Now, let's see if I can do this right...
The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
They said the war would turn us into light.
I wanted to be counted among the heroes who gave us this better world.
The Light Brigade: it’s what soldiers fighting the war against Mars call the ones who come back…different. Grunts in the corporate corps get busted down into light to travel to and from interplanetary battlefronts. Everyone is changed by what the corps must do in order to break them down into light. Those who survive learn to stick to the mission brief—no matter what actually happens during combat.
Dietz, a fresh recruit in the infantry, begins to experience combat drops that don’t sync up with the platoon’s. And Dietz’s bad drops tell a story of the war that’s not at all what the corporate brass want the soldiers to think is going on.
Is Dietz really experiencing the war differently, or is it combat madness? Trying to untangle memory from mission brief and survive with sanity intact, Dietz is ready to become a hero—or maybe a villain; in war it’s hard to tell the difference.
Happy Snak by Nicole Kimberling
Gaia Jones is on A-Ki space station for one reason, and it’s not to schmooze the hermaphroditic aliens. She’s out to make a name for herself and her restaurant. Not an easy task in A-Ki’s tightly controlled, rigidly separated society. But her business plan gets complicated when she rushes to the aid of a dying alien—and finds herself the unwilling guardian of a shunned alien ghost named Kenjan. And the new owner of Kenjan’s servant, Wave Walker.
Then Kenjan’s grieving lover, the powerful leader of the Kishocha, offers her a dream and a nightmare rolled into one: a brand new store with a strange double purpose—half snack bar, half shrine to his dead beloved. The catch? She must spend the rest of her life there, tending Kenjan the Heretic’s ghost. Or the entire station will be destroyed.
The Chelsea Strangler
In the sapping summer heat of 1665 there is little celebration in London of the naval victory at the Battle of Lowestoft. The King, his retinue and anyone with sufficient means has fled the plague-ridden city, its half-deserted streets echoing to the sound of bells tolling the mounting number of deaths. Those who remain clutch doubtful potions to ward off the relentless disease and dart nervously past shuttered buildings, watchful for the thieves who risk their lives to plunder what has been left behind.
At Chelsea, a rural backwater by the river, with fine mansions leased to minor members of the Court avoiding the capital, there are more immediate concerns: the government has commandeered the theological college to house Dutch prisoners of war and there are daily rumours that those sailors are on the brink of escaping. Moreover, a vicious strangler is stalking the neighbourhood.
Thomas Chaloner is sent to investigate the murder of the first victim, an inmate of a private sanatorium known as Gorges. There have been thefts there as well, but the few facts he gleans from inmates and staff are contradictory and elusive. He realises, though, that Gorges has stronger links to the prison than just proximity, and that the influx of strangers offers plenty of camouflage for a killer - a killer who has no compunction about turning on those determined to stop his murderous rampage.
Tea with the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy
Martha Macnamara knows that her daughter, Elizabeth, is in trouble—she just doesn’t know what kind. Mysterious phone calls from San Francisco at odd hours of the night are the only contact they've had for years. Now, Elizabeth has sent her mother a plane ticket and reserved a room for her at the city’s most luxurious hotel. Yet, since Martha checked in, she still hasn’t been contacted by her daughter, and is feeling lonely, confused, and a little bit worried.
But Martha meets someone else at the hotel: Mayland Long, a distinguished-looking and wealthy Chinese man who is drawn to Martha’s good character and ability to pinpoint the truth of a matter. They become close quickly, and he promises to help her find Elizabeth. Before he can solve the mystery, though, Martha herself disappears—and Mayland realizes that he’s in love with her.
Now, a man whose true nature and identity is unknown to those around him will embark on a potentially dangerous adventure in a city on the verge of exploding with its own sort of magic as technology spreads through the region that will become known as Silicon Valley.