Fantastic Firsts Speculative Fiction

Mysterious Galaxy staff have a reputation far and wide for picking the next great SF/Fantasy title. These are books we highly recommend and believe are likely to be collectible ... books you’ll value having on your shelves.

  • Subscribers receive 20% off cover price of selected titles which can be picked up in store or scheduled to arrive in a special FFBC box shipped by the 20th of each month.
  • You may pick up your new book at either Mysterious Galaxy San Diego or at the Redondo Beach satellite office.
  • Customers have the option of purchasing a FF subscription as a gift in a 3, 6, or 12-month subscription.
  • Many, but not all selections will be signed.
  • And don't forget: FFBC memberships make great gifts!

To sign up, or for more information, contact the staff in San Diego (858-268-4747). Club membership lists will be maintained by the San Diego location, but all fantastic titles can be picked up in either store, or shipped to you!

A new title will be revealed each month!

 

Staff Pick Logo
An Unkindness of Magicians Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781481451192
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Saga Press - September 26th, 2017

October 2017

Description


There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city's magicians' power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney--a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn't want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.

Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.

 


An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780765389596
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - August 29th, 2017

September 2017 

Description


A delightful and engrossing fantasy debut featuring an intelligent heroine and her guardian, a royal musketeer.

In a world of soaring continents and bottomless skies, where a burgeoning new science lifts skyships into the cloud-strewn heights, and ancient blood-borne sorceries cling to a fading glory, Princess Isabelle des Zephyrs is about to be married to a man she has barely heard of, the second son of a dying king in an empire collapsing into civil war.

Born without the sorcery that is her birthright but with a perspicacious intellect, Isabelle believes her marriage will stave off disastrous conflict and bring her opportunity and influence. But the last two women betrothed to this prince were murdered, and a sorcerer-assassin is bent on making Isabelle the third. Aided and defended by her loyal musketeer, Jean-Claude, Isabelle plunges into a great maze of prophecy, intrigue, and betrayal, where everyone wears masks of glamour and lies. Step by dangerous step, she unravels the lies of her enemies and discovers a truth more perilous than any deception.

 


The Clockwork Dynasty Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780385541787
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday Books - August 1st, 2017

August 2017 

Description


An ingenious new thriller that weaves a path through history, following a race of human-like machines that have been hiding among us for untold centuries, written by the New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse.

 

Present day: When a young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology uncovers a terrible secret concealed in the workings of a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll, she is thrown into a hidden world that lurks just under the surface of our own. With her career and her life at stake, June Stefanov will ally with a remarkable traveler who exposes her to a reality she never imagined, as they embark on an around-the-world adventure and discover breathtaking secrets of the past..

Russia, 1725: In the depths of the Kremlin, the tsar's loyal mechanician brings to life two astonishingly humanlike mechanical beings. Peter and Elena are a brother and sister fallen out of time, possessed with uncanny power, and destined to serve great empires. Struggling to blend into pre-Victorian society, they are pulled into a legendary war that has raged for centuries.

The Clockwork Dynasty seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings designed to live by ironclad principles, yet constantly searching for meaning. As June plunges deeper into their world, her choices will ultimately determine their survival or extermination. Richly-imagined and heart-pounding, Daniel H. Wilson's novel expertly draws on his robotics and science background, combining exquisitely drawn characters with visionary technology--and riveting action.

 


Staff Pick Logo
At the Table of Wolves Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781481487788
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Saga Press - July 11th, 2017

July 2017 

Staff Reviews


 

Kay Kenyon’s At the Table of Wolves is everything you like in WWII spy thrillers – louche British aristocrats of dubious loyalty, charming but diabolical Nazis hiding dreadful plots against England, a wonderfully strong, intelligent heroine pressed to her limit to save the day – but with psychic powers thrown into the mix. Kim Tavistock has the power to get people to confess their deepest secrets without intending or realizing it. She is up against a Nazi spy with hidden talents of his own, working in league with a mole at the heart of British intelligence. Will Kim discover their deadly secrets before the Nazi plots bring England to her knees? Read At the Table of Wolves to find out! A fun, fast read. Highly recommended!

— From David's Diamonds

 

Description


 

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy meets X-Men in a classic British espionage story. A young woman must go undercover and use her superpowers to discover a secret Nazi plot and stop an invasion of England.

 

In 1936, there are paranormal abilities that have slowly seeped into the world, brought to the surface by the suffering of the Great War. The research to weaponize these abilities in England has lagged behind Germany, but now it's underway at an ultra-secret site called Monkton Hall.

 

Kim Tavistock, a woman with the talent of the spill--drawing out truths that people most wish to hide--is among the test subjects at the facility. When she wins the confidence of caseworker Owen Cherwell, she is recruited to a mission to expose the head of Monkton Hall--who is believed to be a German spy.

 

As she infiltrates the upper-crust circles of some of England's fascist sympathizers, she encounters dangerous opponents, including the charismatic Nazi officer Erich von Ritter, and discovers a plan to invade England. No one believes an invasion of the island nation is possible, not Whitehall, not even England's Secret Intelligence Service. Unfortunately, they are wrong, and only one woman, without connections or training, wielding her talent of the spill and her gift for espionage, can stop it.

 


Staff Pick Logo
Carnivalesque Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781632868145
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA - June 6th, 2017

June 2017 

Staff Reviews


"Carnivalesque is Neil Jordan's take on the old Irish folklore about children kidnapped by fairies, refracted through the curious prism of a Bradbury-esque dark carnival. Andy falls into Burleigh's Hall of Mirrors and becomes Dany, a carnie in a ghostly circus of immortals, children become fey and estranged from ordinary humanity. Caught between worlds, remembering his mother but growing into a strange new life, Dany illustrates the painful progress of growing up, the way the modern world builds itself on the ruins of the past, and how a life in art displaces mundane reality. Jordan's novel is vast, complex, endlessly allusive. Once you lose yourself in it, it is already too late: kidnapped, you can never come back. 

— From David

 

Description


Magical storyteller Neil Jordan steps into the realm of fantasy—for fans of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street.

It looked like any other carnival, but of course it wasn’t. The boy saw it from the car window, the tops of the large trailer rides over the parked trains by the railway tracks. His parents were driving towards the new mall and he was looking forward to that too, but the tracery of lights above the gloomy trains caught his imagination . . . 

Andy walks into Burleigh’s Amazing Hall of Mirrors, and then he walks right into the mirror, becomes a reflection. Another boy, a boy who is not Andy, goes home with Andy’s parents. And the boy who was once Andy is pulled—literally pulled, by the hands, by a girl named Mona—into another world, a carnival world where anything might happen.

Master storyteller Neil Jordan creates his most commercial novel in years in this crackling, filmic fantasy—which is also a parable of adolescence, how children become changelings, and how they find their own way.

 


Staff Pick Logo
The Guns Above Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780765388766
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - May 2nd, 2017

May 2017 

Staff Reviews


 

I would advise that you buckle in before picking up The Guns Above. Quoting Josette Dupre, first female airship captain, “They say it’s not the fall that kills you.” So true when you are in the middle of a war and on the new and untested Mistral airship, dodging bullets and bombs. Josette is also dodging Lord Bernat, whose secret assignment is to watch her closely and report back to command any time she shows weaknesses or indecision. After all, what does a woman know about war and battle strategy? The Guns Above is a military tale with airship battles, spicy and snarky dialogue, and the added bonus of a bit of a steampunk feel into the mix. Josette’s goal is to stay alive long enough to prove herself worthy of the role of captain. Bernat starts out as a fop who is clueless about naval warfare, and a bit (well, more than a bit) scared of the gunfire and bombs, who soon discovers the bravery hidden within his narcissistic demeanor. This debut will please those who enjoy military fantasy adventures such as those with Honor Harrington, as well as steampunk fans who enjoy a riveting description of airship manipulation and battle strategy. 

 


Staff Pick Logo
Void Star Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374285067
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 11th, 2017

April 2017

Staff Reviews


 

Zachary Mason’s Void Star dazzles with its intricate tale of mentally-boosted people fighting a clandestine war with secret AIs across the battle-space of memory, perception, and cyberspace, in a world gone noir with political collapse, climate change, corporate warlords, and universal surveillance. Giving the story an almost hallucinatory intensity is Mason’s marvelous, superb language, at once endlessly allusive, lush, and incantatory. Reading the book, you suddenly realize he is writing science fiction of the heart, where science and technology make possible new sensations, new feelings, new dreams. During reading you feel awe; afterwards, gratefulness. The best book I’ve read in six years of bookselling at MG. Void Star is one of the great science fiction novels of our time.

— From David's Diamonds

 

Description


 

A riveting, beautifully written, fugue-like novel of AIs, memory, violence, and mortality

Not far in the future the seas have risen and the central latitudes are emptying, but it's still a good time to be rich in San Francisco, where weapons drones patrol the skies to keep out the multitudinous poor. Irina isn t rich, not quite, but she does have an artificial memory that gives her perfect recall and lets her act as a medium between her various employers and their AIs, which are complex to the point of opacity. It's a good gig, paying enough for the annual visits to the Mayo Clinic that keep her from aging.

Kern has no such access; he's one of the many refugees in the sprawling drone-built favelas on the city's periphery, where he lives like a monk, training relentlessly in martial arts, scraping by as a thief and an enforcer. Thales is from a different world entirely the mathematically inclined scion of a Brazilian political clan, he's fled to L.A. after the attack that left him crippled and his father dead.

A ragged stranger accosts Thales and demands to know how much he can remember. Kern flees for his life after robbing the wrong mark. Irina finds a secret in the reflection of a laptop's screen in her employer's eyeglasses. None are safe as they re pushed together by subtle forces that stay just out of sight.

Vivid, tumultuous, and propulsive, "Void Star" is Zachary Mason's mind-bending follow-up to his bestselling debut, "The Lost Books of the ""Odyssey.

 


Game of Shadows Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780765381385
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Books - February 28th, 2017

March  2017 

Description


 

A young man plagued by the ability to see ghosts races to save the mythological land of Tara from a terrible fate in Erika Lewis's stunning debut, Game of Shadows.

Thousands of years ago in Ireland, an ancient race fought a world-changing battle and lost. Their land overrun, the Celtic gods and goddesses fled, while the mythical races and magical druids sailed to an uncharted continent, cloaked so mankind could never find it. This new homeland was named Tara.

In modern day Los Angeles, Ethan Makkai struggles with an overprotective mother who never lets him out of her sight, and a terrifying secret: he can see ghosts. Desperate for a taste of freedom, he leaves his apartment by himself for the first time only to find his life changed forever. After being attacked by dive-bombing birds, he races home to find the place trashed and his mother gone.

With the help of a captain from Tara who has been secretly watching the Makkais for a long time, Ethan sets out to save his mother; a journey that leads him to the hidden lands, and straight into the arms of a vicious sorcerer who will stop at nothing until he controls Tara.With new-found allies including Christian, the cousin he never knew he had, and Lily, the sword-slinging healer who d rather fight than mend bones, Ethan travels an arduous road dodging imprisonment, battling beasts he thought only existed in nightmares, and accepting help from the beings he's always sought to avoid: ghosts. This L.A. teen must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he's going to save his mother, the fearless girl he's fallen for, and all the people of Tara.

 


Staff Pick Logo
All Our Wrong Todays Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781101985137
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton Books - February 7th, 2017

February 2017 

Description


 

"A thrilling tale of time travel and alternate timelines with a refreshingly optimistic view of humanity's future."--Andy Weir, New York Times bestselling author of The Martian 


"Elan Mastai has conjured up a witty and freewheeling time-traveling romance that packs an emotional wallop. ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS is a page-turning delight."--Maria Semple, author of Today Will Be Different and Where'd You Go, Bernadette 


You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we'd have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren's 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed...because it wasn't necessary. 
Except Tom just can't seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that's before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland. 
But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and--maybe, just maybe--his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom's search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future--our future--is supposed to be. 
All Our Wrong Todays is about the versions of ourselves that we shed and grow into over time. It is a story of friendship and family, of unexpected journeys and alternate paths, and of love in its multitude of forms. Filled with humor and heart, and saturated with insight and intelligence and a mind-bending talent for invention, this novel signals the arrival of a major talent.

 


Staff Pick Logo
The Bear and the Nightingale Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781101885932
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Del Rey Books - January 10th, 2017

January 2017 

Staff Reviews


 

The Bear and the Nightingale is a magical Russian fairy-tale of a novel, a gorgeous Ivan Bilibin illustration come to life. There are rusalkas, upyrs, and domovoi, the supernatural creatures of Russian folk-tales; Tsars and boyars, priests and peasants, the traditional inhabitants of medieval Russian tales; and there are bears and wolves and snow and unrelenting winter that in an instant evoke Russia for us in our imaginations. Then there is Vasya, the heroine of the tale, whose courage and resourcefulness when facing family troubles, natural disasters, courtly intrigues, mad monks, and a deep, implacable magical evil make the fairy tale real and immediate. Author Katherine Arden has written the best of books: a book which we never knew we wanted, and now can't live without. The Bear and the Nightingale is orginal, brilliant, and wonderful. My highest recommendation.

— From David's Diamonds

 

Description


 

A magical debut novel for readers ofNaomi Novik sUprooted, Erin Morgenstern sThe Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman's myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice. 

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn t mind she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil. 
After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. 
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent. 
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales. 
 

Advance praise for The Bear and the Nightingale 
Stunning . . . will enchant readers from the first page. . . . with an irresistible heroine who wants only to be free of the bonds placed on her gender and claim her own fate. Publishers Weekly(starred review) 
Utterly bewitching . . . a lush narrative . . . an immersive, earthy story of folk magic, faith, and hubris, peopled with vivid, dynamic characters, particularly clever, brave Vasya, who outsmarts men and demons alike to save her family. Booklist(starred review) 
Arden's supple, sumptuous first novel transports the reader to a version of medieval Russia where history and myth coexist. KirkusReviews(starred review) 
Radiant . . . a darkly magical fairy tale for adults, but] not just for those who love magic. Library Journal 
An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale . . . A Russian setting adds unfamiliar spice to the story of a young woman who does not rebel against the limits of her role in her culture so much as transcend them. The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic. Robin Hobb 
A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up. Naomi Novik

Haunting and lyrical, The Bear and the Nightingale tugs at the heart and quickens the pulse.I can t wait for her next book. Terry Brooks 
The Bear and the Nightingale is a marvelous trip into an ancient Russia where magic is a part of everyday life. Todd McCaffrey 
Enthralling and enchanting I literally couldn t put it down. A wondrous book Tamora Pierce

 


Staff Pick Logo
The Tourist Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316399425
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Redhook - October 18th, 2016

November 2016

Staff Reviews


 

Robert Dickinson’s The Tourist is a terrifically smart time-travel novel. Dickinson gets everything right about time travel, were it real: the time tourists and the time tourism business, the music fans from the future shadowing Bach and Beethoven, and more darkly, how all our human prejudices and politics would get themselves mapped onto slices of time, with one period admiring, hating, and ignoring another, just as we do to each other now on account of race, religion, and gender. The narrative is a wonderful puzzle, as the reader puts together pieces of time to figure out just what is going on, just what is at stake. The Tourist is a challenging, intelligent, and satisfying read

— From David's Diamonds

 

Description


 

"Echoes of Bradbury and Orwell, in the service of a crackerjack conspiracy plot; a seductively intriguing work of speculative fiction." ---Kirkus
"A novel that's as fresh and compelling as it is high concept....Immensely enjoyable." ---SFX (four stars)
 

THE FUTURE HAS ALREADY HAPPENED.
It is expected to be an excursion like any other. There is nothing in the records to indicate that anything out of the ordinary will happen.
A bus will take them to the mall. They will have an hour or so to look around. Perhaps buy something, or try the food.
A minor traffic incident on the way back to the resort will provide some additional interest - but the tour rep has no reason to expect any trouble.
Until he notices that one of his party is missing.
Most disturbingly, she is a woman who, according to the records, did not go missing.
Now she is a woman whose disappearance could change the world.
With breathtaking plot twists that ricochet through time, this is the most ingenious conspiracy novel you will read this year.

 


Staff Pick Logo
The Queen of Blood Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062413345
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Voyager - September 20th, 2016

October 2016  

Staff Reviews


 

In The Queen of Blood, humanity lives in an uneasy balance with the spirits of the natural world. The spirits make possible all life, but they also are greedy for life's inevitable harvest--death. To protect themselves, people rely upon the queen, and her coterie of magical women. The novel follows Daleina, a young girl with magical powers, as she rises through the ranks of witches. And as she does, the title of the novel becomes redolent with unexpected connotations and references. You read the book with a growing horrid fascination, until by the end you are amazed and appalled. The heroine of The Queen of Blood is a woman of steel--and you have to be someone of steel yourself to read her story. A great read. Highly recommended! 

— From David's Diamonds

 

Description


 

Set in the magical world of Renthia, The Queen of Blood is Sarah Beth Durst's ambitious entry into adult epic fantasy. With the danger of Peter Brett's The Warded Man, heart of Naomi Novik's Uprooted, and lyricism of Patrick Rothfuss The Name of the Wind, this is the first chapter in a series destined to be a classic.

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits restlessness a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it's bathed in blood.

 


Staff Pick Logo
Ninth City Burning Cover Image
$29.70
ISBN: 9781101991442
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ace Books - September 6th, 2016

September 2016

Staff Reviews


 

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Arthur C. Clarke

Centuries ago, aliens came down and kicked our asses back to the stone age, or damn near. They did it with thelemity ... a weapon which might as well have been magic. Then things got interesting when a few humans discovered they could use this power as well. Now, half a millennia later and we're still at it. The Forever War. Those able to wield thelemity either fight the good fight or they're thrown to the wolves. Humanity is extremely divided and our world is the very definition of “post-apocalyptic.” It's Ender's Game X The Hunger Games X Red Rising and as awesome as a Peter Hamilton novel. Many points of view and loads of world-building (and world-shattering) make this one a little slow to start, but once the ball gets rolling it really rolls. Don't miss this one. 

— From Patrick's Periodic Picks

 

Description


 

For fans of Red Rising, Starship Troopers, and Ender's Game comes an explosive, epic science fiction debut... 

We never saw them coming. 
Entire cities disappeared in the blink of an eye, leaving nothing but dust and rubble. When an alien race came to make Earth theirs, they brought with them a weapon we had no way to fight, a universe-altering force known as thelemity. It seemed nothing could stop it until we discovered we could wield the power too. 
Five hundred years later, the Earth is locked in a grinding war of attrition. The talented few capable of bending thelemity to their will are trained in elite military academies, destined for the front lines. Those who refused to support the war have been exiled to the wilds of a ruined Earth. 
But the enemy's tactics are changing, and Earth's defenders are about to discover this centuries-old war has only just begun. As a terrible new onslaught looms, heroes will rise from unlikely quarters, and fight back.