The best of the best: must reads from this month’s fiction selections

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

Syndetics book coverThe shadow district / Arnaldur Indriðason ; translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.
The first of a new series, by this very popular mystery writer. With his skill of twisting plot, great character development and wonderful atmosphere, further books in this series will be longingly awaited.

Syndetics book coverHeloise / Mandy Hager.
An exceptionally well researched historical novel, from a very talented New Zealand writer. Set in early 16th century Paris, this is a story of romance, intrigue, and political change.

Syndetics book coverHow to survive in the North / Luke Healy.
With true life narratives from 1912, 1926 and a fictional story set in the present day, this stunning graphic novel is an unforgettable story of love and loss, and what it takes to survive in the harshest conditions.

Syndetics book coverThe wanderers / Meg Howrey.
A thought provoking science fiction novel about astronauts training for a mission to Mars and the repercussions this has on their inner and outer lives.

Syndetics book coverThe leavers : a novel / Lisa Ko.
An heart rendering, absorbing novel about belonging and rejection.

New Science Fiction and Fantasy novels for July

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.

Syndetics book coverFlames 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)

Syndetics book coverRotherweird / 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)

Syndetics book coverVanguard / 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)

Syndetics book coverStandard 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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverNemesis / 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)

Syndetics book coverVoid 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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverPawn : 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)

New Science Fiction and Fantasy novels for June

There is an amazing variety of characters in the novels selected from this month’s recently received new Science Fiction and Fantasy added to the collection, from assassins to wizards, FBI agents to drug dealers, soldiers to physicists. Highly recommended this month is New Zealand writer James McNaughton’s dystopian novel set in Wellington and titled Star sailors.

Syndetics book coverWinter tide / Ruthanna Emrys.
“After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future. The government that stole Aphra’s life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race. Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDancer’s lament / Ian C. Esslemont.
“A new prequel trilogy takes readers deeper into the politics and intrigue of the Malazan Empire. Dancer’s Lament focuses on the genesis of the empire, and features Dancer, the skilled assassin, who, alongside the mage Kellanved, would found the Malazan Empire.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeadmen walking / Sherrilyn Kenyon.
“Devyl Bane is an ancient dark warlord returned to the human realm as one of the most notorious pirates in the New World. A man of many secrets, Bane makes a pact with Thorn, an immortal charged with securing the worst creations the ancient gods ever released into our world. Those powers have been imprisoned for eons behind enchanted gates. At Thorn’s behest, Bane takes command of a crew of Deadmen and, together, they are humanity’s last hope to restore the gates and return the damned to their hell realms.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAgents of dreamland / Caitlín R. Kiernan.
“A government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman. In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible, the Children of the Next Level, and offers them something to believe in and a chance for transcendence. A day after the events at the ranch house which disturbed the Signalman so deeply, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory abruptly loses contact with NASA’s interplanetary probe New Horizons. Something out beyond the orbit of Pluto has made contact. And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLuna : wolf moon / Ian McDonald.
“Corta Helio, one of the five family corporations that rule the Moon, has fallen. Its riches are divided up among its many enemies, its survivors scattered. Eighteen months have passed .The remaining Helio children, Lucasinho and Luna, are under the protection of the powerful Asamoahs, while Robson, still reeling from witnessing his parent’s violent deaths, is now a ward, virtually a hostage.of Mackenzie Metals. The last appointed heir, Lucas, has vanished of the surface of the moon. Only Lady Sun, dowager of Taiyang, suspects that Lucas Corta is not dead But Corta Helio needs allies, and to find them, the fleeing son undertakes an audacious, impossible journey to Earth.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStar sailors / James McNaughton.
“In the not too distant future, the effects of climate change devastate the world and New Zealand becomes a haven for elites. When a young couple, from the wrong side of the tracks gains entry into Wellington’s most exclusive gated community, it appears their troubles are over. But they find themselves divided over the identity of Sam Starsailor, an alien prophet who has washed up on a beach near New Hokitika and is said to bring warnings from another planet. Te couple’s housewarming party becomes an all-night carnival, and revolution gathers beyond the gate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCold welcome / Elizabeth Moon.
“Summoned to the home planet of her family’s business empire, space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta is told to expect a hero’s welcome. But instead she is thrown into danger unlike any other she has faced and finds herself isolated, unable to communicate with the outside world, commanding a motley group of unfamiliar troops, and struggling day by day to survive in a deadly environment with sabotaged gear. Only her undeniable talent for command can give her ragtag band a fighting chance. Yet even as Ky leads her team from one crisis to another, her family and friends refuse to give up hope, endeavoring to mount a rescue from halfway around the planet, a task that is complicated as Ky and her supporters find secrets others will kill to protect: a conspiracy infecting both government and military that threatens not only her own group’s survival but her entire home planet.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWaking gods / Sylvain Neuvel.
“As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers–and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force. Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBorne / Jeff VanderMeer.
“In a ruined, nameless city of the future, Rachel makes her living as a scavenger. She finds a creature she names Borne entangled in the fur of Mord, a gigantic despotic bear that once prowled the corridors of a biotech firm, the Company, until he was experimented on, grew large, learned to fly, and broke free. Made insane by the company’s torture of him, Mord terrorizes the city even as he provides sustenance for scavengers. At first, Borne looks like nothing at all, just a green lump that might be a discard from the Company. Yet when she takes Borne to her subterranean sanctuary, Rachel convinces her lover, Wick, a special kind of dealer, not to render down Borne as raw genetic material for the drugs he sells. But nothing is quite the way it seems: not then past, not the present, not the future.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThrawn / Timothy Zahn.
“Rescued from exile by Imperial soldiers, Thrawn proved to be indispensable to Emperor Palpatine and the Empire. Ambitious and a warrior never to be underestimated, one promotion followed another, launching this blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power and infamy as Thrawn rises to Admiral.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Fiction Newsletter for June

Welcome to the latest Fiction Newsletter. We hope you will find some great reading from these highlighted titles. This month’s ‘Other Genre’ novels category features New Zealand Fiction, new work from some very talented writers.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

There is some wonderful new contemporary fiction in this month’s selection from the recently received new material. With many much acclaimed writers, along with several new novelists, this selection is just a sample of the exciting reading added each month to the Wellington City Libraries fiction collection.

Syndetics book cover Larchfield / Polly Clark.
“It’s early summer when a young poet, Dora Fielding, moves to Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland and her hopes are first challenged. Newly married, pregnant, she’s excited by the prospect of a life that combines family and creativity. She thinks she knows what being a person, a wife, a mother, means. She is soon shown that she is wrong. As the battle begins for her very sense of self, Dora comes to find the realities of small town life suffocating, and, eventually, terrifying; until she finds a way to escape reality altogether. Another poet, she discovers, lived in Helensburgh once. Wystan H. Auden, brilliant and awkward at 24, with his first book of poetry published, should be embarking on success and society in London. Instead, in 1930, fleeing a broken engagement, he takes a teaching post at Larchfield School for boys where he is mocked for his Englishness and suspected, rightly, of homosexuality.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Birdcage walk / Helen Dunmore.
“It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Diner believes that Lizzie’s independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants. In a tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror, Diner’s passion for Lizzie darkens until she finds herself dangerously alone.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Erotic stories for Punjabi widows / Balli Kaur Jaswal.
“When Nikki takes a creative writing job at her local temple, with visions of emancipating the women of the community she left behind as a self-important teenager, she’s shocked to discover a group of barely literate women who have no interest in her ideals. Yet to her surprise, the white dupatta of the widow hides more than just their modesty, these are women who have spent their lives in the shadows of fathers, brothers and husbands; being dutiful, raising children and going to temple, but whose inner lives are as rich and fruitful as their untold stories. But as they begin to open up to each other about womanhood, sexuality, and the dark secrets within the community, Nikki realises that the illicit nature of the class may place them all in danger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

The Graphic Novel collection never fails to provide hours of entertainment. With such a variation of new material added each month, there will always be something to satisfy every reader. This month’s selection is a great example of the diversity within this collection. From artist skill to writing brilliance, it is all there.

Syndetics book cover Death of the artist : a graphic novel / by Karrie Fransman and friends.
“On 13 August 2013 graphic novelist Karrie Fransman invited four old friends from university to an isolated cottage on the misty moors of the Peak District to join her for a week of hedonism and creativity. Like Shelley and Byron before them, they would use the retreat to tell stories. Except these would be comics, collected together in this very book. The theme would be The Death of the Artist. None of the five friends realised how appropriate this theme would become.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The Arab of the future 2 : a graphic memoir : a childhood in the Middle East (1984-1985) / Riad Sattouf ; translated by Sam Taylor.
“Riad has settled in his father’s hometown of Horms, gets to go to school, where he dedicates himself to becoming a true Syrian in the country of the dictator Hafez Al-Assad. Told simply yet with devastating effect, Riads story takes in the sweep of politics, religion, and poverty, but is steered by acutely observed small moments: the daily sadism of his schoolteacher, the lure of the black market, with its menu of shame and subsistence, and the obsequiousness of his father in the company of those close to the regime. As family strains to fit in, one chilling, barbaric act drives the Sattoufs to make the most dramatic of changes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Disillusioned illusions : a graphic novel / Greg Stump.
“When a pair of washed-up silhouettes abandon the optical illusion business to make a graphic novel, they desperately hope the book will rocket them to fame and fortune. They’ll do just about anything to finish their project, anything, that is, except put forth any kind of effort whatsoever. Instead, they enlist a Juilliard-trained actor named Rodney to bear the burden of the work while they bicker, smoke, and relax in the break room. But their ingenious attempts at evading the hard labors of proper storytelling backfire when the three become entangled in a labyrinthine narrative of deception, adoption, and betrayal. Alliances and identities are forged and discarded with the turn of a page as the trio hurtles towards a thrilling courtroom conclusion that threatens to pull back the curtain on closely-guarded secrets and conspiracies” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Mystery novels range from the cosy and gentle, to the horrific and shocking, with everything in-between. With our monthly selections of recently received material, we try to give a wide range of variations within this genre, and hope readers will find some great reading.

Syndetics book cover A high mortality of doves / Kate Ellis.
“1919. The Derbyshire village of Wenfield is still reeling from four terrible years of war, and now, just when the village is coming to terms with the loss of so many of its sons, the brutal murder of a young girl shatters its hard-won tranquillity. Myrtle Bligh is found stabbed and left in woodland, her mouth slit to accommodate a dead dove, a bird of peace. During the war Myrtle worked as a volunteer nurse with caring for badly wounded soldiers at the nearby big house, Tarnhey Court. When two more women are found murdered in identical circumstances, Inspector Albert Lincoln is sent up from London. Once in Wenfield, Albert begins to investigate the three recent murders and the Cartwright family of Tarnhey Court and their staff fall under suspicion as their hidden lives and secrets are uncovered.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Blue light Yokohama / Nicolás Obregón.
“Setagaya ward, Tokyo Inspector Kosuke Iwata, newly transferred to Tokyo’s homicide department, is assigned a new partner and a secondhand case. Blunt, hard as nails and shunned by her colleagues, Assistant Inspector Noriko Sakai is a partner Iwata decides it would be unwise to cross. A case that’s complicated, a family of four murdered in their own home by a killer who then ate ice cream, surfed the web and painted a hideous black sun on the bedroom ceiling before he left in broad daylight. A case that so haunted the original investigator that he threw himself off the city’s famous Rainbow Bridge. Fearing corruption among his fellow officers and trying to put his own shattered life back together, Iwata knows time is running out before he’s taken off the case or there are more killings.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Snowblind / Ragnar Jónasson ; translated by Quentin Bates.
“Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors, accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: is a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik, with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theater, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

Many hours of reading pleasure for lovers of science fiction and fantasy are provided in this month’s new book selection. Follow the link to the full list of sci-fi selections to ensure you do not miss any new books from favourite authors or series.

Syndetics book cover Sins of empire / Brian McClellan.
“A world on the cusp of a new ag, the young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place, a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of an oppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires. The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with guile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Mad Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall’s present.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Seven surrenders / by Ada Palmer.
“It is a world in which near-instantaneous travel from continent to continent is free to all. In which automation now provides for everybody’s basic needs. In which nobody living can remember an actual war. In which it is illegal for three or more people to gather for the practice of religion, but ecumenical “sensayers” minister in private, one-on-one. In which gendered language is archaic, and to dress as strongly male or female is, if not exactly illegal, deeply taboo. In which nationality is a fading memory, and most people identify instead with their choice of the seven global Hives, distinguished from one another by their different approaches to the big questions of life. It is a world in which, unknown to most, the entire social order is teetering on the edge of collapse, because even in utopia, humans will conspire. Also because something new has arisen: Bridger, the child who can bring inanimate objects to conscious life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Slow bullets / Alastair Reynolds.
“A vast conflict, one that has encompassed hundreds of worlds and solar systems, appears to be finally at an end. A conscripted soldier is beginning to consider her life after the war and the family she has left behind. But for Scur and for humanity, peace is not to be. On the brink of the ceasefire, Scur is captured by a renegade war criminal, and left for dead in the ruins of a bunker. She revives aboard a prisoner transport vessel. Something has gone terribly wrong with the ship. Passengers,ombatants from both sides of the war, are waking up from hibernation far too soon. Their memories, embedded in bullets, are the only links to a world which is no longer recognizable. Scur will be reacquainted with her old enemy, but with much higher stakes than just her own life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

New Zealand writers feature in this month’s selection from the new ‘Other Genres’ category. Included were several very promising debut novelist and of course new titles from some very popular veteran authors. The three titles chosen for this newsletter provide only a small sample from the new material available.

Syndetics book cover The Chinese proverb / Tina Clough.
“Army veteran Hunter Grant thought he had left war behind in Afghanistan, a conflict that left him with physical and psychological scars. But finding an unconscious girl in the Northland bush and gradually untangling her story involves him in a war of a different kind in his own country. Hunter sets out to find and punish the man Dao calls Master, but he soon finds there is more to this story than enslavement.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Leap of faith/ Jenny Pattrick.
“Billy is a young, impressionable dreamer. In 1907, he strikes off on his own, keen to prove himself an able worker on the new railroad. It’s being cut through steep mountainsides and across deep gullies to join the two ends of the Main Trunk Line. Also drawn to the remote worker settlements is a preacher, Gabriel Locke, who is running from a shady past and determined to avoid the daily grind. With untimely and suspicious deaths, the horrendous weather, impossible deadlines, the rugged landscape and a blossoming romance, it will take a lot more than a leap of faith for this disparate group to complete the railroad and build the magnificent Makatote viaduct.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Obsession / Elspeth Sandys.
“Two men and woman: the woman obsessed with her husband; the husband obsessed with his island home and the country whose stories he had made it his mission to tell; the man obsessed with the couple whose dynamic both fascinates and repels him. Against a background of two decades of social upheaval, this bitter-sweet tale of tangled relationships moves towards its dramatic unpredictable conclusion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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The best of the best: must reads from this month’s fiction selections

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

Syndetics book coverThe earth cries out / Bonnie Etherington.
An exciting, brilliantly written debut novel.

Syndetics book coverRolling blackouts : dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq / Sarah Glidden.
The impact of the Iraq War on Middle Eastern inhabitants is told through a two-month journey through Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. This is a precise and topical graphic novel from an award winning writer.

Syndetics book coverExit west : a novel / Mohsin Hamid.
An amazing story of love and hope from an internationally acclaimed writer.

Syndetics book coverSnowblind / Ragnar Jónasson ; translated by Quentin Bates.
An extraordinary debut novel, from a new Iceland writer, filled with gripping suspense and terror.

Syndetics book coverThe collapsing empire / John Scalzi.
A bawdy, brutal, and brilliant political adventure from one of Science Fiction’s, best writers.

Fiction Newsletter for May

Welcome to the Fiction Newsletter for May. Here we are almost into the middle of the year, with short days and long colder nights. One of the pleasures of winter is being able to spend long hours reading some great fiction. We hope that you will find much enjoyment from our selection of recently received new material, and that a new author may become a favourite.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

There is a fabulous selection of new contemporary fiction this month, illustrating the diversity of theme, plot, location and protagonist in modern fiction. The three novels chosen for this newsletter truly illustrate this diversification

Syndetics book cover The heart’s invisible furies / John Boyne.
“Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he? Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from, and over his three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Harmless like you / Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.
“Set across New York, Berlin, and Connecticut, following Yuki Oyama, a Japanese girl fighting Yuki Oyama, a Japanese girl fighting to make it as an artist, and Yuki’s son Jay who, as an adult in the present day, is forced to confront the mother who abandoned him when he was only two years old. The novel opens when Yuki is sixteen and her father is posted back to Japan. Though she and her family have been living as outsiders in New York City, Yuki opts to stay, intoxicated by her friendship with the beautiful aspiring model Odile, the energy of the city, and her desire to become an artist. But when she becomes involved with an older man and the relationship turns destructive, Yuki’s life is unmoored.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Exit west : a novel / Mohsin Hamid.
“In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet, sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors, doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. Exit West follows the couple as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

With some amazing art work enhancing the brilliant story lines in the New Graphic novels selection this month, it has been difficult to select titles for this newsletter. Hopefully the three chosen will be not only visually pleasing, but will also provide some great thought provoking reading.

Syndetics book cover Hubert / Ben Gijsemans ; translated from the Dutch by Julia Blackburn and Sandra van Beek.
“Hubert is a solitary man who shapes his life by going to museums. He talks to few people and only about museums and art. When his neighbor downstairs, a lonely woman, tries to seduce him, he doesn’t understand. He takes photos of the pictures he likes, usually of beautiful women, and paints copies of the paintings at home. There is only one real woman who fascinates him; she lives in the opposite building and he can see her balcony from his window.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Lucia / Andy Hixon.
“Lucia is a hard town, full of hard people. It stands looking out across the unforgiving sea that is slowly swallowing it. Its people are all unemployed, with nothing to live for but a pint and fight. Among them are Brick and Morty, one a disabled, heartbroken divorcee and aspiring writer, the other his best friend and protector, a fantasist and aspiring Ultimate Fighting Welterweight Champion of the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Garbage / Mathew Reichertz ; [introduction by Benjamin Woo ; afterword by Robin Metcalfe].
“Garbage is an architectural-scale series of panels that transform a gallery into a comic book. Taken together the paintings tell the story of neighbours in Halifax’s North End and a mysterious couch which shows up one morning on the narrator’s front curb. As the narrator confronts his neighbours, asking where it came from, he gains insight into their lives as well as his own. Garbage collects these paintings into a graphic novel with a commentary by curator Robin Metcalfe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

New mysteries from some very popular writers of this genre have been added to the library fiction collection. We are sure all avid mystery readers will enjoy many of these new titles.

Syndetics book cover The trespasser / Tana French.
“Being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point. Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. There’s nothing unusual about Aislinn Murray–except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before, and that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover For time and all eternities / Mette Ivie Harrison.
“Mormon bishop’s wife Linda Wallheim knows a bit about the LDS church’s history of polygamy, but for mainstream Mormons, that epoch ended in the 1890s. However, there are still sects of fundamentalist Mormons who still practice ‘the Principle of plural marriage’, in fact, some of them are living in plain sight here in Utah. Linda’s son Kenneth is marrying a young woman who was raised in a polygamist family, and tragically one of her family members is found murdered.”(Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Who watcheth / Helene Tursten ; translation by Marlaine Delargey.
“A woman is found dead in a cemetery, strangled and covered in plastic. Just a few days before her death, the victim had received a flower, an unintelligible note, and a photograph of herself. Detective Inspector Irene Huss and her colleagues on the Goteborg police force have neither clue nor motive to track in the case, and when similar murders follow, their search for the killer becomes increasingly desperate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

The imagination goes wild, as always in novels in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre. This month’s selection from our recently receive new material is no exception. With subjects ranging from cloning to slave trading, spiders to reincarnation, there always something new and exciting for devotees of this genre.

Syndetics book cover Spaceman 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 cover Six 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 cover New 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)

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Other genres

Psychological thrillers are the featured this month in our ‘Other Genres” category. These novels will ensure the reader is gripped in suspense, with at times moments of unease and menace.

Syndetics book cover Rattle / Fiona Cummins.
“A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter. He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum. Now the time has come to add to his collection. Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs for his collection. So begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey’s father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The black sheep / Sophie McKenzie.
“Francesca was widowed a year ago. Since then she has focused on her children, trying to soothe their grief as well as her own. Her husband and father never quite saw eye to eye but no one could have cared more for her in the past year than her close-knit family. Finally, she feels she might be ready to move on with life. Until she is contacted out of the blue by someone who says he must get information to her. That her husband’s death wasn’t what it seemed and that her family knows more than they say. Who can Francesca trust? What will happen to her if she puts her faith in the wrong person?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Image from Amazon.com Fever dream / Samanta Schweblin ; translated by Megan McDowell.
“A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New Science Fiction and Fantasy novels for May

Again another wonderful selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, this month features the first book in Gods of Blood and Powder, a new series by Brian McClellan. There is also a new novel by the popular writers John Scalzi titled The Collapsing Empire. This month’s selection form our recently received new material promises hours of reading pleasure.

Syndetics book coverThe Golden Gate / Robert Buettner.
“Reclusive San Francisco worker Emmanuel Colibri built the world’s most valuable and admired company by making dreams come true, like phones and cars that were smarter than their owners. Now rumor has it he’s about to make the dream that people alive today can live to be one thousand come true, too. Then he is assassinated, his car literally blown off the Golden Gate Bridge. When cultural opposites Ben and Kate race through the Bay Area chasing clues Colibri left behind, they discover not only each other but a cosmic secret that can change human history and may cost them their lives.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPenric and the shaman : a fantasy novella in the world of the five gods / Lois McMaster Bujold.
“Set in the World of the Five Gods and four years after the events in Penric’s Demon, Penric is a divine of the Bastard’s Order as well as a sorcerer and scholar, living in the palace where the Princess-Archdivine holds court. His scholarly work is interrupted when the Archdivine agrees to send Penric, in his role as sorcerer, to accompany a “Locator” of the Father’s Order, assigned to capture Inglis, a runaway shaman charged with the murder of his best friend. However, the situation they discover in the mountains is far more complex than expected. Penric’s roles as sorcerer, strategist, and counselor are all called upon before the end.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSins of empire / Brian McClellan.
“A world on the cusp of a new ag, the young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place, a frontier destination for criminals, fortune-hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers seeking relics of the past. Only the iron will of the lady chancellor and her secret police holds the capital city of Landfall together against the unrest of an oppressed population and the machinations of powerful empires. The insurrection that threatens Landfall must be purged with guile and force, a task which falls on the shoulders of a spy named Michel Bravis, convicted war hero Mad Ben Styke, and Lady Vlora Flint, a mercenary general with a past as turbulent as Landfall’s present.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHome / Nnedi Okorafor.
“It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she found friendship in the unlikeliest of places. Nnow she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders. But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace. After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSeven surrenders / by Ada Palmer.
“It is a world in which near-instantaneous travel from continent to continent is free to all. In which automation now provides for everybody’s basic needs. In which nobody living can remember an actual war. In which it is illegal for three or more people to gather for the practice of religion, but ecumenical “sensayers” minister in private, one-on-one. In which gendered language is archaic, and to dress as strongly male or female is, if not exactly illegal, deeply taboo. In which nationality is a fading memory, and most people identify instead with their choice of the seven global Hives, distinguished from one another by their different approaches to the big questions of life. It is a world in which, unknown to most, the entire social order is teetering on the edge of collapse, because even in utopia, humans will conspire. Also because something new has arisen: Bridger, the child who can bring inanimate objects to conscious life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSlow bullets / Alastair Reynolds.
“A vast conflict, one that has encompassed hundreds of worlds and solar systems, appears to be finally at an end. A conscripted soldier is beginning to consider her life after the war and the family she has left behind. But for Scur and for humanity, peace is not to be. On the brink of the ceasefire, Scur is captured by a renegade war criminal, and left for dead in the ruins of a bunker. She revives aboard a prisoner transport vessel. Something has gone terribly wrong with the ship. Passengers,ombatants from both sides of the war, are waking up from hibernation far too soon. Their memories, embedded in bullets, are the only links to a world which is no longer recognizable. Scur will be reacquainted with her old enemy, but with much higher stakes than just her own life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe collapsing empire / John Scalzi.
“Faster than light travel is impossible, until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field available at certain points in space-time, which can take us to other planets around other stars. Riding The Flow, humanity spreads to innumerable other worlds. Earth is forgotten. A new empire arises, the Interdependency, based on the doctrine that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war and, for the empire’s rulers, a system of control. But when it’s discovered that the entire Flow is moving, possibly separating all human worlds from one another forever, a scientist, a starship captain, and the emperox of the Interdependency must race to find out what can be salvaged from an empire on the brink of collapse.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDead man’s steel : the Grim Company / Luke Scull.
“In the City of Towers, former rebel Sasha and her comrade Davarus Cole struggle to keep the peace between the warring mages who vie for dominion. The White Lady sends Davarus south to the Shattered Realms to seek allies among the fallen kingdoms, and he finds that his hardest battle may be one fought within. The godly essence now residing inside him offers power that could be used against the Fade, but with every death that feeds It, Cole risks losing a part of himself. An association with a Fade officer grants the Halfmage Eremul a position of privilege among Dorminia’s new masters. He witnesses firsthand the fate that awaits humanity. But since his magic is pitiful in the face of the Fade’s advanced technology, the Halfmage must rely on his wits alone to save whom he can.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe tiger and the wolf / Adrian Tchaikovsky.
“In the bleak northern crown of the world, war is coming. Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She refuses to disown half her soul so escapes, rescuing a prisoner of the Wolf clan in the process. The killer Broken Axe is set on their trail, to drag them back for retribution. The Wolf chieftan plots to rule the north and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverImpersonations / Walter Jon Williams.
“Having offended her superiors by winning a battle without permission, Caroline Sula has been posted to the planet Earth, a dismal backwater where careers go to die. But Sula has always been fascinated by Earth history, and she plans to reward herself with a long, happy vacation amid the ancient monuments of humanity’s home world. Sula may be an Earth history buff, but there are aspects of her own history she doesn’t want known. Exposure is threatened when an old acquaintance turns up unexpectedly. Someone seems to be forging evidence that would send her to prison. All that is before someone tries to kill her. If she’s going to survive, Sula has no choice but to make some history of her own.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The best of the best: must reads from this month’s fiction selections

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

Syndetics book coverHubert / Ben Gijsemans ; translated from the Dutch by Julia Blackburn and Sandra van Beek.
Translated from the Dutch, Hubert is a visual treat, a simple story with much pathos.

Syndetics book coverSpaceman of Bohemia / Jaroslav Kalfař.
Amazing debut novel, exciting, humorous and surprising.

Syndetics book coverThe black sheep / Sophie McKenzie.
A fast moving psychological thriller, leading to some shocking twists.

Syndetics book coverLillian Boxfish takes a walk / Kathleen Rooney.
A potted history of New York, the changing roles of women, told in a sharp and very witty manner by the protagonist.

Syndetics book coverWho watcheth / Helene Tursten ; translation by Marlaine Delargey.
A gripping, very suspenseful mystery, a great read.

The Best of the Best: must reads from the latest fiction selections

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. This time we have a bumper selection of books, chosen from arrivals in recent weeks. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverGeneral theory of oblivion / José Eduardo Agualusa, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn.
A novel set in post-colonial Angola, by an award winning Portuguese writer, that will be remembered long after the last page is read.

Syndetics book coverThe march of the foxgloves / Karyn Hay.
A fascinating historical novel, with a plot that is highly entertaining and very amusing.

Syndetics book coverMansfield and me : a graphic memoir / Sarah Laing.
A very clever, very New Zealand story that is quite brilliant.

Syndetics book coverNormal / Warren Ellis.
A gripping intelligent techno-thriller set in the near future.

Syndetics book coverBlack water lilies / Michel Bussi ; translated from the French by Shaun Whiteside.
This French best seller is guaranteed to keep readers hooked until the final pages with their astounding revelations.

Syndetics book coverCarthago / [Christophe Bec, writer ; Eric Henninot, Milan Jovanovic, artists].
Fabulous illustrations, and a gripping multi-layered story.

Syndetics book coverDear Mr. M : a novel / Herman Koch ; translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett.
A literary thriller, that will keep the reader in suspense until the last page.

Syndetics book coverFear / Dirk Kurbjuweit ; translated from the German by Imogen Taylor.
This is a murder story, a psychological thriller, and something more, a gripping and thought-provoking read.

Syndetics book coverCity of strangers : a novel / Louise Millar.
With well-drawn characters and increased suspense to a roaring conclusion that ties the two plot threads together, this is a very satisfying thriller.

Syndetics book coverEmpire games / Charles Stross.
This is a continuation of Stross’s popular Merchant Princes series and is more a high-tech thriller than a fantasy about walking between worlds in a multiverse, this first of three alternate histories. All the brilliance of imagination readers have come to expect with this writer.

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)