In this week in Science Fiction and Fantasy, humans are under the microscope as an invasive species, a special forces unit strives to prevent the spread of an interstellar empire, and a collection of fantasy stories by David C. Smith appears for the first time in 40 years.
Final Days: Colony (Final Days #2) – Jasper T. Scott and Nathan Hystad
Kendra, Andrew, and the other survivors arrive with Lewis Hound’s chosen people at an unfamiliar planet with more questions than answers: how did they get there? Where did all of the advanced technology come from? And is this really Proxima B Centauri?
The colony ship breaks into sections and makes an emergency landing amidst a meteor shower, and Lewis Hound, Eden’s enigmatic leader, goes missing.
Despite their misgivings and the initial chaos, people soon settle into a routine in the fledgling colony. But a growing number of suspicious circumstances lead Andrew and Kendra to doubt what they’re being told, and they begin to think that there might be more dangerous predators about than the ones on four legs.
With new friends and old adversaries, they struggle to find the truth behind a growing web of deceit.
What is beyond the forbidden mountain ranges that surround the valley where they landed? And where is Lewis Hound?
Incursion (The Necromancer’s Key #1) – Mitchell Hogan
Seventeen years have passed since the Necromancer Queen Talia was overthrown and slain, and her capital city destroyed by the Knights of the Order of Eternal Vigilance.
Anskar DeVantte, raised in the sacred disciplines of the Order, is now ready to face the brutal initiation trials to become a consecrated knight-sorcerer.
But the further Anskar rises in the ranks the more his faith wavers, and he is beset by harrowing dreams and uncertainty. As troubling powers awaken within him, a schism grows between Anskar and his hallowed Order, and he draws the hungry gaze of the vanquished queen’s fanatical followers.
As Anskar pieces together the mysteries of his early life, and begins to understand the malevolent forces gathering in his path, he finds himself with a crucial choice to make:
Remain loyal to the Order’s righteous mission, or control the dark powers growing within him.
Either way, his destiny is steeped in war. The only question is, which side will he be on?
Invasive Species – Chad Olson
Seventeen-year-old Josiah has three goals: break out of prison, find his sister, and get back home. But when that prison is a giant orb-terrarium on an alien planet, his sister has been abducted to parts unknown, and his home planet of Earth is light years away, Josiah’s goals can seem as unreachable as the stars.
On top of all that, the band of humans he’s stuck with is controlled by an iron-fisted ex-soldier who recently killed the only friend Josiah had. Josiah knows full well he might be next on the maniac’s hit list.
Things are not much better outside the prison. The alien captors had seemed content to watch the humans like disinterested scientists observing animals in a zoo, but now their behavior is changing. Conflict has erupted between them, and even though they recently introduced a new human to the terrarium, a frightened girl Josiah’s age, the aliens have begun to ignore their prisoners and turn against each other, all of which may be tied to the seismic quakes that are beginning to rock the planet.
As Josiah and the other humans struggle for freedom, they discover that their forced immigration to this new world carries an even greater cost than they imagined. Can Josiah and the others bear this cost, keep their humanity, and make it to freedom before time runs out?
The Last Archon (Heroes Unleashed: Atlantean Knights #1) – Richard Watts and Thomas Plutarch
For three thousand years, Deckard Riss has been alone. Ever since his home sunk into the sea with Atlantis, he has been the last of his people. The final Atlantean knight, the last Archon.
Then fate forced an apprentice on him, and now the pair of them police the streets of Atlanta, magicians in hiding as superheroes.
Now there are whispers of Atlantis on the wind, another sorcerer at work. This unknown dark wizard sacrifices superpowered teenagers in grisly ritual suicides. And Deckard’s magic, once so easily accessed, starts slipping beyond his grasp.
If he doesn’t have his powers, he can’t stop the rending of reality to allow monsters into our world. If he doesn’t have his powers, he is nothing.
Deckard only has to hold on for another year. Just one more year, to train his apprentice to take his place, and stop the end of the world. And he’s not sure he can do it.
Will his apprentice step up to save the world, or will he drive the boy away with his secrets?
Redemption (The Last Enclave #2) – Morgan Cole
Hordes of alien monsters are breeding on Pluto. The shield protecting Sol is failing. Can Jake save Earth from infestation and annihilation?
After his triumph on Pax, Jake returns home to Earth. In far northern Canada his grandfather hid an outpost that may have the solution.
The town sheriff thinks he’s an imposter, unnamed government agencies would love to vivisect him, and powerful forces lurk in the shadows.
Even with his grandfather’s powerful legacy, will Jake have what it takes to stop the threat to Earth?
Rise of a Wizard Queen (Fate of Wizardoms #5) – Jeffery L. Kohanek
A woman claims a crystal throne, granting her the power of a god – an act long forbidden. With her rise, the world trembles.
As thrones of power fall vacant, one insatiable wizard seeks to increase his might. He never suspected a wizardess might foil his plans.
A queen rises from the south and forms an unprecedented alliance – an army from multiple wizardoms, backed by the magic of a wizard lord. This dominant force sweeps across the land, consuming all in its wake.
A squad of misfits, thrust into the roles of reluctant heroes, seek to alter fate and save their world from the Dark Lord. Even they are blind to the elaborate schemes of gods.
Rise of the Gladias (Ruins of the Galaxy #9) – J. N. Chaney and Christopher Hopper
While light may burn for a moment, the darkness will be there when it dies.
In the aftermath of Moldark’s death and Soldark’s creation, Magnus, Awen, and the rest of the Gladio Umbra must follow the sinister warlord back through the quantum tunnel into metaspace. Questions swirl around the enemy’s ultimate intentions, as do the fates of those bound to serve the malevolent leader.
What awaits the gladias, however, may prove to be more than they can handle.
An otherworldly amalgamation of the Paragon’s goals and the Luma’s powers, Soldark gathers his forces for a final showdown against those who would thwart his plans. He summons both the living and the dead, assured that nothing will be able to stop him from having his day of vengeance.
Will the gladias be able to put a stop to Soldark’s relentless rise to power? Or will the galaxy finally fall victim to the greatest destruction ever unleashed on sentient species?
Tales of Attluma – David C. Smith
A resurrected sorcerer grants the wishes of the desperate men who have returned him to life—but in ways none of them anticipates.
A prince makes a bargain with a barbarian criminal to travel into a lost world of violence and sorcery to save the life of a woman who may already be dead.
Marauders who attack a city devoted to a great goddess suffer her strange curse when she answers the pleas of her dying priestess.
The last survivors of an ancient continent confront evil at every step as they march beneath skies of endless darkness to reach the haven they hope will lead them to safety.
These tales and a dozen more by fantasy and adventure author David C. Smith appear in this unique collection. Out of print for more than 40 years, these stories were first published in the days of limited-circulation fanzines—the only avenue for new work created by the generation of writers who grew up in the shadow of the pulp magazines. The paperback reprints of those pulp stories in the late 1960s and early 1970s encouraged an entire generation of young writers to enlarge on that tradition of popular American storytelling. Now they are in print once more for a new generation of fantasy fiction enthusiasts.