Review | Let’s talk about science fiction and horror by new, promising writers

Review | Let’s talk about science fiction and horror by new, promising writers


When we began this column, which we pitched as a conversation between two friends, we didn’t quite know how long we would be allowed to be nerdy in front of the world. It has been a privilege to discuss books here for the past three years, but, alas, it’s time for fresh blood — for the blood is the life! Our farewell column is devoted to new authors we discovered and fell in love with during our time writing for The Post — and others we hope you’ll seek out after we have moved on.

Silvia: Premee Mohamed wrote a number of short stories before turning to novels. With “Beneath the Rising” (2020) and its sequels, she has demonstrated an interest in vibrant science fiction that skews a little Lovecraft — things coming for us from the void! Zin E. Rocklyn, another name to watch, explored a similar space last year with “Flowers for the Sea” (2021) in which a refugee from a flooded kingdom is trapped on an ark, and there are shades of cosmic horror.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s new novel puts a feminist twist on ‘Dr. Moreau’

Horror of a different stripe permeates the pages of Eric LaRocca’s tales. He started in the small-press scene and is making the jump to a larger imprint with a September reprint of “Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and Other Misfortunes.” The novella that lends its title to this collection centers on two women exchanging increasingly disturbing messages in a chatroom. Gabino Iglesias is also getting a big press unveiling with the supernatural thriller “The Devil Takes You Home.”

Lavie: Of the new writers we discovered during the writing of this column, Lavanya Lakshminarayan was a favorite. Her novel “The Ten-Percent Thief” is due in 2023, and it’s an ambitious science-fiction mosaic novel set in a future Bangalore. Samit Basu’s “The City Inside,” a near-future dystopian tale of surveillance set in India, was published this year, and I’m excited to see what he’ll produce next. I also enjoyed the wonderfully vivid short stories of Nadia Afifi; she has novels out with a small press and, I hope, more to come.

I’ve been a big fan of E.J. Swift since she began publishing with “Osiris” a few years ago. She writes literary sf with environmental themes, and her latest, “The Coral Bones,” is an ambitious tale set over three timelines. I raved about Tlotlo Tsamaase’s debut, “The Silence of the Wilting Skin,” and I am eager for her next outing.

Silvia: Suyi Davies Okungbowa has shown a knack for expansive world-building with “Son of the Storm,” the first in an African-inspired fantasy series. It reminds me of all the best aspects of Charles R. Saunders’ “Imaro” books from the 1980s.

Science fiction, fantasy, thriller? Books we love but can’t define.

I wrote a novel about music and magic (“Signal to Noise”), so it’s perhaps no surprise that I was taken with the concept of Alex Jennings’s recently released “The Ballad of Perilous Graves,” which centers on an alternate version of New Orleans where music is magic and the fate of the world might depend on songs.

Last but not least, I am glad to see that Mariana Enriquez, who already made a splash with two short story collections, is now poised for the publication of her first novel in English. The evocatively titled “Our Share of Night” (2023) is a haunting generational horror story. It’s a delight to see American publishers beginning to recognize that Latin American authors exist beyond the boundaries of magic realism, and, hopefully, Enriquez paves the way for more authors to get their chance at translation.

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Lavie: Translation remains a major stumbling block for publishers, and it is often small presses that pick up the slack. Fans of near-future sf will welcome Francesco Verso’s “The Roamers,” in a translation from Italian by Jennifer Delare, and I am hopeful publishers will pick up Shimon Adaf’s sf masterpiece, “Kfor,” following publication of his “Lost Detective” trilogy this year in a translation from Hebrew by Yardenne Greenspan. Adaf’s backlist is some of the most impressive cross-genre work I’ve read. I would also love to see Han Song’s masterpiece, “Subway,” finally translated from Chinese, following Eric J. Guignard’s impressive “Exploring Dark Short Fiction #5: A Primer to Han Song” collection in 2020. If you’re not familiar with his work, Han Song is one of the foremost Chinese sf writers working today.

The sf field is vibrant and diversifying quickly. Of the new writers popping up in the short-story magazines, Zahra Mukhi (“I Call Upon the Night as Witness”) and Mário de Seabra Coelho’s (“Ootheca”) are impressive. I suspect we’ll be hearing these names again. How about you, dear reader: Who is your favorite new writer?

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s new book is “The Daughter of Doctor Moreau.” Her previous works include “Mexican Gothic,” “Velvet Was the Night” and “The Return of the Sorceress.” Lavie Tidhar’s most recent novels are “The Escapement” and “The Hood.

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