We’re coming up on the end of the year already, and like most of the rest of us publishers will be shutting down for a goodly chunk of it. But there’s still a handful of books coming out this month, and you’re likely to find something to appeal to you in this little lot.
Bova has been writing his hard sf Tales of the Grand Tour series since the late 1980s. This latest instalment closes off the Star Quest trilogy that began with Death Wave and Apes and Angels. In this novel, a human team scouting a few hundred light years ahead of the death wave encounters a civilization of machine intelligences. The machines cannot be harmed by the death wave, and they have no interest in helping organic life. And since they don’t want other humans to know of their existence, they aren’t going to let the scouting party leave.
Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey
This is the seventh novel of The Expanse, which is both a best selling novel series and a major television drama. The gunship Rocinante is busy maintaining the fragile peace as new colony worlds struggle to survive. But old conflicts never quite go away, and now there’s a new enemy arising on the lost colony world of Laconia. The series is winning new converts with every episode, and Corey is expert at keeping the tension wound tight.
Odysseus Awakening by Evan Currie
Fancy a spot of action-packed, high-concept space opera this winter. How does this sound? The crew of the Odysseus are charged with keeping the human Confederation safe from the vastly superior forces of the Empire. But when, outgunned and outnumbered, they arrive to face an Empire incursion into Priminae space they find their own ship turning against them. Constant glitches and strange apparitions make it appear as if Odysseus is coming alive, and in the thick of battle that does not help anyone.
The Martian Job by Jaine Fenn
This is the first of a new series of novellas from NewCon Press, each set on Mars. And if the title echoes the classic crime caper, The Italian Job, that’s no coincidence. It begins when Lizzie Choi gets a message from her brother, Shiv, telling her that he’s dead. She’s got troubles enough of her own, so at first she thinks it’s a joke. But it isn’t. And before too long Lizzie finds herself heading to Mars to take her brother’s place in a massive criminal undertaking.
No Time To Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin may have given up fiction, but she’s not stopped writing. As she turned 80, she started writing a blog. Now here’s a collection of the very best of her posts from that blog. There are observations on the nature of fantasy and on the eating of breakfast, social commentary and a record of growing old. And because it’s Le Guin, the writing is invariably warm, engaging, sharp, witty, insightful, and surprising. Le Guin is a writer the blogosphere has been waiting for.
Mississippi Roll edited by George R.R. Martin
While we’re still waiting for the next instalment of Game of Thrones, we can at least take time out with a new novel in the ongoing Wild Cards series. The stories of an alternate world in which people have been affected by an alien virus that turns some of them into superheroes has been going for something like 30 years now, so we all know what to expect. In this volume, whose contributors include Stephen Leigh, Carrie Vaughn, David D. Levine and Cherie Priest, a death aboard the steamboat Natchez leads to an investigation that only opens more questions about the mysterious captain and his possibly dangerous cargo.
Heart Sight by Robin D. Owens
How about a bit of romance? The well-muscled, bare-chested young man on the cover of this novel tells you exactly what you are going to get. It’s a story of strange psi talents and premonitions of danger by one of the stars of paranormal romance. The lonely but powerful psi talent who is the prophet of the planet Celta, but his HeartMate is at least as strong a psi talent as he is, and that has aroused enemies, who must be discovered and defeated before the pair can find happiness.
The Will to Battle by Ada Palmer
The third book in Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota sequence, after Too Like the Lightning and Seven Surrenders introduces us to a world on the brink of war. For centuries, the leaders of the Hives have maintained peace and order by deception, corruption, and a series of secret murders. But now those secrets are coming out into the open, the facade of order is breaking apart, and there seems to be nothing now standing between the Hives and the savagery of war.
Count to Infinity by John C. Wright
Wright’s Eschaton Sequence is one of the bigger and bolder space operas we’ve had recently, and now it comes to an epic conclusion with Count to Infinity. The battle for the fate of humanity is in its final, dramatic stages; the alien monstrosities of Ain are revealed, along with the reason for their brutal treatment of all the species seeded throughout the galaxy; and there’s still one more secret to come, a secret that could yet bring everything crashing down.
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.