New science fiction and fantasy novels

Sharp, beautifully written, and laced with wry, quirky pages, Tell Me an Ending is one of the most sophisticated sci-fi works I’ve read in recent memory. It’s full of tender portraits of people who aren’t naturally admirable or great—people who are bitter, jealous, fearful, taciturn—as they confront the core question of who they are, with or without their memories. But there is also a deeper question, subtle as a pulse beneath the skin of each chapter: where does memory live? Is it a synapse node in the brain or is it something more distributed – something in the stories we inherit, the stories we choose, the stories we leave behind?

THE IMPOSSIBLE WE (Ace, 482 pages, paper, $17), by Sarah Lotz, is an utterly delightful romance novel between Nick, a grumpy, failed novelist-turned-freelance editor, and Bee, a cheerful workaholic with commitment problems who repurposes her clients’ wedding dresses into other clothing items. When Nick types an angry message demanding payment from a customer and accidentally sends it to Bee, the two embark on a cheeky, charming correspondence that will change their lives – in multiple universes.

The Impossible Us is that rare I laughed I cried book; I swallowed it down in a single session that started early in the day and ended late at night. I also somehow managed to read it, having thoroughly misunderstood its sci-fi premise, and enjoyed being surprised by it so much that I want to offer you the same experience. Don’t read the cover copy, dive in and delve deeply into two unrelentingly normal people trying to find a relationship together despite evil exes, wild best friends and a shadowy organization obsessed with the multiverse.

These novels with their final pages left me in tears that nourish and refresh, left me in awe of books as technology, of what we can say to one another: Each of us, individually and together, We’re just trying our best.

Amal El-Mohtar is a Hugo Award-winning author and co-author of This Is How You Lose the Time War with Max Gladstone. New science fiction and fantasy novels

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