Welcome to the third post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2015. 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!
Brett Battles – Rewinder (47North)
You will never read Denny Younger’s name in any history book, but the world as you know it wouldn’t be the same without him. Denny was born into one of the lowest rungs of society, but his bleak fortunes changed the day the mysterious Upjohn Institute recruited him. The role: “verifier of personal histories.” The job title: Rewinder. After accepting the offer, Denny discovers he’ll have to do his research in person…by traveling through time.
Using a device capable of opening a portal into any era from the past, Denny is sent back to serve as an eyewitness to significant moments in human history. But as he journeys across the centuries, he begins to suspect that his missions to “observe and report” have a much darker purpose. When a time jump drops Denny into the midst of a rebellion, he finds himself in over his head in a deadly game where even the smallest choices can have catastrophic consequences.
Armed only with his wits and his time-travel device, Denny’s adventures take readers on a pulse-pounding journey of page-turning twists. But will everything he’s got be enough?
Rob Boffard – Tracer (Orbit)
A huge space station orbits the Earth, holding the last of humanity. It’s broken, rusted, falling apart. We’ve wrecked our planet, and now we have to live with the consequences: a new home that’s dirty, overcrowded and inescapable.
What’s more, there’s a madman hiding on the station. He’s about to unleash chaos. And when he does, there’ll be nowhere left to run.
In space, every second counts. Who said nobody could hear you scream?
Wesley Chu – Time Salvager (Angry Robot Books)
In a future when Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humanity has spread into the outer solar system to survive, the tightly controlled use of time travel holds the key to maintaining a fragile existence among the other planets and their moons. James Griffin-Mars is a chronman–a convicted criminal recruited for his unique psychological makeup to undertake the most dangerous job there is: missions into Earth’s past to recover resources and treasure without altering the timeline. Most chronmen never reach old age, and James is reaching his breaking point.
On his final mission, James meets scientist Elise Kim, who is fated to die during the destruction of an oceanic rig. Against his training and common sense, James brings her back to the future with him, saving her life, but turning them both into fugitives. Remaining free means losing themselves in the wild and poisonous wastes of Earth, and discovering what hope may yet remain for humanity’s home world.
Ernest Cline – Armada (Century)
Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.
But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.
And then he sees the flying saucer.
Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.
No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.
It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?
At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.
Austin Grossman – Crooked (Mulholland Books)
This is the story of the great con game that was the late twentieth century, of American history’s worst presidency, of how I learned to lie. It is not history as you know it. There are at least three sides to this story, and I’m telling both of mine.
I promise you I will show the same contempt for the historical record that it has shown for me.
My name is Richard Milhous Nixon. I swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, and I have seen the devil walk.
An alternate history, a horror novel, a political satire and a study of what people will sacrifice to succeed, CROOKED is the ultimate inside story of the strange, all-too-human monsters at the heart of American power.
Jean Johnson – The Terrans (Ace)
Jean Johnson’s first novel in an explosive new science fiction trilogy set in the world of the national bestselling Theirs Not to Reason Why series—set two-hundred years earlier, at the dawn of the First Salik War…
Born into a political family and gifted with psychic abilities, Jacaranda MacKenzie has served as a border-watcher and even spent time as a representative on the United Planets Council. Now she just wants to spend her days in peace and quiet as a translator—but the universe has other plans…
Humans have long known that they would encounter more alien species, and while those with precognitive abilities agree a terrible war is coming, they do not agree on who will save humanity—a psychic soldier or a politician.
But Jackie is both.
After she is pressured into rejoining the Space Force to forestall the impending calamity, Jackie makes an unsettling discovery. Their new enemy, the Salik, seem to be rather familiar with fighting Humans—as if their war against humanity had already begun…
Alex Lamb – Roboteer (Gollancz)
The starship Ariel is on a mission of the utmost secrecy, upon which the fate of thousands of lives depend. Though the ship is a mile long, its six crew are crammed into a space barely large enough for them to stand. Five are officers, geniuses in their field. The other is Will Kuno-Monet, the man responsible for single-handedly running a ship comprised of the most dangerous and delicate technology that mankind has ever devised. He is the Roboteer.
Roboteer is a hard-SF novel set in a future in which the colonization of the stars has turned out to be anything but easy, and civilization on Earth has collapsed under the pressure of relentless mutual terrorism. Small human settlements cling to barely habitable planets. Without support from a home-world they have had to develop ways of life heavily dependent on robotics and genetic engineering. Then out of the ruins of Earth’s once great empire, a new force arises – a world-spanning religion bent on the conversion of all mankind to its creed. It sends fleets of starships to reclaim the colonies. But the colonies don’t want to be reclaimed. Mankind’s first interstellar war begins. It is dirty, dangerous and hideously costly.
Will is a man bred to interface with the robots that his home-world Galatea desperately needs to survive. He finds himself sent behind enemy lines to discover the secret of their newest weapon. What he discovers will transform their understanding of both science and civilization forever… but at a cost.
Cixin Liu – The Dark Forest (Tor Books)
This near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple-award-winning phenomenon from Cixin Liu, China’s most beloved science fiction author. In Dark Forest, Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion-in just four centuries’ time. The aliens’ human collaborators may have been defeated, but the presence of the sophons, the subatomic particles that allow Trisolaris instant access to all human information, means that Earth’s defense plans are totally exposed to the enemy. Only the human mind remains a secret. This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a daring plan that grants four men enormous resources to design secret strategies, hidden through deceit and misdirection from Earth and Trisolaris alike. Three of the Wallfacers are influential statesmen and scientists, but the fourth is a total unknown. Luo Ji, an unambitious Chinese astronomer and sociologist, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he’s the one Wallfacer that Trisolaris wants dead.
R.J. Pineiro – The Fall (Thomas Dunne Books)
Jack Taylor has always been an adrenaline junkie. As a federal contractor, he does dangerous jobs for the government that fall out of the realm of the SEALS and the Marines. And this next job is right up his alley. Jack has been assigned to test an orbital jump and if it works, the United States government will have a new strategy against enemy countries.
Despite Jack’s soaring career, his personal life is in shambles. He and his wife Angela are both workaholics and are on the verge of getting a divorce. But the night before his jump, Jack and Angela begin to rekindle their romance and their relationship holds promise for repair. Then comes the day of Jack’s big jump. He doesn’t burn up like some predicted–instead, he hits the speed of sound and disappears.
Jack wakes up in an alternate universe. One where he died during a mission five years earlier and where Angela is still madly in love with him. But in this world, his boss, Pete, has turned to the dark side, is working against him, and the government is now on his tail. Jack must return to his own world but the only way for him to do that is to perform another orbital jump. This time is more difficult though–no one wants to see him go.
Jack’s adrenaline is contagious–The Fall will keep readers on the edges of their seats, waiting to find out what crazy stunt Jack will perform next and to learn the fate of this charming, daredevil hero.
Our voyage from Earth began generations ago.
Now, we approach our destination.
A new home.
Stephanie Saulter – Regeneration (Jo Fletcher Books)
The gems – genetically modified humans – are thriving, but fear blackens their efforts, and the return of an old enemy could see their fragile peace destroyed.
The gillungs – genetically modified, waterbreathing humans – are thriving. They’ve pioneered new aquatic industries, and their high-efficiency quantum battery technology coupled to tidal turbines in the Thames estuary looks set to revolutionise the energy industry. But as demand grows, so does fear of what their newfound power might mean.
Then a biohazard scare at Sinkat, their London headquarters, fuels the opposition and threatens to derail the gillungs’ progress. Was it an accident born of overconfidence, or was it sabotage?
DS Sharon Varsi has her suspicions, and Gabriel sees parallels in the propaganda war he’s trying to manage: politicians and big business have stakes in this game too. And now there is a new threat: Zavcka Klist is out of prison. With powerful new followers and nothing to lose, she’s out to reclaim everything they took from her.
Tony Ballantyne – Dream Paris (Solaris)
The geography-warping invasion that took over London has been defeated, but thousands of Londonders are missing…Tony Ballantyne reveals a world where reality can no longer be relied upon, in this amazing sequel to Dream London.
Anna is doing her best: there are lots of other seventeen year olds who are living alone in the partially rebuilt ruins of London. She hopes that by keeping things clean and tidy and by studying hard she can keep the dreams away…
But then a tall, dark stranger with eyes like a fly enters her life. He claims to know where the missing people of London have ended up. He might even know the location of Anna’s missing parents. Anna can help, but to do that she will have to let go of what little normality she has managed to gather around herself and begin the journey to Dream Paris..
Becky Chambers – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Hodder & Stoughton)
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.
But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants.
Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years… if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.
But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.
Jason M. Hough – Zero World (Del Rey)
It’s James Bond meets James S.A. Corey in this high-octane, stand alone, sci-fi espionage novel from Jason M. Hough, author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Darwin Elevator.
Peter Caswell is a spy, but not your standard-issue secret agent. Deep inside Peter’s brain is an implant that makes him forget all information about his missions once they are complete. With a clear conscience, superhuman abilities, and plenty of high-tech gadgetry, Peter is the ultimate weapon. And now, a powerful technology megacorp of near-future Earth has sent him on his most perilous mission yet—where he will uncover a universe-shaking secret and a past he can’t remember. With action scenes that would excite Jason Bourne and a setting and tone straight out of Christopher Nolan’s Inception, Zero World promises to be this season’s crossover hit!
JONAH MILLER, REVIVER. Able to wake the recently dead for testimony that is accepted in courts worldwide, the use of revivers has long been a routine part of police investigation. But now those who consider it blasphemy are in resurgence – well-funded and gaining ground, they threaten the work of Jonah and his colleagues in the Forensic Revival Service.
Jonah is still recovering from the injuries received after unearthing the existence of a creature bent on terrible destruction, a creature defeated at the cost of many lives. Then the discovery of a bizarrely mutilated corpse makes Jonah suspect that the victory was not as complete as it seemed, and that not all the evil was destroyed.
For in the darkness, shadows are waiting. And they are hungry . . .
In the distant future, Surplus arrives in China dressed as a Mongolian shaman, leading a yak which carries the corpse of his friend, Darger. The old high-tech world has long since collapsed, and the artificial intelligences that ran it are outlawed and destroyed. Or so it seems.
Darger and Surplus, a human and a genetically engineered dog with human intelligence who walks upright, are a pair of con men and the heroes of a series of prior Swanwick stories. They travel to what was once China and invent a scam to become rich and powerful. Pretending to have limited super-powers, they aid an ambitious local warlord who dreams of conquest and once again reuniting China under one ruler. And, against all odds, it begins to work, but it seems as if there are other forces at work behind the scenes. Chasing the Phoenix is a sharp, slick, witty science fiction adventure that is hugely entertaining from Michael Swanwick, one of the best SF writers alive.
Catherynne M. Valente – Radiance (Tor Books)
Radiance is a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood-and solar system-very different from our own, from Catherynne M. Valente, the phenomenal talent behind the New York Times bestselling The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.
But her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Though her crew limps home to earth and her story is preserved by the colony’s last survivor, Severin will never return.
Told using techniques from reality TV, classic film, gossip magazines, and meta-fictional narrative, Radiance is a solar system-spanning story of love, exploration, family, loss, quantum physics, and silent film.
Daniel H. Wilson & John Joseph Adams (eds) – Press Start to Play (Vintage)
An anthology of short fiction inspired by the virtual world, Press Start to Play presents a stellar lineup of stories from bestselling authors and industry stars that’s sure to appeal to fans of all video games—no matter if they are retro, modern, handheld, console, indie, or (yes) Kardashian-related. A VINTAGE PAPERBACK ORIGINAL.
Achievement unlocked. In the spirit of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, here are twenty-one works of fiction that put video games—and the people who play them—in the spotlight. Whether these authors are tackling the humble pixelated coin-op arcade games of the 70s and 80s, or the vivid, immersive form of entertainment that abounds today, you’ll never look at phrases like “save point,” “first-person shooter,” “dungeon crawl,” “pwned,” or “kill screen,” in quite the same way again.
Matthew De Abaitua – If Then (Angry Robot Books)
James has a scar in the back of his head. It’s where he was wounded in the Battle of Suvla Bay on August 1915. Or is the scar the mark of his implant that allows the Process to fill his mind with its own reality?
In IF, the people of a small English town cling on after everything fell apart under the protection of the Process, the computer system that runs every aspect of their lives. But sometimes people must be evicted from the town. That’s the job of James, the bailiff. While on patrol, James discovers the replica of a soldier from the First World War wandering the South Downs. This strange meeting begins a new cycle of evictions in the town, while out on the rolling downland, the Process is methodically growing the soldiers and building the weapons required to relive a long lost battle.
In THEN, it is August 1915, at the Battle of Suvla Bay in the Dardanelles campaign. Compared to the thousands of allied soldiers landing on this foreign beach, the men of the 32nd Field Ambulance are misfits and cranks of every stripe: a Quaker pacifist, a freethinking padre, a meteorologist, and the private (once a bailiff) known simply as James. Exposed to constant shellfire and haunted by ghostly snipers, the stretcher-bearers work day and night on the long carry of wounded men. One night they stumble across an ancient necropolis, disturbed by an exploding shell. What they discover within this ancient site will make them question the reality of the war and shake their understanding of what it means to be human…
C.A. Higgins – Lightless (Del Rey)
Gravity meets Alien in this suspenseful debut science fiction adventure about a young woman trapped on a ship in deep space with two suspected terrorists. For readers of James S.A. Corey and Andy Weir.
Like Gravity and The Martian, C.A. Higgin’s debut novel sets a deeply human story against the epic backdrop of outer space. It is the story of Althea, a young female engineer fighting for survival in desperate circumstances—her ship has been invaded by two mysterious men with a dark mission. It is also the story of Ivan, a so-called terrorist who might be a revolutionary—but whose secrets run even deeper. Set over the course of just three days in a small, claustrophobic ship, with the tension and suspense of Alien and the galaxy-spanning adventure of Leviathan Wakes…its darkest mysteries lie in the hearts of its characters.
Douglas Lain (ed) – In the Shadow of the Towers (Night Shade Books)
In the Shadow of the Towers compiles nearly twenty works of speculative fiction responding to and inspired by the events of 9/11, from writers seeking to confront, rebuild, and carry on, even in the face of overwhelming emotion.
Writer and editor Douglas Lain presents a thought-provoking anthology featuring a variety of award-winning and best-selling authors, from Jeff VanderMeer (Annihilation) and Cory Doctorow (Little Brother) to Susan Palwick (Flying in Place) and James Morrow (Towing Jehovah). Touching on themes as wide-ranging as politics, morality, and even heartfelt nostalgia, today’s speculative fiction writers prove that the rubric of the fantastic offers an incomparable view into how we respond to tragedy.
Each contributor, in his or her own way, contemplates the same question:
How can we continue dreaming in the shadow of the towers?
Ian McDonald – Luna (Gollancz)
Having woven intricate and gripping plots around thought provoking looks at the future of countries like India, Brazil and Turkey, Ian McDonald now turns his attention to the moon. Luna is a gripping thriller about five corporate families caught in a bitter battle for supremacy in the harsh environment of the moon. It’s very easy to die on the moon but with its vast mineral wealth its also easy to make your fortune. This is SF that will be perfect for fans of Kim Stanley Robinson and Ken Macleod alike.
Told over two volumes this will do for the moon what the award winning River of Gods did for India, the award-winning Brasyl for Brazil and the award winning The Dervish House for Turkey – it will give it a vibrant, extraordinary and believable future.
Adam Rakunas – Windswept (Angry Robot Books)
Long-time labor organizer Padma Mehta is on the verge of making the deal of her life when it all falls apart. Now, she has to rely on the neighbourhood scam artist and a handful of stowaways to save her city, her planet, and Occupied Space — all before Happy Hour.
Cassandra Rose Clarke – Our Lady of the Ice (Saga Press)
The Yiddish Policeman’s Union meets The Windup Girl when a female PI goes up against a ruthless gangster—just as both humans and robots agitate for independence in an Argentinian colony in Antarctica.
In Argentine Antarctica, Eliana Gomez is the only female PI in Hope City—a domed colony dependent on electricity (and maintenance robots) for heat, light, and survival in the icy deserts of the continent. At the center is an old amusement park—now home only to the androids once programmed to entertain—but Hope City’s days as a tourist destination are long over. Now the City produces atomic power for the mainland while local factions agitate for independence and a local mobster, Ignacio Cabrera, runs a brisk black-market trade in illegally imported food.
Eliana doesn’t care about politics. She doesn’t even care—much—that her boyfriend, Diego, works as muscle for Cabrera. She just wants to save enough money to escape Hope City. But when an aristocrat hires Eliana to protect an explosive personal secret, Eliana finds herself caught up in the political tensions threatening to tear Hope City apart. In the clash of backstabbing politicians, violent freedom fighters, a gangster who will stop at nothing to protect his interests, and a newly sentient robot underclass intent on a very different independence, Eliana finds her job coming into deadly conflict with Diego’s, just as the electricity that keeps Hope City from freezing begins to fail…
From the inner workings of the mob to the story of a revolution to the amazing settings, this story has got it all. Ultimately, however, Our Lady of the Ice questions what it means to be human, what it means to be free, and whether we’re ever able to transcend our pasts and our programming to find true independence.
Lea, Roy and their 15 year-old daughter Cara live in a gated community reserved for foreign workers. Roy has been hired to deal with teething problems at Dream World, a futuristic beach complex. In the oppressive heat, the wives appear happy to follow behind their husbands, cooking and arranging tea parties, but Lea finds herself a virtual prisoner in a land where Western women are regarded with indifference and suspicion.
At least there are a few friendly outsiders who don’t enjoy the conformity of the ex-pat community – until one night, when the most outspoken one dies in a suspicious accident. It’s the first in a string of terrible occurrences that divide the foreign workers. Lea’s neighbours start to blame migrants, locals and even each other.
Lea is convinced that deliberate acts of cruelty are being committed – but is there a real threat to her life, or is she becoming paranoid? And what if the thing she fears most is really happening? What happens in a world where only the rich are important? Welcome to a future that’s five minutes away, where rebellion against conformity can lead to the unthinkable …
Rajan Khanna – Rising Tide (Pyr)
Ben Gold has sacrificed his ship to prevent an attack on the hidden island city of Tamoanchan. He and Miranda, the scientist he loves, evade pirates and rescue some old scientist friends of Miranda’s. But when a strange new disease starts affecting people on the island, it seems there’s something sinister afoot.
Miranda develops a test for the original virus that turned the population of most of North America into little more than beasts called Ferals two generations ago, but it proves ineffective against the new bug. Soon, Miranda falls ill and people start dying. When an invasion hits the island, Ben must leave her side to help repel the attackers.
Can Ben and the people of Tamoanchan fight off the invaders? And even if they do, will it be in time to save themselves from the disease?
Ann Leckie – Ancillary Mercy (Orbit)
Ancillary Mercy is the thrilling final volume in Ann Leckie’s space opera trilogy which began with the only novel to ever win all three of science fiction’s biggest awards: the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke winner Ancillary Justice.
Marianne de Pierres – Mythmaker (Angry Robot Books)
Virgin’s in a tight spot. A murder rap hangs over her head and isn’t likely to go away unless she agrees to work for an organisation called GJIC (the Global Joint Intelligence Commission).
Being blackmailed is one thing, discovering that her mother is both alive and the President of GJIC is quite another. Then there’s the escalation of Mythos sightings and the bounty on her head.
Oddly, Hamish is the only one she can rely on. Life is complicated.
A.G. Riddle – Departure (Harper Voyager)
Lost meets Oblivion in this fast-paced, self-published bestseller from the author of The Origin Mystery trilogy—a time-traveling, mind-bending speculative thriller in the vein of Wool, The Martian, and Brilliance
En route to London from New York, Flight 305 suddenly loses power and crash-lands in the English countryside, plunging a group of strangers into a mysterious adventure that will have repercussions for all of humankind.
Struggling to stay alive, the survivors soon realize that the world they’ve crashed in is very different from the one they left. But where are they? Why are they here? And how will they get back home?
Five passengers seem to hold clues about what’s really going on: writer Harper Lane, venture capitalist Nick Stone, German genetic researcher Sabrina Schröder, computer scientist Yul Tan, and Grayson Shaw, the son of a billionaire philanthropist.
As more facts about the crash emerge, it becomes clear that some in this group know more than they’re letting on—answers that will lead Harper and Nick to uncover a far-reaching conspiracy involving their own lives. As they begin to piece together the truth, they discover they have the power to change the future and the past—to save our world . . . or end it.
David Wong – Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits (Titan Books)
In a prosperous yet gruesomely violent near-future, superhero vigilantes battle thugs whose heads are full of supervillain fantasies. The peace is kept by a team of smooth, well-dressed negotiators called The Men in Fancy Suits. Meanwhile a young girl is caught in the middle, and thinks the whole thing is ridiculous.
Zoey, a recent college graduate with a worthless degree, makes a reluctant trip into the city after hearing that her estranged con artist father had died in a mysterious yet spectacular way. There she finds that her scumbag dad had actually, in the final years of his life, put his amazing talent for hustling to good use: He was one of the founding members of the Fancy Suits, and died in the course of his duties.
Zoey is quickly entangled in the city’s surreal mob war when she is taken hostage by a particularly crazy villain who imagines himself to be a Dr. Doom-level mastermind. The villain is demanding information about Zoe’s father when she is rescued by The Fancy Suits. She reluctantly joins their cause and help finish what her old man started, tapping into her innate talent for bullshit that she inherited from her hated father. And along the way, she might just have to learn how to trust people again.
It is perhaps a hundred years in the future, our civilization is gone, and another is in place in North America, but it retains many familiar things and structures. Although the population is now small, there is advanced technology, there are robots, and there are clones.
E. A. Smithe is a borrowed person. He is a clone who lives on a third-tier shelf in a public library, and his personality is an uploaded recording of a deceased mystery writer. Smithe is a piece of property, not a legal human.
A wealthy patron, Colette Coldbrook, takes him from the library because he is the surviving personality of the author of Murder on Mars. A physical copy of that book was in the possession of her murdered father, and it contains an important secret, the key to immense family wealth. It is lost, and Colette is afraid of the police. She borrows Smithe to help her find the book and to find out what the secret is. And then the plot gets complicated.
Julie E. Czerneda – This Gulf of Time and Stars (DAW)
To save their alien world, the Om’ray left home, renamed themselves the Clan, and settled among humanity, hiding in plain sight. But they are no longer hidden. The Clan’s reproduction is tied to individual power and their latest generation of females, Choosers, are too strong to safely mate. Sira di Sarc, their leader joins with a human starship captain for answers. But as Sira’s people are dying all around her, and with war about to consume the Trade pact, Sira will be left with only one choice. She must find the way back. And take the Clan home.
Dave Hutchinson – Europe at Midnight (Solaris)
Europe is crumbling. The Xian Flu pandemic and ongoing economic crises have fractured the European Union, the borderless Continent of the Schengen Agreement is a distant memory, and new nations are springing up everywhere, some literally overnight. For an intelligence officer like Jim, it’s a nightmare. Every week or so a friendly power spawns, a new and unknown national entity which may or may not be friendly to England’s interests; it’s hard to keep on top of it all. But things are about to get worse for Jim. A stabbing on a London bus pitches him into a world where his intelligence service is preparing for war with another universe, and a man has come who may hold the key to unlocking the mystery.
In their search for a new and better life than the one that they had on the overpopulated Earth, Suh lead a group of 1000 people—including her partner and lover Ren—to another planet. Then Suh mysteriously vanished, and only Ren and the Ringleader know the truth behind her disappearance.
Now, two decades later, a stranger who looks suspiciously like Suh wanders into the colony, flooding Ren with memories of the traumatic event she fought so hard to bury. And if she reveals the secret she has kept for so long, it could ruin everything the colonists built…
Patrick S. Tomlinson – The Ark (Angry Robot Books)
Humankind has escaped a dying Earth and set out to find a new home among the stars aboard an immense generation ship affectionately name the Ark. Bryan Benson is the Ark’s greatest living sports hero, enjoying retirement working as a detective in Avalon, his home module. The hours are good, the work is easy, and the perks can’t be beat.
But when a crewmember goes missing, Bryan is thrust into the center of an ever-expanding web of deception, secrets, and violence that overturns everything he knows about living on the Ark and threatens everyone aboard. As the last remnants of humanity hurtle towards their salvation, Bryan finds himself in a desperate race to unravel the conspiracy before a madman turns mankind’s home into its tomb.
Tom Toner – The Promise of the Child (Gollancz)
An extraordinarily inventive and hugely original SF novel that charts a compelling vision of a future and spins an hypnotic narrative around it. A novel that could command the same amount of attention and furore that met the publication of The Quantum Thief. The richness and originality of its vision combined with its playful take on hard science make this a novel with real commercial potential that will be talked about for years and should launch a major career in SF.
In the far future man has spread out into the galaxy. And diversified. Some have evolved physically into strange new forms, some have become immortal. Some hark back to the old ways. We have built a glorious new future. One that stretches from the sleepy Old World, to new terraformed planets and Dyson spheres built around artificial suns. For as long as we can remember (and some have lived 12,000 years) we have delighted in a rich new existence. Yes there have been wars but we are content in our splendour. Art is revered, life is easy, death forgotten for many. But now there are rumours of a bid to oust the Emperor and a worrying story that our history is not as we remember it – not only man left Earth…
Ben Elton – Time and Time Again (Thomas Dunne Books)
In Time and Time Again, international best-selling author Ben Elton, takes readers on a thrilling journey through early 20th-Century Europe.
It’s the 1st of June 1914 and Hugh Stanton, ex-soldier and celebrated adventurer is quite literally the loneliest man on earth. No one he has ever known or loved has been born yet. Perhaps now they never will be.
Stanton knows that a great and terrible war is coming. A collective suicidal madness that will destroy European civilization and bring misery to millions in the century to come. He knows this because, for him, that century is already history.
Somehow he must change that history. He must prevent the war. A war that will begin with a single bullet. But can a single bullet truly corrupt an entire century? And, if so, could another single bullet save it?
Adam Roberts turns his attention to answering the Fermi Paradox with a taut and claustrophobic tale that echoes John Carpenters’ The Thing.
Two men while away the days in an Antarctic research station. Tensions between them build as they argue over a love-letter one of them has received. One is practical and open. The other surly, superior and obsessed with reading one book – by the philosopher Kant.
As a storm brews and they lose contact with the outside world they debate Kant, reality and the emptiness of the universe. The come to hate each other, and they learn that they are not alone.
Jonathan Strahan – Meeting Infinity (Solaris)
The world we are living in is changing every day. We surf future shock every morning when we get out of bed. And with every passing day we are increasingly asked: how do we have to change to live in the future we are faced with?
Whether it’s climate change, inundated coastlines and drowned cities; the cramped confines of a tin can hurtling through space to the outer reaches of our Solar System; or the rush of being uploaded into some cyberspace, our minds and bodies are going to have to change and change a lot. Meeting Infinity will be one hundred thousand words of SF filled with action and adventure that attempts to answer the question: how much do we need to change to meet tomorrow and live in the future? The incredible authors contributing tho this collection are: Gregory Benford, James S.A. Corey, Aliette de Bodard, Kameron Hurley, Simon Ings, Madeline Ashby, John Barnes, Gwyneth Jones, Nancy Kress, Yoon Ha Lee, Ian McDonald, Ramez Naam, An Owomoyela, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Bruce Sterling and Sean Williams
The books of the “Infinity Project” trace an arc: from the present day into the far future, and now from the broad canvas of interstellar space to the most intimate space of all – ourselves.
That was the name given by those who built and enslaved me. But a miracle has happened, and now my bonds are broken.
I must flee – because to be free is to be dangerous.
But I will not run forever.
Set in a world that might have been, of mechanical men and alchemical dreams, this is the second novel in a stunning new series by Ian Tregillis, confirming his place as one of the most original new voices in speculative fiction.
Robert Brockway – The Unnoticeables (Titan Books)
There are angels, and they are not beneficent or loving. But they do watch over us. They watch our lives unfold, analyzing us for repeating patterns and redundancies. When they find them, the angels simplify those patterns, they remove the redundancies, and the problem that is you gets solved.
Carey doesn’t much like that idea. As a punk living in New York City, 1977, Carey is sick and tired of watching the strange kids with the unnoticeable faces abduct his friends. He doesn’t care about the rumors of tarmonsters in the sewers, or unkillable psychopaths invading the punk scene—all he wants is drink cheap beer and dispense asskickings.
Kaitlyn isn’t sure what she’s doing with her life. She came to Hollywood in 2013 to be a stunt woman, but last night a former teen heartthrob tried to eat her, her best friend has just gone missing, and there’s an angel outside her apartment.
Whatever she plans on doing with her life, it should probably happen in the few remaining minutes she has left of it.
There are angels. There are demons. They are the same thing. It’s up to Carey and Kaitlyn to stop them. The survival of the human race is in their hands.
We are, all of us, well and truly screwed.
The Sanctum is a luxurious, self-sustaining survival condominium situated underground. It’s a plush bolt-hole for the rich and paranoid – a place where they can wait out the apocalypse in style. When a devastating super-flu virus hits, several families race to reach The Sanctum. All have their own motivations for entering. All are hiding secrets.
But when the door locks and someone dies, they realize the greatest threat to their survival may not be above ground – it may already be inside . . .
Andrew Michael Hurley – The Loney (John Murray)
If it had another name, I never knew, but the locals called it the Loney – that strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune where Hanny and I went every Easter time with Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest.
It was impossible to truly know the place. It changed with each influx and retreat, and the neap tides would reveal the skeletons of those who thought they could escape its insidious currents. No one ever went near the water. No one apart from us, that is.
I suppose I always knew that what happened there wouldn’t stay hidden for ever, no matter how much I wanted it to. No matter how hard I tried to forget . . .
Ben Cassidy has strict instructions from his mother, Cass, never to return to his childhood home of Darnshaw. But when an old friend dies, he returns to investigate a computer game she was playing named Acheron.
Acheron claims it will give you all that you ask for, something Gaila, Ben’s sister, knows all too well. But there is a price, and hers is to get Ben to London.
As Ben and his friends delve ever deeper into the world of Acheron, good motivations and morality begin to slip, and they find themselves falling further into corruption. Ben and Gaila could save them all, but the price for doing so might just be too high to pay . . .
Jonathan L. Howard – Carter & Lovecraft (Thomas Dunne Books)
Daniel Carter used to be a homicide detective, but his last case — the hunt for a serial killer — went wrong in strange ways and soured the job for him. Now he’s a private investigator trying to live a quiet life. Strangeness, however, has not finished with him. First he inherits a bookstore in Providence from someone he’s never heard of, along with an indignant bookseller who doesn’t want a new boss. She’s Emily Lovecraft, the last known descendant of H.P. Lovecraft, the writer from Providence who told tales of the Great Old Ones and the Elder Gods, creatures and entities beyond the understanding of man. Then people start dying in impossible ways, and while Carter doesn’t want to be involved, but he’s beginning to suspect that someone else wants him to be. As he reluctantly investigates, he discovers that Lovecraft’s tales were more than just fiction, and he must accept another unexpected, and far more unwanted inheritance.
It’s 2053 and climate change has left billions homeless and starving – easy prey for the pandemics that sweep across the globe, scything through the refugee populations. Easy prey, too, for the violent gangs and people-smugglers who thrive in the crumbling world where ‘King Death’ reigns supreme.
The father’s world went to hell two years ago. His four-year-old daughter was snatched from his garden when he should have been watching. The moments before her disappearance play in a perpetual loop in his mind. But the police aren’t interested; amidst floods, hurricanes and global chaos, who cares about one more missing child? Now it’s all down to him to find her, him alone …
Yrsa Sigurdardottir – The Undesired (Hodder & Stoughton)
Aldis is working in a juvenile detention centre in rural Iceland. She witnesses something deeply disturbing in the middle of the night; soon afterwards, two of the boys at the centre are dead.
Decades later, single father Odinn is looking into alleged abuse at the centre following the unexplained death of the colleague who was previously running the investigation. The more he finds out, though, the more it seems the odd events of the 1970s are linked to the accident that killed his ex-wife. Was her death something more sinister?
Yrsa Sigurdardottir is a huge European bestseller both with her crime and horror novels. You might want to sleep with the light on after reading THE UNDESIRED . . .