Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf: Week Of March 31, 2014

By David Wharton | 6 years ago

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!

AppOverthrow-sAppalachian Overthrow” by E.E. Knight

Captured and sold to the Kurian — allied Maynes Conglomerate, to work as a slave in the coal mines of Appalachia, Ahn-Kha is angered and appalled by the dangerous working conditions, and the brutal treatment inflicted upon his fellow miners. When a protest against shortages is deliberately and bloodily suppressed, Ahn-Kha sets himself against the ruling Maynes family and sets out on a trail of vengeance through the Coal Country.

Finally, the people of the Coal Country are driven to the breaking point — and they now have a leader, a powerful and battle-hardened leader, determined to forge them into an army that will wage guerrilla warfare against the Maynes family and their Kurian masters — and free the Appalachians from their tyranny…

CauldronGhosts-sCauldron of Ghosts” by David Weber

The Mesan Alignment: a centuries-old cabal that seeks to impose its vision of a society dominated by genetic rank onto the human race. Now the conspiracy stands exposed by spies Anton Zilwicki and Victor Cachat — one an agent of Honor Harrington’s Star Kingdom of Manticore, the other a Havenite operative. The outing of the Alignment has turned the galaxy’s political framework topsy-turvy. Old coalitions have disintegrated. New alliances have been born.

For starters, the long and hard-fought war between the Republic of Haven and the Star Empire of Manticore is not only over, but these bitter enemies have formed a new pact. Their common foe: the Mesan Alignment itself.

But more information is needed to bring the Alignment out of the shadows. Now, defying the odds and relying on genetic wizardry themselves for a disguise, Zilwicki and Cachat return to Mesa — only to discover that even they have underestimated the Alignment’s ruthlessness and savagery.

Soon they are on the run in Mesa’s underworld, not only hunted by the Alignment but threatened by the exploding conflict on the planet between Mesa’s overlords and the brutalized slaves and descendants of slaves who have suffered under their rule for so long. But if Zilwicki and Cachat succeed in rooting out the ancient conspiracy, a great evil may be finally removed from the galaxy — and on a long-oppressed planet, freedom may finally dawn.

DarkEden-sDark Eden” by Chris Beckett

On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it.

The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say — and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.

But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark…and discover the truth about their world.

Already remarkably acclaimed in the UK, Dark Eden is science fiction as literature; part parable, part powerful coming-of-age story, set in a truly original alien world of dark, sinister beauty — rendered in prose that is at once strikingly simple and stunningly inventive.

NelsonTouch-sThe Nelson Touch” by Christopher Nuttall

Ark Royal — the Royal Navy’s outdated space carrier — has won a smashing victory against the enigmatic aliens, capturing one of their starships and returning to Earth. Now, Admiral Theodore Smith and his crew are assigned to command a fleet charged with making a deep-penetration raid into alien territory, a fleet made up of carriers from four different nations.

But with a crewman who isn’t what he seems, untested pilots and international friction — and a new and dangerous alien plan — can Ted and his crew survive their mission … or will they die, alone and unremarked, hundreds of light years from home?

OpheliaThe Ophelia Prophecy” by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Our world is no longer our own. We engineered a race of superior fighters — the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us. In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past.

Some of us intend to do more than survive.

Asha and Pax — strangers and enemies — find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there.

Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource — information — viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society.

Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check.

Neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie.

With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other’s secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.

Peacemaker-sPeacemaker” by C.J. Cherryh

At last — Cajeiri has his young guests from the starship, three young folk entranced by weather and trees and creatures with minds of their own. It’s all he dreamed of…

But now safety is foremost: Cajeiri’s grandfather has been assassinated, hostile Assassins Guild invaded Great-uncle’s house, and now Bren Cameron, paidhi-aiji, who was sent to keep the aiji’s son safe, has more than the young guests on his mind. The aiji-dowager knows who’s to blame for the attacks, and they’re going after him.

The fact that the person responsible is in the heart of Assassins’ Guild Headquarters, the most closely guarded fortress on the continent, is not going to stop her.

Bren Cameron has the pieces now, of a decades-old plot that’s been threaded through Guild actions going back before his arrival on the continent, and more — he knows the person responsible is going to find out he knows, and find out within hours.

They have no choice. If they don’t move, the other side will.

Revolutions-sThe Revolutions” by Felix Gilman

Following his spectacularly reviewed Half-Made World duology, Felix Gilman pens a sweeping stand-alone tale of Victorian science fiction, arcane exploration, and planetary romance.

In 1893, young journalist Arthur Shaw is at work in the British Museum Reading Room when the Great Storm hits London, wreaking unprecedented damage. In its aftermath, Arthur’s newspaper closes, owing him money, and all his debts come due at once. His fiancé Josephine takes a job as a stenographer for some of the fashionable spiritualist and occult societies of fin de siècle London society. At one of her meetings, Arthur is given a job lead for what seems to be accounting work, but at a salary many times what any clerk could expect. The work is long and peculiar, as the workers spend all day performing unnerving calculations that make them hallucinate or even go mad, but the money is compelling.

Things are beginning to look up when the perils of dabbling in the esoteric suddenly come to a head: A war breaks out between competing magical societies. Josephine joins one of them for a hazardous occult exploration — an experiment which threatens to leave her stranded at the outer limits of consciousness, among the celestial spheres.

Arthur won’t give up his great love so easily, and hunts for a way to save her, as Josephine fights for survival…somewhere in the vicinity of Mars.

SpaceOpera-sSpace Opera” edited by Rich Horton

More than five-hundred pages, over one-quarter of a million words… Space Opera spans a vast range of epic interstellar adventure stories told against a limitless cosmos filled with exotic aliens, heroic characters, and incredible settings. A truly stellar compilation of tales from one of the defining streams of science fiction, old and new, written by a supernova of genre talent.

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