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Remnants of Trust: A Central Corps Novel by Elizabeth BonesteelMilitary SF. This follow-up to The Cold Between finds Commander Elena Shaw and Captain Greg Foster of Central Corps court-martialed for their role in an incident that the government won't officially acknowledge. Their punishment? To patrol the underpopulated and (usually) uneventful Third Sector. When their ship, Galileo, picks up a distress signal from sister ship Exeter, Shaw and Foster find themselves embroiled in an intergalactic conspiracy. Unlike its predecessor, which contained a strong romantic subplot, Remnants of Trust emphasizes action and intrigue over relationships.
Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation by Ken LiuShort Stories. China's "vibrant, diverse science fiction culture" is on display in this anthology of short stories edited by author and translator Ken Liu. In addition to an introduction explaining his selection process, Liu provides notes on language and dialect as well as cultural context to help general readers navigate the collection. Short author bios preface the stories, which are supplemented by accessible essays written by literary scholars on topics such as "What Makes Chinese Science Fiction Chinese?" If you're curious about the universe of science fiction beyond the English-speaking world, check out Invisible Planets.
After the Crown by K.B. WagersSpace Opera. Since ascending to the throne of the Idranan Empire, Empress Hail Bristol has avenged the murders of her entire family and put down a palace coup. However, war with the neighboring Saxon Empire threatens the newfound stability of her realm. Accompanied by her personal bodyguards, Emmory and Zin, Hail will have to reach out not only to her fellow Idranans (not all of whom are pleased that she's in power) but also an assortment of unlikely allies from her wild days as a gunrunner. After the Crown is book 2 in the Idranan War series; although the primary cast remains the same, newcomers should start with Behind the Throne in order to fully enjoy the complex politics and intricate plotting that propel this action-packed saga.
Last Year by Robert Charles WilsonAlternative History. Talk about a long-distance relationship. Jesse Cullen lives in 1870s Ohio; the woman he loves is from the 21st century. Both are involved with the City of Futurity, a metropolis built by time travelers to give 19th-century tourists a (selective) glimpse of the future. As an employee of Futurity, Jesse appreciates his steady and remunerative job, not to mention all the perks (futuristic healthcare, designer sunglasses). However, the word on the street is that the portal connecting Futurity and the world of the time travelers is about to close forever. And while forced breakups are no fun, it's an outcome that pales in comparison to other potential consequences of the closure.
The Dark Between the Stars: The Saga of Shadows, Book One by Kevin J. AndersonSpace Opera. This opening installment of Kevin J. Anderson's Saga of Shadows trilogy picks up where the author's Saga of the Seven Suns left off. In the aftermath of the Elemental War, the human Confederation -- replacing the corrupt Terran Hanseatic League -- has formed an alliance with the Ildiran Empire. But the Ildirans have old enemies with scores to settle, while the insectoid Klikiss want to destroy both races. And if these foes join forces, the galaxy is doomed.
Undercity by Catherine AsaroSF Mystery. Once an Imperial Space Command officer, "Major" Bhaajan is now a private investigator in Selei City on Parthonia, the capital of the Skolian Empire. Hired by the Matriarch of the powerful House of Majda to locate a missing prince, Bhajaan travels to the City of Cries on the planet Raylicon and ventures into the slums of the Undercity -- her home, to which she never expected to return. In addition to solving the case, Bhaajan will have to confront her past and those she left behind. While the detailed world-building in Undercity is consistent with other installments of Catherine Asaro's Saga of the Skolian Empire, the novel easily stands on its own.
Leviathan Wakes: The Expanse by James S.A. CoreySpace Opera. Earth's colonies include Mars and frozen rocks in "the Belt," asteroids between Mars and Jupiter. While ice-rig captain Jim Holden discovers a deserted Belter ship bearing the marks of a Martian military assault, Earth-based Detective Miller pursues a missing persons case that may be related. The duo must dodge violent revolutionaries, corporate heavies, and corrupt government foes to find the truth before it's too late. Fortunately, the Belt favors underdogs. Leviathan Wakes is the opening installment of a collaborative effort by author Daniel Abraham (of Long Price Quartet series fame) and newcomer Ty Frank; it's also been adapted for television as The Expanse.
Ancillary Justice by Ann LeckieSpace Opera. Artificial intelligence One Esk once commanded an entire starship, the formidable Justice of Toren; now, confined to a single mortal body cobbled together from interchangeable human parts, the entity known as "Breq" must figure out how to survive as a multi-segmented ancillary humanoid being in an oppressive galactic empire -- and without disobeying the law that forbids AIs from harming their creators. With its sympathetic protagonist and complex plot, this compelling debut serves as the opening installment of the Imperial Radch series, which continues with Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy.
Out of the Dark by David WeberMilitary SF. Although the Hegemony long ago wrote off Earth civilization as too violent and unstable to benefit from membership in a galactic alliance, they have no problem with letting the expansionist Shongairi conquer the planet. However, the humans of Earth refuse to submit to its new alien overlords, instead joining forces with their former enemies -- vampires -- to repel the extraterrestrial invaders. Bestselling author David Weber applies his skill at depicting futuristic warfare (honed in his Honor Harrington novels) to this stand-alone novel, which began life as a short story in the anthology Warriors, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.
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