Must-Read Speculative Short Fiction for August 2022

Whenever I put together my list of ten favorite short science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories, I go by what strikes me the hardest, what sticks with me the longest, and what makes me go “Oh!” Often, as I’m writing up the blurbs, a theme emerges, one I wasn’t aware of when I was picking the pieces but connects most of them. For August, I was apparently feeling contemplative about death and endings, not sad or grieving but processing. I hope you’re ready for some capital “F” Feelings.

Read the rest of this spotlight at Tor.com.

Review: “In the Serpent’s Wake” by Rachel Hartman

Release Date: March 1, 2022
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Series: Tess of the Road #2
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Description

MIND OF THE WORLD,

OPEN YOUR EYES.At the bottom of the world lies a Serpent, the last of its kind.

Finding the Serpent will change lives.Tess is a girl on a mission to save a friend.

Spira is a dragon seeking a new identity.

Marga is an explorer staking her claim on a man’s world.

Jacomo is a priest searching for his soul.There are those who would give their lives to keep it hidden.

And those who would destroy it.But the only people who will truly find the Serpent are those who have awakened to the world around them–with eyes open to the wondrous, the terrible, and the just.

Continue reading “Review: “In the Serpent’s Wake” by Rachel Hartman”

New Young Adult SFF for September & October 2022

It’s hard to tell it’s nearly fall with this heatwave I’m currently boiling alive in, but at least I have a bunch of cool new books to cluttering up my preorders list. I hope you like scary stories, fabulous anthologies, and monstrous mayhem. These are some of the young adult science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels I’m looking forward to in September and October.

Read the rest of this spotlight on Tor.com.

Review: “The Sleepless” by Victor Manibo

Release Date: August 23, 2022
Publisher: Erewhon
Genre: Science Fiction

Description

Journalist Jamie Vega is Sleepless: he can’t sleep, nor does he need to. When his boss dies on the eve of a controversial corporate takeover, Jamie doesn’t buy the too-convenient explanation of suicide, and launches an investigation of his own.

But everything goes awry when Jamie discovers that he was the last person who saw Simon alive. Not only do the police suspect him, Jamie himself has no memory of that night. Alarmingly, his memory loss may have to do with how he became Sleepless: not naturally, like other Sleepless people, but through a risky and illegal biohacking process.

As Jamie delves deeper into Simon’s final days, he tangles with extremist organizations and powerful corporate interests, all while confronting past traumas and unforeseen consequences of his medical experimentation. But Jamie soon faces the most dangerous decision of all as he uncovers a terrifying truth about Sleeplessness that imperils him–and all of humanity.

Continue reading “Review: “The Sleepless” by Victor Manibo”

Mini Review: “We Won’t Be Here Tomorrow: and Other Stories” by Margaret Killjoy

Release Date: September 20, 2022
Publisher: AK Press
Genre: Anthologies

Description

Spaceships, man-eating mermaids, swords, demons, ghouls, thieves, hitchhikers, and life in the margins.Margaret Killjoy’s stories have appeared for years in science fiction and fantasy magazines both major and indie. Here, we have collected the best previously published work along with brand new material. Ranging in theme and tone, these imaginative tales bring the reader on a wild and moving ride. They’ll encounter a hacker who programs drones to troll CEOs into quitting; a group of LARPers who decide to live as orcs in the burned forests of Oregon; queer, teen love in a death cult; the terraforming of a climate-changed Earth; polyamorous love on an anarchist tea farm during the apocalypse; and much more. Killjoy writes fearless, mind-expanding fiction.

Continue reading “Mini Review: “We Won’t Be Here Tomorrow: and Other Stories” by Margaret Killjoy”

Mini Review: “The Unbalancing” by R.B. Lemberg

Release Date: September 20, 2022
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Genre: Fantasy

Description

Beneath the waters by the islands of Gelle-Geu, a star sleeps restlessly. The celebrated new starkeeper Ranra Kekeri, who is preoccupied by the increasing tremors, confronts the problems left behind by her predecessor.

Meanwhile, the poet Erígra Lilún, who merely wants to be left alone, is repeatedly asked by their ancestor Semberi to take over the starkeeping helm. Semberi insists upon telling Lilun mysterious tales of the deliverance of the stars by the goddess Bird.

When Ranra and Lilun meet, sparks begin to fly. An unforeseen configuration of their magical deepnames illuminates the trouble under the tides. For Ranra and Lilun, their story is just beginning; for the people of Gelle-Geu, it may well be too late to save their home.

Continue reading “Mini Review: “The Unbalancing” by R.B. Lemberg”

Review: “This Wicked Fate” by Kalynn Bayron

Release Date: June 21, 2022
Series: This Poison Heart #2
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Description

Would you tempt even the most dangerous fate to save the ones you love? Briseis has one chance to save her mother, but she’ll need to do the impossible: find the last fragment of the deadly Absyrtus Heart. To locate the missing piece, she must turn to the blood relatives she’s never known, learn about their secret powers, and take her place in their ancient lineage.

But Briseis is not the only one who wants the Heart, and her enemies will stop at nothing to fulfill their own ruthless plans. The fates tell of a truly dangerous journey, one that could end in more heartache, more death. Strengthened by the sisterhood of ancient magic, can Briseis harness her power to save the people she loves most?

Continue reading “Review: “This Wicked Fate” by Kalynn Bayron”

What Is Your Damage, Mars?: The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

Release Date: August 16, 2022
Publisher: PUSH
Genre: Horror, Young Adult

Description

Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline’s radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who’d grown tragically distant.

Mars’s genderfluidity means he’s often excluded from the traditions — and expectations — of his politically-connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place.

What Mars finds is a bucolic fairytale not meant for him. Folksy charm and sun-drenched festivities camouflage old-fashioned gender roles and a toxic preparatory rigor. Mars seeks out his sister’s old friends: a group of girls dubbed the Honeys, named for the beehives they maintain behind their cabin. They are beautiful and terrifying — and Mars is certain they’re connected to Caroline’s death.

But the longer he stays at Aspen, the more the sweet mountain breezes give way to hints of decay. Mars’s memories begin to falter, bleached beneath the relentless summer sun. Something is hunting him in broad daylight, toying with his mind. If Mars can’t find it soon, it will eat him alive.

Continue reading What Is Your Damage, Mars?: The Honeys by Ryan La Sala