Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived in the mail here at the Geek Compound.
Eclipse 2: New Science Fiction and Fantasy edited by Jonathan Strahan
To observe an eclipse is to witness a rare and unusual event. Under darkened skies the sun becomes a negative image of itself, its corona transforming the landscape into a strange space where anything might happen, and any story may be true…
In the spirit of classic science fiction anthologies such as Universe, Orbit, and Starlight, master anthologist Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year) presents the non-themed genre anthology Eclipse: New Science Fiction and Fantasy. Here you will find stories where strange and wonderful things happen–where reality is eclipsed by something magical and new.
Following in the footsteps of the multiple-award-nominated Eclipse One, Eclipse Two delivers new fiction by some of the genre’s most celebrated authors, including Alastair Reynolds’s star-spanning saga of Imperial assassination and courtly intrigue; Stephen Baxter’s tantalizing tale of impermanence and memory, as first contact with an alien artificial intelligence has very real consequences; Nancy Kress’s claustrophobic fable of shared space, life delayed, and critical choices; and Ted Chiang’s evocative story of an all-metal world, its argon-breathing inhabitants, and the scientist who performs the ultimate self-examination.
This Is Not a Game by Walter Jon Williams
Once upon a time, there were four of them. And though each was good at a number of things, all of them were very good at games…
Dagmar is a game designer trapped in Jakarta in the middle of a revolution. The city is tearing itself apart around her and she needs to get out.
Her boss Charlie has his own problems — 4.3 billion of them, to be precise, hidden in an off-shore account.
Austin is the businessman — the VC. He’s the one with the plan and the one to keep the geeks in line.
BJ was there from the start, but while Charlie’s star rose, BJ sank into the depths of customer service. He pads his hours at the call-center slaying on-line orcs, stealing your loot, and selling it on the internet.
But when one of them is gunned down in a parking lot, the survivors become players in a very different kind of game. Caught between the dangerous worlds of the Russian Mafia and international finance, Dagmar must draw on all her resources — not least millions of online gamers– to track down the killer. In this near-future thriller, Walter Jon Williams weaves a pulse-pounding tale of intrigue, murder, and games where you don’t get an extra life.
Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover
Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader are dead. The Empire has been toppled by the triumphant Rebel Alliance, and the New Republic is ascendant. But the struggle against the dark side and the Sith Order is not over. Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and their faithful comrades have had little time to savor victory before being called on to defend the newly liberated galaxy.
Powerful remnants of the vanquished Empire, hungry for retaliation, are still at large, committing acts of piracy, terrorism, and wholesale slaughter against the worlds of the fledgling New Republic. The most deadly of these, a ruthless legion of black-armored Stormtroopers, do the brutal bidding of the newly risen warlord Shadowspawn. Striking from a strategically advantageous base on the planet Mindor, they are waging a campaign of plunder and destruction, demolishing order and security across the galaxy–and breeding fears of an Imperial resurgence. Another reign of darkness beneath the boot-heel of Sith despotism is something General Luke Skywalker cannot, and will not, risk.
Mobilizing the ace fighters of Rogue Squadron–along with the trusty Chewbacca, See-Threepio, and Artoo-Detoo–Luke, Han, and Leia set out to take the battle to the enemy and neutralize the threat before it’s too late. But their imminent attack on Mindor will be playing directly into the hands of their cunning new adversary. Lord Shadowspawn is no freshly anointed Sith Chieftain but in fact a vicious former Imperial Intelligence officer–and Prophet of the Dark Side. The Emperor’s death has paved the way for Shadowspawn’s return from exile in the Outer Rim, and mastery of ancient Sith knowledge and modern technology has given him the capability to mount the ultimate power play for galaxy wide dominion. Dark prophecy has foretold that only one obstacle stands in his way, and he is ready–even eager–for the confrontation.
All the classic heroes, all the explosive action and adventure, all the unparalleled excitement of Star Wars come breathlessly alive as the adventures of Luke Skywalker continue.