Alien by Alan Dean Foster is the novelisation of the 1979 sci-fi, psychological horror film of the same name. It follows the crew of a commercial space tug named Nostromo who are awakened from hyper-sleep when the ship’s AI detects a distress beacon emanating from a planet not too far off their trajectory towards home. When the crew investigates, they find themselves at the business end of a deadly hunt with an extra-terrestrial creature unlike any they’ve seen or read of before.
Curiosity Thrilled the Cat by Sofie Kelly is the first novel in a cosy mystery series called, The Magical Cats Mysteries. It is about a librarian named Kathleen Paulson after she moves to Maryville Heights, Minnesota where she gets adopted by two stray kitties. Owen is a tabby with a catnip addiction and Hercules is a tuxedo babe that shares Kathleen’s love of Barry Manilow. When a murder interrupts the local town’s music festival, Kathleen is labelled the prime suspect.
Gothic horror is a much-underappreciated category of fiction, so to witness a culturally rich Latinx addition to the genre was absolutely thrilling. Mexican Gothic not only lived up to every expectation that I had, but it also surpassed them by a marvellous margin.
Ritu Weds Chandni by Ameya Narvankar is a Queer own-voices Indian picture book about a young girl named Ayesha who is positively ecstatic to attend her cousin’s wedding to another woman and to celebrate the joy of their love.
Murder in Old Bombay is an excellently written piece of historical fiction that is both transportive and insightful about an era that is rarely seen within the genre, the British occupation of India during the late 1800s. Coupled with the portrayal of a biracial identity and a curious crime mystery, readers shall have a pleasantly engaging reading experience, more so if they fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s dynamic detective duo
Phoenix Extravagant is an exceptional piece of science-fiction that is beautifully complex yet approachable and fascinatingly original. It is one of the best novels released within the genre in all of 2020.
The Deep by Alma Katsu is a historical supernatural mystery novel about a young woman named Annie who survived the sinking of the Titanic, only to find herself working aboard another ship, the Britannica, years later. While working on the second ship, she is reminded of her time on the infamous maiden voyage of the Britannica’s predecessor; memories that are further heightened when she bumps into a familiar face.
Burning Roses by S.L. Huang is an adult own-voices Queer Chinese fantasy novella about Rose (a.k.a. Red Riding Hood) and an archer named Hou Yi. Together they join forces to stop deadly sunbirds from ravaging the countryside. Their journey shall take them into a reckoning of terrible sacrifices, a mourning of mistakes, of choices, and also of family amid a quest for immortality.
One of the most intriguing characteristics about Seven is the subject matter of female genital cutting (FGC) as it is one that I have never seen discussed in literature before. My own personal knowledge of this ritual is extremely limited and for all intents and purposes, it has always been a topic that has existed within my own cultural circles, but one that is never openly discussed.
The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty is the third and final instalment in the author’s epic adult own-voices Islamic fantasy series. The highly-anticipated conclusion follows Nahri, Alizayd al-Qahtani, and Darayavahoush e-Afshin as they must confront the consequences of their choices across the span of the first two volumes, all leading to a highly action-packed finale.
Earthlings by Sayaka Murata is an own-voices Japanese fiction novel by acclaimed author of Convenience Store Woman. The story follows a young lady named Natsuki who as a child was an outcast in the eyes of her parents and sister, and whose only friend was a plush toy hedgehog named Piyyut. Piyyut explained to her that he was a visitor from a far away planet named Popinpobopia on a very special quest to help Natsuki save Earth.
The Map of Salt and Stars is one of the most consummate books that I have read in years, especially as it pertains to the refugee experience. It is magnificently compelling and emotionally riveting.
The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya is an own-voices South Asian-Canadian contemporary novel about two uniquely separate musicians that formulate a friendship after one of them performs a cover of the other’s song and it goes viral. Their quick-formulated bond becomes a contrast of insecurities and miscommunication as the fame compounds into toxic envy.
The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel is an own-voices Chinese historical fiction novel that is the first in a duology chronicling the life of Empress Wu as she rose from a simple concubine to become one of the most powerful rulers in Chinese history. The story begins with a little girl named Mei who is picked to become a potential paramour for the Emperor. In the wake of her father’s demise, she is whisked away to the palace, never to see her family again.
Prelude to Insurrection by J.C. Kang is short story introduction to the author’s expansive own-voices Chinese adult fantasy series, Legends of Tivara. It follows a young orphan half-elf spy known as Jie as she tries to thwart a dangerous rebellion before it even begins.