Science Fiction and Fantasy - May 7, 2017


Science Fiction and Fantasy


Sunday, May 7, 2017

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New Books

Sputnik's Children
by Terri Favro

Cult comic book creator Debbie Reynolds Biondi has run out of ideas for her Cold War era-inspired superhero series, Sputnik Chick: Girl With No Past. She decides to tell Sputnik Chick’s origin story, but there’s one problem: she has based the entire series on her own life in an alternative timeline called Atomic Mean Time, and the only thing she can remember is being recruited by a self-proclaimed time traveler to collapse Atomic Mean Time before an all-out nuclear war grotesquely altered humanity. What came before? An unreliable narrator at best, Debbie has to make up her own life story—and maybe discover the truth in the process.

The Guns Above
by Robyn Bennis

They say it's not the fall that kills you. For Josette Dupre, the Corps' first female airship captain, it might just be a bullet in the back. On top of patrolling the front lines, she must also contend with a crew who doubts her expertise, a new airship that is an untested deathtrap, and the foppish aristocrat Lord Bernat, a gambler and shameless flirt with the military know-how of a thimble. Bernat's own secret assignment is to catalog her every moment of weakness and indecision. So when the enemy makes an unprecedented move that could turn the tide of the war, can Josette deal with Bernat, rally her crew, and survive long enough to prove herself?

The Bedlam Stacks
by Natasha Pulley

In 1859, a quest to find life-saving quinine in the deepest reaches of Peru tests former East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne to his breaking point, but his desperation to escape home leads him to sign up for the expedition. But when he arrives at the small mission village on the edge of the forest, he learns someone—or something—is killing anyone who sets foot into the forest. To solve the mystery, he has to separate fact from fairy tale and discover what happened to previous expeditions that never returned.

Cold-Forged Flame
by Marie Brennan

She comes into existence atop a flat, rough slab of stone. She had no memory. She is not alone, and is bound to a task they set. She sets off on an unexplained quest which she feels she needs to complete. Along the way, the obstacles will continue to grow, and the final choice will be the biggest sacrifice.

The Massacre of Mankind
by Stephen Baxter

It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. The Army is prepared. So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, who is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, and understood their defeat. He is right. In this sequel to the The War of the Worlds, acclaimed author and Wells expert Baxter imagines the next stage in the wars between Mankind and Martian.

Borrowed Souls: A Soul Charmer Novel
by Chelsea Mueller

In Gem City, if you want to partake in immoral or illegal activity without suffering the consequences, you borrow a soul—for a price. Callie Delgado needs a borrowed soul in order to save her brother, but nowhere near the money for one. The slimy Soul Charmer is willing to make a deal, but it means sending Callie into a world of magic that she’s not ready for. With the help of Derek, whose allegiance to the Charmer is at odds with his growing attraction for Callie, she might be able to avoid the bad guys while keeping her brother out of harm’s way—even though it might mean losing her own soul.

The Breaking Light
by Heather Hansen

In a stratified society where contact with the sun is a luxury reserved for the elite, those kept prisoner in the darkness will do anything to find the light. Arden--beautiful, street-smart, and cynical--is one of the citizens of the lowest level, known as Undercity, permanently trapped in the dark. But as sister to the leader of the most powerful gang in Undercity, she has access to the Above. There she meets Dade, one of the few lucky enough to be born into the sun-kissed families who reside in the towers soaring above the rest of the city. But life isn't perfect in the sky. Dade, desperate to escape his upcoming arranged marriage, has a secret of his own, and he's willing to risk everything for it. An unlikely romance develops between the two teens--but their love faces opposition from above and below.

The Dark Net
by Benjamin Percy

The Dark Net is real. An anonymous and often criminal arena that exists in the secret, far reaches of the Web, some use it to manage Bitcoins, pirate movies and music, or traffic in drugs and stolen goods. And now, an ancient darkness is gathering there as well. This force is threatening to spread virally into the real world unless it can be stopped by members of a ragtag crew.

The Empire's Ghost
by Isabelle Steiger

The empire of Elesthene is a shadow of its former self, torn apart as its magic died. In its wake lie kingdoms struggling to survive. When the ambitious Elgar seizes power and starts to rebuild the empire, there are few who are strong enough to resist him. Everything seems aligned in Elgar's favor, but when he presses a band of insignificant but skilled alley-dwellers into his service for a mission of greatest secrecy, they find an unexpected opportunity to alter the balance of power in the war. Through their actions and those of the remaining royals, they may uncover not just a way to defeat Elgar, but also a deeper truth about their world's lost history.

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year 11
edited by Jonathan Strahan

The internationally-acclaimed 'Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year' series moves into its second decade with the very best science fiction and fantasy from around the world. Hard science fiction, space opera, epic fantasy, dystopia, alternate history, swords and sorcery are included in the two dozen stories carefully chosen for this book by award-winning anthologist Jonathan Strahan. Authors include Paolo Bacigalupi, Cory Doctorow, Ellen Klages, Holly Black and more.

What the Hell Did I Just Read: A Novel of Cosmic Horror
by David Wong

Wisecracking slackers John and David introduced in John Dies at the End are back. While investigating a fairly straightforward case of a shapeshifting entity from another dimension snatching local children, the gang realize there might actually be something weird going on. Together they will navigate a hilariously convoluted maze of illusions, lies, and their own incompetence, attempting to uncover a terrible truth they'd be better off not knowing.


Friday, April 7, 2017

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New Books


Cold Welcome
by Elizabeth Moon

Summoned to the home planet of her family's business empire, space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta is told to expect a hero's welcome. But instead she is thrown into danger unlike any other she has faced and finds herself isolated, unable to communicate with the outside world, commanding a motley group of unfamiliar troops, and struggling day by day to survive in a deadly environment. Yet even as Ky leads her team from one crisis to another, her family and friends refuse to give up hope, endeavoring to mount a rescue from halfway around the planet--a task that is complicated as Ky and her supporters find secrets others will kill to protect: a conspiracy infecting both government and military that threatens not only her own group's survival but her entire home planet.

Avengers of the Moon
by Allen M. Steele

Curt Newton has spent most of his life hidden from the rest of humankind, being raised by a robot, an android, and the disembodied brain of a renowned scientist. This unlikely trio of guardians has kept his existence a closely guarded secret after the murder of Curt's parents. Curt's innate curiosity and nose for trouble inadvertently lead him into a plot to destabilize the Solar Coalition and assassinate the president. There's only one way to uncover the evil mastermind--Curt must become Captain Future.

Sleeping Beauties
by Stephen King and Owen King

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place... The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. However, the mysterious Evie is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain?

The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories
edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin

Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviors, victims, childhood friends. Some have called them genies: these are the Djinn. A fascinating collection of new and classic tales of the fearsome Djinn, from bestselling, award-winning and breakthrough international writers.

Brother's Ruin (Industrial Magic Book 1)
by Emma Newman

The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice. Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Ben's life and their own livelihoods. But Benjamin Gunn isn't a talented mage--his sister Charlotte is. To prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect. When she discovers a plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city.

Proof of Concept
by Gwyneth Jones

On a desperately overcrowded future Earth, crippled by climate change, governments turn to Big Science to provide them with the dreams that will keep the masses compliant. The Needle is one such dream, an installation testing science that might make human travel to a habitable exoplanet distantly feasible. When the Needle's director offers her underground compound as a training base, Kir is thrilled to be invited to join the team, even though she knows it's only because her brain is host to a quantum artificial intelligence called Altair. But Altair knows something he can't tell. Kir, like all humans, is programmed to ignore future dangers. Between the artificial blocks in his mind, and the blocks evolution has built into his host, how is he going to convince her the sky is falling?

Down Among the Sticks and Bones
by Seanan McGuire

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. But before that happened…Jacqueline was her mother's perfect daughter--polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. Jillian was her father's perfect daughter--adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. They were five when they learned that grown-ups can't be trusted. They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Off Rock
by Kieran Shea

In the year 2778, Jimmy Vik is feeling dissatisfied. After busting his ass for assorted interstellar mining outfits for close to two decades, downsizing is in the wind, and his ex-girlfriend/supervisor is climbing up his back. So when Jimmy stumbles upon a significant gold pocket during a routine procedure on Kardashev 7-A, he believes his luck may have changed. But smuggling the gold "off rock" won't be easy. To do it, Jimmy will have to contend with a wily criminal partner, a gorgeous covert assassin, the suspicions of his ex, and the less than honorable intentions of an encroaching, rival mining company. As the clock ticks down, treachery and betrayal loom, the body count rises, and soon Jimmy has no idea who to trust.

Cold Counsel
by Chris Sharp

Slud of the Blood Claw Clan was born at the heart of the worst storm the mountain had ever seen. Slud's father, chief of the clan, was changed by his son's presence. He rallied the remaining trolls under one banner and marched to war taking back the mountain from the goblin clans. However, the long-lived elves remembered the brutal wars of the last age, and did not welcome the return of these lesser-giants to martial power. Twenty thousand elves marched on the mountain intent on genocide. They eradicated the entire troll species--save two. Aunt Agnes, an old witch from the Iron Wood, carried Slud away before the elves could find them. Their existence remained hidden for decades, and in that time, Agnes raised Slud for one purpose—revenge.

by Cory Doctorow

Hubert, Seth, and their ultra-rich heiress friend Natalie are getting a little old to hang out at the "Communist parties," techno-raveups in abandoned industrial spaces, full of insta-printed drugs and toys. And now that anyone can manufacture food, clothing, and shelter with equipment comparable to a computer printer, there seems to be little reason to stick with the world of rules and jobs. So, like hundreds of thousands of others in the mid-21st century, the three of them...walk away. Much of the countryside is wrecked by climate change, and predators are with us always. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death. Now it's war--a war that will turn the world upside down.