Speculative fiction comes in many flavors. Want to see for yourself? Spin the wheel of Science Fiction & Fantasy and find your next excellent read!
In More of Me by Kathryn Evans, a teenage girl deals with the trials of her teenage years and then some. To all outward appearances, Teva appears like an ordinary teenager with all the normal issues teenagers face with identity, social politics and romance. But thanks to an apparent genetic abnormality, Teva unwillingly clones herself every year and those normal teenage issues occur between her past selves. To keep up appearances, only the newest clone is allowed to leave the house, but the drama continues and home has become a battleground with her other selves. Making matters worse, Teva's birthday is coming up and she knows that her days of freedom are numbered.
Hard science fiction is characterized by its adherence rigorous scientific principles and Greg Egan is famous for it. His latest novel, Dichronauts, features a universe where light cannot travel in all directions, which makes for some interesting travel arrangements. Seth, a surveyor, can only face to the east or the west. He relies on Theo, a leech-like creature who roams around in his skull, to tell him what lies to the north and south. Everyone on Seth's world is in a state of perpetual migration, following the sun's shifting orbit and the narrow, moving habitable zone it creates. They rely on the surveyors to map the safe routes. Seth's latest expedition unveils a dangerous threat: an impassable fissure that will block their lifesaving migration.
Melanie Rawn mixes magic, theater and action in her Glass Thorns series, which revolves around a magical theater troupe called Touchstone. Over the course of the series, Cayden -- the troupe's rebellious leader who is part Elven, part Fae, and part human Wizard – has embedded the troupe into the highest reaches of society. He's also discovered that he has prescient visions of the future that he calls Elsewhens. In the latest and final book, Playing to the Gods, the theater troupe is struggling financially because their manager has been embezzling funds. Touchstone comes together for one last spectacular performance and finally bring to a close a long-brewing ancient conflict.
Jason Ridler embraces the lurid style of the pulps in his edgy novel Hex-Rated. In this paranormal detective story, which takes place on the seedy side of 1970s Los Angeles, magic and supernatural are leaking into our world from another realm. James Brimstone, a former child magician turned detective, can't complain because it means business is picking up. His new (okay, first) client is Nico, an actress who was attacked on the set of an adult film by a snake that emerged from another actress's mouth. It turns out the case is right up Brimstone's alley, requiring just the right mix of cunning and magic to combat a supernatural enemy.
Wouldn't it be great to have another chance at life? How about ten thousand chances? That's the premise behind the metaphysical Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore, where Milo has ten thousand lifetimes to learn the true meaning of life and, hopefully, achieve enough wisdom to become one with the everything. So far, Milo has had 9,995 chances to find the true meaning and save his cosmic soul. That leaves only five more tries to be next to his one true love. He calls her Suzie, but we call her Death.
Not one, but two novels occupy the Superheroes slot. First is Sovereign by April Daniels, which features superheroine Danny Tozer as a new (and overworked) hero named Dreadnought. Dreadnought crosses paths with a new foe; a billionaire supervillain who will stop at nothing to taker her down. Then there's Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn, in which a pair of Asian-American superheroines protect San Francisco from perilous threats. Evie Tanaka and Aveda Jupiter are friends and partners in crimefighting. Evie's upcoming wedding means that she becomes the target of a new supernatural evil that is targeting brides-to-be.
You're expecting a quick fix of urban fantasy. Surprise! You get seventeen of them with the short fiction anthology Urban Enemies edited by Joseph Nassise. (Not used to reading short fiction? Try it, you'll like it!) This group of scrumptious, self-contained stories features the top villains from popular urban fantasy series who get their own time in the limelight. Contributing authors in include Jim Butcher (Dresden Files), Caitlin Kittredge (Hellhound Chronicles), Seanan McGuire (October Daye), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), Jeffrey Somers (The Ustari Cycle), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville), Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock), Diana Pharaoh Francis (Horngate Witches), and more. These stories may very well be the gateway to urban fantasylands you'll love.
A Man of Shadows by Jeff Noon, set in an alternate 1959, takes place in a surreal, M.C. Escher-esque cityscape which is divided into three sections: there's Dayzone, where it never gets dark and night has been banished; Nocturna, which is permanently dark; and Dusk, a half-lit in-between area that is more dangerous than either of the other two. Dayzone Private eye John Nyquist takes on a case that takes him through Dusk and into Nocturna. It involves a teenage runaway who may hold the key to saving the city from the threat of a seemingly invisible serial killer known only as Quicksilver.
Nate Crowley mixes humor with zombies in The Death and Life of Schneider Wrack. Poor Schneider Wrack can't catch a break. He was convicted of a crime he's almost sure he didn't commit. Then he was executed, then reanimated, and finally forced to work aboard a vast trawler as a mindless zombie on the terrible world of Ocean until his body fell apart. However, Schneider's mindlessness doesn't take; he wakes up to find his afterlife is anything but peaceful. In fact, it stinks like dead sea monster. Not one to take death lying down, Schneider aims to lead the zombie uprising.