Machine by Elizabeth BearStarring: Doctor Llyn Jens of the Synarche Medical Vessel I Race to Seek the Living, who answers a distress call from an ancient Terran ship and stumbles upon a mystery.
Can you start here? Although this 2nd White Space novel stands on its own, it does contain some small spoilers for Ancestral Night.
For fans of: C.J. Cherryh's Alliance-Union series, James White's Sector General novels, or Murray Leinster's stories of the Interstellar Medical Service.
Reconstruction: Stories by Alaya Dawn JohnsonWhat it is: a "powerful collection of speculative shorts" (Publishers Weekly) by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Trouble the Saints).
Don't miss: the Nebula-winning “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i," about a vampire-run concentration camp for humans; the title novella, set during the American Civil War.
For fans of: speculative short fiction that examines social issues, such as Tananarive Due's Ghost Summer or N.K. Jemisin's How Long 'til Black Future Month.
The Burning God by R.F. KuangWhat it is: the highly anticipated conclusion to the Poppy War trilogy, which finds warrior Rin facing off against colonizers, corrupt rulers, and the gods themselves.
Is it for you? This ultra-violent military fantasy, set in a world reminiscent of 19th-century China and starring an opium-addicted heroine struggling with PTSD, does not pull any punches.
Should you start here? Due to the complexity of the plot and world-building, newcomers should start with The Poppy War, followed by The Dragon Republic.
The Midnight Bargain by C.L. PolkWhat it's about: Beatrice Clayborn dreams of becoming a Magus, but her family insists that she find a husband during the upcoming Bargaining Season. Will learning forbidden magic from an ancient grimoire empower her to determine her own fate?
Why you might like it: This series opener by the author of Witchmark boasts an evocative setting reminiscent of Regency England, an inventive magic system, and a gentle romance.
For fans of: Zen Cho's Sorcerer Royal books or Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamourist series.
The Fires of Vengeance by Evan WinterWhat it is: the sequel to The Rage of Dragons, which follows warrior Tau and exiled queen Tsiora as they plot to reclaim what's rightfully theirs.
Why you might like it: This 2nd book in the Burning series boasts plenty of action, a growing cast of intriguing characters, and a vividly depicted, Africa-inspired setting.
For fans of: the inventive system of magic in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn novels, the gritty battles of Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy, and the world-building of Pierce Brown's Red Rising trilogy.
Books You May Have Missed
The Unwilling by Kelly BraffetStarring: Judah, a foundling whose special abilities put her in danger of becoming a pawn in the schemes of powerful people.
Is it for you? Life is nasty, brutish, and short in this violent, verging-on-grimdark fantasy novel, which regularly subjects its characters to abuse and torture.
Reviewers say: "Suspenseful, magical, wonderfully written, and never predictable" (Booklist).
A Beginning at the End by Mike ChenWhat it is: an introspective post-apocalyptic novel that follows four people as they attempt to put their lives back together in the aftermath of a pandemic.
For fans of: Yoko Tawada's The Emissary, Kimi Eisele's The Lightest Object in the Universe, or Lily Brooks-Dalton's Good Morning, Midnight.
About the author: Mike Chen is the author of Here and Now and Then, as well as the forthcoming We Could Be Heroes.
Finna by Nino CipriWhat it's about: Ava and Jules used to date, but now just work together at LitenVärld, a retail superstore containing an interdimensional portal. When a customer disappears in the store, the ex-lovers are volunteered for the rescue mission.
Think: SCP-3008: Lone Survivor meets Mark Uwe-Kling's Qualityland.
Want a taste? "Here was the habitat for the Pan-Asian Appropriating White Yoga Instructor, complete with tatami mats and a statue of Shiva; next to it huddled the Edgelord Rockabilly Dorm Room, with black leather futon and Quentin Tarantino posters."
A Hero Born by Yong Jin; translated by Anna HolmwoodIntroducing: Guo Jing, an orphan trained by Seven Freaks of Jiangnan to fulfill his heroic destiny.
Why you might like it: Set during the Jin-Song wars, A Hero Born offers an enchanting blend of Chinese history, legend, and martial arts.
Series alert: First published in China in 1957 and finally available in English, this beloved wuxia novel kicks off the Legends of the Condor Heroes series, which continues with A Bond Undone and A Snake Lies Waiting.
The Seep by Chana PorterIn a world... where a benevolent alien presence known as The Seep has transformed human society into a peaceful, post-capitalist utopia where now-immortal people can "recreate" into any form they wish, Trina Goldberg-Oneka, a middle-aged trans woman, mourns the loss of her wife, who has chosen to be reborn as a baby.
For fans of: the ambiguous alien invasions of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End and Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series; the lyrical prose and dreamlike atmosphere of Jeff VanderMeer's Dead Astronauts.
Contact your librarian for more great books!