So many books and so little time! Fortunately, you have the following handy guide of top Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror releases to assist you with your monthly reading picks!

Proxima by Stephen Baxter

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The colonization of other worlds—specifically, the faraway planet known as Proxima Centauri, a world that holds great promise for the continued survival of the human race.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Baxter's space stories are filled with sense of wonder—the hallmark of enjoyable science fiction reading.

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Tainted Blood by M.L. Brennan

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A murder mystery filled with intrigue in world of vampire clans, shape-shifters and other supernatural beings.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Brennan's highly enjoyable series is filled with action and adventure and just the right dash of well-placed humor.

Empire of Dust by Jacey Bedford

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In aEmpire of Dust not-unbelievable future of corporate-sponsored telepaths called "psi-techs," a runaway psi-tech goes on the run from her corrupt masters with the help of another psi-tech from a rival corporation.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: This is the first of a new space opera series that delivers the goods and holds lots of promise of things to come.

Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In a supernatural school that trains its students to be "proper young killing machines," young Sophronia stows away on a train meant to return their classmate to a werewolf pack in Scotland, only to stumble on a conspiracy that threatens to throw London into chaos.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Waistcoats & Weaponry is a solid, fun extension of the author's steampunk-on-steroids Finishing School series.

Willful Child by Steven Erikson

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The adventures of a spaceship crew led by its devil-may-care captain, as they travel the outskirts of space looking for new worlds to claim in the name of humanity.   

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: If you liked how John Scalzi's Redshirts poked fun at Star Trek, you'll like this spoof as well.

Symbiont by Mira Grant

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A tapeworm genetically engineered to cure human sickness and disease is injected into most of the world's population, but—surprise!—it doesn't quite work and turns most of them into a ravenous horde.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: This continues Grant's fast-paced and engrossing zombie series Parasitology.

Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A bookstore owner who lives in a converted church with his wife and their altered daughter are visited upon by a crow, at which point very strange things begin to happen within their already-unstable family environment. 

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Wakening the Crow is an overt homage to the work of Edgar Allan Poe and the book captures that feel perfectly.

Jala's Mask by Mike Grinti & Rachel Grinti

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The magical land of the Five-and-One Islands has long survived by raiding the mainland in ships crafted from the reefs on their shores. But now, shortly after a queen named Jala is newly appointed, ships from the mainland begin appearing on the shore and they're filled with desperate people, driven half mad by sorcery and looking for revenge.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Steeped in AfricaJala's Maskn and Polynesian history and folklore, Jala's Mask is more than your basic coming-of-age fantasy.

Damnation by Jean Johnson

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A woman with precognitive abilities attempts to sway the outcome of war and save the human race she knows will perish centuries from now.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Johnson's series, Theirs Not to Reason Why, has proven itself to be a fast-paced military science fiction adventure that's worth reading.

Revival by Stephen King

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Spanning five decades, the story begins in a small New England town, where a charismatic preacher and his wife capture the loyalty of young Jamie and the rest of the townspeople. But tragedy strikes the preacher's family, who curses God and religion, and is banished from the town. Years later, Jamie meets the preacher and forms an evil bond that affects the lives of both men.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: What part of "by Stephen King" do you not understand?

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A secret military project is set up to send signals into deep space in order to establish contact with aliens. The good news: It works. The bad news: The aliens are on the brink of destruction and devise a plan to invade and take over Earth.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: English-speaking readers finally get to find out why Cixin Liu is China’s most beloved science-fiction author.

Coming Home by Jack McDevittThree Body Problem

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Alex Benedict, a spacefaring Antiquities dealer, aims to find a long-lost cache of early space age artifacts and rescue the passengers from a ship that is expected to reappear through a space warp after being lost for more than a decade.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: McDevitt's Alex Benedict novels are consistently enjoyable and optimistic.

Yamada Monogatari: To Break the Demon Gate by Richard Parks

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A troubled minor nobleman of ancient Japan fulfills the promise to the woman he loves: to be a Japanese demon hunter and fight supernatural beings like demons, monsters and ghosts.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Parks atmospheric writing pulls you into an imaginative world.

Abracadaver by Laura Resnick

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Esther Diamond and her friend Max, a centuries-old wizard whose day job is protecting Manhattan from evil, investigate the sudden appearance of people that used be dead.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: If you're looking for a little fun when you read, the Esther Diamond urban fantasy novels are always a hoot.

Short Fiction Picks!

I mentioned the best novel picks above, but there are short fiction picks as well. Here are the best short fiction anthologies and collections this out month.

¨  Knife Fight and Other Struggles by David Nickle

¨  Shattered Shields edited by Jennifer Brozek & Bryan Thomas Schmidt

¨  The Best of Electric Velocipede edited by John Klima

¨  The Collected Short Stories of R.A. Lafferty Volume Two: The Man with the Aura

¨  The Mammoth Book of Gaslit Romance edited by Ekaterina Sedia

¨  V-Wars: Blood and Fire edited by Jonathan Maberry

¨  Whispers from the Abyssedited by Kat Rocha

¨  Young Woman in a Garden: Stories by Delia Sherman

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