Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for September 11: SFF ♥ NYC

Happy Friday, shipmates. We made it through another week, so take a deep breath—if you can—and let’s talk fiction to get away from reality. It’s Alex, with some book news and some themed book picks. Stay safe out there, space pirates, especially if you’re on the west coast. Please be safe.

A thing that made me smile this week: This snippet of a punk cover of How Far I’ll Go

Looking for non-book things you can do to help in the quest for justice? and The Okra Project.

News and Views

OMG Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas hit the NYT bestseller list!!! Trans book by a trans author on the NYT!!!

Cory Doctorow is running a kickstarter to produce the audiobook verision of Attack Surface, the third Little Brother book.

There is going to be a cat on Star Trek: Discovery. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. HE IS AN ABSOLUTE UNIT. Also, the season 3 trailer has me running in circles and screaming that it’s not October already.

When Speculative Fiction Becomes Reality

Nicky Drayden has put up her short fiction collection for free

Perhaps the best celebration of Star Trek Day. Though the Klingon cooking show pilot is a very close runner-up.

On Book Riot

The new Dune trailer is here!

Two episodes of SFF Yeah! for you: Episode 86.5 is about weird women in SFF! In episode 87, guest Preeti Chhibber chats about Baby Yoda, the Wheel of Time adaptation, and The Witcher.

This month, you can enter to win $50 to spend at your favorite indie bookstore and a free 1-year audible subscription.

Free Association Friday: SFF ♥ NYC

Well, Lin Manuel Miranda called New York City “the greatest city in the world” via the lyrics of Hamilton, and I’m not here to pick fights. It makes a great setting for fantasy—and a little bit of science fiction—and often, the city is a character itself, living and breathing and ugly and beautiful all at once. So here are some SFF books that heart emoji NYC big time:

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin has New York as a literally living city when its born into being. And unlike some other cities, it has six avatars—one for each borough and one for the city as a whole. And unfortunately just like many other cities that didn’t make it past their birth, there is an evil force not of this world trying to strangle it in its cradle…

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson gives us a New York City 120 years in the future when the ice has melted and the coasts have flooded, but New York lives on with its skyscrapers jutting from the sea like glittering islands. New York City did not drown—it rode the wave.

The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty – A travel writer who needs a new start in life takes a job in New York City. Her first assignment is to write a tourist guide to the city itself, a daunting task of itself, but worse, it’s a guide for the undead. And since our writer heroine is very much alive and human, trying to write for an audience of monsters is more difficult than she could have imagined.

Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson gives us New York City on the eve of World War II, the background for a noir tale about a white-passing Black woman who has “saint’s hands” that make her a gifted assassin. She’s given up her past for her life in the city, but her past hasn’t forgotten her.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker – At the turn of the 20th century, a golem whose master has died and left her purposeless and a jinni who has been released but is still definitely not free meet in New York City. First they become friends, and then they become more, figuring out how to complete each other’s stories.

Disappearing Nightly by Laura Resnick – First of the Esther Diamond urban fantasy series, it’s about an actress who just wants to take her shot at stardom and not go back to waiting tables. When she receives a mysterious warning to give up the stage, she goes to her best friend, a 350-year-old mage whose job is protecting the city from capital-E Evil. Shenanigans ensue.

Daniel José Older has the Bone Street Rumba series (start with Half-Resurrection Blues) and the Shadowshaper Cypher series (start with Shadowshaper), both of which take place in a New York City that has weird and wonderful magic seething just below the surface. Half-Resurrection Blues gives us ghosts and necromancers and half-dead agents of the New York Council of the Dead; Shadowshaper gives us a young artist learning to give her work power by infusing it with ancestral spirits. All of it is in absolutely gorgeous, rhythmic prose.

Dead to Me by Anton Strout – A man with the power of psychometry (learning an object’s history by touching it) gives up his life of petty crime to join the Department of Extraordinary Affairs. And his first case involves the ghost of a beautiful woman who doesn’t actually realize she’s dead.

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.