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Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf: Week Of August 4, 2014

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As much as we love science fiction on TV, on the big screen, on the comics page, and in video game form, there’s just something irreplaceable about digging into a good book. There’s no shortage of new sci-fi adventures hitting shelves on a regular basis, but GFR is your one-stop shop to keep up with what’s hitting shelves in a given week. Here’s what’s new on the Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf!

ArrowsTime“The Arrows of Time” by Greg Egan

Hard science fiction’s grand master delivers the stunning conclusion to his Orthogonal trilogy.

In a universe where the laws of physics and the speed of light are completely alien to our own, the travelers on the ship Peerless have completed a generations-long struggle to develop advanced technology in a desperate attempt to save their home world. But as tensions mount over the risks of turning the ship around and starting the long voyage home, a new complication arises: the prospect of constructing a messaging system that will give the Peerless news of its own future.

While some see this as a guarantee of safety and a chance to learn of their mission’s ultimate success, others are convinced that the knowledge will be oppressive or worse — that the system could be abused. The conflict over this proposed communication system tears the travelers’ society apart, culminating in terrible violence. To save the Peerless and its mission, two rivals must travel to a world where time runs in reverse.

Continuing in the tradition of The Clockwork Rocket and The Eternal Flame, Greg Egan’s Orthogonal trilogy has continuously pushed the boundaries of scientific fiction, without ever losing track of the lives of the individuals carrying out this grand mission. The Arrows of Time brings this fascinating space opera to a close while offering insight into human nature and the struggles we face, both as individuals and as a species.

AlienHunter“Alien Hunter: Underworld”

Alien Hunter: Underworld, the searing sequel to Alien Hunter from bestselling author Whitley Strieber

Flynn Carroll works for the most secret police unit on the planet, seeking the most brilliant and lethal criminals who have ever walked free: thieves and murderers from another world.

As part of a top secret CIA alien communications project, Flynn’s unit has been tasked with tracking down rogue agents from the planet Aeon. While Aeon claims to be a free planet desiring open communications with humanity, Aeon criminals have committed a series of brutal and bizarre murders on Earth. Flynn has been forbidden to take lethal action against the alien murderers — but as the bodies begin to pile up, something must be done.

Flynn finds himself cut off from his team, struggling to unearth Aeon secrets while protecting Earthling civilians from the deadly creatures. But as Flynn gets closer to the truth, he finds himself facing not only some of the most dangerous and frightening criminals ever seen on Earth, but also questions about his own existence. In order to crack the case, Flynn must come to grips with the greatest mystery he has yet confronted: who — or what — is he?

DarkLightning“Dark Lightning” by John Varley

On a voyage to New Earth, the starship Rolling Thunder is powered by an energy no one understands, except for its eccentric inventor Jubal Broussard. Like many of the ship’s inhabitants, Jubal rests in a state of suspended animation for years at a time, asleep yet never aging.

The moments when Jubal emerges from suspended animation are usually a cause for celebration for his family, including his twin daughters — Cassie and Polly — and their uncle who is captain of the Rolling Thunder. But this time, Jubal makes a shocking announcement…

The ship must stop, or everyone will die.

These words from the mission’s founder, the man responsible for the very existence of the Rolling Thunder, will send shock waves throughout the starship — and divide its passengers into those who believe and those who doubt. And it will be up to Cassie and Polly to stop a mutiny, discover the truth, and usher the ship into a new age of exploration…

LincolnPocketwatch“The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy” by Jacopo della Quercia

This historical thriller is an equal-parts cocktail of action, adventure, science-fiction and comedy. The book follows a globe-trotting President Taft and Robert Todd Lincoln in a race to solve a mystery stretching back to the Civil War and the Lincoln assassination. Based on true events, readers will find themselves swept into a vast conspiracy spanning four continents and three oceans during the turn of the century. Fascinating technologies will be harnessed, dark secrets revealed, true villains exposed, and some of the most famous figures in history will take the stage. With surprises lurking around every corner, and a vast cast of characters to root for, The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy is a heart-pounding adventure that only history could have made possible.

HeadFull“Head Full of Mountains” by Brent Hayward

When Crospinal’s ailing father dies, he is left utterly alone in the pen, surrounded by encroaching darkness. The machines that tended to him as a child have long ago vanished, and the apparitions that kept Crospinal company are now silenced. Struggling with his congenital issues, outfitted in a threadbare uniform, he has little choice but to leave what was once his home, soon discovering that nothing in the outside world is how he had been told it would be. In his quest for meaning and understanding, and the contact of another, Crospinal learns truths about himself, about his father, and about the last bastion of humanity, trapped with him at the end of time.

ShadowBorn“Shadow Born” by James Axler

DOMINION PLAGUE

Earth remains the tortured battleground of near-immortal aliens. But these god kings never anticipated unified resistance from a group of humans possessing the tenacity and spirit to reclaim their planet. In the ongoing war for independence, the Cerberus fighters forge an epic showdown, as evil shape-shifts and unfurls its grand design…

UNSTOPPABLE JUGGERNAUT

The madness surrounding entombed secrets of an ancient race puts Kane and his allies on a death chase across the African subcontinent. Facing relentless attack from winged hell beasts and marauding militia, the rebels are forced into an unholy alliance with a deadly foe. Only the dark goddess spawned of humanity’s most brutal overlord can challenge a superhuman interloper and navigate an ancient ziggurat that guards a nightmare. The price for miscalculation will be paid in blood — with the eternal damnation of the human race.

TrialByFire“Trial by Fire” by Charles Gannon

Sequel to national bestseller, Nebula Award finalist, and Compton Crook Award winner Fire with Fire. Science fiction adventure on a grand scale.

When reluctant interstellar diplomat and intelligence operative Caine Riordan returns from humanity’s first encounter with alien races, sudden war clouds burst. With Earth’s fleet shattered by a sneak attack and its survivors fighting for their lives, Caine must rely upon both his first contact and weaponry skills to contend with the non-humanoid enemy. And when the technologically-superior attackers sweep aside the solar system’s last defenses, and traitorous corporations invite the invaders to land ‘security forces,’ humanity fights back with its best weapons: cunning, inventiveness, and guts.

But as Earth hurtles towards a final trial by fire that is certain to scar its collective memory, Caine discovers that there may also be large and disturbing gaps in that memory. Clues point to a much earlier inter-species apocalypse, buried in humanity’s own prehistory. Which raises a terrifying possibility: what if the aliens’ invasion of Earth is not one of conquest, but preemption? And what if their harrowing memories of a long-past cataclysmic war makes them willing to do anything to keep it from reigniting?

Even if that means exterminating the human race.

WTF“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” by David Shafer

Three young adults grapple with the usual thirty-something problems–boredom, authenticity, an omnipotent online oligarchy — in David Shafer’s darkly comic debut novel.

The Committee, an international cabal of industrialists and media barons, is on the verge of privatizing all information. Dear Diary, an idealistic online Underground, stands in the way of that takeover, using radical politics, classic spycraft, and technology that makes Big Data look like dial-up. Into this secret battle stumbles an unlikely trio: Leila Majnoun, a disillusioned non-profit worker; Leo Crane, an unhinged trustafarian; and Mark Deveraux, a phony self-betterment guru who works for the Committee.

Leo and Mark were best friends in college, but early adulthood has set them on diverging paths. Growing increasingly disdainful of Mark’s platitudes, Leo publishes a withering takedown of his ideas online. But the Committee is reading — and erasing — Leo’s words. On the other side of the world, Leila’s discoveries about the Committee’s far-reaching ambitions threaten to ruin those who are closest to her.

In the spirit of William Gibson and Chuck Palahniuk, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is both a suspenseful global thriller and an emotionally truthful novel about the struggle to change the world in- and outside your head.

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