Welcome to the third post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2014. Today I bring you both my science fiction and my horror picks. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!
Eric Brown – Jani and the Greater Game (Solaris Books)
It’s 1910 and the British rule the subcontinent with an iron fist – and with strange technology fueled by a power source known as Annapurnite – discovered in the foothills of Mount Annapurna. But they rule at the constant cost of their enemies, mainly the Russian and the Chinese, attempting to learn the secret of this technology… This political confrontation is known as The Greater Game.
Into this conflict is pitched eighteen year old Janisha Chaterjee who discovers a strange device which leads her into the foothills of the Himalayas. When Russians spies and the evil priest Durja Das find out about the device, the chase is on to apprehend Janisha before she can reach the Himalayas. There she will learn the secret behind Annapurnite, and what she learns will change the destiny of the world for ever.
Jani and The Greater Game is the first book in a rip-roaring, spice-laden, steampunk action adventure series set in an exotic India and featuring a feisty heroine who subverts all the norms.
Alexander Maskill – The Hive Construct (Transworld Books)
Situated deep in the Sahara Desert, New Cairo is a city built on technology – from the huge, life-giving solar panels that keep it functioning in a radically changed, resource-scarce world to the artificial implants that have become the answer to all and any of mankind’s medical problems. But it is also a divided city, dominated by a handful of omnipotent corporate dynasties.
And it’s when a powerful new computer virus begins to spread through the poorest districts, shutting down the life-giving implants that enable so many to survive, that the city begins to slide into the anarchy of violent class struggle. Hiding out amidst the ruins and underground resistance is Zala Ulora, a gifted hacker and fugitive from justice. She believes she might be able to earn her life back by tracing the virus to its source and destroying it before it destroys the city . . . or the city destroys itself.
With its vivid characters, bold ideas and explosive and thrilling action, The Hive is science-fiction at its most exciting, inventive and accessible.
Mark Charan Newton – The Reef (Jurassic London)
First published in 2008, The Reef is a tale of Weird pulp adventure, packed with mad science, swashbuckling heroes and monsters on an epic scale. Clever, exciting and ambitious, The Reef is the debut novel of one of fantasy fiction’s most intriguing contemporary writers.
Fans of Mr. Newton’s Legends of the Red Sun or his new Drakenfeld series will recognise his ability both to blur genre boundaries and to infuse a story with a social and environmental conscience.
Jared Shurin ed. – Irregularity (Jurassic London)
Irregularity is about the tension between order and chaos in the 17th and 18th centuries. Men and women from all walks of life dedicated themselves to questioning, investigating, classifying and ordering the natural world. They promoted scientific thought, skepticism and intellectual rigour in the face of superstition, intolerance and abuses of power. These thinkers dedicated themselves and their lives to the idea that the world followed rules that human endeavour could uncover… but what if they were wrong?
Irregularity is about the attempts to impose man’s order on nature’s chaos, the efforts both successful and unsuccessful to better know the world.
Charless Stross – The Rhesus Chart (Ace)
Employees of a merchant bank in London are showing strange signs of infection–unusual symptoms like super speed and strength, mind control, an extreme allergy to sunlight, and an unquenchable thirst for blood. As Howard’s department at the Laundry idles away, watching Bufy reeruns and debating how to stop the rash of vampirism, he uncovers a bloodcurdling conspiracy between men and monsters…
Kim Lakin-Smith – Tourniquet (Jurassic London)
Kim Lakin-Smith’s debut novel, Tourniquet was first published in 2008 by Immanion Press and praised by reviewers as “ambitious”, “thought-provoking” and “dazzling”. In Tourniquet, the city of Nottingham has been rebuilt according to the utopian vision of Roses, the lead singer of a legendary rock band.
For years the city has been a haven for outcasts and exiles, all drawn by the charismatic musician. But now, disaster has struck – Roses is dead and it is left to Druid, Roses’ reclusive drummer, to investigate his murder. As he strikes out into the city, Druid discovers that “Renegade City” might not be the gothic paradise that he believed…
If you could see your future with someone . . . would you?
Meet Evelyn and Godfrey. Evelyn is breaking up with her boyfriend, Adrian, as she’s seen their dismal future together at Dr Chin’s office: the life they may have when they are both many years older, singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to a chihuahua and arguing about cheese. She hopes for more.
Meanwhile, Godfrey is proposing to his girlfriend, Madge – who’s not quite willing to take that leap. She wants to see their future together first . . . just to be sure they’re meant for one another.
Then, one day, Evelyn and Godfrey meet – and from that moment their lives become entwined.
Sparkling, warm and witty, The Future for Curious People is a love story for anyone who’s ever wondered if they’re with The One, or The One Before Last.
This novel combines the writing talents of twenty-seven-year-old newcomer Gregory Sherl, based on an original idea by award-winning author Julianna Baggott.
The phone call.
A single word.
It is 2015 and Patricia Cowan is very old. ‘Confused today’ read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War – those things are solid in her memory. Then that phone call and…her memory splits in two.
She was Trish, a housewife and mother of four.
She was Pat, a successful travel writer and mother of three.
She remembers living her life as both women, so very clearly. Which memory is real – or are both just tricks of time and light?
My Real Children is the story of both of Patricia Cowan’s lives – each with its loves and losses, sorrows and triumphs, its possible consequences. It is a novel about how every life means the entire world.
Meet Hwa. One of the few in her community to forego bio-engineered enhancements, she’s the last truly organic person left on the rig. But she’s an expert in the arts of self-defence, and she’s been charged with training the Family’s youngest, who has been receiving death threats – seemingly from another timeline.
Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city’s stability – serial killer? Or something much, much worse..?
Ian Whates (ed) – Solaris Rising 3 (Solaris Books)
Following the exceptionally well received Solaris Rising 1, 1.5 (e-only) and 2, series editor Ian Whates brings even more best-selling and cutting-edge SF authors together for the latest extrordinary volume of new original ground-breaking stories.
These stories are guaranteed to surprise,thrill and delight, and continue our mission to demonstrate why science-fiction remains the most exciting, varied and inspiring of all fiction genres. In Solaris Rising 1 and 2 we showed both the quality and variety that modern science fiction can produce. In Solaris Rising 3, we’ll be taking SF into the outer reaches of the universe. Aliette de Bodard, Tony Ballantyne and Sean Williams are just three of the exciting names to appear.
Rajan Khanna – Falling Sky (Pyr)
Ben Gold lives in dangerous times. Two generations ago, a virulent disease turned the population of most of North America into little more than beasts called Ferals. Some of those who survived took to the air, scratching out a living on airships and dirigibles soaring over the dangerous ground.
Ben has his own airship, a family heirloom, and has signed up to help a group of scientists looking for a cure. But that’s not as easy as it sounds, especially with a power-hungry air city looking to raid any nearby settlements. To make matters worse, his airship, the only home he’s ever known, is stolen. Ben must try to survive on the ground while trying to get his ship back.
This brings him to Gastown, a city in the air recently conquered by belligerent and expansionist pirates. When events turn deadly, Ben must decide what really matters-whether to risk it all on a desperate chance for a better future or to truly remain on his own.
Breq – the soldier who used to be a spaceship – is serving the emperor she swore to destroy. She’s been given her own warship, her own crew and ordered to the only place in the galaxy she would have agreed to go: to Athoek Station, to protect the family of the lieutenant she murdered in cold blood.
Athoek was annexed by the Empire some six hundred years ago, and by now everyone is fully ‘civilised’. Or should be – but everything is not as tranquil as it appears. Old divisions are still troublesome, Athoek Station’s AI is restless and it looks like the alien Presger might have taken an interest in what’s going on. With no guarantees that their interest is benevolent.
Liu Cixin – The Three-Body Problem (Tor)
With the scope of Dune and the commercial action of Independence Day, Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multple-award-winning phenemonenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.
Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.
A dozen established and up-and-coming authors invite you to view Doyle’s greatest creation through a decidedly cracked lens.
Read about Holmes and Watson through time and space, as they tackle a witch-trial in seventeenth-century Scotland, bandy words with Andy Warhol in 1970s New York, travel the Wild Frontier in the Old West, solve future crimes in a world of robots and even cross paths with a young Elvis Presley…
Mike Shepherd – Kris Longknife: Tenacious (Ace)
There’s no rest for a Longknife—even if you’re a newlywed. Vice Admiral Kris Longknife’s honeymoon gets cancelled when she hears that the space raider’s home world may have been discovered. Finding where the raiders came from could be the key to saving humanity. If only uncovering their secrets was that easy…
As Kris returns home, she ends up tangling with a mutinous crew determined to take off on their own. The dissident group leads Kris straight into a new mess—a system filled with strange, deadly enemies poised to wipe another sentient civilization out of existence. Kris and her squadron are ready to prevent total annihilation, but the mutineers have other plans…
William Gibson – The Peripheral (Viking)
Some time around the year 2020, in a trailer park in the Deep South, a young woman witnesses a murder. She is in a video game, and watches with horror as a drone strike kills a child.
At precisely the same moment, one hundred years in the future, a boy is remotely killed on the streets of London’s great skyscrapers. The perpetrator remains anonymous.
Interweaving two strange futures, from a ramshackle community of US army verterans, to the teeming masses of a mega city, The Peripheral tells the story of a brave new world of drones, outsourcing and kleptocracy, and of a crime that can only be solved across time.
Global unrest spreads as mass protests advance throughout the US and China, Nexus-upgraded riot police battle against upgraded protestors, and a once-dead scientist plans to take over the planet’s electronic systems. The world has never experienced turmoil of this type, on this scale.
Humanity is dying. Long live the Apex.
Christopher Fowler – Nychtophobia (Solaris Books)
There are two things you need to know about haunted houses. One, there’s never been an actual authenticated haunted house. Two, it’s not the house that’s haunted, but the person.
Callie is a young architectural student who marries Mateo, a wine importer, and moves to a grand old house in Southern Spain. Hyperion House is flooded with light, it also has a mute gardener, a sinister housekeeper and a sealed, dark servants’ quarters that nobody has the keys for. And although initially happy, and taking care of Mateo’s daughter, Callie can’t help being drawn to the dark empty rooms at the back of the house, and becomes convinced that someone is living in there. Uncovering the house’s history, she discovers the shocking truth.
As Callie’s fear of the darkness returns, she comes to understand the true nature of evil…
So begins the latest thriller by horror master Dave Zeltserman. The setting is quiet Newton, MA, where nothing ever happens. Nothing, that is, until two months after Henry Dudlow’s 13th birthday, when his neighbor, Mr. Hanley, suddenly starts to look . . . different. While everyone else sees a balding man with a beer belly, Henry suddenly sees a nasty, bilious, rage-filled demon.
Once Henry catches onto the real Mr. Hanley, he starts to see demons all around him, and his boring, adolescent life is transformed. There’s no more time for friends or sports or the lovely Sally Freeman—Henry must work his way through ancient texts and hunt down the demons before they kill any more innocent children. And if hunting demons is hard at any age, it’s borderline impossible when your parents are on your case, and your grades are getting worse, and you can’t tell anyone about your mission.
A very scary thriller written with verve and flashes of great humor, The Boy Who Killed Demons is Dave Zeltserman’s most accomplished and entertaining horror novel yet.
Stephen Gregory – Wakening the Crow (Solaris Books)
Oliver Gooch comes across a tooth, in a velvet box, with a handwritten note from 1888 to say it’s a tooth from the boy Edgar Allen Poe. He displays it in his new bookshop, and names the store Poe’s Tooth Books.
Oliver took the money from his small daughter Chloe’s accident insurance and brought a converted church to live in with his altered child and wife. Rosie hopes Chloe will come back to herself but Oliver is secretly relieved to have this new easy-to-manage child, and holds at bay the guilt that the accident was a result of his negligence. On a freezing night he and Chloe come across the crow, a raggedy skeletal wretch of a bird, and it refuses to leave. It infiltrates their lives, it alters Oliver’s relationship with Rosie, it changes Chloe. It’s a dangerous presence in the firelit, shadowy old vestry, in Poe’s Tooth Books.
Inexorably the family, the tooth, the crow, the church and their story will draw to a terrifying climax.