Friday, April 14, 2017

Promising Sci-fi, horror & Fantasy - April 2017

It seems April is a huge month for fiction with lots of interesting releases. There are new books from old and tested writers as well as some new blood starting their way into weaving new tales.

"Borne" by Jeff VanderMeer from HarperCollins Publishers

"Am I a person?" Borne asked me.
"Yes, you are a person," I told him. "But like a person, you can be a weapon, too."
In Borne, a young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a ruined city half destroyed by drought and conflict. The city is dangerous, littered with discarded experiments from the Company—a biotech firm now derelict—and punished by the unpredictable predations of a giant bear. Rachel ekes out an existence in the shelter of a run-down sanctuary she shares with her partner, Wick, who deals his own homegrown psychoactive biotech.
One day, Rachel finds Borne during a scavenging mission and takes him home. Borne as salvage is little more than a green lump—plant or animal?—but exudes a strange charisma. Borne reminds Rachel of the marine life from the island nation of her birth, now lost to rising seas. There is an attachment she resents: in this world any weakness can kill you. Yet, against her instincts—and definitely against Wick’s wishes—Rachel keeps Borne. She cannot help herself. Borne, learning to speak, learning about the world, is fun to be with, and in a world so broken that innocence is a precious thing. For Borne makes Rachel see beauty in the desolation around her. She begins to feel a protectiveness she can ill afford.
"He was born, but I had borne him."
But as Borne grows, he begins to threaten the balance of power in the city and to put the security of her sanctuary with Wick at risk. For the Company, it seems, may not be truly dead, and new enemies are creeping in. What Borne will lay bare to Rachel as he changes is how precarious her existence has been, and how dependent on subterfuge and secrets. In the aftermath, nothing may ever be the same.

[ Well, I had read very good things about Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach series. Hopefully, this one is as good or better.]

"Special Purposes" by Gavin Smith from Abbadon

At the height of the Cold War, a Russian special forces team target New York with a horrifying new virus.
Vadim Scorlenski is the sergeant in charge of an elite Spetznaz squad at the height of the Cold War. Sent by the Politburo on a training exercise to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, Scorlenski and his men discover too late that the practice ‘weapon’ they’re carrying – an exotic chemical agent – is all too real. Betrayed by their allies and cut down by the American police, they go to their deaths...
...and awaken to a scene of turmoil. New York City has been overwhelmed by a horde of the walking dead, a plague that even now is spreading across the globe. Somehow holding onto their identities where all others have become mindless monsters, Scorlenski and his squad set out to return to Russia, to take revenge for what has been done to them.

[ Zombie army action, with quite an interesting setting. Should be fun. ]

"Avengers of the Moon" by Allen Steele from Tor Books

The solar system needs a hero and it's about to get one in an old-fashioned pulp adventure with modern sensibility
It was an age of miracles. It was an era of wonder. It was a time of troubles. It was all these things and more . . . except there were no heroes.
Naturally, one had to be created.

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 since 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.

[ Ah, rewriting of Space pulp. Captain Future is a hero I have yet to check out, why not start from the newest version. ] 

"Winter Tide" by Ruthanna Emrys from

After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. Government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future.
The government that stole Aphra's life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race.
Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature

[ Another Cthulhu novella from, this is always an interesting setting that makes readers wanna come back for more. ]

"Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1)" by Mark Lawrence from Ace

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.
But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.
Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

[ Anybody who knows about my taste in fantasy, knows I am a huge fan of Mark Lawrence. 'Red Sister' is the first book of his new series, need I say more? ]

"Within the Sanctuary of Wings (Lady Trent #5)" by Marie Brennan from Tor Books

The conclusion to the thrilling memoirs of Lady Isabella Trent and her legacy of dragon evolutionary research and anthropological adventures.
After nearly five decades (and, indeed, the same number of volumes), one might think they were well-acquainted with the Lady Isabella Trent--dragon naturalist, scandalous explorer, and perhaps as infamous for her company and feats of daring as she is famous for her discoveries and additions to the scientific field.
And yet--after her initial adventure in the mountains of Vystrana, and her exploits in the depths of war-torn Eriga, to the high seas aboard The Basilisk, and then to the inhospitable deserts of Akhia--the Lady Trent has captivated hearts along with fierce minds. This concluding volume will finally reveal the truths behind her most notorious adventure--scaling the tallest peak in the world, buried behind the territory of Scirland's enemies--and what she discovered there, within the Sanctuary of Wings.

[ Last book in the acclaimed series by Marie Brennan. I have been meaning to check these out for a while now, now that the series is done, I know I should finally get on with it. ]

"Skullsworn" by Brian Staveley from Tor Books

Brian Staveley’s new standalone returns to the critically acclaimed Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne universe, following a priestess attempting to join the ranks of the God of Death.
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.

[ Brian Staveley is one of the new stars of epic fantasy, 'Skullsworn' is his newest standalone. May be its high time I jump on the bandwagon. ]

"Warlord: Fury of the God-Machine" by David Annadale from Black Library

The mighty Warlord Titans of the Adeptus Titanicus go to war against the forces of Chaos.
The Battle Titans of the Adeptus Titanicus are towering war engines, striding to war as holy effigies of the Omnissiah, and the mighty Warlord Titans are the most renowned among all the forces of the Imperium of Man. Their weapons bring righteous death to the alien and the heretic alike, and the merest glimpse of them on the march has stalled entire planetary rebellions. But as the galaxy burns before the rampaging hordes of Chaos, it will take more than any one single Titan Legion to hold the line...

[ Latest Black Library novel from David Annadale, featuring Adeptus Titanicus action, what more does a fan need? ]

"Perturabo: Hammer of Olympia (The Horus Heresy: Primarchs #4)" by Guy Haley from Black Library

While crusading to build the Imperium, Perturabo, mercurial primarch of the Iron Warriors, hears ot turmoil on the world where he was raised, and abandons the crusade to return home and save his people.
Born to a life of political conflict, Perturabo was always considered a child prodigy among the people of Olympia – indeed, his philosophical and scientific works were beyond compare. But then, after his rediscovery by the Emperor and decades of thankless military campaigning on the Great Crusade, the primarch begins to resent his Legion’s place in the Imperium. When word reaches him of turmoil on his adoptive home world, he orders the Iron Warriors to abandon their campaign against the alien hrud and crush this emerging rebellion by any means necessary...
Focusing on Perturabo during his youth on Olympia, in the Great Crusade and upon his return to the world that defined him, this is a definitive look at what makes the master of iron tick.

[ Fourth book in the Primarchs series gets its limited edition release this month, should be a good read. ]  

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