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After Atlas

Emma Newman (Roc)

Newman writes with exquisite precision of grief, divided loyalties, and the struggle for self-actualization in this noir-inflected standalone sequel to Planetfall. An investigator who's been abandoned by his spacefaring mother, drawn in by a charismatic cult, hounded by the media, and enslaved by the government is trying desperately to assert his individuality, and is shaken when he's ordered to find out who killed the cult leader and why.

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All Good Children

Dayna Ingram (Lethe)

The physically and psychologically monstrous Over have subjugated humans, and they take a significant percentage of human adolescents to feed on. One selected teen girl, her mother, and her handler find ways to fight back. Ingram combines dystopian young adult fiction with a terrifying tale of alien invasion in this powerful story of queer women carving out their identities in a world trying to crush them into nothingness.

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The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

Meg Elison (47North)

In Elison's brutal could-happen-tomorrow novel, a nurse makes it her mission to provide birth control and midwifery to the few women left alive after a virus ravages the population. Recognizing that any woman who lacks access to reproductive care is already living in her own dystopia, Elison writes frankly and with surprising optimism about the power of women helping one another through personal and global crises.

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A Green and Ancient Light

Frederic S. Durbin (Saga)

In a deliberately blurred time and place, a young boy sent to live with his grandmother while his father is at war finds solace in her splendid garden and the magical woods. Things take a turn for the strange and complicated when they provide help and shelter to an injured enemy soldier. Durbin works true magic with understated, gripping narration and a heartstopping emphasis on love and compassion.

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Kingfisher

Patricia A. McKillip (Ace)

McKillip mixes myth and magic with everyday mundanity in a wonderfully whimsical and quirky novel in which the son of a sorceress goes in search of his father, a knight; a werewolf's daughter gets a job working with a most peculiar chef; and a young prince learns of his strange heritage. This gorgeously written story turns the standard coming-of-age fantasy quest on its head.

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The Obelisk Gate

N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

Jemisin's wrenching second novel of the ironically named Stillness, a far-future version of our world frequently wracked by seismic catastrophe, is a worthy successor to the Hugo Award–winning The Fifth Season. A magic-wielding, earth-shaping orogene is torn between helping her community survive the latest cataclysm and trying to find her daughter—who has her own power and her own ideas of what the world needs.

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