Every week, the Castalia House Blog spotlights some of the many new releases in independent, pulp, and web novel-influenced science fiction and fantasy.
Alliance of Outlaws (The Augment War #1) – Ben Hale
A lost weapon. A forgotten enemy. A new alliance will rise.
An old enemy has returned. Militant zealots backed by a new leader who harbors a thirst for revenge. To face them, Reklin, a retired soldier, must enter the Grand Hunt, a brutal contest where people are prey, and rival teams are culled from the best soldiers in the galaxy. On such a mission, not everyone returns.
Ero Bright’Lor, an outcast Krey noble, has a mad plan to form an alliance from the outlaw clans. If he can overcome centuries of enmity, their combined might would threaten the entire fleet of the Krey Empire. But the cause needs a leader.
Fortunately for him, a distant scavenger vessel has discovered the wreck of a drifting starship. Beneath the twisted hull of the derelict, Siena has waited twelve years for rescue. As a youth she was augmented into a living weapon, and her power has only grown in captivity…
Mind Burn – Rhett C. Bruno and T. E. Bakutis
When hackers can tap directly into the mind, you can’t trust anyone—even yourself…
It’s understandable to be nervous when your new employer tasks you with investigating the first successful mass shooting in twelve years.
Fortunately, detective-in-training Cowan Soto has a Personal Brain Assistant—a cybernetic implant—that allows him to firewall pesky emotions like worry and guilt and redact memories of bullet-riddled corpses.
Unfortunately, Cowan soon learns it was his suspect’s PBA which allowed a ruthless hacker to puppet her into a shooting rampage.
Aided by a veteran investigator, a brilliant CFO, a nihilistic cybercriminal, and the best waifu madam in Kearny Mesa, Cowan must wade through a gauntlet of homicidal professional gamers, the Russian mafia, and the board of OneWorld to bring this ruthless puppetmaster to justice.
All the while, the brand new detective is concealing the fact that he’s the exact type of criminal OneWorld has hired him to arrest: a loose circuit—a human unbound by behavioral modification protocols.
Moon Cops on the Moon – C. T. Phipps
“Welcome to the moon!”
Neal Gordon screwed up his assignment on Mars and they reassigned him to Antarctica. Now he’s being reassigned some place even worse: Luna City. A crime ridden hellhole with a super-rich ruling class, he almost immediately finds himself targeted by bounty hunters and cyborg terrorists. Thankfully, Neal has an unusual set of partners in robot dog, Barksley, and the snarky but badass Lucy Westenra. Yes, make all the vampire jokes you want.
It’s tough being a corporate cop on humanity’s foremost colony and before this adventure is over, he’s going to have to deal with deranged influencers, mysterious female secret agents, and a 1970s themed flying car called the Purple Rain. Can he survive to get reassigned? Who knows.
Stand Alone (Wolfhounds #1) – John Van Stry
Chase had it all planned out, do a little time in one of the emperor’s jails, say a four year stretch for getting rid of some trash that no one would miss, and when he got out, the path to the leadership would be wide open. It wasn’t enough to be one of the gang’s rising stars, or better lieutenants, he needed jail time, serious jail time — not that juvie crap or just going to county, to garner the respect he needed and deserved.
Unfortunately his bastard of a father, the same one that left his mother to die in poverty and him to run wild on the streets took an interest. Seeing him sitting on the bench when his case went to court was a shock. But not as big a shock as being sentenced to ten years in the Imperial Navy.
That’s just the first of Chase’s nasty surprises as he finds himself among the Emperor’s Own – The Wolfhounds. How, and why, his bastard father sent him there is a secret that only the base AI knows the answer to. When that same AI decides to use Chase to fulfill its own orders, Chase soon finds himself in a situation where if he doesn’t die honorably in combat due to the enemy, his own side will arrange those circumstances for him.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, Chase is proving to be just as tough of a bastard as the man who sent him there.
Winged Hussars: Andromeda (Four Horseman Universe: The Phoenix Initiative #9) – Mark Wandrey
The Winged Hussars, the only one of the Four Horsemen mercenary organizations to specialize in space warfare, have succeeded in what is arguably the most difficult branch of the profession.
Alexis Cromwell is now the longest-serving commander in Hussars’ history, and her long-term romance with Nigel Shirazi, commander of Asbaran Solutions, has finally resulted in a complicated marriage and two equally complicated children.
The Phoenix Initiative, started by Nigel and supported by Jim Cartwright as Minister of War, has resulted in hundreds of new Human mercenary companies, and with the Hussars growing by leaps and bounds, Alexis has begun taking contracts again to compete with them.
But during a simple mission, things quickly go sideways when the Hussars find out that they’re being hunted in turn. And when her young children become involved, her opponents have gone too far. Alexis has never been one to take a challenge personally, but this time that’s what it is—personal.
And in tracking down her children, she’ll find an answer to a mystery that’s been eluding the Horsemen for decades.
Adventurer Conqueror King System Imperial Imprint (ACKS II) – a crowdfunding campaign from Autaurch
The Adventurer Conqueror King System™ Imperial Imprint (ACKS II) is the new edition of the acclaimed bestselling fantasy role-playing game. Within the pages of ACKS II you’ll find everything you need to enjoy epic fantasy campaigns with a sweeping scope. Whether you want to crawl through dungeons, experiment with alchemy, crossbreed monsters, run a merchant emporium, raise an undead legion, or conquer an empire, ACKS II supports your playstyle.
If you spend enough time in online RPG communities, you’ll have seen someone post something like “They need to make a game that… has mass combat mechanics that work at every scale / keeps fighters competitive with mages / has figured out how to make thieves fun / has an economy that makes sense / could actually simulate my game world.” And someone will inevitably respond: “ACKS already does that. ” And it’s true.
Now, with ACKS II, we’re doing it even better.
This crowdfunding campaign will remain open until 22 November, 2023.
Black Hops #6 – a crowdfunding campaign from Timothy Lim
It’s Iconic Comics X Antarctic Press as heroes from both worlds are recruited to fight evil!
CRYPTIQ and its leader, APEX MOTH, seeks to create, capture, and weaponize CRYPTIDS for nefarious means. In his latest bid for power, he’s sent some of his echelon to make a deal with Japanese gangsters while he hides out in the mysterious and deadly port of LONGHARBOR.
To fight CRYPTIQ on two fronts, the BLACK HOPS and SPEC HOPS teams find themselves enlisting some serious muscle:
This crowdfunding campaign will remain open until 22 November, 2023.
The Burned Book (The Arkwright Saga) – a crowdfunding campaign from Brian Niemeier
An outcast boy with a terrible secret …
A disillusioned priest seeking release from fate …
The restless son of a fading race seeking his destiny …
Thrown together by chance, their historic quest will span a continent. And change all worlds forever.
Zebrin wanders the human-dominated mainland, having fled his people’s rigid island refuge. Alone in barbaric lands, he yearns to find himself in those his race shuns.
But when an ambitious emperor drafts him for a harrowing mission to the farthest ends of the world, will he discover and embrace his divine calling? Or will the kingdom he was ordained to save fall?
The answer lies in the Burned Book.
This crowdfunding campaign will remain open until 2 December, 2023.