New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books March 2012 revisited

These are my picks for March.

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

A Rising Thunder

(Honor Harrington 13) by David Weber (Baen)  – uk us

Peril and strife strike on a double front for Honor Harrington and company. After a brutal attack on the Manticoran home system, Honor Harrington and the Star Kingdom she serves battle back against a new, technologically powerful, and utterly nefarious enemy. And as if that weren’t task enough, Honor must also face down a centuries-old nemesis in the crumbling, but still mighty, Solarian League.

The war between the People’s Republic of Haven and the Star Kingdom is finally won and peace established, but grave danger looms–for there is a plan well on its way to completion designed to enslave the entire human species. Behind that plan lies the shadowy organization known as the Mesan Alignment.

Task number one for Honor is to defend against another devastating Mesan strike–a strike that may well spell the doom of the Star Kingdom in one fell blow. It is time to shut down and secure the wormhole network that is the source of the Star Kingdom’s wealth and power–but also its greatest vulnerability. Yet this is an act that the Earth-based Solarian League inevitably will take as a declaration of war.

The thunder of battle rolls as the Solarian League directs its massive power against the Star Kingdom. And once again, Honor Harrington is thrust into a desperate battle that she must win if she is to survive to take the fight to the real enemy of galactic freedom–the insidious puppetmasters of war who lurk behind the Mesan Alignment!



Omega Point

(Richard & Klein 2) by Guy Haley (Angry Robot) – uk us

The powerful artificial intelligence designated k52 has a plan to take over the world.

If it were to create an artificial reality based on our own universe it could theoretically gain enough data to be able to alter reality itself, turning k52 into the ultimate arbiter of mankind’s fate.

It’s down to Richards and Klein to stop k52 – even though the alternative could be worse!

File Under: Science Fiction [ Ghost In The Machine | Where’s Waldo? | Consulting Defective |




by Ken MacLeod (Orbit) – uk

Imagine a near-future city, say London, where medical science has advanced beyond our own and a single-dose pill has been developed that, taken when pregnant, eradicates many common genetic defects from an unborn child. Hope Morrison, mother of a hyperactive four-year-old, is expecting her second child. She refuses to take The Fix, as the pill is known. This divides her family and friends and puts her and her husband in danger of imprisonment or worse. Is her decision a private matter of individual choice, or is it tantamount to willful neglect of her unborn child? A plausible and original novel with sinister echoes of 1984 and Brave New World.

The Games

by Ted Kosmatka (Del Rey) – uk us

This stunning first novel from Nebula Award and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award finalist Ted Kosmatka is a riveting tale of science cut loose from ethics. Set in an amoral future where genetically engineered monstrosities fight each other to the death in an Olympic event, The Games envisions a harrowing world that may arrive sooner than you think.

Silas Williams is the brilliant geneticist in charge of preparing the U.S. entry into the Olympic Gladiator competition, an internationally sanctioned bloodsport with only one rule: no human DNA is permitted in the design of the entrants. Silas lives and breathes genetics; his designs have led the United States to the gold in every previous event. But the other countries are catching up. Now, desperate for an edge in the upcoming Games, Silas’s boss engages an experimental supercomputer to design the genetic code for a gladiator that cannot be beaten.

The result is a highly specialized killing machine, its genome never before seen on earth. Not even Silas, with all his genius and experience, can understand the horror he had a hand in making. And no one, he fears, can anticipate the consequences of entrusting the act of creation to a computer’s cold logic.

Now Silas races to understand what the computer has wrought, aided by a beautiful xenobiologist, Vidonia João. Yet as the fast-growing gladiator demonstrates preternatural strength, speed, and—most disquietingly—intelligence, Silas and Vidonia find their scientific curiosity giving way to a most unexpected emotion: sheer terror.



Range of Ghosts 

(The Eternal Sky 1) by Elizabeth Bear (Tor) – uk us

Temur, grandson of the Great Khan, is walking away from a battlefield where he was left for dead. All around lie the fallen armies of his cousin and his brother, who made war to rule the Khaganate. Temur is now the legitimate heir by blood to his grandfather’s throne, but he is not the strongest. Going into exile is the only way to survive his ruthless cousin.

Once-Princess Samarkar is climbing the thousand steps of the Citadel of the Wizards of Tsarepheth. She was heir to the Rasan Empire until her father got a son on a new wife. Then she was sent to be the wife of a Prince in Song, but that marriage ended in battle and blood. Now she has renounced her worldly power to seek the magical power of the wizards. These two will come together to stand against the hidden cult that has so carefully brought all the empires of the Celadon Highway to strife and civil war through guile and deceit and sorcerous power.



Body, Inc

by Alan Dean Foster (Del Rey) – uk us

New York Times bestselling author Alan Dean Foster has always been on the cutting-edge of science fiction. In Body, Inc., he creates a tomorrow where genetic manipulation has become ubiquitous, and the very meaning of what it is to be human is undergoing drastic transformation.

In a world deeply wounded by centuries of environmental damage, two unlikely souls join forces: Dr. Ingrid Seastrom has stumbled into a mystery involving quantum-entangled nanoscale implants—a mystery that just may kill her. Whispr is a thief and murderer whose radical body modifications have left him so thin he is all but two-dimensional. Whispr has found a silver data-storage thread, a technology that will make him wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. He is also going mad with longing for Dr. Ingrid Seastrom. Their quest to learn the secrets of the implant and the thread—which may well be the same secret—has led them to the South African Economic Combine, otherwise known as SAEC. Or, less respectfully, SICK. SICK, it seems, has the answers.

Unfortunately, SICK has also got Napun Molé, a cold-blooded assassin whose genetic enhancements make him the equivalent of a small army. Molé has already missed one chance to kill Ingrid and Whispr and now he has followed them to South Africa. This time, he is not only going to succeed, he is going to make them suffer.



The Intruder

(Foreigner 13) by C. J. Cherryh (Daw) – uk us

In the wake of civil war, Bren Cameron, the brilliant human diplomat of the alien atevi civilization, has left the capital and sought refuge at his country estate, Najida. But now he is trapped inside Najida-which has been surrounded by enemies- with the powerful grandmother of his ally, Tabiniaiji, atevi leader of the Western Association. Ilisidi, the aiji-dowager, is not inclined to be passive and sends Bren into enemy territory, to the palace of the leader of the rebels.

Bren’s mission is to negotiate with Machigi-a young atevi lord who has never actually seen a human-and somehow persuade him to cease his hostile actions against the west. Is Bren a shrewd enough negotiator to stay alive, and not alienate Ilisidi or Tabini, while also representing the interests of their enemy?