February 26, 2020

June 2013: This Month in Science Fiction

Ah… northern hemisphere summer always means one thing to Sci-Fi movie fans: Blockbuster film season. This is the time of year that Hollywood eschews all attempts at Academy winning performances and opts instead to simply blow things up. Hey, we’ve already seen some surprise hits such as Oblivion and After Earth. For our money, these were just as good as the sure-fire anticipated flicks such as Iron Man 3 and Star Trek: Into Darkness. And hey, the second Hunger Games film and the film adaption of Ender’s Game comes out later this year in November 2013!

The Sci-Fi literary scene has been popping as well. Here are just a few of the amazing and fascinating books to watch out for this summer season:

A Few Good Men: Lucius Keeva is a futuristic reluctant revolutionary leader in this Book One of the Earth Revolution saga by Sarah A. Hoyt. Caught between the mystical order of the Usaian religion and the Sons of Liberty, Keeva finds himself an unwilling hero. This is Man against Class in this sequel to Hoyt’s Darkship series, and speaking of which;

Darkship Renegades: Also out this month from Sarah A. Hoyt, Darkship Renegades is the latest in the award-winning space opera series. Athena and Kit Sinistra must journey back to old Earth to learn the secret of the Powertrees, which are crucial to the space colony Eden. Action, adventure and hard science fiction abound in a tale reminiscent of classic Heinlein.

The Ship Who Searched: A classic by Anne McCaffrey & Mercedes Lackey, The Ship Who Searched is back in its 20th Anniversary Edition from Baen Books. The gripping tale follows the exploits of Tia Cade as she searches the galaxy for the cause of what inflicted a mysterious and crippling illness on her as a child. The story is a powerful one of overcoming affliction and discovery.

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? 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. 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.

Shadow of Freedom: Honor Harrington is back in this latest novel by David Weber in the Honorverse saga. The Solarian League Navy has been handed its first true defeat in over a millennium. Needless to say, they’ll be looking for some payback in this latest installment. The worlds of the frontier systems are lawless (when aren’t they in sci-fi novels?) and all too ready to throw off the yokes of their puppet master regimes. It’s double the action and adventure as Honor Harrington’s best friend Admiral Michelle Henke joins the fray in a saga that won’t leave the fans of the Honorverse disappointed.

Cobra Slave: The summer season would not be complete without a healthy serving of militaristic sci-fi. Cobra Slave by Timothy Zahn depicts a future world where warriors are specifically engineered to combat an alien menace.  The peace they foster comes at a price, however, with many resenting the very presence of the Cobras after they repel the 2nd invasion of the Alien Trofts. Tension mounts as the Dominion of Man threatens the Cobra worlds, leaving humanity undefended. This is the first book in Zahn’s exciting new and original Cobra Trilogy. Fans will remember Zahn primarily for his novel adaptations of the Star Wars saga starting with Heir to the Empire.

Burdens of the Dead: Magic and history intermingle in this latest installment from the Shadow of the Lion Saga. Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint and Dave Freer serve up a crossroads of alternate medieval history in an epic saga. Though the tales may be fantasy, the events such as the siege of Constantinople and such were real. This brings to mind the fascinating Showtime series The Borgias (and its UK relative series, Borgia) both very well done depictions of Italy’s “First Family of Crime”. Hey, if you’re not watching ‘em, you should be!

Eight Million Gods: So, if you’re paranoid, does that really mean that they’re not “after you?” Ah… if only it were that easy. Eight Million Gods by Wen Spencer depicts the twisted tale of Nikki Delany, a horror writer who is driven to act out her tales in the tradition of finest obsessive compulsives. Naturally, she finds a periodic change of venue convenient, and her latest home base finds her in Japan. But Nikki starts to become seriously unglued as she is assaulted by a raccoon in a business suit (yeah, that would give us pause concerning our mental stability, too) and meets a boy purporting to be a god. “It’s a bad idea to re-enact your novels” may be the moral of the story, especially when characters in them typically die!

Elfhome: Also out this month from Wen Spencer, Elfhome tells the story of magic, dragons, carnivorous trees, and you guessed it; elves. The 3rd book in the Elfhome series follows the continuing saga of girl wonder Tinker as she ascends from the streets of Pittsburgh to the status of elven princess and all that it entails. Not that life is any simpler. Tinker must somehow keep the querulous realms of humans, tengu, oni & half-oni, and of course, elves from consuming her realm. Get ready for a fantastical battle of elven intrigue!

War Maid’s Choice: Also out this month from David Weber, War Maid’s Choice tells the tale of the Dark Gods, the Lords of Kontovar, and Bahzell, the champion of the Tomanāk. Throw some psionically equipped magi and one-eyed courser mares into the mix and you’ve got a realm of original fantasy and intrigue. At stake; only the dominion of the universe.

Be sure to check out these and other fine sci-fi/speculative fiction tales and more… and we’re still rolling on with our weekly Friday highlight reviews.

‘Til next month!

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