RaveBooklistThis beautifully written debut is a thorough, well-realized picture of a world with a radically different concept of gender and the body that nonetheless has its own forms of oppression. Rosenbaum’s novel is essential reading for anyone interested not only in speculative fiction that plays with gender norms, but also in quality sf in general. Highly recommended.
Yan Ge tr. Jeremy Tiang
RaveBooklistThe novel mixes a sort of Borgesian bestiary of mysterious creatures with a deep sense of urban and social alienation to produce an enthralling and fascinating narrative. A breath of fresh air in the often hard-sf dominated field of recently translated Chinese science fiction, this novel is a must-read for fans of Vandermeer, Borges, or fantasy fiction that blurs the line between genre and literary fiction.
Ed. by Gideon Lichfield
PositiveBooklistWhile the stories vary in tone, setting, and, at times, historical plausibility, there are some general shared concerns common to all of the stories, primarily how societies come to be shaped to endure future pandemics ... While the anthology is understandably a little uneven, there are enough strong entries to make this worth a look for anyone interested in near-future sf.
PositiveBooklistVo remains an excellent stylist and her magically infused alternate history and her version of Baker are both interesting enough that at times readers may wish the narrative wasn’t constrained by Fitzgerald’s original plotting and characters. Recommended for fans of Vo’s previous shorter work, or for readers of historical fantasy in general.
Izumi Suzuki, tr. Polly Barton, Sam Bett
RaveBooklistThe stories chosen for this collection showcase an author whose interest in alienation and despair as well as playful literary exploration parallels the work of other ‘70s sf titans such as Joanna Russ or Thomas Disch ... seven excellent stories ... All of the stories collected here are essential reading not only for those interested in Japanese sf, but for anyone interested in spiky, beautiful, and bleak literature.
Bo-Young Kim tr. Sophie Bowman and Sung Ryu
PositiveBooklistThis translation will help fill in some of the gaps in the availability of Korean sf in English, as well as please readers who enjoy lyrical, philosophical sf stories.
RaveBooklistTidbeck easily expands themes from her shorter fiction into a cohesive, effective whole, creating a world where love, cruelty, and wonder all exist side by side. Highly recommended for fans of Tanith Lee, Michael Moorcock, or Mervyn Peake as well as any fantasy reader who prefers their writing sharp and glittering and their fairy worlds full of menace and thorns.
Sam J. Miller
RaveBooklistMiller’s sprawling novel encapsulates the complex web of feelings brought on by witnessing the destruction of a town that made adolescence hell for a gay or trans teen. While some of the supernatural threads of the story are resolved abruptly, the raw and volatile energy of the novel more than makes up for it. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a queer-themed, sea salt–laced dark fantasy.
PositiveBooklistWhile the sheer amounts of characters, historical names, and untranslated Latin may daunt some readers, Sapkowski’s energetic and satirical prose as well as the unconventional setting makes this a highly enjoyable historical fantasy. Recommended for Sapkowksi’s many existing fans and for fans of historical fantasy in general.
RaveBooklistThis collection presents readers with an assortment of short fiction by the most prominent voice in Chinese science fiction. Most of the stories collected reflect Liu’s interest in large-scale, high-concept sf stories featuring ideas such as a digital duplicate of the universe that can eliminate crime, a vast mirror-like entity that plays a concert on the sun, or the complete reversal of space-time by the contraction of the universe ... With a writer as prolific and varied as Liu, it is hard to say whether or not this collection is completely representative; however it does provide a well-rounded view of Liu’s work, showing him both in the mode familiar to readers of The Three-Body Problem trilogy as well as in other, perhaps more unexpected, styles. Highly recommended for fans of Liu’s work or for those interested in Chinese sf in general.
RaveBooklistDoctorow explores his earlier novels’ idealism and anti-authoritarian politics from the deeply conflicted point of view of someone on the inside. He remains a strong and passionate storyteller, capturing all of Masha’s internal and external conflicts ... Highly recommended for those interested in near-future sf with a politically aware bent.
RaveBooklistWhile very different in tone from her last work, Addison’s adept characterization and world building elevate The Angel of Crows above the run-of-the-mill Holmes pastiche. Highly recommended for fans of Kim Newman’s Anno-Dracula (1993) and Ian R. MacLeod’s The Light Ages (2003) or anyone looking to be immersed in a well-wrought alternate historical fantasy world.
PositiveBooklistWhile a brief read, Chung’s debut weaves together the past and present ably and creates a well-wrought and elegant story that will, hopefully, be followed by many more. Recommended for those who enjoy historical fantasy fiction and magical realism and for anyone seeking a quiet and relaxing read for a lazy afternoon.
Hao Jingfang, trans. by Ken Liu
PositiveBooklistThe true history of what happened to Luoying’s parents, the future of Martian civilization, and possible war between Earth and Mars are all threads in Hao’s masterful narrative. Highly recommended for fans of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy or readers who enjoy sf with a focus on social and political themes.
Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
PositiveBooklistWhile obviously of most interest to established fans of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast and its cast of characters, the distinctly spare and precise weirdness of Fink and Cranor’s writing will please even readers completely unfamiliar with the sinister town and its long-running radio show.
PositiveBooklistWhile the length of the novel means it can at times feel a little slight, the mixture of corporate drudgery and dimension-hopping adventure will hold the reader’s attention as well as Ava and Jules’ post-break-up foibles do. Recommended for those interested in sf that features queer relationships, minimum-wage labor, and many worlds theory.
PositiveBooklistNeither new readers nor fans of Liu’s previous work will be disappointed, although those interested in his fantasy writing may want to start elsewhere.
PositiveBooklistJimenez’s debut depicts a future dominated by vast corporations that, in the wake of Earth’s destruction, claim space stations, people, and even whole planets as proprietary resources ... A lyrical and moving narrative of space travel, found families, and lost loves set against an evocative space-opera background.
N. K. Jemisin
RaveBooklistWhile a marked shift from Jemisin’s usual creation of magical other worlds, this contemporary fantasy of living cities in a multiversal struggle demonstrates her accomplished storytelling and characterization. Highly recommended for anyone interested in some of the most exciting and powerful fantasy writing of today.
RaveBooklistThe varied points of view and stylistic shifts of the narrative allow the reader to experience reality through the eyes of different characters, human and otherwise, and the struggle of different forms of life trying to survive unites the vignettes that form the bulk of the novel. Highly recommended for those interested in sf invested in ecological concerns and speculative fiction that plays with narrative form.
Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes
RaveBooklistSolomon’s beautiful novella weaves together a moving and evocative narrative that imagines a future created from the scars of the past. Highly recommended for those interested in sf or fantasy that draws upon the legacies of colonialism and racism to imagine different, exciting types of futures.
Carmen Maria Machado
RaveBooklistThe writing exhibits all of the formal precision of [Machado\'s] fiction, and the book draws the reader deep into the varied rooms of the haunted house of the past. Highly recommended to fans of Machado’s fiction and to anyone interested in LGBTQ memoir, domestic abuse, or chilling and precise examinations of human relationships at their worst.
PositiveBooklistThe mixture of space adventure and interpersonal relationships comes off as a more light-hearted take on the video game Mass Effect and should appeal to anyone looking for its particular brand of light, fun space opera.
RaveBooklistWhether delving into purely psychological horror or chronicling invasions into reality by alien forces, Evenson’s precise and spare prose effortlessly creates pervasive and intimate forms of dread ... As comfortable plunging into the depths of the human psyche as he is into the cosmic abysses, Evenson continues to be one of the most talented and stylistically enthralling horror writers around.
RaveBooklist[Chiang] continues to explore emotional and metaphysical landscapes with precise and incisive prose ... Chiang remains one of the most skilled stylists in sf, and this will appeal to genre and literary-fiction fans alike.
RaveBooklistDoctorow’s combination of cutting edge speculation and deep interest in the social and political possibilities of the future makes this collection a must-read for fans of Kim Stanley Robinson or of any sf in which the future is always part of an engaged and passionate dialogue with the present.
RaveBooklistMixing a gritty and muscular writing style with an intricate and time-hopping plot with echoes of Philip K. Dick’s Now Wait for Last Year, The Light Brigade is an enthralling portrait of a devastated near future. Highly recommended for not only sf fans but anyone interested in a thrilling and troubling vision of the future.
RaveBooklistLeckie has created an enthralling and well-realized fantasy world, full of not only magic and gods but also characters representing a broad spectrum of gender and sexuality. Highly recommended for Leckie’s existing fans and anyone looking for exciting and boundary-pushing fantasy.
RaveBooklistThis anthology is highly recommended for any speculative fiction reader, particularly those interested in the possibilities of science fiction to critique the present through visions of the future.