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Books Received, October 14 — October 20

21 Oct, 2023


Ghost Station

Ghost Station by S. A. Barnes (April 2024)

A crew must try to survive on an ancient, abandoned planet in the latest space horror novel from S.A. Barnes, acclaimed author of Dead Silence. 

Space exploration can be lonely and isolating. 

Psychologist Dr. Ophelia Bray has dedicated her life to the study and prevention of ERS — a space-based condition most famous for a case that resulted in the brutal murders of twenty-nine people. When she’s assigned to a small exploration crew, she’s eager to make a difference. But as they begin to establish residency on an abandoned planet, it becomes clear that crew is hiding something. 

While Ophelia focuses on her new role, her crewmates are far more interested in investigating the eerie, ancient planet and unraveling the mystery behind the previous colonizer’s hasty departure than opening up to her. That is, until their pilot is discovered gruesomely murdered. Is this Ophelia’s worst nightmare starting — a wave of violence and mental deterioration from ERS? Or is it something more sinister? Terrified that history will repeat itself, Ophelia and the crew must work together to figure out what’s happening. But trust is hard to come by…and the crew isn’t the only one keeping secrets. 

A Fire Born of Exile A Xuya Universe Romance

A Fire Born of Exile: A Xuya Universe Romance by Aliette de Bodard (October 2023)

The Scattered Pearls Belt is a string of habitats on the edge of a huge galactic empire — a glittering, decadent society rife with corruption. Now, one of its victims — Quỳnh, a scholar betrayed and left for dead — has come back for her revenge, under the guise of the glamorous and enigmatic Alchemist of Streams and Hills. 

Quỳnh’s path intersects that of Minh, the daughter of one of her oldest enemies, who chafes at her own lack of freedom; and of Hoà, a near-destitute engineer who poses a threat to all Quỳnh’s careful plans. Quỳnh finds herself inexorably attracted to Hoà, even as her plans upend the fragile political equilibrium of the Belt. 

Falling in love wasn’t part of Quỳnh’s plans; but will she be able to grasp this second chance at happiness, or will she cling on to a revenge that may well consume her whole? 

A poignant, heartwarming romantic space opera about love, revenge and the weight of the past. 

Burning Grass

The Siege of Burning Grass by Premee Mohamed (March 2024)

A stunning meditation on war, nationalism, violence and courage by a rising star of the genre. 

The Empires of Varkal and Med’ariz have always been at war. Alefret, the founder of Varkal’s pacifist resistance, was bombed and maimed by his own government, locked up in a secret prison and tortured by a visionary’ scientist. But now they’re offering him a chance of freedom. Ordered to infiltrate one of Med’ariz’s flying cities, obeying the bloodthirsty zealot Qhudur, he must find fellow anti-war activists in the enemy’s population and provoke them into an uprising against their rulers. He should refuse to serve the warmongers, but what if he could end this pointless war once and for all? Is that worth compromising his own morals and the principles of his fellow resistance members? 

Machine Vendetta

Machine Vendetta by Alastair Reynolds (January 2024)

From the king of modern space opera comes a new adventure in the Prefect Dreyfus series — Machine Vendetta is a thrilling tale of deadly conspiracies and old enemies that refuse to die. Panoply is a small, efficient police force, dedicated to maintaining the rule of democracy among the ten thousand disparate city-states orbiting the planet Yellowstone. Ingvar Tench was one of Panoply’s most experienced operatives. So why did she walk alone and unarmed into a habitat with a vicious grudge against her organization? As his colleagues pick up the pieces following her death, Prefect Tom Dreyfus must face his conscience. Four years ago, when an investigation linked to one of his most dangerous adversaries got a little too personal, Dreyfus arranged for Tench to continue the inquiry by proxy. In using her, did Dreyfus also put her in the line of fire? And what does Tench’s attack tell him about an enemy he had hoped was dormant?The Prefect Dreyfus EmergenciesAurora Rising Elysium Fire Machine Vendetta 

A Flame in the North

A Flame in the North by Lilith Saintcrow (February 2024)

An elemental witch and her shieldmaiden journey into a world of ancient myth and unexpected destiny in this sweeping Norse-inspired epic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Lilith Saintcrow. The Black Land is spent myth. Centuries have passed since the Great Enemy was slain. Yet old fears linger, and on the longest night of the year, every village still lights a ritual fire to banish the dark. That is Solveig’s duty. Favored by the gods with powerful magic, Sol calls forth flame to keep her home safe. But when her brother accidentally kills a northern lord’s son, she is sent away as weregild — part hostage, part guest — for a year and a day. The further north Sol travels, the clearer it becomes the Black Land is no myth. The forests teem with foul beasts. Her travel companions are not what they seem, and their plans for her and her magic are shrouded in secrecy. With only her loyal shieldmaid and her own wits to reply upon, Sol must master power beyond her imagination to wrest control of her fate. For the Black Land’s army stirs, ready to cover the world in darkness — unless Sol can find the courage to stop it. 

They thought the old ways were dead. But now, the Enemy awakens… 

The Practice the Horizon and the Chain

The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain by Sofia Samatar (April 2024)

Celebrated author Sofia Samatar presents a mystical, revolutionary space adventure for the exhausted dreamer in this brilliant science fiction novella tackling the carceral state and violence embedded in the ivory tower while embodying the legacy of Ursula K. Le Guin. 

The boy was raised as one of the Chained, condemned to toil in the bowels of a mining ship out amongst the stars. 

His whole world changes — literally — when he is yanked upstairs” to meet the woman he will come to call professor.” The boy is no longer one of the Chained, she tells him, and he has been gifted an opportunity to be educated at the ship’s university alongside the elite. 

The woman has spent her career striving for acceptance and validation from her colleagues in the hopes of reaching a brighter future, only to fall short at every turn. 

Together, the boy and the woman will learn from each other to grasp the design of the chains designed to fetter them both, and are the key to breaking free. They will embark on a transformation — and redesign the entire world. 

These Fragile Graces This Fugitive Heart

These Fragile Graces, This Fugitive Heart by Izzy Wasserstein (March 2024)

In a queer, noir technothriller of fractured identity and corporate intrigue, a trans woman faces her fear of losing her community as her past chases after her. This bold, thought-provoking debut science-fiction novella from a Lambda Award finalist is an exciting and unpredictable look at the fluid nature of our former and present selves. In mid-21st century-Kansas City, Dora hasn’t been back to her old commune in years. But when Dora’s ex-girlfriend Kay is killed, and everyone at the commune is a potential suspect, Dora knows she’s the only person who can solve the murder. As Dora is dragged back into her old community and begins her investigations, she discovers that Kay’s death is only one of several terrible incidents. A strange new drug is circulating. People are disappearing. And Dora is being attacked by assailants from her pre-transition past. Meanwhile, It seems like a war between two nefarious corporations is looming, and Dora’s old neighborhood is their battleground. Now she must uncover a twisted conspiracy, all while navigating a deeply meaningful new relationship.