The Berlin Project: A Novel by Gregory BenfordAlternate History. What if the atomic bomb had been ready in 1944 and deployed against the Germans instead of the Japanese? This well-researched, World War II-themed alternate history explores this intriguing scenario as it focuses on the Manhattan project. Less panoramic in scope than Harry Turtledove's Days of Infamy series, The Berlin Project's blend of human drama, geopolitics, and scientific discovery may appeal to readers who enjoyed Kim Stanley Robinson's The Lucky Strike.
City of Miracles: A Novel by Robert Jackson BennettFantasy. This concluding volume of the Divine Cities trilogy focuses on supporting character Sigrud je Harkvaldsson, who sets out on a quest and discovers a conspiracy. To say more would give away too much, but series fans will enjoy discovering the aging (but still lethal) warrior's hidden depths. To experience the full effect of this series' well-drawn characters, complex plot, and meticulous world-building, start with City of Stairs, followed by City of Blades.
The Guns Above by Robyn BennisMilitary Fantasy. Having distinguished herself in combat, Josette Dupre of Garnia's Royal Aerial Signal Corps takes command of an experimental prototype ship and embarks on a dangerous mission, accompanied by a skeptical crew and an ensign sent to spy on her. Like a Steampunk Honor Harrington, the heroine of this 1st book in the Signal Airship series perseveres and succeeds despite long odds and powerful enemies. This action-packed military fantasy debut may also appeal to fans of Jim Butcher's The Aeronaut's Windlass or Naomi Novik's Temeraire series.
The Empire's Ghost: A Novel by Isabelle SteigerEpic Fantasy. To restore the Elesthene Empire to its former glory, Imperator Elgar embarks on an ambitious military campaign to bring all of the continent's independent kingdoms under his rule -- whether they like it or not. (And they really don't.) Fans of Daniel Abraham's Long Price Quartet or Deborah Wolf's Dragon Legacy books should appreciate this series opener, which features an ensemble cast representative of a broad cross-section of society and whose viewpoints depict the novel's central conflict from a variety of perspectives.
All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha WellsSF. "As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure," confesses the AI narrator of this fast-paced SF adventure. After hacking its own governor module and overriding its programming, security droid "Murderbot" ends up saving lives instead of ending them -- but only because letting all the humans die would interfere with its favorite activity: binge-watching some 35,000 hours' worth of entertainment media. All Systems Red's snarky protagonist and suspenseful, action-packed plot should have readers eagerly anticipating future installments of the Murderbot Diaries.
Starship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinClassic SF. During a far-future war between humanity and the extraterrestrial Pseudo-Arachnids known as "the Bugs," young Juan "Johnnie" Rico serves in the Mobile Infantry, a unit in which soldiers wear powered full-body armor that not only protects them but gives them super-human strength and speed. While this novel boasts plenty of action, its meditations on war, civic responsibility, and sacrifice have ensured its inclusion on the U.S. Marine Corps' official reading list since its original publication in 1959. (More recent SF additions to this list include Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline).
Perdido Street Station by China MiévilleSteampunk Fantasy. In the sprawling Dickensian city of New Crobuzon, eccentric scientist Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin and his insectoid lover Lin are hard at work trying to restore the flight of Yagharek, a bird-like "garuda" whose wings have been amputated. But a promising scientific breakthrough backfires when Isaac's experiments awake the deadly slake-moth and unleash it upon the unsuspecting city. Blending fantasy, horror, and science fiction, Perdido Street Station will captivate fans of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast books and the stories of H.P. Lovecraft.
The Bees: A Novel by Laline PaullDystopian Fiction. The rules are simple: "Accept, Obey, and Serve." But worker bee Flora 717 is destined to put that motto to the test. As she rises through the colony's ranks -- from sanitation worker to nurse, from forager to Queen's handmaid -- Flora observes, questions, and challenges the hive's strict laws, and neither the brainwashing effects of honey nor the all-consuming pheromonal power of Queen's Love can stop her. But honeybee colonies are super-organisms whose survival depends on the suppression of individual desires in service of the common good. Will Flora prove to be the savior of her hive, or the agent of its destruction?
Mort(e): A Novel by Robert RepinoDystopian SF. Transformed by the Change, a pheromone-based biological attack by ant queen Hymenoptera, former house cat Sebastian becomes the bipedal, English-speaking, but still unmistakably feline warrior Mort(e), fighting to exterminate all humans. Between missions, he searches for Sheba, the dog who was his best friend before his metamorphosis. Fans of George Orwell's Animal Farm or Richard Adams' The Plague Dogs should appreciate this allegorical tale of love and war.
Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian TchaikovskyEpic Fantasy. This opening volume of Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series depicts a unique world in which humans have developed insect-like powers and organized themselves into tribes, or Kinden, that reflect these abilities. Now one group, the Wasp Empire, threatens to conquer and enslave the others. Only Stenwald Maker, an artisan of the Beetle Kinden, perceives the danger and recruits a band of resistance fighters. Will it be enough? Fans of role-playing games will enjoy the depiction of the various Kinden, while readers who enjoy sprawling fantasy sagas can look forward to the rest of this ten-volume series.
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