New SFF Books May 2011 [My Picks]

It is time to order books now and I would like to bring my favorite new releases for May to your attention. I will be back at the turn of the month with an update.

Please check Almanac of forthcoming SF Books for future releases.


Fuzzy Nation

by John Scalzi – Tor, May 10 – Amazon USUK

John Scalzi is one of my absolute favorite authors and this year he launches a new series. It is a safe bet that anything by Scalzi would rank high on my expectations. He is witty and funny and his writing has an edge to it. To quote John: It’s a reboot of the Hugo-nominated 1962 science fiction novel Little Fuzzy, by H. Beam Piper. I took the original plot and characters of Little Fuzzy and wrote an entirely new story from and with them. The novel doesn’t follow on from the events of Little Fuzzy; it’s a new interpretation of that first story and a break from the continuity that H. Beam Piper established in Little Fuzzy and its sequels. The first book Fuzzy Nation will be released on the 10th of May the author’s birthday. Nice!

Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn’t care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp’s headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation’s headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that’s not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there’s another wrinkle to ZaraCorp’s relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped—trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute—shows up at Jack’s outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp’s claim to a planet’s worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the “fuzzys” before their existence becomes more widely known.


The Noise Revealed (The Noise Within 2)

by Ian Whates – Solaris April 26 (us), May 2 (uk) – Amazon USUK

Ian Whates‘ debuted with two novels last year, one fantasy and one science fiction. I only read The Noise Within not knowing it was the first in a series with the same name. The Noise Revealed continues the story of black ops specialist Jim Leyton as he clashes with alien and human conspiracies. And there is a love interest in this one.

A time of flux, a time of change…

While mankind is adjusting to its first ever encounter with an alien civilisation – the Byrzaens – black ops specialist Jim Leyton reluctantly allies himself with the mysterious habitat in order to rescue the woman he loves. This brings him into direct conflict with his former employers: the United League of Allied Worlds government. Scientist and businessman Philip Kaufman is fast discovering there is more to the virtual world than he ever realised. Yet it soon becomes clear that all is not well within the realm of Virtuality. Truth is hidden beneath lies and there are games being played, deadly games with far reaching consequences. Both men begin to suspect that the much heralded ‘First Contact’ is anything but first contact, and that a sinister con is being perpetrated with the whole of humankind as the victim. Now all they have to do is prove it.


City of Ruins (Diving Universe 2)

by Kristine Kathryn Rusch – Pyr, May 24 – Amazon USUK

I like strong female protagonists and Boss is one of them. Diving into the Wreck was the first in the series and City of Ruins in May continues the story about the mysterious stealth technology she first found on the Destiny ship in the first story. It is kind of weird to read a whole novel and never learn the real name of the main character but it works well for Kristine Kathryn Rush.

Boss, a loner, loved to dive derelict spacecraft adrift in the blackness of space. But one day, she found a ship that would change everything–an ancient Dignity Vessel–and aboard the ship, the mysterious and dangerous Stealth Tech. Now, years after discovering that first ship, Boss has put together a large company which finds Dignity Vessels and finds “loose” stealth technology.

Following a hunch, Boss and her team come to investigate the city of Vaycehn, where fourteen archeologists have died exploring the endless caves below the city. Mysterious “death holes” explode into the city itself for no apparent reason, and Boss believes stealth tech is involved. As Boss searches for the answer to the mystery of the death holes, she will uncover the answer to her Dignity Vessel quest as well—and one more thing, something so important that it will change her life—and the universe—forever…



by China Miéville – Tor UK, May 6 | Del Rey, May 17 – Amazon USUK

The City and the City was not bad especially consider all the prizes it won last year so who am I not to dive in when China Miéville goes for real scifi with Embassytown in May. Alien cultures and languages clash from the looks of it.

Embassytown: a city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe.

Avice is an immerser, a traveller on the immer, the sea of space and time below the everyday, now returned to her birth planet. Here on Arieka, humans are not the only intelligent life, and Avice has a rare bond with the natives, the enigmatic Hosts – who cannot lie.

Only a tiny cadre of unique human Ambassadors can speak Language, and connect the two communities. But an unimaginable new arrival has come to Embassytown. And when this Ambassador speaks, everything changes.

Catastrophe looms. Avice knows the only hope is for her to speak directly to the alien Hosts.

And that is impossible.


The Deserter (The Bone World 2)

by Peader Ó Guilín – David Fickling 2011 – Amazon UK

The blurb and the cover caught my interest and I am reading The Inferior right now and liking it.

The humans are weak and vulnerable. Soon the beasts that share their stone-age world will kill and eat them. To save his tribe, Stopmouth must make his way to the Roof, the mysterious hi-tech world above the surface.

But the Roof has its own problems. The nano technology that controls everything from the environment to the human body is collapsing. A virus has already destroyed the Upstairs, sending millions of refugees to seek shelter below. And now a rebellion against the Commission, organized by the fanatical Religious, is about to break.

Hunted by the Commission’s Elite Agents through the overcrowded, decaying city of the future, Stopmouth must succeed in a hunt of his own: to find the secret power hidden in the Roof’s computerized brain, and return to his people before it is too late.

Peadar Ó Guilín has followed his extraordinary debut The Inferior with an equally original and pulse-racing sequel in which human primitivism collides with futuristic technology.

The Hot Gate (Troy Rising 3)

by John Ringo – Baen – Amazon US | UK

Troy Rising is an entertaining military science fiction series by John Ringo that premiered last year. He is also a productive author that brings two new books to the series this year  Citadel and The Hot Gate in January and May respective. Live Free or Die had a lot of humor in it and I anticipate the same in these new ones.

The fight to free the Earth from alien domination began in Live Free or Die, and continued in Citadel. Now Tyler Vernon, and his troops aboard the gigantic battle station Troy, face a desperate battle with the forces of galactic tyranny. And the very survival of the Earth and its people is not all that is at stake. The galaxy itself must choose to live free or die-and if the tyrants win this battle, darkness will fall across the galaxy for millennia to come.


The Rogue (Traitor Spy Trilogy 2)

by Trudi Canavan – Orbit, May 5 (UK) 11(US) – Amazon USUK

Trudi Canavan is another entertaining fantasy writer. The Magician’s Apprentice was in fact the first book I read this decade. It was maybe the best book of her that I have read.I am following another series of hers The Traitor’s Trilogy, the follow up to The Black Magician TrilogyThe Ambassador’s Mission was the first and in May the second book The Rogue comes out. The tale about the Traitors continues with Sonea trying to fight the Rogue loose in her city while her son Lorkin does his best to learn about the Traitors and their unique magic.

Living among the Sachakan rebels, Lorkin does his best to learn about them and their unique magic. But the Traitors are reluctant to trade their knowledge for the Healing they so desperately want and, while he assumes they fear revealing their existence to the world, there are hints they have bigger plans. Sonea searches for the rogue, knowing that Cery cannot avoid assassination for ever, but the rogue’s influence over the city’s underworld is far greater than she feared. His only weakness is the loss of his mother, now locked away in the Lookout. In Sachaka, Dannyl has lost the respect of the Sachakan elite for letting Lorkin join the Traitors. The Ashaki’s attention has shifted, instead, to the new Elyne Ambassador, a man Dannyl knows all too well. And in the University, two female novices are about to remind the Guild that sometimes their greatest enemy is found within.


Other Interesting New Releases