The third of my Anticipated Books (Summer/Fall) 2012 is all about the Science Fiction. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. The other posts will follow tomorrow and next Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with the Anticipated Reads post up on the Sunday.
Adam Roberts – Jack Glass (Gollancz)
Jack Glass is the murderer. We know this from the start. Yet as this extraordinary novel tells the story of three murders committed by Glass the reader will be surprised to find out that it was Glass who was the killer and how he did it. And by the end of the book our sympathies for the killer are fully engaged.
Riffing on the tropes of crime fiction (the country house murder, the locked room mystery) and imbued with the feel of golden age SF, JACK GLASS is another bravura performance from Roberts. Whatever games he plays with the genre, whatever questions he asks of the reader, Roberts never loses sight of the need to entertain. JACK GLASS has some wonderfully gruesome moments, is built around three gripping HowDunnits and comes with liberal doses of sly humour.
Roberts invites us to have fun and tricks us into thinking about both crime and SF via a beautifully structured novel set in a society whose depiction challanges notions of crime, punishment, power and freedom. It is an extraordinary novel.
Katy Stauber – Spin the Sky (Night Shade Books)
HOME IS WHERE THE HERD IS . . . .
Fifteen years after winning the Spacer War, Cesar Vaquero has returned to Ithaca, a rugged orbital colony that boasts the only herd of cattle in space, and a wife and a son who don’t even recognize him when he shows up at their doorstep. Posing as a homeless drifter, he soon discovers that making his way home past space pirates, one-eyed giants, and mad scientists was the easy part . . . .
Penelope swore off men after her husband disappeared. She’s been busy enough running the ranch, raising her son, and fending off pushy suitors eager to get their hands on her and her herd. But something about this war-weary drifter stirs forgotten feelings in her, even as sabotage, rustlers, and a space stampede threaten to tear Ithaca apart!
Spin the Sky is an rollicking, high-spirited riff on a certain classic odyssey–featuring characters as big and full of surprises as Space itself!
Charles Stross – The Apocalypse Codex (Orbit)
Bob Howard used to fix computers for the Laundry – the branch of the British Secret Service that deals with otherworldly threats – but those days are over. He’s not only been promoted to active service but actually survived missions against cultists, enemy spies and tentacled horrors from other dimensions. Willingly or not, he’s on his way up in this dangerous organisation. When a televangelist with connections to 10 Downing Street seems able to work miracles, the Laundry takes an interest. But an agency that answers to the Prime Minister can’t spy on him themselves, and Bob’s shadowy superiors come up with a compromise – they hire ‘freelancers’, with Bob in charge. British citizens who discover the occult are either forcibly recruited by the Laundry or disposed of, and Bob’s never heard of freelancers before. Officially they don’t exist. Anyone who’s big and bad enough to remain independent is going to be hard to handle, and Bob’s not too sure that the one-week ‘people management’ course he was sent on in Milton Keynes is going to be enough …
Madeline Ashby – vN (Angry Robot)
Amy Peterson is a von Neumann machine, a self-replicating humanoid robot.
For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother’s past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, little Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive.
Now she carries her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive, and she’s learning impossible things about her clade’s history – like the fact that the failsafe that stops all robots from harming humans has failed… Which means that everyone wants a piece of her, some to use her as a weapon, others to destroy her.
Peter F. Hamilton – Great North Road (Tor UK)
St Libra is paradise for Earth’s mega-rich. Until the killing begins.
In Newcastle-upon-Tyne, AD 2142, Detective Sidney Hurst attends a brutal murder scene. The victim is one of the wealthy North family clones – but none have been reported missing. And the crime’s most disturbing aspect is how the victim was killed. Twenty years ago, a North clone billionaire and his household were horrifically murdered in exactly the same manner, on the tropical planet of St Libra. But if the murderer is still at large, was Angela Tramelo wrongly convicted? Tough and confident, she never waivered under interrogation – claiming she alone survived an alien attack. But there is no animal life on St Libra.
Investigating this alien threat becomes the Human Defence Agency’s top priority. The bio-fuel flowing from St Libra is the lifeblood of Earth’s economy and must be secured. So a vast expedition is mounted via the Newcastle gateway, and teams of engineers, support personnel and xenobiologists are dispatched to the planet. Along with their technical advisor, grudgingly released from prison, Angela Tramelo. But the expedition is cut off, deep within St Libra’s rainforests. Then the murders begin. Someone or something is picking off the team one by one. Angela insists it’s the alien, but her new colleagues aren’t so sure. Maybe she did see an alien, or maybe she has other reasons for being on St Libra …
Mike Shepherd – Kris Longknife: Furious (Ace)
Having used unorthodox methods to save a world—and every sentient being on it—Lieutenant Commander Kris Longknife is wanted for crimes against humanity across the galaxy. For her own safety, she’s been assigned to a backwater planet where her (First) Fast Patrol Squadron 127 enforces immigration control and smuggler interdiction.
But Kris is a Longknife and nothing can stop her from getting back to the center of things( — not when all hell is breaking loose). Now, she’s on the run, hunted by both military and civilian authorities—and since the civilian authorities happen to be her immediate family, Kris soon finds herself homeless, broke, and on trial for her life on an alien world…(provisionary back cover quote from author’s blog)
Jared Shurin & Anne C. Perry Eds. – A Town Called Pandemonium (Pandemonium Fiction)
Pandemonium sits four days’ ride from the Texas border. Many call it Hell, but some call it home: the ambitious, the desperate, the foolish and the mad.
A Town Called Pandemonium gets science fiction writers to put down their ray guns and pick up their six-shooters for a collection of shared world fiction set in the Wild West.