One of the great things about literature is that it offers a huge variety that suits anyone's tastes. The same thing can even be said when specifically talking about science fiction and fantasy literature. Speculative fiction comes in many flavors; if one book doesn't suit your tastes, chances rate there's another one that will. Want to see for yourself? Take a ride on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Merry-Go-Round and find the right book for you.

 

DARK FANTASY

The Boys of Summer by Richard Cox is a nostalgic novel about a group of teenagers in the 1980s who become friends and, twenty-five years later, come together to fight the evil that returns to their hometown. The main character, Todd Willis, was left in a coma for four years after the 1979 tornado in Wichita Falls. He awoke to find Wichita Falls different in way he couldn't quite put his finger on. Nevertheless, he picked up his life as a teenager and moved on…until he and his now-adult friends return to confront their dark past.

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Queenblood EPIC FANTASY

The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst is set in the magical world of Renthia, where everything has a spirit and the spirits want to be rid of all humans. The Queen alone has the magical power to prevent the end of humankind. That balance can't last forever, so Daleina, a quiet academy student, and Ven, a disgraced champion, make a quest to find out the source of the spirits’ restlessness.

 

HARD SCIENCE FICTION

Hard science fiction offers a more rigorous treatment to the "science" part of science fiction. Death's End, by Chinese author Cixin Liu, is hard sf that takes place fifty years after the Doomsday Battle, a war with the alien Trisolaran invaders who wanted Earth's resources. Now, humans and Trisolaran co-exist in an uneasy peace, while humans leverage advanced alien technology. That delicate balance between human and Trisolaran is upset when an aerospace engineer from the 21st century awakens from hibernation with a world-changing secret.

 

POST-APOCALYPTIC

S.M. Stirling's Change series is set in a time after the world's technology ceased to function, ushering in a new era of feudalism. In the latest installment, Prince of Outcasts, the King's son who is not heading for the throne sets out to find his place.  He gets a chance to prove his worth when his ship is driven off course and he is left to defend against pirates and sea monsters.

 

SF_Bloodsworn ROMANTIC FANTASY

Erin Lindsey's The Bloodsworn (conclusion to the epic Bloodbound series) sees a war between Alden and Oridia nearing its end. But first, Lady Alix must rescue Alden's King Erik, who is bloodbound to an enemy and locked away in his own palace, by going behind enemy lines to destroy Erik's bloodbound master. Meanwhile, Alix's husband and brother defend Alden from the encroaching enemy. 

 

SPACE OPERA   

Julie E. Czerneda continues her epic Clan Chronicles series with The Gate to Futures Past, in which an alien race called the Clan seeks to find a home world. With them is a lone human, Jason Morgan, chosen by Clan leader Sira, to accompany them. However, their sentient starship is disabled, making the living conditions increasingly dangerous. And even if they find a planet to call home, that doesn't mean that the indigenous species would welcome them.

 

SUPERNATURAL HORROR

Would you make a deal with devil? You might playfully accept if you thought it was just some lame pick-up line. That's what happens to Fiona in Dead Souls by J. Lincoln Fenn. Fiona agrees to perform a special favor for the devil when the time comes. Now, Fiona and a group of similar "dead souls" live life in fear of the devil calling in his chip and what horrors they might be forced to enact.

 

SF_MJ SUPERNATURAL THRILLER

In MJ-12: Inception by Michael J. Martinez, the Cold War is re-spun as a paranormal espionage game. After World War II, humans have inexplicably gained supernatural abilities like super-healing, emotion control, matter alteration, and the ability to speak to the dead and reclaim their memories. The U.S. (led by the secret government program called MAJESTIC-12) and Russia thus square off using these new super-operatives.

 

SWORD AND SORCERY

In the world of Mercedes Lackey's Hunter universe, monsters from another realm called Otherworld begin leaking into our world, wreaking havoc and forcing people to huddle in cities protected by a corps of teenaged hunters. In the new novel, Elite, renowned hunter Joy is assigned to patrol the city's underground with her large pack of magical hounds. When she starts finding bodies and asking too many questions, tensions between city factions begin to erode towards a breaking point, which is a dangerous distraction from the forces that are amassing in the Otherworld.

 

TECHNO-THRILLER

Black Rain by Matthew B.J. Delaney takes place in a dark near future where disease cures are traded like common stocks on the Genetic Stock Exchange and synthesized humans called Synthates are the servants and playthings of the people. That is, until a Synthate revolt forms and begins their attack against the status quo. Jack Saxton, the young heir to genetic design powerhouse Genico Inc., is sympathetic to their cause…which leads to him being hunted down and arrested for murder.

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.