Sciency SF Picks

April 2020:

The choicest choice of choices for April is:

Critical Point

by S L Huang

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The Blurb:

S. L. Huang’s Critical Point is a breakout SF thriller for fans of John Scalzi and Greg Rucka.

Math-genius mercenary Cas Russell has stopped a shadow organization from brainwashing the world and discovered her past was deliberately erased and her superhuman abilities deliberately created.

And that’s just the start: when a demolitions expert targets Cas and her friends, and the hidden conspiracy behind Cas’s past starts to reappear, the past, present, and future collide in a race to save one of her dearest friends.

The Reason:

A female mathematician as protagonist. Explosions. A Mystery. A Thriller. Heck, what is there not to like?

Amazon UK link here.

March 2020:

The pick for March is me being a little bit nostalgic for the science fiction I read when I was younger. It is:

The Pursuit of the Pankera

by Robert A Heinlein

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The Blurb:

The Pursuit of the Pankera is one of the most audacious experiments ever done in science fiction by the legendary author of the classic bestseller Starship Troopers.

Robert A. Heinlein wrote The Number of the Beast, which was published in 1980. In the book Zeb, Deety, Hilda and Jake are ambushed by the alien “Black Hats” and barely escape with their lives on a specially configured vehicle (the Gay Deceiver) which can travel along various planes of existence, allowing them to visit parallel universes.

However, unknown to most fans, Heinlein had already written a “parallel” novel about the four characters and parallel universes in 1977. He effectively wrote two parallel novels about parallel universes. The novels share the same start, but as soon as the Gay Deceiver is used to transport them to a parallel universe, each book transports them to a totally different parallel world.

From that point on the plot lines diverge completely. While The Number of the Beastmorphs into something very different, more representative of later Heinlein works, The Pursuit of the Pankera remains on target with a much more traditional Heinleinesque storyline and ending, reminiscent of his earlier works.

The Pursuit of the Pankera was never published and there have been many competing theories as to why (including significant copyright issues in 1977). Over time the manuscript was largely forgotten but survived in fragments. A recent re-examination of these fragments, however, made it clear that put together in the right order they constituted the complete novel.

And here it finally is: Robert A. Heinlein’s audacious experiment. A fitting farewell from one of the most inventive science fiction writers to have ever lived: a parallel novel about parallel universes as well as a great adventure pitting the forces of good versus evil only the way Heinlein could do.

The Reason:

Well apart from the nostalgia and wanting to make sure I have a complete set of Heinlein’s published works? And apart from Heinlein fiction-wise coming back from the dead? I think he knew this novel was going to published sooner or later and in a way it is doing the The Number of the Beast multiverse idea on his fiction. I for one certainly appreciate the irony.

UK Amazon link here.

US Amazon link here.

February 2020:

Ooo! This is a once every four years type of February with an extra day! So you would expect something special in the sciency science fiction picks of the month, wouldn’t you?

My pick for February is:

Light of Impossible Stars

by Gareth L Powell

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The Blurb:

Award-winning author Gareth L. Powell delivers an explosive conclusion to his epic Embers of War trilogy.

Low on fuel and hunted by the Fleet of Knives, the sentient warship Trouble Dog follows a series of clues that lead her to the Intrusion–an area of space where reality itself becomes unstable. But with human civilisation crumbling, what difference can one battered old ship have against an invincible armada?

Meanwhile, Cordelia Pa and her step-brother Michael eke out their existence salvaging artefacts from an alien city. But when Cordelia is snatched from her home, she begins a journey that will help her understand the strange songs she hears in her head and the strange things that happen around her. What extraordinary affinity does she have for this abandoned alien technology, and how can it possibly help the Trouble Dog?

The Reason:

I enjoyed Embers of War (which won the BSFA Best Novel award for 2018) and Fleet of Knives (which is currently on the BSFA long-list for 2019  – we haven’t reached the shortlist stage yet). So my expectations are high for the final part of this trilogy.

Of the recurring characters in this saga, I like Nod the best. Nod reminds me so much of my grumpy self that I can easily attune to the character.

As for Trouble Dog… well, she’s kind of cute in her own way as she travels through the known cosmos causing mayhem and chaos in her wake in her own logical way!

Amazon UK link here

Amazon US link here

January 2020:

My pick of the new science fiction novels being published in January is:

Agency

by William Gibson

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The Blurb:

San Francisco, 2017. Clinton’s in the White House, Brexit never happened and Verity Jane’s got herself a new job.

They call Verity ‘the app-whisperer’, and she’s just been hired by a shadowy start-up to evaluate a pair-of-glasses-cum-digital-assistant called Eunice. Only Eunice has other ideas.

Pretty soon, Verity knows that Eunice is smarter than anyone she’s ever met, conceals some serious capabilities and is profoundly paranoid which is just as well since suddenly some bad people are after Verity.

Meanwhile, in a post-apocalyptic London a century from now, PR fixer Wilf Netherton is tasked by all-seeing policewoman Ainsley Lowbeer with interfering in the alternative past in which Verity and Eunice exist. It appears something nasty is about to happen there – and fixing it will require not only Eunice’s unique human-AI skillset but also a little help from the future.

A future which Verity soon fears may never be . . .

The Reason:

I am having an exceedingly difficult time of finding a new  sciency science fiction novel that is not part of a long series – in fact I didn’t find one for December. And January has been no different. This is the closest I got, which admittedly is an alternative history novel rather than a techno-thriller, space opera or hard science fiction. But it is my a master of such fiction and I’m hoping that once you ignore the time travel bit, this will turn out to be a good sciency science fiction read.

Amazon UK link here.

Amazon Uk link here.

November 2019:

Catfishing on Catnet

by Naomi Kitzer

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The Blurb:

How much does the internet know about YOU? A thought-provoking near future YA thriller that could not be more timely as it explores issues of online privacy, artificial intelligence, and the power and perils of social networks.

Because her mom is always on the move, Steph hasn’t lived anyplace longer than six months. Her only constant is an online community called CatNet–a social media site where users upload cat pictures–a place she knows she is welcome. What Stephdoesn’t know is that the admin of the site, CheshireCat, is a sentient A.I.

When a threat from Steph’s past catches up to her and ChesireCat’s existence is discovered by outsiders, it’s up to Steph and her friends, both online and IRL, to save her.

Catfishing on CatNet is a surprising, heartfelt near-future YA thriller by award-winning author Naomi Kritzer, whose short story “Cat Pictures Please” won the Hugo Award and Locus Award and was a finalist for the Nebula.

The Reason:

A combination of cats, AIs and realistic science in the future – what more could a gal want? (Psst – don’t tell C.A.T. – you know how egotistically arrogant he is and how jealous he will get!)

Note:

The kindle version will be available in November and the hardback will be published on 1st December.

Amazon UK link here.

Amazon US link here.

October 2019:

October is a good month for sciency science fiction novels coming out – the pre-Christmas rush you might say. The pick of the bunch for me has to be:

Salvation Lost

Peter F Hamilton

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The Blurb:

Fight together – or die alone . . .
In the twenty-third century, humanity is enjoying a comparative utopia. Yet life on Earth is about to change, forever. Feriton Kane’s investigative team has discovered the worst threat ever to face mankind – and we’ve almost no time to fight back. The supposedly benign Olyix plan to harvest humanity, in order to carry us to their god at the end of the universe. And as their agents conclude schemes down on earth, vast warships converge above to gather this cargo.

Some factions push for humanity to flee, to live in hiding amongst the stars – although only a chosen few would make it out in time. But others refuse to break before the storm. As disaster looms, animosities must be set aside to focus on just one goal: wiping this enemy from the face of creation. Even if it means preparing for a future this generation will never see.

Salvation Lost is the second book in the Salvation Sequence by Peter F. Hamilton

The Reason:

The first book in the series, Salvation, expounded on the effects of a certain of travelling between planets, moons, asteroids and stars. As well interesting advantages it had limitations. The consequence was the development of humanity in a way that readers have not seen before. And aliens have sat up and taken notice. They have come along and interfered with the way humanity is heading.

From the blurb the second book takes up where the first left off. There were five flawed heroes in the first book. They were still around at the end of the story. I suspect their stories will be extended. Each majors in a different virtue:

  • Yuri Alster – fortitude
  • Callum Hepburn – compassion
  • Alik Monday – resolution
  • Kandara Martinez – strength
  • Jessika Mye – for guidance

This alone promises to make Salvation Lost have multiple foci of interest, each of which I can concentrate on depending on which mood I happen to be in. It will be one of those interesting mixture of ideas and reactions novels that normally promises innovative aspects, human, machine or otherwise.

September 2019:

World Engines: Destroyer

by Stephen Baxter

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The Blurb:

In the year 2570, a sleeper will wake . . .

In the mid-21st century, the Kernel, a strange object on a five-hundred-year-orbit, is detected coming from high above the plane of the solar system. Could it be an alien artefact? In the middle of climate-change crises, there is no mood for space-exploration stunts – but Reid Malenfant, elderly, once a shuttle pilot and frustrated would-be asteroid miner, decides to go take a look anyway. Nothing more is heard of him. But his ex-wife, Emma Stoney, sets up a trust fund to search for him the next time the Kernel returns . . .

By 2570 Earth is transformed. A mere billion people are supported by advanced technology on a world that is almost indistinguishable from the natural, with recovered forests, oceans, ice caps. It is not an age for expansion; there are only small science bases beyond the Earth. But this is a world you would want to live in: a Star Trek without the stars.

After 500 years the Kernel returns, and a descendant of Stoney, who Malenfant will call Emma II, mounts a mission to see what became of Malenfant. She finds him still alive, cryo-preserved . . . His culture-shock encounter with a conservative future is entertaining . . . But the Kernel itself turns out to be attached to a kind of wormhole, through which Malenfant and Emma II, exploring further, plummet back in time, across five billion years . . .

The Reason:

I think my introduction said it all. From the blurb, this has the real science in science fiction feel to it, though I must admit I have a few difficulties with a solid object being attached to a wormhole. Obviously super-advanced tech – too advanced for the civilisation on Earth. So it begs a whole load of questions. It will be interesting to see if Stephen goes down the well-trodden paths of the Kernel being an alien artefact or an artefact left over from a civilisation in the Solar System that died out a long time ago. I am rather hoping it is something else though…

Amazon UK Link Here.

August 2019:

THE MARS ONE INCIDENT

BY KELLY CURTIS

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The Blurb:

To be a criminal or a hero? But if a hero, then in her soul, a traitor to humanity.

This was a no-win situation. Captain Johnson needed to close her eyes and think, but there wasn’t time. Mars One was harboring a Trappist ship that was faster and more powerful than hers. If it reached Earth, she had no doubt, there would be a coup against her peaceful government.

Five hundred years before, humans abandoned most technology in The Great Leap Backwards: no social media, no mobile phones, monitored, sanctioned and communal computers. The year is 2345 and humans believe that they almost destroyed themselves and their planet and put the sole blame on their greed and sickness for technology.

Now humans survive by trading various forms of art for universal credits, but they will never be big players in the galaxy. However, there is a small faction who call themselves Terra Nova, who believe that humans could create and use technology again without the risk of destroying humanity. Their goal is to make humanity competitive with the other species in the galaxy.

Terra Nova is making their move and now Captain Johnson has only minutes to make hers.

UK Amazon link here.

US Amazon link here.

July 2019:

MISSION CRITICAL

EDITED BY JONATHAN STRAHAN

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The Blurb:

SPACE IS DANGEROUS
The greatest threat, to those who dare venture among the stars, isn’t from aliens, or enemy nations, or cosmic forces from outside reality, but from the simple things on which our lives in space are built: the engines and control systems, the machines that provide our atmosphere, our gravity, even our food and water.
In the vein of Andy Weir’s The Martian and James S. A. Corey’s Expanse books, Mission Critical tells the stories of when the machines go wrong.
Featuring stories by Peter F. Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, Ann Leckie and many others.

 

UK Amazon link here.

US Amazon link here.

June 2019:

STEALING WORLDS

BY KARL SCHROEDER

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The Blurb:

From Karl Schroeder, author of Lockstep, comes the near-future, science fiction, hacker’s heist, Stealing Worlds.

Sura Neelin is on the run from her creditors, from her past, and her father’s murderers. She can’t get a job, she can’t get a place to live, she can’t even walk down the street: the total surveillance society that is mid-21st century America means that every camera and every pair of smart glasses is her enemy.

But Sura might have a chance in the alternate reality of the games. People can disappear in the LARP game worlds, into the alternate economy of Notchcoin and blockchains. The people who build the games also program the surveillance networks—she just needs an introduction, and the skills to play.

Turns out, she has very valuable skills, and some very surprising friends.

UK Amazon link here.

US Amazon link here.

May 2019:

MILLION-MILE ROAD TRIP

BY RUDY RUCKER

 

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The Blurb:

In his first new novel since 2013, cyberpunk pioneer Rudy Rucker offers his own smart, hilarious, and uniquely gnarly science fiction version of the classic road-trip story.

When a seemingly-innocent trumpet solo somehow opens a transdimensional connection to Mappyworld, a parallel universe containing a single, endless plain divided by ridges into basin-like worlds, three California teens find themselves taken on a million mile road trip across a landscape of alien civilizations in a beat-up, purple 80s wagon . . . with a dark-energy motor, graphene tires and quantum shocks, of course. Their goal? To stop carnivorous flying saucers from invading Earth. And, just maybe, to find love along the way.

Million Mile Road Trip is a phantasmagoric roller-coaster ride―mind warpingly smart and wildly funny, with a warmly beating heart.

Night Shade Books’ ten-volume series with Rudy Rucker collects nine of the brilliantly weird novels for which the mathematician-turned-author is known, as well as a tenth, never-before-published book, Million Mile Road Trip. We’re proud to collect in one place so much of the work of this influential figure in the early cyberpunk scene, and to share Rucker’s fascinating, unique worldview with an entirely new generation of readers.

Amazon UK Link Here.

Amazon US Link Here.

April 2019:

PERIHELION SUMMER

BY GREG EGAN

 

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The Blurb:

Greg Egan’s Perihelion Summer is a story of people struggling to adapt to a suddenly alien environment, and the friendships and alliances they forge as they try to find their way in a world where the old maps have lost their meaning.

Taraxippus is coming: a black hole one tenth the mass of the sun is about to enter the solar system.

Matt and his friends are taking no chances. They board a mobile aquaculture rig, the Mandjet, self-sustaining in food, power and fresh water, and decide to sit out the encounter off-shore. As Taraxippus draws nearer, new observations throw the original predictions for its trajectory into doubt, and by the time it leaves the solar system, the conditions of life across the globe will be changed forever.

Amazon UK link here.

Amazon US link here.

March 2019:

Ruin’s Wake

by Patrick Edwards

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The Blurb:

A moving and powerful science fiction novel with themes of love, revenge and identity on a totalitarian world.

A story about humanity, and the universal search to find salvation in the face of insurmountable odds.

An old soldier in exile embarks on a desperate journey to find his dying son.
A young woman trapped in an abusive marriage with a government official finds hope in an illicit love. A female scientist uncovers a mysterious technology that reveals that her world is more fragile than she believed.

Ruin’s Wake imagines a world ruled by a totalitarian government, where history has been erased and individual identity is replaced by the machinations of the state. As the characters try to save what they hold most dear – in one case a dying son, in the other secret love – their fates converge to a shared destiny.

Link to Amazon UK here.

Link to Amazon US here.

February 2019:

Fleet of Knives

by Gareth L Powell

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The Blurb:

The second book in the critically acclaimed Embers of War space opera series.

The former warship Trouble Dog and her crew of misfits is called upon by the House of Reclamation to investigate a distress call from the human starship the Lucy’s Ghost. Her crew abandon their crippled ship and seek refuge abroad an abandoned, slower-than-light generation ship launched ten thousand years before by an alien race. However, the enormous ship contains deadly secrets of its own.

Recovered war criminal, Ona Sudak, faces a firing squad for her actions in the Archipelago War. But, at the last moment, she is smuggled out of her high security prison. The Marble Armada has called for her to accompany its ships as observer and liaison, as it spreads itself across the human Generality, enforcing the peace at all costs. The alien ships will not tolerate resistance, and all dissenters are met with overwhelming and implacable force. Then her vessel intercepts messages from the House of Reclamation and decides the Trouble Dog has a capacity for violence which cannot be allowed to endure.

As the Trouble Dog and her crew fight to save the crew of the Lucy’s Ghost, the ship finds herself caught between chaotic alien monsters on one side, and on the other, destruction at the hands of the Marble Armada.

UK Amazon link here

US Amazon Link here

January 2019:

Return to Enceladus

(Ice Moon Book 4)

by Brandon Q. Morris

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The Blurb:

Russian billionaire Nikolai Shostakovitch makes an offer to the former crew of the spaceship ILSE. He will finance a return voyage to the icy moon Enceladus. The offer is too good to refuse—the expedition would give them the unique opportunity to recover the body of their doctor, Dimitri Marchenko.

Everyone on board knows that their benefactor acts out of purely personal motivations… but the true interests of the tycoon and the dangers that he conjures up are beyond anyone’s imagination.

Return to Enceladus is the fourth book in the bestselling Ice Moon series that started with The Enceladus Mission.

UK Amazon Link Here

US Amazon Link Here

December 2018:

The Io Encounter

by Brandon Q. Morris

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The Blurb:

Jupiter’s moon Io has an extremely hostile environment. There are hot lava streams, seas of boiling sulfur, and frequent volcanic eruptions straight from Dante’s Inferno, in addition to constant radiation bombardment and a surface temperature hovering at minus 180 degrees Celsius.

Is it really home to a great danger that threatens all of humanity? That’s what a surprise message from the life form discovered on Enceladus seems to indicate.

The crew of ILSE, the International Life Search Expedition, finally on their longed-for return to Earth, reluctantly chooses to accept a diversion to Io, only to discover that an enemy from within is about to destroy all their hopes of ever going home.

UK Amazon link here.

US Amazon link here.

November 2018:

The Titan Probe

by Brandon Q. Morris

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The Blurb:

In 2005, the robotic probe “Huygens” lands on Saturn’s moon Titan. 40 years later, a radio telescope receives signals from the far away moon that can only come from the long forgotten lander. At the same time, an expedition returns from neighbouring moon Enceladus. The crew lands on Titan and finds a dangerous secret that risks their return to Earth. Meanwhile, on Enceladus a deathly race has started that nobody thought was possible. And its outcome can only be decided by the astronauts that are stuck on Titan.

The Titan Probe is a stand-alone novel that follows the events from The Enceladus Mission.

Amazon UK link here.

Amazon US Link here.

October 2018:

Thin Air

by Richard Morgan

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The Blurb:

Richard Morgan has always been one of our most successful SF authors with his fast-moving and brutal storylines, blistering plots and a powerful social conscience behind his work.

And now he’s back, with his first SF novel for eight years . . . and it promises to be a publication to remember.

An ex-corporate enforcer, Hakan Veil, is forced to bodyguard Madison Madekwe, part of a colonial audit team investigating a disappeared lottery winner on Mars. But when Madekwe is abducted, and Hakan nearly killed, the investigation takes him farther and deeper than he had ever expected. And soon Hakan discovers the heavy price he may have to pay to learn the truth.

Amazon UK Link.

Amazon US Link.

September 2018:

Salvation

by Peter F Hamilton

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The Blurb:

Know your enemy – or be defeated

AD 2204
An alien shipwreck is discovered on a planet at the very limits of human expansion – so Security Director Feriton Kayne selects a team to investigate. The ship’s sinister cargo not only raises bewildering questions, but could also foreshadow humanity’s extinction. It will be up to the team to bring back answers, and the consequences of this voyage will change everything.

Back on Earth, we can now make deserts bloom and extend lifespans indefinitely, so humanity seems invulnerable. We therefore welcomed the Olyix to Earth when they contacted us. They needed fuel for their pilgrimage across the galaxy – and in exchange they helped us advance our technology. But were the Olyix a blessing or a curse?

THE FAR FUTURE
Many lightyears from Earth, Dellian and his clan of genetically engineered soldiers are raised with one goal. They must confront and destroy their ancient adversary. The enemy caused mankind to flee across the galaxy and they hunt us still. If they aren’t stopped, we will be wiped out – and we’re running out of time.

Salvation is the first title in a stunning science fiction trilogy, the Salvation Sequence, by Peter F. Hamilton

UK Amazon link here.

US Amazon line here.

August 2018:

Rogue Protocol

by Martha Wells

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The Blurb:

Who knew being a heartless killing machine would present so many moral dilemmas?

Sci-fi’s favorite antisocial A.I. is back on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is.

And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.

Martha Wells’ Rogue Protocol is the third in the Murderbot Diaries series, starring a human-like android who keeps getting sucked back into adventure after adventure, though it just wants to be left alone, away from humanity and small talk.

Amazon UK Link Here.

Amazon US Link Here.

July 2018:

Record of the Spaceborn Few

by Becky Chambers

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The Blurb:

From the ground, we stand. From our ship, we live. By the stars, we hope.

Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.

Tessa chose to stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened.

Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn’t know where to find it.

Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong.

And when a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home can no longer avoid the inescapable question:

What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?

Amazon UK Link here.

Amazon US Link here.

May 2018:

Artificial Condition

by Martha Wells

 

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The Blurb:

Artificial Condition is the follow-up to Martha Wells’s hugely popular science fiction action and adventure All Systems Red

It has a dark past—one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…

UK Amazon link here.

US Amazon link here.

April 2018:

One Way

by S. J. Morden

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The Blurb:

Eight astronauts
One killer
No way home

WE STAND AT THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA
Frank Kittridge is serving life for murdering his son’s drug dealer. So when he’s offered a deal by Xenosystems Operations – the company that runs the prison – he takes it, even though it means swapping one life sentence for another.
THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO BE ALIVE
He’s been selected to help build the first permanent base on Mars. Unfortunately, his crewmates are just as guilty of their crimes as he is – and he’ll have to learn to trust them if they’re to succeed.
THE FUTURE OF SPACE TRAVEL IS IN SAFE HANDS
As the convicts set to work on the frozen wastes of Mars, the accidents multiply. Until Frank begins to suspect they might not be accidents at all . . .
XENOSYSTEMS OPERATIONS: MAKING DREAMS A REALITY
There’s a murderer amongst them, and everyone’s a suspect.

UK Amazon Link Here.

US Amazon Link Here.

March 2018:

Aldo

by Betty Jean Craige

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The Blurb:

Aldo is a mystery/thriller/love story in which a brilliant and dangerous ideologue attempts to eliminate a university’s genetics institute by holding the university’s president hostage.

On the same day that Isabel Canto, associate director of Pembrook Atlantic University’s Institute for Genome Modification, discovers she is pregnant with IGM post-doc Frank Marks’s baby, Pembrook Atlantic University’s president Mary Ellen Mackin receives a letter from “Aldo” threatening harm if she does not dissolve the institute and fire its director. Isabel recommends that Mackin refuse and not allow a terrorist to dictate what her faculty and students can research and discover, but this advice unwittingly sets off a chain of events that will change many lives forever—including hers.

Here for Amazon UK

Here for Amazon US

February 2018:

Mission to Methone

by Les Johnson

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The Blurb: 

Humanity is not alone in the universe. Across the galaxy, a war rages between advanced alien races. And its about to be brought to our doorstep.

The year is 2065 and an accidental encounter in space leads to the discovery that we are not alone in the universe–and that our continued existence as a species may be in jeopardy.

Chris Holt, working in his office at the Space Resources Corporation, discovers that one of the asteroids he is surveying for mining is actually not an asteroid at all but a derelict spaceship. The word gets out and soon the world’s powers are competing to explore and claim for themselves the secrets that it holds.

What they don’t know is that across the galaxy, a war has been underway for millennia. A war between alien civilizations that have very different ideas about what should be done about emerging spacefaring civilizations like our own. The artificial intelligence resident in the derelict Holt discovered has been in our solar system since before the dawn of human civilization, watching, waiting and keeping quiet lest the interstellar war return and wipe out the sentient race that now resides there–humanity.

And that war might soon be again coming to our front door. The truth can only be discovered on Methone, a tiny, egg-shaped moon of the planet Saturn. Who will get there first? And will it be in time?

Amazon UK here.

Amazon US here.

January 2018:

Neogenesis

by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

This is a follow-on novel from the best selling The Gathering Edge in the Liaden universe and will be published on 2nd January. What a good way to start 2018!

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The Blurb:

The Complex Logic Laws were the result of a war waged hundreds of years in the past, when two human powers threw massive AI navies at each other and nearly annihilated themselves. Being human, they blamed their tools for this near miss; they destroyed what was left of the sentient ships, and made it illegal to be, manufacture, or shelter an independent logic.

Strangely, however, the Free Ships and other AIs did not turn themselves in or suicide, they merely became wary of humans, and stayed under their scans. A clandestine support network grew up, including hidden yards where smart ships were manufactured, and mentors–humans specially trained to ease a new intelligence into the universe–socialized them, and taught them what they needed to know to survive.

Among those with a stake in the freedom of Independent Logics is Theo Waitley, who is somewhat too famously the captain of intelligent ship Bechimo. Theo’s brother, Val Con yos’Phelium, presides over a household that has for a generation employed an AI butler. Recently, he approved the “birth” of the butler’s child, who was sent, with human mentor Tolly Jones, to rescue or destroy an orphaned AI abandoned at a remote space station.

Then there’s Uncle, the shadowy mastermind from the Old Universe, whose many projects often skirt the boundaries of law, both natural and man-made – and the puppet-masters at the Lyre Institute, whose history is just as murky – and a good deal less honorable.

All have an interest in the newly-awakening Self-Aware Logic that is rumored to have the power to destroy universes.

The question is: Who will get to it first?

December 2017:

Survival

by Ben Bova

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The Blurb:

Ben Bova continues his hard SF Star Quest series which began with Death Wave and Apes and Angels. In Surivival, a human team sent to scout a few hundred lightyears in front of the death wave encounters a civilization far in advance of our own, a civilization of machine intelligences.

These sentient, intelligent machines have existed for eons, and have survived earlier “death waves,” gamma ray bursts from the core of the galaxy. They are totally self-sufficient, completely certain that the death wave cannot harm them, and utterly uninterested in helping to save other civilizations, organic or machine.

But now that the humans have discovered them, they refuse to allow them to leave their planet, reasoning that other humans will inevitably follow if they learn of their existence.

November 2017:

Artemis

by Andy Weir

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The blurb:

Ever had a bad day? Try having one on the moon…

WELCOME TO ARTEMIS. The first city on the moon.
Population 2,000. Mostly tourists. Some criminals.

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. She lives in a poor area of Artemis and subsidises her work as a porter with smuggling contraband onto the moon. But it’s not enough.

So when she’s offered the chance to make a lot of money she jumps at it. But though
planning a crime in 1/6th gravity may be more fun, it’s a lot more dangerous…

UK Amazon Here

US Amazon Here

October 2017:

Satellite

by Nick Lake

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The blurb:

The Martian for teens – an epic, highly original space thriller with real science and heartbreaking beauty.

Leo has never set foot on Earth. Born and raised with twins Orion and Libra on the Moon 2 Space Station, they have grown up together in the most extraordinary of ways.

Now, they are preparing to make their first trip home – their first journey to Earth. But Leo, Orion and Libra cannot possibly imagine the irreversible consequences that their return will set into motion…

From Amazon UK here.

From Amazon US here.

September 2017:

Null States

by Malta Older

51zI0ldPO3LThe blurb:

Null States continues Campbell Award finalist Malka Older’s Centenal Cycle, the near-future science fiction trilogy beginning with Infomocracy

A Locus Award Finalist for Best First Novel
The book The Huffington Post called “one of the greatest literary debuts in recent history”
Named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, The Verge, Flavorwire, Kirkus, and Book Riot

The future of democracy is about to implode.

After the last controversial global election, the global infomocracy that has ensured thirty years of world peace is fraying at the edges. As the new Supermajority government struggles to establish its legitimacy, agents of Information across the globe strive to keep the peace and maintain the flows of data that feed the new world order.

In the newly-incorporated DarFur, a governor dies in a fiery explosion. In Geneva, a superpower hatches plans to bring microdemocracy to its knees. In Central Asia, a sprawling war among archaic states threatens to explode into a global crisis. And across the world, a shadowy plot is growing, threatening to strangle Information with the reins of power.

UK Amazon Link

US Amazon Link

August 2017:

The Man of Shadows

by Jeff Noon 

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The Blurb:

The brilliant, mind-bending return to science fiction by one of its most acclaimed visionaries. Below the neon skies of Dayzone where the lights never go out, and night has been banished lowly private eye John Nyquist takes on a teenage runaway case. His quest takes him from Dayzone into the permanent dark of Nocturna. As the vicious, seemingly invisible serial killer known only as Quicksilver haunts the streets, Nyquist starts to suspect that the runaway girl holds within her the key to the city’s fate. In the end, there’s only one place left to search: the shadow-choked zone known as Dusk.

Why this one? Its blurb promises some interesting ideas about life in an built space. Where that space really is will be an intriguing question to answer in itself.

Enjoy!

July 2017: 

Tomorrow’s Kin

by Nancy Kress

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The blurb is:

Tomorrow’s Kin is the first volume in and all new hard science fiction trilogy by Nancy Kress based on the Nebula Award-winning Yesterday’s Kin.

The aliens have arrived… they’ve landed their Embassy ship on a platform in New York Harbor, and will only speak with the United Nations. They say that their world is so different from Earth, in terms of gravity and atmosphere, that they cannot leave their ship. The population of Earth has erupted in fear and speculation.

One day Dr. Marianne Jenner, an obscure scientist working with the human genome, receives an invitation that she cannot refuse. The Secret Service arrives at her college to escort her to New York, for she has been invited, along with the Secretary General of the UN and a few other ambassadors, to visit the alien Embassy.

The truth is about to be revealed. Earth’s most elite scientists have ten months to prevent a disaster–and not everyone is willing to wait.

UK Amazon Buy Here

US Amazon Buy Here

June 2017:

Xeelee Vengeance

Stephen Baxter

The Blurb:

Half a million years in the future, on a dead, war-ravaged world at the centre of the Galaxy, there is a mile-high statue of Michael Poole.

Poole, born on Earth in the fourth millennium, was one of mankind’s most influential heroes. He was not a warrior, not an emperor. He was an engineer, a builder of wormhole transit systems. But Poole’s work would ultimately lead to a vast and destructive conflict, a million-year war between humanity and the enigmatic, powerful aliens known as the Xeelee.

The Xeelee won, but at a huge cost. And, defeated in a greater war, the Xeelee eventually fled the universe. Most of them.

A handful were left behind, equipped with time travel capabilities, their task to tidy up: to reorder history more to the Xeelee’s liking. That million-year war with humankind was one blemish. It had to be erased. And in order to do that, a lone Xeelee was sent back in time to remove Michael Poole from history . . .

From Amazon UK here.