It’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.
So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some December books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.
Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have urban fantasy, epic fantasy, Asian fantasy, space opera, military science fiction, post-apocalyptic science fiction, dystopian fiction, science fiction mystery, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, aliens, werewolves, robots, UFOs, intergalactic traders, temporary detectives, FBI witches, magical source-fixers, mutant assassins, murdered gods, monsters in the woods and much more.
As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.
And now on to the books without further ado:
Dick and Henry and the Temporary Detective by Kenneth Buff:
Space is full of adventure. And danger too. Fresh off their last case, Captain Dick Shannon and his harvest bot, HN-R3 report to Station 2 for reassignment, only to find the station in the middle of an attack that threatens the lives of everyone on-board. Now, Dick and Henry must work together with a mysterious woman, hopping from planet to planet in search of clues in order to save themselves and bring the monsters responsible for the destruction of the station to justice before it’s too late.
Hunted Wolf by Stacy Claflin:
Her fiancé’s family wants her dead. And they won’t stop until she is.
Victoria and Toby have faced one trial after another since falling in love. Now they must face Toby’s old pack—a cruel traditional group opposed to anyone refusing to follow the old ways. Toby will do anything to protect Victoria, even to the point of separating from her. He sends her to a fierce bear shifter colony, where she will be hidden and protected.
Life with the werebears begins to take its toll, and Victoria’s worries get the best of her. She fears for Toby and her pack, but her thoughts are torn—she also fears her sister is in danger. Victoria is compelled to find and protect her, so she leaves the sanctuary of the werebear colony and sets off in search of her.
Victoria encounters so much more than she could have imagined once she embarks on her quest. Will she be able to find her sister before Toby’s old pack finds and kills her?
The Cost of Business by Zen DiPietro:
Cabot Layne has unintentionally become the owner of someone else’s problem. In order to get free of it, he’ll need to use every bit of his trader cunning. If he does it just right, he might stay out of prison. With a little luck, he’ll even manage to turn a profit.
Murdered Gods by Marina Finlayson:
Lexi didn’t set out to steal a god’s ring, but when a magic artifact starts trying to talk to you, what’s a girl supposed to do? She’s always had the ability to talk to animals, but this new development amps up the crazy. Now she’s afraid her power is out of control and she’s losing her mind.
The only person who could possibly reassure her that she’s not going mad is her mother, who has always refused to discuss the source of Lexi’s strange ability. Now that the jewellery is getting chatty, maybe she’ll finally spill the beans.
Unfortunately, going home means a trip back to the human territories, and Lexi only just made it out of there alive last time. She’s hoping for a quick visit, but with a god hellbent on retrieving the ring and a fireshaper she might have accidentally betrayed on her tail, life is about to get horribly complicated—for her and everyone she cares about.
Alien Tales and Lore by G.J. Gundersen Jr.:
Strange messages from alien visitors start to appear in the newspapers. A young farmer dares to visit a mysterious pyramidal hill that, according to village legends, was built by aliens. A lowly researcher at a government installation finds a fully functional alien spacesuit …
These are just some of the stories included in Alien Tales and Lore.
Gundersen’s entertaining stories are told in a folkloric or fairytale style, but they are unashamedly set in a modern age where odd occurrences may often be brought about by alien technology. The tales included in this volume are by turns enchanting, surreal, and troubling. But as with all fairytales and folktales, they offer an insight into human nature. Gundersen writes a new tradition for an age of alien contact!
Source-Breaker by Kyra Halland:
After twenty-seven years in the trade and with a string of failures behind him, Kaniev the Source-Fixer is ready to go home and take up fishing. First, though, one more repair job lies ahead of him – the magical Source Chaitrasse is experiencing problems. Kaniev’s depleted finances and self-confidence demand that this time, he get the job done right.
Fransisa, once presumed to be the next High Priestess of Source Chaitrasse and now displaced by a young Chosen, the natural heir to the position, is struggling to hold on to her authority at Chaitrasse when a wandering tradesman appears, telling her the Source has a problem and he’s the one who can fix it. Though he looks more like a wandering brigand than a powerful wizard or wise scholar, Fransisa decides it can’t hurt anything to let him take a look.
Kaniev’s ill-fated attempt to repair Source Chaitrasse leads to a sorcerer who is conducting dangerous experiments with magic. Caught in the sorcercer’s schemes, Fransisa and Kaniev must overcome their past failures and their differences to stop him before the Sources of magic and all the lands around them are destroyed.
Songs of Insurrection by J.C. Kang:
The Empire of Cathay teeters on the brink of rebellion, and only the lost magic of Dragon Songs can prevent the realm from descending into chaos.
Blessed with an unrivaled voice, Kaiya dreams of a time when music could summon typhoons and rout armies. Maybe then, the imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool.
When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan uncover a brewing rebellion, the court hopes to appease the ringleader by offering Kaiya as a bride.
Obediently wedding the depraved rebel leader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.
Chameloen Assassin by B.R. Kingsolver:
Libby is a mutant, one of the top burglars and assassins in the world. For a price, she caters to executives’ secret desires. Eliminate your corporate rival? Deliver a priceless art masterpiece or necklace? Hack into another corporation’s network? Libby’s your girl.
Climate change met nuclear war, and humanity lost. The corporations stepped in, stripping governments of power. Civilization didn’t end, but it became less civilized. There are few rules as corporations jockey for position and control of assets and markets.
In the year 2200, the world has barely recovered the level of technology that existed before the ice melted and the subsequent wars. Corporate elites live in their walled estates and skyscraper apartments while the majority of humanity supplies their luxuries. On the bottom level, the mutants, the poor, and the criminals scramble every day just to survive.
Urban Fantasy set 200 years in the future.
Sundown Apocalypse by Leo Nix:
It is the end of days, the Apocalypse of Revelations has begun and terrorists have effectively taken out the super powers cleansing the planet of the ‘disease of civilisation’.
Small bands of survivors are forced to confront the horrors of a psychopathic enemy. They fight back the only way they can – with sudden and savage violence.
Sundown, under the mentorship of an ex IRA commander and a retired Vietnam war CIA operative, struggles with his own demons as he guides a determined band of civilians to defeat their enemy and to survive the harshness of the Australian desert.
Cat’s Night Out by T.S. Paul:
Catherine Moore, Cat to her friends, trained with her friend Agatha Blackmore to be the best FBI Agents to ever graduate from the Academy. When Agatha left for her Probi assignment Cat had one of her own. A serial killer stalked the South. Sometimes it takes a Monster to catch a Monster.
Read this and other Tales from the Federal Witch Universe today!
Inwards Bound by Jim Rudnick:
Tempted by the dissolution of the huge empire inwards, Duke Scott and the Baroness and the Caliph join forces to send a ship inwards bound, to find new planets for the expansion of the RIM Confederacy—led by the new captain, Bram Sander. Making a mind-reader a ship’s captain means more than one might expect, and Bram has to worry about the issues that arise.
Broken now into smaller Warlord realms, the first thing to do is to find allies and that becomes a major thrust in the RIM Confederacy ships first voyage inwards—and that leads to various new allies and antagonists too.
One Warlord wants to join the Confederacy and one wants to take it over by force and the chances of that happening are real.
As the new secret mine for Xithricite is found by the Confederacy who now mines the red ore in secret, the Warlord fomenting war sends declarations to the Confederacy ship and Bram must respond. Aided by his own red ship and the Leudies gifts, he foists the Confederacy wishes on the Warlords—and the battles begin…
The Winter Knife by Laramie Sasseville:
Death stalks a snowbound city from below… Feral dogs are blamed when a popular teen is killed. Is it just coincidence that he disappeared after infuriating 14-year-old Haley, who is torn between her anger and her desire to belong? More attacks implicate a creature of Northwoods myth she befriended in its summer form.
As the DNR leads a cougar hunt in town, Haley makes a desperate plan to steal a car and use their empathic bond to lead the creature away from the city — driving alone into the fangs of a blizzard that makes roads hazardous even for experienced drivers. If she fails, either her monster or more members of her community will die.
Requiem for the Wolf by Tara Saunders:
They told him that the Lost were animals. Crazed and brutal, they said, a danger to themselves and others. Hero, they called him, for providing the mercy of a clean death. They lied.
The Tiarna Beo is a land frozen in the still moment between acts of savage violence. Forty years after a Purging that drove an entire race either into the ground or north through the mountains, every man watches his words and his neighbour. Only a fool draws attention to himself, and only the suicidal travel from the North.
Growing up fatherless in a cold and grieving home, Breag had a clear vision for his future – a good woman, a family of his own and a quiet life. When his good woman betrays him, her confederates force him into the Tiarna on a mission to find one of the Lost and bring it home to be sacrificed. Mired in hopeless duty and wandering rootless among people who would kill him if they knew what he was, Breag struggles to hold on to the frayed edges of his humanity.
But no good deed goes unpunished. When his rescue of a brutalised young woman reveals her to be the Lost he has spent eight years hunting, Breag is forced to choose between her life and his future. And she’s not prepared to go quietly. Breag’s choice will create ripples that ignite the fumes of anger among his people and theirs, and ultimately to burn the entire kingdom down around his ears.
The Perception of Prejudice by Alasdair Shaw:
Ace fighter pilot Anastasia Seivers is offered a secret assignment: to join a squadron taking the fight to Concorde’s true enemies. But this squadron isn’t part of the regular Concorde military, it is attached to the Legion Libertus, the independent force responsible for saving thousands of lives after the nuclear attack.
After initial hope that her new commanders will be different, Seivers starts to suspect that they too are prejudiced against her.
Determined to remove the chip from Seivers’ shoulder, Prefect Olivia Johnson, commander of the Legion, takes her on as pilot for a special mission.
The Perception of Prejudice is a novelette in the Two Democracies: Revolution series.