New & Notable Books, November


Eugen Bacon, Chasing Whispers (Raw Dog Screaming 9/22) Collection of 13 stories, 11 new, of transformative Afro-irrealist Black speculative fiction by the acclaimed (and prolific) African Australian author.



Sarah Gailey, Just Like Home (Tor 7/22) Critical­ly applauded horror novel mixing supernatural and psychological elements with mystery. A woman returns to her childhood home, where strange developments make her question the past, when her father was accused of being a serial killer.



Meng Jin, Self-Portrait with Ghost (Mariner 7/22) Collection of ten stories (two reprints), many with elements of magical realism, often involving women dealing with change – from Trump and COVID to ghosts, superheroes, and more.



Stephen King, Fairy Tale (Scribner 9/22) Master storyteller King brings his distinctive style to a coming-of-age portal fantasy novel about a teen who inherits the keys to a fairytale fantasy world, where conflicts between good and evil could ultimately destroy both worlds.



R.B. Lemberg, The Unbalancing (Tachyon 9/22) Lemberg’s noted Birdverse series of poems and stories now adds its first full novel, adding new background to this fascinating universe while tell­ing of the search for a new starkeeper in the face of an impending catastrophe. ‘‘While Lemberg’s prose can be as lilting and lovely as their poetry, the novel is not without a fair amount of wit…. [and] some fascinating and memorable charac­ters.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]



Ling Ma, Bliss Montage (Farrar, Straus, Giroux 9/22) A first collection getting critical praise, with eight stories, most with speculative or surreal elements, often about Chinese American women dealing with alienation, yet wildly varied, a ‘‘de­licious assortment of surreal and conventional stories.’’ [Ian Mond]



Paul McAuley, Beyond the Burn Line (Gollancz 9/22) Noted SF author McAuley tells a story of exploration, adventure, and secret histories in this distinctly different far-future SF novel set on an Earth where humans are long extinct, replaced by intelligent bears, themselves wiped out by plague and replaced by their former slaves, raccoons – one of whom, a scholar, wanders the Earth to prove the existence of visitors from beyond the sky, uncover­ing startling secrets in the process.



Premee Mohamed, The Void Ascendant (Solaris 4/22) The cosmic horror of the Beneath the Rising trilogy comes to a mind-bending conclusion in this final volume, in which the last survivor of Earth, stuck in an alternate dimension as a prophet for servants of the Ancient Ones who destroyed his homeworld, now has a chance to rid the multiverse of the Ancient Ones completely: past, present, and future.



Tamsyn Muir, Nona the Ninth (Tordotcom 9/22) Muir seems to start over in this third novel in the acclaimed Locked Tomb series, a wonderfully twisted and bewildering chronicle which has been expanded from three books to four. Though series fans know who Nona is, she doesn’t, and she’s surprisingly cheerful, living in a refugee city and ignoring the dark things happening around her, and the hints of past events, and the dream conversations with God – and then things really start to move. ‘‘Nona the Ninth manages to be non-stop fun – and hilariously funny – and deeply, painfully, blisteringly moving. Some­times all in the same paragraph.’’ [Sam J. Miller]



Alexandra Rowland, A Taste of Gold and Iron (Tordotcom 8/22) Queer romance and political thriller mix in this witty fantasy novel inspired by the Ottoman Empire, following a shy prince who can determine the purity of metals by touch and taste, uncovers a conspiracy, and sets out to save the kingdom from financial disaster with the aid of his initially disapproving bodyguard.



Jonathan Strahan, ed., Tomorrow’s Parties: Life in the Anthropocene (MIT 8/22) The issue of life with climate change is explored in this solid SF anthology. A thought-provoking Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson sets the tone, fol­lowed by ten new stories from an impressive bunch of international authors including Greg Egan, Meg Elison, Sarah Gailey, Daryl Gregory, Chen Quifan, and Tade Thompson.


From the October 2022 issue of Locus.

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