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The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of May 2019

Friday, May 31st, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Children of Ruin Adrian Tchaikovsky-small Westside W M Akers-small Empire of Grass Tad Williams-small

It’s the last day of May, and you know what that means. You’re another month behind in your reading.

Fortunately for you, there are some excellent resources out there to help you discover just how badly you blew it (yet again) by not spending every spare moment in May reading. My new favorite is The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, which does a terrific job month-after-month of letting us know just how bad we suck. Here’s some of the highlights from Jeff Somers summary of The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of May 2019.

Children of Ruin, by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Orbit, 576 pages, $15.99 trade paperback/$9.99 digital, May 14)

The sequel to the British Science Fiction Award-winning Children of Time returns to the unlikely new cradle of humanity, a colony planet whereupon a disastrous terraforming attempt resulted in the creation of a new society of uplifted ants and spiders whose civilization evolved at breakneck speed before the desperate remnants of the a ravaged Earth could arrive. Now unlikely allies, the humans and the insects catch fragmentary signals broadcast from light years away, suggesting there might be other survivors from their shared homeworld. A mixed expedition sets out to solve the mystery, but what’s waiting for them out in space is another calamity set in motion by long-dead Earth scientists’ arrogant and desperate efforts to ensure the survival of their species. Children of Ruin managed to completely deliver on a truly absurd premise, and the sequel offers similar pleasures.

[Click the images to embiggen.]

Westside, by W.M. Akers (Harper Voyager, 304 pages, $22.99 hardcover/$11.99 digital, May 7)

In an alternate 1920s Manhattan in which a heavily fortified wall running along Broadway divides the island into Eastside, where the normal laws of reality still apply, and Westside, where things have gone down the magical drain, the latter has become a magical wasteland where only the dregs of society — criminals, artists, and drunks — remain. Gilda Carr calls Westide home, and works as a private investigator specializing in bite-sized mysteries like recovering lost gloves. Somehow, though, her latest case pushes her into a gangland war that connects to her own long-missing father and the reason for the Westside’s descent into unreal chaos. As much as she might like to, Carr can’t sidestep the responsibility she suddenly feels to get to the bottom of both mysteries, for her own sake and that of everyone living in the magic-ravaged city. Akers’ hugely enjoyable debut marries inventive alt-history with truly strange magic and a protagonist you won’t soon forget.

Mythic Journeys Paula Guran-smallEmpire of Grass, by Tad Williams (DAW, 688 pages, $30 hardcover/$14.99 digital, May 7)

The solution to the mystery of the Witchwood Crown continues to elude King Simon and his queen, Miriamele in this second book of Williams’ Last King of Osten Ard series trilogy. As the kingdoms of Osten Ard descend separately into war, division, and strife, the Crown might be the key to it all — if Simon and Miriamele can solve the puzzle. Meanwhile, the Queen of the Norns has made a deal to bring her immortal armies into the mortal lands, the nomads on the grasslands are unifying with cult-like fervor, and everything begins to fall apart in ways large and small as a disparate group of people fighting for their own survival in the chaos come to represent the only hope for the survival of all living things. We’re happy to say once again that thus far, the followup to Williams’ landmark Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy is more than living up to the reputation of its forebear.

Mythic Journeys: Retold Myths and Legends, edited by Paula Guran (Night Shade Books, 456 pages, $15.99 trade paperback/$9.99 digital, May 14)

Award-winning editor Paula Guran’s latest anthology collects incredible adaptations and reinterpretations of myths and legends from the world over, penned by some of the best writers working in SFF today, including Neil Gaiman, Ann Lecki, Yoon Ha Lee, Ken Liu, and dozens more. These are stories that have existed for centuries — or longer — recast by modern-day masters, covering subjects like the Furies of old hunting down a serial killer for revenge, Odysseus’ nymph and her power to change lives, and a humorous look at chivalric myths and their absurdities. Spanning history and geography, culture and religion, these stories are uniquely inventive, making this a standout anthology.

Read Jeff’s complete list of 24 fabulous titles for May here (and if that’s not enough to keep you busy, his April list is here, and March here.)

Other handy SF book resources for May include:

The SF/F/H Books Everyone Will Be Talking About in May by John DeNardo (Kirkus Reviews)
10 new science fiction and fantasy books to check out in May by Andrew Liptak (The Verge)
All the New Science Fiction Books Coming Out in May! (Tor.com)
Best New Science Fiction Books May 2019 by Kayti Burt (Den of Geek)

The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog is a great resource for those with limited reading time (like us). Here’s a few of our selections from their recent articles.

The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of September 2018 by Jeff Somers
The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of July 2018 by Jeff Somers
The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of June 2018 by Jeff Somers
The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of May 2018 by Jeff Somers
The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of April 2018 by Jeff Somers
The Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Comics & Graphic Novels of February 2018 by Jeff Somers
The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2017 by Joel Cunningham
The B&N Sci-fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Comics & Graphic Novels of August by Ross Johnson
The B&N Sci-fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of August by Jeff Somers
B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2017 So Far by Joel Cunningham
B&N Blog on 96 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in 2017 by Joel Cunningham
Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Selects the Best Horror Books of 2016 by Sam Reader

See all our recent New Treasures here.

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