June 2, 2020

August 2013: This Month in Science Fiction

This month’s science fiction action is as hot as an August summer. Have you caught Europa Report? How ‘bout Elysium? Or After Earth, or the Tom Cruise science fiction adventure Oblivion? Even the superhero adventures have been hotter than ever, from The Man of Steel to Iron Man 3. Smashed moons, from Krypton’s Wegthor  to Earth’s very own Luna are now in vogue, but otherwise, there has been nary a dud in the summer sci-fi season. And the year’s not over, as we anticipate Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Enders Game and Gravity for the Fall cycle of movies as well.  The sci-fi book scene has been a hopping one also, whether your taste in genre leans towards fantasy, horror, steam-punk or alternate timeline sci-fi.  Here are just a few of the outstanding tomes that have drifted through our transom here at Astroguyz HQ in the past month:

The Cobra Gamble by Timothy Zahn: Book 3 in the Cobra series, The Cobra Gamble is the latest action-packed installment of the saga by (cue Star Wars theme) Heir to the Empire author Timothy Zahn. The military sci-fi adventure doesn’t disappoint, as Jin Moreau Broom and her fellow Cobra warriors battle the Troft invasions of the Cobra home worlds and much more. But can a new political alliance be forged in time to save humanity?

Queen of Wands by John Ringo: Who hasn’t wanted to be a domestic goddess turned evil fighting  demon-slayer on occasion? The sequel to Princess of Wands, Queen of Wands by acclaimed author John Ringo has suburban homemaker Barbara Everette back saving mankind from all threats astral. Expect an action-packed sci-fi convention showdown, with Death himself turning up as the guest of honor!

1636: The Kremlin Games by Eric Flint, Gorg Huff & Paula Goodlett: Part of one of the most popular alternate timeline science fiction series of, well, all-time, The Kremlin Games follows the transplanted town of Grantville West Virginia as they struggle for identity in the middle of 17th century Europe. But when auto mechanic Bernie Zeppi is invited to Moscow by visiting Russian emissary Vladimir Gorchacov, he finds a nation and a people hung in the balance between the 7th and 17th centuries. Can Bernie bring Mother Russia and the woman he’s come to know and love out of the Dark Ages? Expect time travel intrigue to ensue!

Ice & Shadow by Andre Norton: Set in Norton’s classic Forerunner Universe, Ice & Shadow contains the works of the two novels: Ice Crown and Brother to Shadows, collected together in one volume by Baen Books for the very first time. In Ice Crown, a young archaeologist must fight her own inner demons to find an artifact that could save a planet’s enslaved human population. In Brother to Shadows, a member of the Brotherhood of Assassins is employed by a reptilian alien who holds a powerful and deadly Forerunner technology. These stories are Norton at his best!

Guardian of Night by Tony Daniel: Kirk, Adama, Solo… and just perhaps, after reading Guardian of Night, you’ll add Captain Arid Ricimer to the list of classic science fiction starship captains. Guardian of Night is the ship, and Ricimer is determined to get its human crew through to seek asylum at whatever the cost. Taunting his adversaries, he seeks to take on revenge against those who killed his family by any means necessary. Expect sci-fi action, 31st century style!

Carnelians by Catherine Asaro: “Hello, Gliese 581 g… I can’t hear you…” Get ready to rock, intergalactic style in this latest offering from Catherine Asaro’s Skolian Empire series.  Dark forces are gathering as the war weary Skolian Imperialate and the Eubian Empire maneuver for political position leading up to a peace summit between the two galactic forces. And it doesn’t help that the Skolian Imperialator’s brother is a rock star of interspatial proportions that would bump Disaster Area down to opening act status. And his song “Carnelians Finale” expounding on Eubian atrocities is currently the hit of no less than three alien civilizations, with a bullet. Could things get any more intense? Encore!

Iron Breed by Andre Norton: This volume by Baen Books collects the two classic Norton tales of Iron Cage and Breed to Come in one book for the first time. In Iron Cage, a human orphan is raised by the bear-like race known as the People, only to find himself caught between his adopted hosts and his humanoid heritage. And in the Breed to Come, Man must come face-to-face with the evolved race left by their ancestors on an alien world… that descended from their pets. We’ve met the alien invaders, and they are…. us!

Tour of Duty: Stories and Provocations by Michael Z. Williamson: From the creator of the acclaimed Freehold science fiction series comes Tour of Duty, a collection of military sci-fi and non-fiction tales penned by the master. What happens when lives and planetary civilizations are on the line? Who makes the hard choices in combat, or often has to make them for reluctant clients? What will interplanetary combat look like? Williamson takes us to worlds of combat ranging from the fantastical to the futuristic in this new short story collection.

Pirates of the Timestream by Steve White: Move over, Johnny Depp… this latest time-bending saga from author Steve White once again sends Special Operations officer Jason Thanou of the Temporal Regulatory Authority back into history to battle the agents of the Transhumanist Underground. But this time, Thanou runs up against 17th century pirates and an alien plague wrought by the Teloi in a bid to forge an evil cult with the Transhumanists. Thanou finds an unlikely ally of his own, in the form of a certain pirate named Henry Morgan. Pour a tall glass o’ Captain Morgan, matey, and get ready for Alternate Timelines on the ‘igh Seas!

Warbound by Larry Correia: A gum-shoe detective saga meets steampunk action in this 1930’s timeline of alternate Americana. Private eye Jake Sullivan and active agent Faye Sullivan must do battle with the nemesis known as The Power, an entity that arrived on Earth in 1850 and has been altering the timeline ever since. The 3rd Book in the Urban Fantasy series The Grimnoir Chronicles, expect superhero-meets-steampunk action and some first rate world building!






  1. [...] Fans of this saga (and this blog) will remember our recent review of Flint & Gannon’s 1636: The Kremlin Games. In The Papal Stakes, we find time-traveler Frank Stone and his wife Giovanna stranded in Rome [...]

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