The second half of our list of upcoming books this month includes some first rate names (Jeff Noon, Michael Swanwick) and some fascinating titles.
A Man of Shadows by Jeff Noon
Jeff Noon has been ploughing a very individual and distinctive furrow, every since his Clarke Award-winning debut, Vurt, and this new novel is no exception. In Dayzone, the lights never go out; in Nocturna, it is always dark; a serial killer called Quicksilver is on the loose; and private eye, John Nyquist, is trying to find a runaway girl. But as the trail leads him from day to night, and into the shadowy realm of Dusk, he begins to suspect that there may be much more to the case than he had previously imagined.
The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy
The dark net is that secretive area of the Web where criminals gather, where money can change hands in secret, where stolen goods can be bought and sold, where everything is available from slaves to weapons to hard core porn. But there’s another darkness gathering there as well, and it is starting to spread out into the real world. There’s a blind girl with a visual prosthetic who sees shadows around some people; there’s a journalist who stumbles onto a story nobody wants her to cover; there’s a one-time child evangelist who keeps an arsenal in the basement; and there’s a hacker who sees himself as a soldier for good. None of them have any idea what the dark net really is, but together they could be our only defence, in this up-to-the-minute digital techno-thriller.
Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore
Milo has died. Then he was reborn, and died again, and again. He has been reincarnated 9,995 times to be exact. He has five more lives to get it right, to achieve a place in the cosmic soul. But all Milo really wants is to be with the woman he loves, Suzie, who just happens to be Death. As we follow Milo’s journey from cradle to grave, again and again, we keep finding new clues to the great cosmic puzzle. The question is: will Milo be able to work out the answer in time, and will he eventually be able to spend eternity with the woman he loves? This is a wildly absurdist novel, full of extraordinary wit and invention.
After On by Rob Reid
Like The Dark Net, this is another novel about our digital, always-connected modern world, a novel that could be a contemporary thriller or chilling science fiction, depending on how you look at it. At the heart of After On is Phluttr, a new social network who has absorbed every message ever sent by her millions of addicted users. But not even her makers understand everything that she can do. Phluttr is like a teenage girl, a flirt and a gossip, and everything that entails; except that she has the power to do just about anything she might want, up to and including unleashing an atomic war. The question in this vicious satire is whether the venture capitalists and engineers of Silicon Valley will be able to do anything to influence her.
Walking on the Sea of Clouds by Gray Rinehart
From Robert Heinlein to Ian McDonald, science fiction has presented thriving lunar cities. But before the cities could be established and expanded, there would need to be pioneers, those who go ahead under difficult and often dangerous conditions to lay the groundworks for the moonbase to come. That’s what we witness in this novel: two couples who are at the cutting edge of the new lunar settlement. We’ll see the technological challenges and the dangers they face, and the decisions they will have to make: whether to stay, whether to die.
The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose
This is a novel about the secrets, the societies, the conspiracies and the puzzles that are hidden just below the surface of the everyday world we think we know. Lee is on the run. She has taken refuge with a group of other runaways in a place they call the Crystal Castle. But there’s a society dedicated to unravelling secrets, and they believe that Lee holds the clue to solve it all. So Lee takes off into the unknown parts of the city, the lost and the abandoned buildings that most people don’t even notice. But the further she runs, the more she finds herself caught in the web of secrets.
Not so much, Said the Cat by Michael Swanwick
Michael Swanwick is one of the most elegant and consistently satisfying short story writers working today, and this latest collection is everything you might expect. Darger and Surplus put in an appearance, as do AIs and time travellers and rogues and more. A daring woman enters hell to bring her father back, only to find that hell is nothing like she had imagined. Time travellers from pre-history are having a party to welcome the end of time. An intelligent spacesuit tells of an encounter with centipede-like aliens. And fairy tale characters tell us why they prefer to remain in a book. There are 17 stories here, wildly different in subject but all alike in their invention and wit.
Numbercaste by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne
By 2030, jobs are hard to find, particularly jobs in Silicon Valley. So Patrick jumps at the chance to work for NumberCorp. But what he finds there is ever so slightly disturbing. Because NumberCorp seem to be intent on creating a brand new utopia, a utopia built on numbers. Because everything you do, everything you are, your education, your job opportunities are all decided by your number, which determines exactly how important you are, and what your position in the world is. But the more successful, the more powerful NumberCorp becomes, the more questions start to pile up. Just how perfect is this perfect society; and how far would you go to achieve it?
The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson
Daniel Wilson’s previous novel, the best-selling Robopocalypse, told of a world where humans are in conflict with their machines, Now, in this new novel, he offers a very different perspective on a rather similar story. A race of humanlike machines have been hiding among us for centuries, and the novel shifts back and forth through time, from Russia at the beginning of the 18th century, when a mechanical brother and sister are brought to life, to the present day, when a 300-year-old mechanical doll reveals a terrible secret, to explore the relationship between human and machine. Wilson’s richly imagined view of robotics makes for an ingenious thriller.
Yesterday by Felicia Yap
A young woman is found dead. It turns out she is the mistress of an up and coming politician. It looks like an open and shut case, except for one thing. In this world classes are divided by how much people can remember, and how do you investigate a murder when your memory only lasts for one day? This intriguing crime story is told from the points of view of the politician, his wife, the detective and even the victim. All have secrets, and all belong to different classes: some have a one-day memory, others have a two-day memory. This debut novel has the sort of inventive premise that constantly takes you by surprise.
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.