With a veritable smorgasbord of science fiction and fantasy books released each month, readers have probably found themselves pondering, more than once, how to invest their hard-earned book money. Below are this month’s best bets for enjoyable science fiction and fantasy reads. Start drawing up your checklist!
A Star Shall Fall by Marie Brennan
In this period fantasy, Brennan takes readers back to the Age of Enlightenment, an 18th-century cultural movement intended to advance society through science and reason. When the Royal Society of London hosts a meeting-of-the-minds, they encounter an unexpected hiccup: a magical race of Fae living underneath the city. The creatures are battling a dragon who poses a grave threat to future of the world above, but scientific advances are threatening to destroy the very magic they need to eradicate the enemy.
Check out SF Signal’s recent round-up of Mars-themed Science Fiction novels.
Adaptation by Malinda Lo
In this daring science-fiction thriller, Lo depicts a memorably frightening future. It begins when birds suddenly start flying into airplanes, causing a dozen of them to crash. The U.S. government, fearing terrorism, grounds all flights and begins enforcing curfews. A girl named Reese experiences these odd occurrences firsthand when a bird flies into the headlights of her car; she awakens in a military hospital, somehow changed. A meeting with a mysterious girl eventually leads Reese to search for the truth behind what may be a global conspiracy.
American Science Fiction edited by Gary K. Wolfe
This bundled set from the Library of America, comprised of two volumes (Four Classic Novels 1953-56 and Five Classic Novels 1956-58) collects some of science fiction’s most classic and beloved novels, any one of which would make this list, including More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon, The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett and The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. Watch this space later this month for a deeper look at this landmark collection.
Be My Enemy by Ian McDonald
In the second book of McDonald’s lauded, alternate-world adventure Everness series, hero Everett Singh is searching for his missing family across three different parallel Earths: one is a frozen wasteland; another features technology-sharing aliens on the moon; a third in which London has been destroyed by unchecked nanotechnology that still threatens to destroy the last pockets of civilization.
Circus: Fantasy Under the Big Top edited by Ekaterina Sedia
In this themed anthology, Sedia presents circus stories that range from traditional to bizarre to futuristic. With fantastic stories from Christopher Barzak, Holly Black, Kij Johnson, Jessica Reisman, Peter Straub, Genevieve Valentine, Jeff VanderMeer, Howard Waldrop and many more.
Dodger by Terry Pratchett
Sir Pratchett weaves together fact, fiction and comedy in this adventurous tale of a street urchin named Dodger, who vows to protect an unknown girl from danger, even if it means meddling in the plans of some of London’s most powerful figures. Dodger’s antics allow him to cross paths with the mad barber Sweeney Todd, the author Charles Dickens and famous politician Benjamin Disraeli.
Ecko Rising by Danie Ware
This may be Ware’s first novel, but she’s been intimately tied to the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres for years through her publicity work. That exposure and experience come to the fore with Ecko Rising, a novel that blends fantasy and science fiction together into an epic story about the titular anti-hero who aims to do nothing less than save the entire world from extinction.
Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell
In this centennial celebration of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ original Tarzan story, Maxwell retells the classic from the perspective of Jane Porter, a smart scientist-in-training out to prove the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin. She finds her answer in the jungles of Africa when she meets Tarzan of the Apes. Jane is the first version of the Tarzan story written by a woman and authorized by the Burroughs estate.
Lord of Mountains by S. M. Stirling
In Stirling’s long-running series, The Change, he depicts a near-future devoid of electrical power and technology. In the latest installment, the war between independent realms continues in the land that was once known as the United States of America, while Artos attempts to claim his rightful position of power.
The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross
What do you get when you cross the tech-savvy minds of Doctorow and Stross? You get the mind-warping, near-future The Rapture of the Nerds, where a group of humans known as the Tech Jury Service are tasked with assessing whether new, possibly disruptive inventions should be released to the general public. But many of these technologies come from former-humans who have opted to join the post-human societies that occupy the inner solar system, and who have all but sworn off their meatspace cousins.
John DeNardo is the editor of SF Signal, a Hugo Award-winning group science-fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews. He also likes bagels.