Must-Have Monday #117

Posted 19th December 2022 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

FOUR books this week!

(Books are listed in order of pub date, then Adult SFF, Adult Other, YA SFF, YA Other, MG SFF.)

Uneven Futures: Strategies for Community Survival from Speculative Fiction by Ida M Yoshinaga, Sean Guynes, Gerry Canavan
Published on: 20th December 2022

Essays on speculative/science fiction explore the futures that feed our most cherished fantasies and terrifying nightmares, while helping diverse communities devise new survival strategies for a tough millennium.

The explosion in speculative/science fiction (SF) across different media from the late twentieth century to the present has compelled those in the field of SF studies to rethink the community’s identity, orientation, and stakes. In this edited collection, more than forty writers, critics, game designers, scholars, and activists explore core SF texts, with an eye toward a future in which corporations dominate both the means of production and the means of distribution and governments rely on powerful surveillance and carceral technologies.

The essays, international in scope, demonstrate the diversity of SF through a balance of popular mass-market novels, comics, films, games, TV shows, creepypastas, and more niche works. SF works explored range from Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi, 2084: The End of the World by Boualem Sansal, Terra Nullius by Claire Coleman, Watchmen and X-Men comics, and the Marvel film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, to the MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood, The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Wandering Earth by Liu Cixin, and the Wormwood trilogy by Tade Thompson. In an era in which ecological disaster and global pandemics regularly expose and intensify deep political-economic inequalities, what futures has SF anticipated? What survival strategies has it provided us? Can it help us to deal with, and grow beyond, the inequalities and injustices of our times?

Unlike other books of speculative/science fiction criticism, Uneven Futures uses a think piece format to make its critical insights engaging to a wide audience. The essays inspire visions of better possible futures—drawing on feminist, queer, and global speculative engagements with Indigenous, Latinx, and Afro- and African futurisms—while imparting important lessons for political organizing in the present.

Contributors: Ben Abraham, Emmet Asher-Perrin, Brent Ryan Bellamy, Gerry Canavan, Andrew Ferguson, Fabio Fernandes, Dexter Gabriel, M. Elizabeth Ginway, Sean Guynes, Ouissal Harize, David M. Higgins, Veronica Hollinger, Allanah Hunt, Nicola Hunte, Nathaniel Isaacson, Ayana Jamieson, Darshana Jayemanne, Gwyneth Jones, Brendan Keogh, Sami Ahmad Khan, Cameron Kunzelman, Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada, Isiah Lavender III, Caryn Lesuma, Karen Lord, Sarah Marrs, Farah Mendlesohn, Cathryn Merla-Watson, Hugh Charles O’Connell, B. Pladek, John Rieder, Lysa Rivera, Kim Stanley Robinson, Steven Shaviro, Rebekah Sheldon, Alison Sperling, Alfredo Suppia, Bogi Takács, Taryne Jade Taylor, Sherryl Vint, Kirin Wachter-Grene, Ida Yoshinaga.

This sounds like it will make for incredibly interesting reading! I love this kind of thing – looking to fiction for thoughts and ideas to apply to the real world, or starting a conversation – and I can’t wait to dive in!

Shuck (Love Has Claws, #4) by Parker Foye
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC, nonbinary MC
Published on: 21st December 2022

Robin leaves the city and travels to the small coastal town of Lastings, hoping a holiday will help soothe his recent heartbreak. Staying at a remote cottage on the seafront, Robin spends his days walking along the cliffs and following the jagged line of the coast, while at night he plays guitar and sings his troubles to the sea.

He doesn't expect the sea to begin singing back.

The siren has spent xyr long life singing to humans of their desires and yet has never considered the music of xyr own. When a compelling song reaches xyr hunting ground, the siren follows it to a strange new shore, where xe listens to the lone figure playing on the dock and wonders about raising xyr voice in response.

One night, the siren draws close enough to Robin to be seen.

Before long, however, a third figure joins their chorus: the Silver Maiden, one of Lastings' ghosts. Powerful and mercurial, the Maiden has her own agenda and intends to use Robin and siren to fulfil it—even if the whole town of Lastings will suffer as a result. Can Robin and the siren reach an understanding in time to break free of the Maiden's thrall? Or will they remain unheard?

Shuck is the fourth story from Love Has Claws, a speculative romance series linked by the town of Lastings. They are standalone stories, but your experience may be enhanced by readingother books in the series.

Content warnings: drinking of alcohol; mentions of the consumption of human flesh; abduction.

WE’RE GOING BACK TO LASTINGS!!! The first book in the Love Has Claws series was one of the first books I ever reviewed for this blog – but the series was supposed to be over after book three. Except Foye just announced that we’re getting three new Lastings books!!! I’m delighted and excited and SO looking forward to getting my grubby little paws on this new installment!

Dark Mind (Fall of Magic, #2) by Val Neil
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Autistic MC
Published on: 25th December 2022

Magic is dying out. There are only two people who can stop it: a psychopathic wizard who can’t keep it in his pants and an autistic mage with crippling anxiety.

Nikolai no longer wants to kill Medea—he’d much rather sleep with her, certain it’s the key to winning her heart and learning the secret to immortality. But she seems oblivious to his advances, and Yoxtl won’t stop cockblocking him. The damned spirit won’t relent until he builds it a following.

Medea has sensed the decline of magic for years. Now that she has an apprentice who can help her discover the cause, she finds her own discomfort with an ever-changing society getting in the way. Nikolai has been acting odd, too, though she can’t put her finger on why.

Their research takes them to America, where Medea struggles to navigate the Mundane world and Nikolai thrives, relying on his newly honed telepathy skills—a branch of magic that Medea despises and fears he’ll use against her. Will she ever learn to trust him? Should she?

And when they stumble upon a mysterious magical signature in the unlikeliest of places—the heart of a Mundane city—will it shed some light on the fall of magic or lead to more questions?

Contains:-psychopathic protagonist who could be triggering to some-autistic protagonist whose actions don’t always make sense to neurotypicals-swearing, murder, violence, gore, trauma-no sex scenes, but not for lack of Nikolai trying-graphic depictions of what passed for mental healthcare in 1957-racism and ableism and homophobia - oh my!-Now with more Medea!

I’m reading the first book in this series at the moment, and it’s really addictive, so I’m very glad book two will be ready and waiting for me when I’m done!

Ariana's Rising: For she is the sea - a Black Mermaid Tale by Joyce Licorish
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Black MC
Published on: 25th December 2022

Ariana, a girl who once lived a simple carefree life is faced with a life-altering decision when the world she knows is under attack suddenly and she finds out her true identity. This leaves her torn between two worlds where she must decide whether to take her station as the queen of an unfamiliar people or to return to the safety of the world she knows. Her heart is further torn by a love that is forbidden. What will she choose?

Author Joyce Licorish takes readers on an underwater journey of intrigue as this human-turned-mermaid explores a dark and murky unknown world under the sea.

ANOTHER BLACK MERMAID BOOK! We never say no to more of those around here!

Will you be reading any of these? Let me know!


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