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Our SF/F Picks For Holiday Gifting

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Sharifah and Jenn answer listener requests and give their favorites for gifting this holiday season in an extra-long episode!

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Listener Questions

1. Hi there,

I heard you were looking for holiday recommendation requests. I would like to ask for readalikes for books like Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell or A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland. (I’ve been really enjoying the “Red White & Royal Blue but make it fantasy/scifi” trend lately.)

Thank you,

2. Hi Sharifah and Jenn,

I’m looking for SF/F gifting advice for my dad. He used to be a big fantasy reader when he was younger (some of his favorite authors were Ursula K. Le Guin and Terry Pratchett) but doesn’t read as much now. The last SF/F he read and loved was the Murderbot series. Do you have any SF/F recommendations that are fast-paced, on the shorter side, and possibly reminiscent of classic fantasy?

I love the podcast and particularly love that you recommend excellent new and backlist titles.

Thank you,


Books Discussed

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (cw: racism, misogyny)

The Tensorate Series by Neon Yang (cw: harm to children including medical experimentation and death)

Spear by Nicola Griffith (cw: mention of rape)

Light Years from Home by Mike Chen (cw: dementia, loss of a parent) 

The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach (cw: so many, espec homo/trans phobia and body horror)

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna (cw: child neglect)

The Way Spring Arrives And Other Stories, edited by Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang (cw: many, depending on story)

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao (cw: abuse, suicidal ideation, sexual assault (mention)

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean (cw: sexual assault; child abuse and endangerment)

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub (cw: loss of a parent)

The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings (cw: child endangerment)

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu (cw: chronic illness, child death)

Practical Magic Series (Practical Magic; The Rules of Magic; Magic Lessons; The Book of Magic) by Alice Hoffman