New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books December 2011

These are my picks for December’s new releases.

For a look further into upcoming releases see my almanac of forthcoming books.

Count to a Trillion

(Book 1) by John C. Wright (Tor) – uk us

I love Space Opera and superhuman stories. John has been writing for a while but has so far flown under my radar which is weird since he wrote Null-A Continuum, a sequel to A. E. van Vogt’s Null-A series. I loved the original series. This is something along the same kind of superhuman lines.

US blurb: Hundreds of years in the future, after the collapse of the Western world, young Menelaus Illation Montrose grows up in what was once Texas as a gunslinging duelist for hire. But Montrose is also a mathematical genius—and a romantic who dreams of a future in which humanity rises from the ashes to take its place among the stars.

The chance to help usher in that future comes when Montrose is recruited for a manned interstellar mission to investigate an artifact of alien origin. Known as the Monument, the artifact is inscribed with data so complex, only a posthuman mind can decipher it. So Montrose does the unthinkable: he injects himself with a dangerous biochemical drug designed to boost his already formidable intellect to superhuman intelligence. It drives him mad.

Nearly two centuries later, his sanity restored, Montrose is awakened from cryo-suspension with no memory of his posthuman actions, to find Earth transformed in strange and disturbing ways, and learns that the Monument still carries a secret he must decode—one that will define humanity’s true future in the universe.

UK blurb: John C. Wright burst upon the science fiction scene a decade ago with the “Golden Age” trilogy, an innovative space opera. He went on to write fantasy novels, including the popular “Orphans of Chaos” trilogy. Now he returns to space opera in “Count to a Trillion”. After the collapse of the world economy, a young boy grows up in what used to be Texas as a tough duellist for hire, the future equivalent of a hired gun. But even after the collapse, there is space travel, and he leaves Earth to have adventures in the really wide open spaces. While humanity, and Artificial Intelligence grow and change, he is catapulted into the more distant future and becomes a kind of superman.


Mecha Corps

(The Armor War 1) by Brett Patton (ROC) – uk us

A debut military science fiction no less. Human soldiers fighting in robotic armor is not original but it should be entertaining.

Matt Lowell is in hell – and there’s no place he’d rather be. At a training camp on the backwater planet Earth, he and his fellow cadets are learning to ride Mechas: biomechanicals sporting both incredible grace and devastating firepower. Their ultimate aim is to take on the pirates of the Corsair Confederacy, who are constantly invading Universal Union territories.

Yet before they survive a battle, they have to survive their training. Although their robotic avatars are their greatest weapon, they may also be their greatest weakness…


(Everness 1) by Ian McDonald (Pyr) – uk us

I meet Ian McDonald at Eurocon2011. A really nice guy with an original voice in science fiction. Desolation Road and Ares Express are still my favorites. No way I would miss his YA debut.

There is not one you. There are many yous. There is not one world. There are many worlds. Ours is one of billions of parallel earths.

When Everett Singh’s scientist father is kidnapped from the streets of London, he leaves young Everett a mysterious app on his computer. Suddenly, this teenager has become the owner of the most valuable object in the multiverse—the Infundibulum—the map of all the parallel earths, and there are dark forces in the Ten Known Worlds who will stop at nothing to get it. They’ve got power, authority, and the might of ten planets—some of them more technologically advanced than our Earth—at their fingertips. He’s got wits, intelligence, and a knack for Indian cooking.

To keep the Infundibulum safe, Everett must trick his way through the Heisenberg Gate his dad helped build and go on the run in a parallel Earth. But to rescue his Dad from Charlotte Villiers and the sinister Order, this Planesrunner’s going to need friends. Friends like Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth, her adopted daughter Sen, and the crew of the airship Everness.

Can they rescue Everett’s father and get the Infundibulum to safety? The game is afoot!


by Philip Palmer (Orbit) – uk us


This is my second go at Philip Palmer after Hellship this summer. I like his writing especially the alien characters so I decided to give him a second try even if the ending of the last book was weak.

Artemis McIvor is a thief, a con-artist, and a stone cold killer. And she’s been on a crime-spree for, well, years. The galactic government has collapsed and the universe was hers for the taking.

But when the cops finally catch up with her, they give Artemis a choice. Suffer in prison for the rest of her very long life, or join a crew of criminals, murderers, and traitors on a desperate mission to save humanity against an all-consuming threat.

Now, Artemis has to figure out how to be a good guy without forgetting who she really is.


(Marsbound 3) by Joe Haldeman (Ace) – uk us

 Joe Haldeman doesn’t require any presentation. Starbound was a bit underwhelming but I want to know how it ends.

The mysterious alien Others have prohibited humans from space travel-destroying Earth’s fleet of starships in a display of unimaginable power. Now Carmen Dula, the first human to encounter Martians and then the mysterious Others, and her colleagues struggle to find a way, using nineteenthcentury technology, to reclaim the future that has been stolen from them.

Galactic Courier

(John Grimes Saga 3) by  A. Bertram Chandler (Baen) – uk us

The John Grimes saga is uncomplicated pulp science fiction but I like it.

Number three in a three-volume collection of the legendary John Grimes of the Galactic Rim series. 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 are the crowning tales of Grimes’ career – the Grimes “Rim Commodore” stories. In these tales, Grimes has found his true calling out on the edge of galactic civilization. He’s the sheriff of a realm where pioneer colonies and parallel dimensions overlap, and a starship captain must be prepared for adventure in ALL possible worlds.

Includes an astounding (as in, mostly published in Astounding and Analog by legendary editor John W. Campbell) cornucopia of Grimes novels bringing together all previous Commodore Grimes tales in Star Courier, To Keep the Ship, Matilda’s Stepchildren, Star Loot.