a debut novel by Nina Allan, who is joined in this selection by four other debut novelists. Another debut novelist is Curtis C. Chen whose novel, a satirical outer space thriller, titled Waypoint Kangaroo comes highly recommended.

Syndetics book coverThe race / Nina Allan.
“In a future scarred by fracking and ecological collapse, Jenna Hoolman’s world is dominated by illegal smartdog racing: greyhounds genetically modified with human DNA. When her young niece goes missing that world implodes. Christy’s life is dominated by fear of her brother, a man she knows capable of monstrous acts and suspects of hiding even darker ones. Desperate to learn the truth she contacts Alex, who has his own demons to fight and Maree, a young woman undertaking a journey that will change her world forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWar factory / Neal Asher.
“The second book in the Transformation series. Thorvald Spear, resurrected from his death over a hundred years earlier, continues to hunt Penny Royal, the rogue AI and dangerous war criminal on the run from Polity forces. Beyond the Graveyard, a lawless and deadly area in deep space, Spear follows the trail of several enemy Prador, the crab-like alien species with a violent history of conflict with humanity. Blite, captain of a bounty hunting ship, hands over two prisoners and valuable memplants from Penny Royal to the Brockle, a dangerous forensics entity under strict confinement on a Polity spaceship that quickly takes a keen interest in the corrupted AI and its unclear motives. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe book of Esther : a novel / Emily Barton.The Book of Esther: A Novel
“Eastern Europe, August 1942. The Khazar kaganate, an isolated nation of Turkic warrior Jews, lies between the Pontus Euxinus (the Black Sea) and the Khazar Sea (the Caspian). It also happens to lie between a belligerent nation to the west that the Khazars call Germania–and a city the rest of the world calls Stalingrad. Only Esther, the daughter of the nation’s chief policy adviser, sees the ominous implications of Germania’s disregard for Jewish lives. Only she realizes that this isn’t just another war but an existential threat. After witnessing the enemy warplanes’ first foray into sovereign Khazar territory, Esther knows she must fight for her country.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTracer / Rob Boffard.
“A huge space station orbits the Earth, holding the last of humanity. It’s broken, rusted, falling apart dirty, overcrowded and inescapable. What’s more, there’s a madman hiding on the station. He’s about to unleash chaos. And when he does, there’ll be nowhere left to run.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWaypoint Kangaroo / Curtis C. Chen.
“Kangaroo isn’t your typical spy. Sure, he has extensive agency training, access to bleeding-edge technology, and a ready supply of clever (to him) quips and retorts. But what sets him apart is “the pocket.” It’s a portal that opens into an empty, seemingly infinite, parallel universe, and Kangaroo is the only person in the world who can use it. But he’s pretty sure the agency only keeps him around to exploit his superpower. After he bungles yet another mission, Kangaroo gets sent away on a mandatory “vacation:” an interplanetary cruise to Mars. While he tries to make the most of his exile, two passengers are found dead, and Kangaroo has to risk blowing his cover. It turns out he isn’t the only spy on the ship-and he’s just starting to unravel a massive conspiracy which threatens the entire Solar System.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAdmiral / Sean Danker.Admiral
“He is the last to wake. The label on his sleeper pad identifies him as an admiral of the Evagardian Empir, a surprise as much to him as to the three recent recruits now under his command. He wears no uniform, and he is ignorant of military protocol, but the ship’s records confirm he is their superior officer. Whether he is an Evagardian admiral or a spy will be of little consequence if the crew members all end up dead. They are marooned on a strange world, their ship’s systems are failing one by one, and they are not alone.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe seascape tattoo / Larry Niven and Steven Barnes.
“Aros of Azteca and Neoloth-Pteor are the deadliest of enemies: Swordsman and Sorcerer, locked in mortal combat, who have tried to kill each other more times than either can count. But when the princess Neoloth loves is kidnapped, there is only one plan that offers any hope of rescueand that requires passing off the barbarian Aros as a lost princeling and infiltrating the deadliest cabal of necromancers the world has ever seen. They cannot trust each other. They will betray or kill each other the first chance they get. But they’re all each other has.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverToo like the lightning / by Ada Palmer.
“Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away. The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural completion is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe raft / Fred Strydom.
“The day every person on earth lost his and her memory was not a day at all. In people’s minds there was no actual event and thus it could be followed by no period of shock or mourning. There could be no catharsis. Everyone was simply reset to zero.” On Day Zero, the collapse of civilization was as instantaneous as it was inevitable. A mysterious and oppressive movement rose to power in the aftermath, forcing people into isolated communes run like regimes. Kayle Jenner finds himself trapped on a remote beach, and all that remains of his life before is the vague and haunting vision of his son. Kayle finally escapes, only to find a broken world being put back together in strange ways. In his relentless search for his son, Kayle will discover more than just his lost past, he will discover the truth behind Day Zero, a truth that makes both fools and gods of men.’ (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAge of myth / Michael J. Sullivan.
“This is the first in a proposed five book series five-book series. Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between humans and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer; Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom; and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over. The time of rebellion has begun.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The best of the best: must reads from recent fiction selections

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverCompany Town / Madeline Ashby.
“A brilliantly twisted science fiction mystery.”

Syndetics book coverWaking lions / Ayelet Gundar-Goshen ; translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston.
“A thrilling novel from an award winning author that explores the boundaries between love and hate, guilt and forgiveness, good and evil.”

Syndetics book coverReader, I married him : stories inspired by Jane Eyre / edited by Tracy Chevalier.
“Twenty one short stories celebrating Charlotte Bronte, published in the year of her bicentenary and stemming from the now immortal words from her great work Jane Eyre. The stories are by many much acclaimed authors, original and very entertaining.”

Syndetics book coverThe crow girl / Erik Axl Sund ; translated by Neil Smith.The Crow Girl
“Another international sensation, this new Scandinavian murder mystery will not disappoint.”

Syndetics book coverGahan Wilson’s Out there / editor, Gary Groth.
“The joy of the science fiction and fantasy cartoons and writing of Gahan Wilson, guaranteed to make you laugh.”


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