April is maybe the best month for new book releases so far in 2018. There’s a plethora of new titles I want to feature — and read — and I barely have time to keep tabs on them all. Jeff Somers at the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog isn’t helping the situation by highlighting over two dozen of the best new releases, including a fair number I was completely unaware of. Here’s a few of his more interesting selections.
From Darkest Skies by Sam Peters (Gollancz, 352 pages, $26.99 hardcover/$13.99 trade paperback, April 10)
Detective tropes are given a techno-philosophical twist in this sci-fi mystery. Two hundred years in the future, an alien race known as the Masters have terraformed Earth and spread humanity into the universe, settling us on dozens of colony worlds. Keon Rause is a government agent returning to service on the planet Magenta after a five year leave of absence while he mourned his wife, a fellow agent killed in a terrorist explosion while investigating an unknown lead. Rause isn’t alone; he’s come back with an AI version of his wife, a digital reconstruction crafted from every trace of data she left behind — and crafted with the purpose of helping him figure out how and why she really died. Cashing in every favor he has left from his previous life, he finds himself following in her footsteps even as he struggles with his feelings for the simulacrum he’s created. It all leads to an impossible choice when he and his team stumble onto a disaster in the making: save the planet and lose his wife forever, or let something terrible happen and solve the mystery?
From Darkest Skies is Sam Peters’ debut novel. The sequel, From Distant Stars, is already scheduled to arrive on August 21.
[Click the images for mega-versions.]
Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman (Del Rey, 384 pages, $27 in hardcover, $12.99 digital, April 10)
In this dark, weird western, a woman named Carol Evers suffers from a bizarre condition that periodically puts her into a temporary coma indistinguishable from death. For two to four days, she’s trapped in a strange consciousness or reality she calls Howltown, afflicted by a personification of rot that wants to claim her permanently. Only a few people know about her condition — her old lover James Moxie, who fled, unable to handle it; her current husband Dwight, greedy and growing tired of caring for her; and a household maid she confides in. When her next attack hits, Dwight determines to bury Carol before she awakens in order to claim her fortune — but Moxie gets word of his scheme and rides to save her, even as he is pursued by a ruthless inhuman killer. Meanwhile Carol faces her own demons in Howltown. Sleeping Beauty was never quite so strange, or so horrifying.
Josh Malermans novel Bird Box (2014) was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the James Herbert Award. His books Black Mad Wheel and Goblin were also nominated for Stoker Awards.
Time Was by Ian McDonald (Tor.com, 144 pages, $14.99 trade paperback, $3.99 digital, April 24)
During World War II, Tom and Ben meet amid the Blitz while working on a project to render British targets invisible to German instruments. Teamed in close quarters, they find themselves falling in love during a period in history when such relationships are dangerous. Then something goes wrong with the project, and Ben and Tom disappear. No bodies are ever found, and the pair are presumed dead. Solving the mystery of what happened to them will fall into the hands of a grizzled old collector of those rare objects, physical books, in a time a few decades hence; tracing odd clues left in handmade copies of a particular poetry book, the booksellers begins to discover the secrets of a romance unbound by time. This slender novella is a chance of pace from an an author known for his densely plotted future fables (River of Gods), but it loses none of its emotional power for a lack of additional pages.
Ian McDonald won a Hugo Award for his novelette “The Djinn’s Wife,” a Locus Award for Best First Novel for Desolation Road (1989), a Philip K. Dick Award for Best Collection for King of Morning, Queen of Day (1991), and a British Science Fiction Association Award for his novels River of Gods (2004), Brasyl (2007) and The Dervish House (2011).
In a near-future England, Alma is one of the few people not permanently plugged into The Shine, the ultra-addictive and immersive successor to the internet that’s so compelling, the world is slowly breaking down due to lack of human interest in maintaining it. Making her life even harder, Alma’s lover is sick and requires a specific treatment every four hours without fail — and Alma’s the only one who can administer it. When she’s called to an automated factory in her role as private investigator, she’s handed an impossible crime: a dead body in the trunk of a newly-built car in the middle of a factory of robots. As she digs into the mystery, she finds herself neck-deep in a political coup — and has to start making moves fast in order to get home in time to keep her partner alive. Adam Roberts rarely disappoints, and never writes the same book twice; this one, released in the U.K. last year, is a keeper.
Adam Roberts is the British author of Salt (2000), Stone (2002), Polystom (2003), Yellow Blue Tibia (2009), and many other SF novels.
Check out the complete list here.
The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog has proven to be a fantastic resource for readers of all kinds. Here’s a few of our selections from their recent articles.
The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Comics & Graphic Novels of February 2018 by Jeff Somers
The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2017 by Joel Cunningham
The B&N Sci-fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Comics & Graphic Novels of August by Ross Johnson
The B&N Sci-fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of August by Jeff Somers
B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2017 So Far by Joel Cunningham
The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of June 2017 by Jeff Somers
The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best SF and Fantasy Books in May by Jeff Somers
B&N Blog on 96 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in 2017 by Joel Cunningham
Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Selects the Best Horror Books of 2016 by Sam Reader
Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Selects the Best Collections and Anthologies of 2016 by Joel Cunningham
Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Selects the Best Novels of 2016 by Joel Cunningham
Barnes & Noble on 7 Essential New Sci-Fi & Fantasy Short Story Collections by Sam Reader
See all our recent New Treasures here.