So we soldier on with our stripped down version of the blog, and conclude our round-up of the new books due in February.
The Bastard Legion by Gavin Smith
Gavin Smith has made a name for himself with hard-hitting, often brutal military sf, and as the title of this new novel shows, this is right on the money. It’s the first part of a new series, set 400 years in the future when criminals are stored in suspended animation aboard prison ships. But Miska Corbin, with a background in black ops, has stolen one of these ships and turned its inmates into her own private army. The question is: what does she want this army for?
The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch
Pennsylvania, 1997: a Navy SEAL’s family has been murdered, and his daughter is missing. Shannon Moss, the Navy investigator, finds out that the SEAL was aboard the spaceship Libra which was lost in a time travel experiment. Determined to find the missing girl, Moss travels into different versions of the future, looking for a clue. But what she finds there is terrifying, because what she discovers there is the approaching Terminus, the end of humanity, and the only way to prevent it is to crack the case.
Paris Adrift by E.J. Swift
There’s a time portal in the bar where Hallie works, and when a strange woman known as the Chronometrist starts to harass her Hallie has little choice but to step through the portal. Soon she is tumbling into the past and the future, falling in love and changing the world. But each journey she makes costs a little bit of herself, and before long the effects of her journeys are rippling through time so thoroughly that it is impossible to tell what is the future that she is trying to save.
The Clarity by Keith Thomas
This is a fast-paced thriller about reincarnation, memory and life after death. It starts with psychologist Matilda Deacon’s new patient, Ashanique, an eleven-year-old girl with the memories of the last man killed in the First World War. But when Ashanique starts talking about the Night Doctors, Matilda starts to realise that the girl is in grave danger. Then she learns about Rade, an assassin who has left a bloody trail around the world, and who is after a secret contained in memories.
When Light Left Us by Leah Thomas
When their father left them, the only thing that made life bearable for the three Vasquez children was Luz. Luz was a shimmering figure who materialized in the canyon behind their house, and he befriended the children each in their own way. But then Luz left also, and he took with him something from each of the children. But Luz had changed the way they see themselves and the world, and in his absence they have to work out anew how to connect with other people again while learning what the alien presence had taken from them.
The Strange Bird by Jeff VanderMeer
Borne was one of the most highly-praised novels of 2017; now Jeff VanderMeer follows it up with this intriguing story about a creature built in a laboratory. Part bird, part human, she has to flee when the scientists turn against her. But though she makes good her escape, she still isn’t safe. The wildlife also rejects her, and the world is full of biotech monsters, failed experiments that have outlived the company who made them. Amid the detritus of human civilization, she must find a way to survive in a story that builds a whole new perspective on the world of Borne.
Starlings by Jo Walton
And talking of strange birds … here’s a first short story collection from multi-award winning Jo Walton. Long overdue, I suspect many people will say. It’s a mixture of fantasy and science fiction, magic and machinery. Secrets are uncovered, magic mirrors see everything, and search engines set off down the path to existential despair. As varied, as skilled, as intriguing as her novels, this is a stunning collection of stories, vignettes, poetry and more.
Blood Binds the Pack by Alex Wells
The second part of the Hob Series is set on Tanegawa’s World, where TransRift Inc have found the strange blue mineral that allows the interstellar travel that human society now takes for granted. TransRift will stop at nothing to rip out every last bit of the invaluable mineral, and the only thing that stands in their way is Hob Ravani’s Ghost Wolves, the outlaw resistance that is doing everything in their power to hold on to their world. As the hunger for the mineral gets ever stronger and the company pushes the miners ever harder, things are coming to a violent head.
And that’s it for the month’s new books. Maybe next time the blog will be behaving itself a bit better.
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.