Okay, it’s the end of the year, everything’s winding down for the holidays. But somehow, amazingly, books are still being published, and some pretty damned good books at that. These are some that have caught our eye. And half of them are short story collections, is it something about December?
Take Back the Sky by Greg Bear
The concluding part of Greg Bear’s War Dogs trilogy sees Master Sergeant Venn and his companions marooned on Titan and facing attack from both Earth and the Antagonists. To discover the destiny of every intelligent being in the solar system, Venn and his companions must team up with their former enemies and journey to the home planet of the Antagonists out in the Kuiper Belt.
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Mementoes by Keith Brooke
The 12th, and I believe the last volume in the showcase collections from NewCon Press features Keith Brooke, with a collection of eight stories, two of them original to this collection. The title novella, “Memento”, sets the tone with a gripping story of a crisis on a colony world, but the stories that follow keep up the pace with unknowable aliens and humans pushed to the very edge.
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The Sometimes Spurious Travels Through Time and Space of James Ovit by Garry Kilworth
Speaking of Keith Brooke, he’s the publisher behind Infinity Plus which has, count them, two new books from Garry Kilworth. This is a novel whose hapless hero finds himself travelling into the distant past and the even more distant future, first as a diplomat then as an assassin. Only things never do work out the way they are supposed to.
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Okay, Kilworth’s novels are good, but his real mastery is as a short story writer, so the only real surprise here is that we have had to wait this long for a collection like this. The 28 stories gathered here from a 40-year career include such absolute classics as “Hogfoot Right and Bird-hands”, “Truman Capote’s Trilby: The Facts”, “The Songbirds of Pain”, and “On the Watchtower at Plataea”. There’s time travel and surrealism and horror and more, the collection is as richly varied as you could hope to find, an excellent introduction to one of the genre’s best short story writers.
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Light and Shadow by Linda Nagata
The eight short stories gathered in this new collection from Linda Nagata includes all the short fiction she has written since 2012 (except for two Nanotech Succession stories). Given that half of them have also appeared in various Best of the Year anthologies, you know you’re on to a good thing here.
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Last Year by Robert Charles Wilson
More time travel in this new novel from Robert Charles Wilson, in which doorways can be opened to various versions of the past. One doorway to 19th century Ohio has been open for nearly a decade, and a whole society has grown up at the other end to cater for the time travellers and tourists who come through. But there’s a limited shelf life to these connections and the doorway is going to close soon, which isn’t good news for someone who has fallen in love with a woman from the future.
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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.