The Massacre of Mankind: A Sequel to the War of the Worlds by Stephen BaxterScience Fiction. In this authorized sequel to H.G. Wells' classic novel The War of the Worlds, Earth prepares for a second Martian invasion. Having survived the previous conflict, humanity is confident that they can handle whatever Mars throws at them. However, the Martians have spent the past 14 years learning from their mistakes. Treating Wells' story as a factual account, The Massacre of Mankind proceeds to develop an alternative 20th-century history that aligns with that book's internal chronology.
An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis CraddockSteampunk. In a retrofuturistic world of skyships and sorcerers, Isabelle des Zephyrs prepares to marry a man she's never met -- one whose two previous fiancées were assassinated. Determined not to meet the same fate, Isabelle must rely on her wits as well as the aid of her swashbuckling guardian, musketeer Jean-Claude. An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors is the opening volume in the Risen Kingdoms.
The Stone Sky by N.K. JemisinEpic Fantasy. In this concluding volume of N.K. Jemisin's acclaimed Broken Earth trilogy, orogene Essun and her daughter Nassun find themselves on opposite sides of an ideological battle for the future of the Stillness. Like its predecessors, this novel boasts a vivid apocalyptic setting and thoughtful explorations of the nature of personhood and the ways in which systems of oppression operate. Due to the complexity of the story, newcomers should start with The Fifth Season, followed by The Obelisk Gate.
Autonomous by Annalee NewitzHard SF. Big Pharma is watching you. In a near-future society dominated by multinational corporations, drug pirate Jack Chen reverse-engineers expensive medications and distributes free copies to those who can't afford the real thing. As a result, her activities have attracted the attention of the International Property Coalition, which sends military robot Paladin and Paladin's human partner, Eliasz, to apprehend Jack. With its noir-tinged dystopian setting, suspenseful plot, and themes of bioethics and artificial intelligence, this debut may remind readers of William Gibson's Neuromancer.
Focus on: Humorous SF and Fantasy
Helen & Troy's Epic Road Quest by A. Lee MartinezHumorous Fantasy. Road trip! To lift the curse placed on them by a hamburger god-in-exile, fast-food worker Helen Nicolaides (who suffers from a rare condition known as minotaurism) and her friend, Troy Kawakami, set out on a cross-country quest to recover magical artifacts. As they navigate dangerous tourist traps and mythical motorcycle gangs, Helen and Troy must also deal with the National Bureau of Questing and their complicated feelings for each other.
Raising Steam: A Discworld Novel by Terry PratchettHumorous Fantasy. Inventor Dick Simnel has just built Discworld's first steam engine. In need of a wealthy backer, he brings his invention to Ankh-Morpork, which ushers in an industrial revolution...and a predictable amount of comedic chaos. A stand-alone novel in the perennially popular Discworld series, Raising Steam nevertheless features several familiar characters, including benevolent dictator Lord Vetinari and criminal-turned-fixer Moist von Lipwig.
Redshirts by John ScalziHumorous SF. Thrilled to be aboard the Universal Union starship Intrepid, Ensign Andrew Dahl can't understand why his shipmates aren't as excited as he is about away missions. That is, until he realizes that crew members who are chosen to go planetside don't live long or prosper. This affectionately wry, pitch-perfect homage to TV's original Star Trek series will please avid Trek fans and readers who enjoy author John Scalzi's lighter SF, such as Fuzzy Nation.
Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi TaylorHumorous SF. Recruited by St. Mary's Institute of Historical Research, Madeleine "Max" Maxwell is delighted to discover that being a historian involves time travel. Although her job is to simply observe the past, she can't help getting involved. With its quirky characters and offbeat humor, this 1st book in the Chronicles of St. Mary's series may remind readers of Connie Willis' Oxford Time Travel series crossed with Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels.
Crosstalk by Connie WillisHumorous SF. When her boyfriend Trent asks her to get an EED ("even better than getting engaged," gushes a coworker), telecommunications executive Briddey Flannigan undergoes the "minor procedure," thinking that the neurological enhancement will strengthen their relationship. Instead, she ends up telepathically linked to a coworker, her company's (sub-)basement-dwelling misanthrope C.B. Schwartz. Madcap romantic comedy combined with a satirical look at modern technology makes this offering from multi-award-winning author Connie Willis a must-read.
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