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Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for April 2

Happy Friday, shipmates! It’s Alex, with some books fresh from the Antipodes and some fun links today. I’m also just about vibrating out of my seat with excitement–by the time you’ve read this, I’ll have gotten my first dose of the Moderna Covid vaccine! Colorado just opened it up for all adults, and I got very lucky. Wishing you best luck and good health as well! Stay safe out there, and I will see you on Tuesday for the first new releases of April.

Let’s make 2021 better than 2020. A good place to start? The Okra Project and blacklivesmatter.carrd.co


News and Views

Strange Horizons has released its special issue dedicated to Palestinian science fiction!

Cheryl Morgan on queering Medusa

A profile of Chinese science fiction writer Chen Qiufan

I talk more about the novels below, but here’s the full short list for the Aurealis awards, which includes a lot of really great short fiction!

Cora Buhlert’s monthly roundup of indie speculative fiction for March

Nerds of a Feather has started releasing their transcripts for ConZealand Fringe from last year.

An answer to which superhero we should call if the Suez Canal gets a boat stuck in it again

Vulcan salute monument!

On Book Riot

This week’s SFF Yeah! podcast is about series spin-offs.

The 5 finger fantasy rule: a plea for mercy from SFF authors

This month you can enter to win a $100 Books of Wonder gift card.

Free Association Friday: Aurealis Awards Finalists

The Aurealis Awards have been going since 1995, after being founded by Chimera Publications, the publishers of Aurealis magazine. Their purpose is to recognize Australian SFF and horror. I wanted to put a spotlight on the finalists this year, because particularly in the US, we don’t get to hear a lot about the SFF scene in Australia. So here are the finalists for Best science fiction and best fantasy novel! Congratulations to all!

(Since I’m reporting the award short list in its entirety, please note that the authors aren’t quite as diverse as we normally try to get.)

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

An ancient evil is about to be unleashed on a galaxy it would like to consume, and it’s up to a squad of misfits and losers to stop it… if they can take care of their interpersonal drama and the other hornets nests they’ve recently kicked over first.

Ghost Species by James Bradley

Two scientists are recruited by a tech billionaire to spearhead his foundation’s effort to half climate change–and re-engineer and revive species long since lost. This effort includes Neanderthals… and when the first child is born, she struggles to figure out if she is human or not.

The Animals in That Country by Laura Jean McKay

A hard-drinking, no-nonsense grandma who likes animals better than people finds herself in the midst of a pandemic for which the chief symptom is the accelerating ability to understand animal languages before those sickened go mad.

Fauna by Donna Mazza

In her desperation to have another child, Stacey is recruited into an experimental program that will help her conceive and carry, as long as she allows the embryo to be blended with ‘edited’ cells.

Repo Virtual by Corey J. White

In a city made of nesting realities from concrete to the virtual, Julius is a repoman for the online and a thief for the real. But when he finds out his latest job caused him to steal the first sentient AI, his payday might become deadly.

The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall

When Mim’s husband goes missing and can’t be tracked, she must go on the run and find him or risk losing her children to the notorious BestLife.

Unfortunately, The Mother Fault may be difficult to find in the US. If you want to try another of Kate’s books, you can get Skylarking, though!

Hollow Empire by Sam Hawke

With the ancient spirits awoken, the city-state of Silasta must remake itself in a world now filled with magic and beset by assassins and witches.

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

After a long search, Susan finds the father she’d never met, just in time to see him be turned to dust by a left-handed bookseller named Merlin. Merlin is part of a group of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary, and he’s got a quest of his own: to find the entity that had his mother killed.

Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna

Arden has been tasked with keeping the lighthouse at Vigil burning with her magic, showing the way over a sea teeming with monsters. Her mysterious leviathan-slayer neighbor, Jonah, is rumored to have murdered his wife–and Arden can’t get him out of her mind.

Conquist by Dirk Strasser

In 1542, CristĂłbal de Varga led 400 conquistadors through a doorway in the mountains of Peru and into a far more mysterious world from which they never returned…

Sadly, this book is not currently available in the US, but if you want to check out another of Dirk’s books, try Zenith.

The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte

Tempe lives in a world of endless water, but the ruins of the civilization destroyed by the Great Waves 500 years ago call to her from far below. The treasures she finds in them will buy a 24 hour return to life for her sister, who died bearing a terrible secret that Tempe needs to know.

The Ninth Sorceress by Bonnie Wynne

After seventeen years of innocent safety as an herbalist’s apprentice, Gwyn finds herself pursued by wizards and hunted by an ancient goddess.


See you, space pirates. If you’d like to know more about my secret plans to dominate the seas and skies, you can catch me over at my personal site.