And the list continues. Let’s start with what is probably the most eagerly awaited novel this month.
Provenance by Ann Leckie
Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy earned her just about every sf award going, so her first standalone novel has to be of interest. Ingray’s home planet is in political turmoil, interstellar war is spreading, and her only chance to recover the artefacts treasured by her people is to help a thief escape from a prison planet from which no one has ever returned before. As with her first trilogy, this is a novel that explores power and privilege, against a backdrop of escalating conflict.
Warcross by Marie Lu
Warcross is more than a game, it is addictive, an escape from reality, a way of life that has spread across the world. It’s also a way of making money. Emika is a teenage hacker who makes a precarious living tracking down players who bet illegally on the game. But when she takes one risk too many and finds herself an overnight sensation, Emika is summoned by the game’s creator to go undercover and investigate a security problem. What she finds is bigger than anyone expected, with ramifications far beyond the game of Warcross.
MJ-12: Shadows by Michael Martinez
This is a Cold War thriller with added superheroes. It’s 1949, and as the Cold War threatens to heat up, the US relies on Variants, ordinary people who have been given extraordinary powers in a murky secret programme. But the Variants are under threat not just from political infighting that could shut the whole programme down, but from shadowy figures who seem to be out to destroy them. The question is: are these shadowy figures Soviet agents, or are they working for something far worse>
Fever by Deon Meyer
Again we start with a world swept clean. A virus this time, that has left that has left just a few isolated survivors. In this world, cool Nico and his father, the wise and compassionate Willem, drive a truck loaded with essential supplies. Slowly they begin to gather a community of other survivors. But as the community grows, so do the threats, from thugs outside and from divided loyalties inside. Until eventually Nico kills the person he loves most in the world.
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
Newitz, one of the founders of the website i09, takes us into a frightening biotech future in her debut novel. It’s a world where anything, or anybody, can be bought and sold. Jack is a pirate trying to be free of the corporate world, manufacturing cheap medicines for the millions of poor people who simply cannot afford the legal phamaceuticals. But her latest drug has left a trail of addiction and lethal overdoses behind, which is why a military agent and his robot partner are hot on her trail. But what is most important is stopping anyone from finding out where Jack’s drugs come from.
Null States by Malka Older
In this sequel to her highly rated debut, Infomocracy, Malka Older continues her tense political thriller in which democracy is about to implode. The global infomocracy has maintained peace throughout the world for 30 years, but it is beginning to show the strain. The new government is struggling to prove its legitimacy, sporadic attacks are occurring across the world, and a shadowy force is attempting to restrict the flow of information that keeps the world in order.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Your time of death is decided by the organisation known as Death-Cast. And a little after midnight two strangers, Mateo and Rufus, are called by Death-Cast and informed that today is the day. Meeting for the first time, Mateo and Rufus set out to live a lifetime in a single day. But when you know the hour of you death, what can you achieve in that last day?
The Uploaded by Ferrett Steinmetz
Or maybe death isn’t the end. Maybe, as you get older, you are uploaded into a digital heaven. Once there, the elderly can continue to interfere in the lives of those they left behind. For the living, meanwhile, their sole purpose in life is now to slave away maintaining the servers where the old are stored. But one young man wants to break the dominance of the uploaded, and he begins to realise that he isn’t the only one.
Infinity Wars edited by Jonathan Strahan
The latest in Strahan’s original anthology series turns our attention towards the wars of the future, considering how they are fought, who will fight them, and what the consequences might be. The anthology brings together a host or original stories by many of today’s top writers, including Carrie Vaughn, Elizabeth Bear, Peter Watts, Garth Nix, Aliette de Bodard, Eleanor Arnason, David D. Levine and more.
Sunvault edited by Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Christopher Wieland
Another original anthology, this time bringing together stories of what are called Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation, which basically means positive stories of green energy and solutions to environmental disaster. The editors describe it as “stories of those inhabiting the leverage points, the crucial moments when great change can be made by the right people with the right tools. Stories of the peoples living during tipping points, and the spaces before and after them.” The collection contains stories, poetry and artwork, with contributors including Nisi Shawl, Lavie Tidhar, Daniel José Older, Nick Wood along with a host of new names.
The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker
It is a little disturbing to realise how much the end of the world is the motif of the moment. Do they know something we don’t? In this instance, Edgar Hill finds himself stranded on the other side of the country when things start to fall apart. Desperate to get back to his wife and children while there is still time, he has to cross hundreds of miles of devastated wasteland. The only option is to run.
The Man in the Tree by Sage Walker
It’s been 20 years since the last novel by Sage Walker, so it is something of a welcome surprise to see this crop up this month. Earth is dying, and the last hope of humanity is a generation starship that will carry colonists to a distant planet. All is set, when someone is found hanging from a tree just weeks before the launch. As the death begins to look more and more like murder, panic and paranoia look likely to derail the last best hope of humanity. The question is, can the case be settled quickly without sabotaging the entire mission?
What the Hell did I Just Read by David Wong
Finally a quirky novel of cosmic and comic horror that is the final volume in David Wong’s John Dies At The End series. It starts with a fairly conventional shape-shifting interdimensional child predator, then it gets weird. Or rather, then it starts to uncover a web of illusions, lies and straightforward idiocy where, frankly, we’d all be better off not knowing the truth. Except that that’s what “They” want you to think, and you really don’t want to know who “They” are.
From Nebula and Hugo Award–nominated Carolyn Ives Gilman comes Dark Orbit, a compelling novel featuring alien contact, mystery, and murder.
Reports of a strange, new habitable planet have reached the Twenty Planets of human civilization. When a team of scientists is assembled to investigate this world, exoethnologist Sara Callicot is recruited to keep an eye on an unstable crewmate.