Modesitt (the Saga of Recluce series) explores the nature of belief with this dense, thoughtful work. Corvyn is an immensely powerful air spirit: sometimes man, sometimes raven, always wry. In the millennia since the Third Fall of humankind destroyed the Earth, Corvyn has tried and failed to stop multiple subsequent Falls from Grace on the planet called Heaven, which is home to the gods and personified philosophies of every human religion. When a mysterious power etches the image of a trident into the sanctums of numerous holy sites on Heaven, as well as into the wall of Corvyn’s own study, he sets out on an enthralling expedition to discover who’s responsible, and how—or if—he can stop them from triggering yet another Fall. Through Corvyn’s investigation, Modesitt displays his formidable talent for worldbuilding, incorporating a multitude of belief systems into the fabric of Heaven’s society. The heavy doses of philosophy make this cross-genre novel a slow but enriching reading experience; fans of thought-provoking speculative fiction will be hooked. (July)
A philosophical wrangle culminates in a lethal real-world confrontation, with creation itself in jeopardy.
On planet Heaven, where everything has religious connotations, the 10 major human religions—most of them identifiable, if sometimes in unfamiliar guise—have their own territories, known collectively as the Decalivre, each ruled by a hegemon. Religions with fewer adherents have their own villages of belief, and there are skeptic areas, too. Hegemons and lesser authorities wield powers derived from an ability to manipulate reality at the quantum level. Harmony is enforced by surveillance satellites, directed-energy weapons, and beings such as Corvyn, who functions as a sort of policeman, conscience, and judge. He remembers untold past civilizations destroyed by religious strife. So when an unknown power burns the image of a black-flamed trident into the holy places of the Decalivre, Corvyn recognizes both a challenge and a threat. To determine what's going on, he tours the cities, interviewing hegemons or their delegates. Some prove accommodating, others hostile; some fence verbally, others attempt violence. Corvyn himself must traverse the Sands of Time, a type of hell where almost anything can happen. Religion and belief are thorny topics, but Modesitt tackles them and the passions they inspire with impressive skill and respect and a deep knowledge of holy books, religious commentaries, mythology, and much besides. Indeed, it's a venture quite unlike anything this talented and versatile writer has attempted before, notwithstanding that he's earned recognition in various science-fiction and fantasy modes by always offering clear, concrete explanations of how and why things work. What readers will take away depends largely on what they themselves bring along. Certainly the work feels uncommonly subtle and, tantalizingly, not altogether finished. The premise, ultimately, may just be too obvious.
Absorbing and thoughtful yet not entirely rewarding.
Praise for Quantum Shadows:
“Modesitt displays his formidable talent for worldbuilding . . . fans of thought-provoking speculative fiction will be hooked.” Publishers Weekly
“Quantum Shadows carries the overtones of our genre’s finest writersZelazny and Wolfewhich is enough to commend it. . . . Modesitt has given us a vision all his owna vision with the power to transport and challenge us in equal measures.” Peter O'Rullian, author of The Unremembered
"[A]ny book that can suck you into the story as this one did...and then stick with you days after you finished reading it is a complete winner." The Arched Doorway
Praise for Solar Express:
“[H]is science fiction ranks up there with Ben Bova, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Larry Niven, and Jerry Pournelle.”SF Revu
“Modesitt Jr.’s boundless imagination flings readers headfirst into a richly imagined deep-space world.” RT Book Reviews, starred review (4 stars)
Praise for The One-Eyed Man:
“The book hums along with understated power and intellectual attractiveness, delivering thoughtful entertainment in the best classical SF manner.” Asimov’s Science Fiction
“Modesitt intricately builds a setting that is concrete and believable.” Angela Carter
“The One-Eyed Man is actually one of the more powerful and elegant expressions of Modesitt’s themes. I’m always excited when the author takes a break from his fantasy series to write a new science fiction novel.” Tor.com
In Queen of Storms, the second in the "Firemane Saga," Hatushaly and young wife Hava restore the fire-blackened Three Stars in trade-rich Beran's Hill, but they aren't the cheerful innkeepers they appear to be (100,000-copy first printing). A young woman in small-town Queensland, Australia, undertakes a gothic journey after hearing from her long-gone brother, thus launching Hugo- and World Fantasy-nominated illustrator Jennings's buzzing debut novel, Flyaway. In The Relentless Moon, sequel to Kowal's Hugo, Locus, and Nebula-Award winning The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, the moon is being colonized even as a meteor strike brings climate crisis to Earth. Originally scheduled for October 2019, Malerman's Malorie reveals what happens to the title character eight years after events in Bird Box, basis of the Netflix mega-hit. The perennial best-selling Modesitt's Quantum Shadows is set in a place called Heaven, where humankind's major religions each have their own land and places of worship are being scarily marked with inscrutable black images. With his stories already nominated for Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy honors, debut novelist Rosenbaum (The Ant King and Other Stories) returns with The Unraveling, which dreams up a far-future, distant-galaxy, rigidly structured society where individuals have multiple bodies and staid-gendered Fift and bail-gendered bioengineer Shria wind up in the midst of an eyebrow-raising art spectacle. Salvatore's Relentless closes his "Generations" trilogy with Zaknafein reunited with son Drizzt Do'Urden and reconciled to life's unpredictability (100,000-copy first printing). In multi-award-winning Walton's intriguing-sounding Or What You Will, a character who's been a dragon, lover, scholar, warrior, and thief in the many books penned by Sylvia Harrison knows that the 73-year-old author won't be around much longer and is trying to figure out how the two of them can escape into immortality. Born in England to South American parents and raised in Africa near the historical territory of his Xhosa ancestors, Winter draws on his background to light The Fires of Vengeance, second in "The Burning" series, wherein a queen who has lost her throne joins with a young warrior in a battle to regain it (75,000-copy first printing).