May is an outstanding month for new books, and authors are busting out of their genres. We've got urban surrealism from China Miéville, genetic mutants from Jacqueline Carey, and gobs more for your May bookshelf.
Federations, John Joseph Adams, ed. (Prime)
A collection of short stories about world-spanning civilizations. Featuring Lois McMaster Bujold, Orson Scott Card, Anne McCaffrey, George R.R. Martin, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., Alastair Reynolds, Robert J. Sawyer, Robert Silverberg and Harry Turtledove. Additional authors: Alan Dean Foster, Kevin J. Anderson, Doug Beason, John C. Wright, Allen Steele, James Alan Gardner, Catherynne M. Valente.
Diamond Star Catherine Asaro (Baen)
This is seriously my favorite back-cover description of the month:
Del was a rock singer. He was also the renegade son of the Ruby Dynasty, which made his career choice less than respectable, and gave him more to worry about than getting gigs and not getting cheated by recording companies, club owners, or his agent. For one thing, the Ruby Dynasty ruled the Skolian Imperialate, an interstellar Empire, which had recently had a war with another empire, the Eubian Concord. For another, Del was singing on Earth, which was part of a third interstellar civilization, and one which had an uneasy relationship with the Imperialate. Del undeniably had talent, and was rapidly rising from an unknown fringe artist to stardom. But, with his life entangled in the politics of three interstellar civilizations, whether he wanted that or not, talent might not be enough. And that factor might have much more effect than his music on the lives of trillions of people on the thousands of inhabited worlds across the galaxy.
If this book doesn't become a movie that looks like Xanadu I am going to cry. (Asaro even made a CD to go with the book.)
Twisted Metal, Tony Ballantyne (Tor)
In a world where robots have taken over, there's a split between two factions of warring bots: The robots of Artemis City believe they are merely metal beasts, those from Turing City that they can be something more. As the Artemis troops go on a crusade to convert all robots to their philosophy, a renegade from Turing goes on a quest to find the legendary Book of Robots and find out how their world came to be.
Pygmy, Chuck Palahniuk (Doubleday)
In an alternate world, a generic totalitarian state sends young people to the US midwest disguised as foreign exchange students. The 13-year-old main character, nicknamed Pygmy, sends angry dispatches back home, execrating American life and planning a massive terrorist attack.
Flood, Stephen Baxter (Roc)
The world is flooding - cities like New York and Rome are already underwater. The change goes beyond climate change and into something far more disastrous. In 50 years, the entire planet will be re-submerged the way it was millions of years ago. Will anyone survive? Given that this novel is the first in a series, we're guessing they will.
Santa Olivia, Jacqueline Carey (Grand Central)
Set in the DMZ created between the US and Mexico after a plague apocalypse, this tale of a mutant orphan named Loup is incredibly action-packed and satisfying. Her city, which lies between two great walls separating the US and Mexico, does not officially exist. But the military promises that any townie who can beat their Olympic-level boxers will get two free tickets out. Loup, with her superstrength, might be able to do it.
Hylozoic, Rudy Rucker (Tor)
The sequel to Postsingular, Hylozoic is about what happens after the singularity on Earth makes everyone telepathic and all objects conscious. Things are going well in the supersaturated mediasphere until a lot of post-singularity alien cultures start to take notice of what's going on down on Earth. And now they want in on the action, and not necessarily in a friendly way.
Conspirator, CJ Cherryh (DAW)
The latest in the Foreigner series, about Cajeiri, an ateva who has lived among humans and is trying to maintain the connections between his traditional people and the human worlds.
Monster, by A. Lee Martinez (Orbit)
Two reluctant monster-hunters living in New York have Buffy-esque adventures. Expect Yetis who steal ice cream in the supermarket and girlfriends from hell - literally. A fun, comic tale of life and love in the big city. You know, with monsters.
The Consorts of Heaven, Jaine Fenn (Gollancz)
Fantasy becomes science fiction in this tale of a boy who can manipulate matter. Though his mother is told this means he must meet a "living goddess" in the City, everything changes when she arrives there. She realizes that her society's mysticism is cover for what's really going on, and hides the people who truly control things on her world.
Dead and Gone, Charlaine Harris (Ace)
It's vampy intrigue in the new Sookie Stackhouse novel.
Empties, George Zabrowski (Golden Gryphon)
A low-rent detective is on the tail of a monster who leaves its victims brainless. Can he stop the monster before he joins her? As you know, brains are mighty tasty.
The City & The City, China Mieville (Del Rey)
A haunting murder mystery from one of urban fantasy's greatest talents, China Miéville, author of Perdido Street Station and The Scar. The City & The City is about what happens when a gumshoe on the tail of a grisly murder must journey from his familiar city into another city which shares a strange relationship to his own. Set on present-day Earth in an anonymous Eastern European city, this is a departure for Miéville, but still touches on typical themes for his work: namely, how multiple cultures and classes can co-exist in one place, and how the division between self and other is as real as dreams. This is a book you don't want to miss.
The Grand Conjunction, Sean Williams (Ace)
The latest galaxy-spanning adventure in the Astropolis series finds Imre returning to challenge the Host's rule and help foment revolution.
In the closing years of the 23rd Century, the British Arean Company, a private corporation, establishes first human colony on Mars. How do the Brits get there first? Find out in Kage Baker's new novel.
Ice Song, Kirsten Imani Kasai (Del Rey)
With a main character who is a shape-shifter and scientist, Kasai has already given us a great hero. Then she puts her hero in the middle of a dangerous mission in the arctic, where she must fight hunters and deal with a patriarchal culture to get her kidnapped babies back. Packed with intriguing ideas, though the writing is uneven.
Clone Wars: No Prisoners, Karen Traviss (LucasBooks)
Another great book from Traviss in the Clone Wars series. Here's what's in store:
Torrent Company's Captain Rex agrees to temporarily relieve Anakin Skywalker of Ahsoka, his ubiquitous-and insatiably curious-Padawan, by bringing her along on a routine three-day shakedown cruise aboard Captain Gilad Pellaeon's newly refitted assault ship. But the training run becomes an active-and dangerous-rescue mission when Republic undercover agent Hallena Devis goes missing in the middle of a Separatist invasion. Dispatched to a distant world to aid a local dictator facing a revolution, Hallena finds herself surrounded by angry freedom fighters and questioning the Republic's methods-and motives.