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The Red: First Light

Linda Nagata (S&S/Saga)

This powerful military SF trilogy opener is set in a near future where defense contractors call the shots. After a serious combat injury, Lt. James Shelley's body is augmented by machines, and soon he starts to believe that he's being watched by a spontaneously generated web intelligence that Shelley calls the Red. Fans of thoughtful, cynical, and not particularly jingoistic military SF will love this book.

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Letters to Zell

Camille Griep (Amazon/47North)

Griep's captivating debut weaves together traditional fairy tales with scenes of 21st-century Los Angeles to create an exploration of the conflicts between destiny and desire. Readers will dive into the rich and realistic depictions of modern-day versions of Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel, and their touching efforts to navigate old and new relationships in a changing world.

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Trailer Park Fae

Lilith Saintcrow (Orbit)

Saintcrow's dark and lovely urban fantasy series launch is expertly crafted with heartbreak and mistrust. War is in the offing between two Sidhe courts, and two half-humans are dragged into the conflict despite their many misgivings. Saintcrow's artful, poignant descriptions remain with the reader long after the tale's end, as does the persistent sense of dark, unsettling unease.

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The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

Natasha Pulley (Bloomsbury)

Pulley's electrifying debut captures the frenetic energy of London in the time of new electrical devices and the terror of Irish nationalist bombings. A humble telegraph clerk, a female scientist, and a Japanese clockmaker become enmeshed in a mystery rooted in bigotry and exploitation. Pulley expertly employs the tools of mystery and fantasy to examine the social pressures faced by the marginalized; the heart of the story is the universal human quest for acceptance, understanding, and love.

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