Fantasy and Science Fiction
Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly BarnhillWhat it is: a collection of lush and lyrical short stories for adults by the Newbery Award-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
Read it for: "The Unlicensed Magician," which won the 2016 World Fantasy Award for best novella.
For fans of: Kelly Link's offbeat and atmospheric short story collections, such as Magic for Beginners and Stranger Things Happen.
Lake Silence: The World of the Others by Anne BishopIntroducing: Vicki DeVine, a recent divorcée who moves to a village populated by the shapeshifting Others. Vicki's attempts at a fresh start are complicated by a murder investigation, her abusive ex-husband, and her eyeball-eating avian lodger, Aggie Crowe.
Series alert: Set in the world of the Courtyards of the Others series, Lake Silence is a stand-alone story that introduces a brand new cast of characters.
What about...? Fan favorites Meg Corbyn and Simon Wolfgard? Alas, they're not in this book.
Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden and Tim LebbonWhat it's about: The Kingdom of Quandis. Founded by powerful gods, ruled by corrupt royals, and sustained by slave labor, it's a society teetering on the brink of civil war.
Why you might like it: With its detailed world-building and large cast of characters, Blood of the Four packs all of the drama and scope of a multi-volume epic fantasy saga into one stand-alone novel.
Reviewers say: Booklist promises that "the mayhem is epic."
Gunpowder Moon by David PedreiraWhat it's about: By 2072, lunar mining of helium-3 has become a lucrative industry. With so much money (and power) at stake, it's only a matter of time before corruption sets in.
Is it for you? If murder on the moon is your cup of tea, settle in for a suspenseful, deftly plotted SF mystery.
For fans of: the political machinations and financial skullduggery of Ian McDonald's Luna novels.
The Rending and the Nest: A Novel by Kaethe SchwehnIn a world...where a mysterious event known as "The Rending" has wiped out 95 percent of the global population, young women in the refugee settlement of Zion start giving birth to inanimate objects.
Read it for: a vividly rendered post-apocalyptic setting, an introspective first-person narrative, and a community wrestling with sudden change.
For fans of: the surrealistic world-building in Julia Baggott's Pure; leisurely paced yet compelling stories of survival among the ruins, as found in Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven.
The Strange Bird: A Borne Story by Jeff VanderMeerIntroducing: The Strange Bird, an experimental human-animal hybrid created in a laboratory.
What happens: The eponymous protagonist makes a daring escape from captivity, only to find that freedom is elusive as she encounters humans who wish to exploit her.
Reviewers say: Booklist praises the "hallucinatory imagery and expressive prose" of this bleak and lyrical companion novella to Borne.
Dark Eden by Chris BeckettWelcome to: Eden, population 532. This sunless planet is inhabited by the descendants of ancient astronauts, who have created a unique culture based on mythic tales of Earth.
Starring: Rebellious teen John Redlantern, whose unorthodox beliefs lead to his exile from the community.
For fans of: Harry Harrison's West of Eden Trilogy or William Golding's The Inheritors, which also depict not-quite-human societies struggling to survive in an inhospitable alien environment.
The Abyss Beyond Dreams: A Novel of the Commonwealth by Peter F. HamiltonWhat it's about: Commonwealth founder Nigel Sheldon enters the Void and lands on the planet Bienvenido, inhabited by the descendants of colonists stranded centuries before. Now he and his new acquaintances are threatened by a hostile alien race known as the Fallers.
Series alert: The Abyss Beyond Dreams kicks off the Chronicle of the Fallers duology, which is set in the author's Commonwealth universe and concludes with A Night Without Stars.
Artemis Awakening by Jane LindskoldWhat it's about: Long after an interstellar war wipes Artemis off the map, archaeologist Griffin Dane crashes on the planet's surface. Aided by local woman Adara, Griffin searches for a way home.
Series alert: Artemis Awakening is the 1st book in a series of the same name, which continues with Artemis Invaded.
You might also like: Carolyn Gilman Ives' Dark Orbit, which also features an intrepid explorer whose sojourn on a mysterious planet leads to surprising discoveries.
Cold Welcome by Elizabeth MoonStarring: Admiral Kylara "Ky" Vatta, a decorated veteran whose ship crashes on an uninhabited frozen continent.
What happens: Can Ky keep her crew alive long enough to be rescued? Is anyone even coming to save them?
Series alert: This 1st book in the Vatta's Peace series, a spin-off of the author's popular Vatta's War tetralogy, does not require familiarity with previous novels.