New Book Roundup: Award-Worthy Short Fiction, Dark Alchemy, and Extra Special Lumberjanes

onyxThis week is a bit of a breather after last week’s onslaught of new books, but there are still a few titles worth considering as we race toward the end of 2015.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2015, edited by Greg Bear
Why not end 2015 with a collection of some of the best short fiction from 2014? This installment of the annual collection includes the Nebula-longlisted, -nominated and -award-winning stories from last year, alongside excerpts from the best novel winners and additional articles and even poetry. Featuring Rachel Swirsky, Ann Leckie, Nalo Hopkinson, Aliette de Bodard, Vylar Kaftan, Robin Wayne Bailey, Samuel R. Delany, Terry A. Garey, Deborah P Kolodji, and Andrew Robert Sutton, among others.

Mercury Retrograde, by Laura Bickle
The follow-up to Bickle’s Dark Alchemy finds geologist Petra Dee on the trail of a magical killer snake terrorizing Yellowstone National Park. Three campers are already dead-and-eaten, and Petra must track down the beast before the Sisters of Serpens, a gang of biker witches who worship all that slithers. Making matters worse, the Alchemical Tree of Life is withering away, and the life of one closest to Petra is threatened. It’s another fast-paced, irresistible blend of a weird west setting, strange magic, strong characters, and even a little romance.

Onyx Javelin, by Steve Wheeler
This Australian import is only available digitally in the U.S., but it’s worth reading in any format. In this space opera series (Onyx Javelin is book three), humans, hybrids, and alien creatures are among the inhabitants of a Milky Way teeming with life, and eking out an existence is a matter of “eat or be eaten,” often literally, depending on your species. The crew of the space frigate Basalt has a higher purpose than mere survival, however: they’re investigating a plot by the Octopoids, an alien race that appears to be probing for humanity’s weak spots.

Lumberjanes: To the Max Edition, Vol. 1, by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen
At this point, the Lumberjanes probably need no introduction, but if you’ve yet to experience the adventures of five young women making friends, battling monsters, and surviving summer camp, this is the place to start. The To the Max Edition includes the first story arc (encompassing volumes one and two of the paperback releases) in a hardcover format, plus a foreword by Raina Telgemeier, the Lumberjanes short from BOOM! Box 2014 Mix Tape, and all of the Rad Mix Playlists.

What are you reading this week?

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