Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf: Week Of September 15

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!

BrokenMonsters“Broken Monsters” by Lauren Beukes

Detective Gabriella Versado has seen a lot of bodies. But this one is unique even by Detroit’s standards: half boy, half deer, somehow fused together. As stranger and more disturbing bodies are discovered, how can the city hold on to a reality that is already tearing at its seams?

If you’re Detective Versado’s geeky teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you’re desperate freelance journalist Jonno, you do whatever it takes to get the exclusive on a horrific story. If you’re Thomas Keen, known on the street as TK, you’ll do what you can to keep your homeless family safe — and find the monster who is possessed by the dream of violently remaking the world.

If Lauren Beukes’s internationally bestselling The Shining Girls was a time-jumping thrill ride through the past, her Broken Monsters is a genre-redefining thriller about broken cities, broken dreams, and broken people trying to put themselves back together again.

Day21“Day 21 (The 100 Series)” by Kass Morgan

It’s been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They’re the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries…or so they thought.

Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group together. Clarke strikes out for Mount Weather, in search of other colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.

In this pulse-pounding sequel to The 100, secrets are revealed, beliefs are challenged, and relationships are tested. And the hundred will struggle to survive the only way they can — together.

FallsShadow“Falls the Shadow” by Stefanie Gaither

Cate’s sister may be a clone, but that doesn’t make her a killer. Does it? Murder, morality, and a slow-burning romance fill the pages of this futuristic thriller.

When Cate Benson was a kid, her sister, Violet, died. Two hours after the funeral, Cate’s family picked up Violet’s replacement like nothing had happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to give their children a sort of immortality by cloning them at birth — which means this new Violet has the same face. The same perfect smile. She even has all of the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

At least, that’s what the paparazzi and the anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that. She’s used to defending her sister, too. But Violet has vanished, and when Cate sets out to find her, she ends up in the line of fire instead. Because Cate is getting dangerously close to secrets that will rock the foundation of everything she thought was true.

GideonSmith“Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon” by David Barnett

Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire, a teeming metropolis where steam-power is king and airships ply the skies, and where Queen Victoria presides over three quarters of the known world — including the east coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.

Young Gideon Smith has seen things that no green lad of Her Majesty’s dominion should ever experience. Through a series of incredible events Gideon has become the newest Hero of the Empire. But Gideon is a man with a mission, for the dreaded Texas pirate Louis Cockayne has stolen the mechanical clockwork girl Maria, along with a most fantastical weapon — a great brass dragon that was unearthed beneath ancient Egyptian soil. Maria is the only one who can pilot the beast, so Cockayne has taken girl and dragon off to points east.

Gideon and his intrepid band take to the skies and travel to the American colonies hot on Cockayne’s trail. Not only does Gideon want the machine back, he has fallen in love with Maria. Their journey will take them to the wilds of the lawless lands south of the American colonies — to free Texas, where the mad King of Steamtown rules with an iron fist (literally), where life is cheap and honor even cheaper.

Does Gideon have what it takes to not only save the day but win the girl?

David Barnett’s Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon is a fantastical steampunk fable set against an alternate historical backdrop: the ultimate Victoriana/steampunk mash-up!

InfiniteSea“The Infinite Sea: The Second Book of The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

LastPlane“Last Plane to Heaven: The Final Collection” by Jay Lake

Last Plane to Heaven is the final and definitive short story collection of award-winning SF author Jay Lake, author of Green, Endurance, and Kalimpura.

Long before he was a novelist, SF writer Jay Lake, was an acclaimed writer of short stories. In Last Plane to Heaven, Lake has assembled thirty-two of the best of them. Aliens and angels fill these pages, from the title story, a hard-edged and breathtaking look at how a real alien visitor might be received, to the savage truth of
‘The Cancer Catechisms.’ Here are more than thirty short stories written by a master of the form, science fiction and fantasy both.

This collection features an original introduction by Gene Wolfe.

Outrider“Outrider” by Steven John

Within a few decades, solar technology will evolve to the point where power is endless…unless someone wants to stop the flow — which someone does.

And the only men who can stop these high-tech terrorists are on horseback.

In the near future, the New Las Vegas Sunfield will be one of many enormous solar farms to supply energy to the United States. At more than fifty miles long and two miles wide, the Sunfield generates an electromagnetic field so volatile that ordinary machinery and even the simplest electronic devices must be kept miles away from it. Thus, the only men who can guard the most technologically advanced power station on earth do so on horseback.

They are the Outriders.

Though the power supplied by the Sunfield is widespread, access to that power comes with total deference to the iron-fisted will of New Las Vegas’s ruthless mayor, Franklin Dreg. Crisis erupts when Dreg’s quietly competent secretary, Timothy Hale, discovers someone has been stealing energy — siphoning it out of the New Las Vegas grid under cover of darkness.

As the Outriders investigate, the scale of the thievery becomes clear: these aren’t the ordinary energy leeches, people who steal a few watts here or there. These are high-tech terrorists (or revolutionaries) engaged in a mysterious and dangerous enterprise and poised to bring down the entire energy grid, along with the millions of people it supports.

The pressure mounts and fractures appear within both the political leadership of New Las Vegas and in the tight-knit community of Outriders. With a potential crisis looming, the mysterious goal of the ‘Drainers’ finally comes into focus. Only then do the Outriders realize how dangerous the situation really is.

StoneMattress“Stone Mattress: Nine Tales” by Margaret Atwood

A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy. Vintage Atwood creativity, intelligence, and humor: think Alias Grace.

Margaret Atwood turns to short fiction for the first time since her 2006 collection, Moral Disorder, with nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships bringing to mind her award-winning 1996 novel, Alias Grace. A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband in ‘Alphinland,’ the first of three loosely linked stories about the romantic geometries of a group of writers and artists. In ‘The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom,’ a man who bids on an auctioned storage space has a surprise. In ‘Lusus Naturae,’ a woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. In ‘Torching the Dusties,’ an elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. And in ‘Stone Mattress,’ a long-ago crime is avenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite. In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.

VaultDreamers“The Vault of Dreamers” by Caragh M. O’Brien

The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students’ lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students’ schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What’s worse is, she starts to notice that the ridges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding — and what it truly means to dream there.

From Caragh M. O’Brien, author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes the first book in a new series, The Vault of Dreamers, a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.

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