A new month brings a new slew of reading choices for book lovers. Here is a selection of science fiction, fantasy and horror books that you want to check out first.
Billy Moon by Douglas Lain
One of the things that speculative fiction does best is give you an outsider's perspective. By removing yourself from the situation, you get to see life from a more objective viewpoint. Douglas Lain uses this feature of fantasy fiction to great effect in his debut novel Billy Moon. The book augments reality by adding fantastical elements to everyday, relatable life. In this case, Lain taps into our childhood by telling the story of Billy Moon, also known as Christopher Robin Milne, whose name will be immediately recognized by anyone who has ever heard of Winnie the Pooh. A.A. Milne's popular children's book series features a young boy named Christopher Robin, who was based on the author's real life son. In Lain's magic realist novel, set during the tumultuous year of 1968, Billy Moon (Christopher's nickname used by his family) deals with a less-than-perfect life. What he sees as his father's exploitation of his childhood has affected him deeply and leaves him struggling to find out who he his. As a World War II veteran, Milne may finally find answers when a French revolutionary convinces him to come to Paris. Milne soon learns that his new friend is able to experience alternate realities of both the past and present—an ability through which Milne sees his own life transformed.
Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik
Naomi Novik's Temeraire series has been called "Master and Commander with dragons" because, like Patrick O’Brian's historical fiction novels, it uses the Napoleonic wars as its dramatic backdrop, but unlike that series, this wonderful re-telling of the Napoleonic wars is fought with intelligent dragons. The hero of Novik's story, naval captain William Laurence, fights with the aid of a dragon named Temeraire. In Blood of Tyrants, Laurence finds himself shipwrecked on the shores of Japan with absolutely no memory of his faithful dragon. He becomes entangled in world-changing political intrigue that threatens to give England a brand new enemy when the thing it needs most are allies. Meanwhile, Napoleon—turning his back on a former ally—has set hit his sights on conquering Russia. But what will be the outcome of Napoleon's conquest when Laurence and Temeraire finally reunite? Novik's gripping storytelling will have you eagerly turning the pages to find out.
Deadman's Road by Joe R. Lansdale
How about a taste of weird? Or, to be more specific: How about a taste of Weird Western? Nobody mashes together genres better than Joe R. Lansdale, as evidenced by his stories about a butt-kicking, monster-killing preacher named Jebidiah Mercer. These days, Mercer has more faith in whiskey bottles and guns than he does in God, but who can blame him—he routinely finds himself in some new town battling one monster or another. He could be fighting an undead zombie, werewolves, cannibals or even killer bees. All in a day's work for our gun-slinging hero, Reverend Jebidiah. Marked by Lansdale's irreverent humor and masterful storytelling, this unique collection of stories is one that's not to be missed.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Everyone loves a good bad guy, even when that "guy" is really a group of people doing bad things under the guise of keeping you safe. In Samantha Shannon's debut novel, The Bone Season, Scion is a security force that controls several cities in the year 2059. Paige Mahoney lives in Scion London, working for the criminal underworld using her rare clairvoyant ability to read other people's minds. As a so-called "dreamwalker," Paige is an immediate criminal in the eyes of Scion. But when she's captured and arrested, Paige learns of an even more sinister faction. She is taken to a special voyant prison; what used to be Oxford before that city was erased from the map 200 years previously by a powerful, otherworldly race called the Rephaim. The Rephaim enlist voyants like Paige as soldiers into their growing army. The Rephaim's motives are not clear, but Claire is not the type of person to be sitting around waiting to find out. The Bone Season is the first book of a seven book series. Hop on this ride now.Transcendental by James Gunn
Adventure and intrigue are some of the hallmarks of fiction, science fiction or otherwise, and James Gunn's new novel, Transcendental, carries on those traditions quite nicely. The idea behind the story is that people can achieve transcendence, a mystical concept that's vaguely described to them yet nevertheless has people journeying across the galaxy to obtain it. A prophet encourages people to go on a galaxy-spanning pilgrimage where he will meet them and give them transcendence. Transcendental is the story of one of these space voyages. This particular one is being taken by a man Riley, an interstellar war veteran who is not particularly interested in transcendence. Instead, Riley is on a mission to kill the prophet who lures humans to his side. However, this seemingly peaceful journey is instead beset by intrigue, betrayal and violence. In the process, Riley may learn a thing or two about his previously held beliefs.