New & Notable Books, February 2021

Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind (Ecco 10/20) This paranoid, apocalyptic SF novel is generating a lot of buzz and ending up on Best of Year lists. Who do we trust when the power goes out? Vacationing in a rented home, Amanda and Clay are about to find out when a couple, claiming to be the owners, knock on the door and say New York City is under blackout.


Eugen Bacon, The Road to Woop Woop (Meer­kat Press 12/20) Collection of 24 humorous, imaginative, experimental stories, including seven new. “Bacon’s passion for language and her willingness to play with the short-story form, to never settle on one type of narrative or genre, makes this an exciting collection that’s well worth picking up.” [Ian Mond]


Dhonielle Clayton, ed., A Universe of Wishes (Crown 12/20) YA original anthology published in coordination with We Need Diverse Books, with 15 stories by a slew of impressive authors, including Libba Bray, Zoraida Córdova, Tessa Gratton, Tochi Onyebuchi, Rebecca Roanhorse, V.E. Schwab, and more.


Michel Faber, D (A Tale of Two Worlds) (Ha­nover Square 12/20) Dhikilo is the only one who notices when the letter D – and things that start with it – starts disappearing, and she must travel from England to the wintry land of Liminus to save both worlds. A fable to delight readers of all ages.


Christopher Golden, Red Hands (St. Martin’s 12/20) Weird science expert Ben Walker inves­tigates a plague that gives a woman a deadly touch in this supernatural thriller, third in the series following Ararat (2017) and The Pandora Room (2019).



Christopher Hinz, Refraction (Angry Robot 11/20) Aiden Manchester, our reluctant super­hero, can only materialize balls of goo while he sleeps. What good is that? He embarks on a quest for the origin of other “Quiver Kids” like him, and the answers he finds may be more dangerous than he expects.


Mur Lafferty & S.B. Divya, eds., Escape Pod (Titan 11/20) In honor of its 15th anniversary, the Escape Pod podcast has produced an anthol­ogy of 15 SF stories, including original offerings from Tobias Buckell, Sarah Gailey, T. Kingfisher, and Tim Pratt, and reprints from Cory Doctorow, Kameron Hurley, N.K. Jemisin, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ken Liu, and John Scalzi.


Jonathan Lethem, The Arrest (Ecco 11/20) “The Arrest” of this satirical post-apocalyptic novel refers to all technology – from electronics to in­ternal combustion to guns and bullets – gradually ceasing to function. There is, however, a nuclear- powered supercar called the “Blue Streak,” which bears an eccentric cast of characters across this suddenly pastoral landscape.


Sam J. Miller, The Blade Between (Ecco 12/20) Miller’s grim and sharp-edged horror novel grapples with small-town ghosts and the power of hate as Ronan returns to his hometown of Hud­son. “In the end, it’s that view of latent, abiding evil – something like Hudson’s own version of Pennywise, only more darkly erotic – that gives The Blade Between its considerable power.” [Gary K. Wolfe]


Walter Jon Williams, Fleet Elements (Harper Voyager US 12/20) Williams’s novel, second in a series begun in The Accidental War and set in the Praxis universe of his Dread Empire’s Fall trilogy, blends space opera, military SF, romance, novel-of-manners, and even crime/intrigue-thriller.


Connie Willis, Take a Look at the Five and Ten (Subterranean 11/20) A short-and-sweet romantic holiday comedy from science fiction’s most-decorated writer. “Willis is reliably fun, especially her snark about Jillian’s cooking and Sloane’s character and Aunt Mildred’s get-off-my lawn attitude. What really shines, though, is the wholly convincing nostalgia for Christmas in Denver in about 1960, and the utter warmth of the depiction.” [Rich Horton]


From the February 2021 issue of Locus.

Locus Magazine, Science Fiction FantasyWhile you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or recurring donation. We rely on reader donations to keep the magazine and site going, and would like to keep the site paywall free, but WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT to continue quality coverage of the science fiction and fantasy field.

©Locus Magazine. Copyrighted material may not be republished without permission of LSFF.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *