Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf: Week Of May 5, 2014

By David Wharton | 6 years ago

AfterEndAfter the End” by Amy Plum

Michael Grant’s Gone series meets M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village in this riveting story of one girl’s journey to save the very people who have lied to her for her entire life. Amy Plum, internationally bestselling author of the Die for Me series, delivers a fast-paced adventure perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Robison Wells.

Juneau grew up fearing the outside world. The elders told her that beyond the borders of their land in the Alaskan wilderness, nuclear war had destroyed everything. But when Juneau returns from a hunting trip one day and discovers her people have been abducted, she sets off to find them. And leaving the boundaries for the very first time, she learns the horrifying truth: World War III never happened. Nothing was destroyed. Everything she’d ever been taught was a lie.

As Juneau comes to terms with an unfathomable deception, she is forced to survive in a completely foreign world, using only the skills and abilities she developed in the wild. But while she’s struggling to rescue her friends and family, someone else is after her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about her secret past.

AlienCollectiveAlien Collective” by Gini Koch

Despite not having run for office, nor wanting to remain in office, Representative Jeff Martini is being wooed as the vice presidential running mate for a charismatic senator who seems likely to win the campaign. While the Diplomatic Corps has to deal with the pressures of a political campaign sure to uncover secrets they don’t want shared with the world, Ambassador Kitty Katt-Martini has other worries — handling the reemergence of her most potent nemesis, thought dead and buried.

AuthorityAuthority (The Southern Reach Trilogy)” by Jeff VanderMeer

After thirty years, the only human engagement with Area X — a seemingly malevolent landscape surrounded by an invisible border and mysteriously wiped clean of all signs of civilization — has been as series of expeditions overseen by a government agency so secret it has almost been forgotten: the Southern Reach. Following the tumultuous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the agency is in complete disarray.

John Rodrigues (aka ‘Control’) is the Southern Reach’s newly appointed head. Working with a distrustful but desperate team, a series of frustrating interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, Control begins to penetrate the secrets of Area X. But with each discovery he must confront disturbing truths about himself and the agency he’s pledged to serve.

In Authority, the second volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, Area X’s most disturbing questions are answered…but the answers are far from reassuring.

BeesThe Bees” by Laline Paull

The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Hunger Games in this brilliantly imagined debut set in an ancient culture where only the queen may breed and deformity means death.

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive’s survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw but her courage and strength are an asset. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect pollen. She also finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.

But when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all — daring to challenge the Queen’s fertility — enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, her society — and lead her to unthinkable deeds.

Thrilling, suspenseful and spectacularly imaginative, The Bees gives us a dazzling young heroine and will change forever the way you look at the world outside your window.

EnceladusThe Enceladus Crisis” by Michael J. Martinez

Two dimensions collided on the rust-red deserts of Mars — and are destined to become entangled once more in this sequel to the critically acclaimed The Daedalus Incident.

Lieutenant Commander Shaila Jain has been given the assignment of her dreams: the first manned mission to Saturn. But there’s competition and complications when she arrives aboard the survey ship Armstrong. The Chinese are vying for control of the critical moon Titan, and the moon Enceladus may harbor secrets deep under its icy crust. And back on Earth, Project DAEDALUS now seeks to defend against other dimensional incursions. But there are other players interested in opening the door between worlds…and they’re getting impatient.

For Thomas Weatherby, it’s been nineteen years since he was second lieutenant aboard HMS Daedalus. Now captain of the seventy-four-gun Fortitude, Weatherby helps destroy the French fleet at the Nile and must chase an escaped French ship from Egypt to Saturn, home of the enigmatic and increasingly unstable aliens who call themselves the Xan. Meanwhile, in Egypt, alchemist Andrew Finch has ingratiated himself with Napoleon’s forces…and finds the true, horrible reason why the French invaded Egypt in the first place.

The thrilling follow-up to The Daedalus Incident, The Enceladus Crisis continues Martinez’s Daedalus series with a combination of mystery, intrigue, and high adventure spanning two amazing dimensions.

Gemsigns“Gemsigns” by Stephanie Saulter

Starburst magazine raved that Gemsigns, the first novel in a series, is ‘a fascinating and compelling read, exploring the boundaries of human behavior, religious influences, and the morality of the everyday person. It comes highly recommended.’

For years the human race was under attack from a deadly Syndrome, but when a cure was found — in the form of genetically engineered human beings, Gems — the line between survival and ethics was radically altered. Now the Gems are fighting for their freedom, from the oppression of the companies that created them, and against the Norms who see them as slaves. And a conference at which Dr Eli Walker has been commissioned to present his findings on the Gems is the key to that freedom. But with the Gemtech companies fighting to keep the Gems enslaved, and the horrifying godgangs determined to rid the earth of these ‘unholy’ creations, the Gems are up against forces that may just be too powerful to oppose.

FearlessA Girl Called Fearless” by Catherine Linka

Avie Reveare has the normal life of a privileged teen growing up in L.A., at least as normal as any girl’s life is these days. After a synthetic hormone in beef killed fifty million American women ten years ago, only young girls, old women, men, and boys are left to pick up the pieces. The death threat is past, but fathers still fear for their daughters’ safety, and the Paternalist Movement, begun to ’protect’ young women, is taking over the choices they make.

Like all her friends, Avie still mourns the loss of her mother, but she’s also dreaming about college and love and what she’ll make of her life. When her dad “contracts” her to marry a rich, older man to raise money to save his struggling company, her life suddenly narrows to two choices: Be trapped in a marriage with a controlling politician, or run. Her lifelong friend, student revolutionary Yates, urges her to run to freedom across the border to Canada. As their friendship turns to passion, the decision to leave becomes harder and harder. Running away is incredibly dangerous, and it’s possible Avie will never see Yates again. But staying could mean death.From Catherine Linka comes this romantic, thought-provoking, and frighteningly real story, A Girl Called Fearless, about fighting for the most important things in life — freedom and love.

LostFleetsteadfastThe Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier — Steadfast” by Jack Campbell

Geary and the crew of the Dauntless have managed to safely escort important alien representatives to Earth. But before they can make tracks for home, two of Geary’s key lieutenants vanish. The search for his missing men leads Geary on a far-flung chase, ultimately ending at the one spot in space from which all humans have been banned: the moon Europa. Any ship that lands there must stay or be destroyed — leaving Geary to face the most profound moral dilemma of his life.

To make matters worse, strains on the Alliance are growing as the Syndics continue to meddle. Geary is ordered to take a small force to the border of Syndic space. But what he finds there is a danger much greater than anyone expected: a mysterious threat that could finally force the Alliance to its knees.

As Geary spearheads a desperate battle to protect the Alliance against a shrewd and powerful enemy, he’s left with just one question: Who are they?

PandemicPandemic” by Yvonne Ventresca

Even under the most normal circumstances, high school can be a painful and confusing time. Unfortunately, Liliana’s circumstances are anything but normal. Only a few people know what caused her sudden change from model student to the withdrawn, doomsayer she has become, but her situation isn’t about to get any better. When people begin coming down with a quick-spreading illness that doctors are unable to treat, Liliana’s worst fears are realized. With her parents called away on business before the contagious outbreak — her father in D.C. covering the early stages of the disease and her mother in Hong Kong and unable to get a flight back to New Jersey — Liliana’s town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread illness and fatal disaster. Now, she’s more alone than she’s been since the ‘incident’ at her school months ago.

With friends and neighbors dying all around her, Liliana does everything she can just to survive. But as the disease rages on, so does an unexpected tension as Liliana is torn between an old ex and a new romantic interest. Just when it all seems too much, her living nightmare comes flooding back. Will Liliana survive the outbreak and overcome her personal demons? In this thrilling debut novel from author Yvonne Ventresca, you will follow Liliana to the brink of humanity and her own sanity. But there’s no telling if you’ll make it through alive.

Contemporary fiction for teens (ages 13 to 17) is growing in popularity, and parents, teachers, and librarians will find that Pandemic is a solid addition to this growing genre. Liliana is a relatable teen character who is struggling with real-life issues: friendship, identity crisis, sexual abuse, fear of death, etc. And her coming-of-age tale amid this very real-life threat is sure to resonate with teens (and even adults) interested in contemporary fiction. While the primary audience will be teenage girls, teenage boys may also be drawn to the book with its bleak plot, the realistic boy secondary characters, and the similarities between this and the movie Contagion.

ScanScan” by Walter Jury & Sarah Fine

Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best — at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush his school, killing his father and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.

All Tate knows — like how to make weapons out of oranges and lighter fluid — may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret interspecies conflict that’s been going on for centuries. Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with powerful enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it.

A riveting, fast-paced adventure, Scan is a clever alien thriller with muscle and heart.

SciFi101Science Fiction 101: Exploring the Craft of Science Fiction” by Robert K. Silverberg

Before Robert Silverberg won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards and became Grand Master of science fiction, he was a young man learning the art and craft of writing the genre. In Science Fiction: 101, Silverberg reveals the roots of modern science fiction with thought-provoking essays about some of the field’s most groundbreaking stories — included in this volume — which inspired him and taught him to write. These insightful analyses, along with the skills and strategies Silverberg developed to build his successful career, make this an indispensable volume for readers interested in science fiction history.

Featuring Thirteen Classic Stories by Brian W. Aldiss, Alfred Bester, James Blish, Philip K. Dick, Damon Knight, C. M. Kornbluth, Henry Kuttner, C. L. Moore, Frederik Pohl, Bob Shaw, Robert Sheckley, Cordwainer Smith, and Jack Vance.

SecretStarsSecret of the Stars” by Andre Norton

Star Hunter and Secret of the Lost Race. Together in an omni trade paperback volume from master storytelling legend, Andre Norton. A hunted man makes a last stand against deadly pursuers on a hellish planet. A hunter on a dangerous world encounters a menacing alien.

Joktar was running for his life — and he didn’t know why. After growing up orphaned in the spaceman’s helltown of interstellar New York, Joktar was adept at dodging the law, but he knew of no special reason why all the police forces of the civilized galaxy should suddenly concentrate on him. All he knew was that he had to run — out of the Solar system and across the galaxy to the mysterious Wolf worlds. In the freezing hell that was the planet Fenris, Joktar turned to face his hunters and fight to regain his freedom in a universe gone mad.

On safari to an unexplored jungle world, Ras Hume must hunt two kinds of quarry — the fearsome native beasts and the equally menacing lone survivor of a mysterious spaceship crash.

SergeantChipsSergeant Chips and Other Novellas” by Bradley Denton

With these three novellas, science-fiction, fantasy, and horror storyteller Bradley Denton takes you inside hearts and minds filled with violence, mystery, and magic — whose startling worlds are no more than half a step away from your own:

In the Hugo Award-nominated and Sturgeon Award-winning sf story ‘Sergeant Chip,’ you’ll see war from the front lines…through the eyes of an enhanced soldier whose determination, skills, and loyalty are utterly unshakeable. But when Man makes a weapon of his own best friend, the consequences go far beyond what human generals can imagine.

In the International Horror Guild Award-nominated ‘Blackburn and the Blade,’ the killer-protagonist of the cult-classic novel Blackburn returns in a tale of desire and blood that pits him against an implacable enemy who may even be a God. But what this enemy doesn’t realize is that in a battle against a God, it’s a Devil who has a fighting chance.

Finally, in the Edgar Allan Poe Award-nominated ‘The Adakian Eagle,’ a young Army private stationed in the Aleutians in 1944 makes a gruesome discovery that may lead to his doom. His only hope lies with a tubercular fifty-year-old corporal, a former detective famous for his mystery novels. But detective skills may not be enough now, and both the young private and the old corporal could be at the mercy of dark sorcery wielded by an even darker soul.

ShatteredShattered (Slated)” by Teri Terry

The riveting finale of the Slated trilogy — a thought-provoking psychological thriller set in a disturbingly plausible future where the government and its enemies compete to control the minds of the young.

Kyla is in danger from both the government Lorders who erased her memory and the terrorists who tried to use her. So now she’s on the run. Sporting a new identity and desperate to fill in the blank spaces of her life pre-Slating, Kyla heads to a remote mountain town to try to reunite with the birth mother she was kidnapped from as a child. There she is hoping all the pieces of her life will come together and she can finally take charge of her own future. But even in the idyllic wilderness and the heart of her original family, Kyla realizes there is no escape from the oppressive Lorders. Someone close to her may be one of them, and even more frighteningly, her birth mother has been keeping secrets of her own.

In this stunning series finale, Kyla finally finds out who she really is — and the road to this discovery, and to deciding who she wants to become, is full of dangerous twists and turns that will keep readers riveted.

StarshipGriftersStarship Grifters (A Rex Nihilo Adventure)” by Robert Kroese

A space-faring ne’er-do-well with more bravado than brains, Rex Nihilo plies the known universe in a tireless quest for his own personal gain. But when he fleeces a wealthy weapons dealer in a high-stakes poker game, he ends up winning a worthless planet…and owing an outstanding debt more vast than space itself!

The only way for Rex to escape a lifetime of torture on the prison world Gulagatraz is to score a big payday by pulling off his biggest scam. But getting mixed up in the struggle between the tyrannical Malarchian Empire and the plucky rebels of the Revolting Front — and trying to double-cross them both — may be his biggest mistake. Luckily for Rex, his frustrated but faithful robot sidekick has the cyber-smarts to deal with buxom bounty hunters, pudgy princesses, overbearing overlords, and interstellar evangelists…while still keeping Rex’s martini glass filled.

BeforeDishonorStar Trek: The Next Generation — Before Dishonor” by Peter David

An enemy so intractable that it cannot be reasoned with. The entire race thinks with one mind and strives toward one purpose: to add our biological distinctiveness to their own and wipe out individuality, to make every living thing Borg.

In over two centuries, the Federation has never encountered a greater threat. Twice Starfleet assembled and threw countless starships to stand against them. The Borg were stopped, the price paid in blood. Humanity breathed a sigh of relief, assuming it was safe. And with the destruction of the transwarp conduits, the Federation believed that the killing blow had finally been struck against the Borg.

Driven to the point of extinction, the Borg continue to fight for their very existence, for their culture. They will not be denied. They must not be stopped. The old rules and assumptions regarding how the Collective should act have been dismissed. Now the Borg kill first, assimilate later.

When the Enterprise manages to thwart them once again, the Borg turn inward. The dark places that even the drones never realized existed are turned outward against the enemy they have never been able to defeat. What is revealed is the thing that no one believed the Borg could do.

VoyagerString3Star Trek: Voyager — String Theory #3” by Heather Jarman

ENTANGLED STRANDS OF PAST AND PRESENT ENDANGER THE FUTURE

A wake of destruction and loss threatens the U.S.S. Voyager as Chakotay assumes command. Grief over Janeway’s impending death coupled with anxiety brought on by the disappearance of Paris, Kim, and the Doctor forces the crew to take increasingly dangerous actions in order to assure their own survival.

But Voyager doesn’t fight alone: behind the lines, powerful forces have allied to give the starship aid. Toward this end, a familiar nemesis — the cosmic meddler Q — sends Paris and Kim on a perilous journey. Elsewhere, the Doctor, trapped in a dimension alien to human understanding, reunites with an old friend to help secure the fates of those he’s left behind.

Yet the conflict raging in the Monorhan system is merely a surface manifestation of more serious turmoil; the true struggle is rooted in the universe’s very foundation. Standing at the eye of this maelstrom is Voyager, whose crew may hold the fate of all.

TwentyTrillionTwenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea” by Adam Roberts

Adam Roberts revisits Jules Verne’s classic novel in a collaboration with the illustrator behind a recent highly acclaimed edition of The Hunting of the Snark.

It is 1958 and France’s first nuclear submarine, Plongeur, leaves port for the first of its sea trials. On board, gathered together for the first time, are one of the Navy’s most experienced captains and a tiny skeleton crew of sailors, engineers, and scientists. The Plongeur makes her first dive and goes down, and down and down. Out of control, the submarine plummets to a depth where the pressure will crush her hull, killing everyone on board, and beyond. The pressure builds, the hull protests, the crew prepare for death, the boat reaches the bottom of the sea and finds nothing. Her final dive continues, the pressure begins to relent, but the depth gauge is useless. They have gone miles down. Hundreds of miles, thousands, and so it goes on. Onboard the crew succumb to madness, betrayal, religious mania, and murder. Has the Plongeur left the limits of our world and gone elsewhere? Contains 33 full page pen and ink illustrations.

ApocalypseZThe Wrath of the Just (Apocalypse Z)” by Manel Loureiro

From apocalypse…

An act of terrorism unleashed an unspeakable biological weapon…and hell on earth. But as the masses felled by a hideous virus rose from the dead to prey on the living, a small band of survivors defied death and its ghastly spawn — determined to outrun the world’s end and somehow begin again.

To Armageddon…

But beyond the undead-besieged shores of Europe lies something closer to damnation than salvation. Rescued from certain death at sea, a young Spanish lawyer, the beautiful woman he loves, and his brash, battle-hardened best friend — who have weathered the worst of the unnatural disaster — think they’re escaping to freedom but are delivered into a stronghold of hate. In a United States ravaged by a zombie plague and overrun by the undead, only Gulfport, Mississippi, offers sanctuary…for a price: subservience to a fascist dictator and his brutal enforcers. But their reign of terror will soon be challenged — by rebels hungry for vengeance and invaders bent on conquest.

ZombieIndianaZombie, Indiana” by Scott Kenemore

In the third book of his Zombie series, Scott Kenemore brings the explosive horror thriller of an undead outbreak in the city of Indianapolis. Zombie, Indiana takes place during the same timeline as the outbreaks in his books Zombie, Ohio and Zombie, Illinois, and has the same punch as the previous two.

Zombie, Indiana explores the impact of an invading zombie horde on a trio of Hoosier protagonists…each of whom have some dark secrets to keep. When the governor’s daughter mysteriously disappears on a field trip, IMPD Special Sergeant James Nolan, scholarship student Kesha Washington, and Governor Hank Burleson must all come together not only to find the governor’s daughter, but also to undertake a quest to redeem the very soul of the state itself…all while under constant attack from the living dead.

With humorous, memorable characters, tense action sequences, and brutal zombie violence, Zombie, Indiana will put readers in mind of some of the most compelling works of popular fiction. At once a mystery, a thriller, and a horror novel, Kenemore strikes again with this rollicking tour through America’s heartland that is nothing but a tour de force for zombie fiction fans!

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