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The Power

Naomi Alderman

'She throws her head back and pushes her chest forward and lets go a huge blast right into the centre of his body. The rivulets and streams of red scarring run across his chest and up around his throat. She'd put her hand on his heart and stopped him dead.'

Suddenly - tomorrow or the day after - girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman's extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed, and we look at the world in an entirely new light.

What if the power to hurt were in women's hands?

The world is still a recognizable place: there's a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power--they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

Afterparty

Daryl Gregory

It begins in Toronto, in the years after the smart drug revolution. Any high school student with a chemjet and internet connection can download recipes and print drugs, or invent them. A seventeen-year-old street girl finds God through a new brain-altering drug called Numinous, used as a sacrament by a new Church that preys on the underclass. But she is arrested and put into detention, and without the drug, commits suicide.

Lyda Rose, another patient in that detention facility, has a dark secret: she was one of the original scientists who developed the drug. With the help of an ex-government agent and an imaginary, drug-induced doctor, Lyda sets out to find the other three survivors of the five who made the Numinous in a quest to set things right.

The Best We Can

Carrie Vaughn

First contact was supposed to change the course of human history. But it turns out, you still have to go to work the next morning.

This story is included in the anthologies The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-First Annual Collection (2014), edited by Gardner Dozois, and Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction(2018), edited by Irene Gallo.

Read the full story for free at Tor.com.

Pacific Edge

Three Californias: Book 3

Kim Stanley Robinson

2065: In a world that has rediscovered harmony with nature, the village of El Modena, California, is an ecotopia in the making. Kevin Claiborne, a young builder who has grown up in this "green" world, now finds himself caught up in the struggle to preserve his community's idyllic way of life from the resurgent forces of greed and exploitation.

The Iron Heel

Jack London

Part science fiction, part dystopian fantasy, part radical socialist tract, Jack London's The Iron Heel offers a grim depiction of warfare between the classes in America and around the globe. Originally published nearly a hundred years ago, it anticipated many features of the past century, including the rise of fascism, the emergence of domestic terrorism, and the growth of centralized government surveillance and authority. What begins as a war of words ends in scenes of harrowing violence as the state oligarchy, known as "the Iron Heel," moves to crush all opposition to its power.

Frameshift

Robert J. Sawyer

Geneticist Pierre Tardivel may not have long to live-he's got a fifty-fifty chance of having the gene for Huntington's disease. But if his DNA is tragic, his girlfriend's is astonishing: Molly Bond has a mutation that gives her telepathy. Both of them have attracted the interest of Pierre's boss, Dr. Burian Klimus, a senior researcher in the Human Genome Project who just might be hiding a horrific past. Avi Meyer, a dogged Nazi hunter, thinks Klimus was the monstrous "Ivan the Terrible" of the Treblinka Death Camp.

As Pierre races against the ticking clock of his own DNA to make a world-changing scientific breakthrough, Avi also races against time to bring Klimus to justice before the last survivors of Treblinka pass away.

Walkaway

Cory Doctorow

Hubert Vernon Rudolph Clayton Irving Wilson Alva Anton Jeff Harley Timothy Curtis Cleveland Cecil Ollie Edmund Eli Wiley Marvin Ellis Espinoza -- known to his friends as Hubert, Etc -- was too old to be at that Communist party.

But after watching the breakdown of modern society, he really has no where left to be -- except amongst the dregs of disaffected youth who party all night and heap scorn on the sheep they see on the morning commute. After falling in with Natalie, an ultra-rich heiress trying to escape the clutches of her repressive father, the two decide to give up fully on formal society -- and walk away.

After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life -- food, clothing, shelter -- from a computer, there seems to be little reason to toil within the system.

It's still a dangerous world out there, the empty lands wrecked by climate change, dead cities hollowed out by industrial flight, shadows hiding predators animal and human alike. Still, when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death. Now it's war -- a war that will turn the world upside down.

Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind

Anne Charnock

History is storytelling. But some stories remain untold.

In fifteenth-century Italy, Paolo Uccello recognizes the artistic talent of his young daughter, Antonia, and teaches her how to create a masterpiece. The girl composes a painting of her mother and inadvertently sparks an enduring mystery.

In the present day, a copyist painter receives a commission from a wealthy Chinese businessman to duplicate a Paolo Uccello painting. Together, the painter and his teenage daughter visit China, and in doing so they begin their escape from a tragic family past.

In the twenty-second century, a painting is discovered that's rumored to be the work of Paolo Uccello's daughter. This reawakens an art historian's dream of elevating Antonia Uccello, an artist ignored by history because of her gender.

Stories untold. Secrets uncovered. But maybe some mysteries should remain shrouded.

The Steel Crocodile

Gregg Press Science Fiction Series: Book 35

D. G. Compton

Human crisis in a computer world.

Rear cover synopsis:

"Bohn, the omnipotent computer whose flashing circuits and messianic pronouncements dictate what tomorrow will--or will not--be.

But Matthew Oliver is flesh and blood and full of questions--not nearly as certain as the machine he's appointed to serve.

And the right hand of science seldom knows what the left hand is doing..."

Triton

Samuel R. Delany

Triton, the outermost moon of Neptune, was a world of absolute freedom, where every wish could be fulfilled. But for Bron Helstrom, one of Triton's elite, life had lost its meaning. There, in a world of endless possibilities, Bron began a searing odyssey to find the object of his desires.

The Girl in the Road

Monica Byrne

In a world where global power has shifted east and revolution is brewing, two women embark on vastly different journeys--each harrowing and urgent and wholly unexpected.

When Meena finds snakebites on her chest, her worst fears are realized: someone is after her and she must flee India. As she plots her exit, she learns of The Trail, an energy-harvesting bridge spanning the Arabian Sea that has become a refuge for itinerant vagabonds and loners on the run. This is her salvation. Slipping out in the cover of night, with a knapsack full of supplies including a pozit GPS system, a scroll reader, and a sealable waterproof pod, she sets off for Ethiopia, the place of her birth.

Meanwhile, Mariama, a young girl in Africa, is forced to flee her home. She joins up with a caravan of misfits heading across the Sahara. She is taken in by Yemaya, a beautiful and enigmatic woman who becomes her protector and confidante. They are trying to reach Addis Abba, Ethiopia, a metropolis swirling with radical politics and rich culture. But Mariama will find a city far different than she ever expected--romantic, turbulent, and dangerous.

As one heads east and the other west, Meena and Mariama's fates are linked in ways that are mysterious and shocking to the core.

Written with stunning clarity, deep emotion, and a futuristic flair, The Girl in the Road is an artistic feat of the first order: vividly imagined, artfully told, and profoundly moving.

The Circle

Dave Eggers

The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from Dave Eggers, best-selling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award.

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users' personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company's modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can't believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world--even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman's ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.