Here’s a peek at some of the titles we’ll be looking at this month! (Schedule subject to change due to solar flares or giant robot invasion.)
This week I’ll be reviewing John Scalzi’s New York Times best-selling Redshirts.
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship “Intrepid,” flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.
Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expendedon avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship “Intrepid “really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.
This is my first foray into Scalzi. As a Trekkie, I sure am excited!
Then next week, I’ll be reviewing Stefan Bachmann’s debut The Peculiar for MG Monday. The presentation of this novel on this year’s BEA Buzz Panel was a touch grating (Bachmann was both a teenager and homeschooled when he wrote it, so comparisons to Christopher Paolini abounded), but this fantasy steampunk series sounds promising. I hope it’ll fill the hole left by the conclusion of The Edge Chronicles a few years ago.
Bartholomew Kettle won’t live long. Changelings never do. The child of a human mother and a faery father, Bartholomew is a secret, despised by both his races. If the English don’t hang him for witchcraft, the faerys will do something worse. So his mother keeps him locked away, hidden from the world in the faery slums of Bath.
But one day Bartholomew witnesses a mysterious lady kidnap another changeling through a shadowy portal, and he realizes the danger is closer than ever before. Changelings are surfacing in the rivers, their bodies empty of blood and bone and their skin covered in red markings. A powerful figure sits in the shadows, pushing the pieces in place for some terrible victory. When a sinister faery in a top-hat begins to stalk Bartholomew’s steps, he knows it’s his turn. Something is coming for him. Something needs him. But when you’re a changeling there’s no where to run…
On Friday, Sean will be reviewing Kim Curran’s Shift, which we promised you last month but then, you know, solar flares got in the way. I’m still curious to see how Strange Chemistry’s first SF title holds up. By the way, have you heard about Strange Chemistry’s parent company, Angry Robot’s, new indie ebook initiative?
From July 4th, Customers who buy Angry Robot novels from Mostly Books will be sent the DRM-free eBook version (the Clonefile) of the book as part of the sale, allowing them to read the novel on paper, on their Kindle, or on their ePub-based eBook reader. This Clonefile means that customers at Mostly Books can buy Angry Robot’s books and enjoy them in whatever format they prefer, whether physical or electronic!
We at the Intergalactic Academy would love to see similar initiatives from other publishers and stores!
The rest of the month will see reviews of Jessica Khoury’s Origin, whose cover I absolutely adore:
And then Sean will be closing out the month with a review of Megan Spooner’s Skylark, the first in a new trilogy.
Sixteen year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.
Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children’s innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.
Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret – but can she stay alive long enough to find them?
Finally, I picked up a classic work of YA sci-fi at the library the other day. While I probably won’t be reviewing Edmond Hamilton’s 1961 title Battle for the Stars here at the Academy, I thought our readers might appreciate the sci-fi-tastic back cover copy:
LIFE Magazine says that there are more than TWO MILLION science fiction fans in this country. From all corners of the nation comes the resounding proof that science fiction has established itself as an exciting and imaginative NEW FORM OF LITERATURE that is attracting literally tens of thousands of new readers every year!
Why? Because no other form of fiction can provide you with such thrilling and unprecedented adventures! No other form of fiction can take you on an eerie trip to Mars . . . amaze you with a journey into the year 3000 A.D. . . . or sweep you into the fabulous realms of unexplored Space! Yes, it’s no wonder that this exciting new form of imaginative literature has captivated the largest group of fascinated new readers in the United States today!
See you next month, Space Cadets!