Every week, the Castalia House Blog spotlights some of the many new releases in independent, pulp, and web novel-influenced science fiction and fantasy.
Dragon Form (Blood of the Ancients #13) – Dan Michaelson and D. K. Holmberg
An impossible power is coming. None are prepared.
The power the heralds serve has begun to move, swallowing everything in its wake.
As Rob races to save his realm, he realizes the key to stopping it won’t be found in his realm at all.
But how can he use unity—and link realms—in places this power has already consumed?
Progression may no longer be possible. And if it’s not, how can he save everything he cares for?
Mephisto’s Game (Galaxy’s Edge: Tyrus Rechs: Contracts & Terminations #4) – Jason Anspach and Nick Cole
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted
The fearsome bounty hunter Tyrus Rechs has laid a careful trap to kill an elusive and powerful criminal known as Mister Zauro for crimes orchestrated on the planet Detron. But unbeknownst to the bounty hunter, another trap has been laid just as carefully… a trap for Tyrus Rechs himself.
For Zauro is a Lizzaar, and Lizzaar crime lords are not without their defenses.
Rechs is mere moments away from finishing his termination when the counter-trap is triggered. In an instant the tables are turned, the hunter becomes the hunted, and it is Rechs who is on the run as he is battered by an army of mercenaries, assassins, and war bots led by a mysterious and ruthless killer named Mephisto.
Now Tyrus Rechs, the perpetual loner, must rely on a growing group of unlikely allies if he hopes to survive to see the end of… Mephisto’s Game!
The Province of Danger (The Transhuman War #2) – C. S. Ferguson
In the aftermath of the disasters at Denham’s Folly and Victoria, both Biofate—the cybernetics and genetic engineering criminal syndicate—and CARD—the ultra-secret special operations group tasked with raiding and destroying cybernetics and genetic engineering labs—are convinced they are losing the war.
From the shadows, Anna Capo, the Executor of Biofate, continues to manipulate military units, the government bureaucracy, and interplanetary corporations like a master puppeteer, working to get the upper hand.
Meanwhile, CARD, looking for a win, brings in the big guns for their next assault. When the results are less than they’d hoped for, they are forced to find different ways to get the information they need on the labs… and why they are suddenly so hard to shut down.
Both CARD and Biofate have stepped up their efforts to take the initiative, and both groups have laid traps for the other—each believing they are luring the other into the same battle—and when the dust settles, neither side will be unaffected. This is war, not for territory, or resources, or industry. It’s a war to determine who decides the fate of the human race.
Red Claw (Dragonblood Assassin #2) – Andy Peloquin and Jaime Castle
Treachery simmers beneath the Empire’s surface.
Powerful dragonblood vials have been stolen from their murdered owners. Magisters, answering to a shadowy figure known only as Red Claw, seek to undermine the emperor.
Kullen’s work as Black Talon will only grow bloodier as his path crosses with the Crimson Fang, hopeful they might know where to find a kid-napped Prince Jaylen.
Natisse yearns for vengeance against the one who has taken so much from her. Yet, for the sake of the mission—always the mission—she must put her hate aside and attempt to trust the Crimson Fang’s greatest enemy.
With her new Ember Dragon Golgoth by her side, the playing field is even—assuming she can learn to control the fires that rage within her.
Together, assassin and rebel must delve into deep waters and high towers to discover the truth behind so many secrets—secrets that threaten to destroy the very Empire itself.
Red Company #2: Discovery – B. V. Larson
For centuries, mankind has searched for nonhuman civilizations in the cosmos. These lost alien societies have finally been discovered—but they were destroyed long ago.
There’s a land-rush on exploiting alien tech. Pirates, claim-jumpers, cyborgs, and bureaucrats all must be defeated to keep Borag flying.
Corporal Devin Starn is working his way up through the ranks of Red Company. Aboard Borag, a mining ship based out of Mars City, Starn discovers more about the aliens who preceded us. Their ruins and strange technologies deepen the mystery of their ancient downfall.
Death Flex – a crowdfunding campaign by Pilum Press
The headsman of Nuremburg, Franz Schmidt put an end to hundreds of convicts, each of whom merited a line in his ledger:
“Schober was beheaded by favour; Marti was hanged, and the bleachers made him a pair of very white hose, a doublet and stockings of Cologne linen.”
Introduced by the best-selling author, Brian Evenson, Pilum is proud to publish four new writers who take us into the forgotten reality behind these laconic entries in Schmidt’s fascinating sixteenth-century execution records. Brian Renninger, JB Jackson, Lester Glover, and John Daker rescue final truths only fiction can properly deliver. The back half of this beautiful, yet lugubrious volume examines the reality principle at play in the fiction of Jack Vance by leading Vance critic, Paul Rhoads. Further fictions from Messrs. Alexander Palacio and CD Crabtree transport us to settings uncomfortably proximate and movingly legendary. Finally, Jeffro Johnson meditates on the significance of death, ludic and otherwise, among players of D&D.
The crowd-funded campaign will close on 19 June, 2023.