Another selection of the best new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels received this month. There is an almost limitless variety of themes for your reading enjoyment. Included is the short story collection by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski titled Sword of Destiny.
Corsair / James L. Cambias.
“In the early 2020s, two young, genius computer hackers, Elizabeth Santiago and David Schwartz, meet at MIT, where Schwartz is sneaking into classes, and have a brief affair. David is amoral and out for himself, and soon disappears. Elizabeth dreams of technology and space travel and takes a military job after graduating. Nearly ten years later, David is setting himself to become a billionaire by working in the shadows and Elizabeth works in intelligence preventing international space piracy. With robotic mining in space becoming a lucrative part of Earth’s economy, shipments from space are dropped down the gravity well into the oceans. David and Elizabeth fight for dominance of the computer systems controlling ore drop placement in international waters.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Green glowing skull / Gavin Corbett.
“After fleeing his dying parents and the drudgery of work in Dublin for the Manhattan of his imagination, a place of dark old concert halls and mellow front parlours quieted by the hiss of the phonograph cylinder, Rickard Velily hopes to be reborn as an Irish tenor, and to one day be reunited with the love of his life. At the very peculiar Cha Bum Kun Club, a masonic style refuge for immigrants who can’t quite cut it in New York City, Rickard meets Denny and Clive, and a plan is hatched: to revive the ballards of another time for a hip young city in thrall to technology and money. But that is without reckoning on meddlesome sprites, the phantoms of the past and more malign forces who plot to subjugate the human race.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Artemis awakening / Jane Lindskold.
“The distant world Artemis is a pleasure planet created out of bare rock by a technologically advanced human empire that provided its richest citizens with a veritable Eden to play in. All technology was concealed and the animals (and the humans brought to live there) were bioengineered to help the guests enjoy their stay but there was always the possibility of danger so that visitors could brag that they had “bested” the environment. The Empire was shattered in a horrific war; centuries later humanity has lost much of the advanced technology and Artemis is a fable told to children. Until young archeologist Griffin Dane finds intriguing hints that send him on a quest to find the lost world. Stranded on Artemis after crashing his ship, he encounters the Huntress Adara and her psych-linked companion, the puma Sand Shadow. Their journey with her will lead Dane to discover the planet’s secrets and perhaps provide a key to give unimagined power back to mankind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The Vagrant / Peter Newman.
“The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Years have passed since humanity’s destruction emerged from the Breach. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape. As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde. His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war. What little hope remains is dying. Abandoned by its leader, The Seven, and its heroes, The Seraph Knights, the last defenses of a once great civilization are crumbling into dust. But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The long Utopia / Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.
“2045-2059. After the cataclysmic upheavals of Step Day and the Yellowstone eruption humanity is spreading further into the Long Earth, and society, on a battered Datum Earth and beyond, continues to evolve. An elderly and cantankerous AI, Lobsang lives in disguise with Agnes, in an exotic, far-distant world and he’s convinced they’re leading a normal life in New Springfield, they even adopt a child, but it seems they have been guided there for a reason. As rumours of strange sightings and hauntings proliferate, it becomes clear that something is very awry with this particular world. Millions of steps away, Joshua is on a personal journey of discovery: learning about the father he never knew and a secret family history. But then he receives a summons from New Springfield. Lobsang now understands the enormity of what’s taking place beneath the surface of his earth, a threat to all the worlds of the Long Earth. To counter this threat will require the combined efforts of humankind, machine and the super-intelligent Next. And some must make the ultimate sacrifice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Poseidon’s wake / Alastair Reynolds.
“This story takes two extraordinary characters and follows them as they, independently, begin to unravel some of the greatest mysteries of our universe. Their missions are dangerous, and they are all venturing into the unknown and if they can uncover the secret to faster-than-light travel then new worlds will be at our fingertips. But innovation and progress are not always embraced by everyone. There is a saboteur at work. Different factions disagree about the best way to move forward and the mysterious Watchkeepers are ever-present.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Aurora / Kim Stanley Robinson.
“Generations after leaving earth, a starship draws near to the planet that may serve as a new home world for those on board. But the journey has brought unexpected changes and their best laid plans may not be enough to survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Sword of destiny / Andrzej Sapkowski ; translated by David French.
“Tthis collection of short stories follows the adventures of Geralt, a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
A quantum mythology / Gavin G. Smith.
“In the far future, many years after the Loss of the Earth, humanity has changed. Strength is the only way to survive. And the most vicious man alive has a new con in mind. Here and now, a man with unnatural powers hunts down a killer with impossible abilities. Infused with a barely understood alien technology, the two are merely pawns in a bigger game. In the distant past, the last tribes of Northern Britain face an unimaginable enemy. Demons risen from the sea, absorbing and twisting everything they touch. But there are some among the tribes who have power, who will fight. And all of these times are coming together.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Children of time / Adrian Tchaikovsky.
“The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age, a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare. Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)