September is upon us, bringing new novels from William Gibson, Guillermo del Toro and Cherie Priest. Plus: postmodern time travel, zombie relationship tips, and the ultimate smackdown between vampires and alien invaders!
Zero History, William Gibson (Putnam)
It's finally here, you guys: William Gibson's latest, Zero History. The novel reunites several characters from Spook Country, as marketing colossus Hubertus Bigend decides to conquer the military apparel market. He ropes journalist Hollis Henry into his scheme, hiring her to track down a secretive designer. Translator Milgrim — now drug-free, courtesy of Bigend and a pricey rehab program — goes along to assist. But it's not that simple, because someone is matching every move Bigend makes. It's another novel of viral marketing from the guy who wrote Neuromancer, so get excited.
Dreadnought, Cherie Priest (Tor)
Cherie Priest returns to her steampunk Civil War universe with Dreadnought, the sequel to her Hugo-nominated Boneshaker. Widowed nurse Mercy Lynch is trying to make her way across the battle-scarred United States to see her dying father. It's a long way from Richmond to Seattle under the best of circumstances, and the only train available is pulled by the massive, unnerving Dreadnought locomotive. But when the train is beset by bandits and Confederates, it becomes clear something's afoot with Mercy's ride west, and she'll have to face down some serious trouble to make it to Washington Territory in one piece.
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu (Pantheon)
Buzz about Charles Yu's debut novel has been building for a while now, and Annalee's already given How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe the thumbs-up. The protagonist, a time-travel mechanic named Charles Yu, lives in the eponymous fictional universe and unsticks people from paradoxes and looks for his missing mad-scientist father. The concept is mind-bogglingly meta and the execution promises to be geekily literary/literarily geeky.
The Stars Blue Yonder, Sandra McDonald (Tor)
September must be a good month for trippy time travel. The latest installment in Sandra McDonald's Australian military SF series finds Chief Terry Myell dead, deified, and skipping through space and time, attempting to save Earth. Meanwhile his very pregnant wife, Commander Jodenny Scott, is finding it makes the grieving process rather difficult when one's allegedly dead husband turns back up. If you've got even the remotest interest in Aboriginal Australian culture and cosmology, pick this one up.
The Fall, Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (William Morrow)
In the second installment of del Toro and Hogan's vampire trilogy, things aren't looking any better for our band of heroes. The blood-sucking virus has enveloped Manhattan, and the plague is spreading across the globe. Epidemiologist Eph Goodweather is trying to contain the sickness, but his ex-wife's been turned and wants eternal custody of their son. Meanwhile, wise old professor and Holocaust survivor Abraham Setrakian is convinced they'll find the solution in a Renaissance grimoire. For those who prefer their vampires to be strictly bad guys.
I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett (HarperCollins)
In her fourth outing, Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men are dealing with witch-hating fear-mongers. This heroine devotes her magic to helping the needy, but someone is spreading rumors and stirring up animosity against her kind. And there's a ghost after her, too.
What I Didn't See, Karen Joy Fowler (Small Beer Press)
Most people know her for the Jane Austen Book Club, but Karen Joy Fowler is also a well-respected science fiction writer and regular Nebula nominee. Included in this collection are two prize-winners: "Always," about life in a cult obsessed with immortality, and "What I Didn't See," an homage to James Tiptree, Jr.
Married with Zombies, Jesse Petersen (Orbit)
If there's anything that will put your marital problems in context, it's a zombie outbreak. Jesse Petersen's amusing novel stars Sarah and David, a couple well on their way to divorce — until the dead begin to rise. They quickly find when it's just you, your estranged spouse, and a major metro area full of shambling corpses, you find a way to work through your issues. Bonus: Every chapter opens with zombie-specific relationship tips.
Out of the Dark, David Weber (Tor)
You know who isn't going to put up with aliens coming down, taking over the Earth? Romanian vampires, that's who. The American military doesn't much relish the thought, either. That's the premise behind David Weber's latest, expanded from an entry in George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois' Warriors anthology. Apparently, Henry V's behavior at Agincourt horrified a passing group of extraterrestrials so much, the planet is considered fair game for colonization by the galactic Hegemony. It'll be interesting to see where Weber goes with this military-science-fiction-meets-horror concept.
Blameless, Gail Carriger (Orbit)
Gail Carriger continues her Parasol Protectorate series with Blameless. Alexia has — oh, the scandal! — left her werewolf husband. He dissolves into a drunken disaster. Queen Victoria, not amused, fires poor Alexia from her council of paranormal advisers. So our magic-neutralizing heroine runs off to Italy, looking for Templars. Really, steampunk/paranormal mash-ups doesn't get much more fun than this series.