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Interview with Micaiah Johnson, author of The Space Between Worlds


Please welcome Micaiah Johnson to The Qwillery as part of the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Space Between Worlds was published on August 4, 2020 by Del Rey.



Interview with Micaiah Johnson, author of The Space Between Worlds




TQWelcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?

Micaiah:  Noooo, it’s so embarrassing! My grandma had an electric typewriter and I definitely wrote a story where my dogs were detectives who had to solve a chicken’s murder.



TQAre you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?

Micaiah:  I am a pantser in denial. I will forever be “about to start” outlining.



TQWhat is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Micaiah:  You know that news article about the horse who pretends to be dead every time it has to give someone a ride? That’s me with editing. It’s an essential and unavoidable part of my job, and I *hate* it. It’s like listening to my own voice. It’s so painful.



TQWhat has influenced / influences your writing?

Micaiah:  Everything. I see so much of what has surrounded me manifest in my work. It’s not just what I’ve read – though a childhood spent trapped in the car with my grandmother’s murder mystery audiobooks definitely accounts for my love of twists – it’s my desert upbringing mixed with every late-night bar conversation I’ve ever had mixed with that three-legged cat I petted one time. It’s so exciting to be on the third or fourth read-through and suddenly realize “holy crap, I’m describing my second grade teacher’s house” or something.



TQDescribe The Space Between Worlds using only 5 words.

Micaiah:  Girl dies tons, has adventure.



TQTell us something about The Space Between Worlds that is not found in the book description.

Micaiah:  The House! One of my favorite parts about this world is how the sex providers operate as a community resource, which is a spin on how essential these establishments actually were during the “wild” west period.



TQWhat inspired you to write The Space Between Worlds?

Micaiah:  Because of my failure at outlining, I often write toward images. For this book, the image I had was someone walking through the desert and coming upon their own face. I was captivated by it. The desert is such a lonely place. The plant life is low and sparse, so you can never delude yourself that there is anyone around you. You are alone, and you utterly know it. Imagine being in that setting and finally coming up on another human, and that human is you. Their face is your face. Are you still alone? Does this count? I kind of started from there and went off.



TQWhat sort of research did you do for The Space Between Worlds?

Micaiah:  Tons, and all entirely outside of my field. I owe so much to Brian Greene, Carlo Rovelli, and Michio Kaku for being the kind of very smart scientists whose writing is also accessible enough for a lit major to learn something from it.



TQPlease tell us about the cover for The Space Between Worlds.

Micaiah:  The breathtaking American cover for the book is actually an oil painting by artist Cassandre Bolan, and the moment I found out she was my artist I was stoked. I remember her website saying something along the lines of, “I create strong women in fantasy to inspire strong women in reality” and I was instantly like “gimmie gimmie I need it!” I knew featuring two queer women of color on the cover would be audacious, but I couldn’t have predicted it would be so beautiful.



TQIn The Space Between Worlds who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Micaiah:  Exlee was both! I loved writing Exlee, but I also know them and deeply wanted to get them right which paralyzed me. What (very) little nonbinary representation we get is often Eurocentric: straight-bodied white people in monochrome vests. And that is absolutely valid as a nonbinary expression, but it’s not the only valid expression, and pretending it is leaves out cultures where gender expression is more bombastic. Trying to tackle this character with that in mind was a ton of joy and a lot of pressure.



TQDoes The Space Between Worlds touch on any social issues?

Micaiah:  Certainly, I think anytime you are talking about walls – like the walled city in my book – you are actually talking about borders and immigration. Likewise, anytime you are dealing with a super-advanced tech city of the future, you are also talking about Western capitalism and at what cost that advancement has been bought. I would argue that Science Fiction as a genre, by virtue of daring to imagine alternate futures, is always operating in the territory of social issues…even if by omission.



TQWhich question about The Space Between Worlds do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Micaiah:  “Was Dell based on Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice?” so I can scream “YES! YES! THANK YOU FOR NOTICING! YES!”



TQGive us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Space Between Worlds.

Micaiah:

“What they don’t tell you about getting everything you’ve ever wanted is the cold-sweat panic when you think about losing it. For someone who’s never had anything to lose, it’s like drowning, all the time”

“Killing should take longer than a heartbeat. Murder should be unignorable, always.”



TQWhat's next?

Micaiah:  I’m so torn about next steps. Part of me wants to spend more time in this world and with these characters, part of me wants to take a dramatic turn and write horror or a cookbook (which is just saying “horror” again, since I truly can’t cook). I can’t be trusted. I’m easily bored and impossible to satisfy.



TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





The Space Between Worlds
Del Rey, August 4, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Micaiah Johnson, author of The Space Between Worlds
An outsider who can travel between worlds discovers a secret that threatens the very fabric of the multiverse in this stunning debut, a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging.

Gorgeous writingmind-bending world-buildingrazor-sharp social commentary, and a main character who demands your attention—and your allegiance.”—Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse

Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

On this dystopian Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. She has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.

But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.

“Clever characterssurprise twistsplenty of action, and a plot that highlights social and racial inequities in astute prose.”—Library Journal (starred review)





About Micaiah

Interview with Micaiah Johnson, author of The Space Between Worlds
Photo: © Rory Vetack
Micaiah Johnson was raised in California’s Mojave Desert surrounded by trees named Joshua and women who told stories. She received her bachelor of arts in creative writing from the University of California, Riverside, and her master of fine arts in fiction from Rutgers University–Camden. She now studies American literature at Vanderbilt University, where she focuses on critical race theory and automatons.

Twitter @micaiah_johnson

The View From Monday - August 3, 2020


It is the first Monday in August. Time flies even when you are not having fun!

There are 4 debuts this week:

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica with Sarah Moses (Translator);

Every Bone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms;

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson;

and

The First Sister (The First Sister Trilogy 1) by Linden A. Lewis.

The View From Monday - August 3, 2020The View From Monday - August 3, 2020
The View From Monday - August 3, 2020The View From Monday - August 3, 2020
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



From formerly featured DAC Authors:

Warlock Holmes - The Finality Problem (Warlock Holmes 5) by G.S. Denning;

A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill is out in Trade Paperback;

The Blood of Whisperers (Vengeance Trilogy 1) by Devin Madson;

The Gods of Vice (Vengeance Trilogy 2) by Devin Madson;

The Grave at Storm's End (Vengeance Trilogy 2) by Devin Madson;

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern is out in Trade Papeback;

and

The Black Song (Raven's Blade 2) by Anthony Ryan.

The View From Monday - August 3, 2020The View From Monday - August 3, 2020
The View From Monday - August 3, 2020The View From Monday - August 3, 2020
The View From Monday - August 3, 2020The View From Monday - August 3, 2020
The View From Monday - August 3, 2020
Clicking on a novel's cover will take you to its Amazon page.



The View From Monday - August 3, 2020



Debut novels are highlighted in blue. Novels, etc. by formerly featured DAC Authors are highlighted in green.

August 3, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
The Immortal City (e) May Peterson FR - The Sacred Dark 2



August 4, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Stake Kevin J. Anderson H
Spine of the Dragon (h2tp) Kevin J. Anderson EF - Wake the Dragon 1
The Redemption of Time: A Three-Body Problem Novel Baoshu
Ken Liu (Tr)
SF/AC/HSF - Remembrance of Earth's Past 4
Tender Is the Flesh (D - English) Agustina Bazterrica
Sarah Moses (Tr)
LF
Every Bone a Prayer (D) Ashley Blooms Southern/CW/MR/STR
Space Station Down Ben Bova
Doug Beason
SF/Th/Terrorism
Mind of My Mind (ri) Octavia E. Butler SF/GenEng/EF/CF/LF - Patternist  2
What Happens at Night Peter Cameron LF/BH/Gothic/FL
Parasite Darcy Coates H/SF/AC/SupTh
The Haunting of Gillespie House Darcy Coates H/GH/Occ/Sup/Gothic/SupTh
Cosmic Corsairs Hank Davis (Ed) SF - Anthology
The Hollow Ones Guillermo del Toro
Chuck Hogan
SupTh/PP/Sus/GH/Gothic - Blackwood Tapes
Warlock Holmes - The Finality Problem G.S. Denning Cr/F/HU - Warlock Holmes 5
The Death of Vivek Oji Akwaeke Emezi FL/LF/CoA
Dark Illusion (h2mm) Christine Feehan PNR/DF - Carpathian 33
1636: The Atlantic Encounter Eric Flint
Walter H. Hunt
SF/TT - Ring of Fire 28
Uncanny Bodies Pippa Goldschmidt (Ed)
Gill Haddow (Ed)
Fadhila Mazanderani (Ed)
SpecFic - Anthology
A Cosmology of Monsters (h2tp) Shaun Hamill H/DF/FL
Sucker Punch Laurell K. Hamilton P/UF/H - Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 27
Ghost Ups Her Game Carolyn Hart PCM/GH - Bailey Ruth Raeburn 9
Smoke in the Glass Chris Humphreys SF/HistF/DF - Immortal's Blood 1
The Space Between Worlds (D) Micaiah Johnson SF/LF/CrM
Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction by Groundbreaking Female Writers: 1852-1923 Leslie S. Klinger (Ed)
Lisa Morton (Ed)
Sup - Anthology
Days of Burning, Days of Wrath Tom Kratman SF/Military - Carerra 8
Seven Devils Laura Lam
Elizabeth May
SF/SO/GenEng
The First Sister (D) Linden A. Lewis SF/SO - The First Sister Trilogy 1
Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop Roselle Lim Asian American/CW/MR
Trials of the Mortal Realm Graeme Lyon
Jamie Crisalli
Nick Horth
F - Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
The Blood of Whisperers Devin Madson F/DF/EF - Vengeance Trilogy 1
The Grave at Storm's End Devin Madson F/DF/EF - Vengeance Trilogy 3
The Gods of Vice Devin Madson F/DF/EF - Vengeance Trilogy 2
Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (h2tp) George R. R. Martin EF - A Song of Ice and Fire
The Wellstone Wil McCarthy SF/HSF
The Starless Sea (h2tp) Erin Morgenstern CW/FR/HistF
Harrow the Ninth Tamsyn Muir SF/SO/EF - The Locked Tomb Trilogy 2
Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism (e) David Nickle HistTh/HistF/H - The Book of the Juke 1
Volk: A Novel of Radiant Abomination (e) David Nickle HistTh/HistF/H - The Book of the Juke 2
Bayou's Lament (e) Cheryl Owen-Wilson DF/H - Labyrinth of Souls
Rules for Being Dead Kim Powers Gay/CoA/GH/FL
The Witch House Ann Rawson Occ/H/Psy
Chasm City (ri) Alastair Reynolds SF/HSF/SE/SO - Inhibitor 2
Century Rain (ri) Alastair Reynolds SF/HSF/SE/SO
Mr Campion's Seance Mike Ripley PM/GH - An Albert Campion Mystery 7
The Living Dead George A. Romero
Daniel Kraus
H/SupTh
The Day Lincoln Lost Charles Rosenberg AH/HistTh/LegalTh
The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washington (h2tp) Charles Rosenberg AH/HistTh/LegalTh
The Black Song Anthony Ryan EF/DF - Raven's Blade 2
Hobbit Virtues: Rediscovering Virtue Ethics Through J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Christopher A. Snyder Philosophy
The Deep Rivers Solomon
Daveed Diggs
William Hutson
Jonathan Snipes
SF
Ten Arrows of Iron Sam Sykes EF/HU - Grave of Empires 2
Indomitus Gav Thorpe SF/SE - Warhammer 40,000
Heirs of Locksley Carrie Vaughn F/HistF
Imperium at War Danie Ware SF - Warhammer 40,000
The Dragon Corsairs: Spymaster, Privateer, Kingmaker (e) Margaret Weis
Robert Krammes
F/SP - The Dragon Corsairs
Profit's Ruin C L Werner F - Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
Otherland: City of Golden Shadow (ri) Tad Williams SF/CyP/HSF - Otherland 1



August 6, 2020
TITLEAUTHORSERIES
Shadow in the Empire of Light (e) Jane Routley F



D - Debut
e - eBook
Ed - Editor
h2mm - Hardcover to Mass Market Paperback
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
Ke - Kindle eBook
ri - reissue or reprint
tp2mm - Trade Paperback to Mass Market Paperback
Tr - Translator



AB - Absurdist
AC - Alien Contact
AH - Alternative History
AP - Apocalyptic
CF - Contemporary Fantasy
CoA - Coming of Age
Cr - Crime
CW - Contemporary Women
CyP - CyberPunk
DF - Dark Fantasy
Dys - Dystopian
F - Fantasy
FairyT - Fairy Tales
FL - Family Life
FolkT - Folk Tales
FR - Fantasy Romance
GenEng - Genetic Engineering
GH - Ghost(s)
H - Horror
HC - History and Criticism
Hist - Historical
HistF - Historical Fantasy
HistTh - Historical Thriller
HSF - Hard Science Fiction
HU - Humorous
LC - Literary Criticism
LF - Literary Fiction
LM - Legend and Mythology
LMF - Legends, Myths, Fables
M - Mystery
MR - Magical Realism
MTI - Media Tie-In
Occ - Occult
P - Paranormal
PA - Post Apocalyptic
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
PolTh - Political Thriller
PopCul - Popular Culture
Psy - Psychological
RF - Romantic Fantasy
ScF - Science Fantasy
SE - Space Exploration
SF - Science Fiction
SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SH - Superheroes
SO - Space Opera
SP - Steampunk
SpecFic - Speculative Fiction
STR - Small Town and Rural
Sup - Supernatural
SupM - Supernatural Mystery
SupTh - Supernatural Thriller
Sus - Suspense
TechTh - Technological Thriller
Th - Thriller
UF - Urban Fantasy
VM - Visionary and Metaphysical

Note: Not all genres and formats are found in the books, etc. listed above.

2020 Debut Author Challenge - August 2020 Debuts


2020 Debut Author Challenge - August 2020 Debuts


There are 10 debut novels for August 2020.

Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The August debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite August cover for the 2020 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on August 15, 2020.



Ros Anderson

The Hierarchies
Dutton, August 25, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - August 2020 Debuts
Your Husband is the reason for your existence. You are here to serve him. You must not harm your Husband. Nor may you harm any human.

Sylv.ie is a synthetic woman. A fully sentient robot, designed to cater to her Husband’s every whim. She lives alone on the top floor of his luxurious home, her existence barely tolerated by his human wife and concealed from their child. Between her Husband’s visits, deeply curious about the world beyond her room, Sylv.ie watches the family in the garden—hears them laugh, cry, and argue. Longing to experience more of life, she confides her hopes and fears only to her diary. But are such thoughts allowed? And if not, what might the punishment be?

As Sylv.ie learns more about the world and becomes more aware of her place within it, something shifts inside her. Is she malfunctioning, as her Husband thinks, or coming into her own? As their interactions become increasingly fraught, she fears he might send her back to the factory for reprogramming. If that happens, her hidden diary could be her only link to everything that came before. And the only clue that she is in grave danger.

Set in a recognizable near future and laced with dark, sly humor, Ros Anderson’s deeply observant debut novel is less about the fear of new technology than about humans’ age-old talent for exploitation. In a world where there are now two classes of women—“born” and “created”—the growing friction between them may have far-reaching consequences no one could have predicted.





Agustina Bazterrica
Sarah Moses (Tr)

Tender is the Flesh
Scribner, August 4, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 224 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - August 2020 Debuts
Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans—though no one calls them that anymore.

His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the “Transition.” Now, eating human meat—“special meat”—is legal. Marcos tries to stick to numbers, consignments, processing.

Then one day he’s given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he’s aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved.





Ashley Blooms

Every Bone a Prayer
Sourcebooks Landmark, August 4, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - August 2020 Debuts
“This is the kind of book we need to set literary expectations for a new decade. It's so textured, so layered with love and so wonderfully terrifying, intimate and magical.”
—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir"


Misty’s holler looks like any of the thousands of hollers that fork through the Appalachian Mountains. But Misty knows her home is different. She may be only ten, but she hears things. Even the crawdads in the creek have something to say, if you listen.

All that Misty’s sister Penny wants to talk about are the strange objects that start appearing outside their trailer. The grown-ups mutter about sins and punishment, but that doesn’t scare Misty. Not like the hurtful thing that’s been happening to her, the hurtful thing that is becoming part of her. Ever since her neighbor William cornered her in the barn, she must figure out how to get back to the Misty she was before — the Misty who wasn’t afraid to listen.

This is the story of one tough-as-nails girl whose choices are few but whose fight is boundless, as her coping becomes a battle cry for everyone around her. Written by a survivor of sexual abuse, Every Bone a Prayer is a beautifully honest exploration of healing and of hope.





Lisbeth Campbell

The Vanished Queen
Gallery / Saga Press, August 18, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 496 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - August 2020 Debuts
When a country is held in thrall to a vicious, despotic king, it’s up to one woman to take him down.

Long ago, Queen Mirantha vanished. King Karolje claimed it was an assassination by a neighboring king, but everyone knew it was a lie. He had Disappeared her himself.

But after finding the missing queen’s diary, Anza—impassioned by her father’s unjust execution and inspired by Mirantha’s words—joins the resistance group to overthrow the king. When an encounter with Prince Esvar thrusts her into a dangerous game of court politics, one misstep could lead to a fate worse than death.

Esvar is the second son to an evil king. Trapped under his thumb and desperate for a way out, a chance meeting with Anza gives him the opportunity to join the resistance. Together, they might have the leverage to move against the king—but if they fail, their deaths could mean a total loss of freedom for generations to follow.

Set in a world where resistance is as dangerous as it is important, The Vanished Queen is a tale of the courage and sacrifice it requires to take on a tyrant.





Rik Hoskin

Bystander 27
Angry Robot, August 11, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - August 2020 Debuts
After his pregnant wife is senselessly killed in a clash between the mysterious super-powered ‘costumes’, ex-SEAL Jon Hayes fights to discover the truth about their identity and origins.

For ex-Navy SEAL Jon Hayes, the super-powered ‘costumes’ are just part of ordinary life in New York City, until the day his pregnant wife Melanie is senselessly killed in a clash between Captain Light and The Jade Shade.

But as Hayes struggles to come to terms with his loss, and questions for the first time who the costumes are and where they come from, the once sharp lines of his reality begin to blur...

If Hayes wants to uncover the shocking truth about the figures behind the costumes, and get justice for his fallen family, he’ll have to step out of the background, and stop being a bystander.

File Under: Superhero Fantasy [ It’s Clobberin’ Time | Hayes One | Panel Beater | No Capes ]





Micaiah Johnson

The Space Between Worlds
Del Rey, August 4, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - August 2020 Debuts
An outsider who can travel between worlds discovers a secret that threatens the very fabric of the multiverse in this stunning debut, a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging.

Gorgeous writingmind-bending world-buildingrazor-sharp social commentary, and a main character who demands your attention—and your allegiance.”—Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse

Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

On this dystopian Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. She has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.

But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.

“Clever characterssurprise twistsplenty of action, and a plot that highlights social and racial inequities in astute prose.”—Library Journal (starred review)





Linden A. Lewis

The First Sister
The First Sister Trilogy 1
Gallery Books, August 4, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - August 2020 Debuts
Combining the social commentary of The Handmaid’s Tale with the white-knuckled thrills of Red Rising, this epic space opera follows a comfort woman as she claims her agency, a soldier questioning his allegiances, and a non-binary hero out to save the solar system.

First Sister has no name and no voice. As a priestess of the Sisterhood, she travels the stars alongside the soldiers of Earth and Mars—the same ones who own the rights to her body and soul. When her former captain abandons her, First Sister’s hopes for freedom are dashed when she is forced to stay on her ship with no friends, no power, and a new captain—Saito Ren—whom she knows nothing about. She is commanded to spy on Captain Ren by the Sisterhood, but soon discovers that working for the war effort is so much harder to do when you’re falling in love.

Lito val Lucius climbed his way out of the slums to become an elite soldier of Venus, but was defeated in combat by none other than Saito Ren, resulting in the disappearance of his partner, Hiro. When Lito learns that Hiro is both alive and a traitor to the cause, he now has a shot at redemption: track down and kill his former partner. But when he discovers recordings that Hiro secretly made, Lito’s own allegiances are put to the test. Ultimately, he must decide between following orders and following his heart.

A stunning and sweeping debut novel that explores the power of technology, colonization, race, and gender, The First Sister is perfect for fans of James S.A. Corey, Chuck Wendig, and Margaret Atwood.





Klaus Modick
David Herman (Tr)

Moss
Bellevue Literary Press, August 25, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 192 pages
(Debut - English)

2020 Debut Author Challenge - August 2020 Debuts
An aging botanist withdraws to the seclusion of his family’s vacation home in the German countryside. In his final days, he realizes that his life’s work of scientific classification has led him astray from the hidden secrets of the natural world. As his body slows and his mind expands, he recalls his family’s escape from budding fascism in Germany, his father’s need to prune and control, and his tender moments with first loves. But as his disintegration into moss begins, his fascination with botany culminates in a profound understanding of life’s meaning and his own mortality.

Visionary and poetic, Moss explores our fundamental human desires for both transcendence and connection and serves as a testament to our tenuous and intimate relationship with nature.

Moss is translated from the German by David Herman.





Mike Shackle

We are the Dead
The Last War 1
Gollancz, August 11, 2020
Trade Paperback and eBook, 496 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - August 2020 Debuts
The first book in The Last War series: a debut epic fantasy full of crunching revolutionary action, twisted magic, and hard choices in dark times.

The war is over. The enemy won.


Jia's people learned the hard way that there are no second chances. The Egril, their ancient enemy, struck with magic so devastating that Jia's armies were wiped out. Now terror reigns in the streets, and friend turns on friend just to live another day.

Somehow Tinnstra - a deserter, a failure, nothing but a coward - survived. She wants no more than to hide from the chaos.

But dragged into a desperate plot to retake Jia, surrounded by people willing to do anything to win the fight, this time Tinnstra will need to do more than hide.

If Jia is to get a second chance after all, this time she will need to be a hero.

With all the grit of Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence and Ed McDonald, this is fantasy with the sharpest of edges.

* * * * * * * * * *
'The next Game of Thrones' Glen Cook, author of The Black Company

'Tarantino crossed with David Gemmell' Peter McLean, author of Priest of Bones

'A powerful debut' Gavin Smith, author of The Bastard Legion





Carole Stivers

The Mother Code
Berkley, August 25, 2020
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

2020 Debut Author Challenge - August 2020 Debuts
What it means to be human—and a mother—is put to the test in Carole Stivers’s debut novel set in a world that is more chilling and precarious than ever.

The year is 2049. When a deadly non-viral agent intended for biowarfare spreads out of control, scientists must scramble to ensure the survival of the human race. They turn to their last resort, a plan to place genetically engineered children inside the cocoons of large-scale robots—to be incubated, birthed, and raised by machines. But there is yet one hope of preserving the human order: an intelligence programmed into these machines that renders each unique in its own right—the Mother Code.

Kai is born in America’s desert Southwest, his only companion his robotic Mother, Rho-Z. Equipped with the knowledge and motivations of a human mother, Rho-Z raises Kai and teaches him how to survive. But as children like Kai come of age, their Mothers transform too—in ways that were never predicted. And when government survivors decide that the Mothers must be destroyed, Kai is faced with a choice. Will he break the bond he shares with Rho-Z? Or will he fight to save the only parent he has ever known?

Set in a future that could be our own, The Mother Code explores what truly makes us human—and the tenuous nature of the boundaries between us and the machines we create.
Interview with Micaiah Johnson, author of The Space Between WorldsThe View From Monday - August 3, 20202020 Debut Author Challenge - August 2020 Debuts

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