Compiling our list of new books out in May, it seems to be a month of space operas and military sf. So we thought we’d start our listing with these nine titles.
The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis
We start with a swashbuckling steampunk adventure where airships are the front line in an on-going war. Josette Dupre is the first woman to have been promoted to the rank of airship captain, and she’s been given command of an untested new ship that could be a deathtrap. On top of that, her crew is suspicious of a woman in command, so when the enemy make an unprecedented move that could turn the tide of war and Josette is the only one in a position to defeat them, she has a lot of extra problems in her way.
Vanguard by Jack Campbell
After the debut from Bennis, we turn to the latest novel set in the universe of Campbell’s popular Lost Fleet series. This is the first novel in a new sequence, The Genesis Fleet, which takes us to an earlier period when the invention of the Jump Drive was allowing the rapid spread of colonies across a lawless universe. When a new colony is attacked, only improvised weapons and a small army of volunteers can defend it against warships and heavily armed troops. But an unlikely pair of outcasts have a plan that could bring lasting peace.
Gods of Sagittarius by Eric Flint & Mike Resnick
Two of the big names in high concept, fast-paced, adventurous sf have teamed up for this new novel that sets humans and aliens on a collision course. On the human side there’s the galaxy’s top security specialist, reluctantly assigned to accompany an arrogant savant who aims to prove that the Old Ones possess powers unknown to any other intelligent species. On the other hand there is Occo, an alien warrior who finds that her religious home has been destroyed by the Old Ones and who sets out to seek revenge. Only if the two sides come together do they stand any chance of overcoming the ancient powers of the Old Ones.
Injection Burn by Jason M. Hough
A Swarm Blockade is an impenetrable cloud of destructive ships that completely enclose a world where benevolent aliens are being held captive. No human ship has ever made it through such a blockade, but that’s exactly what Skyler Luiken and his ragtag crew must do if they are to rescue the aliens. As they approach the Swarm they encounter an unlikely ally, the tough rival captain, Gloria Tsandi. But can the two crews put aside their differences long enough to survive an attack by their mutual enemies? The sequel to this novel, Escape Velocity, is due out next month.
The Gathering Edge by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
These big space adventures tend to come in multiple volumes, but few series have lasted as long as the Liaden Universe sequence from Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. This is the twentieth volume in the series, and everyone who has followed the series all this time will have a pretty good idea what to expect: or will they? Theo Waitley and her self-aware ship, Bechimo, seek the temporary security of safe space, only it turns out not to be so safe. Spaceships are coming through from another universe, including one battered battleship that is crewed by members of Theo’s own ancestral race, and they are in dire need of help.
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
It’s a corporate future where everything comes down to price and safety isn’t exactly the highest priority. So when a team of scientists begin to investigate a distant planet, they have a Company droid along to keep an eye on them, but no-one has bothered to check how reliable that droid is. In fact it has become self-aware. It has taken over its own control systems, and is contemptuous of mere humanity, and in secret it has started to refer to itself as “Murderbot”. Then a nearby expedition suddenly goes dark, and it is up to Murderbot and its humans to find out what has happened.
The Ion Raider by Ian Whates
This is the sequel to Whates’s previous space opera, Pelquin’s Comet. The rogueish crew from that previous novel, the Dark Angels, are being hunted down and killed, one by one, by a mysterious organisation known as Saflik. Leesa, the newcomer to the crew, decides to find out what is happening before they get her, and teams up with a former Dark Angel, Jen, to thwart Saflik. Meanwhile Drake, the First Solar agent from that first novel, has been given a new assignment, one that he suspects is a trap, but one that he can’t turn down.
Killing Gravity by Corey J. White
Mariam Xi has been turned into a weapon, a voidwitch, able to kill you with her mind. But she has also spent her life on the run, pursued by bounty hunters and by dark forces from her own past. And now she is trapped in a dying spaceship while her enemies close in on every side. Can she put aside her inability to trust anyone long enough to escape her pursuers and discover the secrets of her past. This is a debut novel from an Australian writer who has already had a handful of short stories published, but it looks like a promising addition to the ranks of fast-paced adventure sf.
Pawn by Timothy Zahn
Timothy Zahn has made quite a career out of complex, hard-edged military sf, and this is no exception. No-hoper Nicole has been whisked away to join a mysterious ship called the Fyrantha. Here, everything seems too good to be true, she has a nice, comfortable life and all she has to do is work with one of the maintenance crews. But she can’t stop herself asking questions, and there are plenty of others to tell her not to do that. Which is how Nicole finds out about the different factions fighting for control of the Fyrantha, factions for whom she and her friends are just pawns. But Nicole isn’t ready to be a pawn; she is ready to fight.
And that takes us not quite half way through the books we’ve got our eyes on for May. So look out for the second part of this post, which will follow in a day or two.
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.