This Week’s New Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: Shakespearean Tragedy, Space Witches, and a VR Apocalypse

The Queens of Innis Lear, by Tessa Gratton
Inspired by King Lear, Tessa Gratton’s adult fantasy debut has earned comparisons to the work of Guy Gavriel Kay. It tells the story of Innis Lear, an island kingdom long protected by wild magic. But the king—obsessed with prophecies—has grown unreliable and erratic, and magic has nearly disappeared as a result. His three daughters encourage him to choose an heir, a strong monarch who can bring the magic back, but the king refuses to do so until a day specified by prophecy, leaving the island vulnerable to invasion in the meantime. The daughters, as different as can be, prepare for war—but how can they defend their home when their own house is divided and weak? Gratton’s editor Miriam Weinberg hasn’t stopped talking about this book on Twitter for months, and you’ll definitely want to see what all the hype is about.

Bash Bash Revolution, by Douglas Lain 
If you’ve ever wondered why more zombie apocalypse stories don’t bother to detail the slow boil of civilization’s decline, this is the book for you. Matthew Munson is 17 and doesn’t do much with his time aside from compete in video game tournaments. He particularly favors an aging game called Bash Bash Revolution. When his father, Jeff—gone for the last decade as he worked on a mysterious, government-funded artificial intelligence called Bucky—suddenly returns, he insists that he and Matthew enter gaming tournaments together as a way to bond, but it quickly becomes obvious that Jeff’s skill at Bash Bash Revolution isn’t accidental, and is of greater import than he ever dreamed. Soon Jeff is asking for Matthew’s help in beating the game—which will give him insight to fixing Bucky, whose intelligence is unraveling, threatening to take society along with it. That this bleakly comic tale is told from a future in which Matthew observes “zombies” shambling about in VR goggles gives you an idea of just how dark this one is going to get.

Flotsam, by R.J. Theodore
R.J. Theodore’s debut novel is steampunk romp through the skies with airship Captain Talis, who’ll take on any job in order to keep food on her crew’s table and their vessel aloft. A salvage job turns out to be more than they bargained for, however, when they recover ancient technology and dangerous secrets with a mass of wreckage in the upper atmosphere. Now, Talis must find a buyer for the artifact before she and her crew are brought to ground by one of a number of groups pursuing them, and certainly before they inadvertently cause a war. Gods, aliens, religious cultists, and deep magics keep this fast-moving adventure flying high.

Void Black Shadow, by Corey J. White
The sequel to White’s grimdark space opera Killing Gravity returns to a universe of sentient ships, dark secrets, and space witches. Transformed by black science into the ultimate weapon, “voidwitch” Mars Xi is on the run from herself, her old life, the memory of the thousands she’s killed, and those who would seek to make her kill again. Unfortunately, the people behind MEPHISTO—the group that made her what she is—have taken someone from her, someone she holds dear. And Mars Xi isn’t known for playing nice. This novella series is dark, dangerous, and fueled by adrenaline—you’ll read the entire thing in one sitting, guaranteed.

The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2017 Edition, edited by Rich Horton
Here’s one we missed from last week—and you certainly don’t want to skip over a collection of the best short fiction of 2017, do you? The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy series is edited by Rich Horton; this ninth volume includes standout stories from Charlie Jane Anders, Steven Barnes, Seth Dickinson, Kameron Hurley, Rich Larson, Ian R. MacLeod, Paul McAuley, Adam Roberts, Lavie Tidhar, Genevieve Valentine, Carrie Vaughn, and others, collecting stories from venerable genre publications from Asimov’s, to Clarkesworld, to Lightspeed,

What new books are you reading this week?

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