Looking for a read that will stretch the limits of your imagination? Try one of the following picks for the best science fiction and fantasy reads being released this month. You'll find stories about supernatural spies, gathering military intelligence from ghosts during WWI, space empires, biotechnology, alternate realities, and the revenge of the trees!

 

Spellbreaker by Blake Charlton

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Leandra Weal, the Warden of Ixos, spends her time dealing with natural disasters, demon-worshiping cults, and fierce political infighting. But that's nothing compared to the new mystery she must unravel when she receives a prophecy that she will soon murder someone she loves.

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WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: This long-awaited conclusion to the much-lauded Spellwright Trilogy delivers the goods and, should you not want to revel in trilogy goodness, still stands alone as a complete story.

 

Eterna and Omega by Leanna Renee Hieber

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A supernatural investigative unit in 19th century London travels across the pond to America to uncover the secrets of the Eterna compound, in the hopes of eventually delivering the supposed key to immortality to Queen Victoria.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Gaslit fantasy is a unique and likable literary flavor.

 

Killfile by Christopher FarnsworthSF_Killfile

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: John Smith, who possesses the ability to access other people's thoughts, is hired by billionaire tech genius to track a former employee to see if he’s stolen intellectual property. But before he can complete his task, he finds himself on the run for his life.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Farnsworth merges history, biotechnology, action, and adventure into a high-concept thriller.

 

Seoul Survivors by Naomi Foyle

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In a future wrecked by global warming, the only safe haven is the mountains above Seoul, Korea, where Korean-American Bioengineer Dr. Kim Da Mi is convinced she has found the solution to save the human race: creating a new breed of humans.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: This tense cyber-thriller ups the usual ante for the human race by introducing an impending meteor strike.

 

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Humanity faces extinction on a world continually faced with a series of catastrophes. Meanwhile, Essen, whose magical powers are growing, tries to reunite with her daughter.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: This is the continuation of the riveting story that began with The Fifth Season.

 

Dragonmark by Sherrilyn Kenyon

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A dragon named Illarion is magically transformed into a man and forced to serve humans as a dragonmount in their army.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Illarion's view-from-the-other-side perspective makes his choice – between the world he knew and the world he now lives in – all the more dramatic.

 

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette KowalSF_Ghost Talkers

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: During World War 1, a supernatural team called the Spirit Corps communicates with recently-deceased soldiers to harvest military intelligence. Ginger Stuyvesant, a medium in the Corps, learns of the German's efforts to destroy the Corps and must stop them.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Ghost Talkers offers an interesting historic setting and a series of obstacles that will have you rooting for Ginger.

 

Welcome to Deadland by Zachary Tyler Linville

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A widespread zombie-like disease has ravaged humanity while a ragtag group of survivors seek refuge in an abandoned theme park and deal with non-zombie problems.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: It puts a human spin on the zombie story.

 

The Hike by Drew Magary

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Ben, a suburban family man, sets out for a walk but finds himself on an impossible journey in a fantastical world populated by strange demons, man-eating giants, colossal insects and magic.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Magary's surreal fantasy novel integrates folk tales and video games into something quirky and fun.

 

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Saffron Coulter finds herself out of her element and assuming the role of heroine when she stumbles through a hole in reality and finds herself trapped in a magical realm on the brink of civil war.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: This is the very beginning of Manifold Worlds, a promising new fantasy.

 

The Last Days of New Paris by China Miéville

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In a war-torn Paris, a metaphysical event based upon a theory of Surrealism unleashes monsters from dreams and nightmares and changes the course of history.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Miéville mixes historical events with magic into a dark treat overstuffed with weird, wonderful concepts.

 

The Trees by Ali ShawSF_The Trees

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The earth is suddenly reclaimed by trees erupting from the ground. Ex-schoolteacher Adrien Thomas attempts to reunite with his wife across the apocalyptic landscape.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The apocalyptic setting gives rise to some tense situations and desperate characters.

 

Behind the Throne by K. B. Wagers

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Hail Bristol, who travels the galaxy and excels at everything she does while trying to avoid her destiny as the rightful ruler of the Indranan Empire, is dragged back to her home planet to reclaim her birthright.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: This is a space adventure by a fresh new voice in science fiction. 

 

The Guns of Empire by Django Wexler

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A flintlock fantasy in which an uneasy truce is formed between warring lands, but is too precariously balanced to last for long as the threat of a building force of evil looms.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Wexler's writing style makes his books hard to put down.

 

SHORT FICTION

Not so fast! There's still plenty of great reading to be had from this month's selection of short fiction anthologies and collections. Here are the ones to look for:

  • On the Eyeball Floor by Tina Connolly
  • Things From Outer Space edited by Hank Davis
  • Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law
  • Early Days: More Tales from the Pulp Era edited by Robert Silverberg
  • Not So Much, Said the Cat by Michael Swanwick
  • Amaryllis and Other Stories by Carrie Vaughn
  • Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World by Caroline M. Yoachim

Happy reading!

John DeNardo is the editor of SF Signal, the Hugo Award-winning group science-fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews. You can follow him on Twitter as @sfsignal