Jul 282010
 

Title: Pathfinder
Series: Major Ariane Kedros book 3
Author: Laura E. Reeve
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Roc 2010

Order from: Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

Wars may end. But vengeance is forver.

Reserve Major Ariane Kedros needs a shot at redemption-and the mysterious aliens known as the Minoans need an extraordinary human pilot with a rejuv-stimulated metabolism like Ariane for a dangerous expedition to a distant solar system. But there’s a catch. The Minoans have to implant their technology in Ariane’s body, and it might not be removable. Ariane is willing, but as she begins the perilous journey, there is an old enemy hiding within the exploration team who is determined to see them fail…

Information

Major Ariane Kedros is back as the guilt ridden heroine here in a new book that is mostly about the aftermath of the last book where she saved the system from destruction when she pushed a terrorist temporal bomb into N-space where it went off.

The alien culture that gave humanity the temporal technology to reach the stars is called Minoans since they share symbols from the Greek equivalent. Generation ships travel from star to star setting up Temporal Buoys as they go binding worlds together with FTL travel.

The Consortium of Autonomous Worlds was formed by the outermost colonies and their war with the Terran Expansion League (XL) ended less than 20 years ago. Major Ariane Kedros was pilot on the ship that deployed the Temporal Displacement Weapon that ended the war. Now she and everyone in their line of command have been given new identities by the government. Terra has declared them all war criminals but her identity is known to some Terran officials and attempts have been made on her life. What really ended the war was the Minoans declaring Pax Minoan and outlawed the use of Temporal Displacement Weapons, and the humans damn better follow it.

The Author

Laura is a great world builder. Her Minoan Space is greatly influenced by Greek culture and the alien are alien. I really like the characterization in her books too. It took me a while before I started reading her first book Peacekeeper, the cover and everything said yet another military science fiction with the usual female protagonist, love story, alien artifacts, and bad memories from the war, misunderstood and under appreciated military until I started reading. Her books are nothing like that, her characters are real people and the society around them is plausible in a refreshingly new way.

World Building

We knew from before that the very advanced and old ancient race that is called the Minoans has been around a long time and here we learn more about them. This is something I like reading about, alien mysteries that are slowly revealed.

As usual much of the plot centers around politics and clandestine maneuvers in the dark by the main powers but there is a shift in this book over to something different.

Plot

Most of the ‘action’ in this book centers around the inquiry into what went on the last book. That might sound boring but it is not. Laura makes it all come to life and become interesting. It should be noted that she served as a Military Inspector.

All the fractions involved have their own hidden agendas even the Minoans and Ariane is at the center of it.

In the end of the book and far, far less than the synopsis make likely she takes on a mission involving yet another mysterious alien race called the Builders. The ones that built that powered down Temporal Buoy is of interests to the Minoans so they hire Ariane to go.

Much is revealed on that trip, there is a conspiracy to kill Ariane but this time there is something much bigger going on that will have consequences for the next couple of books.

Characterization

This is Laura’s strength, her characters pop out of the pages likable, lifelike, imperfect and driven. There is as usual a love story here between Ariane and her boss, but I am afraid we are in for the long run there.

The illegal AI they have in their ship is getting more and more interesting, I have this thing for sentient ships since Mutineers’ Moon.

My View

Pathfinder is a great military science fiction with a little less action than I expected especially since reading the synopsis that only feels like 15% right (this is not the writers fault, I blame the publishers for that). I continue to love the setting and the characters and can’t wait on the next book.

Related Posts

Jul 012010
 

Lets have a look at July for books. I usually check my pre-orders mid June and then revisit the list around the start of July. These are the books I am interested in. I try to put new never before published books here, for me there is no difference if the book is first published in the US, UK or in Australia. The delivery time to the far north is about the same. So we are going for world’s first here.

This month holds some very anticipated books, two of them where on my list of New SF to Read 2010 in January. Honor Harrington is one of the most popular science fiction characters out there and David Weber [profile] is one of my favorite authors. Mission of Honor is the next main story novel and I can’t wait to get my hands on it (it is in transit atm, curse the slow mail service). The other book is Pathfinder by Laura E. Reeve [profile]. Her writing is influenced by Greek culture and feels refreshing and new. This time Ariane Kedros has a mission from the mysterious Minoans, I have been waiting since book one for her to go exploring again.

I realized I was missing out on Karl Schroeder who I haven’t read since Permanence (great book by the way). That book needs company on it’s shelf  and the Virgo setting in its steampunk pocket universe sounded too good to resist. Gibson and Wooding have been on my radar for a while now so I felt it was time for a sample. Howard Birnberg is more of a shot in the dark from my side, I liked the blurb, hope it is good.

Since last time I also decided I need the new Ian McDonald – Dervish House.

The Puppets Masters is a book that has been with me from adolescence. It is a fun read and you should get a copy if you don’t own one.

And I always use the Publishers dates when release dates don’t match between the online stores and publisher, unless I know otherwise (like the book is in the mail from the store).

These are my recommendations for July

On Order

Title: Mission of Honor
Series: Honor Harrington 12
Author: David Weber
Genre: Military Science Fiction | Space Opera
Publisher: Baen
Hardcover: 864 pages
Buy:  Amazon
US | UK | B&N | sfbok

A new main story Honor Harrington is a must read for me, cant wait. It is on my list of New SF books to read in 2010.

The Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Republic of Haven have been enemies for Honor Harrington’s entire life, and she has paid a price for the victories she’s achieved in that conflict. And now the unstoppable juggernaut of the mighty Solarian League is on a collision course with Manticore. The millions who have already died may have been only a foretaste of the billions of casualties just over the horizon, and Honor sees it coming.

She’s prepared to do anything, risk anything, to stop it, and she has a plan that may finally bring an end to the Havenite Wars and give even the Solarian League pause. But there are things not even Honor knows about. There are forces in play, hidden enemies in motion, all converging on the Star Kingdom of Manticore to crush the very life out of it, and Honor’s worst nightmares fall short of the oncoming reality.

But Manticore’s enemies may not have thought of everything after all. Because if everything Honor Harrington loves is going down to destruction, it won’t be going alone.

Title: Pathfinder
Series: Major Ariane Kedros 3
Author: Laura E. Reeve
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Paperback 336 pages
Publisher:  ROC 6 July 2010
Order from: ROC | Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

Pathfinder is on my most anticipated books list for 2010.

Reserve Major Ariane Kedros needs a shot at redemption-and the mysterious aliens known as the Minoans need an extraordinary human pilot with a rejuv-stimulated metabolism like Ariane for a dangerous expedition to a distant solar system. But there’s a catch. The Minoans have to implant their technology in Ariane’s body, and it might not be removable. Ariane is willing, but as she begins the perilous journey, there is an old enemy hiding within the exploration team who is determined to see them fail…

Title: Empire of Light
Series: Stealing Light 3 | Shoal Sequence 3
Author: Gary Gibson
Genre: Space Opera
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Tor UK 2 Jul 2010
Order from: Tor | Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

The nova war has begun to spread as the Emissaries wage a fierce and reckless campaign, encroaching on the area of space occupied by humanity and forcing the Shoal into a desperate retreat. While Dakota goes in search of the entity responsible for creating the Maker caches, Corso, left in charge of a fleet of human-piloted Magi ships, finds his authority crumbling in the face of assassination attempts and politically-motivated sabotage.

If any hope exists at all, it lies in an abandoned asteroid a thousand light-years beyond the Consortium’s borders, and with Ty Whitecloud, the only man alive with the skill to decipher the messages left behind by an ancient race of star travellers. Unfortunately Whitecloud is locked in a prison cell aboard a dying coreship adrift in space, awaiting execution for war crimes against Corso’s own people. But if humanity has any hope of survival, Corso is going to have to find some way to keep him alive – and that’s only if Dakota doesn’t kill him first …

Title: The Dervish House
Author: Ian Mcdonald
Hardcover: 410 | 480 pages
Publisher: Pyr 27 July 2010 | Gollancz 29 July 2010
Order from: Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

In the CHAGA novels Ian McDonald brought an Africa in the grip of a bizarre alien invasion to life, in RIVER OF GODS he painted a rich portrait of India in 2047, in BRASYL he looked at different Brazils, past present and future. Ian McDonald has found renown at the cutting edge of a movement to take SF away from its British and American white roots and out into the rich cultures of the world. THE DERVISH HOUSE continues that journey and centres on Istanbul in 2025. Turkey is part of Europe but sited on the edge, it is an Islamic country that looks to the West. THE DERVISH HOUSE is the story of the families that live in and around its titular house, it is at once a rich mosaic of Islamic life in the new century and a telling novel of future possibilities.

Title: The Black Lung Captain
Series: Tales of the Ketty Jay 2
Author: Chris Wooding
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Gollancz 29 July 2010
Order from: Gollancz | Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

Darian Frey is down on his luck. He can barely keep his squabbling crew fed and his rickety aircraft in the sky. Even the simplest robberies seem to go wrong. It’s getting so a man can’t make a dishonest living any more. Enter Captain Grist. He’s heard about a crashed aircraft laden with the treasures of a lost civilisation, and he needs Frey’s help to get it. There’s only one problem. The craft is lying in the trackless heart of a remote island, populated by giant beasts and subhuman monsters. Dangerous, yes. Suicidal, perhaps. Still, Frey’s never let common sense get in the way of a fortune before. But there’s something other than treasure on board that aircraft. Something that a lot of important people would kill for. And it’s going to take all of Frey’s considerable skill at lying, cheating and stealing if he wants to get his hands on it . . . Strap yourself in for another tale of adventure and debauchery, pilots and pirates, golems and daemons, double-crosses and double-double-crosses. The crew of the Ketty Jay are back!

Title: The Genius Gene
Series: Catherine Fox Trilogy 1
Author: Howard Birnberg
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Book Guild Ltd 29 July 2010
Order from: Book Guild | Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

Einstein, Newton, Da Vinci. The names are synonymous with genius; however, is genius nurtured or does nature provide it? In the fictional scientific thriller, The Genius Gene, young geneticist Catherine Fox has the surprising answer. She has discovered a source of genius in our genes. Unfortunately, her former mentor and spurned lover, Nobel Prize-winning geneticist, Stephen Yates would do anything to obtain her confidential research. Backed by greedy pharmaceutical companies, Yates has become corrupt and he wants to engineer the genius gene into the unborn children of wealthy parents. The time is the mid-21st century and Stephen has established clinics to design the genome of children according to their parents’ preferences. Catherine calls these offspring ‘Frankenstein children’ and she fears the creation of a master race. Her research may make this possible and she struggles to prevent Yates from learning the workings of the genius gene. Unknown to Catherine, there are other secrets to protect. On the eve of crucial hearings on legalizing Yates’ process, he vanishes and Catherine becomes a suspect in his disappearance.

On Order New ReReleases

Virga: Cities of the Air
Series: Virga
Omnibus: Sun of Suns (2006), Queen of Canedsce (2007)
Author: Karl Schroeder
Paperback: 592 pages
Publisher: Tor 6 July 2010
Order from: Tor | Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

Sun of Suns – It is the distant future. The world known as Virga is a fullerene balloon three thousand kilometers in diameter, filled with air, water, and aimlessly floating chunks of rock. The humans who live in this vast environment must build their own fusion suns and “towns” that are in the shape of enormous wood and rope wheels that are spun for gravity.

Young, fit, bitter, and friendless, Hayden Griffin is a very dangerous man. He’s come to the city of Rush in the nation of Slipstream with one thing in mind: to take murderous revenge for the deaths of his parents six years ago. His target is Admiral Chaison Fanning, head of the fleet of Slipstream, which conquered Hayden’s nation of Aerie years ago. And the fact that Hayden’s spent his adolescence living with pirates doesn’t bode well for Fanning’s chances.

Queen of Cadansce – Venera Fanning was last seen falling into nothingness at the end of Sun of Suns. Now, in Queen of Candesce, Venera finds herself plunging through the air between the artificial continents of Virga, far from home and her husband, who may or may not be alive. Landing in the ancient nation of Spyre, Venera encounters new enemies and new friends (or at least convenient allies). She must quickly learn who she can trust, and who she can manipulate in order to survive. Queen of Candesce is her story.

Titel: Diamond Star
Series: Saga of the Skolian Empire
Author: Catherine Asaro
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Baen (1st 2009)
Order from: Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok
Excerpt:
Chapter 1-8

I have started to dive into the Skolian Empire series my first book was Primary Inversion and I liked it. It was a Romantic science fiction with space opera, military scifi and hard science influence about a formidable yet human Julia character and it avoids the usual pitfalls of that genre, it is not action packed but there is enough thrill to go around. This looks like something a bit different in the same universe.

Del was a rock singer. He was also the renegade son of the Ruby Dynasty, which made his career choice less than respectable, and gave him more to worry about than getting gigs and not getting cheated by recording companies, club owners, or his agent. For one thing, the Ruby Dynasty ruled the Skolian Imperialate, an interstellar Empire, which had recently had a war with another empire, the Eubian Concord. For another, Del was singing on Earth, which was part of a third interstellar civilization, and one which had an uneasy relationship with the Imperialate.

Del undeniably had talent, and was rapidly rising from an unknown fringe artist to stardom. But, with his life entangled in the politics of three interstellar civilizations, whether he wanted that or not, talent might not be enough. And that factor might have much more effect than his music on the lives of trillions of people on the thousands of inhabited worlds across the galaxy.

Other books of Interest

I should also mention the anthology Gateways that will be out in July. Anthologies and collections of short stories isn’t my thing but this one looks promising. I might change my mind and include it in the later post.

Title: The Restoration Game
Author: Ken MacLeod
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Orbit 1 July 2010
Order from: Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

There is no such place as Krassnia. Lucy Stone should know – she was born there. In that tiny, troubled region of the former Soviet Union, revolution is brewing. Its organisers need a safe place to meet, and where better than the virtual spaces of an online game? Lucy, who works for a start-up games company in Edinburgh, has a project that almost seems made for the job: a game inspired by The Krassniad, an epic folk tale concocted by Lucy’s mother Amanda, who studied there in the 1980s. Lucy knows Amanda is a spook. She knows her great-grandmother Eugenie also visited the country in the ’30s, and met the man who originally collected Krassnian folklore, and who perished in Stalin’s terror. As Lucy digs up details about her birthplace to slot into the game, she finds the open secrets of her family’s past, the darker secrets of Krassnia’s past – and hints about the crucial role she is destined to play in The Restoration Game …

New ReReleases

Title: The Puppet Masters
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Baen 27 July 2010 (First published 1951)
Order from: Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

This is one of my favorite Heinlein book, the perfect summer read. It has a afterword by Sarah A Hoyt.

First came the news that a flying saucer had landed in Iowa. Then came the announcement that the whole thing was a hoax. End of story. Case closed. Except that two agents of the most secret intelligence agency in the U.S. government were on the scene and disappeared without reporting in. And four more agents who were sent in also disappeared. So the head of the agency and his two top agents went in and managed to get out with their discovery: an invasion is underway by slug-like aliens who can touch a human and completely control his or her mind! Sam Cavanaugh was one of the agents who discovered the truth. Unfortunately, that was just before he was taken over by one of the aliens and began working for the invaders, with no will of his own. And he has just learned that a high official in the Treasury Department is now under control of the aliens. Since the Treasury Department includes the Secret Service, which safeguards the President of the United States, control of the entire nation is near at hand…

You might also want to check out recommendations from some other bloggers:
YetiStomperWalkerofworlds | Fantasy Book Critic

Jun 152010
 

Lets have a look at July for books. I usually check my pre-orders mid June and then revisit the list around the start of July. These are the books I am interested in. I try to put new never before published books here, for me there is no difference if the book is first published in the US, UK or in Australia. The delivery time to the far north is about the same. So we are going for world’s first here.

This month holds some very anticipated books, two of them where on my list of New SF to Read 2010 in January. Honor Harrington is one of the most popular science fiction characters out there and David Weber [profile] is one of my favorite authors. Mission of Honor is the next main story novel and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. The other book is Pathfinder by Laura E. Reeve [profile]. Her writing is influenced by Greek culture and feels refreshing and new. This time Ariane Kedros has a mission from the mysterious Minoans, I have been waiting since book one for her to go exploring again.

I realized I was missing out on Karl Schroeder who I haven’t read since Permanence (great book by the way). That book needs company on it’s shelf  and the Virgo setting in its steampunk pocket universe sounded to good to resist. Gibson and Wooding have been on my radar for a while now so I felt it was time for a sample. Howard Birnberg is more of a shot in the dark from my side, I liked the blurb, hope it is good.

The Puppets Masters is a book that has been with me from adolescence. It is a fun read and you should get a copy if you don’t own one.

I always use the Publishers dates when release dates don’t match between the online stores and publisher, unless I know otherwise (The book is in the mail from the store)

On Order

Title: Mission of Honor
Series: Honor Harrington 12
Author: David Weber
Genre: Military Science Fiction | Space Opera
Publisher: Baen
Hardcover: 864 pages
Buy:  Amazon
US | UK | B&N | sfbok

A new main story Honor Harrington is a must read for me, cant wait. It was on my most anticipated books in 2010.

The Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Republic of Haven have been enemies for Honor Harrington’s entire life, and she has paid a price for the victories she’s achieved in that conflict. And now the unstoppable juggernaut of the mighty Solarian League is on a collision course with Manticore. The millions who have already died may have been only a foretaste of the billions of casualties just over the horizon, and Honor sees it coming.

She’s prepared to do anything, risk anything, to stop it, and she has a plan that may finally bring an end to the Havenite Wars and give even the Solarian League pause. But there are things not even Honor knows about. There are forces in play, hidden enemies in motion, all converging on the Star Kingdom of Manticore to crush the very life out of it, and Honor’s worst nightmares fall short of the oncoming reality.

But Manticore’s enemies may not have thought of everything after all. Because if everything Honor Harrington loves is going down to destruction, it won’t be going alone.

Title: Pathfinder
Series: Major Ariane Kedros 3
Author: Laura E. Reeve
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Paperback 336 pages
Publisher:  ROC 6 July 2010
Order from: ROC | Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

Pathfinder is on my most anticipated books list for 2010.

Reserve Major Ariane Kedros needs a shot at redemption-and the mysterious aliens known as the Minoans need an extraordinary human pilot with a rejuv-stimulated metabolism like Ariane for a dangerous expedition to a distant solar system. But there’s a catch. The Minoans have to implant their technology in Ariane’s body, and it might not be removable. Ariane is willing, but as she begins the perilous journey, there is an old enemy hiding within the exploration team who is determined to see them fail…

Title: Empire of Light
Series: Stealing Light 3 | Shoal Sequence 3
Author: Gary Gibson
Genre: Space Opera
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Tor UK 2 Jul 2010
Order from: Tor | Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

The nova war has begun to spread as the Emissaries wage a fierce and reckless campaign, encroaching on the area of space occupied by humanity and forcing the Shoal into a desperate retreat. While Dakota goes in search of the entity responsible for creating the Maker caches, Corso, left in charge of a fleet of human-piloted Magi ships, finds his authority crumbling in the face of assassination attempts and politically-motivated sabotage.

If any hope exists at all, it lies in an abandoned asteroid a thousand light-years beyond the Consortium’s borders, and with Ty Whitecloud, the only man alive with the skill to decipher the messages left behind by an ancient race of star travellers. Unfortunately Whitecloud is locked in a prison cell aboard a dying coreship adrift in space, awaiting execution for war crimes against Corso’s own people. But if humanity has any hope of survival, Corso is going to have to find some way to keep him alive – and that’s only if Dakota doesn’t kill him first …

Title: The Black Lung Captain
Series: Tales of the Ketty Jay 2
Author: Chris Wooding
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Gollancz 29 July 2010
Order from: Gollancz | Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

Darian Frey is down on his luck. He can barely keep his squabbling crew fed and his rickety aircraft in the sky. Even the simplest robberies seem to go wrong. It’s getting so a man can’t make a dishonest living any more. Enter Captain Grist. He’s heard about a crashed aircraft laden with the treasures of a lost civilisation, and he needs Frey’s help to get it. There’s only one problem. The craft is lying in the trackless heart of a remote island, populated by giant beasts and subhuman monsters. Dangerous, yes. Suicidal, perhaps. Still, Frey’s never let common sense get in the way of a fortune before. But there’s something other than treasure on board that aircraft. Something that a lot of important people would kill for. And it’s going to take all of Frey’s considerable skill at lying, cheating and stealing if he wants to get his hands on it . . . Strap yourself in for another tale of adventure and debauchery, pilots and pirates, golems and daemons, double-crosses and double-double-crosses. The crew of the Ketty Jay are back!

Title: The Genius Gene
Series: Catherine Fox Trilogy 1
Author: Howard Birnberg
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Book Guild Ltd 29 July 2010
Order from: Book Guild | Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

Einstein, Newton, Da Vinci. The names are synonymous with genius; however, is genius nurtured or does nature provide it? In the fictional scientific thriller, The Genius Gene, young geneticist Catherine Fox has the surprising answer. She has discovered a source of genius in our genes. Unfortunately, her former mentor and spurned lover, Nobel Prize-winning geneticist, Stephen Yates would do anything to obtain her confidential research. Backed by greedy pharmaceutical companies, Yates has become corrupt and he wants to engineer the genius gene into the unborn children of wealthy parents. The time is the mid-21st century and Stephen has established clinics to design the genome of children according to their parents’ preferences. Catherine calls these offspring ‘Frankenstein children’ and she fears the creation of a master race. Her research may make this possible and she struggles to prevent Yates from learning the workings of the genius gene. Unknown to Catherine, there are other secrets to protect. On the eve of crucial hearings on legalizing Yates’ process, he vanishes and Catherine becomes a suspect in his disappearance.

On Order previously published

Virga: Cities of the Air
Series: Virga
Omnibus: Sun of Suns (2006), Queen of Canedsce (2007)
Author: Karl Schroeder
Paperback: 592 pages
Publisher: Tor 6 July 2010
Order from: Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

Sun of Suns – It is the distant future. The world known as Virga is a fullerene balloon three thousand kilometers in diameter, filled with air, water, and aimlessly floating chunks of rock. The humans who live in this vast environment must build their own fusion suns and “towns” that are in the shape of enormous wood and rope wheels that are spun for gravity.

Young, fit, bitter, and friendless, Hayden Griffin is a very dangerous man. He’s come to the city of Rush in the nation of Slipstream with one thing in mind: to take murderous revenge for the deaths of his parents six years ago. His target is Admiral Chaison Fanning, head of the fleet of Slipstream, which conquered Hayden’s nation of Aerie years ago. And the fact that Hayden’s spent his adolescence living with pirates doesn’t bode well for Fanning’s chances.

Queen of Cadansce – Venera Fanning was last seen falling into nothingness at the end of Sun of Suns. Now, in Queen of Candesce, Venera finds herself plunging through the air between the artificial continents of Virga, far from home and her husband, who may or may not be alive. Landing in the ancient nation of Spyre, Venera encounters new enemies and new friends (or at least convenient allies). She must quickly learn who she can trust, and who she can manipulate in order to survive. Queen of Candesce is her story.

Other books of Interest

I should also mention the anthology Gateways that will be out in July. Anthologies and collections of short stories isn’t my thing but this one looks promising. I might change my mind and include it in the later post.

Title: The Dervish House
Author: Ian Mcdonald
Hardcover: 410 | 480 pages
Publisher: Pyr 27 July 2010 | Gollancz 29 July 2010
Order from: Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

In the CHAGA novels Ian McDonald brought an Africa in the grip of a bizarre alien invasion to life, in RIVER OF GODS he painted a rich portrait of India in 2047, in BRASYL he looked at different Brazils, past present and future. Ian McDonald has found renown at the cutting edge of a movement to take SF away from its British and American white roots and out into the rich cultures of the world. THE DERVISH HOUSE continues that journey and centres on Istanbul in 2025. Turkey is part of Europe but sited on the edge, it is an Islamic country that looks to the West. THE DERVISH HOUSE is the story of the families that live in and around its titular house, it is at once a rich mosaic of Islamic life in the new century and a telling novel of future possibilities.

Title: The Restoration Game
Author: Ken MacLeod
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Orbit 1 July 2010
Order from: Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

There is no such place as Krassnia. Lucy Stone should know – she was born there. In that tiny, troubled region of the former Soviet Union, revolution is brewing. Its organisers need a safe place to meet, and where better than the virtual spaces of an online game? Lucy, who works for a start-up games company in Edinburgh, has a project that almost seems made for the job: a game inspired by The Krassniad, an epic folk tale concocted by Lucy’s mother Amanda, who studied there in the 1980s. Lucy knows Amanda is a spook. She knows her great-grandmother Eugenie also visited the country in the ’30s, and met the man who originally collected Krassnian folklore, and who perished in Stalin’s terror. As Lucy digs up details about her birthplace to slot into the game, she finds the open secrets of her family’s past, the darker secrets of Krassnia’s past – and hints about the crucial role she is destined to play in The Restoration Game …

New Releases Previously Published

Title: The Puppet Masters
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Baen 27 July 2010 (First published 1951)
Order from: Amazon US | UK | B&N | sfbok

This is one of my favorite Heinlein book, the perfect summer read.

First came the news that a flying saucer had landed in Iowa. Then came the announcement that the whole thing was a hoax. End of story. Case closed. Except that two agents of the most secret intelligence agency in the U.S. government were on the scene and disappeared without reporting in. And four more agents who were sent in also disappeared. So the head of the agency and his two top agents went in and managed to get out with their discovery: an invasion is underway by slug-like aliens who can touch a human and completely control his or her mind! Sam Cavanaugh was one of the agents who discovered the truth. Unfortunately, that was just before he was taken over by one of the aliens and began working for the invaders, with no will of his own. And he has just learned that a high official in the Treasury Department is now under control of the aliens. Since the Treasury Department includes the Secret Service, which safeguards the President of the United States, control of the entire nation is near at hand…

May 282010
 

This week’s Formidable Female Protagonists contains Ariane Kedros, Chanur, Priscilla Hutchins and Kylara Vatta all favorite characters. It has been fun researching the list, I pick up new books to read all the time. 35 down and 36 more protagonists to go. The females are carefully selected by me, their names written on paper, folded and put in one of two bowls, one for new-to-me and one for read-by-me. I then select four read and one new-to-me and write about them. I am open to suggestions for more females to include.

Here is the list, read about them below.

  1. Ariane Kedros – Killer of Worlds (Laura E. Reeve)
  2. Pyanfar Chanur – Alien Trader (C. J. Cherryh)
  3. Priscilla ‘Hutch’ Hutchins – Starship Pilot (Jack McDevitt)
  4. Kylara Vatta – Fixing The Family (Elizabeth Moon)
  5. Cirroco Jones – Captain & Wizard (John Varley)

Ariane Kedros – Killer of Worlds

Book: Peacekeeper (2008), Vigilante (2009), Pathfinder (July 2010)
Series: Major Ariane Kedros
Author: Laura E. Reeve
Publisher: ROC Penguin Group
Genre: Military Science Fiction

Major Ariana Kedros, killer of worlds, is a resourceful and guilt ridden heroine. Her adventures takes place in an universe called Minoan Space. Read more about it on AncestralStars – Laura E. Reeve’s homepage.

Peacekeeper

Meet major ariane kedros—daring pilot, decorated soldier, war criminal.

Fifteen years ago, Ariane Kedros piloted a ship on a mission that obliterated an entire solar system. Branded a war criminal, she was given a new identity and a new life in order to protect her from retribution.

But now, twelve of Ariane’s wartime colleagues are dead— assassinated by someone who has uncovered their true identities. And her superiors in the Autonomist army have placed her directly in the assassin’s line of fire on a peacekeeping mission that will decide the fate of all humanity…

Vigilante

Amidst an uneasy peace between the Autonomists and the Terrans, Major Ariane Kedros and her partner, Matthew Journey, have discovered alien ruins on a remote planet-ruins that bear evidence to an ancient and highly advanced technology. But their discovery has drawn the interest of high stakes players from every corner of the universe-including that of the rogue leader of a fringe Terran sect. Ari must find a way to stop him, before they all become ancient history…

Pathfinder

Reserve Major Ariane Kedros needs a shot at redemption— and the mysterious aliens known as the Minoans need an extraordinary human pilot with a rejuv-stimulated metabolism like Ariane for a dangerous expedition to a distant solar system. But there’s a catch. the minoans have to implant their technology in Ariane’s body, and it might not be removable. Ariane is willing, but as she begins the perilous journey, there is an old enemy hiding within the exploration team who is determined to see them fail…

Pyanfar Chanur – Alien Pilot

Books: The Pride of Chanur (1981), Chanur’s Venture (1984), The Kif Strike Back (1985), CHanur’s Homecoming (1986), Chanur’s Legacy (1992)
Omnibus: The Chanur Saga (2000, book 1-3), Chanur’s Endgame (2007, book 4-5)
Series: The Chanur Novels, The Chanur’e Venture Trilogy (2-4)
Author: C. J. Cherryh
Publisher: DAW
Genre: Science Fiction

This is one of the most believable alien point of view stories I have read so far. The only sad thing about it is that we don’t get to see more of the humans. At least my racial ego would like to be seen from outside. But I guess that the humans in the Alliance-Union universe are not so nice. How is it that C.J. Cherryh can make really likable Aliens but most of her humans are not, unless they grow up among aliens?

The series is set in the same Alliance-Union universe of Downbelow Station, but in a region of space in the opposite direction from Earth as the Alliance and Union. It is occupied by a number of spacefaring civilizations bound by a set of trade treaties into a so-called Compact. The Compact is not a political organization, and has no government; it regulates only the open trade and accessibility of space stations to all civilizations, leaving them to resolve their conflicts and politics between themselves.

Priscilla ‘Hutch’ Hutchins – Starship Pilot

Books: The Engines of God (1994), Deepsix (1984), Chindi (2002), Omega (2003), Odyssey (2006), Cauldron (2007)
Series: Academy Series
Authors: Jack McDevitt
Publisher: ACE
Genre: Science Fiction | First Contact

Priscilla is a reluctant hero, but she does what is necessary. She has to struggle with administration that doesn’t support proper funding wanting to do it on the cheap (NASA anyone?).

With The Engines of God, McDevitt introduced the idea of a universe that was once teeming with intelligent life, but contains only their abandoned artifacts by the time humans arrive on the scene. Although it was initially written as a standalone novel, the main character of The Engines of God, pilot Priscilla Hutchins, has since appeared in five more books. The mystery surrounding the destructive “Omega Clouds” (which are introduced in The Engines of God) is left unexplored until Omega.

McDevitt’s novels frequently raise questions which he does not attempt to answer. He prefers to leave ambiguities to puzzle and intrigue his readers: “Some things are best left to the reader’s very able imagination.”


Kylara Vatta – Fixing the Family

Books: Trading in Danger (2003), Marque and Reprisal/Moving Target (2004), Engaging the Enemy (2006), Command Decision (2007), Victory Condition (2008)
Series: Vatta’s War
Author: Elizabeth Moon
Publisher: Del Ray | Orbit
Grene: Space Opera| Military Science Fiction

Another great military science fiction about a young girl kicked out of the Academy and given her own ship that have to take on a galactic conspiracy. Liked the series but the fifth volume felt a bit weak.

The books follow the adventures of Kylara Vatta, a young member of the Vatta family, which runs the interstellar shipping corporation Vatta Enterprises. She had sought a life outside the family business by enrolling in the Slotter Key Spaceforce Academy, but she is forced to resign in her final year and assigned to captain an old trading ship for the corporation. Her military training is put to good use, however, during the crises she faces, first as a ship captain in dangerous situations, and later as the representative of a family under attack.

The first book, Trading in Danger, is narrowly focused on Ky and the local crisis in which she becomes involved. The perspective expands in the later books as connections between piracy and ansible attacks on the one hand and Vatta Enterprises and InterStellar Communications Corporation (ISC) on the other are revealed.

Cirroco Jones – Captain & Wizard

Books: Titan (1979), Wizard (1980), Demon (1984)
Series: The Gaean Trilogy
Author: John Varley
Publisher: Berkley/Putnam | Penguin
Grenre: First Contact | Science Fantasy | Mystic Fiction

Captain Cirroco Jones is new to me, the story sounds interesting so I will put it on my to-read list.

The Gaea Trilogy consists of three science fiction novels by John Varley. The stories tell of humanity’s encounter with a living being in the shape of a 1,300 km diameter space habitat, inhabited by many different species, most notably Titanides, in orbit around the planet Saturn.

Titan

When Cirrocco Jones, captain of the spaceship Ringmaster, and his crew are captured by Gaea, a planet-sized creature that orbits around Saturn, they find themselves inside a bizarre world inhabited by centaurs, harpies, and constantly shifting environments.

Wizard

Human explorers have entered the sprawling mind of the alien Gaea. Now they must fight her will. For she is much too powerful. And definitely insane.

Demon

The satellite-sized alien Gaea has gone completely insane. She has transformed her love of old movies into monstrous realities. She is Marilyn Monroe. She is King Kong. And now she must be destroyed.

Read Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 |  17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | index | afterword

Apr 212010
 

This is my totally biased list of the top military science fiction series of our time. These are the ones I found entertaining to read and reread. My focus is as always the characters and the wow moments. Thats why there is lots of space opera here. I have followed some of the authors here for decades others for just a few years. They are all good, the focus in there books lies on different things though.

I like binary counting it seems. Counting down from 10001 in seventeen steps.

Edit: I added RCN, which I love but forgot.

10010. RCN is about Captain Daniel Leary and his friend the formidable Adele Mundy and their military adventures aboard the Heavy Cruiser RCS Milton. David Drake rewrite historical battles and wars and make beautiful military science fiction out of it.The next Royal Cinnabar Navy book to come out is What Distant Deeps that will be out in September 2010. I read RCN 7: In the Stormy Red Sky about a year ago before I started doing reviews.

10001. Starfire Seriesis built on a board strategy wargame about interstellar conquest. A survey fleet travels trough a previously uncharted wormhole and run into a hive-like speice called the Bugs, all communications attempts fail and the Bugs ambush the fleet and launch an invasion against the Terran federation and nearby powers. In the center of the series is the arms race with the bugs. Later in the series there are other opponents. Solid political and military technology world building if somewhat weaker in character building by David Weber and Steve White. The fifth book Exodus is written by Steve White and Shirley Meier.

10000. Confederation of Valor – is about the futuristic career of a non commissioned officer fighting aliens for the elder races in the alliance. There is a secret behind the scenes that are gradually revealed. The Protagonist Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr keep her space marines and and superiors alive. Tanya Huff writes good characters and the dialog is to die for. My reviews of the first four books, there is a fifth book The Truth of Valor coming out in september 2010.

01111. Jenny Casey - used to be a former retired Canadian special forces living in the hellish streets of Hartford, Connecticut. Earth is in shambles from environmental disasters. Jenny becomes a pawn in game of world dominance between Canada and China over being the first to reach the stars. In Hammered Jenny tries to survive, in Scardown she has to fly and in Worldwired she has to teach the aliens to talk with each other. The world is a bit noir and gritty as Elizabeth Bear likes to write.

01110. Major Ariadne Kedrosis a woman with a dark military past working as a surveyor. Her past catches up with her, both from old enemies and old friends. The world is built on Greek culture with the dominating race being the Minoans called so because they share symbols with the Greek. Temporal buoy’s play a significant part in the story as well as their weaponization. Laura E. Reeve is the creator of this resourceful and guilt ridden heroine. The third book Pathfinder is out this summer.

01101. Aldenata universe – Posleen War | Cally’s War | Hedren War – takes place in a world where an ancient race, the Aldenata uplifted a number of races, screwing them up at the same time. The only race not uplifted is the humans. When the galactic society is attacked by the ferocious Posleen there is a need for someone that can fight so they turn to the humans, who they fear almost as much as the Posleen. The O’Neal clan unite the different series. The redheaded feisty warrior princess Cally stands out together with her war hero father Mike. It’s John Ringo’s universe and he cooperate with Tom Kratman, Mikael Z. Wiliamson and Julie Cochrane there. This is also another example of a series where other races taking advantage of the human race’s ability to fight.

01100. Stellar Marines Universe – Heritage Trilogy | Legacy Trilogy | Inheritage Trilogyis Ian Douglas Stellar Marines family saga. The Garroways fight in the sands of Mars to the Magellanic Cloud. Humanity is on the brink of extinction time after time as they fight the Xul, a galaxy spanning race of xenophobics. Built on ‘Hard science’. Ian Douglas is really a pseudonym for William H.Keith.

01011. Tour of the Merrimack – is about the  finest battleship in Earth’s fleet and its crew.The series’ arc about how to deal with the ravenous Hive, a race of space traveling insects that devour all life they come across. In The Myriad the Mack was out looking for the Hive’s Home world when they stumbled on the time traveling aliens who eventually caused the universe to throw them into an alternative reality to avoid paradox. In Wolf Star the war between Earth and the New Roman Empire is going at full blast and Merrimack is in a deep strike mission behind enemy lines when they meet the Hive again and the Romans have to bow down and admit they need help. In the Sagittarius Command they go after the cause. I love Rebeca M. Meluch’s characters.

01010. Dahak SeriesEarths Moon is in reality a gigantic camouflaged battleship who’s crew become the human race. This is discovered by a lone human astronaut that has to face the ancient ship’s computer Dahak. It’s not enough that he has to deal with mutineers that survived in Antarctica, he also has to do with an onslaught of hordes of genocidal aliens and traitors. David Weber is at his best in this awesome space opera

01001. Empire of ManPrince Roger is a failure and a brat when his starship is sabotaged and he and his company of marine bodyguards has to land on the other side of an hostile planet and walk all the way to the star port on the other side. Wonderful four armed aliens, an epic journey and a prince that becomes a man and the soldiers that fights with him. Nice technological progression from stone age to space age. Written by John Ringo and David Weber.

01000. Lost Fleet - The Alliance has been fighting the Syndics for a century – and losing badly. Now its fleet is crippled and stranded in enemy territory. Their only hope is a man who’s emerged from a century-long hibernation to find he had been heroically idealized beyond belief . Captain John ‘Black Jack’ Geary’s legendary exploits are known to every schoolchild. Appalled by the hero-worship around him, Geary is nevertheless a man who will do his duty. And he knows that bringing the stolen Syndic hypernet key safely home is the Alliance’s one chance to win the war. But to do that, Geary will have to live up to the impossibly heroic ‘Black Jack’ legend. Victorious the final book in the series is out now in April. Written by Jack Campbell

00111. Seafort Saga - is built on C. S. Forester’s novels about Horatio Hornblower and written by David Feintush. The books are set in a future human society that is largely dominated by unified Christianity. The main protagonist is a naval officer who strives always to do his duty, both to the navy and to his God, at great personal cost. Beside the personal story there is an interesting race of fish like aliens central to the story.

00110. Kris Longknife – is about 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, fantastic characters by Mike Shepherd. The next book Redoubtable will be out in November this year.

00101. The Vorkosigan Saga - is about Miles and his mother Cordelia Naismith. It begins with Cordelia’s military career and the unlikely love story between her and Miles father. Miles is crippled in vitro by an assassination attempt but grows up to a crippled formidable interstellar spy and mercenary admiral. Lois has modeled the series after Hortio Hornblower with a taste of Lord Peter Wimsey. The novels stand alone pretty well but benefit from each other. Another Miles novel, CryoBurn is coming later this year. Written by Lois McMaster Bujold.

00100. Safehold – is the world where humanity hides from extermination from the Gbaba, something went wrong thou, the leaders of the colony reprogrammed the colonists in cold sleep creating a medieval world ruled by the church and themselves as Angles. When a fraction tries to revive advanced technology they are ruthlessly exterminated by orbital strikes. 800 years later their second line of defense wakes up. Nimue Alban is an android with the mind and memories of a long dead starship captain. Her mission is to restore civilization and prepare Man for the inevitable re-encounter with the Gbaba. David Weber’s knowledge in history comes to life in this beautiful military saga. The latest novel A Mighty Fortress is out this April (it arrived April 20 for me).

00011. Family’s Regnant universe – Heris Serrano Trilogy | Esmay Suiza continuation | Suiza and Serrano - is about two formidable females Heris Serrano of an old navy family and Esmay Suiza of an old army family. Characters easy to love and formidable old ladies. Much of the driving force for conflict in this universe comes from longevity treatments. Those who get it and will live long life, those who fear the consequences or those who wont wait their turn. Elizabeth Moon is an amazing crafter of characters and worlds.

00010. Honor Harrington is about a competent man kind of military woman with an empath treecat called Nimitz that becomes the foremost military commander of her time battling expansionist empires and human slavers. She is called the Salamander because she thrives in the heat of battle. There are so far eleven books in the series that starts with On Basilisk Station and the next book Mission of Honor will be out this summer. The series is written by David Weber and the success so far have lead to two sub series Saganami and Wages of Sin. The first written together with Eric Flint.

00001. Old Man’s War start with protagonist John Perry joining the army on his seventy-fifth birthday and goes off to fight in The Colonial Defence Force where he meets the love of his life, fight aliens, become leader of a colony and in general make himself useful. I am afraid to tell you much about this series because I so enjoyed the surprise  I got as piece after piece fell in place. John Scalzi is one of my favorite authors, I love his characters and his humor.

And before you say how could he miss Hammer Slammers, I didn’t. I tried to read them a couple of times but never really fell for it. Bolo is another ‘series’ that I considered but I feel its less a series and more of a loose concept even if i love them. I have probably missed some, because I haven’t read them, so as usual give me a comment, I love to get to know more military science fiction series.