New SFF Books February 2011 [My Picks]

February is here soon and it is time to order books if you have not done it already.

David Weber is one of the most productive authors I know, which is fortunately since I really love his military science fiction. We have to wait until 2012 for the next mainstream Honor Harrington novel A Rising Thunder but In Fire Forged, the fifth Worlds of Honor short story collection out on the first might help to tide you over and if that is not enough there is a new YA series A Beautiful Friendship based on the short story by the same name coming in October. It centers on Stephanie Harrington, Honor’s ancestor that was the first human to be adopted by a treecat, the telepathic felines of Honor’s home planet.  There are indications that are not all. David Weber’s official homepage promises a new Safehold novel, the fifth, late this year probably October or November. It is named How Firm a Foundation.

I included Hellhole for the blurb. I read a few books by Kevin J. Anderson & Brian Herbert before and they can be quite entertaining even if they have a tendency to make series that becomes a bit repetitious after a while. This is the first in a trilogy so there is a good chance it is good and fresh.

Walter Jon Williams is a new-to-me author that I would like to try. I am not sure This is Not a Game is the series to start with but I am leaning towards it and Deep State, the sequel is released on the 17.

One of my guilty pleasures are reading about Lila Black, Justina Robson’s feisty but flawed half robot heroine as she explores the supernatural Quantum Gravity universe. It is a magical multiverse with demons, dragons and magicians that adhere to scientific principles. The final book in the series takes Lila to the land of the dead in Down to the Bone out on the 17th in the UK America have to wait until August.

Elizabeth Bear will end the Jacob’s Ladder trilogy with Grail on the 22nd and that is a must read for me. This fantasy inspired generation ship saga started with Dust and Chill.

I am very fond of military science fiction that is why I included Ian Douglas’ latest Star Carrier novel. So what if the characters are a bit two dimensional. His books are usually packed with entertaining military action. It is out on the 22nd too.

More details on the books below. Which books are you going to pick for February?

In Fire Forged (World of Honor 5)
by David Weber

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Baen (Feb 1, 2011)
Order from: Amazon US | UK

Honor Harrington is arguably the most popular character in modern science fiction, but there are many other stories in the Honorverse besides those in which she has the central role. This fifth volume in the popular Worlds of Honor series explores some of those stories with the help of such top writers as best-selling author Jane LIndskjold, New York Times best-selling author Timothy Zahn, and more—including an all-new Honor Harrington adventure, set in her younger years, when a mob of space pirates made the mistake of tangling with Commander Harrington. That was a fatal mistake—for the pirates . . .

Hellhole (Hellhole Trilogy 1)
by Kevin J. Anderson & Brian Herbert

Hardback: 544 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Feb 3 2011)
Order: Amazon US | UK

Only the most desperate would ever dare to make a new home on Hellhole, a planet ravaged by natural disasters. Persistent volcanic eruptions, destructive storms and recent damage inflicted by asteroid impact make the planet a dumping ground for undesirables, misfits and charlatans. But its location out on the wild frontiers of the Constellation, among the Deep Zone worlds, makes it the final refuge for those fleeing from the rule of Diadem Michella Duchenet – a tyrant with a sweet face, but a dark and heardened heart. General Adolphus, the military leader exiled to the planet when he was defeated in the first revolution against the Diadem, is determined to transform Hellhole into a place of opportunity. While the colonists are diligently working to develop the planet, the General is forging secret alliances with the leaders of the other Deep Zone worlds. He dreams of turning his prison into the centre of a new coalition of planets free from the Diadem’s iron grip. Back on the decadent capital planet of Sonjeera, surrounded by corruption and consumed by the plots and feuds of the old guard nobles, Diadem Michella is confident that the General has been neutralized. She has no idea of the revolt growing in the Deep Zone …or does she? But what no one knows is this: the planet Hellhole, though damaged and volatile, hides secrets of historic magnitude. Lurking beneath the surface are the remnants of an obliterated alien civilization, detailing an unrecorded past, which, if unearthed, could tear the fragile human civilization apart.

Deep State (This is Not a Game 2)
by Walter Jon Williams

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Orbit (Feb 7, 2010)
Order from: Amazon US | UK

By day Dagmar Shaw orchestrates vast games with millions of players spanning continents. By night, she tries to forget the sound of a city collapsing in flames around her. She tries to forget the faces of her friends as they died in front of her. She tries to forget the blood on her own hands.

But then an old friend approaches Dagmar with a project. The project he pitches is so insane and so ambitious, she can’t possibly say no. But this new venture will lead her from the world of alternate-reality gaming to one even more complex. A world in which the players are soldiers and spies and the name of the game is survival.

Down to the Bone (Quantum Gravity 5)
by Justina Robson

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Gollancz (Feb 17) | Pyr (Aug 23)
Order from: Amazon US | UK

Lila Black faces her greatest challange yet as she takes herself, her dead lover and the AI in her head into death’s realm. The Quantum Gravity series, set in a world where our reality mixes with other dimensions that are the homes to Faeries, elementals and demons, is unique in modern SF – a series that is willing to incorporate legend, myth and magic while maintaining a rigorous approach to scientific and pyschological reality. And in Lila Black Justina Robson has created an enduringly strong yet quirkily human and flawed heroine.

Grail (Jacob’s Ladder 3)
by Elizabeth Bear

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Spectra (Feb 22, 2011)
Order from: Amazon US | UK

Rife with intrigue and betrayal, heroism and sacrifice, Grail brings Elizabeth Bear’s brilliant space opera to a triumphant conclusion.

At last the generation ship Jacob’s Ladder has arrived at its destination: the planet they have come to call Grail. But this habitable jewel just happens to be populated already: by humans who call their home Fortune. And they are wary of sharing Fortune—especially with people who have genetically engineered themselves to such an extent that it is a matter of debate whether they are even human anymore. To make matters worse, a shocking murder aboard the Jacob’s Ladder has alerted Captain Perceval and the angel Nova that formidable enemies remain hidden somewhere among the crew.

On Grail—or Fortune, rather—Premier Danilaw views the approach of the Jacob’s Ladder with dread. Behind the diplomatic niceties of first-contact protocol, he knows that the deadly game being played is likely to erupt into full-blown war—even civil war. For as he strives to chart a peaceful and prosperous path forward for his people, internal threats emerge to take control by any means necessary.

Center of Gravity (Star Carrier 2)
by Ian Douglas

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Eos (Feb 22 2011)
Order from: Amazon US | UK

In the evolution of every sentient race, there is a turning point when the species achieves transcendence through technology.

The warlike Sh’daar are determined that this monumental milestone will never be achieved by the creatures known as human.

On the far side of known human space, the Marines are under siege, battling the relentless servant races of the Sh’daar aggressor. With a task force stripped to the bone and the Terran Confederation of States racked by dissent, rogue Admiral Alexander Koenig must make the momentous decision that will seal his fate and the fate of humankind. A strong defensive posture is futile, so Koenig will seize the initiative and turn the gargantuan Star Carrier America toward the unknown. For the element of surprise is the only hope of stalling the Sh’daar assault on Earth’s solar system—and the war for humankind’s survival must be taken directly to the enemy.