SFF Book Releases – October 6, 2015

I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice without knowing why. It is altogether against my will that I tell my reasons for opposing this contemplated invasion of the SFF Book Releases This Week!

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Against a Darkening Sky
by Jaime Lee Moyer

By 1919 the Great War has ended, peace talks are under way in Paris, and the world has been forever changed. Delia Martin, apprentice practitioner of magical arts, and her husband, Police Captain Gabriel Ryan, face the greatest challenge of their lives when fragments from the war descend on San Francisco.

As Delia prepares to meet friends at a St. Patrick’s Day parade, the strange ghost of a European princess appears in her mirror. Her pleasant outing becomes a nightmare as the ghost reappears moments after a riot starts, warning her as a rooftop gunman begins shooting into the crowd. Delia rushes to get her friends to safety, and Gabe struggles to stop the killing-and to save himself.

Delia and Gabe realize all the chaos and bloodshed had one purpose-to flush Alina from hiding, a young woman with no memory of anything but her name.

As Delia works to discover how the princess ghost’s secrets connect to this mysterious young woman, and Gabe tracks a ruthless killer around his city, they find all the answers hinge on two questions: Who is Alina…and why can’t she remember?

An Ancient Peace
by Tanya Huff

Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr had been the very model of a Confederation Marine. But when she learned the truth about the war the Confederation was fighting, she left the military for good.

But Torin couldn’t walk away from preserving and protecting everything the Confederation represented. Instead, she drew together an elite corps of friends and allies to take on covert missions that the Justice Department and the Corps could not—or would not—officially touch. Torin just hoped the one they were about to embark on wouldn’t be the death of them.

Ancient H’san grave goods are showing up on the black market—grave goods from just before the formation of the Confederation, when the H’san gave up war and buried their planet-destroying weapons…as grave goods for the death of war. Someone is searching for these weapons and they’re very close to finding them. As the Elder Races have turned away from war, those searchers can only be members of the Younger Races.

Fortunately, only the Corps Intelligence Service has this information. Unfortunately, they can do nothing about it—bound by laws of full disclosure, their every move is monitored.

Though Torin Kerr and her team are no longer a part of the military, the six of them tackling the H’san defenses and the lethally armed grave robbers are the only chance the Confederation has. The only chance to avoid millions more dead.

But the more Torin learns about the relationship between the Elder Races and the Younger, the more she begins to fear war might be an unavoidable result.

Ancillary Mercy
by Ann Leckie

For a moment, things seemed to be under control for Breq, the soldier who used to be a warship. Then a search of Athoek Station’s slums turns up someone who shouldn’t exist, and a messenger from the mysterious Presger empire arrives, as does Breq’s enemy, the divided and quite possibly insane Anaander Mianaai – ruler of an empire at war with itself.

Breq refuses to flee with her ship and crew, because that would leave the people of Athoek in terrible danger. The odds aren’t good, but that’s never stopped her before.

The finale of the Ancillary series

Bats of the Republic
by Zachary Thomas Dodson

In 1843, fragile naturalist Zadock Thomas must leave his beloved in Chicago to deliver a secret letter to an infamous general on the front lines of the war over Texas. The fate of the volatile republic, along with Zadock’s future, depends on his mission. When a cloud of bats leads him off the trail, he happens upon something impossible…

Three hundred years later, the world has collapsed and the remnants of humanity cling to a strange society of paranoia. Zeke Thomas has inherited a sealed envelope from his grandfather, an esteemed senator. When that letter goes missing, Zeke engages a fomenting rebellion that could free him—if it doesn’t destroy his relationship, his family legacy, and the entire republic first.

As their stories overlap and history itself begins to unravel, a war in time erupts between a lost civilization, a forgotten future, and the chaos of the wild.

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015
edited by Joe Hill and John Joseph Adams

Science fiction and fantasy enjoy a long literary tradition, stretching from Mary Shelley, H. G. Wells, and Jules Verne to Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, and William Gibson. In The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy award-winning editor John Joseph Adams delivers a diverse and vibrant collection of stories published in the previous year. Featuring writers with deep science fiction and fantasy backgrounds, along with those who are infusing traditional fiction with speculative elements, these stories uphold a longstanding tradition in both genres—looking at the world and asking, What if . . . ?

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015 includes

  • Kelly Link
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Karen Russell
  • T. C. Boyle
  • Sofia Samatar,
  • Jo Walton,
  • Cat Rambo
  • Daniel H. Wilson
  • Seanan McGuire
  • Jess Row
    and others

A Call to Arms
by David Weber, Timothy Zahn, and Thomas Pope

Lieutenant Travis Long of the Royal Manticoran Navy is the sort of person who likes an orderly universe. One where people follow the rules.

Unfortunately, he lives in the real universe.

The good news is that Travis is one of those rare people who may like rules but has a talent for thinking outside them when everything starts coming apart. That talent has stood him—and the Star Kingdom—in good stead in the past, and it’s one reason he’s now a “mustang,” an ex-enlisted man who’s been given a commission as a King’s officer.

The bad news is that two of the best ways of making enemies ever invented are insisting on enforcing the rules . . . and thinking outside them when other people don’t. Travis learned that lesson the hard way as a young volunteer in basic training, and he knows that if he could just keep his head down, turn a blind eye to violations of the rules, and avoid stepping on senior officers’ toes, he’d do just fine. But the one rule Travis Long absolutely can’t break is the one that says an officer in the Royal Navy does his duty, whatever the consequences.

At the moment, there are powerful forces in the young Star Kingdom of Manticore’s Parliament which don’t think they need him. For that matter, they’re pretty sure they don’t need the Royal Manticoran Navy, either. After all, what does a sleepy little single-system star nation on the outer edge of the explored galaxy need with a navy?

Unhappily for them, the edge of the explored galaxy can be a far more dangerous place than they think it is. They’re about to find out why they need the Navy . . . and how very, very fortunate they are that Travis Long is in it.

Book two of the Manticore Ascendant series, set in Weber’s Honorverse

Empire Ascendant
by Kameron Hurley

Every two thousand years, the dark star Oma appears in the sky, bringing with it a tide of death and destruction. And those who survive must contend with friends and enemies newly imbued with violent powers. The kingdom of Saiduan already lies in ruin, decimated by invaders from another world who share the faces of those they seek to destroy.

Now the nation of Dhai is under siege by the same force. Their only hope for survival lies in the hands of an illegitimate ruler and a scullery maid with a powerful – but unpredictable –magic. As the foreign Empire spreads across the world like a disease, one of their former allies takes up her Empress’s sword again to unseat them, and two enslaved scholars begin a treacherous journey home with a long-lost secret that they hope is the key to the Empire’s undoing.

But when the enemy shares your own face, who can be trusted?

Book two of The Worldbreaker Saga

Empire of Imagination
by Michael Witwer

The life story of Gary Gygax, godfather of all fantasy adventure games, has been told only in bits and pieces. Michael Witwer has written a dynamic, dramatized biography of Gygax from his childhood in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to his untimely death in 2008.

Gygax’s magnum opus, Dungeons & Dragons, would explode in popularity throughout the 1970s and ’80s and irreversibly alter the world of gaming. D&D is the best-known, best-selling role-playing game of all time, and it boasts an elite class of alumni–Stephen Colbert, Robin Williams, and Junot Diaz all have spoken openly about their experience with the game as teenagers, and some credit it as the workshop where their nascent imaginations were fostered.

Gygax’s involvement in the industry lasted long after his dramatic and involuntary departure from D&D’s parent company, TSR, and his footprint can be seen in the genre he is largely responsible for creating. But as Witwer shows, perhaps the most compelling facet of his life and work was his unwavering commitment to the power of creativity in the face of myriad sources of adversity, whether cultural, economic, or personal. Through his creation of the role-playing genre, Gygax gave two generations of gamers the tools to invent characters and entire worlds in their minds.

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits
by David Wong

Get ready for a world in which anyone can have the powers of a god or the fame of a pop star, in which human achievement soars to new heights while its depravity plunges to the blackest depths. A world in which at least one cat smells like a seafood shop’s dumpster on a hot summer day.

This is the world in which Zoey Ashe finds herself, navigating a futuristic city in which one can find elements of the fantastic, nightmarish and ridiculous on any street corner. Her only trusted advisor is the aforementioned cat, but even in the future, cats cannot give advice. At least not any that you’d want to follow.

Will Zoey figure it all out in time? Or maybe the better question is, will you? After all, the future is coming sooner than you think.

An Inheritance of Ashes
by Leah Bobet

The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm.

When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself.

Killing Titan
by Greg Bear

After barely surviving his last tour on Mars, Master Sergeant Michael Venn finds himself back on earth in enforced isolation. Through a dangerous series of operations he returns to Mars to further his investigation into the Drifters–ancient artifacts suddenly reawakened on the red planet.

But another front in the war leads his team to make the difficult journey to Saturn’s moon, Titan. Here, in the cauldron of war, hides new truths about the Drifters, the origin of life in our solar system and the plans of the supposedly benevolent Gurus, who have been “sponsoring” and supporting humanity in their fight against outside invaders.

Book two of the War Dogs trilogy

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
by George R. R. Martin

Before Tyrion Lannister and Podrick Payne, there was Dunk and Egg. A young, naïve but ultimately courageous hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall towers above his rivals—in stature if not experience. Tagging along is his diminutive squire, a boy called Egg—whose true buy gabapentin tablets name is hidden from all he and Dunk encounter. Though more improbable heroes may not be found in all of Westeros, great destinies lay ahead for these two, as do powerful foes, royal intrigue, and outrageous exploits.

This trio of novellas has been collected for the first time in one book. It is part of A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

Marked
by Sue Tingey

In a world filled with charlatans, Lucinda “Lucky” de Salle’s psychic ability has always made her an outcast, even as it has also made her a sought-after (if reluctant) investigator of paranormal phenomena. With no remaining family and very few friends, she has only one “person” she can rely on–Kayla, the ghost girl who has been her constant companion since she was born.

When Lucky is called in to investigate a spectral disturbance at the all-girls school she attended as a child, she isn’t surprised. She herself had had a terrifying confrontation with the troubled spirits of two girls who died in the attic room. But when Lucky goes up to the attic, she discovers that the vicious little girls are the least of the problem–a demon has been released into this world, a creature of such malevolence that even the spirits of the two girls are afraid. When the demon demands that Kayla be handed over to him, Lucky realizes that this case will be like no other she has ever experienced.

For one thing, it seems that her chatty, snarky spirit companion is not what she has always seemed to be…

Part of The Soulseer Chronicles

Pale Queen Rising
by A. R. Kahler

As the royal assassin, Claire is used to moving between the mortal world and the Winter Kingdom. When the queen commands her to kill, Claire does the job and doesn’t ask questions. Her deadly skills and loyalty are soon tested when Claire is sent to the Immortal Circus, one of the many places where “Dream” is harvested from the imaginings of mortals. There she must find the culprit who is causing Dream to mysteriously disappear before the Winter Kingdom’s supply is depleted enough to threaten its very survival. But when she meets Roxie, a beautiful mortal singer with a strange link to the Dream thieves, Claire quickly recognizes an odd and unexplained connection that may cloud her judgment. As each new clue unveils another secret, Claire finds herself confronting the riddle of her own buried past—and a dangerous illusion that, as part of the Immortal Circus, is just another act in the show.

Raising Caine
by Charles E. Gannon

Caine Riordan, reluctant diplomatic and military intelligence operative, has just finished playing his part repulsing the Arat Kur’s and Hkh’Rkh’s joint invasion of Earth.

But scant hours after the attackers surrender, the mysterious but potentially helpful Slaasriithi appeal to Caine to shepherd a diplomatic mission on a visit to their very alien worlds. The possible prize: a crucial alliance in a universe where the fledgling Consolidated Terran Republic has very few friends.

But Caine and his legation aren’t the only ones journeying into the unknown reaches of Slaasriithi space. A group of renegade K’tor are following them, intending to destroy humanity’s hopes for a quick alliance. And that means finding and killing Caine Riordan.

Assuming that the bizarre and dangerous Slaasriithi lifeforms don’t do it first.

A Caine Riordan book

Rising Tide
by Rajan Khanna

Ben Gold sacrificed his ship in an effort to prevent pirates from attacking the hidden city of Tamoanchan. Now Malik, an old friend turned enemy, has captured Ben and Miranda—the scientist Ben loves. With Miranda held hostage, Ben has to do Malik’s dirty work.

Miranda has plans of her own, though. She has developed a test for the virus that turned most of the population into little more than beasts called Ferals two generations ago. She needs Ben’s help to rescue a group of her colleagues to perfect the test—but first they must rescue themselves.

When a terrible new disease starts spreading across Tamoanchan and people start dying, it seems there’s something more sinister afoot. Then an old enemy attacks. Can Ben fight off the invaders? And will it be in time to save anyone from the disease?

The Sand Men
by Christopher Fowler

In Dubai there’s a new world of high-luxury resorts emerging for the super-rich – but at what price to everyone else?

Lea, Roy and their 15 year-old daughter Cara live in a gated community reserved for foreign workers. Roy has been hired to deal with teething problems at Dream World, a futuristic beach complex. In the oppressive heat, the wives appear happy to follow behind their husbands, cooking and arranging tea parties, but Lea finds herself a virtual prisoner in a land where Western women are regarded with indifference and suspicion.

At least there are a few friendly outsiders who don’t enjoy the conformity of the ex-pat community – until one night, when the most outspoken one dies in a suspicious accident. It’s the first in a string of terrible occurrences that divide the foreign workers. Lea’s neighbours start to blame migrants, locals and even each other.

Lea is convinced that deliberate acts of cruelty are being committed – but is there a real threat to her life, or is she becoming paranoid? And what if the thing she fears most is really happening? What happens in a world where only the rich are important?

Saturn Run
by John Sanford and Ctein

The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate. Spaceships do.

A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: Whatever built that ship is at least one hundred years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out.

The race is on, and an remarkable adventure begins—an epic tale of courage, treachery, resourcefulness, secrets, surprises, and astonishing human and technological discovery, as the members of a hastily thrown-together crew find their strength and wits tested against adversaries both of this earth and beyond.

Shadows of Self
by Brandon Sanderson

The #1 New York Times bestselling author returns to the world of Mistborn with his first novel in the series since The Alloy of Law.

With The Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.

The trilogy’s heroes are now figures of myth and legend, even objects of religious veneration. They are succeeded by wonderful new characters, chief among them Waxillium Ladrian, known as Wax, hereditary Lord of House Ladrian but also, until recently, a lawman in the ungoverned frontier region known as the Roughs. There he worked with his eccentric but effective buddy, Wayne. They are “twinborn,” meaning they are able to use both Allomantic and Feruchemical magic.

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.

Silver on the Road
by Laura Anne Gilman

Isobel, upon her sixteenth birthday, makes the choice to work for the devil in his territory west of the Mississippi. But this is not the devil you know. This is a being who deals fairly with immense—but not unlimited—power, who offers opportunities to people who want to make a deal, and they always get what they deserve. But his land is a wild west that needs a human touch, and that’s where Izzy comes in. Inadvertently trained by him to see the clues in and manipulations of human desire, Izzy is raised to be his left hand and travel circuit through the territory. As we all know, where there is magic there is chaos…and death.

The Society of Experience
by Matt Cahill

When his father – a distinguished writer – unexpectedly passes away, Derrick van der Lem’s insulated world implodes, leaving a much stranger and crueler place than the one he knew. In the midst of his downward spiral, the mysterious Society of Experience asks him to take part in a baffling science experiment involving time travel, with the possibility of changing his life and pulling him out of his rut. When the experiment begins to untangle, Derrick finds himself out of his depth and in the middle of a nightmare, with only the company of a mysterious woman to steer him from chaos to heartbreak. Meanwhile, who are the society, and what are their true intentions for Derrick? Is time travel real, or is it yet another contrivance the Society has invented?

Undead and Unforgiven
by MaryJanice Davidson

If Betsy Taylor has learned anything about ruling Hell it’s: 1) She can’t do it alone, and 2) She doesn’t have to. She’s got the help of a devoted vampire king, a dateless zombie, an exhausted new mom, an unshowered cop, a bitchy ghost, a kindly dead priest, and her late stepmother (“Go Team Satan 2.0!”). But the latest major hurdle in her afterlife is so big she can’t even see it until it’s on YouTube.

Betsy’s father and half sister Laura (a former Antichrist with a grudge) have teamed up, for what sinister purpose Betsy can’t imagine. The former Antichrist didn’t take kindly to getting what she wished for, and has decided that’s entirely the fault of the vampire queen. What that means for Betsy is trouble (more than usual, even) and possible exposure to an unsuspecting world.

Meanwhile Hell is having a deleterious effect on Betsy’s friends (“I didn’t think it was possible, but the damned are getting meaner.”), the newly dead are confused about Hell’s new rules (“A buddy system? Really?”), and the vampire king is trying to poach on Betsy’s territory. Betsy loves her husband, but that’s not the same as trusting him. Before long the king and queen of the vampires aren’t speaking to each other, the mansion on Summit Avenue is a war zone, and Betsy’s getting calls from a werewolf, a mermaid, and worst of all, her mother (“What do you mean you can’t babysit?”). No one said life after death would be easy, but c’mon: this is ridiculous.

Part of the Undead/Queen Betsy series

Mirror, Mirror: A Collection of Halloween Shorts
by Kate Baray, Steve Statham, M.G. Herron, D.F. Jones and S.R. Bond

Five stories, five mirrors, and a solid dash of fantasy combine to make this collection a Halloween treat.

Meet…
Fiona as she grapples with an overactive imagination or accepts that the mirror she’s inherited truly is cursed in “The Covered Mirror.”
Jean as she struggles with the grief of losing a loved one while a treasured gift from her past takes on a shocking new life of its own in “On Wings of Steel.”
Grace as an ominous environment and odd occurrences push her with increasing urgency to question her past and her future in “The Girl in the Mirror.”
Young Anders as he suffers the pangs of first love lost and learns exactly how clever some video games can be in “Magick Mirror.”
And the talented painter Tori as she helps a lost soul find a solution to a decades old dilemma and discovers love along the way in “The Antique Mirror.”

Mirror, Mirror offers a wonderful introduction to five fantasy authors, but each of these stories is also a self-contained adventure for readers to enjoy.


Byron Dunn is an AISFP Contributor, a friend to werewolves, and a player of too many video games. He encourages you to look up the #Drawlloween hashtag during October to see all the wonderful art people are posting to celebrate the most wonderful time of the fear.

This weeks opening line came from H.P.Lovecrafts At the Mountains of Madness.

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