With so many books vying for your attention, it's easy for excellent reads to fall below your reading radar. I'm here to remedy that. Don't let these recent science fiction and fantasy books escape your notice.

Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay

Here's a post-apocalypse of different color. Hundreds of years after natural humanity has died off from a slow plague, the Earth is populated by a sea of endless clones to carry on human existence. Over time, the clones used genetic engineering to weed out undesirable traits, thus driving them further away from humanity. Despite their own perception that they have achieved perfection, they decide to create a human named Jack. Jack knows he's different from the rest of the people in the world and struggles to fit in. At the same time, Althea-310 has the lingering feeling that she's very much unlike her sisters. When they meet, their mutual attraction will test the limits of their definition of human.

Punishment by Scott J. Holliday

Continue reading >


 

In this bizarre future, technology exists that allows access to the memories of the living and the dead. In fact, experiencing the memories of the recently dead is how murders get solved by the police and experiencing the pain is how the criminals are punished for their crimes. It's a method that often takes its toll on the police force. Detroit-based homicide detective John Barnes has had enough of memories that aren't his. He's done with the endless voices in his head that are not his own. That is, until his personal world is shattered by a masked serial killer known as Calavera. To catch Calavera, Barnes is willing to reconnect and enter then mind of a psychopath, even if it means risking what's left of his sanity.

Windhome by Kristin Landon

Fighting an enemy is bad enough, but fighting an enemy you know nothing about makes it all the more difficult to win. That's the situation facing humanity when Earth is threatened by an unknown alien enemy which has already destroyed at least one extrasolar civilization. In an effort to learn more about their powerful enemy, Earth has been sending out exploratory missions to space. One of those ships is attacked by the enemy and crashes on the planet Windhome, an icy, pre-technology world. There, the marooned survivors must understand the ways of the few indigenous people, fight for survival, form an unwilling alliance with an outsider faction and somehow accomplish their original mission.

The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn

Years after the Rending—the mysterious post-apocalyptic event in which ninety five percent of the world's population disappeared for no discernible reason—the remaining survivors do what they can to stay alive. For her part, Mira has formed an impromptu community called Zion. She scavenges the land for the supplies that will help them survive. Mira has trained herself to avoid any emotional attachments because they inevitably lead to disappointment. The glimmer of hope she so desperately needs comes from her best friend, Lana, who announces that she is pregnant, the first pregnancy heard of since the Rending. However, Lana gives birth to an inanimate object, as do the other women who became pregnant after her. When Lana is lured away from Zion by a charismatic outsider named Michael, Mira must decide how much she's willing to lose to save her friend, her home and her own pregnancy.

Sinless cover Sinless by Sarah Tarkoff

In Tarkoff's dark near-future (which has already been optioned for a television series), right and wrong are manifested by beauty and ugliness. Here, morality is physically enforced. Those who are considered "good" are blessed with the gift of beauty, while those who are not suffer horrifying consequences, including disfigurement or even death. This has been the way of things for a long time and members of this society have come to accept them as normal. Grace is having none of that. She's always had faith in the system, but learns something that makes her question the ways of society. Despite her attempts to live a normal teenage life, Grace is thus pulled into a power struggle where the lines between good and evil are not so black and white.

The Infernal Battalion by Django Wexler

The fate of a kingdom is at stake in the latest book of The Shadow Campaigns military fantasy series. Queen Raesinia Orboan of Vordan has always relied upon the stellar military support of legendary general Janus bet Vhalnich to help protect the kingdom from adversaries, but the rise of dark magic has intervened. The Beast, an ancient demon imprisoned beneath the fortress-city of Elysium for a thousand years, has been unleashed into the world. The Beast absorbs the minds of its victims, spreading like a plague. That's how it has amassed a huge army that it now pointed directly at Vordan. Even worse, the army is being led by the Beast's latest prize, general Janus bet Vhalnich, who has declared himself Emperor. Like all citizens of the kingdom, Janus' former commanders, Marcus D'Ivoire and Winter Ihernglass, are forced to declare their loyalty for queen or emperor. Let the battle begin.

John DeNardo is the founding editor of SF Signal, a Hugo Award-winning science fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews. You can follow him on Twitter as @sfsignal.