“None of us can change the things we’ve done”: New Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Expanse GIF by Amazon Prime Video

Gif via Giphy.

“None of us can change the things we’ve done. But we can all change what we do next.” – Fred Johnson

One of the most successful and acclaimed science fiction series in recent years has been The Expanse series, written jointly by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck who collectively call themselves S. A. Corey. Both the novels and television series have been heaped with accolades. And in this month’s newly acquired science fiction and fantasy we have The Leviathan Falls; the much anticipated ninth and final instalment of the series. (There are also nine short stories and novellas to accompany the series.)

The Expanse universe started life as an idea by Ty Franck for a massive multiplayer online role-playing game and then a table top role-playing game, before it morphed at Daniel Abraham’s suggestion into its present fiction and television forms.

The authors are on record as saying they were inspired in some small ways by Alfred Bester’s The Stars My destination, Frederik Pohl’s Gateway, and Ridley Scott’s Alien, though the whole series is its own unique, complex, and fabulous imagined universe which, incidentally, won the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Series. The Expanse is widely regarded as one of the finest science fiction series in recent years and comes highly recommended. ( And you can borrow both the books and the series from us; see below for details).

Also of note in this month’s selection is Sinopticon: a celebration of Chinese science fiction; yet another reminder of how strong science fiction and fantasy writing is in that country at the moment.

Leviathan falls / Corey, James S. A
“The Laconian Empire has fallen, setting the thirteen hundred solar systems free from the rule of Winston Duarte. But the ancient enemy that killed the gate builders is awake, and the war against our universe has begun again. In the dead system of Adro, Elvi Okoye leads a desperate scientific mission to understand what the gate builders were and what destroyed them, even if it means compromising herself and the half-alien children who bear the weight of her investigation. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) For the availability of  The expanse. Seasons one, two and three are also available.

1637 : Dr. Gribbleflotz and the soul of Stoner / Offord, Kerryn
“Thomas “the Great Stoner” Stone once performed miraculous surgery upon Phillip Theophrastus Gribbleflotz, the World’s Greatest Alchemist, using his bare hands, no anesthesia, producing no pain, and leaving no scar. It would have been wonderful if it was real. But Dr. Tom Stone, the face of modern medicine, has been engaging in fake treatments-bringing all modern medicine into question. Phillip, who has learned a thing or two about actual science from those uptime elopers from Grantville, West Virginia, decides to go to Padua and turn his problems into Tom Stone’s problems.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

This broken world / Gannon, Charles E
“Since boyhood, Druadaen expected he’d ascend to the command of an elite legion and become the leader his father predicted he would be. However, fate had something different in store. Assigned instead to a small group of outriders tasked with watching nearby kingdoms, Druadaen discovers that the world beyond his homeland is riddled with impossibilities. How do humanoid raiders, known as the Bent, suffer staggering losses and yet return as a vast horde every decade? How do multi-ton dragons fly? How have fossils formed in a world which sacrists insist has existed for only ten millennia? ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The god of lost words / Hackwith, A. J
“To save the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, former librarian Claire and her allies may have to destroy it first. Claire, the rakish Hero, the angel Rami, and the muse turned librarian Brevity have accomplished the impossible by discovering the true nature of unwritten books. But now that the secret is out, Hell will be coming for every wing of the library in its quest for power. To protect the Unwritten Wing and stave off the insidious reach of Malphas, one of Hell’s most bloodthirsty generals, Claire and her friends will have to decide how much they’re willing to sacrifice to keep their vulnerable corner of the afterlife. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The untold story / Cogman, Genevieve
“Time-traveling Librarian spy Irene has faced unimaginable challenges across a multitude of worlds, but to keep her friends safe, Irene will have to do what has never been attempted and cut through the tangled web of power at the heart of the Library. Irene is trying to learn the truth about Alberich-and the possibility that he is her father. When the Library orders her to kill him, and then Alberich himself offers to sign a truce, she has to discover why he originally betrayed the Library. With her allies endangered and her strongest loyalties under threat, she will have to trace his past across multiple worlds and into the depths of mythology and folklore, to find the truth and uncover why the Library was first created” (Adapted from Catalogue)

You feel it just below the ribs : a novel / Cranor, Jeffrey
“Born at the end of the old world, Miriam grows up during The Great Reckoning, a sprawling, decades-long war that nearly decimates humanity and strips her of friends and family. Devastated by grief and loneliness, she emotionally exiles herself, avoiding relationships or allegiances, and throws herself into her work — disengagement that serves her when the war finally ends, and The New Society arises. To ensure a lasting peace, The New Society forbids anything that may cause tribal loyalties, including traditional families. Suddenly, everyone must live as Miriam has chosen to — disconnected and unattached…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Constance / FitzSimmons, Matthew
“In the near future, advances in medicine and quantum computing make human cloning a reality. For the wealthy, cheating death is the ultimate luxury. For young Constance “Con” D’Arcy, who was gifted her own clone by her late aunt, it’s terrifying. After a routine monthly upload of her consciousness–stored for that inevitable transition–something goes wrong. When Con wakes up in the clinic, it’s eighteen months later. Her recent memories are missing. Her original, she’s told, is dead. If that’s true, what does that make her? The secrets of Con’s disorienting new life are buried deep. So are those of how and why she died.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sinopticon : a celebration of Chinese science fiction
“Presents a collection of the best Chinese science fiction stories from thirteen writers, translated into English for the first time. Including  Last save by Gu Shi, Tombs of the universe by Han Song,  Qiankun and Alex by Hao Jingfang, Cat’s chance in hell by Nian Yu, Return of Adam by Wang Jinkang, Rendevous: 1937 by  Zhao Haihong, Heart of the museum by Tang Fei,  Great migration by Ma Boyong, Meisje met de parel by Anna Wu,  Flower of the other shore by  A Que, Absolution experiment by Bao Shu, Tide of moon city by Regina Kanyu Wang and Starship: library by Jiang Bo.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Paris by Starlight: our latest science fiction & fantasy titles

 

Eiffel Tower Paris GIF

” The Eiffel tower lit up by strange ethereal flowers”
Robert Dinsdale, Paris by starlight.

Our selection of recently acquired Science Fiction and Fantasy titles includes Paris by Starlight by Robert Dinsdale, which features The Eiffel Tower heavily as one of its key locations. So, we thought what  further excuse do we need to dig up a few interesting facts about “La dame de fer”.

The Eiffel tower was originally constructed as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair. It wasn’t initially loved by everyone; indeed there was a serious movement to get it torn down almost immediately after it was constructed. For forty-one years, until the construction of the Chrysler Building in New York City, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world.

The Eiffel tower has played a role in several other major historical events; for example, in 1910, Father Theodor Wulf discovering cosmic rays whilst measuring  radiant energy at the top and bottom of the tower! And during World War I, a radio transmitter located in the tower jammed German radio communications, seriously hindering their advance on Paris! On two separate occasions in 1925 con artist Victor Lustig “sold” the tower for scrap metal; it is also the most visited monument in the world that has a fee attached. And who can forget Grace Jones’ (stunt double’s) jump from the Eiffel Tower in The Roger Moore helmed Bond movie A View to A Kill. So, all in all, a truly fitting locale for a fantasy novel setting.

For details of this and our other selected recently acquired Science Fiction and Fantasy titles look below.

Paris by starlight / Dinsdale, Robert
“Every night on their long journey to Paris from their troubled homeland, Levon’s grandmother has read to them from a very special book.… Nobody can explain why nocturnal water dogs start appearing at the heels of every citizen of Paris-by-Starlight like the loyal retainers they once were. There are suddenly night finches in the skies and the city is transforming: the Eiffel Tower lit up by strange ethereal flowers that drink in the light of the moon. How long can the magic of night rub up against the ordinariness of day? How long can two worlds occupy the same streets and squares before there is an outright war?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Spirits abroad : stories / Cho, Zen
“Nineteen sparkling stories that weave between the lands of the living and the lands of the dead. Spirits Abroad is an expanded edition of Zen Cho’s Crawford Award winning debut collection with nine added stories “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again.” A Datin recalls her romance with an orang bunian. A teenage pontianak struggles to balance homework, bossy aunties, first love, and eating people. An earth spirit gets entangled in protracted negotiations with an annoying landlord, and Chang E spins off into outer space, the ultimate metaphor for the Chinese diaspora.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A heart divided / Jin, Yong
“China: 1200 A.D. In the fourth and final volume of Legends of the Condor Heroes, Guo Jing is at last forced to make a choice between loyalty to the land of his birth and keeping faith with Genghis Khan, who has been like a father to him. When it comes to matters of the heart, troubled waters stir there as well when Guo Jin’s love for Lotus Huang is tested when he becomes convinced that her father has murdered someone dear to him. As the Mongol armies descend on China, Jin Yong brings this most beloved of his novels to a thrilling conclusion, complete with vast battles, stirring heroism, heartbreak, triumph and loss” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rookery / Hewitt, Deborah
“After discovering her magical ability to see people’s souls, Alice Wyndham only wants three things: to return to the Rookery, join the House Mielikki and master her magic, and find out who she really is. But when the secrets of Alice’s past threaten her plans, and the Rookery begins to crumble around her, she must decide how far she’s willing to go to save the city and people she loves.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Death’s end / Liu, Cixin
“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. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Light from uncommon stars / Aoki, Ryka
“Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six. When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate. But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four.  As the lives of these three women become entangled by chance and fate, a story of magic, identity, curses, and hope begins, and a family worth crossing the universe for is found.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

The all-consuming world / Khaw, Cassandra
“Maya has died and been resurrected into countless cyborg bodies during a long, dangerous career with the infamous Dirty Dozen. They were the most storied crew of criminals in the galaxy– until their untimely and gruesome demise. Decades later, Maya and her team of broken outlaws must get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission, and to rescue a missing comrade. The highly evolved AI of the galaxy have their own agenda…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The second rebel : a novel / Lewis, Linden A.
“Astrid seeks to bring down the Sisterhood from within, while, on an outlaw colony station deep in space, Hiro val Akira seeks to bring a dangerous ally into the rebellion, and Lito sol Lucius continues to grow into his role as lead revolutionary.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

New science fiction and fantasy titles

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.

Robert Louis Stevenson

This month’s science fiction and fantasy showcase features five-time Nebula award-winner Greg Bear‘s latest epic historical fantasy novel, The unfinished land, which evokes the seafaring spirit of Robert Louis Stevenson’s work. Also included this month is The burning god — the fantastic finale to R. F. Kuang’s acclaimed Poppy war trilogy, partly inspired by 20th century Chinese history. On a much stranger and weirder note, Nino Cipri’s Finna sees carnivorous furniture running amok and elderly customers slipping through portals in a box furniture store to find themselves ending up in other dimensions. And if Finna is your cup of tea, you should also try Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör. Have a browse of these and other exciting new titles below!

The unfinished land / Bear, Greg
“Reynard, a young apprentice, seeks release from drudgery in the English village of Southwold. His rare days off lead him to strange encounters — not just with press gangs hoping to fill English ships to fight the coming Spanish Armada, but strangers who seem to know him — one of whom casts a white shadow. And after a fierce battle at sea, Reynard finds himself the sole survivor. For days he drifts, until he is rescued by a galleon, also lost– both are propelled by a strange current to the unknown northern island of Thule. Here Reynard must meet his destiny in a violent clash between humans and gods.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The burning god / Kuang, R. F.
“After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead. Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much – the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges – and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Finna / Cipri, Nino
“When an elderly customer at a Swedish big box furniture store — but not that one — slips through a portal to another dimension, it’s up to two minimum-wage employees to track her across the multiverse and protect their company’s bottom line. Multi-dimensional swashbuckling would be hard enough, but those two unfortunate souls broke up a week ago. To find the missing granny, Ava and Jules will brave carnivorous furniture, swarms of identical furniture spokespeople, and the deep resentment simmering between them. Can friendship blossom from the ashes of their relationship? In infinite dimensions, all things are possible.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Horrorstor, Grady Hendrix (ebook)
Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.
To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The mask of mirrors / Carrick, M. A.
“Renata Virdaux is a con artist who has come to the sparkling city of Nadezra — the city of dreams — with one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune and her sister’s future.But as she’s drawn into the aristocratic world of House Traementis, she realises her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her. And as corrupted magic begins to weave its way through Nadezra, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled — with Ren at their heart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The bone maker : a novel / Durst, Sarah Beth
“Twenty-five years ago, five heroes risked their lives to defeat the bone maker Eklor — a corrupt magician who created an inhuman army using animal bones. But victory came at a tragic price. Only four of the heroes survived. Since then, Kreya, the group’s leader, has exiled herself to a remote tower and devoted herself to one purpose: resurrecting her dead husband.  Maybe the dead don’t rest in peace after all. Five warriors — one broken, one gone soft, one pursuing a simple life, one stuck in the past, and one who should dead. Their story should have been finished. But evil doesn’t stop just because someone once said, “the end.”” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Remote control / Okorafor, Nnedi
“The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa—-a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past. Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks–alone, except for her fox companion–searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers. But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion? ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The swimmers / Womack, Marian
“After the ravages of the Green Winter, Earth is a place of deep jungles and monstrous animals. The last of the human race is divided into surface dwellers and the people who live in the Upper Settlement, a ring perched at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere. Bearing witness to this divided planet is Pearl, a young techie with a thread of shuvani blood, who lives in the isolated forests of Gobari, navigating her mad mother and the strange blue light in the sky. But Pearl’s stepfather promises her to a starborn called Arlo, and the world Pearl thought she knew will never be the same again.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Upright women wanted / Gailey, Sarah
“Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her — a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing. A good old-fashioned horse opera for the 22nd century. Gunslinger librarians of the apocalypse are on a mission to spread public health, decency, and the revolution” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

What if? A selection of alternative history books

It is like the point where the rainbow touches the forest. We think that we can see it—but if we go to look for it, it isn’t there.”
― Carlo Rovelli, The Order of Time

What if the Nazis had won World War Two, or what if you could travel back in time to save J F Kennedy from assassination? Alternative history novels offer authors the unique opportunity to do just that, take real life events and characters and then explore what would have happened if history had taken a different route. Many great writers have delved into the field such as Philip K Dick, Stephen King and Susanna Clarke to name but a few. Below is a very small selection of novels which depict a different reality from the one we exist in.

The man in the high castle / Dick, Philip K
“It is 1962 and the Second World War has been over for seventeen years: people have now had a chance to adjust to the new order. But it’s not been easy. The Mediterranean has been drained to make farmland, the population of Africa has virtually been wiped out and America has been divided between the Nazis and the Japanese. In the neutral buffer zone that divides the two superpowers lives the man in the high castle, the author of an underground bestseller, a work of fiction that offers an alternative theory of world history in which the Axis powers didn’t win the war.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The plot against America / Roth, Philip
“Philip Roth imagines an alternate history where Franklin D. Roosevelt loses the 1940 presidential election to heroic aviator and rabid isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh. Shortly thereafter, Lindbergh negotiates a cordial “understanding” with Adolf Hitler, while the new government embarks on a program of folksy anti-Semitism. For one boy growing up in Newark, Lindbergh’s election is the first in a series of ruptures that threaten to destroy his small, safe corner of America-and with it, his mother, his father, and his older brother.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Rodham : a novel / Sittenfeld, Curtis
“In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise: Life magazine has covered her Wellesley commencement speech, she’s attending Yale Law School, and she’s on the forefront of student activism and the women’s rights movement. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage to Bill Clinton, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail–one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life. ” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Fatherland / Harris, Robert
“Berlin, 1964. The Greater German Reich stretches from the Rhine to the Urals, and keeps an uneasy peace with its nuclear rival, the United States. As the Fatherland prepares for a grand celebration honoring Adolf Hitler’s seventy-fifth birthday and anticipates a conciliatory visit from U.S. president Joseph Kennedy and ambassador Charles Lindbergh, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin’s most prestigious suburb.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union / Chabon, Michael
“For sixty years, Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal Distric of Sitka, a “temporary” safe haven created in the wake of revelations of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. Proud, grateful, and longing to be American, the Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant, gritty, soulful, and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, an homage to 1940s noir, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

11/22/63 / King, Stephen
“On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? It begins with Jake Epping, a thirty-five-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession–to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world of Ike and JFK and Elvis.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The difference engine / Gibson, William
“1855: The Industrial Revolution is in full swing, powered by steam-driven cybernetic Engines. Charles Babbage perfects his Analytical Engine, and the computer age arrives a century ahead of its time. Three extraordinary characters race toward a rendezvous with the future: Sybil Gerard—fallen woman, politician’s tart, daughter of a Luddite agitator Edward “Leviathan” Mallory—explorer and palaeontologist; Laurence Oliphant—diplomat, mystic, and spy. Their adventure begins with the discovery of a box of punched Engine cards of unknown origin and purpose. Cards someone wants badly enough to kill for.”  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell / Clarke, Susanna
The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains- the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician- the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The Eyre affair / Fforde, Jasper
“Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. There are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades,  steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! his next target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it’s not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte’s novel. Enter Thursday Next. She’s the Special Operative’s renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche.” (Catalogue)

Our latest highlighted Science Fiction, Fantasy and speculative fiction selection

I had always wanted to be a writer who confused genre boundaries and who was read in multiple contexts”  Jonathan Lethem

A nuclear powered supercar that can tunnel through the earth, a progressive pulp tome in which a band of Mercenary librarians set out to save a crumbling America, an enthralling fantasy epic from a New Zealand author,  a world where men have become a prized commodity and a very welcome return of Elizabeth Bear in a star spanning space opera with ex crime lords and mega intelligent AI systems. All are to be found in Decembers recently acquired Science Fiction and Fantasy titles. Enjoy.

The tower of fools / Sapkowski, Andrzej
Reinmar of Bielawa, sometimes known as Reynevan, is a healer, a magician, and according to some, a charlatan. When a thoughtless indiscretion forces him to flee his home, he finds himself pursued not only by brothers bent on vengeance but by the Holy Inquisition. In a time when tensions between Hussite and Catholic countries are threatening to turn into war and mystical forces are gathering in the shadows, Reynevan’s journey will lead him to the Narrenturm — the Tower of Fools.  And escaping it, avoiding the conflict around him, and keeping his own sanity will prove more difficult than he ever imagined” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook 

Afterland / Beukes, Lauren
“All Cole has left in the world is her boy, Miles. With men now a prized commodity, keeping him safe means breaking hastily written new rules – and leaving her own sister for dead. All Miles has left in the world is his mother.But is one person enough to save him from the many who would kill to get their hands on a living boy? Together, Cole and Miles embark on a journey across a changed, hostile country, towards a freedom they may never reach. And when Cole’s sister tracks them down, they’ll need to decide who to trust – and what loyalty really means in this unimaginable new world.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Deal with the Devil : a Mercenary Librarians novel / Rocha, Kit
” Nina is an information broker with a mission–she and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to save the hopeless in a crumbling America. Knox is the bitter, battle-weary captain of the Silver Devils. His squad of supersoldiers went AWOL to avoid slaughtering innocents, and now he’s fighting to survive. They’re on a deadly collision course, and the passion that flares between them only makes it more dangerous. They could burn down the world, destroying each other in the process… Or they could do the impossible: team up. This is the first book in a near-future science fiction series with elements of romance.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Providence / Barry, Max
” We thought the universe was a twinkling ocean of opportunity, waiting to be explored. Afterward, we knew better. Seven years after first contact, Providence Five launches. It is an enormous and deadly warship, built to protect humanity from its greatest ever threat. On board is a crew of just four–tasked with monitoring the ship and reporting the war’s progress to a mesmerized global audience by way of social media. But while pursuing the enemy across space, Gilly, Talia, Anders, and Jackson confront the unthinkable: their communications are cut, their ship decreasingly trustworthy and effective. To survive, they must win a fight that is suddenly and terrifyingly real.” (Catalogue)

Scardown / Bear, Elizabeth
“Jenny Casey was not born for this mission. She was modified for it.  Those who were once her enemies are now her allies, and at fifty, she’s been handpicked for the most important mission of her life – a mission for which her artificially reconstructed body is perfectly suited. With the earth capable of sustaining life for just another century, Jenny – as pilot of the starship Montreal – must discover brave new worlds. And with time running out, she must succeed where others have failed.  With the help of a brilliant AI, an ex-crime lord, and the man she loves, Jenny may just get her chance to save the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The saints of salvation / Hamilton, Peter F
” Humanity is struggling to hold out against a hostile takeover by an alien race that claims to be on a religious mission to bring all sentient life to its God at the End of Time. But while billions of cocooned humans fill the holds of the Olyix’s deadly arkships, humankind is playing an even longer game than the aliens may have anticipated. From an ultra-secret spy mission to one of the grandest battles ever seen, no strategy is off the table. Will a plan millennia in the making finally be enough to defeat this seemingly unstoppable enemy? ” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The arrest : a novel / Lethem, Jonathan
“Before the Arrest, Sandy Duplessis had a reasonably good life as a screenwriter in L.A. An old college friend and writing partner, the charismatic and malicious Peter Todbaum, had become one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. That didn’t hurt. Now, post-Arrest, nothing is what it was. Sandy, who calls himself Journeyman, has landed in rural Maine. There he assists the butcher and delivers the food grown by his sister, Maddy, at her organic farm. But then Todbaum shows up in an extraordinary vehicle: a retrofitted tunnel-digger powered by a nuclear reactor.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mother of daemons / Hair, David
Lyra, Queen of Rondelmar, has fought enemies without and within, dealt with grief and loss, embraced forbidden magic, found her father and borne a child – and still it isn’t enough. Her enemies are on the march and the Rondian Empire is collapsing. But a more dangerous adversary is out there . . . and he is winning. Ervyn Naxius, amoral genius, has unleashed war on two continents and is now laughing kings and priests dance to his tune and his daemonic followers are spreading through the lands, but still he isn’t satisfied. His ultimate goal – absolute control of all life – is finally within his reach . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The unstoppable rise of Progressive Pulp

If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.”

Philip K. Dick

Progressive Pulp is a new trend in science fiction that we have seen emerging in recent years, where the fast paced, page turning, addictive aspects of old fashioned pulp fiction are being reimagined or merged with bigger more serious ideas or concepts  such as explorations of gender or racial oppression.  Some authors are working almost exclusively in this new genre, e.g. Adam Christopher, whilst others are releasing individual titles that fit into this exciting and fast-growing sub-genre. Below are a couple of the authors and books we consider as fitting into this new Progressive Pulp category. Enjoy.


Ring shout : or, Hunting Ku Kluxes in the end times / Clark, P. Djèlí
“D. W. Griffith is a sorcerer, and The Birth of a Nation is a spell that drew upon the darkest thoughts and wishes from the heart of America. Now, rising in power and prominence, the Klan has a plot to unleash Hell on Earth. Luckily, Maryse Boudreaux has a magic sword and a head full of tales. When she’s not running bootleg whiskey through Prohibition Georgia, she’s fighting monsters she calls Ku Kluxes. She’s damn good at it, too. But to confront this ongoing evil, she must journey between worlds to face otherworldly nightmares–and her own demons. Together with a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Harrow the ninth / Muir, Tamsyn
“She answered the Emperor’s call. She arrived with her arts, her wits, and her only friend. In victory, her world has turned to ash. Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman’s shoulders. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath — but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

I only killed him once : a Ray Electromatic mystery / Christopher, Adam
“Another Hollywood night, another job for electric-detective-turned-robotic-hitman Raymond Electromatic. The target is a tall man in a black hat, and while Ray completes his mission successfully, he makes a startling discovery–one he soon forgets when his 24-hour memory tape loops to the end and is replaced with a fresh reel… When a tall man in a black hat arrives in the offices of the Electromatic Detective Agency the next day, Ray has a suspicion he has met this stranger before, although Ray’s computerized boss, Ada, is not saying a thing. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Condomnauts / Yoss
“In the 24th century, Josu Vald’s rise from an orphan in the slums of Rubble City, Cuba to one of the galaxy’s most accomplished explorers was nothing short of meteoric. On the streets, Josue raced cockroaches for cash–until he discovered his true-calling: as a sexual ambassador for humanity and the Nu Barsa colony. Every so-called “condomnaut” knows that diplomacy and trade deals depend on sexual pacts in the galactic community–and every encounter becomes a close encounter, a wildly inventive and unapologetic tale that would make even Barbarella blush.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Altered carbon / Morgan, Richard K.
“In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”).  Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, now he is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats “existence” as something that can be bought and sold. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blood of the Sun / Rabarts, Dan.
“There’s been a gang massacre on Auckland’s Freyberg Wharf. Body parts everywhere. And with the police’s go-to laboratory out of action, it’s up to scientific consult Pandora (Penny) Yee to sort through the mess. It’s a hellish task, made worse by the earthquake swarms, the insufferable heat, and Cerberus’ infernal barking. And what’s got into her brother Matiu? Does it have something to do with the ship’s consignment? Or is Matiu running with the gangs again? Because if he’s involved, Penny will murder him herself… Matiu can taste the chaos in the air. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ready Player Two / Cline, Ernest
“In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the Oasis. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines — puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Trail of lightning / Roanhorse, Rebecca
“In a world sinking beneath climate-warmed waves, Maggie works as a monster hunter in Dinétah, once the Navajo reservation. There, she encounters a creature that out-Grendels Grendel and seeks help from medicine man Kai Arviso. Maggie Hoskie is a Din tah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The southern book club’s guide to slaying vampires / Hendrix, Grady
” Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. The only thing keeping her sane is her book club.  One evening after book club, Patricia is viciously attacked by an elderly neighbor, bringing the neighbor’s handsome nephew, James Harris, into her life. Little by little, James will insinuate himself into Patricia’s life and try to take everything she took for granted–including the book club–but she won’t surrender without a fight in this blood-soaked tale of neighborly kindness gone wrong.” (Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Sisters of the Vast Black: New Sci-Fi & Fantasy

There are some big names among this month’s new sci-fi and fantasy titles, including Nora Roberts with the third book in her Chronicles of the One series and Jeff VanderMeer with Dead Astronauts. However the book we’re probably most excited about is by debut author Lina Rather: it’s the fantastic Sisters of the Vast Black.

Sisters of the Vast Black tells the story of a group of space-travelling nuns who must answer a mysterious distress call from a recently-established colony. However this isn’t your usual space opera: Rather’s work investigates everything from theology and faith to governance and bio-engineering–and more!

For more sci-fi and fantasy suggestions, check out Novelist Plus in our eLibrary!

Sisters of the vast black / Rather, Lina
“Years ago, Old Earth sent forth sisters and brothers into the vast dark of the prodigal colonies armed only with crucifixes and iron faith. Now, the sisters of the Order of Saint Rita are on an interstellar mission of mercy aboard Our Lady of Impossible Constellations. When the order receives a distress call from a newly-formed colony, the sisters discover that the bodies and souls in their care are in danger. And not from void beyond, but from the nascent Central Governance and the Church itself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rise of magicks / Roberts, Nora
“After the sickness known as the Doom destroyed civilization, magick has become commonplace, and Fallon Swift has spent her young years learning its ways. Fallon cannot live in peace until she frees those who have been preyed upon by the government or the fanatical Purity Warriors, endlessly hunted or locked up in laboratories, brutalized for years on end. She is determined to save even those who have been complicit with this evil out of fear or weakness–if, indeed, they can be saved.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dead astronauts / VanderMeer, Jeff
“Under the watchful eye of The Company, three characters – Grayson, Morse and Chen – shapeshifters, amorphous, part human, part extensions of the landscape, make their way through forces that would consume them. A messianic blue fox who slips through warrens of time and space on a mysterious mission. A homeless woman haunted by a demon who finds the key to all things in a strange journal. A giant leviathan of a fish, centuries old, who hides a secret, remembering a past that may not be its own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

CTRL + S / Briggs, Andy
“Life in the near future’s not all bad. We’ve reversed global warming, and fixed the collapsing bee population. We even created SPACE, a virtual-sensory universe where average guys like Theo Wilson can do almost anything they desire. But almost anything isn’t enough for some. Every day, normal people are being taken, their emotions harvested–and lives traded–to create death-defying thrills for the rich and twisted. Now Theo’s mother has disappeared . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The true bastards / French, Jonathan
“French debuted in a big way last year with The Grey Bastards. Here, Fetching now leads her own band of half-orcs, the True Bastards, and she faces famine and desertion from within and contempt from other half-orc leaders from without. Then real problems come from beyond the grave. The sequel to The Grey Bastards, this irresistibly swashbuckling, swaggering, foul-mouthed fantasy is rollicking, cunningly clever swords ‘n’ sorcery storytelling that’s a shot of pure fun for fantasy fans.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The warrior moon / Rivera, K Arsenault
“Barsalayaa Shefali, famed Qorin adventurer, and the spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, have survived fights with demon armies, garnered infamy, and ruled an empire. Raised together since birth, then forced into exile after their wedding, and reunited amidst a poisonous invasion–these bold warrior women have faced monumental adventures and catastrophic battles. As they come closest to fulfilling the prophecy of generations–Shefali and Shizuka will face their greatest test yet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The beast’s heart / Shallcross, Leife
“I am neither monster nor man – yet I am both. I am the Beast. I know why I was cursed; I know the legacy of evil I carry in my tainted blood. So how could she ever love me? My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart when I was struggling just to be human. And now I might lose her forever. Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast’s heart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sci-Fi Lord of the Flies: New Science Fiction

Salvation Lost / Peter E. Hamilton

Supernova Era, by Cixin Liu

Cixin Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy was one of the most expansive science fiction series in recent years, and this month Liu returns with a brand new epic: The Supernova Era. Liu began writing Supernova Era soon after the political uprising in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 (the book was published in China in 2004 and for the first time in English this year), and perhaps not coincidentally (social upheaval, disillusionment) it tells the story of an Earth that has been stripped of its adult population, leaving only children to try and navigate the future.

This month also sees some great Australian sci-fi, including The Old Lie by Claire G. Coleman and the finale of Jay Kristoff ‘s Nevernight Chronicles. For more on Coleman’s work, check out this recent interview. Enjoy!

Supernova era / Liu, Cixin
“Eight years ago, a star died. Tonight, a supernova tsunami of high energy will finally reach Earth. Dark skies will shine bright and within a year everyone over the age of thirteen will be dead. And so the countdown begins. Parents apprentice their children and try to pass on the knowledge they’ll need to keep the world running. But the last generation may not want to carry the legacy of their parents’ world. And though they imagine a better future, they may not be able to escape humanity’s dark instincts.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Salvation lost / Hamilton, Peter F
“The comparative utopia of twenty-third century Earth is about to go dreadfully awry when a seemingly benign alien race is abruptly revealed to be one of the worst threats humanity has ever faced. Driven by an intense religious extremism, the Olyix are determined to bring everyone to their version of god as they see it. But they may have met their match in humanity, who are not about to go gently into that good night or spend the rest of their days cowering in hiding.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Darkdawn / Kristoff, Jay
“The greatest games in Godsgrave’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic. Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

A second chance / Taylor, Jodi
“Behind the facade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a different kind of academic work is taking place. Just don’t call it “time travel”–these historians “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And they aren’t your harmless eccentrics; a more accurate description might be unintentional disaster-magnets. The Chronicles of St. Mary’s tells the adventures of Madeleine Maxwell and her compatriots as they travel through time, saving St. Mary’s and thwarting time-travelling terrorists.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The old lie / Coleman, Claire G
“Shane Daniels and Romany Zetz have been drawn into a war that is not their own. Lives will be destroyed, families will be torn apart. Trust will be broken. When the war is over, some will return to a changed world. Will they discover that glory is a lie?” (Catalogue)

New Science fiction and fantasy: Epic conclusions and curious creations

New tales in science fiction and fantasy and delving into the vaults.  Wheel of time fans have a pre Wheel of time Robert Jordan, a.k.a. James Oliver Rigney, Jr. title to revel in. Becky Chamber’s new novella explores the potential for space exploration, boundaries expand as humans are adapted to their new environments before they arrive, but what is the fate of the homeworld they leave behind?

The confines of linear time and lifespan are challenged in Joe Abercrombie’s A little hatred and Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the ninth. The Lightbringer series concludes with Brent Weeks’ The burning white. Nine years from start to finish this epic saga of magic, lies and betrayals has seen it’s characters transform as the world they know evolves around them. So who is the Lightbringer?

To be taught if fortunate / Chambers, Becky
“In the future, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the galaxy transform themselves.  Ariadne and her fellow crewmates sleep while in transit, and wake each time with different features. But as they shift through both form and time, life back on Earth has also changed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the wonders and dangers of her journey, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Warrior of the Altaii / Jordan, Robert (print), (eBook)
“Draw near and listen, or else time is at an end. The watering holes of the Plain are drying up, the fearsome fanghorn grow more numerous, and bad omens abound. Wulfgar, a leader of the Altaii people, must contend with twin queens, warlords, prophets, and magic in hopes of protecting his people and securing their future. This is Robert Jordan’s never-before-published first novel, which he wrote before his well-known Wheel of Time series.” (Adapted from catalogue)

A little hatred / Abercrombie, Joe
“The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the Long Eye glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another. Old scores run deep as ever. On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield. Savine dan Glokta plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary and the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Gideon the ninth / Muir, Tamsyn (print), (eBook)
“Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse.  But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House, has been summoned into action. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die. Of course, some things are better left dead.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The burning white / Weeks, Brent
“In the stunning conclusion to the epic, Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks, kingdoms clash as Kip must finally escape his family’s shadow in order to protect the land and people he loves. As the White King springs his great trap, and the Chromeria itself is threatened by treason and siege, Kip Guile and his companions will scramble to return for one impossible final stand. In the darkest hour, will the Lightbringer come? (Adapted from catalogue)

The cruel stars / Birmingham, John
“Centuries after their defeat, the Sturm have returned with an overwhelming attack on the fringes of human space.  Everybody thought the Sturm were dead, engulfed by the Dark. They were wrong. On the brink of annihilation, humankind’s only hope is a few brave souls who survived the initial onslaught. Five flawed, reluctant heroes must band together to prevail against a relentless enemy and near-impossible odds. For if they fail, the future itself is doomed.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Season of storms / Sapkowski, Andrzej
Translated from original Polish by David French
“Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, one of the few capable of hunting the monsters that prey on humanity. A mutant who is tasked with killing unnatural beings. He uses magical signs, potions, and the pride of every Witcher – two swords, steel and silver. But a contract has gone wrong, and Geralt finds himself without his signature weapons. Now he needs them back, because sorcerers are scheming, and across the world the  season of storms is coming…” (Adapted from catalogue)

Knight / Zahn, Timothy (print, (eBook)
“Nicole Hammond was just trying to survive on the streets of Philidelphia, then she and her partner Bungie were abducted by a race of mysterious moth-like aliens and taken to a strange ship. Now she is a Sibyl, a special human that has the ability to communicate with the aliens and their ship. Competing factions control different parts of the ship with the humans and other sentient aliens caught in the middle. But Nicole has a plan to take control of the ship. She just has to outsmart war profiteers and slavers to do it.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Vivid imaginings: new science fiction and fantasy

This new collection of science fiction and fantasy writing has a diverse range of debut novelists. New Wellington talent H. G. Parry writes about fiction characters becoming all too real, while Ada Hoffman of The Outside has written many short works of speculative fiction and now takes to novel form. Hoffman creates neurodiverse characters from a place of personal knowledge, her own pitch for the novel being, “It’s a suspenseful space opera with some totally wild surreal cosmic horror mixed in, a whole bunch of strong female/queer/disabled characters, genuinely difficult moral quandaries, and empathy winning.”

Set in the universe of the Three-Body Problem Trilogy, The Redemption of Time continues Cixin Liu’s multi-award-winning science fiction saga. This original story by Baoshu, published with Liu’s support, envisions the aftermath of the conflict between humanity and the extraterrestrial Trisolarans.

In Longer, Michael Blumlein explores dauntingly epic topics including love, the expanse of the human lifespan and mortality. Finally, in a nod to the recent Hugo Awards hosted in Dublin (and foreshadowing Wellington’s WorldCon), Brilliant Void showcases vintage imaginings–Irish science fiction from way back!

Brilliant void : a selection of classic Irish science fiction
“An astronomer challenges an emperor. A hunter pursues the last dinosaur. A young Kerryman emigrates to the Moon to seek his fortune. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the winds of change came rushing in Ireland’s direction. Science would transform everything: life, love, death, crime, war, and even history itself. Edited and introduced by Jack Fennell, this collection of lesser-known works of classic Irish science fiction includes stories by Frances Power Cobbe, Fitz-James O’Brien and Charlotte McManus.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The unlikely escape of Uriah Heep / Parry, H. G.
“For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob a young lawyer with an utterly normal life hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The redemption of time / Baoshu
“In the midst of an interstellar war, Yun Tianming found himself tortured beyond endurance for decades. Yun eventually succumbed to helping the aliens subjugate humanity in order to save Earth from complete destruction. Yun has spent his very long life in exile as a traitor to the human race. Nearing the end of his existence at last, a consciousness calling itself The Spirit has recruited him to wage battle against an entity that threatens the existence of the entire universe. But Yun refuses to be a pawn again.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The October man / Aaronovitch, Ben
“When a man is found dead with his body impossibly covered in a fungal rot, the local authorities know they are out of their depth. Trier: famous for wine, Romans and being Germany’s oldest city. But fortunately this is Germany, where there are procedures for everything. Enter Tobias Winter, an investigator for the Abteilung KDA, the branch of the German Federal Criminal Police which handles the supernatural.” (Adapted from catalogue)

The outside / Hoffmann, Ada (print, (eBook)
“Autistic scientist Yasira Shien has developed a radical new energy drive that could change the future of humanity. But when she activates it, reality warps, destroying the space station and everyone aboard. The AI Gods who rule the galaxy declare her work heretical, and Yasira is abducted by their agents. Instead of simply executing her, they offer mercy if she’ll help them hunt down a bigger target: her own mysterious, vanished mentor.” (Catalogue)

Longer / Blumlein, Michael (print), (eBook)
“Gunjita and Cav are in orbit. R&D scientists for pharmaceutical giant Gleem Galactic, they are wealthy enough to participate in rejuvenation: rebooting themselves from old age to jump their bodies back to their twenties. You get two chances. There can never be a third. After Gunjita has juved for the second and final time and Cav has not, questions of life, death and morality arise to test their relationship. Up among the stars, the research possibilities are infinite and first contact is possible, but their marriage may not survive the challenge.” (Catalogue)

The record keeper / Gomillion, Agnes
“After World War III, Earth is in ruins, the final armies have come to a reluctant truce. Everyone must obey the law or risk shattering the fragile peace. Although Arika Cobane is a member of the race whose backbreaking labor provides food for the remnants of humanity. After ten grueling years of training, she is on the threshold of taking her place of privilege far from the fields. But everything changes when a new student arrives.” (Adapted from catalogue)

If, then : a novel / Day, Kate Hope (print), (eBook)
“In the quiet mountain haven of Clearing, Oregon, four neighbors find their lives upended when they begin to see themselves in a parallel reality… At first the visions are relatively benign, but they grow increasingly troubling–and in some cases, frightening. Startling, deeply imagined, and compulsively readable, Kate Hope Day’s debut novel is about the choices we make that shape our lives and determine our destinies, the moments that alter us so profoundly that it feels as if we’ve entered another reality.” (Catalogue)

The iron dragon’s mother / Swanwick, Michael
“Caitlin of House Sans Merci is the young half-human pilot of a sentient mechanical dragon. Returning from her first soul-stealing raid, she discovers an unwanted hitchhiker. When Caitlin is framed for the murder of her brother, to save herself she must disappear into Industrialized Faerie, looking for the one person who can clear her. Unfortunately, the stakes are higher than she knows. Her deeds will change her world forever.” (Catalogue)

Our latest Science Fiction and Fantasy showcase of newly acquired books.

“Well, all information looks like noise until you break the code.”
– Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

With the 2019 Hugo award nominees recently announced and it now being just under a year until the Hugo awards ceremony here in Wellington at CoNZealand, it is great to see two newly acquired science fiction and fantasy books that have connections to the Hugos. The first is Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik which is on the 2019 Hugo long list. The second is Mercedes Lackey’s Eye Spy. Mercedes Lackey is one of the guests of honour at CoNZealand next year.

There were lots of other new titles that caught our attention including the continuing rise of the awesome Afro Futurism genre as represented in this month’s list by Tade Thompson’s The Rosewater Insurrection. There is also Neal Stephenson’s latest magnum opus Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, described by the New York Times no less as “a staggering work of imagination”. And as if that wasn’t enough two new books from acknowledged fantasy masters Stephen Donaldson and Tad Williams as well as a whole plethora of other science fiction and fantasy goodies to enjoy.

Overdrive cover Spinning Silver / Novik, Naomi (print) (eBook)
“Miryem was brought up in a snowbound village, on the edge of a charmed forest. She comes from a family of moneylenders, but her kind father shirks his work. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, his family faces poverty – until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what’s owed, and her neighbours soon whisper that she can turn silver into gold. Then an ill-advised boast attracts the cold creatures that haunt the wood. Nothing will be the same again, for words have power.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Eye spy / Lackey, Mercedes
“In this second installment of the Family Spies series, set in the bestselling world of Valdemar, the children of Heralds Mags and Amily must follow in their parents’ footsteps to protect the realm. When Abi senses the imminent collapse of a bridge only moments before it happens, she saves countless lives, including that of her best friend, Princess Katiana. The experience, though harrowing, uncovers her unique Gift–an ability to sense the physical strains in objects.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Rosewater insurrection / Thompson, Tade
“All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret. The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. But Aminat is stymied by the machinations of the Mayor of Rosewater and the emergence of an old enemy of Wormwood…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fall, or, Dodge in hell : a novel / Stephenson, Neal
Fall, or Dodge in Hell is pure, unadulterated fun: a grand drama of analog and digital, man and machine, angels and demons, gods and followers, the finite and the eternal. In this exhilarating epic, Neal Stephenson raises profound existential questions and touches on the revolutionary breakthroughs that are transforming our future. Combining the technological, philosophical, and spiritual in one grand myth, he delivers a mind-blowing speculative literary saga for the modern age.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The war within / Donaldson, Stephen R
“It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. But an ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Empire of grass / Williams, Tad
“The kingdoms of Osten Ard have been at peace for decades, but now, the threat of a new war grows to nightmarish proportions. Their allies in Hernystir have made a pact with the dreadful Queen of the Norns to allow her armies to cross into mortal lands. The ancient, powerful nation of Nabban is on the verge of bloody civil war, and the fierce nomads of the Thrithings grasslands have begun to mobilize, united by superstitious fervor and their age-old hatred of the city-dwellers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Exhalation / Stories / Chiang, Ted (print) (eBook)
“This much-anticipated second collection of stories is signature Ted Chiang, full of revelatory ideas and deeply sympathetic characters. In “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” a portal through time forces a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad to grapple with past mistakes and the temptation of second chances. In the epistolary “Exhalation,” an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with ramifications not just for his own people, but for all of reality.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Triumphant / Campbell, Jack (print) (eBook)
“The recently colonized world of Glenlyon has learned that they’re stronger when they stand with other star systems than they are on their own. But after helping their neighbor Kosatka against an invasion, Glenlyon has become a target. An attack is launched against Glenlyon’s orbital facility with forces too powerful for fleet officer Rob Geary to counter using their sole remaining destroyer, Saber. Mele Darcy’s Marines must repel repeated assaults while their hacker tries to get into the enemy systems to give Saber a fighting chance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Expanse: the best sci-fi around?!

Leviathan Wakes cover

Stars are better off without us.”
― James S.A. Corey, Leviathan Wakes

Written by James S. A. Corey (the pen name used by collaborators Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), the Expanse series has gained wide-ranging critical and popular success. The Expanse is set in the near future where humankind has colonized the solar system. One of the core themes is the vastness of the universe and the difficulties humans have in relating to its scale and alienness.

The eighth book in the series, Tiamat’s Wrath, was released last month, while the fourth series of the television adaptation is due to air later this year. With a total of four Hugo and three Saturn Award nominations between them, both the books and television series are definitely worth getting your teeth into. Enjoy!


Syndetics book coverLeviathan wakes / James S.A. Corey.
“Two hundred years after migrating into space, mankind is in turmoil. When a reluctant ship’s captain and washed-up detective find themselves involved in the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings our solar system to the brink of civil war, and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
For The Expanse Season One DVD availability click here.

Syndetics book coverCaliban’s war / James S.A. Corey.
“For someone who didn’t intend to wreck the solar system’s balance of power, Jim Holden did a pretty good job of it. While Earth and Mars have stopped shooting each other, the core alliance is shattered. Then, on one of Jupiter’s moons, a single super-soldier attacks, slaughtering soldiers indiscriminately. The race is on to discover whether this is the vanguard of an alien army, or if the danger lies closer to home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Also available as an eAudiobook. For The Expanse Season Two DVD availability click here.

Syndetics book coverAbaddon’s Gate / James S. A. Corey.
“For generations, the solar system was humanity’s great frontier. Until now. The alien artefact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has emerged to build a massive structure: a gate that leads into a starless dark. Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of ships going out to examine the artefact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding. The greatest danger is the one they brought with them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTiamat’s wrath / James S.A. Corey.
“Thirteen hundred gates have opened to solar systems around the galaxy. But as humanity builds its interstellar empire in the alien ruins, the mysteries and threats grow deeper. Elvi Okoye begins a desperate search to discover the nature of a genocide that happened before the first human beings existed, and to find weapons to fight a war against forces at the edge of the imaginable.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Sir Julius Vogel Awards Announced!

Aotearoa/New Zealand has a long history of publishing exciting science fiction and fantasy, from Anno Domini 2000, or, Woman’s Destiny by former Prime Minister Sir Julius Vogel to The Dreamhunter Duet by Elizabeth Knox to Ngā Waituhi o Rēhua by Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira.

Each year the best of this local sci-fi and fantasy is recognised at the Sir Julius Vogel Awards, with awards for novels, short stories, fan productions and more. This year the Vogels were announced at GeyserCon, the 40th National Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention in Rotorua. Congratulations to all the winners!

And next year things get even bigger. In 2020 the Vogels will be held as part of CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention–happening right here in Wellington. Guests include Mercedes Lackey, Larry Dixon, Greg Broadmore and toastmaster George R.R. Martin!

To get you started, we’ve got a list of past Vogel winners and finalists currently available in our collection. And for everyone who went to GeyserCon, we hope you had a great time!

Overdrive cover Fosterling, by Emma Neale (ebook)
“A young man is found unconscious in a remote forest. He is over seven feet tall, his skin covered in thick hair which reminds onlookers of an animal’s pelt. When he wakes in a city hospital, he is eerily uncommunicative. Speculation begins. Medics want to run tests on him, the media want to get his story, and the public want to gawp and prod. A moving, compelling story about society and our reactions to difference.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description)

Dreamer’s pool : a Blackthorn & Grim novel / Marillier, Juliet
“In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she’ll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help…” (Adapted from the catalogue)

The traitor and the thief / Ward, Gareth
“Discovered picking pockets at Coxford’s Corn Market, fourteen year old Sin is hunted across the city. Caught by the enigmatic Eldritch Moons, Sin is offered a way out of his life of crime: join the Covert Operations Group (COG) and train to become a spy. At Lenheim Palace, Sin learns spy craft while trying not to break the school’s Cast-Iron Rules. Secrets, spies and steampunk gadgets abound in this fantastic adventure story!” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Into the mist / Murray, Lee
“When New Zealand Defense Force Sergeant Taine McKenna and his squad are tasked with escorting a bunch of civilian contractors into Te Urewera National Park, it seems a strange job for the army. Taine draws on ancient tribal wisdom as he becomes desperate to bring his charges out alive. Will it be enough to stop the nightmare? And when the mist clears, will anyone be left?” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Onyx javelin / Wheeler, Steve
“Move over Star Wars! This is a superb space opera… humans and hybrids and strange new creatures fighting for survival on Earth and across the galaxies. There is life everywhere throughout the Milky Way Galaxy. It takes forms that will astonish and frighten, that will challenge and terrify as they exist within the greater fight of existence: eat or be eaten. But who is the enemy really?” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Heartwood / Robertson, Freya
“Chonrad, Lord of Barle, comes to the fortified temple of Heartwood for Congressus peace talks, which Heartwood’s holy knights have called in an attempt to stave off war in Anguis. But the Arbor, Hearthwood’s holy tree, is failing, and because the land and its people are one, it is imperative the nations try to make peace.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

When we wake / Healey, Karen
“In 2027, sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl–playing the guitar, falling in love, and protesting the wrongs of the world with her friends. But then Tegan dies, waking up 100 years in the future as the unknowing first government guinea pig to be cryogenically frozen and successfully revived. Appalling secrets about her new world come to light, and Tegan must choose to either keep her head down or fight for a better future.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Check out the shortlist for the 33rd Arthur C. Clarke award!

The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” – Arthur C. Clarke

The prestigious Arthur C. Clarke award shortlist has just been announced. The award aims to honour the best science fiction novel of the year – 124 books were submitted and six have make the shortlist. The judges have selected a fantastically varied list from Simon Stålenhag’s graphic novel The Electric State to Ahmed Saadawi’s politically nuanced Frankenstein in Baghdad, as well as novels in the cyberpunk and military space opera genre. The judges will have a really tough time deciding who the final winner will be!

The 2019 Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist:


Semiosis / Sue Burke.
“Colonists from Earth wanted the perfect home, but they’ll have to survive on the one they found. They don’t realize another life form watches…and waits… Only mutual communication can forge an alliance with the planet’s sentient species and prove that humans are more than tools.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Also available as an ebook.

Syndetics book coverThe electric state / Simon Stålenhag.
“In late 1997, a runaway teenager and her small yellow toy robot travel west through a strange American landscape where the ruins of gigantic battle drones litter the countryside, along with the discarded trash of a high-tech consumerist society addicted to a virtual-reality system. As they approach the edge of the continent, the world outside the car window seems to unravel at an ever faster pace, as if somewhere beyond the horizon, the hollow core of civilization has finally caved in.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFrankenstein in Baghdad : a novel / Ahmed Saadawi ; translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright.
“From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi — a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local café — collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial. But when the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of a horrendous-looking criminal who, though shot, cannot be killed. Hadi soon realizes he’s created a monster, one that needs human flesh to survive–first from the guilty, and then from anyone in its path.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Also available as an ebook.

Syndetics book coverRosewater / Tade Thompson.
“Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless – people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumored healing powers. Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn’t care to again — but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New forays into Science Fiction and Fantasy

A Cathedral of Myth and Bone book cover

Ready to explore new viewpoints, worlds and inventions of the imagination? Recent titles for Science fiction and Fantasy delve into long running series and uncover new writing territory.

Syndetics book coverBikes not rockets : intersectional feminist bicycle science fiction stories / edited by Elly Blue.
“As you ride down the intergalactic bike path, you come to a crossroads. Which path will you take? Your choice could determine your future, or the future of all humanity, forever. These twelve stories explore a variety of intersections set in distant, outlandish, or disturbingly realistic futures and dimensions–all involving bicycles and the breaking of gender stereotypes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow Long ’til Black Future Month?: Stories / N K Jemisin
“In these stories, Jemisin sharply examines modern society, infusing magic into the mundane, and drawing deft parallels in the fantasy realms of her imagination. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story The City Born Great, a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis’s soul.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTexas hold’em / edited by George R.R. Martin ; assisted by Melinda M. Snodgrass ; written by David Anthony Durham, Max Gladstone, Victor Milán, Diana Rowland, Walton Simons, Caroline Spector, William F. Wu.
“San Antonio, home of the Alamo, is also host to the nation’s top high school jazz competition, and the musicians at Xavier Desmond High are excited to outplay their rivals. They are also jokers, kids with strange abilities and even stranger looks. On top of that, well, they are teenagers, apt for mischief, mishaps, and romantic misunderstandings.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe lies of Locke Lamora : book one of the gentleman bastard sequence / Scott Lynch.
“They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he’s part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA cathedral of myth and bone / stories by Kat Howard.
“In these sixteen exquisite stories, Kat Howard deftly weaves in and out the countries of myth and hagiography to write the lives of women untold and unexplored.”  (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSplintered Suns (Humanity’s Fire, 5) / Michael Cobley
“For Pyke and his crew it should have been just another heist. Travel to a backwater desert planet, break into a museum, steal a tracking device then use it to find a ship buried in the planet’s vast and trackless sandy wastes. Except that the museum vault is a bio-engineered chamber, and the tracking device is sought after by another gang of treasure hunters led by an old adversary of Pyke’s, the devious Raven Kaligara.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe labyrinth index / Charles Stross.
“Since she was promoted to the head of the Lords Select Committee on Sanguinary Affairs, every workday for Mhari Murphy has been a nightmare. It doesn’t help that her boss, the new Prime Minister of Britain, is a manipulative and deceptive pain in the butt. Mhari’s most recent assignment takes her across the pond into the depths of North America. The United States president has gone missing.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 

New Science Fiction and Fantasy titles

The Blue Salt Road book cover

“Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Our final Science Fiction showcase of 2018 has titles in it that think the unthinkable, do the undoable, and grapples with the ineffable from Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch, to the future noir of Richard Morgan’s Thin Air. Terry Brooks science fiction outing, Street Freaks to Joanne M Harris’s The Blue Salt Road and the wonderful Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri. From tales legendary to those full of trickery and wisdom this selection ranges far in the geography of imagination. These new Science fiction and Fantasy titles hold something special for all tastes.


Syndetics book coverLies sleeping / Ben Aaronovitch.
“Martin Chorley, aka the Faceless Man, wanted for multiple counts of murder, fraud and crimes against humanity, has been unmasked and is on the run. Peter Grant, Detective Constable and apprentice wizard, now plays a key role in an unprecedented joint operation to bring Chorley to justice. But even as the unwieldly might of the Metropolitan Police bears down on its foe, Peter uncovers clues that Chorley, far from being finished, is executing the final stages of a long term plan. To save his beloved city, he might have to come to terms with the malevolent supernatural killer and agent of chaos known as Mr Punch.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStreet freaks / Terry Brooks.Street Freaks: Limited Edition
“Go into the Red Zone. Go to Street Freaks.” his father directs Ashton Collins before the vid feed goes suddenly silent. The Red Zone is the dangerous heart of mega-city Los Angeles; it is a world Ash is forbidden from and one he knows little about. As Ash is hunted, he must unravel the mystery left behind by his father and discover his role in this new world.
Brooks has long been the grandmaster of fantasy. Now he turns his hand to science fiction filled with what his readers love best: complex characters, extraordinary settings, exciting action, and a page-turning story. Through it, Brooks reimagines his bestselling career yet again.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe blue salt road / Joanne M. Harris ; illustrated by Bonnie Hawkins.
“The Blue Salt Road balances passion and loss, love and violence and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless, wild young man. Passion drew him to a new world, and trickery has kept him there – without his memories, separated from his own people. But as he finds his way in this dangerous new way of life, so he learns that his notions of home, and your people, might not be as fixed as he believed.
Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHannah Green and her unfeasibly mundane existence / Michael Marshall Smith.
“An unpredictable, poignant, and captivating tale for readers of all ages, by the critically acclaimed author of Only Forward. There are a million stories in the world. Most are perfectly ordinary. This one… isn’t. Hannah Green actually thinks her story is more mundane than most. But she’s about to discover that the shadows in her life have been hiding a world where nothing is as it seems: that there’s an ancient and secret machine that converts evil deeds into energy, that some mushrooms can talk and that her grandfather has been friends with the Devil for over a hundred and fifty years, and now they need her help.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFire & blood / George R. R. Martin ; illustrations by Doug Wheatley.
“Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire & Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.
With all the scope and grandeur of Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Fire & Blood is the the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens, giving readers a whole new appreciation for the dynamic, often bloody, and always fascinating history of Westeros.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThin air / Richard Morgan.
“An ex-corporate enforcer, Hakan Veil, is forced to bodyguard Madison Madekwe, part of a colonial audit team investigating a disappeared lottery winner on Mars. When Madekwe is abducted, and Hakan nearly killed, the investigation takes him farther than he had ever expected. Soon Hakan discovers the heavy price he may have to pay to learn the truth.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmpire of sand / Tasha Suri.
“The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited. When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda. Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance.” (Syndetics summary)

Recommended Science Fiction show case books for October

The Poppy War book cover

“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.” -Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing.

This month’s science fiction showcased books have a wide appeal and feature many of the tropes and genres of the sci-fi world. From Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Moon to Ilona Andrew’s Magic Triumphs, from Raymond E Feist’s King of Ashes to Ben Bova’s Power Failure, there is a whole universe of book choices to enjoy.

Syndetics book coverPower failure / Ben Bova.
“Dr. Jake Ross came to Washington to try to make a difference, but he’s learned the only way to get something done in Washington, assuming your ideals survive the corrosive atmosphere, is to gather power. Ross has gathered a great deal, riding in the wake of Frank Tomlinson. But now Tomlinson has decided to shoot for the moon. If they win, they get it all. If they lose, the game is over for Jake Ross. In the Power trilogy, Bova’s vision of a future powered by solar satellite transmission is tantalizingly within reach.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Magic triumphs / Andrews, Ilona
Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be. Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Barren / Brett, Peter V
“A new Demon Cycle novella from internationally bestselling author Peter V. Brett After The Great Bazaar and Brayan’s Gold and Messenger’s Legacy comes Barren, an enchanting new novella set in the much-loved world of the Demon Cycle series.” (Catalogue)

Chasing shadows : visions of our coming transparent world
“David Brin, Hugo award-winning author of The Uplift War, presents Chasing Shadows, a collection of short stories and essays by other science fiction luminaries. As we debate Internet privacy, revenge porn, the NSA, and Edward Snowden, cameras get smaller, faster, and more numerous. Has Orwell’s Big Brother finally come to pass? Or have we become a global society of thousands of Little Brothers – watching, judging, and reporting on one another? Partnering with the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, and inspired by Brin’s nonfiction book The Transparent Society, noted author and futurist David Brin and scholar Stephen Potts have compiled essays and short stories from writers such as Robert J. Sawyer, James Morrow, William Gibson, Damon Knight, Jack McDevitt, and many others to examine the benefits and pitfalls of technologic transparency in all its permutations.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

King of ashes / Feist, Raymond E.
“For centuries, the five greatest kingdoms of North and South Tembria, twin continents on the world of Garn, have coexisted in peace. But the balance of power is destroyed when four of the kingdoms violate an ancient covenant and betray the fifth: Ithrace, the Kingdom of Flames, ruled by Steveren Langene, known as ‘the Firemane’ for his brilliant red hair. As war engulfs the world, Ithrace is destroyed and the Greater Realms of Tembria are thrust into a dangerous struggle for supremacy.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverShiang / C. F. Iggulden.
In Shiang, the young king rules without dissent. Mazer swordsmen stand watch on every corner, looking for the first sign of rebellion. This city is a place of quiet and slow dignity, like a man eating rice with a razor pressed against his throat. Yet with one sharp movement, order is overturned. The balance of centuries is undone in the sudden spill of blood – and in the darkness, something terrible returns to Shiang.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe poppy war / R.F. Kuang.
“When Rin aced the Keju – the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies – it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising. But surprises aren’t always good.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRed moon / Kim Stanley Robinson.
“It is thirty years from now, and we have colonized the moon.
American Fred Fredericks is making his first trip, his purpose to install a communications system for China’s Lunar Science Foundation. But hours after his arrival he witnesses a murder and is forced into hiding. It is also the first visit for celebrity travel reporter Ta Shu. He has contacts and influence, but he too will find that the moon can be a perilous place for any traveler.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUncompromising Honor / David Weber.
“The Solarian League’s navy counts its superdreadnoughts by the thousands. Not even its own government knows how enormous its economy truly is. And for hundreds of years, the League has borne the banner of human civilization, been the ideal to which humanity aspires in its diaspora across the galaxy. But the bureaucrats known as the Mandarins who rule today’s League, are not the men and women who founded it so long ago. They are corrupt, venal, accountable to no one… and they’ve decided the upstart Star Kingdom of Manticore must be destroyed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Ember Blade : book one of the Darkwater legacy / Chris Wooding.
“Empires rise, civilisations fall and one culture comes to subsume another. It’s the way of the world… sometimes ways of life are improved, sometimes they are not. But the progression of change is huge and – usually – unstoppable. In this story, the Ossian way of life is fading and the Dachen way is taking its place and Aren is comfortable with that. Even when his parents are accused of treason he supports the establishment and maintains there’s been some mistake… which is all it takes to get himself and his best friend arrested.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Top picks from new Science Fiction arrivals

A Big Ship... book cover

The wild and wonderful world of science fiction writing is well represented in this month’s latest acquisitions. From Dan Abnett’s The Founding, to Mercedes Lackey’s A Scandal in Battersea there’s a lot to be enjoyed in this month’s latest batch of books. Take yourself into this wondrous cosmic universe of words!

Syndetics book coverThe founding / Dan Abnett.
“In the Chaos-infested Sabbat System, the massed ranks of the Astra Militarum – more commonly known as the Imperial Guard – stand shoulder to shoulder as they counter an invasion by heretical forces. Amongst the defenders of the Imperium are the troops of the Tanith First-and-Only, a displaced regiment forced to flee their home planet before it succumbed to the unrelenting assault of Chaos. Nicknamed ‘the Ghosts’, their specialist scouting role sees them thrown into the thickest of the fighting. Led by Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt, they must evade the treacherous scheming of rival regiments and the lethal firepower of the enemy if they are to have any hope of achieving victory over the forces of Chaos.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe book of hidden things / Francesco Dimitri.
“Four old school friends have a pact: to meet up every year in the small town in Puglia they grew up in. Art, the charismatic leader of the group and creator of the pact, insists that the agreement must remain unshakable and enduring. But this year, he never shows up. A visit to his house increases the friends’ worry; Art is farming marijuana. In Southern Italy doing that kind of thing can be very dangerous. They can’t go to the Carabinieri so must make enquiries of their own. This is how they come across the rumours about Art; bizarre and unbelievable rumours that he miraculously cured the local mafia boss’s daughter of terminal leukaemia. And among the chaos of his house, they find a document written by Art, The Book of Hidden Things, that promises to reveal dark secrets and wonders beyond anything previously known.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Quanderhorn xperimentations / Rob Grant & Andrew Marshall.
“England, 1952. A time of peace, regeneration and hope. A Golden Age. Unfortunately, it’s been 1952 for the past 65 years.
Meet Professor Quanderhorn: a brilliant, maverick scientific genius with absolutely no moral compass. Assisted by a rag-tag crew – his part-insect “son” (reputedly ‘a major breakthrough in Artificial Stupidity’), a recovering amnesiac, a brilliant scientist with a half-clockwork brain, and a captured Martian hostage – he’ll save the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA scandal in Battersea / Mercedes Lackey.
“In this Victorian historical fantasy novel, a member of the famed Bloomsbury writers’ group attempts to conjure a doppelganger-an Earth Elemental Golem-to do his writing for him while he enjoys the London social scene. When a shadow image of himself knocks on his door some nights after his invocation, he lets it into the house thinking that his ritual has been a success, not realizing that the Golem is actually inhabited by the ghost of a murderous fiend-part Jack the Ripper and part Mr. Hyde.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOutcasts of order / L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
“Beltur, an Order mage, discovers he possesses frightening powers not seen for hundreds of years. With his new abilities, he survives the war in Elparta and saves the lives of all. However, victory comes with a price. His fellow mages now see him as a threat to be destroyed, and the local merchants want to exploit his power.
There’s only one way he can remain free and survive–he’s going to have to run.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSummerland / Hannu Rajaniemi.
“How do you catch a spy who’s already dead?
In 1938, death is no longer feared but exploited. Since the discovery of the afterlife, the British Empire has extended its reach into Summerland, a metropolis for the recently deceased. But Britain isn’t the only contender for power in this life and the next. The Soviets have spies in Summerland, and the technology to build their own god.
When SIS agent Rachel White gets a lead on one of the Soviet moles, blowing the whistle puts her hard-earned career at risk. The spy has friends in high places, and she will have to go rogue to bring him in.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAfterwar / Lilith Saintcrow.
“America has been devastated by a second civil war. The people have spent years divided, fighting their fellow patriots. Now, as the regime crumbles and the bloody conflict draws to a close, the work of rebuilding begins. One lonely crew, bonded under fire in the darkest days of battle, must complete one last mission: to secure a war criminal whose secrets could destroy the fragile peace that has just begun to form.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA big ship at the edge of the universe / Alex White.
Firefly meets The Fast and the Furious Furious in this science fiction adventure series that follows a crew of outcasts as they try to find a legendary ship that just might be the key to saving the universe.
A washed-up treasure hunter, a hotshot racer, and a deadly secret society. They’re all on a race against time to hunt down the greatest warship ever built. Some think the ship is lost forever, some think it’s been destroyed, and some think it’s only a legend, but one thing’s for certain: whoever finds it will hold the fate of the universe in their hands. And treasure that valuable can never stay hidden for long…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New sci fi and fantasy selections

Space Opera book cover

Newly acquired science fiction titles provide a rich cornucopia of titles and authors from established award winning favourites like Stephen R. Lawhead, Joanne Harris and Catherynne M. Valente, to critically acclaimed works like Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation (reissued to tie in with the recent movie). The icing on top of the cake for many will be the welcome rerelease of George R R Martin’s Nightflyers, again to tie in with a major new television series. So much to enjoy, so little time!

The testament of Loki / Harris, Joanne
“In this follow-up to The Gospel of Loki from protean Chocolat author Harris, Ragnarok, the anticipated end of the world, has come and gone. Loki finds himself stuck in the mind of a teenage girl whose friends have been preempted by other Norse gods, with Odin plotting to bring back Norse power. But will Loki cooperate? In the sequel to The Gospel of Loki, Loki’s adventures continue when he finds a way out of the end of the world and plans to restart the power of the Norse gods.” (Catalogue)

Space opera / Valente, Catherynne M.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets the joy and glamour of Eurovision in bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente’s science fiction spectacle, where sentient races compete for glory in a galactic musical contest…and the stakes are as high as the fate of planet Earth. A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented–something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding.” (Catalogue)

Nightflyers / Martin, George R. R
“Featuring fifteen original full-color illustrations, this is the definitive edition of an electrifying tale that combines the deep-space thrills of Alien, the psychological horror of The Shining, and, of course, the inimitable vision of George R. R. Martin.
When a scientific expedition is launched to study a mysterious alien race, the only ship available is the Nightflyer, a fully autonomous vessel manned by a single human. But Captain Royd Eris remains locked away, interacting with his passengers only as a disembodied voice–or a projected hologram no more substantial than a ghost.” (Catalogue)

The hills have spies / Lackey, Mercedes
“In this new series, set in the bestselling world of Valdemar, Heralds Mags and Amily must continue to protect the realm of Valdemar while raising their children and preparing them to follow in their footsteps. Mags, Herald Spy of Valdemar, and his wife Amily are happily married with three kids. The oldest, Justyn, has the Gift of animal Mindspeech–he can talk to animals and persuade them to act as he wishes. Justyn’s dream is to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Herald Spy, but has yet to be Chosen by his horse companion.” (Catalogue)

Annihilation / VanderMeer, Jeff
“The Southern Reach Trilogy begins with this Nebula Award-winning novel that “reads as if Verne or Wellsian adventurers exploring a mysterious island had warped through into a Kafkaesque nightmare world” (Kim Stanley Robinson). Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.” (Catalogue)

By fire above / Bennis, Robyn
By Fire Above is the rip-roaring new adventure in Robyn Bennis’s Signal Airship military fantasy series.  “All’s fair in love and war,” according to airship captain Josette Dupre, until her hometown of Durum becomes occupied by the enemy and her mother a prisoner of war. Then it becomes, “Nothing’s fair except bombing those Vins to high hell.” Before she can rescue her town, however, Josette must maneuver her way through the nest of overstuffed vipers that make up Garnia’s military and royal leaders in order to drum up support. The foppish and mostly tolerated Mistral crew member Lord Bernat steps in to advise her, along with his very attractive older brother. Between noble scheming, under-trained recruits, and supply shortages, Josette and the crew of the Mistral figure out a way to return to Durum–only to discover that when the homefront turns into the frontlines, things are more dangerous than they seem.” (Catalogue)

The queens of Innis Lear / Gratton, Tessa
“Tessa Gratton’s debut epic adult fantasy, The Queens of Innis Lear, brings to life a world that hums with ancient magic, and characters as ruthless as the tides. The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.” (Catalogue)

Wrath of empire / McClellan, Brian
“The country is in turmoil. With the capital city occupied, half a million refugees are on the march, looking for safety on the frontier, accompanied by Lady Flint’s soldiers. But escaping war is never easy, and soon the battle may find them, whether they are prepared or not.” (Catalogue)

Artificial condition / Wells, Martha
“It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself Murderbot. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more. Teaming up with a research transport vessal named ART (you don’t want to know what the A stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue. What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…” (Catalogue)

New sci fi and fantasy selections

The Wolf

This month’s featured science fiction and fantasy novels are selected from our wide range of new acquisitions, and include a series conclusion from Elizabeth May and a future cop mystery from award-winning author John Scalzi. There are also several novels that weave into their plots such themes as mining, alternative medieval Britain and bleak dystopian cities. All will ensure fascinating, thrilling reading.

Syndetics book coverHead on / John Scalzi.
“John Scalzi returns with Head On, the standalone follow-up to the critically acclaimed Lock In. Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent’s head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are “threeps,” robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden’s Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it. Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field. Is it an accident or murder? FBI agents and Haden-related crime investigators, Chris Shane and Leslie Vann, are called in to uncover the truth–and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fallen kingdom / Elizabeth May.
My name is Lady Aileana Kameron. First the fae murdered my mother. Then they destroyed my world. Then one of them killed me. Now I’m fighting for more than revenge.
The long-awaited final book in the Falconer trilogy is an imaginative tour-de-force that will thrill fans of the series. Aileana Kameron, resurrected by ancient fae magic, returns to the world she once knew with no memory of her past and with dangerous powers she struggles to control. Desperate to break the curse that pits two factions of the fae against, her only hope is hidden in an ancient book guarded by the legendary Morrigan, a faery of immense power and cruelty.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEarthcore / Scott Sigler.
“Deep below a desolate Utah mountain lies the largest platinum deposit ever discovered. A billion-dollar find, it waits for any company that can drill a world’s record, three-mile-deep mine shaft. EarthCore is the company with the technology, the resources and the guts to go after the mother lode. Young executive Connell Kirkland is the company’s driving force, pushing himself and those around him to uncover the massive treasure. But at three miles below the surface, where the rocks are so hot they burn bare skin, something has been waiting for centuries. Waiting … and guarding. Kirkland and EarthCore are about to find out firsthand why this treasure has never been unearthed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wolf / Leo Carlew.
“Carlew’s debut novel presents an alternate medieval Britain in which the isle of Albion is shared by human Saxons and two races of giants: the incredibly long-lived Anakim and the larger and rarer Unhieru. The uneasy peace between the southern Saxon kingdom and the Black Kingdom of the Anakim is broken as the Sutherners invade, scoring an unexpected victory and killing the current Black Lord. The novel follows both the Anakim heir, Roper, as he attempts to defend the kingdom from invasion while dealing with rivals for the throne, and the leader of the southern invasion, Bellamus, a commoner attempting to not only destroy the Anakim but also secure his own advancement.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlackfish City / Sam J. Miller.
“After the climate wars, a floating city was constructed in the Arctic Circle. Once a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, it has started to crumble under the weight of its own decay – crime and corruption have set in, a terrible new disease is coursing untreated through the population, and the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside deepest poverty are spawning unrest. Into this turmoil comes a strange new visitor – a woman accompanied by an orca and a chained polar bear. She disappears into the crowds looking for someone she lost thirty years ago, followed by whispers of a vanished people who could bond with animals. Her arrival draws together four people and sparks a chain of events that will lead to unprecedented acts of resistance.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBefore Mars : a Planetfall novel / Emma Newman.
“After months of travel, Anna Kubrin finally arrives on Mars for her new job as a geologist and de facto artist-in-residence. Already she feels like she is losing the connection with her husband and baby at home on Earth–and she’ll be on Mars for over a year. Throwing herself into her work, she tries her best to fit in with the team. But in her new room on the base, Anna finds a mysterious note written in her own handwriting, warning her not to trust the colony psychologist. A note she can’t remember writing. Anna begins to suspect that her assignment isn’t as simple as she was led to believe. Is she caught up in an elaborate corporate conspiracy, or is she actually losing her mind?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe hyena and the hawk / Adrian Tchaikovsky.
“From the depths of myth an ancient enemy has returned: the Plague People, whose very presence obliterates whole villages; whose terror destroys minds. In their wake, nothing is left of the people, not their places, not their ways. On the plains, the warriors and the wise of all tribes gather to confront the aggressor. Loud Thunder leads his great war-host south, even as Tecumet and Asman head north with the Sun River army. With Maniye Many Tracks, they plan to forge a new unity between the tribes such as the world has never seen. But will it be enough to stave off an oblivion that might devour even their gods?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAscendant / Jack Campbell.
“In the three years since former fleet officer Rob Geary and former Marine Mele Darcy led improvised forces to repel attacks on the newly settled world of Glenlyon, tensions have only gotten worse. When one of Glenlyon’s warships is blown apart trying to break the blockade that has isolated the world from the rest of human-colonized space, only the destroyer Saber remains to defend it from another attack. Geary’s decision to take Saber to the nearby star Kosatka to safeguard a diplomatic mission is a risky interpretation of his orders, to say the least. When a “peacekeeping force” carrying thousands of enemy soldiers arrives in Kosatka’s star system, the people of that world face an apparently hopeless battle to retain their freedom. It’s said that the best defense is a good offense. But even if a bold and risky move succeeds, Geary and Darcy may not survive it…” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOne way / S. J. Morden.
“Andy Weir’s The Martian meets Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None in this edge-of-your-seat science fiction thriller about one man’s fight for survival on a planet where everyone’s a killer. Frank Kittridge is serving life for murdering his son’s drug dealer, so when he’s offered a deal by Xenosystems Operations – the corporation that owns the prison – he takes it. He’s been selected to help build the first permanent base on Mars. Unfortunately, his crewmates are just as guilty of their crimes as he is. As the convicts set to work on the frozen wastes of Mars, the accidents multiply.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOversleeper [paperback]
“What do you do when you wake up one morning and find that everything you know has changed? On Monday morning Ignatius Inuus finds himself on the run in a New York he barely recognises. Helped by a mysterious young woman, he starts to learn about the new regime. And, the brutal society – in which people survive at the expense of their humanity – seems to be more nightmare than dream. In his quest to force change, he discovers that when you possess the power of life or death over people, choosing life is not as simple as it seems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New science fiction novels

The Tangled Lands

All aspects of science fiction and fantasy — dystopian fiction, space warfare, aliens, magic, planetary missions, and much more — are represented each month in our selections from the new novels added to Wellington City Libraries collection. Readers of this genre are always guaranteed hours of escapist pleasure.

Syndetics book coverThe fallen kingdom / Elizabeth May.
My name is Lady Aileana Kameron. First the fae murdered my mother. Then they destroyed my world. Then one of them killed me. Now I’m fighting for more than revenge.
The long-awaited final book in the Falconer trilogy is an imaginative tour-de-force that will thrill fans of the series. Packed with immersive detail, action, romance, and fae lore, The Fallen Kingdom brings the Falconer’s story to an epic and unforgettable conclusion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe tangled lands / Paolo Bacigalupi & Tobias Buckell.
“Khaim, The Blue City, is the last remaining city in a crumbled empire that overly relied upon magic until it became toxic. It is run by a tyrant known as The Jolly Mayor and his devious right hand, the last archmage in the world. Together they try to collect all the magic for themselves so they can control the citizens of the city. But when their decadence reaches new heights and begins to destroy the environment, the people stage an uprising to stop them. In four interrelated parts, The Tangled Lands is an evocative and epic story of resistance and heroic sacrifice in the twisted remains surrounding the last great city of Khaim.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe bitter twins / Jen Williams.
“The Ninth Rain has fallen. The Jure’lia are awake. Nothing can be the same again. Tormalin the Oathless and the fell-witch Noon have their work cut out rallying the first war-beasts to be born in Ebora for three centuries. But these are not the great winged warriors of old. Hatched too soon and with no memory of their past incarnations, these onetime defenders of Sarn can barely stop bickering, let alone face an ancient enemy who grow stronger each day.The key to uniting them, according to the scholar Vintage, may lie in a part of Sarn no one really believes exists. But finding it will mean a perilous journey in a time of war, while new monsters lie in wait for those left behind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe long sunset / Jack McDevitt.
“From Nebula Award winner Jack McDevitt comes the eighth installment in the popular The Academy series. Despite taking part in the recent scientific breakthrough that rejuvenates the human body and expands one’s lifespan, Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins finds herself as a famous interstellar pilot with little to do, until a message from an alien race arrives. The message is a piece of music from an unexplored area. Despite the fact that this alien race could pose a great danger and that this message could have taken several thousand years to travel, the program prepares the last interstellar ship for the journey. As the paranoia grows, Hutch and her crew make an early escape–but what they find at the other end of the galaxy is completely unexpected.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTwice bitten : an Argeneau novel / Lynsay Sands.
“For someone who’s been around for over a hundred and forty years, immortal Elspeth Argeneau hasn’t done a whole lot of living. Now that she’s moved away from her controlling mother, she’s tracking down rogue vampires and enjoying some overdue freedom. A fling would be fun. A life mate can wait. Yet to Elspeth’s surprise, her landlady’s hot grandson checks both boxes. Wyatt fell instantly in love with Elspeth four years ago. He’s stunned to run into her again, especially as she has no memory of him. With mysterious “accidents” besieging Elspeth, the ex-Special Forces soldier appoints himself her bodyguard. But time is running out to uncover the truth about her enemies–and rediscover the man determined to love her for eternity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

This month, try a techno thriller! New sci-fi and fantasy

Image from Syndetics

The selection of recently received new titles in our science fiction and fantasy collection always illustrates the wonderful diversification of themes and plots of this genre. This month there are novels about immortality, espionage, political intrigue, time travel, utopias and several techno thrillers.

Syndetics book coverImmortal life : a soon to be true story / Stanley Bing.
“Immortal Life, a fantasy, an impossible dream, for now, maybe. The moguls of Big Tech are pouring their mountain of wealth into finding a cure for death. None of these titans is richer than Arthur Vogel. This inventor, tech tycoon, and all-round monster has amassed trillions and rules over a corporate empire stretching all the way to Mars. The newest, and most expensive, life extension technology has allowed him to live to 127 years, but time is running out. His last hope to escape the inevitable lies with Gene, a human being specifically created for the purpose of housing Arthur’s consciousness. The plan is to discard his used-up old carcass and come to a second life in a young, strong body with all appropriate working parts. But there’s a problem: Gene. He may be artificial, but he is a person. And he has other ideas.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Erstwhile / Brian Catlin.
“The Vorrh is a vast unmapped and very mysterious jungle in Africa. No-one comes out of it in one piece. Survivors report strange, mind-bending phenomena and horrific monsters. It is rumored that the Garden of Eden still exists somewhere in the middle of it. In The Erstwhile it transpires that some angels have escaped Eden and the Vorrh and are living in hiding in London, some in disguise as lunatics in Bedlam. Good and evil angels and humansare heading towards a final, Miltonic apocalyptic battle for the soul of humanity. The Erstwhile is the second book in the Vorrh trilogy.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrosstown : a novel / by Loren W. Cooper.
“Zethus is a sorcerer, a self-described spiritual thug for hire. He makes his living in CrossTown, a place where the many world hypotheses of modern physics manifests itself, where possibilities and probabilities overlap. Caught up in a web of intrigue as he investigates the death of his master, Corvinus, and pursued by agents that want to erase all knowledge of Corvinus’s work, Zethus discovers that the key to his master’s murder lies in the last project he had pursued before his death. The roots of this project lie deep in the past, at the origin of CrossTown’s fractured reality. Once he understands the stakes, Zethus must make the dangerous journey to the cradle of history. The price he must pay to find the answers he seeks will threaten everything he holds dear, including his own humanity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover1637 : the Volga rules / Eric Flint, Paula Goodlett, Gorg Huff.
“It’s been five years since a cosmic incident known as The Ring of Fire transported the modern day town of Grantville, West Virginia, through time and space to 17th century Europe. The course of world history has been forever altered, and Russia is no exception. Inspired by the American up-timers’ radical notion that all people are created equal, Russian serfs are rebelling. The entire village of Poltz, led by blacksmith Stefan Andreevich, pulls up stakes to make a run for freedom. The Czar Mikhail has escaped house arrest and makes his way to the village of Ufa. There he intends to set up a government-in-exile. It is to Ufa that the serfs of Poltz are heading, as well. The path is dangerous, for the serfs as well as the czar as they face great distances and highwaymen. But the worst threat comes from the aristocracy who seek to crush the serfs and execute the czar in a bid to drive any hope for Russian freedom.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTime shards / Dana Fredsti, David Fitzgerald.
“Our world is gone, instantly replaced by a new one made of scattered remnants of the past, present, and future, dropped alongside one another in a patchwork of “shards”. Monsters from Jurassic prehistory, ancient armies, and high-tech robots all coexist in this deadly post-apocalyptic landscape. A desperate group of survivors sets out to locate the source of the disaster. They include 21st century Californian Amber Richardson, Cam, a young Celtic warrior from Roman Britannia, Alex Brice, a policewoman from 1985, and Blake, a British soldier from World War II. With other refugees from across time, they must learn the truth behind the Event, if they are to survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe forgotten beasts of Eld / Patricia A. McKillip.
“Young Sybel, the heiress of powerful wizards, needs the company of no-one outside her gates. In her exquisite stone mansion, she is attended by exotic, magical beasts: Riddle-master Cyrin the boar; the treasure-starved dragon Gyld; Gules the Lyon, tawny master of the Southern Deserts; Ter, the fiercely vengeful falcon; Moriah, feline Lady of the Night. Sybel only lacks the exquisite and mysterious Liralen, which continues to elude her most powerful enchantments. But when a soldier bearing an infant arrives, Sybel discovers that the world of man and magic is full of both love and deceit, and the possibility of more power than she can possibly imagine.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe will to battle / by Ada Palmer.
“This is the third book of 2017 John W. Campbell Award winner Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota. The long years of near-utopia have come to an abrupt end. Peace and order are now figments of the past. Corruption, deception, and insurgency hum within the once steadfast leadership of the Hives, nations without fixed location. The heartbreaking truth is that for decades, even centuries, the leaders of the great Hives bought the world’s stability with a trickle of secret murders, mathematically planned, so that no faction could ever dominate and that the balance held. The Hives’ façade of solidity is the only hope they have for maintaining a semblance of order, for preventing the public from succumbing to the savagery and bloodlust of wars past. But as the great secret becomes more and more widely known, that facade is slipping away. Just days earlier, the world was a pinnacle of human civilization. Now everyone, Hives and hiveless, Utopians and sensayers, Emperors and the downtrodden, warriors and saints, scrambles to prepare for the seemingly inevitable war.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverElysium fire : a Prefect Dreyfus Emergency / Alastair Reynolds.
“One citizen died a fortnight ago, two a week ago, four died yesterday and unless the cause can be found and stopped within the next four months, everyone will be dead. For the Prefects, the hunt for a silent, hidden killer is on.The technological implants which connect every citizen to each other have become murder weapons, and no one knows who or what the killer is, or who the next targets will be. But their reach is spreading, and time is not on the Prefects’ side.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDark state / Charles Stross.
“In the near-future, the collision of two nuclear superpowers across timelines, one in the midst of a technological revolution and the other a hyper-police state, is imminent. In Commissioner Miriam Burgeson’s timeline, her top level agents run a high risk extraction of a major political player. Meanwhile, a sleeper cell activated in Rita’s, the Commissioner’s adopted daughter and newly-minted spy, timeline threatens to unravel everything.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSweet dreams / Tricia Sullivan.
“Charlie is a dreamhacker, able to enter your dreams and mold their direction. As far as she knows, she’s the only person who can do this. Unfortunately, her power comes with one drawback; Charlie also has narcolepsy, and may fall asleep at the most inopportune moment. But in London 2022, her skill is in demand. When she is hired by a minor celebrity who dreams of a masked Creeper then sleepwalks off a tall building, Charlie begins to realise that someone else might be able to invade dreams.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Otherworldly new sci-fi and fantasy

In this selection of new science fiction and fantasy novel there are several novels that continue series, which will please many readers. Stephen R. Donaldson begins a promising new series titled Great Gods War, with the first novel titled Seventh decimate. Highly recommended is Rivers Solomon’s amazing debut novel titled An unkindness of ghosts.

Syndetics book coverThe bronze skies / by Catherine Asaro.
“Major Bhaajan achieved the impossible. Born to the Undercity, the slums below the City of Cries on the planet Raylicon, she broke free from crushing poverty and crime to become a military officer with Imperial Space Command. Now retired from military duty, she walks the mean streets of Undercity as a private investigator. And she is about to embark on her most challenging case yet. Summoned by no less than the Ruby Pharaoh herself, Major Bhaajan is tasked with finding a killer. But this is no ordinary murderer. The Ruby Pharaoh witnessed a Jagernaut cut down Assembly Councilor Tap Benton, which shouldn’t have been possible. The Jagernauts are the elite of the elite soldiers in the Imperial Space Command. What’s more, the spinal node implanted in all Jagernauts should have prevented the murder. But the Ruby Pharaoh is sure of what she saw, and she has reason to believe that the Jagernaut will kill again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSurvival / Ben Bova.
“Book 4 of The Star Quest series. In Survival , a human team sent to scout a few hundred lightyears in front of the death wave encounters a civilization far in advance of our own, a civilization of machine intelligences. These sentient, intelligent machines have existed for eons, and have survived earlier “death waves,” gamma ray bursts from the core of the galaxy. They are totally self-sufficient, completely certain that the death wave cannot harm them, and utterly uninterested in helping to save other civilizations, organic or machine. But the humans have discovered them; they refuse to allow them to leave their planet, reasoning that other humans will inevitably follow if they learn of their existence.” (Adapted from Syndteics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmergence : a Foreigner novel / C.J. Cherryh.
“The nineteenth book in the Foreigner space opera series and the sequel to Convergence. Bren Cameron, acting as the representative of the atevi’s political leader, Tabini-aiji, as well as translator between humans and atevi, has undertaken a mission to the human enclave of Mospheira. Both his presence on the island and his absence from the continent have stirred old enemies to realize new opportunities. The space station on which the world increasingly relies is desperate to get more supplies up to orbit and to get a critical oversupply of human refugees down to the world below. Rationing is in force on the station, but the overpopulation problem has to be solved quickly and Bren’s mission on Mospheira has expanded to include preparation for that landing.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSeventh decimate / Stephen R. Donaldson.
“Fire. Wind, pestilence, earthquake, drought and lightning, these are the six Decimates, wielded by sorcerers for both good and evil. But a seventh Decimate exists, the most devastating one of all. For centuries, the realms of Belleger and Amika have been at war, with sorcerers from both sides harnessing the Decimates to rain blood and pain upon their enemy. But somehow, in some way, the Amikans have discovered and invoked a seventh Decimate, one that strips all lesser sorcery of its power, and now the Bellegerins stand defenseless. Prince Bifalt, eldest son of the Bellegerin King, would like to see the world wiped free of sorcerers. But it is he who is charged with finding the repository of all of their knowledge, to locate the book of the seventh Decimate and reverse the fate of his land.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBayou born / Hailey Edwards.
“Deep in the humid Mississippi bayou, a half-wild child is dragged from the murky waters. She has no memories, no family and is covered in mysterious markings. Adopted by the policeman who rescued her, Luce Boudreau follows him onto the force, determined to prove herself in the eyes of those who are still suspicious. However, there’s more of a battle ahead than Luce could possibly imagine. She may be an orphan without a past, but no one, including Luce herself could ever be prepared for the truth of her dark, powerful destiny.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAll those explosions were someone else’s fault / James Alan Gardner.
“Monsters are real, but so are heroes.Sparks are champions of weird science, boasting capes and costumes and amazing super-powers that only make sense if you don’t think about them too hard, they fight an eternal battle for truth and justice, mostly. Darklings are creatures of myth and magic: ghosts, vampires, were-beasts, and the like. Their very presence warps reality, doors creak at their approach and cobwebs gather where they linger. Kim Lam is an ordinary college student until a freak scientific accident transforms Kim and three housemates into Sparks and drafts them into the never-ending war between the Light and Dark. They struggle to master their new abilities and to design cool costumes and come up with great hero-names.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA war in crimson embers / Alex Marshall.
“The Crimson Empire trilogy concludes in this epic story of redemption. Zosia, the once-heroic warrior, now lives as an outcast, her former comrades-in-arms spread out around the world, and the world itself on the verge of destruction. But Zosia isn’t prepared to simply watch the world die. She has one last battle in her, but she can’t do it alone; she needs to rebuild her army and regain her sense of purpose.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe castle in Cassiopeia / by Mike Resnick.
“Book 3 in the Dead Enders series. Pretorius and his Dead Enders kidnapped the real General Michkag and substituted a clone who had been raised and trained in the Democracy. They find that the clone likes being the most powerful man in the hundred-world Traanskei Coalititon and having been raised on Earth, he knows how humans think and react. This becomes a many-layered problem for Pretorius and what is left of his Dead Enders. As the only humans on a totally militarized alien world, they must first find where the best-guarded member of the enemy’s military, Michkag, is hiding and how many aliens, or regiments, or divisions, are guarding him, and then they must find a way past all his lines of defense to kill or capture him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlood and tempest / Jon Skovron.
“This the third book and conclusion in the Empire of Storms series. Still reeling from the events at Dawn’s Light, Hope struggles to understand what it means to be a warrior who has vowed to never again take up a sword. Red is enjoying his new role as imperial spy, perhaps a bit too much. But his loyalties will be tested when his employer, Lady Hempist, relents and assigns him the one task he’s been begging for all along: recruiting Hope and Brigga Lin to help rid the empire of biomancery once and for all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn unkindness of ghosts / Rivers Solomon.
“Eccentric Aster was born into slavery on, and is trying to escape from, -a brutally segregated spaceship that for generations has been trying to escort the last humans from a dying planet to a Promised Land. When she discovers clues about the circumstances of her mother’s death, she also comes closer to disturbing truths about the ship and its journey. Aster lives in the lowdeck slums of the HSSMatilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer, Aster learns there may be a way to improve her lot, -if she’s willing to sow the seeds of civil war.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Dystopia! Aliens! Space! New sci-fi and fantasy novels

The latest science fiction and fantasy novels selected from the new material this month, include several that are dystopian themed, along with alien encounters and space warfare. Also several novels weave into their plots the present problems of global warming, war criminals, animal rights, and epidemics. All ensure fascinating, thrilling reading.

Syndetics book coverValiant dust / Richard Baker.
“Sikander Singh North has always had it easy, until he joins the crew of the Aquilan Commonwealth starship CSS Hector. As the ship’s new gunnery officer and the only Kashmiri officer, he must constantly prove himself better than his Aquilan crewmates, even if he has to use his fists. When the Hector is called to help with a planetary uprising, he’ll have to earn his unit’s respect, find who’s arming the rebels, and deal with the headstrong daughter of the colonial ruler, all while dodging bullets. Sikander’s military career is off to an explosive start but only if he and CSS Hector can survive his first mission.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe city of brass / S. A. Chakraborty.
“Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trades she uses to get by, palm readings, zars, and a mysterious gift for healing, are all tricks. But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to reconsider her beliefs. Dara tells Nahri an extraordinary tale about Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. In Daevabad, within gilded brass walls laced with enchantments and behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments run deep. When Nahri decides to enter this world, her arrival threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe spark / David Drake.
“In the time of the Ancients the universe was united,but that was so far in the past that not even memory remains, only the broken artifacts that a few Makers can reshape into their original uses. What survives is shattered into enclaves, some tiny, some ruined, some wild. Into the gaps between settlements have crept monsters. Some creatures are men, twisted into inhuman evil; some of them are alien to Mankind. There are things which are hostile to all life, things which will raven and kill until they are stopped. A Leader has arisen, welding the scattered human settlements together in peace and safety and smashing the enemies of order with an iron fist. In his capital, Dun Add, the Leader provides law and justice. In the universe beyond, his Champions advance and enforce the return of civilization. Pal, a youth from the sticks, has come to Dun Add to become a Champion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGnomon / Nick Harkaway.Gnomon
“In a near-future Britain, a distributed surveillance-democracy called The System knows everything you, and can even spy on your mind. It’s a Panopticon country. But when state investigators then look into the head of a refusenik novelist named Diana Hunter, what they find there is not her life story but that of four other people, spread across thousands of years, all vibrantly real and each utterly impossible and before they can unravel that puzzle, Diana Hunter, shockingly, dies as a result of the investigation, an unheard of result in a perfect system which protects everyone from harm. That’s where Inspector Mielikki Neith comes in, a staunch believer in The System who is assigned to investigate the Hunter case. The only problem is that the teasing mysteries in the dead woman’s mind may change all that.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTerminal alliance / Jim C. Hines.Terminal Alliance
“The Krakau came to Earth to invite humanity into a growing alliance of sentient species. However, they happened to arrive after a mutated plague wiped out half the planet, turned the rest into shambling, near-unstoppable animals, and basically destroyed human civilization. The Krakau’s first impulse was to turn around and go home. (After all, it’s hard to have diplomatic relations with mindless savages who eat your diplomats.) Their second impulse was to try to fix us. Now, a century later, human beings might not be what they once were, but at least they’re no longer trying to eat everyone.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeacon 23 / Hugh Howey.
“For centuries, men and women have manned lighthouses to ensure the safe passage of ships. It is a lonely job and a thankless one for the most part, until something goes wrong, until a ship is in distress. In the 23rd century, this job has moved into outer space. A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at many times the speed of light. These beacons are built to be robust. They never break down. They never fail. At least, they aren’t supposed to.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNetherspace / Andrew Lane and Nigel Foster.
“Aliens came to Earth forty years ago. Their anatomy proved unfathomable and all attempts at communication failed. But through trade, humanity gained technology that allowed them to colonise the stars. The price: live humans for every alien faster-than-light drive. Kara’s sister was one of hundreds exchanged for this technology, and Kara has little love for aliens. So when she is drafted by GalDiv, the organisation that oversees alien trades, it is under duress. A group of colonists have been kidnapped by aliens and taken to an uncharted planet, and an unusual team is to be sent to negotiate. As an ex-army sniper, Kara’s role is clear. But artist Marc has no combat experience, although the team’s pre-cog Tse is adamant that he has a part to play. All three know that success is unlikely. For how will they negotiate with aliens when communication between the species is impossible?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAustral / Paul J. McAuley.
“The great geoengineering projects have failed. The world is still warming, sea levels are still rising, and the Antarctic Peninsula is home to Earth’s newest nation, with life quickened by ecopoets spreading across valleys and fjords exposed by the retreat of the ice. Austral Morales Ferrado, a child of the last generation of ecopoets, is a husky: an edited person adapted to the unforgiving climate of the far south, feared and despised by most of its population. She’s been a convict, a corrections officer in a labour camp, and consort to a criminal, and now, out of desperation, she has committed the kidnapping of the century. But before she can collect the ransom and make a new life elsewhere, she must find a place of safety amongst the peninsula’s forests and icy plateaus, and evade a criminal gang that has its own plans for the teenage girl she’s taken hostage.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDogs of war / Adrian Tchaikovsky.
My name is Rex. I am a good dog. Rex is also seven foot tall at the shoulder, bulletproof, bristling with heavy calibre weaponry and his voice resonates with subsonics especially designed to instil fear. Rex is a genetically engineered Bioform, a deadly weapon in a dirty war. He has the intelligence to carry out his orders and feedback implants to reward him when he does. All he wants to be is a Good Dog. And to do that he must do exactly what Master says and Master says he’s got to kill a lot of enemies. But who, exactly, are the enemies? What happens when Master is tried as a war criminal? What rights does the Geneva Convention grant weapons? Do Rex and his fellow Bioforms even have a right to exist? And what happens when Rex slips his leash?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe genius plague / by David Walton.
“Neil Johns has just started his dream job as a code breaker in the NSA when his brother, Paul, a mycologist, goes missing on a trip to collect samples in the Amazon jungle. Paul returns with a gap in his memory and a fungal infection that almost kills him. But once he recuperates, he has enhanced communication, memory, and pattern recognition. Meanwhile, something is happening in South America; others, like Paul, have also fallen ill and recovered with abilities they didn’t have before. But that’s not the only pattern, the survivors, from entire remote Brazilian tribes to American tourists; all seem to be working toward a common, and deadly, goal.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Out of this world new sci-fi and fantasy novels

This month the selection from the new material received in this genre covers a broad range of themes.
From conspiracies to cybernetics, robots to vampires, humour to horror, and survival to dystopia, plus many more, all provide some brilliant out of this world reading.

Syndetics book coverMageborn / Stephen Aryan.
“It’s been ten years since the battlemage war, where thousands died as mages sundered the earth and split the sky. Habreel believes eradicating magic is the only way to ensure a lasting peace. He will do anything to achieve his goal, even if it means murdering every child born with the ability. As deaths involving magic increase and the seat of magical learning, the Red Tower, falls under suspicion, two students and one lawbringer must do everything they can to combat Habreel and his followers, before magic disappears from the world for good.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe island will sink / Briohny Doyle.
“The energy crisis has come and gone. Cities have been rethought and redesigned, and Ecolaw(TM) is enforced by insidious cartoon Pandas and their armies of viral-marketing children. Max Galleon is a filmmaker of immersive cinema, a father to two children distressed by the world around, a distant husband, a brother to a comatose mystery man, and falling rapidly in love with a doctor who is not what she seems” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIt devours! : a welcome to Night Vale novel / Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor.
“Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider to the town of Night Vale. Working for Carlos, the town’s top scientist, she relies on fact and logic as her guiding principles. But all of that is put into question when Carlos gives her a special assignment investigating a mysterious rumbling in the desert wasteland outside of town. This investigation leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, one of its most committed members. Caught between her beliefs in the ultimate power of science and her growing attraction to Darryl, she begins to suspect the Congregation is planning a ritual that could threaten the lives of everyone in town.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fifth doll / Charlie N. Holmberg.
“Matrona lives in an isolated village, where her life is centered on pleasing her parents. She’s diligent in her chores and has agreed to marry a man of their choosing. But a visit to Slava, the local tradesman, threatens to upend her entire life. Entering his empty house, Matrona discovers a strange collection of painted nesting dolls, one for every villager. Fascinated, she can’t resist the urge to open the doll with her father’s face. But when her father begins acting strangely, she realizes Slava’s dolls are much more than they seem. When he learns what she’s done, Slava seizes the opportunity to give Matrona stewardship over the dolls, whether she wants it or not. Forced to open one of her own dolls every three days, she falls deeper into the grim power of Slava’s creations. But nothing can prepare her for the profound secret hiding inside the fifth doll.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fall of the House of Cabal / Jonathan L. Howard.
“Johannes Cabal, a necromancer of some little infamy, has come into possession of a vital clue that may lead him to his ultimate goal: a cure for death. The path is vague, however, and certainly treacherous as it takes him into strange territories that no one has ever seen before. The task is too dangerous to venture upon alone, so he must seek assistance, comrades for the coming travails. So assisted, ably and otherwise, by his vampiric brother, Horst, and by the kindly accompaniment of a criminologist and a devil, he will encounter ruins and diableries, mystery and murder, the depths of the lowest pit and a city of horrors, London, to be exact. As the snare closes slowly and subtly around them, it may be that there will be no survivors at all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe salt line / Holly Goddard Jones.
“In an unspecified future, the United States’ borders have receded behind a salt line, a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what’s left of nature. Once out of zone, this group finds itself at the mercy of deadly ticks and at the centre of a murderous plot. How far are they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAutonomous / Annalee Newitz.
“Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can’t otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane.Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack’s drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understands. And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe real-town murders / Adam Roberts.
“Alma is a private detective in a near-future England, a country desperately trying to tempt people away from the delights of Shine, the immersive successor to the internet. But most people are happy to spend their lives plugged in, and the country is decaying. Alma’s partner is ill, and has to be treated without fail every 4 hours, a task that only Alma can do. If she misses the 5 minute window her lover will die. She is one of the few not to access the Shine.So when Alma is called to an automated car factory to be shown an impossible death and finds herself caught up in a political coup, she knows that getting too deep may leave her unable to get home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe uploaded / Ferrett Steinmetz.
“In the near future, the elderly have moved online and their consciousness’s now live within the computer network. But that doesn’t stop them interfering in the lives of the living, whose sole real purpose now is to maintain the vast servers which support the new digital version of Heaven. For one young orphan that just isn’t enough, he wants more for himself and his sister than a miserable life slaving away for the dead. It turns out that he’s not the only one who wants to reset the world.” (Adapted from Syndetic summary)

Syndetics book coverArtemis : a novel / Andy Weir.Artemis
“Jasmine Bashara never signed up to be a hero. She just wanted to get rich. Not crazy, eccentric-billionaire rich, like many of the visitors to her hometown of Artemis, humanity’s first and only lunar colony, just rich enough to pay off a debt she’s owed for a long time. So when a chance at a huge score finally comes her way, Jazz can’t say no. Sure, it requires her to graduate from small-time smuggler to full-on criminal mastermind. And it calls for a particular combination of cunning, technical skills, and large explosions, not to mention sheer brazen swagger. But Jazz has never run into a challenge her intellect can’t handle, and she figures she’s got the ‘swagger’ part down. The trouble is, engineering the perfect crime is just the start of Jazz’s problems, because her little heist is about to land her in the middle of a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)