Fantasy and Science Fiction
The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane AndersWhat it's about: The planet January boasts two politically opposed cities capable of sustaining human life -- and disgraced student Sophie is in neither of them, instead exiled in the wilderness among January's original inhabitants.
About the author: i09 cofounder Charlie Jane Anders made a splash with her debut, All the Birds in the Sky.
Ancestral Night by Elizabeth BearWhat it's about: A space salvage crew discovers advanced technology that shouldn't exist -- along with evidence of a crime. On the run from the (corrupt) authorities, they encounter space pirates.
Starring: Self-medicating salvage operator Haimey Dz, augmented pilot Connla, and ship's AI Singer. (Also, two cats.)
Expanded universe: Ancestral Night is set in the world of the author's Jacob's Ladder trilogy, although it takes place well after the events of that series.
The Women's War by Jenna GlassThe premise: Thanks to an enchantment, women living in a patriarchal society suddenly gain control over their own fertility, thus igniting a revolution.
Is it for you? This debut, which ends on a cliffhanger, contains depictions of sexual violence and suicide.
For fans of: the retribution-driven plot of Naomi Alderman's The Power.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha ShannonWhat it is: a lush epic fantasy saga by the author of The Bone Season.
Why you might like it: In addition to detailed world-building and an intricate plot, this standalone saga boasts a predominantly female cast of queens, mages, alchemists, warriors, assassins, and dragon riders.
You might also like: Sofia Samatar's The Winged Histories, another gynocentric fantasy novel told from the perspectives of LGBTQIA-diverse viewpoint characters.
The Bird King by G. Willow WilsonWhat it's about: The arrival of the Inquisition in the royal court of Granada sends concubine Fatima and her friend, magically gifted mapmaker Hassan, on a quest to the island of the Bird King.
Why you might like it: Set during the Reconquista, this lush and leisurely paced novel by the author of Alif the Unseen draws on Sufi literature to present a richly detailed recreation of Muslim Spain.
Carnivalesque by Neil JordanWhat it's about: After a visit to a carnival leaves 14-year-old Dublin resident Andy trapped in a funhouse mirror, he takes the name Dany and adjusts to his new life -- while his reflection navigates the outside world.
For fans of: Keith Donoghue's The Stolen Child, another atmospheric modern-day changeling tale; John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things, which also presents a phantasmagorical coming-of-age story.
Six Wakes by Mur LaffertyWhat it is: a locked-room mystery set aboard a generation ship crewed by clones.
Reviewers say: a "taut, nerve-tingling, interstellar murder mystery with a deeply human heart" (NPR).
Foe: A Novel by Iain ReidThe premise: Selected by lottery for a space settlement, rural farmer Junior prepares for his mission while his wife, Henrietta, receives a replacement in the form of Junior's doppelganger.
Why you might like it: This eerie near-future psychological thriller by the author of I'm Thinking of Ending Things emphasizes the complexities of human relationships over science and technology.
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