As I noted earlier this month, November is loaded with new releases, so I've opted to preemptively split the list into two parts: here's the second installment (you can read the first here.) This time around, we've got 18 new titles to check out.
If you missed the lists for October, you can take a look at them here and here, and as always, you take a look at prior lists here. And of course, my own book is now out in stores: Cosplay: A History!
Usual disclaimers: this newsletter is a Bookshop.org affiliate, and if you make a purchase through a link there, I might get a small commission.
If you happen to find a book on this list that you enjoy, please consider signing up as a supporting subscriber to Transfer Orbit. Your support helps keep this newsletter going in many ways, and we've got a good stack of in-depth posts coming up in the coming month.
In addition to that, I've been experimenting with some super-short (1-2 paragraph updates) about news that's taking place in the SF/F world, which goes out every morning to supporting subscribers. So far, we've covered an excellent, in-depth interview with Andor's Tony Gilroy, the passing of Kevin Conroy, the fight between libraries and publishers over ebooks, and the ongoing strike at HarperCollins. I'm enjoying this format, and I think it'll be a useful way to cut through the noise.
Sound appealing? I'm dropping the price of an annual subscription: $4/month / $40/year for a short while.
Earlier this year, audiobook narrator and author Travis Baldree self-published his cozy fantasy novel, which he noted that he'd written during NaNoWriMo, and had wanted to keep as a fun, light read. The book was then picked up by Tor Books shortly thereafter.
It's not hard to see why: it follows a battle-weary orc who wants to put her violent past behind her, and sets out to open a coffee shop in the city of Thune. There are plenty of challenges ahead of her: small businesses are hard to start, nobody knows what coffee is, and the local mob wants to extract payment from her. And then there's an old adversary from her mercenary crew that's realize that she has something he wants, and is bent on taking if from her.
I read this book in a sitting on my day off, and it really blew me away: it's a delightful, cozy fantasy that's all about the power of community and the family you bring around you. I'd highly recommend this one:
Star Wars: Convergence by Zoraida Córdova (November 22nd)
Lucasfilm's High Republic series continues with a new installment: Convergence. It's the first installment of the series' second phase, and it jumps back hundreds of years before the first book in the series, Light of the Jedi.
Set during an age of exploration in the galaxy, it follows the early days of the Republic and Jedi Order as they work to unite the galaxy. Problems arise on two planets, Eiram and E'ronoh, which have hated each other for decades. As their conflict threatens to spill into the wider galaxy, a Jedi Knight named Gella Nattai heads to the planet to try and uncover an assassin, along with the son of the Republic's Chancellor, Axel Greylark.
To Each This World by Julie E. Czerneda (November 15th)
In the distant future, humanity spreads out to the stars with a network of ships, their crews in hibernation. Eventually, humanity ends up allying itself with a mysterious alien civilization and begin to seek out the missing ships that still float out in the depths of space. Time might be running out, because somewhere out in the cosmos, something else is out there looking to claim space for itself.
Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction edited by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Sheree Renée Thomas, and Zelda Knight (November 15th)
Tordotcom has put together some intriguing international anthologies in recent years, such as The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories, Invisible Planets, and Broken Stars, and they're adding to that with a new anthology that draws from Africa.
In their introduction, Ekpeki, Thomas, and Knight note that as the birthplace of humanity, Africa is also the birthplace of stories, and that for decades, Black writers have often been ignored in genre spaces. With publications like FIYAH and Omenana, that's begun to change. "Africa Risen seeks to continue the mission of imagining, combining genre and infusing them with tradition, futurism, and a healthy serving of hope."
Dune: The Heir of Caladan by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (November 22nd)
Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson continue their Dune prequel series started with Dune: The Duke of Caladan and Dune: The Lady of Caladan. As they've explored the rise of Duke Leto Atreies, they've now turned their attention to his heir, Paul, exploring his earlier years as he learns how to eventually take his father's place.
A Ghost of Caribou by Alice Henderson (November 15th)
Alice Henderson continues her series of eco-driven suspense novels (following A Solitude of Wolverines and A Blizzard of Polar Bears) about wildlife biologist Alex Carter, who's been working to combat the decline of endangered species around the country.
When a game camera picks up an image of what might be a mountain caribou, the Land Trust for Wildlife Conservation calls in Carter, as the species was thought to be extinct in the lower 48. When she arrives in Washington, she finds that tracking the animal down isn't just difficult in the wide-open wilderness, she also will have to contend with loggers and activists in a fight over the clear-cutting of an old-growth forest, while at the same time, a forest ranger has been murdered.
They're Going to Love You by Meg Howrey (November 15th)
I loved my Launchpad Writer's Workshop classmate Meg Howrey's novel The Wanderers — an engrossing read about the private space race to Mars — and I've been intrigued to see what she come up with next. That next book is They're Going To Love You, a book about a young woman named Carlisle Martin in the late 1980s, who only visited her father Robert occasionally. On her visits, his troubled partner James helped instill within her a love of the arts — especially dance, and strives to become a professional ballet dancer. However, a rift forms in the family, one that comes back to haunt her nearly twenty years later when she learns that Robert is dying, and comes home after years of estrangement.
Kirkus Reviews gave the book a starred review, saying "Howrey, a former dancer who joined the Joffrey Ballet when she was just a teenager, writes as movingly about the world of dance as any living author. Even better is her incisive and effortless writing about relationships—between parent and child, between queer lovers—in all their complex mess and beauty. “Agony is ordinary,” thinks Carlisle—this novel is anything but.
Cold Water by Dave Hutchinson (November 8th)
In the nearish future (set in the same world as Hutchinson's Fractured Europe series, which includes Europe at Midnight, Europe in Autumn, Europe in Winter, and Europe at Dawn) a woman named Carey Tews has retired from an organization of smugglers called Les Coureurs, vowing never to return after her cover was blown. But when a friend is found dead, she heads back into a fractured Europe, where she'll have to navigate a complicated web of local officials, rival spies and operatives to complete one last job.
The Guardian notes that "this is a clever, complicated tale of dirty tricks, spies and politics set in a world both familiar and strange."
Origins of the Wheel of Time by Michael Livingston (November 8th)
Epic fantasy often borrows from the past in some interesting ways, and with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time enjoying a bit of a newfound resurgence thanks to the Amazon Prime series, noted medieval historian Michael Livingston takes a look at the historical roots of the series.
In it, Livingston takes a look at how Jordan came up with the series, drawing on interviews and unpublished notes, and looks at how his own story shaped the narrative that captured the attention of millions of readers.
Flight Risk by Cherie Priest (November 15th)
I enjoyed the first installment of Cherie Priest's breezy mystery Grave Reservations, about Leda Foley, a travel agent who moonlights as a psychic, and who ends up helping a Seattle detective solve a couple of mysteries. In Flight Risk, she ends up with a new job: helping a man track down his missing sister, who vanished with her car, a lot of money, and a philandering husband.
Her friend and partner, Grady Merritt has lost his dog Cairo, and while putting out fliers, discovers the animal – with a human leg, someone connected to Leda's case. The two are back to working together, using their skills as detective and psychic to figure out the tangled mess.
Publishers Weekly says "though resolving the two cases begins slowly, Leda and Grady eventually discover links between the two and, with the help of some “woo-woo stuff” from Leda, the investigations proceed in surprising and ultimately highly satisfying directions."
qntm, the pen name for UK author Sam Hughes has popped up on my radar quite a bit over the last couple of years with wild acclaim for his visions of the future and innovative writing.
I recently picked up his novel Ra, which I'm excited to dig into, but in the meantime, he's got a new book in which he's collected ten of his recent short stories, which includes "The Difference", "I Don't Know, Timmy, Being God Is a Big Responsibility" and "Lena".
Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse (November 15th)
I'm a big fan of Rebecca Roanhorse's novels, and her latest is a novella set in an original, weird-western world. In 1883 in the mining town of Goetia, Colorado, people have come from all over to mine a rare element called Divinity from the body of an angel who fell in a war of the heavens.
The only people who can find the element are descendants of the Fallen, and two sisters, Celeste and Mariel, have reunited in Goetia. When Mariel is accused of killing a Virtue (the descendants of those who didn't rebel) Celeste has to defend her sister, and sets out to prove her innocence.
Kirkus Reviews gave the book a starred review, saying that "readers accustomed to Roanhorse’s richly detailed characters and beautifully executed action sequences will not be disappointed. A superb dark fantasy."
Extinction by Bradley Somer (November 22nd)
In the nearish future, the world's ecological systems are stressed to their breaking points, and in the wilderness, a park ranger named Ben keeps an eye on the last surviving grizzly bear in the wild. It isn't long before he hears voices and realizes that he isn't alone: poachers have come to take the animal, and their arrival sets off a desperate chase across the forests to try and save it.
Unbound II: New Tales by Masters of Fantasy edited by Shawn Speakman (November 15th)
In 2015, Shawn Speakman released a big fantasy anthology, Unbound, in which the only prompt he had for his authors was to submit stories that they wished genre fans would read. The result was a big book with a ton of well-known authors filling up the table of contents.
Seven years later, Speakman has put together another Unbound anthology, Unbound II: New Tales by Masters of Fantasy. This book went by the same rules as the first: what stories have the authors been wanting to write for a long time, and it includes a ton of familiar names from the world of fantasy publishing, including Mark Lawrence, Tamora Pierce, Adrian Tchaikovsky, and Django Wexler, Kevin Hearne, Peter Orullian, just to name a few.
Grimdark Magazine says that "taken as a whole, Unbound II is both a heartfelt tribute to Shawn Speakman’s father and a showcase for some of the finest talent working in fantasy and speculative fiction today."
The Bacta War by Michael A. Stackpole (November 1st)
Random House Worlds has been steadily re-releasing the Star Wars EU, and one of the latest installments rounds out the first part of the X-Wing series started by Michael A. Stackpole. After the New Republic recaptures Coruscant after the destruction of the second Death Star, ISB head Ysanne Isard left a poison pill by releasing a deadly virus onto the planet.
To complicate things further, she's worked to secure the galaxy's supply of bacta, a medicine that is widely used throughout the galaxy. Rogue Squadron is tasked with working to free the planet of Thyferra, and when they run into issues, decide to live up to their namesake and go rogue. This is one of my favorite books in the series, and I'm excited to see it in this new edition.
Lavie Tidhar returns to the same world as his acclaimed novel Central Station, where Tel Aviv has become home to a massive spaceport. Rather than centering the action in that city, Tidhar takes his readers to Neom, a city that sits on the edge of the Red Sea and Central Station, and follows a handful of characters who find themselves there. There's Elias, an orphan looking to make his way off world, shurta-officer named Nasir, a terrorartist named Nasu, and a flower seller name Mariuam, a desert full of strange mechanical objects, and an unnamed robot that discovers a mysterious golden man there.
Writing in Locus Magazine, Gary K. Wolfe says that "for all its fearsome ancient ordnance, its economic disparity, and its looming threats, Neom easily joins the list of SF cities we’d like to visit."
The Fall of Númenor: And Other Tales from the Second Age of Middle-earth by J.R.R. Tolkien (November 17th)
Amazon Prime's Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has since wrapped up it first season, and along with it, J.R.R. Tolkien's estate has enlisted Brian Sibley to edit a collection of the late author's writings about Númenor, a central location in the TV series. These writings have appeared elsewhere in places like the Appendices of the Lord of The Rings to "present the content in an order and a style that works well for readers." The result is a volume that puts Númenor's story all in one place, from its founding to the forging of the rings to its fall. As a bonus, the book comes with a number of new image from Alan Lee.
Wayward by Chuck Wendig (November 15th)
Chuck Wendig earned considerable acclaim for his novel Wanderers, in which a strange illness called White Mask breaks out across the world. Those infected can't be woken up, and begin walking across the country on a strange journey, prompting their loved ones to follow along to keep them safe, even as the world ended around them.
Five year later, the story's heroes are working to rebuild a new civilization in their new home, including a former CDC scientist named Benji Ray, a pregnant teenager named Shana Stewart, a sheriff named Marcy Reyes, and Matthew Bird, a pastor. They face new problems: a malevolant President named Ed Creel, while Shana's son is kidnapped by an artificial intelligence known as Black Swan.
Kirkus Reviews gave the book a starred review and says that "where Wanderers was about flight in the face of menace, this is an old-fashioned quest with a small band of noble heroes trying to save the world while a would-be tyrant gathers his forces."
That's all for today: thanks for reading. Let me know what catches your eye, and what's on your TBR at the moment!
Oh, while I'm thinking of it: in case Twitter does implode in the near future, here's where else you can find me on social media: