March 31, 2020

November 2013: The Month in Science Fiction

The pre-holiday movie season has begun. As we approach the cusp of the holiday season, several fine science fiction offerings are already in theatres. We were duly impressed with Thor 2, and glad to finally see Orson Scott Card’s science fiction classic Ender’s Game at last get its big screen due. Heck, we even enjoyed the movie Gravity, despite its minor (and one major) science faux pas… spoiler alert: you can’t journey to the International Space Station from the Hubble Space Telescope! Now, all eyes are turning towards the big screen adaptation of Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games. Yes, we’re planning on being there on opening night, November 21st. We promise, as always, to tweet non-spoiler afterthoughts. Hey, try it sometimes: its tough to sum up a movie in a tweet.

But that’s not all that’s new in the science fiction genre. Here a just a few books to watch out for in the coming (and past) month:

Darkship Renegades: Now out in paperback from Baen Books, Darkship Renegades by Sarah A. Hoyt is the sequel to the award winning Darkship Thieves. Athena Hera Sinistra may have rescued her husband Kit, but both find themselves unwelcome on return to Eden. Their banishment finds the couple coerced into discovering the secret of the Powertrees, a secret that holds the fate of the future of the Earth and Eden in the balance. That is, if Athena and Kit can escape alive to tell the tale!

Night & Demons: Fans of all that is weird and wonderful in science fiction and fantasy will rejoice, as classic short stories by David Drake are collected into one volume with Night Demons. This collection spans the reams of alternate histories, horror and suspense from a master of military science fiction. Learning to confront your worst fears and terrors are the name of the game in any David Drake tale, and Night Demons certainly delivers!

Dragon’s Teeth: Wasn’t this the name of a movie way back when? Dragon’s Teeth features two collections of short stories from master storyteller Mercedes Lackey. In Fiddler Fair, we see such dazzling tales as Lawrence of Arabia confronted with an almighty power, the rights of genetically modified dinosaurs and those who would seek to free them, and a modern day King Arthur. In Werehunter, we meet a young girl able to transform into a fearsome leopard who finds herself hunted, a tale of telepathic starship pets, and tales from the author’s celebrated Diana Tregrade and the Heralds of Valdemar sagas. And don’t miss the inclusion of several Mercedes lackey stories, included in the collection for the first time!

Man-Kzin Wars XIV: Fans of Known Space can rejoice as the 14th installment of the Man-Kzin Wars created by Larry Niven is out from Baen Books. It’s amazing to think that this saga is now over 25 years old; in fact, we just celebrated the passage with the re-reading of the reissued 25th anniversary edition. Be sure not to miss the latest battles between humanity and the sentient cat-like Kzin with tales from Alex Hernandez, Jessica Q. Fox, Hal Colebatch and more.

1920: America’s Great War: Robert Conroy is a master of alternate history science fiction. Fans of this space will recall our recent reviews of his alternate history World War II opuses named Rising Sun and Himmler’s War. 1920: America’s Great War envisions an alternate historical timeline in which Germany dominated Europe in the first World War and a lagging United States in the only nation that can conceivably challenge Germany’s world dominance. It’s against this backdrop that Germany begins to infiltrate North and South America, playing off of political ambitions to achieve military advantage. Hey, ya gotta think… they couldn’t have called it the “first” World War until there was a “second,” right? Expect action, intrigue, a second and memorable Battle of the Alamo, and more!

Come and Take Them: The sequel to A Desert Called Peace, Come and Take Them by Tom Kratman weaves a tale of interplanetary warfare. Warrior turned leader Carrera may have exacted his revenge liberating the world of Terra Nova, but this now comes at a price. War looms with the Tauran Union, and Carrera must prepare a war weary state that is ill-equipped for battle.  The showdown that Carrera is preparing for over the last vestige of Imperialism on Balboa with the Tauran Union is disrupted, however, by the United Earth Peace Fleet. This causes Carrera to modify his plans, in a war that may not entirely be fought on his own terms. But he knows one thing to be true; “gold may not always find good soldiers, but good soldiers can always find gold!”

Spheres of Influence: The sequel to Grand Central Arena, Spheres of Influence by Ryk E. Spoor sees the return of Captain Ariane Austin. Her past adventures with the crew of the Holy Grail has led her to receive the title of the Leader of the Faction of Humanity from the all-powerful Arena, a role she accepts with considerable reluctance. This title leads her into a battle that will determine nothing short of humanities fate and role in the galactic community. Spheres of Influence is a continuing tale in the best of Space Opera tradition, and one that should not be missed!

Trade Secret: A new Liaden Universe novel out from authors Steve Miller and Sharon Lee, Trade Secret follows the exploits of Terran trader Jethri Gobelyn as he is accepted into Liaden House. Jethri however finds himself at the center of a complex plot and an old Terran blood feud. Fans of this space will remember our past review of the Liaden Universe novel Necessity’s Child… fans of these fantastic worlds shouldn’t miss out on Trade Secret!

Well, that about wraps it up for science fiction in November… wow, its hard to believe that 2014 is almost neigh, huh? It’s strange to think, that not only do we write and read science fiction but we now, to a large extent, live in it!



  1. [...] Robert Conroy is a master of alternate timeline fiction. Fans of this space will remember our reviews of Himmler’s War and Rising Sun, also published by Baen. Conroy has found an enviable niche of sub-sub fiction genre to claim as his own as a fertile playground of the imagination. [...]

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