This is my pick of books for November. I have taken a look at them and ordered. I will return at the beginning of it with an updated version.
Nowadays I also have an Almanac of forthcoming SF Books where you can check even further. The current Almanac goes to 2012.
Click on the cover for more details.
Let me start with the books I have on order.
Global warming has taken its terrible toll. The seas have dried up and deserts cover much of the Earth’s surface. Humankind has been annihilated by drought and the nuclear and biological conflicts following the Great Breakdown. Desperate bands of humans still survive. Some live far underground, away from the searing temperatures and ongoing conflicts on the surface; others scrape a living in the remains of shattered cities above ground. In Paris, Pierre lives like an animal among the sand-drifted ruins of the once great city. Near death, he faces a choice: join the strangers heading south in search of water, or remain in the city and perish. Guardians of the Phoenix tells the story of the last survivors on planet Earth, their desperate fight for survival and their last hope to save the world.
Author: Matt Forbeck
Paperback: 416 pages
Genre: Crime | Thriller | Science Fiction
Publisher: Angry Robot (UK: November 1, 2010 | US: December 28, 2010)
Copy: Review copy from the publisher
THE VERY BEST PERSON TO CATCH YOUR KILLER…IS YOU. Matt Forbeck arrives as the new king of high-concept – with a blockbuster action movie in a book. In the near future, scientists solve the problem of mortality by learning how to backup and restore a persons memories into a vat-bred clone. When Secret Service agent Ronan “Methusaleh” Dooley is brutally murdered, he’s brought back from the dead one more time to hunt his killer, but this time those who wanted him dead are much closer to home. FILE UNDER: Science Fiction [Future Thriller / Cheat Death / Rogue Agents / Who Killed Who?]
I love Christopher Rowley’s Netherworld series, you can read my review of the previous two books Pleasure Model and The Bloodstained Man. This is gritty, sexy noir heavy metal science fiction with illustrations.
Detective Rook Venner was a successful investigating officer for the Hudson Valley Police Department—until the General Sangacha murder case came across his desk and his world exploded. Now after being dragged through hell and back, Rook is on the run with Plesur, a Pleasure Model who is the one eyewitness to the murder. Plesur carries a secret in her brain that terrifies the powers-that-be. A secret that they will do anything to destroy—even bring in a Tactical Robotic Regiment to track Rook and Plesur down and annihilate them. The only choice the two have is to locate the coordinates that were planted in the pleasure mod’s head to the isolated mountain ridge where it all began. Deep underground, in a warren of machine halls and ice caves, something so horrific is happening that just knowing three code words is enough to get you killed: Operation Taste Imperative. Rook and Plesur have no way back and no way out. If they want to survive and have any kind of life together, they must uncover the terrifying secret that lies deep inside the mountain.
I have to confess I haven’t read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms yet but I trust the people who recommended it to me so I bought book two on trust. I will of course review as soon as it is read. Book two is in the mail.
Title: The Broken Kingdoms
Series: The Inheritance Trilogy book 2
Author: NK Jemisin
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Orbit (November 4, 2010)
In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a homeless man who glows like a living sun to her strange sight. However, this act of kindness is to engulf Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. Oree’s peculiar guest is at the heart of it, his presence putting her in mortal danger – but is it him the killers want, or Oree? And is the earthly power of the Arameri king their ultimate goal, or have they set their sights on the Lord of Night himself?
An adventure in colonization and conflict from acclaimed SF writer Pamela Sargent
Several hundred years ago, Ship, a sentient starship, settled humans on the planet Home before leaving to colonize other worlds, promising to return one day. Over time, the colony on Home divided into those who live in the original domed buildings of the colony, who maintain the library and technology of Ship, and those who live by the river, farming and hunting to survive. The Dome Dwellers consider themselves the protectors of “true humanity” and the River People “contaminated,” and the two sides interact solely through ritualized trade: food and goods from the River People in exchange for repairs and recharges by the Dome Dwellers.
Then a new light appears in the night sky. The River People believe it might be Ship, keeping its promise to return, but the Dome Dwellers, who have a radio to communicate with Ship, are silent. So Bian, a seventeen-year-old girl from a small village, travels upriver to learn what they know. As she travels through the colony of Home, gaining companions and gathering news, Bian ponders why the Dome Dwellers have said nothing. Has Ship commanded them to be silent, in preparation for some judgment on the River People? Or are the Dome Dwellers lying to Ship, turning Ship against their rivals?
Whatever the answer, life is about to change radically on both sides of the divide.
This one catched my fancy especially with the steampunk female protagonist. It is a new to me author so I don’t know for sure. I have become more convinced after reading blogger MadHatter’s review and a fictional interview with the protagonist herself.
Title: The Horns of Ruin
Author: Tim Akers
Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Pyr (November 2)
Eva Forge is the last paladin of a dead god. Morgan, god of battle and champion of the Fraterdom, was assassinated by his jealous brother, Amon. Over tome, the Cult of Morgan has surpassed by other gods, his blessings ignored in favour of brighter technologies and more mechanical miracles. Eva was the last child dedicated to the Cult of Morgan, forsaken by her parents and forgotten by her family, her Cult, crumbles all around her. When a series of kidnappings and murders makes it clear that someone is trying to hasten the death of the Cult of Morgan, Eva must seek out unexpected allies and unwelcome answers in the city of Ash. But will she be able to save the city from a growing conspiracy, one that reaches back to her childhood, even back to the murder of her god?
Humanity has expanded into the stars but at the price of its freedom. An autocratic and overbearing Government now rigidly controls every technical and scientific advancement. Deviation is punishable by death.
Out on the edges of space, criminals thwart the law, making money out of illegal tech, their ships jumping from galaxy to galaxy to avoid detection. Ex-soldier Frank Pak doesn’t care about politics or breaking the law, he just wants to keep his ship running. When he’s offered a contract to escort a runaway back home to his loving family – he doesn’t ask questions.
But his cargo is more dangerous than he realizes. Jeven Jones is no ordinary passenger. A result of illegal human experimentation, he’s a fast-tracked evolutionary leap into future. Thanks to his ability for perfect recall and a series of mental skills that he has no control over, Jones is a wanted man. The Government wants him dead. A fledgling revolution want to use him to unlock every advancement the Government has ever denied them.
If Jones lives he’ll start a war. If he dies the entire future of humanity dies with him…
Re-Releases and Omnibus
Title: Sten Omnibus 1: Battlecry
Omnibus: Sten | The Wolf Worlds | The Court of a Thousand Suns
Authors: Chris Bunch & Allan Cole
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Paperback: 800 pages
Publisher: Orbit (November 4, 2010)
Vulcan is a factory planet, centuries old, Company run, ugly as sin, and unfeeling as death. Vulcan breeds just two types of native – complacent or tough. Sten is tough. When his family is killed in a mysterious accident, Sten rebels, harassing the Company from the metal world’s endless mazelike warrens. It’s a fool’s errand, of course ? no man can stand against the might of the Company and expect to live. But Sten isn’t just any man. From the corrupt and brutal factories of Vulcan to the plots and intrigues of the Imperial Court, the galaxy is about to come face-to-face with the ultimate warrior. Sten’s already learned how to survive – now he wants more; he wants control of his own destiny. And he’ll do whatever it takes to get it. No compromise, no retreat, no surrender. Only Sten.
Other books of Interest
I like the Alex Benedict series, they are mystery novels in a hard science fiction setting about antiquities dealer Alex Benedict and his partner Chase Kolpath. But I think I will wait on the paperback on this one. I have so many unread books at the moment.
Series: Alex Benedict book 5
Author: Jack McDevitt
Genre: Hard Science Fiction
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Ace (November 2, 2010)
Eccentric Sunset Tuttle spent his life searching in vain for forms of alien life. Thirty years after his death, a stone tablet inscribed with cryptic, indecipherable symbols is found in the possession of Tuttle’s onetime lover, and antiquities dealer Alex Benedict is anxious to discover what secret the tablet holds. It could be proof that Tuttle had found what he was looking for. To find out, Benedict and his assistant embark on their own voyage of discovery-one that will lead them directly into the path of a very determined assassin who doesn’t want those secrets revealed.
Cyber Way was rather good and the Flinx and Pip books where entertaining if not great literature. I will order this one eventually even if reviews have been mixed. None of my reference reviewers has done it yet though.
Alan Dean Foster’s brilliant new novel is a near-future thriller that has all the dark humor and edgy morality of an Elmore Leonard mystery, in addition to the masterly world-building and quirky but believable characters readers expect from Foster. This gripping adventure reveals a place where criminals are punished through genetic engineering and bodily manipulation—which poses profound questions about what it means to be human. Given his name because radical surgery and implants have reduced him to preternatural thinness, Whispr is a thug. His partner in crime, Jiminy Cricket, has also been physically altered with nanocarbonic prosthetic legs and high-strength fast-twitch muscle fibers that give him great jumping abilities. In a dark alley in Savannah, Whispr and Jiminy murder what they take to be a random tourist in order to amputate and then fence his sophisticated artificial hand. But the hapless victim also happens to be carrying an unusual silver thread that appears to be some kind of storage medium. Ever quick to scent potential profit, Whispr and Jiminy grab the thread as well. Chance later deposits a wounded Whispr at the clinic of Dr. Ingrid Seastrom. Things have not gone smoothly for Whispr since he acquired the mysterious thread. Powerful forces are searching for him, and Jiminy has vanished. All Whispr wants to do is sell the thread as quickly as he can. When he offers to split the profits with Ingrid in exchange for her medical services, she makes an astonishing discovery. So begins a unique partnership. Unlike Whispr, Ingrid is a natural, with no genetic or bodily alteration. She is also a Harvard-educated physician, while Whispr’s smarts are strictly of the street variety. Yet together they make a formidable team—as long as they can elude the enhanced assassins that are tracking them.
This could be an hit or a miss, I haven’t decided yet if I should order it. It sounds interesting.
Speculative science fiction at its finest, MetaGame by Sam Landstrom is a ‘future gamers’ field guide and a philosophical cyberpunk adventure. In this original and disturbingly irreverent prospective world, gaming is more than a diversion—and gamers are, literally, in it for life. The OverSoul, an enigmatic, unifying force, offers winners points that add up to currency. Reigning champs are given the gift of immortality—while losers are condemned to aging and death. D_Light is one of the best players in his Family and will do anything to win, even if it means committing murder. When he’s invited to a MetaGame—an exclusive, high-stakes competition—he jumps at the chance. But after the first quest, D_Light’s overly ambitious ways brand him a renegade. With a warped sense of freewill that is needed to prevail, D_Light must either kill someone he’s grown to love—or lose everything.
Order from: Amazon UK
Ninety years from now, a satellite detects a nearby black hole scientists dub Kali for the Hindu goddess of destruction. Humanity embarks on a generations-long project to tap the energy of the black hole, and found colonies on planets across the solar system. Earth and Mars and the moons Europa (Jupiter) and Titan (Uranus) develop radically different societies, with only Kali, that swirling vortex of destruction and creation, and the hated but crucial Artificial Accretion Disk Development association (AADD) in common.
I discovered this one late in the game, it sounds like a YA I would like to read too. Sometimes it is fun to dive into some YA.
Title: The Painted Boy
Author: Charles de Lint
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Jay Li should be in Chicago, finishing high school and working at his family’s restaurant. Instead, as a born member of the Yellow Dragon Clan – part human, part dragon, like his grandmother – he is on a quest even he does not understand. His journey takes him to Santo del Vado Viejo in the Arizona desert, a town overrun by gangs, haunted by members of other animal clans, perfumed by delicious food, and set to the beat of Malo Malo, a barrio rock band whose female lead guitarist captures Jay’s heart. He must face a series of dangerous, otherworldly – and very human – challenges to become the man, and dragon, he is meant to be. This is Charles de Lint at his best!
Re-Releases and Omnibus
It is a good opportunity to get the prequels to the Paksenarrion novels in one volume. It might tide you over until next year when Elizabeth Moon’s next book Kings of the North (Paladin’s Legacy book 2) is released.
Title: A Legacy of Honour
Omnibus: Surrender None (1990), Liar’s Oath (1992)
Series: The Legacy of Gird (Paksenarrion Universe)
Author: Elizabeth Moon
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit (November 4, 2010)
Order from: Amazon UK
In a future age, Gird will be known as the patron saint of warriors. And although he inspired legend, he was once just a man with a cause. Poverty, fear and anger shaped Gird, as he struggled to survive under an oppressive aristocracy of mageborn magic-wielders. His innate hunger for justice and love for ‘his’ people have taken him from humble beginnings to leadership of a peasant army. Where reason has failed, it seems the only way to end tyranny is rebellion, with perhaps some help from the gods. But Gird’s fondness for drink threatens his mission and his life, as his strengths are tempered with weakness. In his passion to achieve his goals, Gird has also overlooked a great danger in his own camp. He knows his follower Luap is the bastard son of a king. But in spite of Luap’s oath to seek no throne and to renounce his mage heritage, he cannot forget his past. And this will shape the Fellowship of Gird in a way no one wanted or predicted.
Karl Schroeder’s Virga books are wonderful futuristic steampunk and I have fallen in love with the whole Virga universe. I am currently reading book 4 The Sunless Countries and I recently finished Cities of the Air, the omnibus version of Sun of Sun and Queen of Candesce. The cover is great too.
Order from: Amazon US
This is the third novel, after Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce, to be set in Virga, a bubble universe artificially separated from our own future universe. “Schroeder’s Virga series is highly reminiscent of the Golden Age of SF, when A. E. van Vogt, Isaac Asimov, and E. E. “Doc” Smith were all mixing the pulp heritage with high adventure and innovative scientific projections to create interesting worlds, peoples, and stories.” (The Sacramento Book Review).
Chaison Fanning, the admiral of a fleet of warships introduced in the first book, has been captured and imprisoned by his enemies, but is now rescued and set free. He must flee to his home city to confront the ruler who betrayed him. Perhaps while there he will also regain his lovely, powerful, and subversive wife, Venera. He has not seen her since she fled, careening off into the air of Virga, with the key to the artificial sun, Candesce, at the center of Virga. In Pirate Sun, Schroeder sets a whole new standard for hard SF space opera.