Aug 202010
 

I prefer female protagonists and this series of posts is homage to some of the most formidable female main characters in science fiction novels or series.

I am still taking suggestions, there is a list of the ones taken at the end.

I would like to thank you all for your suggestions; I love new books to read especially about formidable female protagonists. Here are this week’s

  1. Maria Isabella Boyd – Air Detective (Cherrie Priest)
  2. Podkayne ‘Poddy’ Fries – Modern Girl? (Robert Heinlein)
  3. Imelda – Scientific Detective (Ella Mack)
  4. Margaret “Meg” Murry O’Keefe – Time traveler (Madeleine L’Engle)
  5. Darwi ‘Dar’ Odrade – Sea Child (Frank Herbert)

Maria Isabella ‘Belle’ Boyd – Air Detective

Books: Clementine (2010)
Series: Clockwork Century 2 (or 1.5)
Author: Cherie Priest
Genre: Steampunk
Publisher: Subterrean Press

Maria or Bella Boyd used to be a Confederate Spy before she became a famous entertainer and abandoned by her former employer. As a last resort she takes employment at the Pinkerton detective agency and is immediately sent on a mission involving the airship Clementine we know from Boneshaker, a super weapon, conspiracy and heavily armed air pirates. Lovely book and an interesting character I would like to see more of. A review will be along shortly.

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Podkayne ‘Poddy’ Fries – Modern Girl?

Books: Podkayne of Mars (1963)
Author: Robert A: Heinlein
Genre:  Classic Science Fiction
Publisher: Putnam, Goldmann, Berkley, NEL, Ace, Baen

Read Podkayne of Mars years ago to, I remember I enjoyed it but not much more, another one to the alarmingly high to-read pile.

Podkayne Fries, born and raised on Mars, has just one ambition: to earn her wings as a starship pilot and rise through the ranks to command deep-space explorations. The opportunity to travel aboard the Tricorn- on an interstellar journey to Venus and Earth in the company of her diplomat uncle-is a dream come true.

Poddy’s idea of diplomacy is keeping the peace with her troublesome brother, Clark, but she’s about to learn some things about war and peace. Because her uncle is the Ambassador from Mars to the Three Planets Conference, which makes him-and his niece and nephew-potential targets for any radicals looking to sabotage the negotiations between three worlds.

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Imelda – Scientific Detective

Books: Scuzzworms
Author:  Ella Mack
Genre: Hard Science Fiction
Publisher: Third Millennium Publishing

New to me but you can read sfsite’s review here.

A science fiction detective novel for those who like science. And scientists.

“Maladaptation. This whole planet is a glorious example of maladaptation. No floods, no holocausts, just unchanging climate and benevolent conditions. The entire ecology down there is as fragile as a butterfly’s wings.” Becoming an exobiologist wasnt meant to be easy. Watching alien creatures squirming about in alien muck from the safe side of a video screen can become tedious after awhile, that is, unless youve got no place else to go. Then it becomes your lifes work, even if the scenery does get a bit, um, disgusting at times. Imelda isnt your average exobiologist, however, and Iago IV isnt your average planet. Iago IV has never heard of Darwin.

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Margaret “Meg” Murry O’Keefe - Time traveler

Books: A Wrinkle in Time (1962), A Wind in the Door (1973), A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978)
Omnibus: The Time Quartet (1-4, 2003)
Series: Meg Murry/Time Quartet part of the Kairos Series
Author: Madeleine L’Engle
Genre: YA Science FAntasy | Time Travel
Publisher: ‘Farrar, Straus and Giroux’, Dell, Puffin, Square Fish

This one is new to me but I wish I knew about it when my son was younger or even when I was young(er). She also appears in later books in the Kairos series that continues with her younger siblings and later with her children.

In book one Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg’s father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government. Then in book two with Meg Murry’s help, the dragons her six-year-old brother saw in the vegetable garden play an important part in his struggle between life and death. Then in book three the youngest of the Murry children must travel through time and space in a battle against an evil dictator who would destroy the entire universe.

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Darwi ‘Dar’ Odrade – Sea Child

Books: Heretics of Dune (1984), Chapterhouse: Dune (1985)
Series: Dune
Author: Frank Herbert
Genre: Space Opera
Publisher: Gollancz, NEL, Putnam, Berkley, Ace

I read the books back in 1986 and don’t remember much but I put them on my to-read pile, my copies are pristine NEL prints.  This is mostly about the conflict between the Bene Gesserit and the Honored Matres.  Odrade is an elite Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother. The name “Odrade” is derived from the Atreides, whose bloodline she possesses thanks to the Bene Gesserit breeding program.

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List

Thank you all for your suggestions, here is the list so far in case you want to suggest some more.

Miss anyone?

Read part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 56 | 789 | 1011121314 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | index | afterword

Jul 192010
 

Title: Citizens – Military Science Fiction by Military Veterans
Editors: John Ringo & Brian M. Thomsen
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Baen, May 2010

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

Citizens is a new kind of science fiction anthology. The names appearing between its covers are not only veteran authors, among the very best in the field, they are military veterans as well. New York Times best-selling author John Ringo (a veteran of the 82nd Airborne) and Brian M. Thomsen, a Hugo finalist and one of the most respected editors in the field, have selected a treasure trove of gems written by writers who know first hand what it means to wear their country’s uniform.

Among the top writers appearing in Citizens are Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Elizabeth Moon, Gordon R. Dickson, David Drake, Joe Haldeman, Harry Harrison, Keith Laumer, Frederik Pohl, Jerry Pournelle, Gene Wolfe and more, nearly all authors of best sellers, and recipients of Hugo and Nebula awards. Citizens will have strong appeal to readers of military science fiction, as well as more general readers.

  1. Field Test by Keith Laumer: The human generals are unwilling to field test the new Bolo Mark XX model B because it can control itself and then the enemy attack with overwhelming strength. It is a beautiful piece that proves that calculations aren’t the only thing that governs a battlefield.
  2. Allamagoosa by Erik Frank Russell: An entertaning saga about what overzealus inspections might do to a poor starship captain.
  3. Exploration Team by Murray Leinster: It is a tale about two men, a hawk and three bears who saves a colony and their self respect.
  4. Superiority by Arthur C. Clarke: This is an old story I read before but quite enjoyed. It is about a war lost against a technologically inferior enemy and a simple request from the last commander.
  5. The Horars of War by Gene Wolfe: Artificial soldiers fight in a Vietnam like jungle war
  6. Fireproof by Hal Clement is a story about grounder preconceptions in zero-G sabotage
  7. Peace with Honor by Jerry Pournell. Political intrigue in a Cold War like future.
  8. Under the Hammer by David Drake: About a new recruit on his way out learns the hard way about the decisions you have to take in battle when his transport is attacked.
  9. Time Piece by Joe W. Haldeman is about a soldier from the Forever War sitting in a bar contemplating life.
  10. Neither Sleet, Nor Snow, Nor Alien Invasion by Dave Freer is a funny story about a mailman who saves us from an alien invasion and makes the whole human race go postal. Dave is a guy i have to look into.
  11. Light by Kacey Grannis is where two Iraqi advisors  meet Babylonian myth.
  12. The Question by Patrick A. Vanner is about first contact negotiations with a new alien race viewed from the point of view of the leader of the bodyguards that accompany the diplomats.
  13. The Price by Michael Z. Williamson is about the crew of a small Freehold recon craft who get their final order.
  14. Earth’s First Improved Chimp Gets a Job as a Janitor by John Ringo. The title say it all.
  15. The Long Watch by Robert A. Heinlein is his classic tale of duty.

My View

I should start by saying I am not really into short stories but this was up my alley. It was a good read and if you like military short stories you will like this one.

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 182010
 

Now I have fifty formidable females on my list, this weeks lucky winners features the legendary Friday Jones. Whenever I ask people for suggestions to the list I get – “Where is Friday?”, “You have to add Friday” etc. So here she is, Friday is on todays pick but so are the equally legendary Molly Millions who is my one exception to being a protagonist (as far as I know she has never been a protagonist in a novel).

As always it has been fun researching the list, I pick up new books to read all the time. 50 down and 25 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. Friday Jones – the Sometimes Single Cyborg (Robert A. Heinlein)
  2. Esmay Suiza – Landsbride Officer (Elizabeth Moon)
  3. Gloria VanDeen – Glorious Bureaucrat (C. J. Ryan)
  4. Molly Millions – The Original Razor Girl (William Gibson)
  5. Cassandra Blaine – Cyber Star (Wilhelmina Baird)


Friday Jones – the Sometimes Single Cyborg

Books: Friday (1982)
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: ‘Holt, Rinehart and Winston’, Del Ray, Nel

Engineered from the finest genes, and trained to be a secret courier in a future world, Friday operates over a near-future Earth, where chaos reigns. Working at Boss’s whimsical behest she travels from far north to deep south, finding quick, expeditious solutions as one calamity after another threatens to explode in her face….

The book’s protagonist is Friday, an artificial person both mentally and physically superior in many ways to an ordinary human, but who faces great prejudice if her “non-human” status is discovered. Employed as a highly self-sufficient courier, her various missions take her throughout North America The novel is set in a complex, Balkanized world, and Friday is caught up in several civil disturbances during the course of her travels. She reaches her employer’s home base safely, but is soon displaced by her boss’ death. Sent on a space journey as a courier, she realizes that the journey is likely to end with her death, and evades the ship’s authorities to settle on a pioneer world with friends made earlier in the narrative.

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Esmay Suiza – Landsbride Officer

Books: Once a Hero (1997), Rules of Engagement (1998), Change of Command (1999), Against the Odds (2000)
Omnibus: The Serrano Connection, The Serrano Succession
Series: Familias Regnant universe | The Serrano Legacy | Esmay Suiza continuation | Suiza and Serrano
Author: Elizabeth Moon [profile]
Genre: Space Opera | Military Science Fiction
Publisher: Baen |  Orbit

Once a Hero: Esmay Suiza wasn’t a member of a great Navy family like the Serranos. She’d had to make her way on grit alone, which meant it wasn’t likely she’d make admiral, but all she wanted was to be part of the Fleet. But then she ended up a raging space battle, and was the only one who could stop a superior office turned traitor. She had never wanted to be a hero, but fate had other ideas. . . .

Rules of Engagement: Brun Meager is a young woman from a rich and powerful family, which had a lot to do with why Esmay Suiza didn’t get along with her, not to mention both having an amorous interest in Barin Serrano. When Brun was abducted by a repressive religious militia movement that makes the 21st century Taliban look like a bunch of Unitarians, Esmay was suspected of having connived in the capture to eliminate a rival. To clear herself, it looked like Esmay would have to locate and rescue Brun. Time to be a hero again. . . .

Change of Command: Esmay and Barin are reconciled—but their universe is falling apart! The exposure of defective rejuvenation drugs has sent fear sweeping across the known galaxy, including the Regular Space Service, while neighboring states fear the aggressive expansion of the Familias Regnant. Fear begets violent reactions—from foreign governments, from great Families determined to hold on to power, from internal rivalries in the Fleet—and nothing escapes the resultant bloodbath unscathed, including Esmay and Barin.

Against the Odds: The worst has happened: Fleet is tearing itself apart. Some of the mutineers see injustice in the unequal spread of the rejuvenation drugs that offer virtual immortality to the rich; others are simply thirsty for power, or for blood. But when Esmay Suiza-Serrano is unceremoniously booted out of Fleet, the apparent victim of Family politics, she has no idea of the conflict into which she has been thrown. As the noose tightens on galactic civilization, great battles will be fought and greater loves affirmed . . . and old friends will meet their destinies.

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Gloria VanDeen – Glorious Bureaucrat

Books: Dexta (2005), Glorious Treason (2005), The Fifth Quadrant (2006), Burdens of Empire (2007), Kiss of the Gods (2008)
Series: DEXTA
Author: C. J. Ryan
Genre: Space Opera
Publisher: Bantam Spectra | Stellar Phoenix | Random House

Dexta - C. J.Ryan is a pseudonym for an author alleged to live in Philadelphia/Boston writing randy SF. The protagonist is Gloria van Deen a low level bureaucrat in Dextra, the organization that runs the Empire. She is also a stunning beauty and the ex wife of the Emperor. But Gloria has set out to make it by herself. The story begins with the aliens of one of the planets Gloria monitors killing off a few humans. Gloria has this one night stand with the emperor at about the same time, he wants her back. When the news about the night is leaked to the press, Gloria decides to stand her ground and publicly make it known that it was just a mishap between former lovers and she might se him again in five years or so. She then continues to take control of her destiny by deciding to go to the trouble spot herself and deal with it.
So she and Petra, her new assistant takes off for the trouble spot. This book reminds in not so tiny bits of Barbarella, where the main point was showing off the heroine as nude as possible and as sexually active as allowed. Gloria takes on the indigenous revolt and the human corporations’ maneuverings to exploit their holy drink that by the way work as a strong aphrodisiac with bravo and personality.
It’s not the best SF ever written, but it is a good read and Ryan pulls it off with a great deal of humor and panache.

Glorious Treason – C J Ryan’s second randy Dexta novel. The ever sexy Gloria is back for another Barbarella impersonation. This time the Emperor is in cahoots with the Big 12 (the 12 corporations that are the economic backbone of the empire) to strip-mine Sylvania, a backwater planet where they found Fergusite, the mineral needed for FTL travel. The Fergusite is flawed though, and will eventually lead to a decline in interstellar travel if it is mass used. Dexta sends Gloria there on a voter registration drive. She also has a secret mission to destroy or hinder the use of the Fergusite.

The Fifth Quadrant – In the 33rd century, unbridled pleasure and unparalleled peace make the world go round—under the watch of a vast corporate order that includes living goddess Gloria VanDeen, a powerful player as gutsy as she is gorgeous. More popular and more ambitious than ever, Gloria is entertaining two tempting offers: to become Empress, or to rise through the ranks of the Department of Extraterrestrial Affairs and take out some bad guys along the way—if they don’t get her first….
When someone takes a potshot at Gloria with a weapon unseen since the Empire’s last great war, it’s clear that success won’t come without a price. For among power brokers, warriors,and rebels lies a dirty secret that could crack the Empire wide open. And Gloria is determined to get to the bottom of it—even if it means going to the top.

Burdens of Empire – It’s the 33rd century, a time of unparalleled peace and prosperity, but on a far-flung planet, humanity’s reign may be about to end…. Alien terrorism, sectarian violence, armed insurgency–it was a police action on a backwater planet that many on Earth believed was a tragic mistake. Now the kidnapping of a human VIP has raised the political stakes to the breaking point. Enter the gorgeous and sexy Gloria VanDeen–ex-wife of the Emperor, media darling, and humanity’s favorite heroine. She’s been sent on a secret mission to extract the hostage and avoid a PR nightmare. But the situation on Denastri is a lot worse than reported Earthside.
With violence escalating daily, and with an indigenous population whose customs and religion are a mystery, Gloria finds herself on the toughest assignment of her career. Now she’s faced with an enemy that may be even more dangerous than the assassins and fanatics of the alien insurgency: an army of freelance killers run by an Earth-based corporation motivated by pure greed.

Kiss of the Gods – Bold, brainy, and dangerously sexy Gloria VanDeen is back to face another challenge, as the Empire’s favorite bureaucrat battles to survive amid political chaos at DEXTA and a civil war between a fascist tyrant and a religious zealot with a strange power over his people. In this fifth volume of C. J. Ryan’s popular DEXTA series, Gloria is tested to — and beyond — the limits of human power and desire, and the fate of the Empire will be decided by a single kiss — the Kiss of the Gods!

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Molly Millions – The Original Razor Girl

Books: Johnny Mnemonic (1981 Shortstory) , Neuromancer (1984), Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988)
Series: Sprawl Trilogy
Author: William Gibson
Genre: Cyberpunk
Publisher:  ACE | HarperCollins | Gollancz | Grafton | Phantasia Press | Voyager | Bantam Spectra

Molly isn’t really a protagonist in any of Gibson’s books but she is here by sheer formidableness, and it is okay to break rules once. Molly Millions (also known as Sally Shears) is a recurring character in stories and novels written by William Gibson, particularly his Sprawl trilogy. She first appeared in Johnny Mnemonic, to which she makes an oblique reference in Neuromancer (where she is mostly referred to as “Molly” with no last name given). Her most recent appearance was under the name “Sally Shears” in the book Mona Lisa Overdrive.

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Cassandra Blaine – Cyber Star

Books: Crashcourse (1993), Clipjoint (1994), PsyKosis (1995)
Author: Wilhelmina Baird
Publisher: ACE | Roc UK

New-to-to me formidable protagonist is the perpetually wisecracking heroine Cassandra Blaine.

Crashcourse – Cass, Moke, and Dosh do not know what they are getting themselves into when they sign a contract to star in a cyber-cinema film, which enables the audience to plug into the stars’ emotions.

Clipjoint – Two years after taking part in a cyber-film to make enough money to leave Earth–a film that left their friend Dosh dead and them fleeing for their lives–Cass and Moke return to uncover the truth about the tragedy.

PsyKosis – In order to avert imminent war, the Earth’s government agrees to negotiate with alien invaders. The military’s representative is Swordfish, a veteran of the Third Alien War. A delegation travels to meet the aliens–an enemy whose nature no human being will ever truly know or trust again

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Read part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 56 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | index | afterword

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…