An eclectic assortment of recent, current, and forthcoming books from small and independent presses that've caught our attention, and we don't want to escape yours. Sometimes these are releases from major publishing houses that don't produce many books in our genre.
Contact the staff ASAP if you are interested in one of these titles as they often sell out quickly.
Elegant language and surrealistic themes defy genre and moral expectations in the weird and transgressive stories found in this collection. Assassins of old gods become their beloved emissaries in “She Who Runs.” Technological body modification leads to a political conspiracy in the nightmarish dystopia of “Still Life with Skull,” and a mad goddess’s frantic dancing powers an entire cosmos in “Sleepless, Burning Life.” Echoes of Dunsany’s myth making crash against nihilistic visionaries struggling for self and sanity, and often the only salvation is escaping into the imagination, encompassed in the hallucinogenic spider venom of the tragic titular story. Once consumed, it allows an underground race to “spend a precious eternity inside the vistas of minds,” a powerful metaphor for humanity and imaginative fiction. Poet Allen’s (Unseaming) pairing of individualistic suffering and cosmic hugeness evokes a lyrical friction between dread and wonder. (Mar.)
The seven stories in this slim collection range from dark fantasy to sf to horror—sometimes all within one tale. There are enough spiders here to make an arachnophobe go into hysterics, but they are not the only ones spinning webs. Goddesses, aliens, and genetic splicers all pull on strings. Gems include "Sleepless, Burning Life," about a woman in love with a goddess, and "Twa Sisters" with a man hiding secrets in his brain. Especially vivid in its blending of imagery and narrative is "Stolen Souls," in which a former cop tries to reconnect the stolen pieces of his lover's consciousness. VERDICT As he did with his previous collection Unseaming, poet Allen weaves intriguing connections among his tales, applying dizzying, sensual images. Poets often make excellent writers of the short form owing to their ability to use few words to evoke an emotion or paint a picture; this volume displays that skill.—KC
High concept, adventurous science fiction stories featuring the beloved characters and settings from Tobias S. Buckell's popular Xenowealth novels.
Enjoy this fast-paced ride through a universe that has been many years in the making, accessible to both fans of Buckell's Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin and Sly Mongoose novels as well as first time readers. Xenowealth: A Collection includes stories like:
-The Fish Merchant: a glimpse at what first contact might be like from the perspective of those who will be battered by the fallout and geopolitical posturing. First published in one of science fiction's largest magazines and translated into multiple languages.
-Resistance: what happens when we hand over all our decision-making to algorithms and artificial intelligence? Can we let them vote for us? Should we?
-Necahual: an invading empire finds that not all is as it seems when it lands and gets a lesson about what both past and current occupation means.
-and including Ratcatcher, an all-new Xenowealth story written just for this collection.
Table of Contents
The Fish Merchant (first published in SCIENCE FICTION AGE)
Manumission (first published in BAEN'S UNIVERSE)
Resistance (first published in anthology SEEDS OF CHANGE)
A Cold Heart (first published in anthology UPGRADED)
The Loa (new to this collection)
Necahual(first published in CLARKESWORLD MAGAZINE)
Placa del Fuego (first published in CLARKESWORLD MAGAZINE)
The Rydr Express (first published in anthology THE NEW HERO II)
Ratcatcher (new to this collection!)
How the Xenowealth Came to Be
1959. Delpha Wade killed a man who was raping her. Wanted to kill the other one too, but he got away. Now, after fourteen years in prison, she's out. It's 1973, and nobody's rushing to hire a parolee. Persistence and smarts land her a secretarial job with Tom Phelan, an ex-roughneck turned neophyte private eye. Together these two pry into the dark corners of Beaumont, a blue-collar, Cajun-influenced town dominated by Big Oil. A mysterious client plots mayhem against a small petrochemical company-why? Searching for a teenage boy, Phelan uncovers the weird lair of a serial killer. And Delpha on a weekend outing looks into the eyes of her rapist, the one who got away. The novel's conclusion is classic noir, full of surprise, excitement, and karmic justice. Sandlin's elegant prose, twisting through the dark thickets of human passion, allows Delpha to open her heart again to friendship, compassion, and sexuality.
Lisa Sandlin's story "Phelan's First Case" was anthologized in "Lone Star Noir "and was later re-anthologized in Akashic's Best of the Noir series, "USA Noir." "The Do-Right "is her first full-length mystery. Lisa was born in Beaumont, currently lives and teaches in Omaha, Nebraska, and summers in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Morrow's stellar best-of collection leads off with "Bigfoot and the Bodhisattva," about a yeti who seeks spiritual enlightenment from the 15th Dalai Lama but who instead becomes ensnared in the irrationalities of religious dogma. The collection concludes with the ingenious alternate history story "The Raft of the Titanic," in which the survivors of the Titanic save themselves by constructing an island-sized raft and setting up a more progressive society on it than the one they've left behind. The 15 stories in between are similarly imaginative gems in which Morrow cocks a satirical eye at serious and salient subjects such as warmongering ("Arms and the Woman"), right-to-life doctrines ("Auspicious Eggs"), global ecology ("Daughter Earth"), religious orthodoxy ("Bible Stories for Adults, No 31: The Covenant"), and liberal politics ("The Cat's Pajamas"). Morrow (Galapagos Regained) is a master of reductio ad absurdum, and his puckish sense of humor keeps stories light and buoyant that might otherwise have turned cranky and polemical. This book reveals him to be one of the wittiest writers of contemporary speculative fiction." -- Publishers Weekly
On a hotter and more volatile earth in the twenty-third century, humans like Clare and Jon live in utopia, hunting and gathering in small tribal bands, engaged in daily art and ritual, reunited with old friends like the shaggy mammoth and giant ground sloth. Even better, they still have solar- powered laptops and can communicate with each other around the world. The understanding of physics has also advanced. When scientists first cloned extinct species from the Pleistocene, they discovered that many of them were telepathicthat consciousness travels in waves. For most people, animism has become the preferred religion, a panpsychism compatible with the laws of a fractal holographic universe. As Clare tells one of her students, the return to an older, Paleolithic lifestyle is one of humanity's greatest achievements.
It's too bad that utopia had to come at such a cost: a genetically engineered super-virus that wiped out most of earth's human population. Humanity was shaken by that event, and humanity vowed to change. Now, on the 150th anniversary of that catastrophe, a small group of men and womenas well as a smarter-than-average dire wolf and saber-toothed catare suddenly faced with decisions in which the stakes are higher than ever before. Will earth repeat the cycle of unbridled hubris? Or is humanity's destiny even stranger than that?
For years, writers and filmmakers have speculated about the possibility of the Earth being invaded by aliens from another planet. But what if the aliens have been watching us, infiltrating us via human collaborators, or even surgically altering themselves to look human? "Occupied Earth" i a groundbreaking anthology that explores the idea of what the world would look like years after its conquest. 20 years after a successful invasion by the Makh-Ra, humanity still exists, only they have become subservient to a new race of occupiers who now govern the devastated planet. But, as much at things continue with some sense of normalcy, something has happened in the Mahk-Ra's empire. Earth, once considered a strategic beachhead of major importance to the Empire, has been downgraded in its value. Things are starting to degrade. Our planet is the last place any self-respecting Mahk-Ra officer wants to be assigned. Yet, despite everything, life continues. These stories bring us face to face with annihilation -- and show how we can pull ourselves back from the brink. Featuring Rachel Howzell Hall, Lisa Morton, Matthew V. Clemens, Howard Hendrix, Nathan Walpow and more, OCCUPIED EARTH is coming. Stay safe. Stay strong. Survive at all costs.
Featuring: our Outspoken Interview in which Fowler prophesies California's fate, reveals the role of bad movies in good marriages, and intimates that girls just want to have fun (which means make trouble).
From publisher Jim Huang: Intelligent and endearing, they're the books that readers walk into independent bookstore hoping to discover. Maggie Ryan has an amazing ability to make folks around her better people. Owen Keane is driven to answer life's larger questions, seeking answers through methods he's learned from the detective stories he cherishes. Maggie succeeds more than she fails. Owen fails more than he succeeds. (Or does he?) Both Faherty and Carlson leave you with lots to think about. Their elegant whodunits and fascinating characters also leave you feeling good about the genre itself.
Jessie Dawn Cutler is a relationship banker in Manhattan, a woman climbing the rungs of the high-finance ladder on her way to the top. Morgan Byrd is an aging mercenary soldier, suffering a crisis of conscience as profound as his bank account is low. When Jessie learns that her biggest client is a criminal and a killer--protected from inside and outside the bank--she becomes his next target. It'll take all every resource she has, and the most unlikely of allies, if she hopes to survive.
About the Author Jeffrey J. Mariotte is the award-winning author of more than forty-five novels, including the border horror trilogy Missing White Girl, River Runs Red, and Cold Black Hearts, The Slab, the Dark Vengeance teen horror quartet, and others. He also writes comic books, including the long-running horror/Western comic book series Desperadoes.