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Elevation
Stephen King
Hardcover | Oct 2018
7 in store $24.99
Melmoth
Sarah Perry
Paperback | Oct 2018
3 in store $23.99
Skyward
Brandon Sanderson
Hardcover | Nov 2018
11 in store $25.99
Oathbringer
Brandon Sanderson
Paperback | Oct 2018
7 in store $31.50
Alice Isn't Dead
Joseph Fink
Hardcover | Oct 2018
2 in store $24.99
Tales from the Inner City
Shaun Tan
Hardcover | Nov 2018
4 in store $29.99
Season of Storms
Andrzej Sapkowski
Paperback | Nov 2018
8 in store $22.49
Lord of Shadows
Cassandra Clare
Paperback | Nov 2018
2 in store $19.99
Winterhouse
Ben Guterson
Paperback | Oct 2018
4 in store $10.50
Hiddensee
Gregory Maguire
Paperback | Oct 2018
2 in store $21.00

See more...
Fantastic Beasts
J K Rowling
Hardcover | Nov 2018
6 in store $29.99
Fire & Blood
George R R Martin
Hardcover | Nov 2018
on order $47.00
(releases Nov 20 2018)
The Power
Naomi Alderman
Paperback | Jan 2019
on order $22.49
(releases Jan 8 2019)
Queen of Air and Darkness
Cassandra Clare
Hardcover | Dec 2018
on order $32.99
(releases Dec 4 2018)
The Cruel Prince
Holly Black
Paperback | Dec 2018
on order $16.99
(releases Dec 4 2018)

See more...
New Releases - November 13, 2018See more
A HUGE and eclectic new batch of books this week, from legendary authors to exciting debut writers!
Be sure to keep scrolling to see them ALL!
Our bestsellers for October 2018!



Hardcovers
1) THE LABYRINTH INDEX, Charles Stross
2) EXIT STRATEGY: THE MURDERBOT DIARIES, Martha Wells
3) THE CONSUMING FIRE, John Scalzi
4) PORT OF SHADOWS, Glen Cook
5) VENGEFUL, V.E. Schwab
6) STATE TECTONICS, Malka Older
7) UNCOMPROMISING HONOR, David Weber
8) SEARCH IMAGE, Julie E. Czerneda
9) ROGUE PROTOCOL: THE MURDERBOT DIARIES, Martha Wells
10) THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB, Craig Davidson

Mass Market Paperbacks
1) DUNE, Frank Herbert
2) THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, Ursula K. Leguin
3) A SCANDAL IN BATTERSEA, Mercedes Lackey
4) SHADOWS OF SELF, Brandon Sanderson
5) TO GUARD AGAINST THE DARK, Julie E. Czerneda

6) THE WAY OF THE SHIELD, Marshall Ryan Maresca
7) CHILDREN OF THE FLEET, Orson Scott Card
8) HAWK, Steven Brust
9) HOUNDED: THE IRON DRUID CHRONICLES, Kevin Hearne
10) BLADE OF EMPIRE, Mercedes Lackey

Trade Paperbacks
1) COLD IRON, Miles Cameron
2) THE DELIRIUM BRIEF, Charles Stross
3) NINEFOX GAMBIT, Yoon Ha Lee
4) THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM, Cixin Liu
5) THE BLACK TIDES OF HEAVEN, Jy Yang
6) ALL SYSTEMS RED, Martha Wells
7) THE QUANTUM MAGICIAN, Derek Kunsken
8) THE FATED SKY, Mary Robinette Kowal
9) THE CALCULATING STARS, Mary Robinette Kowal
10) THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, Shirley Jackson

Media-Related & Gaming-Related
1) DOCTOR WHO: ROSE, Russell T. Davies
2) STAR WARS: AHSOKA, E.K. Johnston
3) TIMELESS, R.A. Salvatore
4) DOCTOR WHO: THE MISSY CHRONICLES, Cavan Scott, ed.
5) SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY, Mur Lafferty

New Releases, November 6th, 2018See more

So many new releases to kick off the month of November! Be sure to check out some of these great new reads.
 

Also, feeling adventurous and want something to do this evening? We're open late today to launch Kate Heartfield's brand new novella, ALICE PAYNE ARRIVES, as well as Derek Künsken's QUANTUM MAGICIAN. Come join us at 7pm (November 6th)!

New Releases, October 30th, 2018See more
We've got some great releases to close off October. There are certainly a few here we'll be reading while consuming our leftover Hallowe'en candy this week. Make sure to scroll through the list to make sure you see everything that's new this week! You wouldn't want to miss some of these.
New Releases - October 23, 2018See more
We've got some amazing new titles as we head into Halloween!

Be sure to scroll alllll the way along the carousel to see everything we've gotten in this week!
The Bakka-Phoenix Q&A with Charlie Stross!
Charles Stross  
   Happy birthday to author Charles Stross, visiting us here in the shop TOMORROW, Saturday the 20th!
   Our guests will have lots of questions for him but we got to chat with him first...

    What was the last book you read for pleasure?

   I'm currently reading In the Vanishers' Palace by Aliette de Bodard.

    Do you know where a book is going to go when you start writing it, or do you get surprised by a change in direction?

   I *sometimes* get surprised by a change in direction, but mostly I know where a book is supposed to go before I start writing.

On the other hand, the journey is as important as the destination and I seldom write a book where I'm not startled by some of the detours along the route!


What is the best thing you've eaten or imbibed so far in Toronto? 

I just spent today at the Cask Daze beer festival. Lots of interesting unfiltered cask-conditioned ales from all over Canada!

 
You maintain an active blog at Antipope! Does it distract you from writing, or does it help? 
 
Both. 
 
On the one hand, I've probably written the equivalent of 2-3 novels' worth of prose on the blog over the past decade (and the same the decade before—I've been running it since roughly 1998). But on the other hand, I have a lively community of commenters and use the blog to brainstorm ideas that later feed into my writing.
 
More to the point, the blog is technically non-fiction: writing it doesn't use the same part of my mind that fiction does. So it's a time sink, but an intermittently useful one that probably enriches my fiction output as much as it detracts from it.

Thanks, Charlie! See you tomorrow at 3pm!

 





New Releases, October 16th 2018See more
We've got some hot new titles to keep you warm on these cool October evenings!

Be sure to scroll alllll the way along the carousel to see everything we've gotten in this week!
Our Bestsellers for September 2018!
 


Hardcovers
1) UNCOMPROMISING HONOR, David Weber
2) FOUNDRYSIDE, Robert Jackson Bennett
3) SALVATION, Peter F. Hamilton
4) SPINNING SILVER, Naomi Novik
5) THE PRIVILEGE OF PEACE, Tanya Huff
6) MAGIC TRIUMPHS, Ilona Andrews
7) BALL LIGHTNING, Cixin Liu
8) NIGHT AND SILENCE, Seanan McGuire
9) VENGEFUL, V.E. Schwab
10) ROGUE PROTOCOL: THE MURDERBOT DIARIES, Martha Wells

 

Paperbacks
1) THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, Ursula K. LeGuin

2) NEUROMANCER, William Gibson

3) THE BRIGHTEST FELL, Seanan McGuire

4) DUNE, Frank Herbert

5) PLANETSIDE, Michael Mammay

6) TO GUARD AGAINST THE DARK, Julie E. Czerneda

7) HAWK, Stephen Brust

8) AMERICAN GODS, Neil Gaiman

9) HOUNDED: THE IRON DRUID CHRONICLES, Kevin Hearne

10) MIDNIGHT RIOT, Ben Aaronovitch


Trade Paperbacks
1) NINEFOX GAMBIT, Yoon Ha Lee
2) PARABLE OF THE SOWER, Octavia Butler
3) THE MARROW THIEVES, Cherie Dimaline
4) WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE, Shirley Jackson
5) KINGS OF THE WYLD, Nicholas Eames
6) VICTORIAN TOWN, Nancy Thorne
7) SOLARIS, Stanisaw Lem
8) THE ROOK, Daniel O'Malley
9) PROVENANCE, Ann Leckie
10) INFOMOCRACY, Malka Older

 


New Releases, October 9th, 2018See more
Well! We're back from the long weekend, and hope that everyone had a good break. Hopefully your Thanksgiving was filled with yummy food, good company, and page-turning books!

To kick off the week, we've got some great new releases for this weirdly warm October day. It's the perfect time to come in and stock up on good reads to keep you cozy once the temperature drops again. Do be sure to click through the carousel to ensure you don't miss any of them!
New Releases, October 2th, 2018See more
We've got a whole bunch of fantastic new releases this week. Be sure you scroll along the carousel to see them. For advice on how to be more like Yoda or Darth Vader, to see some of Chris Riddell's amazing artwork, and the rest of this week's page-turning releases!

As a note; we'll be having a signing for Derek Künsken's QUANTUM MAGICIAN on November 6th!
New Releases, September 25th, 2018See more
So many new releases this week! There's everything from new books from Sanderson, Peter V. Brett, Amulet, to *many* new Doctor Who titles!
New Releases, September 18th 2018See more
Hot new releases for a hot and steamy Tuesday!
New Releases, September 11th, 2018See more
Some great new releases for an overcast Tuesday.
New Releases - September 4th, 2018See more
New Releases, August 21st and 28th, 2018See more
Sooo many new releases! This is what happens when we go away for a week.
New Releases, August 14th 2018See more
It must be Tuesday again, as we have plenty of great new releases to show off!
New Releases, July 31st 2018See more
Check out these amazing new releases for the last Tuesday in July!
Announcing Our New Webstore!

After months of saying that our webstore would be "coming soon", we're pleased to announce that it's live! Which, in fact, if you're here reading this, you know.

Welcome! You can now browse our stock and order books online either for in-store pick up or delivery.

If you're already a frequent buyer, or have ordered from us before, please call or email us to merge your online account with your existing one. If you're creating an account with us for the first time, welcome, and doing so will give you access to our frequent buyer program.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to let us know.

Thanks,
The Bakka Phoenix Team
 
New Releases, August 7th 2018See more
So many new releases this week! August is off to a promising start.
New Releases, July 17th 2018See more
Take a look at this week's hot new titles!
New Releases, July 24th 2018See more
Hot new books for a hot Tuesday in July!
Bakka Abroad!


For the next few weeks, we’ll be posting pictures of places we scouted in our plan to take over the world traveled to in 2017 onto our Instagram.
 

We’ll post a photo each Thursday, and you’ll have until midnight the following Wednesday to comment with the correct location. A winner will be selected at random from the correct answers. Prizes will be switched up weekly with each new photo. Only real restrictions are that you need to comment with your answer on the Instagram photo, and you’ll have to swing by and visit us to pick up your prize.
 

So… Where were we?
 


The Bakka-Phoenix Frequent Buyer Discount has rocketed into the, erm, present.
The discount bookmarks: We’ve filled them, lost them, stuck them in books for years, gleefully found enough of them to buy all new books when we’re supposed to be moving house, watched them explode all over our desk, and shared them with friends and family.

 

Now, as is the inevitable destiny of all fleshly things, their consciousness has been uploaded.
 

That’s right: We’re going digital.

 

 

What you need to know:
Going forward, we’ll track your purchases in-store–so no more losing bookmarks–and you’ll get the exact same discount as you always have with the frequent buyer card. The only thing that changes is how you redeem it and the amount of work going in for everyone.
 

How does that work, Bakka staff?
In short, it’s a digital points system tied into our register. For every $10 you spend, you’ll get a dollar of credit points (so, our traditional frequent buyer’s 10%). Once you’ve earned $50 worth of points, they become spendable as credit.
 

What if my credit purchase is less than $50?
The unused credit will turn back into points and stay in your account, getting you ahead of the game for your next credit.
 

Do I have to redeem at $50?
Nope! If you have your eye on something really big, bide your time.
 

Do the points ever expire?
As long as you make one (1) purchase in a 12-month period–so it’s not been more than a full year since your last purchase–the points will keep accumulating. If you don’t, they expire, but will start up again with your next purchase.
 

Can I redeem the points in the same transaction that takes me to $50?
Nope. We subscribe to a linear timestream. If you want to hit us up with them five minutes later, though, go for it.
 

This sounds suspiciously like cryptocurrency.
But it’s not. We are automating for your laziness and ours.
 

What if I already have a card, in-store or with me?
We’ll still honour any and all full bookmarks, and if your card isn’t full, we’ll translate your previous purchases into points and keep counting from there. If you have your card on you, please just bring it in and we’ll get you set up–and there’s no limit date on that. Find one five years from now? We’ll do it.
 

What information do you need to set up the account?
Just your name; we aren’t collecting a whole lot of information. We just want to make sure we know your points go with you.
 

Any questions?
Call us or drop in with as many bookmarks as you can find. We will happily explain it with many large hand gestures and set you up with a frequent buyer account.


.

2017 Bestsellers

We had lots of events here in 2017. We helped a lot of terrific customers find new things to read. And we sold a LOT of books. Here’s a list of our top ten sellers in each format.
 

(* = Canadian author)


Hardcover

1) WALKAWAY, Cory Doctorow*
2) PERSEPOLIS RISING, James S.A. Corey
3) NORSE MYTHOLOGY, Neil Gaiman
4) MAGICIANS IMPOSSIBLE, Brad Abraham*
5) TO GUARD AGAINST THE DARK, Julie E. Czerneda*
6) PROVENANCE, Ann Leckie
7) COLLAPSING EMPIRE, John Scalzi
8) OATHBRINGER, Brandon Sanderson
9) LAST YEAR, Robert Charles Wilson*
10) RISE AND FALL OF D.O.D.O, Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland
 

Trade Paperback

1) LILITH’S BROOD, Octavia Butler
2) QUANTUM NIGHT, Robert J. Sawyer*
3) HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, Shirley Jackson
4) FIFTH SEASON, N.K. Jemisin
5) WHITE IS FOR WITCHING, Helen Oyeyemi
6) RECIPEARIUM, Costi Gurgu*
7) ANCILLARY JUSTICE, Ann Leckie
8) WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, Ursula K. Le Guin
9) DISPOSSESSED, Ursula K. Le Guin
10) OBELISK GATE, N.K. Jemisin
 

Mass Market

1) NEUROMANCER, William Gibson*
2) THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON, Saladin Ahmed
3) 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson
4) GOBLIN EMPEROR, Katherine Addison
5) HANGING TREE, Ben Aaronovitch
6) RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA, Arthur C. Clarke
7) NAME OF THE WIND, Patrick Rothfuss
8) WAY OF KINGS, Brandon Sanderson
9) GOOD OMENS, Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
10) WISE MAN’S FEAR, Patrick Rothfuss
 

We also want to give a special shout-out to HAIL TO THE CHIN by Bruce Campbell, of which we sold more in a single afternoon than any other title… pretty much ever.

 


The Bakka-Phoenix Books 2017 Staff Picks, Part 3: Non-Fiction!See more

We’re running out of 2017, which means it’s time for the Bakka-Phoenix annual staff picks: a shoutout to some of the books we loved this year. Between the award-winners, bestsellers, and marquee series, we found a double handful of reads that made us laugh, think, and go what if…
 

We’re finishing off our staff’s favourite 2017 reads today with Part 3: Our Nonfiction Picks!

 

 

 

 

Ben’s pick: Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction, Grady Hendrix

A look into the boom and bust of the paperback horror market of the later 20th century. It’s both funny, as it skewers the ludicrous storylines and even more ridiculous covers, and insightful, as it looks into the social, economic, and political climates that made them relevant.
 

Worth checking out if you remember the glory days of pulp schlock, or want to see what old people were afraid of last century.
 

Chris’s picks: Everyone’s a Aliebn When ur a Aliebn Too: A Book, Jomny Sun

Sweet, poignant, funny: Everyone’s a Aliebn is part fable, part comic, with a dash of philosophical treatise on the side. No matter who you are, humabn, aliebn, or other, you’ll recognize yourself in this delightful adventure.
 

The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben
 

No, it’s not SFF. Trust us, though, it’s really interesting. The author, a forester with decades of experience, will convince you that trees are the original social network. A thoughtful, compelling read.
 

Leah’s picks: Sleeping With Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy, Liz Bourke
 

A collection of Bourke’s Sleeping With Monsters Tor.com column, essays, and reviews, this is a slice of one of the most interesting critical perspectives in the genre today: intersectional, historically-informed, and reading across everything from queer pulps to core epic fantasy to video games. Sleeping With Monsters ends up more than the sum of its parts: putting together a picture of genre tropes in this moment, and how they’re enduring–and changing.
 

The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults, Cheryl B. Klein
 

From former Scholastic and current Lee & Low editor Cheryl Klein, The Magic Words is one of the most balanced how-to books out there. Addressing craft, business, the publication process, and full of exemplars and exercises, this is a nose-to-tail view of writing and publishing fiction for young readers.
 

Kristen’s picks: The Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson
 

The first translation of Homer’s epic by a woman scholar, and well worth the read.
 

Soonish, Kelly and Zach Weinersmith
 

It’s a non-fiction book by the creators of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, investigating ten emerging discoveries that will save and/or doom us all. Mwa ha ha! No, seriously, it’s eye-opening.
 

Rebecca’s pick: Ask an Astronaut: My Guide to Life in Outer Space, Tim Peake
 

A fun and in-depth look into the life of an astronaut, from training to be one, adjusting to and living in space, what-if situtations, and favourite buttons aboard the ISS.

The Bakka-Phoenix Books 2017 Staff Picks, Part 2: YA and Kids’ FictionSee more

We’re running out of 2017, which means it’s time for the Bakka-Phoenix annual staff picks: a shoutout to some of the books we loved this year. Between the award-winners, bestsellers, and marquee series, we found a double handful of reads that made us laugh, think, and go what if…
 

We’ll be posting our staff’s favourite 2017 reads over the next few days, and today is Part 2: Our YA and Kids’ picks.

 

 

Chris’s picks: The Wolf The Duck & The Mouse, Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen
 

When a mouse is swallowed by a hungry wolf, it despairs. But deep inside the wolf’s belly, the mouse meets a duck. Together, they learn how to really live their lives, even given the… unusual circumstance. Funny, subversive, and appealing.
 

Thread War, Ian Donald Keeling
 

Johnny and Shabaz have returned to the Skidsphere from the Thread, and life will never be the same. Together, they try to improve the system from within, but not every Skid wants to change. Even worse, the cracks in the Skidsphere are growing. Facing enemies on all sides, it’ll take everything they have to keep the Skids safe – and that might not be enough.
 

Fast, fun, and moving. Thread War is an excellent follow-up to last year’s The Skids, winner of the Copper Cylinder Award.
 

Leah’s picks: The Devil and the Bluebird, Jennifer Mason-Black
 

Blue’s sister Cass promised to always call home on the anniversary of their folk-singer mother’s death. This year, she didn’t: so, armed with her mother’s guitar and the premonition that Cass is in trouble, Blue goes to the crossroads at midnight and deals with the devil to find her big sister. While the devil enchants her plain brown boots to always point to where Cass is, she takes Blue’s voice in return—and that is how Blue sets off across America to bring her sister home.
 

The Devil and the Bluebird is one of the most stunning, heart-breaking, heart-making books I’ve read this year. I read it until 4am, and then I hugged it and laughed and cried. Rife with grief, love, discovery, unexpected kindnesses, subtle magic, and ghosts both literal and metaphorical—Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie included—it is one of those special books that is both heart-poundingly compelling and quietly wise about what makes people be both the best and worst of themselves.


Change Places With Me, Lois Metzger


Change Places With Me is the only YA novel I have ever seen blurbed by Kim Stanley Robinson. And it doesn’t take long to realize why.
 

Rose wakes up one morning happy: happy enough to change her hairstyle, make friends with the classmates she’s never spoken with before, and pet the neighbour dogs who used to terrify her. And there is something absolutely off about her contentment with the world.
 

I have rarely seen YA-oriented science fiction written with such skill and subtext as this: a speculative element that seeps up like groundwater into a revelation that’s all the more impactful because of how quiet it is. Change Places With Me is magnificent: a soft, deliberate, oblique novel about coming to terms with oneself, absolutely entwined with how a standard science-fiction technology impacts the life of one girl.
 

And I Darken, Kiersten White
 

And I Darken is a straight historical political thriller—with one twist: Instead of following a young Vlad Dracul’s youth as a hostage to the Turkish Empire, Vlad becomes Lada—and adds a new dimension to the political triangle that follows.
 

This is not the book I thought I’d like: genderflipped historicals are not usually my wheelhouse. But White deploys an utterly absorbing mix of political maneuvering and character work, intrigue and menace, topped off with evocative prose you can’t help but fall into, and I found myself up at 4am going just one more chapter before bed.
 

Eliza and Her Monsters, Francesca Zappia
 

Eliza and Her Monsters is a Book About Fandom—but it’s also so much -more-. Eliza floats through life as a weird, friendless small-town high school senior, devoting all her time to her secret life as LadyConstellation, creator of wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Until the most popular fic writer in Monstrous Sea fandom transfers to her high school, and Eliza starts cautiously navigating a life outside her creation—and what drives her relationship to art and life in the first place.
 

There is an incredibly astute kindness to Eliza and Her Monsters: both for the fans who love fantasy worlds and the needs of the people who create them. I’ve rarely seen a more nuanced look at what making or loving a fantasy world -is-, embedded in a story that’s fun and funny and sincerely gripping.


Tangled Planet, Kate Blair


After a 400-year journey, generation ship Venture–seventeen-year-old Ursa’s home–has finally reached its destination. But instead of the untouched paradise Beta Earth is supposed to be, Ursa’s first night there features a discovered corpse–and the glint of sharp teeth in the woods. Part mystery, part core science fiction, and part a compassionate look at change, anxiety, and what opportunity does to our hearts, Tangled Planet balances adventure, danger, safety, and the places we end up–good and bad both–in trying to keep our loved ones safe.


Michelle’s picks: Mighty Jack And The Goblin King, Ben Hatke


Jack’s sister Molly has been kidnapped by an ogre. He and his friend Lilly set out after her, but the rescue is more difficult than they could have imagined. Injured, alone, afraid, they must face monster within and without in order to survive. Like everything Hatke does, it’s both charming to look at and deeply moving.


Harriet the Invincible, Ursula Vernon


Harriet is an usual princess, and not just because she’s a hamster. She likes math, and fighting with swords. And she’s fated to fall under a curse when she’s twelve, but that news fills her with excitement instead of dread. Because Harriet realizes that until the curse lands, she’s invincible! So it’s time for this princess to set out to right some wrongs, hero-style. Truly charming.

The Bakka-Phoenix Books 2017 Staff Picks, Part 1: Adult FictionSee more

We’re running out of 2017, which means it’s time for the Bakka-Phoenix annual staff picks: a shoutout to some of the books we loved this year. Between the award-winners, bestsellers, and marquee series, we found a double handful of reads that made us laugh, think, and go what if…
 

We’ll be posting our staff’s favourite 2017 reads over the next few days, starting with Part 1: Our adult fiction faves.

 

 

Ben’s pick: Valiant Dust, Richard Baker
 

Like most modern military SF, Valiant Dust owes a debt to David Weber, but quickly establishes its own identity. Featuring a diverse cast living in a truly multicultural galaxy—Sikh officers serving in a Roman republic, on a moderate Muslim planet!–this is military SF that grasps the nuances of living in a truly cosmopolitan culture, plus intrigue, investigations, ground support, and the obligatory space battle. Also: space Montreal. Space Montreal!


Chris’s pick: Winter of Ice and Iron, Rachel Neumeier
 

The gods may be unknowable but the Immanent spirits interact with provincial rulers, influencing and being influenced by the families they bond with. Kehera’s family’s Immanent is known for its patience and fecundity. The Immanent that suffuses Innisth, the infamous Wolf Duke of Eanete is cold, ambitious, and even cruel. But when the dragons of midwinter force Kehera and Innisth to work together, they both discover truths about themselves they could never have imagined. This is not the book you’re thinking it will be from that description… It’s so much more. The magic is dense and complicated, and unwinds slowly: so do the characters. As always, Neumeier delivers an original and compelling story, full of gorgeous language and complex emotions.
 

Leah’s pick: All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault, James Alan Gardner
 

With that title, it was basically impossible for All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault to be anything but slyly, goofily, exuberantly fun. Gardner writes a diverse group of undergrads who find themselves superpowered after a very Canadian sort of lab accident with humour, humanity, and flair, and provides real stakes–both in Kim’s relationships and the fate of the world–without ever losing that sense of buoyancy.
 

Michelle’s pick: The Stone in the Skull, Elizabeth Bear
 

Set in the universe of Range of Ghosts, this features new characters; knowledge of previous books not required. Put a man who swore an oath to protect a ruler who no longer exists beside a man who agreed to become a beating heart in a brass body in order to live long enough to take his revenge—which he’s done. Set adrift by the absence of purpose, they take the usual odd jobs as guards or messengers, and one of those jobs sends them into kingdoms almost at war. There, caught up in the hostilities, they might find the purpose that their lives have lacked: a lord to serve until death; a person to possibly love.


Rebecca’s pick: The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
 

Sci-fi meets fantasy in this story of time travel and witches. Told through a series of reports, letters, interoffice communications, and memos, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. tells of a secret government entity working to restore magic that starts out as two individuals in a cramped office translating shreds of old documents that rises to a fully functional time traveling bureaucratic entity. Perhaps due to Galland’s influence, this novel isn’t as sciency, info-dumpy and technical as you might expect from a Neil Stephenson novel. Don’t go into this expecting a hard sci-fi novel. A lot of the science works with a bit of hand-waving Schrodinger’s cat explanations and the occasional deeper foray into many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. D.O.D.O. is a funny and ludicrous novel involving everything from the fall of Constantinople, Elizabethan England, and Viking epic poems about raiding Walmart.


Kristen’s pick: River of Teeth, Sarah Gailey


The Unforgiven. With hippos, not horses. Wait–hear me out.


In the early twentieth century, some bright spark had the idea of farming hippos for meat in the Louisiana bayous. Saner heads prevailed, but Sarah Gailey has taken this idea, pushed it back 50 years, and given us a story of hippo-riding cowboys, questionable loyalties, revenge, riverboats, and a vast lake full of what is, pound for pound, the most terrifying of invasive species–feral, man-eating hippos. Short, punchy, and adrenaline-charged.
 

Bonus multi-staff favourite: Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee


Although this was a 2016 title, we’re loving Lee’s Machineries of Empire novels. Sharply written, absolutely involving, and deeply innovative in its exploration of consensus reality, history, culture, war, and regret, they’re readable, moving, and brilliant at the same time. Start with Ninefox Gambit.