New & Notable Books, May 2023


Edward Ashton, Antimatter Blues (St. Martin’s 3/23) This far-future SF thriller, sequel to the popular Mickey7, finds the ‘‘expendable’’ Mickey still alive, to his surprise, but only because the Commander believes Mickey’s the only one keeping the alien neighbors from using their antimatter bomb – and now he wants Mickey to get it away from them.





Kelly Barnhill, The Crane Husband (Tordotcom 2/23) Barnhill gives Japanese folktale ‘‘The Crane Wife’’ a near-future, feminist twist when a Midwestern widow brings home a large wounded crane and tells her children to call it Father, and then hides in her studio with the crane, supposedly creating a grand tapestry, while leaving her teenage daughter to deal with home and business. ‘‘Barnhill has a keen eye for the disturbing subtexts of a familiar tale, and a distinctive talent for making that tale her own…’’ in a fascinating ‘‘combination of domestic realism and high-concept fantasy bordering on absurdism.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]





M.R. Carey, Infinity Gate (Orbit US & UK 3/23) Carey has been getting high critical praise for this post-apocalyptic SF novel, the first in the Pandemonium series about an alliance of a million alternate Earths, threatened by a war with AI machines.





Jinwoo Chong, Flux (Melville House 3/23) An ’80s cop show provides a quirky central focus for this SF noir mystery novel, in which a man finds himself in a job which leaves him no memory of what he does there each day, and begins to suspect his new employer is using experimental technology to cover up crimes. A ‘‘whip-smart, time-bending, and emotionally scarring debut novel.’’ [Ian Mond]





C.L. Clark, The Faithless (Orbit 3/23) Two women, princess Luca and the soldier Touraine, continue their struggle for freedom and power in this gritty second novel in the Magic of the Lost series inspired by north Africa – a sharp-edged military fantasy offering grim realities, colorful but corrupted court intrique, and sapphic romance.





Gemma Files, Dark Is Better (Trepidatio 2/23) This powerful collection offers some distinctive twists to familiar horror elements in 19 dark stories originally published from 2008-2015, showing File’s wide-ranging talent for the dark, from weird fiction to cosmic horror and more.





Kelly Link, White Cat, Black Dog (Random House 3/23) Link’s new collection is dedicated to fairytale retellings with seven stories offering unique twists on familiar tales. Evocatively mysterious and quirky illustrations by Shaun Tan add to the charm. ‘‘Each story remains a delightful surprise, leaving us where we never quite expected to be.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]





Lee Mandelo, Feed Them Silence (Tordotcom 3/23) In this compelling near-future SF novella, a researcher achieves her dream of linking her brain to a wolf, but the experiment endangers her, her marriage, and the wolf. ‘‘The novella has a feeling of downhill acceleration that is exhilarating… a bleak gem of a story.’’ [Jake Casella Brookins]





Garth Nix, The Sinister Booksellers of Bath (Tegen Books 3/23) Nix returns to the fascinating world of The Left-Handed Booksellers of London for this rousing young-adult fantasy set in the city of Bath, where its roots in the ancient past keep the magical booksellers busy making sure old legends don’t escape to threaten the present – and things look grim when leading bookseller Merlin gets pulled into a sorcerous map, and the attempts to rescue him reveal centuries of murders.





Jade Song, Chlorine (Morrow 3/23) Body dysphoria gets a unique twist in this coming-of-age horror novel with elements of magi­cal realism, about a Chinese American teen competitive swimmer who will do anything to fulfill her dream of becoming a mermaid.



From the May 2023 issue of Locus.

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