October 17, 2017

October 2013: This Month in Science Fiction

October is our favorite month of the year. Not only is it largely free of snow, bugs and sweltering heat, but it also includes the closest thing that science fiction has to a holiday, Halloween. Hey, it’s great to see suburbanites carve out totems from vegetables, honoring a dimly remembered cross-quarter pagan holiday.  Halloween sees us carrying out the rituals of replaying the original Mercury Theater H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds broadcast, setting up the scope for neighborhood ghosts and goblins, and once again carving jack o’ lanterns in an effort to assure that this will be the BEST HALLOWEEN, ever.

Until next year, of course. Some great science fiction films have also been gearing up for the late fall season. Afraid of being stranded in Low Earth Orbit? There’s a film for that, as Sandra Bullock gets caught up in an ablation cascade in the thriller Gravity. This vertigo-inducing movie has already set the record for the highest grossing opening weekend for a film in October. Also on our must see list in November is the second Thor movie out from Marvel, the film adaptation (finally!) of Orson Scott Cards’ Enders Game, and the sequel to the Hunger Games, Catching Fire. It’s been an amazing year for science fiction films for sure. We remember “back in the day” when the release of one or two memorable sci-fi flicks a year was a noteworthy event; now, dozens seem to be the standard.

And the books just keep pouring in as well. Here are some of the fine science fiction novels to watch for this month;

Phoenix Rising: A classic fantasy tale of good and evil, Phoenix Rising by Ryk E. Spoor is out this month from Baen Books and sees our heroine Kyri thrust from her position of privilege to make an arduous journey across Zarathan. Kyri is in search for answers and revenge after the murder of her family, but she also realizes that the age of darkness may be neigh, as the larger Chaos War rages on. To this end, Kyri is befriended by Poplock Duckweed, a tiny but reluctant hero whose size is both his power and his liability, and expert swords master Tobimar Silverun, the exiled Prince of Skysand who has a beef of his own as he seeks to restore justice and his people’s homeland. Read Phoenix Rising for a great coming of age journey and a fantastic adventure!

Swords of Exodus: “Unus Adversus Tenebras” or “One Against Darkness” (sorry, my high school Latin is a bit rusty) is the motto of Exodus, a secret organization that is the focus of Swords of Exodus by Mike Kupari. Exodus must penetrate a secret central Asian fortress known as the Crossroads, which is run by an iron-fisted but mysterious warlord known only as Sala Jihan. Jihan holds the sway of international power in the balance, as the world sinks into chaos.  But not if Lorenzo has anything to say about it. Lorenzo’s brother who is an FBI agent has gone missing, and is presumed captured by Jihan. In order to secure the cooperation of Exodus, Lorenzo must rescue mercenary agent Michael Valentine, one of their best and most trusted agents. But of course, there’s one catch; no one has left the prison holding Valentine alive. Expect non-stop action in this latest thriller!

Treecat Wars: Move over Kzinti; you’re no longer the only endearing catlike species in science fiction. Treecat Wars by David Weber and Jane Lindskold is a new Young Adult scifi novel set in the Honor Harrington Universe of Weber’s creation. A sequel to the award-winning Hal Clement Novel, Treecat Wars takes place on the aptly named frontier world of Sphinx. The Landless Clan of the treecats is being forced from their homes by the onset of a harsh winter, sending them into the unwelcoming neighboring territories. And it doesn’t help that their primary human activist is off world…   Stephanie Harrington is training on the planet Manticore and has her own problems to solve. It is up to Anders and Jessica to “save the treecats,” even if their own “pride” (bad pun intended) may be leading them on the path of self-annihilation. And, added to the mix, a group of xenoanthopologists that have just arrived on Sphinx may not have the treecats best intentions at heart. Expect feline alien adventure!

Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs: Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, Hero David Innes and his epic journeys to the core of the Earth… everyone is familiar with the classic works of 1920’s author Edgar Rice Burroughs. In fact, his Martian saga just got a makeover in last years’ flick John Carter of Mars. Sure, NASA’s Curiosity Rover has yet to reveal any thoats or nubile princesses gracing the landscape of the Red Planet, but his romantic visions endure. Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs gives modern authors and chance to recreate those stunning vistas once again.  With works by such science fiction masters as Kristine Katherine Rusch, Mike Resnick and Richard A. Lupoff, this compilation is a must for any Burroughs fan. And heck, we just love old retro story titles, such as “The Scorpion Men of Venus!

1636: The Devil’s Opera: From the minds of David Carrico and Eric Flint comes 1636: The Devil’s Opera, the continuing alt-history saga of a modern day West Virginian town struggling for its place in 17th century Europe. An alliance has formed, but Swedish chancellor Oxenstierna threatens to unravel the seedling democracy that has just taken hold in eastern Europe. Expect plots and counterplots in the shadowy alleys of the city of Magdeburg the capital of the United States of Europe!

And that’s just for starters, as we pick through our backlog… also, we’d like to give a shout out to our very own latest self published novelette, The Hunt for Beagle.  Hey, our first journey into young adult science fiction!

See you at next weekend’s Necronomicon, and expect our yearly after-action report soon after!

 

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