Regardless of your particular sci-fi preferences, there’s plenty of goodness hitting bookshelves this week. The one we’re most excited about is Robogenesis, Daniel H. Wilson’s sequel to his acclaimed 2011 novel Robopocalypse. Who knows whether Steven Spielberg will ever actually get the Robopocalypse movie made, but in the mean time you can dive back into Wilson’s mechanized universe on the page. Here’s what’s new on the Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf!
“Robogenesis” by Daniel H. Wilson
‘The machine is still out there. Still alive.’
Humankind had triumphed over the machines. At the end of Robopocalypse, the modern world was largely devastated, humankind was pressed to the point of annihilation, and the earth was left in tatters…but the master artificial intelligence presence known as Archos had been killed.
In Robogenesis, we see that Archos has survived. Spread across the far reaches of the world, the machine code has fragmented into millions of pieces, hiding and regrouping. In a series of riveting narratives, Robogenesis explores the fates of characters new and old, robotic and human, as they fight to build a new world in the wake of a devastating war. Readers will bear witness as survivors find one another, form into groups, and react to a drastically different (and deadly) technological landscape. All the while, the remnants of Archos’s shattered intelligence are seeping deeper into new breeds of machines, mounting a war that will not allow for humans to win again.
Daniel H. Wilson makes a triumphant return to the apocalyptic world he created, for an action-filled, raucous, very smart thrill ride about humanity and technology pushed to the tipping point.
“Written in My Own Heart’s Blood” by Diana Gabaldon
In her now classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon told the story of Claire Randall, an English ex-combat nurse who walks through a stone circle in the Scottish Highlands in 1946, and disappears . . . into 1743. The story unfolded from there in seven bestselling novels, and CNN has called it ‘a grand adventure written on a canvas that probes the heart, weighs the soul and measures the human spirit across [centuries].’ Now the story continues in Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.
1778: France declares war on Great Britain, the British army leaves Philadelphia, and George Washington’s troops leave Valley Forge in pursuit. At this moment, Jamie Fraser returns from a presumed watery grave to discover that his best friend has married his wife, his illegitimate son has discovered (to his horror) who his father really is, and his beloved nephew, Ian, wants to marry a Quaker. Meanwhile, Jamie’s wife, Claire, and his sister, Jenny, are busy picking up the pieces.
The Frasers can only be thankful that their daughter Brianna and her family are safe in twentieth-century Scotland. Or not. In fact, Brianna is searching for her own son, who was kidnapped by a man determined to learn her family’s secrets. Her husband, Roger, has ventured into the past in search of the missing boy…never suspecting that the object of his quest has not left the present. Now, with Roger out of the way, the kidnapper can focus on his true target: Brianna herself.
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is the brilliant next chapter in a masterpiece of the imagination unlike any other.
“Earth Awakens” by Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnston
The story of The First Formic War continues in Earth Awakens.
Nearly 100 years before the events of Orson Scott Card’s bestselling novel Ender’s Game, humans were just beginning to step off Earth and out into the Solar System. A thin web of ships in both asteroid belts; a few stations; a corporate settlement on Luna. No one had seen any sign of other space-faring races; everyone expected that First Contact, if it came, would happen in the future, in the empty reaches between the stars. Then a young navigator on a distant mining ship saw something moving too fast, heading directly for our sun.
When the alien ship screamed through the solar system, it disrupted communications between the far-flung human mining ships and supply stations, and between them and Earth. So Earth and Luna were unaware that they had been invaded until the ship pulled into Earth orbit, and began landing terra-forming crews in China. Politics and pride slowed the response on Earth, and on Luna, corporate power struggles seemed more urgent than distant deaths. But there are a few men and women who see that if Earth doesn’t wake up and pull together, the planet could be lost.
“Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company” by Homer Hickam
Crater Trueblood has to rescue his ex-girlfriend…and the entire human race.
Maria Medaris is the 21-year-old matriarch of the most powerful family on the moon–gorgeous, powerful, and high-maintenance. When she is kidnapped by green-lipped, gene-splicing scientists, Maria’s only hope turns out to be the very man she once spurned: Crater Trueblood.
Crater and the Lunar Rescue Company must rescue Maria before she joins forces with the lunatics who have taken her hostage and aim to make her queen.
Turns out more than Maria is at stake: the planet Earth, majestically rising over the lunar horizon, is in the crosshairs of an asteroid engineered by Maria’s abductors. If Crater can’t stop it, humanity on Earth will be destroyed.
The fate of two worlds hangs in the balance…and the clock is ticking.
“The Girl With All the Gifts” by M.R. Carey
The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end.
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.
When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.
Melanie is a very special girl.
“Koko Takes a Holiday” by Kieran Shea
Five hundred years from now, ex-corporate mercenary Koko Martstellar is swaggering through an early retirement as a brothel owner on The Sixty Islands, a manufactured tropical resort archipelago known for its sex and simulated violence. Surrounded by slang-drooling boywhores and synthetic komodo dragons, the most challenging part of Koko’s day is deciding on her next drink. That is, until her old comrade Portia Delacompte sends a squad of security personnel to murder her.
“Memory of Water” by Emmi Itáranta
An amazing, award-winning speculative fiction debut novel by a major new talent, in the vein of Ursula K. Le Guin.
Global warming has changed the world’s geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union, which is occupied by the power state of New Qian. In this far north place, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria’s father tends, which once provided water for her whole village.
But secrets do not stay hidden forever, and after her father’s death the army starts watching their town — and Noria. And as water becomes even scarcer, Noria must choose between safety and striking out, between knowledge and kinship.
Imaginative and engaging, lyrical and poignant, Memory of Water is an indelible novel that portrays a future that is all too possible.
“Pills and Starships” by Lydia Millet
In this richly imagined dystopic future brought by global warming, seventeen-year-old Nat and her hacker brother Sam have come by ship to the Big Island of Hawaii for their parents’ Final Week. The few Americans who still live well also live long — so long that older adults bow out not by natural means but by buying death contracts from the corporates who now run the disintegrating society by keeping the people happy through a constant diet of ‘pharma.’ Nat’s family is spending their pharma-guided last week at a luxury resort complex called the Twilight Island Acropolis.
Deeply conflicted about her parents’ decision, Nat spends her time keeping a record of everything her family does in the company-supplied diary that came in the hotel’s care package. While Nat attempts to come to terms with her impending parentless future, Sam begins to discover cracks in the corporates’ agenda and eventually rebels against the company his parents have hired to handle their last days. Nat has to choose a side. Does she let her parents go gently into that good night, or does she turn against the system and try to break them out?
But the deck is stacked against Nat and Sam: in this oppressive environment, water and food are scarce, mass human migrations are constant, and new babies are illegal. As the week nears its end, Nat rushes to protect herself and her younger brother from the corporates while also forging a path toward a future that offers the hope of redemption for humanity. This page-turning first YA novel by critically acclaimed author Lydia Millet is stylish and dark and yet deeply hopeful, bringing Millet’s characteristic humor and style to a new generation of young readers.
“The Silent History” by Eli Horowitz
A generation of children forced to live without words.
It begins as a statistical oddity: a spike in children born with acute speech delays. Physically normal in every way, these children never speak and do not respond to speech; they don’t learn to read, don’t learn to write. As the number of cases grows to an epidemic level, theories spread. Maybe it’s related to a popular antidepressant; maybe it’s environmental. Or maybe these children have special skills all their own.
The Silent History unfolds in a series of brief testimonials from parents, teachers, friends, doctors, cult leaders, profiteers, and impostors (everyone except, of course, the children themselves), documenting the growth of the so-called silent community into an elusive, enigmatic force in itself — alluring to some, threatening to others. Both a bold storytelling experiment and a propulsive reading experience, The Silent History is at once thrilling, timely, and timeless.