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Children of Earth and Sky

Guy Gavriel Kay (NAL)

World Fantasy Award–winner Kay returns to the alternate Renaissance-era Europe of A Song for Arbonne in this engrossing fantasy. Kay wields plots and all-too-human characters brilliantly, in a world where nothing is as valuable as information. This big, powerful fantasy offers an intricately detailed setting, marvelously believable characters, and an international stew of cultural and religious conflict writ larger than large.

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Invaders: 22 Tales from the Outer Limits of Literature

Edited by Jacob Weisman (Tachyon)

Weisman brings together 22 SF stories by authors who, although not generally associated with the genre, are clearly fellow travelers. Junot Díaz, Katherine Dunn, Jonathan Lethem, Amiri Baraka, W.P. Kinsella, and others best known for literary fiction contribute stellar speculative tales. This volume is a treasure trove of stories that draw equally from SF and literary fiction, and they are superlative in either context.

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Roses and Rot

Kat Howard (S&S/Saga)

Howard weaves a dark and enticing tale of sisterly bonds, fairy promises, and the price of artistic success in this lushly written debut fantasy set in the present-day United States. Two sisters escape their controlling stepmother and are reunited at a prestigious artist colony whose creative energy feeds the Fair Folk. Howard's characters are deftly drawn, and her writing is seductive as fairy magic.

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A Natural History of Hell

Jeffrey Ford (Small Beer)

Celebrated short-form fantasist Ford blends subtle psychological horror with a mix of literary history, folklore, and SF in this collection of 13 short stories, all focused on the struggles, sorrows, and terrors of daily life. Each tale gently twists perceptions, diving down into the ordinary and coming back out with a thoughtful nugget of the extraordinary. Readers will be alarmed by how easily they relate to the well-meaning but inevitably destructive characters.

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The Fireman

Joe Hill (Morrow)

In Hill's superb supernatural thriller, the world is falling apart in a maelstrom of flame and fury. A spore dubbed Dragonscale infects people, draws patterns on their skin, and eventually makes them spontaneously combust—and it's rapidly spreading. This is a tremendous, heartrending epic of bravery and love set in a fully realized and terrifying apocalyptic world, where hope lies in the simplest of gestures and the fullest of hearts.

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