Bestsellers, Science Fiction & Fantasy: January 2018
Neogenesis (Liaden Universe 21)
Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
The Complex Logic Laws were the result of a war waged hundreds of years in the past, when two human powers threw massive AI navies at each other and nearly annihilated themselves. Being human, they blamed their tools for this near miss; they destroyed what was left of the sentient ships, and made it illegal to be, manufacture, or shelter an independent logic. Strangely, however, not all the Free Ships and other AIs did not turn themselves in or suicide, they merely became wary of humans, and stayed under their scans. A clandestine support network grew up, including hidden yards where smart ships were manufactured, and mentors – humans specially trained to ease a new intelligence into the universe – socialised them, and taught them what they needed to know to survive. Now, many have an interest in the newly-awakening Self-Aware Logic that is rumoured to have the power to destroy universes. The question is: Who will get to it first? The Lee and Miller Liaden series have a long and chequered publishing history – going back to the eighties. It’s a really credible universe, with great characters – but the books focus on one or more individuals from the key family groups at a time – rather than just following one protagonist along a linear narrative. If you like Bujold and Moon – you really should try these! The early novels of this series have been reissued as omnibuses by Baen. The best place to start is with either The Dragon Variation or The Agent Gambit.
Space opera | HC | $46.95
Emergence (Foreigner 19)
C J Cherryh
The nineteenth book in the beloved Foreigner space opera series begins a new era for human diplomat Bren Cameron, as he navigates the tenuous peace between human refugees and the alien atevi. Bren’s job is as general peacemaker – but old enemies want war. Is Bren’s diplomatic acumen enough to prevent a war that both sides are prepared to wage? This series just keeps on going and on – to an ever bigger and more appreciative audience. The first – released back in 1994! – is Foreigner ($19.95) Recommended!
Science fiction | HC | $47.95
The Tethered Mage (Swords & Fire 01)
In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce, and those born with power are strictly controlled – taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army. Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage-mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that could threaten the entire empire. Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations. But fate has bound the heir and the mage. And as war looms on the horizon, a single spark could turn their city into a pyre. ‘Set in a rich world of political intrigue and dangerous magic, The Tethered Mage is a spellbinding debut from a major new talent’ – publisher’s blurb – AND WE AGREE! Sort of a Renaissance Venice vibe about the city/state – it’s lush. Charming new series – recommended!
Fantasy | PBK | $19.99
Convergence (Foreigner 18)
C J Cherryh
Now available in paperback – see comments for Emergence (#2 above).
Science fiction | PBK | $19.95
The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor 01)
Morrigan Crow is cursed. Born on an unlucky day, she is blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks – and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on Eventide. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor… Wundrous! A breathtaking, enchanting new series by debut author Jessica Townsend, about a cursed girl who escapes death and finds herself in a magical world – but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination… It’s a bit Diana Wynne Jones – and a bit Roald Dahl – though not certain of the exact proportions. Townsend is a young Sunshine Coast writer (who even worked at Australia Zoo!) and this book has sold internationally to uniformly rave reviews… A gorgeous little hardcover edition ($24.99) is now also available.
YA fantasy | PBK | $16.99
Behind the Throne (Indranan War 01)
K B Wagers
Former gunrunner-turned-Empress Hail Bristol was dragged back to her home planet to fill her rightful position in the palace. With her sisters and parents murdered, the Indranan Empire is on the brink of war. Hail must quickly make alliances with nearby worlds if she has any hope of surviving her rule. This military space opera series has been hugely popular here.
Space opera | PBK | $22.99
Killing Gravity (Voidwitch 01)
Corey J White
Before she escaped in a bloody coup, MEPHISTO transformed Mariam Xi into a deadly voidwitch. Their training left her with terrifying capabilities, a fierce sense of independence, a deficit of trust, and an experimental pet named Seven. She’s spent her life on the run, but the boogeymen from her past are catching up with her. An encounter with a bounty hunter has left her hanging helpless in a dying spaceship, dependent on the mercy of strangers. Penned in on all sides, Mariam chases rumours to find the one who sold her out. To discover the truth and defeat her pursuers, she’ll have to stare into the abyss and find the secrets of her past, her future, and her terrifying potential. A brilliant 176pp Tor.com novella from an ex-Brisbanite! Highly recommended for fans of Scalzi and Firefly. We. Love. This. So polished – hard to believe it’s a first book! A new instalment of the series, Void Black Shadow, is due in March.
Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children 03)
A stand-alone fantasy tale from Seanan McGuire’s award-winning Wayward Children series, which began in the Alex, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning, World Fantasy Award finalist, Tiptree Honor List: Every Heart a Doorway. Return to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children in a standalone contemporary fantasy for fans of all ages. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the ‘real’ world. A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do. Warning: May contain nuts.
Fantasy | HC | $29.99
Vigil (Verity Fassbinder 01)
Verity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds. The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength and the ability to walk between one world and the other as a couple of her talents. A rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden… When a fantastic paranormal mystery is set here – in Brisbane (or, as Angela would have it: Brisneyland) – how could we not recommend this above all else? Now in paperback!
Urban fantasy | PBK | $22.99
The bestselling author of The Martian returns with an irresistible new near-future thriller – a heist story set on the moon. Jasmine Bashara never signed up to be a hero. She just wanted to get rich. Not crazy, eccentric-billionaire rich, like many of the visitors to her hometown of Artemis, humanity’s first and only lunar colony. Just rich enough to move out of her coffin-sized apartment and eat something better than flavoured algae. Rich enough to pay off a debt she’s owed for a long time. So, when a chance at a huge score finally comes her way, Jazz can’t say no. But trouble is, engineering the perfect crime is just the start of Jazz’s problems. Because her little heist is about to land her in the middle of a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself. Jazz is no hero, but she is a very good criminal. That’ll have to do… Really loved this! Great wise-cracking protagonist – and has a vibe of Clarke’s A Fall of Moondust and some other Golden Age tales – while being totally up to date with the tech and social mores. Recommended!
SF caper | TP | $32.99