New & Notable Books, September 2017




Michael Bishop, Other Arms Reach Out to Me: Georgia Stories
(Fairwood Press/Kudzu Planet Productions Jun 2017)

One of our most lyrical and literary authors has collected his stories set in Georgia, or about Georgians, with work reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor. This has an author’s note; an introduction by professor Hugh Ruppersburg, ‘‘Beyond Regionalism’’; and 15 stories, including Nebula Award finalist ‘‘Rattlesnakes and Men’’ and two originals.





Eric Brown, Binary System
(Rebellion/Solaris Aug 2017)

One of our most creative SFnal minds combines a survival thriller with big-screen SF in this tale of scientist Delia Kemp, who becomes stranded on the unexplored planet Valinda and has to struggle through the bizarre environment as a years-long winter gives way to summer, all while pursued by the insectoid alien Skelt.





Daryl Gregory, Spoonbenders
(Knopf Jun 2017)

Gregory has been a darling of genre readers for years, but this is likely to be his big breakout novel, a sprawling and magisterial family saga about Teddy and Maureen Telemachus and their children, who combined con artistry and genuine psychic powers to perform as the Amazing Telemachus Family, until their inevitable decline… and messy, complicated resurgence. ‘‘As these tragicomic tales weave together, the emerging tapestry is as lovely as it is absurd…. the best novel about psychic hogwash I’ve seen.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]





Sarah Hall, Madame Zeus
(Custom House Jul 2017)

These nine stories are literary, strange, and sometimes surreal, inviting comparisons to Kelly Link and other hard-to-define fantastists, and since most of the stories appeared in mainstream publications, they’re likely new to most of our readers. Includes BBC Short Story Prize winner ‘‘Mrs. Fox.’’





Jac Jemc, The Grip of It
(FSG Aug 2017)

This ambitious literary horror novel breathes new life into the old haunted house trope, with married couple James and Julie mov­ing into a suburban home that just makes strange noises, at first, before moving on to more unsettlingly bizarre manifestations of supernatural intrusion.





Nancy Kress, Tomorrow’s Kin
(Tor Jul 2017)

Kress’s Locus and Nebula Award winning novella ‘‘Yesterday’s Kin’’ forms the basis for a new trilogy about aliens who have a mysterious connection to life on Earth. ‘‘An electrifyingly taut story of first contact…. Kress draws an extraordinary picture of an ordinary family with its family troubles and disagreements.’’ [Liz Bourke]





Naomi Kritzer, Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories
(Fairwood Press Jul 2017)

This rising star’s debut collection gath­ers 17 brilliant and funny gems. ‘‘The title story won a Hugo, and there are numerous other excellent stories here (I particularly like ‘Scrap Dragon’ and ‘So Much Cooking’), and also two new pieces, of which my favorite is ‘Ace of Spades’.’’ [Rich Horton]





David Marusek, Upon This Rock
(A Stack of Firewood Press Jun 2017)

One of our most provocative talents launches his new First Contact SF series. When a mysterious object from the stars lands on the compound of a doomsday cult in the Alaskan wilderness, a park ranger who believes it’s a UFO clashes with the prophet and survivalists who thinks it’s the star Wormwood, heralding the apocalypse.





Will McIntosh, Unbreakable
(self-published Jun 2017)

The Hugo Award-winning author’s latest novel is a YA dys­topian adventure in the tradition of The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games. Celia lives in a walled town where she and other residents perform amazing feats and break world records for a mysterious audience, but when she escapes to help a dying friend, she discovers shocking truths about the world beyond.





Sam J. Miller, The Art of Starving
(HarperTeen Jul 2017)

The renowned story author’s first novel is a wrenching and ambitious YA about a young man with an eating disorder who begins to develop superpowers, with his mundane and extraordinary struggles ‘‘woven together through the novel’s most distinctive and appealing aspect, which is Matt’s own cynical, sarcastic, desperate, and thoroughly believable voice.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]





Benjamin Percy, The Dark Net
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Aug 2017)

Magic and technology mingle in this hyperkinetic but beautifully written thriller set in modern-day Portland, where a group of ragtag outcasts join forces to combat a malevolent force rising in the hidden underbelly of the Internet. ‘‘Percy’s narrative is as lean as a jaguar, and it sprints ahead with a clean, swift motion…. Restrained yet lyrical, his prose raises his characters off the page.’’ [John Langan]





Christopher Rowe, Telling the Map: Stories
(Small Beer Press Jul 2017)

The first full-length collection from one of our most am­bitious and unusual authors includes ten stories, among them ‘‘The Voluntary State’’, his Hugo, Sturgeon, and Nebula Award-nominated novella set in a bizarre version of Tennessee, and a sequel (original to the book), ‘‘The Border State’’. ‘‘Rowe, on the basis of no more than a couple of dozen stories over nearly 20 years… managed to gain a reputation as one of the most distinctive voices to emerge from this period. This is not only because he writes with lyricism and great precision of style, but because of his firm geographical grounding, which is reflected in all the stories here.’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]





Carrie Vaughn, Bannerless
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/John Joseph Adams Jul 2017)

This pastoral postapocalyptic procedural is set decades after an eco­nomic and environmental collapse destroyed US civiliza­tion. The denizens of the Coast Road region have a thriv­ing but controlled economy, where only those who earn ‘‘banners’’ can have children, and the ‘‘bannerless’’ are outcasts. Investigator Enid mediates disputes and solves crimes, and her first big case is a mysterious death that could be murder. ‘‘There’s a lot of nuance here as well as solid, enviable craftsmanship.’’ [Adrienne Martini]



 

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