Welcome to another (slightly belated) edition of the New Books Spotlight, where each month or so we curate a selection of 6 new and 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?
Chambers, Becky. The Galaxy and the Ground Within [Harper Voyager]
Return to the sprawling, Hugo Award-winning universe of the Galactic Commons to explore another corner of the cosmos—one often mentioned, but not yet explored—in this absorbing entry in the Wayfarers series, which blends heart-warming characters and imaginative adventure.Why We Want It: Chambers has said this will be the final Wayfarers novel and we can't pass up one last opportunity to visit this galaxy full of very different people trying to do right by each other.
With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop.
At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through.
When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers—all different species with different aims—are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio—an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes—are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other.
Gailey, Sarah. The Echo Wife [Tor]
I’m embarrassed, still, by how long it took me to notice. Everything was right there in the open, right there in front of me, but it still took me so long to see the person I had married.Why We Want It: Well, first and foremost, it's Sarah Gailey. It's also one of the best sci fi thriller concepts I've seen in years. Did I mention that it's Sarah Gailey? There's no way we'd be passing this one up.
It took me so long to hate him.
Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be.
And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband. Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and both Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up.
Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.
Martine, Arkady. A Desolation Called Peace [Tor]
A Desolation Called Peace is the spectacular space opera sequel to Arkady Martine's genre-reinventing, Hugo Award-winning debut, A Memory Called Empire.Why We Want It: A Memory Called Empire was an incredible debut (see Adri's review), winning the Hugo Award for Best Novel - it's a significant science fiction novel that will be read for years. There was a larger story set up in that first novel, plus the hope that Martine could write a follow up that lived up to the promise of A Memory Called Empire. Spoilers, it does. Adri has reviewed A Desolation Called Peace here and I've read it as well. It's excellent.
An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, and Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is running out of options.
In a desperate attempt at diplomacy with the mysterious invaders, the fleet captain has sent for a diplomatic envoy. Now Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass—still reeling from the recent upheaval in the Empire—face the impossible task of trying to communicate with a hostile entity.
Their failure will guarantee millions of deaths in an endless war. Their success might prevent Teixcalaan’s destruction—and allow the empire to continue its rapacious expansion.
Or it might create something far stranger . . .
Polk, C.L. Soulstar [Tor.com Publishing]
With Soulstar, C. L. Polk concludes her riveting Kingston Cycle, a whirlwind of magic, politics, romance, and intrigue that began with the World Fantasy Award-winning Witchmark. Assassinations, deadly storms, and long-lost love haunt the pages of this thrilling final volume.Why We Want It: After Stormsong, we'll follow Polk anywhere (and Witchmark was pretty darn good as well!) and Robin's story is one we're excited to read.
For years, Robin Thorpe has kept her head down, staying among her people in the Riverside neighborhood and hiding the magic that would have her imprisoned by the state. But when Grace Hensley comes knocking on Clan Thorpe’s door, Robin’s days of hiding are at an end. As freed witches flood the streets of Kingston, scrambling to reintegrate with a kingdom that destroyed their lives, Robin begins to plot a course that will ensure a freer, juster Aeland. At the same time, she has to face her long-bottled feelings for the childhood love that vanished into an asylum twenty years ago.
Can Robin find happiness among the rising tides of revolution? Can Kingston survive the blizzards that threaten, the desperate monarchy, and the birth throes of democracy? Find out as the Kingston Cycle comes to an end.
Wagers, K.B. Out Past the Stars [Orbit]
Gunrunner empress Hail Bristol must navigate alien politics and deadly plots to prevent an interspecies war, in the explosive finale to the Farian War space opera trilogy.Why We Want It: Wagers is a particular favorite of several of our writers and we have adored her Indranan War and Farian War novels. Out Past the Stars wraps up the story of Hail Bristol. We've been following Hail since Behind the Throne and this has been a killer series.
When Hail finally confronts the Farian gods, she makes a stunning discovery. There are no gods—only the Hiervet, an alien race with devastating powers who once spread war throughout the galaxy long before humanity’s ancestors crawled out of the sludge of Earth’s oceans.
But this knowledge carries with it dire news: the Hiervet have returned, eager to take revenge on those of their kind who escaped. And they don’t care who gets caught in the middle of the battle—Shen, Farian, or Indranan.
Once again, the fate of the galaxy is on the line and Hail will have to make one final gamble to leverage chaos into peace.
Yu, E. Lily. On Fragile Waves [Erewhon]
The haunting story of a family of dreamers and tale-tellers looking for home in an unwelcoming world.Why We Want It: On the strength of "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" Yu won the John W. Campbell Award (now Astounding) for Best New Writer back in 2012 and we've been reading her ever since. We're particularly excited to read her debut novel.
Firuzeh and her brother Nour are children of fire, born in an Afghanistan fractured by war. When their parents, their Atay and Abay, decide to leave, they spin fairy tales of their destination, the mythical land and opportunities of Australia.
As the family journeys from Pakistan to Indonesia to Nauru, heading toward a hope of home, they must rely on fragile and temporary shelters, strangers both mercenary and kind, and friends who vanish as quickly as they’re found.
When they arrive in Australia, what seemed like a stable shore gives way to treacherous currents. Neighbors, classmates, and the government seek their own ends, indifferent to the family’s fate. For Firuzeh, her fantasy worlds provide some relief, but as her family and home splinter, she must surface from these imaginings and find a new way.
This exquisite and unusual magic realist debut, told in intensely lyrical prose by an award winning author, traces one girl’s migration from war to peace, loss to loss, home to home.
POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 4x Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Minnesotan. He / Him.