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Wonderland: An Anthology

This collection is not to be missed. Highly recommended for Wonderland aficionados as well as general fans of fantasy, sf, and horror.
PREMIUM

The Imaginary Corpse

This special and distinct novel will be enjoyed by fans of genre-bending tales and literary mashups, excellent for admirers of Jasper Fforde or Neil Gaiman.
PREMIUM

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Harrow’s expressive debut depicts humankind’s resistance to change, repression of the “other,” and the desperation of the privileged when their prosperity is threatened. Fans of C.S. Lewis will be drawn to this magical coming-of-age tale and allegorical commentary on social justice.

System Failure

A great introduction to space opera for novices and a fun time for all. This novel can be read as a stand-alone, but starting with the previous two books in the series will offer the best experience.
PREMIUM

Fortuna

Merbeth’s space opera takes off in new directions after her previous postapocalyptic books (Bite; Raid). High energy, high stakes, and lots of high notes will give readers who enjoy Catherynne M. Valente’s Space Opera a new volume on which to crash-land.
PREMIUM

The True Bastards

French’s sequel to The Grey Bastards, a 2018 LJ Best Book, continues the half-orcs’ penchant for rough rides, foul language, and heady action sequences. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/19.]

Aurora Blazing

This second book in the “Consortium Rebellion” trilogy (after Polaris Rising) is another exciting, action-driven read. Strong female characters, a slow-burn romance, and interplanetary adventures will draw in both sf and romance readers, especially fans of Ilona Andrews, Becky Chambers, and Mary Robinette Kowal’s “Lady Astronaut” series.

The Killing Light

This final volume of the “Sacred Throne” trilogy (after Queen of Crows) will wreck your emotions in the worst and best ways. Writing intelligent, intense prose, Cole delivers vivid worldbuilding in a story brimming with religious and military fervor and ruthless action, offering a stunning conclusion to Heloise’s journey.

Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery

Wickedness and white magic, edgy prose, and celebrated authors make this a magical volume that twists and shapes the witch archetype into fascinating, dark tales.

The Deep

This slim story packs a huge punch. Beautiful and stark in its pain, this emotional journey is one that all readers should take, in order to remember the atrocities of slavery. [See “Fall Fireworks,” LJ 8/19.]

The Impossible Contract

Doore’s second novel (after The Perfect Assassin) continues the lush worldbuilding and inclusive characters of the first, while establishing exciting action- and emotion-filled sequences that will keep readers engaged.
PREMIUM

Watt O’Hugh and the Innocent Dead: Being the Third Part of the Strange and Astounding Memoirs of Watt O’Hugh the Third

Genre mashup devotees should get some good laughs and thrills from this Western/adventure/sf/fantasy blend. Fans of Doctor Who may adapt easily to the timey-wimeyness, and readers of Richard Kadrey’s “Sandman Slim” series who long for more atypical excursions to hell will enjoy as well.
PREMIUM

The Rise of Magicks

The final volume of “The Chronicles of the One” (Of Blood and Bone; Year One) is a full fantasy, postapocalyptic version of Roberts’s tried and true storytelling mastery. [See Prepub Alert, 5/5/19.]

The Name of All Things

The second of Lyons’s “Chorus of Dragons” series (after The Ruin of Kings) carries on the epic settings, memorable characters, and broad mythological foundations. Lyons is creating a complex and wonderful series that will immerse and delight.

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse

Exquisitely written with complex characters, sardonic wit, and immersive worldbuilding. Highly recommended for all readers.
 

The Starless Sea

In the end, Morgenstern proves wrong one of her villains, who proclaims that a story is like an egg; break it, and it’s lost. Her stories flow together as they flow forward and will enthrall a wide range of readers. Highly recommended. [Prepub Alert, 4/22/19.]
 
PREMIUM

Stellaris: People of the Stars

Recommended for fans of hard sf who enjoy speculation on human expansion into the galaxy.

Spaceside

Butler’s wry commentary on the military establishment, corporate skullduggery, and life in general feels honest and real. Highly recommended for military sf lovers, who will savor his perspective and probably want to buy the man a drink.
PREMIUM

An Orc on the Wild Side

Holt has taken over the satirical fantasy novel from writers such as Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, with a dose of Kurt Vonnegut tossed in. For readers who do not take their fantasy stories too seriously, or appreciate them a bit silly, this is a gem.
PREMIUM

The Nightjar

Hewitt’s debut is an intense, bloody, and unfortunately flawed fantasy thriller with an intriguing story line that hamstrings itself with a frustratingly inept protagonist whose romantic feelings never ring true.

Meet the 2019 Hugo Award Winners

PREMIUM

The Best Horror of the Year. Vol. 11

A must-have volume for horror aficionados and a solid starter for readers looking to discover new authors in the genre.
PREMIUM

Grave Importance

Intelligent prose and an intriguing cast of characters enhance the range of story lines, culminating in a breathtaking climax. Shaw’s third “Dr. Greta Helsing” novel (after Dreadful Company) blends medical mystery and fantasy adventure to wrap up a delightfully modern undead trilogy.

Chilling Effect

Featuring memorable Cuban-descended characters, this engaging space opera debut delivers a story that dances between hilarity and seriousness, with all the joy and frustration psychic cats can bring to the mix.
PREMIUM

Born in Syn

Recommended for all dystopian fiction lovers, especially those who appreciate the syncing (pun intended) of technology with the story line.
PREMIUM

The Harp of Kings

Told in the alternating points of views of Liobhan, Brocc, and Dau, this story contains lush worldbuilding and well-rounded characters. Here, Marrillier (Blackthorn and Grim) launches a new series, but familiar references to her other books will lead fans right into her enchanting universe once again.
PREMIUM

Trinity Sight

This harrowing debut with Southwestern sensibility depicts the dangers of destroying our planet and questions whether mythology is an apt term to describe Indigenous beliefs. Purchase where Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning and Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow are popular.

The Unkindest Tide

The 13th outing for Daye is just as fresh and exciting as the first. McGuire has built a complex world, where seemingly loose ends are woven tightly into the series. Highly recommended.
PREMIUM

To Be Taught, If Fortunate

Grasping current and potential future trends and winding them into her accessible hard science plot, Hugo Award nominee Chambers creates an energy of hope and determination with every word, bringing life to space travel and the wonders—and traumas—of Earth’s possible future. [See Prepub Alert, 3/17/19.]

The Library of the Unwritten

Elaborate worldbuilding, poignant and smart characters, and a layered plot make this first in a fantasy series from Hackwith (also writing as sf romance author Ada Harper) is an ode to books, writing, and found families.

Ninth House

Demand alone would necessitate purchasing multiple copies in all formats, but this is genuinely terrific. The worldbuilding is rock solid, the plot is propulsive, and readers will be clamoring for a sequel as soon as they read the last page. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/19.]

A Song for a New Day

Pinsker’s first novel (after Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea: Stories) depicts a moving alternate future in which technology provides everything a person could want, except human contact. Themes of virtual reality, humanity, and music are threaded throughout this melodic story. [See Editors’ Picks, “Fall Fireworks,” p. 25.]
PREMIUM

Blood of an Exile

Strongly recommended for devoted fantasy readers and a great gateway book for those new to the genre.
PREMIUM

The Furies

Drugs, sex, magic, and murder infuse this quick-paced read that will entertain teen and adult readers alike, weaving multiple layers of deception. While the characters are not quite fully developed, the relationship dynamics help form a solid story.
PREMIUM

A Pilgrimage of Swords

This grim, succinct tale should find an eager audience among fans of sword-and-sorcery fare and short stories.
PREMIUM

American Magic

This urban fantasy/spy thriller employs magic as just another superweapon, and brings all of the usual suspects to bear in order to stop it, complete with secret societies, evil government officials, and rogue agents accomplishing the mission from the outside. It all makes for a heady, page-turning mix.
PREMIUM

The Reckoning

The action is intense, fast-paced, ever-present, and bloody in this apocalyptic fantasy, and the characters allude to a wide spectrum of peoples and cultures, ranging from ancient Mesopotamia to medieval times. Fans of the first two books in the series will likely enjoy this closer.
PREMIUM

Claiming T-Mo

In writing this story, Bacon (Borderline) employs elegant and poetic language that pulls readers into each different world and experience as felt by the three leading women. Recommended reading for those with an interest in sf, expressive language, and stories that focus on women’s relationships and perspectives.
PREMIUM

Our War

Presenting a dark alternate reality that touches the seams of current events and a possible future, DiLouie (One of Us) offers an uncompromising view of child soldiers and patriotism in conflict. [See Prepub Alert, 2/18/19.]

Steel Crow Saga

Krueger’s sophomore novel (after Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge) is a heady look at postcolonial emotions, Asian cultures, and anime influences. His main characters are by turns endearing and maddening, living in a well-built magical world of warring factions. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/19.]

The Future of Another Timeline

In her sophomore work, Newitz (Autonomous) comes back to an Earth that highlights the truths of our past and possibilities of our future. The fantastical elements do not hide the all-too-real horrors women could face, but intelligence and hope are woven into every level. Shrewd commentary and a host of sources highlight Newitz’s strength in prose.

Gamechanger

Beckett’s debut is richly imagined, fast-paced climate change fiction. The predictions for our future feel shockingly real but still make one wish the virtual reality technology and the prosocial ideologies were available now. Readers will delight in the nonbinary characters, LBGTQ relationships and identities, and the land acknowledgment statement at the end of the book. Highly recommended.

A Hero Born

Newly translated into English, the “Legends of the Condor Heroes” series is an epic, fantastical tale filled with betrayal, brotherhood, and kung fu energy. The first in the series shows the depth of Jin Yong’s writing, and the sobriquet of “China’s Tolkien” is well deserved. [See Prepub Alert, 3/17/19.]

A Choir of Lies

A story of discovery and growth, interspersed with other short fables and creative footnote commentary that unfolds into a superbly crafted world of intriguing characters and lush setting, Rowland’s follow-up to A Conspiracy of Truths reveals the author’s stunning prose, beautiful worldbuilding, and emotional detail. Highly recommended.

The Dragon Republic

This stunning sequel to The Poppy War is an epic journey of vengeance, friendship, and power wrapped in the folds of gods and monsters. Kuang has created a young woman torn by her connections to friends and family, searching for love and belonging, and given power beyond her imagining. Her story is unforgettable. [See Prepub Alert, 2/18/19.]

The Monster of Elendhaven

Elendhaven is as fully formed as Mervyn Peake’s “Gormenghast” series with truly repellent characters who don’t possess a shred of moral fiber. Yet the right readers will still love them, as newcomer Giesbrecht is a fantasy writer to watch with a sure command of her world.
PREMIUM

Darkdawn

Readers who enjoyed the first two books will not be disappointed by this dark, addictive story that contains coarse language and plenty of sexual content. [See Prepub Alert, 3/17/19.]
PREMIUM

The Cruel Stars

Continual space battle action, despicable enemies, tight corners, and plucky heroines enliven the story, though one-dimensional characters, improbable last-minute saves, and familiar tropes weaken it. For larger collections; space opera lovers will enjoy a fast and reasonably exciting read.

The Soul of Power

An excellent and exciting conclusion to an outstanding romantic fantasy trilogy. Sophy is as intriguing and complex a hero as Elanna and Jahan (The Memory of Fire), while the secondary characters remain just as well drawn. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 12/6/18.]
PREMIUM

Rotherweird

Some readers may find playwright Caldecott’s debut worth reading for originality and inventiveness, but others might find it difficult or baffling.
PREMIUM

The Sum of All Shadows

Van Lustbader (The Testament) concludes his “Testament” series with this fast-paced supernatural thriller that is equal parts Indiana Jones, Robert Langdon, and Old Testament. Recommended for fans of Dan Brown and Clive Cussler.
PREMIUM

Alphabet Squadron

Freed (Rogue One; Battlefront Twilight Company) offers a traditional “Star Wars” story told from the point of view of the five recruits and a couple of Imperial holdouts. Fans of the political intrigue, pitched space battles, and interpersonal humor of the original movie trilogy will rush to consume this first of a new trilogy.
PREMIUM

Dark Nights 2: Resurrection

Fans of space operas or sf assessing technological benevolence with lots of detail and point-of-view characters will enjoy.

Jade War

The follow-up to Lee’s Jade City delves further into her Asia-inspired world, embracing topics of family, relocation, and relations between rival factions. The setup for the final book will leave readers breathless with anticipation.
PREMIUM

The Dark Above

Fans of Justin Cronin’s The Passage, TV’s Stranger Things, and all versions of Stephen King’s IT will want to sit under summertime stars to binge this quick read. Any teen or adult fan of sf thrillers will enjoy this story, although they may want to read the first installment before jumping in.

"Alien" Read-Alikes | Sf/Fantasy, June 2019

PREMIUM

Null Set

Huang’s sophomore novel brings us the same tight action, compelling characters, and mathematics magic as Zero Sum Game. Fans of the TV series Jessica Jones will enjoy meeting Cas.
PREMIUM

Dahlia Black

The documentary approach causes some emotional distance, and the sheer amount of footnotes slows reader engagement, but there is plenty of narrative tension to keep the pages turning. Recommended for fans of Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants or Max Brooks’s World War Z.
PREMIUM

The Border Keeper

For fans of occult-tinged speculative fiction.
PREMIUM

The Best Science Fiction of the Year. Vol. 4

Scrutinizing politics and personal journeys, artificial intelligence and human emotion, this anthology will give new sf readers a breadth of material to ponder, while showing established fans new writers to follow. Recommended for all libraries.
PREMIUM

Bursts of Fire

This exciting new series will have fantasy fans eagerly awaiting the next installment.
PREMIUM

Dragonslayer

An entertaining, but not particularly groundbreaking, fantasy. Recommended for fans of dragons and medieval settings.

Gods of Jade and Shadow

Purchase where Naomi Novik, Nnedi Okorafor, and N.K. Jemisin are popular. [See Prepub Alert, 2/18/19.]

Wanderers

A powerful story about humanity, technology, and the survival of the world. Comparisons to Stephen King’s The Stand are warranted, as Wendig (Zeroes) shatters the boundaries of speculative and literary fiction in a saga that will touch every reader. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]

This Is How You Lose the Time War

This stunning, semi-epistolary tale by coauthors El-Mohtar (The Honey Month) and Gladstone (“Craft Sequence” series) is a seamless story of time travel, sparring opponents, and the revelations of serving a cause. To unlock the complexities of language and plot here, readers will want to return to this book, with each read revealing a little more of its near-limitless substance.
PREMIUM

The Ables

Recommended for adult as well as YA sf collections and fans of Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Winter's Debut of the Month, El-Mohtar/Gladstone, Forest, Hall, Huang, Thompson, Wendig, & More | SF/Fantasy, June 2019

PREMIUM

Longer

Blumlein (All I Ever Dreamed) gives us Waiting for Godot, set in space, in succinct and intelligent storytelling.

Snakeskins

Major (You Don’t Belong Here; Blighters) takes a unique concept and creates a compelling plot with engaging, multidimensional characters. Recommended for sf readers and mystery lovers who are willing to expand their horizons.
PREMIUM

Green Valley

Readers will appreciate the questions raised, but this is not for the squeamish. Green Valley is not a pretty place.
PREMIUM

The Fire Opal Mechanism

This engaging stand-alone sequel to The Jewel and Her Lapidary highlights Wilde’s deft prose and fantastical imagination. Readers will enjoy the intersection of knowledge and freedom to learn twisted into something darker.
PREMIUM

Pass of Fire

Libraries that do not have the entire series will be at a disadvantage, and new readers will have some catching up to do, but military sf enthusiasts, particularly fans of author Harry Turtledove, will be enthralled.

Empire of Grass

The second installment in this series (after The Witchwood Crown) has everything fans expect from Williams: rich descriptions; high fantasy with twists and turns; and expertly drawn characters forced to fight for their kingdoms, unaware that the fate of the world lies in their hands. Highly recommended.

The Lesson

A compelling read of an invasive occupation and emotional uprising, Turnbull's debut is a must for all libraries. The author, who crafts speculative stories featuring black characters on par with Octavia Butler, is definitely one to watch.

The Sol Majestic

With this intersection of sf and culinary narrative, Steinmetz (The Uploaded) serves up a charming coming-of-age tale with an appealing cast of unforgettable characters.

Fall; or, Dodge in Hell

This sprawling, genre-hopping novel will thrill Stephenson's fans and engross newcomers. Epic is an overused adjective, but it fits here. [See Prepub Alert, 12/3/18.]

Empress of Forever

Gladstone's (Ruin of Angels) epic space opera and fast-paced adventure will thrill readers.

Magic for Liars

Gailey's debut is an energetic modern fantasy that plays rough with relationships and personal beliefs, from youth to adulthood. Ivy's emotional investigation will strike a chord in anyone who has ever felt like they don't belong. Highly recommended for all collections.

A Brightness Long Ago

Readers of Jacqueline Carey's "Kushiel" series or Joe Abercrombie's "Half a King" books should enjoy this dramatic and lush title for its almost, but not quite, historical backdrop. Also a good potential crossover for historical fiction fans since, as is usual for Kay, magic and the supernatural play only the tiniest role. [See Prepub Alert, 11/19/18.]

Recursion

This latest technological thriller from Crouch (Dark Matter) is completely engrossing and should have wide appeal. Highly recommended, especially for readers who enjoy suspenseful, fast-moving, well-crafted, science-based sf. [See Prepub Alert, 12/6/18.]

Fried's Debut of the Month, plus Banker, Basu, Bear, Harrison, McGuire, Mehrota, & Many More | SF/Fantasy, March 2019

The Lesson

A compelling tale of invasive occupation and emotional uprising, Turnbull’s debut is complex and enthralling. It’s a must for all libraries, and the writer, who crafts speculative stories with black characters on par with Octavia Butler, is definitely one to watch.

LJ Reviews the 2019 Hugo Nominees

Marlon James's Dark Star Rises

Martine's Debut of the Month, Binder, Chakraborty, Le Guin, McGuire, Tarkoff, Townsend, White | SF/Fantasy Reviews, Dec. 2018

PREMIUM

Gates of Stone

Epic worldbuilding with extensive Asian influences, especially Indonesian, meets bold characters and detailed battles across land and sea. Note that scenes of rape and gore may be traumatic for some readers.

The Very Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan

Bodies, relationships, and the world are all changeable, shifting, and unstable in this collection by a master of dark fiction. Though influenced by Lovecraftian mythos, the work stands on its own and will be essential for Kiernan devotees.
PREMIUM

The Smoke

Ings (Wolves) crafts smart alternate history that takes a deep look at belief systems and the judgment of others based on perception. The use of genetic manipulation to create superior and lesser human species speaks to the bias that exists in the real world.
PREMIUM

A People's Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers

A timely compilation that highlights the hope and anxiety of the current political climate.
PREMIUM

Early Riser

Fforde's masterly, real-world, and socially conscious prose is filled with running jokes, amusing footnotes, and smart wordplay in this stand-alone novel. [See Prepub Alert, 8/27/18.]

Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You

This debut novella is a lean, quick read with no fat. The clever, exciting story mixes weird fiction with an engaging and mysterious plot.

The City in the Middle of the Night

Anders (All the Birds in the Sky) weaves an intricate tale of colonialism and evolution on both physical and social levels. The harsh world and well-developed characters combine with stunning storytelling that will capture readers' minds and hearts.
PREMIUM

Today I Am Carey

This exploration of artificial life in the vein of Isaac Asimov's I, Robot provides fresh insight into the human experience. Recommended for all fans of sf and novels set in a near future.
PREMIUM

Famous Men Who Never Lived

The plight of refugees gets a sf twist in this enjoyable debut from award-winning short story writer Chess. While the side plots could have been tightened, those looking for character-driven, science-light sf should give this a try.
PREMIUM

The Test

This compact novella combines issues of immigration as well as a hostage story into a tale of incredible choices.
PREMIUM

The Fever King

Adults and older teens who appreciate stories with close ties among magic, science, and political machinations will find this first novel appealing.

The Very Best of the Best: 35 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction

This anthology is another illuminating look into some of the best current sf from the last decade and more, offering a glorious range of characters, plots, and themes as well as forgotten fiction from sf's favorite authors.

The Ruin of Kings

This stunning debut takes epic fantasy to a high level, portraying a world filled with magic, demons, gods, and dragons, in which politics and power plays are the laws of the land.

Vigilance

In a world where mass shootings are already a near-daily occurrence, this slim novel might be too grim and genuine for some, but Jackson's fast-paced, blistering look at how a nation's seductive myths about itself can lead to its downfall is an absolute must-read. Perfect for fans of Lauren Beukes, Richard K. Morgan, or the Netflix series Black Mirror.

The Chaos Function

Skillingstead's (Harbinger) sf thriller revolves around chaos theory, the power of choice, and the price of love. Highly recommended for readers of dystopian stories, time-travel scenarios, and endings that cause them to rethink the entire book.
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