Must-Read Short Speculative Fiction: July 2021

Looking over my ten favorite short science fiction and fantasy stories from July, it seems that I had environmental devastation and the trials of living an unsatisfying life on the brain. A bit dark for a month full of sunshine and blistering heat, but I guess it makes sense since I was also dealing with my own crises of personal loss and living in a region being pummeled by an ever-worsening drought. Get ready to feel mostly sad but have a twinge of hope flickering in the distance…

Read the rest of this spotlight at Tor.com.

Death, the Dead, and the Undead: New Young Adult SFF for July and August 2021

As I write this, the air conditioner is on full blast, I have an ice cold glass of water sweating all over a coaster, and my pets have melted into furry puddles. It’s a thousand degrees outside and all I want to do is sprawl out on the couch with a good book. With more than half of summer still to go, I’ll have plenty of time for that, especially with this list of upcoming new young adult speculative fiction, fantasy, and horror. Lots of good stuff coming in July and August, and these are some of the ones I’m looking forward to the most…

Read the rest of this spotlight on Tor.com.

Must-Read Short Speculative Fiction: June 2021

The days are longer and longer and the sun burns hotter and hotter. It’s summertime in the northern hemisphere, and where I live that means hiding in the shade as the heat bakes everything into oblivion. Good thing, then, that I have a plethora of excellent short science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories to keep me company. Here are my ten favorite stories from June 2021, full of haunted mirrors, monstrous men, tricksy curses, and climate crises…

Read the rest of this spotlight at Tor.com.

Review: “After the Dragons” by Cynthia Zhang

Release Date: August 19, 2021
Publisher: Stelliform Press
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Description

Dragons were fire and terror to the Western world, but in the East they brought life-giving rain…

Now, no longer hailed as gods and struggling in the overheated pollution of Beijing, only the Eastern dragons survive. As drought plagues the aquatic creatures, a mysterious disease—shaolong, or “burnt lung”—afflicts the city’s human inhabitants.

Jaded college student Xiang Kaifei scours Beijing streets for abandoned dragons, distracting himself from his diagnosis. Elijah Ahmed, a biracial American medical researcher, is drawn to Beijing by the memory of his grandmother and her death by shaolong. Interest in Beijing’s dragons leads Kai and Eli into an unlikely partnership. With the resources of Kai’s dragon rescue and Eli’s immunology research, can the pair find a cure for shaolong and safety for the dragons? Eli and Kai must confront old ghosts and hard truths if there is any hope for themselves or the dragons they love.

Continue reading “Review: “After the Dragons” by Cynthia Zhang”

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.

Continue reading “Review: “Depart, Depart!” by Sim Kern”

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.

Continue reading “Review: “Local Star” by Aimee Ogden”

Must-Read Short Speculative Fiction: May 2021

May’s featured short science fiction, fantasy, and horror brings a rather unexpected trend of melancholy. Stories of death and anger, of learning painful lessons, of carving a life out of grief. Some of these stories have moments of hope peeking through the cracks while others are bleak and brutal, but each of them are excellent in their own ways…

Read the rest of this spotlight at Tor.com.

Review: “A Master of Djinn” by P. Djèlí Clark

Release Date: May 11, 2021
Series: Dead Djinn Universe #1
Publisher: Tor.com Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Alternate History

Description

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems….

Continue reading “Review: “A Master of Djinn” by P. Djèlí Clark”