New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books October 2011 – Revisited

Autumn brings new books and October isn’t any exception. Time to order. Here is my pick of books.

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

The Children of the Sky

(Zones of Thought 3) by Vernor Vinge (Tor) – Amazon US | UK

 A Sequel to a classic can’t go wrong. I guess I have to finish the prequel by then.

Ten years have passed on Tines World, where Ravna Bergnsdot and a number of human children ended up after a disaster that nearly obliterated humankind throughout the galaxy. Ravna and the pack animals for which the planet is named have survived a war, and Ravna has saved more than one hundred children who were in cold-sleep aboard the vessel that brought them. While there is peace among the Tines, there are those among them – and among the humans – who seek power…and no matter the cost, these malcontents are determined to overturn the fledgling civilization that has taken root since the humans landed. On a world of fascinating wonders and terrifying dangers, Vernor Vinge has created a powerful novel of adventure and discovery that will entrance the many readers of “A Fire Upon the Deep”. Filled with the inventiveness, excitement, and human drama that have become hallmarks of his work, this new novel is sure to become another great milestone in Vinge’s already stellar career.

A Beautiful Friendship

(Star Kingdom 1) by David Weber (Baen) – Amazon US | UK

David Weber’s short story with the same name has always been a personal favorite. I read the ARC and this is a pretty good YA. The segues could have been better but otherwise it should go down well. There will be a review soon.

 Stephanie Harrington always expected to be a forest ranger on her homeworld of Meyerdahl . . . until her parents relocated to the frontier planet of Sphinx in the far distant Star Kingdom of Manticore. It should have been the perfect new home — a virgin wilderness full of new species of every sort, just waiting to be discovered. But Sphinx is a far more dangerous place than ultra-civilized Meyerdahl, and Stephanie’s explorations come to a sudden halt when her parents lay down the law: no trips into the bush without adult supervision!

Yet Stephanie is a young woman determined to make discoveries, and the biggest one of all awaits her: an intelligent alien species.

The forest-dwelling treecats are small, cute, smart, and have a pronounced taste for celery. And they are also very, very deadly when they or their friends are threatened . . . as Stephanie discovers when she comes face-to-face with Sphinx’s most lethal predator after a hang-gliding accident.

But her discoveries are only beginning, for the treecats are also telepathic and able to bond with certain humans, and Stephanie’s find — and her first-of-its kind bond with the treecat Climbs Quickly — land both of them in a fresh torrent of danger. Galactic-sized wealth is at stake, and Stephanie and the treecats are squarely in the path of highly-placed enemies determined to make sure the planet Sphinx remains entirely in human hands, even if that means the extermination of another thinking species.

Unfortunately for those enemies, the treecats have saved Stephanie Harrington’s life. She owes them . . . and Stephanie is a young woman who stands by her friends.

Which means things are about to get very interesting on Sphinx.

The Iron Jackal

(Tale of the Kitty Jay 3) by Chris Wooding (Gollancz) – Amazon US | UK

Further follies with the Kitty Jay crew, this time on a train. A little later than expected but you know what they say about waiting for something good. Chris Wooding is another favorite writer. This is retro-futuristic  steampunk as its best.

Things are finally looking good for Captain Frey and his crew. The Ketty Jay has been fixed up good as new. They’ve got their first taste of fortune and fame. And, just for once, nobody is trying to kill them. Even Trinica Dracken, Frey’s ex-fiancee and long-time nemesis, has given up her quest for revenge. In fact, she’s offered them a job – one that will take them deep into the desert heart of Samarla, the land of their ancient enemies. To a place where the secrets of the past lie in wait for the unwary. Secrets that might very well cost Frey everything. Join the crew of the Ketty Jay on their greatest adventure yet: a story of mayhem and mischief, roof-top chases and death-defying races, murderous daemons, psychopathic golems and a particularly cranky cat. The first time was to clear his name. The second time was for money. This time, Frey’s in a race against the clock for the ultimate prize: to save his own life.

The Kingdom of Gods

(The Inheritance Trilogy 3) by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit) – Amazon US | UK

Sebastian has read the previous books so this should be on his recommendation rather than mine. I plan to read them before this one is out.

For two thousand years the Arameri family has ruled the world by enslaving the very gods that created mortalkind. Now the gods are free, and the Arameri’s ruthless grip is slipping. Yet they are all that stands between peace and world-spanning, unending war. Shahar, last scion of the family, must choose her loyalties. She yearns to trust Sieh, the godling she loves. Yet her duty as Arameri heir is to uphold the family’s interests, even if that means using and destroying everyone she cares for. As long-suppressed rage and terrible new magics consume the world, the Maelstrom – which even gods fear – is summoned forth. Shahar and Sieh: mortal and god, lovers and enemies. Can they stand together against the chaos that threatens the kingdom of gods?


(Kris Longknife 9) by Mike Shepherd (Ace) – Amazon US | UK

 Finally Kris is going after the aliens Mike has been holding up in front of us the last couple of books. Kris is a guilty pleasure I am looking forward to much more than I should.

Lieutenant Commander Kris Longknife leads a Fleet of Discovery on a reconnaissance of the vast uncharted regions of space. No one, least of all Kris, expected them to find an alien starship, certainly not one that came out shooting. Faced with a shot first and ask no question situation, Kris shoots back, blowing the ship to bits.

Half a universe away from her superiors, facing a possible mutiny from officers insisting they retreat, Kris holds the fate of humanity in her hands as she struggles to determine the alien threat — and whether or not to start an intersteller war . . .


(Neverwinter Nights 2, A Drizzt novel) by R. A. Salvatore  (Wizards of the Coast) – Amazon US | UK

Drizzt is a favorite of the males of the family so it is a small celebration when a new one is published.

With the last of his trusted companions having fallen, Drizzt is alone–and free–for the first time in almost a hundred years. Guilt mingles with relief, leaving Drizzt uniquely vulnerable to the persuasions of his newest companion–Dahlia, a darkly alluring elf and the only other member of their party to survive the cataclysm at Mount Hotenow. But traveling with Dahlia is challenging in more ways than one. As the two companions seek revenge on the one responsible for leveling Neverwinter–and nearly Luskan as well–Drizzt finds his usual moral certainty swept away by her unconventional views. Forced to see the dark deeds that the common man may be driven to by circumstance, Drizzt begins to find himself on the wrong side of the law in an effort to protect those the law has failed. Making new enemies, as his old enemies acquire deadly allies, Drizzt and Dahlia quickly find themselves embroiled in battle–a state he’s coming to enjoy a little too much.


(God’s War 2) by Kamerun (Night Shade) – Amazon US | UK

Nice premise and I got the first book in my to-read pile.

Nyx is a bodyguard in Mustallah, the capital city of Nasheen. The centuries-long holy war between Nasheen and Chenja is taking its toll, with shortages and rationing causing the Queen to lose power and popularity. While protecting the daughter of a Ras Tiegan Diplomat, Nyx is attacked by a group of assassins. Nyx survives, but begins to suffer from a strange, debilitating condition that nobody can identify. Caught up in a whirl-wind of intrigue involving Bel Dam Assassins plotting against the Queen, Nyx must learn who the rouge Bel Dam is, and find a cure for her illness, while avoiding the wrath of the queen she is trying to protect. The danger that swirls around her may have finally become to much, and Nyx”s colleagues and friends began to die. Will Nyx be next?

Zone One

by Colson Whitehead (Vintage Publishing) – Amazon US | UK

 I got a review copy here and you will get a review closer to the release. I liked the blurb on this one and you cant go wrong with zombies in October. Watch The Walking Dead on AMC too.

 In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead.

Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuild­ing civilization under orders from the provisional govern­ment based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street—aka Zone One—but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety—the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives.

Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams work­ing in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitz’s desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world.

And then things start to go wrong.

Both spine chilling and playfully cerebral, Zone One bril­liantly subverts the genre’s conventions and deconstructs the zombie myth for the twenty-first century.