New Books: 2 March 2021

Beaton, E.J.: The Councillor

(DAW 978-0-7564-1699-7, $27.00, 448pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, March 1, 2021)

Machiavellian fantasy whcih follows a scholar’s quest to choose the next ruler of her nation amidst lies, conspiracy, and assassination. Debut novel.


Boehme, Jillian: The Stolen Kingdom

(Tor Teen 978-1-250-29882-9, $18.99, 336pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, March 2, 2021)

Young-adult epic fantasy. A vintner’s daughter’s magical blood reveals her to be secret royalty, involving her in a plot to take the throne. Debut novel.


Bowen, Marjorie: The Bishop of Hell and Other Stories

(Valancourt Books 1948405857, $24.99, 228 pp, formats: hardcover, trade paperback, March 2, 2021)

Anthology of 12 classic British ghost stories by Marjorie Bowen, part of the Monster She Wrote series.


Brooks, Terry: Small Magic: Short Fiction 1977-2020

(Penguin Random House/Del Rey 978-0-525-61996-3, $28.99, 464pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, March 2, 2021)

First ever collection of short stories by Terry Brooks, including both new and reprints, and stories set in Shannara, Magic Kingdom, and The World and the Void.


Brown, Jayna: Black Utopias: Speculative Life and the Music of Other Worlds

(Duke University Press 978-1-4780-1167-5, $99.95, 224pp, formats: hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, February 28, 2021)

Study of utopian fiction, poetry, and music from Black artists, exploring how they have imagined future Black culture.


Clare, Cassandra: Chain of Iron

(Simon & Schuster/McElderry 978-1-4814-3190-3, $24.99, 688pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, March 2, 2021)

Young-adult historical fantasy set in Edwardian London. Sequel to Chain of Gold, in the Shadowhunters setting.


Day, Kate Hope: In the Quick

(Penguin Random House/Random House 978-0-525-51125-0, $27.00, 272pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio,organizational psychology, emotion regulation, and surprise psychology March 2, 2021)

A gifted young engineer in astronaut training works to find a crew that has been missing and presumed dead since her childhood.


Divya, S.B.: Machinehood

(Simon & Schuster/Saga 978-1-9821-4806-5, $27.00, 416pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, March 2, 2021)

Science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence, sentience, and labor rights in a near future dominated by the gig economy.

There’s a great deal going on in Machinehood, from Divya’s sophisticated critique of a post-privacy gig economy to her evident expertise in AI systems, ‘‘weak AI’’ digital assistants, nanotech, and prosthetic body modifications. Individually, none of the tech extrapolations are particularly new, and Divya on occasion lapses into clichéd dialogue (‘‘this is so much bigger than us’’), but the economy she describes is sharply imagined and convincingly detailed, and she artfully balances the cybertech thriller chapters involving Welga and the more character-oriented narrative of Nithya and her family, eventually weaving them together in a conclusion both suspenseful and ingenious, if a bit idealistic given the problems and complexities she’s already saddled us with. But then, idealism might be something we need a bit more of these days.

—Gary Wolfe, Locus Magazine, February 2021


Feehan, Christine: Lightning Game

(Penguin Random House/Berkley 978-0-593-33312-9, $28.00, 427pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, March 2, 2021)

Contemporary urban fantasy. 17th in the GhostWalker series, featuring an elite group of enhanced supersoldiers. Standalone plot.


Freed, Alexander: Star Wars: Victory’s Price

(Penguin Random House/Del Rey 978-1-9848-2007-5, $28.99, 480pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, March 2, 2021)

Conclusion to the Alphabet Squadron trilogy. The aces of the New Republic have one final chance to defeat the darkness of Shadow Wing.


Gannon, Charles E.: At the End of the Journey

(Baen 198-2125225, $25, 304pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, March 2, 2021)

Six teenagers and their British captain are aboard the ketch Crosscurrent Voyager, headed on a senior year summer cruise when the zombie apocalypse happens. Set in the world of John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising.


Glover, Nicole: The Conductors

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/John Joseph Adams 978-0-358197058, $15.99, 432pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, audio, March 2, 2021)

Conductors on the Underground Railroad use magic based on constellations to ferry escaped slaves to safety. Debut novel, first in a two-book series.


Hand, Elizabeth: The Best of Elizabeth Hand

(Subterranean Press 978-1-64524-005-1, $45, 552pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, February 28, 2021 )

Collection of 16 stories and novellas, including two World Fantasy Award winning stories, and four previously uncollected.


Haskins, A.C.: Blood and Whispers

(Baen 978-1982125233, $15.99, 313pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, March 2, 2021)

Urban fantasy, featuring a retired sorcerer, hoping for solitude as he runs a Philadelphia occult shop, until he’s asked to help solve a murder.


Ishiguro, Kazuo: Klara and the Sun

(Penguin Random House/Knopf 978-0-593-31817-1, $28, 320pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, March 2, 2021)

Klara is an Artificial Friend, waiting to be purchased from the store. In the meantime, she carefully watches all the shoppers and everyone who passes by.


King, Emily R.: Wings of Fury

(Amazon/47North 9781542023733, $14.95, 301pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, March 1, 2021)

Historical fantasy set in ancient Greece featuring mythological characters. First in a two-book series.


King, Stephen: Later

(Titan/Hard Case Crime US 978-178909649-1, $14.95, 272pp, formats:  paperback, ebook, audio, March 02, 2021)

A boy with difficult supernatural abilities is drawn into the pursuit of a killer by a NYPD detective.


Kingfisher, T: Paladin’s Strength

(Argyll Productions US 978-1614505303, $34.95, 478pp, formats: hardcover, ebook)

A paladin and a were-bear nun cross paths and then team up to fight their many enemies, living and dead.


Martine, Arkady: A Desolation Called Peace

(Tor 978-1-250-18646-1, $26.99, 493pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, March 2, 2021)

Space opera, sequel to A Memory Called Empire. Diplomats attempt to negotiate with a mysterious and hostile alien armada.

A Desolation Called Peace is also great, even though it is a different sort of story than its predecessor. The first book was a kind of coming-of-age tale; this one is about what makes a civilization and how to reconcile the continual push and pull between protecting yourself and showing vulnerability.

—Adrienne Martini, Locus Magazine, February 2021


Oliva, Alexandra: Forget Me Not

(Penguin Random House/Ballantine 978-1-101-96684-6, $28.00, 352pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, March 2, 2021)

Near future science fiction. A young woman escapes from the isolated compound where she had been left to raise herself. Amidst a media frenzy about her origins, she seeks to solve the mystery of her own existence.


Rubinkowski, Jessica: The Bright & the Pale

(HarperCollins/Quill Tree 978-0-06-287150-3, $17.99, 336pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, March 2, 2021)

Young-adult epic fantasy inspired by Russian Folklore, first book in a duology. Debut novel.


Schanoes, Veronica: Burning Girls and Other Stories

(Tordotcom 978-1-250-78150-5, $25.99, 336pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, March 2, 2021)

First collection, with 13 stories. Foreword from Jane Yolen.


Tchaikovsky, Adrian: One Day All This Will Be Yours

(Rebellion/Solaris US 978-1-78108-874-6, $30, 98pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, March 1, 2021)

Post apocalyptic, far future, time-travel novella, featuring the last survivor of the Casuality War—the event where humanity destroyed time itself.


Wallace, Kali: Dead Space

(Penguin Random House/Berkley 978-1-984803726, $17, 336pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, audio, March 2, 2021)

A survivor of a terrorist attack on a space station works solving petty crimes for her corporate overlords, until an old friend arrives, with hints of dangerous secrets about their shared past.


Williams, Walter Jon: The Best of Walter Jon Williams

(Subterranean Press 978-1-64524-002-0, $29.99, 616pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, February 28, 2021)

Six novellas and one short story, many of them award-winning classics, covering a wide variety of styles.

Much of this variety is on display in The Best of Walter Jon Williams, a dozen stories stretching back to the 1980s, chosen by the author, with endnotes establishing contexts and origins and snippets of personal history.

[. . .]

I come away from this collection admiring not only Williams’s flexibility as a master of traditions and conventions and tropes, but also the way that these stories are not merely exercises or japes (though ‘‘The Golden Age’’ and ‘‘Prayers on the Wind’’ are plenty playful). When Williams takes on a genre, he also takes on the issues and tensions and themes such constructs are meant to address. This is where craft crosses the fuzzy borderline and becomes art.

—Russell Letson, Locus Magazine, February 2021

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