Sep 282020
 

Locus and British Fantasy Award nominee Cassandra Khaw’s debut novel THE ALL-CONSUMING WORLD, about a diverse team of former criminals who get back together to rescue a missing comrade and solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission while battling their own traumas and a universe of sapient AI ageships who want them dead, to Sarah Guan at Erewhon, by Michael Curry.

Sep 252020
 

Kirkus: The second novel set in Bear’s sprawling White Space universe – ­after Ancestral Night (2018) – ­is an intricately plotted fusion of science-fiction adventure and conspiratorial mystery that revolves around a space station that begins to experience critical mishaps after a rescue mission returns with humans who have been in cryogenic suspension for centuries.

When rescue specialist Dr. Brookllyn Jens­ – who has dedicated her life to saving and treating any and all species of beings – ­finds more than 10,000 humans in cryo-containers onboard a derelict generation ship that has been in space for 600 years, she is faced with numerous unanswered questions. How did the ship get to its current location? Why were the passengers turned into “corpsicles”? Why was an android named Helen Alloy left to protect them? Why is a modern vessel docked on the generation ship, and where is the methane-breathing crew? What is the purpose of the crablike machine in the vessel? With these mysteries, and more, unsolved, Jens returns as many rescued passengers as she can to Core General, a state-of-the-art hospital and largest constructed biosphere in the galaxy. Once there, however, Jens begins uncovering some chilling revelations about the purpose of the frozen passengers, the strange craboid walker, and a mysterious virus impacting shipmind AIs. While there are a few sequences in which the momentum flags, Bear’s ability to keep the reader immersed in the various characters’ individual stories and the dynamism among the human and alien characters of the Synarche (the interstellar government that joins together multiple alien races for a collective good) more than compensates. The character arc of Jens­ – who has a debilitating pain syndrome and is struggling to come to grips with her lack of connection with her daughter­ – is done with insight and sensitivity.

A page-turning fusion of science fiction and mystery­ – hopefully Bear will revisit her White Space universe soon.

Sep 242020
 

LocusThe Space Between Worlds is fascinating, complicated, compelling, and far too aware of the costs of precarity to be able to end on a triumphant note. But its quiet, personal, hopeful conclusion is more satisfying, in a deep-rooted way, than any conclusion that turns on revolution. This is a jewel of a novel, all the more impressive for being Johnson’s debut.

Sep 232020
 

Author photo of Leanna Renee Hieber.Leanna Renee Hieber, author of The Spectral City, joins with Andrea Janes, owner of NYC historical tour company Boroughs of the Dead, and Elizabeth Kerri Mahon, author of Scandalous Women, to write A HAUNTED HISTORY OF INVISIBLE WOMEN, an exploration of ghostly tropes, examining haunted places where women’s narratives are centered, with a foreword by Stoker Award-winner Linda D. Addison. Acquired by Elizabeth May at Kensington, by Paul Stevens.

Sep 172020
 

Booklist: This book pulls apart what a book is, what a book could be, and gets to the soul of what it means to tell a story, all while delivering queer chemistry and intricate worldbuilding.

Sep 102020
 

New York Times: THE SPACE BETWEEN WORLDS is Micaiah Johnson’s debut, but that word is utterly insufficient for the blazing, relentless power of this book, suggesting ballroom manners where it should conjure comet tails.

The multiverse is real, and Adam Bosch has figured out how to move people among 382 versions of Earth; his company, Eldridge, extracts information and resources from those worlds. The only catch: You can’t travel to an Earth on which a version of you is still alive. The only people who can become “traversers,” then, are those whose existence is so precarious that they’ve survived in just a few worlds. “They needed trash people,” says Cara, our protagonist, gripping my heart and squeezing. In all the hundreds of Earths Eldridge can access, Cara’s alive in only eight.

Cara is a resident of Wiley City, a walled compound in a postapocalyptic world ground down by numerous wars. In the comfort of its controlled atmosphere and artificial sunlight, citizens and residents enjoy the benefits of a robust social contract, have access to housing and medicine, and enjoy a prosperity bolstered by resources stolen from alternate worlds. Cara’s originally from Ashtown, beyond Wiley City’s gates: a loosely knit community of laborers, scavengers, religious commune members and sex workers, leading hardscrabble lives in an unforgiving desert ruled by an onyx-toothed Blood Emperor and his runners. It takes 10 years of residency in Wiley City before one can apply for citizenship; Cara’s been there for six. But once Eldridge develops the technology to extract information across worlds remotely, traversers will be obsolete and Cara will be banished back to Ashtown. Unless she can make herself indispensable first.

As a metaphor for neoliberal imperialism, this tale is profoundly satisfying; as a work of art, it’s even better. Cara is so mesmerizing a character that I was helpless before every twist and turn of plot, riveted by her pain, love and secrets. The book remained two steps ahead of my imagination, rattling it out of complacency and flooding it with color and heat.

Everything is hard. The news vacillates between horror novel and undisciplined television drama from one hour to the next. But “The Space Between Worlds” and “Dance on Saturday” make me feel profoundly grateful to exist in the same world and at the same time as their authors — to bear witness to the furious compassion and generosity of their power.

Sep 092020
 

photo of author Shaun David HutchinsonDavid Linker at HarperCollins has acquired, in an exclusive submission, Before We Disappear by Shaun David Hutchinson (We Are the Ants), a historical fantasy set during the 1909 Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition in Seattle. Jack, an orphan and magician’s assistant, spies on their rivals to steal secrets of their magic tricks to find that the other magician’s assistant, Wil, can perform real magic. This truth will result in death, so Jack and Wil face the ultimate choice to trust one another or vanish from it all. Publication is set for fall 2021; Katie Shea Boutillier did the deal for world English rights.