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The Djinn Falls In Love

Book cover: The Djinn Falls in Love and other stories - ed. Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin (white smoking text on dark background)When Allah created man out of clay, he created djinn out of fire. Ephemeral spirits that tempt us, trick us, and sometimes grant our wishes, these creatures of folklore take centre stage in excellent Mahvesh Murad & Jared Shurin’s anthology, The Djinn Falls in Love.

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Bite-size Books: Proof of Concept

Book cover: Proof of Concept - Gwyneth Jones (a silhouette stands in a shaft of blue light)Climate change has herded humanity into Hives, the 99% pacified by a diet of mass media while the super-rich look out for themselves. Orphan Kir is part of a project – the Needle – trying to make mass migration into space feasible. But her on-board AI has uncovered secrets it wants to share with her – if it can find a way around the code that controls it.

The Road to Nowhere: The Book of Etta

Book cover: The Book of Etta - Meg Elison (a road winding away towards the horizon)Nowhere is a small community founded on the teachings of the Unnamed Midwife, flourishing nearly 100 years after a plague drove women to the brink of extinction. But outside Nowhere’s walls, violent men still seize what they desire. Can there be any hope for a better future?

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Wintersong: old tune, new lyrics

Book cover: Wintersong - S Jae-Jones (a white rose in a glass ball)

Plain, dutiful Liesl has given up her dreams for her family and longs only to make music, but once she played in the woods with the Goblin King. Her beautiful sister Käthe is engaged to be wed, but dreams of a life beyond the Bavarian forest. And if the Goblin King does not take a bride the world will fall into eternal winter. Which sister will he take? Which sister will he keep?

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The Edge of the Abyss: go big or go home

Book cover: The Edge of the Abyss - Emily Skrutskie (all the red tentacles thrashing out of the sea, faced by a girl looking back over her shoulder towards the reader)Broken-hearted but out of options, Cas Leung turned her back on the shore and signed on as Santa Elena’s trainee. But abandoned Bao isn’t the only Reckoner living wild in the NeoPacific – and they’re eating the sea empty. Can Cas persuade the pirates to risk their lives for the greater good?

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Resistance (Divided Elements): question your programming

Book cover: Resistance - Mikhaeyla Kopievsky (a woman's face drawn in circuitry)

Anaiya is an elite Peacekeeper tasked to guard the Co-operative of Otpor from Unorthodoxy. Bred to be competitive, she strives to be the best – but when Resistance rises in the Precincts, the best way to bring it down is to join it. In a culture that defines its people by their dominant Element, can a passionless, disciplined Fire Elemental believably become a Bohemian Element of Air?

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Gilded Cage: not all are created Equal

Book cover: Gilded Cage - Vic James (ironwork and the silhouette of a bird in flight)In a deeply different nearly now, Britain is ruled by the Equals – those with the Skill to assert their rights. UnSkilled commoners owe ten years of their lives in slave labour, with no protection under the law. As they begin their slavedays, the Hadley siblings find themselves at the heart of the fight for the future.

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Caraval: blood runs thicker than theatre

Book cover: Caraval - Stephanie Garber (swirls and typography - cover unconfirmed)When Donatella Dragma has her sister kidnapped to save her from an arranged marriage, Scarlett is taken to Caraval for the yearly interactive theatrical. But Caraval’s reputation is stained by death and madness, and Tella goes missing on the very first night. Can Scarlett avoid the traps and win the game to rescue her sister?

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Bite-size Books: Winter Tales

Book cover: Winter Tales - ed. Margret Helgadottir - a drawing of a cottage nestled in firs with the moon rising above on a field of purple)Christmas Eve is when Icelanders given books to one another and winter is when we Brits historically told ghost stories by the fire. I’m celebrating the season with a collection of speculative horror stories chosen by Margrét Helgadóttir.

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Weird Space: Star of the Sea

Book cover: Star of the Sea - Una McCormack (a space ship in flight)Stella Maris is a remote planet where hostile races live in peace under the unlikely shelter of a Weird portal. When the corrupt Expansion comes to ‘investigate’, deserter Yale and former slave Ashot fear the worst – knowing that the Expansion sanctioned mass murder on Braun’s World. Will the Weird keep them safe?

Ware spoilers

Certain Dark Things: narco-vampire noir

Book cover: Certain Dark Things - Silvia Moreno-Garcia (a face half-obscured by swirling blood)There are no vampires in Mexico City: the sanitation squads and the human gangs keep the city clear. That makes it either the safest or the stupidest place for a vampire on the run – but Atl is out of options. Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s narco-vampire noir never misses a beat.

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Bite-size Books: Tales by Trees

The tales that trees tell – most of them – are too long, too slow, too uneventful for us to understand. But some stories snake like cold sap through their roots in winter and quicken in summer to race through their thickening foliage. These tales, you see, tell of people, of you and of me.

Welcome to a new sort of fairytale

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