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PREMIUM

The Seven

Despite its short length, Brock’s tale is packed with backstory and consequently lacks the popular fiction pacing many readers expect. While not entirely without intrigue, the focus is on plot, and character depth and empathy are missing. As a result, Bill is neither likable nor unlikable, he is merely a vehicle used to convey a somewhat banal tale about UFOs. Not recommended for most collections.

The Angel of the Crows

Addison (The Goblin Emperor) enthralls readers with her character-driven action, intriguing expressions of identity and sexuality, and a world set in an alternate 1880s London that captures the imagination.
PREMIUM

Corporate Gunslinger

This title is hard to categorize, but it might be of interest to readers looking for near-future corporate intrigue.
PREMIUM

Attack Surface

Thriller readers of all ages will enjoy the cool tech (sunglasses that fool facial recognition software and blurry texts that evade screen shots), Masha’s international exploits, and the impassioned arguments for privacy, transparency, and justice. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/20]

The Vanished Queen

Campbell’s debut is filled with political intrigue, personal anguish, and family ties that bind. The prose moves smoothly through the alternating points of view of Mirantha, Anza, and Esvar, building well-rounded characters approaching the eve of revolution.
PREMIUM

The Orphans of Raspay

Bujold’s seventh “Penric and Desdemona” story (after The Prisoner of Limnos) is just as engaging as her previous works, highlighting a unique duo and their exciting travails. The expansive worldbuilding is detailed and filled with intriguing characters.

The Space Between Worlds

This exciting debut is intelligently built, with clever characters, surprise twists, plenty of action, subtly detailed worlds, and a plot that highlights social and racial inequities in astute prose.
PREMIUM

Interlibrary Loan

Wolfe died in 2019 at age 87; this posthumous sequel to A Borrowed Man blends a hard-boiled mystery style with a sf future and is mostly successful. While this can be read as a stand-alone, familiarity with the main character’s background story may bring more clarity for readers.
PREMIUM

reV: The Third Machine Dynasty

Ashby’s third in the “Machine Dynasty” series (after iD) begins as a satirical mashup of horror, romance, and sf, and evolves into a complicated story about ethics, compassion, and the possibility of starting over after generations of violence and abuse. A thoughtful choice for those who enjoy genre-bending, boundary-pushing sf.

In Veritas

Lavigne’s debut urban fantasy novel, part of the “Nunatak First Fiction” series, is full of wonder, darkness, and hope. Part biography, part conversation with an unnamed biographer, the style is engaging and keeps the pages turning. Reminiscent of the best of Charles de Lint, this is a book readers will not want to put down.
PREMIUM

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future. Vol. 36: Bestselling Anthology of Award-Winning Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Stories

With stories ranging from sf to fantasy, as well as some genre mash-ups, this collection offers something for both adults and teens to enjoy.
PREMIUM

Spy, Spy Again

Longtime Lackey readers will feel a sense of familiarity as this book returns to the world of Valdamar, the setting of the author’s many other series. In addition to showcasing Lackey’s strengths in worldbuilding, this work also highlights her skills in creating realistic characters, the primary drivers of her stories and a delight to read. For fans of Lackey, this new jaunt through Valdemar is not to be missed.
PREMIUM

The Mirror Man

This is a cloning story that reads like a thriller, making it accessible to fans of sf and corporate espionage.

PREMIUM

Shadows of the Short Days

In this first of a new series, Vihjálmsson’s well-developed future world will interest fantasy fans with a taste for dystopia, especially if they’re up for learning new vocabulary.

Flyaway

Jennings’s debut novella is pure, poetic Australian gothic, filled with haunting emotions, fairy-tale action, and sharp prose.

American Demon

Hallows fans rejoice! Harrison (A Perfect Blood) neatly segues readers back into her world of coexisting humans and Inderlanders, with many of the beloved characters and all of the fast quips and high-stakes magical action of her previous books.

PREMIUM

Rainbow Brigade

After four years, Pitts (Night Terrors) brings a rich urban fantasy setting back. This novel is filled with action and delightful characters. Readers will definitely want to start at the beginning of the series to understand the breadth of the mythos.

The Unconquered City

Doore’s (The Impossible Contract) final entry in the “Chronicles of Gahdid” will not disappoint fans. The harsh sands, intricate magic and beliefs, and return of some favorite characters set up a mesmerizing finish.

Goldilocks

Smooth prose weaves a tale to support humanity’s survival, along with the shades of gray of scientific decisions. Lam’s (Seven Devils) exciting sf thriller proves intellectual and entertaining for all.

PREMIUM

The Ghosts of Sherwood

The first of the “Locksley Chronicles” (Heirs of Locksley is due out in Aug.), Vaughn’s (The Immortal Conquistador) look at what comes after Robin Hood is a delightful novella, filled with lively action and characters who continue to stretch the original story even further.

PREMIUM

Scarlet Odyssey

Rwizi’s debut is noteworthy for its African-inspired setting, described at great length at the expense of character and plot development. His introduction of technomagic (the intersection of technology and magic) has potential, but isn’t fleshed out enough to be really engaging. Fans of A.J. Hartley’s “Steeplejack” series may enjoy this.

PREMIUM

Every Sky a Grave

Fans of Frank Herbert’s Dune and Yoon Ha Lee’s Ninefox Gambit should enjoy this series opener that has plenty of action and skillful worldbuilding that doesn’t lean on heavy exposition.

PREMIUM

The Maiden Voyage of New York City

Noticeable continuity problems, awkward and often repetitive phrasing, and a large cast of characters muddy a story that can’t seem to decide if it is cli-fi or a futurist police thriller. Try Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140 for a substantially more successful riff on the same theme.

2020 Hugo Awards Finalists

PREMIUM

Rule

Miller’s conclusion to her French Revolution–inspired fantasy trilogy is filled with politics, ambitions, hope, and betrayal. Themes of immigration, women’s lives and rights, and democracy are woven into a delightfully intricate prose tapestry.

The Four Profound Weaves: A Birdverse Book

Nebula-nominated Lemberg’s first novella, set in their deeply queer “Birdverse” universe, presents a beautiful, heartfelt story of change, family, identity, and courage. Centering two older transgender protagonists in the midst of emotional and physical journeys highlights the deep, meaningful prose that Lemberg always brings to their stories.
PREMIUM

Fantastic Hope

Themes of hope and light in worlds that may seem dark and despairing thread together this collection of stories from new and seasoned authors. A fine addition to collections.

Savage Legion

Smart characters and brutal action create an intriguing story about power and the decisions made to keep it. Wallace (The Failed Cities) introduces a new epic fantasy trilogy filled with rich worldbuilding and people who battle bravely. [See Prepub Alert, 1/15/20.]

The Empire of Gold

Chakraborty (The City of Brass) brings her epic fantasy series to a stunning conclusion. Rich details, familial ties, and magical politics sing in this lush world built from Middle Eastern history and imagination. [See Prepub Alert, 12/9/19.]

Peace Talks

With many familiar faces returning and lots of magical action, this latest from Butcher (Princep’s Fury) will have fans rejoicing at the return of Chicago’s only professional wizard.

The Last Emperox

Scalzi’s trilogy conclusion (after The Collapsing Empire and The Consuming Fire) is filled with irreverent, humorous, and intelligent prose, providing a more-than-satisfying end to this trilogy.

The First Sister

This debut showcases themes of colonization, technology, genetic manipulation, and corruption that leaves its mark. A layered, action-filled plot and diverse characters create a powerful entry in the space opera genre. [See Prepub Alert, 2/12/20.]
PREMIUM

The Postutopian Adventures of Darger and Surplus

Readers who appreciate Scott Lynch’s rapid-fire wit in the “Gentleman Bastards” books may appreciate this pair of skilled but unlucky con men, and readers of V.E. Schwab’s “Darker Shade of Magic” series might find affinity for this familiar but bizarre fantasy world.
PREMIUM

Otaku

Parts sf, mystery, and romance, this high-adrenaline thriller, by the author of the nonfiction collection Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies, captures the intensity of in-game encounters in a postapocalyptic world, with a fiery protagonist who holds nothing back—whether fighting monsters or relentless misogyny. Recommended for fans of dark gaming stories, with a side of violence.
PREMIUM

Those Who Came Before

Moncrieff’s skilled storytelling, while incorporating plenty of gore and violence at times, will draw in horror and mystery readers. Hand to fans of Dean Koontz and Charlaine Harris.
PREMIUM

Slash

Recommend to fans of slasher flicks and readers who can stomach explicit gore.

Boyden's Debut of the Month, plus Eddie Robson, Jenna Glass, Carrie Vaughn | Sf/Fantasy

Vo's Debut of the Month, plus Muir, Chung, Cole, Gallagher, & More | Sf/Fantasy

PREMIUM

Repo Virtual

White, known mostly for his “VoidWitch Saga,” here twists the volume up, both dramatizing and warning against unchecked AI. What lingers is an important observation: no culture can retain its power and sanity when there are no noncynical eyes to see it. Cyberpunk and general sf readers will enjoy and even learn from this one.
PREMIUM

Critical Point

High-stakes action and emotional velocity are hallmarks of Huang’s writing, creating an engaging and flawed protagonist that many will identify with, even when her internal conflict overwhelms some of the quieter plot threads. The third entry in the “Cas Russell” series (after Null Set) is a sf thriller that fans will truly enjoy.
PREMIUM

Automatic Reload

Steinmetz (The Sol Majestic) delivers a “rom-com with explosions” featuring a hero with PTSD and control issues, and a killer heroine with a panic disorder. The action is nonstop, with issues of mental illness, identity, and humanity woven subtly throughout. Mat breaks the fourth wall in his random musings, rather like a cyborg Deadpool. Recommended for libraries looking for a deliciously over-the-top adventure.

Harrow the Ninth

An incredible journey into the chaos of the mind, Muir’s latest (after Gideon the Ninth) doubles down on all the wonderfully queer and pulpy moments, body horror, and macabre humor of her debut—and exceeds it.
PREMIUM

Looking Glass

Fans of the previous books will adore seeing the characters again and having loose ends tied up. Readers new to the series, however, will be as lost as Alice.
PREMIUM

Anthropocene Rag

Irvine (A Scattering of Jades) has created an interesting yet horrifying world where nanotechnology meets a destroyed Earth. Though tagged as a sf Western, it will also please fans of future apocalyptic novels.
PREMIUM

Cries from the Lost Island

This stand-alone from Gear (coauthor with husband W. Michael Gear, People of the Canyons; Star Path) is a great adventure with lots of suspense and danger, well researched and bringing history to life with vivid descriptions.
PREMIUM

Ship of Fates

Speaking to the difficulties that faced women, particularly immigrants in the 1800s, this is a powerful if bleak look at the nature of California’s Barbary Coast. Recommended for fans of unique historical fiction.
PREMIUM

The Fortress

Jones (Isabelle of the Moon and Stars) creates a world that, while perhaps lacking in worldbuilding elements, deeply explores the meanings of consent and power. There are moments of graphic violence and sex. Fans of Joanne Ramos’s The Farm and Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments may enjoy this role-reversal story.
PREMIUM

Sixteenth Watch

Cole’s (The Killing Light) military experience creates an immersive read. Smart prose and intense conflict will keep readers engaged to the very end.
PREMIUM

Empire City

Super-powered soldiers, civilians, and government secrets tangle together in this alt-reality military science fiction tale. Gallagher’s (Kaboom) sharp prose, fine details, and emotional characters highlight the divisions between the nation’s leaders and residents.
PREMIUM

The Companions

While the worldbuilding might not be robust enough for some sf fans, the strength of this first novel is in the writing and nuanced characters. Through the experiences of people who might no longer be considered fully human, the author thoughtfully explores the nature of humanity.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune

Rich details and emotional prose captures readers from the first page of this imaginative and powerful novella. Spun through reflections of the past, in archived objects of love and 
hate, the tale of Rabbit and In-yo lights up the dark history of monarchy and turns it into a delightful feminist fantasy.

Providence

Seven years ago, the space research vessel Coral Beach was attacked by an alien species known as salamanders...
PREMIUM

Bridge 108

Arthur C. Clark Award-winning Charnock (Dreams Before the Start of Time) provides a window into a future that feels all too near in this post-Brexit world. From the fears and repercussions of intense drought to the politics and panic of immigration, Caleb’s story, sadly, rings true.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association Names Nebula Award Finalists

PREMIUM

Cursed

An eclectic and delightful mix of fairy tales and modern takes, told by some of today’s best speculative authors, will appeal to fans of the authors and themes alike.

Hearts of Oak

A mesmerizing look at facing reality and what you believe to be true. Robson’s (Welcome to Our Village Please Invade Carefully) characters are well-rounded and themes of exploration and expansion undergird the playful prose.
PREMIUM

Queen of the Unwanted

A fantasy world built around a feminist society draws on themes that are front and center in the real world today, with an eye to differing viewpoints. The dynamics, intrigue, and plot twists will keep readers immersed.
PREMIUM

Talk Like a Man Plus

Along with a university presentation and interview that intersects everything from divinity to modern technology and belief to science, Shawl’s light prose takes the weight, but not the meaning, out of heavier topics with her signature use of dreamy language and realistic settings.
PREMIUM

The Sisters Grimm

A highly imaginative plot and vivid worldbuilding help to balance the swiftly changing points of view. Ethereal prose sets up a nefarious fairy tale–inspired story about the balance of power between men and women, family ties and first loves, and the choices that must be made whether you are ready or not.
PREMIUM

The Poet King

Myer’s lush prose and imagery amplifies a layered plot filled with magic, prophecy, and power.
PREMIUM

The Immortal Conquistador

This fast-paced novella, filled with action and emotion, offers a satisfying entry back into the “Kitty Norville” series.

Stealing Thunder

This delightful debut is rich with detailed worldbuilding, political intrigue, and South Asian cultural references drawn from Boyden’s experience as a trans activist who has traveled in India and Pakistan. Boyden handles the story with a steady hand, and this first novel will delight romantic fantasy enthusiasts.
PREMIUM

The Last Smile in Sunder City

Similar to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s “Maradaine” novels, which show the seedy side of a fantasy city, this debut should drawn in fans of noir fantasy.

How To Love Your Elf

Fantasy and paranormal romance fans will be immediately immersed in this fast-paced adventure from Sparks (The Vampire and the Virgin). A total delight, this new series launch will have readers scrambling for the next enchanting installment.
PREMIUM

Imaginary Numbers

The ninth “InCryptid”novel is recommended for most collections. While not a good starting point for the series, it centers on series favorite Sarah and dives into a cryptid angle that fans have been waiting for with the Johrlac. Also included is the novella “Follow the Lady,” about Antinomy Price’s journey home after That Ain’t Witchcraft.
PREMIUM

Carved from Stone and Dream

Each book in this series can be read as a stand-alone, but readers will enjoy the depth of the characters more if they read Where Oblivion Lives first. Recommended for fans of dark fantasy, supernatural beings interacting with humanity, and spy stories.
PREMIUM

The Queen’s Bargain

Bishop’s many fans will welcome this latest installment, but new readers should start with the first book of this high fantasy series to be fully immersed in the multilayered world- and character-building.
PREMIUM

The Glass Magician

Stevermer spends little time on worldbuilding, and the terms she employs may confuse readers. Characters are placed into intriguing situations but never seem to learn or grow. Fans would be better served with the YA novels of Anna Godbersen.
PREMIUM

Upright Women Wanted

Gailey sets this adventurous novella that twists a historical trope into a singular story in an alternate future Southwest populated with bandits, shoot-outs, and fierce queer people. Readers will root for these rowdy librarians.
PREMIUM

The Will and the Wilds

This slow-burn fantasy romance with one-of-a-kind worldbuilding is recommended for patient fans of fairy-tale retellings.
PREMIUM

A Queen in Hiding

While the worldbuilding is vast and the characters complex, the multiple points of view may cause some to get lost in this debut series opener. This is the first in a projected quartet that will publish through April 2020, giving readers hope for further action-filled plots and disparate story lines to come together.

Finna

Cipri (Homesick) hits all the right notes in this fantasy novella packed with action and emotion. Part horror, part humor, and all heart, the story uniquely showcases two queer protagonists dealing with their own emotional separation while also being forced to work together. Highly recommended.
PREMIUM

Knife Children

Bujold’s delightful prose delves once again into the Lakewalker world. While not submerged in high-action conflict, the thought-provoking plot is centered on character growth, family ties, and personal responsibility, and will appeal to readers interested in stories focused on these themes.
PREMIUM

Race the Sands

Durst’s latest delivers the same sweeping prose and lush worldbuilding as her “Renthia” series, with strong female protagonists and lively supporting characters. This compelling fantasy will please fans and engage new readers.
PREMIUM

Master of Sorrows

Call’s debut, which kicks off the “Silent Gods” series, takes its time coming to a boil, but by the final act there is plenty of action and conflict. Readers of Mark Lawrence’s “Book of the Ancestor” trilogy or Patrick Rothfuss’s “Kingkiller Chronicle” will appreciate the depiction of a young conflicted hero coming of age in a fantastic school.

The City We Became

Jemisin (The Broken Earth) writes a harsh love story to one of America’s most famous places. As raw and vibrant as the city itself, the prose pushes the boundaries of fantasy and brings home what residents already know—their city is alive. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/19.]
PREMIUM

The Last Day

Murray’s debut novel depicts a thrilling future dystopia. The science of the Slow and the political breakdown that follows are alarmingly realistic, and Hopper’s flight through London as she unravels what could be England’s greatest secret is a ride not to be missed.

Docile

This powerful debut is filled with achingly tender and brutally raw prose. Szpara strikes out at capitalism as well as the pharmaceutical trade and its effects, while dancing on the emotional knife’s edge between love and obedience.

Lullabies For Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror

This under-the-radar indie title is recommended for all collections, as it could make a difference in readers’ lives, especially those in recovery, who know someone who is struggling, or have lost someone to the struggle.
PREMIUM

The Ancestor

The rags-to-riches theme paired with long-buried secrets and a claustrophobic setting in which monsters can hide in plain sight makes this title appealing to a wide range of readers, especially in this age of ubiquitous DNA testing. Pair it with Jennifer Egan’s backlist gem, The Keep.
PREMIUM

Prosper’s Demon

With a fresh take on the well-trod demonic possession trope, solid worldbuilding, high-court politics, and an engaging narrator, this short tale will draw in fans of dark speculative fiction, especially admirers of Martha Wells and Grady Hendrix.

The Only Good Indians

One of the most anticipated horror titles of 2020, Jones’s latest does not disappoint. While fully entrenched within the genre, its well-developed cast, lyrical language, and heightened suspense will have broad appeal. Fans of Paul Tremblay, Victor LaValle, and Samanta Schweblin will be delighted.
PREMIUM

The Beetle

Like many Victorian-era gothic tales, this will appeal to a wide range of readers. The universal ick factor of creepy crawlies additionally ensures that this crowdpleaser from the past will continue to strike fear in the hearts and minds of 21st-century readers.

The Deep

A riveting, seductively menacing tale of love, loss, and betrayal set amid the glamour of the Titanic, filled with seances, sea witches, and second chances. Hand to fans of Dacre Stoker, J.D. Barker’s Dracul, or Lauren Owen’s The Quick.
PREMIUM

The Chill

Based on the true history of a drowned town and inspired by recent articles about the state of New York City’s water tunnels, this novel provides an alluring mix of truth and ghost story which will draw interest and keep readers hooked. Read-alikes include Christopher Golden’s “Ben Walker” series and the novels of Jennifer McMahon, where humans clash against a monster from the past seeking revenge.

Books for Fans of John Carpenter, "Black Mirror," & "Stranger Things" | #LibrarianRecs

Everything Old Is New Again | Sf/Fantasy Preview 2019

Q&A: Liz Gorinsky, Erewhon Books | SF/Fantasy Preview 2019

Q&A: S.L. Huang | SF/Fantasy Preview 2019

PREMIUM

Zed

Kavenna (The Birth of Love), winner of the Orange Award and Granta Best of Young British Novelists, brings wit and moments of levity to this portentously dark look at a society ruled by corporate technology. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/2019.]
PREMIUM

Crush the King

Estep (Protect the Prince) knows how to create strong and relatable fantasy female leads. Evie’s rise into her power in deeds and magic is a fabulous, inspiring read. Solid writing, bold characters, and action-filled sequences create an exciting finish for this trilogy. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/19.]

The Seep

This surreal debut takes on themes of utopia, identity, love, and loss, while readers are pulled into a full experience through Porter’s fluid prose. This unusual story will linger long past the last page.

Come Tumbling Down

The fifth volume of the “Wayward Children” series (after In an Absent Dream) gives readers the epic ending (is it really the end?) of Jack and Jill’s story line. Once again, McGuire gives readers a starkly poignant tale of longing, love, and belonging.

The Best of Uncanny

This delightful volume of imaginative writing will be devoured by genre fans and newcomers alike.

Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles

This anthology will be mostly of interest to Beatles fans, but even non-fans will find stories here that will move and surprise them.

Lady Hotspur

While this novel is not a direct sequel to Gratton’s Queens of Innis Lear, the character stories and references from the previous novel will delight the author’s longtime readers. The wondrous worldbuilding, strong female leads, and plot filled with regicide, regrets, prophecies, and magic create an intricate and layered story of honor, family, and love.
PREMIUM

The Gatherer

This near-future sf thriller illuminates tipping points in ecological power and scientific pursuit. An action-packed plot, with well-rounded characters and an intriguing premise make it recommended for all collections.

A Beginning at the End

Sometimes it is not the violent battles of post-apocalyptic stories that pull readers in; it is the emotional connection of humanity finding their way. Chen’s (Here and Now and Then) prose lights a brilliant, fragile path through the darkness.
PREMIUM

The Pursuit of William Abbey

Recommended for fantasy fans with a penchant for darker story lines that investigate themes of colonialism and struggles for power. [See Prepub Alert, 5/5/19.]

The Girl with No Face

Fans of urban fantasy, Chinese martial arts, magic, and elements of the supernatural will enjoy this second series installment, which captivates readers from the opening pages. The many characters, both human and animal, may at first confuse those unfamiliar with the first book, but the author introduces and develops each of their personalities skillfully so that there is soon no difficulty. A true page-turner not to be missed.
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