Bookstore shelves are overflowing with exciting reads that offer something for everyone, and nowhere is that more evident than on the shelves of the science-fiction and fantasy section. Here are the new speculative fiction books this month that you should check out.
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The Golden Wind steals a young troll named Hawthorn from the magical world of Fairyland and lands him in the otherworld of Chicago where he becomes a changeling in the form of a human boy. When Hawthorn turns 12, he finds a way back home, but it's definitely not the same Fairyland he left when he was young.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Catherynne M. Valente's Fairyland series is both charming and engaging for readers of all ages.
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Axl and Beatrice, an elderly couple, set off across the sea to find the son they haven't seen in years. They come from a nation where memories are elusive and people yearn to find meaning in their lives.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: This beautiful and subtly told story is from the acclaimed master storyteller of The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go (one of my favorite books, so color me biased).
Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A pair of mated werewolves (Charles and Anna, who embody opposite sides of the shifter personality) battle a dangerous Fae being who is replacing human children with simulacrums.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: This book is the latest installment of the Alpha and Omega paranormal series and, like others in the series, it promises to offer a tasty blend of action, romance and the suspense. Plus: Werewolves!
Edge of Dark by Brenda Cooper
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In the future, humanity—which is now occupying worlds across the solar system—must come to terms with the (not too grateful) artificial intelligence it banished long ago.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Besides utilizing a nice handful of entertaining science fictional tropes, Brenda Cooper herself is well-versed in real-world technology, which lends an air of realism to a marvelously made-up world.
The Fifth Heart by Dan Simmons
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Sherlock Holmes and Henry James come to America to solve the mystery of the 1885 death of Clover Adams, member of the American presidential family.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Dan Simmons offers a metafictional alternate history where Sherlock Holmes, shortly after faking his own death at Reichenbach Falls, has deduced that he is, in fact, a fictional character. Consider my mind blown.
Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In a small, seaside Lovecraftian town, a young boy tuned to the supernatural world tries to find out what happened to his mother after she disappeared.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The Lovecratian setting means you'll encounter macabre creatures. The author's talent means you're in for a fun, well-told story.
Less Than Hero by S.G. Browne
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In New York City, an unlikely group of people—volunteers who test experimental drugs for money—use the abilities they acquire as side effects to play the part of superheroes.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Less Than Herooffers a "super" canvas for this master satirist to tell his captivating story.
The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Three hundred years after the Netherlands became a superpower thanks to its army of mechanical men, the co-called "Clakkers" are still second-class citizens. But one Clakker named Jax seeks to change that status quo.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Ian Tregillis lends weight to this robot story by tackling themes of personal freedom.
Medicine for the Dead by Arianne “Tex” Thompson
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In the weird west, the man named Appaloosa Elim leads a party across the wastelands to avenge the death of his grandson. The problem? After dark is when all the creatures come out.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The delicious mixture of fantasy and Western will make you wonder why there's not more of it.
The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In a cottage at the top of a mountain, a young girl named Clara discovers that her sister, Maren, is turning into a mermaid and thus begins the quest to take her to the sea, the only place where she can survive.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Engaging and magical, the story is filled with enough adventure, peril and plot twists to keep you turning the pages.
Persona by Genevieve Valentine
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: After an assassination attempt, a young ambassador named Suyana and a teen runaway–turned-paparazzi named Daniel go on the run to save Suyana's life and secure the future of her young country.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Persona is a fast-moving near-future political thriller that will have you rooting for its heroes.
Prudence by Gail Carriger
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (daughter of Alexia Maccon from the author's Parasol Protectorate Series) takes her dirigible to India and finds adventure involving local dissidents, the wife of a kidnapped brigadier, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Gail Carriger begins yet another exciting steampunk adventure series, this one dubbed The Custard Protocol. You'll want to get in on the ground floor.
Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In this description-defying novel, a "corporate anthropologist" known only as "U." is assigned to write the Great Report, an all-encompassing ethnographic document that would sum up our (post) modern era, a task that eludes him as it the overwhelming data begins to take on a landscape of its own.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The unique structure of the book—where passages of dreams may be more real that the "reality" of the story—promises a unique reading experience.
The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In a world where demons threaten to bring humanity to extinction, the most likely saviors have gone missing.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: Brett's heroic fantasy Demon Cycle series is a big hit with fans and this latest installment will be no different.
Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The world’s preeminent dragon naturalist, Isabella (also known as Lady Trent), continues her scientific study of dragons as she embarks on another expedition—this one around the world—accompanied by her son and an intriguing foreign archaeologist whose interests prove to be both personal and professional.
WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: The captivating adventures of Lady Trent continue!
But wait! There's more! These short fiction single-author collections and multi-author anthologies should also be on your radar this month. Enjoy come bite-size fiction, why don't you?
¨ Black Wings of Cthulhu, Volume Three edited by S. T. Joshi
¨ Cranky Ladies of History edited by Tehani Wessely & Tansy Rayner Roberts
¨ Dark Detectives: An Anthology of Supernatural Mysteries edited by Stephen Jones
¨ Grand Crusades: The Early Jack Vance, Volume Five by Jack Vance
¨ Old Venus edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois
¨ Operation Arcana edited by John Joseph Adams
¨ The Doll Collectionedited by Ellen Datlow
¨ The Essential W. P. Kinsella by W. P. Kinsella
¨ The Face of the Earth & Other Imaginings by Algernon Blackwood edited Mike Ashley
¨ Thirteen: Stories of Transformation by Mark Teppo