New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books August 2011 [My Picks]

Here is my pick of new science fiction and fantasy books in August. You might want to order your books now, I have already. Enjoy!

Bringer of Light

(The Hidden Empire book 4) by Jaine Fenn (Gollancz) – Amazon US | UK

This was a given for me. I have loved Jaine Fenns book since I read Principles of Angels. This one continues the story of the fight against the hidden empire now with all the protagonists together.

Jarek Reen is trying to save a lost world. He discovered the primitive theocracy of Serenein by accident, and now he wants it to take its place in human-space. To do this he needs a shiftspace beacon – without it, there is no way to find the planet again. The beacons were made by the Sidhe, the race that originally gave humanity access to the stars – and dominated human-space for millennia, before a coalition of human rebels and Sidhe males brought the evil Sidhe females down. Most people think the Sidhe are long dead, but Jarek knows better: a renegade female Sidhe is one of his companions, and a male Sidhe gave her and her lover the special powers that made them Angels, very unusual trained assassins. Jarek’s only hope is to find Aleph, the hidden system where the last Sidhe males are rumoured to live. But even if he can persuade these eccentric, introspective beings to put aside their interminable internal squabbles, he still has to persuade Serenein that joining the rest of humankind is a good thing …for the price of progress is likely to be high. Can he stop it turning into tragedy?

The Recollection

by Gareth L. Powell (Solaris) – Amazon US | UK

This is a novel that sounds like something I would like. Gareth L. Powell novel splits on two timelines and has a galaxy-spanning scope.

When his brother disappears into a bizarre gateway on a London Underground escalator, failed artist Ed Rico and his brother’s wife Alice have to put aside their feelings for each other to go and find him. Their quest through the ‘arches’ will send them hurtling through time, to new and terrifying alien worlds.

Four hundred years in the future, Katherine Abdulov must travel to a remote planet in order to regain the trust of her influential family. The only person standing in her way is her former lover, Victor Luciano, the ruthless employee of a rival trading firm.

Hard choices lie ahead as lives and centuries clash and, in the unforgiving depths of space, an ancient evil stirs…

Gareth L. Powell’s epic new science-fiction novel delivers a story of galaxy-spanning scope by a writer of astounding vision.

Final Days

(Final Days book 1) by Gary Gibson (Tor UK) – Amazon US | UK

Gary Gibson will be out with a new time travel series ominously named Final Days which is also the name of the first novel. I liked his Shoal Sequence so this is a series I will look into.

But this new mode of transportation comes at a price and there are risks. Saul Dumont knows this better than anyone. He’s still trying to cope with the loss of the wormhole link to the Galileo system, which has stranded him on Earth far from his wife and child for the past several years.

Only weeks away from the link with Galileo finally being re-established, he stumbles across a conspiracy to suppress the discovery of a second, alien network of wormholes which lead billions of years in the future. A covert expedition is sent to what is named Site 17 to investigate, but when an accident occurs and one of the expedition, Mitchell Stone, disappears – they realise that they are dealing with something far beyond their understanding.

When a second expedition travels via the wormholes to Earth in the near future of 2245 they discover a devastated, lifeless solar system – all except for one man, Mitchell Stone, recovered from an experimental cryogenics facility in the ruins of a lunar city.

Stone may be the only surviving witness to the coming destruction of the Earth. But why is he the only survivor — and once he’s brought back to the present, is there any way he and Saul can prevent the destruction that’s coming?


Android: Free Fall

by William H. Keith (Fantasy Flight Games) – Amazon US | UK

William H. Keith is one of my guilty pleasures. He writes some good military science fiction under the pen name Ian Donald now he is starting a new series. This is a series I never anticipated but am looking forward to anyway.

It is the future, and while the world has changed, crime has not. When an influential lawyer is brutally murdered at the top of the Beanstalk, a towering exo-atmospheric elevator serving as Earth’s hub of interplanetary trade, Detective Rick Harrison reluctantly accepts the case. Harrison’s investigation soon leads him from the sprawling megapolis of New Angeles to the distant moon base of Heinlein, where he searches for clues amongst an uncooperative assortment of bioroids, clones, and disgruntled human laborers. But Harrison quickly finds himself at the center of an ever-deepening conspiracy, and is faced with the one question he never expected: What is the true definition of humanity? Free Fall is the first novel based on Fantasy Flight Games’s Android, conveying a dystopian world of technology and corruption. This rich universe is masterfully brought to life by New York Times Bestselling author William H. Keith, winner of the H.G. Wells Award and multiple Origins awards, and the celebrated author of over 150 novels, short stories, and other published works.

Machine Man

by Max Barry (Vintage Books) – Amazon US | UK

I liked Jennifer Government so I hope I will like this one too.

Scientist Charles Neumann loses a leg in an industrial accident. It’s not a tragedy. It’s an opportunity. Charlie always thought his body could be better. He begins to explore a few ideas. To build parts. Better parts.

Prosthetist Lola Shanks loves a good artificial limb. In Charlie, she sees a man on his way to becoming artificial everything. But others see a madman. Or a product. Or a weapon.

A story for the age of pervasive technology, Machine Man is a gruesomely funny unraveling of one man’s quest for ultimate self-improvement.



Blight of Mages

(prequel to King breaker King maker) by Karen Miller (Orbit) – Amazon US | UK

Karen Miller has written four books about the magically besieged country of Lur and now it is time for a Blight of Mages the prequel about Morgan and Barl and what happened when the refugees from Dorana crossed over the mountains.

Hundreds of years before the great Mage War, a land lies, unknowing, on the edge of catastrophe…

Barl is young and impulsive, but she has a power within that calls to her. In her city, however, only those of noble blood and with the right connections learn the ways of the arcane. Barl is desperate to learn-but her eagerness to use her power leads her astray and she is banned from ever learning the mystic arts.

Morgan holds the key to her education. A member of the Council of Mages, he lives to maintain the status quo, preserve the mage bloodlines, and pursue his scholarly experiments. But Barl’s power intrigues him-in spite of her low status.

Together, he realizes they can create extraordinary new incantations. Morgan’s ambition and Barl’s power make a potent combination. What she does not see is the darkness in him that won’t be denied.

A Blight of Mages is the new novel set in the world of Karen Miller’s bestselling debut The Innocent Mage.

By Light Alone

by Adam Roberts (Gollancz) – Amazon US | UK

New Model Army interested me last year but for some reason I never came around to it. This year though I will have to give Adam Roberts a try with By Light Alone. It is also a high concept one like the last. By Light Alone is about a girl who was kidnapped and forced to live on light alone. This is possible in the world she lives in because there we have been genetically modified so that we can photosynthesize sunlight with our hair. I wonder what they do with bald people. Sounds like perfect summer reading.

In a world where we have been genetically engineered so that we can photosynthesise sunlight with our hair hunger is a thing of the past, food an indulgence. The poor grow their hair, the rich affect baldness and flaunt their wealth by still eating. But other hungers remain …The young daughter of an affluent New York family is kidnapped. The ransom demands are refused. Years later a young women arrives at the family home claiming to be their long lost daughter. She has changed so much, she has lived on light, can anyone be sure that she has come home? Adam Roberts’ new novel is yet another amazing melding of startling ideas and beautiful prose. Set in a New York of the future it nevertheless has echoes of a Fitzgeraldesque affluence and art-deco style. It charts his further progress as one of the most important writers of his generation.

The Unincorporated Woman

(The Unincorporated Man 3) by Dani Kollin & Eytan Kollin (Tor) – Amazon US | UK

I liked the unincorporated man and I want to know how the series ends even though I haven’t finished part two yet.

This award-winning saga of a revolutionary future takes a new turn. Justin Cord, the unincorporated man, is dead, betrayed, and his legacy of rebellion and individual freedom is in danger. General Black is the great hope of the military, but she cannot wage war from behind the President’s desk, so there must be a new president, anointed by Black, to hold the desk job. Who better than the only woman resurrected from Justin Cord’s past era, the scientist who created his resurrection device, the only born unincorporated woman, the perfect figurehead – except that she has ideas of her own, and secrets of her own, and the talent to run the government her way. She is a force that no one anticipated, and no one can control. The first novel in this thought-provoking series, “The Unincorporated Man”, won the 2009 Prometheus Award for best novel.

The Moon Maze Game

(Dream Park book 4) by Larry Niven & Steven Barnes (Tor) – Amazon US | UK

Sometimes an established author is doing something I missed or passed over like The Dream Park books by Larry Niven & Steven Barnes. It is about Live action role-playing, maybe not like my son does it but interesting enough for me to take a look. The fourth book looks too good to pass over.

The year: 2085. Humanity has spread throughout the solarsystem. A stable lunar colony is agitating for independence.Lunar tourism is on the rise….
Against this background, professional “Close Protection”specialist Scotty Griffin, fresh off a disastrous assignment, isoffered the opportunity of a lifetime: to shepherd the teenagedheir to the Republic of Kikaya on a fabulous vacation. Ali Kikayawill participate in the first live-action role-playing game conductedon the Moon itself. Having left Luna—and a treasured marriage—years ago because of a near-tragic accident, Scotty leaps atthe opportunity.

Live action role playing attracts a very special sort of individual:brilliant, unpredictable, resourceful, and addicted to problemsolving. By kidnapping a dozen gamers in the middle of theultimate game, watched by more people than any other sportingevent in history, they throw down an irresistible gauntlet: to “win”the first game that has ever become “real.” Pursued by armedand murderous terrorists, forced to solve gaming puzzles to staya jump ahead, forced to juggle multiple psychological realities asthey do…this is the game for which they’ve prepared their entirelives, and they are going to play it for all it’s worth.


First Command

(John Grimes Saga 2) by  A. Bertram Chandler (Baen) – Amazon US | UK

This is one of the old-time pulp classics that is so fun to read.

The second in a three-volume collection of the legendary John Grimes books!  Classic Star Trek meets the high seas.  If space travel is going to be anything like sailing the oceans, then A. Bertram Chandler has surely caught its absolute essence in his Grimes novels.  Here it is, the entire “Captain John Grimes – Far Traveller Courier” saga, collected in one volume. These are the tales of John Grimes’ action-packed merchantman and courier years.  After moving on from the Terran Navy, Grimes tries his hand at leading a private life, and finds he likes being his own man.  The only problem is, his ship The Far Traveller has a (very stubborn and very feminine) mind of its own — and a penchant for getting Grimes into the worse sort of interplanetary pickles!

Includes:  The Far Traveller (with the classic John Grimes stories that started it all), Star CourierTo Keep the ShipMatilda’s StepchildrenStar LootThe Anarch LordsThe Last Amazon, and The Wild Ones.