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Linus Baker is a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He’s tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world. Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn. Or worse, his secret comes to light. The House in the Cerulean Sea is an enchanting love story, masterfully told, about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.
Happy Tuesday, shipmates! It’s Alex, with new releases and some mostly non-viral news. And happy March 17, which is an extremely important day for me–my mom’s birthday! Happy birthday, mom! I love you!
In fun, non-book news:
After the Metropolitan Opera was forced to cancel their upcoming performances, they have committed to streaming a different encore opera performance each night, starting on March 16 with Carmen.
Humans are wonderful, actually: Twitter reminded me of this Ode to Joy flash mob from 2012.
Liquid Crystal Nightingale by Eeleen Lee – Pleo has clawed her way through a life that seems intent on destroying her; her twin sister is dead and her father is broken by tragedy. The pain only fuels her determination to escape the colony that’s taken so much from her. Then she’s framed for the murder of a fellow student, who happens to be the daughter of someone very wealthy and influential, and she has no choice but to go on the run.
The Fortress by S.A. Jones – Jonathan is a high-powered, wealthy lawyer in a prestigious firm that occupies a world just like our own–with the exception that it exists beside the Fortress, populated by the Vaik, a society run and composed only of women. When Jonathan’s wife finds out about his parade of interns that he’s taken as lovers and the ugly undercurrent of sexual violence in his law firm, she gives him an ultimatum: he must offer himself to the Fortress for a year or their marriage is over. Jonathan agrees to do so, but is unprepared for the three conditions of his stay: He cannot ask questions, he cannot raise a hand in anger, and he cannot refuse sex.
88 Names by Matt Ruff – John Chu is a “sherpa,” who is paid to usher lower level characters through a popular MMO, Call to Wizardy. He gets who he initially thinks might be his dream client, “Mr. Jones,” who is exceptionally wealthy and powerful… and then John begins to suspect that Mr. Jones might actually be Kim Jong-un. Soon he finds himself caught up in international intrigue, both online and then, much more dangerously, offline.
Crush the King by Jennifer Estep – Evie has been through a lot already as a queen–the murder of her entire family, training to become a gladiator in the bloody aftermath, and unleashing her mysterious ability to destroy magic. Yet another assassination attempt by the king of Morta is the last straw for her, however. She heads to the Regalia Games, where royals from all the nearby kingdoms come to compete in sporting events; this is her best and perhaps last chance to outwit and outlast her enemies.
News and Views
Library of America is going to release a volume of the works of Octavia Butler in 2021. And as if that’s not cool enough, it’ll be co-edited by Nisi Shawl and Gerry Canavan. (Nisi Shawl co-edited Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler)
Wonderful humans LeVar Burton and Patrick Stewart take a selfie together.
Jim Hines started an awesome Twitter thread of free short fiction reads that are light-hearted if you need something fun.
If you need another thing to recite while washing your hands, you could try out Princess Leia’s speech from the original Star Wars.
An interesting sci-fi short film about who might be a secret robot… via game show.
Scientists put trackers on cats in an attempt to trace the full reach of their ecologically destructive capabilities.
See you, space pirates. You can find all of the books recommended in this newsletter on a handy Goodreads shelf. 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.