In the Duke’s Sights: Books of Note for 8/21/15

21 Aug

It’s that time again.  Time for more books.  These magic monsters appeared all at once in the office of my apartment complex, presumably having arrived a while ago only to collect in a dark closet or something.  But now they’re here.

So, without further delay, here they are.  Leave a comment if something looks interesting to you!

In the Duke's Sights for 8-21-15

1. Guerilla (The Makaum War Book Two) by Mel Odom (Harper Voyager; 8/25/15)

He’s behind enemy lines. But those lines are shifting beneath his feet.

In the jungles of Makaum, the Terran military is locked in a critical standoff over the planet’s resources with the hostile Phrenorians, even as both species maintain uneasy relations with the locals. Tensions could ignite at a moment’s notice. And Master Sergeant Frank Sage has just stumbled upon the spark plug.

Alongside trusted Makaum scouts, Sage is running recon on what is possibly an unsanctioned Phrenorian military base.Deep in the savage wilderness, Sage recognizes the renowned Phrenorian warrior arriving on-site: Zhoh GhiCemid. As Sage knows firsthand, Zhoh’s presence could mean trouble.

Meanwhile, a mysterious faction of Makaum insurgents breaks the fragile peace with a reckless attack on the Terran base. Before the situation devolves into chaos, Sage must learn to think like his adversaries—devious friends and deadly foes alike.

I’ve heard good things about Odom’s work, but I’ve yet to take the plunge.  Since I don’t actually have the first book, I may have to go to the bookstore soon to fill the gap.  Nothing like a little military sf to make life interesting.

2. Chasing the Phoenix by Michael Swanwick (Tor Books; August 2015)

Chasing the Phoenix: a science fiction masterpiece from a five-time Hugo Award winner Michael Swanwick!

In the distant future, Surplus arrives in China dressed as a Mongolian shaman, leading a yak which carries the corpse of his friend, Darger. The old high-tech world has long since collapsed, and the artificial intelligences that ran it are outlawed and destroyed. Or so it seems.

Darger and Surplus, a human and a genetically engineered dog with human intelligence who walks upright, are a pair of con men and the heroes of a series of prior Swanwick stories. They travel to what was once China and invent a scam to become rich and powerful. Pretending to have limited super-powers, they aid an ambitious local warlord who dreams of conquest and once again reuniting China under one ruler. And, against all odds, it begins to work, but it seems as if there are other forces at work behind the scenes. Chasing the Phoenix is a sharp, slick, witty science fiction adventure that is hugely entertaining from Michael Swanwick, one of the best SF writers alive.

Swanwick is one of those authors whose name is well known to me, but whose work has never rested in my hands.  I don’t know why.  It’s Michael Swanwick, for Pete’s sake.  This one has a genetically engineered, intelligent dog, though.  And that sounds awesome.

3. Updraft by Fran Wilde (Tor Books; August 2015)

Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage.

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.

As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever-if it isn’t destroyed outright.

We’re interviewing Wilde soon!  SOON!  Woo!

4. The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu; translated by Joel Martinsen (Tor Books; August 2015)

This near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple-award-winning phenomenon from Cixin Liu, China’s most beloved science fiction author. In Dark Forest, Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion-in just four centuries’ time. The aliens’ human collaborators may have been defeated, but the presence of the sophons, the subatomic particles that allow Trisolaris instant access to all human information, means that Earth’s defense plans are totally exposed to the enemy. Only the human mind remains a secret. This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a daring plan that grants four men enormous resources to design secret strategies, hidden through deceit and misdirection from Earth and Trisolaris alike. Three of the Wallfacers are influential statesmen and scientists, but the fourth is a total unknown. Luo Ji, an unambitious Chinese astronomer and sociologist, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he’s the one Wallfacer that Trisolaris wants dead.

The second book in Cixin Liu’s popular science fiction series has arrived.  Though Ken Liu didn’t translate this one (because he was busy writing The Grace of Kings, I guess), the fact that Cixin Liu’s work is still among us is an awesome thing.  We need more translated fiction from around the world.  More, I tell you!  MORE!

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One Response to “In the Duke’s Sights: Books of Note for 8/21/15”

  1. Tammy August 21, 2015 at 11:50 am #

    I’m looking forward to reading Updraft soon, in fact it’s up next on the pile:-)

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