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On My Radar: THE BORDER by Robert R. McCammon/THE SNOW QUEEN by Joan D. Vinge/ALIVE by Scott Sigler

Here are three books that have each registered a large blip on my radar!


(Subterranean Press | May 31, 2015 | Cover illustration artist: David Ho)

SYNOPSIS:

World Fantasy award-winning, bestselling author Robert McCammon makes a triumphant return to the epic horror and apocalyptic tone reminiscent of his books ”Swan Song” and ”Stinger” in this gripping new novel, ”The Border”, a saga of an Earth devastated by a war between two marauding alien civilizations.

But it is not just the living ships of the monstrous Gorgons or the motion-blurred shock troops of the armored Cyphers that endanger the holdouts in the human bastion of Panther Ridge. The world itself has turned against the handful of survivors, as one by one they succumb to despair and suicide or, even worse, are transformed by otherworldly pollution into hideous Gray Men, cannibalistic mutants driven by insatiable hunger. Into these desperate circumstances comes an amnesiac teenaged boy who names himself Ethan–a boy who must overcome mistrust and suspicion to master unknowable powers that may prove to be the last hope for humanity’s salvation. Those same powers make Ethan a threat to the warring aliens, long used to fearing only each other, and thrust him and his comrades into ever more perilous circumstances.

A major new novel from the unparalleled imagination of Robert McCammon, this dark epic of survival will both thrill readers and make them fall in love with his work all over again.

 

WHY IT’S ON MY RADAR:

When I was cutting my reading teeth in the speculative fiction genres, I devoured a decent amount of Horror. At the time, from the mid 80s to early 90s, Robert R. McCammon was churning out terrific novel after terrific novel, including the landmark Swan’s Song (a novel that fairly or not, gets compared to King’s The Stand, but plays things quite differently and often more effectively) as well as my favorite werewolf novel of all time The Wolf’s Hour.  The Border, as the blurb above notes, is his big return to big awe-inspiring horror.


(Tor | October 27, 2015 | Cover illustration artist: Michael Whelan)

SYNOPSIS:

The thirty-fifth-anniversary edition of the Hugo Award-winning science fiction classic

This reissue of a modern classic of science fiction, the Hugo and Locus Award-winning and Nebula-nominated The Snow Queen, marks the first time the book has been reprinted in fifteen years.

The imperious Winter colonists have ruled the planet Tiamat for 150 years, deriving wealth from the slaughter of the sea mers. But soon the galactic stargate will close, isolating Tiamat, and the 150-year reign of the Summer primitives will begin. Their only chance at surviving the change is if Arienrhod, the ageless, corrupt Snow Queen, can destroy destiny with an act of genocide. Arienrhod is not without competition as Moon, a young Summer-tribe sibyl, and the nemesis of the Snow Queen, battles to break a conspiracy that spans space. Interstellar politics, a millennia-long secret conspiracy, and a civilization whose hidden machineries might still control the fate of worlds all form the background to this spectacular hard SF novel.

 

WHY IT’S ON MY RADAR:

This is a reprint of Vinge’s classic novel and thankfully, Tor is wisely retaining the iconic Michael Whelan cover (one considered his best by quite a few people) for the trade paperback release. We all have those novels we’ve known about for years and have wanted to read. Well, The Snow Queen by Vinge is one of many such novels for me and the re-issue later this year is perfectly timed. And hey, it is a Hugo Winner after all.


(Del Rey | July 14, 2015 | Cover illustration artist: unknown)

SYNOPSIS:

For fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Red Rising comes a gripping sci-fi adventure in which a group of teenagers wake up in a mysterious corridor with no knowledge of who they are or how they got trapped. Their only hope lies with an indomitable young woman who must lead them not only to answers but to survival.

“I open my eyes to darkness. Total darkness. I hear my own breathing, but nothing else. I lift my head . . . it thumps against something solid and unmoving. There is a board right in front of my face. No, not a board . . . a lid.”

A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief—she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust, but no people . . . and no answers.

She knows only one thing about herself—her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin—yet she finds herself in charge. She is not the biggest among them, or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her. Now, if they’re to have any chance, she must get them to trust each other.

Whatever the truth is, she is determined to find it and confront it. If she has to lead, she will make sure they survive. Maybe there’s a way out, a rational explanation, and a fighting chance against the dangers to come. Or maybe a reality they cannot comprehend lies just beyond the next turn.

 

WHY IT’S ON MY RADAR:

I listened to Scott’s first podcast novel Infected and thought it was a lot of fun and I’ve got the second one, Contagious queued up on my iPod. This is one; however, seems poised to be an explosive next-level type of novel for Scott. I saw Myke Cole mention the book on twitter and on a recent episode of The Functional Nerds with an infectious level of positivity and enthusiasm so I’m looking forward to getting my grubby hands on a copy of this one closer to the summer.

About Rob H. Bedford (62 Articles)
Rob H. Bedford writes The Completeist Column and curates Mind Melds here at SF Signal. Elsewhere, he is the Lead Book reviewer for SFFWorld, where he is also a Moderator in their discussion forums. In addition to over a decade’s worth of reviews at SFFWorld, his reviews and articles have also appeared at Tor.com and in the San Francisco/Sacramento Book.
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