New & Notable Books, January 2020

Julie C. Dao, Song of the Crimson Flower (Philomel 11/19) Dao returns to her acclaimed, Asian-inspired world of the Rise of the Empress series for this new young-adult tale of a noble girl who rejects a poor apprentice, then regrets it – and finds his flute with his soul trapped inside it, and de­cides to break the curse. A beautifully woven story of magic, adventure, and the power of true love.


John Fleskes, ed., Spectrum 26: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art (Flesk Publica­tions 11/19) The annual art book returns with its usual assortment of beautifully reproduced art, with over 600 works by more than 300 artists, and a summation of the year by Flesk. Works include book covers and illustrations, comics and gaming art, 3D pieces, and more.


Margo Lanagan, Stray Bats (Small Beer 11/19) This quirky chapbook collection presents 50 evoca­tive vignettes, most based on poems by Australian women, accompanied by charming illustrations by Kathleen Jennings.



Cixin Liu, Supernova Era (Tor 10/19) A super­nova douses Earth in radiation that will kill all those over 13 within a year, leaving parents strug­gling to teach their children what they need to keep civilization going – but the children turn out to have their own ideas. A thought-provoking early SF novel from the noted Chinese author, newly translated by Joel Martinson.


Nick Mamatas, Sabbath (Tor 11/19) Mamatas puts his own dark spin on the character from the horror graphic novel Sabbath: All Your Sins Reborn in this grisly tale of a legendary 11th-century warrior, wakened in the present to hunt the Deadly Sins. “Nick Mamatas is one of the most inventive, fas­cinating, and distinctive voices in the field, a writer whose career I will follow even if it means reading a comic book adaptation…. the sensibilities that drive Sabbath, that make it so thoughtful, socially aware, and wickedly funny, are all his.” [Ian Mond]

Daniel José Older, The Book of Lost Saints (Im­print 11/19) A supernatural nudge forces a young man to look into his family history when the ghost of an aunt who disappeared during the Cuban Revolution turns up in New Jersey to get him to investigate her story. A truly haunting novel of family, forgiveness, freedom, and history.


Jennifer Roberson, Life and Limb (DAW 11/19) Roberson takes on urban fantasy for the first time with this entertaining novel, the first in a series about two men, one just out of prison and the other a surprisingly well-educated cowboy, who turn out to share a birthday and a very unusual “Grandaddy” who expects them to fight Satan and stop the End of Days – with the help of some companions out of legend and myth.


John Scalzi, A Very Scalzi Christmas (Subter­ranean 11/19) If you love Christmas, but find some aspects of the holidays deserving of a little satire, Scalzi is here for you with this fun collection of 15 pieces (three new), many originally published on his from his website Whatever. The mix includes humorous stories and lists, a poem, and other de­lightful tidbits, including some hilarious interviews with Santa’s Lawyer and others. There are a couple of touching and thought-provoking pieces, but humor definitely dominates, with just a little bite in all the right places.

Nisi Shawl, Talk Like a Man (PM Press 11/19) Shawl joins PM Press’ “Outspoken Authors” with this collection of four previously uncollected stories, a speech, and a forthright, frequently witty, interview conducted by Terry Bisson.



Sherwood Smith, Time of Daughters, Book One (Book View Café 10/19) Smith returns to her popu­lar world of Sartorias-deles for a new two-part epic tale of military fantasy, set a century after the death of the Marlovan hero Inda. Unexpected deaths leave a reluctant king on the throne of a country in turmoil, helped by his redoubtable wife and the family they build.

Gary K. Wolfe, ed., American Science Fiction: Eight Classic Novels of the 1960s (Library of America 11/19) According to his introduction, Wolfe’s two-volume selection of eight novels from the 1960s, the era of the New Wave, is meant to demonstrate that SF can be “a sophisticated, cul­turally significan, and ultimately enduring genre” – and entertaining, with The High Crusade by Poul Anderson (1960), Way Station by Clifford D. Simak (1963), Flowers for Algernon by Dan­iel Keyes (1966), and …And Call Me Conrad by Roger Zelazny (1966 as This Immortal) in the first volume. The second volume features Past Master by R.A. Lafferty (1968), Picnic on Paradise by Joanna Russ (1968), Nova by Samuel R. Delany (1968), and Emphyrio by Jack Vance (1969). The volumes are available separately as well as a slipcased set.

From the January 2020 issue of Locus.

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