New & Notable Books, June 2021

Charlie Jane Anders, Victories Greater Than Death (Tor Teen 4/21) Midwestern high-school student Tina Mains learns that she is actually the clone of a legendary space warrior, and must lead her people into battle against an alien tyrant. The first in a new YA trilogy with all the glitz and color of the MCU. “A slam-bang space opera.” [Gary K. Wolfe]


Akemi Dawn Bowman, The Infinity Courts (Simon & Schuster 4/21) Murdered teen Nami Miyamoto finds herself in Infinity, an afterlife “created from human consciousness.” She and a band of rebels unite to retake the afterlife from Ophelia, an AI attempting to enslave all human souls, and Nami is forced to examine what it means to be human.


Becky Chambers, The Galaxy, and the Ground Within (Harper Voyager 4/21) The fourth, and concluding, entry in the Hugo Award winning series is as uplifting as the previous three, and as filled with a fundamental belief in the goodness of humanity. “Becky Chambers’s Wayfarers series… is a nice warm cup of tea when the weather outside is terrible.” [Adrienne Martini]


Courttia Newland, A River Called Time (Akashic 4/21) In a parallel world where colo­nialism never happened, only the elite can shelter within a city-sized Ark. One man’s secret talent for astral projection lets him hunt across multiple realities for an evil being with the same ability.


Alexei Remizov, The Little Devil and Other Stories (Columbia University Press 4/21) While exiled to Siberia for eight years, Remizov dis­covered a love of folklore, and this collection of 13 of his stories includes fascinating reworkings of classic Russian fairy tales, as well as semi-autobiographical and historical pieces interwoven with necromancy and magical realism.

Kelly Robson, Alias Space and Other Stories (Subterranean Press 4/21) Robson’s impressive first collection contains 14 stories, one new, ranging from dark horror, to Toronto burlesque, to James Bond parody. The multiple award-nom­inated “The Water of Versailles”, a sex comedy about magical plumbing, fully encapsulates her quirkiness of imagination.


John Shirley, Stormland (Blackstone 4/21) In 2039, Charleston SC has been turned into “Storm­land” by perpetual superstorms. Darryl Webb, bounty hunter, enters the shattered city on the trail of a serial killer named Gerald. It’s cli-fi doom and adventure from one of the original cyberpunks.


Bruce Sterling, Robot Artists & Black Swans: The Italian Fantascienza Stories (Tachyon 4/21) Sterling, as “Bruno Argento,” collects seven “Italian-themed” fantascienza stories. “A set of stories that show how widely Sterling’s imagi­nation and craft can range across geographies, histories, rhetorics, and genres.” [Russell Letson]


Christina Sweeney-Baird, The End of Men (Putnam 4/21) Eerily prescient, Sweeney-Baird’s debut novel posits a global pandemic virus in 2025, but one that is only carried by and affects men. The absence of men creates not only per­sonal tragedies, but also political ramifications.


Jeff VanderMeer, Hummingbird Salamander (MCD 4/21) VanderMeer uses hard-boiled noir to dig deep into climate catastrophe, eco-terrorism, and wildlife trafficking, and all the clues lead to a future not too far off the track we’re already on. “Hummingbird Salamander, continues an extraordinary run of books that began with the publication of Annihilation in 2014.” [Ian Mond]


From the June 2021 issue of Locus.

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