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Six Books About Being A Cog in the Dystopian Machine

the lost cause by cory doctorowIf the word “dystopia” broken down into its Greek roots literally means a “bad” “place,” what could be a worse place than the soul-sucking bureaucracy of a totalitarian state? Well, the cold truth that dystopia’s in the modern age aren’t as fictional as the books we like to read. But here’s good news: fiction can help us understand the hard edges and complexities of our world, including the thornier emotional truths that underlay everything else. 

Cory Doctorow’s work often speaks truth to power, combining his extensive technological and sociological insight with a skill for teaching, and translating esoteric technologia into entertaining narrative. Enter The Lost Cause, his new near-future novel that grapples with the twin dangers of climate change and a movement of people who cling to a gilded and distorted view of the past that never really existed as they recall, and definitely never will in an increasingly unstable future.

Here are six more books about dystopian bureaucracies and the characters who make them work, and sometimes end up bringing them down.

By Yvonne Ye


Falling lineart sparrow and cover text for When the Sparrow Falls by Neil SharpsonWhen the Sparrow Falls by Neil Sharpson

Neil Sharpson’s debut novel (now available in trade paperback!) opens with StaSec (“State Security”) agent and cog-in-the-totalitarian-machine Nikolai South eking out a miserable existence in the Caspian Republic, where atrocities are mundane and fear the general state of being. The Caspian Republic remains the last bastion of “true” humanity in a world that has succumbed to the siren song of uploaded consciousness. Both Party ideology and South’s beliefs will be challenged when he is assigned to escort the lovely Lily Xirau, a recent widow of a virulently anti-AI journalist, for the duration of her visit to the Caspian Republic.

The first catch: both Lily Xirau and her husband are actually AI. 

The second catch: Lily Xirau bears an uncanny resemblance to South’s own wife, who drowned twenty years ago. 

As state secrets and South’s past begin to unravel with Lily Xirau’s arrival, South is forced to grapple with his beliefs and his grief as he helps Lily search for the truth behind her husband’s death. When the Sparrow Falls examines the question of what it means to be human through the lenses of AI, transhumanism, grief, and totalitarian dystopia, all buttoned up sharply in the suit of a Cold War-era spy thriller reminiscent of le Carré and Orwell.

Placeholder of  -45Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

Autonomous explores another world where humanity is threatened by the acceleration of the various systems that govern it, though the forces in Autonomous are pharmaceutical and capitalistic rather than organic supremacist and dictatorial. The residents of Newitz’s world are trapped by a late-capitalistic regime where Big Pharma owns everything, from patents to people. The novel follows three primary characters: Jack, an anti-patent drug pirate on the run; Eliasz, a desperately fanatical and deeply damaged military agent hunting her down; and Paladin, a robot who is navigating his own profoundly human journey of self-discovery.

Both Nikolai South in When the Sparrow Falls and Eliasz in Autonomous struggle with their own humanity while working for profoundly tyrannical regimes that attempt to stomp the soul out of them. Trapped by the drudgery of work and the necessities of survival, South and Eliasz must grapple with their complicity in oppressive systems and the cost it takes to do the right thing.

Place holder  of - 77The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

The Oubliette could be a Martian paradise, if you only have the time. The currency of Rajaniemi’s world is measured not in dollars, but in seconds—and time can be stolen. In order to expose the hidden conspiracy of cryptarch governors in the panoptical society of the Oubliette, the mysterious Mieli calls upon gentleman thief Jean Le Flambeur. After all, who better to perform an impossible heist than a legendary thief?

While Rajaniemi’s world of constant surveillance in the Oubliette relies on high-technology to manipulate the fabric of human society, the Caspian Republic in When the Sparrow Falls uses good old-fashioned methods from the Cold War—bugs and brainwashing. South continually hears the voice of “the Good Brother,” an insidious mouthpiece of paranoia and party propaganda urging him to report his neighbors and deny the humanity of Lily, the AI he has been tasked to protect. Both Rajaniemi and Sharpson fabricate fantastically fanatical societies in visions of our alternate presents and alternate futures.

Image Place holder  of - 49Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

In Morgan’s cyberpunk future, human consciousness can survive indefinitely by being “re-sleeved” in new flesh bodies. Takeshi Kovacs, an ex-elite soldier turned criminal turned private eye, is hired to investigate the death of Laurens Bancroft, a wealthy man whose trail leads to a virus that has the potential to contaminate the cortical stacks that store human consciousness and cause permanent death.

Humanity in Morgan’s world happily re-sleeves itself in new bodies whenever death comes knocking, but the populace of the Caspian Republic has not yet attained the same blasé attitude about human existence. Both Lily Xirau and Nikolai South in When the Sparrow Falls grapple with the question of what makes someone human, and come to find that the answer has nothing at all to do with the body one wears, and everything to do with the heart one follows.

Image Placeholder of - 19Infomocracy by Malka Older

Malka Older’s groundbreaking cyberpunk political thriller series begins with Infomocracy, set in a world where results of the upcoming election are poised to change everything. A powerful search engine called Information shapes every aspect of human life, from social interaction to research to political campaigning. While traveling around the world as a campaign agent for the idealistic Policy1st party, Ken meets and hooks up with Mishima, an operative of Information. Mishima fights—literally—to keep the search engine as accurate and non-partisan as possible. Meanwhile, the mysterious dissident Domaine pursues his own anti-campaign against the whole system of microdemocracy.

Nikolai South shares struggles with Ken and Mishima as agents of and players within a machine that is both personal and political. Whether the system will remain standing is an open question throughout both books—and whether these characters are the key to bringing the system down is another.

Poster Placeholder of - 10The Laundry Files series by Charles Stross

When IT tech worker Bob Howard accidentally stumbles across mathematical equations that can summon Lovecraftian monsters from alternate dimensions, he is forcibly drafted into the Laundry, a British government agency that specializes in dealing with occult threats. Between combating dimension-hopping terrorists, protecting lovely logic professors performing reality-bending research, learning the secret history of the world, and—worst of all—attending committee meetings, Bob Howard has his hands full with the fieldwork and paperwork required to defend the world from ancient, eldritch powers.

Spy thriller? Check. Science fiction? Check. Bureaucratic humor? Check. Nikolai South’s dry humor could give Bob Howard’s a run for its money, and the two of them could certainly share a drink (or five) over the dreary horrors of bureaucracy.

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Tor Books at NYCC 2022!

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We couldn’t be more thrilled to get back to the Big Apple—Tor Books is coming to New York Comic Con! Join the convention from October 6-9 (tickets for physical & virtual access can be bought here) for some amazing panels, and don’t forget to follow us on social media and the hashtag #TorNYCC2022 for announcements, sweepstakes, and more!


Thursday — October 6

Morning ARC Giveaway

Booth 3027
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Kate Elliott, The Keeper’s Six

In-Booth Signing: Anne Heltzel

Booth 3027
2:00 – 3:00 PM
With her spine-chilling and sharp adult debut, Anne Heltzel (she/her) is a fresh new voice in horror!

Evening ARC Giveaway 

Booth 3027
3:00 – 4:00 PM
Leopoldo Gout, Piñata

Panel – Improbable Imaginings

Room 1B-02
3:45 – 4:45 PM

AKA Flights of Fantasy Fiction: Let your imagination soar through the fantastic tales of deadly games, royal intrigues, wuxia, espionage, and ancestral hauntings. Phoebe Cramer (Publishers Weekly) chats craft and creativity with Alex Aster (Lightlark), Alina Boyden (Gifting Fire), Wesley Chu (The Art of Prophecy), GennaRose Nethercott (Thistlefoot), and Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive).


Friday — October 7

Morning ARC Giveaway

Booth 3027
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
J. R. Dawson, The First Bright Thing

Panel – Spotlight on Leigh Bardugo

Room 405
12:00 – 1:00 PM

Meet the #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo! Ten years ago, her first book Shadow and Bone hit shelves – and now, the Grishaverse spans nine novels (including the Shadow and Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology, the King of Scars duology), Demon in the Wood (the brand-new graphic novel prequel), and was the inspiration behind Netflix’s record-breaking original series. She’s also the author of adult fantasy Ninth House and its forthcoming sequel, Hell Bent. Celebrate a decade of Bardugo on this spotlight panel moderated by Tochi Onyebuchi.

In-Booth Signing: John Scalzi

Booth 3027
1:00 – 2:00 PM
One of the most popular SF authors of his generation + burrito chef / artist, John Scalzi (he/him) is here to sign some books 😎

In-Booth Signing + ARC Giveaway: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Booth 3027
2:00 – 3:00 PM
Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of the Witchlands series Susan Dennard (she/her) returns with something haunting, something new: The Luminaries.

Evening ARC Giveaway 

Booth 3027
3:00 – 4:00 PM
Annalee Newitz, The Terraformers

In-Booth Signing: Tochi Onyebuchi

Booth 3027
4:00 – 5:00 PM
The awards and accolades of Tochi Onyebuchi (he/him) cannot be contained in the space allowed by his short blog introduction, which is just another accomplishment! So, put quickly: author of Riot Baby and Goliath & delightful nerd Tochi Onyebuchi will be signing in the above place at the above time!

Panel – Leaning into the Witchy

Room 1C-02
5:15 – 6:15 PM

Enjoy a tasty brew of witchcraft, magic, and practitioners conjured up by Celestine Martin (Witchful Thinking), Andy Mientus (Fraternity), Susan Dennard (The Luminaries), Scarlett St. Clair (When Stars Come Out) and Jenna Evans Welch (Spells for Lost Things), with Liberty Hardy (Book Riot Senior Contributing Editor) stirring the conversational pot. Post-panel signing by Susan Dennard @ Table 3-4!

Panel – Tor After Dark: Chaotic Book Club

Room 405
7:30 – 8:30 PM

Join a panel of Tor employees as they discuss some of their favorite book moments, give you an in depth sneak peek at upcoming reads and indulge in some real-talk book talk–all while answering questions from you along the way. If a pub trivia night, a Reddit AMA, and a book club had a baby…well it’d be really weird but it would also be this panel–which is why attendees are guaranteed to have a good time. Trivia prizes will be given and attendees will each receive a book.


Saturday — October 8

Panel – Calling All Monsters: On Liminality & Power Through the Lens of Speculative Fiction

Room 406.2
10:20 – 11:30 AM

When it comes to power, what better comes to mind than the literal ability to fly, shapeshift, or otherwise hold magic at your fingertips? Join Geeks OUT, as a panel of speculative fiction writers discusses how their characters interact with the supernatural, while navigating intersectional identities. Discussing how power manifests in more ways than one, speculative fiction addresses how members of marginalized communities fight back against real and fictional evils. Panelists include Alechia Dow (The Sound of Stars), Kylie Ren Baker (The Keeper of Night), Claribel A. Ortega (Witchlings), Alexandra Rowland (A Taste of Gold and Iron), Neon Yang (The Genesis of Misery), and moderated by Geeks OUT Editorial Coordinator, Michele Kirichanskaya.

Morning ARC Giveaway

Booth 3027
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Malka Older, The Mimicking of Known Successes

In-Booth Signing: Amanda Foody & C. L. Herman

Booth 3027
12:00 – 1:00 PM
The powerhouse duo behind the bestselling dark YA fantasy All of Us Villains Duology, Amanda Foody (she/her) & C. L. Herman (they/she) are here to work some magic signing books!

Panel – Titans of Fantasy In Conversation

Room 405
12:00 – 1:00 PM

Join three of the biggest authors in the fantasy genre for a can’t miss conversation only at New York Comic Con! Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive), Diana Gabaldon (Outlander) and Terry Brooks (The Shannara Chronicles) will take the stage for a one-of-a-kind panel to discuss what it’s like to build iconic worlds that keep fans reading “just one more chapter”.

In-Booth Signing: Neon Yang

Booth 3027
1:00 – 2:00 PM
In previous incarnations, Neon (they/them) was a molecular biologist, a science communicator, a writer for animation, games and comic studios, and a journalist for one of Singapore’s major papers. Now they’re a writer of award-winning science-fiction. Oh, yeah, and also signing at our booth 😎

Q&A and Reading: Brandon Sanderson

Room 405
1:30 – 3:30 PM

In-Booth Signing: Alexandra Rowland

Booth 3027
2:00 – 3:00 PM
Alexandra Rowland (they/them) is the author of A Taste of Gold and Iron plus cohost of the four-time-Hugo-Award-nominated podcast Be the Serpent, all sternly supervised by their feline quality control manager. We’re just thankful their cat signed off on allowing them to sign books with us!

Evening ARC Giveaway 

Booth 3027
3:00 – 4:00 PM
Fonda Lee, Untethered Sky


Sunday — October 9

Morning ARC Giveaway

Booth 3027
10:00 – 11:00 AM
Moses Ose Utomi, The Lies of the Ajungo

In-Booth Signing: Jennifer Marie Brissett

Booth 3027
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Jennifer Marie Brissett (she/her) has warn many hats: software engineer, writer of critically-lauded science fiction, and proprietor of Indigo Café & Books in Brooklyn! Add to that list: author we’re so lucky to have signing at our booth!

In-Booth Signing: Paul Cornell

Booth 3027
12:00 – 1:00 PM
Paul Cornell’s (he/him) storied career of writing stories has taken him from TV to novels to comics! Today it takes him to our booth. Stop by and ask for his signature 😎

Pre-panel Signing: Jennifer Marie Brissett

Room 1C-03
Table 3-4
1:00 PM

Pre-panel Signing: Neon Yang, Tochi Onyebuchi, & John Scalzi

Room 1B-02
Table 3-4
2:45 PM

Evening Book Giveaway 

Booth 3027
3:00 – 4:00 PM
Stan Lee & Jay Bonansinga, The Devil’s Quintet

Panel – Building on the Bones: Retold and Reimagined

Room 1C-03
3:00 – 4:00 PM

Authors draw inspiration from One Thousand and One Nights, Greek mythology including Persephone’s story, Chinese mythology, and tales of fate to create their original stories. Emily Calkins (Books Content Manager at Likewise) explores fantastic speculative worlds with Chelsea Abdullah (The Stardust Thief), Maya Deane (Wrath Goddess Sing), Emily X.R. Pan (An Arrow to the Moon), Kalynn Bayron (This Wicked Fate), and Jennifer Marie Brissett (Destroyer of Light).

Panel – The Future is Not Unwritten

Room 1B-02
3:45 – 4:45 PM

It’s impossible to predict what the future holds…but these authors have a pretty good shot at it. Go on a journey from our present day to so many possible futures as envisioned by some of science fictions brightest stars. From secret kaiju-ridden islands to far-flung intergalactic societies Jennifer Marie Brissett (Destroyer of Light) John Scalzi (The Kaiju Preservation Society) Neon Yang (The Genesis of Misery) and Tochi Onyebuchi (Goliath) write stories about our futures that tell us about our present.

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On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events in October

Your favorite Tor/Forge authors are hitting the road in October! See who’s coming to a city near you this month.

Mary Robinette Kowal, The Fated Sky

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Tuesday, October 2
Murder by the Book
Houston, TX
6:30 PM

V. E. Schwab, Shades of Magic Trilogy / Vengeful

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Friday, October 5

New York Comic Con, Javits Center Booth #2136
New York, NY
3: 00 PM

New York Comic Con, Javits Center Room 1A18
New York, NY
5:15 PM

Saturday, October 6
New York Comic Con, Javits Center Room 1B03
New York, NY
12:15 PM

New York Comic Con, Javits Center Room 1B03
New York, NY
4:00 – 5:00 PM

V. E. Schwab, Vengeful

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Monday, October 1
Anderson’s Bookshop
La Grange, IL
7:00 PM

Tuesday, October 2
Barnes & Noble
Roseville, MN
7:00 PM

Wednesday, October 3
Coolidge Corner Theater
Brookline, MA
6:00 PM

Sunday, October 7
Arlington Central Library
Arlington, VA
4:00 PM

Monday, October 8
Strand Books
New York, NY
7:00 PM

Marie Miranda Cruz, Everlasting Nora

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Tuesday, October 2
Mysterious Galaxy
San Diego, CA
7:00 PM

Thursday, October 4
Books of Wonder
New York, NY
6:30 PM

Friday, October 5
RJ Julia Booksellers
Madison, CT
6:30 PM

Saturday, October 6
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Cincinnati, OH
2:00 PM

Sunday, October 7
Kids Ink
Indianapolis, IN
2:00 PM

Wednesday, October 10
Anderson’s Bookshop
La Grange, IL
7:00 PM

Thursday, October 11
Lemuria Books
Jackson, MS
5:00 PM

Thursday, October 18
Vroman’s Bookstore
Pasadena, CA
7:00 PM

David Hagberg, Face Off

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Thursday, October 11
Bookstore 1
Sarasota, FL
6:00 PM

Mark Oshiro, Anger Is a Gift

Friday, October 5
New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Booth #2136
New York, NY
11:00 AM

New York Comic Con, Javits Center Room 1B03
New York, NY
2:45 PM

Malka Older, State Tectonics

Thursday, October 18
Fountain Bookstore
Richmond, VA
6:30 PM

Matt Goldman, Broken Ice

Friday, October 5
The Bookstore at Fitger’s 
Duluth, MN
7:00 PM

Saturday, October 20
Corona Public Library
Corona, CA
12:00 PM

Paddy Hirsch, The Devil’s Half Mile

Saturday, October 20
Corona Public Library
Corona, CA
12:00 PM

William Martin, Bound for Gold

Wednesday, October 24
Burlington Public Library
Burlington, MA
7:00 PM

John Scalzi, The Consuming Fire

Tuesday, October 16
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM

Wednesday, October 17
Barnes & Noble
Portland, OR
7:00 PM

Thursday, October 18
The Last Bookstore
Los Angeles, CA
7:00 PM

Friday, October 19
Borderlands Books
San Francisco, CA
6:00 PM

Saturday, October 20
Weller Book Works
Salt Lake City, UT
2:00 PM

Monday, October 22
American Writers Museum
Chicago, IL
6:30 PM

Tuesday, October 23
Flyleaf Books
Chapel Hill, NC
7:00 PM

Wednesday, October 24
Quail Ridge Books & Music
Raleigh, NC
7:00 PM

Thursday, October 25
Avid Bookshop
Athens, GA
6:00 PM

Charlie Jane Anders, The City in the Middle of the Night

Thursday, October 4
New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Room 1A18
New York, NY
12:15 – 1:15 PM

Friday, October 5
New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Booth #2136
New York, NY
1:00 PM

New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Room 1A18
New York, NY
5:15 PM

Sunday, October 7
New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Room 1A18
New York, NY
12:15 – 1:15 PM

S.L. Huang, Zero Sum Game

Thursday, October 4
New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Booth #2136
New York, NY
2:00 PM

K Arsenault Rivera, The Phoenix Empress

Thursday, October 4
New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Booth #2136
New York, NY
4:00 PM

Friday, October 5
New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Room 1A18
New York, NY
5:15 – 6:15 PM

Mark A. Altman & Edward Gross, So Say We All

Thursday, October 4
New York Comic Con, Shop Studies
New York, NY
8:30 – 10:00 PM

Friday, October 5
New York Comic Con, Shop Studies
New York, NY
3:30 – 5:00 PM

Sherrilyn Kenyon, Stygian

Friday, October 5
New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Booth #2136
New York, NY
5:00 PM

Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire

Saturday, October 6
New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Booth #2136
New York, NY
11:00 AM

Annalee Newitz, Autonomous

Saturday, October 6
New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Booth #2136
New York, NY
2:00 PM

New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Hall 1A Author Autographing Area
New York, NY
5:15 PM

New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Room 1B03
New York, NY
6:30 PM

Seanan McGuire, Wayward Children Series

Saturday, October 6
New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Booth #2136
New York, NY
5:00 PM

Myke Cole, The Queen of Crows

Saturday, October 6
New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Booth #2136
New York, NY
12:00 PM

David Mack, The Iron Codex

Saturday, October 6
New York Comic Con, Javits Center, Booth #2136
New York, NY
12:00 PM

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New Releases: 9/11/18

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

The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse

Image Placeholder of - 96 The only thing worse than being locked in is facing what you locked out.

Rett Ward knows how to hide. He’s had six years of practice at Walling Home, the state-run boarding school where he learned how to keep his head down to survive.

But when Rett wakes up locked in a small depot with no memory of how he got there, he can’t hide. Not from the stranger in the next room. Or from the fact that there’s someone else’s blood on his jumpsuit.

Nomad by James Swallow

Image Place holder  of - 8 Marc Dane is a MI6 field agent at home behind a computer screen, one step away from the action. But when a brutal attack on his team leaves Dane the only survivor—and with the shocking knowledge that there are traitors inside MI6—he’s forced into the front line.

Matters spiral out of control when the evidence points toward Dane as the perpetrator of the attack. Accused of betraying his country, he must race against time to clear his name.

Port of Shadows by Glen Cook

Poster Placeholder of - 49 The soldiers of the Black Company don’t ask questions, they get paid. But being “The Lady’s favored” is attracting the wrong kind of attention and has put a target on their backs–and the Company’s historian, Croaker, has the biggest target of all.

The one person who was taken into The Lady’s Tower and returned unchanged has earned the special interest of the court of sorcerers known as The Ten Who Were Taken. Now, he and the company are being asked to seek the aid of their newest member, Mischievous Rain, to break a rebel army. However, Croaker doesn’t trust any of the Taken, especially not ones that look so much like The Lady and her sister…

State Tectonics by Malka Older

Placeholder of  -35 The future of democracy must evolve or die.

The last time Information held an election, a global network outage, two counts of sabotage by major world governments, and a devastating earthquake almost shook micro-democracy apart. Five years later, it’s time to vote again, and the system that has ensured global peace for 25 years is more vulnerable than ever.

NEW IN PAPERBACK

The Beginning Place by Ursula K. Le Guin

Place holder  of - 87 Fleeing from the monotony of his life, Hugh Rogers finds his way to “the beginning place”—a gateway to Tembreabrezi, an idyllic, unchanging world of eternal twilight. Irena Pannis was thirteen when she first found the beginning place. Now, seven years later, she has grown to know and love the gentle inhabitants of Tembreabrezi, or Mountaintown, and she sees Hugh as a trespasser.

But then a monstrous shadow threatens to destroy Mountaintown, and Hugh and Irena join forces to seek it out. Along the way, they begin to fall in love. Are they on their way to a new beginning…or a fateful end?

The Eye of the Heron by Ursula K. Le Guin

In Victoria on a former prison colony, two exiled groups—the farmers of Shantih and the City dwellers—live in apparent harmony. All is not as it seems, however. While the peace-loving farmers labor endlessly to provide food for the City, the City Bosses rule the Shantih with an iron fist. When a group of farmers decide to form a new settlement further away, the Bosses retaliate by threatening to crush the “rebellion.”

NEW IN MANGA

The Ancient Magus’ Bride Vol. 9 Story and art by Kore Yamazaki

Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! (Light Novel) Vol. 3 Story by FUNA; Art by Itsuki Akata

Dragon Goes House-Hunting Vol. 1 Story by Kawo Tanuki; Art by Choco Aya

The Testament of Sister New Devil STORM! Vol. 4 Story by Tetsuto Uesu; Art by Fumihiro Kiso

Toradora! Vol. 8 Story by Yuyuko Takemiya; Art by Zekkyo

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$2.99 Ebook Sale: Infomocracy by Malka Older

Place holder  of - 16The ebook edition of Infomocracy by Malka Older is on sale now for only $2.99! This offer will only last for a limited time, so order your copy today. The third book in the series, State Tectonicswill be available on September 11th.

About Infomocracy: It’s been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything’s on the line.

With power comes corruption. For Ken, this is his chance to do right by the idealistic Policy1st party and get a steady job in the big leagues. For Domaine, the election represents another staging ground in his ongoing struggle against the pax democratica. For Mishima, a dangerous Information operative, the whole situation is a puzzle: how do you keep the wheels running on the biggest political experiment of all time, when so many have so much to gain?

Order Your Copy

kindle nook ebooks.com Poster Placeholder of google play- 86 ibooks2 57 kobo

This sale ends October 1st.

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New Releases: 8/7/18

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

An Informal History of the Hugos by Jo Walton

Poster Placeholder of - 29 Between 2010 and 2013, Jo Walton wrote a series of posts for Tor.com, surveying the Hugo finalists and winners from the award’s inception up to the year 2000. Her contention was that each year’s full set of finalists generally tells a meaningful story about the state of science fiction at that time.

Girl at the Grave by Teri Bailey Black

Image Place holder  of - 31 A mother hanged for murder. A daughter left to pick up the pieces of their crumbling estate. Can she clear her family’s name if it means facing her own dark past?

Debut author Teri Bailey Black unearths the long-buried secrets of a small New England town in this richly atmospheric Gothic tale of murder, guilt, redemption, and finding love where least expected.

Null States by Malka Older

Image Placeholder of - 96 The future of democracy is about to implode.

After the last controversial global election, the global infomocracy that has ensured thirty years of world peace is fraying at the edges. As the new Supermajority government struggles to establish its legitimacy, agents of Information across the globe strive to keep the peace and maintain the flows of data that feed the new world order.

Privateer by Margaret Weis & Robert Krammes

Placeholder of  -32 The swashbuckling adventures of Captain Kate Fitzmaurice continues in this thrilling continuation of the epic tale of the Dragon Corsairs.

Captain Kate soon escapes from prison and saves her crew with the help of Prince Tom. She and her crew are drawn ever deeper into the intrigue and danger of doing business in the kingdom. With them running out of allies and left with nowhere to turn, Kate and Tom strike out on their own.

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells

Place holder  of - 12 Sci-fi’s favorite antisocial A.I. is back on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is.

And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.

Without Fear by Col. David Hunt & R. J. Pineiro

Southern Afghanistan, 2005. NATO forces are battling the Taliban across Kandahar Province. In a terrifying twist, the rebels unearth a tactical nuclear bomb lost in the final days of the Soviet occupation. The years buried in the sand have damaged it, so the Taliban seeks the help of al Qaeda to secure replacement parts through its contacts in Saudi Arabia, the Opium Cartel, and the Russian Mafia. Doing so, however, inadvertently alerts the Americans, the Russians, and the Israelis.

NEW IN PAPERBACK

In a Time of Treason by David Keck

Fighting under the banner of Lord Lamoric, Durand and his companions have thwarted a mad duke’s ambition and saved the crown, but their victory has brought them scars, empty purses, and little else. The fragile peace they forged with their sacrifices cannot hold. Too many barons have plotted against the king, driving him to vengeful madness, sending the kingdom into chaos.

Can Durand’s loyalties and the land of his birth survive the forces that threaten to tear them asunder during a time of treason?

Wild Cards VIII: One-Eyed Jacks by George R.R. Martin

Something is stirring on Ellis Island, something strange and dangerous enough to subdue even the white-hot tensions between Wild Cards and normal humans. They call themselves the Jumpers: a vicious gang with the power to transport their minds into others’ bodies, using them to commit acts of terror and violence, before abandoning them and leaving their victims to face the consequences.

NEW IN MANGA

Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest (Light Novel) Vol. 3 Story by Ryo Shirakome; Art by Takaya-ki

Devilman VS. Hades Vol. 2 Story by Go Nagai; art by Team Moon

Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! (Light Novel) Vol. 2 Story by FUNA; Art by Itsuki Akata

Toradora! (Light Novel) Vol. 2 Story by Yuyuko Takemiya, Art by Yasu

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6 Fascinating Books to Read While Awaiting Season 2 of Westworld

Where will artificial intelligence take us? And what existential questions will the rise of AI pose? These six reads explore the potential for robots and artificial intelligence to save — or destroy — us all… perfect to tie you over until Season 2 of Westworld.

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

Image Placeholder of - 38 It’s the future (it’s always the future) and drug pirate Jack — known as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood — is giving poor people the medicines they need but can’t afford. All admirable until Jack’s the cause of many lethal overdoses. Eliasz, a military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin, are tracking her down. While doing so, they form an unusually close bond… sound familiar? Newitz is a master storyteller, and this book is especially powerful because it probes philosophical topics like property, identity, and — of course — autonomy.

Made to Kill by Adam Christopher

Poster Placeholder of - 85 Raymond Electromagnet is a detective. He’s also a robot. Programmed to always work to make a profit and with a memory tape limit of only 24 hours, Ray would do just about anything to get some cold hard cash, and he’s sure as hell good at keeping secrets. Hired to find a missing movie star, Ray the robot gets into some serious trouble… making the novel a thrill to read.

Infomocracy by Malka Older

Image Place holder  of - 29 Infomocracy was on tons of 2016 Best Books lists, and Huffington Post called it “one of the greatest literary debuts in recent history.” It deserves the praise! Political parties spar during an election cycle, twenty years after Information — a powerful search engine — ended international wars and introduced global micro-democracy. How often do you hear about awesome political thrillers?

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Place holder  of - 70 This one is really reminiscent of Westworld because it tackles the same fascinating (and scary) topic: consciousness in robots. In All Systems Red, a self-aware android on a mission in space has hacked its governor module and now refers to itself as “Murderbot,” scornful of humans. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, even the robot wants to find out what happened. This novel is especially frightening because it poses the question of what happens when robots outsmart humans… which seems to be very plausible in the near future.

The Boost by Stephen Baker

Placeholder of  -52 What happens when artificial intelligence gets installed into the brains of 99% of the human population? For one, a serious breach of privacy. In The Boost, Ralph notices that the new update to their brain chips will open a surveillance gate that could leave Americans extremely vulnerable… but in an attempt to expose this flaw, Ralph experiences resistance that threatens his life. His chip has been ripped out of his head, so now he has to fight back with his only analog tool: his brain.

Chasing Shadows by David Brin

We’re switching it up with a short story collection — and this anthology is hyper-realistic. Collected by David Brin (a legend) and written by other SF luminaries, Chasing Shadows examines the present-day increase in video surveillance and the state of technological transparency… ultimately revealing what the world might look like down the line (spoiler: dystopia).

If you’re looking for a quick yet horrifying non-fiction read, check out this 2-part article.

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Cyber Week eBook Deals

Get ready to fill your ereaders with these great deals, starting at $1.99!

For $2.99:

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

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Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Order Your Copy of Down Among the Sticks and Bones for $2.99:

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Infomocracy by Malka Older

Poster Placeholder of - 44It’s been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything’s on the line.

With power comes corruption. For Ken, this is his chance to do right by the idealistic Policy1st party and get a steady job in the big leagues. For Domaine, the election represents another staging ground in his ongoing struggle against the pax democratica. For Mishima, a dangerous Information operative, the whole situation is a puzzle: how do you keep the wheels running on the biggest political experiment of all time, when so many have so much to gain?

Order Your Copy of Infomocracy for $2.99:

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Night Embrace by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Place holder  of - 87Dear Reader,

Life is great for me. I have my chicory coffee, my warm beignets, and my best friend on the cell phone. Once the sun goes down, I am the baddest thing prowling the night: I command the elements, and I know no fear. For centuries, I’ve protected the innocent and watched over the mankind, making sure they are safe in a world where nothing is ever certain. All I want in return is a hot babe in a red dress, who wants nothing more from me then one night.

Instead, I get a runaway Mardi Gras float that tries to turn me into roadkill and a beautiful woman who saves my life but can’t remember where she put my pants. Flamboyant and extravagant, Sunshine Runningwolf should be the perfect woman for me. She wants nothing past tonight, no ties, no long-term commitments.

But every time I look at her, I start yearning for dreams that I buried centuries ago. With her unconventional ways and ability to baffle me, Sunshine is the one person I find myself needing. But for me to love her would mean her death. I am cursed never to know peace or happiness-not so long as my enemy waits in the night to destroy us both.

Talon of the Morrigantes

Order Your Copy of Night Embrace for $2.99:

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Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Placeholder of  -95Dear Reader,

Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be immortal? To journey through the night stalking the evil that preys on humans? To have unlimited wealth, unlimited power? That is my existence, and it is dark and dangerous. I play hero to thousands, but am known to none. And I love every minutes of it.

Or so I thought until one night when I woke up handcuffed to my worst nightmare: a conservative woman in a button-down shirt. Or in Amanda’s case, one buttoned all the way up to her chin. She’s smart, sexy, witty, and wants nothing to do with the paranormal–in other words, me.

My attraction to Amanda Devereaux goes against everything I stand for. Not to mention the last time I fell in love it cost me not only my human life, but also my very soul. Yet every time I look at her, I find myself wanting to try again. Wanting to believe that love and loyalty do exist.

Even more disturbing, I find myself wondering if there’s any way a woman like Amanda can love a man whose battle scars run deep, and whose heart was damaged by a betrayal so savage that he’s not sure it will ever beat again.

Kyrian of Thrace

Order Your Copy of Night Pleasures for $2.99:

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Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

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John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce-and aliens willing to fight for them are common. The universe, it turns out, is a hostile place.

So: we fight. To defend Earth (a target for our new enemies, should we let them get close enough) and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has gone on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force, which shields the home planet from too much knowledge of the situation. What’s known to everybody is that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve your time at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine-and what he will become is far stranger.

Order Your Copy of Old Man’s War for $2.99:

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Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Order Your Copy of Vicious for $2.99:

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For $1.99:

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

Order Your Copy of All Systems Red for $1.99:

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Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself — but first she has to make it there, alive.

Order Your Copy of Binti for $1.99:

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This offer ends December 1st.

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On the Road: Tor/Forge Author Events in October

Tor/Forge authors are on the road in October! See who is coming to a city near you this month.

Elizabeth Bear, The Stone in the Skull

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Tuesday, October 10
Odyssey Bookshop
South Hadley, MA
7:00 PM
In conversation with Scott Lynch.

Wednesday, October 11
Pandemonium Books and Games
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM
In conversation with Scott Lynch.

Matt Goldman, Gone to Dust

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Sunday, October 29
Men of Mystery
Irvine Marriott Hotel
Irvine, CA
9:00 AM
Books provided by Mysterious Galaxy.

Erika Lewis, Game of Shadows

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Thursday, October 5
Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN
7:00 PM

Seanan McGuire, Deadlands: Boneyard

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Tuesday, October 17
Barnes & Noble
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM

Annalee Newitz, Autonomous

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Tuesday, October 10
Harvard Book Store
Cambridge, MA
7:00 PM

Thursday, October 12
Kramerbooks
Washington, DC
6:30 PM

Friday, October 13
City Winery
New York, NY
8:00 PM
Cabinet of Wonders – also with Aparna Nancherla.

Linda Stasi, Book of Judas

Tuesday, October 3
Waterside Health Club
New York, NY
6:30 PM

Brian Staveley, Skullsworn

Sunday, October 15
Towne Book Center
Collegeville, PA
3:00 PM

Fran Wilde, Horizon

Sunday, October 15
Casa Machado
San Diego, CA
6:00 PM
Books provided by Mysterious Galaxy. Also with Chuck Wendig and Kevin Hearne.

Tuesday, October 17
Borderlands Café
San Francisco, CA
6:00 PM
Also with Chuck Wendig and Kevin Hearne.

Wednesday, October 18
Powell’s Books
Beaverton, OR
7:00 PM
Also with Chuck Wendig and Kevin Hearne.

Thursday, October 19
University Temple United Methodist Church
Seattle, WA
7:00 PM
Books provided by the University Bookstore. Also with Chuck Wendig and Kevin Hearne.

Sunday, October 22
Fountain Bookstore
Richmond, VA
2:00 PM

Wednesday, October 25
SecurityScorecard Women in Tech Meetup
SecurityScorecard HQ
New York, NY
6:00 PM

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New Releases: 9/19/17

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

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

Poster Placeholder of - 43 Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can’t otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane.

Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?

Book of Judas by Linda Stasi

Image Place holder  of - 99 When her infant son is placed in mortal danger, New York City reporter Alessandra Russo is forced to save him by tracking down the missing pages of the Gospel of Judas, a heretical manuscript that was unearthed in Al-Minya, Egypt, in the 1970s. The manuscript declares that Judas was the beloved, not the betrayer, of Jesus.

The Gospel disappeared for decades before being rediscovered, rotted beyond repair, in a safety deposit box. Rumors insist that the most important pages had been stolen—pages that Alessandra now must find, if they even exist.

Null States by Malka Older

Place holder  of - 40 The future of democracy is about to implode.

After the last controversial global election, the global infomocracy that has ensured thirty years of world peace is fraying at the edges. As the new Supermajority government struggles to establish its legitimacy, agents of Information across the globe strive to keep the peace and maintain the flows of data that feed the new world order.

NEW IN PAPERBACK

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Placeholder of  -22 Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status “darkeyes.” Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.

NEW IN MANGA

Bloom into You Vol. 3 Story and art by Nakatani Nio

Dreamin’ Sun Vol. 3 Story and art by Ichigo Takano

The High School Life of a Fudanshi Vol. 2 Story and art by Michinoku Atami

Plum Crazy! Tales of a Tiger-Striped Cat Vol. 2 Story and art by Hoshino Natsumi 

The Seven Princes of the Thousand-Year Labyrinth Vol. 4 Story by Aikawa Yu; Art by Atori Haruno

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