Review: “The Necessity of Stars” by E. Catherine Tobler

Release Date: July 20, 2021
Publisher: Neon Hemlock Press
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction

Description

Plagued by the creeping loss of her memory, diplomat Bréone Hemmerli continues to negotiate peace in an increasingly climate-devastated world, ensconced in the UN-owned estate Irislands alongside her longtime friend and companion Delphine.

The appearance of the alien Tura in the shadows of Bréone’s garden raises new questions about the world’s decline. Perhaps, together, Tura and Bréone will find a way forward… if only Bréone can remember it.

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Review: “Comfort Me with Apples” by Catherynne M. Valente

Release Date: October 26, 2021
Publisher: Tordotcom
Genre: Fantasy

Description

Sophia was made for him. Her perfect husband. She can feel it in her bones. He is perfect. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect.

It’s just that he’s away so much. So often. He works so hard. She misses him. And he misses her. He says he does, so it must be true. He is the perfect husband and everything is perfect.

But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Strange things. Dark things. The look on her husband’s face when he comes back from a long business trip. The questions he will not answer. The locked basement she is never allowed to enter. And whenever she asks the neighbors, they can’t quite meet her gaze…

But everything is perfect. Isn’t it?

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Review: “And What Can We Offer You Tonight” by Premee Mohamed

Release Date: July 20, 2021
Publisher: Neon Hemlock Press
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy

Description

In a far future city, where you can fall to a government cull for a single mistake, And What Can We Offer You Tonight tells the story of Jewel, established courtesan in a luxurious House. Jewel’s world is shaken when her friend is murdered by a client, but somehow comes back to life. To get revenge, they will both have to confront the limits of loyalty, guilt, and justice.

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Review: “Flowers for the Sea” by Zin E. Rocklyn

Release Date: October 19, 2021
Publisher: Tordotcom
Genre: Dark Fantasy

Description

We are a people who do not forget.

Survivors from a flooded kingdom struggle alone on an ark. Resources are scant, and ravenous beasts circle. Their fangs are sharp.

Among the refugees is Iraxi: ostracized, despised, and a commoner who refused a prince, she’s pregnant with a child that might be more than human. Her fate may be darker and more powerful than she can imagine.

Zin E. Rocklyn’s extraordinary debut is a lush, gothic fantasy about the prices we pay and the vengeance we seek.

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Review: “Nothing But Blackened Teeth” by Cassandra Khaw

Release Date: October 19, 2021
Publisher: Tor Nightfire
Genre: Horror

Description

A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.

It’s the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends.

But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.

And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.

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Anti-Doorstoppers: 10 Great SFF Novellas and Novelettes

Did you know that thousands of speculative fiction books are published every year? Did you also know that although most are in the 300-400 page range, books can be as hefty as a doorstopper or as brief as a novelette? The more you know.

Here are ten great science fiction, fantasy, and horror novellas and novelettes—or what I’ve decided to affectionately call anti-doorstoppers—from the last few years that you may have missed…

Read the rest of this spotlight at Tor.com.

Review: “The Fourth Island” by Sarah Tolmie

Release Date: October 20, 2020
Publisher: Tordotcom Publishing
Genre: Historical Fantasy

Description

Huddled in the sea off the coast of Ireland is a fourth Aran Island, a secret island peopled by the lost, findable only in moments of despair. Whether drowned at sea, trampled by the counter-reformation, or exiled for clinging to the dead, no outsiders reach the island without giving in to dark emotion.

Time and again, The Fourth Island weaves a hypnotic pattern with its prose, presaging doom before walking back through the sweet and sour moments of lives not yet lost. It beautifully melds the certainty of loss with the joys of living, drawing readers under like the tide.

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Review: “The Future God of Love” by Dilman Dila

Release Date: February 22, 2021
Publisher: Luna Press Publishing
Genre: Romance Fantasy

Description

The Future God of Love is a romance fantasy, set in an African world where stories are essential for the survival of humanity.

Jamaaro, a struggling storyteller, is the future god of love and must create a story every full moon for the prosperity of his town.

When he falls in love with a strange woman, having known loneliness all his life, he ignores the clues that she might not be what she seems.

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Review: “Depart, Depart!” by Sim Kern

Release Date: September 1, 2020
Publisher: Stelliform Press
Genre: Climate Fiction

Description

When an unprecedented hurricane devastates the city of Houston, Noah Mishner finds shelter in the Dallas Mavericks’ basketball arena. Though he finds community among other queer refugees, Noah fears his trans and Jewish identities put him at risk with certain capital-T Texans. His fears take form when he starts seeing visions of his great-grandfather Abe, who fled Nazi Germany as a boy. As the climate crisis intensifies and conditions in the shelter deteriorate, Abe’s ghost grows more powerful. Ultimately, Noah must decide whether he can trust his ancestor ⁠- and whether he’s willing to sacrifice his identity and community in order to survive.

Depart, Depart! grapples with intersections of social justice and climate change, asking readers to consider how they’ll react when the world changes in an instant. Who will we turn to? What will we take with us, and what will we have to leave behind? In our rapidly changing world, these are questions we grapple with. Focusing on finding and supporting community after disaster, Depart, Depart! is a story for these uncertain times.

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Review: “Local Star” by Aimee Ogden

Release Date: April 5, 2021
Publisher: Interstellar Flight Press
Genre: Space Opera

Description

Local Star is a polyamorous space opera with a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that’s sure to punch you in the feels. It follows guttergirl Triz as she saves her hub from invaders from the Cyberbionautic Alliance, all the while negotiating her rekindled romance with Kalo, her ex who’s returned from battle and won’t stop hanging around the wrenchworks.

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