Machinehood by S.B. DivyaEarth, 2095: Humans rely on pills and body modifications to compete with weak artificial intelligence (WAI) in a cutthroat gig economy.
Starring: Welga Ramirez, a Shield for a private security firm who's determined to track down the terrorist group that killed her client; and Welga's sister-in-law, researcher Nithya, who aids Welga's investigation.
About the author: S.B. Divya is the author of Runtime as well as co-editor of the Escape Pod podcast magazine.
Escaping Exodus: Symbiosis by Nicky DraydenIn a world... where humans colonize the body cavities of massive interstellar creatures known as Zenzee, acting Matris (leader) Doka Kaleigh pushes for a less exploitative way of life -- one that will require sacrifices that many people do not wish to make.
Why you might like it: This sequel to Escaping Exodus focuses on the relationships among members of a nine-person marriage while exploring the politics and social issues of their matriarchal society.
For fans of: the woman-centric society of Kameron Hurley's The Stars Are Legion, the Afrofuturist take on generation ships in Rivers Solomon's An Unkindness of Ghosts.
The Conductors by Nicole GloverIntroducing: Henrietta "Hetty" Rhodes and her husband, Benjy, who use magic to investigate crimes against Black people in 1870s Philadelphia.
Read it for: well-drawn protagonists, their lovingly depicted Seventh Ward community, and a magic system based on the constellations.
For fans of: the alternate history of P. Djèli Clark's The Black God's Drums; the unique magic of Alaya Dawn Johnson's Trouble the Saints.
A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady MartineWhat it is: the sequel to the Hugo Award-winning novel A Memory Called Empire.
What happens: Shortly after returning to Lsel Station, ambassador Mahit Dzmare reunites with asekreta Three Seagrass when both are dispatched by yaotlek Nine Hibiscus to negotiate with a hostile alien armada at the edges of Teixcalaanli space.
Read it for: extensive and detailed world-building, and an intricately layered plot rife with political intrigue.
Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters by Aimee OgdenThe premise: Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid," but make it space opera.
Starring: Atuale, the Greatclan Lord's daughter who left her undersea realm to wed Saareval of the land-dwelling Vo; and her former lover, the World-Witch Yanja, whose gene-editing expertise made Atuale's transformation possible.
Why you might like it: Atuale and Yanja's bond is deep, complex, and moving, while their interplanetary quest to stop a plague is rendered in lush and poetic style.
Out Past the Stars by K.B. WagersStarring: Hailimi "Hail" Bristol, the former gunrunner and current Empress of Indrana who's trying to keep warring civilizations from tearing the galaxy apart.
Why you might like it: Reminiscent of C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner books, this spinoff series of the author's Indranan War trilogy offers a compelling blend of action and interstellar intrigue.
Series alert: Out Past the Stars marks the conclusion of the Farian War series, which begins with There Before the Chaos, followed by Down Among the Dead.
Focus on: Late Capitalism
FKA USA by Reed KingWhat it's about: Sixteen-year-old factory worker Truckee Wallace is on a top-secret mission to transport a talking goat named Barnaby across what's left of the United States.
Is it for you? Presented as Truckee's memoir, this satirical apocalyptic road novel contains abundant footnotes from a book called The Grifter's Guide To The Territories FKA USA.
Reviewers say: "a weird, loud, violent, funny, profane journey across the blasted ruin of our future" (NPR).
Zed : a novel
by Joanna Kavenna
In an identity-challenged world dominated by a global media and tech corporation that anticipates every human need, a murder-by-robot case reveals either a deadly human error or the work of a paradigm-changing hacker.
Severance by Ling MaWhat it is: a mixture of apocalyptic world-building (a plague has ravaged New York and the rest of the world), anti-capitalist satire, and...the coming-of-age of a millennial blogger?
What happens: When a strange virus turns people into routine-driven automatons, professionally unfulfilled Candace initially doesn't notice. However, once she's one of a handful of survivors, she joins an odd little band headed west.
Read if for: an engaging and entertaining story that illuminates the hypocrisy and flaws of capitalism.
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