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Welcome to our first round-up of newly acquired science fiction and fantasy titles for 2024.
We start the year with a wonderous mixed bag of titles, which cover an incredible wide range of styles topics and underlying themes. We have a Korean science fiction blockbuster bestseller called DallerGut Dream Department Store: the dream you ordered is sold out by Miye Lee. Also in this month’s selection, we have After world : a novel by Debbie Urbanski, a highly topical work about AI. There’s several fabulous afrofuturist titles, including the new book by one of the most exciting writers around Nnedi Okorafor, called Like thunder. This month also brings an anthology of indigenous dark fiction based around myths and folklore about whistling, called Never whistle at night. If that isn’t a wide enough choice, we also have a Japanese fantasy novel called Kappa by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa based on traditional Japanese folk tales. To round things off, we have a home-grown paranormal fantasy romance fiction novel called Shrine of stars by our very own Melanie Harding-Shaw.
Like thunder / Okorafor, Nnedi
” This book begins with Dikéogu Obidimkpa slowly losing his mind. Yes, that boy who can bring rain just by thinking about it is having some… issues. Years ago, Dikéogu went on an epic journey to save Earth with the shadow speaker girl, Ejii Ubaid, who became his best friend. When it was all over, they went their separate ways, but now he’s learned their quest never really ended at all. So Dikéogu, more powerful than ever, reunites with Ejii. He records this story as an audiofile, hoping it will help him keep his sanity or at least give him something to leave behind. Smart kid, but it won’t work–or will it?” (Adapted from Catalogue)
After world : a novel / Urbanski, Debbie
“A sentient AI determines that all humans must be eliminated as the root of climate change and leaves a woman named Sen as a “witness” to record her observations on the end of humanity as the world begins to rewild.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Kappa / Akutagawa, Ryūnosuke
“The Kappa is a creature from Japanese folklore known for dragging unwary toddlers to their deaths in rivers: a scaly, child-sized creature, looking some- thing like a frog, but with a sharp, pointed beak and an oval-shaped saucer on top of its head, which hardens with age. Akutagawa’s Kappa is narrated by Patient No. 23, a madman in a lunatic asylum: he recounts how, while out hiking in Kamikochi, he spots a Kappa. He decides to chase it and, like Alice pursuing the White Rabbit, he tumbles down a hole, out of the human world and into the realm of the Kappas.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Warrior of the wind / Okungbowa, Suyi Davies
“After escaping Bassa and crossing the Soke moats, Danso and Lilong must travel far north to return home the ibor sought after by newly crowned Bassai Emperor Eshemi. With the new empire’s reach now extending over the continent, a bounty on their heads, and news of their cargo now widespread, the journey proves to be even more treacherous. But the promise of reward fuels them both: for Danso, the news of an island of Ajabo survivors in the Nameless archipelago; for Lilong, an opportunity to be the hero her daa dreamed of and help nullify the threats from the mainland once and for all.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
DallerGut Dream Department Store : the dream you ordered is sold out / Lee, Miye
“In a mysterious town that lies hidden in our collective subconscious, there’s a quaint little store where all kinds of dreams are sold. Day and night, visitors both human and animal from all over the world shuffle in sleepily in their pyjamas, lining up to purchase their latest adventure. Each floor in the department store sells a special kind of dream, including nostalgic dreams about your childhood, trips you’ve taken, and delicious food you’ve eaten, as well as nightmares and more mysterious dreams. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Never whistle at night : an indigenous dark fiction anthology
“A bold, clever, and sublimely sinister collection of horror, fantasy, science fiction, and gritty crime by both new and established Indigenous authors that dares to ask the question: “Are you ready to be un-settled?” In twenty-five wholly original and shiver-inducing tales, bestselling and award-winning authors introduce readers to ghosts, curses, hauntings, monstrous creatures, complex family legacies, desperate deeds, and chilling acts of revenge. These stories are a celebration of Indigenous peoples’ survival and imagination, and a glorious revelling in all the things an ill-advised whistle might summon.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.
Bookshops & bonedust / Baldree, Travis
“Viv’s career with the notorious mercenary company Rackam’s Ravens isn’t going as planned. Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she’s packed off against her will to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk–so far from the action that she worries she’ll never be able to return to it. What’s a thwarted soldier of fortune to do? Spending her hours at a beleaguered bookshop in the company of its foul-mouthed proprietor is the last thing Viv would have predicted, but it may be both exactly what she needs and the seed of changes she couldn’t possibly imagine. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.
These burning stars / Jacobs, Bethany
“Jun Ironway–hacker, con artist, and occasional thief–has gotten her hands on a piece of contraband that could set her up for life: proof that implicates the powerful Nightfoot family in a planet-wide genocide seventy-five years ago. The Nightfoots control the precious sevite that fuels interplanetary travel through three star systems. And someone is sure to pay handsomely for anything that could break their hold. Of course, anything valuable is also dangerous. The Kindom, the ruling power of the star systems, is inextricably tied up in the Nightfoots’ monopoly–and they can’t afford to let Jun expose the truth…” (Adapted from Catalogue)
To say nothing of the dog : or how we found the bishop’s bird stump at last / Willis, Connie
“Ned Henry is a time-travelling historian who specialises in the mid-20th century – currently engaged in researching the bombed-out Coventry Cathedral. He’s also made so many drops into the past that he’s suffering from a dangerously advanced case of ‘time-lag’. Unfortunately for Ned, an emergency dash to Victorian England is required and he’s the only available historian. But Ned’s time-lag is so bad that he’s not sure what the errand is – which is bad news since, if he fails, history could unravel around him.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.
Shrine of stars / Harding-Shaw, Melanie
“The worst has finally happened. The Melded Earths are in chaos, Hel and Kaia are missing, and Bast is waiting for the axe to fall at any moment. His only hope lies with the strange and blood-thirsty vampyr now part of their reality. When Hel awakens, she’s far more than a world away. Her hunters have finally caught her and her power is nothing compared to her captor Sol- the Emperor of Suns. As she learns the devastating truth of her heritage, she realises there’s no way she can escape. It all comes back to the devouring contagion that’s left a shrine of dead stars in its wake and the unbreakable bond between Hel and Bast that will be either their saviour or their death knell. It’s not just their lives and their world that hangs in the balance. It’s everything.” (Adapted from Catalogue)