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The Mary Sue Book Club, November 2021: Black Mermaids, Historical Scandals, and Cyberpunk

A little something for everyone.

Books for the book club. (Image: Tordotcom, Random House for Young Readers, and Solaris.)

There only being a few weeks left in the year, there are several great books coming out in November and December for The Mary Sue Book Club!

Despite some much-anticipated sequels like A Psalm of Storms and Silence by Rosanne Brown and Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon, this list is dedicated to new titles, new series, and new translations—things we are anticipating that you might also love, but also aren’t getting heavy marketing budgets. Some of these authors are debuting, while others are staples in any geek feminist’s TBR.

Hakim’s Odyssey: Book 1: From Syria to Turkey by Fabien Toulmé and translated by Hannah Chute

"Hakim's Odyssey: Book 1: From Syria to Turkey" by Fabien Toulmé and translated by Hannah Chute. (Image: Graphic Mundi.)

(Image: Graphic Mundi.)

This graphic novel memoir asks, “Who gets to be a refugee?” Following Hakim’s journey from Syria after 2011 across several countries, we see him leaving while yearning to go back to his home—home to his family, friends, home itself, and more. From what I’m able to gather, this is one of two volumes that will tell the story of his physical journey. Some of my favorite graphic novels (March, When They Call Us Enemy, Persepolis, etc.) have been nonfiction memoirs, so this was a must for this list.

Hakim’s Odyssey releases November 2.

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske

"A Marvellous Light" by Freya Marske (Image: Tordotcom)

(Image: Tordotcom.)

This queer urban fantasy follows Robin Blyth who, on top of mounting troubles in his life, becomes a liaison to a hidden magical society after an administrative error. Both in awe and terrified of this new world just beyond his own, Robin starts to rack up enemies, including Edwin. Robin soon discovers that his predecessor disappeared mysteriously and must work with Edwin to stay alive after they both discover a bloody plot that, if discovered, will result in their death (among many, many others).

A Marvellous Light releases November 2.

Sinopticon: A Celebration of Chinese Sci-Fi edited and translated by Xueting Christine Ni

"Sinopticon: A Celebration of Chinese Sci-Fi" translated by Xueting Ni (Image: Solaris.)

(Image: Solaris.)

Thirteen stories from the greatest in Chinese science fiction and speculative writers in present-day China. Some of the writers are no stranger to having their work translated, while others will experience it for the first time. Even if you’ve heard of one of the writers, none of the stories within this book have been translated into English until now, by Ni. The award-winning writers, playwrights, philosophers and computer programmers include Gu Shi, Han Song, Hao Jingfang, Nian Yu, Wang Jinkang, Zhao Haihong, Tang Fei, Ma Boyong, Anna Wu, A Que, Bao Shu, Regina Kanyu Wang and Jiang Bo.

Sinopticon anthology releases November 9.

Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

"Skin of the Sea" by Natasha Bowen. (Image: Random House for Young Readers.)

(Image: Random House for Young Readers.)

This YA historical fantasy stars Simi, a mermaid whose duty is to collect the souls of those who drown at sea and bless their journeys back to their homeland. However, Simi breaks code when she finds a young boy still alive after being thrown overboard and saves his life. After being summoned to the Supreme Creator for breaking a major rule, Simi learns that the boy knows more about their world than he let on, and danger is afin—er, afoot.

This book is already called something between Blood and Bone meets The Little Mermaid, and while I love this for her, take that with a grain of salt (water). Because I’ve read that The Little Mermaid description before (for another book), and it was nothing like it even though I enjoyed it.

Skin of the Sea releases November 9.

A Net for Small Fishes by Lucy Jago

"A Net for Small Fishes" by Lucy Jago (Image: Flatiron Books.)

(Image: Flatiron Books.)

Based on a true scandal at the turn of the 17th century, this historical debut follows the friendship of two women in the Jacobean court. Frances Howard, an unhappy wife of an earl, finds she has a lot in common with Anne Turner, a woman being strung along by a man and trying to feed her six kids. Where Howard offers Turner connections and helps build her confidence, Turner serves as a confidante for Howard’s infidelity. Together, the women hatch a plan for a better future for themselves and navigate the increasingly dangerous Jacobean court.

A Net for Small Fishes releases November 16.

Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park and translated by Anton Hur

"Love in the Big City" by Sang Young Park and translated by Anton Hur (Image: Grove Press.)

(Image: Grove Press.)

Told in four parts, Love in the Big City features the Seoul nighttime fun and the next-day slog for college student Young and his best friend, roommate, and rock Jaehee. Cynical and living life in a blurry mess between partying, school, and hook-ups, Young doesn’t realize how much he depends on Jaehee until she leaves. When Jaehee departs to go settle down, Young tries to fill that hole with Tinder matches, to varying degrees of success. Park’s novel explores both millennial loneliness and the joy of queer life.

Love in the Big City releases November 16.

Noor by Nnedi Okorafor

"Noor" by Nnedi Okorafor (Image: Daw Books.)

(Image: Daw Books.)

Africanfuturist Okorafor’s newest novel is about an Artificial Organism (AO) named Anwuli who, despite being born with multiple disabilities (made worse by a car accident years later), does not see herself as the monster or devil that the rest of the world does. One day, on a run to the local market, Anwuli’s life truly changes in unexpected ways. After meeting a Fulani herdsman named DNA, she’s swept up in an adventurous race against time and across northern Nigeria. This book is perfect for fans of cyberpunk and stories examining the future of genetic engineering.

Noor releases November 16.

(Image: Tordotcom, Random House for Young Readers, and Solaris.)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time watching movies, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Balder's Gate 3, Apex Legends, and CS:GO.