New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books November 2011

Just finished my book orders for next month. Here are my picks.

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

The Ascendant Stars

(Humanity’s Fire 3) by Michael Cobley (Orbit 2011) – Amazon US | UK

Humanity’s Fire, another great space opera will be over in next month. It started with Seeds of Earth and continued with The Orphanded Worlds last year. The Ascendant Stars is the third and final volume. Michael Cobley is a writer to watch out for, I really love the worlds he creates.

Battle-ready factions converge above Darien, all with the same objective. The goal is control over this newly-discovered planet and access to the powerful weapons at its heart. Despotic Hegemony forces dominate much of known space and they want this world too, but Darien’s inhabitants will fight for their future.However, key players in this conflict aren’t fully in control. Hostile AIs have infiltrated key minds and have an agenda, requiring nothing less than the destruction or subversion of all organic life. And they are near to unleashing their cohorts, a host of twisted machine intelligences caged beneath Darien. Fighting to contain them are Darien’s hidden guardians, and their ancient ally the Construct, on a millennia-long mission to protect sentient species. As the war reaches its peak, the AI army is roaring to the surface, to freedom and an orgy of destruction. Darien is first in line in a machine vs. human war – for life or the sterile dusts of space.


Master of the House of Darts

(Obsidian and Blood 3) by Aliette de Bodard (Angry Robot) – Amazon US | UK

Aliette de Bodard debuted last year with her aztec murder mystery with cosmological repercussions Servants of the Underworld. Harbinger of the Storm the second book in the Obsidian & Blood series was an action packed Aztec mystery opera with magic, interventions from the gods and more twists and turns than the first book. It even has a love story with amusing snippets here and there, I love formidable women. The stories are self-contained and  works standalone, but you will not want to miss out on the first.

Death, magic and intrigue in this hotly-anticipated follow-up to Servant of the Underworld. A sumptuously-detailed Aztec world, which will appeal to fans of magical fantasy, historical drama, political intrigue and murder mysteries.

As the political infighting starts within the imperial court, Acatl, High Priest for the Dead, makes a macabre discovery in the palace: a high-ranking nobleman has been torn to pieces by an invocation – and it looks like the summoner belongs to the court itself…

File Under: Fantasy [ Aztec Mystery | An Inside Job | Ancient Magics | The Gods Walk! ]


The Ninth Circle

(Tour of the Merrimack 5) by R. M. Meluch (Daw) – Amazon US | UK

Characterization is an important part of my enjoyment when I read, and I am very happy that I found Rebeca M. Meluch (I hate that female writers have to hide their gender to sell more books), she writes characters that are easy to love and root for. The series is a healthy mix of military action, mystery, humor and sex.  It is fast and fun read. I can warmly recommend this series to any lover of military science fiction with strong characters.

On the distant world of Zoe, an expedition finds DNA-based life. When alien invaders are also discovered, Glenn Hamilton calls on the U.S.S. Merrimack for help. But the Ninth Circle and the Palatine Empire have also found Zoe. Soon everyone will be on a collision course to determine the fate of this planet.



(Alex Benedict) by Jack McDevitt (Ace 2011) – Amazon US | UK

The Alex Benedict stories are filled with aliens and mysteries. The characters are what makes it though. Chase and Alex are among my favorite characters. It is more mystery solving than action.

Forty-one years ago the renowned physicist Chris Robin vanished. Before his disappearance, his fringe science theories about the existence of endless alternate universes had earned him both admirers and enemies.

Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath discover that Robin had several interstellar yachts flown far outside the planetary system where they too vanished. And following Robin’s trail into the unknown puts Benedict and Kolpath in danger…

Wolf Among the Stars

by Steve White (Baen) – Amazon US | UK

It is a while since I read anything by Steve White. Eagle Against the Stars and Legacy was quite entertaining.

A near-future Earth has shaken off the devastating colonization by alien Lokaran invaders and totalitarian rule by the alien’s puppets, the Earth First party.  But now Earth is flung into galactic intrigue and war. The Lokaron empire teeters on the edge of a fratricidal meltdown and  a cabal of ancient enemies hope to use Earth as a proxy to destroy the empire and rule over a new Galactic Dark Age. 

Now Captain Andrew Roark, the son of heroes of the rebellion and an officer trained in Lokaran space warfare tactics, joins with a highly capable Lokar who opposes the empire but wishes to see it transformed rather than destroyed. Together they must uncover a conspiracy to control Earth, and then obtain the secret key to defeating it.  War for galactic control looms, and freedom for Earth—so recently escaped from under the boot-heel of one oppressor—is once again in the balance.


by Rob Ziegler (Night Shade) – Amazon US | UK

I liked the blurb on this one.

It”s the dawn of the 22nd century, and the world has fallen apart. Decades of war and resource depletion have toppled governments. The ecosystem has collapsed. A new dust bowl sweeps the American West. The United States has become a nation of migrants -starving masses of nomads who seek out a living in desert wastelands and encampments outside government seed-distribution warehouses. In this new world, there is a new power. Satori is more than just a corporation, she is an intelligent, living city that grew out of the ruins of Denver. Satori bioengineers both the climate-resistant seed that feeds a hungry nation, and her own post-human genetic Designers, Advocates, and Laborers. What remains of the United States government now exists solely to distribute Satori seed; a defeated American military doles out bar-coded, single-use Satori seed to the nation”s starving citizens. When one of Satori”s Designers goes rogue, Agent Sienna Doss-Ex-Army Ranger turned glorified bodyguard-is tasked by the government to bring her in: The government wants to use the Designer to break Satori”s stranglehold on seed production and reassert themselves as the center of power. Sianna Doss”s search for the Designer intersects with Brood and his younger brother Pollo – orphans scrapping by on the fringes of the wastelands. Pollo is abducted, because he is believed to suffer from Tet, a newly emergent disease, the victims of which are harvested by Satori. As events spin out of control, Brood and Sienna Doss find themselves at the heart of Satori, where an explosive climax promises to reshape the future of the world.


The Other

by Matthew Huges (Underland) – Amazon US | UK

Liked this blurb too. It seems a bit more light-hearted and it is by a new-to-me author too.

Meet Luff Imbry, an insidiously clever confidence man . . . He likes good wine, good food, and good stolen goods, and he always maintains the upper hand. When a business rival gets the drop on him, he finds himself abandoned on Fulda—a far-off, isolated world with a history of its own. Unable to blend in and furious for revenge, Imbry has to rely on his infamous criminal wit to survive Fulda’s crusade to extinguish The Other.

Hailed as the heir apparent to Jack Vance, Matthew Hughes brings us this speculative, richly imagined exploration of society on the far edges of extreme. A central character in Black Brillion, Luff Imbry is at last front and center in Hughes’s latest rollercoaster adventure through a far-future universe.

Daylight on Iron Mountain

(Chung Kuo 2) by David Wingrove (Corvus) – Amazon US | UK

Corvus is planing to reprint 20 rewritten Chung Kuo novels the upcoming years. The series is set in a future dominated by Chinese culture that goes to drastic steps to conquer and control the world. Son of Heaven was first in March. I enjoyed the story a lot and it was a swift read and it remembers in some aspects on old classics like Buck Rogers but with a lot more food for thought. Son of Heaven is an entertaining start of a new series and the premise is believable if a bit twisted. It builds on the fear of the yellow danger once again perhaps current with China buying up Africa and becoming the engine of the world economy. But it is also up close and personal and the characters feel real. I think I will enjoy the next nineteen, the second novel Daylight on the Iron Mountain is out next month. This one gets a warm recommendation from me.

Seventy-five years in the future… Earth is ruled by China … Cities span entire continents… History has been erased…

2087: Japan lies under a radioactive cloud, its denizens wiped out. America has been subjugated, its inhabitants dispersed in the world of levels. The banner armies of Tsao Ch’un – the Son of Heaven, supreme ruler of Chung Kuo – are mobilizing against pockets of resistance in the Middle East.

But even the Son of Heaven cannot live forever. Already the envoys of the Seven Dragons are being turned away from the Black Tower. Faced with the capricious behaviour of an aging tyrant, the Wheel of Dragons is about to turn against its master.

In the depths of the world of levels, far below the towers of genetics mega-corporations and the AI-controlled villas of the elite, far from the patrolling attack craft of Tsao Ch’un, the anger of the people is becoming outright rebellion.

The fight for the new world is just beginning.

Welcome to the future.