Blog Posts, April 2017

Twenty Core Military Speculative Fiction Works Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves


Books Received, April 15-21


When the outlanders abandoned a baby girl on the outskirts of a village, few imagined that she would grow up to marry into the illustrious Akakuchiba family, much less that she would develop clairvoyant abilities and become matriarch of the illustrious ironworking clan. Her daughter shocks the village further by joining a motorcycle gang and becoming a famous manga artist. The outlanders’ granddaughter Toko—well, she’s nobody at all. A nobody worth entrusting with the secret that her grandmother was a murderer.

This is Toko’s story.

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Books Received, April 8 - 14

9 Tales of Raffalon by Matthew Hughes (Cover to come)

A THIEF IN THE DYING EARTH

In an age of wizards and walled cities, Raffalon is a journeyman member of the Ancient and Honorable Guild of Purloiners and Purveyors. In other words, a thief.

His skills allow him to scale walls, tickle locks, defeat magical wards. He lifts treasures and trinkets, spends the proceeds on ale and sausages in taverns where a wise thief sits with his back to the wall.

But somehow things often go the way they shouldn’t and then Raffalon has to rely upon his wits and a well calibrated sense of daring.

Here are nine tales that take our enterprising thief into the Underworld and Overworld, and pit him against self-serving thaumaturges, grasping magnates, crooked Guild Masters, ghosts, spies, ogres, and a talented amateur assassin.

Includes “Inn of the Seven Blessings,” from the bestselling anthology, ROGUES.





Seventeen-year-old Aiko lives a life of casual sex and casual violence, though at heart she remains a schoolgirl with an unrequited crush on her old classmate Yoji Kaneda. Life is about to get harder for Aiko, as a recent fling, Sano, has been kidnapped, and the serial killer Round-and-Round Devil has begun slaughtering children. The youth are rioting in the streets, egged on by the underground Internet bulletin board known as the Voice from Heaven. Expecting that Yoji will come and save her from the madness, Aiko posts a demand for her own murder on the V of H, but will she be left waiting…or worse?



When Kayu Saitoh wakes up, she is in an unfamiliar place. Taken to a snowy mountainside, she was left there by her family and her village according to the tradition of sacrificing the lives of the elderly for the benefit of the young. Kayu was supposed to have passed quickly into the afterlife. Instead, she finds herself in Dendera, a utopian community built over decades by old women who, like her, were abandoned. Together, they must now face a new threat: a hungry mother bear.

In a future where reality has been augmented and biology itself has been hacked, the world’s food supply is genetically modified, superior, and vulnerable. When gene mapper Hayashida discovers that his custom rice plant has experienced a dysgenic collapse, he suspects sabotage. Hayashida travels across Asia to find himself in Ho Chi Minh City with hired-gun hacker Yagodo at his side—and in mortal danger—as he pushes ever nearer to the heart of the mystery.


“You are now a discard. We have no further use for you in play. You are free to walk the Bounds, but it will be against the rules for you to enter play in any world. If you succeed in returning Home, then you may enter play again in the normal manner.” When Jamie unwittingly discovers the scary, dark-cloaked Them playing games with human’s lives, he is cast out to the boundaries of the worlds. Only then does he discover that there are a vast number of parallel worlds, all linked by the bounds, and these sinister creatures are using them all as a massive gamesboard. Clinging to Their promise that if he can get Home he is free, he becomes the unwilling Random Factor in an endless game of chance. Irresistible Diana Wynne Jones fantasy adventure, featuring an insect-loving shapeshifter, an apprentice demon hunter and a whole host of exotic characters clinging to the hope that one day they will return Home.



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.

Luna: Wolf Moon
continues Ian McDonald’s saga of the Five Dragons.

Three new stories from three of the best science fiction writers in Japan:

“Overdrive” by Toe EnJoe — How fast is the speed of thought?

“Sea Fingers” by TOBI Hirotaka — A small enclave survives after the Deep has consumed the world, but what does the Deep hunger for now?

“A Fair War” by Taiyo Fujii — The future of war, the age of drones, but what comes next?

Saiensu Fikushon is Haikasoru’s new e-first mini anthology series, dedicated to bringing you the narrative software of tomorrow, today. Now more than ever, the future is Japanese!

Once upon a time, a little girl was rescued by a prince.

That girl then grows up to be strong and courageous as she awaits his return.

To defend a friend’s honor, she challenges a brute to a duel and wins.

She is entrusted with the SWORD OF DIOS and the Rose Bride, who is the key to finding her elusive prince.

But this won’t end like a fairy tale.

Because Utena has the power to REVOLUTIONIZE the world.

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The 2017 Prometheus Award Finalists

To paraphrase the Libertarian Futurist Society:

In 1979, science fiction writer L. Neil Smith created the Prometheus Awards, intended to honor libertarian fiction. A panel selected F. Paul Wilson’s Wheels Within Wheels as the best novel, and a gold coin then worth $2,500 was presented to Wilson. Due to the cost of the award, and lack of a formal organization, the Prometheus Awards fell into limbo the following year.

The Libertarian Futurist Society (founded in 1982 to provide encouragement to science fiction writers whose books examine the meaning of freedom) revived the Prometheus Award soon after its founding. In 1983 it added a second annual award, the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, designed to honor classic libertarian fiction.

Libertarians are an easy target for cheap shots and an award granted by them might seem doubly so. For example, how many of you are surprised that gun-waving anarchists lacked sufficient organization to ensure the continuation of the awards after the first given? Hands up in the audience? No one?

You might think that the awards would have soon become a ping-pong match, with a few people of very similar views batting the Prometheus Award back and forth between them.

You’d be wrong. For example, look at the list of authors who have won the award three times:

Koman and Smith fall within the American libertarian mainstream but look at the other two triple winners. Doctorow isn’t just a leftie. He’s a Canadian leftie. MacLeod is a recovering Trotskyite. A Scottish Trot at that. Somewhere along the line, the Prometheus Award began to take the mandate for their award at face value, casting its net well outside what I assume is the comfort zone for American libertarians.

This year’s finalists are:

Five books, four authors, two women, two men. How politically diverse are they? Well, let’s find out together over the next month.

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Books Received, April 1 - 7

Barbara Gordon is no stranger to secrets. She’s the daughter of GCPD Jim Gordon, the vigilante known as Batgirl and was once Oracle, the most powerful hacker on the planet.

Someone new has resurrected the Oracle mantle that Babs once controlled, and whoever is behind it is sending Batgirl on a wild chase all across Gotham City. By her side are two equally dangerous vigilantes — Dinah Lance, the rock star-turned-hero known as Black Canary, and Helena Bertinelli, the lethal spy code-named the Huntress.

Can this mismatched trio come together in time to solve the mystery of the new Oracle and defeat the villainous forces arrayed against them? Or will these Birds of Prey have their wings clipped before they can even get off the ground?



Danielle Cain is a queer punk rock traveler, jaded from a decade on the road. Searching for clues about her best friend’s mysterious and sudden suicide, she ventures to the squatter, utopian town of Freedom, Iowa. All is not well in Freedom, however: things went awry after the town’s residents summoned a protector spirit to serve as their judge and executioner.

Danielle shows up in time to witness the spirit — a blood-red, three-antlered deer — begin to turn on its summoners. Danielle and her new friends have to act fast if they’re going to save the town — or get out alive.

A story of ancient witchcraft among modern-day vagabonds, and about the hope we find in the strangest of places.




Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr had been the very model of a Confederation Marine. No one who’d ever served with her could imagine any circumstance that would see her walking away from the Corps.

But that was before Torin learned the truth about the war the Confederation was fighting…before she’d been declared dead and had spent time in a prison that shouldn’t exist…before she’d learned about the “plastic” beings who were really behind the war between the Confederation and the Others. That was when Torin left the military for good.

Yet she couldn’t walk away from preserving and protecting everything the Confederation represented. Instead, ex-Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr drew together an elite corps of friends and allies—some ex-Marines, some civilians with unique skills—and together they prepared to take on covert missions that the Justice Department and the Corps could not—or would not—officially touch. But after their first major mission, it became obvious that covert operations were not going to be enough.

Although the war is over, the fight goes on and the Justice Department finds its regular Wardens unable to deal with violence and the people trained to use it. Ex-Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr has a solution: Strike Teams made up of ex-military personnel, small enough to maneuver quickly, able to work together if necessary. Justice has no choice but to implement her idea and Torin puts her team of independent contractors back into uniform. It isn’t war, it is policing, but it often looks much the same.
When the scientists doing a preliminary archaeological dig on a Class Two planet are taken hostage, Torin’s team is sent to free them. The problem of innocents in the line of fire is further complicated by the fact that the mercenaries holding them are a mix of Confederation and Primacy forces, and are looking for a weapon able to destroy the plastic aliens who’d started and maintained the war.

If Torin weren’t already torn by wanting that weapon in play, she also has to contend with the politics of peace that have added members of the Primacy—former enemies—to her team. Before they confront the mercenaries, Torin will have to sift through shifting loyalties as she discovers that the line between“us” and “them” is anything but straight.

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Twenty Core Epic Fantasies Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves

As with the two previous core lists, here are twenty epic fantasies chosen entirely on the basis of merit and significance to the field. No implication is intended that these are the only twenty books you should consider.






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Books Received March 25 - 31

Embark on an exciting, adventurous, and dangerous journey through the galaxy with the motley crew of the spaceship Wayfarer in this fun and heart-warming space opera—the sequel to the acclaimed The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.

Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for—and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.

A Closed and Common Orbit
is the stand-alone sequel to that beloved debut novel, and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect, and Star Wars.




The Crescent Empire teeters on the edge of a revolution, and the Five Daughters of the Moon are the ones to determine its future.

Alina, six, fears Gagargi Prataslav and his Great Thinking Machine. The gagargi claims that the machine can predict the future, but at a cost that no one seems to want to know.

Merile, eleven, cares only for her dogs, but she smells that something is afoul with the gagargi. By chance, she learns that the machine devours human souls for fuel, and yet no one believes her claim.

Sibilia, fifteen, has fallen in love for the first time in her life. She couldn’t care less about the unrests spreading through the countryside. Or the rumors about the gagargi and his machine.

Elise, sixteen, follows the captain of her heart to orphanages and workhouses. But soon she realizes that the unhappiness amongst her people runs much deeper that anyone could have ever predicted.

And Celestia, twenty-two, who will be the empress one day. Lately, she’s been drawn to the gagargi. But which one of them was the first to mention the idea of a coup?

Inspired by the 1917 Russian revolution and the last months of the Romanov sisters, The Five Daughters of the Moon is a beautifully crafted historical fantasy with elements of technology fuelled by evil magic.




At the end of the day, Death visits everyone. Right before that, Charlie does.

You might meet him in a hospital, in a warzone, or at the scene of a traffic accident.

Then again, you might meet him at the North Pole - he gets everywhere, our Charlie.

Would you shake him by the hand, take the gift he offers, or would you pay no attention to the words he says?

Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. He never knows which.

The End of the Day is the stunning new novel by Claire North, author of word-of-mouth bestseller The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.


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