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On My Radar: XEELEE: ENDURANCE by Stephen Baxter / THE V’DAN by Jean Johnson / ARKWRIGHT by Allen Steele

Every action has a consequence. For example, take the seemingly simple action of trolling Amazon for upcoming release. The consequence is that I inevitably find books that I wanna read…that I have to wait for. Here’s a batch of them that I won’t get my grubby hands on until next year….


Xeelee: Endurance by Stephen Baxter
(Gollancz | September 17, 2015 | Cover illustration artist: unknown)


Return to the eon-spanning and universe-crossing conflict between humanity and the unknowable alien Xeelee in this selection of uncollected and unpublished stories, newly edited and placed in chronological reading order. From tales charting the earliest days of man’s adventure to the stars to stories of Old Earth, four billion years in the future, the range and startling imagination of Baxter is always on display. As humanity rises and falls, ebbs and flows, one thing is always needed – the ability to endure. Contains eleven short stories and novellas.


I loved Baxter’s Xeelee novels. Lot’s of mind-expanding stuff and super-cool ideas stuffed into fast-paced stories with anything-but-boring characters. This will be my chance to catch up on any of the stories that I’ve missed.


(Ace | December 29, 2015 | Cover illustration artist: unknown)


A thrilling new perspective of the world created in the explosive, national bestselling Theirs Not to Reason Why series. It’s two hundred years earlier—the age of the First Salik War. And the battle against humanity has been engaged.

The V’Dan always believed they were the chosen race, destined to make a mark on the galaxy. For the last few centuries, they interacted peacefully with other sentient species—save for the Salik. Cold, amphibious, and vicious, the Salik were set on one goal: to conquer every race within their grasp.

Now that the Salik’s ruthless war has begun, the fate of the galaxy is in the hands of two strange companions: Li’eth, a prince under siege and his rescuer, Jacaranda MacKenzie. A beautiful ambassador from the Motherworld, Jackie possesses more than the holy powers of a goddess. She brings a secret weapon—a strange, wondrous, and dangerous new technology that could be her and Li’eth’s last and only hope to save their people from extinction…


I enjoyed Jean Johnson’s Theirs Not to Reason Why series…or at least the books in that series that I’ve read. And yes, I haven’t even read The Terrans, the first book in the First Salik War spin-off series. But hey, that doesn’t mean I can’t keep the next book on my radar, too!


Arkwright by Allen Steele
(Tor Books | March 1, 2016 | Cover illustration artist: unknown)


A new hard science fiction novel from multiple Hugo Award winner Allen Steele
Written by a highly regarded expert on space travel and exploration, Arkwright features the precision of hard SF with a compelling cast of characters.

In the vein of classic authors such as Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke, Nathan Arkwright is a seminal author of the twentieth century. At the end of his life he becomes reclusive and cantankerous, refusing to appear before or interact with his legion of fans. Little did anyone know, Nathan was putting into motion his true, timeless legacy.

Convinced that humanity cannot survive on Earth, his Arkwright Foundation dedicates itself to creating a colony on an Earth-like planet several light years distant. Fueled by Nathan’s legacy, generations of Arkwrights are drawn together, and pulled apart, by the enormity of the task and weight of their name.

This is classic, epic science fiction and engaging character-driven storytelling, which will appeal to devotees of the genre as well as fans of current major motion pictures such as Gravity and Interstellar.


Allen Steele’s stories never, ever fail to resonate with me. I love the flavor, the sense of wonder, the pacing, the caharacters…they just feel like proper science fiction. And they’re quite fun, too.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.
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