This week the new Star Wars Expanded Universe opens up just a little bit more with Tarkin by James Luceno. It’s the second novel in the new EU, following on the heels of the Rebels prequel A New Dawn, which released a few months back. While that book was set during the “dark times” after the massacre of the Jedi order and the ascension of Palpatine to Emperor, Tarkin is set in the days leading up to A New Hope, with the first Death Star still under construction and Tarkin one of the most powerful men in the Empire. As for Luceno, he’s no stranger to the Star Wars universe, having penned Darth Plagueis, the Dark Lord Trilogy, and more.
Here’s what’s new on the Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf!
“Star Wars: Tarkin” by James Luceno
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
Bestselling Star Wars veteran James Luceno gives Grand Moff Tarkin the Star Wars: Darth Plagueis treatment, bringing a legendary character from A New Hope to full, fascinating life.
He’s the scion of an honorable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly…and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.
Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises his Emperor. Under Tarkin’s guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so-called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy’s lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel — by intimidation…or annihilation.
Until then, however, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and newfound evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious; and Tarkin — whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy…and its enemies’ extinction.
“Chain of Events” by Frederik T. Olsson
A stunning debut thriller about a code that threatens humanity — and the only man can crack it.
William Sandberg, once a well-respected military cryptologist pursuing cutting-edge research, is a ruined man. His career is in shambles, his marriage is over, and he’s succumbed to a dark depression.
But William’s talents haven’t gone unnoticed. A nameless, top-secret organization abducts him and tasks him with a daunting mission: decode a message that will reveal the disastrous prophecies hidden in our DNA before it is too late.
Meanwhile, William’s ex-wife Christina is haunted by his absence and suspects there is more to his disappearance than just the reclusive impulse of a depressed man. Driven by her hunch, she sets out to find him and joins an eclectic cast of characters all drawn to a mysterious chateau in the Alps where the secret organization is plotting something-but is it revenge? Or a rescue mission? What is the organization hiding? What does the code have to do with the potent virus suddenly spreading around the world? And can William uncover the truth before it’s too late?
A thrilling novel about humanity on the verge of crisis, taking readers from the streets of Berlin and Stockholm to a chateau in the Alps, Chain of Events explodes and then reconfigures the ties that bind us to one another: marriage, politics, and our DNA.
“Coming Home” by Jack McDevitt
Thousands of years ago, artifacts of the early space age were lost to rising oceans and widespread turmoil. Garnett Baylee devoted his life to finding them, only to give up hope. Then, in the wake of his death, one was found in his home, raising tantalizing questions. Had he succeeded after all? Why had he kept it a secret? And where is the rest of the Apollo cache?
Antiquities dealer Alex Benedict and his pilot, Chase Kolpath, have gone to Earth to learn the truth. But the trail seems to have gone cold, so they head back home to be present when the Capella, the interstellar transport that vanished eleven years earlier in a time/space warp, is expected to reappear. With a window of only a few hours, rescuing it is of the utmost importance. Twenty-six hundred passengers — including Alex’s uncle, Gabriel Benedict, the man who raised him — are on board.
Alex now finds his attention divided between finding the artifacts and anticipating the rescue of the Capella. But time won’t allow him to do both. As the deadline for the Capella’s reappearance draws near, Alex fears that the puzzle of the artifacts will be lost yet again. But Alex Benedict never forgets and never gives up — and another day will soon come around…
“Crashland” by Sean Williams
M. T. Anderson meets Cory Doctorow in the exciting sequel to Twinmaker, from #1 New York Times bestseller Sean Williams, who also coauthors the Troubletwisters series with Garth Nix.
Clair and Jesse have barely been reunited when the world is plunged into its biggest crisis since the Water Wars. The d-mat network is broken. The world has ground to a halt. People are trapped, injured, dying. It’s the end of the world as Clair knows it — and it’s partly her fault. Now she’s been enlisted to track down her friend Q, the rogue AI who repeatedly saved her life — and who is the key to fixing the system. Targeted by dupes, abandoned by her friends, and caught in a web of lies that strike at the very essence of who she is, Clair quickly finds powerful and dangerous allies. But if she helps them, will she be leading her friend straight into a trap? Caught between pro- and anti-d-mat philosophies, in a world on the brink of all-out war, Clair must decide where she stands — and who she stands with, at the end.
“Empire of Dust: A Psi-Tech Novel” by Jacey Bedford
Mega corporations, more powerful than any one planetary government, use their agents to race each other for resources across the galaxy. The agents, or psi-techs, are implanted with telepath technology. The psi-techs are bound to the mega-corps — that is, if they want to retain their sanity.
Cara Carlinni is an impossible thing — a runaway psi-tech. She knows Alphacorp can find its implant-augmented telepaths, anywhere, anytime, mind-to-mind. So even though it’s driving her half-crazy, she’s powered down and has been surviving on tranqs and willpower. So far, so good. It’s been almost a year, and her mind is still her own.
She’s on the run from Ari van Blaiden, a powerful executive, after discovering massive corruption in Alphacorp. Cara barely escapes his forces, yet again, on a backwater planet, and gets out just in time due to the help of straight-laced Ben Benjamin, a psi-tech Navigator for Alphacorp’s biggest company rival.
Cara and Ben struggle to survive a star-spanning manhunt, black-ops raids, and fleets of resource-hungry raiders. Betrayal follows betrayal, and friends become enemies. Suddenly the most important skill is knowing whom to trust.
“Genesis Code” by Jamie Metzl
Blue Magic, the latest designer drug linked to a rash of overdoses, might explain the needle mark on the arm of a young woman found dead in her Kansas City apartment. But when Star reporter Rich Azadian digs deeper, the clues point to a far more explosive story: MaryLee Stock was a special protégée of evangelical megapastor and power broker Cobalt Becker, who is poised to deliver his followers and the presidency to a firebrand right-wing senator in the next election. When Azadian sets out to prove that MaryLee’s death was no accident and she may have been carrying Becker’s genetically enhanced baby, the stakes become life itself.
In 2023 America — bankrupt, violently divided by the culture wars, and beholden to archrival China — the rules of the game are complicated. With the danger mounting, the dead bodies of young women piling up, Chinese agents circling, and the US Department of National Competitiveness moving in to quash his investigation, Azadian’s only option is to go rogue, assemble a team of brilliant misfits like himself, and begin the fight of his life to find out who is killing these women and why, and if any others like them may still be alive.
“HALO: Broken Circle” by John Shirley
Centuries before the Human-Covenant War would rage across the galaxy, a similar conflict erupted between the Prophets and the Elites — two alien races at odds over the sacred artifacts left by the powerful Forerunners, who disappeared eons ago. Although they would eventually form a stable alliance called the Covenant, there are those on both sides who question this fateful union. From an Elite splinter group rebelling against the Covenant during the time of its founding…to a brave Prophet caught in the machinations of the new leadership…to the root of the betrayal that would ultimately shatter the Covenant many years later, this is the untold chapter of the most unexpected heroes emerging from a realm filled with shocking treachery and ceaseless wonder.
“Harry Harrison! Harry Harrison!” by Harry Harrison
Recollections of one of the grand masters of science fiction, on his storied career as a celebrated author and on his relationships with other luminaries in the field. This memoir is filled with all the humor and irreverence Harry Harrison’s readers have come to expect from the New York Times bestselling author of the uproarious Stainless Steel Rat series. This also includes black and white photos spanning his sixty-year career.
“The Heart Does Not Grow Back” by Fred Venturi
EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE…
Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.
When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise? The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.
“In the Beginning” by Michael Farris Smith
In this short story prequel to Michael Farris Smith’s widely acclaimed novel Rivers (a Best Book of 2013 in BookRiot, Daily Candy, and Hudson Booksellers), a series of catastrophic hurricanes along the Gulf Coast prompts the government to institute ‘The Line,’ a boundary between the coastal region and the rest of the country, effectively creating a lawless no-man’s land without electricity, resources, or basic services.
Those left behind include Aggie, a snake-handling preacher with a questionable past; Bub and Ava, who live in a FEMA trailer held down by cinderblocks; and Cohen, who refuses to evacuate and leave behind the graves of his late wife and child. As all four struggle to survive below The Line, their stories intersect with violent and unexpected consequences.
“Lowball: A Wild Cards Mosaic Novel” edited by George R. R. Martin & Melinda Snodgrass
Decades after an alien virus changed the course of history, the surviving population of Manhattan still struggles to understand the new world left in its wake. Natural humans share the rough city with those given extraordinary — and sometimes terrifying — traits. While most manage to coexist in an uneasy peace, not everyone is willing to adapt. Down in the seedy underbelly of Jokertown, residents are going missing. The authorities are unwilling to investigate, except for a fresh lieutenant looking to prove himself and a collection of unlikely jokers forced to take matters into their own hands — or tentacles. The deeper into the kidnapping case these misfits and miscreants get, the higher the stakes are raised.
Edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin and acclaimed author Melinda M. Snodgrass, Lowball is the latest mosaic novel in the acclaimed Wild Cards universe, featuring original fiction by Carrie Vaughn, Ian Tregillis, David Anthony Durham, Melinda M. Snodgrass, Mary Anne Mohanraj, David D. Levine, Michael Cassutt, and Walter John Williams.
Perfect for old fans and new readers alike, Lowball delves deeper into the world of aces, jokers, and the hard-boiled men and women of the Fort Freak police precinct in a pulpy, page-turning novel of superheroics and mystery.
“Metrophage” by Richard Kadrey
New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey’s first novel — the cult classic dystopian cyberpunk tale — now back in print after twenty years in a special signed, collectible edition.
Welcome to the near future: Los Angeles in the late 21st century — a segregated city of haves and have nots, where morality is dead and technology rules. Here, a small group of wealthy seclude themselves in gilded cages. Beyond their high security compounds, far from their pretty comforts, lies a lawless wasteland where the angry masses battle hunger, rampant disease, and their own despair to survive.
Jonny was born into this Hobbesian paradise. A street-wise hustler who deals drugs on the black market — narcotics that heal the body and cool the mind — he looks out for nobody but himself. Until a terrifying plague sweeps through L.A., wreaking death and panic. And no one, not even a clever operator like Jonny, is safe.
His own life hanging in the balance, Jonny must risk everything to find the cure — if there is one.
The book will include a Q & A with Cory Doctorow.
“Polestar Omega (Deathlands)” by Jamex Axler
Banded together to survive, Ryan Cawdor and his companions travel the barren wastelands of a post-nuclear world. There are no laws in Deathlands — only fear, destruction and annihilation. As each day brings a new struggle, this group journeys toward the shaky promise of sanctuary.
Ryan and his friends become the subjects in a deadly experiment when they’re taken captive inside a redoubt at the South Pole. A team of scientists is convinced the earth must be purified of mutants, and now they have the perfect lab rats to test their powerful bioweapon. Within Antarctica’s harsh and unstable conditions, the companions must fight the odds and take down the whitecoats before millions are killed. But in this uncompromising landscape, defeating the enemy may be just another step toward a different kind of death….
“Proxima” by Stephen Baxter
Lauded as ‘the natural heir to the hard-sci-fi crown of Arthur C. Clarke’ (The Daily Telegraph, UK), Stephen Baxter delivers an unforgettable novel of an extraordinary world — and its untamed landscape….
Mankind’s future in this galaxy could be all but infinite….
There are hundreds of billions of red dwarf stars, lasting trillions of years — and their planets can be habitable for humans. Such is the world of Proxima Centauri. And its promise could mean the never-ending existence of humanity.
But first it must be colonized, and no one wants to be a settler. There is no glamor that accompanies it, like being the first man on the moon, nor is there the ease of becoming a citizen of an already-tamed world. There is only hardship…loneliness…emptiness.
But that’s where Yuri comes in. Because sometimes exploration isn’t voluntary. It must be coerced….
“Willful Child” by Steven Erikson
From the New York Times Bestselling author Steven Erikson comes a new science fiction novel of devil-may-care, near calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through the infinite vastness of interstellar space.
These are the voyages of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life-forms, to boldly blow the…
And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through ‘the infinite vastness of interstellar space.’
The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen sequence has taken his lifelong passion for Star Trek and transformed it into a smart, inventive, and hugely entertaining spoof on the whole mankind-exploring-space-for-the-good-of-all-species-but-trashing-stuff-with-a-lot-of-high-tech-gadgets-along-the-way, overblown adventure. The result is an SF novel that deftly parodies the genre while also paying fond homage to it.