New SFF Releases 2011

Repetition is the mother of knowledge so here is the first post on different aspects of this year.

New Releases

Theme Planet (The Anarchy 1)

by Andy Remic – Solaris, December

I am always on the lookout for new authors to try. Solaris have been publishing some of my new favorites like Ian Whates and Eric Brown so Andy Remic caught my interest since he seems right up my alley with  military science fiction and space opera. The book I am interested in is Theme planet, the first in his new series The Anarchy. It is about Amba Miskalov an Anarchy Android, an assassin/torture model fitted with a Quantell Systems v4.7 KillChip. She is beautiful, merciless and deadly, and blends perfectly with her human superiors. It will not be out until towards the end of the year so I will probably take a look at his other series before that.

“It’s better than sex! It’s better than drugs! If you haven’t been sick yet, you soon will be…

Welcome to Theme Planet, an entire alien world dedicated to insane rides, excessive hedonism and dangerous adventure. Operated by the Monolith Corporation, Theme Planet is the No. 1 destination for fun-seeking human holidaymakers Galaxy-Wide! Amba Miskalov is an Anarchy Android, an assassin/torture model fitted with a Quantell Systems v4.7 KillChip. She is beautiful, merciless and deadly, and blends perfectly with her human superiors. Sent to Theme Planet on a dangerous assassination mission, Amba stumbles upon a plot to undermine and destroy Earth’s all-powerful Oblivion Government – and its Ministers of Joy. But Amba is twisted, damaged and decadent – and this rebellion poses Amba a problem: to remain loyal to her creators and tormentors, to support the enemy – or annihilate them all.”

The Moon Maze Game (Dream Park book 4)

by Larry Niven & Steven Barnes – Tor August 16 – Amazon USUK

Sometimes it is an established author that is doing something I missed or passed over like The Dream Park books by Larry NivenSteven Barnes. It is about Live action role playing, maybe not quite like my son does it but interesting enough for me to take a look. The fourth book looks too good to pass over so I will have to go back and read the preceding books before The Moon Maze Game comes out in August.

The year: 2085. Humanity has spread throughout the solarsystem. A stable lunar colony is agitating for independence.Lunar tourism is on the rise….
Against this background, professional “Close Protection”specialist Scotty Griffin, fresh off a disastrous assignment, isoffered the opportunity of a lifetime: to shepherd the teenagedheir to the Republic of Kikaya on a fabulous vacation. Ali Kikayawill participate in the first live-action role-playing game conductedon the Moon itself. Having left Luna—and a treasured marriage—years ago because of a near-tragic accident, Scotty leaps atthe opportunity.

Live action role playing attracts a very special sort of individual:brilliant, unpredictable, resourceful, and addicted to problemsolving. By kidnapping a dozen gamers in the middle of theultimate game, watched by more people than any other sportingevent in history, they throw down an irresistible gauntlet: to “win”the first game that has ever become “real.” Pursued by armedand murderous terrorists, forced to solve gaming puzzles to staya jump ahead, forced to juggle multiple psychological realities asthey do…this is the game for which they’ve prepared their entirelives, and they are going to play it for all it’s worth.

Home Fires

by Gene Wolfe – Tor, January 18 (us), February 18 (uk) – Amazon USUK

Gene Wolfe is another established author I would like to rekindle my relationship with this year. Home Fires is about time dilation, war with aliens, conspiracies and love. And it is out now in January.  I am not overly impressed with the cover though.

Gene Wolfe takes us to a future North America at once familiar and utterly strange. A young man and woman, Skip and Chelle, fall in love in college and marry, but she is enlisted in the military, there is a war on, and she must serve her tour of duty before they can settle down. But the military is fighting a war with aliens in distant solar systems, and her months in the service will be years in relative time on Earth. Chelle returns to recuperate from severe injuries, after months of service, still a young woman but not necessarily the same person—while Skip is in his forties and a wealthy businessman, but eager for her return.

Still in love (somewhat to his surprise and delight), they go on a Caribbean cruise to resume their marriage. Their vacation rapidly becomes a complex series of challenges, not the least of which are spies, aliens, and battles with pirates who capture the ship for ransom. There is no writer in SF like Gene Wolfe and no SF novel like Home Fires.

Deep State (This is Not a Game 2)

by Walter Jon Williams – Orbit, February 7 – Amazon USUK

Walter Jon Williams is another new-to-me author that I would like to try. I am not sure This is Not a Game is the series to start with but I am leaning towards it and Deep State, the second release in February.

Dagmar Shaw is one of the world’s hottest designers of alternate reality games. She is the Puppetmaster and thousands of gamers are dancing on her strings. But when the campaign she is running in Turkey comes into conflict with the new, brutal regime, she realises that games can have very real consequences.

When an old friend approaches Dagmar with a project so insane, so ambitious, she can’t possibly say no, she is plunged into a world of spies and soldiers. A nation hangs in the balance and in a world of intrigue and betrayal, the master player must face the possibility that she has, herself, been played.

Dagmar is the Puppetmaster, but when the bullets are real and her ‘puppets’ start dying, is any cause worth it?

Embedded

by Dan Abnett – Angry Robot March 26 – Amazon USUK

I try to avoid franchise series and literature, because time is limited and I have other sub genres I want to cover. The only reason I haven’t read anything by Dan Abnett before is because he mainly writes Warhammer 40k novels  but this year he will be out with a story that has intrigued me since I first heard about it. Embedded that is due in March is about a reporter that is embedded in a chip on a soldier fighting a war on an alien planet. The soldier is killed so the reporter has to take over his body and get out alive by himself.

HE’D DO ANYTHING TO GET A STORY. When journalist Lex Falk gets himself chipped into the brain of a combat soldier, he thinks he has the ultimate scoop – a report from the forbidden front line of a distant planetary war, live to the living rooms of Earth. When the soldier is killed, however, Lex has to take over the body and somehow get himself back to safety once more… broadcasting all the way.

Heart-stopping combat science fiction from the million-selling Warhammer 40,000 author.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Future Warefare | Chipped-In | Anything For a Story | Get Out Alive! ]

The View From The Imperium

by Jody Lynn Nye – Baen, April 5 – Amazon USUK

Jody Lynn Nye isn’t exactly new to me. I have read her Doona collaboration with Anne McCaffrey and a few short stories. The View from the Imperium is on for April this year from Baen. This is promoted as a space opera version of the P. G. Woodhouse’s Jeeves books. I love them so I will definitely get this one. It looks like great fun too.

P. G. Wodehouse meets space opera, as Ensign Thomas Innes Loche Kinago, fresh from the Academy is given his first command. A crumb from the upper crust, he’s eager to uphold the traditions of his family, and in particular, his mother, a distinguished Admiral of the Imperium. Of course, he’s aware of the importance of always having simply smashing tailored uniforms on hand, and having his camera ready to record memorable moments for his scrapbook. In the meantime, a charismatic leader has arisen who seems able to control the minds of anyone he meets, and may be on his way to taking over the entire galaxy. Can Kinago’s aristocratic bearing and unbridled snobbery stand up to such a challenge? Fortunately, his constant companion, the unflappable Jeeves, er, Parsons, is on hand to look after the young, impulsive master, and somehow help his charge bumble his way through, perhaps even saving the galaxy in the process.

Embassytown

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that is impossible.

By Light Alone

by Adam Roberts  – Gollancz, June 16 – Amazon USUK

New Model Army interested me last year but for some reason I never came around to it. This year though I will have to give Adam Roberts a try with By Light Alone. It is also a high concept one like the last. By Light Alone is about a girl that was kidnapped and forced to live on light alone. This is possible in the world she lives in because there we have been genetically modified so that we can photosynthesize sunlight with our hair. I wonder what they do with bold people. Sounds like perfect summer reading since it will be out in June.

In a world where we have been genetically engineered so that we can photosynthesise sunlight with our hair hunger is a thing of the past, food an indulgence. The poor grow their hair, the rich affect baldness and flaunt their wealth by still eating. But other hungers remain . . . The young daughter of an affluent New York family is kidnapped. The ransom demands are refused. Years later a young women arrives at the family home claiming to be their long lost daughter. She has changed so much, she has lived on light, can anyone be sure that she has come home? Adam Roberts’ new novel is yet another amazing melding of startling ideas and beautiful prose. Set in a New York of the future it nevertheless has echoes of a Fitzgeraldesque affluence and art-deco style. It charts his further progress as one of the most important writers of his generation.

Hell Ship

by Philip Palmer – Orbit July 1 – Amazon USUK

Philip Palmer is new to me but I have been circling him for a while. His new novel Hell Ship will be out in July. It is not set in Debatable Spaces but rather about a universe switching Flying Dutchman.

US description: There is a ship – the Hell Ship. Inside the ship is a world. On the world are thousands of alien life forms-all the last members of their race. Each and every one of them is a slave. And it was the Hell Ship and its infernal crew that destroyed their homes and slaughtered their families and imprisoned them forever.

One man, Jak, has been pursuing the Hell Ship for its crimes. Battle after battle has left Jak scarred and broken and bit by bit he has surrendered his humanity to his quest for revenge.

Now, Jak is no more than a mind in the body of a starship, bent on bloody vengeance. But when one slave finds a way to communicate with the Hell Ship’s relentless pursuer, he realizes that there is more to this mad chase than he realized. And just possibly, there’s a way to end this long, interstellar nightmare.

UK description: The Flying Dutchman (or Hellship) is a faster-than-light scout ship that was supposed to seek out habitable planets, while also cautiously observing alien civilisations to discover which of them might be a danger to mankind. But, a millennium ago, it flew into a black hole while being pursued by dangerous aliens. And it never came back. The vessel is now heavily armed and spends its days travelling from universe to universe – exploring, discovering, scouting and also killing, looting, and annihilating. For the captain and crew of the Dutchman all lost their minds and souls many years ago. They are now monsters, haunted by the remnants of their humanity, and they take sublime joy in killing. They are, in short, the bad guys. But luckily their nemesis David Bishop is idealistic, driven and has made catching the Hellship his life’s work. This is an all-action chase drama in which the hero is the last living human being from his own particular universe. You may also find it bleakly funny, richly nasty, fast-paced and exhilarating – and maybe even terrifying.

The Recollection

by Gareth L. Powell – Solaris, August 30 – Amazon USUK

The Recollection is a novel that sounds like something I would like. Gareth L. Powell novel splits on two timelines and has a galaxy-spanning scope. It is due late summer or early fall from Solaris.

In modern-day London, failed artist Ed Emery is secretly in love with his brother’s wife, Alice. When his brother disappears on a London Underground escalator, Ed and Alice have to put aside their personal feelings in order to find him. Their quest reveals to them terrifying glimpses of alien worlds and the far future.

Meanwhile, 400 years in the future, Katherine Abdulov must travel to a remote planet in order to regain the trust of her influential family. The only person standing in her way is her former lover, Victor Luciano, the ruthless employee of a rival trading firm. And in the unforgiving depths of space, an ancient evil stirs…

Gareth L. Powell’s epic new science-fiction novel reveals a story of galaxy-spanning scope by a writer of astounding vision.

Blight of Mages (prequel to King breaker King maker)

by Karen Miller – Orbit, August 4 -Amazon US | UK

Karen Miller wrote four books about the magically besieged country of Lur and this august it is time for aBlight of Mages the prequel about Morgan and Barl and what happened when the refugees from Dorana crossed over the mountains.

Dorana is a country ruled by a rigid class system based upon magical aptitude and the right pedigree. While all Doranens have mage ability, some are more blessed than others. Morgan is one of the powerful ruling elite, fanatically devoted to enforcing the regulations and maintaining the purity of mage bloodlines. When he falls in love with Barl, a woman of inferior breeding who possesses astonishing mage powers, he sets himself upon a dangerous course. A terrible mage war erupts when Morgan becomes unstoppable, driving Barl to lead a small pack of survivors into the distant mountains. When they arrive, their welcome is not what they expected, and Barl must embark upon a desperate course to protect and preserve her people until they may be needed once again …

Dust 514 (EVE Online)

by Tony Gonzales – Gollancz, September 15 – Amazon UK

Ignoring what I said before about not getting into franchises, Dust 514 in September looks pretty appealing. Mind upload, interstellar war and high-tech combat is just up my alley. It is a tie in to the new MMORPG with the same name written by Tony Gonzales.

The technology to download the consciousnesses of pilots into multiple clones, the Capsuleers, has finally delivered the dream of immortal soldiers. Train a soldier just once and then however many times he dies he will keep on getting more experienced, more battle toughened, as his brain is downloaded into a ready supply of cloned bodies. But no-one anticpated the effects of the multiple traumas, the multiple stresses of multiple lives and deaths on the battle field. War is hell. And now it can last forever for everyone. A fast-moving action-packed novel of interstellar war and high-tech combat, backed by massive cross promotion.

Debuts

Up Against It

by M. J. Locke – Tor, March 1 – Amazon USUK

It is hard to pick out the debuts that you will enjoy from the media clutter. The publisher’s catalogs are a good place to start but it is hard to be sure before you have other sources. M. J. Locke debuts with Up Against It, a workplace drama action leaning towards a somewhat twisted scifi society from what I gather from the blurbs. Sounds like fun.

A vastly entertaining novel of artificial intelligence, resource politics, and organized crime, set on a large asteroid colony a couple of hundred years in the future

In M. J. Locke’s absorbing debut novel, rogue artificial intelligence and a lethal resource crisis threaten the asteroid colony Phoecea—while, meanwhile, an interplanetary crime syndicate appears to be pulling the strings. Locke’s background as a resource management specialist in the energy industry gives particular depth to the portrayal of Jane, the bureaucrat-engineer in charge of keeping the plumbing running on her island of humanity in unforgiving space. In short order, Jane discovers that her colony’s water crisis may have been engineered by the Martian mafia, as a means of executing a coup and turning Phocaea into a client-state. And if that wasn’t bad enough, an AI that spawned during the industrial emergency has slipped through the distracted safeguards and gone rogue…and there’s a giant x-factor in the form of the transhumanist Viridian cult that lives in Phocaea’s bowels.

There’s never enough SF like this: accessible, fun to read, featuring both young and old characters who we like instantly and care about, plus a constant flow of fascinating invention. Among other things, Up Against It is a “workplace drama,” full of the fascination of watching competent people do their extremely interesting jobs, with lives at stake.

That is all for this post