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).
QualityLand by Marc-Uwe Kling; translated by Jamie Lee SearleWelcome to... QualityLand, the greatest country in the world, where proprietary algorithms dictate every single aspect of human life.
Where you'll meet: Peter Jobless, dumped by his girlfriend, unfriended by everyone else, and determined to return (against seemingly insurmountable odds) an item that he didn't order to the all-seeing e-commerce behemoth that delivered it to him.
For fans of: the darkly humorous explorations of surveillance capitalism found in Rob Hart's The Warehouse, Joanna Kavenna's Zed, or Nick Harkaway's Gnomon.
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.
Docile by K.M. SzparaWhat it's about: To get his family out of debt, Elisha Wilder becomes a Docile, an indentured servant contractually bound to a Patron -- in Elisha's case, Alexander Bishop III, a wealthy CEO whose company manufactures the drug used to render Dociles compliant.
Is it for you? The power imbalance in Elisha and Alex's (primarily sexual) relationship permeates every aspect of this often disturbing debut novel, which graphically demonstrates the limits of consent in a hyper-capitalist society characterized by extreme inequality.
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