We've covered lots of ground in the previous installments to this roundup of science fiction, fantasy, and horror books to look forward to in 2017. Let's see what the rest of the year has in store for hungry readers!
August Science Fiction has something for everyone. Ball Lightning by Chinese author Cixin Liu (and translated by Joel Martinsen) offers readers an intelligent military SF adventure. A scientist obsessed with discovering the secrets behind the natural phenomenon of ball lightning unknowingly pioneers an entirely new frontier in particle physics – and learns the consequences of that discovery when it falls into the hands of people with ulterior motives. With The Massacre of Mankind, Stephen Baxter offers modern readers a sequel to the H.G. Wells classic The War of the Worlds, much the same way he wonderfully did so with The Time Ships (sequel to Wells' The Time Machine). Iron Gold by Pierce Brown, a new novel in the Red Rising sequence, continues the struggle between the Haves and the Have-Nots in space. Splintegrate by Deborah Teramis Christian is a cyberpunk adventure in which a professional dominatrix entertainer is cloned and forced to assist in the murder of a political operative. A Man of Shadows by Jeff Noon takes place in Dayzone, a city where night has been banished. A private eye takes on a teenage runaway case that leads him to the permanently blacked-out alleyways of Nocturna, home of a vicious serial killer. Binary System by Eric Brown is an adventure story about a starship crashing on an alien world. The Dying Game by Asa Avdic offers armchair sleuths a locked-room mystery set in a near-future Orwellian state. Benjamin Percy's The Dark Net is a horror story in which a truly ancient evil occupies the seedy and illicit corners of the Internet.
August fantasy also has plenty to satisfy. N. K. Jemisin concludes her popular and well-received Broken Earth series with The Stone Sky, in which the world with periodic calamities might be ending for the very last time. In Stina Leicht's Blackthorne (sequel to Cold Iron), the Kingdom of Eledore has fallen and the magic that has kept the demon forces at bay is dwindling. An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock features a world of soaring continents and skyships. Here, Princess Isabelle is about to be married to a prince to prevent disastrous conflict. The trouble is, the prince's previous two brides-to-be were murdered and Princess Isabelle is next. The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley blurs the line between reality and fairytale with a story about a man's mission in nineteenth-century Peru to retrieve quinine from a land rife with dangerous magic.
On the lighter side of fantasy, check out Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines, the first book in the tongue-in-cheek Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse series. On the (much) darker side is David Moody's One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning. Here, fifteen people are trapped on a barren island being used by an extreme sports company specializing in corporate team-building events. Then they start dying, one by one. Volk by David Nickle also sounds interesting. It features horrors both human (eugenicists seeking to perfect the human race through breeding and culls) and inhuman (a parasitic species named Juke, that lived off the hopes, dreams, and faith of humanity).
This month you can satisfy your short fiction cravings with Urban Enemies edited by Joseph Nassise (an anthology of urban fantasy stories) and the single author collection The Best of Bova Volume 3.
Expected sequels in August include: Monster Hunter Siege (Monster Hunter #6) by Larry Correia; Playing to the Gods (Glass Thorns #5) by Melanie Rawn; A War in Crimson Embers (The Crimson Empire #3) by Alex Marshall; The Dinosaur Princess (Dinosaur Lords #3) by Victor Milán; Reaping the Aurora (Ley #3) by Joshua Palmatier; Call of Fire (Breath of Earth #2) by Beth Cato; and The Prince of Glass (The Tarnished Crown #2) by Karen Miller.
September 2017 has robots, sky cities, superheroes, digital immortality, and a man who lives ten thousand lifetimes. For starters, though, Library of America is publishing a two-volume collection of storytelling master Ursula K. Le Guin's Hainish stories, which spans 2,500 years of a wonderfully rich and culturally diverse Future History. It's titled (appropriately enough) Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 1 and Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 2. Also in September is Autonomous by Annalee Newitz, a sci-fi dystopian thriller set in 2144 where robots gain autonomy after ten years of service. Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill is about one robot's search for meaning in a world where every living human being is long gone. The Uploaded by Ferrett Steinmetz postulates a future where humans upload themselves into computers at the moment of death but maintain the right to vote while life for the living essentially devolves into maintaining and protecting the servers for "The Upterlife". The Bronze Skies by Catherine Asaro (beginning a new sub-series in her vast Skolian Empire setting) features a private investigator who must solve the murder of a supposedly un-killable elite soldier. Horizon by Fran Wilde is the latest installment in her imaginative Bone Universe, which features a winged society in a sky city. In the alternate 1949 of the espionage thriller MJ-12: Shadows by Michael J. Martinez, a team of covert superhuman operatives called "Variants" continues its fight for justice on the front lines of a post-WWII Cold War. Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore is about a man who is reincarnated more than ten thousand lifetimes in order to be with his one true love: Death herself. An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard takes place in a magic-filled New York City, except that that magic is fading fast.
Short fiction readers, look for The Titan Book of Horror Stories edited by Mark Morris.
Also coming in September: a bunch of sequels to hot sff series, including: The new October Daye urban fantasy from Seanan McGuire (The Brightest Fell); a new novel about Steven Brust's popular assassin Vlad Taltos (Vallista); the second book in Jay Kristoff's steampunk Nevernight series (Godsgrave); Null States by Malka Older, sequel to Infomocracy (one of 2016's best SFF books); the conclusion to the Sleeping King trilogy from Cindy Dees and Bill Flippin (The Wandering War); and The Will to Battle, Ada Palmer's third Terra Ignota novel.
In October, look for Constance Verity Saves the World by A. Lee Martinez, the sequel to the hilarious adventure The Last Adventure of Constance Verity, in which the reluctant heroine tries, once again, to maintain a normal life. Also on the humorous side: Willful Child: The Search for Spark, a new installment of Steven Erikson's comedic space opera. The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear – the first book in the new Lotus Kingdoms series, which is actually the start of a new trilogy in her Asia-based fantasy Eternal Sky series – promises a brass automaton that works as a mercenary-for-hire. Children of the Fleet by Orson Scott Card extends the Ender's Game universe with a story about a young student at battle school. Vampire-wise, Kim Newman has you covered with Anno Dracula - 1999: Daikaiju, the latest in his acclaimed alternative history vampire series. Kameron Hurley continues her parallel world Worldbreaker Saga with The Broken Heavens, but ups the stakes by creating a scenario in which only one of the two worlds can survive. Meanwhile, there's no description yet for The Beautiful Ones, but since author Silvia Moreno-Garcia has already established herself as an author to watch, mark this one down as something to check out when it becomes available. Also listed but lacking a description is Destiny's Conflict by Janny Wurts. This is the second book of a (so far) ten book cycle of fantasy novels called The Wars of Light and Shadow. Look, too, for a new short fiction collection from Wool author Hugh Howey called Machine Learning: New and Collected Stories, and the anthology The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017 edited by John Joseph Adams and Charles Yu.
November 2017 is currently a murky wasteland of speculative fiction titles, but only because it's so far out. There are, however, three titles worth noting. Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson, the third book in The Stormlight Archive series, sees humanity facing an entirely different threat when the Voidbringers return. Strife's Bane by Evie Manieri is the third and final book in the fantasy intrigue series. All you need to know about The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross by Lisa Tuttle is that it's described as the paranormal answer to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Sign me up!
December's lineup is also sparse so far, but also has three titles sitting out there, waiting patiently for readers of the fantastic. First, there's Nemo Rising by C. Courtney Joyner, in which President Ulysses S. Grant requests the help of the notorious Captain Nemo to battle the proliferation of sea monsters. There's also Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns, where a pair of engineers, desperate to join a band of space pirates, must first confront the evil artificial intelligence that is keeping the space pirates captive. Finally, there's Lynn Kurland's The Dreamer's Song, in which one of its main characters is a mage attempting to rid the world of magic while using no magic of his own, and the other is a homeless stable maid trying to rescue her grandfather.John DeNardo is the founding editor of SF Signal, a Hugo Award-winning science fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews. You can follow him on Twitter as @sfsignal.