New & Notable Books, February 2023

Lily Brooks-Dalton, The Light Pirate (Grand Central 12/22) Critics applaud this near-future novel, which despite a stormy backdrop man­ages to be hopeful as it follows a girl with spe­cial gifts growing up in an apocalyptic future Florida suffering from extreme weather and ever-worse flooding.



A.R. Capetta & Roush Wade, eds., Tasting Light: Ten Science Fiction Stories to Rewire Your Perceptions (MiTeen 10/22) This young-adult anthology of ten all-new hard SF stories offers generally upbeat looks at what the world might become thanks to the possibilities of various real emerging new technologies, with stories by authors including William Alexander, K. Ancrum, Elizabeth Bear, Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson, A.S. King, E.C. Myers, and Junauda Petrus-Nasah, with a graphic story by Wendy Xu.



Mircea Cărtărescu, Solenoid (Deep Vellum 10/22) Strangeness abounds in this critically praised, quasi-autobiographical novel with surreal, historical, and SF elements, following a schoolteacher in Romania in the ’80s and ’90s Romania who muses on the division between art and life. Translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter.


Bora Chung, Cursed Bunny (Honford Star UK 7/21, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill 12/22) Critics cheer plot twists and skillful prose in this standout collection of ten genre-bending dark stories drawing on SF, fantasy, surrealism, fairy tales, and horror. Translated from the Korean by Anton Hur. Originally published in the UK 7/21 by Honford Star.


Julie E. Czerneda, To Each This World (DAW 11/22) A mysterious threat to humanity sends three humans and alien allies out to reconnect with lost colonies and sleeper ships, but after centuries, communication and determining what counts as human proves difficult, and figuring out who to trust is even harder.


Ellen Datlow, ed., The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Fourteen (Night Shade 12/22) Acclaimed editor Datlow returns with her lat­est year’s best anthology, this time with of 24 stories from 2021, with Datlow’s usual insight­ful summation of the year in horror. Authors include Laird Barron, Brian Evenson, Gemma Files, Christopher Golden, Michael Marshall Smith, Kaaron Warren, A.C. Wise.


Luke Dumas, A History of Fear (Atria 12/6/22) Psychological and possible supernatural ele­ments mix in this thrilling horror novel about a murderer in Scotland, who says the devil made him do it, kills himself, and then leaves a manuscript telling his story. A smart, involving, and intriguinglly enigmatic first novel getting some serious critical praise.


Ewan Morrison, How to Survive Everything (Harper Perennial 11/22) A darkly humorous thriller getting good buzz, this entertainingly skewed survival tale is narrated by a teen af­ter she and her little brother are kidnapped by their conspiracy-obsessed prepper father to save them from a new, deadlier pandemic. Dad’s definitely wacko, but a twist at the end leaves it unclear how much is psychological and how much real. (First published in the UK by Sarabande.)


Shameez Patel Papathanasiou, The Last Feather (Flame Tree Press 7/22) Medical stu­dent Cassia Khan, kidnapped and transported to a parallel world, unexpectedly meets an old friend who asks her help breaking a deadly curse – in exchange for a cure for her dying little sister. This impressive first novel (and the first book in the Selene trilogy) offers an immersive world, thrilling adventure, and engaging char­acters led by a smart and stubborn woman determined to protect family and friends.


Rebecca Ross, A Fire Endless (Harper Voy­ager US and UK 12/22) The second book in the Scottish-inspired fantasy duology Elements of Cadence brings a compelling conclusion to the series, mixing magic, mystery, and romance as a group of friends must reunite to protect the Isle of Cadence’s balance from Bane, the spirit of the North Wind, whose quest for power threatens both humans and spirits.


Nisi Shawl, Our Fruiting Bodies (Aqueduct Press 11/22) Shawl’s latest collection offers 18 imaginative and occasionally unsettling stories ranging from horror to fantasy, full of diversity and decay, rebirth, wild magic, and life, draw­ing inspiration from fairy tales, Peter Pan, and much more.


From the February 2023 issue of Locus.

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