May 31, 2020

December 2013: The Month in Science Fiction

Deck the Halls! Christmas/Festivus/pick your favorite December Solstice tie-in holiday is here once again, and with it comes our final monthly round up of science fiction for 2013. Boy, the calendar year itself sounds like a date straight out of science fiction, huh? Wasn’t Kevin Costner supposed to be making his apocalyptic runs on behalf of the U.S. postal service by now? And just think, the flying skateboards of 2015 and Back to the Future II are now just over a year away. Hey, surely some 20th century sci-fi was set in the year 2014? Just throwing that out there for all you fans, as we’re too lazy to Google it just now… anyways, here’s what’s out there for science-fiction stocking stuffers in December 2013:

A Cosmic Christmas 2 You: The sequel to… you guessed it, A Cosmic Christmas 1 out last year and reviewed here on ye ole Astroguyz just recently, A Cosmic Christmas 2 is edited by Hank Davis and culls the annuals of science fiction for some of the best tales melding the fantastic with the holiday season. From masters such as Joe Haldeman to Frederick Pohl to Marianne Plumridge, it’s all here in one star-studded volume in thirteen classic tales. Is it better to give than receive, or is there a third bizarre alternate choice behind door number three, as author Connie Willis notes in Christmas Card? Can a controlled environment stop a Christmas miracle, as depicted in Tony Daniel’s And To All a Good Night? And what happens when a posthumous saint pays a visit to a down-and-out Viking in Esther Friesner’s How Thorvald the Bloody-Minded Saved Christmas? Expect some great seasonal science fiction!

The Iron Breed: Now out this month in pocket paperback, 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 races 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!

Constellation: Fans of the Liaden Universe can rejoice: volume two of the acclaimed series by Steve Miller & Sharon Lee collecting together short stories from over the years is now out from Baen Books. Constellation collects together 16 stories spanning the worlds of the Laiden Universe in space and time. Many of these tales have made their way into print over the past two decades in various anthologies and science magazines, but it’s great to see them put together in this second volume. Lee and Miller have created a complex and diverse cast of characters, spanning all that is Liaden, from magicians to adventures, to merchants and much more. And like the novelizations, the stories contained in Constellation never let up on the action and adventure!

A Rising Thunder: Honor Harrington is back in this all new adventure from the New York Times Best-Selling series, now out in paperback. She may have been trained to face off against the Republic of Haven, but what does one do when the enemy remains hidden? Fans of the series will not be let down, as Honor Harrington defends Manticore and the Star Empire Honor that she has sworn to defend in a way that only she can!

1636: Seas of Fortune: From the New York Times best-selling series comes two new novellas from the Ring of Fire alternate timeline universe by Iver P. Cooper. The West Virginia town of Grantville may still be stranded in the middle of Europe during the Thirty Years War, but their presence is impacting the rest of the world as well. In Rising Sun, a Japanese Shogun becomes intrigued with the arrival of new and futuristic technology as well as the implications it has for the future history of Japan, sending the island nation down a path other than isolationism. And in Stretching Out, the New World receives new colonists in search of resources… from The United States of Europe. But can they satisfy the fledgling new nation’s hunger for national resources without resorting to the practice of slavery that played out in their own time line? Its alternate history fiction at its best!

Sunset of the Gods: What if the ancient gods of old were real? OK, maybe that’s not the most original idea ever… but what if they were alien and bent on conquest? ah, now we’re talkin’ for that vibe for some classic science fiction.  That’s the dilemma that time traveler Jason Thanou must come to grips with as he travels back to ancient Greece in Sunset of the Gods by Steve White, now out in paperback. The story looks at mythology, historical battles and the birth of western democracy from a unique perspective in a way that only science fiction can muster. At stake: the future course of humanity. Hey, it’s no biggie.

Revolution: Out from Baen Books, Revolution brings together the science fiction masters of Mercedes Lackey, Cody Martin, Dennis Lee and Veronica Giguere in a fantastic tale of adventure. Revolution is Book Three in the Secret World Chronicle, and is based on characters from massively multiplayer online role-playing game City of Heroes. Join fire-bender John Murdock, speedster Mercurye and hacker-turned-witch Vikki Nagy as they take on the likes of the Thulian Conspiracy, the supervillian Verdegris and many more. Its non-stop MMORPG action!

And that wraps it up for 2013; we now get a brief “breather,” as 2014 isn’t a Trek year. But be sure to keep an eye out for new and grassroots sci-fi always making its presence known in the realms of fiction, podcasting and the like… this is really “where it’s at” in terms of the beyond hip. And we’re already catching the groundswell for 2015, a year that sees the triple knockout of a new Star Wars reboot of the franchise, along with Avengers and Hunger Games sequels… will the Internet survive? Stay tuned!


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