Monday, July 1, 2019

New Books Spotlight

Welcome to another edition of the New Books Spotlight, where each month or so we curate a selection of 6 forthcoming books we find notable, interesting, and intriguing. It gives us the opportunity to shine a brief spotlight on some stuff we're itching to get our hands on.

What are you looking forward to? Anything you want to argue with us about? Is there something we should consider spotlighting in the future? Let us know in the comments!

Elgin, Suzette Haden. Native Tongue [Feminist Press of CUNY]
Publisher's Description
An instant classic upon its publication in 1984, this dystopian trilogy is a testament to the power of language and women’s collective action—in a new edition reissued for a new generation of readers.

In 2205, the Nineteenth Amendment has long been repealed. Men hold absolute power, and women are only valued for their utility. The Earth’s economy depends on an insular group of linguists who “breed” women to become perfect interstellar translators until they are sent to the Barren House to await death. But instead, these women are slowly creating a language of their own to make resistance possible for all. Ignorant to this brewing revolution, Nazareth, a brilliant linguist, and Michaela, a servant, both seek emancipation in their own ways. But their personal rebellions risk exposing the secret language, and threaten the possibility of freedom. 
Why We Want It: I’m super excited by this reissue of Suzette Haden Elgin’s Native Tongue trilogy from the City University of New York’s Feminist Press. Native Tongue is a landmark novel (and series) of feminist science fiction, language, and resistance. It was on the long list of works I hoped to read for the Feminist Futures project and just didn’t quite get to.

Gloss, Molly. Unforseen [Saga]
Publisher's Description
From bestselling and award-winning author Molly Gloss comes her first complete collection of short stories—including three never-before-published original tales! 

Award-winning and critically acclaimed author Molly Gloss’s career retrospective collection, Unforseen, includes sixteen celebrated short stories that have never be published together before and three new stories.

This collection includes:
“Interlocking Pieces”
“Joining” “Seaborne”
“Wenonah’s Gift”
“Personal Silence”
“Lambing Season”
“The Visited Man”
“The Grinnell Method”
“The Presley Brothers”
“Dead Men Rise Up Never”
“Eating Ashes”
“Personal Silence”
“A Story”
“Little Hills”
“The Everlasting Humming of the Earth” 
Why We Want It: I’ve been impressed with Saga’s reissues of Molly Gloss’s novels (Outside the Gates, The Dazzle of Day, Wild Life) this year, bringing renewed interest to an excellent writer not discussed nearly enough. Unforseen is the first collection of Gloss’s short fiction, including “Lambing Season”, which was both a Hugo and Nebula Award finalist for Short Story. I believe the only story here I’ve read is “The Grinnell Method” published in Strange Horizons and I’ve looked forward to reading more.

Lee, Fonda. Jade War [Orbit]
Publisher's Description
In Jade War, the sequel to the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Jade City, the Kaul siblings battle rival clans for honor and control over an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis. 

On the island of Kekon, the Kaul family is locked in a violent feud for control of the capital city and the supply of magical jade that endows trained Green Bone warriors with supernatural powers they alone have possessed for hundreds of years.

Beyond Kekon’s borders, war is brewing. Powerful foreign governments and mercenary criminal kingpins alike turn their eyes on the island nation. Jade, Kekon’s most prized resource, could make them rich – or give them the edge they’d need to topple their rivals.

Faced with threats on all sides, the Kaul family is forced to form new and dangerous alliances, confront enemies in the darkest streets and the tallest office towers, and put honor aside in order to do whatever it takes to ensure their own survival – and that of all the Green Bones of Kekon.

Jade War is the second book of the Green Bone Saga, an epic trilogy about family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of blood and jade. 
Why We Want It: Jade City was a straight up bad ass novel set in a 1970’s era city (by feel and technology), playing out like The Godfather with Magic. It was the story of rival crime families fighting for control of the city. I absolutely loved the novel and have very high expectations for Jade City.

Priest, Cherie. The Toll [Tor]
Publisher's Description
From Cherie Priest, the author of The Family Plot and Maplecroft, comes The Toll, a tense, dark, and scary treat for modern fans of the traditionally strange and macabre. 

Take a road trip into a Southern gothic horror novel.

Titus and Melanie Bell are on their honeymoon and have reservations in the Okefenokee Swamp cabins for a canoeing trip. But shortly before they reach their destination, the road narrows into a rickety bridge with old stone pilings, with room for only one car.

Much later, Titus wakes up lying in the middle of the road, no bridge in sight. Melanie is missing. When he calls the police, they tell him there is no such bridge on Route 177 . . . 
Why We Want It: I was a huge fan of Cherie Priest’s earliest novels (Four and Twenty Blackbirds, Fathom) and though I haven’t read her most recent work, this feels like a bit of a homecoming for Priest closer to her ghost stories than she has been in a number of years. I am here for this.

Wellington, David. The Last Astronaut [Orbit]
Publisher's Description
Mission Commander Sally Jansen is Earth’s last astronaut–and last hope–in this gripping near-future thriller where a mission to make first contact becomes a terrifying struggle for survival in the depths of space. 

Sally Jansen was NASA’s leading astronaut, until a mission to Mars ended in disaster. Haunted by her failure, she lives in quiet anonymity, convinced her days in space are over.

She’s wrong.

A large alien object has entered the solar system on a straight course toward Earth. It has made no attempt to communicate and is ignoring all incoming transmissions.

Out of time and out of options, NASA turns to Jansen. For all the dangers of the mission, it’s the shot at redemption she always longed for.

But as the object slowly begins to reveal its secrets, one thing becomes horribly clear: the future of humanity lies in Jansen’s hands. 
Why We Want It: I’ve been a science fiction reader for almost as long as I can remember, but there’s a special place in my heart for novels centered around the space program rather than just being a novel set in space. Wellington’s novel dealing with an astronaut who may be NASA and humanity’s best hope against an alien artifact entering the solar system looks to be exactly what I’m looking for.

Whitehead, Colson. The Nickel Boys [Random House]
Publisher's Description
In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. 

As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides “physical, intellectual and moral training” so the delinquent boys in their charge can become “honorable and honest men.”

In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear “out back.” Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King’s ringing assertion “Throw us in jail and we will still love you.” His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.

The tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys’ fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy.

Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers. 
Why We Want It: I’m not entirely sure if The Nickel Boys will truly be genre, but Whitehead has been genre adjacent at minimum (and Zone One was firmly genre) and we like to claim everyone who has even looked at a science fiction book. Whitehead’s previous novel, The Underground Railroad was a powerhouse that rightly was awarded The Pulitzer Prize. The Nickel Boys is a major release from one of America’s most important writers and it a novel which demands to be read.

POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 3x Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Minnesotan.