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!
“All Those Vanished Enginges” by Paul Park
In All Those Vanished Engines, Paul Park returns to science fiction after a decade spent on the impressive four-volume A Princess of Roumania fantasy, with an extraordinary, intense, compressed SF novel in three parts, each set in its own alternate-history universe. The sections are all rooted in Virginia and the Battle of the Crater, and are also grounded in the real history of the Park family, from differing points of view. They are all gorgeously imaginative and carefully constructed, and reverberate richly with one another.
The first section is set in the aftermath of the Civil War, in a world in which the Queen of the North has negotiated a two-nation settlement. The second, taking place in northwestern Massachusetts, investigates a secret project during World War II, in a time somewhat like the present. The third is set in the near-future United States, with aliens from history.
The cumulative effect is awesome. There hasn’t been a three part novel this ambitious in science fiction since Gene Wolfe’s classic The Fifth Head of Cerberus.
“Gaudeamus” by John Barnes
In a tale that transgresses conventional lines between fiction and reality, renowned science fiction writer John Barnes finds himself in one of the wildest, most rollicking SF adventures in years.
Barnes’s college friend Travis Bismark always brings back plenty of great stories from his job as an industrial spy. This time, over a few beer- and coffee-fueled chat sessions, Travis unravels a tale about his current case too tall for even an SF author to believe: a Gaudeamus machine that bends physics in order to make possible both teleportation and time travel, and how it gets stolen twice; a prostitute who deals telepathy-inducing drugs; five scientists who ride around in a flying saucer in clown suits by day and play awful punk rock by night; hippie kidnappers; and dozens of inventors who master the concept of the Gaudeamus machine and are immediately contacted by aliens offering them their heart’s desire in exchange for the right to have their way with Earth.
“Hurricane Fever” by Tobias S. Buckell
A storm is coming…. Introducing a pulse-pounding technothriller by the New York Times bestselling author of Arctic Rising.
Prudence “Roo” Jones never thought he’d have a family to look after—until suddenly he found himself taking care of his orphaned teenage nephew. Roo, a former Caribbean Intelligence operative, spends his downtime on his catamaran dodging the punishing hurricanes that are the new norm in the Caribbean. Roo enjoys the simple calm of his new life — until an unexpected package from a murdered fellow spy shows up. Suddenly Roo is thrown into the center of the biggest storm of all.
Using his wits — and some of the more violent tricks of his former trade — Roo begins to unravel the mystery that got his friend killed. When a polished and cunning woman claiming to be murdered spy’s sister appears, the two find themselves caught up in a global conspiracy with a weapon that could change the face of the world forever.
In Hurricane Fever, New York Times bestselling author Tobias Buckell (Arctic Rising, Halo: The Cole Protocol) has crafted a kinetic technothriller perfect for fans of action-packed espionage within a smartly drawn geo-political landscape. Roo is an anti–James Bond for a new generation.
“New Earth” by Ben Bova (paperback)
We’ve found an Earthlike planet, but what secrets does it hold?
In Ben Bova’s New Earth, The world is thrilled by the discovery of an Earthlike planet. Advance imaging shows oceans of liquid water and a breathable, oxygen-rich atmosphere. A human exploration team is dispatched to explore the planet, now nicknamed New Earth. The explorers understand they’re on a one-way mission. The trip takes eighty years one way, so even if they are able to return to Earth, nearly two hundred years will have passed. Their friends and family will be gone. The explorers are not the best available: they are expendable. Upon landing on the planet they find a group of intelligent creatures who look like humans. Are they native to this world or invaders? Moreover, the scientists begin to realize that the planet cannot be natural. Rather, could New Earth be an artifact?
“The Omega Project” by Steve Alten (paperback)
On the brink of a disaster that could end all life on earth, tech genius Robert Eisenbraun joins a team of scientists on a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa to mine a rare ore that would provide for Earth’s long-term energy needs. But as they train for the journey, trouble erupts, and Eisenbraun is put into cold sleep against his will. When Robert wakes, he finds the ship deserted, and on the surface, an Earth terribly changed, though he realizes that there is still a way to accomplish his mission. But he also discovers that survival depends on the defeat of a technological colossus partly of his own making. Confronting a foe that knows him almost as well as he knows himself, the game has changed, and Earth’s future depends on him and him alone.
The Omega Project is yet another edge-of-your-seat thriller by bestselling author, Steve Alten, leaving readers looking for more.
“SynBio” by Leslie Alan Horvitz
Scientists now have the capacity to hack into DNA the same way that hackers can infiltrate computer systems, manipulating organisms by inserting new DNA or exploiting genetic mutations that can trigger fatal heart attacks or induce bipolar illness or Alzheimer’s. These ‘biohackers,’ as they’re known, can perform their experiments in their kitchens using equipment purchased for next to nothing on eBay.
Most of these biohackers are like Seth Stringer in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who’s made a name for himself exploring the frontiers of genetic manipulation. He’s young, brash, ambitious, and obsessed with his work, but also a little naive. When his former professor Marcus Adair holds out the possibility of coming to London and going to work for an international pharmaceutical company called Chimera, he jumps at the chance. He can make good money and cement his relationship with his girlfriend, who has misgivings about his future prospects as a breadwinner. He fails to realize until too late that the principal business of Chimera isn’t the manufacture of generic drugs but the production of lethal genetic products for well-heeled clients. These are used to assassinate or debilitate presidents, prime ministers, and CEOs using their own DNA against them — a method that not only makes it difficult to identify the perpetrator (a cold virus can deliver the engineered DNA) but makes it almost impossible to determine that a crime has been committed in the first place.
“William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return” by Ian Doescher
Hot on the heels of the New York Times best seller William Shakespeare’s Star Wars comes the next two installments of the original trilogy: William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back and William Shakespeare’s The Jed Doth Return. Return to the star-crossed galaxy far, far away as the brooding young hero, a power-mad emperor, and their jesting droids match wits, struggle for power, and soliloquize in elegant and impeccable iambic pentameter. Illustrated with beautiful black-and-white Elizabethan-style artwork, these two plays offer essential reading for all ages. Something Wookiee this way comes!