The Compton Crook Award-winning author weaves her trademark blend of science fiction and dark humor in this dazzling story that continues the imaginative saga begun in Escaping Exodus, in which a society lives in the belly of a beast—and an entire civilization’s survival depends on a pair of uneasy allies who must come together for one epic battle.
Nearly a thousand years removed from Earth, the remnants of humanity cling to existence inside giant, space faring creatures known as the Zenzee. Abused and exploited by humans for generations, these majestic animals nearly went extinct, but under the command of its newly minted ruler, Doka Kaleigh, life in the Parados I has flourished. Thanks to careful oversight and sacrifice by all of its crew, they are now on the brink of utopia, and yet Doka’s rivals feel threatened by that success.
The Senate allowed Doka to lead their people believing he’d fail spectacularly—a disaster that would cement the legitimacy of their long-standing matriarchy. Despite vocal opposition and blatant attacks on his authority, Doka has continued to handle his position with grace and intelligence; he knows a single misstep means disaster. When a cataclysmic event on another Zenzee world forces Doka and his people to accept thousands of refugees, a culture clash erupts, revealing secrets from the past that could endanger their future. For Doka, the stakes are bigger and more personal than ever before—and could cost him his reign and his heart.
He has fallen for the one woman he is forbidden to love: his wife, Seske.
Doka and Seske must work closely together to sway the other Zenzee worlds to stop their cycles of destruction. But when they stumble upon a discovery that can transform their world, they know they must prepare to fight a battle where there can be no winners, only survivors.
Vanessa Taylor and Drew Pearce will adapt Elizabeth Bear’s short story “Dolly” (Asimov’s). Following a competitive bidding war, the project has landed at Apple Studios. Academy Award-nominee Florence Pugh is attached to star. Pugh is repped by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Curtis Brown and Associates and attorney Ziffren Brittenham. Taylor is repped by ICM Partners, Robert Offer at Sloane Offer Weber Dern. Pearce and his Point of No Return Films is repped by WME and Jim Gilio and Warren Dern at Sloane Offer Weber Dern. Bear is represented by Jennifer Jackson at the Donald Maass Literary Agency and WME.
Library Journal: Born to serve and protect, Warlord Princes are sworn to their Queen. Daemonar Yaslana has always been bossy and protective, but he has reached an age where his behavior walks a fine line, and an emotional attack on his sister by a young Queen results in Daemonar beginning a new set of lessons under Witch, the Queen that many think of as old myth. When a curse is revealed to be rising in Kaleer, Daemonar along with his uncle and father, the High Lord and Demon Prince, respectively, must use his skills to uproot the stain before it sets too far. For Warlord Princes are their Queen’s weapons, and they will destroy any enemy—even if it wears a beloved face. Bishop (Wild Country) leans into references and characters from past books to build a century-spanning saga, tying together pieces of plot and creating new stakes that could break hearts and power. VERDICT The latest “Black Jewels” novel (after The Queen’s Bargain) continues to deliver dark fantasy with lush worldbuilding, strong characters, and high-stakes action.
NOVELS – SCIENCE FICTION
Machine, Elizabeth Bear (Saga; Gollancz)
Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tordotcom)
NOVELS – FANTASY
Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tordotcom)
Stormsong, C.L. Polk (Tordotcom)
The Midnight Bargain, C.L. Polk (Erewhon)
Creatures of Charm and Hunger, Molly Tanzer (John Joseph Adams)
Elatsoe, Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)
Beneath the Rising, Premee Mohamed (Solaris)
The Space Between Worlds, Micaiah Johnson (Del Rey; Hodder & Stoughton)
The Best of Elizabeth Bear, Elizabeth Bear (Subterranean)
Yellow Jessamine, Caitlin Starling (Neon Hemlock)
“The Translator, at Low Tide“, Vajra Chandrasekera (Clarkesworld 5/20)
“Unlike Most Tides“, Darcie Little Badger (Drabblecast 5/3/20)
Publishers Weekly: Hugo and Nebula Award–winner Wells brings her solitude-craving, media-loving killer robot protagonist another step closer to independence in the entertaining sixth entry in the Murderbot Diaries series (after Network Effect). A dead body found in Preservation Station mall propels Murderbot, a SecUnit, into a new contract as a consultant in the murder investigation. Murderbot hopes to gain the refugee status that would enable it to stay in the Preservation Alliance, but it’s an uphill battle as rogue SecUnits are feared as unhinged killers—an unfounded fear in this case, as Murderbot wants nothing more than to catch up on its favorite soap opera in peace. Vexed by the illogical humans it’s forced to work with, Murderbot patiently explains its way through the clues it uncovers, and Senior Officer Indah can’t help being impressed with Murderbot’s investigative skills and surprisingly compassionate regard for life. Murderbot’s wry observations of human behavior are as humorous as ever and the mystery is thoroughly satisfying. This is another winning series installment.
Audio rights to New York Times bestselling author Tamsyn Muir’s sequel to PRINCESS FLORALINDA AND THE FORTY-FLIGHT TOWER, to Brian Sweany at Recorded Books, by Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson.
Martha Wells’ cranky, TV-binging Murderbot, the star and narrator of four superb novellas before this novel, made for a perfect quarantine companion. Her SecUnit killing machine has favored a solitary existence ever since it hacked its way to sentience. It feels safest hunkered down in a storage bay, mainlining its favorite shows, far removed from the messy emotions and motives of people – a preference that only became more relatable as 2020 stretched on. Vividly imagined and often wryly hilarious, Network Effect stands as the strongest, richest book in the series, as the SecUnit once more must embroiled itself in human affairs, this time with a team and even a friend. Wells’ accomplished storytelling makes this a perfect entry point, but odds are once you’ve become acquainted with Murderbot you’ll want to do what it would: find a quiet spot and rush through the full series.
Locus: Fugitive Telemetry is an interesting hybrid of murder mystery and space adventure. From the beginning of her career, Martha Wells’ characters have been relatable, understandable, complex, and human; her worldbuilding deft and interesting, filled with graceful detail and implying a universe beyond the page. The Murderbot stories continue this trajectory, with an entertaining protagonist – the incredibly relatable Murderbot – and a wry, witty, darkly humorous voice. Fugitive Telemetry is a brisk, well-paced delight, and fills in a gap in Murderbot’s adventures in a satisfying way. I enjoyed the hell out of it, and I hope that Wells continues to tell Murderbot stories for a long time to come.
NETWORK EFFECT by Martha Wells
THE SPACE BETWEEN WORLDS by Micaiah Johnson