After the Dragons, Cynthia Zhang
Dragons were fire and terror to the Western world, but in the East they brought life-giving rain. Now, no longer hailed as gods and struggling in the overheated pollution of Beijing, only the Eastern dragons survive. As drought plagues the aquatic creatures, a mysterious disease–shaolong, or “burnt lung”, afflicts the city’s residents.
Jaded college student Xiang Kaifei scours Beijing streets for abandoned dragons, distracting himself from his diagnosis. Elijah Ahmed, a biracial American medical researcher, is drawn to Beijing by the memory of his grandmother and her death by shaolong. With the resources of Kai’s dragon rescue and Eli’s immunology research, can the pair find a cure for shaolong and safety for the dragons?
After the Dragons presents hope for tenderness and care in a time where the ill-effects of climate change reigns supreme.
Appleseed, Matt Bell
In 18th-century Ohio, two brothers travel into the wooded frontier, planting apple orchards from which they plan to profit in the years to come. As they remake the wilderness in their own image, planning for a future of settlement and civilisation, the long-held bonds and secrets between the two will be tested, fractured, and broken–and possibly healed.
Fifty years from now, in the second half of the 21st-century, climate change has ravaged Earth. Having invested early in genetic engineering and food science, one company now owns all the world’s resources. But a growing resistance is working to redistribute both land and power.
A thousand years in the future, North America is covered by a massive sheet of ice. One lonely sentient being inhabits a tech station on top of the glacier–and in a daring and seemingly impossible quest, sets out to follow a homing beacon across the continent in the hopes of discovering the last remnant of civilisation.
Appleseed is an ambitious take on climate change; corporate, civic, and familial responsibility; and the myths and legends that sustain us all.
Elder Race, Adrian Tchaikovsky
Lynesse is the lowly Fourth Daughter of the queen, and always getting in the way. But a demon is terrorising the land, and now she’s an adult (albeit barely) with responsibilities, or so she tells herself. Although she still gets in the way, Lynesse understands that the only way to save her people is to invoke the pact between her family and the Elder sorcerer who has inhabited the local tower for as long as her people have lived here–though none has approached it.
But Elder Nyr isn’t a sorcerer, and he is forbidden to help, and his knowledge of science tells him the threat cannot possibly be a demon but a more sinister force at play.
The Employees, Olga Ravn, translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken
The crew of the Six-Thousand Ship consists of those who were born, and those who were made. Those who will die, and those who will not. When the ship takes on a number of strange objects from the planet New Discovery, the crew is perplexed to find itself becoming deeply attached to them, and human and humanoid employees alike start aching for the same things: warmth and intimacy.
Our shared, far-away Earth, now only persists in memory. Gradually, the crew members come to see their work in a new light, and each employee is compelled to ask themselves whether they can carry on as before–and what it means to be truly living.
The Employees probes into what it means to be human, emotionally and ontologically, while simultaneously delivering a critique of a life governed by work and the logic of productivity.
The House of Rust, Khadija Abdalla Bajaber
When her fisherman father goes missing, Aisha takes to the sea on a magical boat made of a skeleton to rescue him. She is guided by a talking scholar’s cat (and soon crows, goats, and other animals all have their say, too).
On this journey Aisha meets three terrifying sea monsters. After she survives a final confrontation with Baba wa Papa, the father of all sharks, she rescues her own father, and hopes that life will return to normal. But at home, things only grow stranger.
The House of Rust is a magical realist coming-of-age tale told through the lens of the Swahili and diasporic Hadhrami culture in Mombasa, Kenya.
How High We Go in the Dark, Sequoia Nagamatsu
In 2030, a grieving archeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika Crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus.
Once unleashed, the Arctic plague will reshape life on Earth for generations to come, quickly traversing the globe, forcing humanity to devise a myriad of moving and inventive ways to embrace possibility in the face of tragedy.
From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead to interstellar starships, Sequoia Nagamatsu takes readers on a wildly original and compassionate journey, spanning continents, centuries, and even celestial bodies to tell a story about the resilience of the human spirit, our infinite capacity to dream, and the connective threads that tie us together.
The Past is Red, Catherynne M Valente
Tetley Abednego has made two terrible mistakes: she told the truth and she dared to love the world. The future is blue. Endless blue, except for a few small places that float across the hot, drowned world left behind by long-gone fossil fuel-guzzlers. One of those patches is a magical place called Garbagetown.
Tetley is the most beloved girl in Garbagetown, but she’s the only one who knows it. She’s the only one who knows a lot of things: that Garbagetown is the most wonderful place in the world, that it’s full of hope, that you can love someone and 66% hate them all at the same time. But Earth is a terrible mess, hope is a fragile thing, and a lot of people are very angry with her. Then Tetley discovers a new friend, a terrible secret, and more to her world than she ever expected.
A Snake Falls to Earth, Darcie Little Badger
Darcie Little Badger draws on traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure to an unforgettable tale of monsters, magic, and family. Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories.
Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake. Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries. And there are some who will kill to keep them apart. A Snake Falls to Earth is a remarkable tale of indigenous futurism.
Summer in the City of Roses, Michelle Ruiz Keil
All her life, seventeen-year-old Iph has protected her sensitive younger brother, Orr. But this summer, with their mother gone at an artist residency, their father decides it’s time for Orr to toughen up at a wilderness boot camp. When their father brings Iph to a work gala in downtown Portland and breaks the news, Orr has already been sent away against his will. Furious at her father’s betrayal, Iph storms off and gets lost in the maze of Old Town. Enter George, a queer Robin Hood who swoops in on a bicycle, bow and arrow at the ready, offering Iph a place to hide out while she tracks down Orr.
Orr, in the meantime, has escaped the camp and fallen in with The Furies, an all-girl punk band, and moves into the coat closet of their ramshackle pink house. In their first summer apart, Iph and Orr must learn to navigate their respective new spaces of music, romance, and sex-work activism–and find each other before a fantastical transformation fractures their family forever.
Summer in the City of Roses is a dazzling tale about the pain and beauty of growing up.