13 SF Books for the Rest of 2010

We are in the seventh month of 2010 and it’s time to focus on what is left of this year. These are my most anticipated books for the rest of the year (I have excluded July). I picked some because it is a series I am keen on continuing and some because I love the author and others because I like what I read about them.

I let my emotions guide me when it comes to the books I pick. All of them might not be great literature but I like the characters or the storyline or the wow factor. As you should know by now I like to like the characters I read, there should be some humor and friendly bantering for me to really enjoy myself. New stuff, mysteries, strange alien tech, and new races are also stuff that can get me excited. On the other hand beautiful prose gives me goose bumps.

  1. Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold on Baen, November 2 – Vorkosigan Saga Book 12
  2. Guardians of Paradise by Jaine Fenn on Gollancz, September 16 – Hidden Empires Book 3
  3. Quantum Thief by Hanu Rajaniemi by Gollancz, September 30 – Quantum Thief book 1
  4. Out of the Dark by David Weber on Tor, September 28 – Out of the Dark book 1
  5. Redoubtable by Mike Shepherd on ACE, October 26 – Kris Lingknife book 8
  6. The Technician by Neal Asher on Tor UK, August 20 – Polity Universe
  7. What Distant Deeps by David Drake on Baen, September 7 – Lt. Leary/RCN 8
  8. The Colony by Ray Harper on Book Guild Publishing, August 26
  9. The Water Rising by Sheri S. Tepper on EOS , August 31 – Plague of Angles book 2
  10. Dreadnought by Cherie Priest on Tor, September 28 – Clockwork Century
  11. The Truth of Valor by Tanya Huff  on DAW, September 7 – Confederation of Valor book 5
  12. Damage Time by Colin Harvey on Angry Robots, October 1
  13. Money Shot by Christopher Rowley on Tor, November 9 – Netherworld book 3

CryoBurn by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)

Miles Vorkosigan is one of those lovable rascals, crippled at birth in a society that used to kill babies like him, he still overcome and surpass the obstacles in his way. Too creative for the armed forces he is appointed Imperial Auditor. He is often a frustration for his leaders and seldom asks for permission. Many times he accomplishes a resolution in an unconventional way that frustrates the people around him. In the The last Vorkosigan Novel Diplomatic Immunity he went on a honeymoon with Ekaterin. I am so embedded with this series that I wouldn’t miss this one for the world.

Title: CryoBurn
Series: Vorkosigan Saga 12
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Genre: Space Opera
Hardback: 400 pages
Publisher: Baen November 2, 2010

Order from Amazon US | UK | B&N

Kibou-daini is a planet obsessed with cheating death. Barrayaran Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan can hardly disapprove—he’s been cheating death his whole life, on the theory that turnabout is fair play. But when a Kibou-daini cryocorp—an immortal company whose job it is to shepherd its all-too-mortal frozen patrons into an unknown future—attempts to expand its franchise into the Barrayaran Empire, Emperor Gregor dispatches his top troubleshooter Miles to check it out.

On Kibou-daini, Miles discovers generational conflict over money and resources is heating up, even as refugees displaced in time skew the meaning of generation past repair. Here he finds a young boy with a passion for pets and a dangerous secret, a Snow White trapped in an icy coffin who burns to re-write her own tale, and a mysterious crone who is the very embodiment of the warning Don’t mess with the secretary. Bribery, corruption, conspiracy, kidnapping—something is rotten on Kibou-daini, and it isn’t due to power outages in the Cryocombs. And Miles is in the middle—of trouble!

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Guardians of Paradise by Jaine Fenn (Gollancz)

Jaine writes wonderful books. Her world-building and characterization is lifelike, different and a joy to read. I see the protagonists in her novels grow and become more, much more than they were before. There is a great historical mystery at the bottom of this series, The Sidhe was defeated in a revolution and thought to be extinct but we learn very early in the series that that is not the case. Book three brings the characters from book one and two together. Jaine write this on her homepage about the characters in this novel  “A desire for justice and a drive to survive are all very well, but the bigger picture is more complex than our heroes have considered, and it’s largely painted in shades of grey. Then again, some secrets are so dark that genocide isn’t too great a price to pay to keep them contained”. That sounds intriguing.

Each novel in the Hidden Empire series is self-contained, though certain locations and characters re-occur, and the books come together to tell a larger story. Next in the series after this one are Bringer of Light (2011) and Queen of Nowhere (2012) they will be sold under her new name J. N. Fenn. I thought we were moving beyond the time when female writers had to have male names to sell more copies, but apparently not.

Title: Guardians of Paradise
Series: Hidden Empire 3
Author: Jaine Fenn
Genre: Space Opera
Hardback: 352 pages
Publisher: Gollancz (September 16)

Order from: Gollancz | Amazon US | UK | sfbok

Most people believe the Sidhe are long dead, exterminated centuries ago when the males of the race rose up and fought alongside the humans subjugated and enslaved by the female Sidhe. But Jarek Reen knows better: he’s discovered, the painful way, that the Sidhe are alive and well, and still screwing over humanity. They’ve already killed his sister, so he’s not surprised when he discovers an old friend and her partner are next on the Sidhe’s hitlist. He helps not only to foil the assassination attempt, but also to muddy the scene of the crime, leaving the Angels Nual and Taro sanMalia presumed dead – and free to join his crusade to expose the insidious influence of the Sidhe, and their evil plans to enslave the human race again. Their mission takes them across human-space, from utilitarian hub-points to rich, exotic planets – where they discover that a brilliant vacation spot hides some of the darkest secrets of all. And that’s when they discover how easy it is for the hunters to become the hunted …

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Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi (Gollancz)

I first heard about Hannu’s fantastic book deal with Gollancz, they signed him for three books after reading just one chapter of the first book, but after listening to His Master’s Voice By Hannu Rajaniemi on Escape Pod 227 I totally understand why John Jarrold signed Hannu.

To quot myself about His Master’s Voice:

The story is fantastic and makes you interested in more, the world is a singularity one where humans have evolved and can make copies of their own minds. Unrestricted copy led to the creation of Plurals some of which evolved to transhuman civilizations out among the stars. Now human law limits every human to one copy at a time. The master breaks the law and is sentenced to a virtual prison. It’s from there the animals have to rescue him.

The language in the story is poetic and it sounds fantastic coming from someone not born to the language. The story hints on things that might be in Hannu’s upcoming novel. There is a war going on among the stars and it’s there the small animal are going, to the Big Dogs. The story is also amusing and fun, imagine the dog becomes a musician to earn money and the cat had a gladiator career that lasted a while.

I have only one word for this story: Epic

I know quite a few book bloggers that also have The Quantum Thief in their pick for 2010 too.

Title: The Quantum Thief
Series: The Quantum Thief Trilogy book 1
Author: Hannu Rajaniemi
Genre: Space Opera
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Gollancz (30 September) | Tor (May 2011)

Order from: Gollancz | Amazon UK | sfbok

Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy – from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to steal their thoughts, to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of the Moving Cities of Mars. Except that Jean made one mistake. Now he is condemned to play endless variations of a game-theoretic riddle in the vast virtual jail of the Axelrod Archons – the Dilemma Prison – against countless copies of himself. Jean’s routine of death, defection and cooperation is upset by the arrival of Mieli and her spidership, Perhonen. She offers him a chance to win back his freedom and the powers of his old self – in exchange for finishing the one heist he never quite managed . . . The Quantum Thief is a dazzling hard SF novel set in the solar system of the far future – a heist novel peopled by bizarre post-humans but powered by very human motives of betrayal, revenge and jealousy. It is a stunning debut.

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Out of the Dark by David Weber (Tor)

At first I didn’t know if I should be outraged that David Weber jumped on the vampire bandwagon or be delighted that he was starting a new series. By what I have been able to find out it sound like we and the vampires stand alone against an alien onslaught. I am not totally happy about it but the idea is intriguing David has yet to write something I don’t like.

It is built on a short story with the same name published in the anthology Warriors edited by G. R. R. Martin and Gardener Duzois published by Tor Books March 2010.

Title: Out of the Dark
Series: Out of the Dark book 1
Author: David Weber
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Tor September 28, 2010

Order from: Tor | Amazon USUKB&N

Earth is conquered. The Shongairi have arrived in force, and humanity’s cities lie in radioactive ruins. In mere minutes, over half the human race has died.

Now Master Sergeant Stephen Buchevsky, who thought he was being rotated home from his latest tour in Afghanistan, finds himself instead prowling the back country of the Balkans, dodging alien patrols and trying to organize the scattered survivors without getting killed.

His chances look bleak. The aliens have definitely underestimated human tenacity–but no amount of heroism can endlessly hold off overwhelming force.

Then, emerging from the mountains and forests of Eastern Europe, new allies present themselves to the ragtag human resistance. Predators, creatures of the night, human in form but inhumanly strong. Long Enemies of humanity… until now. Because now is the time to defend Earth.

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Redoubtable by Mike Shepherd (ACE)

Kris Longknife is a formidable woman with a knack for getting in trouble and getting out. She is one of them Longknifes and if life wasn’t enough complicated being an officer in the navy; the society of humanity dissolve and her grandpa is named King making her a reluctant princess. The Peterwald family with their long standing grudge with the Longknife set up their own little pocket empire and starts to make life for Kris and her family difficult. Lots of humor and fantastic characters. I love this series and the characters in them so this is a must.

Upcoming after this one is Daring in October 2011 and Furious in 2012. The titles are only preliminary expect changes, Redoubtable changed name at least once the last year.

Title: Redoubtable
Series: Kris Longknife book 8
Author: Mike Shepherd
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: ACE, October 26

Order from: Amazon USUKB&N | sfbok

Lieutenant Commander Kris Longknife has precise orders: seek out, engage,and destroy pirates, slavers, and drug lords operating beyond the rim of human space—without interfering in Peterwald family affairs. But when slavers kidnap a twelve-year-old girl, Kris’s mission becomes personal. And if destroying the pirate compound flattens some Peterwald interests—well, to hell with politics.

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The Technician by Neal Asher (Tor)

My experience with Neal Asher so far has strictly been with his Agent Cormac series which takes place in the same universe like this one. Fact is that most of the books have part of their action on Masada. So even if I might not see Cormac here it is connected to the story before. Plus the cover is awesome.

One thing that bothers me is that it is so hard to find Neal’s books in the US; somebody should do something about that. They are missing out.

Read my reviews of the Cormac series: Shadow of the Scorpion | Grindlinked | The Line of the Polity | Brass ManPolity Agent | Line War

Title: The Technician
Universe: Polity Universe
Author: Neal Asher
Genre: Space Opera
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Tor UK, 20 Aug 2010

Order from: Tor UK | Amazon USUK | sfbok

The Theocracy has been dead for twenty years, and the Polity rules on Masada. But the Tidy Squad consists of rebels who cannot accept the new order. Their hate for surviving theocrats is undiminished, and the iconic Jeremiah Tombs is at the top of their hitlist.

Escaping his sanatorium Tombs is pushed into painful confrontation with reality he has avoided since the rebellion. His insanity has been left uncured, because the near mythical hooder called the Technician that attacked him all those years ago, did something to his mind even the AIs fail to understand. Tombs might possess information about the suicide of an entire alien race.

The war drone Amistad, whose job it is to bring this information to light, recruits Lief Grant, an ex-rebel Commander, to protect Tombs, along with the black AI Penny Royal, who everyone thought was dead. The amphidapt Chanter, who has studied the bone sculptures the Technician makes with the remains of its prey, might be useful too.

Meanwhile, in deep space, the mechanism the Atheter used to reduce themselves to animals, stirs from slumber and begins to power-up its weapons.

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What Distant Deeps by David Drake (Baen)

Captain Daniel Leary and his friend the formidable Adele Mundy and their military adventures in the Royal Cinnabar Navy. David Drake rewrites historical battles and wars and makes beautiful military science fiction out of it. Adele is a really cool character with an interesting background, her whole family was persecuted and killed for treason and she is the lone survivor, now a scholar with spectacular information handling skills and uncanny shooting skills. She becomes the unlikely best friend of Daniel Leary. This is the type of character chemistry I love to read.

Title: What Distant Deeps
Series: Lt. Leary/RCN book 8
Author: David Drake
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Baen, Spetember 7

Excerpts: Chapter 1-12

Order from: Amazon USUK | B&N | sfbok


Captain Daniel Leary and his friend, the spy Adele Mundy, have been in the front lines of Cinnabar’s struggle against the totalitarian Alliance. Now these galactic superpowers have signed a peace of mutual exhaustion–  But the jackals are moving in!

The Republic of Cinnabar was on the verge of collapse under the weight of taxes, casualties, and war’s disruption of trade. That the Alliance of Free Stars was in even worse condition helped only because it has made peace possible.

Years of war have been hard on Daniel and harder still on Adele, whose life outside information-gathering is a tightrope between despair and deadly violence. Their masters in the RCN and the Republic’s intelligence service have sent them to the fringes of human space to relax away from danger.

But the barbarians of the outer reaches have their own plans, plans which will bring down both Cinnabar and the Alliance. The enemies of peace include traitors, giant reptiles, and barbarian pirates whose ships can outsail even Daniel Leary’s splendid corvette, the Princess Cecile.

Unless Daniel, Adele, and their unlikely allies succeed, galactic civilization will disintegrate into blood and chaos. So they will succeed— or they’ll die trying!

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The Colony by Ray Harper (Book Guild Publishing)

This one just sounded interesting I enjoyed Karen Traviss’ green science fiction the Wess’har Wars series and therefore I think this could be something for me. This is also his debut novel.

The author himself also sounds interesting: Ray Harper, originally from Worcestershire, is Senior Lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, lecturing in biochemistry, biotechnology, computer applications, genetics and molecular biology. He has carried out research and consultancy work in adipose tissue metabolism, cell immobilisation and the development of World Wide Web-based assessment systems and virtual learning environments. He has published a number of lectures and articles in learned journals.

Title: The Colony
Author: Ray Harper
Genre: Green Science Fiction
Hardcover: 228 pages
Publisher: Book Guild Publishing, August 26

Order from: Book Guild Publishing | Amazon USUK

It is the future. Earth is overpopulated and running out of food. Starvation is rife. Everywhere society is disintegrating, with wars and civil unrest. The need to find new worlds to colonise is paramount.

A new planet is discovered, surveyed, found to be suitable, and the first wave of colonists arrive, joined by the survey scientist, Linstrom. Initially, he is resented as an outsider, especially by the colonists’ leader, Jon Williams, who sees him as a possible rival. The colony quickly expands, felling trees and planting crops, hunting and fishing and exploring the hinterland. The colonists also begin to use newly developed human-cloning techniques to rapidly expand the population.

Also on this planet, but unknown to the settlers, are the Monitors, intelligent clones left behind by a departed civilisation to safeguard the planet’s ecology and protect it from despoliation and development. They have the new colony under observation, and they do not like what they see …

The Colony belongs in the classic tradition of science fiction grounded in real scientific and technological knowledge and expertise, but enriched with true story-telling art. It marks the debut of a new, exciting talent.

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The Water Rising by Sheri S. Tepper (EOS)

I am about to make a review of A Plague of Angels before this one get out (expect it in August closer to the release). I have enjoyed everything I read by her so far, she has a talent for surprises and well developed characters. I know she is not for everyone, she can be something of an eco-feminist at times but I like her well enough.

Title: The Waters Rising
Series: Plague of Angels book 2
Author: Sheri S. Tepper
Genre: Feminist Science Fiction Fantasy
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: EOS, August 31 | Gollancz, January 2011 (UK)

Order from: Gollancz | Amazon USUK | B&N

The long-awaited and much-demanded sequel to A PLAGUE OF ANGELS, continuing the story of Abasio, once a farmboy, now, so Blue, his talking horse, is happy to inform people, a man who goes hither and thither helping orphans in this world where renascent mythical beasts and fairy tale ‘archetypes’ now live. . . . And when he comes agross little Xulai from Tingawan, one of the Ten Thousand Islands, far across the western Sea, she informs him that she too is an orphan, and implores his help carrying out the last request of the Princess Xu-i-lok, who has been dying since the day she married Duke Justinian, who refused the royal order to marry Alicia, the Prince’s sister. Xulai is Princess Xu-i-lok’s Soul Carrier, and the task she must complete means visiting the scary forest in the dead of night – but it is the only thing that will bring the princess a measure of peace. Abasio, helper of orphans, promises though she must do this alone, he will be near, to aid her if necessary . . . and it is, for there are dark things abroad . . . And Xulai’s job is not yet done, for with the princess now dead, the grieving Duke is left a widower – and Alicia, Duchess Altamont, still wishes to marry him. It’s not just the man she wants, but his lands too . . . and her plans do not bode well for anyone except her . . .

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Dreadnought by Cherie Priest (Tor)

I recently read Boneshaker, Cherie’s first book in the Clockwork Century Series and I am really looking forward to the second, Dreadnought (Clementine also takes place in the same series but that was a limited edition that I unfortunately didn’t get any of, a normal release of it will be out in 2011). I especially like the strong female protagonist in Boneshaker and hope for something similar here.

Title: Dreadnought
Universe: Clockwork Century
Author: Cherie Priest
Genre: Steampunk
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Tor Books, September 28
Excerpt: Chapter 1

Order from: Tor Forge | Amazon US | UK | B&N

Nurse Mercy Lynch is elbows deep in bloody laundry at a war hospital in Richmond, Virginia, when Clara Barton comes bearing bad news: Mercy’s husband has died in a POW camp. On top of that, a telegram from the west coast declares that her estranged father is gravely injured, and he wishes to see her. Mercy sets out toward the Mississippi River. Once there, she’ll catch a train over the Rockies and—if the telegram can be believed—be greeted in Washington Territory by the sheriff, who will take her to see her father in Seattle.

Reaching the Mississippi is a harrowing adventure by dirigible and rail through war-torn border states. When Mercy finally arrives in St. Louis, the only Tacoma-bound train is pulled by a terrifying Union-operated steam engine called the Dreadnought. Reluctantly, Mercy buys a ticket and climbs aboard.

What ought to be a quiet trip turns deadly when the train is beset by bushwhackers, then vigorously attacked by a band of Rebel soldiers. The train is moving away from battle lines into the vast, unincorporated west, so Mercy can’t imagine why they’re so interested. Perhaps the mysterious cargo secreted in the second and last train cars has something to do with it?

Mercy is just a frustrated nurse who wants to see her father before he dies. But she’ll have to survive both Union intrigue and Confederate opposition if she wants to make it off the Dreadnought alive.

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The Truth of Valor by Tanya Huff (DAW)

I enjoyed the other novels in the Confederation of Valor Series especially the dialog is to die for. It is witty and the characters banter and rant in the most delightful way. The main character is Torin Kerr, she starts out as a Staff Sergeant and gradually rise through the ranks until she leaves and begin life as a prospector together with the man of her life. She and her fellow humans are employed by elder alien races to fight in their war. Humanity seems to have been duped much like in John Ringo’s Posleen universe. The big arc in the series is about that. There was some decline in my enjoyment in the series in the last books so I hope for a revival of the shock and awe of the first book here.

Read my thoughts on the previous books: Valor’s Choice | Better Part of Valor | The Heart of Valor | Valor’s Trial

Title: The Truth of Valor
Series: Confederation of Valor/Torin Kerr book 5
Author: Tanya Huff
Cover art: Paul Youll – Preliminary artwork
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: DAW September 7

Order from: DAW | Amazon USUK | B&Nsfbok

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Damage Time by Colin Harvey (Angry Robot)

I enjoyed his previous novel Winter Song very much so this one I picked because I want to read something more of Colin Harvey.

Title: Damage Time
Author: Colin Harvey
Genre: Future Crime | Science Fiction
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Angry Robot October 1

Order from: Amazon USUK | B&N

Rock-hard SF Thriller from the author of Winter Song: no-one here gets out alive. It’s 2050 and sea-levels have swamped today’s coastal regions. New York City is protected by tidal barriers and the USA is bankrupt. Detective Pervez (Pete) Shah serves with the NYPD’s Web Crimes Division as a Memory Association Specialist. When he’s accused of murdering a glamorous woman in a bar, he must find the killer, save himself … and the world.

FILE UNDER: Science Fiction [Future Crime / Memory Specialist / Run for your Life / World in Danger]

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Money Shot by Christopher Rowley (Tor)

The Netherworld series is Heavy Metal Pulp, a hybrid between novel and graphic novel with violent and adult content so it might not be for everyone. I however am delightfully fascinated with these futuristic hardboiled-noir detective novels, maybe it is the teenager in me? It’s a series that well illustrates many of the moral issues that can arise with cloning and gene modifications; where does life become human? The protagonist is Detective Rook and he is accompanied by Pleasur a chipped-up pleasure model with programmed secrets and a Julia a dominatrix on the run.

My reviews of the previous Netherworld books: Pleasure Model | The Bloodstained Man

Rowley’s homepage www.christopherrowley.net contains a Netherworld Web Project with 28 slightly different chapters compared to book one that has 21. The texts are without the delightfully noir illustrations. There is also world building notes in the  ‘Need to Know‘ section.

Title: Money Shot
Series: Netherworld book 3
Author: Christopher Rowley
Genre: Heavy Metal | Cyberpunk | Noir
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Tor (Heavy Metal Pulp) November 9

Order from: Tor | Amazon USUK

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.

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