- *In Evil Times*, Melinda Snodgrass
- *The Scorpion Rules*; *The Swan Riders*, Erin Bow
- *Kris Longknife: Emissary*, Mike Shepherd
- *Kangaroo Too*, Curtis Chen
- *Final Girls*, Mira Grant
- *Down Among the Sticks and Bones*, Seanan McGuire
- *Nothing Left to Lose*, Dan Wells
- *To Fire Called*, Nathan Lowell
- *White Hot*, Ilona Andrews
If you wish to be completely unspoiled: I liked every one of these books,
enough to recommend them (or their series) to people whom I think might
like things like that.
After this, my low-spoiler notes on what kind of things they are.
*The Last Good Man* is a near-future military thriller posing
philosophical questions about the ethics of automated weaponry and
the place of private military companies amidst battles on four
continents. It's also about justice and revenge.
*In Evil Times* is the second book in at least a trilogy and perhaps a
longer series, set in the FTL Imperio de Humanidad, a moderately nasty
aristocracy built on a theme of human superiority and alien servitude.
In the first book, La Infanta Mercedes became the first female cadet at
the space force academy; this book chronicles the middle decades of her
life, before she presumably ascends to the throne. Youthful idealism
gives way to realpolitik and easier paths.
*The Scorpion Rules* and *The Swan Riders* are the first and second
books set in a 400-year old all-Earth empire ruled by a handful of AIs
that got the keys to an orbital laser grid. Sadly, the AIs are faster
and more observant but not wiser than humans. Their pax is based on
limited self-rule of nations guaranteed by hostages from the rulers and
the threat of laser-glazing cities. (The energy requirements do not seem
to have been calculated well.) Intriguing characters, though.
*Kris Longknife: Emissary* is the fifteenth book about the
Admiral Princess; this time she's sent to become ambassador to the
Iteeche. Remember how little is known about the Iteeche? Now we get to
find out. Shepherd is now self-publishing this series, which means about
the same level of publishing and copy editing but a schedule closer to
his natural pace -- which seems to be 2-3 books a year instead of one.
Don't start with this one; it's a milSF-space-opera popcorn series and
you should get the whole set.
*Kangaroo Too* is the sequel to Chen's hilariously funny *Waypoint
Kangaroo*, and it manages to be nearly as good. Not a trilogy, I think,
but a long-running series. It's multi-planetary espionage of the Bond
variety which takes itself seriously enough to be worth investing
*Final Girls* by Mira Grant and *Down Among the Sticks and Bones* by Seanan
McGuire are of course by the same author. Both are horror novellas;
the first in a SFnal horror-movie sense, and the second in the fantastic
multi-dimensional universe of *Every Heart A Doorway*. More blood and
gore on the SF side of the house, which would make an excellent movie.
*Nothing Left to Lose* wraps up the six volume series of Dan Wells' John Cleaver,
a teenage serial killer who restricts himself to killing demons. Luckily,
there are a bunch of demons in that world to kill.
*To Fire Called* is the second book of the second series about Ishmael Wong,
who is now trying to set up an interstellar transport company of his own.
Unfortunately... spoilers. Lots of spoilers. Lowell continues to try to
solve his characters' problems non-violently, but doesn't quite succeed
*White Hot* is the second book of a romance-marketed urban fantasy /
PI-with- psychic powers series. I assume it's romance-marketed because
that sells better; there's no particular reason to categorize it
that way otherwise. Good plot twists.