New & Notable Books, May 2019

Elizabeth Bear, Ancestral Night (Saga 3/19) A thrill­ing space adventure from the Hugo Award-winning author, following salvagers Connla and Haimey Dz (and their cats) from the black hole at the center of the Milky Way to the galactic fringes as they encounter pirates, the corpse of a giant space-dwelling alien, and agents of the galaxy-spanning Synarche. The first in the new White Space series.

 


Zen Cho, The True Queen (Ace 3/19) In this sequel to Regency fantasy Sorcerer to the Crown, Malay­sian and English magicians vie for control of the fairy realm and search for a cure to a magical curse. “Ingeniously and carefully plotted, with some engag­ing and moving examples of the value of friendship and the moral dilemmas of power.” [Gary K. Wolfe]

 


James S.A. Corey, Tiamat’s Wrath (3/19) The eighth and (projected) penultimate volume of the wildly popular Expanse series finds James Holden prisoner of humanity’s first interstellar empire, and the remaining crew of Rocinante leading a resistance against the totalitarian regime. Things get dicey when ancient alien tech awakens and threatens to wipe out all of human civilization.

 


Cory Doctorow, Radicalized (Tor 3/19) As he does in his Locus column, Doctorow continues to interrogate hot-button issues in these “four tales of our present moment,” taking aim at immigration policies, police corruption, darknet radicalization, medical insurance companies, and survivalist preppers. His passionate, knowledgeable screeds about surveillance, privacy, and copyright anchor his fiction to a terrifying present instead of a far-off, ignorable future.


Kameron Hurley, The Light Brigade (Saga 3/19) Locus‘s other regular columnist brings a tale about interstellar warfare between Earth corporations and Mars in which infantry grunts are broken down into energy and beamed across space, a process that fundamentally changes who they are. This story of a fresh recruit who is either uncoupled from time or suffering combat madness makes Hurley’s MilSF a worthy successor to Starship Troopers and The Forever War.


Ann Leckie, The Raven Tower (Orbit 2/19) After re-envisioning the space opera with her award-winning Ancillary books, Leckie gives her unique twist to high fantasy, offering a tale with a Hamlet-esque plot and body count. “Everything here will repay close atten­tion, and much will draw a smile of recognition or of plain old pleasure at smart writing and surprising reinvention.” [Russell Letson]

 


Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire (Tor 3/19) Martine, AKA Dr. AnnaLinden Weller, is a scholar of the Byzantine Empire, and her debut SF novel is a rich, tangled space opera about the all-devouring Teixcalaan Empire, with intricate world­building and politicized poetry. Fans of space diplo­macy will want to scoop this one up immediately.

 


Tim Maughan, Infinite Detail (MCD x FSG Origi­nals 3/19) Our technology-dependent society gets a rude awakening in this cyberpunk novel from a writer who previously dealt with bleeding-edge tech in a short story collection (2011’s Paintwork) and the first movie shot entirely with drones (2016’s In the Robot Skies). “A politically astute, fascinating, and depressing glimpse of a near future brought to its knees by the abrupt death of the internet.” [Ian Mond]


Sarah Pinsker, Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea (Small Beer 3/19) With these 13 stories – including Nebula winner “Our Lady of the Open Road”, Sturgeon winner “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind”, and one original to the collection – Pinsker takes us on generation ships, cruise ships, and across parallel dimensions. “Includes some of Pinsker’s very best work, and this is a must-have first collec­tion.” [Rich Horton]

 


Tarun K. Saint, ed., The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction (Hachette India 2/19) The editor offers “one of the first collections of contem­porary (and historic) science fiction (SF) from the subcontinent to appear in the twenty-first century,” with 28 stories, six in translation. Readers will find fa­miliar names such as Mimi Mondal, S.B. Divya, and Vandana Singh alongside plentiful new discoveries.

 


Namwali Serpell, The Old Drift (Hogarth 3/19) A history (and future history) of Zambia, told in a blend of historical fiction, fable, and SF. Three families find themselves coming into each other’s lives re­peatedly through the centuries, along with a woman covered head-to-toe in hair, a blind man covered in eyes, a woman whose tears won’t stop flowing, and a group of African astronauts. An ambitious and dazzling saga.

 


Tade Thompson, The Rosewater Insurrection (Orbit 3/19) The second in the Wormwood trilogy finds the alien shantytown still plagued by attack zombies, giant burrowing worms, unpredictable torso tentacles, and insatiable triffid-like plants. “Thomp­son’s willingness to push himself as a writer, to not just rely on his strengths – the zippy dialogue, the sharp story-telling – is the reason I will continue to follow his career, why I will read whatever he writes.” [Ian Mond]


From the May 2019 issue of Locus.

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