Book News, Books, News

New Book Releases, Week of May 20th, 2012

Here’s this week’s new books in scifi, fantasy and horror. Click on the title to see the cover!

Released Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Talisman of El, by Alecia Stone

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS A LIE?
One Planet.
Two Worlds.
Population: Human … 7 billion. Others … unknown.
When 14-year-old Char­lie Blake wakes up sweat­ing and gasp­ing for air in the mid­dle of the night, he knows it is hap­pen­ing again. This time he wit­nesses a bru­tal mur­der. He’s afraid to tell any­one. No one would believe him … because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago – the day before his dad died.
Char­lie doesn’t know why this is hap­pen­ing. He would give any­thing to have an ordi­nary life. The prob­lem: he doesn’t belong in the world he knows as home.
He belongs with the others.

Released Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

2312, by Kim Stanley Robinson

The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity’s only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.
The first event takes place on Mercury, on the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. It is an unexpected death, but one that might have been foreseen. For Swan Er Hong, it is an event that will change her life. Swan was once a woman who designed worlds. Now she will be led into a plot to destroy them.

Dark Magic, by James Swain

Peter Warlock is a magician with a dark secret. Every night, he amazes audiences at his private theater in New York, where he performs feats that boggle the imagination. But his day job is just a cover for his otherworldly pursuits: Peter is a member of an underground group of psychics who gaze into the future to help prevent crimes.

No one, not even his live-in girlfriend, knows the truth about Peter—until the séance when he foresees an unspeakable act of violence that will devastate the city. As Peter and his friends rush to prevent tragedy, Peter discovers that a shadowy cult of evil psychics, the Order of Astrum, know all about his abilities. They are hunting him and his fellow psychics down, one by one, determined to silence them forever.

Dark Magic is a genre-bending supernatural thriller from national bestselling novelist and real-life magician James Swain.

Nightworld (Adversary Cycle: Repairman Jack), by F. Paul Wilson

This is the way the world ends…not with a bang but a scream in the dark.

It begins at dawn, when the sun rises late. Then the holes appear. The first forms in Central Park, in sight of an apartment where Repairman Jack and a man as old as time watch with growing dread. Gaping holes, bottomless and empty…until sundown, when the first unearthly, hungry creatures appear.

Nightworld brings F. Paul Wilson’s Adversary Cycle and Repairman Jack saga to an apocalyptic finale as Jack and Glaeken search the Secret History to gather a ragtag army for a last stand against the Otherness and a hideously transformed Rasalom.

Orb Ceptre Throne: A Novel of the Malazan Empire, by Ian C. Esslemont

The epic new chapter in the history of Malaz—the new epic fantasy from Steven Erikson’s friend and co-creator of this extraordinary and exciting imagined world.

Darujhistan, city of dreams, city of blue flames, is peaceful at last; its citizens free to return to politicking, bickering, trading and, above all, enjoying the good things in life. Yet there are those who will not allow the past to remain buried. A scholar digging in the plains stumbles across an ancient sealed vault. The merchant Humble Measure schemes to drive out the remaining Malazan invaders. And the surviving agents of a long-lost power are stirring, for they sense change and so, opportunity. While, as ever at the centre of everything, a thief in a red waistcoat and of rotund proportions walks the streets, juggling in one hand custard pastries, and in the other the fate of the city itself.

Far to the south, fragments of the titanic Moon’s Spawn have crashed into the Rivan Sea creating a series of isles…and a fortune hunter’s dream. A Malazan veteran calling himself ‘Red’ ventures out to try his luck—and perhaps say goodbye to old friends. But there he finds far more than he’d bargained for as the rush to claim the Spawn’s treasures descends into a mad scramble of chaos and bloodshed. For powers from across the world have gathered here, searching for the legendary Throne of Night. The impact of these events are far reaching, it seems. On an unremarkable island off the coast of Genabackis, a people who had turned their backs upon all such strivings now lift their masked faces towards the mainland and recall the ancient prophesy of a return.

And what about the ex-Claw of the Malazan Empire who now walks the uttermost edge of creation? His mission—the success or failure of which the Queen of Dreams saw long ago—is destined to shape far more than anyone could have ever imagined.

Princeps: A Novel in the Imager Portfolio, by L. E. Modesitt

The thrilling follow-up to Scholar—in which, after discovering a coup attempt and preventing a bloody civil war, Quaeryt was appointed princeps of Tilbor—begins a new episode in the young Imager’s life. Now second only to the governor, and still hiding his powers as an Imager, Quaeryt is enjoying his new position, as well as his marriage to Lord Bhayar’s youngest sister, Vaelora, when a volcanic eruption devastates the old capital of Telaryn.

He and his wife are dispatched to Extela, Telaryn’s capitol city, to replace the governor killed in the eruption. Quaeryt and Vaelora must restore order to a city filled with chaos and corruption, and do so quickly. The regiment under his command must soon depart to bolster Telaryn’s border defenses against a neighboring ruler who sees the volcanic devastation as an opportunity for invasion and conquest.

Destroyer of Worlds (Kingdom of the Serpent, Book 3), by Mark Chadbourn

A quest of epic reach spans the globe under the mythologies of five great cultures

It is the beginning of the end… the end of the axe-age, the sword-age, leading to the passing of gods and men from the universe. As all the ancient prophecies fall into place, the final battle rages, on Earth, across Faerie, and into the Land of the Dead. Jack Churchill, Champion of Existence, must lead the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons in a last, desperate assault on the Fortress of the Enemy to confront the ultimate incarnation of destruction: the Burning Man. It is humanity’s only chance to avert the coming extinction. At his back is an army of gods culled from the world’s great mythologies—Greek, Norse, Chinese, Aztec, and more. But will even that be enough? Driven to the brink by betrayal, sacrifice, and death, his allies fear Jack may instead bring about the very devastation he is trying to prevent.

Further: Beyond the Threshold, by Chris Roberson

Humankind is spread across three thousand light years in a myriad of worlds and habitats known as the Human Entelechy. Linked by a network of wormholes with Earth at its center, it is the world Captain RJ Stone awakens to after a twelve-thousand-year cryogenic suspension.

Stone soon finds himself commanding the maiden voyage of the first spacecraft to break the light speed barrier: the FTL Further. In search of extraterrestrial intelligence, the landing party explores a distant pulsar only to be taken prisoner by the bloodthirsty Iron Mass, a religious sect exiled from the Entelechy millennia before. Now Stone and his crew must escape while they try to solve the riddle of the planet’s network of stone towers that may be proof of the intelligence they’ve come to find.

The first in critically acclaimed author Chris Roberson’s scintillating new series, Further: Beyond the Threshold is a fascinating ride to the farthest reaches of the imagination.

The King’s Blood (The Dagger and the Coin), by Daniel Abraham

WAR AND MADNESS CAST SHADOWS
OVER THE LANDS DRAGONS ONCE RULED.

Geder Palliako’s star is rising. He is a hero of Antea, protector to the crown prince, and darling of the court. But storms from his past are gathering, and with them, a war that will change everything.
Cithrin bel Sarcour founded a powerful bank on stolen wealth, forged papers, and ready blades. Now every move she makes is observed, recorded, and controlled. Unless Cithrin can free herself from her gilded cage, the life she made will be for naught; war may provide just the opportunity she needs.
An apostate priest sees the hidden hand behind all: a long-buried secret of the dragon empire threatens everything humanity has built. An age of madness and death is on the way, with only a few doomed heroes to stand in its way.

Midnight’s Master (Dark Warrior 1), by Donna Grant

Gwynn Austin has no idea why her father has disappeared on a mysterious trip to Scotland. When she goes on a desperate mission to search for him she finds more than she bargains for in a ruggedly handsome, wickedly exciting Highlander who exudes danger and mystery. And when she discovers her own link to Scotland, she’ll have to trust her heart to help lead her…

Propelled through time by powerful Druid Magic, Logan Hamilton uses his immortality and powers of the god inside him to help prevent the awakening of an ancient evil in the modern world. He never expects to find help in the form of a beautiful, alluring, and all too tempting woman whose passion and strength matches his own. Together, Logan and Gywnn must fight for their love—before a demon from the past destroys them both…

Nebula Awards Showcase 2012, by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel

The latest volume of the prestigious anthology series

The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes, which have been published since 1966, collect the year’s Nebula Award-nominated and winning stories and poems, as voted on by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. This year’s volume includes the winners of the Andre Norton, Dwarf Star, Rhysling, and Solstice Awards, as well as the Nebula winners, and features:

“How Interesting: A Tiny Man” by Harlan Ellison

“Ponies” by Kij Johnson

“That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” by Eric James Stone

“The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window by Rachel Swirskyan

excerpt from Blackout / All Clearby Connie Willis

and an excerpt from the Andre Norton Award-winning I Shall Wear Midnightby Terry Pratchett

with additional stories and poems by Chris Barzak, Aliette de Bodard, Amal El-Mohtar, Kendall Evans and Samantha Henderson, Howard Hendrix, Geoff Landis, Shweta Narayan, Ann K. Schwader, James Tiptree, Jr., and Adam Troy-Castro and a cover by Solstice Award-winner Michael Whelan.

Nightshifted, by Cassie Alexander

From debut author Cassie Alexander comes a spectacular new urban fantasy series where working the nightshift can be a real nightmare. Nothing compares to being Nightshifted.

Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond…

Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed.  But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this…

 Out of the Waters (Book of Elements), by David Drake

The wealthy Governor Saxa, of the great city of Carce, has generously subsidized a theatrical/religious event. During this elaborate staging of Hercules founding a city on the shores of Lusitania, dark magic turns the panoply into a chilling event. The sky darkens and the waves crash in the flooded arena. A great creature rises from the sea: a huge, tentacled horror on snake legs. It devastates the city, much to the delight of the crowd.
A few in the audience, although not Saxa, understand that this was not mere stagecraft, but something much darker and more dangerous. If all signs are being read right, this illusion could signify a dreadful intrusion of supernatural powers into the real world. Saxa’s son, Varus, has been the conduit for such an event once before. This new novel is as powerful and elaborate as that fantastic theatrical event, a major fantasy for this year.

The Paths of the Dead: Book One of the Viscount of Adrilankha, by Steven Brust

Two hundred years ago, Adron’s Disaster destroyed Dragaera City, killed the Emperor, and deprived the entire Dragaeran Empire of the ability to use sorcery.

It’s been a rough Interregnum. The children of the great adventurers Khaavren, Aerich, Tazendra, and Pel are growing up in a seemingly diminished world. Like their elders, they’re convinced that the age of adventures is over, and that nothing interesting will ever happen to any of them.

They are, of course, quite wrong….

Shadow Bound (Unbound), by Rachel Vincent

Kori Daniels is a shadow-walker, able to travel instantly from one shadow to another. After weeks of confinement for betraying her boss, she’s ready to break free of the Tower syndicate for good. But Jake Tower has one final job for Kori, one chance to secure freedom for herself and her sister, Kenley, even if it means taking it from someone else.…

The job? Recruit Ian Holt—or kill him.

Ian’s ability to manipulate the dark has drawn interest from every syndicate in the world, most notably an invitation from Jake Tower. Though he has no interest in organized crime, Ian accepts the invite, because he’s on a mission of his own. Ian has come to kill Tower’s top Binder: Kori’s little sister.

Amid the tangle of lies, an unexpected thread of truth connecting Ian and Kori comes to light. But with opposing goals, they’ll have to choose between love and liberty…

Ultramarines: The Second Omnibus, by Graham McNeill

The Ultramarines have been the honourable cornerstone of the Adeptus Astartes throughout their ten thousand year history – erstwhile captain Uriel Ventris fights to prove that he is worthy to return to the hallowed ranks of the Chapter after his exile to the Eye of Terror, and that he is free of the insidious taint of Chaos. But as the Iron Warriors move against Ultramar, a grim premonition comes to light: Ventris will have a part to play in the coming war, for good or ill.

The ongoing story of the Ultramarines continues in this omnibus edition, featuring the novels The Killing Ground, Courage and Honour and The Chapter’s Due, as well as exciting short stories from New York Times best selling author Graham McNeill.

Zombie Island: A Shakespeare Undead Novel, by Lori Handeland

In the follow-up to Shakespeare Undead, vampire William Shakespeare and his Dark Lady are stranded on a mystical island where zombies are plentiful and one man will stop at nothing to become all-powerful

Fresh from a triumphant battle over the zombie horde that invaded London, vampire William Shakespeare concocts a plot to rid the love of his life from the encumbrance of her husband. Will plans to give his ”dark lady,” Katherine Dymond, a potion that will make her sleep the sleep of the dead. Once she is entombed, Will can sneak in, wait for her to awaken, then spirit her away. After her husband returns to his plantation in America, Kate can return to London under a different name and assume a new identity. No one will believe that the dead Katherine and the live Kate are the same woman. Of course, as is often the case with true love, all does not go as smoothly as planned. When the two of them are shipwrecked on an island ruled by a wizard and a nymph, as well as infested by zombies, Will and Kate must stop an even larger plot afoot—one that leads all the way to the royal palaces of Queen Elizabeth.

The Enchantress, by Michael Scott

The two that are one must become the one that is all. One to save the world, one to destroy it. San Francisco: Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel have one day left to live, and one job left to do. They must defend San Francisco. The monsters gathered on Alcatraz Island have been released and are heading toward the city. If they are not stopped, they will destroy everyone and everything in their path.
But even with the help of two of the greatest warriors from history and myth, will the Sorceress and the legendary Alchemyst be able to defend the city? Or is it the beginning of the end of the human race? Danu Talis: Sophie and Josh Newman traveled ten thousand years into the past to Danu Talis when they followed Dr. John Dee and Virginia Dare. And it’s on this legendary island that the battle for the world begins and ends.
Scathach, Prometheus, Palamedes, Shakespeare, Saint-Germain, and Joan of Arc are also on the island. And no one is sure what—or who—the twins will be fighting for. Today the battle for Danu Talis will be won or lost. But will the twins of legend stand together? Or will they stand apart— one to save the world and one to destroy it?

Fated (Soul Seekers), by Alyson Noel

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Immortals, Alyson Noël, comes Fateda breathtaking new saga brimming with magic, mystery, and an intoxicating love story that will steal your heart away. Meet The Soul Seekers.

Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.

There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to discover if Dace is the one guy she’s meant to be with…or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, by Kady Cross

Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her “straynge band of mysfits” have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade—the dangerous device Jasper stole from him…for the life of the girl Jasper loves.

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei’s neck tightens. And tightens.

From the rough streets of lower Manhattan to elegant Fifth Avenue, the motley crew of teens with supernatural abilities is on Jasper’s elusive trail. And they’re about to discover how far they’ll go for friendship.

More than ever, Finley Jayne will rely on powerful English duke Griffin King to balance her dark magic with her good side. Yet Griffin is at war with himself over his secret attraction to Finley…and will risk his life and reputation to save her. Sam, more machine than man, finds his moody heart tested by Irish lass Emily—whose own special abilities are no match for the darkness she discovers on the streets.

Now, to help those she’s come to care for so deeply, Finley Jayne must infiltrate a criminal gang. Only problem is, she might like the dark side a little too much….

The Lost Code: Book One of the Atlanteans, by Kevin Emerson

What is oldest will be new, what was lost shall be found.

The ozone is ravaged, ocean levels have risen, and the sun is a daily enemy.

But global climate change is not something new in the Earth’s history.

No one will know this better than less-than-ordinary Owen Parker, who is about to discover that he is the descendant of a highly advanced ancient race—a race that took their technology too far and almost destroyed the Earth in the process.

Now it is Owen’s turn to make right in his world what went wrong thousands of years ago. If Owen can unlock the lost code in his very genes, he may rediscover the forgotten knowledge of his ancestry . . . and that less-than-ordinary can evolve into extraordinary.

Kevin Emerson’s thrilling novel is Book One of the Atlanteans series—perilous adventures in a grimly plausible dystopian future, fueled by high-stakes action, budding romance, and a provoc-ative question: What would you do if you had the power to save humanity from its own self-destruction?

Of Poseidon, by Anna Banks

Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen’s not fully convinced that Emma’s the one he’s been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves  that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help–no matter what the risk.

Shift, by Em Bailey

Olive Corbett is not crazy. Not anymore. She obediently takes her meds and stays under the radar at school. After “the incident,” Olive just wants to avoid any more trouble, so she knows the smartest thing is to stay clear of the new girl who is rumored to have quite the creepy past. But there’s no avoiding Miranda Vaile. As mousy Miranda edges her way into the popular group, right up to the side of queen bee Katie – and pushes the others right out – only Olive seems to notice that something strange is going on. Something almost . . . parasitic. Either Olive is losing her grip on reality, or Miranda Vaile is stealing Katie’s life. But who would ever believe crazy Olive, the girl who has a habit of letting her imagination run away with her? And what if Olive is the next target? A chilling psychological thriller that tears through themes of identity, loss, and toxic friendship, Shift will leave readers guessing until the final pages.

 

All descriptions from amazon.com.

Book News, Books, News

New Releases, Week of March 13, 2011

Here’s a list of all of the sci-fi and fantasy coming out this week.

Released Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Zombies!: An Illustrated History of the Undead, by Jovanka Vuckovic

The zombie phenomenon is unique in Western popular culture. From its origins in the voodoo beliefs of Haiti, it has become a key ingredient in today’s cinema, popular literature and comics. With one simple premise that the dead rise again to feast on the living and turn them into zombies, the undead have inspired a huge variety of artists to explore ideas of survival, morality, fear, humour and horror. ZOMBIES! is the first book to take a wide look at the whole phenomenon, from low budget cult movies to long-running comics and best-selling humour novels. With stunning imagery, and an authoritative and entertaining text from one of the worlds most distinguished experts on the genre, plus a foreword by master of horror George A. Romero, this tome will appall and delight the reader in equal measure.

Rocket Girls: The Last Planet, by Housuke Nojiri

Reads L to R (Western Style)

Yukari Morita is a high school girl on a quest to find her missing father. While searching for him in the Solomon Islands, she receives the offer of a lifetime–she’ll get the help she needs to find her father, and all she need do in return is become the world’s youngest, lightest astronaut. Yukari and her teen friends, all petite, are the perfect crew and cargo for the Solomon Space Association’s launches, or will be once they complete their rigorous and sometimes dangerous training.

When the Rocket Girls accidentally land in the yard of Yukari Morita’s old school, it looks as though their experiment is ruined. Luckily, the geeky Akane is there to save the day. Fitting the profile–she’s intelligent, enthusiastic, and petite–Akane is soon recruited by Solomon Space Association. Yukari and Akane are then given the biggest Rocket Girl mission yet: a voyage to the edge of the solar system and the minor planet of Pluto to save a NASA probe.

Escaping the Cataclysm: A Novel about the Origin of Geological Formations, by Keith A Robinson

Having travelled over four thousand years into the past, Rebecca Evans, her husband Jeffrey, and their companions find themselves stranded by a malfunctioning time machine just days before the greatest catastrophe in the history of the earth, the worldwide Flood! Accompanied by a technologically-enhanced language specialist; a mysterious, wolf-like giant; a hovering utility droid; and several others, Rebecca and Jeffrey fight against the odds to save their relationship, their lives, and their souls.

The travelers are caught in a race against time to fix the machine in order to escape the coming destruction. However, help proves difficult to find in this strange world that is both foreign, yet disturbingly familiar. Desperate, Rebecca and her companions seek out the one man who might be able to help them: the ancient Patriarch of all mankind, Noah.

Escaping the Cataclysm is the exciting conclusion to the Origins Trilogy. Filled with intense action, fascinating locations, spiritual warfare, frightening villains, and realistic characters, it keeps readers riveted while at the same time presenting scientifically-based and carefully-researched material about the Flood of Noah and its effects on the earth.

The Winds of Khalakovo, by Bradley P. Beaulieu

Debut novelist Beaulieu paints a detailed and realistic portrayal of individual fates bound up in social responsibilities as well-grounded cultures clash. Prince Nikandr Khalakovo, facing an arranged marriage, also suffers from a wasting disease plaguing the Anuskaya islands. When the rebellious Maharraht loose a fire elemental and kill the visiting Grand Duke Stasa Bolgravya, civil war erupts, and all factions seek to capture a mysterious autistic boy who straddles both the spirit and the material worlds. Beaulieu skillfully juggles elements borrowed from familiar cultures (primarily Russian and Bedouin) as well as telepathy, airborne ships, and magical gems. Viewpoint shifts are occasionally confusing, but the prose is often poetic—airborne skiffs under attack “dropped like kingfishers” and “twisted in the air like maple seeds”—and the characters have welcome depth.

Hellhole (The Hellhole Trilogy), by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Hellhole is a militaristic sf story of galactic proportions. The underdog, General Tiber Adolphus, had taken on the corrupted Constellation and lost as a direct result of choosing a moral high ground. The ruler of the Constellation, Diadem Michella Duchenet, does not have him executed but, rather, exiled permanently to a planet in the Deep Zone. The diadem is the powerful ruler of a system not unlike that of Louis XVI of France, a feudal system of nobility that tramples the common people for the benefit of the few scheming nobles at the top�a system teetering at the end of its useful life. In the time-honored footsteps of story arcs like Star Wars and Dune, Adolphus continues to plan a rebellion from his remote world of exile, hoping to eventually achieve the Deep Zone planets� independence from the Constellation. A brilliant strategist, lover of Old Earth history, and castoff of a now-defunct noble line, Adolphus is a Robin Hood for the galaxy to unite behind and support. The characters are easy for the reader to believe in, brought to life through not only their own emotions but also the responses and thoughts of the individuals around them.

The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Time Capsule: An Audio Exclusive Adventure, by Peter Anghelides

An exciting adventure for Sarah Jane Smith and friends, commissioned especially for audio, and following the already released “The Glittering Storm” and “The Thirteenth Stone.” Written by Peter Anghelides, and narrated by cast member Elisabeth Sladen.

Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon by the Women who Love Them, by Lynne M. Thomas & Deborah Stanish
In Whedonistas, a host of award-winning female writers and fans come together to celebrate the works of Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Doctor Horrible s Sing-Along Blog). By discussing the impact of Whedon’s work, their involvement with his shows fandoms and why they adore the worlds he’s created, these essayists aim to misbehave in Whedon’s rich, fantastical worlds. Essay topics include Sharon Shinn (Samaria series) and Emma Bull (Territory) elaborating on the perfection of Firefly, Jeanne Stein (the Anna Strong Chronicles) revealing Buffy’s influence on Anna Strong, and Nancy Holder (October Rain, The Watcher s Guide) relating on-the-set tales of Spike menacing her baby daughter while Riley made her hot chocolate. Other contributors include Seanan McGuire (October Daye series), Elizabeth Bear (Chill), Catherynne M. Valente (Palimpsest), Maria Lima (Blood Lines), Jackie Kessler (Black and White), Mariah Huehner (IDW Comics), Sarah Monette (Corambis), and Lyda Morehouse (AngeLINK Series). Also featured is an exclusive interview with television writer and producer Jane Espenson.

Lady-Protector: The Eighth Book of the Corean Chronicles, by L. E. Modesitt

A new novel of Mykella, the young woman introduced in The Lord-Protector’s Daughter. Though a bloody coup has made Mykella ruler of her land, it has left her and her two sisters bereft of family and uncertain of their friends. Worse, an examination of the nation’s accounts reveals that their country is almost destitute. Plus, there are rumblings of war along the borders. With no money and few allies, Mykella is faced with the difficult prospect of rebuilding her nation while trying to hold off a potentially devastating invasion.

Fortunately for Mykella, an old magic has awakened in her; a power that gives her the ability to read the emotions of others and to spy on the movements of her enemies. But the resurgence of this power might herald the return of an ancient enemy, one that Mykella isn’t sure how to face.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. returns to the world of The Corean Chronicles with a novel filled with politics, adventure, magic, and romance.

The Ale Boy’s Feast: A Novel (The Auralia Thread), by Jeffrey Overstreet

The king is missing.
His people are trapped as the woods turn deadly.
Underground, the boy called Rescue has found an escape.

Hopes are failing across The Expanse. The forests, once beautiful, are now haunted and bloodthirsty. House Abascar’s persecuted people risk their lives to journey through those predatory trees. They seek a mythic city – Abascar’s last, best hope for refuge – where they might find the source of Auralia’s colors.

They journey without their king. During a calamitous attempt to rescue some of his subjects from slavery, Cal-raven vanished.

But his helper, the ale boy, falling through a crack in the earth, has discovered a slender thread of hope in the dark. He will dare to lead a desperate company up the secret river.

Meanwhile, with a dragon’s help, the wandering mage Scharr ben Fray is uncovering history’s biggest lie – a deception that only a miracle can repair.

Time is running out for all those entangled in The Auralia Thread. But hope and miracles flicker wherever Auralia’s colors are found.

The Rise of the Iron Moon, by Stephen Hunt

This campy postapocalyptic steampunk environmental morality tale brings together several characters from 2009’s The Court of the Air and 2010’s The Kingdom Beyond the Waves and takes them on a hair-raising rollercoaster of an adventure. When the Army of Shadows threatens the Kingdom of Jackals and the Quatérshift, the two countries must set aside their differences and work together against the monstrous and dangerous foe. The Shadows appear to be a completely unknown form of life, and their nature compels destruction of everything in their path. Molly Templar, Commodore Black, Duncan Connor, Coppertracks the Steamman, Oliver Brooks and a few new faces must race the clock to stem the tide of this horrendous evil. A dash of earth magic and a dose of environmental angst make this a bumpy but enjoyable ride.

Pathfinder Tales: Plague of Shadows, by Howard Andrew Jones
A fantastic new adventure of swords and sorcery, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game! The race is on to free Lord Stelan from the grip of a wasting curse, and only his old, half-elf mercenary companion Elyana has the wisdom – and swordcraft – to solve the mystery of his tormentor and free her old friend before three days have passed and the illness takes its course. When the villain turns out to be another of their former companions, the half-elf sets out with a team of adventurers across the Revolution-wracked nation of Galt and the treacherous Five Kings Mountains to discover the key to Stelan’s salvation in a lost valley warped by weird magical energies and inhabited by terrible nightmare beasts.

A Matter of Time, by Glen Cook

May 1975. St. Louis. In a snow-swept street, a cop finds the body of a man who died fifty years ago. It’s still warm. July 1866, Lidice, Bohemia: A teenage girl calmly watches her parents die as another being takes control of her body. August 2058, Prague: Three political rebels flee in to the past, taking with them a terrible secret. As past, present, and future collide, one man holds the key to the puzzle. And if he doesn’t fit it together, the world he knows will fall to pieces. It’s just A Matter of Time!

The Black Chalice (Malory’s Knights of Albion), by Steven Savile

Aspirant to the Round Table, Sir Alymere, fails on the Grail quest but in so doing, learns of the Devil’s Own Cup, “the Black Chalice” and of the Devil’s Bible the foul book that will lead him to it. On his quest he will face many obstacles and cunning enemies, but the ultimate threat is to his very soul.

Resurrection Code (Angelink Universe), by Lyda Morehouse

North Africa is in ruins after the Aswan dams collapse and a massive flood reclaims the Nile valley. The privileged and the sane have long since abandoned Egypt to the scavengers and the dregs of society. Christian El-Aref is a street rat, living hand-to-mouth. His life is going nowhere fast. Then he stumbles over a dead body carrying revolutionary shareware tech. Now he’s being hunted. And if he’s not careful, the next dead body may be his own. This action-packed cyberpunk thriller weaves its way through the slums of a flooded Cairo, encountering murderous cults of eunuchs, an assassination plot perpetrated by angels, and an enigmatic street urchin who may or may not be the reincarnation of the prophet Mohammed. Lyda Morehouse tells the anticipated story of how Christian became the Mouse, the father of the underground Internet and the technological hope of the disenfranchised in a dystopian theocratic near-future, in this standalone prequel to her acclaimed AngeLINK novel series. Also included: Morehouse s AngeLINK-related short story, ishtartu, from the Lambda Award-nominated collection Periphery.

Ice Trilogy, by Vladimir Sorokin

Sorokin’s epic trilogy, originally published between 2002 and 2005, expands the enigma of the 1908 Tunguska meteorite blast into an impressive merger of metaphysical fantasia and gritty conspiracy thriller. Following the impact, select humans realize they are actually cosmic entities and form a group called the Brotherhood in hopes of finding the way back to the Light. Though the relatively weak first book, Bro, is crippled by an excess of overwrought prose, Ice is a spectacular achievement, vividly exposing the eventual corruption and brutality surrounding even the noblest of goals, while 23,000 moves effectively outward to encompass those who fight to uncover and defeat the Brotherhood in a tense race against time. Though very slow to develop and marred somewhat by irritating redundancies and areas where disbelief is difficult to suspend, the trilogy builds into both a gripping story and an impressive metaphorical window into the 20th-century Soviet experience, offering substantial rewards to the patient and thoughtful reader.

Up Against it, by M. J. Locke

Compulsively readable and packed with challenging ideas, this hefty debut is set in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Asteroid colony Phoecea survives by using nanotech to process huge chunks of methane ice, until sabotage by the Martian crime syndicate throws everything into jeopardy. Meanwhile, a feral AI is evolving within the colony’s computer net, intending to spread throughout the solar system. The humans who have to cope with these threats are competent, endearing, and believably frazzled: Resource Commissioner Jane Navio has to make life and death decisions while watching her public approval rating fluctuate, and teen Geoff Agre and his rocketbike-riding friends make heroic choices while squabbling with their families and each other. Locke has created a believable ecosystem of struggling, competing, sometimes uncomfortably interacting components, where trust is betrayed painfully, but allies appear unexpectedly. Most of all, this smart, satisfying hard SF adventure celebrates human resilience.

The Gravity Pilot, by M. M. Buckner

It is the polluted and gritty future, saved, sort of, by technofixes. Young skydiver Orr Sitka wants no more from life in future Alaska than he already has: a woman he loves and the chance to dive. When he makes a reckless, record-breaking jump that catapults him into celebrity, he’s courted by corporations that want to exploit his talent to make him a sports media star.

The dangerous jump that wins Orr infamy turns out to be a breaking point for his loving girlfriend, Dyce, who is wooed away by a promising job in the thriving underground city of Seattle, a world media center in a crumbling civilization. Separately, Orr and Dyce are sucked into nightmare lives that take a terrible toll on each of them. When Orr learns that Dyce has become addicted to virtual reality, controlled by an eccentric media billionaire and his decadent daughter, he does everything in his power to rescue her. But is Orr strong enough to get through to Dyce and break them both out of hell?

Shimmer: A Riley Bloom Book (Radiance #2), by Alyson Noel

Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. When Riley comes across a vicious black dog, against Bodhi’s advice, she decides to cross him over. While following the dog, she runs into a young ghost named Rebecca. Despite Rebecca’s sweet appearance, Riley soon learns she’s not at all what she seems. As the daughter of a former plantation owner, she is furious about being murdered during a slave revolt in 1733. Mired in her own anger, Rebecca is lashing out by keeping the ghosts who died along with her trapped in their worst memories. Can Riley help Rebecca forgive and forget without losing herself to her own nightmarish memories?

The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight, by L. J. Smith

The devil you know . . .

With the help of charming and devious Damon, Elena rescued her vampire love, Stefan, from the depths of the Dark Dimension. But neither brother returned unscathed.

Stefan is weak from his long imprisonment and needs more blood than Elena alone can give him, while a strange magic has turned Damon into ahuman. Savage and desperate, Damon will do anything to become a vampire again—even travel back to hell. But what will happen when he accidentally takes Bonnie with him?

Stefan and Elena hurry to rescue their innocent friend from the Dark Dimension, leaving Matt and Meredith to save their hometown from the dangerous spirits that have taken hold of Fell’s Church. One by one, children are succumbing to demonic designs. But Matt and Meredith soon discover that the source of the evil is darker—and closer—than they ever could have imagined. . . .

Steel, by Carrie Vaughn

It was a slender length of rusted steel, tapered to a point at one end and jagged at the other, as if it had broken. A thousand people would step over it and think it trash, but not her.

This was the tip of a rapier.

Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.

The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate’s life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.

Time travel, swordplay, and romance combine in an original high-seas adventure from New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn.

List from Borders.com and descriptions/reviews from Amazon.com