Every week, the Castalia House Blog spotlights some of the many new releases in independent, pulp, and web novel-influenced science fiction and fantasy.
Beware of Chicken #3 – Casualfarmer
A laugh-out-loud, slice-of-life martial-arts fantasy about . . . farming????
Jin Rou wanted to be a cultivator. A man powerful enough to defy the heavens. A master of martial arts. A lord of spiritual power. Unfortunately for him, he died, and now I’m stuck in his body.
As Jin, I’m a man of the earth. A wielder of shovels and lord of rice and wheat. And sure, I also had to die and get pulled into another universe to end up here. But guess what? I’m starting to think it was worth it.
I’ve somehow managed to get away from it all. Finally free of the bloodshed of cultivator fights, I figure I’ll live in the slow lane from here on out, my only real concern the rain—or lack thereof.
Unfortunately, I’ve suddenly got a shady organization looking for me, my cat has gone off to fight in a martial arts tournament, and my chicken has uncovered an ancient crystal containing portents of doom. You know, the usual stuff.
I’m not worried though. Sometimes trouble finds you. And while I may not be a master cultivator . . . trouble should know better than to mess with a farmer.
Dark Tides of Mars (The Wild Adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs #13) – Chris L. Adams
For more than a century readers have been entranced by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ arid red planet of Barsoom, with its valiant city states and hordes of four-armed green Martians inhabiting the dead sea bottoms, all pitted against one another in a deadly fight for survival. But what was ancient Barsoom like in its prime, before the oceans evaporated and its proud peoples were forced to construct an atmosphere factory to keep themselves alive on a dying world? Find out the answer in Dark Tides of Mars: A Novel of Barsoom by Chris L Adams, the newest volume in the Wild Adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs series!
Barsoom is dying, its atmosphere thinning with each passing year, the seas that once flourished upon its surface dried up eons ago. When warrior-scientist Dat Voga is asked to become Helium’s ambassador to distant cities that may provide a desperate chance at life for the people of Barsoom, he leaps at the opportunity. But even as this new hope dangles on a thread, a madman seeks to hasten the Red Planet’s doom-and Dat Voga is hurled headlong upon an odyssey across the chasm of Time itself!
Hellflower – George O. Smith
With one shot to clear his name, space pilot Charles Farradyne is sent to infiltrate a galactic enterprise that deals in a salacious narcotic called Hellflower. An intoxicant that drives women mad with lust. A vintage sci-fi action romp from the planetary pulp pages of Startling Stories from the early 1940s.
George O. Smith is the author of “QRM Interplanetary” and the Venus Equilateral, a science fiction series that explored satellite communications and radio mysteries before Arthur C. Clarke popularized the concept.
High Value Target (Forgotten Ruin #8) – Jason Anspach and Nick Cole
You can run, but you can’t hide from U.S. Army Rangers
With the armies of the enemy smashed at the final battle for the desert port city, the Rangers return to their primary mission to do what they do best: eliminate a high-value target with extreme violence of action deep inside hostile territory.
Failure is not an option—even if that target is a ten-thousand-year-old undead sorcerer of incredible power surrounded by dark, deadly cabals and savage monsters of myth and fable that are all too real.
Raids, infiltration, and ambush—and whatever means are necessary—bring the relentless Rangers straight into direct conflict with the dark forces of the Valley of Kings and Priests, where Sût the Undying dreams horrible nightmares of dark magic in a fantastic pyramid more fortress than eternal tomb, intent on conquering the Ruin… and with one final terrible card to play.
It’s time to breach and clear for all the marbles in a high-stakes game of Hide and Go Kill.
Don’t Forget Nothin’.
Lunar Supremacy (Eighth Continent #3) – Rhett C. Bruno and Felix R. Savage
Stranded on the unforgiving lunar surface after a global economic catastrophe, Nick Morrison and his steadfast comrades are faced with a dire ultimatum: secure their dwindling supply chain or face a slow, harrowing demise. Their salvation lies in the daring capture of a pivotal space station, granting them a fleeting respite from the clutches of Earth’s relentless powers.
But the rulers of Earth refuse to tolerate an independent lunar colony, setting the stage for a high-stakes arms race that spans the cosmos. Nick, his friends, and the lunar base itself become the frontline in a battle of epic proportions. As the stakes reach a fever pitch, Nick must confront not only the might of Earth but also his long-standing adversary, Joe Massad, in a deadly duel for lunar supremacy.
Destinies collide amidst the desolation of space, and the lunar dust bears witness to ghastly sacrifices in the pursuit of the ultimate prize. Prepare for an unforgettable odyssey where the fate of the moon hangs in the balance, and heroes and villains alike must pay the ultimate price for their lunar dreams.
Perry Rhodan NEO #16 – Hermann Ritter and Michele Stern
Rhodan and several survivors from the Tosoma are running from the Naats when they make unexpected allies on the icy planet of Snowman. Could their new companions’ ambitious—yet dangerous—plan to flee the planet work?
At the same time, Bull leads a bold effort to escape the Naats’ clutches, while Michalovna and Crest attempt to leave the Web, but neither is without its risks.
Far from home, Manoli finds himself imprisoned in the despot’s zoo, where inmates are forced to fight each other and brave a series of environmental hazards. Along the way, he encounters a familiar face, while on a distant planet, a group of researchers digs into an ancient Arkonide civilization. Informed of a “god” lying dormant below the surface, they go searching in violation of their orders to evacuate. Will their discovery be worth the risk to not only their careers, but their lives?
The Thousand Worlds – Rod Walker
The Thousand Worlds is the setting for a series of science fiction novels written for young readers. Inspired by the 12 classic Robert Heinlein juveniles published between 1947 and 1958, Rod Walker’s novels feature a young male protagonist entering the adult world of conflict, decisions, and responsibilities.
MUTINY IN SPACE
When the radical revolutionaries of the Social Party prevent his attendance at university and make his life on New Chicago impossible, Nikolai Rovio has no choice but to accept his starship-bound uncle’s offer to take refuge in space and sign on as a technical apprentice with Starways. But space, he quickly learns, is full of dangers that can kill a young man just as dead as even the most bloodthirsty revolutionary. And no place that Man can travel can ever truly serve as a safe refuge from ambitious and evil-minded men.
Sam Hammond might have chosen prison if he’d known that instead of being locked up, he’d find himself working security for a safari colony on a jungle world where the herbivores are the size of a stadium, the apex predators are vicious lizards that can turn themselves almost invisible, and the skies are filled with huge, acid-breathing fliers. But when New Princeton’s Minister of Ecology arrives for a visit with a spaceship full of wealthy and powerful guests, Sam discovers it is Man that is the most dangerous animal on the planet.
YOUNG MAN’S WAR
When the Dark Gates open and unleash the monstrous Darksiders on an unsuspecting Earth, only the toughest and most determined humans will survive. Roland and Maggie Kane are more fortunate than most, because their father, Daniel, is a Chicago cop who has taught them how to shoot and prepared them for almost every eventuality. But, as the Kane family soon learns, there is just no way to prepare for an alien invasion.
Trouble In My Day (Fall of the Censor #6) – Karl K. Gallagher
Cut off by an enemy offensive, Marcus Landry must take his ships behind Censorate lines, fighting to find a way home and find new support for the rebellion.
After leading the resistance against the Censorate occupation of his adopted homeworld, Marcus Landry is the natural choice to lead Corwynt’s new ships against the enemy. He’s never commanded a warship before. But his crews are as new on the job, and someone has to be in charge. He’ll take his rebels out to liberate other worlds from the Censor’s grasp and give them ancient books proscribed by the Censorate. Some were even written on Old Earth, before the Censor depopulated it.
Admiral Pinoy has been granted the ultimate gift of the Censor: command of a fleet to crush the rebels and barbarians disturbing the proper order of humanity. He will correct his past mistakes over the bodies of his enemies. First, he must teach troops used to ruling defenseless subjects how to fight an enemy who fights back.
Marcus Landry is racing the enemy to rejoin the free people. Rebels are gathering to defend their new freedom, but will they be enough to defeat the forces of the Censorate?