Just a couple of handfuls of upcoming novels from Tor Books (there are many that look interesting, these stood out).
Featuring: Cory Doctorow, Thoraiya Dyer, A.J. Hartley, Michael Johnston, Nancy Kress, Laura Lam, Ian McDonald, John Scalzi, Brian Staveley, Allen Steele
Cory Doctorow, WALKAWAY (Apr.25)
An epic tale of revolution, love, post-scarcity, and the end of death.
Hubert Vernon Rudolph Clayton Irving Wilson Alva Anton Jeff Harley Timothy Curtis Cleveland Cecil Ollie Edmund Eli Wiley Marvin Ellis Espinoza — known to his friends as Hubert, Etc. — was too old to be at that Communist party.
But after watching the breakdown of modern society, he really has no where left to be — except amongst the dregs of disaffected youth who party all night and heap scorn on the sheep they see on the morning commute. After falling in with Natalie, an ultra-rich heiress trying to escape the clutches of her repressive father, the two decide to give up fully on formal society—and walk away.
After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life — food, clothing, shelter — from a computer, there seems to be little reason to toil within the system.
It’s still a dangerous world out there, the empty lands wrecked by climate change, dead cities hollowed out by industrial flight, shadows hiding predators animal and human alike. Still, when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death. Now it’s war – a war that will turn the world upside down.
Thoraiya Dyer, CROSSROADS OF CANOPY (Jan.31)
At the highest level of a giant forest, thirteen kingdoms fit seamlessly together to form the great city of Canopy. Thirteen goddesses and gods rule this realm and are continuously reincarnated into human bodies. Canopy’s position in the sun, however, is not without its dark side. The nation’s opulence comes from the labor of slaves, and below its fruitful boughs are two other realms: Understorey and Floor, whose deprived citizens yearn for Canopy’s splendor.
Unar, a determined but destitute young woman, escapes her parents’ plot to sell her into slavery by being selected to serve in the Garden under the goddess Audblayin, ruler of growth and fertility. As a Gardener, she wishes to become Audblayin’s next Bodyguard while also growing sympathetic towards Canopy’s slaves.
When Audblayin dies, Unar sees her opportunity for glory – at the risk of descending into the unknown dangers of Understorey to look for a newborn god. In its depths, she discovers new forms of magic, lost family connections, and murmurs of a revolution that could cost Unar her chance… or grant it by destroying the home she loves.
A.J. Hartley, FIREBRAND (Jun.6)
Once a steeplejack, Anglet Sutonga is used to scaling the heights of Bar-Selehm. Nowadays she assists politician Josiah Willinghouse behind the scenes of Parliament. The latest threat to the city-state: Government plans for a secret weapon are stolen and feared to be sold to the rival nation of Grappoli. The investigation leads right to the doorsteps of Elitus, one of the most exclusive social clubs in the city. In order to catch the thief, Ang must pretend to be a foreign princess and infiltrate Elitus. But Ang is far from royal material, so Willinghouse enlists help from the exacting Madam Nahreem.
Yet Ang has other things on her mind. Refugees are trickling into the city, fleeing Grappoli-fueled conflicts in the north. A demagogue in Parliament is proposing extreme measures to get rid of them, and she soon discovers that one theft could spark a conflagration of conspiracy that threatens the most vulnerable of Bar-Selehm. Unless she can stop it.
The sequel to Steeplejack (which I have and still need to read).
Michael Johnston, SOLERI (Jun.13)
The ruling family of the Soleri Empire has been in power longer than even the calendars that stretch back 2,826 years. Those records tell a history of conquest and domination by a people descended from gods, older than anything in the known world. No living person has seen them for centuries, yet their grip on their four subjugate kingdoms remains tighter than ever.
On the day of the annual eclipse, the Harkan king, Arko-Hark Wadi, sets off on a hunt and shirks his duty rather than bow to the emperor. Ren, his son and heir, is a prisoner in the capital, while his daughters struggle against their own chains. Merit, the eldest, has found a way to stand against imperial law and marry the man she desires, but needs her sister’s help, and Kepi has her own ideas.
Meanwhile, Sarra Amunet, Mother Priestess of the sun god’s cult, holds the keys to the end of an empire and a past betrayal that could shatter her family.
Detailed and historical, vast in scope and intricate in conception, Soleri bristles with primal magic and unexpected violence. It is a world of ancient and elaborate rites, of unseen power and kingdoms ravaged by war, where victory comes with a price, and every truth conceals a deeper secret.
This is the first in a new fantasy series, “inspired by ancient Egyptian history and King Lear“, apparently. That sounds pretty cool.
Nancy Kress, TOMORROW’S KIN (Jul.11)
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.
This is the first in a new trilogy, based on Kress’s award-winning Yesterday’s Kin.
Laura Lam, SHATTERED MINDS (Jun.20)
She’ll fight corruption, but can she save others from herself?
Former neuro-scientist Carina craves killing. But to protect others, she self-medicates with Zeal, an addictive drug which allows her to satisfy these urges in dreams. Sudice Inc. damaged her mind when she worked on their secretive brain-mapping project — and this violence is the price she pays.
Carina wants to be left alone to self-destruct, until an ex-colleague passes her dangerous information on Sudice. She finds herself unwillingly drawn into a plot involving illegal experiments on unwilling volunteers, blackmail and assassination.
As Carina races to stop Sudice, she needs the incriminating data Mark locked in her mind. She persuades a band of hackers to decrypt her broken memories. One is a former doctor, Dax, who helps Carina fight her addiction to Zeal. If she can hold on to her humanity, they might have a future together. But all shall be for nothing if they can’t bring their enemy down, never to rise again.
Also on CR: Interview with Laura Lam
Ian McDonald, LUNA: WOLF MOON (Mar.28)
A Dragon is dead.
Corta Helio, one of the five family corporations that rule the Moon, has fallen. Its riches are divided up among its many enemies, its survivors scattered. Eighteen months have passed .
The remaining Helio children, Lucasinho and Luna, are under the protection of the powerful Asamoahs, while Robson, still reeling from witnessing his parent’s violent deaths, is now a ward — virtually a hostage — of Mackenzie Metals. And the last appointed heir, Lucas, has vanished of the surface of the moon.
Only Lady Sun, dowager of Taiyang, suspects that Lucas Corta is not dead, and more to the point — that he is still a major player in the game. After all, Lucas always was the Schemer, and even in death, he would go to any lengths to take back everything and build a new Corta Helio, more powerful than before. But Corta Helio needs allies, and to find them, the fleeing son undertakes an audacious, impossible journey — to Earth.
In an unstable lunar environment, the shifting loyalties and political machinations of each family reach the zenith of their most fertile plots as outright war erupts.
Also on CR: Excerpt from King of Morning, Queen of Day
John Scalzi, THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE (Mar.21)
Our universe is ruled by physics. Faster-than-light travel is impossible — until the discovery of the Flow, an extradimensional field available at certain points in space-time, which can take us to other planets around other stars.
Riding the Flow, humanity spreads to innumerable other worlds. Earth is forgotten. A new empire arises, the Interdependency, based on the doctrine that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war — and, for the empire’s rulers, a system of control.
The Flow is eternal — but it’s not static. Just as a river changes course, the Flow changes as well. In rare cases, entire worlds have been cut off from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that the entire Flow is moving, possibly separating all human worlds from one another forever, three individuals — a scientist, a starship captain, and the emperox of the Interdependency — must race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.
Brian Staveley, SKULLSWORN (Apr.25)
Pyrre Lakatur doesn’t like the word skullsworn. It fails to capture the faith and grace, the peace and beauty of her devotion to the God of Death. She is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer — she is a priestess. At least, she will be a priestess if she manages to pass her final trial.
The problem isn’t the killing. Pyrre has been killing and training to kill, studying with some of the most deadly men and women in the world, since she was eight. The problem, strangely, is love. To pass her Trial, Pyrre has ten days to kill the ten people enumerated in an ancient song, including “the one you love / who will not come again.”
Pyrre is not sure she’s ever been in love. If she were a member of a different religious order, a less devoted, disciplined order, she might cheat. The Priests of Ananshael, however, don’t look kindly on cheaters. If Pyrre fails to find someone to love, or fails to kill that someone, they will give her to the god.
Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to quit, hates to fail, and so, with a month before her trial begins, she returns to the city of her birth, the place where she long ago offered an abusive father to the god and abandoned a battered brother—in the hope of finding love…and ending it on the edge of her sword.
One of my most-anticipated novels of 2017. Pyrre is a great character in the author’s first trilogy, so it’ll be interesting to see how she got to where she is then (this is a prequel of sorts). Published by Tor Books in the US and UK.
Also on CR: Guest Post on “Fire Lookout, Monk, Water-Skier, Teacher: The Best Profession for a Writer”; Excerpt from The Providence of Fire; Reviews of The Emperor’s Blades, The Providence of Fire
Allen Steele, AVENGERS OF THE MOON (Apr.11)
A thrilling piece of science fiction pulp
Curt Newton has spent most of his life hidden from the rest of humankind, being raised by a robot, an android, and the disembodied brain of a renowned scientist. This unlikely trio of guardians has kept his existence a closely guarded secret after the murder of Curt’s parents.
Curt’s innate curiosity and nose for trouble inadvertently lead him into a plot to destabilize the Solar Coalition and assassinate the president. There’s only one way to uncover the evil mastermind — Curt must become Captain Future.
With the permission of the Edmond Hamilton estate, Allen Steele revives the exciting adventures of Captain Future.
This sounds like a lot of fun.