Several years ago, after researching his true crime book The Serial Killer’s Apprentice, James Renner was diagnosed with PTSD. It’s not uncommon for journalists to suffer such effects after witnessing trauma for a story, and Renner’s 10 years of hunting serial killers and writing about unsolved murders caught up with him. Fiction provided an unexpected safe haven, and his genre-bending time-travel thriller, The Man from Primrose Lane (2012), was a crime he could finally solve. His latest thriller, The Great Forgetting, digs at a much larger mystery, one with more questions, no generic answers and therefore plenty of room for an imaginative author to play. The result is a mix of conspiracy theorist paranoia, alternate history and cross-country adventure.
Kady barely has time to register how awful her breakup with Ezra feels—these things still hurt, even in year 2575—when, later that same day, her home planet is attacked. Kady and Ezra fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, but they’re separated onto two different ships in the process. With the enemy on their tails, bad turns to worse for the survivors: A plague on one of the ships is leading to quarantines, and the artificial intelligence known as AIDAN is becoming increasingly difficult to trust.
In Supersymmetry, Walton returns to the near-future world of Jacob Kelley and his family, this time focusing on his now-adult daughters, Alex and Sandra. Alex and Sandra are more than twins: They are actually two versions of the same person, an as-yet uncollapsed wave-form of two quantum potentialities left over by the events of the first book.
It’s hard to follow a debut that immediately became an international phenomenon, was published in 40 countries and is in the works to become a movie (hopefully with the same mind-blowing visual effects Warner Bros. brought to movies like Inception, The Lego Movie and The Matrix). The thing that made Ernest Cline’s first book, Ready Player One, so good was a nearly impossible balance between where-the-hell-did-that-come-from originality and the familiarity of Gen-X pop-culture references. There’s no such balance in his second novel, Armada. Familiarity surpasses originality—intentionally.
No book will ever make you thirstier than The Water Knife, Paolo Bacigalupi’s (The Windup Girl) action-packed return to hard science fiction, in which the American Southwest is ravaged by drought.
In the powerful first installment of a new trilogy from Michael Buckley, species collide in this sci-fi tale infused with emotionally charged themes of immigration and xenophobia.
For readers who like their end of days to come with a heaping helping of zombie-esque transformation, Grant’s series will remain both familiar and a bit fresh.
And so Netherton enlists Flynne in an investigation in his world that could never have been possible in hers. Leave it to Gibson to break down our innate resistance to time travel by using our uncertainty about the mechanics of high-speed computing to make the impossible seem plausible.
An intriguing hybrid of Asimovian I, Robot-flavored sci-fi, the quasi-contemporary speculative fiction of William Gibson and the enjoyable detective/crime procedural work of . . . well, countless writers, John Scalzi’s latest novel, Lock In, interweaves the threads of a number of familiar genre conventions to impressive effect.
The siren screaming through Hilo, 16-year-old Leilani’s hometown on Hawaii’s Big Island, is her first warning of coming catastrophe. But she and her father stick to their planned trip from Hilo to Honolulu, where she is to undergo tests for her epilepsy. They fly to the island of Oahu, and that’s when the world veers off course: The president appears on television in a frightened state. Satellite and electrical networks collapse. Commercial airline flights cease. At the same time, Leilani is having epileptic episodes filled with visions of ancient Hawaiian gods.