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Our Favorite Non-Humanoid Aliens

Our Favorite Non-Humanoid Aliens

the three body problem by cixin liuA while back, we put together a kickin’ list of aliens who might not be able to ‘kick’ in the traditional ‘human’ sense of the word, because they are not humanoids. Now, with the new Netflix series of Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem captivating audiences across the galaxy, we thought it’d be a great time to bring this important piece of literary listicle writing back to the forefront. Because it’s an important piece of science fiction but also because of the Trisolarans, a notably unhuman species of extraterrestrial entities.

Check that list out below!


by Emily Hughes

The idea that any aliens the human race might encounter will look even vaguely humanoid is so tired. While the proliferation of humanoid aliens in science fiction is understandable – it can be hard to conceive of creatures so foreign we might not even recognize them as sentient. But it does happen! Here are five more of our favorite non-humanoid aliens in sci-fi.

The Ghorf (Knight by Timothy Zahn)

Image Place holder  of - 18When Nicole first wakes up on board the ship Fyrantha, she’s understandably a little unsettled by the appearance of Kahkitah, a bipedal shark-like alien who seems to be made of melted down glass marbles. But these chondrichthian creatures aren’t nearly as fierce as they look – mostly they serve as counsel and muscle on the densely-populated, living spacecraft.

Rainbow Bamboo (Semiosis by Sue Burke)

Place holder  of - 42Semiosis is a first-contact novel about plants, and at its heart is the relationship between the human settlers on the planet Pax, and a species of plant known as rainbow bamboo, which has a collective consciousness that takes the name Stevland (long story). Stevland’s voice, once it and the settlers have figured out how to communicate, is fascinating – it has awareness of all parts of its root network at once, and can manipulate its chemical reactions to grow faster, slower, in new places, or to communicate danger or opportunity to its human friends and other plants alike.

Sandworms (The Dune series by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson)

Placeholder of  -63How could we not include Sandworms, honestly? They’re iconic in the science fiction world, and for good reason. These leviathans, indigenous to the planet Arrakis, are instrumental to the production of the highly valued spice melange, though they’re intermittently dangerous to the people who harvest said spice. And though the sandworms can be managed and (occasionally) ridden, they can never truly be tamed.

The Gelet (The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders)

Poster Placeholder of - 65On the planet January, human settlers are limited to two habitable cities – but outside those cities, in the planet’s dark, cold hemisphere, live a species reviled and feared by humans: the furry, tentacled Gelet.

The Gelet are a species of individuals who share a telepathic group mind and a collective memory. They’re sentient, empathetic, and ambitious, aiming for a goal as lofty as saving their dying planet. And when Sophie, the protagonist, befriends them, they introduce her to a future filled with one thing she never anticipated: hope.

Aunt Beast (A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle)

Image Placeholder of - 54As Meg Murry recovers from her confrontation with IT, she’s nursed back to health by the four-armed, eyeless, furry creature she comes to think of as Aunt Beast. Aunt Beast is a gift, a being who writer Jaime Green calls “the embodiment of grace.” She loves Meg while creating space for Meg’s pain and anger – and we all need that sometimes.

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But What if You Added a Dragon? How Jenn Lyons Would Improve 6 Books

13Jenn Lyons is the author of the epic A Chorus of Dragons series, and she’s also one of the foremost dragonic scholars of the contemporary age. Here we consult her comprehensive knowledge of dragon lore to understand what SFF titles would benefit from the inclusion of one (or more) dragon(s).


by Jenn Lyons

I have a confession to make: I’ve never written a novel that didn’t have a dragon in it. Now, as I’m known as an epic fantasy author whose first series literally has the word dragon in the title, this may not seem like much of a confession, but please I understand: I mean all the novels. The unpublished novels that no one has ever seen, sitting in a metaphorical drawer.

Yes, the sci-fi novels too.

Why not, after all? Dragons deserve some love in any genre fiction story, whether that’s something set in a slightly speculative version of our world today to stories of the far future set in space. Raymond Chandler used to say that anytime he was stuck in a story, he’d have someone walk into a room holding a gun. Me? I have a dragon crash the party.

Works every time.

Now obviously, there are a number of sci-fi books which already contain dragons. The Dragonriders of Pern books by Anne McCaffery, Roadmarks by Roger Zelazny, and Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee are just a few books where the setting is scifi but my favorite monster is still in the house.

With that said, here’s a few sci-fi books that I feel might have been made just that tiny bit better by the introduction of a dragon:

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John ScalziThe Kaiju Preservation Society

No, don’t be silly. This already has dragons in it. John Scalzi just calls them something else. Respect.

 

 

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn MuirGideon the Ninth

It’s easy to look at Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir and accuse me of cheating by slipping a fantasy novel into the mix, but no, it turns that this story of necromancers, dead worlds, and the cost of resurrection is, in fact, sci-fi. That said, there’s enough magic flying around (or what looks like magic) to make the addition of a dragon not just thematically plausible, but easily justifiable. Who wouldn’t want to see a cadre of necromancers forced to deal with a dragon? (Probably a dead dragon. Yeah, let’s face it: this dragon’s absolutely dead. And angry about it.) Quite frankly, nobody in any Houses would’ve been surprised to find a dragon in the bowels of Canaan House. Maybe the only surprise was that there wasn’t one.

The Fifth Season by N. K. JemisinThe Fifth Season

N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth trilogy about a world regularly torn asunder by extinction level events (book one’s titular The Fifth Season) hardly needs a dragon. There’s more than enough fire from volcanoes and that one time someone opened a rift right across the entire continent, straight down into the world’s mantle. In fact, I suspect the biggest issue with a dragon in these books is the distinct possibility that no one would notice. Or if they did, would probably just give a resigned shrug as if to say “Sure, why not a dragon, too?”

All Systems Red by Martha WellsAll Systems Red

Given the nature of Martha Well’s stories about a very cranky SecUnit construct called Murderbot and its battles against far-future corporations (and its own feelings), I would absolutely want to see a dragon in one of these tales. A dragon that I suspect would immediately adopt Murderbot, because it too understands what it’s like to live in a universe where everyone assumes you’re only around to kill people and tear shit up.

I mean, yes, watching Murderbot fight a dragon would be awesome. More awesome? Watching Murderbot and a dragon fight something else.

Cibola Burn by James S. A. CoreyCibola Burn

I love the Expanse series, written by James S.A. Corey (the joint pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank). I’d love to say that I was into the books way before the TV show; that would be lying. I discovered the books because of the TV show, and immediately devoured everything that was out at the time (and continued to do so until the end of the series). Cibola Burn, the fourth book, takes places almost entirely on an alien world that humanity is attempting to colonize. It was the perfect opportunity to introduce a dragon, and I’ve got to be honest here: the authors completely missed their shot. Not a single dragon to be found anywhere. Not even a protomolecule entity shaped vaguely like a dragon. Disappointing.

And no, despite the name, Tiamat’s Wrath also has a depressing lack of actual dragons.

Dune by Frank HerbertDune

I know what you’re going to say here: Frank Herbert’s masterpiece doesn’t need dragons; it already has sandworms. But hear me out here. What if the Empire had tried to genetically engineer an alternative to sandworms? An alternative developed on another equally inhospitable planet more fully under the empire’s control, like say, Salusa Secundus? The experiment wouldn’t have worked, of course, but perhaps they ended up with something useful anyway, if only for having bad tempers and lots of sharp, pointy teeth.

All I’m saying is the Empire’s forces could’ve shown up on Arrakis with both Sardaukar troops AND dragons.

And those are just a few examples. Now I don’t expect authors to go rush out and write a bunch of sci-fi complete with dragons in it…

But why not?

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Chonky Fantasy Series to Get You Through the Rest of Whatever Year It Is

Back in 2020, we put together an article to highlight some fantasy series of REALLY BIG BOOKS that we could all get lost in until upon reaching the end, finally, we would emerge into a brighter post-2020 future.

For literally absolutely no reason at all, we’ve decided to bring this list back with some additional entries!


Image Placeholder of - 15A Chorus of Dragons series by Jenn Lyons

The Discord of Gods marks the epic conclusion to Jenn Lyons’s A Chorus of Dragons series, closing out the saga that began with The Ruin of Kings, for fans of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss.

Rampant demons, political intrigue, ancient rituals, living avatars of stars, long-lost royals, and the unstable future of an empire combine to create an epic fantasy series you’ll never forget.

Placeholder of  -92Wake the Dragons series by Kevin J. Anderson

Kevin J. Anderson is a master of the epic. In addition to co-authoring Dune’s Caladan Trilogy, he also wrote a saga of expansive and critically-lauded chonky fantasy: Wake the Dragons.

Two continents at war: the Three Kingdoms and Ishara have been in conflict for a thousand years. But when an outside threat arises—the reawakening of a powerful ancient race that wants to remake the world—the two warring nations must somehow set aside generations of hatred to form an alliance against a far more deadly enemy.

Place holder  of - 11The Caladan Trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson and Frank Herbert

Hey remember in that last entry when I mentioned that Kevin J. Anderson co-authored the Caladan Trilogy, a series of novels that flesh out Frank Herbert’s massively popular Dune universe? Yeah. That’s the next series you should check out!

Any Dune fan will devour this tale of a legend coming into his own.

Dune: The Heir of Caladan is on sale 10.18.22!

Image Place holder  of - 51Mistborn: Wax and Wayne series by Brandon Sanderson

#1 New York Times bestseller Brandon Sanderson returns to Scadrial, world of the Mistborn, as its second era, which began with The Alloy of Law, comes to a world-breaking conclusion in this fall’s forthcoming The Lost Metal.

Wanna know what happens to the fantasy world when the hero of prophecy has failed? Ever wonder if eating cool rocks could give you special powers? At the intersection of these two time-honored philosophical quandaries lays the Wax and Wayne Series.

The Lost Metal is on sale 11.15.22!

Poster Placeholder of - 77The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson

The Stormlight Archive is the latest epic fantasy from the imaginative mind of Brandon Sanderson: welcome to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war.

book-wheeloftimeThe Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time is a story that takes place both in our past and our future. In his fantasy world, the Dark One, the embodiment of pure evil, is breaking free from his prison. The overall plot is about a man who learns that he is the reincarnation of the world’s messiah and is once again destined to save the world from the Dark One — but possibly destroy it in the process. This saga is not only his story, but the story of an entire world’s struggle to deal with war and change, destruction and hope.

book-kushielKushiel’s Legacy by Jacqueline Carey

In this epic fantasy series, step into the land of Terre d’Ange, a place of unsurpassed beauty and grace. The inhabiting race rose from the seed of angels and men, and they live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt. Phèdre nó Delaunay was sold into indentured servitude as a child. Her bond was purchased by a nobleman, the first to recognize that she is one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. He trained Phèdre in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber–and, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze.

The Ascendent series by K Arsenault Rivera

K Arsenault Rivera’s epic fantasy Ascendant trilogy is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil. “Rich, expansive, and grounded in human truth…simply exquisite.”—New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab (on The Tiger’s Daughter)

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$2.99 eBook Sale: September 2021

It’s the start of a new month and you know what that means…EBOOK SALES! Check out what you can grab for the entire month of September here!

Poster Placeholder of - 72Imager by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

The Imager Porfolio is a bestselling and innovative epic fantasy series from L. E. Modesitt, Jr. that RT Book Reviews says “shines with engrossing characters, terrific plotting, and realistic world-building.” Begin the journey with Imager. Rhennthyl, son of a leading wool merchant in L’Excelsis, the capital of Solidar, has his entire life transformed when his master patron is killed in a flash fire, and Rhenn discovers he is an imager–-one of the few in the entire world of Terahnar who can visualize things and make them real.

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Place holder  of - 5Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

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Placeholder of  -8The Road to Dune by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson

Frank Herbert’s Dune is widely known as the science fiction equivalent of The Lord of the Rings, and The Road to Dune is a companion work comparable to The Silmarillion, shedding light on and following the remarkable development of the bestselling science fiction novel of all time. Herein, the world’s millions of Dune fans can now read—at long last—the unpublished chapters and scenes from Dune and Dune MessiahThe Road to Dune also includes the original correspondence between Frank Herbert and famed editor John W. Campbell, Jr.

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Image Place holder  of - 79The Redemption of Time by Baoshu, Translated by Ken Liu

In the midst of an interstellar war, Yun Tianming found himself on the front lines. Riddled with cancer, he chose to end his life, only to find himself flash frozen and launched into space where the Trisolaran First Fleet awaited. Captured and tortured beyond endurance for decades, Yun eventually succumbed to helping the aliens subjugate humanity in order to save Earth from complete destruction. Granted a healthy clone body by the Trisolarans, Yun has spent his very long life in exile as a traitor to the human race. Nearing the end of his existence at last, he suddenly receives another reprieve—and another regeneration.

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Image Placeholder of - 32The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz

1992: After a confrontation at a riot grrl concert, seventeen-year-old Beth finds herself in a car with her friend’s abusive boyfriend dead in the backseat, agreeing to help her friends hide the body. This murder sets Beth and her friends on a path of escalating violence and vengeance as they realize many other young women in the world need protecting too. 2022: Determined to use time travel to create a safer future, Tess has dedicated her life to visiting key moments in history and fighting for change. But rewriting the timeline isn’t as simple as editing one person or event. And just when Tess believes she’s found a way to make an edit that actually sticks, she encounters a group of dangerous travelers bent on stopping her at any cost.

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Step Aside, Shadowfax—6 Books Featuring Fantasy Steeds That Aren’t Horses

Sure, horses are majestic and noble beasts, but why limit yourself to four legs and hooves in fantasy when you could be riding anything from gigantic sandworms to man-eating hippos? Here are six titles that feature alternative steeds for riding into battle on, or just riding to work on.

By Yvonne Ye


Place holder  of - 61Empire’s Ruin by Brian Staveley

The Annurian Empire—the setting for Staveley’s popular series The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne—is back, and it’s disintegrating rapidly. After a disastrous mission gone terribly awry, Gwenna Sharpe must embark on a voyage beyond the edges of any maps in search for the ancient nesting grounds of the giant war hawks—massive, proud birds that can carry an entire Wing of highly skilled soldiers—the empire needs to survive.

Placeholder of  -70American Hippo by Sarah Gailey

 In the early 20th century, the U.S. Congress seriously entertained the proposition of importing hippos into the southern marshlands to be nurtured as an alternative meat source. Sarah Gailey follows that proposition to its logical conclusion: a hair-raising heist on hippo-back. Brutal, brilliant, bold, and brash, American Hippo follows Winslow Houndstooth and his crew of outlaws, con artists, assassins, and their hippo counterparts as they wreak absolute mayhem in the bayous of Louisiana—and take bloody revenge.

Poster Placeholder of - 44The Red Threads of Fortune by Neon Yang

After the explosive ending of The Black Tides of Heaven, Sanao Mokoya—ex-prophet, trained Tensor, rebel, and daughter of the supreme Protector—now spends her days hunting sky-obscuring naga: great, lizard-like beasts that soar through the heavens on clawed wings of leather, whose jaws could slice a man in half. When she meets the mysterious yet enchanting Rider, who can take to the skies on the back of a naga, Mokoya must confront conspiracy and betrayal, buried secrets and deadly magic while navigating her own trauma and grief.

Image Place holder  of - 57Star Eater by Kerstin Hall

Come for the incisive deconstruction of power in a bloody sisterhood of matriarchal nuns; stay for the haqules, the giant, swift-footed, fork-tailed feline steeds that the high-ranking members of the sisterhood ride. Elfreda Raughn wants out of the Sisterhood of Aytrium, which offers her great power at a gruesome cost. Sometimes, that means riding giant cats while making one’s dramatic escape. Sometimes, that also means evading giant cats whilst making one’s dramatic escape, but such are the dangers of infiltrating and rebelling against a cannibalistic priestesshood.

Image Placeholder of - 16The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán

If you’ve ever looked at 14th century Europe and thought to yourself that it would be improved by the addition of dinosaurs, look no further. Mercenary and Dinosaur Lord Karyl Bogomirsky has been betrayed and left for dead, but he won’t let his story end there. Milán crafts a world full of dinosaurs as wildlife, as husbandry, as pets, and of course—as steeds of war.

Dune by Frank Herbert

When the House of Atreides accepts stewardship over the planet of Arrakis, young Paul Atreides is flung into a storm of interstellar intrigue and deadly competition. Arrakis is inhospitable, desolate, and covered primarily in harsh deserts; it is also the only source of melange, a rare and exclusive spice that can both extend life and heighten mental abilities. The catch? The spice is guarded by the giant sandworms of Arrakis, who are made of little more than teeth and territorial instinct. With an upcoming film this fall featuring a powerhouse cast of Oscar Isaac, Timothée Chalamet, and Zendaya, we’re looking forward to at least one scene where a character rides the famed sandworms.

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9 of Our Favorite Rebellions in Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Happy 4th of July! This week in the US we’re celebrating the Revolutionary War. There will be food, fireworks, and of course, books—because there’s no such thing as a holiday without reading, at least not for us! Since we’re celebrating a revolution, we thought we’d share with your our list of some of our favorite revolutions and rebellions in science fiction and fantasy. What are we missing?

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Placeholder of  -26 In Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, it’s a revolution wrapped in a heist. When Vin, a young Mistborn, joins a crew of Misting thieves, she thinks their only goal is to steal the Lord Ruler’s atium stash—an incredibly rare, and therefore valuable, metal that allows Mistborn to see the future. Of course, things get much more complicated very quickly as Vin, and the reader, find that crew leader Kelsier has much more dangerous goals: to overthrow the city of Luthadel and destroy the Lord Ruler himself.

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

Image Place holder  of - 7 Ken Liu’s debut novel The Grace of Kings tells the story of two very different rebel leaders: Kuni Garu and Mata Zyndu. The conflict in this one isn’t just about the fight against tyranny, but in the relationship between the wily, charming bandit Kuni and stern aristocrat Mata. Their goals may start out in alignment, but what happens once the fighting is done? Once the rebellion has ended, the true problems have just begun!

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

Image Placeholder of - 64 What happens when a small, divided peninsula is invaded on two sides? When the conquerors use magic, as well as might? Those are only a few of the questions posed in Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana. In this standalone fantasy novel, a small band of rebels from a province forcibly forgotten by magic use guile and trickery to try to free their home from the massive armies of the two rival sorcerers who have conquered it. When you can’t compete on the battlefield, sometimes trickery can win the day!

The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin

Place holder  of - 82 When humanity moves into the stars, will we go as peaceful partners, or conquerors? Le Guin’s classic novel posits that we may not always be benevolent. In The Word for World is Forest, Terrans have enslaved the peaceful people of Athshe, and use them to harvest the forests that cover their world, since lumber has become scarce on Earth. If you visit enough atrocities upon them, however, even a peaceful people will eventually rise up against you—as the Athsheans eventually do, introducing mass violence to their previously pacifistic culture. The Word for World is Forest is short, but hard-hitting; Le Guin doesn’t pull any metaphorical punches.

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Poster Placeholder of - 40 Should you defend a rightful ruler if he’s also pretty awful? That’s one of the big questions for the characters in Saladin Ahmed’s debut novel. The aging ghul hunter Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, his assistant Raseed bas Raseed, and the magic shape-shifter Zamia Badawi thought they were on the trail of a killer. Instead, they discover a fomenting rebellion against the rightful Khalif—who’s also a terrible person. All Adoulla wants is to retire and drink tea in peace, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon if the Falcon Prince, the iron-fisted Khalif, and a brewing power struggle have anything to do with it.

The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang

It’s brother against sister in J.Y. Yang’s novella The Black Tides of Heaven. Mokoya and Akeha are the twin children of the Protector, who sold them to the Grand Monastery as children. There, they developed their gifts—and began, despite their efforts, to drift apart. Akeha, seeing the rot at the heart of his mother’s rule, chooses to fall in with The Machinists, rebels who want to end the state. Can the siblings maintain their bond as they end up on different sides of a growing conflict?

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

After a terrorist attack in his hometown of San Francisco, 17 year-old Marcus is swept up by Homeland Security for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. After days of being detained and mercilessly interrogated, Marcus is finally let go, and discovers that his world has changed. The US has become a police state, with everyone treated as a potential hostile. Privacy has gone the way of the dodo. Marcus isn’t about to take that lying down, though. It’s time to organize a cyber revolution.

Dune by Frank Herbert

In Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel, political instability is a fact of life for Paul Atreides. His father, Duke Leto, takes control of the planet Arrakis at the command of the Emperor, even knowing it’s likely a trap from House Harkonnen. Once the trap is sprung, Paul and his mother Jessica survive, fleeing to join the Fremen, the Arrakis natives who live in the desert. Using the Fremen as his fighting force, Paul embarks on a quest to take back Arrakis—and the galaxy—by overthrowing the Emperor and destroying House Harkonnen.

The Star Wars Extended Universe

Star Wars: A New Hope introduced the world to the Rebel Alliance, an organized band of misfits opposing the colossal, evil Empire. After the original trilogy, the Star Wars universe expanded out into a universe of books, with stories from a wide variety of authors, following different characters and locations across the galaxy. In Rebel Rising, we see the rise of the evil Empire as well as the formative years of a soon-to-be hero of the Rebellion: Jyn Erso. How are heroes formed? This is how.

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5 Science Fiction Tales of Revenge

Revenge is a dish best served cold—as cold as space, in fact. Maybe that’s one of the reasons revenge pairs so well with science fiction. Are you looking for a tale of vengeance in the cold, hard vacuum of space? We have some suggestions for you:

Medusa Uploaded by Emily Devenport

Poster Placeholder of - 15 Generation ships often seem to breed discontent and violence—take a large population, force them into a limited space, include the class barriers humanity just can’t seem to let go, and you have the perfect recipe for depraved acts—and the revenge that inevitably follows. In Emily Devenport’s sci-fi novel Medusa Uploaded, Oichi is one of the downtrodden, who is tossed out an airlock on suspicion of insurgency. Luckily, she’s rescued by a secret presence on the ship. And now that she’s officially dead, it’s time to fix the imbalance of power—one assassination at a time.

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

Image Placeholder of - 69 This classic 1950s novel has been called a science fiction retelling of one of the greatest revenge tales of all time: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. A poor, uneducated man is abandoned by the company that employs him, left stranded as the only survivor of an attack in deep space. Improbably, the man, Gully Foyle, survives, amasses a fortune, and educates himself all in order to pursue his singular goal: revenge against the company that wronged him, Presteign. Of course, nothing is that simple, and Gully’s journey includes many twists and turns. Is he the hero, or the villain? No one, especially Gully himself, can be entirely certain.

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Placeholder of  -65 In Ann Leckie’s Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel, great spaceships of the Radch Empire use artificial intelligence to control ancillaries, human bodies that can move and interact with people while containing the knowledge of the ship that controls them. When her ship, the Justice of Toren, is destroyed, Breq is the sole surviving ancillary. In her fragile body, Breq goes on a quest across the Empire, seeking vengeance for her own destruction.

Killing Gravity by Corey J. White

Place holder  of - 6 Mariam Xi is a dangerous woman—a deadly voidwitch, a genetically-manipulated psychic super-soldier with a high body count. She escaped MEPHISTO, the group that experimented on her and made her into the weapon she is today, but soon enough, her past is going to catch up with her. When that finally happens, MEPHISTO better watch out. There are very, very few things in the universe more dangerous than an angry voidwitch.
 
 
Dune by Frank Herbert

Image Place holder  of - 82 There are many, many, many themes in Frank Herbert’s Dune—among them ecology, empires, gender dynamics, and more. And, of course, revenge. When the Emperor and the Harkonnens kill Paul’s father, Duke Leto, Paul and his surviving family must flee and join the Fremen in the desert. Later, when Paul Muad’Dib has the chance to remove the emperor and take his place, he does it not just to become one of the most powerful people in the universe, but also to take revenge for his father’s death.

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Where to Start with the Dune Universe

Image Placeholder of - 47By Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Dune is not only a classic novel, but a vast universe created by Frank Herbert. And with six novels written by Frank himself as well as 13 novels and nine short stories written by us—covering approximately 15,000 years of history in the Dune canon—it can be difficult to figure out where to start.

We strongly recommend reading Frank Herbert’s original novel Dune first. This is one of the seminal works in all of literature, and everyone should read it. After that, we suggest Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, to finish Frank Herbert’s original trilogy.

At that point, you have several options. You can keep reading through Frank’s other three Dune novels which span about 5000 years of history, and follow that chronologically by reading our Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune, which were based upon Frank Herbert’s notes…followed by our other prequels and sequels.

As alternatives, we recommend two other entry points:

Dune: House Atreides begins a prequel trilogy that goes back to the generation just before Dune, in which we tell the story of young Duke Leto, his love story with Lady Jessica, their first battles with Baron Harkonnen, and how Crown Prince Shaddam took the Imperial throne.

Or you can go back 10,000 years before Frank Herbert’s Dune, with the trilogy that starts with Dune: The Butlerian Jihad, and another trilogy beginning with Navigators of Dune…in all, six novels that establish the origins of the Fremen, the discovery of spice, the legendary war against the thinking machines, and the beginning of the feud between House Atreides and House Harkonnen.

Yet another option would be to read all of the novels and short stories in chronological order, starting with “Hunting Harkonnens.” Below is a chronological list of novels and short stories, from beginning to end. All the short stories are collected in Tales of Dune, except for the just-released “The Waters of Kanly,” which appeared in Infinite Stars, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt.

Two other books of interest are The Road to Dune, with a collection of background material, some of the short stories, and the short novel “Spice Planet,” a very different version of Dune, as originally outlined by Frank Herbert and written by us.

And if you want to learn more about the genius of Frank Herbert, who created this grand universe, you will enjoy Dreamer of Dune, Brian’s Hugo-nominated biography of his father.

The Dune Universe in Chronological Order:

“Hunting Harkonnens” (story, Tales of Dune)
Dune: The Butlerian Jihad
“Whipping Mek” (story, Tales of Dune)
Dune: The Machine Crusade
“The Faces of a Martyr” (story, Tales of Dune)
Dune: The Battle of Corrin
Sisterhood of Dune
Mentats of Dune
“Red Plague” (story, Tales of Dune)
Navigators of Dune
Dune: House Atreides
Dune: House Harkonnen
Dune: House Corrino
“Wedding Silk” (story, Tales of Dune)
Dune
“A Whisper of Caladan Seas” (story, Tales of Dune)
“The Waters of Kanly” (story, Infinite Stars)
Paul of Dune
Dune Messiah
Winds of Dune
Children of Dune
God Emperor of Dune
Heretics of Dune
Chapterhouse Dune
“Sea Child” (story, Tales of Dune)
“Treasure in the Sand” (story, Tales of Dune)
Hunters of Dune
Sandworms of Dune
Tales of Dune
The Road to Dune
Dreamer of Dune [biography of Frank Herbert]

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New Releases: 12/5/17

Happy New Release Day! Here’s what went on sale today.

Empire Games by Charles Stross

Image Place holder  of - 92 It’s 2020. Two nuclear superpowers across timelines, one in the midst of a technological revolution and the other a hyper-police state, are set on a collision course. Each timeline’s increasingly desperate paratime espionage agencies are fumbling around in the dark, trying to find a solution to the first-contact problem that doesn’t result in a nuclear holocaust.

Hymn by Ken Scholes

Image Placeholder of - 66 The struggle between the Andro-Francine Order of the Named Lands and the Y’Zirite Empire has reached a terrible turning point. Believing that his son is dead, Rudolfo has pretended to join with the triumphant Y’zirite forces—but his plan is to destroy them all with a poison that is targeted only to the enemy.

In Y’Zir, Rudolfo’s wife Jin Li Tam is fighting a war with her own father which will bring that Empire to ruin.

The Macedonian by Nicholas Guild

Poster Placeholder of - 83 On a cold, snow-swept night in the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon, a son is born to the king’s principal wife. His mother hates him for being his father’s child. His father hardly notices him. With two elder brothers, obscurity seems his destiny. The boy is sent off to be nursed by the chief steward’s wife.

Yet, in a moment of national crisis, when Macedon is on the verge of being torn apart, the prince raised by a servant finds himself proclaimed the king.

Mississippi Roll by George R.R. Martin and Wild Cards Trust

Placeholder of  -28 Now on its final voyage, the historical steamboat Natchez is known for her super-powered guest entertainers. But after the suspicious death of a crewmember, retired NY police detective Leo Storgman decides to make this incident his personal case. His findings only lead to a growing number of questions. Is there some truth behind the ghostly sightings of the steamboat’s first captain Wilbur Leathers? What secret does the current captain seem to be hiding? And could the Natchez be ferrying mysterious – and possibly dangerous – cargo onboard?

Strong to the Bone by Jon Land

Place holder  of - 35 1944: Texas Ranger Jim Strong investigates a triple murder inside a Nazi POW camp in Texas.

The Present: His daughter, fifth generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, finds herself pursuing the killer her father never caught in the most personal case of her career—a conspiracy stretching from that Nazi POW camp to a modern-day neo-Nazi gang.

The Sword of Midras by Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott

The world died during the Fall.

Abandoned by the mighty Avatars and their Virtues, the people who remained were left defenseless in an untamed land. That is, until the Obsidians came. Through dark sorcery and overwhelming force the Obsidian Empire brought order to chaos, no matter the cost.

NEW IN PAPERBACK: 

Death’s Mistress by Terry Goodkind

The Dosadi Experiment and the Eyes of Heisenberg by Frank Herbert

Dream West by David Nevin

Duel by Richard Matheson

Margaret Truman’s Deadly Medicine by Margaret Truman and Donald Bain

The Rising by Heather Graham and Jon Land

NEW IN MANGA: 

Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor Vol. 2 Story by Tarou Hitsuji; Art by Aosa Tsunemi

Captain Harlock: Dimensional Voyage Vol. 2 Story by Leiji Matsumoto; Art by Kouichi Shimahoshi

Dragonar Academy Vol. 13 Story by Shiki Mizuchi; Art by Ran

Magika Swordsman and Summoner Vol. 8 Story by Mitsuki Mihara; Art by MonRin

To Love Ru Darkness Vol. 1 Story and Art by Kentaro Yabuki and Saki Hasemi

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New Releases: 11/8/16

Here’s what went on sale today!

At the Sign of Triumph by David Weber

At the Sign of Triumph by David WeberThe Church of God Awaiting’s triumph over Charis was inevitable. Despite its prosperity, the Charis was a single, small island realm. It boasted less than two percent of the total population of Safehold. How could it possibly resist total destruction? The Church had every reason to be confident of a swift, crushing victory, an object lesson to other rebels. But Charis had something far more powerful than simple numbers.

Alien Morning by Rick Wilber

Alien Morning by Rick WilberPeter Holman is a freelance sweeper. The year 2030 sees a new era in social media with sweepcasting, a multisensory interface that can convey every thought, touch, smell, sight, and sound, immersing the audience in another person’s experience. The fate of two civilizations depends on one troubled family in Rick Wilber’s science-fiction adventure Alien Morning.

Belle Chasse by Suzanne Johnson

Belle Chasse by Suzanne JohnsonSuzanne Johnson’s “strong and intriguing” (Publishers Weekly) urban fantasy series continues with Belle Chasse. With the wizard-elven treaty on the verge of collapse, the preternatural world stands on the brink of war. Unless former wizard sentinel DJ Jaco manages to keep the elven leader, Quince Randolph, focused on peace and not personal matters.

Dark Shadows: Heiress of Collinwood by Lara Parker

Dark Shadows: Heiress of CollinwoodDark Shadows: Heiress of Collinwood is the continuing story of the classic TV show, Dark Shadows by series star, Lara Parker. An orphan with no knowledge of her origins, Victoria Winters first came to the great house of Collinwood as a Governess. It didn’t take long for the Collins family’s many buried secrets, haunted history, and rivalries with evil forces to catch up to Victoria and cast the newcomer adrift in time, trapped between life and death.

NEW FROM TOR.COM:

The Iron Beast by Andy Remic

The Iron Beast by Andy RemicA war is being waged in an impossible world. The Skogsgra and the Naravelle have launched their final offensive, and Private Jones and his companions are caught in the melee. Tens of thousands will die before the battle is over. They travel deep underground, to find and release the Iron Beast… the one creature that can end not one world war, but two.

NOW IN PAPERBACK:

The Collected Stories of Frank Herbert by Frank Herbert

The Collected Stories of Frank Herbert by Frank HerbertFrank Herbert, the New York Times bestselling author of Dune, is one of the most celebrated and commercially successful science fiction writers of all time. But while best known for originating the character of Paul Atreides and the desert world of Arrakis, Herbert was also a prolific writer of short fiction. His stories were published individually in numerous pulps and anthologies spanning decades, but never collected. Until now.

Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. MyerA high fantasy following a young woman’s defiance of her culture as she undertakes a dangerous quest to restore her world’s lost magic in Ilana C. Myer’s Last Song Before Night. Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings-a fugitive who must conceal her identity or risk imprisonment and even death.

NEW IN MANGA

Devils and Realist Vol. 11 Story by Madoka Takadono; Art by Utako Yukihiro

A Centaur’s Life Vol. 10 Story & Art by Kei Murayama

Re:Monster Vol 1 Story by Kanekiru Kogitsune; Art by Kobayakawa Haruyoshi

Shomin Sample: I Was Abducted by an Elite All-Girls School as a Sample Commoner Vol. 3Story by Nanatsuki Takafumi; Art by Risumai

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