In The Washington Post:
  1. “The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.,” by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (Morrow)
    Riseandfallofdodo hc
    In this historical novel, linguist Melisande Stokes has a chance meeting with a handsome military intelligence officer named Tristan Lyons, who offers her a chance to escape a smug supervisor at Harvard for a research project on magic and its disappearance. Quickly the stakes rise, as Melisande and her friends stumble upon warring politics, ambitions and agendas.
  2. “The Prey of Gods,” by Nicky Drayden (Harper Voyager)
    Drayden mixes folklore, urban fantasy and science fiction in her futuristic South Africa to dazzling effect. In this entertaining tale, a new drug called Godspeed hits the street. It causes users to hallucinate, to see themselves as animal creatures; sometimes it draws out peculiar powers. Teenage Muzi, grappling with his sexuality and his heritage, finds that the drug lets him manipulate people.
  3. “The Refrigerator Monologues,” by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga)
    The refrigerator monologues 9781481459341 hr
    Valente explores the old trope of women in comics who are abused and/or killed in service of a male-driven plot. In this novella, the superhero girlfriend gets to tell her own version of events in the afterlife. Through six entertaining if sometimes heavy-handed narratives, the women’s voices are strong: bitter and full of pain, yet steel-tipped in sarcasm and humor.